slowglow



Very, very late to the afterparty here, but coming into contact with some of the (“post-post-”) vaporwave scene now. SLOWGLOW VIRTUAL CASINO EULOGYJAM LANGUOR. Aesthetic is reminiscent of a lot of net art work that has been around for ages, but takes on quality of its own in this contextual sonic moment. Clear that it would have made a nice addition to the post-digital piece just released. Of particular interest, a sense of immersion into the atmospherics of obsolescence. Quote from Tiny Mix Tapes’ recent review of Infinity Frequencies’ Computer Decay,

It goes back to what its original creators may or may not have been attempting to do but were assumed to be doing anyway: a subversive take on our own fall into the “virtual plaza,” a post-capitalist commercial doom. When Infinity Frequencies reveals to us these artifacts, gathered from the recesses of the collective knowledge, their unintentional beauty lulls us into a dream recovery of haze and vapor, and we’re privy to a similar slip into obscurity and decay.

And this from a year old interview (note focus on temporality) with Chaz Allen of Metallic Ghosts,

In fact, as far as Allen is concerned, the January concert—the second incarnation of an online festival called SPF420, which debuted in September—doubled as a “final eulogy” for the genre. “As soon as you name something,” he says, “it’s going to take off and die.” [...] “I just made a casinowave track, sampling slot machines and shit,” Allen says. “So that might last for a minute. That might last for two minutes.”

Yes, yes. Always already 20 minutes late to the futurepast. META-JAVA COMPUTER-GAZE ANXIETY-CLOUDS. TOPOLOGICAL DE(.com)PRESSION. NEW NOSTALGIA.

ECO VIRTUAL / / / 大気中分析

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And how blue are these sonic “blue hours” (cf. post-digital article)? Here are the accompanying images for the first ten tracks currently listed on Infinity Frequencies’ SoundCloud page

Dusk to dawn: horizons of the digital/post-digital

postdigital_vizzies1

New article out in latest issue of A Peer-Reviewed Journal About. The journal takes up the concept of post-digital, a sub-theme of this year’s Transmediale call, and is the result of a workshop hosted by Aarhus University where a group of us (mostly PhD researchers and practitioners with an interest in media arts) converged to discuss what exactly post-digital might constitute. The resultant articles include all manner of takes on this, with Florian Cramer’s “What is post-digital?” being a logical starting point for anyone interested in the concept. My own take on it was less interested in what might count as post-digital and more invested in exploring possible symptoms that could be seen as giving rise to the very notion of post-digital. The article also ended up moving very much in the direction of the main Transmediale theme of afterglow, exploring the nature of moments of transition, such as one between digital/post-digital.

Even in its final form the essay is fairly fast and loose, reflecting both its strange beginnings as a riffing on a Walter Benjamin quote and some Kool Keith lyrics and the fact that the material referred to was all new and outside of what I’ve been looking at in dissertation writing to date. Despite that, the experience of the workshop and the Transmediale festival itself proved interesting in different ways and much of this will now be folded into and expanded upon further in the diss (for instance, the choice quote by Talan Memmott in the first draft and discussion of Takeshi Murata’s video for Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Problem Areas” were eventually excluded in this final version, but should be making a return in the diss). Also, in a recent discussion thread addressing post-digital on the Emypre mailing list, Micha Cárdenas raised the important question of what the overt political potential or dangers in a narrowly conceived notion of the post-digital might be. In placing this work back into some of the more overtly political stuff of the diss hopefully some of these political potentials will become more readily transparent. Of the many images of dusk that come to mind, Derek Walcott’s “Frederiksted, Dusk” remains one of the more potent and relevant in such a context (“Sunset, the cheapest of all picture-shows…”).

Finally, here is a little “post-exterminator” generator put together (with a coding assist by Memmott) for running in the background during my initial presentation at the workshop.

Till Sverige – fragments of testimony

Below are a few translations into English of short extracts taken from the Swedish book Till Sverige-asylsökande barn vittnar om Dublinförordningens konsekvenser (2010), or “To Sweden-asylum seeking children testify on the consequences of the Dublin regulation” in English (for a brief glimpse of what the Dublin regulation entails, see this article from the Guardian). The book aims to share the perspectives of a much talked about group of youth who nevertheless seldom have the chance to talk for themselves. The focus of the testimonies is on the journeys that each child has undergone on the way to their current location in Sweden, but outside of this overarching theme, the book also provides a chance for each youth to share their thoughts, experiences and more.

Most of the testimonies in the book have already undergone a process of translation from various native tongues into Swedish (this includes hybrid amalgamations of “street-speak” that tell their own stories of lives lived between languages). The selective use of fragments collected together here also clearly represent an additional level of framing. This is in advance of a collaboration recently instigated with a colleague on a project that aims to explore issues around potentiality, expression and the experience of undocumented youth.

For anyone wanting to learn more about the issue of undocumented migrants, the PICUM (Platform for international cooperation on undocumented migrants) website has a list of information providers and points of contact in Europe and worldwide.

***

Abdifatah, 16 years old, from Somalia, on fingerprinting:

“De som vägrade att lämna sina fingeravtryck skiljdes från de andra. De kallade dit de militärer som fanns på området och förklarade för dem att vi vägrade. De tog fram elbatonger och slog oss över axlarna och på andra kroppsdelar. De hade också hundar som de bussade på oss. Vi var redan hungriga, trötta och hade massor av problem, nu kom fler. Med våld tvingade de oss at lämna våra fingeravtryck. Jag hade aldrig föreställt mig att detta skulle kunna hända mig.” (Till Sverige, p.14)

“Those who refused to leave their fingerprint were separated from the others. They called over the military officers who were in the vicinity and told them of our refusal. The officers took out electric batons and beat us on the shoulders and other parts of the body. They also had dogs which they intimidated us with. We were already hungry, tired and full of problems, and now this. Using violence they forced us to leave our fingerprint. I never imagined something like this would happen to me.”

***

Reza, 16 years old, from Afghanistan, on smells and sounds:

“I Iran delades vi upp i grupper. Jag fick tillsammans med tre andra gömma mig i en bensintank i en stor lastbil. Det var ett litet utrymme. I dessa bensintankar brukar chaufförer ha med sig extra bensin när de ska köra långa sträckor. Vi fick sitta med axlarna nedtryckta mot knäna och huvuden mellan benen. Det luktade bensin. Jag mådde illa av lukten. Det värsta var ljudet från motorn på lastbilen. Jag kan även känna lukten av bensinen och höra ljudet av motorn i min hjärna. Bara av att tänka på lukten av bensinen och ljudet av motorn blir jag illamående.” (Till Sverige, p.21-22)

“In Iran we were split into groups. Together with three others I had to hide in a petrol tank within a large truck. It was a cramped space. The drivers tended to store extra fuel in these tanks when making long journeys. We had to sit with shoulders pressed down upon the knees and head between legs. It smelled of petrol. I felt sick from the smell. Worst of all was the sound of the truck’s engine. I can feel the smell of petrol and hear the noise of the engine in my head. Just the thought of the smell of the petrol and the sound of the engine makes me feel ill.”

Reza, again, on dreaming of Italy:

“Jag har varit i Pakistan, Iran, Frankrike och andra länder som jag inte känner till. Italien är det värsta landet, det är ett fängelse. När jag försöker sova på natten får jag dåliga tankar. Jag har mardrömmar om att jag är i förvaret i Italien. Jag vill få bort dessa tankar ur mitt huvud. Jag vill äta och dricka men kan inte. Min hals känns svullen. När jag äter och dricker har jag svårt att svälja.” (Till Sverige, p.25)

“I have been in Pakistan, Iran, France and other countries that I don’t even know. Italy is the worst country, it is a prison. When I try to sleep at night I get bad thoughts. I have nightmares that I am in custody in Italy. I want to get these thoughts out of my head. I want to eat and drink, but can’t. My throat feels swollen. When I eat and drink I have difficulty swallowing.”

***

Erdo, 17 years old, from Afghanistan, on separation:

“Efter fyra år i Tehran kom polisen till arbetsplatsen vi var på och tog min bror. Han bad att de inte skulle skilja på oss utan ta oss båda, men de ville inte ha mig. Efter den dagen har jag inte sett min bror och vet inte vad som hänt honom. När man fyllt sexton år tar polisen de barn som är olagligt i Iran, om de hittar dem. Jag vet inte vad de gör med dem, men när jag också blev äldre var jag rädd att bli tagen och därför flydde jag. Det är nu fyra år sedan. Länge sökte jag efter min bror överalt utan att hitta honom. Också i Sverige tror jag ibland att jag ser honom, men det är alltid någon annan. I drömmen ser jag honom långt borta och då springer jag efter honom. När jag kommer fram ser jag att det inte är han uten en främling.” (Till Sverige, p.28-9)

“After four years in Tehran the police came to the site we were working at and took my brother away. He begged them not to separate the two of us, but they weren’t after me. Since that day I haven’t seen my brother and don’t know what has happened to him. The police will attempt to take any child over the age of 16 living illegally in Iran – if they discover them. I don’t know what they do with them, but as I also became older I grew scared of being taken and so fled instead. It is now four years later. For a long time I searched everywhere for my brother, without finding him. Occasionally in Sweden I also think that I see him, but it is always someone else. In dreams I see him in the distance and then run after him. When I get to him I see that it’s not him but a stranger.”

***

Ismail, 16 years old, from Afghanistan, on fear and self-harm:

“I Juli 2010 ringde Migrationsverket mig och sa att jag hade lämnat fingeravtryck och därför måste åka tillbaka till Ungern. Jag avslutar hellre mitt liv än åker tillbaka dit. Efter det blev jag desperat. Jag skar jag mig i huvudet och i armarna och jag sydde ihop mina läppar med nål och tråd. Jag vill inte skada mig själv men jag vet inte hur jag ska handskas med rädslan av att skickas tillbaka. Jag ber om hjälp.” (Till Sverige, p.37)

“In July 2010, the Swedish Migration Board phoned me and said that I had left a fingerprint and therefor had to travel back to Hungary. I would rather end my life then return there. After that I became desperate. I cut myself in the head and arms and stitched my lips together with needle and thread. I don’t want to harm myself but I don’t know how to deal with the fear of being sent back. I plead for help.”

***

Hamed, 17 years old, from Aghanistan, on exploitation:

“Vi flydde från Afghanistan av olika orsaker, främst för att vi hotades till livet men även för att många afghanska ungdomar utnyttjas på olika sätt. Vissa ungdomar har ingen bostad och inga föräldrar och vissa av dem blir sexuellt utnyttjade av de som har makten i landet, de som har en position som har ärvts i generationer kanske. Det är som en slags kultur bland eliten, att utnyttja barn. Och de dom utsätts för övergrepp är de utan bostad, som inte har någonting alls. Barnen är tvungen att fly landet för regeringen kan inte ge dem skydd.” (Till Sverige, p.39)

“We fled from Afghanistan for various reasons, most of all because our lives were threatened but also because many Afghan youth are exploited in different ways. Some youth have no home or parents, and in some cases they are sexually abused by those in power in the country, those who have attained such a position as a result of an inheritance likely generations old. To take advantage of children is a kind of culture for this elite. And those whom they take advantage of are those without a home, those who have nothing at all. Children are forced to flee the country because the government can’t give them protection.”

swypes

…If I hear the name “Napoleon” and decide it would be a nice name for my pet aardvark, I do not satisfy this condition…
– Saul Kripke, “Naming and Necessity”

What’s in a poet’s name? The lines of text below have been generated by the Sywpe text input system for mobile phones. Regardless of whether one has precisely typed the desired word in question, Swype always generates a string of words which it suggests may have been intended. In the examples below, the initial name of a poet given in parentheses is that which was typed out on the phone, and the strings that follow each are the suggested alternatives proffered by Swype, in the same order that they appeared on screen. Small, aptronymical odes.

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(akhmatova) schematics scenarios acoustics significant signorina

(baudelaire) bandleader neutralise nauseated neutrality vandalised

(bishop) bishops bishopric boohoo budgie

(donne) done dinner some fine donned donner dine donnell some sonnet sine dinned find dinners finney sinned sinner dime donna

(eliot) elliot elliott elite root scoot

(emerson) emersion emerging immersing emotion

(ferlinghetti) delinquencies photosynthetic circumventing circumvention

(ginsberg) ginsburg goldberg humanity himself

(hill) jill hull gill hills hulk gull hilly holly bill

(longfellow) controlled controller controls kimberlite

(melville) neville knoxville merciless cupcake

(poe) pie pow poem poet port porn open poor pier pork poems low pies pore piece poets power pied pod

(pound) pounds pounded pounder pins opens loins plums opine plume

(queneau) witness whenever airway workday airhead whereas queerly quondam quandary airboat airbrush austria quebecer wirehair whereby whimsey wisbech aurorae wideness

(rimbaud) tomboys romanus ringside rhomboid

(rossetti) rosette rosetta rosettes eidetic

(sappho) sapphic sapphire sapphira sapphires delphi

(shakespeare) shakespearean shakespearian wheresoever enamelware

(snodgrass) sniffed widgets instead shoeless

nō way out

Matthew Fuller, in his chapter “The Camera That Ate Itself”:

There was an old woman who swallowed a fly. The orthographic space of writing needs to trick itself into growing a digestive, circulatory, and immune system in order to cope with the complexity of the interrelations Flusser begins to signpost. I don’t know why she swallowed a fly. I guess she’ll die. How to navigate a thousand stomachs and their attendant bodies all stretched around each other and sequentially digesting? The programs that interweave to synthesize the camera also sprawl outward denying the possibility of a fundamental or originary procedure of knowing. The smallest speck of fly at the center is compressed into a speck of pure inflammatory antidigestive corpus at the center. The shit-slurping bacteria clinging to its feet multiply and leak out across the red fissures of a thousand layers, erupting as an oracular pustule in the gut of the camel sent down the stomach of the old lady to rid herself of the problem of the yak.

Photos of code are a topic of discussion in the current session of Nō Code at UnderAcademy College. The animated nō filter GIF above is cycling through a single photo of the little piece of code which originally announced the course. Taken with the Instagram app for Android, the photo has been passed through each of the 17 filters that come bundled in with the app, from left to right in the sequence in which they appear in the interface, and back again in reverse order, returning to the original “normal” filter.

It’s a simple enough trick, one that has been done in the past in various guises and on a variety of apparatuses. Scott Short’s The Excluded Middle show is a recent variation on the theme, employing a photocopier as a way of exploring “the copy machine’s unpredictable translations of patterns and abstract marks,” while Fuller’s essay begins from the starting point of John Hilliard’s 1971 piece, A Camera Recording Its Own Condition (7 aperatures, 10 speeds, 2 mirrors).

Scott Short, The Excluded Middle, 2012

John Hilliard, A Camera Recording its Own Condition (7 aperatures, 10 speeds, 2 mirros), 1971

“Procedural workouts” (Fuller) such as these can help to map out the affordances of the technology as assemblage, trace the dimensions of what de Landa calls the “phase space” of the apparatus, and expose certain patterns of rhetoric therein. In the case of the current default range of Instagram filters, it comes as little surprise that saturated hues and pinhole effects and are prime movers. A burned out, nostalgic nerve for analogue forms wired into this instantaneous digital dark room. Where Benjamin spoke of a loss of aura in mechanical reproduction, there is a way in which the continued applying of one filter upon the other creates a sequence that oscillates between washing out entirely and then recovering new forms of filtered vibrancy in still further exposures. A visual form of machine on machine feedback such as Fuller speaks of, one in which “The system becomes cyclical and positive – it begins to amplify its own amplifications.”

In the first cycle of Nō Code, Sonny Rae Tempest filtered each of Hokusai’s famous colour woodblock prints into one pixel compressions, single-hued and logographically watermarked with the kanji titles of the originals (Thirty-Six Hues of Mount Fuji). At certain moments in nō filter the colours also wash out into near monochromatic canvases, but (at least in this limited run of the procedure) just as the process seems ready to fizzle out, the pinhole effect burns through the canvas yet again. At this point the earlier resonance with Fuji-san erupts, spewing out another Japanese icon in inflammatory metamorphosis, the recursive flares feeding back a molten, photonegative Hinomaru.

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