[iDC] Alan's questions about media theory/ies

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Sat Jul 25 06:00:53 UTC 2009

Just some general comments - First, I'm not sure what the distinction is 
between linguistic and non-linguistic. Second, related, I tend to see 
culture all the way down - i.e. one might think through cultures of 
reptiles, etc., and even further, plants like dodder or slime molds might 
also be susceptible here. By culture I'm referencing passed on learning 
that's not encoded or is only partially coded, and learning that leads to 
non-determinist responses. Third, I think that language is always already 
within and without bodies, that bodies are inscribed, and that inscription 
is basic to organism. Heinz von Foerster said roughly the same thing in 
terms of negation and Shahn Majid develops this in the sense of Venn 
diagrams that are based on inscribing boundaries between x and ~x. If one 
might look at fields and patterns, these meld within inscription. There is 
no brute knowing, there is certainly 'muscle knowledge,' but that also is 
within languaging as ball- and guitar-players know. Perhaps languaging 
stops at the bordering of pain, certainly death, but pain is inscribed as 
if within and without the body, simultaneously centered and decentered, 
and death is transparent to inscription.

One surely thinks through intelligences, knowings, fields, and it's hard 
to pin these things down. One thing comes to mind, probably as untrue as 
any of the above - that labor is externally inscribed, and play internally 
so - one might walk away from play, change the rules, delete, just as any 
superstructure's always wobbly? But labor - I mean one might not even know 
all the rules, and this ignorance is at a cost (having been let go from 
university once or twice, not to mention other jobs, I'm as sure of this 
as I am of my own neurosis which blinds me).

- Alan

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