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

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

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

Ulysses, Wilde, and a Theory of Literary Compression

“He looked at the cattle, blurred in silver heat. Silvered powdered olive trees. Quiet long days: pruning ripening. Olives are packed in jars, eh? I have a few left from Andrews… A cloud began to cover the sun wholly slowly wholly. Grey. Far. No, not like that. A barren land, bare waste. Vulcanic lake, the dead…… Continue reading Ulysses, Wilde, and a Theory of Literary Compression

Predicting Joyce’s “Calypso”

Mr. Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. So begins the fourth chapter of Ulysses. “Calypso” is one of the more straightforward episodes of the novel, but here we’ll look at the way the opening line maintains its own ambiguity throughout the chapter’s opening pages. The suspended ambiguity is initiated in the…… Continue reading Predicting Joyce’s “Calypso”

Text, Telos, and Ritual

I’ve been set free and I’ve been bound To the memories of yesterday’s clouds I’ve been set free and I’ve been bound And now I’m set free I’m set free to find a new illusion — “I’m Set Free,” The Velvet Underground “As time goes on… the universe becomes more and more what experience has revealed,…… Continue reading Text, Telos, and Ritual

A Few Types of Literary Compression

“And I said to Mabel, I said, ‘computational aesthetics, super-short. Jürgen Schmidhuber’s Theory Jürgen Schmidhuber, an AI theorist and theoretical computer scientist, has proposed a computational account of aesthetic judgments. In his view, a stimulus is judged to be beautiful or attractive by a subject T to the extent that the stimulus is compressible for…… Continue reading A Few Types of Literary Compression

Generic Fit

This makes the pop song an indispensable mirror: The way in which a listener imposes himself upon the text, or transforms the text from generic to specific, shows that listener something about himself. He learns his yearnings, his sadnesses, his loves; he recognizes an emotional life which is otherwise elusive, and solidifies in time an…… Continue reading Generic Fit

Chekhov’s Gun and Red Herrings: Meaning, Rules, and Transgression in Storytelling

I. “If I think of somebody telling a story, I see a group of people huddled together, and around them a vast space, quite frightening.”  — John Berger It’s probably important to start off by quickly distinguishing  between a “story” and “literature,” at least in a way that is, if not universally true, at least…… Continue reading Chekhov’s Gun and Red Herrings: Meaning, Rules, and Transgression in Storytelling