Principia Discordia

Principia Discordia => Or Kill Me => Topic started by: Cramulus on May 27, 2009, 03:18:25 pm

Title: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 27, 2009, 03:18:25 pm
The dadaists. Absurdism. Nonsense.

It is common to think of these things as meaningless, effete gestures at the rational order. Random nonsense is often decried as a masturbatory means of expression, satisfying the communicator but boring the communicatee. Many people have a similar distaste for "modern" art. "Anyone can draw a single dot on a canvas, how is that art?" In part, they are reacting with frustration at their inability to grasp the expression with their rational mind. In this essay I hope to illustrate the intent of much "meaningless" expression.

Specifically I'll be talking about Nonsense's role in subversion. The Jabberwocky, while a delightful piece of nonsense, was primarily written to entertain. When Marcel Duchamp flipped a urinal upside down and signed it with somebody else's name, it was intended as a middle finger to his audience. In the latter example, Duchamp's use of nonsense was rhetorical - by not building his sculpture with rational building blocks, he annexed rational discussion about it. He changed the context so drastically that his audience had to come up with new concepts to evaluate it, and itself.

We Discordians owe much to the Situationist International, a group of french intellectuals whose movement came to a dramatic climax in Paris, May 1968. The French were also riding the train of cultural revolution which swept America in the late 60s. The Situationist's elusive posterchild, Guy Debord, wrote "The Society of the Spectacle" in 1967, a manifesto which described the unique conditions of modern living. Debord argued that the shifts which occurred after the industrial revolution had transformed the laborer into the consumer. No longer forced to work in dank factories, we are now prime conspirators in our personal imprisonment and commoditization. We have become interchangeable, like the parts of a machine whose ultimate function is to build itself. The Society of the Spectacle is a means of social control, transforming any authentic experience into a commodity.

The Situationists were keenly aware of the effete nature of revolution. There is a tension which exists between the establishment and the anti-establishment, and that tension serves both sides. The counter-establishment's role is to find the authentic experience which does not exist in the commercial world. Meanwhile the Establishment's role is to capitalize on what's currently "cool". In this way, all revolutions will be subverted and integrated into products.

In short: the punks who hung out at CBGBs were paving the way for mainstream "sell-out" punk to flourish. Punk was popularized by the image of those rebels in dirty night clubs who were having "The Authentic Experience". People crave the authentic experience, it's something absent in commercial culture; no one can sell you real coolness, you have to find it through play, spontaneity, and ingenuity. Coolness is generated by whatever is not a part of consumer-culture. The Authentic Experience attracts kids like flies. The t-shirt vendors soon follow.

So isn't this kind of frustrating? Whenever the counterculture invents a new tool for cultural subversion, marketers pick it up like money on the street. It's happening at an alarming rate, too. As soon as situationist mass-pranks started to get media attention, (such as Improv-Everywhere's freeze prank) taco bell started engineering its own freeze-pranks as publicity stunts. A new genre of cooperative game, the ARG, was barely out of the womb before it was used to promote Halo 2's release (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Love_Bees). Or look at how quickly grunge came in style - the Spectacle was able to seamlessly transform ripped jeans and flannel - a look designed to look like you don't care about fashion - into a fashion statement. By creating the revolution we are arming the establishment.

The Situationists were keenly aware of this. They knew that they could not base their revolution on the rhetoric of resistance. This is where Kalle Lasn and the Adbusters will ultimately fail. Most of their anticommercial rhetoric is easily reduced to the message "Smoking is bad for you." It's reply to commercial culture is an ineffective "no." It does not provide a new starting point for us to base our lives around, it is merely a righteous poo-poohing of the establishment. As such it poses no real threat to the establishment; it is a satellite locked in orbit.

The Situationists wanted to create a revolution which could not be easily represented (and thereby contained) by the society of the spectacle. They encouraged people to return to a life of spontaneity, play, and authentic unmediated being. A world where people do not rely on currency to provide them with comfort, a world where people do not become miserable victims of the Machine.

Kerry Thornley in his Zenarchist Manifesto, writes about the "hippies" before that word became popularized:

Quote
Although we sometimes called ourselves hip or hipsters or hippies or flower children, at that time those were just names among many that seemed occasionally fitting. As a social entity we were not yet stereotyped. Between a hard-bopping hipster and a gent le flower child there was a distinction, and neither label stretched to include us all.

Usually we called ourselves heads. Pot heads, acid heads, or both. Bohemians, Beatniks, mutants, freaks and groovy people were names used with due caution. For in those days what we called ourselves was not to obscure what we were, and what we were was op en to experience.

Becoming hung up on avoiding names, of course, can be as misleading as being named, classified and forgotten. We were not making an effort in either direction. We intended, however, to avoid abstractions that short-circuit thought. An unborn face entailed a naked mind.

Zen is called Zen, but when the monk asks the master, "What is Zen?" he does not receive a definition but a whack on the head, or a mundane remark, or a seemingly unrelated story. Although such responses might baffle the student, they did not en courage him to glibly pigeon-hole the Doctrine.

"That which presently characterizes our public life is boredom. The French are bored .... Youth is bored ... General De Gaulle is bored."

In May 1968, the Situationists were catalysts for a revolution which would consume Paris. Similar to the WTO riots of Seattle, the streets were filled with rioters, protesting the pervasiveness and inhumanity of inauthentic consumer culture. They were armed, in part, with Situationist slogans. These pithy semantic kernels were not intended as a rational argument against the system. Like our "One Line Meme Bombs", they were an attempt to transform the minds of those who followed them without relying on conventional rhetoric. It is in this fertile soil that the absurd is most powerful.

My shadow is my graffiti

We refuse to be highrised, diplomaed, licensed, inventoried, registered, indoctrinated,
suburbanized, sermonized, beaten, telemanipulated, gassed, booked.

We must remain “unadapted.”


The Greil Marcus describes the situationist slogan style: "A blindside paradox of dead rhetoric and ordinary language floated just this side of non sequitur, the declarative statement turning into a question as you heard it: What does this mean?"  As Christine Harold writes in Ourspace,

Quote
Debord once detourned a familiar image of Stalin by "placing a barebreasted woman on his forehead with the caption 'The Universe Turns on the Tips of Breasts.'" Such alteration is an effort to undermine the authoritative political portrait -- in this case, Stalin's. Further, the alteration reorganizes the image in a way that not only interrupts the original meaning but creates a new meaning, or opens up potentials for new meanings. The nonsensical phrasing is not incidental - the situationists did not necessarily want to offer a clear prescription for how to read their message. Rather, they sought to force viewers to grapple with the detourned artifacts and, hopefully, to derive from those artifacts meanings or responses of their own.
(emphasis mine)

Debord thought that a detournment, a subversive modification of an existing meme, is "less effective the more it approaches a rational reply." To engage in a conversation with the mainstream is only inviting your own subversion. Debord himself tried to avoid becoming the charismatic figurehead for the Situationists. He wrote under pen names, avoided public attention, and lived in obscurity. He did not want his face on Che Guevara style T-shirts. He did not want to be a reactionary - doing so only reinforces one's subordinate role.  A critique of culture must come as a distraction, not centered on the original.

The Discordians might characterize this as a push for "creative disorder" over "destructive disorder". Nonsense is not an attempt to overthrow the establishment through resistance, it is an pointer to of some of the last authentic experiences which cannot be subverted.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 27, 2009, 03:40:27 pm
I agree with what you're saying.

But the kind of people I (and possibly others, but I speak only of myself) rail against are the ones who spout nonsense not as a pointer to an authentic experience, but as just a blind knee jerk reaction as the middle-class rich kid who suddenly starts wearing ripped jeans and flannel because he picked up a Silverchair CD.

That is to say, the use of nonsense as a signifier, a way to call attention to themselves as Outlandish and Interesting... A way of labelling themselves, an act no different than Boxxy's black nail polish.

Because to use nonsense in such a casual and self-identifying way dilutes the power of nonsense.  Rather than sticking in the brain like a piece of jagged glass, the nonsense becomes background noise.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 27, 2009, 03:59:34 pm
But the kind of people I (and possibly others, but I speak only of myself) rail against are the ones who spout nonsense not as a pointer to an authentic experience, but as just a blind knee jerk reaction as the middle-class rich kid who suddenly starts wearing ripped jeans and flannel because he picked up a Silverchair CD.

That is to say, the use of nonsense as a signifier, a way to call attention to themselves as Outlandish and Interesting... A way of labelling themselves, an act no different than Boxxy's black nail polish.

firm evidence that Debord and Duchamp's weapons have, in fact, been subverted.

That kid with ripped jeans is hardly to blame though.. he's trying to find the authentic experience too.  and once he realizes that Grunge is a certain type of commercial uniform he'll find the authentic somewhere else.

I've never seen people on this board rally against nonsense in itself - just "bad" nonsense. The kind which you're describing isn't playful, it's forced. It's not challenging, it's actually quite simple.

One way of conceptualizing it might be --- I like nonsense as a means, not as an end      ...?


on a personal note-

Personally, I'm obsessed with nonsense. Nonsense tickles me because it's, at its core, not something which can be contained or discussed within a classroom setting. Your relation-to and understanding-of nonsense is inherently subjective, not academic. None of those nonsense words in the Jabberwocky mean anything... and yet you still get a mental picture of the Jabberwocky, the Brillig Day, the Vorpral Sword. A unique mental picture. That's not exactly subversive, but I find it beautiful.



so I guess my conclusion is:

                  not all nonsense is crap


sounds kind of dumb right?  :p  let's try that as a SI-style slogan:


                   Absurdity is the step-mother of intervention.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 27, 2009, 04:14:46 pm
As a 20+ year fan of Monty Python, I am a huge proponent of non-sequitors and absurdity.  As a fan of Free Jazz and John Cage, I understand the Art of the Random. 

I do see value in nonsense.  But like the Chao, there needs to be balance.  Nonsense stuck in the middle of nonsense has very little value.  Nonsense stuck in the middle of Order can be exceedingly disarming.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 27, 2009, 04:26:44 pm
 :cheers:
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Telarus on May 27, 2009, 04:27:40 pm
Good rant, I like it.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: fomenter on May 27, 2009, 04:32:44 pm
i like it to, your rant about nonsenses makes a lot of sense
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: P3nT4gR4m on May 27, 2009, 04:32:59 pm
Nonsense is dead. Just like punk and the hippy movement. It died the minute the consumer machine began feasting on it's corpse.

Either lead with something new or follow something old. There is no in-between.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 27, 2009, 04:33:09 pm
:cheers:

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v711/Marburger/drinkingsmily.gif)
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 27, 2009, 04:52:30 pm
Nonsense is dead. Just like punk and the hippy movement. It died the minute the consumer machine began feasting on it's corpse.

Either lead with something new or follow something old. There is no in-between.


The punk and hippie movements are not dead, they are recontextualized into consumerism. To characterize them as "dead movements" seems to identify that movement's "life" with its countercultural weight.

The argument put forth by Christine Harold in Ourspace is that it's a false dichotomy. "Coolness", and "the revolution" is produced by a commercial need - the need for an authentic experience which is not contained by the establishment. In doing so, all counterculture ultimately serves the establishment.

Quote
In their book Nation of Rebels, philosophers Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter go to great lengths to dispel as myth the notion of an unbranded, utopian space populated by countercultural outliers... [They] argue that rather than offering an alternative to rampant consumerism, countercultural "rebellion" is actually the engine that drives the competitive consumption on which neoliberal capitalism thrives. Contemporary culture, according to Heath and Potter, does not lack choice, or simply offer a mass-produced conformity masquerading as choice. Instead, our love of all things "alternative", "indie", and "authentic" produces "cool" assets (like MySpace), which capitalists like Rupert Murdoch want desperately to add to their holdings. Hence, for Heath and Potter, "Countercultural rebellion is not just unhelpful, it is positively counterproductive."


So the point then is not
          whether or not absurdity is effective in fighting the Man.

Absurdity is powerful is because it is one of the few tools not easily manipulated by the forces of commercialism.


Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 27, 2009, 04:56:06 pm
Thought: would it be useful to distinguish between semantic nonsense and holistic nonsense?
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 27, 2009, 04:57:31 pm
Perhaps.  Could you expand on those concepts?
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 27, 2009, 05:04:09 pm
Perhaps.  Could you expand on those concepts?

Semantic nonsense = attempts at nonsense through the use of, for want of a less pejorative term, gibberish.  Due to the most basic level of communication being intentionally mish-mashed, subverted or undermined, it is nearly incomprehensible on every level but also, as a consequence, usually far less interesting.

Holistic nonsense = attempts at nonsense by juxtaposing it, contrasting it with or implying it through various "normal" or otherwise expected and traditional methods of representation.  For instance, your mention on Monty Python.  The nonsense is used to introduce ambiguity or absurdity into an otherwise intelligible or reasonably easily communicated piece.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 27, 2009, 05:09:07 pm
I think I can go with that, with a few exceptions, e.g. Carroll/Burroughs/Joyce et al, who use semantics and language in extremely non-traditional ways for a specific intended effect.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 27, 2009, 05:09:08 pm
Also, I feel the need to put together a "Neo-Situationist pack" coming on...

Though I still need to read that book, Ourspace.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cainad (dec.) on May 27, 2009, 05:10:18 pm
This was a great read; it synced up perfectly with the caffeine hitting my bloodstream.

And the rest of the thread is good reading, too.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Richter on May 27, 2009, 05:12:01 pm
I'd say myself that no movement is dead, but commercialism puts them to sleep for awhile.  The difference between authentic and commercial experience, in my own eyes, is the difference between living the ideal and living the image.  Take the occasional resurgence of hippies.  You STILL see hippies around, some folks, by default, just ACT that way, or enjoy living in an easygoing, casual and caring manner that extends to homemade clothes, hair, and sandals.  Some folks just fall in love with the image, throw themselves into that image, and never quite get the ideal down.  When enough people throw themselves at the image enough, the comericalism flares up again until it looses its luster to the image - concerened, and they go elsewhere.  (William Gibson mentioned this sort of cycle in Neuromancer with the "Panther Modern" group, and how it mimiced older subculture ideals.)  
We've seen it happen with punk, goth, emo, scene, and countless other flash - in the pan aesthtics.
We're seeing it happen with steampunk, but I've still found some real fun with folks wo are sincere about their interest in it.

Great rant though, really captures allot of good thoughts about the workings of subcultures, sold vs. made experiences, and how the nonsense plays in.  
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 27, 2009, 05:17:37 pm
I think I can go with that, with a few exceptions, e.g. Carroll/Burroughs/Joyce et al, who use semantics and language in extremely non-traditional ways for a specific intended effect.

In what sense though?  I would have to disagree with Joyce - the level of multiple meanings and associations interwoven into his works (also the fact he wrote books) suggests exactly the sort of ambiguity I would consider belonging to the holistic side of things.  Burroughs too, since when while you consider something like Naked Lunch as non-linear, there are segments which alone do make sense, just not necessarily as part of a larger whole.

Of course, I came up with this classification off the top of my head, so take from that what you will.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: AFK on May 27, 2009, 05:28:47 pm
My connection with this is through my experience as a musician.  Especially when Cram talks about the authentic experience.  All of my most fulfilling experiences, as a musician, have been the many, many performances with the improv group I used to be a member of.  Each rehearsal, each concert, each performance was individual and tapped into something that would never be tapped into again.  To an outsider, it probably did seem like a mash of sounds, noises, and notes.  But each piece was responding to another piece in a very fluid way.  It was like there was this conveyer belt of notes and rhythms above us and we were each dipping into it, and then sharing the bounty. 

It was random, yet, not.  I like the distinctions Cain made and they make sense to me.  If my band had operated as everyone just playing what they wanted, irrespective of what another person was playing, I think that would've made us semantic nonsense.  I can, however, recognize how this can be different to the observer.  Because the observer isn't in the thick of it.  They aren't within the experience and don't access the same energies and emotions and thought processes.  They can't appreciate why the banjo is playing the way it is playing.  It seems like random, maniacal strums when it is really a response to what is coming from the theremin. 

And I don't think commercialism can ever totally squash that spirit.  It may be that the artist needs to find new ways to rise above the plastic and the bling noise.  But maybe that's not a bad challenge to have. 
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Richter on May 27, 2009, 05:29:03 pm
I think I can go with that, with a few exceptions, e.g. Carroll/Burroughs/Joyce et al, who use semantics and language in extremely non-traditional ways for a specific intended effect.

In what sense though?  I would have to disagree with Joyce - the level of multiple meanings and associations interwoven into his works (also the fact he wrote books) suggests exactly the sort of ambiguity I would consider belonging to the holistic side of things.  Burroughs too, since when while you consider something like Naked Lunch as non-linear, there are segments which alone do make sense, just not necessarily as part of a larger whole.

Of course, I came up with this classification off the top of my head, so take from that what you will.

I think this all kind of goes back to the original "point for the nonsense".  If it's done well, whether in art or literature, it has a certain aesthetic appeal which makes itself apparent.  "Jabberwocky" being a prime example, you can say it makes no sense, but it does it WELL.  "Naked Lunch", even I heard about by word of mouth because people found it such an interesting read.  

Contrast to Cram's examples of modern art, which have a point that's so obscure, or content that's so nonexistant that people have to be TOLD what it represents, or why they should like it.  (aka: why it's "cool" and they should buy it.)
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 27, 2009, 05:30:27 pm
Though I still need to read that book, Ourspace.

I am realllly enjoying it. Because I'd just finished reading Kalle Lasn's "Culture Jam" and it made me very profoundly angry.

Lasn wants to detach people from their obsession with brands, but he does so by creating his own "anti-brand" brand.

His rhetoric is primarily reactionary, responding to the evils of culture. His message is "stop being a consumer", but he offers no alternative. It comes off as self-righteous, condescending. He makes many excellent points, but ultimately he assumes the masses cannot choose what is best for themselves. His stated mission is to bring "the factory of images to a sudden, shuddering halt".. something he is incapable of doing because all his rhetoric is centered on subverting or destroying commercialism. In doing so he is hopelessly engaged with it, focused on it, feeding it. He's only a negation, not a new platform for us to jump onto.

And what's worse, he sees Culture Jamming as this tool for revolution, and totally neglects it as a source of fun and entertainment in of itself. I think his movement would be much better if they presented Culture Jamming as a fun way to escape the commercial headspace, not as a serious challenge to commercialism.



edit to add:

to sum it up, one of the reasons I think Ourspace is so good is because it takes a really critical look at Lasn and his army. Harold's critique of Lasn's work hits the nail on the head very squarely for me.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 27, 2009, 05:31:47 pm
I think I can go with that, with a few exceptions, e.g. Carroll/Burroughs/Joyce et al, who use semantics and language in extremely non-traditional ways for a specific intended effect.

In what sense though?  I would have to disagree with Joyce - the level of multiple meanings and associations interwoven into his works (also the fact he wrote books) suggests exactly the sort of ambiguity I would consider belonging to the holistic side of things.  Burroughs too, since when while you consider something like Naked Lunch as non-linear, there are segments which alone do make sense, just not necessarily as part of a larger whole.

Of course, I came up with this classification off the top of my head, so take from that what you will.

I think I get you -- in those instances, there is still an interplay between coherence and incoherence, or seeming incoherence (Joyce)... Even Carroll's Jabberwocky only used a few nonsense words nestled into the poem, and he also followed the implied grammar closely.

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
all mimsy were the borogoves
and the mome raths outgrabe.

it was ADJ, and the ADJ NOUN
did VERB and VERB in the NOUN.
all ADJ were the NOUNS
and the ADJ NOUN VERB.


Plus, he then breaks off into a coherent narrative, with only a few NOUNS added for fun.  Imagine this, instead:

whiddle op garlin dyuk banneit
frannet lomagidanazip bokka
shpaninal gradinuva tropschtup.

Not so much.

Point being, yeah.  The holistic nonsense seems to be contextually based.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 27, 2009, 05:35:11 pm
I think I can go with that, with a few exceptions, e.g. Carroll/Burroughs/Joyce et al, who use semantics and language in extremely non-traditional ways for a specific intended effect.

In what sense though?  I would have to disagree with Joyce - the level of multiple meanings and associations interwoven into his works (also the fact he wrote books) suggests exactly the sort of ambiguity I would consider belonging to the holistic side of things.  Burroughs too, since when while you consider something like Naked Lunch as non-linear, there are segments which alone do make sense, just not necessarily as part of a larger whole.

Of course, I came up with this classification off the top of my head, so take from that what you will.

I think I get you -- in those instances, there is still an interplay between coherence and incoherence, or seeming incoherence (Joyce)... Even Carroll's Jabberwocky only used a few nonsense words nestled into the poem, and he also followed the implied grammar closely.

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
all mimsy were the borogoves
and the mome raths outgrabe.

it was ADJ, and the ADJ NOUN
did VERB and VERB in the NOUN.
all ADJ were the NOUNS
and the ADJ NOUN VERB.


Plus, he then breaks off into a coherent narrative, with only a few NOUNS added for fun.  Imagine this, instead:

whiddle op garlin dyuk banneit
frannet lomagidanazip bokka
shpaninal gradinuva tropschtup.

Not so much.

Point being, yeah.  The holistic nonsense seems to be contextually based.

Yeah, its part of a larger whole, in which there are both pieces of sense and nonsense.  If you will, nonsense perhaps only really works when contrasted or integrated with sense.  Otherwise it becomes white noise. 
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 27, 2009, 05:37:24 pm
Or as I like to use the offical term, "lihvbrs".
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 27, 2009, 05:37:57 pm
Though I still need to read that book, Ourspace.

I am realllly enjoying it. Because I'd just finished reading Kalle Lasn's "Culture Jam" and it made me very profoundly angry.

Lasn wants to detach people from their obsession with brands, but he does so by creating his own "anti-brand" brand.

His rhetoric is primarily reactionary, responding to the evils of culture. His message is "stop being a consumer", but he offers no alternative. It comes off as self-righteous, condescending. He makes many excellent points, but ultimately he assumes the masses cannot choose what is best for themselves. His stated mission is to bring "the factory of images to a sudden, shuddering halt".. something he is incapable of doing because all his rhetoric is centered on subverting or destroying commercialism. In doing so he is hopelessly engaged with it, focused on it, feeding it. He's only a negation, not a new platform for us to jump onto.

And what's worse, he sees Culture Jamming as this tool for revolution, and totally neglects it as a source of fun and entertainment in of itself. I think his movement would be much better if they presented Culture Jamming as a fun way to escape the commercial headspace, not as a serious challenge to commercialism.



edit to add:

to sum it up, one of the reasons I think Ourspace is so good is because it takes a really critical look at Lasn and his army. Harold's critique of Lasn's work hits the nail on the head very squarely for me.

I know Mark Dery (the man who invented the term "culture-jamming") isn't exactly his biggest fan either.

Have you considered re-looking at the Chaos Marxist stuff, by the way?  As I understand it, one of the things Doloras is interested in is trying to build on the Situationist International, using memetic theory (and various pieces of metatheory from Caroll, Hine et all) to try and fine tune their assault against popular culture.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 27, 2009, 05:48:46 pm
For some reason I'm reminded of this semantic game I used to play while in altered states...  hard to explain

basically, as you're talking to someone that doesn't know about the game, you go on an unrelated tangent. But you never get to the conclusion of the tangent which is only vaguely related to the original point. Before the "meaning" comes through, you digress onto another unrelated tangent. You answer any questions by following up with metaphorical examples which are also only vaguely related. Your victim will be confused, unable to process the rapid stream of information. The point is to bring him to the point where he understands the rules of the game and can respond in turn.

Target: "So you're saying that nobody was ever buried inside a pyramid? I think that's incorrect."

Game Player: "Well you're partially right. People were buried physically, but the egyptian concept of the spirit is a bit harder to pin down. Remember this came long before Descart conceptualized that mind/body duality. I mean, think of humming birds... there's an image in your head, but that's not a humming bird, right? It's a thought about a humming bird."

basically you use fragments of actual discussions to assemble something less-than-coherent.

The target, trying to make sense of this torrent of vaguely related information, can get overwhelmed while trying to make all the connections.

Game player: "That was basically the topic of Magritte's art. That we can never really know the real thing, we can only know representations of it. And in doing so we lose track of the human soul, which doesn't exist in such either/or terms. So for the Egyptians to bury their dead, they first had to understand the context of death: intangible representation and lack thereof."

when played well, this is hilarious. It's amazing how much your tone of voice influences the perception of what you're saying. Everything has to come out in a torrent of exasperated words, never giving the target time to process any of the nuances, just to feel the broad shape of what you're saying.

I've rarely laughed so hard as when one of my targets turned it around on me.

"Wait," he said, "you're basically saying that the universe is eons old, but has a definite mass. That doesn't line up."

"How do you mean," I asked.

"Well an eon has an exact atomic weight, if you think about it in physical terms."

"I don't understand," I asked, then as it dawned on me that he had finally gotten it, and engaged my rational mind in nonsense, I began laughing so hard I fell over.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 27, 2009, 05:54:38 pm
Back in college, my friends and I used to call it "riffing": we'd start saying almost plasuible things that were only tangentially related to the original point, and then someone would bounce off of that, and so on.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 27, 2009, 05:57:11 pm
I know Mark Dery (the man who invented the term "culture-jamming") isn't exactly his biggest fan either.

You're thinking of our pal Mark Hosler, of Negativland. You'll remember him as a guest teacher for that Pranks class a few of us took at MaybeLogic. (I met Mark at the H.O.P.E. convention last year, and he shared my low opinion of that class)

"[Hosler] tends to resist the label for his group's film and music collages of copyrighted material. "I don't want to be a member of any 'culture jamming club', he said, referring to what he sees as Adbusters' degradation of the strategy to yet another countercultural trend.

Quote
Have you considered re-looking at the Chaos Marxist stuff, by the way?  As I understand it, one of the things Doloras is interested in is trying to build on the Situationist International, using memetic theory (and various pieces of metatheory from Caroll, Hine et all) to try and fine tune their assault against popular culture.

actually haven't read too much of it. I'll have to take another peek...
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 27, 2009, 06:05:18 pm
I know Mark Dery (the man who invented the term "culture-jamming") isn't exactly his biggest fan either.

You're thinking of our pal Mark Hosler, of Negativland. You'll remember him as a guest teacher for that Pranks class a few of us took at MaybeLogic. (I met Mark at the H.O.P.E. convention last year, and he shared my low opinion of that class)

"[Hosler] tends to resist the label for his group's film and music collages of copyrighted material. "I don't want to be a member of any 'culture jamming club', he said, referring to what he sees as Adbusters' degradation of the strategy to yet another countercultural trend.

Quote
Have you considered re-looking at the Chaos Marxist stuff, by the way?  As I understand it, one of the things Doloras is interested in is trying to build on the Situationist International, using memetic theory (and various pieces of metatheory from Caroll, Hine et all) to try and fine tune their assault against popular culture.

actually haven't read too much of it. I'll have to take another peek...

No, I do remember Mark Hosler not being entirely impressed with him either (to put it mildly), but Dery also said “they’ve commodified the notion of anti-consumption — a delicious irony that seems entirely lost on them”, which is probably one of the milder criticisms put forward by him of Lasn.

Also here he goes into his problems with them much more in depth http://votedna.blogspot.com/2008/07/ship-of-fools.html
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 27, 2009, 06:06:35 pm
So, "I was culture jamming before it was cool"?
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 27, 2009, 06:10:58 pm
I love that both Dery and Hosler dislike Kalle Lasn  :p What I meant to say was that Hosler et al invented the term "Culture Jamming" (at Jamcon 84), not Dery. Dery popularized the term in his famous essay. Totally inconsequential quibble, sorry.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 27, 2009, 06:24:19 pm
I love that both Dery and Hosler dislike Kalle Lasn  :p What I meant to say was that Hosler et al invented the term "Culture Jamming" (at Jamcon 84), not Dery. Dery popularized the term in his famous essay. Totally inconsequential quibble, sorry.

Thats cool.  I just wasn't sure if you were saying that (there does seem to be some disagreement or confusion as to who invented the term, but that's what you get for relying on The Masses) or that I was confusing Dery for Hosler.

Also (because I posted that literally a second before I hopped into the shower, as it had suddenly started running hot - THANKS PLUMBING) the CM passage in particular (http://chaosmarxism.blogspot.com/2009/03/games-and-economic-behaviour.html) I was thinking of was:

Quote
We should be aware that our enemies know all this stuff and are putting it into practice already. The Israeli army, for example, trains in the works of Foucault and Deleuze to think up strategies to not only defeat the Palestinian nation militarily, but to disrupt it on the memetic/social level and render its members docile and obedient. The main problem with "radical" politics, as we know it today in the West (i.e. small cliques of middle-class dropouts playing toy Bolshevik or pretend Emma Goldman), is that all the strategies in it stem from the Situationists at best, and the early 20th century at worst. Science has marched on here, guys. We need to be applying the most modern memetic theory - including CBT - to our political work.

[...]

We need to do more work on the idea that the "individual" is interpellated by consumer-capitalist society. To put it in CM lingo, the corporate infosphere is in the business of selling an identity. And having an identity is like having a job - if you don't have one you drop out of society altogether. Losing one's identity is even more terrible a prospect than losing one's job, and of course for many working people they're virtually the same thing.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: P3nT4gR4m on May 27, 2009, 11:17:35 pm
Nonsense is dead. Just like punk and the hippy movement. It died the minute the consumer machine began feasting on it's corpse.

Either lead with something new or follow something old. There is no in-between.


The punk and hippie movements are not dead, they are recontextualized into consumerism. To characterize them as "dead movements" seems to identify that movement's "life" with its countercultural weight.

The argument put forth by Christine Harold in Ourspace is that it's a false dichotomy. "Coolness", and "the revolution" is produced by a commercial need - the need for an authentic experience which is not contained by the establishment. In doing so, all counterculture ultimately serves the establishment.

Quote
In their book Nation of Rebels, philosophers Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter go to great lengths to dispel as myth the notion of an unbranded, utopian space populated by countercultural outliers... [They] argue that rather than offering an alternative to rampant consumerism, countercultural "rebellion" is actually the engine that drives the competitive consumption on which neoliberal capitalism thrives. Contemporary culture, according to Heath and Potter, does not lack choice, or simply offer a mass-produced conformity masquerading as choice. Instead, our love of all things "alternative", "indie", and "authentic" produces "cool" assets (like MySpace), which capitalists like Rupert Murdoch want desperately to add to their holdings. Hence, for Heath and Potter, "Countercultural rebellion is not just unhelpful, it is positively counterproductive."


So the point then is not
          whether or not absurdity is effective in fighting the Man.

Absurdity is powerful is because it is one of the few tools not easily manipulated by the forces of commercialism.




What I was getting at was the product lifecycle - counterculture leads. It leads to product. At that stage it ceases to be innovative or, to be more precise, it generally ceases to be as innovative. Once the product lifecycle has dragged it through the mill from "in-crowd" early adopters to bargain basement - yesterdays news, I would class the movement as dead (me and the marketting men, both)

Absurdism has been done. Post war underground revolution was strictly counterculture. Python and their ilk introduced it to the early adopters and it shot into the mainstream like a fucking torpedo, blowing up everything in it's path. The point where I'd have planted it's gravestone was when the Crazy Frog tune got in the charts. Nowadays you can't give that shit away.

Time for something new.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Jenne on May 28, 2009, 02:43:13 am
Awesome thread, Guys.  Cram, brilliant OP, and the comments here are golden.

Nonsense seems to have a bullshit test that makes the (to borrow from Cain) "holistic" part of it what's salient and therefore gives it some oomph or momentum within whatever target or audience it has.  The lack of this salience is what in general sets off the bullshit meter.  LMNO's example of "Jabberwocky" is so apt, it's awesome.  (only poem I know in its entireity, more's the pity)

I do believe the routinization of our brains, and what makes that routinization so attractive to them, is what makes the saliency so important for nonsense to be effective.  "Radomness" seems to be the "hawt" item of the nowaday, and I can't say that most things that seem "random" are actually thus.  In fact, the well-read consumer (and for an American, that's just someone who pays attention to our bullshit news programs and maybe a few fringe ones) will never view anything produced by anyone as random every again.  The focus-group-statisticianized-pollster-generated-figures-charts-and-percentages neo-neo-post-post-modern age seems to have created a nonentity in randomness.

But that people can recognize randomness, and not see it as 1) the Devil 2) God 3) another deity 4) their neighbor (eh, this one is still being worked through) but rather a pattern in the universe or something imposed on them by a big corporation is a large step into figuring out how we can be manipulated.

So this idea of a salient or recognized nonsense that shocks you out of your normal routinization becomes more important and actually I think less irrelevant, especially when you think where memology in the internet, the "big brother is being watched" phenomenon of the video cell phone + YouTube access, and all other bottom-up ways of introducing the Dadaist, formerly-left-field but now rather kitchy field of WTF? might lead to.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 28, 2009, 01:18:04 pm
Absurdism has been done. Post war underground revolution was strictly counterculture. Python and their ilk introduced it to the early adopters and it shot into the mainstream like a fucking torpedo, blowing up everything in it's path. The point where I'd have planted it's gravestone was when the Crazy Frog tune got in the charts. Nowadays you can't give that shit away.

Time for something new.

I both agree and disagree.  The absurdism of Python has been adopted and packaged, but all that means is that "a fish" is no longer an odd enough answer.

Incoherence is and unexpected juxtaposition is still effective though.  Example:




















(http://unclegropey.com/adpuppy.jpg)
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: P3nT4gR4m on May 28, 2009, 01:50:18 pm

Incoherence is and unexpected juxtaposition is still effective though.


Agreed. It's how zen koans work. Basic psychological premise. I'm reminded of a quote I saw on a book once - "Clive Barker dislocates your mind".

Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 28, 2009, 01:51:47 pm
So, Absurdism may have been commodified, but Absurdity is still alive and well.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 28, 2009, 02:14:34 pm
well said

also:

There is a difference between absurd and arbitrary.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 28, 2009, 02:16:46 pm
Also:  Just because it's random, doesn't mean it's interesting.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: P3nT4gR4m on May 28, 2009, 02:44:22 pm
So, Absurdism may have been commodified, but Absurdity is still alive and well.

My point being that yes you can be absurd and yes this will be effective but you are no longer able to create a movement based on it due to the fact that it's been done, diluted and sunk. And forget revivals - they are almost always commercially driven.

Your new movement may harness the artform of absurdity to it's own end but the marketplace will no longer respond to absurdity for it's own sake.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on May 28, 2009, 03:33:07 pm
Fuck a movement

just  have fun
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: P3nT4gR4m on May 28, 2009, 03:45:24 pm
What could be more fun than herding people?
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cainad (dec.) on May 28, 2009, 03:46:11 pm
What could be more fun than herding people?

Making a fuckton of money from it?
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on May 28, 2009, 03:48:10 pm
What could be more fun than herding people?

Not dealing with people.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: MMIX on May 28, 2009, 03:48:46 pm

 farming people - its just about as pointless and has a slightly better cash return
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on May 28, 2009, 04:01:12 pm
Fuck a movement

just  have fun

:mittens: (To this comment and the whole thread)

 For me, absurdity is fun. Poking people in the head is fun. I loved absurdity before I knew about Eris or the Golden Apple or the PD. As far as I can tell, She What Done It All, just gave me yet another reason to be absurd.

Besides, why start a movement? Every other fucking movement has been compromised... every time you haul a bunch of monkeys along for the ride, they'll try to drive. It seems far better to me, to enjoy memes, and absurdity and silliness and puns and mindfucks and jakes and all the other games of order and disorder. IF they collide with the right shrapnel from other memes, then maybe a movement will happen (and that would be cool)... IF they don't, then I'll still have fun ordering and disordering things until my day at the circus is over (and that would be cool too).

Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 28, 2009, 04:09:33 pm
for context, the discussion was originally about subversive uses of absurdity / nonsense

Kerry Thornley's quote (in the OP) highlights some of the problems with naming yourself as a Movement. According to that manifesto, many of the people in his subculture thought it was over as soon as the magazines declared them the Hippie Movement.

BUT

subverting the dominant paradigm generally only works as a group effort! One lone weirdo is too small scale to change big things. She cannot generate consensus on hre own. Unless she gets really lucky or has access to really great resources. So to be effectively subversive you do need to coordinate your efforts with others, dontcha think?

I mean, we can't take that "we must stick apart" command too literally, it'll hamstring genuine efforts at coordination.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cainad (dec.) on May 28, 2009, 04:16:02 pm
I mean, we can't take that "we must stick apart" command too literally, it'll hamstring genuine efforts at coordination.

(http://www.trainfortopdollar.com/trainfortopdollar/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/canofworms1.jpg)

 :lulz: :lulz:
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on May 28, 2009, 04:19:14 pm
for context, the discussion was originally about subversive uses of absurdity / nonsense

Kerry Thornley's quote (in the OP) highlights some of the problems with naming yourself as a Movement. According to that manifesto, many of the people in his subculture thought it was over as soon as the magazines declared them the Hippie Movement.

BUT

subverting the dominant paradigm generally only works as a group effort! One lone weirdo is too small scale to change big things. She cannot generate consensus on hre own. Unless she gets really lucky or has access to really great resources. So to be effectively subversive you do need to coordinate your efforts with others, dontcha think?

I mean, we can't take that "we must stick apart" command too literally, it'll hamstring genuine efforts at coordination.

Concerted mindfuckery does not a movement make, though.

A bunch of people picking up on a meme and utilizing it may or may not qualify as a "movement". I, personally, would rather what I do not, because as soon as it's identifiable as a "movement" it loses its ability to surprise. If anything, it should only be identifiable after the fact... preferably decades after.

On the other hand, people labeling something as a "movement" and pronouncing it dead can work to the advantage of the dedicated little-a absurdist. For instance, the Discordian movement was recognized a generation after its inception, and assumed by pretty much everyone to be dead and mildewy. In another 30 years, maybe what PD spags are doing will be identified as part of the original Discordian movement or perhaps as a second Discordian movement, and that's fine as long as everyone assumes we're not doing anything interesting or influential right now.

I don't like to be looked at when I'm laughing.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 28, 2009, 04:45:19 pm
anyway, back on topic:

I like Cain's distinction between Semantic nonsense and Holistic nonsense.


What I find amusing about it is that we're basically trying to make a finer cut between "good noise" and "bad noise". It's a classic signal:noise detection problem.

In this case we're identifying the Signal as nonsense embedded in sense. ("Did you hear that the New York Times is running for reelection?")

And Noise as nonsense which doesn't rely on its context. ("Fribble on sale; two snakes per lugnut!")

   what's funny to me is that to the untrained ear, it's all noise.




To me, the "humorous" part of nonsense is when it's surprising. (possible example (http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php?topic=8917.msg435306#msg435306)) Your mind was going down a rational path, and then something unexpected happens, and that makes you laugh.

I've been writing the word GOAT all over my apartment building in bright green chalk. I must have hidden 20 goats at this point. It just cracks me up so hard to envision some old woman wondering why the hell someone wrote the word GOAT on the ceiling of the elevator. It's not easy to explain - nothing is being communicated, and it's probably not a graffiti tag.

Some Ethnomethodologists  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnomethodology#Some_leading_policies.2C_methods_and_definitions)(sort of like a variant of sociologists) use Breaching Experiments to reveal hidden rules and expectations of social-reality. The theory is that a violation of expected reality produces a breach, a gap in reality that must be quickly patched by an explanation. In this way, nonsense like this is perhaps a way to explore these norms.

Quote
Breaching experiment: A method for revealing, or exposing, the common work that is performed by members of particular social groups in maintaining a clearly recognizable and shared social order. An extreme example: driving the wrong way down a busy one-way street can reveal myriads of useful insights into the patterned social practices, and moral order, of the community of automobile drivers ... and police. The point of such an exercise is to demonstrate that gaining insight into the work involved in maintaining any given social order can often, best be revealed by breaching that social order and observing the results of that breach - especially those activities related to the reassembly of that social order, and the normalization of that social setting


Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: LMNO on May 28, 2009, 04:53:26 pm
It might be an interesting Idea to bring the Breaching Experiment concept to the O:M for Mad Scientists thread.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: AFK on May 28, 2009, 05:09:52 pm
To me, the "humorous" part of nonsense is when it's surprising. (possible example (http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php?topic=8917.msg435306#msg435306)) Your mind was going down a rational path, and then something unexpected happens, and that makes you laugh.

There is this episode of MST3K I am reminded of.  I think it is the one featuring The Pod People.  Anyway, there is this part in the show/movie where Crow is repeating the name "McCloud" over and over again.  I don't know why, but it cracked me up.  I really had no reference point, I have no idea of what the connection between "McCloud" and that particular part of the movie was, and I'm sure there probably one was, but I was laughing like an idiot during that part.  I have a little smile on my face now just thinking about it. 
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: fomenter on May 28, 2009, 05:26:49 pm
 :lulz: at your possible example, i had to explain the hidden meaning in a song for a high school English project, and that is the song i did ... yours is better than mine...
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on May 28, 2009, 07:36:33 pm
for context, the discussion was originally about subversive uses of absurdity / nonsense

Kerry Thornley's quote (in the OP) highlights some of the problems with naming yourself as a Movement. According to that manifesto, many of the people in his subculture thought it was over as soon as the magazines declared them the Hippie Movement.

BUT

subverting the dominant paradigm generally only works as a group effort! One lone weirdo is too small scale to change big things. She cannot generate consensus on hre own. Unless she gets really lucky or has access to really great resources. So to be effectively subversive you do need to coordinate your efforts with others, dontcha think?

I mean, we can't take that "we must stick apart" command too literally, it'll hamstring genuine efforts at coordination.

Well, I see a difference between group actions and a movement. The Great Googlie Mooglie Cabal has, on a number of occasions pulled off nonsense as a group and they are successful (in some sense). HOWEVER, and this is where I see the distinction, there is not a recruitment goal... there isn't a "We did this and if you join us you can too!" aspect. We simply do it.  Now, once done, I have found that we end up with more friends wanting in on the fun... but not because we're making a movement, but rather because we're DOING SOMETHING FUN... and they want to as well.

I think my aversion to movements, tend to be tied to my aversion to evangelism in any form. One of those damned bars in my BiP, eh?

It does not feel good, to leave a 'movement' because you decide its wrong and bad... only to realize that the dozen or so people you convinced to join the movement are still stuck in it and now regard you as apostate. I 'studied' (converted) a young family once, about 6 years before I left the JW's. Recently, I found out that one of their kids went to the hospital and nearly died, while the doctors were trying to find someone to work on him without the use of blood transfusions. If he had died, I think, in some sense, I would have felt responsible.

So, I suppose my perception of any movement has been colored by those experiences. I re-read Little Brother a couple weeks ago and it kinda reinforced that concept... M1k3y started xnet with the idea that he was doing right/good and in some sense he was. However, he also ended up enticing/encouraging/inspiring very silly young kids to do very stupid things and they got caught. Since it was a story, M1k3y ended up saving the day and was a hero... so it was justifiable in the end. If, however, the story hadn't ended with his heroic WIN... would the 'movement' have been worth the lives and freedom of all those kids?

Discordian pranks I pull seem unlikely to reach the levels of 'interest' Little Brother did. If they do, however, I'd just as soon it be a prank I was pulling alone or with a group of people that knew the risks and what they were getting into. If it were part of a 'movement', who knows how many kids might take the risk without realizing it?

Maybe that's a poor way to look at it, I don't know. Maybe I should assume everyone is responsible for themselves and let it go at that. But, I still have trouble doing that with the past, maybe I'm just not ready to do it again....

Cram it, Damnulus! Stop making me reflect on this sort of thing!

Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: N E T on May 28, 2009, 08:59:07 pm
Great thought provoking thread.

I don't have time to properly compose my reactions to it at the moment, but the gist of it is this:

We all have an idea of when language is more nonsensical or making sense, but is this division anything more than reiteration of the BIP?

In other words, isn't nonsense something you just don't understand (whether by unconsciously deflecting something or out of sheer ignorance), and sense is where it fits with your worldview?

What specific social, psychological and biological criteria are primarily at play when things get classified as sense or nonsense?
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on May 28, 2009, 09:19:20 pm
Great thought provoking thread.

I don't have time to properly compose my reactions to it at the moment, but the gist of it is this:

We all have an idea of when language is more nonsensical or making sense, but is this division anything more than reiteration of the BIP?

In other words, isn't nonsense something you just don't understand (whether by unconsciously deflecting something or out of sheer ignorance), and sense is where it fits with your worldview?

What specific social, psychological and biological criteria are primarily at play when things get classified as sense or nonsense?

Excellent point, Net.

That one line from Mal-2 was one of the first that really poked me hard:
Quote
If you can master nonsense as well as you have already learned to master sense, then each will expose the other for what it is: absurdity.

Or:
The words of the foolish and words of the wise,
are not far apart in Discordian eyes.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bu☆ns on May 28, 2009, 09:55:33 pm
In response to teh OP (i wanna read the rest of the thread when i'm not working.) Great rant.  Alan Watts once said something about nonsense...looking through the nets......ah here it is:

http://www.mediafire.com/?3uvue0ud0cu

He discusses the importance of nonsense and how the search for meaning is often misunderstood.  While not necessarily in the context of social change....i think Watts really hits the mark with the importance of nonsense in the context of the individual in relation with his self/environment.  If nonsense and social change are to go together, perhaps it should start with correcting any poorly understood conceptions of nonsense within the self/environment and proceed from there.

 I apologize if i'm totally blowing this thread off topic, but i'm only going by the OP and my initial reaction to it.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on May 29, 2009, 04:30:22 am
That is to say, the use of nonsense as a signifier, a way to call attention to themselves as Outlandish and Interesting... A way of labelling themselves, an act no different than Boxxy's black nail polish.

Because to use nonsense in such a casual and self-identifying way dilutes the power of nonsense.  Rather than sticking in the brain like a piece of jagged glass, the nonsense becomes background noise.

THISTHISTHISTHISTHISTHISTHISTHISTHISTHISTHISTHIST HISTHISTHISTHIS

Someone finally articulated what makes me so fucking disgusted with that shit.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: East Coast Hustle on May 29, 2009, 06:17:45 am
Kalle Lasn is the Bono of counterculture.

also, :mittens: to this whole thread, especially Cram's OP and Cain's coinage of the phrase "holistic nonsense".
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Adios on May 29, 2009, 05:37:54 pm
Fuck a movement

just  have fun

THIS.
Once you start a movement you have become what you are trying to counter. A flower can still grow right next to a weed.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Prelate Diogenes Shandor on May 30, 2009, 02:44:26 am
The dadaists. Absurdism. Nonsense.

It is common to think of these things as meaningless, effete gestures at the rational order. Random nonsense is often decried as a masturbatory means of expression, satisfying the communicator but boring the communicatee. Many people have a similar distaste for "modern" art. "Anyone can draw a single dot on a canvas, how is that art?" In part, they are reacting with frustration at their inability to grasp the expression with their rational mind. In this essay I hope to illustrate the intent of much "meaningless" expression.

I don't think that you should lump "modern art" and dadaism together in that manner. Modern art generally takes little or no real effort to produce, whereas Dadaism, (as I understand it), entails a concerted effort to be as bad as possible.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Verbal Mike on May 30, 2009, 01:08:42 pm
About the different kinds of nonsense language, here's how I would differentiate between Jabberwocky stuff and total nonsense: the Jabberwocky poem is basically English with non-existent lexical items (~"words"). It conforms to basically all rules of English, except for a few very soft constraints on how words look ("brillig" is not how any English adjective should look, but it's close enough, and would work in almost any other Germanic language). The non-existent words are semantically empty, but they're only a minority of the semantic information in the language anyway - English encodes enormous amounts of information through word-order and the juxtaposition of words of different types with specific functional words, specifically particles such as "the", "and", "in", "he", which aren't lexical items but more like functions of sentence/proposition structure cast into sounds. So what you really get is semantically rich text with "holes" in it where the words -- which all could be English but are not actually associated with any meaning -- don't convey some of the exact details of what's going on. So the brain works through the context (the sound semantics which are available outside of the fake words, the real lexical items such as "sword" and "beware", and one's general background knowledge, including familiarity with similar mythical contexts) and cobbles together a tentative explanation for what the poem is supposed to mean. The beautiful thing is that the actual information conveyed by "brillig" and "frumious" is really minimal, and these create holes where the reader creates far more meaning than the author. It makes parsing the text a far more engaging, interactive process than with semantically sound "real" English.

All of this does not apply as soon as you stop using the framework of natural language grammar. "Hjdi mlgrkta prkprktrr klaj ijhay munu-munu maak" could very well be a sentence in a natural language, but the amount of semantics you can encode when you aren't using a known language is entirely minimal. Certain sounds can be roughly associated with certain sensations and concepts (the word "tkakkrit" is probably likelier to refer to a pointy object than the word "molb") but compared to the preciseness of language this is negligible. As soon as you abandon the common constraints that a common language provides, you are no longer able to convey any meaningful amount of meaning/information, and the brain doesn't try to fill in the gaps when there's way more gaps than non-gaps -- unless it is convinced the gaps are part of a comprehensive learnable language, in which case it might try to learn the language, which for adults usually still requires conscious effort.

The relative effect of Jabberwocky-type nonsense is greater because it triggers the brain's interaction without calling for conscious effort.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 30, 2009, 01:47:28 pm
:mittens:

This is why its good to have a linguistics expert or two around.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cramulus on May 30, 2009, 02:49:37 pm
The dadaists. Absurdism. Nonsense.

It is common to think of these things as meaningless, effete gestures at the rational order. Random nonsense is often decried as a masturbatory means of expression, satisfying the communicator but boring the communicatee. Many people have a similar distaste for "modern" art. "Anyone can draw a single dot on a canvas, how is that art?" In part, they are reacting with frustration at their inability to grasp the expression with their rational mind. In this essay I hope to illustrate the intent of much "meaningless" expression.

I don't think that you should lump "modern art" and dadaism together in that manner. Modern art generally takes little or no real effort to produce, whereas Dadaism, (as I understand it), entails a concerted effort to be as bad as possible.

err, you know Dadaism is a form of "modern art", right?



a long long time ago art used to be entirely about skill. You were a good artist if you could paint realistic portraits or landscapes or whatever. The conceptual element was kind of minimal.

Many artistic movements are based on people coming up with a new way to conceive of something visually. Like the impressionists - that was the first time anybody tried to paint the "impression" of something. Largely, most artistic movements are in response to other artistic movements. The real story is invisible unless you understand the piece's context. Which means that most art isn't really meant to be understood by us chumps with no art history background.

In the 1930s, a cavalcade of renegades came along, including Marcel Duchamp and friends. They decided that the concept of the painting was more important than the technical skill involved in its production. By creating art that consisted of stuff like a single dot on a white canvas, they actually changed art. I think that's pretty impressive! Yes, it takes no technical skill to make a single dot, but they were saying that's not as important anymore. It's a new world.

It really irritated the art market, who was used to getting their pretty pastoral paintings to hang in the foyer and everybody thinks its lovely.

Mondrian (a "modern artist" whose paintings basically looks like lines and colored boxes) rejected symbolism entirely, trying to make paintings without even representing anything. Now you can look a a Mondrian painting and say "what a bunch of crap, any teenager could do that", but it's kind of missing the point. It's like criticizing ee cummings for not writing poetry in traditional rhyming lines and stanzas. It's not that he doesn't know how to capitalize. It's that he's intentionally breaking step from the last 2000 years of poetry.

Now, nobody can come along and make a single dot on a canvas and call it art again. Somebody already did that. You still have to be original to be an artist, although the current fad ("reappropriation") challenges the definition of originality.


that was kind of a tangent, and I'm sure I didn't do justice to the Dadaists. (like I said, I don't really have an art history background) But the point is that, critiquing the lack of technical skill involved in the production of "modern art" is missing the point.


Bringing it back to the topic, it only appears like nonsense if you're unaware of the piece's context.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 30, 2009, 03:39:53 pm
Contextual nonsense may also be a better name for holistic nonsense, since it more accurately reflects the point I was trying to get across, I believe.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cainad (dec.) on May 30, 2009, 03:47:21 pm
:mittens:

This is why its good to have a linguistics expert or two around.

2nd'ed.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Verbal Mike on May 30, 2009, 03:56:53 pm
Contextual nonsense may also be a better name for holistic nonsense, since it more accurately reflects the point I was trying to get across, I believe.
Can you give a quick recap/summary of the dichotomy you propose? I'm not sure I get it yet. Is it the same as the dichotomy I alluded to between nonsense in structure and nonsense sans structure?

(btw, forgot to say, this thread kicks ass)
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 30, 2009, 03:59:54 pm
Pretty much, yeah.  Its nonsense embedded within a wider structure of meaning or apparent sense.

Also, I thought, on another tangent, this might be of interest.  Raoul Vangiem's Revolution of Everyday Life (http://avaxhome.ws/ebooks/Politics_Sociology/rajivdkjashdkjs984793274ajdhakjDHKSJAHD39273981273987219.html).  The book is freely available elsewhere, but I thought since this was all nicely formatted and stuff, to bring it to your collective attention.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Roaring Biscuit! on May 30, 2009, 04:05:14 pm
Modern art generally takes little or no real effort to produce

Cram said it more eloquently than me but...  seriously?

Have you ever seen any modern art?  Do you realise what a painfully huge generalisation you have made?

anyways verbs post was awesome, as was the OP.

My thinkings:

I like absurdity, I especially like the stream-of-consciousness rants I occassionally throw into everyday conversation for comic effect.  I agree there is a limit to nonsense, that it is, at some point becomes pointless (just noise as someone else said).  But I suppose I subscribe more to the "Monty Python" camp, rather than using nonsense in words e.g.  Haflteryoup

I prefer the use of um..  suprise nonsense?

That is a situation that is nonsensical, not because we can't understand what is being said, but where what is being said is ridiculous nonsense, so a revelation of our reliance on "normality" in some sense.

rubbish e.g.

the cat sat on the mat

the mat sat on the cat... 'cause the mat's a badass...

or maybe the matt sat on the cat...

I hope that kinda makes sense...

x
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Verbal Mike on May 30, 2009, 04:12:43 pm
So holistic/contextual nonsense is the Jabberwocky kind of nonsense (possibly also the Duchamp kind?) and the "semantic" nonsense is the kind which really doesn't make sense?
I'm not sure the name "semantic nonsense" is accurate, because the very difference is that your semantics doesn't even know where to start with this kind. "Context-free" or "context-independent" nonsense might be a better term, because the difference is not the nonsense, but the context it is placed within. This would also fit in well with your proposed "contextual nonsense" (which is nonsense within context), and incidentally fall together with the Chomsky hierarchy for language types, which I haven't really understood but divides languages (not necessarily natural languages) into four types, or levels of potence, where one is called "context-sensitive" and one is called "context-free". (I would try to explain, but like I said, I don't get it.)
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bu☆ns on May 30, 2009, 04:20:57 pm
i didn't think jabberwocky was entirely nonsense though. Even some of the 'nonsense' words do have meaning beyond it's placement in the context.  The poem contained several portmanteau words.  According to Humpty Dumpty:

Quote
- Well, "SLITHY" means "lithe and slimy."  "Lithe"  is  the  same  as
"active." You see it's like a portmanteau - there are two meanings  packed
up into one word.

and

Quote
- Exactly so. Well, then, "MIMSY" is "flimsy and miserable"  (there's
another portmanteau for you).

As far as the portmanteau goes, i'd suggest that what makes it 'holistic nonsense' is that it's both nonsense AND meaningful.  I'd say it's even MORE meaningful due to there being 2 separate definitions condensed down into a seemingly nonsensical word.   I think as far as the brain filling the gap because it has enough information (at least with the portmanteau words) to gather the 'correct' meaning. 
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Cain on May 30, 2009, 04:21:54 pm
Well when I wrote it I had in mind exactly the sort of people who came on here and posted things like "Hjdi mlgrkta prkprktrr klaj ijhay munu-munu maak".

It was an easy phrase to grab at to get my point across.  With time, I can probably come up with a better one, though chances are I'll most likely stick with "context-free nonsense" or "white noise".
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Verbal Mike on May 30, 2009, 04:26:06 pm
True, burns, most of the "nonsense" in the poem isn't actual semantically empty nonsense words but reappropriations (misappropriations?) of existing words. (Not only through portmanteaus, also some words being used in the wrong category, like a noun being turned into an adverb... Too lazy to check for precise examples atm.)
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bu☆ns on May 30, 2009, 04:27:51 pm
i want to add that i think what might make nonsense of the annoying kind different from the more creative kind is that, like the portmanteau, there is a puzzle to try and decipher what is going on.  

Another example being the Codex Seraphinianus.  People have been trying to 'decipher' it forever but can't figure it out. (apparantly.)  I'm taking the easy way out and interpreting the whole bit as nonsense portrayed as if it's NOT nonsense.  This would be an example of people scrambling for meaning which might not even be there in the first place.  (i could be wrong about that though).
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Jenne on May 30, 2009, 05:44:01 pm
About the different kinds of nonsense language, here's how I would differentiate between Jabberwocky stuff and total nonsense: the Jabberwocky poem is basically English with non-existent lexical items (~"words"). It conforms to basically all rules of English, except for a few very soft constraints on how words look ("brillig" is not how any English adjective should look, but it's close enough, and would work in almost any other Germanic language). The non-existent words are semantically empty, but they're only a minority of the semantic information in the language anyway - English encodes enormous amounts of information through word-order and the juxtaposition of words of different types with specific functional words, specifically particles such as "the", "and", "in", "he", which aren't lexical items but more like functions of sentence/proposition structure cast into sounds. So what you really get is semantically rich text with "holes" in it where the words -- which all could be English but are not actually associated with any meaning -- don't convey some of the exact details of what's going on. So the brain works through the context (the sound semantics which are available outside of the fake words, the real lexical items such as "sword" and "beware", and one's general background knowledge, including familiarity with similar mythical contexts) and cobbles together a tentative explanation for what the poem is supposed to mean. The beautiful thing is that the actual information conveyed by "brillig" and "frumious" is really minimal, and these create holes where the reader creates far more meaning than the author. It makes parsing the text a far more engaging, interactive process than with semantically sound "real" English.

All of this does not apply as soon as you stop using the framework of natural language grammar. "Hjdi mlgrkta prkprktrr klaj ijhay munu-munu maak" could very well be a sentence in a natural language, but the amount of semantics you can encode when you aren't using a known language is entirely minimal. Certain sounds can be roughly associated with certain sensations and concepts (the word "tkakkrit" is probably likelier to refer to a pointy object than the word "molb") but compared to the preciseness of language this is negligible. As soon as you abandon the common constraints that a common language provides, you are no longer able to convey any meaningful amount of meaning/information, and the brain doesn't try to fill in the gaps when there's way more gaps than non-gaps -- unless it is convinced the gaps are part of a comprehensive learnable language, in which case it might try to learn the language, which for adults usually still requires conscious effort.

The relative effect of Jabberwocky-type nonsense is greater because it triggers the brain's interaction without calling for conscious effort.

You explained rather eloquently and in-depth why LMNO's example holds so much relevance to why language and the manipulation thereof is a rather clever way of triggering the embedded knowledge, but puts it in a different order to make it stand out and induce you to pay attention to it (what I was talking about vis a vis "salience").

I think LMNO himself touched on it as well, showing that the jumbling of unrecognizable word patterns don't have the same effect, and probably never would, as a lightly off-pattern and more recognizable jumble of the same letters.

I think this is why in those word jumble games you do as a kid you need the context in order to find the word hidden within the mixup of letters quickly: you need something for your brain to latch on to and connect the dots so that the letters and their pattern makes more sense.

And once you know your language construct in an "expert" way (i.e. are a true native), that pattern is ingrained and probably immutable.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Jenne on May 30, 2009, 05:47:21 pm
True, burns, most of the "nonsense" in the poem isn't actual semantically empty nonsense words but reappropriations (misappropriations?) of existing words. (Not only through portmanteaus, also some words being used in the wrong category, like a noun being turned into an adverb... Too lazy to check for precise examples atm.)

Made up hybrids of known words--they actually use Jabberwocky in basic ling classes (or did in the 90's) to show how pidgins can be created.  Even though a pidgin is a hybrid of two langauges, this poem is a simple way to introduce that concept to those who don't know a pidgin or (as is common, unfortunately in American education) another language.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Jenne on May 30, 2009, 05:50:17 pm
i want to add that i think what might make nonsense of the annoying kind different from the more creative kind is that, like the portmanteau, there is a puzzle to try and decipher what is going on. 

Another example being the Codex Seraphinianus.  People have been trying to 'decipher' it forever but can't figure it out. (apparantly.)  I'm taking the easy way out and interpreting the whole bit as nonsense portrayed as if it's NOT nonsense.  This would be an example of people scrambling for meaning which might not even be there in the first place.  (i could be wrong about that though).

If I understand this correctly, you are saying that you look upon the whole as something that's not intended to be what is actually is--rather uninterpretable--and instead you look at it as having direct cognitive meaning to you.  How do you do this if it has no relevant, recognizable pattern that you can place it into?  I guess I'd have to look at what it is you are talking about to really understand it.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Jenne on May 30, 2009, 05:52:45 pm
The dadaists. Absurdism. Nonsense.

It is common to think of these things as meaningless, effete gestures at the rational order. Random nonsense is often decried as a masturbatory means of expression, satisfying the communicator but boring the communicatee. Many people have a similar distaste for "modern" art. "Anyone can draw a single dot on a canvas, how is that art?" In part, they are reacting with frustration at their inability to grasp the expression with their rational mind. In this essay I hope to illustrate the intent of much "meaningless" expression.

I don't think that you should lump "modern art" and dadaism together in that manner. Modern art generally takes little or no real effort to produce, whereas Dadaism, (as I understand it), entails a concerted effort to be as bad as possible.

You need to define "bad" here, I believe.  Bad is too prejorative a term and also too simple at the same time.  It suggests a qualitative overextension that makes no real sense when you are talking about the whole of the movement for Dadaism.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bu☆ns on May 30, 2009, 08:00:44 pm
i want to add that i think what might make nonsense of the annoying kind different from the more creative kind is that, like the portmanteau, there is a puzzle to try and decipher what is going on. 

Another example being the Codex Seraphinianus.  People have been trying to 'decipher' it forever but can't figure it out. (apparantly.)  I'm taking the easy way out and interpreting the whole bit as nonsense portrayed as if it's NOT nonsense.  This would be an example of people scrambling for meaning which might not even be there in the first place.  (i could be wrong about that though).

If I understand this correctly, you are saying that you look upon the whole as something that's not intended to be what is actually is--rather uninterpretable--and instead you look at it as having direct cognitive meaning to you.  How do you do this if it has no relevant, recognizable pattern that you can place it into?  I guess I'd have to look at what it is you are talking about to really understand it.

I guess you can relate it to a rorschach blot. The Codex appears to have meaning or significance but there's always that lingering possibility that it's meaningless.  The reader can project upon it what he or she wishes and over analyze it until they're blue but, like alan watts was saying in the link i posted above...perhaps it's really only significant of itself.

The book in question can be found here (http://anonym.to/http://www.megaupload.com/?d=513DPFK5).  (Props to cptmarginal)
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Jenne on May 30, 2009, 08:31:50 pm
i want to add that i think what might make nonsense of the annoying kind different from the more creative kind is that, like the portmanteau, there is a puzzle to try and decipher what is going on. 

Another example being the Codex Seraphinianus.  People have been trying to 'decipher' it forever but can't figure it out. (apparantly.)  I'm taking the easy way out and interpreting the whole bit as nonsense portrayed as if it's NOT nonsense.  This would be an example of people scrambling for meaning which might not even be there in the first place.  (i could be wrong about that though).

If I understand this correctly, you are saying that you look upon the whole as something that's not intended to be what is actually is--rather uninterpretable--and instead you look at it as having direct cognitive meaning to you.  How do you do this if it has no relevant, recognizable pattern that you can place it into?  I guess I'd have to look at what it is you are talking about to really understand it.

I guess you can relate it to a rorschach blot. The Codex appears to have meaning or significance but there's always that lingering possibility that it's meaningless.  The reader can project upon it what he or she wishes and over analyze it until they're blue but, like alan watts was saying in the link i posted above...perhaps it's really only significant of itself.

The book in question can be found here (http://anonym.to/http://www.megaupload.com/?d=513DPFK5).  (Props to cptmarginal)

"Meaning" is such a complicated concept...esp in regards to language.  You can link, reference and signify many things about something even through their apparent lack of meaning.

I'll take a look at the Codex when I'm off the clock--thanks, Burnsie!
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Honey on May 31, 2009, 12:06:11 am
Great topic & great comments - thought provoking too.  Can't add too much atm - gotta go in a few.  I'm gonna take a look at some stuff.  Jenne's last comment, "Meaning" is such a complicated concept...esp in regards to language," took me back to my childhood & Humpty Dumpty.

Quote
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - that's all."

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.  "They've a temper, some of them - particularly verbs, they're the proudest - adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs - however, I can manage the whole lot!  Impenetrability!  That's what I say!"

"Would you tell me, please," said Alice, "what that means?"

"Now you talk like a reasonable child," said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased.  "I meant by 'impenetrability' that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you meant to do next, as I suppose you don't intend to stop here all the rest of your life."

"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

"When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

"Oh!" said Alice.  She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.    . . . "
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Telarus on May 31, 2009, 01:35:09 am
Damn, this thread has gotten brilliant in the last 4 pages. Some comments:

As Information gets defined as entropy*-1 when analyzing a signal, we can say that messages which have points of high uncertainty (i.e., the message presents something that our mind couldn't have predicted) contain more information than messages which our mind can predict 2 or 3 steps ahead of the message.

Remember the whole neurochemical-reward for your brain remembering the next line of a song on the radio, being 2 steps ahead of the message. The same thing ads use with repeated branding (for example the bars in the AT&T commercials).

Well, we also have a neurochemical reward system for recognizing the wildly improbable as importantly improbable. Recognition of contextual nonsense not only gets rewarded, but also gets presented to the mind as a puzzle to crack.

Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
Sugar is Sweet,
And so are You.

classic example of pre-floading, or pre-loading a semantic sequence that most of the audience should be familiar with... next we have:

Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
You think this will Rhyme,
But it 'Aint Gonna.



We can even say that the reading of the 2nd version of the poem would contain more Information for some-one who has not obsessively read RAWilson books than for some-one familiar with the reference (or for those of you here on the second read-through, those re-reading a signal).

If I had just repeated the original poem twice, by the second time into the second line the semantic Information in the poem would have dropped to near zero and audience mind(s) would get bored. Our brain knew there was a difference while reading the 2nd line of the 'non-sense' poem, because it digests semantics on multiple levels, and the simple shape of the characters and length of line 3 told the mind it had new information, and it had to just read through to get to it.

Read the 2 poems above a second time in order, and see if you can catch the mind in the process, in the 'trick' of it.

Then go read Jabberwocky again.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Triple Zero on May 31, 2009, 09:16:59 am
In relation to this, I just wanted to point out that in my own experiments with random generation of .. stuff (art of some medium or other), I found there is some kind of meaningful / complexity / variety -producing "sweet spot" somewhere between order (strict rules adherence) and disorder (pure random white noise).

i give two examples.

one, algorithmic music generation, you generate musical notes (to be played by a piano or synth or such) according to some rules. if you have really strict rules, the program creates C C C C C C ... or perhaps C C D C C D C C D .. or some other really repetitive pattern. in other words, what you get always sounds the same.
but if you go the other way, and generate a pure random sequence of notes, you get a completely different sequence every time, but because it has no structure at all, it pretty much sounds the same every time too!
but when you go in between, and use a ruleset that uses both randomness and rules, you get things with patterns in them, that are "innovative" in a way. i'm not saying it will be brilliant music, but a pretty large amount of the tunes it generates will have enough "interestingness" in them to take them as inspiration and manually compose further from there (some Jazz MIDI software packages offer functionality like this, and experimental electronic artists such as Autechre use these techniques too)

second example. generated writing. if you look at the real boring static end of the spectrum, I'm gonna go with an unoriginal type of cut up that just takes the first half of one text and the second half of another. Not very interesting and the same results every time. on the disorderly end of the spectrum you have random words, or even random letters (the uninteresting stuff we've been talking about here)
if you go in between, you get structures such as Markov chains, chatterbots and such. that all can express pretty interesting behaviour.


my point is, if you go along the spectrum from strict order to strict disorder, your novelty, interestingness, complexity or how you want to call it, goes from boring to interesting back to boring.
this sweet spot is sometimes called "the edge of chaos", and it is this place where stuff such as emergence, life and/or creativity happen.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Verbal Mike on May 31, 2009, 01:20:02 pm
:mittens:
This also ties in very nicely with this interesting thing about natural language. A natural language is basically a mixture of rules/constraints which limit which expressions can be part of that particular language, and arbitrary pairings of abstract entities with abstract meanings. The thing is that the constraints aren't simply arbitrary, they are (theoretically) universal to all humans, generally have a pretty good reason to exist, and are simply ranked differently in each language*. But the meanings of structures (rules) and patterns ("words") are almost entirely arbitrary and can essentially be viewed as random**. The cool thing is that both of these sides are necessary for the infinite expressive ability of language. If you didn't have the random part (arbitrary meanings of arbitrary streams of sounds/signs) you would either have to construct meaning in a regular, rule-based manner, which would either be limited or too complicated for a normal human to handle; if you don't do that and don't use arbitrary/random lexical entries, you have no way to transmit any meaning. And if you go the other way, relying only on arbitrary or random streams of sound without any rules/constraints, you again severely impare language's ability to transmit information: either you have a huge number of arbitrary sentence-words that each conveys a specific proposition ("let us gather food" or "danger is coming" or "a tiger is coming" or "a lion is coming" would each have their own 'word') - which is again more than a human can handle computationally, or you are basically fucked and can't transmit *any* meaning.

To give a concrete example, let us take the sentence "He gave Jonathan a murderous monster." There is a rule in English which roughly dictates that you can't put the direct object (the "gift") of a ditransitive verb (like "give") before the indirect object (the "recipient") without a preposition ("to"). Drop that rule, and a completely unambiguous sentence gets two intepretations:
1. "He gave a murderous monster to Jonathan"
2. "He gave Jonathan to a murderous monster"
Simply removing that one rule suddenly made that sentence twice as difficult to interpret, making the information twice as hard to get to. In terms of entropy vs. information, it increases entropy slightly (making two parts freely interchangable) and thereby reduces information. If we also ignore the rule that says you have to have two objects in a sentence with a ditransitive verb, you get a reading that says "He gave Jonathan, a murderous monster, to X". The less rules you have, the more ambiguous things get, and pretty quickly a simple sentence hardly carries any information anymore because there's no way to clearly interpret it.


*This view is the radical version of Optimality Theory, a relatively young (born 1993) constraint-based approach to theoretical linguistics which was originally applied to phonology (sound patterns in language) but is progressively being used to explain all other areas of language as well. It's much more in-sync with the point I am making than traditional approaches to linguistics, but they don't contradict the point either.

**Of course only in the sense that each language's assignment of meaning to a lexical item is as good as random - the usage of a lexical item within a given language arbitrarily conforms to the language's good-as-random decision. It's not about speakers making up random words, which happens, but only rarely.

Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Adios on May 31, 2009, 04:53:34 pm
The dadaists. Absurdism. Nonsense.

It is common to think of these things as meaningless, effete gestures at the rational order. Random nonsense is often decried as a masturbatory means of expression, satisfying the communicator but boring the communicatee. Many people have a similar distaste for "modern" art. "Anyone can draw a single dot on a canvas, how is that art?" In part, they are reacting with frustration at their inability to grasp the expression with their rational mind. In this essay I hope to illustrate the intent of much "meaningless" expression.

I don't think that you should lump "modern art" and dadaism together in that manner. Modern art generally takes little or no real effort to produce, whereas Dadaism, (as I understand it), entails a concerted effort to be as bad as possible.

You need to define "bad" here, I believe.  Bad is too prejorative a term and also too simple at the same time.  It suggests a qualitative overextension that makes no real sense when you are talking about the whole of the movement for Dadaism.

If art elicits a response, either good or bad then it has achieved it's primary objective.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Verbal Mike on May 31, 2009, 05:07:34 pm
To refine my above post and bring it closer to the point, here's another thought or two.
The only place where natural languages really allow creation of components is the creation of new words. Some languages are more open to neologism than others (English is extremely open, for instance), but it's universally more acceptable to make up a word that "sounds right" than to, say, make up a new word order. (Even do that, you may, but be easily understood, you will not.) The thing is there are classes of words that are open and classes that are closed. Particles like "he" and "the" and "to" are generally parts of very closed classes, where the closes you can come to neologism is an accent or using the wrong version of a particle (like "him" instead of "he"), and still these are changes that are generally part of a dialect. The thing is that these "words" are more structure than they are content. Even these are an arbitrary conjunction of form and meaning (after all, "he" carries precisely the same meaning as German er, Russian on and Hebrew hu) but one may imagine a language where there are no open classes of words; a language where you have a very large closed class of forms bound to abstract meanings, and the only way to express meanings not already bound to an existing item is to put  together existing items in a way that creates the meaning you want. If this language has extremely intricate rules for how you put together items to create new meanings, what you have is essentially a language of pure structure, only rules, with no incoming chaos. But such a language would inevitable be severely limited in transmitting information, because the number of possible propositions would be something like (number of items) to the power of (number of possible ways to conjoin items), and there is a limit for how much the human brain can take of one or the other.
Taken to an absolute extreme, where no meaning is arbitrary, you would have a tiny class of onomatopoeia (or iconic hand signs) which can only express a very very limited range of possible messages. On the other end of the spectrum we have the context-free nonsense where there are no closed classes of lexical items and there are no rules on how to put items together, so you're always inventing a new stream of sounds to express the specific meaning you want to transmit. Both ends of this spectrum are severely limited for the transfer of information. What you get in natural languages is a balance, where there is a lot of arbitrarily assigned meaning, a fair amount of space for random creation of new content (neologism, idioms), and a restrictive but not asphyxiating amount of constraints that tell you how to interpret the juxtaposition of elements. As far as expressive power, tipping the scale slightly towards creativity, as is common in poetry, gives you more expression (but less precision) and tipping it slightly the other way, as in legalese, gives you a far narrower range of expression, but maximum precision (=minimum ambiguity).
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Rococo Modem Basilisk on June 01, 2009, 03:13:40 am
If I could, I'd like to add a bit to the idea of holistic nonsense:

I would argue that the key to holistic nonsense is that it gets parsed as sense and isn't recognizable as nonsense until after it has already been parsed. Even random words, in the right context, will get parsed and meaning assigned to them. If you saw the following, would you consider it to be nonsense?

Quote
Ha! ha! quod he, for cristes passion, his millere hadde a sharp conclusion Upon his argument of herbergage!

Consider now that it is actually part of Chaucer's prologue to 'The Man of Law'. Reread it, and the meaning should be obvious.

Most of the time, it's probably easiest to make the nonsense look like sense in a number of ways, ranging from having spaces in text to conjugating nonsense words so that there seem to be verbs to having nonsense words slipped into an otherwise make-sense passage to simply having a passage that contradicts itself or whose meaning seems to exist but be hard to follow (as in Cram's game). Breaching doesn't really work if it's obvious from the start that your intent is to breach -- as with the 'capsid' idea from Art of Memetics, you have to let yourself be systemized enough to get into the system you wish to breach or else you will never get far enough to insert the information.

The upside of nonsense, though, is that when people treat it as sense and never actually question whether or not it is nonsense, they tend to project their own meaning upon it. If I can use an example from today:
Quote
I feel sorry for you. You clearly don't give a fuck. So please for the love of Linus stop spreading COCK.

They are willing to pay oodles of money for that stuff. All those little bits of frustration and anger that get built up everytime someone sends you a word document or god forbid a powerpoint with animations and video. They are willing to pay oodles of money for that stuff. It all gets piled up and unleashed on a poor me too attempt. The only place where boot time hasn't mattered to most of the world s computer population in a long time, everytime someone sends you a word document or god forbid a powerpoint with animations and video. Found a bug expect a high probability of being responded to with Fuck you: They are willing to pay oodles of money for that stuff. You don't want to see your douchebag face for 30 minutes; They are willing to pay oodles of money for that stuff. Found a bug expect a high probability of being responded to with: "Fuck you, do it without wasting 30 minutes of peoples time by making them watch your inability to deal with xrandr. I feel sorry for you. You clearly don't give a fuck."

Actually I'd just like to take their class and learn what they want to care. They want to care. You clearly don't give a fuck. I feel sorry for you. You clearly are willing to pay oodles of money for that stuff. So please for the love of money stop spreading COCK.

Here, I took someone's blog post rant, ran it through a first order markov chain, and copy-pasted chunks of the output so that it seems to make sense, it seems to be a rant, and it seems to say *something*. Then, I posted it as a response to the original. Whether or not the response is in agreement or refutation with the original is probably something that depends upon whether or not the person who is reading it agreed with the original.

This may not be what we are going for with nonsense. Probably, the most effective way to use nonsense to cause people to question their own ideas would be to have contradictory nonsense, since a reader projecting a meaning would have to question their own projected meaning in order to resolve the conflict.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Verbal Mike on June 01, 2009, 02:47:51 pm
The contradiction can also be between what you expect (from context) and what you read. That is an old cornerstone of Discordian bullshit, really.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on June 01, 2009, 03:36:14 pm
I think there appears to be a general agreement that wit is a necessary aspect of Nonsense. I find this compelling. If we consider Sense, people who can communicate sensibly, people who grok Sense have some form of intelligence... they may be dry or funny or smart or sardonic, but the communicator utilizes their intelligence or wits to create the semantic connection between words and idea in a sensible pattern.

Following the advice of Mal-2, who oddly seems to echo Humpty-Dumpty's view of words... If we can MASTER nonsense, in the way we have already mastered SENSE, then we expose both. As sane (well, relatively) humans, we master Sense though the use of intelligence and wit... AND THEREFORE WOULD DO THE SAME WITH NONSENSE. Sense+INT = Nonsense+Wit.

Consider, the members of Monty Python worked 8 hours a day, in shirt and tie writing, rewriting, editing and rejecting skit after skit for each week's show. I recall an interview with John Cleese, where he was asked about hosting SNL and he was disgusted. He felt that his work had been real work, serious business... yet the SNL crowd apparently tended to party through practice, drink through readings and in Cleeses view, left skits to wander off by themselves, long after it should have been shot and buried.

When you watch Python against SNL, there is a very strong difference between them, the most obvious, seems to be the general level of intelligence or wit involved with the skit. SNL is funny, some of my favorite comedians originated there, but it doesn't have the depth of nonsense and the depth of wit overall that Python had (IMO of course).  If one takes some time and uses intelligence or wit to wrap fnords and 23's and 5's etc into nonsensical form, it seems to be more accepted, even here. Whereas if someone simply spews keyboard gobbledegook, or posts something nonsensical that hasn't been thought out, it tends to get called pinealism or made fun of. It may be the equivalent of comparing The Dead Parrot Sketch to any sketch by MAD TV.  :fnord:

This fits well with "Mastering" nonsense as we have mastered sense. Mastering sense, might be seen as mastering the ability to connect disparate points of information to find a sensible pattern. Mastering Nonsense, then would likely mean mastering the ability to connect disparate points of information to find a nonsensical pattern. Both require work, both require thought. The former requires that you are capable of thinking/finding patterns like "most" people in your tribe/group/society. The latter requires that you are capable of leading people in your tribe/group/society to follow your thinking/pattern making. Even Dada requires the ability to match patterns to 'grok' dada. Of course, its patterns aren't the ones we would naturally think about in an art display... usually we consider the patterns on the canvas. Dada forced us to consider the patterns in society, in the minds of the artists, in the art movement, in past art and on the canvas... only through stringing all those bits of information together would the observer 'see' what the artist wanted them to see (which often had little to do with what was on the canvas itself).

I think this is a great thread and should be the basis of an Intermittens issue.
Quote
M:  I want to complain.
C:  You want to complain! Look at these shoes. I've only had them three weeks and the heels are worn right through.
M:  No, I want to complain about...
C:   If you complain nothing happens, you might as well not bother.
M:  Oh!
C:   Oh my back hurts, it's not a very fine day and I'm sick and tired of this office.

 

Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Jenne on June 01, 2009, 05:47:37 pm
The linguistic sense of this subject seems so much more tangible (to me, anyway), than the artistic angle.  You can pretty much pound out of any verbal exchange or expository writing what it is that makes it meaningful or meaningless.  Without any linguistic argot, it's pretty easy to point out as a layperson what about some conversation you overhear or read or what it is about a story or essay or poem that makes sense or no sense to you at all.

The difficulty for me is the placement of art into the sense/nonsense spectrum.  One mand's garbage/vomit/poo is another man's art/expression thereof.  So I have a hard time reconciling a lot of what is said in relation to language, its manipulation, its constructs and what it can be used for when nonsense is used as a way to communicate a meaning that goes beyond the typical usage of that very same construct.

Where does art fit into all this?  I started out meaning to be less specific about the OP because I feel that demonstrable art has, even still, a very real impact on the public, whereas the babbling of nonsense with no grasp on the mind due to its inability to be meaningful in its intended sense seems to have been the main thrust of this thread most recently (not that that's a bad thing, just wondering about the other side of it is all).
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bu☆ns on June 01, 2009, 07:12:12 pm
I think as far as art is concerned you could lay down the order in terms of gestalt principles.  What makes "sense" visually can be determined by the general rules of our perception.  To make visual non-sense would be to work the composition by varying the gestalt in such a way to make an abstract sense of similarity, continuation, closure proximity figure/ground..etc. 

My old design teacher used to say, "I don't give a shit if you like it or don't like it. The only thing that matters is whether or not it works!"

That is to say are all the elements and principles of the design used most effectively so as to communicate the message most clearly.  So, if one considers art as a form of communication or expression then one can measure it's effectiveness in terms of clarity of meaning.  Or, probably more appropriately, is the clarity of meaning as literal or as abstract as the artist intended? 

On the other hand, there is art as a form of play.  I think in this case the measure of effectiveness is determined on how good of a time the artist had while creating the piece.  I also think this is the difference between the Authentic Experience vs. the Establishment's simulation.

This makes me want to argue that the Authentic Experience isn't found through play but is play itself.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Verbal Mike on June 01, 2009, 07:16:06 pm
This makes me want to argue that the Authentic Experience isn't found through play but is play itself.
:mittens:

The world is full of adults scrambling around trying to learn how to play again.
They forgot.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on June 01, 2009, 10:04:30 pm
This makes me want to argue that the Authentic Experience isn't found through play but is play itself.
:mittens:

The world is full of adults scrambling around trying to learn how to play again.
They forgot.

This is the AWESOMELY CORRECT MOTORCYCLE
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Verbal Mike on June 02, 2009, 12:24:31 am
Please to be rating:
http://www.principiadiscordia.com/memebombs/?template=default&action=show&id=3938
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Jenne on June 02, 2009, 01:04:10 am
I think as far as art is concerned you could lay down the order in terms of gestalt principles.  What makes "sense" visually can be determined by the general rules of our perception.  To make visual non-sense would be to work the composition by varying the gestalt in such a way to make an abstract sense of similarity, continuation, closure proximity figure/ground..etc. 

My old design teacher used to say, "I don't give a shit if you like it or don't like it. The only thing that matters is whether or not it works!"

That is to say are all the elements and principles of the design used most effectively so as to communicate the message most clearly.  So, if one considers art as a form of communication or expression then one can measure it's effectiveness in terms of clarity of meaning.  Or, probably more appropriately, is the clarity of meaning as literal or as abstract as the artist intended? 

On the other hand, there is art as a form of play.  I think in this case the measure of effectiveness is determined on how good of a time the artist had while creating the piece.  I also think this is the difference between the Authentic Experience vs. the Establishment's simulation.

This makes me want to argue that the Authentic Experience isn't found through play but is play itself.

Yeah, the mentioning of the Establishment is probably a big factor there.  I can imagine critics and their whining can really make or break an art movement/style/artist, etc.  And that's really a shame.  Although, if you look at a movement like Dadaism and most of the post-WWI genres that came out of that period, a lot of it just became the foundation for future endeavors.  So yesterday's bullshit became the compost for today's crop.

I like the idea that the experience of doing the art is just as integral if not more so than any message it may convey to anyone.  Since messages are so very much in the eye of the beholder and thus interpreted so differenly and separately, it would seem that art escapes a LOT of black-and-white limits when it comes to what it all means, what it's meant to symbolize and how effective it can be.

Am I off base here?  I just see art as a more flexible genre when it comes to co-called nonsense--and perhaps not as targeted or as fixed in its audience or its effectiveness--and not as subject to the constraints of culture, rules and fixtures that it might encompass.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Jenne on June 02, 2009, 01:04:49 am
This makes me want to argue that the Authentic Experience isn't found through play but is play itself.
:mittens:

The world is full of adults scrambling around trying to learn how to play again.
They forgot.

Very much tr00f.  :mittens: to you too.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: the last yatto on June 02, 2009, 06:26:32 am
I think this is a great thread and should be the basis of an Intermittens issue.

agreed but its missing something,
maybe a little FAQ :fnord: and some unlimited donkey kong for  :vom:
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bu☆ns on June 02, 2009, 06:58:20 am
I think as far as art is concerned you could lay down the order in terms of gestalt principles.  What makes "sense" visually can be determined by the general rules of our perception.  To make visual non-sense would be to work the composition by varying the gestalt in such a way to make an abstract sense of similarity, continuation, closure proximity figure/ground..etc. 

My old design teacher used to say, "I don't give a shit if you like it or don't like it. The only thing that matters is whether or not it works!"

That is to say are all the elements and principles of the design used most effectively so as to communicate the message most clearly.  So, if one considers art as a form of communication or expression then one can measure it's effectiveness in terms of clarity of meaning.  Or, probably more appropriately, is the clarity of meaning as literal or as abstract as the artist intended? 

On the other hand, there is art as a form of play.  I think in this case the measure of effectiveness is determined on how good of a time the artist had while creating the piece.  I also think this is the difference between the Authentic Experience vs. the Establishment's simulation.

This makes me want to argue that the Authentic Experience isn't found through play but is play itself.

Yeah, the mentioning of the Establishment is probably a big factor there.  I can imagine critics and their whining can really make or break an art movement/style/artist, etc.  And that's really a shame.  Although, if you look at a movement like Dadaism and most of the post-WWI genres that came out of that period, a lot of it just became the foundation for future endeavors.  So yesterday's bullshit became the compost for today's crop.
Yeah, look at the 80s.
Quote
I like the idea that the experience of doing the art is just as integral if not more so than any message it may convey to anyone.  Since messages are so very much in the eye of the beholder and thus interpreted so differenly and separately, it would seem that art escapes a LOT of black-and-white limits when it comes to what it all means, what it's meant to symbolize and how effective it can be.
Sometimes I like to think of art as a form communication because the art form itself becomes a conveyance of something shared between the artist and the audience.  Somewhere in the middle of: 'What does it mean to the artist?' and 'What does it mean to me?' is an emotion or reaction of some sort that enables me to somewhat share an experience.  I think that might be why it appears to go beyond the black-and-white limits of meaning.

In that speech, Alan Watts was referring to those photographs you see of chipped paint that somehow have a sense of 'significance'.  It's almost as if the photographer was framing an experience we all seem to have.  I mean when I look at those photos I just think "yeah, chipped paint." I'd guess most of us probably 'know' chipped paint.  Then one day someone liked what was happening to that paint and gave it enough significance to put a frame around it. Sometimes, it seems, the best art can just be significant of itself.

Quote
Am I off base here?  I just see art as a more flexible genre when it comes to co-called nonsense--and perhaps not as targeted or as fixed in its audience or its effectiveness--and not as subject to the constraints of culture, rules and fixtures that it might encompass.
I think the problem comes when the transmission of the message of nonsense isn't clear (because it is nonsense, after all) and the cognitive dissonance that occurs makes the message more prone to rejection.  Unless, of course, if the artist is overly pretentious about it being nonsense then the meaning is clear.  Although, for some reason I can't seem to put my finger on, when I know something is 'supposed' to be random, it sometimes loses it's novelty.  It becomes :| .

Interestingly, when the same absurdity happens over and over and over again and again in certain internet forums it becomes  :kingmeh: .
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: Bu☆ns on June 02, 2009, 07:02:04 am
This makes me want to argue that the Authentic Experience isn't found through play but is play itself.
:mittens:

The world is full of adults scrambling around trying to learn how to play again.
They forgot.
I wonder where they think to go when they finally figure it out for the first time all over again.  :D
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: N E T on June 02, 2009, 07:14:23 am
A big part of Dada's pull was on the carpet of "art status."

How is it that we come to call something art? I think most people need it to fit with their assumptions about "what art IS." Assumptions learned largely out of awareness and perpetually thereafter kept out of awareness. By flipping over a urinal, signing it, titling it "Fountain" and submitting it to an art show which promised to show all work submitted, Duchamp revealed what George Dickie calls "the institutional essence of art." What makes this relevant to social movements is clarified by Dickie:

"[Philosophers of art] entirely ignored the nonexhibited property of status. When, however, the objects are bizarre, as those of the Dadaists are, our attention is forced away from the objects' obvious properties to a consideration of the objects in their social context."

Linguistic nonsense, even such that goes as far as being anti-communicative seems to be running along a parallel intention. As the anti-art of the Dadaists aims at your definition of art, anti-communicative "language" aims at your sense of communication and linguistically constructed reality, but also helps define it. The white space around the letters you're reading is just as important as the black lines that form the letters and separate the words.

As an intentional utterance anti-communication still communicates just like anti-art is still art. It just says something like, "I don't want you or myself to understand me in a rational or conventional way, if at all right now. Perhaps I'm just curious as to what it will be like to do this around other people. Perhaps I'm more curious as to how this demographic will respond. Perhaps, I'm just interested in what will come out of my mouth."

By inspecting nonsense's context it unfailingly can be observed as non-arbitrary, defining, and utterly meaningful. Nonsense could be done anywhere in any way with any medium—the fact that it was chosen to be done THERE, AT THAT TIME, with THAT MEDIUM, THAT WAY, means something. Though all efforts may be made for True nonsense to be created, unconsciously many choices get made that were not as purely arbitrary, irrational or chaotic as the intention may have been. It's just not possible for people to completely escape their intentionality, unconscious drives and socially created idea of "sense." The most sincere efforts to do so still leave behind traces. It seems the nature of these traces are what the Dadaists, Situationists, and Pinealists are most interested in.
Title: Re: Dada Black Sheep: Have You Any Pull?
Post by: BabylonHoruv on June 09, 2009, 04:12:49 am
I think I can go with that, with a few exceptions, e.g. Carroll/Burroughs/Joyce et al, who use semantics and language in extremely non-traditional ways for a specific intended effect.

In what sense though?  I would have to disagree with Joyce - the level of multiple meanings and associations interwoven into his works (also the fact he wrote books) suggests exactly the sort of ambiguity I would consider belonging to the holistic side of things.  Burroughs too, since when while you consider something like Naked Lunch as non-linear, there are segments which alone do make sense, just not necessarily as part of a larger whole.

Of course, I came up with this classification off the top of my head, so take from that what you will.

If naked lunch didn;t make sense to you as a whole I'd suggest reading it again.  It made sense to me the third time.  It might be me doing a starbuck's pebbles, but it made a hell of a lot of sense.