Saturday, April 10, 2010

Two visions of the future, or

Linh Dinh makes me feel downright cheerful!
Memo to Kenny: We will not become more machine-like in the future. Quite the reverse. Like it or not, we’ll be yanked from our virtual, surrogate existence and plopped into the splendor and squalor of life in the flesh. Down with the tyranny of the eye! Make some room for the nose, will ya?
As for the 18th century, it will reappear momentarily, but don’t count on wearing a wig, fanning yourself and lounging on some country estate. Pick up your hoe, born again peasant!, even if you have multiple degrees of higher learning, because we’re chuting towards the mother of all depressions.
Like dog food, university writing programs will quickly be phased out of existence, to be replaced by workshops held at someone’s home, a maestro who’s likely just a village explainer, local yokel but with a gift for angular assonances and weird metaphors. Compensation will eventually be in barter, say, an old ring, rare can of tuna, lumps of coal or unadorned, funky human contact, after class.
Not feel depressed enough? For the full on full on.

Now for a bit of Kenny G.

The text cycle is primarily additive, spawning new texts continuously. If a hosting directory is made public, language is siphoned off like water from a well, replicating it infinitely. There is no need to assume that — notwithstanding any of the above mentioned catastrophes — that a textual drought will occur. The morass of language does not deplete, rather it creates a wider, rhizomatic ecology, leading to a continuous and infinite variety of textual occurrences and interactions across both the network and the local environment.

The uncreative writer constantly cruises the web for new language, the cursor sucking up words from untold pages like a stealth encounter. Those words, sticky with residual junky code and formatting are transferred back into the local environment and scrubbed with TextSoap, which restores them back to their virginal states by removing extra spaces, repairing broken paragraphs, deleting email forwarding marks, straightening curly quotation marks, even extracting text from the morass of html. With one click of a button, these soiled texts are cleaned and ready to be redeployed for future use.

1 comment:

Roz said...

Geez, both versions sound depressing to me!

Linh Dinh's prophecy of economic collapse doesn't seem that far off, but will likely impact only the poor and working poor in the drastic ways he describes. The bourgeois & upper classes will only be slightly affected. Which is depressing in itself.

Kenny G's manifestos are always fun to read, works of expressive poetry in themselves. Though his call for poets to become algorithmic information managers doesn't make me want to wrangle text like a machine; it actually makes me more emo.