From Nancy’s Listening

December 20, 2007 at 12:08 | Posted in communicative media, Musings, On Sound, sonic, the body, Things related to critical theory, Things related to John Cage | Leave a comment

I’m Listening to Panda Bear’s album Person Pitch while I’m writing this. Attempting to qualify and quantify existential phenomena has not been very hip in my head lately. Until recently most of my ‘philosophical inquiry’ has revolved around trying to understand the world–not necessarily to rationalize, but just to find some way to be able to be ok with the seeming madness and “harmony of overwhelming and collective murder,” that proliferates infinitely (the quote is Herzog, from The Burden of Dreams).

In the past year my preoccupation with the unsolvable, and merely acquaintable, existential phenomena of life has shifted into a preoccupation with the sonic, and the act of listening. So far, this is what I’ve gleened/come up with:
I use the word sonic to refer to the empirical and objective–that which is without the attention of cognition. There are sonic events, which become sounds after they are perceived. And, there are sonic environments in which we move, live, and perform. Hearing is the cognitive performance through which we add significance–in a strictly cultural, that is inter- or intra-personal manner–to sonic events, thus transforming them into sound. Hearing is always a reduction, so that sound in consciousness is sensually inferior to the sonic event int he sonic environment. I’ve coem this conclusion in ;arge part through the influence of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, particularly a passage in which he says something to the effect of “The creation of an object in consciousness is always at the cost of the destruction of that object.” I like his view on phenomenology, particularly the idea that we–we being humans–exist as a fold between cognition and the empirical; the world is an “infinite horizon of sensation” (also MMP’s language) and when we interface with that horizon we assemble our rendition of the world, and become agents within it.
I’ve strayed formt he point a bit, but the point was never articulated, or priveleged, so I’ve arrived perfectly. So, here I arrive at the event that the title premised, and here that event will crystalize until some server space somewhere crashes. From Jean Luc-Nancy’s Listening translated by Charlotte Mandell:

“Music is the art of hope for resonance: a sense that does not make sense except because of its resounding in itself.”


What the difference was…

December 28, 2006 at 06:14 | Posted in communicative media, Documentation of things, Musings | 4 Comments

Hi. I saw the Good Shepherd the day before yesterday. To me it was a good movie.

I went shopping the day after Christmas and it wasn’t bad.

I’m working on all kinds of stuff right now, but it seems that sound is central to all of it.

I’m 25, and I’m confused. I feel more confused as a 25 year old human than I did as a 23 year old human. I suppose that these things happen.

I’m so much more connected with a new cell phone, ah ha, I remembered what I wanted to write about.

So, I recently bought a smartphone–on of the phones that lets you check email and connect to the internet. At a party while I was patently unengaged I began fussing with my phone, which led me to think about an anecdote that Chris had relayed recently. This is me relaying the statement: “I met a friend at a bar, and two of her frineds came to meet us there. when they showed up they were on their crackberries sending messages back and forth, and they did it the whole time. They were totally detached from the human social environment.” I’ve paraphrased here (para- is a great prefix). So being in the midst of such social detachment I began thinking about the statement, and necessarily deconstructing the performances that add up to such a disengaged posture. Keep in mind here that I’ve been dealing with the idea of human agency as particularly impotent when viewed at a global scale. Also, I’m reading technology as a determinate influence of social construction, much like weather, vis-a-vis Manuel DeLanda in War in the Age of Intelligent Machines. So, what’s to say that people using their cellular devices in a seemingly dtached manner is not the residue of a new materiality of the social? That is, we’re not dealing with people that are detcahed from one another, just socializing differently; we continue to perform social incroporation, but it doesn’t seem like it. It seems like the current materiality of cell phones is more inevitable than undesirable. I would wager that within the next five years more people will have smartphones than regular cell phones.

Chris, I’m not trying to diss; I just used your comment as a departure for my pointology. I’m sure you know that, and I’m sure that this will generate some kind of conversation some time soon.

I’ve been listening to Mount Eerie’s No Flahslights on super repeat. Thanks Travis.

Brief excerpt from the midst of a paper:

December 16, 2006 at 15:40 | Posted in communicative media, Documentation of things, Grad school update, new york, Process oriented explanations, the body, Things related to critical theory, Things related to John Cage | Leave a comment

Our conception of the sonic is a phenomenological feedback event, while our perception, as an event, is equally a perception of our own materiality and the materiality of the sonic. The conception of the auditized sonic always leads to its interface with usefulness, while the perception of the sonic always leads to either quantification or qualification. Perception is cartography of the self (both collective and singular, physical and metaphysical), and the space around the self. Perception is not a document of what exists; it is an event. Perception is the construction of what exists in terms of potentialities of usefulness; the perceived is of usefulness, and the unperceived is not. It could be said that perception leads to conception, but such a statement would not be true, only mythic.

A Melange of sorts:

September 2, 2006 at 01:13 | Posted in Beer, communicative media, Documentation of things, Grad school update, new york, Performances/Exhibitions, Things related to John Cage | 2 Comments

Next week I will be participating in a reading of John Cage’s works at St. Mark’s Church (10th and 2nd Ave.) that commemorates his birthday. It starts at 7:30.

I was thinking about our binary notions of structure yesterday, and came to a realization regarding the notion of deconstruction. I feel that deconstruction is often viewed as an alternative to the reification of structure, however this needn’t be the case; we are better off to engage both reification and deconstruction intermittently: reification maintains structure, while deconstruction subverts structural hegemony.

I have had a lengthy email exchange with some people from the listserve over the past week, and some interesting topics have come up. Primarily we have discussed the implication of structure in the practice of phonography, but we’ve also gotten into a lot of the tangential critical theory that goes along with it. My main concern is the enunciation of a proper paradigmatic structure for the medium. What I really wanted to get at here though was a comment that was made in reghards to simulacra; someone mentioned that when we cannot garner a proper message from a simulacrum we assume that something is wrong with the medium or the person who used the medium to create the simulacrum. This seems like a vital concept when we consider the notions of reification and deconstruction within structurality, as deconstruction often fondles the methods for creating meaning through simulacra–by fondle I mean that it investigates it in such a way that it is looking to uncover the limits of its potentialities and formulate a clear assessment of current occupations through various methods of ‘appropriate’ and inappropriate engagement .

I’m still trying to sell my tabla set–to no avail.

I’m still doing a great deal of thinking about the body and its organizations.

I recently began working on a new recorded artifact that employs field recordings and a drone rendered through the Elapsed Isolationism of the Pixies song “Where is My Mind.”

I’m writing a trio right now titled Complete Aegis Trio. I am using methods of indeterminacy that are dependent on crosswalk signals on a pre-mapped path.

I got a job with a beer distributor, and I’ll be helping out pouring beer at the upcoming New York Beerfest next weekend. My job is sales rep. That’s the deal.

Apparently I’ll be making some rap music with Chris Tabron some time soon.


The sound of culture, and the cultured sound.

July 24, 2006 at 13:48 | Posted in communicative media, Documentation of things, Things related to critical theory, Things related to John Cage | Leave a comment

Cacti or Cactii? How bout neither? It’s because there is no ‘i’ before the ‘u’ in cactus. It’s cactuses–just like octopuses. I bought two cactuses at the Farmers’ market in Union Square, and I am glad to have them next to me when I sit at this oblong location of a dormitory desk that hovers somewhere between the elements of hospital and home.

I just became aware of the website Stasisfield–;: it seems like an interesting thing. While looking at the site I began thinking about what governs my engagement with works of sound. Perceptible structure certainly causes a rebuking response on my part, as I don’t like to be told what to do with music. However, there is some music that doesn’t cause me to react as such–I don’t know what qualifies this ‘acceptable’ structure.

…perhaps a brief manifesto on sound…

Let us not apotheosize John Cage’s contributions to sound as centers from which we derive our notion of music, rather let us make light of his work in lieu of his ideology, and focus on his adherence to structures beyond influence. In structures beyond influence I mean mechanisms for the organization of the parameters of sound (duration, dynamic, position) that are constructed without the possibility of attaining a posited course or outcome because they are not calculated as quantifiable or qualifiable values, rather they are given as value ranges of an inordained–by those personal quests of truth that pervade thorugh music–nature; these structures byeond influence allow for the human architect of object to be haunted by nature. But, do not take these statements as indication that structure is evil, or that it should be abandoned for total anarchy, or a nihilistic confounding of human-in-music. There is always room for those calculated structures that uphold a Truth, and–rightfully–ask us to believe that such a structure is an exercise of the inherent omnipotent value of humans making use of a medium. However, we must recognize that both of these ways of structuring sound are just that–different structures. While they overlap, they remain distinct. Those musical structures that affirm the trace of the human are measures of social cultures that happen to manifest–in this instance–through sound; the human haunts the medium. It is imperative that we recognize that such structuring in sound is socio-cultural in essence, and aural only in its particular taming. Those musical structures that exist in their attempts to evade the Truth of a social culture are exercises wherein the human attempts to become a ghost in the process of the manifesting of sound, and this vanishing act–if successful–becomes a measure of nature’s pervasiveness; nature always already haunts everything, including the human and the medium.

A year ago:

July 21, 2006 at 21:29 | Posted in communicative media, Documentation of things, Grad school update, Musings | Leave a comment

It’s an interesting thing to think about: a year ago I was…? It’s all about rhythm; the more you have the more life makes sense–as far as I’m concerned. A year ago I was working as a bag boy at whole foods in Winter Park, and I had probably just finished my thesis. I was looking forward to a date on my birthday with a lady I met at work. I was riding a bicycle often, I was playing tabla, I was living with the amazing Greg Liebowitz, I was starting to get rid of stufff because I was getting ready to move back to Zeena and Hilliard’s house. I was tidying up my physical appearance, dressing nicer, and cutting my hair–shaving more often also.

We had a discussion about the body in my Dance Studies, Moving Towards Ensemble class. I commented on the fact that our bodies exist far beyond what we recognize–it’s all McLuhan’s externalized evolution business (which was in fact the thoery of Teilhard). Someone contested that technology is not our bodies, “Where do you draw the line then, between what is and isn’t the human body,” I didn’t say it out loud, but in my opinion anything that humans have rendered is part of the human body–quite literally. All that aside, I was thinking about unborn bodies today; at what point does the fetus cease being a part of the mother’s body, and become its own body? And, even after this severance, isn’t the fetus–as it grows into an adult–still part of the mother’s body? And what about its connection to the father’s body, it is less obvious, but there in the core of every human. This requires a lot more thought than my schedule is allowing right now.

I can only think of one other person in my graduate program that could potentially listen to gangster ass rap music. It’s still fun. Grind for that degree.

Richard Schechner hates dolphins…

July 8, 2006 at 14:34 | Posted in communicative media, Documentation of things, Grad school update, Musings, new york, Things related to John Cage | Leave a comment

The title is not true, but it was a statement made in jest in the midst of a lecture, so he still actually said it.

Here is my short essay about the internet:

This essay is posted here. On the internet there is no here here.

We had a dance exercise in class yesterday, which invariably revealed the previously latent talent of many of the students. Shallow as I may be, I thought this was wonderful because prior to the exercise I couldn’t see these massive qualities.

I’d like to get out of the city and just sit somewhere.

I met with Richard Kostelanetz yesterdat which was quite fun. We talked for a bit and I helped him set up a title to be burned on a lightscribe disc. He is a jovial fellow, not like santa claus though. There are more books in his home than any professor’s office, or enthusiast’s home that I have ever seen. What’s going to happen is, I’m going to help him with the production of some kind of text-based work that will most likely employ yupo papers. Water does not defeat print always.

The wisdom of Antoin Patton: “

You might as well have fun cause your happiness is done when your goose is cooked


A barrelling Dracula’s cape…

April 25, 2006 at 03:44 | Posted in communicative media, Musings, quotables | 1 Comment

Once while driving terribly late at night, I thought that I saw a Dracula’s cape barrelling across the highway–driving terribly late does strange things to my mind.

While packing for my move I discovered a piece of paper inscribed with the following:

“the utterly precise aiming of speech allowed by the post is amazing.”

A fascinating feat indeed. In my Media theory studies I have begun to recognize, more and more, the things that go on around us in terms of their existence as possible extensions of the body and its functions.
The age, and lack of anything electronic, seems to give this medium a specific poignancy.
When we speak words are emitted into the surrounding air with little control as to where they go, being that the voice is an omnidirectional sound-producing membrane. When a letter is sent through the post words can be directed to an exact location.
There is little theory to divulge without going into an involved statement on the whole of Media. Perhaps then, it is this conceivable simplicity that sparked my amazement in the first place.

Self Made Objects…

March 25, 2006 at 22:28 | Posted in communicative media, Documentation of things | Leave a comment

I think that this is a great idea. Roger Ibars champions the notion of ‘inanimate’ objects reacting to themselves in ways that forego any kind of user use. See


Right now in space…

March 21, 2006 at 03:31 | Posted in communicative media, Documentation of things, Things related to John Cage | Leave a comment


The above link will take you to a live feed of some sounds from space. Listen for faint drones that emerge, they are in the upper frequency range, and they are of a negligible dynamic. I love this kind of stuff.

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