Archive for the ‘Strange Attractor’ Category

Peter Panic = Susto

September 1, 2008

From Jaime de Angulo:

I want to speak now of a certain curious phenomenon found among the Pit River Indians.  The Indians refer to it in English as “wandering.”  They say of a certain man, “He is wandering,” or “He has started to wander.”  It would seem that under certain conditions of mental stress an individual finds life in his accustomed surroundings impossible to bear.  Such a man starts to wander…

He will speak of what is on his mind to no one, but anyone can see that he is not all right.  He is morose, uncommunicative.  Without any warning he will get up and go.  People will probably say of such a man: “He has lost his shadow.”



The concept of susto functions as an etiological category. When a person suffers from certain forms of social dysfunction — listlessness, depression, lack of motivation — family members or a healer search the past for a frightening event that may have caused the soul to leave the body. Thus, when persons believe that they are performing their social roles less adequately, according to their own criteria, than others in the community, the illness category of susto provides an explanatory framework within which to conceptualize their experience and seek appropriate healing. Perceived social and personal failures are attributed to a culturally defined sickness. [Susto]

Drinking ayahuasca provides the shaman with information concerning the current location of the lost or stolen soul — where it has fled or been hidden away — and the progress of its return in response to the calling song. It may take hours or days for the soul to make the return journey. Don Emilio Andrade tells of singing back a stolen soul. Suddenly he saw a road, and in the center of the road a small shadow. As he sang, the shadow became larger; when the shadow was just six or seven meters away, he saw it was his patient. The soul entered into her through the top of her head, and at that moment she awoke. He continued to blow tobacco smoke on her, until she was completely recovered. [Steve Beyer]


Red Shift

August 25, 2008

So I saw in my dream that the man began to run. Now he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children perceiving it began to cry after him to return: but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on crying, “Life, life, eternal life.” So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the plain.

[John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progess via Quicksilver, 67]

Model of Abortive Romance

Model of Abortive Romance

The idea is that light crawling out of a gravity well has a longer wavelength, which vibrates at the red rhythm end of the visible spectrum.  Light travels invariably at the speed of light, but its vibration [its MOOD] is variable, hence the red shift of escape exertion.  Even when a mass moves toward the middle of a wormhole’d plane, and through some unforseeable portal, there is energy that passes back to the ordinary dimensions as a report on that inscrutable movement into singularity.

Ted Berrigan’s Take

The Signifying Monkey-Devil’s Opposable Green-Screen-Thumb: not sewing, but felting a rhizomatic seed for an electronic Lurning Man event

August 19, 2008
The Imperative is GO GREEN

Devil's Thumb will go GREEN


Derrida’s chorography [and Ulmer’s by extension] (using an actual place as the inventio of a discussion) recalls Plato’s use of the landscape in the Phaedrus. Socrates goes outside the walls of the city, in order to discuss the lessons in rhetoric that the latter has learned from the sophist Lysias.  They find their way, as if by accident, to a significant spot…

… [it is no accident that] the landscape occupies a much more significant place in the Phaedrus than anywhere else in Plato.  Nor is it accidental that the story of Boreas is told while Socrates and Phaedrus are taking a walk along the banks of the Ilissus, or the story about the metamorphosis of the crickets while both of them are lying under a plane tree luled by their chirruping voices in the midday heat of a southern sky.  All these things belong together.  Hour and place, along with the mythical tales, form the actual and symbolic landscape of the work.  (Friedlander, 190)


Socrates compares the written texts Phaedrus has brought along to a PHARMAKON: a ‘drug’ or ‘medicine,’ – a philter which acts as both remedy and poison….  This charm, this spellbinding virtue, this power of fascination can be – alternately or simultaneously – beneficent or maleficent…. Operating through seduction, the PHARMAKON makes one stray from one’s general, natural, habitual paths and laws [strange attractor].

Jacques Derrida, Plato’s Pharmacy

The primary poison is the Word – the Pharmakos – the one who stands-in-for.  All other poisons function through this one, the signifying poison.  Signifying monkey.  Jesus should have been stoned, not crucified.

Pharmakos also meant ‘poisoner,’ and ‘sorcerer,’ and ‘magician.’  Plato banned the pharmakeus, the shaman, from his Republic in 480 BC.  The Chinese kicked the shaman out of the government in the first century, along with her whole family.

Standing-in-for, the Logos.  Morphine wearing the mask of endorphin, tetra-hydrocannabinol dressed up like anandamide.  Molecules standing in for stimuli: sensation symbolized on the cortex, rhodopsin a metaphor of light.  Intellect is mediated and mediator, a mapping of pattern to patterns of ions, ratios, concentration of amines, layers of neurotransmitters themselves in flux, charged and shaped by emotion and memory.  Mind acts it out, moves mountains, changes its own environment, altering the very reactions that led to the alteration.

and that’s a good trick

Patterns, likeness of pattern, and some analogous likeness of likeness: the swelling of sound in adagio and its neuronal reflection.  The great bead game, poetry is poison – echoes of phonemes, ghosts standing in for ghosts.


My proposal for an electronic monument is to set up a series of VJ performances in green light on the surfaces of Devil’s Thumb [light is highly LNT].  People observing the performance from the suburbs of South Boulder would get a low resolution sense of the Collective Signifying Monkey-Devil’s Opposable Greenthumb, and people watching the performance at the thumb itself would glimpse the content of the projected video images, which could include remix mash-ups of global-environmental music-thrillers (Koyaanisquatsi, Baraka, Manufactured Landscapes) and a video collage concerning the disappearance of Lance Hering from El Dorado Canyon in 2006, among other things.

A relay for remix source material:

The electronic monument would convey its meaning via fractal resolution.  In other words, it would offer similar meaning structures across different scales.  Viewed from far away, the message would be general – Devil’s Greenthumb.  Viewed from closer, the message could be more specific – remixed image content developed by individual VJ’s.  If the performance were allowed to happen a few weeks in a row, it would be ideal if people who saw the program from the suburbs one week were lured out of the city toward the mountains the next week by the Devil’s Greenthumb, making it a veritable Strange Attractor.  The added benefit of this electronic monument’s location is that people who are lured toward the Strange Attractor are lured out of town, at night, into the psuedo-wilds of the hills, where they might very well encounter various forms of the Other.

Then, one day, walking the usual route across the Shadow Canyon ridge heading West toward the Continental Divide, a restless spirit took hold of him.  It was as if he were walking into yet another phase space he had no control over…  Within ten minutes he was at a thin oval-shaped cave.  A green and yellow and red tapestry of lichen surrounded the cave entrance.  From where he stood it looked like an enlarged vagina with technicolor pubic hair.  He thought he smelled the dank erotica of a woman just come.  Closing his eyes and breathing in deeply, he felt an uncontrollable urge to masturbate out in the open air [this is PANIC masturbation, the vice of the shepherds in the hills.  In this version, the wind whipping through the hills is pheromonal medicine woman scent].  A rush of blood funnelled straight to his cock and he pulled it out softly taking hold of it and slowly jerking the entire shaft imagining that all of Nature’s open space was his to jizz in….


The Medicine Woman explained that the psycho-pharmakinetic effect of acidophilus mixed with a special legume grown near the Aztec ruins in the Yucutan would provide him with the necessary proactive stimulant one needs… She said that the Mexican bean was responsible for activating the latent Sexual Blood (she used the term Sexual Blood as if it were a way of life).  This activation caused a mirrored aphrodisiac effect.  Instead of producing in the person who took the drug an incredible urge to screw anything that had a genital attached to it, the intaker of said drug would emit an aura of irresistible libidinal energy that would make certain select Others mad with the prospect of screwing IT... Once one took the drug and started encountering Others who were interested in becoming IT by physically loving IT, then one was allowed to share the secret of Sexual Blood with this Needy Other.

Sexual Blood is the product of a poison, a pharmakon [which can be words whispered on the winds, but can also be vegetal matter].  We can wonder about the percentage of people who’re turned onto Sexual Blood by abstraction/poetry/signification alone, by the pharmakon WORD, logos.  But let’s get materialistic about it.  Let’s get away from monkey signification production, even if we always have to come back to it.  Let’s focus on breeds across the boundaries of reproductive isolation, inter-special production of hybridized affect.  The growing growing grown concern for the earth and the problems that arise around the cultivation, commodification, and transportation [read Capitalistic Control] of plant life is reason to focus on the public policy issues in the green material dimension of the production of so called Sexual Blood.

Phaedr. What an incomprehensible being you are, Socrates: when you are in the country, as you say, you really are like some stranger who is led about by a guide. Do you ever cross the border? I rather think that you never venture even outside the gates.

Soc. Very true, my good friend; and I hope that you will excuse me when you hear the reason, which is, that I am a lover of knowledge, and the men who dwell in the city are my teachers, and not the trees or the country. Though I do indeed believe that you have found a spell with which to draw me out of the city into the country, like a hungry cow before whom a bough or a bunch of fruit is waved. For only hold up before me in like manner a book, and you may lead me all round Attica, and over the wide world.

Ethan Brand is an aspiring alchemist, which is to say a pseudo-materialist, interested in the transmutation of matter into spirit, the emphasis in the case of Sexual Blood being the green matter at hand [the Devil’s Greenthumb, another version of the hook shaped alien appendage].  What matters, in this register, are the organic conditions under which the strange attractor expresses itself.

And, despite the sprouting of fractal ferns and algorithmic roses, there are no plants in cyberspace – not that one could eat, anyway.  Nor in the noosphere.

Lime-Kiln Portal to an ‘Other’ Dimension

August 6, 2008

Ethan Brand, it was said, had conversed with Satan himself in the lurid blaze of this very kiln. The legend had been matter of mirth heretofore but looked grisly now. According to this tale, before Ethan Brand departed on his search, he had been accustomed to evoke a fiend from the hot furnace of the lime-kiln, night after night, in order to confer with him about the Unpardonable Sin.

doorway to the dead

doorway to the dead - Lenox, MA

Within the formal system of the Ethan Brand entertainment narrative, the meaning of the phrase ‘Unpardonable Sin’ remains somewhat untranslated. The ‘Unpardonable Sin’ is this story’s name for the unpronounceable dilemma in the broken/calcified heart of the eponymous character.  The image of Ethan Brand’s marble heart is a clue that the ‘Unpardonable Sin’ is what organizes the text [an abstract machine].  The hard heart is the material actualization of a virtual sin, not the sin itself.  Still, as Ethan Brand knows too well, the likely result of looking for the Unpardonable Sin is that the seeker will find it in their self.

“…the good folks still talk about Ethan Brand, in the village yonder, and what a strange errand took him away from his lime-kiln.  Well, and so you have found the Unpardonable Sin?”

“Even so!” said the stranger, calmly.

“If the question is a fair one,” proceeded Bartram, “where might it be?”

Ethan Brand laid his finger on his own heart.

“Here!” replied he.

This report puts the ultimate findings of Ethan Brand’s research in line with the findings of the EmerAgency, whose slogan goes, ‘Problems B Us‘.  Still, the lime-kiln is a portal to an ‘Other’ dimension where fiendish Satan dwells, in the furnaces, in the hillock.  Or so the legend goes.

What can we say about these rumors of an Other-dimensional entity who is summoned to confer with Ethan Brand about the Unpardonable Sin? We need some theory to account for this.