THE.....

	WRITER .....

			AS .....

				PSEUDO-AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL .....




				WORK-IN-PROGRESS



OR


THE WAR AGAINST TIME:  DYING BIT BY BIT IN THE NEW MEDIA ECOLOGY....


						   ( A VIRTUAL PLAY)



featuring

			YOU (the reader/co-conspirator)
			ME   (the interactive fiction)


or how about


			YOU (the interactive fiction)
			ME   (the writer/co-conspirator)


Scene. An unreliable interface.

OPENING SHOT.  CLOSE-UP OF COMPUTER-MEDIATED ENVIRONMENT.  HOLD SHOT THROUGHOUT DISPATCH.

Voiceover:  "I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the introductory remarks concerning the dispatch I'm about to stream called 'The Writer As Pseudo-Autobiographical Work-In-Progress'...in this dispatch I am employing the practice of surf-sample-manipulate, that is, I am cutting and pasting and then, after I see what I have in the file, I'm manipulating the data -- without aim.  This is a revolutionary practice..."

THE COMPUTER-MEDIATED ENVIRONMENT FLASHES THE FOLLOWING WORDS AND LINKS:

"Electracy does not replace literacy, but supplements it." Ulmer.

FIRST DISPATCH-WITHIN-DISPATCH
(originally sent to the Ensemble-Logic mailing list from Roma, Italy)

Email In Four Parts / Email In Quattro Parti






I.

    "rugged exercise / specious gymnastics"


                        OR


     collaborative email performance


         as

        networked storyworld

                disseminated / distributed

        into the electrosphere

                (compositional space)


what    in the 80s      we called

                Mail Art

 morphed

        into

                Hypertextual Consciousness

        "I link, therefore I am"




II.



        spinning letters
        sampling ideas
        mixing linguaggio

constructing ambient hyperrhetorical gestures

          (the fidgeting digits of the elliptical

                        (K)NO(W)MAD...)


                        OR

                the electronic writer as pla(y)giaristic DJ

                        OR

                theory-conductor

                        OR

 OR

                hypertextual garbage-man

                  (Schwitters high on MERZ)

                        OR

                reality hacker

                  (Burroughs/Gysin's "third mind")



III.

Oggi / Today:

*Auto-Assignment* -- *Live Mystory* -- *Mistoria*

Build a "streaming consciousness installation" entitled _Pseudo-Autobiographical Narrativization of Metafictional Environment (Post-Cyberspace Landscape With Ancient Bathers_.

This installation will take place in the Baths of Carcalla, the largest and best preserved baths in the city of Roma.  The artist, posing as an anonymous tourist hoping to locate the Ghosts of Bathers Past, will have unsuspectingly dropped a hit of "Acido Porno" provided by his underground zine sponsors.  Wearing mirrorshades, his GEEKGIRL baseball cap, and carrying nothing but a bottle of Evian water, the artist will then map a series of story nodes onto the mystical writing pad floating inside his head.  After two hours in the baths, or until it gets old (whichever comes first), the installation will end and the artist will take refuge back in the former military fort now squatted by the social activists residing at Forte Prenestino.

Optional:  if the artist gets off at the wrong Metro stop and intuitively wanders into the Villa Borghese where the Italian Federation of Shiatsu is giving free demonstrations of their latest techniques, he may forget everything else he is programmed to do and immediately receive a one hour massage.



IV.



        New seed node / graffiti mode



Acido Porno:

the pharmakon of Roma,
1998.



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INTERMEZZO / INTERVISTAS

(excerpts from the social discourse:  a ramble)

"Now, as art becomes less art, it takes on philosophy's early role as critique of life. As a result of this movement out of art and back into everyday life, art itself becomes integrated into the workings of everyday life by situating itself in corporations, universities, governments and the vast electrosphere that houses the pluralistic cultures they thrive on. So it's now possible to reject the print-centric, paternal paradigm of a distanced, objectifying, linear and perspectival vision. In the age of network cultures, the eye touches rather than sees. It immerses itself in the tactile sense it feels when caught in the heat of the meaning-making process. This meaning-making process, which manifests itself as kind of electronic media event one is responsible for having created themselves as a result of having become a cyborg-narrator or avatar-presence in the simulated worlds of cyberspace, is actually part of a greater desire to become part of a socio-cultural mosaic."



->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->->
CUT.
->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->->


from THE THING (NYC)

Ricardo Dominguez: Is Hypertextual Consciousness (HTC) part of the emergence of the cyborg mind which is always/already outside of the spasms of the body? Or is it part of screenal dream-space of the body introjecting on new organs and learning to play with it?

Mark Amerika: It's a dream narrative application, a way to teleport collective consciousness to the electrosphere. Right now I'm investigating its potential to shift from writing in linear print forms into more mixed media uses that create multi-linear narrative environments-- a lot of this had to do with how narrative gets distributed. HTC is capable of distributing itself within computer-mediated dream-narratives only because the network technology has altered our perceptions of what's possible -- all kinds of artists are beginning to reevaluate the political economy of meaning as it adjusts to this new network-distribution paradigm.

When I talk about the political economy of meaning I'm not talking about a prefabricated or lineal meaning whether it be uniformly conservative or pseudo-liberal. I'm thinking more in terms of the genesis of language and how the media itself has become a kind of narco-terrorist that redistributes our desire for us. HTC investigates the ways in which we can research and develop poetical-theoretical-(anti)aesthetical modes of operation that challenge the media status quo, its iron grip on distribution, by way of more collaborative, globally-interlinked, networked narratives.

So that, for me, HTC becomes a way of writing/distributing. It's something I've always been attracted to, ever since I started developing my artistic practice back in the late 70's, but that I'm just now capable of creating a critical or theoretical language for. You might say that HTC is a process of automatically unwriting the pseudo-autobiographical becoming that radically marks itself into being. Digital Being. But these marks are not our own, that is to say, they're not individuated, and they are infinitely manipulable by the collective-self that HTC ultimately renders into vision.

RD: Do you see HTC as part of your fiction work or is it a manifesto for a new project specific to WEB culture?

MA: This isn't an easy question to answer because certain readers of my work will immediately see it as a continuation of my fictional work and I don't want to tell my readers how to interpret my writing. The idea of creating a fictional work-in-progress, of writing One Text Exactly (Joyce), what Ron Sukenick calls an Endless Short Story ("the important thing is to annihilate the important thing") is not new and has a lot of appeal to writers working in various media. Already there are critics who say that my interview answers are part of the fiction -- my press releases, DAT tapes, virtual mail art, Public Access cable TV show, etc. That I'm "a monster of self-promotion."  That's fine. I can see it from that perspective. I don't want to discourage any readings, including a recent email barb that claimed I would have done better to have remained silent, that by "going public" with my HTC leanings I have essentially followed through on an internal desire to become the Madonna of hypertext theory.



->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->->
CUT.
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from RHIZOME

Alex Galloway:  Do you think hypertext is really anything more than a repurposed collage? That's what I'm beginning to think. You have mentioned the footnote as being hypertextual, and html is really just like the kind of shorthand that typesetters have been doing forever. Has anything changed with the web?

MA:  It depends on how you conceptualize hypertextual space but yes, I think you're basically right.  Landow wrote a piece called hypertext-as-collage and I've been writing about the work of artists like Duchamp, Rauschenberg and especially Kurt Schwitters whose Merz project  I see, retrospectively, as a kind of hypertextual garbage collection agency -- and I mean that with the utmost respect.  Interestingly enough, when you use collage in the digital world of instantaneous composition and delivery via the Internet, this "surf-sample-manipulate" practice (i.e., to surf the electrosphere, sample data and then alter that data to meet the specific needs of the environment being developed by the artist) works on two fronts: one, the so-called "creative content," that is, the text, images, music, and graphics of many web-art sites are often sampled from other sources and, after some digital-manipulation, immediately integrated into the work so as to create an "original" construction and, two: the so-called "source code" itself, that is, the html-language that informs the browser how to display the work, is many times appropriated from other designs floating around the Net and eventually filtered into the screen's behind-the-scenes compositional structure.  The great thing about the Net is that if you see something you like, whether that be "content" or "source code," a lot of the time you can just download the entire document and manipulate it according to your anti-aesthetic needs.



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CUT.
->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->->


from THE VILLAGE VOICE

Ben Williams:  I see a lot of similarities between the surf-sample-manipulate aesthetic you've been theorizing and the tactics used in contemporary musics like hip-hop and jungle, whose producers work from samples but disguise them beyond recognition in order to avoid being sued. I'm starting to think any digitally based artform may well revolve around this model. Do you think that's a liberating thing, or is there also some level of homogeneity in the fact that everything (including genetics, as you're aware) can be reduced to the ones and zeroes of digital code and is thus interchangeable?

MA:  I think it's liberating -- especially if multi-media network-distributed art is your thing -- but having said that, there's definitely a level of experience, both life experience and compositional experience (taken together as One Practice Exactly), that enables one to go with the (digital) flow and make up their life's work as they go along -- in the beginning of my experiments, as in my first book The Kafka Chronicles I was much looser and naive about this process and at times, like in the section of the novel called Amerika-At-War: The Mini-Series, totally benefited from not-knowing the process as well as I should have, in that I didn't care if I was doing it right or wrong -- like stumbling on a new invention or improvising a new style of music that has never been heard before.



->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->->
CUT.
->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->-> ->->->




SECOND DISPATCH-WITHIN-DISPATCH
(originally sent to the Ensemble-Logic mailing list from Florence, Italy)

EMAIL IN QUATTRO PARTI (still without aim)



I.

			NOTHING WILL HAVE TAKEN PLACE

					BUT THE PLACE ITSELF



"in *this* place"

	the plan

		is to have no plan

	the rule

		is to have no rule

	the important thing

			is to annihilate

	the important thing

(a mystical current

	that regards creation itself

		as a linguistic phenomenon)



	to render stream-of-consciousness jazzspeak

		as morphing meta-commentary

				disseminating itself

into 			the 			electrosphere

							^^^^^^^^^^
							.............



	::[ an ecstatic expression-substance ]::



					hooked on its own



								"tradition"




		as


linguaggio
volgare
locutio
ydioma
lingua
loquela
nanoscript

email rap?


				Mama Mia!





II.



***** MISTORIA ***** CENTRO STORICO ***** MIO OBLIO *****


Project for today / oggi:


Build a "streaming consciousness installation" entitled _The Primordial Affinity Between Words and Objects (Post-Cyberspace Landscape With Artificially Constructed Psychobabble)_.

This installation will take place under the statue of Dante Alighieri in the heart of Firenze (Florence).  The artist, posing as a tourist who, eating a soy gelato, absorbs the historicity of whatever moments he happens to automatically unwrite himself in, will have unsuspectingly dropped a hit of "Acido Porno" provided by his (y)upscale bookstore sponsors.  Wearing his mirrorshades, blue 1998 Telstra Adelaide Festival t-shirt, stained blue jeans (don't ask/don't tell) and black sneakers (no Evian water?), the artist will attempt to construct a sequence of resonances that produce a play of effects on a network of people (random but still targeted).  This sequence of resonances will manifest itself as a ranting series of barbarous utterances suggesting the madness of spleens erupting.  After one hour or until it becomes old (whichever comes first), the installation will end and the artist will hitch a ride back to the rising hills of Toscana where his guest cottage overlooks the city.

Optional:  Should someone interrupt the installation- performance and introduce the artist to the Head Rabbi of the Florentine Synagogue, the artist may delay his return to the hills and pursue an edified conversation with the Rebe wherein they will make many links between the Golem myth in the Kabbalah and various art projects designed during the Renaissance (the origin of the cyborg-species?).

III.

Abe Golam legendary info-shaman and creator of the GRAMMATRON peddles his goods to an alternative network of spectacular aliens.  Spreading himself out on an interactive screen, he simultaneously distributes:

  fabricated desire
sorcerer-code
forma locutionis
illustrious vernacular
applied grammatology
recombinant ecriture
generative polyglotta




(vrml underwear?

			under where?)



IV.

Keywords:

  meta-tag
public domain narrative environment
collaborative email performance
theory-conductor
virtual play
hypperrhetorical gestures
content-creator
brilliant site
agglutinated "the-is"




__________

Mark Amerika is the author of two novels, The Kafka Chronicles (1993: Black Ice Books) and Sexual Blood (1995: Black Ice Books).  In 1993 he started the Alt-X Online Publishing Network (www.altx.com), "where the digerati meet the literati," and in 1997 he released GRAMMATRON (www.grammatron.com) which The Australian, that deathbed of morbid decay, called "the world's most ambitious cybernovel." He lives in Boulder, Colorado, USA, Planet Earth, Cyberspace.


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