[-empyre-] glitch device/divide

Curt Cloninger curt at lab404.com
Tue Dec 13 03:04:12 EST 2011

Hi Eduardo,

I pretty much agree with everything you say. Indeed, it seems 
academic. I don't hold any single position on "postmodern thought," 
because there are billions of flavors of what that might be, many of 
which I agree with and/or at least find useful. Plus, I'm not the 
same person I was five years ago (or even yesterday). I simply take 
issue with the presumption that predicative/reductive language gets 
the last word on everything.

Whitehead says that most of the "knowing" we do occurs way prior to 
anything that could be called "consciousness." Some of said affective 
knowing/feeling/judging never makes its way to consciousness at all, 
much less to language. Obviously, in this conversation we are using 
(more or less) predicative/explicative/non-poetic language, and such 
language is necessarily prejudiced toward itself. But I don't need to 
traffic in language to experience art, nor does art always have to be 
reduced to the symbolic. I can affectively "remember" a work of art 
without intellectually, semiotically "reflecting" on it. Indeed, to 
quote Aurelia Harvey of e8z, "Art is for all the things words can't 

Furthermore, I believe language has an affective, embodied element. 
In other words, there is more than one way to mobilize language. I 
understand language as a force in the world, always "doing" much more 
than it is denotatively saying. This is Derrida's remix/upgrade of 
J.L. Austin -- all utterances are "performative," even "mere" 
denotative assertions. Because no assertion is ever indifferent. 
Every assertion implicitly (always already) involves trying to move 
something in the world. Even silence is performative in certain 

So the same way I don't think human bodies must necessarily be 
reduced (via cybernetic symbolism) to machines before we are able to 
think about glitching bodies, neither do I think that glitches (or 
any other art) must necessarily be reduced (via semiotic symbolism) 
to predicative language in order to experience them as affectively 
"meaningful." The fact that I happen to be using words to assert all 
this right now doesn't disqualify the force of my assertions.

I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.
I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues,
And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs...

Whitehead's god is a funky beast. It is definitely not the Christian 
God. Whitehead's god is much more bound within the immanent. And yet 
Whitehead's God is also "metaphysical," but not in any standard 
Aristotelian sense. All that to say, I think the 
immanent/transcendent divide is simply one more binary dichotomy that 
begs explosion/entanglement. Any God worth its god-dness is immanent, 
transcendent, within being, without being, pure is-ness, irreducible 
to is-ness, and all sorts of ineffable/alter-effable things besides.

Jesus just left Chicago
And he's bound for New Orleans
Working from one end to the other
And all points in between
(ZZ Top)


>In the end,
>I guess this tangent is not so off topic, given that part of the issue being
>discussed about glitch art is that glitches appear to be "designed" as part
>of a performance/object of art, etc.  What recurs in the debate so far is
>that this sort of approach places the element of error in glitch in a state
>of simulacra for some, while others argue against this.
>In this regard, the issue at hand with the symbolic is pivotal. We could
>leave behind the lingo of postmodern thought.  So, I won't make any
>references to theorists and just write a basic argument.
>Let's search for a pre-discursive element. But, what does this imply?  It
>implies that a pre-discursive element may exist outside of the symbolic.
>The symbolic in this case is the way in which we communicate and come to
>understand ourselves: language.  So, we decide to rely more on our feelings
>and sensibilities, intuition, and the slippages of meaning that take place
>when we may experience things in life that are unexplainable--beyond
>language.  The conundrum is that the contemplation of these moments of
>transcendence are remembered through the symbolic, our ability to think.
>In a way, then, we cool the unexplainable moments in order to make sense of
>them and to maybe eventually call them "transcendent" "sublime" or "beyond
>language." We come to call them as such through language itself.  We may
>reflect on the issue and begin to negotiate them as part of a paradigm that
>fits a certain criteria that we have developed in our minds to be beyond
>language, and beyond this world, which we may again experience to be more in
>touch with nature, earth, god, etc.  And at this point we are no longer
>experiencing that moment anymore, but our negotiation of that moment as part
>of our self-awareness; and, that moment, which may have been pre-discursive,
>has entered the symbolic.
>This is what happens to glitch and any other acts that may appear to escape
>reason.  Once we recognize an element with potential of slippage beyond the
>symbolic into some pre-discursive realm, we find a way to negotiate it to
>mean something to us according to some elusive definition of the
>pre-discursive that we create for ourselves.
>Now, Kurt, I am well aware of your position on postmodern thought, and
>completely understand that you disagree mainly out of principle, because of
>your belief in a higher being. This is not the first time you confront me
>with this issue.  I understand your position, and expected that you might
>respond to my post as you had in the past. This is what you did.  There is
>not much else I could add in this regard.
>But given that this discussion is bigger than the two of us, I will add
>this: the issue with art practice is that as a field of practice, ti tried
>to implement methodologies of science, yet somehow many practitioners want
>to conveniently to dismiss the responsibility that comes with the
>implementation of such methodologies.
>It is my position to argue that there are slippages of meaning in the world,
>and the constant evaluation of such moments is what makes art practice
>worthwhile.  But to claim that I will search for a pre-discursive element
>that will be beyond the field in which I function, for me, would limit my
>own art practice.  What artists actually do whenever they appropriate an
>element or develop a situation for an audience to contemplate is to point to
>the limits of the symbolic; the power of the work emerges when such tension
>does not diminish but recurs to remind people of the certain tensions that
>go unresolved.  I guess this is the only element of art that keeps artists
>interested in their practice, while also fueling the institution of art.
>For me, effective glitch art, like other art forms, is able to deliver this
>one element: the exposure of unresolved tension that is worth pursuing.
>The very best,
>On 12/9/11 3:52 PM, "Curt Cloninger" <curt at lab404.com> wrote:
>>  Hi Eduardo (Andreas, and all),
>>  The apparant paradox of "The void is all there is" merely reveals the
>>  prejudice toward "presence" which is built into predicative language
>>  systems. It doesn't really prove anything other than language is
>>  unable to access The Artist Formerly Known As The Void (which seems
>>  to be Andreas' point).
>>  Just because a concensus of post-post-structuralist people have
>>  agreed to use language to reduce the entire world to language, that
>>  doesn't mean all contemporary people have to drink that same flavor
>>  of cool aid. There are other plateaus of immanence besides language
>>  (that "exists" in "realms" other than ascii-centric listservs). Yes,
>>  a romantic quest ideed (but hopefully rigorous); within and without
>>  language.
>>  Way Off and/or On Topic,
>>  Curt
>>  At 10:11 PM -0500 12/8/11, Eduardo Navas wrote:
>>>  Dear Andreas,
>>>  I think others have moved past my comment on to more complex ground,
>>>  but I should follow up to a couple of points you make.
>>>  On discourse: the very fact that we are communicating about the
>>>  specificity of glitch as an art form is proof enough that we are
>>>  dealing within a specialized field.  This is all my statement means.
>  >>
>>>  Regarding your statement on the "pre-discursive," it is safe to say
>>>  that in our times, it is common knowledge, at least based on what is
>>>  left to us after poststructuralism, that it is impossible to
>>>  function outside the symbolic.  There is no such thing as
>>>  "pre-discursive."  A search for such an element may closely appear
>>>  to be romantic.
>>>  To this effect, your statement: "The void is *all* there *is*"
>>>  exposes that through negation existence is confirmed.
>>>  Best,
>>>  Eduardo Navas
>>>  On 12/8/11 6:19 AM, "Andreas Maria Jacobs" <ajaco at xs4all.nl> wrote:
>>>  hmm
>>>  I wonder why discourse should have relevance at all, I think what
>>>  matters is to uncover a field which is *inherently* pre-discursive
>>>  and *existent but not known* and consequently *before* any
>>>  possibility of interpretation.
>>>  Artists task is to observe - from their own subjectivities - a
>>>  *probable* - because not yet commonly perceived - future
>>>  understanding of the phenomenal appearances of perceived/sensual
>>>  *reality*
>>>  Also I do think that just that makes it possible to (re)gain
>>>  *truthful* insight in *reality*, wether technological, political,
>>>  societal or personal and where aesthetics plays no role. (i.e.
>>>  whether it is boring or not, does not matter, because that again is
>>>  discursive and supposedly based on previous knowledgeability of the
>>>  mental gestalts of being bored, surprised, touched etc etc )
>>>  The conservative - literary - *art worlds* collect, maintain and
>>>  indeed conserve quasi-religious fetishized material forms, which are
>  >> but indicators of what lies beyond them
>>>  Andreas Maria Jacobs
>>>  "The void is *all* there *is*"
>>  _______________________________________________
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>>  empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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