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.

 

 

 

 

On Gun Nuts & God Botherers

Something’s happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. There’s a man with a gun over there telling me I’ve got to beware. 

– B.S.

What’s the point? 

The lines have already been drawn. 

The line, the drawing of the line, the demarcation of inside and outside, of self and other is the origin of noise, the origin of exclusion, exception, & the failure to understand. 

And no one is backing down (compromise is for the weak and we must never show weakness — think of the children — unique not special). 

We revert to tribal behaviors. I don’t believe that I am a fascist or a terrorist, thus my desires must be universalized. 

Kant wept. 

I learned it from you (people). 

And nothing is being done.

I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t believe the way I do (if only they saw the facts [as I see them]). 

While the capitalists count their money. 

Semantic arguments based on the failure to understand synecdoche. Incomplete and inconsisten comparisons. (I’ve got a definition of ‘tool’ for you.)

Because we only preach to our choirs, only ask after Echoes.

Neither Good Host nor Effective Parasite, ever failing our Guest Right. 

And the capitalists count their money. 

But it’s not my fault. I was born this way. 

Blame it on the brain. (Gotta blame it on something). 

God is dead, God remains dead, and we love a good zombie. (Here we are now, entertain us. Send money.)

I don’t seek or claim certainty. But there is no convincing those who believe they have it that there is no such thing. 

The more I sneer, the more you fear.

And the capitalists count their money. 

On a question concerning a topic most nearly approximated as ‘religion’

It would seem (after considerable thought, deliberation, and opposition) that I am a religious man. Naturally, such a comment needs considerable qualifiers. I am not a man of faith. I do not ‘believe’ as the term is most colloquially rendered. However, I find it necessary to consider myself bound to religion. 
I was raised in religion. It is not thing that one ever fully extricates oneself from. Not that I did not try. It’s part of the family business along with teaching.
Religion is a quagmire but given its prominence, its sway over popular opinion and widely believed facts, it is a sweltering pit that cannot be ignored. 

And so I come to conclusions. 

I have long called myself a ‘prophet’. This is not because I have felt a special bond with the almighty:

Stephen: In order to find his equal, an Irishman is forced to talk to God.

(Despite all the requisite kissing, I cannot claim to be Irish)

Rather it is a more archaic and secular Usage of the term. I do not cry out in the wilderness for the world to repent of its sins lest if burn in fiery damnation but rather to change its wicked ways lest it destroy the only world we have. Repent because if we keep on like this, earth won’t be fit for human habitation and, unlike for Jake Chambers, this is the only world we’ve got. 

Furthermore, I am priest. I am not an evangelist, I do not seek converts. I can’t take the stress of banging my head against those walls. But I will take on disciples. And thoryvology is an all-encompassing/non-totalizing methodology. There is a path I am attempting to cut, the success of which is likely not mine to judge. 
In the beginning, Noise is. 
Let us pray. 

Noise abatement: capitalism and convenience

Perhaps this is nothing new, but noise abatement (both actually existing policies and its further advocacy) are intimately tied to capitalism and convenience.

This is not necessarily to say that those that are advocates of noise abatement are concerned only with capitalism and/or convenience but rather that that is what allows such policies to go forward.

Who passes noise abatement legislation? Who does it harm? Who does it benefit?

The passage of noise abatement campaigns seems to most fully benefit those who keep a consistent 9-5 schedule (when, after all, are ‘quiet hours’) and thus enabling their full participation in capitalist exploitation/alienation. They can hardly give their all if they were kept from their socially mandated 8 hours! The laws often inhibit those who keep to different schedules, who are beholden to different masters (all the shit I have gotten for playing bass during the day because a neighbor didn’t appreciate it…). Those who work a graveyard shift are hardly helped by construction crews who don’t start jack hammering until 9am.

This claim might be contradicted by those who advocate for noise abatement. After all, the worst offenders are hardly boom cars and boom boxes but indifferent corporations and industrial practices. But again, this isn’t to say that the advocates are pro-capitalism (though would many say that they are anti-capitalism?) but rather that the policies that pass, that are enforced are those that serve capitalism and the convenience of the alienated worker who just wants to relax off shift because they lack the time and energy for much else.

Silencing the Machine (as opposed to machines as such) is likely not to be accomplished through straightforward political campaigns for quieter streets and restricted hours for noisy activities. So what, then, the alternative? Perhaps to use noise against the noisy? Perhaps.

sonic / filmic / liminal

these are not good work.

or, I am not in a position to judge them as such.

but they serve a purpose. They exist to make a point, or attempt one. I like them well enough.

I am not particularly inclined towards image work. This has long been a disappointment for me. I haven’t taken to cameras, though I have owned a few. I am terrible with figures (both photographic and pictographic). My pacing seems wrong. But I like what I do with sound.

Sound by itself, especially that which I am calling my post-noise work (post-noise in the sense of post-rock. it comes after and is informed by foundational noise artists but is not of the same tradition, cannot approach noise in the same manner), likely creates interesting visual imagery in the mind’s eye. It is likely not what is herein paired.

And it is that pairing, that forced juxtaposition that is meant to be focused upon here. Images out of focus, repeated, permuted, stalled that are forced into conversation with sonic elements that drift, that also permute but differently, that do not align. What is the reason? Why these images? Why these sounds? What does it all mean?

I make noise to be liminal. To test boundaries, to recognize and trace boundaries. To raise questions that cannot yet be answered. The abyss is calling. We lack perspective. One must enter the vortex, knowledge (even knowledge through madness) is necessary for life. These videos seek one such liminal zone, one such barrier island, one such no man’s land. Do they find it? Do any of us?

 

music courtesy of Delta Brainwave Society

film courtesy of Delta Brainwave Society