Origins of “Future Nausea”

1966, Susan Sontag, “Anthropologist as Hero” in Against Interpretation: “The felt unreliability of human experience brought about by the inhuman acceleration of historical change has led every sensitive modern mind to the recording of some kind of nausea, of intellectual vertigo.” (also, 1999, William Gibson, No Maps for These Territories, 15:00 in: “I think we all have…… Continue reading Origins of “Future Nausea”

Girls, Broad City, and Over-the-Topness

“By their power of intimate close-up, movies reveal the subtleties of facial expression and the ambiguities of mood and motivation.” (Paglia)   I recently re-watched Girls, and then off a recommendation, chased it with half a season of Broad City. The latter struck me as artless and also socially valueless in comparison with Dunham’s HBO…… Continue reading Girls, Broad City, and Over-the-Topness

The Mask is the Face: Self-Design in the Age of the Algorithm 

Modern scarification We wear our souls in here.Second Life resident Biology’s offspring is culture, but culture feels little allegiance to its heritage. It has become rabid, turns back to devour its father. But culture is a Cronus, a middle way, a transitory stage. Culture in turn gives birth to the algorithm, but the algorithm feels…… Continue reading The Mask is the Face: Self-Design in the Age of the Algorithm 

Backgrounding Techniques in Cinema and Literature

“In his later works, Klee began to erase the lines that typically distinguish a painting’s foreground image from its background, and he populated this background with numerous other figures that enter into a viewer’s awareness to greater and lesser degrees. Thus Klee’s late works… paint the usually inconspicuous tension of emerging and withdrawing, the usually…… Continue reading Backgrounding Techniques in Cinema and Literature

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Mental Imagery 1

Disclaimer: Most of the insights in this post have already been addressed by semiotics, and won’t strike anyone familiar with that discipline as novel. This is more just an attempt to reframe and re-analogize a process than to advance actual arguments. Delving into the world of machine learning has me interested in encoding as an…… Continue reading Mental Imagery 1

Valencia/Rectify/Film/Television/Literature

I. James Nulick’s Valencia opens with an HIV diagnosis. Nulick, protagonist, is dying. He has traveled to the southern coast of Spain to stay at the hotel which gives the novel its name. He has traveled there to hasten his death, to preempt the prolonged and painful corporal vulnerability which immunodeficiency entails. He has brought with him…… Continue reading Valencia/Rectify/Film/Television/Literature

Short Trip (Alexander Perrin)

Link. There is a hand-drawn tram simulator, beautifully drawn. You are in the role of some entity, appearing and not appearing human, and you walk him toward the waiting tram. He is — you are — not its passenger but its conductor, controlling the forward and backward movement of the tram. Along the tram route there are…… Continue reading Short Trip (Alexander Perrin)

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Effect Ideas and Close Encounters

Gabriel Duquette of Liposuction has raised a number of objections to my insertion of effect-ideas into his maps/chords dualism. Either effect-ideas are not real, he argues, or they are not significant. They are trivial in that they are wildly personal, unpredictable, and unengineerable. Read rather than written into texts, they are the creations of readers…… Continue reading Effect Ideas and Close Encounters

A Possibility for Artistic “Meaning”

Interested in literary or artistic “meaning” as the sum of all infinite interrelationships between a work of art/literature and the equally infinite set of all data points which exist both inside the work and out in the world. These data points include, but are not limited to, the composition of society in its entirety, both…… Continue reading A Possibility for Artistic “Meaning”

Maps, Chords, and Effect Ideas

“A dramatic presentation should be an act of initiation during which the spectator will be awed and even terrified… During that experience of terror or frenzy… the spectator will be in a position to understand a new set of truths, superhuman in quality.” (Wallace Fowlie on Artaud’s “Theater of Cruelty”) Gabe Duquette, writing at Liposuction,…… Continue reading Maps, Chords, and Effect Ideas

Return Maximization as Critical Mode

Interested in what I am possibly calling Utilitarian Criticism, or more likely Consequentialist Interpretation, or even more likely Return Maximization as a Critical Mode. This is the mode where the goodness or badness of a text/art object, for example, is largely irrelevant. Instead, modes of interpretation or ways of seeing are sought which maximize the…… Continue reading Return Maximization as Critical Mode

Alva Noë & Baseball

I do not watch baseball, though many of my favorite passages and anecdotes are inspired by the sport. There is DeLillo, of course, in his prologue to the monumental Underworld, whose opening line — He speaks in your voice, American, and there’s a shine in his eye that’s halfway hopeful. — remains one of the best ever written.¹ And…… Continue reading Alva Noë & Baseball