Music

February 28, 2009

Here are a couple songs I made.

The one called, Rynosaurous Rex, I made with a friend of mine.  He layed down the beat, and I put in the rest.

The other one, Catfish Johnson, I made with my midi keyboard and a drum sample from the dead. 

Thanks for listening.

Catfish Johnson

Rynosaurous Rex

The Mp3 Player is kind of screwy, so you may have to download them.

Some thoughts on Cybersemiotics:

“Peirce operates with a triad composed of a sign vehicle (the Representamen), an Object (a certain aspect of reality), and an Interpretant that is a more developed sign in the mind of the perceiver/observer/communicator. These three categories were so basic that he called them Firstness, Secondness and Thirdness… In the sign process, Representamen is first,
Object is second, and Interpretant is third. In Cosmogony, mind is first, matter is second, and evolution is third. In cognitive psychology, perception is first, experience is second, and understanding is third. Ontologically, chance is first, mechanical law is second, and the tendency to make habits is third. Peirce defines his Firstness as a chaos of living feeling with the tendency to assume habits.”

– Soren Brier, Cybersemiotics: Why Information Is not Enough

In Pierces semiotic Triad, the symbol is Primary – the representaion of an object. As one assumes this primacy, the open ontological chaotic “system” becomes a closed system upon evaluative parameters. Within this closed system, a triad can be developed between the representation, what it represents, and the interpretation. Although, the object it represents is in many ways outside of the triad. I think the object must take on a purely denotative (“topographical”) role, and not an ontological role. So, most of the object becomes lost in the system. Also, at another corner, the interpreter takes on another role where certain aspects of it become lost in the evaluative importance of the symbol. The symbol becomes full, where the others become partial. The system already has within it possibilities of other systems, as well as the possibility of merging these systems through cybersemiotics.

The interesting thing about systems, I’ve found, is that they are analagous to different types of lenses – The lense of our eye to the “lense” of an electron microscope.  As with our eyes, when we focus on a single point in space, the point is of primacy as everything else becomes peripheral. Focul Points and periphery seem to be the general problem of all human enterprises. The steroscopic vision is unnatainable. It can only be attained through transrational means, where the focul points merge with the periphery in equilibrium. The only way to eliminate evaluations, isolated systems, high and low probability, plausibility and implausibility is to eliminate the current paradigm of rationality and go beyond it, but not without it. That is, if you’re not shooting at pragmatic targets, but at a chaotic ontological “totality”.

Though, ontology will never be total as it will always be reduced to mnemonic metaphors.

Sub-symbolic and pre-logical neural networks – the organic matter of the brain, in other words – in a few fancy terms is, what I think our linguistic and logical (meaningful) faculties emerge from. These neural networks are physical structures in a (cybernetic) autopoietic (automatically produced) feedback loop with perception. They are considered foundational to perception, even. For instance, the nerve endings in the eye (the retina) process light into perceptual information by transforming light into a digestable nerve-compatible material, that the optic nerve sends to nine nuclei that relay this information into the visual cortex which actually makes the initial signals from the optic nerve more complex. This example, I think illustrates how nerve digestion and processing of light is an increasingly complex process that is a pre-logical, sub-symbolic material process. After the additive complexity within the primary visual cortex, it becomes even more complex as the brain, through neural communication and organic mutation, processes the perception with hyper-complex (cannot predict it mathematically) logical and symbolic faculties. This hyper-complex structure of “buzzing” neural networks become meaningful only to the extent that “difference makes a difference”. What this means, I think, is that meaning is not something that nerologists will find in the brain. It is emergent from neural networks – but these neural networks are a historically continual process; meaning that there is never a physical gap in the evolution of bodies (and brains).

Evolution is a continuity that never ceases, in other words. Neg-entropy is an explanatory tool that combines thermodynamic entropy with informational entropy in hopes of creating a new evolutionary theory that combines matter, energy, and information. (Soren Brier) Meaning, then, under this theory is understood to be a methodological combination of Cybernetics, Neurology, thermodynamics, linguistics (particularly Wittegenstein’s language games), and semiotics in a field called, Cybersemiotics.

So where, how, and when perception becomes meaning, can only be answered partially right now, I think.

I Heart Huckabees “head banging scene”

By using a jejune experiment, I think Smithson is pointing out the obvious in relation to the absurd, as usual through his subtle satire. By saying “prove” in the use of a jejune experiment, he is commenting on the fetishes of culture (of his time), by saying, in essence, a child playing in a sandbox does not need a probability equation to make him/her believe that he cannot make the sand reverse back into pure black and white. I think you need to read Smithson with a bit of a sense of humour, sometimes. It’s pretty funny, considering that an unenculturated, unknowledgeable child might believe in the irreversability of entropy (via a sandbox) moreso than some adults may believe so because of the probabilistic “conclusions” and methods of the sciences. In doing this, he is most certainly not berating the Sciences at all, but most likely pointing out the absurdity of believing otherwise.

It’s a mockery. This is what happens when people believe in certain highly probable things, like entropy or an external world.

Smithson might attribute the fetishes for “proof” and lack of belief to a very fundemental misunderstanding of language due to “the mania for literacy”. He continues in the essay to write, “References are often reversed so that the “object” takes the place of the “word”. A is A is never A is A, but rather X is A. The misunderstood notion of a metaphor has it that A is X – that is wrong.” The word is not the object, yet this might be the fundamental misconception of language that extends outward into our cultural biases about “art movements”, rather than our more acute cultural biases about art and the artist, or an idea and its creator. The fetish for literacy, to paraphrase Smithson, is due to language fears. These language fears are a cultural phenomenon, where the size of your vocabulary might be an expression of your language fear. The labels of “art movements” are curiously long-winded and innacurate, which is why some artists, and historians put quotes around them. They have become a convention where categorical limits are necessary, but the meaning of the term brings to mind something completely different than what it’s referring to. It might be more appropriate, for convention’s sake, to name periods in art history from one artists name to the next, or one artpiece to the last. So, “conceptual art” might better be called “Duchamp onward”, or “Fountain onward”.

But, why the misleading terms? I think we can look to the fetishes of capitalism for this answer. The illusory hierarchies that are a development of the “territory struggle”, where the illusion becomes a “concrete” cell, and the dreamy “power-structures” that are upheld by the powerful, are considered real. The powerful could be considered wardons of the powerless. The nightmare of a “prison” becomes all too real. The physical language involved in political, and social discourse is misleading in some cases, I think. They’re not “territories” or “structures” but mirages, fantasies, and illusions. They don’t take up space the way a building does, but destroy actual space through the power of abusing metaphor. Their abuse of metaphors creates hallucinatory delusions of “territory” and “structures.” These delusions, I think, create a reversed belief in metaphor that extends into the misconceptions, and thus mislabels that are prevelaent in movements throughout history.

If you don’t believe in entropy, Smithson might say, “find a child and ask them.”  Or, if you don’t believe in existence, the writers of I Heart Huckabees might say, “bash your head against something.”

Robert Smithson, (digitally “preserved”) photograph of a partially buried woodshed

woodshed

“I should now like to prove the irreversability of eternity by using a jejune experiment for proving entropy. Picture in your mind’s eye the sandbox divided in half with lack sand on one side and white sand on the other. We take a child and have him run hundreds of times around clockwise in the box until the sand gets mixed and begins to turn grey; after that, we have we have him run anti-clockwise, but the result will not be a restoration of the original division, but a greater degree of greyness and an increase of entropy.

Of course, if we filmed such an experiment we could prove the reversability of eternity by showing the film backwards, but then sooner or later the film itself would crumble or get lost and enter the state of irreversibility. Somehow this suggests that the cinema offers an illusive or temporary escape from physical dissolution. The false immortality of the film gives the viewer an illusion of control over eternity – but “the superstars” are fading.”

– Robert Smithson, “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic , New Jersey” (1967)

The importance of jejune, I think, lies in the regression to a childlike state of a lack of enculturated knowledge. The jejune is a possibility-space free from the illusionistic confines of the predominant cultural biases and attitudes. Before the abuse of power enculturates a child through inversions of metaphors, calling illusions “structures”, fantasies “concrete”, etc., the child is allowed to roam free from the biased cultural confines. Sure, they lack knowledge – but this is where the play and vividness of imagination comes from. Without social responsibilities, or cultural confinement, the child’s unenculturated imagination takes control of it’s experience. It is that powerful. Haven’t you ever seen a child run around in a “rampage” interacting with apparitions of thier own imaginations, almost to the point of mentaly transforming the architecture underneath a table, into the underside of a mountain? Scale, to the child is no longer a restriction. Tables can be mountains. Mountains can be tables. The concept of a “structure” to the child is interchangeable with “illusion”. There are no fantasies of “concreteness”, or “stasis” masquerading as real. The child is closer to the entropic realities, than some adults might think themselves to be. Some children have no mania for preservation, not because they have a concept of it, but because they lack the concept of it. They evolve along with cultural attitudes, and once the threshold of free inversion and interchangeability is passed into “locked” illusionistic metaphors determined scales, they slowly die out in a cultural dreamscape, they think is a landscape. We all do.

The jejune, then – regardless if this experiment still holds true with servers, and hard-drives today – is a telling expression of the power of both the imagination, and the cultural sublimation of it through metaphorical magic tricks.

Dialectics-As-Process

February 3, 2009

dinosaur-fossil-scelidotherium_leptocephalum_side

The context that postmodern aesthetics takes into account, traced back to Frederick Law Olmsted’s creation of parks in New York City in the 19’th Century, developed into a massive dialectical relationship of the landscape to human activities, be it social, political, and natural. The vastness of the context, for some post modernists, spans all the way back to the paleolithic era encased in permeable glass in museums – the bones of a triceratops still undergoing the culturally emergent notion of entropy – to the extrapolated second law of thermodynamics, that says, in the future, the universe will become an all-encompassing sameness, all the way to the irreversability of eternity. The context encompasses our (biased) epistemic evolution along with the actual landscape in a dialectic-as-process that is never finished.

mayan-ruins1

I think dialectical relationships need to be specific. For instace, a dialectic between a landscape and a map must consider a broad contextual range, meaning that the physical sciences must be employed to establish the “side” of the landscape in the dialectic and its relation to the “side” of the map. Physical history, like geological time, of a particular landscape (site) is in a continual relationship with the human activities (social, political and natural). The primordial eras are entombed in permeable glass cases, where heat can escape the fossils of dinosaurs. We have a relationship with the primordial era through the archeological digs that brought up the fossils from rock layers in the earth. They are now entombed in museums. The entropic geological time, then, might be said to be in a relationship with the social, political and natural human (cultural) activites manifested in the “landscape” of the architecture, and design of a history museum. The preserved history is what some postmodern artists were interested in, as they could use a physical landscape of a museum to establish a dialectic with the maps. The social, political, and natural (i.e. biological evolution) histories are found in ruins like pompey, cathedrals in europe, Mayan Pyramids, and even the deteriorating archtecture of today. History proper, is a fiction to some. The people that hold this view become interested in the ruined landscapes of past civilizations, fossils found in the rocks, hieroglyphs, language entombed in books – all real stuff – even the buildings erected today that “rise into ruin, rather than erected for the future.” (paraphrasing Smithson) The future becomes forgotten in the past – meaning in the instant a brick is layed, it is already in ruin. The future is remembered through the past.  The history museums are an actual landscape undergoing physical processes alongside cultural processes. This way, a map of the past can be developed from a transitory landscape evolving along with human cultural activities.

In simpler terms, All of the physical Sciences, aesthetics, semiology, architecture, and art are employed on actual landscapes to make maps of history. It is a deconstruction of Idealistic historical dialectics, through the belief in material reality. Alot of artists were reading Borges, Merleau Ponty, Levi-Strauss, Olmsted, physicists, biologists, chemists, geologists, etc., which reconstructed this deconstruction of history-as-an-idea.

All of these sciences are themselves an historically contingent cultural emergence that change alongside with the landscape. The landscape is no longer a “thing-in-itself” but a “thing-for-us”.

(Al)Readymade Shit

February 3, 2009

Piero Manzoni’s Shit:

canned-shit

There is alot of shit that passes for art. The thing, in particular, that makes Piero Manzoni’s readymade shit art, is that it is a cultural, and historical reaction to modernism. It is anti-modernist shit-art. It is a rather violent attack against the more recent movements in modernist art, like surrealism and cubism. These are, in many ways, decorative illustrations of the unconscious and theories (like Freud and relativity), repectively. They are illustrations, insofar as they synaesthetically render a provisional theory into a decorative format where it only buries the senses further into the abstractions and fictions of the mind. They are overwhelmingly cerebral, while, at the same time, annhialate all context in the museum through thier isolated illustrations. The cultural dialectic is compacted into a single point in a museum, where it drains all of its power. There is no context in this art. It is rather a mute illustration of a concept. They are decorative collages, growing from a German Ideal of the sublime or beautiful. Though, the “beauty” in it is an intersubjective cultural emergence without accounting for the dialectics-as-process of the evolution of beautiful. They are mute, immoble tombs of ideas that don’t shift. This is the modern art museum – tombs that preserve and drain art of its power, by neglecting the dialectic.

I wonder why there is a prevading “monumental” mystery about the explosive contextual scope of postmodern art. In any case, I think it is this “monumental” myth about postmodern art that allows illustrations of the supernatural to pass as art (like Alex Grey). “Art” (illustrations called art) is powerful in a misinformed culture, only because of the cloak of mystery it is shrouded in. Art is valued all to highly because there isn’t even a consensus cultural interpretation of it that even remotely comes close to understanding it. So now, decoritive illustrations of the supernatural pass as art because of the prevalent and powerful cultural myths about it.

The canned-shit of Piero Manzoni is art because of the account of the cultural context in which it is placed. It is powerful, both historically as a path to postmodernism, and culturally, because it is electrified with the power of the historical and cultural context in which it is placed. It was the beginning of an explosively explicit dialectic of many histories.

Alex Grey’s illustrations as art are (al)readymade shit.

obama

Material Synaesthesia:

Language is a synaesthetic metaphorical material behavior (i.e. written symbolic metaphors, acoustic symbolic metaphors) of humans in a dialectical relationship with the actual material landscape. It is a culturally emergent, evaluative process that evolves along with the actual landscape – a “thing-for-us”. This landscape (a “thing-for-us”) is “under” the entropy of our evaluative, culturally emergent physical laws (like thermodynamics). It is an irreversable entropic eternity. In other words, this process never ends.

An example:

I think it is the synaesthetic transformations from one sense to another that is what, sensationally, distinguishes us from other creatures – the degree of detail to which we are able to transform one sense into another. This, I think, is really what metaphor is – synaesthesia manifested. The convergence of the patterned frequencies heard by the ear, and the (different in type) patterned frequencies recieved by the eye occurs in the imagination. Even the first representative sound uttered by a human being was a metaphor for, say a rock. It was a synaesthetic translation from the range of some sense(s) into sound. The metaphor was waving in the air. The rock, from then on had been essentialized, and reduced into an acoustic metaphor wobbling in the ether and resonating in the bodies of the community.

The rock could be synaesthetically moved around away from the rock to the campfire, or on the hunt. The rock was now mobile, as a reductive metaphor.

Concealed conceptual synaesthetic abstractions within a literal context (metaphor):

Even a literal statement can conceal a metaphor. This is a type of syneshesia, where the seemingly literal “surface” is only literal because it has within it abstractions. These abstractions are only rendered with power in a context of varying disparieties. As contextual relations are established, the the degrees of abstract oppositions emerge. They emerge as synaesthetic conceptual metaphors, where a word in a context that is a seemingly topographical literal statement conceals an image, taste, and even sound. Location turns into, through conceptual synaesthesia, an imaginative experience.

An example:

The context in which the word “potato” is placed determines its power and meaning. Concealed within words in a context are abstractions, like color, taste, sound, line etc., that enlivens the imagination. However, it is only through the concealed abstract oppositions in a sentence, pragraph etc., that make a potato what it is. It is made what it is by the contextual degrees of oppositions. For instance:

The potato is in a ceramic bowl next to an apple on a wood table.” In this case, the red of the apple might bring to mind the flesh color of the potato… taste, texture soforth with degrees of abstract opposition.

The potato is in a quantum pool of particles going through entropy.” In this context, potato may no longer have a taste, or a (relatively) specific color, but an animated abstraction.

The actual potato – the landscape – is in a dialectical relationship with the maps of the potato. The actual potato is inseperable from the social, political, and natural activities of culture. It is intertwined in a dialectical relationship. The evaluative interpretations (maps) of the actual potato change along with the actual potato “underneath” the culturally emergent physical laws.

Some Material on Dialectics

February 2, 2009

Some material on Dialectics:

Robert Smithson, nonsite
nonsitecontained
“The side of a smooth green hill, torn by floods, may at first be properly called deformed, and on the same principle, though not with the same impression, as a gash on a living animal. When a rawness of such a gash in the ground is softened, and in part concealed and ornamented by the effects of time, and the progress of vegitation, deformity, by this usual process, is converted into picturesqueness; and this is the case with quarries, gravel pits, etc., which at first are deformities, and which in their most picturesque state, are often considered as such by a levelling improver.”

– Uvedale Price, Three Essays on the Picturesque, (1810)

“Burkes notion of “beautiful” and “sublime” functions as a thesis of smoothness, gentle curves, and delicacy of nature, and as an antithesis of terror, solitude, and vastness of nature, both of which are rooted in the real world, rather than a Hegelian Ideal… We cannot take a one-sided view of the landscape within this dialectic. A park can no longer be seen as a “thing-in-itself”, but rather as a process of ongoing relationships existing in a physical region – the park becomes a “thing-for-us”… dialectics of this type are a way of seeing things as a manifold of relations, not as isolated objects. Nature, for the dialectician is indifferent to any formal ideal… Olmsted’s parks exist before they are finished, which means in fact they are never finished; they remain carriers of the unexpected and of contradictions on all levels of human activity, be it social, political, or natural.”

– Robert Smithson, “Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape”, (1973)

“Both sides [of the dialectic] are present and absent at the same time. The land, or ground is placed in the art, rather than the art placed on the ground… Large scale becomes small. Small scale becomes large. A point on a map extends to the size of a landmass. A landmass contracts to a point… The rules of this network of signs are discovered as you go along uncertain trails both mental and physical.

– Robert Smithson, “The Spiral Jetty”, (1972)

If cultural means, “social, political, or natural human activity” then I would say dialectics are the result of cultural relations with the landscape. The material landscape becomes mapped my the mental, as the landscapes shift from entropy to different mapped “states” (mobility) of Picturesque to deformed. The material shits in relation to the mental interpretative evaluations of it. The landscape is never finished, and our maps are never finished. The maps are continually revised in a dialectical relationship with the entropic lanscape. Human activity (culture) effects our evaluative and interpretive maps of the landscape. The development of the dialectic is an entropic phenomenon, both in the material and in our maps. They do converge as “a point on a map extends to the size of a landmass [, and] a landmass contracts to a point [on a map].”

untitled-1

A bit about determinacy:

It is only certain because we cannot determine it conceptually. What is it to type on a computer? What scale are we talking about here? Quantum? Relativity? The categorical containment of whatever aspect of typing on the computer you wish to determine – the confines of your determinacy – makes it uncertain because of the historically contingent, intersubjective way in which you constructed those confines. Determining something creates uncertainty, while indetermination without categorical containment creates certainty. Some might call the latter “absurd”, and the former “rational”. However, the latter (indeterminate certainty) is a feeling of the body of experience. It is not proof, becuase it is not a conceptual, categorically contained determinacy. It is a belief, not from concepts, but of feeling. In this “absurd” body of experience, evidential “proof” (or persuasion) flattens into the grid of our epistemic (contained) maps – our table of categories, distinctions, determinations etc. There is no proof of typing on the computer. But because we all feel the keys under our fingertips and see the dynamics of the process of writing etc., it is a belief that I have because of the way such a bodily interaction with the world feels. Call it absurd if you wish, but I think its a very practical and generative belief to have.

On Dialectical dynamics:

I’d say discourse (dialectic) disintegrates authority (or traditional hierarchies) through a process of resonance and dissonance, where the resonanating (agreeing) ideas find themselves in a context of dissonance (disagreement). The resonances dissolve into a sameness – a singularity like a harmonic soundwave in the air, almost to the point of disapearance. They become like a mute note, amongst the power of the dissonant notes (the disagreements). The disagreements become more powerful during discourse, and they are extended to encompass a larger foundation on both sides of the argument, I’d say. As discourse tends to sway to the side of strengthening the oppositions, the new, now stronger opposing structures, now undermine the similarities. Certain discourses might cause the supporting dissonant structure to creep into the agreements and transform them. While other discourses might completely annhilate these resonances through the same dynamic. If the resonances (agreements) are considered traditional hierarchies, which, I think they are, the discourse would then be corrosive, transformative, or utterly destructive to the authoritative traditions because of this dynamic of expanding opposition. The process then repeats, where the dissonances become the new resonances and so forth.

deconstruction —> reconstruction —> deconstruction —> reconstruction etc.

It seems like the disagreements in discourse are so subtle, how even a mere re-definition of a term, like “mind”, can throw the whole process of apparant agreement into a vast disagreement. However, in some cases, the “vastness” of the disagreement is not as vast as black and white. For example, if you take the color black – the material pigment of it – and begin to seperate it into points, expanding to an infinite end, the black block becomes a series of points that eventually begin to grey against the white, each time a point multiplies and becomes more disparate. Soon enough, you’ll need a high powered microscope to even see black at all. Likewise, with white on black. If extrapolated with this logic, they will reverse roles – where black becomes white, and white becomes black. If you keep them seperate, they will remain reversed, while if you transpose them upon one another, there will be a middle-grey. In the grey, the initial black and white, as well as the logically reversed black and white, become lost in grey. They integrate into sameness. The power of it becomes completely lost in it’s sameness.

Consider this as an analogy to argumentation, how one takes a position, and what occurs during agreements.

Initially there is grey – agreement. In the agreement, which is a culturally confined emergence, there is no power in the agreement. It’s neutral. However, because of the fallabile pre-suppositional “grounds” of belief, as the white is pulled away from the black, the neutral gray shows signals around its edges of opposition. The power of the neutral grey is realized as black and white grow along the edges of expansion. The pre-suppositions have allowed for rational disagreements. The cultural agreement becomes a powerful disagreement. They are now in a converging dialectic with one another – a dialogue. They tug away at each others arguments, finding more to disagree with, until they have disagreed with everything. The nuetral grey is now in complete opposition as black and white. The positions have gained thier full potential power as non-converging oppositions – a disparate dialectic. One says “It’s all mind”. Another says “It’s all matter”. It is a strong opposition, yet very subtle in its opposition, I think. The former, has noticed a categorical distinction in the neutral grey of the cultural paradigm, namely that of mind and matter. The latter sees the same distinction, but under the same categories, expands upon the matter. He defends it. The evaluative, interpretive categories of the normative (rule-following) mind have somehow evaluated the categorical containment differently, than the former. The thing is, I think, because of the variance in evaluation, new categories are formed within the black and white sides. Black has different aesthetic properties than white, like mind has different properties than matter. They begin analysing two different beasts. The language used might be a product of frustration of non-communicability. How is one to explain the aesthetic properties of white unless it is in relation to its opposite, black? White is only bright next to black, and visa versa. Likewise, “mind” as a concept is only mind in relation to matter. They grow from one another. An understanding of matter is necessary for an understanding of mind.

So, what’s going on here?

They are entirely distinct and powerful (mind / matter, black / white) because of thier violent opposition. The categories developed within mind are developed in a dialogue with matter. Mind is meta-physical. Matter is physical. It is all developed through relations. The fiber of the canvas, or the language of the discourse, is what holds the dialectics together.

Are dialectics only possible because they converge through similar media? (Canvas fibers, or language structure) Is it only a dialogue because of the necessary underlying structure?

Can the dialectic of mind / matter remain disparate, on top of a canvas of similarity?