alan.sondheim's blog

This is just a news update of sorts; since I posted last, the rains have gotten worse, our place is leaking badly in New York, but more to the point, Wilkes-Barre/Kingston, where my father lived, is now under mandatory evacuation orders. We were going to go down this morning to deal with his effects, and for the funeral, and all this is cancelled; my brother and sister-in-law are there (in Kingston at the house) and have to leave; they're not sure where they're going to go, and are trying to save the house. So again in a sense 'reality intrudes' on various (theoretical, virtual) orders of pain, in this case primarily psychological/emotional.

Fifty-thousand people are being evacuated. The roads won't hold them.

How does this effect the residency? Not directly, but through the concept of writing through the disaster, taking off from Blanchot... More later.

Tags: project, water

My father died at 4:55 this afternoon, Sept. 6. I've been thinking - for the past several weeks - about the ontology of images and the epistemology of the imaginary in online work. The attached image is one of the results; it's my Facebook face, with a profile picture taken from War Against War, Krieg dem Kriege, by Ernst Friedrich - an anti-war book with disturbing images, including this one of a wounded soldier from WWI. I wanted people to stop at the image, withdraw / drawback, and this is in fact what happened. The image is gone now, just one of a number of my 'profile pictures,' but it was up for a while, part of simple disruptive performances based on discomfiture and dragging the 'real' across the 'virtual,' tearing at both.





for my father for al wilson for kathy acker for gerald jonesfor michael current for rose mulvale for

elegies for pipa


I've been thinking about my projects for Eyebeam during the residency period. I tend to work, not on specific objects or processes, but on fields, series or collections of images, videos, audioworks, objects, nothing with beginnings and nothing with endings. I walked around Eyebeam photographing as many spaces as I could. I haven't sounded it out yet; I'll do that at night with the vibration meter and mizmar (an Egyptian oboe). I want to work with sound in the space, reproduce spaces in Second Life, project them back. I want to record VLF radio - very low frequency from around 3 hz to 3k hz, and study the spikes produced by the magnetosphere and particle decays. I need fast software for this; Marko and Roddy and Jon Chors have been very helpful. I have to advertise for interns to help with this, if it's at all possible.


I started Eyebeam as a resident on Thursday, receiving a keycard. On Friday, I talked with Marko and found the card didn't work; I would have come in this weekend otherwise - I was hoping to work with Jackson and his cube. This afternoon I received a call from my brother who said that my father was dying, my aunt had cancer. Earlier in the week we had ceiling leaks in our place in Brooklyn, from Hurricane Irene; they were in the middle of the room and created a mess. It's been a rough week. My recent work has been concerned with the relationship of the virtual to the real - in particular the messy virtual, the way that wounding or pain or death within the virtual resonates with us. Death is inescapable, in spite of what Wired magazine says, and in dying we are for the first and last time absolutely, unutterably, alone; the journey is not a journey but a finitude we own for the split second before we descend into oblivion.

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