online: 18 july 2002

18 july 2002 Alan Sondheim's internet writing

20:37 As I entered the heath this evening I passed a man and a woman tripping and dancing and laughing and then another man and woman athletically embracing, and also laughing - and all four without any embarrassment or self-consciousness... to me this signals a big and healthy change in the culture since the more inhibited time of my youth.

Before coming here I spent an hour or so sampling Alan Sondheim's vast website - hundreds of texts - and some incredible pictures of insects and other fragments of nature - connecting, with an order of their own or of his, the theoretical, the sexual, the netual, the natural, the vulgar, the poetic - these abstract terms give no feel of it - his unbounded invention in words thousands of words and computer codes become poems and ideas and sexual descriptions without end, without boundary. You just have to read it... each day as it appears in various internet discussions or else here in his archive of a modern profusion that I think would be impossible via the printing press.

He calls it the Philosophy and Psychology of the Internet - a meditation on the philosophy, psychology, political economy, and psychoanalytics of Internet (computer) communication. It focuses on virtual subjectivity, sexuality, community, and all aspects of computer interfacing.

And see the digital diary for 18 september 2001 in which are his responses to the attacks of September 11th.

I think that when the shock of his vulgar language has become less he may be seen as a great one. Some precedents I can think of are Leonardo da Vinci and Walt Whitman and John Cage and Jackson Mac Low - but it's as if their slower crafting out of bits of objective reality becomes in Alan Sondheim's writing an unstoppable inner flux and a torrent of improvisation... He is enlarging the culture and connecting its most lively and perhaps dangerous inner parts. And yet thoughtfully and aware of his weaknesses and limits.

But it's too much for me to take in as a whole and each day as I look at his latest installments I can barely keep up. I wish sometimes it were slower and briefer and easier to understand but then would it be so new and so true to what we might rather not think about?

This internet is amazing.

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© 2002 john chris jones

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