Hyperrhiz 2

Sampler 06

Alan Sondheim

Citation: Sondheim, Alan. “Sampler 06.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 2, 2006. doi:10.20415/hyp/002.g05

Abstract: nine videos by Alan Sondheim.

If meaning is a construct across symbols, loosely tethered to them or at best structurally tethered to them (supervenes?), then two things - symbols, at least in the sense of graphemes, physical symbols, have no inherent meaning (which of course Saussure pointed out), but that, not only sounds slide, but meaning slides as well.

When you (me, anyway) look at cuneiform, there are all sorts of potential registers at work - word-loans, say, from Sumerian, Hittite, Assyrian, etc., the base language itself, the determinative symbols, the syllabic symbols (which often represent multiple syllables), the ideograms (which are independent), etc. Whole archeologies are at work, and the surface appears to be something like a "skittering."

I'm fascinated by Maturana's pronouncement years ago, that language - speech - is the "mutual orientation of cognitive domains." This doesn't mean that speaker A and B agree or comprehend each other (which I think in a deep way is impossible) - but that the message transmitted and the (other) message received create an agreement between A and B - that both "comprehend" each other. This is among other things one of the foundations of communality.

By the way this applies directly to poetics - how does one extract "meaning" from a poem or film or video? It appears easier with Pope, say, than with Poe, and easier with Dryden than Dickenson. The former work out of rhetorical tropes, conceits, the inherence of facticities; the latter slide slant and, at least for me, problematize (not eliminate) meaning itself.

Finally for me this also relates to codework which is the conceivable transparency, but at least the apparency, of eruptive/corruptive code (Kristeva's Powers of Horror come to mind here - even the notion of "powers" reflects a mathematization) within/against normative language - as if that that tethering of sliding matrices finally crashlands, like a floating head on an old hard-drive, wreaking havoc among the binary.

Is this a found script or image, text or video - or one i created? Does it really matter? Given the relatively small number of symbols, it would be reasonable to apply coding to it - a matrix/template that might slide across the apparent grid, producing meaning. one might think of this as a universal machine applicable to texts of any length; it becomes increasingly evident that meaning is a construct across symbols, neither within them nor within the dictionary translation/transliterations.

Here, in this example, only in this particular example, one has a section of what seems to be an infinite text, a text in the manner of a bandage or suture across the wound of a sememe (what reads as a sememe); a wound within, unconstrued within, the imaginary. think of this as the lid of the pre-linguistic - not exactly mode, but a potential for interpreta- tion, sliding out and against itself, as soon as one is found. nothing holds here, not even "here," not even place or placement. The lesson, where we are, where we are not, is always already unlearned.

PLAY Lohengrin

PLAY The Radio of the Heart

PLAY Dead In Iraq

PLAY Darru


PLAY Fulsh

PLAY Global

PLAY Grundfragen

PLAY Zthrumb