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Antonin Artaud (1896-1948): poet, surrealist, theatrical visionary. In an essay entitled the "The Alchemical Theater" Artaud wrote:

All true alchemists know that the alchemical symbol is a mirage as the theater is a mirage. And this perpetual allusion to the materials and the principle of the theater found in almost all alchemical books should be understood as the expression of an identity (of which alchemists are extremely aware) existing between the world in which the characters, objects, images, and in a general way all that constitutes the virtual reality of the theater develops, and the purely fictitious and illusory world in which the symbols of alchemy are evolved.

Artaud envisioned alchemically charged multimedia environments physically enveloping, spiritually transforming audiences. In theater (as actor/director/writer/producer) he never came close to fulfilling his vision. This was partly due to a lifetime of drug abuse, but mostly because he was working in theater. Artistically Artaud longed for fluidity, seamlessness, a blurring not only between different mediums but between artist and audience. Modern theater audiences were emotionally shut off from such shamanic possibilities. In the 1920s and 1930s film and radio were rigidly one-way mediums. Computers were in their most fledgling state and the Internet did not exist.

Ted Nelson wrote in "Computer Lib" (1974):

Everyone should have some brush with computer programming, just to see what it is and isn't. What it is: casting mystical spells in arcane terminology, whose exact details have exact ramifications. What it isn't: talking or typing to the computer in some way that requires intelligence by the machine. What it is: an intricate technical art. What it isn't: science.

Antonin Artaud sought the Holy Grail via alchemical theater, virtual reality. Artaud propounded magical realms transcending physicality. Computers can help us hone the physical world internally, reshape its virtual reality in cyberspace. Ted Nelson points toward interactive software synthesizing disparate media, breaking them down to their most basic form. In the case of text a single letter; with graphics and still pictures any part of an image; with audio a lone sound, solitary intonation, or note of music; with video a frame. Coded properly such software could generate a fierce hypermedia cascade reflecting the way words, images, and sounds rush through our minds. Wired globally, one might tap universal consciousness. Vaporware? For the moment, yes, but Project Xanadu is moving in the right direction with Zigzag, a program designed by Ted Nelson, being a first step. And since how future artists and information providers reap benefit from their wares must impact culturally every bit as much as style and content, Transpublishing, Ted Nelson's alternative approach to copyrighting, also brings us closer to the broader vision.

"I DON'T EVEN HAVE A MODEM"
Author William Gibson on non-functioning American democracy, the importance of giving computers to the poor, and the elitist appeal of the Internet

On November 23, 1994 William Gibson came to Stockholm, Sweden, to promote his new book "Virtual Light". I interviewed him for "Rapport", Sweden's largest TV-news program. We talked for about half an hour, but only a small percent of the interview made it to the TV audience. William Gibson deserves better than that, so I hereby realese a transcript of the entire interview on the Web. Enjoy! William Gibson

By Dan Josefsson

J: "Is there any situation when people actually enter cyberspace?"

G: "Well, you know, I think in a very real sense cyberspace is the place where a long distance telephone call takes place. Actually it's the place where any telephone call takes place and we take that very much for granted. Otherwise I would say that when people use the Internet, that's when they're most obviously navigating in cyberspace. When you use the Internet you enter a realm in which geography no longer exist."

[link]

From Marshall McLuhan's "Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man:"

A few seconds from a popular disc-jockey show were typed out as follows:

"That's Patty Baby and that's the girl with the dancing feet and that's Freddy Cannon there on the David Mickie Show in the night time ooohbah scuba-doo how are you booboo. Next we'll be Swinging on a Star and ssshhhwwoooo and sliding on a moonbeam. Waaaaaaa how about that...one of the goodest guys with you...this is lovable kissable D.M. in the p.m. at 22 minutes past nine o'clock there, aahhrightie, we're gonna have a Hitline, all you have to do is call WALnut 5-1151, WALnut 5-1151, tell them what number it is on the Hitline."

Dave Mickie alternately soars, groans, swings, sings, solos, intones, and scampers, always reacting to his own actions. He moves entirely in the spoken rather than the written area of experience. It is in this way that audience participation is created. The spoken word involves all of the senses dramatically, though highly literate people tend to speak as connectedly and casually as possible.

From "Computer Lib" (remember, this was written in 1974 - pre-Apple Computers, pre-Microsoft...indeed pre-Altair, which came out in 1975):

A new era in computers is dawning. The first, or Classic, computer era used straightforward equipment and worked on straightforward problems. The second, or Baroque, computer era used intricate equipment for hard-to-understand purposes, tied together with the greatest difficulty by computer professionals who couldn't or wouldn't explain very well what they were doing.

But a change is coming. No one company or faction is bringing it about, although some may feel it is not in their interest. I would like to call it here the DIAPHANOUS age of the computer. By "diaphanous" I refer both to the transparent, understandable character of the systems to come, and to the likelihood that computers will be showing us everything (dia- across everything, phainein- to show).

In the first place, COMPUTERS WILL DISAPPEAR CONCEPTUALLY, will become "transparent," in the sense of being parts of understandable wholes. Moreover, the "parts" of a computer system will have CLEAR CONCEPTUAL MEANING. In other words, COMPUTER SYSTEMS WILL BE UNDERSTANDABLE. Instead of things being complicated, they will become simple.

I mention "The Death of the Author," Roland Barthes' essay advocating a neo-socialist Nirvana with free flowing information and no copyright laws.

Which, by the way, because of people's natural tendency to hoard information, for either political, strategic, or other reasons, is an unfortunately impossible dream. I see copyright as the one way creative individuals can get a leg up, no matter what the techies say. There was always a hidden agenda with them. "We'll just destroy it because it is manifest destiny that it be destroyed." I too want Nirvana, although not socialist, nor neo-socialist. My aim is figuring out rational principles of availability and access that are fair to all parties and legally workable. Techies put forth that since everything can be copied, therefore, we'll just destroy copyright. Today I'm dealing with a very brilliant, very rich techie who simply says "I'll just buy a library, digitize it, and then the publishers will have to deal with me." I'm saying we have to be a little more delicate about it.

Mark Harden's Art Archive [link] has a vast array of beautiful scans. For all intents and purposes, it's a virtual storehouse of art treasures dating back to cave paintings. The site's philosophy [link] is that people should feel free to lift five or six images for non-profit purposes. Yet does not reality dictate that anyone can lift as many images as they please and put them to whatever use?

There's two realities. At the Battle of Trafalgar, or some such battle, Admiral Nelson declares, "Full speed ahead!" His assistant protests. "But what about those ships?" Nelson, holding up a telescope to his blind eye, the eye everyone knows is blind, replies, "I see no ships." Or...do what I said. When you say "reality dictates," there are a lot of realities. The word reality is usually political, meaning that what I choose to say is significant and I insist you acknowledge me. There are many aspects of reality and what is right there right now is not necessarily going to be prevailing if we can build a better system. So that is why I do not countenance most of today's so-called web standards, because they're crap. We need something much better and it is my duty to try to make a different reality which can supplant that other reality. I mean, a few hours on the web and you can have a whole lot of gifs and jpegs. Now, those things are being posted with a lot of implicit assumptions which the courts will be settling later, and whether you can repost, etcetera, is entirely uncertain. If you're pulling things out of, like, Skira Art Books, you're in deep shit. By the way, all these museums that are trying to claim copyright on 2000 year old things that they happen to own, God knows what's going to happen with that...like copyrighting the human gene.

Can one copyright a scan?

Writing

Writing, as the term is used in contemporary literary theory, is the mode of literary creation that comes of age in the wake of The End of the Book and The Death of the Author. In Of Grammatology, Derrida demonstrates that, from Plato (who, of course, prohibited poets from his ideal Republic) to Rousseau and Saussure, the western philosophical tradition has systematically excluded and suppressed the concept of writing as a free-play of signification. In our logocentric world, speech is privileged over writing for its sense of proximity to the source of utterance; when I speak, the seal between my words and the meaning I intend by them remains intact, secured by my physical presence. Writing, by contrast, seems to drive a wedge between the speaker and his or her utterance. Cut off from the consciousness which would guarantee their meaning, words begin to move, to take on unintended connotations, to be received in unexpected ways. Signifiers are no longer fixed to their signifieds, but begin to point beyond themselves to other signifiers:

The meaning of meaning [...] is infinite implication, the indefinite referral of signifier to signifier [...] its force is a certain pure and infinite equivocality which gives signified meaning no respite, no rest, but engages in its own economy so that is always signifies again and differs. (Derrida, Writing and Difference 25)

To question the bond between sound and sense is to subvert the metaphysical tradition of logocentrism at its roots. As Christopher Norris notes, writing for Derrida is "that which exceeds--and has the power to dismantle--the whole traditional edifice of Western attitudes to thought and language" (29).

In its potentially radical transformation of the literary mode, hypertext has obvious alliances with Derrida's conception of writing. Moving from node to node in an undetermined path, meaning in a hypertext accrues not in the word, but between words; a text's meaning lies less in what the author intended than in the ways it is read and, in being read, is re-written. Hypertext, in its electronic form, takes on the mutability and mobility with which Derrida characterizes writing; disseminated through phonelines and electronic bulletin boards, the electronic word has no author, has no point of origin, has no meaning except that of its transmission, of its devotion to the possibilities of dissemination itself.

Path

A path is a sequence of nodes and links taken while navigating the network. This corresponds to Vannevar Bush's [link] concept of a "trail," which he developed by analogy with the human brain.

The human mind [...] operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. ("As We May Think" 101)

In early essays, Bush saw these trails as being immutable. Later, "memex [notices] which items in a trail are seldom used and which digressions are commonplace, and automatically [adjusts] the course of trail accordingly" (Oren 320). Compare this to the fading of footprints [link] .

In a hypertext fiction, we might refer to a path as a storyline.

Footprint

A footprint is an indication of the popularity of a node. The more often a node is visited, the more visible the footprint becomes. This is most useful in multi-user [link] systems, where it contributes to a sense of community. Just as with breadcrumbs [link] , it is important that the footprint fades slowly with time. Otherwise, there is an inexorable tendency towards all nodes being marked at maximum intensity.

Note that this footprint tool differs from that discussed by Nielsen. However, he briefly mentions a "voting filter", which displays only those nodes which have been sufficiently popular with previous readers (Hypertext and Hypermedia, 141).

These are legal tricks and we'll see which ones stand up in which ways.

The End of the Book

In Of Grammatology, Jacques Derrida equates the culture of The Book [link] with logocentrism, the belief in a signifier which is both outside of structure, and hence beyond scrutiny or challenge, and at the very centre, providing it with a central point of reference that anchors meaning. God, Man, the Imagination--these are only some of the names which the west has ascribed to its need for a transcendental signified which would fix truth to some point outside of language. Logocentrism has "always assigned the origin of truth in general to the logos; history of truth, of the truth of truth, has always been [...] the debasement of writing, and its repression outside full speech" (3).

However, for Derrida, the epoch of The Book and its logocentric suppression of the free-play of signification, that is of writing itself, "seems to be approaching what is really its own exhaustion" (8):

The idea of the book, which always refers to a natural totality, is profoundly alien to the sense of writing. It is the encyclopedic protection of theology and of logocentrism against the disruption of writing, against its aphoristic energy, and [...] against difference in general. (18)

The End of the Book, like the Death of the Author [link] , is the conceptual analogue of the End of the Printed Book. These historical shifts have been concomitant with, and indeed have paved the way for, the advent of electronic hypertext. They signal not simply the demise of the bookmark industry or relief from the dangers of papercuts, but a way of thinking about the way we organize, conceive and imagine the world in which we live. To think of the world not as a Book but as a hypertext is to conceive of it as a heterogeneous, mutable, interactive and open-ended space where meaning is inscribed between signs, between nodes, and between readers, not enclosed between the limits of a front and back cover, or anchored to some conceptual spine called the author.

The Book

The west has been called "the civilization of the book" (Derrida, Of Grammatology 3); our religions, philosophies, literatures, indeed our very conception of the world itself is inextricably woven into the idea of The Book. A book is only in the first place a physical object, "a collection of sheets of paper or other substance, blank, written or printed, fastened together as to form a material whole" (OED). More abstractly, a book, with its front and back cover, its first page and last, is a model of our desire for completion, wholeness, and closure. The very physical organization of a book, with pages bound to a centre spine, invites us to proceed through a text in linear, pre-determined manner, moving first from left to right across the page, then from page to page and chapter to chapter. The Book thus upholds our mutual fascinations with etiology and teleology, with beginnings and endings.

The idea of The Book that has come down to us through the exegetical study of the Book of God, The Bible, and its corollary, The Book of Nature; both are perceived to have fixed beginnings (Creation, or The Book of Genesis) and ends (Apocalypse, or The Book of Revelation) and to unfold in time according to a divinely ordained plot. The idea of The Book is devoted to the idea of an author who, existing prior to his or her book and standing outside language, guarantees its "true" meaning. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last," announces God in Revelation 22.13. The Book thus harkens back to the time before the confounding of language at Babel (Gen. 11), to the unity of sign and referent: in it the world is still encoded, written-over by the pen of the divine Author, but meaning exists prior to and transcendent of the instabilities, the deceptions and ruses of language. Readers of The Book are thus conceived as passive receptors of the undiluted truth its author intended.

Recently, some writers haves announced The End of The Book, considering it the model of a readerly text and thus the antithesis not only of the open-endedness of hypertext, but of writing itself. Not all books are manifestations of The Book, but we should not lose sight of the fact that we continue to live in its shadow.

See also: Marshall McLuhan and The Gutenberg Galaxy [link] .



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4 comments

13 Nov 2008 @ 15:40 by vaxen : Munch on this...
The writerly text is a perpetual present, upon which no consequent language (which would inevitably make it past) can be superimposed; the writerly text is ourselves writing, before the infinite play of the world (the world as function) is traversed, intersected, stopped, plasticized by some singular system (Ideology, Genus, Criticism) which reduces the plurality of entrances, the opening of networks, the infinity of languages.

http://www.artchive.com/galleries/goya/view1.html  



13 Nov 2008 @ 19:09 by a-d : Hmmmm Monumental Task!.... hmmmmm
as monumental as asking ANY A Person to accept to change their own life, by choosing for instance a slightly simpler lifestyle, moving into sustainable from consumer, to begin with.... Organisations are all made up of individual Atoms each Human being one Atom. That is the Ancient Atomic Consciousness )mentioned in some Esoterics --and blatantly brushed under the rug by the rest of the esoteric (read Illuminati) group/s for God knows how long! ONLY each ATOM can count --and carry the right account-ABILITY OF/FOR ITS OWN ACTIONS/BEHAVIOR. People DO FEEL their PRIORITIES change from time to time, though most humans brush THAT under the rug, as being an impossibility within their realm of efforts to just survive in a world played by rules made to make Humanity fail!

Sure, the guys of the link that you gave us, are ambitious and rightfully so: the Change of Heart needs to occur FAST and VERY SOON and in MILLIONS of people.
This is where the MADNESS of our so called "leaders" comes in handy now: their madness, evil, absurdity, audasity, twistedness, cruelty, etc is now really coming into daylight and is not so obscure any longer as it used to be --for millenias! This makes it ever easier for people to start saying "NO" to these Perverts!
Once Humanity at large is willing to say "NO" to a fraudulent monetary system, then the chips will start falling into Place, so speak, very quickly.
I have stopped pretty much altogether to give any credence to Groups/ Orgs, "Races", "Religions" and What Not; indeed to ANY CLUSTERS where Individuals have been hiding ("wrapped" themselves in these clusters -as if it was candy paper: read Flags, for instance, --or Mom's Apronstrings.
The time for that s--- is over, and it is EACH Person accountable for him/her self, for his/her own likes, dislikes, actions non-actions, feeling,e motions, behaviour etc etc. NO HIDING ANY LONGER behind this & that for ANYone is accepted any longer! IF /WHEN we all stick to this principle, Things WILL change ---rapidly, me thinks.  



13 Nov 2008 @ 19:28 by a-d : More ...
"Det är icke allt sant som är Sanning likt" - Domarreglerna

"Not all that which resembles truth is true" - Swedish Code for Judges (probably composed around 1540)
_____________________

"Det dunkelt sagda är det dunkelt tänkta" - Esaias Tegner
"The obscurely spoken is the obscurely thought" Swedish poet Esaias Tegner (1782 - 1846)

_____________________

I grew up with this statement: "Det dunkelt sagda är det dunkelt tänkta" -
"The obscurely spoken is the obscurely thought"

It was drilled into us TeenAgers almost daily! I'm so glad, that I was made aware of this already in an early age!... It has helped me a lot to understand the seriousness of this "whole thing": when is a person "Clear".... when they can state their Thoughts clear, of course!...but ...it isn't self evident -until pointed out, eh? : )...

Yes... Words are symbols for CONCEPTS, manifested and un-manifested concepts...
and words can be put in a SYMBOLIC Lingo altogether (Santa Claus -Story) or definition based becoming abstract = with Inner meaning -also mentioned in old Esoterics (the denied and un-twisted E.) called Hidden (Wisdom) Knowledge. In the Santa Claus case that would be Generosity vs the Guy in Red.
Much more could be said about this control of our Minds/Souls via Lingo.... How does the Symbolic Story go about the origin of this Idea: to twist our Lingo Concepts; our very Soul= our Mind?; the Tower of Babel.... and the languages thrown out /spread out over the World from there, the Tower of Babel... something like that.  



14 Nov 2008 @ 05:58 by vaxen : Obama Fraud:
ATLAS EXCLUSIVE: FINAL REPORT ON OBAMA BIRTH CERTIFICATE FORGERY CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN

Techdude delivers a final report that exceeds my wildest expectations. It is irrefutable, empirical evidence - Obama's birth certificate is a forgery. Why? Why a COLB (certificate of live birth) forgery? That is the question.

My deepest thanks and appreciation for Techdude's unwavering commitment to the truth despite the threats and harassment, the slashed tires and the dead animal on his porch.

Insofar as "techdude's" credentials, he is an active member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, American College of Forensic Examiners, The International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners, International Information Systems Forensics Association - the list goes on. He also a board certified as a forensic computer examiner, a certificated legal investigator, and a licensed private investigator. He has been performing computer based forensic investigations since 1993 (although back then it did not even have a formal name yet) and he has performed countless investigations since then.

Here is his analysis:

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2008/07/atlas-exclusive.html  



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