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Kenji Siratori

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Reza Negarestani
Posted on Sunday, October 09, 2005 - 10:33 pm:   

Technodrome
(A Review on Kenji Siratori’s writings)
Reza Negarestani


[TEXT OF ARTICLE REMOVED AT THE REQUEST OF REZA NEGARESTANI, email request reprinted below]

My name is Reza Negarestani. I recently came across one your forums (http://www.nightshadebooks.com/discus/messages/15/5089.html?1153126015) on Siratori which features one of my old articles (2002) already published in 3AM; the article has been posted under my name on the nightshade forum while I am not a member of the forum and without permission (perhaps by Siratori himself; similar cases in the past). I will appreciate if you remove the post entitled Technodrome from the forum. You can contact me through my website email address (negarestani@cold-me.net).



Thank you in advance.




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jv
Posted on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 11:20 am:   

Forgive me, but this is bullshit. As is Siratori's writing.

JV
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noosh
Posted on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 12:32 pm:   

I think this may be a little bit of jealousy on your part Jeff. I've often found myself frustrated when reading your work in that I have to actually track the inter-woven textual fibers (you know what I'm talking about) and can't simply vermiculate the "holey" space through a process of self-scarring by auto-liquidating the core. ;-)
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al duncan
Posted on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 12:54 pm:   

Forgive me, but this is bullshit.

Thank fuck! I thought for a second ye'd invited this (forgive me, too) goddamn loon on here -- like, in some newfound role as champion of techno-gibberish.

Methinks this verbal diarrhoea is the result of too much textual fibre in the diet. Cut down on the lingui-bran, Reza.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - 08:10 am:   

Yeah--I'm jealous of Satori. Really really jealous of his inability to make any sense on the human level. ;)

Look, I challenge Satori to an anti-bullshit contest. If he can write a traditional story that's good, written in a traditional way, then I'll look at his experimental mind-gush stuff again. But the guy just can't write, so he puts us through this pseudo-avant-garde stuff instead.

Think of other experimenters like Barth or Barthelme, etc. Almost all of them can experiment successfully because they also have a mastery of traditional story telling techniques.

No--I didn't invite him to post that. It seemed odd he posted it on my board, to be honest, rather than in the general area.

JeffV

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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 04:22 am:   

Jeff: this has made me wonder. Can you name any writers who use experimental mind-gush (i.e. bullshit) who you think are good?

I guess I just like paradoxes and this seems a good opportunity to generate one!
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 06:13 am:   

Good question. Let me think on it. I can think of writers who use it as part of something larger, of course.

JeffV
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 06:23 am:   

I think your challenge is a bit unnecessary. Lines like 'burn up the miracle of the assassin that was sent back out to kill' and 'grotesque proteins in the subterranean anus world of a succubus cemetery' make his ability sufficiently clear as it is.

'[H]e writes (programs) the text as technology'--I wonder what a real programmer (not a 'theorist and writer') would think of that.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 05:35 am:   

"'burn up the miracle of the assassin that was sent back out to kill'"

I think I wrote that on acid when I was 17 and incorporated it into a horrid poem. Looks like the line may be found in the zietgeist, the racial memory, and, more significantly, Byron Gisin's dumpster.
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steve aylett
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 09:15 am:   

i agree, it's exactly like the automatic writing experiments some of us threw away years ago in good judgment. Maybe that's where the slight bitterness comes from - 'you mean someone would have actually published all that stuff?'

in reply to Siratori posts in the past i've posited two questions, especially in regard to the more 'word salad' parts:
1. whether it decodes (ie. decodes consistently the same way if the same decoding rules are applied throughout)
2. whether it decodes into anything worth reading, ie saying anything original or interesting

never got any coherent reply
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JV
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 10:02 am:   

Steve:

That's a really good point, re decoding.

JeffV
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 01:57 pm:   

Personally, I think there is lots of good writing of this type, i.e. automatic writing, experimental, etc.

Whether Siratori does it or not might be debatable, but whether or not it can be done . . . well, it obviously can, and has been for about the past 100 years. I think Jeff's point about needing to know how to write in the first place is legitimate.
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AT
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 03:43 pm:   

The Postmodern Generator does it better. See also the Dada Engine. And most tax codes and Directives; as well as many of the taunted paths to success through, well, this Google ad is one, from "I Create Reality" - "Instant power? How You Can Master Holographic Time To Gain Extreme Wealth & Success!" The differentiator is humour.
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JV
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 04:57 pm:   

Yeah, Brendan--my point isn't about automatic or experimental writing in general. Just about this guy in general.

And, yes, Anna, I think humor is great in experimental fiction because it humanizes the effects.

JeffV
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 08:20 pm:   

Hi Jeff,

Actually I was just sort of agreeing with this comment of yours: "Almost all of them can experiment successfully because they also have a mastery of traditional story telling techniques."

Just got a bit muddled.
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AT
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 08:39 pm:   

That point about humanizing the effects is so true, Jeff. It also, importantly, puts the author/artist in place, too. Humour instantly takes the creator down at least a notch, though it has to be more precise than 'serious' writing, or it either falls flat, or worse - is turned inside out later, which should be recognised as the ultimate mirrors to infinity, warped. Dada has become that infinite warped image, as its 'messages' are studied as hilariously as some find poetry in the colours of their shite. Here's some original shite, Dada fresh.
http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/dada/391/13/pages/3.htm

When they had a little girl stand up in a gallery and spout obscenities, no one expected that event to be turned into art-Kabala-text. I would expect them to be larfing their heads off as Dada is now lauded for being the underpinnning of everything important today - unintentional nonsense not being part of that underpinning. Today's mock Dada is serious as the ticket prices for visual "works", which makes it much funnier than what it imitates without proper acknowledgement. It is interesting that when it comes to literature, capitalism basically rules, so literary mock-Dadaists don't get rich.

But Siratori IS funny, especially the revolutionary stance. So is, complete with its ephemeral aspect, Tracy Emin and her ilk (unless your taxes are involved), their works being bought as high art, needing to be curated with unusual care (the great thaw being a story in itself); all being the very core of establishment, complete with insurance. The warping of meaning with Emin is happening now though, with no lag time as the Dadaists had. Why? Perhaps there is more reluctance to stick out one's neck and say, "This is nonsense" now when so much IS nonsense, but called profound.
Her lost cat poster (posted for a lost cat) was taken, literally, for art, as was written up here in Wired, in April 2002, in an interesting article about ephemera, 'A Collection of Discards':
http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,51307,00.html
But by October 2002, Emin's lost cat poster was written up in the Tate magazine as not only art, but the highest accolade today: Art with a Political Conscience.
Emin isn't likely to leave her life behind any time soon, but she is beginning to integrate other, wider elements into its expression. That is how a story about a leaflet and a cat becomes a comment on the atrocities of September 11, and a powerful one at that.

I don't know if this properly applies here as far as others are concerned, but to me it does, as I think it reaches the differences between intrinsic worth, and spruiked, aged tripe. Steve Aylett said : A marker of intelligence is the ability to tell the difference between fact and fiction, and the respective value of each. People who can't tell the difference, tend to be imprecise and humourless, two things that often go together. I find that people who are fuzzy-thinking and imprecise aren't genuinely funny, because humour needs precision. It's like a device with wires that have to be connected up properly.

Steve was talking about humour, but I think his statement is valid for all creative works.

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des
Posted on Saturday, October 15, 2005 - 12:32 am:   

Fuzzy-thinking is part of a brainstorming technique that can be unexpectedly value-added, I feel. And that statement derives from fuzzy-thinking and I *felt* humorous when I said it, but it's probably boring when it reaches the other end.

The opening chapters of 'Ada' by Nabokov strike me as successful brainstorming.
des
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Carole C
Posted on Saturday, October 15, 2005 - 01:47 am:   

Must stand up for Emin ... Tracy Emin is very much an outsider in the art community (as is pointed out in that Tate article), as her work is in fact very atypical - it's autobiographical, emotional, and thus goes very much against the grain of most of the other stuff out there (about which I agree the phrase 'emperor's new clothes' is appropriate).

If the function of art is to get people thinking, talking etc, then Emin does a fantastic job of this - whereas a lot of contemporary art leaves people both cold and not even bothered to be puzzled by it.

Another point about Emin is that she actually took a much more traditional route - she studied printing and later on did more a traditional style of oil painting. Her then boyfriend, Billy Childish actually started a backlash against the stranglehold of modern art by holding the 'Not the Tate' exhibitions etc, which had to be only paintings, and is the founder of the international Stuckist society, which 'is the quest for authenticity. By removing the mask of cleverness and admitting where we are, the Stuckist allows him/herself uncensored expression'.

I just thought I'd point out that Emin is NOT a typical modern artist, although of course once she was seen as being this, then her every unmade bed, tent, ordinary wooden beach hut, is taken as being valuable by the establishment, and it's really the more capitalist running dogs art establishment which needs to take the blame for this!

I think what you are really talking about is the aforementioned 'mask of cleverness' which is a pervasive and insidious form of elitism which is at it's heart hollow - Tracy Emin cut's straight through this and goes for the jugular, so (IMHO) she can't really be used as an example!

Another thing is that she is working class, and of course cuts straight through the elitism of the class barrier as well.
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Carole C
Posted on Saturday, October 15, 2005 - 05:17 am:   

btw, haven't read any Sartori, because my crapometer went into instinctive overdrive as it approached the page, but he seems to be a prime example of pretentiousness over content, whereas Emin is all content and only as much pretentiousness as it takes to get her there.
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Carole C
Posted on Saturday, October 15, 2005 - 05:32 am:   

oops, typo - Siratori
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, October 15, 2005 - 03:13 pm:   

The Episode of the Lost Cat Poster is the funniest anecdote I've heard all week. Thanks for that. I wonder if this poster turned up after the tsunami, in New Orleans, in Pakistan; and if it will begin to appear on the site of every future disaster.
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Luís
Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 01:52 am:   

'[H]e writes (programs) the text as technology'--I wonder what a real programmer (not a 'theorist and writer') would think of that.

Yes --- the technical term for that, I believe, is "bullshit." Even programming at its most obfuscated (and I've seen some pretty messed up code) follows a logic pattern of some kind. No matter how it's done or who can read it, there is no room for ambiguity when *interpreting* code. Machines don't vermiculate through the wire-meshing of your instructions --- they do exactly what you tell them to do, and barring some underlying malfunction, any errors being coughed up are the programmers' own fault.

So, in the end, my question is exactly the same as Steve A.'s: can anyone compile this gibberish without dumping the core? Until someone comes up with an answer, I'll stick to my belief that the only thing coming out of Siratori's subterranean anus is line noise.

Signed,
Luís (a real programmer)

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