Friday, November 02, 2007

Web Log-- October 25 2006

node n
1. the place on a plant stem where a leaf is attached or has been attached
2. a point where lines meet or intersect in a diagram or graph
3. either of the two points where an orbit, for example, that of a planet, crosses the ecliptic plane
4. a terminal or other point in a computer network where a message can be created, received, or repeated

Tal·mud n
the collection of ancient Jewish writings that makes up the basis of Jewish religious law, consisting of the early scriptural interpretations (Mishnah) and the later commentaries on them (Gemara)


By Mark Bloch

The Book Of Oz by David Zack. Zack was basically out of his mind. But he left a nice legend. I like the way his Correspondence Novels --these stream of consciousness tales that that were very haphazard --told a story. Kind of random, but communicative, just the same. This is how the net is, it’s very asynchronous and non-linear. In the past we’ve tended to think of things as synchronous and linear. It’s not so anymore. Not necessary anymore. So you got your network. I wanted to be included in Vittore Baroni’s Zack issue. But just like the Talmud, I can comment on the commentary, as the others have done. So that’s what I intend to do. I intend to comment on the commentary of those guys. Create an ongoing text, a living text that’s what hypertext is supposed to be and that’s what mail art was and still is. That is very much in line with the flavor of the Correspondence Novels.

Ray Johnson was the opposite of Duchamp. That was one of the things Marcel Duchamp did that was underrated. He made it possible for all his works to be collected under one roof in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Ray Johnson did the opposite. He spread his work all over the world, to make it impossible for anyone to ever be able to write fully the full biography or the full complete CV of RJ. This type of idea--of an endless, infinite information field--leads us to Robert Filliou’s idea of the Eternal Network. Now while the term Eternal Network has indeed been abused by mail artists, it is a useful concept to think about in terms of an endless information field reaching out in all directions. This is where it relates to what I was talking about. Because that was Filliou’s idea: an endless, infinite sprawling network. Filliou’s idea was that since no one could ever know everything about art, it had to be a group activity. And so who better to do this than mail artists and since we can’t define mail artists… mail artists equals everyone.

Because just like I was at the center of my own network before I was a mail artist, in exactly the same way, I’m in the center of my own network as a mail artist. We all move through life meeting other people and this is our network and we can only assimilate as much information as is in our network and is in our short term memory at any one time. As Albert Einstein said, never remember anything that is already written down so you don’t have to commit it to your short-term memory. You can write it down and you can visit it from time to time. Filliou was into the un-doable-ness of the world, the undoableness that’s perfectly OK. We need to learn to live with that. After I lost all my computer data it was painful but it brings up issues of the art of Storáge, which are basically about the uncapturability of the entire world. And it isn’t just the uncapturability but also the reticence to divulge ones own node on the network. In other words, we all have these networks and we receive things from everyone we’ve ever met at the same time. We also are transmitting to everyone and storáge has to do with the things we do; with the things we receive; and also the things we generate and don’t send. Places that do a lot of receiving and sending tend to be the more active nodes.

This is good. To be an active node is a good thing. If you are an active node it means you generate activity. You generate a lot of information for the net. The net- is there a goal of this network? I think not. I think it’s a world without a goal. It is its own reward. Its information is not the reason for the net, the info is a bi-product as info moves between the nodes. Info can move between the nodes. Or it can reside at the nodes and can even get stuck at nodes and it often does, especially in my case. But I guess the spiritual takes over when the info is moving rapidly between the nodes at such a speed that it’s indistinguishable from life-- if that makes any sense. It’s like a spiritual energy is generated by the movement of information. And the connection between people is what it is all about. It’s all about the connections between people.

There’s always gonna be a place for stuff for which we have no concept, no idea what it is; stuff that is uncategorizable but we can look at it later. I have really good stuff- tons and tons of stuff. It’s all good. Organization of info is completely arbitrary in every way. It depends on each individual person and how they want to organize the info that they send and receive. This idea, just like the concept of history, implies there is some objectivity to it but we know there is not. There is no history. There is no absolute take on anything. There’s just people trying to make individual sense of their individual node and the information that’s flowing into it and out of it.

Its amazing the shit I have been able to save and not to do anything about. I am a stockpile for irrelevant information and desire. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I am. The sad case of my particular node is… first of all let us acknowledge that it doesn’t have to stay this way, it’s going to get better. However at the moment it’s a little screwy. Part of what this is about is straightening out my little node and turning it into something wonderful again. Not that it ever was wonderful. Its always been convoluted. I’m sick of it and I don’t deserve it.

Every time I think I’ve lost something I find versions of it. This is good. Not everything but some of the stuff and this is a beautiful thing. But at least some of it exists in hard copy. I have amazing people in my life that say amazing things. As one of them said when everything got deleted, “when you write the stuff the second time don’t bother entering it all in this time.” It’s like she was reading my mind. Just enter parts that are finished. That advice unnerved me because that is not my style. It unnerved me but it was good advice.

That box in storage the other day is so unbelievable. I can’t even say it was painful because it was so far beyond pain. It’s just the irony of me never doing anything. Not even the irony but the obviousness of that fact. So I don’t do anything and I end up stuck with all this backlog of shit. So there a lot of it was, in a box. Proof of my activity in collecting it and proof of my inactivity by not acting on it.

So I have to look at it all and I have to beat myself up for never having done anything with it. It’s just so far beyond what I deserve. I really do deserve the very best. We all do. Instead I've sentenced myself to a box of uncompleted tasks which I then look back on and I wonder about and I lament over and I marvel at, but mostly I just let it sit there and I don't do anything with it. If you were to look at my life in terms of networking and network nodes my net node is a dead letter office, baby, this is not an exaggeration. This is the god’s honest truth. My net node. But on the other hand I keep finding things that are amazing. Things I thought I’d never find and quit looking for--then here they are. I gave up. Yet here they all are.

I look in the box. I say “Here’s something important. It could have changed my life.”

I guess that’s the end of this text until further notice. I should take all of the network books and texts and put it all in one big book about long distance networking art. Then send it out long distance and be done with it.

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