nettimes_wurstapparat on Mon, 6 Mar 2000 20:15:00 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> NOTHING WORSE to digest [bernhard, giordano, newmedia x2]

"<<bernhard>>" <>
          Re: <nettime> Re: NOTHING WORSE

Domiziana Giordano <>
          On the sound of silence
          Re: <nettime> Re: Zizek & symbolic order
          Re: <nettime> Re: NOTHING WORSE

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Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2000 08:24:18 +0000
From: "<<bernhard>>" <>
Organization: <<ALL.QUIET>>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Re: NOTHING WORSE

oh. sorry. I totally forgot to put a banner up on the page: "We refuse any
responsibility for damages to your body and mind as well as to your hard &
software, including disfunctional keyboards through any sort of body
secretions". You may call it elitism but if you can't get your PC to run a java
script, you have to stay out of the all.quiet digital wonderland. You better go
down the pub. It's a social place and the closer you get towards 11pm you can
study basic human behavior there.

cheers, b.

> Buy a laptop and take your website to the pub with you, just get rid of that
> multi-coloured fade or you'll be cleaning puke out of the keyboard.

 Bernhard Loibner

 "Komponieren ist ein Synonym für komputieren."
 Villem Flusser

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Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 11:16:15 +0100
From: Domiziana Giordano <>
Subject: On the sound of silence

Bernard wrote:
>we're so used to live in a world characterized by such high levels of noise,
>we're totally wasted if we experience silence (in acoustic but also a
>communicative sense). We feel cut off, ignored, disconnected, unwanted. I am a
>composer and musician, silence is a very important item in my work, I love the
>contrast between the most extreme form of audible noise, white noise, and
>silence. It is virtually the same, a window into some other form of thinking.
>Of course it can be scary but it can be beautiful as well.

The word "silence" has the destiny to be associated unpleasantly to emotional
States like void, fear, boredom, death, you name it.... Silence is
perceived like
a menace. Silence is the "non-existance"or the "non-presence".
In the contrary silence is the primary sound. Is the perfect one: then we have
the notes. Plural. The sound seems to be only one. Singular.
It's definitive, but not deadly. The sound exist only if the sounds exist,
and I don't go on because the issue is too vast and, besides, doesn't need
any further explanation.
A hint: Mondrian. To mention a painter whose works is deeply connected to
There is something that can be noticed only having the painting in front of
the nose:
those lines, black lines, suddenly stops. The're covered by white colour.
Still you can see underneath the trace of the black lines drawn before.
What is that, if not "silence"?

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Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 10:57:17 EST
Subject: Re: <nettime> Re: Zizek & symbolic order


Thank you very much.  I just discovered that there is a "Lacanian" bookstore 
just one block away from me on 20th Street (it's the "front" for the "Other 
Press" and the "Apres-Coup collective") so I'll see what they have 
specifically on the various forms of the "others."  (Imagine my surprise to 
find out that none other than John Perry Barlow had participated in one of 
the larger of this "collective's" symposia -- back in 1996 -- right about the 
time that he was making an appearance in Budapest.  Small damned world, ain't 

As you've described it, Lacon/Zizek's "symbolic other" sounds like none other 
than participation in "media" itself, with language as the "UR-medium" -- 
particularly as it is formalized in the alphabet.  This medium, in turn, is 
"responsible" (to conflate some McLuhan with some Julian Jaynes) for the 
mentality which we refer to as "consciousness" which carries imbedded within 
it GOD and the ever-present "gnostic" dualisms and so on and so on . . .

So, in terms of our discussion about the increasing loss of the capacity to 
ACT, the tendency to SELL-OUT your "soul" to regain some "power" by adopting 
a personal "ideology" and the overall rise of "Men Without Art,"  the latest 
and most virulent form of the "symbolic other" -- the "electric media 
environment" -- might be reasonable correlate and a helpful way of 
re-locating Lacanian jargon (and his abstraction) into terms which resonate 
with our daily perceptions.

One wonders if Zizek has read McLuhan (or Wyndham Lewis)?

If "entering into the symbolic other" is simply the learned mentality of 
human "consciousness" -- which is certainly not the only possible human 
mentality and, given its close association with the alphabet and with written 
history, is only about 3000 years old (arising in that inflection which 
Jaspers called the "Axial Age"), then what other mentalities are possible?  
Or, desirable?

And, if language (particularly written and alphabetic language) is the medium 
of the "symbolic order" (and, thus, of "consciousness") then what might be 
the mediums which are associated with other mentalities?  Can these media be 
designed?  Do infants have to "participate" in them for the "effects" to be 
reflected in different mentalities?  Or, could non-infants also be "effected"?

Lastly, what role might "Understanding Media" have to do with understanding 
the "symbolic order", "consciousness" and the potential for other human 
mentalities along with their assorted "causes" and effects"?

One wonders,

Mark Stahlman

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Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 11:45:42 EST
Subject: Re: <nettime> Re: NOTHING WORSE


Funny that you bring up Chomsky in this "NOTHING WORSE" context.

Do you know why there even is a "Chomsky" in the first place?  Why is this 
particular man so well known and thus in a position to be so revered?

This fellow was catapulted into the fame (and the all-so-important 
say-what-you-want MIT tenure) which permits him the relative luxury of 
impressing his personal "ideology" on the world precisely because he held out 
the palpable opportunity for "controlling human communications."  All of it.

Yup, Chomsky (or at least his "sponsors") is (are) one of the original "MIND 
CONTROLLERS."  Yikes! <g>

He offered the CIA (a reasonable substitute name for the folks who paid for 
ALL of the work on linquistics and other "programming" techniques . . . 
including such sundries as LSD and "graphical user interfaces" during the 
formative 1950's) a *very* juicy and tantalizing potential -- an ultimate 
"grammar," which was, it was hoped, "hardwired" into us all.


Now, as you recall, "grammar" is simply another word for "magic" (as is the 
word "glamour") and, thus, the Medieval handbooks for "magic" are still 
referred to a "grimoires."  (OED: a magician's manual for invoking demons, 
etc.)  Say the "magic" word.  Open sesame!  Abracadabra!!


(Reminding us that the "ideologues" and the "occultists" are really the same 
"Faustian" bargaineers -- just wearing their hats backward.)

If (which fortunately for us all, since Chomsky himself admits that he was 
100% wrong) you could actually find a "deep grammar" in human-beings, then it 
would only be a matter of engineering to discover how to "program" us all.  
Find the C++++++ . . . of the human mind, write the code, down-load it and 
presto . . . CONTROL.

Or, as Marvin Minsky (who is currently working on "programming" emotions and 
who is still at MIT's Media Lab -- supported entirely by large grants from 
"communications" companies) put it at that momentous 1955 MIT conference when 
Chomsky's "deep grammar" thesis first burst onto an excited world-stage, 
"Perhaps all human problems are just engineering problems.  With the right 
engineering tools, we could potentially erase all these problems."

Nice guy.  Warm and concerned fellow.  Only wants to end human suffering.

Hmmm . . . will the ironies never cease?


Mark Stahlman

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