5cense quotidian-A

QUARTERFLASH: |ˈkwôrtər ˌˈfla sh|: 1. (defunct, c. 1980s) one-hit wonder rock-band from Portland, OR (formerly known as Seafood Mama) 2. (Brit. slang c. 1815-1850) "Quarter flash and three-parts foolish": a fool with a smattering of worldly knowledge. 3. Quarterly accumulation of 5¢ daily flashes [Q1 2011].


Mar 2011

¢ «Climate change to blame for language impoverishment»: in the latest pre-eminent snowclone development, evidently «eskimos» are down to only 3 words for snow. the italian equivalent would be «there are X words for pasta» [i defer to Katie Parla for the answer [or maybe it was Eleonora]—suffice to say it's like asking how many words there are for word—pasta is merely the paste that binds it all together].

¢ «My method consists in allowing the mind to play freely for a very brief period, until a couple or so of ideas have passed through it, and then, while the traces or echoes of those ideas are still lingering in the brain, to turn the attention upon them with a sudden and complete awakening; to arrest, to scrutinise them, and to record their exact appearance. [...] The general impression they have left upon me is like that which many of us have experienced when the basement of our house happens to be under thorough sanitary repairs, and we realise for the first time the complex system of drains and gas and water pipes, flues, bell-wires, and so forth, upon which our comfort depends, but which are usually hidden out of sight, and with whose existence, so long as they acted well, we had never troubled ourselves.»—Francis Galton [prolific polymath cousin of Charles Darwin, explorer & scientist extraordinaire, deviser of the first weather map, the first fingerprint classification system, the first to characterize synesthesia, inventor of the dog whistle, creator of the statistical concepts of correlation, regression & standard deviation, perhaps a racist for his pioneering work in eugenics (a term he coined, as well as the phrase "nature vs. nurture") & founder of the fields of psychometrics, historiometry & differential psychology, amongst other things]. Dalton also said: «Men who leave their mark on the world are very often those who, being gifted and full of nervous power, are at the same time haunted and driven by a dominant idea, and are therefore within a measurable distance of insanity

¢ my better half is off to St. Petersburg but i couldn't navigate the bureaucracy of a Russian visa in time so i'm holding down the chalet ark listening to Javanese court Gamelan & Ramones.

¢ «The Jefferson Bible was made by Thomas Jefferson himself between 1819 and 1820. He cut out Biblical passages which were important to him, and glued them, scrapbook style, into folios of blank paper. Verses were arranged chronologically and in columns in four translations. Next to the English language verses are columns of the same verses in French, Greek and Latin. Jefferson wrote notes in the margins in iron gall ink. The book is made from twelve different types of paper, six different printing inks, and at least three different home-mixed iron gall ink recipes. His bookbinder, Frederick Mayo, bound the 43 folio pages in a red morocco leather binding

¢ [4 vs. 3] VS. [11 vs. 8] = 26 ÷ 4 = 6.5 avg. seed = unlikeliest Final 4 ever.

¢ ho bloggato su Red Fox Press prima quando ho comprato alcuni dei loro libri a Londra, ora ho un altro nuovo bello libretto da questo editore irlandese, «Correspondences» da Anna Boschi. ecco la copertina e tre pagine [Clicca per dettaglo]:

anna boschi

¢ ok, ammetto che ho barato. ho letto alcune cose in inglese, come SCRIPTjr.nl 2.1, ma non conta perché parla di cose che non sono testi leggibili—scrittura «asemica» e lingue inventate, come quella di Luigi Serafini, Timothy C. Ely e Michael Jacobson. questo da una caratteristica con Mauro Césari: «... believes that the radioactive qualities and graven undulations of fragmented language can potentially liberate semantic text -- what he refers to as "los cuerpos" or "bodies"; presumably what others might call "graphemes" or, collectively, "morphemes" -- from localized, prescriptive, and even autocratically enforced meaning: "Interesado en las radiaciones de lenguaje, emisiones y modulaciones de una escritura física atomizada. Materia radiante que ocupa los cuerpos, los marca, los raya. No creo que el término "asémico" tenga una especial connotación o preponderancia por sobre otras etiquetas de visibilización de un flujo de escritura que las desborda a todas, "a perpetual wave of arrival," una prehistoria giratoria en la escritura, un "signo viejo y nuevo" al decir de la fundacional revista Argentina XUL. Considero la escritura como registro de las potencias de los cuerpos, genitoras de posibles contra los modos seriados de producción de subjetividad que se inscriben sobre ellos y los despotizan." Reminiscent of the way Satu Kaikkonen describes her work in SCRIPTjr.nl 1.1, Césari clearly considers his texts Babel-like triumphs over both benign (subjective-personal) and malignant (prescribed-institutional) forms of localized meaning. But because of Césari's psychological interests, one can't help but wonder if SPAMTEXT achieves this via a kind of Rorschach abstraction and "reverse subjectivity."»

¢ «Solo e pensoso i più deserti campi / vo mesurando a passi tardi e lenti, / e gli occhi porto per fuggire intenti / ove vestigio uman l'arena stampi. / Altro schermo non trovo che mi scampi / dal manifesto accorger de le genti, / perché ne gliatti d'alegrezza spenti / di fuor si legge com'io dentro avampi: / sì ch'io mi credo omai che monti e piagge / e fiumi e selve sappian di che tempre / sia la mia vita, ch'è celata altrui.»—Francesco Petrarca [ma qualcuno ha bisogno di modificare la sua pagina wiki italiana... quando hanno riesumato il suo teschio e scoperto che non era sua, questo è stato fatto con analisi di DNA mitocondriale (mtDNA) [come questo rapporto dimostra] NON con il metodo del radiocarbonio in Tucson, Arizona [forse sono confuso il cranio di Petrarca con la Sindone di Torino!].

¢ e che ha bisogno di March Madness e Dick Vitale quando hai basket come questo. è quasi la stessa in spagnolo o italiano: «dicame che non sto sognando! dicame che non sto sognando!»

¢ sto facendo una dichiarazione che questa settimana non parlerò nemmeno sola parola in inglese. mi limiterò a leggere le notizie e libri solo in italiano, e mi limiterò a guardare film e tv solo in italiano (a meno che non riesco a trovare March Madness in italiano). non voglio nemmeno mi concedo il lusso di pensare in inglese—tutti in italiani! più che solo per imparare l'italiano, non voglio fare affidamento su inglese. la tua lingua madre è una droga che si è dipendenti da. cosa accadrà per i tuoi pensieri se lo fai senza, tacchino freddo? e non posso scrivere in inglese, anche. che non è per dire che non posso fare arte con le parole inglesi, facendo finta di non posso capire, che sembra essere quello che faccio in ogni caso in questi giorni.

¢ Rome marathon this morning. instead i ran 10k+ in the hills of Pamphilj on a toe looking like this. it's only an excuse if you're looking for one. got down just in time to see [& smell] the elite Africans blaze by on the other side of the river. maybe next year— though the biggest hurdle in running a marathon in Italy is the note you need from your doctor & i don't believe in them.

¢ flooding prompting posting of (5+1) more images from Ark Codex 0:2:

¢ Tiber is fluddy again—not quite to levels of late 2010 but close. no running along the banks for a spell. «banks» by the way is «rive» in Italian—it seems the english river came from the container & not what flows in it.

¢ «By some estimates, English speakers produce one unique metaphor for every 25 words that they utter. Metaphor is clearly not just an ornamental flourish, but a fundamental part of the language system. [...] We find that metaphors can have a powerful influence over how people attempt to solve complex problems and how they gather more information to make “well-informed” decisions. Our findings shed further light on the mechanisms through which metaphors exert their influence, by instantiating frame-consistent knowledge structures, and inviting structurally-consistent inferences. Interestingly, the influence of the metaphorical framing is covert: people do not recognize metaphors as an influential aspect in their decisions.»—Metaphors We Think With: The Role of Metaphor in Reasoning

¢ we all come from white noise. some say our DNA is ~98% similar to apes. some say ~98% of our DNA is junk. some say ~98% of language is junk [see also «Hints of a language in junk DNA» by F. Flam in Science 25 November 1994: 1320]. some say our DNA & language both express patterns of so-called 1/f or pink noise. some say the only way to create pink noise is by filtering white noise. or if you're Hsia Yü you'd write a transparent book in hot pink ink & seep it in an aquarium & then in the rain for days...

pink noise

¢ started reading the collection Under The LightSam Michel by Sam Michel & almost threw in the towel 1/3-way thru [maybe if i'd read it back in '91 i might feel different, but we've seen way too much post-Carver men-without-shirts drinking-in-bars stories since] but then i got to "Reno, Reno, Reno, Reno" & the hook was sunk. now we're into new territory.

¢ after 32 years, the NY Times On Language column is coming to a sad end. this from the final post: «Google has also proved the value of “the more language data, the better” by building a monumental collection of texts, known as a corpus, from the 18 million books it has scanned and digitized from major research libraries. In December, Google released a public tool called the Ngram Viewer, [search words mine] which allows anyone to plumb the history of language patterns in the corpus, and Harvard researchers working with Google have dubbed their new field of data-heavy analysis “culturomics” (taking the “-omics” from “genomics” and applying it to the study of language and culture

¢ from the finale of The Tartar Steppe: «Not men like himself and like him tortured by desires and sufferings, with flesh that one could wound, with faces one could look into, but a being at once malignant and omnipotent; there would be no no fighting on the ramparts among the noise of the explosions and huzzas with a blue spring sky overhead, no friends at his side so that, seeing them, his heart would be cheered, no bitter reek of powder and gunshot, no promises of glory. It will happen in a room in an unknown inn, by the light of a candle, in the bleakest solitude. This is not a fight from which one returns one sunny morning, crowned with flowers amid smiling girls. There is no one to watch, no one to say: Well done.» now, i need to read it properly in Italian.

¢ my annual Calamari [financial] state of the union address wherein i rant about eBooks, Facebook, distribution & this virtual existence.

¢ 5 lines of Rongorongo rubbing [Santiago staff from Easter Island [an interpretation of which can be found here: «In fact, X1YZ epitomises the rhetorical structure of most ancient Polynesian procreation chants and genealogies. That is, someone or something copulates with someone or something and the result of the copulation is the offspring, which can be a child, plant, fish, bird, or even the sun.»]:

Rongorongo rubbing

¢ review of Ann Blair's 'Too Much to Know,' the evolution of reference & information management: «Just how to present information for easy use was a constant vexation. In late antiquity, one might simply find a list of authorities cited. Gradually, though, compilers began to employ categorical headings or to arrange entries alphabetically or according to elaborate branching diagrams of knowledge. "One historian has counted nineteen different systematic orders present in early modern encyclopedic works, including the order of creation, of the Decalogue, of the biblical narrative," and various "chronological and geographical orders," as well as others that follow "the chain of being." While people during the Middle Ages and later drew much of their learning from dictionaries and digests, the more ambitious also took extensive notes from whatever classics came their way. By the Renaissance one could even purchase the equivalent of "Reading for Dummies": Francesco Sacchini's 1614 "De ratione libros cum profectu legendi libellus," i.e.,"A Little Book on How to Read With Profit." Soon the use of individual paper slips, supported by cutting and pasting, allowed one to take notes from multiple sources and then easily reorder them for one's own purposes. In the 17th century, Thomas Harrison invented a "note closet" - essentially a wall of hooks, with 3,000 headings, upon which one could arrange individual slips bearing on every aspect of learning and knowledge. The philosopher Leibniz apparently owned one of these note closets.»

¢ another passage from The Tartar Steppe: «The wind causing the great jet to quiver, the mysterious play of the echoes, the varying sounds of the struck rocks made of it a human voice which spoke and spoke—spoke of our life in words which one was within a hair's breadth of understanding but never did. So it was not the soldier who was singing under his breath, not a man sensitive to cold, to punishments and to love, but the hostile mountain. What a terrible mistake, thought Drogo, perhaps everything is like that—we think there are beings like ourselves around us and instead there is nothing but ice and stones speaking a strange language; we are on the point of greeting a friend but our arm falls inert, the smile dies away because we see that we are completely alone

¢ this is a metaphor for something:

ed ruscha parking lot

¢ ½-way thrU The Tartar Steppetartar steppe by Dino Buzzati... so far nothing has happened, which is what makes it so compelling: «... he had within him dull sluggishness born of habit, military vanity, love for the accustomed walls which were his home. Four months passing with the monotonous rhythm of routine duties had been enough to entrammel him.» even before it happens, one can sense in this banal resignation, this abiding, that waiting for something to happen can only serve to cause this something to happen.

¢ «In the she-wolf accounts, the tongue binds the maternal to the filial body; also, most shockingly perhaps, the tongue binds the body of the animal nurse to the human bodies that rely on it—bodies that depend on the beast's full udders and, just as shockingly, on the beast's vigorous tongue. This binding activity of the tongue and of language was especially fascinating to those Roman poets who were the near-contemporaries of some of the historians discussed herein: The she-wolf's animal tongue shapes and, in shaping, learns and tells. These ancient poets dwell, therefore, on the meaning of the she-wolf's tongue for both Rome and their own linguistic craft. By dwelling on the she-wolf's act of licking, these poets privilege a primitive bodily function—a function associated with femininity rather than masculinity—as the vehicle of poetic and historical truth.»—Cristina Mazzoni [She-Wolf: The Story of a Roman Iconshe-wolf]

¢ Aase Berg on the evolution [& subsequent symbiotic dumbification] of language [as translated by Johannes Göransson on Montevidayo]: «... language came before humans, not the other way around. The cells of language hovered above earth looking for a host body. it tried to take over dinosaurs and fishes, but that didn’t work, they were stupid or the muscles in their speech organs were not developed enough. Then came humans... »

¢ James Gleick (probably most famous for his book on Chaoschaos) has a new book: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Floodthe information. this review in NYRB has me itching to read: «The central dogma says, “Meaning is irrelevant.” Information is independent of the meaning that it expresses, and of the language used to express it. Information is an abstract concept, which can be embodied equally well in human speech or in writing or in drumbeats. All that is needed to transfer information from one language to another is a coding system. A coding system may be simple or complicated. If the code is simple, as it is for the drum language with its two tones, a given amount of information requires a longer message. If the code is complicated, as it is for spoken language, the same amount of information can be conveyed in a shorter message

¢ finally finished The Ancestor's TaleBeaver which i've been savoring off & on for about 2 years now. that brings me up to date with most everything Richard Dawksins has written up to The God Delusion, which i doubt i'll read, not just because he's preaching to the choir with me, but it seems a degenerate waste of time arguing the point with anyone that does believe in such nonsense. as he says at the end of Ancestor's Tale: «Pilgrimage implies piety and reverence. I have not had occasion here to mention my impatience with traditional piety, and my disdain for reverence where the object is anything supernatural. But I make no secret of them [...] My objection to supernatural beliefs is precisely that they miserably fail to do justice to the sublime grandeur of the real world. They represent a narrowing down from reality, an impoverishment of what the real world has to offer.» what more do you need to say? [then again i used to use the same argument with drug-using friends or family & it typically backfired leading them to take drugs (or believe in god) all the more, as this is what motivates them in the first place: denial of real truths... still, what's the point of drilling it home in an entire book?] all you can do is turn people on to the wonder & magic of real life.

¢ Wellcome image awards 2011: [+ also from Wellcome images: this book allegedly made from human skin]

wellcome images

¢ ho firmato per un altro giro con l'Istituto Dante Alighieri. non sono abbastanza disciplinato per conto mio.

¢ continent is a promising new online journal focusing on language & philosopy & their intersect/dissection of the world. this from a Nico Jenkins essay on Heidegger: «what I have done is removed the name, removed the word (the bridge, according to Heidegger) and in this (again, if this is even possible) there is something vertiginously liberating, not only for me (and my way of thinking) but also for the brick itself. Like the poet who calls the thing forward, by refusing to name, by avoiding any thing that demands me to name it, I release the thing into the fourfold. I am no longer challenging the thing to be there for me; I do not enframe it through language.»

¢ Marchel Duchamp on distancing himself [which he doesn't believe in] with irony & sarcasm [my translation via GAMM]: «Even the word "think" for me is absurd. As is the word "opinion". These words are scary [...] I don't believe in the word "to be". The concept of "being" is a human invention.» if you believe this does it make it doubly absurd or do two contradictory absurdities negate themselves to truth?

¢ Richard Dawkins on embryonic development: «Textbooks of biology are wrong when they describe DNA as a blueprint. Embryos do nothing remotely like following a blueprint. DNA is not a description, in any language, of what the finished body should look like. Maybe on some other planet living things develop by blueprint embryology, but I find it hard to imagine how it would work. It would have to be a very different kind of life. On this planet, embryos follow recipes. Or, to change to another equally un-blueprint-like analogy, which is in some ways more apt than the recipe: embryos construct themselves by following a sequence of origami folding instructions.»

¢ Apolocapyse Now! barcode [wherein every image from the film is compressed into one]:

Apocalypse Now! barcode

Feb 2011

¢ clip from ARK CODEX 0:3:32:

ark codex fish

¢ need to brush up on my French so i can decipher Ward Ier-IIe siècleWard Ier-IIe siècle by Frédéric Werst, written in Wardwesân, a language that Werst spent a couple of decades inventing to write the book. from a review in LeMonde: «Ward Ier-IIe siècle est une fiction des origines. Chassés de leur terre, les Wards traversent un bras de mer pour s'installer sur des terres inhabitées et fertiles où ils s'organisent en société sous l'impulsion de leur premier souverain : Zaragabal. Ce faisant, ils fixent la grammaire et l'usage d'une langue, le "wardwesân", dont Frédéric Werst livre un lexique et un précis de grammaire. Le wardwesân est le personnage principal de ce livre. Comme le rappelle l'auteur, une langue disparaît tous les quinze jours et "ce seul fait justifierait que la littérature prenne la peine de penser, sinon de compenser, une telle déperdition". [...] Il "pense" la langue, ou plutôt il donne le wardwesân à penser. En effet, loin d'être une "simple technologie vouée à la communication", "une simple vision du monde", le wardwesân est au sens le plus strict une "production de monde". Il ne suffisait pas d'imaginer les Wards pour que leur monde existe. Il leur fallait une langue. La démonstration est exemplaire. Car sans sa composition bilingue, Ward Ier-IIe siècle prenait le risque de la parodie, celle d'un volume scientifique parmi d'autres consacré à une civilisation disparue. Ici, l'insistance permanente du commentaire qui précise les évolutions de la langue, les règles métriques ou le style, force le regard du lecteur à quitter la traduction pour l'original. Le plaisir du jeu est autant celui de la fiction, que d'une réalité - inventée ou pas, on s'en moque, finalement. Mais "roman", Ward Ier-IIe l'est également. Car la fiction des origines est celle d'une langue que sa croissance naturelle conduit à produire des récits romanesques

¢ «Thus, I now invite you, dear listeners, to consider the heterodoxical ramifications of a rhizomatic conference-style paper hell-bent on tackling these and other paradoxes while loudly dismantling the normative approach to this genre by proliferating a similar multiplicity of theoretical concepts in an attempt not only to model loosely on the primary text at hand, Marvin K. Mooney’s The Complete Works of Marvin K. MooneyMarvin K Mooney, but also to be true to the polymorphous nature of postmodern literature, and maybe most importantly to expose a particularly abysmal failure of—and inherent fallacy in—constructing lame-ass myopic argumentation with the reductive intention to conclude, summarize, or totalize, especially when dealing with postmodern texts like The Complete Works of Marvin K. MooneyMarvin K Mooney , which in many ways grapple with the very idea of totality. [...] This text, for example, would scarcely benefit by discussion aimed at proving it is about something because more importantly it is something—to borrow Beckett's suggestion that Joyce's "writing is not about something; it is that something itself." What that something is, and how it functions, is exactly two of the things I am striving here to articulate. Therefore, to proceed authentically while giving respect to the philosophical discourse of postmodernism, as well as the particular underpinnings and flows of Mooney’s novel, we might first approach it by suspending our heart’s burning desire to “make sense,” and instead remember Linda Hutcheon’s salient comment that, “[P]ostmodernism remains fundamentally contradictory, offering only questions, never final answers.”»—The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney

Marvin K. Mooney¢ dispatch from Agra.

¢ why is everyone afraid to call King of Limbs what it is: boring. at least we know they're human.

¢ 3 riddles from the Codex Cumanicus:
     —Aq küymengin avuzı yoq. Ol yumurtqa = «The white kibitka has no mouth (opening). That is the egg.»
     —Kökčä ulaχïm kögende semirir. Ol huvun. = «My bluish kid at the tethering rope grows fat. The melon.»
     —Oturğanım oba yer basqanım baqır canaq. Ol zengi. = «Where I sit is a hilly place. Where I tread is a copper bowl. The stirrup.»

¢ Turkey trip tomorrow cancelled on account of j's lingering Delhi belly. off to see un gastroenterologo.

¢ dispatch from Delhi.

¢ was in India during the Grammy's, here's what i missed—Serene Branson's highlights recap: «Well, a very, very heavy, uh, heavy burtation tonight. We had a very dare/darison, by, lets go head tarif tazing those for the bit who tad the pet.» all i needed to know.

¢ «The mind is not conscious; it is only an instrument of consciousness.»—The Upanishadsupanishads

¢ 7 [coll-frot]-imAGES from [DU|LI]MBO series & an interview w/Sean Kilpatrick & cover image even gracing BathHouse vol 8.1.

bathhouse stripper

¢ (H, R)ome.

¢ headed due E [सुदूर पूर्व, भारत, दिल्ली सटीक होना करने के लिए] for a spell. nothing to see here in the time being, आगे चलना. se sei a Roma ho alcune opere [9 frottage/collage] @ Atelier gallery a Monti [via Panisperna 236].

¢ Richard Dawkins on Ernst Mayr [& the fallacy in thinking of species as discrete]: «Ernst Mayr, distinguished elder statesman of twentieth-century evolution, has blamed the delusion of discontinuity—under it's philosophical name of Essentialism—as the main reason why evolutionary understanding came so late in human history. Plato, whose philosophy can be seen as the inspiration for Essentialism, believed that actual things are imperfect versions of an ideal archetype of their kind. Hanging somewhere in ideal space is an essential perfect rabbit, which bears the same relation to a real rabbit as a mathematician's perfect circle bears to a circle drawn in the dust. To this day many people are are deeply imbued with the idea that sheep are sheep and goats are goats, and no species can ever give rise to another because to do so they'd give have to change their 'essence'. There is no such thing as essence.» & Ernst Mayr on Richard Dawkins [& the fallacy of thinking of genes as the discrete units of natural selection] «The idea that a few people have about the gene being the target of selection is completely impractical; a gene is never visible to natural selection, and in the genotype, it is always in the context with other genes, and the interaction with those other genes make a particular gene either more favorable or less favorable. In fact, Dobzhanksy, for instance, worked quite a bit on so-called lethal chromosomes which are highly successful in one combination, and lethal in another. Therefore people like Dawkins in England who still think the gene is the target of selection are evidently wrong. In the 30's and 40's, it was widely accepted that genes were the target of selection, because that was the only way they could be made accessible to mathematics, but now we know that it is really the whole genotype of the individual, not the gene. Except for that slight revision, the basic Darwinian theory hasn't changed in the last 50 years.».

¢ 3rd dispatch from Stephen Pax Leonard who is living for a year amongst the Inughuit in northern Greenland to try to preserve their language: «I have been using this dark period to work intensively with the elders, documenting what I can of the local language and culture. One elderly informant told me on our first meeting and in a matter-of-fact manner: "In the old days, there was not much need for language." They lived in an experiential world where language was used to communicate basic facts and intentions, but she insists that nothing was ever discussed and that abstraction was alien. Whispering implausible palindromes over black coffee in my hut, she tells me that her strongest recollection of her childhood is the silence.».

¢ review of Sleepingfish 8 on Newpages.

¢ clip [skewed 23° W] from ARK CODEX 0:3:27:

ark codex

¢ is it just me or is the idea of scientists tagging animals to observe their behavior inherently flawed/fucked? when viewed through a Copenhagen Interpretation macroscope all they can say they are observing with certainty is the animals reaction to the tagging—to think they are studying animals in their natural state is naive & it's beyond just flawed observational science—during the process of tagging for observation they (naturally) maim or kill the nature they seek to observe. is it any surprise that the: «banding of free-ranging king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) impairs both survival and reproduction, ultimately affecting population growth rate»? even a study on the adverse affects of tagging seems absurd & pointless.

¢ 8 covers [of 160] from Kyokutei Bakin's epic serialized novel Hakkenden on BibliOdyssey.

Hakkenden by Kyokutei Bakin

¢ «All speech considered in its functional form is based on a relatively limited set of mechanisms—whose structure essentially remains the same from text to text, from language to language, from historical period to historical period—a set that reduces every referential choice to a formal choice. [...] In all forms of behavior that involve human language [...] the problem is never—at least, never primarily and directly—that it references the "real" world, to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, the beautiful from the ugly, and so on. The choice is simply: what mechanisms to use. These mechanisms condition all speech because they constitute simplified representations of reality, inevitably and inherently bent in a partisan direction. These mechanisms may appear to be epistemological (especially with more sophisticated and well organized speech), but in reality they are eristic: that is, they impart a positive or negative connotation to the image of the entity being described in the very moment they begin to describe it.»—Paolo Valesio, excerpt [via GAMM] from Ascoltare il silenzio [my translation].


¢ «Time out of mind, it has been by way of the "final cause," by the teleological concept of "end," of "purpose," or of "design," in one or another of its many forms (for its moods are many), that men have been chiefly wont to explain the phenomena of the living world; and it will be so while men have eyes to see and ears to hear withal. With Galen, as with Aristotle, it was the physician's way; with John Ray, as with Aristotle, it was the naturalist's way; with Kant as with Aristotle, it was the philosopher's way. It was the old Hebrew way, and has its splendid setting in the story that God made "every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew." It is a common way, and a great way; for it brings with it a glimpse of a great vision, and lies deep as the love of nature in the hearts of men.»—D'Arcy Thompson, On Growth and FormD'arcy Thompson.

¢ «Carlo (that's me) doesn't know how to read. He reads a great many books. When he reads these books, Carlo doesn't remember a single word. All Carlo remembers from the books he reads is what he sees. When Carlo reads, he often shuts his eyes. Sometimes he falls asleep. When he sleeps, he sees things. When he wakes up, he goes back to reading. He doesn't always start reading from he same place, because he doesn't always remember the exact place he left off at when he fell asleep.»—Giulio Mozzi [from the beginning of «Carlo Doesn't Know How to Read» in Best European Fiction 2010].

¢ word du jour: entelechy [ɛnˈtɛlɪkɪ] n pl -chies 1. In the philosophy of Aristotle, the condition of a thing whose essence is fully realized; actuality. 2. In some philosophical systems, a vital force that directs an organism toward self-fulfillment. 3. (Philosophy) (in the system of Leibnitz) the soul or principle of perfection of an object or person; a monad or basic constituent 4. (Biology) Vitalism. a vital agent or force directing growth and life. Cf. teleology. — entelechial, adj. [ORIGIN late Middle English : via late Latin from Greek entelekheia (used by Aristotle), from en- ‘within’ + telos ‘end, perfection’ + ekhein ‘be in a certain state'.]

Jan 2011

¢ se sei a Roma ho alcune opere [9 frottage/collage] @ Atelier gallery a Monti [via Panisperna 236].

¢ «Reproducing implies the permanence of a fixed point of view that is external to what is reproduced: watching the flow from the bank. But following is something different from the ideal of reproduction. Not better, just different. One is obliged to follow when one is in the search for "singularities" of a matter, or rather of a material, and not out to discover form; when one escapes the force of gravity to enter a field of celerity; when one ceases to contemplate the course of laminar flow in a determinate direction, to be carried away by a vortical flow; when one engages in the continuous variation of variables, instead of extracting constants from them, etc. And the meaning of Earth completely changes; with the legal model, one is constantly reterritorializing around a point of view, on a domain, according to a set of constant relations; but with the ambulant model, the process of reterritorialization constitutes and extends the territory itself. "Go first to your old plant and watch carefully the watercourse made by the rain. By now the rain must have carried the seeds far away. Watch the crevices made by the runoff, and from them determine the direction of the flow..." These are itinerant, ambulant sciences that consist in following a flow in a vector field across  which singularities are scattered like so many "accidents".»—Deleuze & Guattari (1000 Plateaus)1000 plateus.

¢ clip from ARK CODEX 0:1:19:ARK CODEX

¢ «As the dervishes desired, I have set down first the voice of one and, then, the voice of the others. In this book, I have not set down my own point of view because I am a man and a man does not know everything. In any case, it is not fitting for him to say everything he knows nor to write everything he says. Of a hundred-thousand men, there may be one who knows and, of a hundred thousand things he knows, there may be one he should utter. Of the hundred thousand things he utters there may be one he should write.»—"The Unveiling of Realities" Kashf Ul-Haga'iq, Persia, 13th century.

¢ Calamari Press will be publishing the next Gary Lutz collection, Divorcer, late 2011/early 2012.

¢ «In 1959, Gysin wrote: ”Writing is 50 years behind painting.” He attributed this time lag to the fact that the painter can touch and handle his medium, whereas the writer cannot. The writer does not yet know what words are. He deals with abstractions from the source point of words. Few writers are even trying to establish tactile communication with words. Words are secret untouchable objects, is it not? Superstitious awe of one’s medium is crippling, and cripples fall behind. This cultivated distance from the medium also places writing behind film and TV, regardless of content. Unless writing can bring to the page the immediate impact of film, it may well cease to exist as a separate genre. We are no longer living in the 19th century. The omniscient author who can move into the past, the future and the minds of his characters is an outworn device.»—Burroughs review of Gysin's The Process

¢ «"Black Man," preaches Francis-X. Fard, "must sweep away forever that white man's fable of Genesis and all the curt, brutish history of the last six millennia. All that rubbish may, indeed, be the history of a sub-race of white freaks first produced by genetic mutation about six thousand years ago but that is of no concern to us. In the Beginning was the Word? Right! Word came, therefore, before Light. Ergo: the Word was Black!"» [...] «...the World is contained in that Word. If you have understood, there is no other mystery. The Way Out is to permutate the zikr: "Rub out the Word..."» [...] «It was a simple matter, then, to record the zikr on a loop of spliced tape; playing endlessly over and over, again and again and again. I press the old button to give it a whirl; double speed and, then, double that: "Rub out the word . . . Out-word rub Thee . . . The Rub-out word . . . Word out-rub Thee . . . Word rub Thee out . . . Out the Rub-word . . . Rub out the Word . . ." Such is the process.»—Brion Gysin: The ProcessThe Process

¢ «GYPA has two codominant allelic forms, which determine the M or N antigens at the N-terminus of GPA (1SSTTG5 for M and 1LSTTE5 for N). GPB is identical to GPAN for the first 26 amino acids and, thus, also encodes the N antigen at the N-terminus. GYPB also has two codominant alleles: GYPB*S and GYPB*s corresponding to S and s antigens, respectively, on the RBC surface. The Ss antigens are defined by an amino acid change at position 29 [Met(S)/Thr(s)] of GPB and are displayed as the S+s−; S−s+ or S+s+ phenotypes.»—Population Genetics of GYPB and Association Study between GYPB*S/s Polymorphism and Susceptibility to P. falciparum Infection in the Brazilian Amazon.

¢ «The only way you can hurt the body is not use it.»—Jack LaLanne.

¢ «[Berlusconi] is, in a certain sense, a prisoner of this world that he created [...] Italy is a survival culture, steeped in that most time-honored survival mechanism: fatalistic resignation. [...]  It is not always easy to translate between Italian and American sensibilities. There is no good English word for “veline,” the scantily clad Vanna White-like showgirls who smile and prance on television, doing dance numbers even in the middle of talk shows. And there is no word in Italian for accountability. The closest is “responsibilità”—responsibility—which lacks the concept that actions can carry consequences. here is, however, an English word for Mr. Berlusconi’s television shows, and it is campy. The late-night program where Ms. Mahroug appeared, “Kalispera,” tapped into deep currents in Italian society—family, food, motherhood, nostalgia; randy old goats and leggy young blondes—and distorted them into a grotesque tableau. [...] If the classic definition of irony is a fundamental tension between what something is supposed to mean and what it actually means, between who is in on the joke and who is not, it is difficult to know if such a display is deeply ironic—or so far beyond irony as to be unironic. Whatever it is, it is very Italian.»—Surreal: A Soap Opera Starring Berlusconi.

¢ ...N thru fresh snowy hills of Umbria & Tuscany in a Fiat 500 to Sienna to the "wine road" thru Chianti region & lunch in some small village who knows where on to Carpi to hang with our Spazio Meme friends & saw this guy Karel Zeddandoddo then late night pizza followed by early morning dancing then left back thru more insane snow [road via Abetone] with ski resorts even [never would've thunk Italy could be so snowy south of the Alps] which took over half the day so only time for a quick giro of Lucca & a climb of some pine-topped tower then auto-straded home [saw the leaning tower at 150 km/hr] just as rental place was closing followed by cheap Chinese food in Largo Argentina.

Umbria in snow  Carpi & show of Ncoló  Francesca pointing  near abetone  Lucca 

¢ on a bearing due N.

¢ for ye who think the platypus is a primitive & laughable freak of nature: «Platypuses have almost 40,000 electrical sensors distributed in longitudinal stripes over both surfaces of the bill. As the platypunculus shows, a large portion of the brain is given over to processing the data from these 40,000 sensors. In addition to the 40,000 electrical sensors, there are about 60,000 mechanical sensors called push rods, scattered over the surface of the bill. [ ...] Both kinds of [corresponding brain] cell occupy their correct position on the spatial map of the bill, and they are layered in a way that is reminiscent of the human visual brain, where layering assists binocular vision.»—Richard Dawkins (from rendezvous #15 with the monotremes in The Ancestor's TaleBeaver). Stick that crack pipe in your bill & smoke it.

¢ «In the end I want to write things that I don’t know how to write, because this seems to command the most energy and desire and attention from me. It makes me sort of sick with anxiety. When I’m uncomfortable and confused and curious I tend to try much harder to figure things out.»—Ben Marcus in an interview with Colin Winnette.

¢ a tree in the world of Egon Schiele:

Egon Schiele Tree

¢ you know you're a veritable casalingOist when the butcher tells you: «altre donne mettere la testa nel brodo». to which i reply: «solo i piedi» & neglect to mention that i don't want the chicken feet for the broth but to make art.

¢ «The essential thing is the disjunction noticeable between the code and the territory. The territory arises in a free margin of the code, one that is not indeterminate but rather is determined differently. Each milieu has its own code, and there is perpetual transcoding between milieus; the territory, on the other hand, seems to form at the level of a certain decoding. Biologists have stressed the importance of these determined margins, which are not to be confused with mutations, in other words, changes internal to the code: here, it is a question of duplicated genes or extra chromosomes that are not inside the genetic code, are free of function, and offer a free matter for variation. But it is very unlikely that this kind of matter could create new species independently of mutations, unless it were accompanied by events of another order capable of multiplying the interactions of the organism with its milieus. Territorialization is precisely such a factor that lodges on the margins of the code of a single species and gives the separate representatives of that species the possibility of differentiating. It is because there is a disjunction between the territory and the code that the territory can indirectly induce new species.»—Deleuze & Guattari (1000 Plateaus)1000 plateus.

¢ my ritualistic Sunday morning city run (while Rome is still sleeping) now finishes with 5 iterations up the steps of Capitoline hill (the steps pictured in this bridal photo). might not look like much but they put Rocky's infamous steps up to the Philadelphia Art Museum to shame (and the view that you can stop to appreciate only after the 5th time) is unbeatable.

¢ long before Twitter there was Paul Klee's Twittering Machine (1922). MOMA's description of it could just as easily apply to Twitter Inc.: «Upon closer inspection, however, an uneasy sensation of looming menace begins to manifest itself. Composed of a wiry, nervous line, these creatures bear a resemblance to birds only in their beaks and feathered silhouettes; they appear closer to deformations of nature. The hand crank conjures up the idea that this "machine" is a music box, where the birds function as bait to lure victims to the pit over which the machine hovers. We can imagine the fiendish cacophony made by the shrieking birds, their legs drawn thin and taut as they strain against the machine to which they are fused.».

¢ the Coen bros on AdaPting True Grit by "aping" the Bible-speak of the day: «... most of the language, most of the dialogue is taken from the book [by Charles PortisTrue Grit], uh, direct from the book, and uh, in places where it wasn't, where we were kind of, where we were aping the language of the book because the scenes didn't derive from the original book, it wasn't a question of learning to write—i, you know, it wasn't a foreign language. It is a strikingly different use of the English language, but it was more a question of kind of, uh, aping the tone as opposed to anything more of an exercise than that. [...] the actors actually welcomed that. They wanted to—part of what's interesting about the parts is the language, and they also wanted to be faithful to that. [...] We didn’t go back to the Bible, although clearly in the book, the character is steeped in the Bible. Actually, all the characters, you kind of assume that part of their speech derives from, oh, either having learned to read from the Bible or, in that probably a lot of them are illiterate, just having heard a lot of scripture. Um, but no, we didn't go back to the Bible, we were kind of—unlike the main character, we're familiar with it from Hebrew school.» Also some interesting remarks on the use of equine actors: «Horses will often hit their marks in ways you sometimes wish the actors were capable of doing. But we were doing a lot of very complicated things with the horses, and there are restrictions on what you can do with animals—and horses in particular—which are there for very good reasons. For instance, if you wanted a horse to fall down 20 years ago, you could have simply tripped the horse. You're not allowed to do that now, with good reason. But it makes it very difficult. The horses have to be trained, and they have to want to fall down

¢ passage from Ark Codex 0:3:22 [& posted a few more samples here]:

Ark Codex 0:3:22

¢ in re-reading Whitman (in Italian) i forget how tyrannically religious he was: «I say that the real and permanent grandeur of these States must be their religion, Otherwise there is no real and permanent grandeur; (nor character nor life worthy the name without religion, Nor land nor man or woman without religion.)» if he's America's poet, it's no wonder so many Americans are pathologically stupid & unable to account for their actions. i'll take Darwin or Nietzsche any day. Whitman does spit out the occasional tidbit in all the homautocraterotic fluff though, that sounds even cooler in Italian: «I caratteri disposti dal tipografo non rendono I'impressione, il signicato, la relazione principale, Più di quanto la sostanza e la vita d'un uomo o d'una donna siano resi nell'anima e nel corpo, Indifferentemente, prima o dopo la morte.»

¢ after 7 months of drinking from our Birletti i feel like i've put in my time. forgive me fellow Italians, i'm switching back to a French press. i like sipping my coffee not shooting it.


¢ «Twenty-five centuries of philosophy have not succeeded in what Darwin once aptly termed the assault on the citadel. Indeed, much of the history of philosophy up to present day has consisted of failed models of the brain.»—Edward Wilson (Foreword from the Scientific Side, in The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrativeevolution literary).

¢ «The twofold idea "series-structure" crosses a scientific threshold at a certain moment; but it did not start there and it does not stay there, or else crosses over into other sciences, animating, for example, the human sciences, serving in the study of dreams, myths, and organizations. The history of ideas should never be continuous; it should be wary of resemblances, but also of descents or filiations; it should be content to mark the thresholds through which an idea passes, the journeys it takes that change its nature or object. Yet the objective relationships between animals  have been applied to certain subjective relations between man and animal, from the standpoint of a collective imagination or a faculty of social understanding.»—Deleuze & Guattari (1000 Plateaus)1000 plateus.

¢ posted the rest of my photos (of Amalfi) & my thoughts on actually reading On the Origin of Species.

¢ some photos from the show at Spazio Meme that i think i forgot to mention.

¢ «The state of ruin is essentially a temporary situation that happens at some point, the volatile result of change of era and the fall of empires. This fragility, the time elapsed but even so running fast, lead us to watch them one very last time : being dismayed, or admire, making us wondering about the permanence of things.»—Yves Marchand & Romain Mefre's take on Detroit:

detroit ruins

¢ «It is the same story as for all Darwinian adaptations. But which is the phenotype? At which link in the chain of casual links shall we say the genetic difference exerts its effect? The answer, to repeat it, is all links were a difference is seen. In the wiring diagram of the brain? Yes, almost certainly. In the cellular chemistry that, in embryonic development, leads to that wiring? Of course. But also behaviour—the symphony of muscular contractions that is behaviour—that too is a perfectly respectable phenotype. Differences in building behaviour are without doubt manifestations of differences in genes. And, by the same token, the consequences of that behaviour are also entirely allowable as phenotypes of genes. What consequences? Dams, of course. And lakes, for these are consequences of dams. Differences between lakes are influenced by differences between dams, just as differences between dams are in influenced by differences between behaviour patterns, which in turn are consequences of differences between genes. We may say that the characteristics of a dam, or of a lake, are true phenotypic effects of genes, using exactly the logic we use to say that the characteristics of a tail are phenotypic effects of genes.»—Richard Dawkins (from the beaver chapter of The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of EvolutionBeaver).

¢ posted first half of photos from Puglia & Calabria (via Basilicata).

¢ going through photos from our jaunt south but in the meantime here's how we rang in the new year's [on a farm in Calabria with "straight" men line-dancing to Latin [as in Puerto Rican] music & imploding fireworks.

¢ updated «Read on Location» [in which i cross-reference memorable books read with geographical coordinates in which i read them] with books read in 2010 [& the decade].


¢ Home in Rome.

2010: Q4 | Q3 | Q2 | Q1 | daily ARKhives

2009 daily ARKhives

2008 daily ARKhives

2007 daily ARKhives

2006 daily ARKhives

2005 daily ARKhives


©om.Posted 2011 Derek White / Sleepingfish / Calamari Press