Video

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Authors:

Sondheim,Alan

Source:

Perforations 2 (1991)

Keywords:

people-text

Abstract:

Video pastes itself everywhere. It relies on the fabrication of light. It relies on sound and the speed of light.

Full Text: 

Video pastes itself everywhere. It relies on the fabrication of light. It relies on sound and the speed of light.

It produces a square or other domain. It produces an activated information substance of equivalent domains, located and addressable, possessing an abstract structure or "algebra" of discrete operations. The domains are infinitely retrievable; retrievability (or even template matching) may or may not modify them. In any case, everything always seems to be "in evidence." Representation occurs across the domains. Nothing represented is true or false; nothing is or remains history. "Across the domains," reality is continuously inscribed. The programs "work" or not. "Working" is a matter of circuitry; everything works, completes itself, continuous. To measure "working" is to interfere. Organism interferes, harbors truth. But truth is not the domain of organism. This is the effect of video: the final revolution. *Truth exhausts itself.*

What happens to truth? Everything is lost within the neutralization of substance. Temporality defuses through quantum effects; memory is transformable, as if the linearity of an equation of prepositional logic were challenged by the underlying "sheet of assertion" itself - as if a substratum of chaos underlies every well-defined formula (formulation). Truth loses nothing but meaning; applicable by convention within limited domains, it refers at best to a syntactically proper expression or program that has been constructed (or an expression "beyond" or "external to" syntax).

The space floods and inundates the screen. The buffer stores the space, operates upon it. One buffer and another: the space carries no memory, no content. Buffering is a radical transformation of the notion of inscription; no longer a demarcation, inscription itself is treated as a token. It is defused through buffering, which is the stuttering or stammering of the real. Buffering holds the real in abeyance until called up. (Everything is both retrievable and irretrievable; to examine the contents of the frame is already a transformation [equivalence]. In fact, any reproduction is a transformation, and any reading is a reinscription [buffering].) Meanwhile, space fissures, sizzles: through the magic of video, you can hear it sizzle. The space is, becomes, the space of video, the space of representation, and there is no other space; epistemology and ontology fuse as the construction of knowledge ascertains the ontology of the representation-domain.

Reality reinserts itself into the space of video; reality is continuous buffering. (And further, perhaps: every real is a referent; every referent is real.) This is the speaking of one who perceives, one with the potential of perception. In relation to the real: the real is tested through its perception.

The real, this representation or perception, exists within a secondary space, a space of energy within economy. Hence one economy and another: the codification, registration of information within a given discrete bandwidth (but given for how long? and how discrete?) - the libidinal economy of finance and control overarching the first.

Each mixes, purely, impurely, with the other; each intercepts the other. Purity is always abject; substance stains.

Reality fissures, crumbles: the space of video becomes fractal, abject. You can already see this at work. The space becomes the same as the real, with the same births, same deaths. Nothing is allowed to remain outside the one or the other. Birth and death as well are problematic, replaced by the exhaustion of materials, quantum effects, electromagnetic interferences.

Finally the body itself fissures or speaks or is silent within the screen; the drama of the screen is the drama of the body. The parcellation of the body plays itself against the mobility of the screen; the screen is an imaginary against the body's symbolic. The simulacrum no longer exists since the screen in fact is at one with the real; the referent is continually present, transforming before our eyes.

All of this occurs "naturally" against the horizon of a scarcity economics; within the interiority of screen culture, difference is absorbed, however, as constructed representation. Tension exists primarily at the boundary where everything occurs, works itself out. Everything crumbles, absorbed as abject debris among the hungry, and mitigated representation among the dispossessed.

(Video sees us; who owns or controls representation? Scarcity economics represents the real within the (political) body (politic); the body can die in relation to representation. Only in this manner can the "thickness" and obdurate ontology of the represented be brought to bear. Images and the imaginary kill.)

Epitaph

The speed of the world is heating up.
Death! Don't bother me!
Blood boils at the thought of it!
I'll be around for the final fire!
I'll be around for the first!
I'm telling the truth:
There's no time anymore!
There's no time at all!

Video ii

Think of video in terms of mimetic desire - imitation circumscribed by fantasy and libido - imitation which remains individuated, inviolate. I combine, coagulate with the represented; through fetishization and sympathetic magic, I gain control. Video remains the model upon which my desire operates; I move from representation to representation, and that is my only control: existence or annihilation. Change the channel!

I watch, enter into the partnership of the represented. I am detained there through the inertia of the diegesis, holding my place among the constituents of the image. (That is why the television sitcom or drama
privileges the audience, who always recognize the situation before the protagonists.) I am bound, opened and closed. Inertia extols me. Nothing is transmitted. Nothing.

The fetish itself may be manipulated; I play with representation, invade or penetrate it; the body fills with nails. The fetish is within its own domain, that of the realm of the spirit or equivalence of flesh. The video image as fetish extends the fetish domain across the horizon of representation itself; it depends upon the "correct perception" (coherent and preconsciously accepted) of the viewer. The fetish coagulates (in relation to the viewer); the fetish transforms into the source, which is forgotten.

But the source itself is transformed, no longer existent; we have seen that the truth of the source disappears as its semiotic decomposes into increasingly obscure epistemological domains.

So that the fetish inhabits its own inert world. So that this world procures the signifier of an alterity, inert as well, "above" and "beyond" the viewer, and mimesis occurs through the act of the viewer's perception. The return is that of the inert, which would repress or displace viewing, were it not for the seductive aspects of the inert, fueled by desire and capital. Seduction dominates; eroticism becomes mediated auto-eroticism. The body is simultaneously sliced and mediated [sutured] by image: image is the presence of video, the two-
dimensional surface of the screen, by which I do not mean to exclude virtual realities. In virtual realities, the body collapses upon its "own" buffering, its "own" emanations. These emanations are possessed, mediated by capital, programmed elsewhere than the site of their consumption.

Thus through complex processes of mediation and consumption, the viewer is "given" freedom - a freedom which, as much as anything in this world, is a construct, and hence limited by program parameters. A good program never reveals its horizon; freedom appears as a field of operations in which desire is fulfilled through freely given consumption. The body is returned to itself, and appears to return to itself.

Like video, the body occurs.

(Such an analysis opens to the psychology and physiology of trance, exorcism, hypnosis, somnambulism, possession, and hysteria. Screen representations are part-objects, tokens exuded from the body, parcels of cut and imaginary flesh - auto-mutilations which reflect the body bring it inwards, "return" it to itself. The difference between screen representations and "true" auto-mutilations is the difference between external mediating capital and self-construction. This difference introjects mediation into every level of the political body and definition of the self. Mimetic desire meets the dictionary of images and desire transforms.)

Videola

Over four hours work in those heady weeks of autumn in which video became continuous production or sight, language remarkably distanced, reduced, displaced, in favor of the swollen, lurid, thick pastels like
flesh, viewer sinking into

body and interior's rapture, bloated veins filled with pulses of dark colorations, surfaces throbbed, sloughed, decayed, dropped in camera walking, shuddering, eye delving into

crevice and fissure of landscape, resonance and harmonicas of breast, moist nipple, cock sinuously curving in waves of light, cunts opening body in idle conversation's midst, cliffs and peaks of dark yellowed earth swelling through viewer's skin transformed into

screen's interior, television's other, virtual bodies writing themselves in and out of existence, churning, turmoil of news and disasters, cries of cum, dark and bleak caress, manifolds of fear and desire, fissuring of male sight into

fragmenting limbs, joins and hollows, curves or darkened hair, illuminated neon cock words, cunt words, opened anus, cleft flesh vortices, granites, limestones, sand and bleak animal memories, penis-tentacle floating, lengthened beyond pales, blues, yellows, whites penetrating, thrust into

viewer's form, every gift's receiver, showered with liquid bodies, language, cries, stuttering hysterical God-calls, weeping eyes, airwaves' rumble cutting fragments loose, breast or cock fragments fallen into

viewer's form, swollen cunt or drive-cauldron, burnished walls, brass, bronze dark, intense, figures turning into

burnish-fetish, fetish burning, languor of light streaming, silence between God-calls, falling pebble sounds, flickering bodies swelling outward, rhythm, repetition, transfiguration, flesh into dulled light, darkness, after-image glow, ghost-whispers leaving light behind, I spread into

you, form-viewer, viewer-form, spread into immersion birth-desire, cunt, into legs, dreams, open body, streamed hair, returned cuts, sutured cuts, orbit parts fluxed in burnished cauldron, swollen image
scaled, sloughed into

video space, video beyond, sloughed into viewer, ribs detached from breast, cunt cut, stamped out, inserted, cock cut, out, cut out, written, broken, hyphenated into

bringing you closer to the language bringing you, breaking the hyphen, inserting

Video

Embarrassed to proffer explanation of videowork, such explanation parasitic on the "inertness" of the tape - any tape, but, in particular, my own, remaining present, aroused, sullen.

The images unravel, unroll; they stutter and cross-reference; so much information is carried in color, for example! Hues blend into one another; the voice is lost in the grain of the picture. The image melts from the screen. Always something momentary, something disturbing.

Never any characters: someone moves, states something; someone recites or improvises. Everything is exact, spills out before, beyond the frame. As if everything were motorized motor-organism.

Images devoured, deconstructed, their excessivity always in evidence. I produce them, find them; they constitute the pressure of the image upon the world. The surface constantly changes direction; I move, scuttle across the surface, my eyes averted. The images are not of eyes.

They lend themselves, produce, an other discourse, introjected: they produce the interiors of their own discourses. They speak, struggle from the interior. They inhabit secrecies.

The images play themselves out by gaining power, withdrawing, from the audience. They absorb the audience. The audience is the witness of the unconscious. Sexuality plays across the surface of the work. I give all I can give, for my pleasure. I dream of you. You are dreamed, simulacra: The real is disturbed by the presence of the real.

My neighbors are everywhere within the work; the world compresses, produces the presence of the lower elements of the surface of a table.

The tapes exist as absorbing pods: images, bodies. So that they are states always in the process of slow decomposition. Cortical states, cerebellar states producing action at a distance, beyond or within the margins of the frame.

The work are the language of the unconscious, not its reflection, to deconstruct that language within and without accumulation. They are a worrying that constitutes the beginning of politics, political desire. They refuse to set politics straight.

"Shattering of discomfort" comes to mind.

--

I have given birth to the theory of fissure and inscription. I have worked between system and debris, effluvium; I have deconstructed "between" and the shattering of the "eye." I have charted unknown
territories, losing myself among the charts.

I have discovered the recessive states, question everything in the world. I have my doubts. I have constructed the simplest models for automata and revealed their inadequacies. More than anyone else, I have examined myself, beginning with the debris of analysis itself.

I have examined myself more than I have examined anyone else.
I have examined myself more than anyone else has examined me.
I have examined myself more than anyone else has examined herself/himself.

Everywhere and imperceptible, I have inhabited these states.