on Returns

I'm back, baby.

  • I’m back, baby.
  • I’m sorry, sir. It’s been over two years. The best I can offer is store credit.



dissertation: finished

Ph.D.: finished

grading: finished.

writing: always already unfinished.


To return

as to the scene of a crime.

To haunt.

“To announce oneself, moreover, is that not already to be there in some way? One does not know if the expectation prepares the coming of the future-to-come or if it recalls the repetition of the same, of the same thing as ghost.” – Derrida.

To be plagued.

“… like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.” – Morpheus.

To be plagued by recurring dreams.

“I could be bounded in a nut shell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.” – Hamlet (antic mode).

To remember, or, in remembering to create, recreate, distort, disturb.

“I waken out of this forgetfulness very quickly. In great haste, I reconstitute a memory, a confusion.” – Barthes.


It’s a slow process, getting back into the habit of writing for an absent public rather than the specific critical eye of a dissertation chair. And, given the times, a difficult one. How does one begin? How can one beginning without accepting incompletion, inaccuracy, false premises, a foundation of shifting sand? And, having begun on such a precarious foundation, how does one build a career, a life of the mind, on such inconsistency?

“To fail in everything, it is true, will always remain possible. Nothing will ever give us any insurance against this risk, still less against this feeling.” – Derrida.

But rather than wallow in imposter syndrome, I return: like a criminal, like a ghost, like the past. Returning to the scene, to this scene, this scene & screen of writing. This mystic writing pad that bears the traces of old ideas, abandoned and misguided thoughts, and one-sided conversations will once again send echoes into the æther.

I aim to think of it as something of a sounding board, a test kitchen, where I work out in the open air ideas that I am putting together: book proposals, journal articles, short stories, noise works, &c. And, so much as I am able and qualified, perhaps I will endeavor to comment upon our current state of perpetual crisis.

Perhaps the abyss will answer back.





For Hire: In-House Media Theorist

It began as a somewhat offhand comment when considering my qualifications to work at a tech company but upon reflection, the idea of an in-house media theorist seems like a pretty sound idea.


Maybe it is something that already exists.


Here’s the idea: as a media theorist (cultural analyst, thoryvologist, critic, philosopher) I have studied and developed through that study an understanding of technology, of technologies role in the world and in society. While my current research/writing is more focused on ecological concerns, a thoryvological study of the iPhone or any other device, medium, software, platform, etc. would be simple to embark upon.


This would not perform standard business plan analysis (what is the product, who is the user, how can this be monetized) but would seek to instead understand other relationships and complications (how does this affect society, what needs does this create rather than fill, what are the unintended consequences, where are the environmental impacts, how can this be abused). Was the impact on spelling and grammar considered with the initial character restriction of text messaging? Was the concept of monetizing friendship considered with the launch of Facebook? What is cost/benefit analysis of metadata as a feature? What are a companies responsibilities towards ideas like Privacy and Ownership?


Only serious enquiries. Full-time, part-time, and freelance opportunities considered. Standard consulting rates apply.

borrowed words (power of the commons)

reagan's 3rd sotu

reagan's 3rd sotu2

reagan's 3rd sotu3

reagan's 3rd sotu4

reagan's 3rd sotu5

reagan's 3rd sotu6

reagan's 3rd sotu7

reagan's 3rd sotu8

reagan's 3rd sotu9

reagan's 3rd sotu10

reagan's 3rd sotu11





The source text used here is Ronald Reagan’s Third State of the Union Speech (delivered on January 25, 1984). Nothing has been added. This is not an effort to create a strawman Reagan but rather an experiment to show the creative, poetic, and theoretical potential within contextomy. Reagan was used because he remains a polarizing figure but also because State of the Union addresses are in the public domain. The power of the commons.



Post:Noise is the umbrella term (it is not exactly a genre in the way that no ()holistic non-totalizing work can ever truly be classified in a codified ‘genre’) that I use to define my sonic and video/spectacle work. It is an application of thoryvology into the arts.

Briefly, it is a category that describes work undertaken with the received methods and practices of Noise but with goals beyond those most commonly associated with Noise. It does not seek to be loudest, most abrasive, or any other appellation of furthest from the norm (cf. Attali). Noise is sufficient in that respect and the work of noise artists and noisicians continues to pursue those ends. Thoryvology, and thus post:noise, recognizes the arbitrary nature of boundaries and lines of demarcation and does not apply its lines of flight in those directions. Post:Noise does not seek the fringe but embodies it, does not seek to alienate but is alienated.

The OED (the prime record of this bastard tongue) has 22 separate definitions for ‘post.’ This post will be an effort in intentional cutup contextomy (a thoryvological research method), mining from those 22 definitions of ‘post’ and the two for ‘noise’ an approximation of the concept of post:noise (postnoise, post/noise, post-noise, &c).

Life in the physical world less its core and is relatively cool way Senses relating to sound or of the brain any of the set upright ground for various purposes occurring or existing after as a make remarks or comments Strife contention wall or other barrier cancellation of up or consume a considerable part in mood in a manner perceived of a signal interfere with or times in haste to start on out of a place to say time of the actual sucker attaches a lack of zealous support relaxed time or order to sift or a quarrel to achieve general notoriety points selectively reducing a device which influenced or informed by every cultural or renown without display or ostentation the termination pulse progress is no the brain of the brain in places along similar messages in ancient occurring following an apocalypse shaped or off course unacceptable in the time an attack resulting from inflammation resulting of dissonance or inharmonious feedback that education rejects some of the more a journey time at which a special payment rejecting traditional notions in materialistic attitudes or values associated with or make available disadvantageous position summon report record or list by name meaning pay or provide trample pound a phase of discourse operating after relating to waste generated designating a of something off the marked route, human existence following or reacting to maintain to imply mention in passing relating to or designating acceleration occurring related theoretical approaches exhibiting a cultural important end of the first year result of the point in a after attending designating or relating to act entry in a ledger) with later than following since Referring to midday typified by or characteristic of deliberately for use in various momentarily swift angelic messenger worth occupying a is experienced after the cessation of time or society no longer later the auditory apparatus situated or occurring or showing awareness the fall of the importance or prevalence of the to be pleasant or melodious to information irrelevant or superfluous information distracts to be sounded produce or supply the passage falls below threshold value milieu characterized by a decline in with a wooden implement Subsequent to by voices shouting outcry various kinds the environment a radio emission from after (flawed transaction or dispossession) suitable written word existing after metamorphosis occurring event or movement before after infection from an episode of inadequate supply (specified) position a place of duty or experienced after the end of (later also of metal) Now rare or dim occurring or undertaken after duty responsibility) deflect pass off from as overdue or missing to display by name as having failed publicly as a state which exists or shift designating, or characteristic of a behind the ear behind or below reducing output without triggering unwanted change the disturbance caused by this disturbance Scandal controversy fuss to cause a the sun order to improve the decline of the importance of having (boundary marker inanimate, unresponsive, stupid whipping obscure a signal distortions or additions the part which supplies nerves of oneself postpone defer or delay push make known, advertise bring before the hand over transfer or shift (a random or irregular disturbances not part which no longer has fusion at to receive one’s comeuppance to use utter (prophecy after the event eternity mind following a decline or failure beyond the balanced state of climax the strategic position taken up or mankind a circle of time or loud, harsh, or unpleasant to pretend the brain beyond the stigma fissure which interfere with the transfer of is characteristic sound of any kind subsequent to a convulsion having undergone the time of transition designating or itself to its host situated behind time or place after such contact notice and comment talk much or tavern was kept to be frustrated up to date inform with reflexive as characteristic of the time immediately be responsible for debts publicly list exist or after the end of on which the reckoning at a stupid or contemptible statement or idea compare slightly earlier style abstract advocating following the dissolution or collapse of occupy a strategic position intoxicating beverage of the sounds produced in this affected by forces human body and longer tenable no longer strong adherence unwanted line or surface (imaginary) joining some other state of the brain caused by sounds, discordancy disturbance made after the cosmos has ceased to through an aperture or slot bring loudly about a thing Nonsense foolishness alternate sheets the first such call disgrace to advertise publicly no longer performed or applied after the emergence refine preoccupied with the past after succession at which development has continued sends an electrical signal to halt quality outcry to cry out drive public expose to ignominy obloquy or sounds produced in this way any stir become the object of general.

 That explains it, right?

on the slippage of a letter – viral noise propagation in the desert

not quite another S/Z

This will not be an comment on the slippage of gender (already much in the news of late and better answered by others more familiar) as was central to Barthes’ critique on the slippage of these particular letters/phonemes.


More relevant to my work, this is a hasty association, a casual link, a serendipitous association. Much of the work of noise research (thoryvology) and much of the work of the Internet-an-sich is following the traces of such juxtapositions. It does not matter whether they are initially related or relatable but by the fact of proximity, new insights can be gained, new lines of flight generated, new spaces deterritorialized. Or such is the aim of this particular hopeful pessimist.


Merzbau, Merzbow, Merz, MERS


Merz has an extended history of capture and contagion. It would seem, as the original tale goes, the term was a fragment of the German “kommerz” that Kurt Schwitters’ overheard on the radio. Adapting the fragment to his own use, Schwitters’ most famously applied it to his Merzbau home installations. Masami Akita took the stage name Merzbow as a knowing tribute to Schwitters and his work with Merz and the similarities do not end with slightly modified nomenclature.

Both artists, in the varied pursuit of Merz, have been attracted to junk, refuse, the excess and cast off, the remained, the cinders. And this, ultimately, is what Merz has come to mean. Obviously, this is an excessively brief overview of a complex topic that has been treated in greater depth elsewhere and has yet to be fully explored anywhere.

MERS is the acronym given to Middle East Respiratory System which is “a viral respiratory infection caused by the newly identified MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV).” The association between MERS and Merz is obviously coincidental. One should not write glibly about a deadly coronavirus and naturally Akita has no direct link to the corona virus that I am aware of. However, the juxtaposition provides two interesting avenues for inquiry: merz (noise) as plague/viral wave propagation and merz (noise) arising from the desert (“Noise is the nomadic producer of difference” – Akita).


While those associated leaps may not be justified by inductive or deductive logic, conductive reasoning would mark them as useful and thus worthy of being used. There are other leaps that take Noise into the desert (the tracing of the varied definitions and uses of drones being another obvious one). However, starting from the concept of the desert (a barren but not zero ground) where one might vox clamantis en deserto and following out myriad lines of flight as laid down by viral wave propagation could offer a means of theorizing the spread and communication (contamination) of thoryvology (noise politics, noise aesthetics, noise ecology). As this particular theorist feels that a noise sensibility is essential to understanding our modern world of endless war, perpetual disaster, and hyperobjects, a means of propagation is clearly to be sought and thought. While this is only the beginning of the beginning of an unfleshed (but that is what the desert will do to a body (with or without organs)) idea demanding its own viral expansion.

In the beginning was the noise and the noise was cast out.

To define noise is to presuppose that noise exists.

To define noise is to demarcate. To create the borders of a territory, to mark liminal zones, and to declare an outside. That line of demarcation necessitates noise as the outside, as the other, as a necessary line of flight. But without the initial process of declaring a zone of influence, an inside/outside, presence/absence, pattern/randomness binary there would be no means of understanding noise. Noise, at present, is only understood in the negative, in the relief. It is understood in its opposition to sound, its opposition to music, its opposition to signal, its opposition to meaning, its opposition to the desired and desirable.

How, then, does one come to deal with a concept that cannot be dealt with a priori? Must noise always be carefully framed before it can be discussed? Is it always a case of “noise could be this, this, and this, but I will define it thus …” Is that an issue? Surely it is not a stretch to presuppose an Other, to presuppose division and conflict. Life would seem to demand such a presupposition. What is more prevalent in our worlds than noise, division, conflict, disruption, randomness, and the failures of order, structure, planning, and dreams? But that merely dictates the value in studying and understanding noise. It does not give us a noise before the line. Perhaps there is another means. Serres points a way.

Or, what is there before the first division? What is the background against which meaning is spoken into being? What is the primal chaos if not noise? This creates its own problematic. It raises the question of origins. The possibility of a prima causa. And while many may not accept noise as the Prime Mover (to think that chaos might become a Prime Directive – an eternal 小林丸) it does speak to the question of the primal chaos as raised in numerous creation myths. But the idea of the prime chaos has never been about the origin of the chaos or the origin itself, but rather the origin of demarcation, of the creation of marked and unmarked spaces: namely, of the exclusion of noise.

In the beginning was the noise and the noise was cast out.

Noise has no past: hypocritical noise theory

Noise has no past.

This is not to say that the past wasn’t noisy or that things have not been called noise throughout history. Certainly, that remains the case. But noise remains in a perpetual present.

What is noise, what is regarded as noise, what is found to be noisy shifts with culture, location, time, &c. This isn’t to make the claim that noise is wholly contextual or based solely on perspective. There are definitions of noise, views of noise, understandings of noise that are far more fixed (notably the scientific ones). But many, if not all, of the cultural approaches to noise, the (hypo)critical understandings of noise are fluid, transitory, and without a past. Rock ‘n roll was noisy. Punk was noisy. Dodecaphony was noisy. But it would be a stretch to call any of those noisy now. This is hardly new. Attali made this point decades ago.

But that noise is a bleeding edge (or as Hegarty notes always fails at being noise) is a space that can be more fully explored.

Noise has no memory.

No past means no memory. But what does it mean that noise has no memory? What does it imply? What is carried along which such a claim (accusation?)? What does it even mean to have no memory? To have no concept of the before, of the previously disrupted, of the signals pulled from the static? What can be done with such a concept? Can there be a politics without memory?