Okay, I lied...another post...

I just was taking a hot hot bath to warm up my toes from my damn Raynaud's disease thing...and I was thinking about why I love to take baths so much...

the bath tub = not unlike the womb
the warm water = not unlike the protective amniotic fluid

I found myself starting to quote one of my favorite passages from Douglas Coupland, this one in Life After God:

As suburban children we floated at night in swimming pools the temperature of blood; pools the color of Earth as seen from outer space. We would skinny-dip, my friends and me...We would float and be naked- -pretending to be embryos, pretending to be fetuses--all of us silent save for the hum of the pool filter. Our minds would be blank and our eyes closed as we floated in warm waters, the distinction between our bodies and our brains reduced to nothing--bathed in chlorine and lit by pure blue lights installed underneath diving boards. Sometimes we would join hands and form a ring like astronauts in space; sometimes when we felt more isolated in our fetal stupor we would bump into each other in the deep end, like twins with whom we didn't even know we shared the womb.

Fitting for the Wachowski Brothers to use the womb as the design metaphor for their "pods" that housed the human machine batteries. Another pod, but why this name??

Coupland's writing is so beautiful in its almost too saccharine nostalgia, and for the imagery it evokes...I think now of a photograph by Maria Friberg at Conner Contemporary

The suburban children have all grown up. Through their acclimation to the "adult" world, their individual identities have been erased:

[quoting Coupland again -- this is the porition I left out of the previous quote]

my friends and me--hipchick Stacey with her long yellow hair and Malibu Barbie body; Mark, our silent strongman; Kristy, our omni-freckled redheaded joke machine; voice-of-reason Julie, with "statistically average" body; honey-bronze ski bum, Dana, with his non-existent tan line and suspiciously large amounts of cash, and Todd, the prude, always the last to strip, even then peeling off his underwear underneath the water.

No more Stacey, or Mark, or Todd, or Julie...Names are erased and a common persona is assummed, put on like a black suit and white shirt -- Life's agenda is now set by Another, just as nameless and faceless as its offspring.

But these suits still swim, still float and bump into each other aimlessly...do they still form a ring, or do they compete? Do they share the silent hum of the pool filter, or are these waters the ocean --- cholorine has turned into salt, salt that stings wounds, is thrown over left shoulders for luck, salt that is much more closer to the compounds that make up the body, that are a part of our internal liquids. Regardless the body of water, we are more aquatic than our everyday lives remind us of --- and so I return to my bath, hoping my body will elevate its temperature again, a happy medium.



Thanks to HaloScan, we've got a COMMENTS feature on the site now! Yea! My dreams of textual interaction are becoming realized! [insert ren and stimpy voice here] Joy!

So, besides the comments feature, I've expanded the right side bar menu and made it a little more pretty.

And, I finally finished (okay, just got off my ass today) the edits to my Warhol as Simulacra paper/website. Check it.

Another update...Yes, I decided to put my wrists into the holding block and commit to doing the "Interdiscipinary Toolbox" -- soon (!) to be renamed (I can't stand that name!). I am taking suggestions!

Well, that may be it for today...we shall see...


Oh how trivial our lives are...

Pop Culture = 1
Academia = zero

---and just because...why are artists constantly praising the smurfs when they could be reviving the...???

TV commercials = "retirement homes" for actors...

not ready or willing to go to the out-of-the-public-eye graveyard?

cases in point:

1. danny devito for Verizon
2. kristie alley for Pier 1 Import

--->talk amongst yourselves, and add more to this list!!


Re-reading bits of my college biology text book today…

…[Campbell’s fourth edition BIOLOGY – same as my AP Biology text] after spending some time with a new find, Tan Lin, feeling very jumpy, from one half of the brain to another...Oddly enough, it wasn't the poetry that had me on the right side...the Campbell's text moved me into that mode of thinking much more than Lin's fragmented, binary code-like poetic configurations which directed me to the left. < ! --more on Lin later -->

Campbell:: Mating behavior relates directly to an animal's fitness


Most animals probably do not have any conscious sense of reproduction as an important function in their lives, nor do they have the kind of continuous attraction to members of the opposite sex found in most humans. Often there is a strong tendency for an animal to view any organism of the same species as a threatening competitor to be driven off...In many animals, potential partners must go through a complex courtship interaction, unique to the species, before mating. This complex behavior often consists of a series of fixed action patterns, each triggered by some action of the other partner and initiating, in turn, the other partner's next required behavior.

SIDEBAR>**In linguistics, that last part would be considered establishing (and reestablishing) footing in a frame of interaction.

I was thinking of this basic sense that everyone we meet that is NOT us, we consider a threat. There are some great pictures of a cheetah "marking" his territory by spraying a tree trunk, a non-verbal, non-visual warning sign whose design is to lay claim to a area in the environment, a node in the network. I've been intrigued by the non-visual for a long while now:

  1. as a vehicle for artistic expression;
  2. since I have been feeling a deconstruction overload [!]
during the last two semesters, one that prevented me from taking Ron Scollon's Public Discourse course this semester.

Ever since structuralism/post-structuralism and semiology's crowning-as-king there has been this huge academic concentration on the visual --- hence, the creation of Visual Culture or Visual Studies programs -- not just at the MA, but also the PhD level. [i confess that i too have considered a PhD in such a place, mostly because i don't know where else i would fit -- but that's for another time/blogpost]. And, of course, don't forget the tried-and-true field legitimation standard, "The ____ READER" (insert field-hopeful in the blank; The Visual Culture Reader, and of course, the official professorial hand-holder, Teaching Visual Culture, note: reruns of Friends and Buffy the Vampire Slayer sold separately). This emphasis gives a literal "blind eye" to the other senses that inform our relations with and interactions in the world (which to me is discriminating to those without the privledge of sight, and to those that navigate the world through synesthesia -- I only wish I stayed with a career in Biology in order to study this fascinating field of perception). Funny how none of the texts dealing with semiology (that I've encountered) admit these challenges to their theories exist --- if they were to at least admit them, they might claim "majority rules" and continue on with the emphasis on the visual. To me, this is just another form of hegemony, perhaps one of the worst kind since it is structurally bound to the theory itself; it is part of the [A]adenine, [T]thymine, [C]cytosine, and [G]guanine of the theoretical code of semiotics.

---Tomorrow I will get back to my original thought with the Courtship paragraph...

who doesn't love a good one-liner?

where is the depth of reading an image, looking for its complexities? has it been used up/energy drained by the flashes before the eye: on sides of buses, bus stops, bus seat signs, bus route slogans in metro stops, etc. etc. etc.?

have our legs become equipped to trace the assumed route through the gallery/museum space with a speed parallel to the stair climber we climb, the treadmill that runs us? "stationary" bike seems an oxymoron; moving without movement, labor with no production.

is the speed of our bodies and the speed of our minds as we encounter artworks giving us a sales pitch experience of the work before us? can our minds handle bends in the road, twists in the construction of the work, or will our speed send us not around the curve of the mountain, but shoot us off of it, into another direction, further away from the source and into the distance. it is from a distance then that the fuzzy of far-away becomes reduced to a single sign value, a solitary, one-liner interpretation. a condensed marketing statement that speaks on behalf of the work, the new docent or audio tour for the experience of art.

tuned now into a bite-sized, condensed interpretation/interaction, our bodies and minds become reprogrammed, hot-wired by the artists/gallery owners that "got it" before us --- suddenly, one-liner art emerges as the triumphant hero to those missing the days of minimalism and other "high" notions of art. the one-liner program becomes a formula: true and tested in the laboratory studios of fine art programs. if you get it, you get in. formalism reigns as the king promoter of the one-liner formula, the agent and patron to the 'now' generation of "get-its," TRL-ready young artists. american artists are perfecting the form the YBAs began over a decade ago, but are reaching new anti-levels as they have removed all of the sardonic wit or cultural layerings the YBAs could not yet eradicate from their style.

our generation's greatest contribution is subtraction. we have perfected the art of subtraction without lifting a finger. that is genius. that is the genesis of the one-liner. that is what sells, baby. Pleasure!


lite humor


from the post

writing another's writing

from Barthes, A Lover's Discourse

“We are our own demons”

démons / demons

It occasionally seems to the amorous subject that he is possessed by a demon of language which impels him to injure himself and to expel himself—according to Goethe’s expression—from the paradise which at other moments the amorous relation constitutes him.

1. A specific force impels my language toward the harm I may do to myself: the motor system of my discourse is the wheel out of gear: language snowballs, without any tactical thought of reality. I seek to harm myself, I expel myself from my paradise, busily provoking within myself the images (of jealousy, abandonment, humiliation) which can injure me; and I keep the wound open, I feed it with other images, until another wound appears and produces a diversion.

Shall I always be writing within the framework of quoted passages? Briefly inserting myself, filling the spaces, only to retreat again into the silence of insecurity, immaturity, an unsteady hand trying out its fingers for the first time. When do I grow legs with toes to accompany the arms and hands that began their spread long ago, when the first marks I made carved poetry into the tree?

The consideration of running as an anti-capitalist escape...

...is a position I have taken for a while. Recently I came across a book entitled, BODY FASCISM: Salvation in the Technology of Physical Fitness. Like finding extra cash in a long ago worn jacket, I happily discovered it in a used book store. I've only gotten through the first few pages or so, but Brian Pronger makes a case for the industry that I believe will parallel some of my own thinking. I was so excited to find a book on the subject because for years I have been thinking about this subject, and have been developing some sculptures/performance pieces that deal with the subject. One quick quote:

The destructive way that modern technological and patriarchal, white, Euro-American culture has dealt with the environment, under the guise of providing what is ‘best’ for ‘man,’ is, I suggest, also at work in the modern technological approach to the body; the techno-culture of physical fitness is a powerful manifestation of that approach. Indeed, perhaps if we can become more sensitive to the aggressive ways in which modernity deals with our own bodies, we may become more deeply aware of our aggression against the environment that surrounds us and the ecosphere that is essential to our life.

I plan on developing these ideas for a future writing piece...more later...


Running. Speed. Ecstacy.

Speed is the form of ecstasy the technical revolution has bestowed on man. As opposed to a motorcyclist, the runner is always present in his body, forever required to think about his blisters, his exhaustion; when he runs he feels his weight, his age, more conscious than ever of himself and of his time of life. This all changes when man delegates the faculty of speed to a machine: from then on, his own body is outside the process, and he gives over to a speed that is noncorporeal, nonmaterial, pure speed, speed itself, ecstasy speed. A curious alliance: the cold impersonality of technology with all the flames of ecstasy.Milan Kundera, Slowness

Running is not a part of the political economy, or the revolution of technology. I was admonished by my professor and classmates in a class last summer after making this statement. Yes, most wear (somewhat) expensive sneakers, special clothing, etc. to participate in the sport (granted, they are adornments that over time have been technologically refined; see nike), but truly those aspects of consumption are not necessary to receive what is given back from the activity. Running only requires movement, a slight change in pace from the everyday. It can be done anywhere, at anytime. I've run up and down hotel floors, across hills on the coast of Britian, in subway stations, along train tracks, and even on the top of a wall separating a canal from a roadway. In only one of those environments was I "properly" attired for the activity. The return-on-investment from this body movement is less tied to any perceived cultural "status" benefits than my classmates and professor claimed [slimmer body=increased attractiveness per Western cultural desires=improved cultural capital, leading to improved financial capital]. Though a seemingly decent, fiercely Marxist position on the benefits of the activity of running, I maintain that these factors are not the driving force getting people off the couch and out the door. True, the desire to possess a body desired through aesthetic improvement with exercise may be the initial motivator of some. However, over time I have known these people to begin listening to the Other effects, as their muscle fibers take over the brain and lead the body at a fast pace for less tangibly visible benefits.

The act of running does not produce a product; its labor is unproductive. Yes, some may run races and win cash prizes, but those elites are not a majority enough to empower an entirely Marxist theory of running. The masses that pound pavement, dirt, sand, and water, achieve distinction that is inward-focused; the competition is the self today versus the self yesterday. The desire to improve is not necessarily for progress (in a capitalist sense), but merely the body is reconfigured as a space through which to act out self-discipline directed for the pleasure of the self, a container to allow contests of emotions and thoughts room to battle without social consequence.


fits and starts

motivation isn't always the problem >> often it's a matter of remaining dedicated to the form of expression initiated. how can patience be retained if the pace is increasingly difficult to fathom? i get caught up, swept up by the colors, images, faces, words, that brush against the side of my cheeks, arms, legs, touching the hairs lightly, briefly. i worry that i cannot keep up, and if i pause for just a moment, i will miss something. biggest fear = missing out: on opportunity, on information. perhaps in this time the greatest handicap is to be missing information; without culturally valued data, how can you form a voice that will be recognized, let alone heard and deemed worthwhile? paralysis.

pa-ral-y-sis n
  1. loss of voluntary movement as a result of damage to nerve or muscle function
  2. failure to take action or make progress


A brief introduction to a decision I have to make...

I have been asked to be the Project Manager (i.e. web developer, writer, researcher, designer, etc.) for a gnovis multimedia article. The project is poorly named the "Interdisciplinary Toolbox" -- what could that possibly mean? Having a toolbox of my own I think of it as something that would cull together a manual-like list of approaches, techniques, objects, theories, etc. of how one would go about examinining this "Interdisciplinary" *thing* (for lack of a better word). To me, it sounds like they are really seeking a showcase, rather than an intellectual examination and critique of the notion of interdisciplinarity as it relates to academia and accepted forms of intellectual products (which is what I would like to do with this).

Read the following and tell me if that is the purpose:

This multimedia project will explore imaginative expressions of interdisciplinary scholarship that focus on the socio-cultural, technological, economic and political aspects of communication. The basis for this project will be creative works for any CCT class. Works can be by both current CCT students or alumni. Additionally, the project should seek to broaden the scope and audience of the piece by seeking out like-minded projects that have emerged from other graduate programs. The format for this project will be left to the discretion of the project manager/content designer(s), but like its subject matter, should be innovative and dynamic in its presentation.

My problem with this description are the assumptions involved in the use of certain terms and phrases left undefined (in bold). Very clearly this is a project that is designed for and by the CCT program; since gnovis is directly tied to and funded by my graduate program, Communication, Culture and Technology, the motivations for this project are obviously tied to the program's concerns of attracting new applicants, foundation grants, and generally improving the esteem of the program both within the university and the "field" itself (I will refrain from going into the notion of "field" here and now --- later, much later). Given the inherent link to the CCT Program with this project, I am suspicious of the potential sources of the kind of output that is desired for the "toolbox." There are NO classes offered by CCT that inspire creativity. Okay, fine. Two exceptions -- "Digital Art I & II" exist, although the consensus is that the professors of the courses have yet to achieve the finesse to negotiate the inherently constrained structure of software (Adobe Photoshop, primarily) with expressive, creative freedom. Having lived on both sides of the tracks - software and art - I know this is difficult to achieve. However, I continue to blame the fact that the CCT Program does NOT communicate with the Fine Art Program (the homebase of the digital art professors), which hinders the development of quality cross/interdisciplinary conversation. Just because a course is cross-listed does not mean that interdisciplinary work will be achieved during the semester.

---More on this later...perhaps...


Now that the introduction is out of the way...

My purpose with this blog is to add some discipline to the disorder that can often exist in the thoughts of a graduate student. I've deliberately chosen to take one class this semester so that I can do a lot of independent reading and writing. I've come to realize in the last semester at Georgetown that if I am going to use this time productively, I need order and discipline. Friends would say that is just because I am a Virgo (Virgo/Leo cusp, thank you very much) -- maybe, but I rather think it is the lasting effect of the kind of institutional discipline Foucault wrote about the school. In some ways I accept that I am a subject; CONTRAST is required --- we cannot fully comprehend or appreciate the good without the bad, or the shades between a gray scale without white and black as the bookends.

There are no rules with this site. It is a way to CONTAIN in order to flourish. If I am to write a thesis in this coming year, I need to realign my body to digest and produce. They don't really help you with that in Thesis Colloquium (which I am happy to say I have not registered for this term).

If there are no rules to this site, isn't that a Rule of its own? Okay, yes, the double-bind effect is at work here. Generally, I need a space to constrain my thoughts in order to produce. That is the only rule. Structure to unleash.

First topic of order...

I have a habit of collecting -- not shoes, jewelry, CDs, DVDs, clothes, etc. as might be expected (expected by who?) -- but a habit of collecting books and other misc. articles with words I mean to read, but don't always finish.

This penchant for collecting other people's writing is something I have been throwing about in my mind for a while now. There is a passage from Milan Kundera's Laughable Loves that beautifully articulates such a condition (one that applies to many other areas of life and occupies much of my writing/art/thoughts). It is, to me, a symptom of many today, a diatribe on the effect and translation of consumption practices to personality traits:

"Don Juan. He, after all, was a conqueror. Rather in capital letters. A Great Conqueror. But I ask you, how can you be a conqueror in a domain where no one refuses you, where everything is possible and everything is permitted? Don Juan's era has come to an end. Today, Don Juan's descendant no longer conquers, but only collects. The figure of the Great Collector has taken the place of the Great Conqueror...Don Juan bore on his shoulders a dramatic burden about which the Great Collector doesn't even have a suspicion, because in his world every burden has lost its weight. Boulders have become feathers. In the Conqueror's world, a single glance was as important as ten years of the most ardent love-making in the Collector's realm...Don Juan was a master, while the Collector is a slave."

Slave to writing/reading/writing again to read more...I must retire now. I'm tired of this.

W E L C O M E ::to the words::

WELCOME is the text, painted red, Old English font,


Consider this a platform, a metaphor, for this Body of Work, the blog site. Colonizing web space with words that shoot as bullets into the darkness -- some may strike something tangible, others will disappear before their trajectory is discovered. A silent map emerges.