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Roy Scranton's journalism, essays, and reviews have been published in Rolling Stone,, the New York TimesBoston Review, Los Angeles Review of BooksContemporary LiteratureThe Appendix, and elsewhere. He is one of the editors of Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War (Da Capo, 2013). His book Learning to Die in the Anthropocene is forthcoming from City Lights in the fall of 2015.

12 December 2011

resolutions shift across different platforms TAN LIN

We believe expenditure takes place without meaningful exchange, or we get repetitive gestures without significance. Airports, shopping malls, and golf courses are the most pleasing, crisis-free, and logo-ized of landscapes. They are mood-inducing delivery systems, schematas of unimposed identifications that make irrelevant the distinction between pre- and post-consumption. A golf course like a painting is consumed in almost the same way time and time again. That is why golf is so relaxing. Golf courses, cineplexes and shopping centers fringe population areas and function in the same way that pastoral poetry, the coffee house c. 1680, short bandwidth radio, or the only movie theatre in a small town once did. They remind us that we need to fall in love again and again with something that is unspecific, very repetitive, and very very general. The lights of the Varsity Movie Theatre in Athens, Ohio, where I grew up, reflect each night off the bricks of Court Street, but the marquee now reads Taco Bell, and the old balcony and stage are now the site of tables and the gentle, illumined prices of tacos and quesadillas. Our most beautiful emotions like a movie theatre or the pages of a Chinese cookbook or the price of 16 ounces of Pepsi are routine and anodyne. Either they existed before or they existed previously. All our emotions vacation with incandescence as they dissolve. (73)

Too Many Windows
Make the Baby
Go Blind

“An entity of the character of Dasein it its ‘there’ in such a way that, whether explicitly or not, it finds itself [sich befindet] in its thrownness. In a state-of-mind Dasein is always brought before itself, and has always found itself, not in the sense of coming across itself by perceiving itself, but in the sense of finding itself in the mood that it has.” (Heidegger, Being and Time, I. 5, H.135)
mood: Stimmung; gestimmt (attuned) (ftn. H. 134, 344), H. 134-139, 142, 148, 162, 169, 190, 251f, 265, 270, 276f, 284, 310, 335, 339-346, 371 (Note: this list includes the passages in which 'gestimmt' and its derivatives have been translated by forms of 'attune' or 'have a mood'.)

Tan Lin, East Windsor, NJ: "Great place to tan, spotlessly clean. Friendly staff. Everyone is very professional. Have been there many times while visiting NJ. Sounds like Ronie L has a personal beef with someone there."

These works are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the author. © 2009 Tan Lin. Used with permission of Tan Lin. Disturbuted by PennSound.

“Literature is nothing but the residue of an old technology in the process of reinventing itself as static.” —Tan Lin

In interviews, essays, and even within his work, Tan Lin is so forthright and articulate about explicating his project that for me to explain him again would be basically repackaging and shifting data. Yet explication is only one task of the critic-scholar-teacher-maker-intellectual with regard to the arts. Also there is directing attention, both in the culture at large, among specialists, and towards education
taxonomy and cultural stewardship, negative critique (as in to bring into crisis), also theorization, thinking through, from poetics to sociology, description, the exhibition of appreciation or taste, never mind all the institutional work done to sustain academic existence: finding new discursive modes and archival lodes, scenting out genealogies, biography and hagiography, breaking fields, building syllabi, and inscribing canons.

So what does this have to do with Tan Lin (except insofar as he’s a professor of literature and creative writing)? To merely point up the question of how to read? A very Tan Lin question, of course, concerned as he is with ambience, reading ecologies, and social networkds.

There will always be something tawdry about the interwebs: the most venal commercial predators prey upon our basest urges from login to login. What Tan Lin does is not this, but the mediation, multiple mediations. He describes some of his work as a translation of web reading practices into a book format, which seems apt. Part of what he claims he wants to do is make boring reading, make reading boring. This has to do with his idea of ambient writing, which is both similar to and different from Timothy Morton’s idea of ambient poetics, though Tan Lin’s praxis actually enacts Morton’s theoria, regardless of doctrinal divigations
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(differences, rather). Morton’s is a notion of “a poetic enactment of a state of nondual awareness that collapses the subject-object division…” (Why Ambient Poetics?). It’s connected to his idea of “ecology without nature,” which is more or less a phenomenological/ethical framework that works to theorize the relations between beings and their environment without separating one from the other. Not pre-sense-certainty, but post-Romantic: some kind of consciousness (or at least thought) that recognizes itself within (and complicit with) the Other. Somewhat similar in direction to Latourian actor-network theory, which works to reconceive social relations as networks of actors, where actors includes both human and non-human agents, and non-human agents include things and even concepts.

In any case, broadly conceived, we can see how Lin’s work, with its blurring of media, structural and physical boundaries, and interiority/exteriority, takes up and—if not dramatizes—at least concretizes these questions of environment, network, and subject/object in literary art objects. His work is actually quite traditional, insofar as “a poem is a small (or large) machine made out of words,” if Williams is traditional, and if Williams isn’t traditional who is? What his machine is doing and why, with what controlled vocabularies (which are the limited vocabularies used to organize indices and taxonomies, such as subject headings in the Library of Congress), may differ—even radically—from older notions of what such a machine should look like, but part of Lin’s point is that in fact, one of the things we need to get used to these days is that aesthetic machinery is all over.

To return to the quote opening this post, we can see Lin’s work as a series of mood machines, thought machines, aesthetic machines, resembling airports and golf courses and Taco Bells as much as it does autobiography, The Waste Land, or disco—which all, of course, resemble each other.

“He holds no mirror up to nature but with his imagination rivals nature’s composition with his own. // He himself become ‘nature’—continuing ‘its’ marvels—if you will.” (WCW, Spring and All)


Joy is a porous and experimental texts, and to comply with its organizational structure is a simple statement: "As a noun, adjective, rather than using a searchable index" in social practice, we have to strengthen relationships through networking leads to the acceleration cycle, and mobile e-mail information in the message text, Kittler would say, is not it faster and faster communication between people, but the connection between computers around the world, "When will inevitably lead to the masses." visual images, metadata tags, programming languages, a little bar code, poems, legends, the publication of photos are available, e-cards (the Swiss Research Institute), advertising, image scanning and printing pages, comments, typos, computer ink, the text translated by Google translation, indexing, recognition and other authors of the foreword. The process of publication as possible, marketing, distribution, design, included in the curriculum, etc., because they are writing or creative, I think it is relatively weak, "author" or the production of texts. No, I'm hoping that the text of a number of changes since the publication RSS-channels, to fix and change what is before April 1, 2010 will be official. Of course, the history and context of these notes for printing photos and books in print definition: hand-written comments on the photo page or the back, the additional date, highlighting or pencil another almost as tons of photos or shared Flickr Photo site name to edit or trim a large series of photographs of markers, the smallest unit of data to reduce the resolution, but under normal circumstances, an individual text / image files, or are not, as a rule have no life expectancy than their created and others, or in other ways, is still incomplete metadata, which is sensitive to context. I particularly like, apparently, to get the code for this type of recycling text figures. That is, the dead space in the text read as a conscious part of the process will not be processed consciously in the hands of the narrative content and related things. It does not matter if they come to me or the reader, these words are the same function. This book reflects this relationship: modularity, in light of its principles and introductory text and visual things visually as a single operation, design, and not to promote continuous reading of the scan area.

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