Re: ankoku techno (re:occult / trance)

Richard Povall (
Sat, 17 May 1997 12:17:11 -0400

>> Corporate IT moguls love robust technologies - I think I may prefer mine
>> to be brittle. Like performance, the the anxious moment of proving,
>> waiting to see if code will compile / run is deliciously intense.
>> Efficiency & robustness are just so _dull_.
>Robust technologies _sell_, especially to people who are more interested
>in getting a task done (which the technology claims to do or help) than
>in the process of getting it done. If you're interested in the _result_,
>repeated compile failures merely become frustrating, especially when you
>can't figure out why it happened. If efficiency and robustness are dull,
>then maybe it's because the process has become veiled or even invisible.

I have to agree with the original writer here and say that I also prefer
mine to be brittle - or at least so in danger of collapse and incoherence
that failure is always imminent. Maybe this is a personal failing -- but
maybe it's just the will to subvert the technologies and put the performer
into a place of danger. The most interesting technologies are those that
are wide open, particularly software packages that are merely environments
with few set parameters. Of course they have reached a certain level of
robustness - but they are still capable of crashing or doing unpredictable
things. Once the computer market becomes limited to Word for Windows and
whatever else Bill decides I _need_, I'm leaving...

>> Machinic struggle enacts an abjection all of its own.
>I'm not sure that everyone would find using machines abject. The younger
>readers here may be so acculturated to them that they just get frustrated.
>Is _that_ abjection? It sure doesn't get me in the pit of my stomach!
>(and I'm not that young either!)

But if we are only becoming frustrated, we should all just go outside and
enjoy the fresh air and unplug ourselves. There _is_ an element of
abjection - to the corporate pushers, to the programming monoliths, to the
constant struggles of making technologies work in sohisticated ways while
trying to subvert them and yet respond to their constantly evolving states.
But there are also elements of extraordinary triumph and joy.


R i c h a r d P o v a l l
Assoc. Prof of Computer Music and New Media
MPO Box 0332 TIMARA/Studio 5
Oberlin, OH 44074-0332 USA Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Voice: +1.216.775.1016 Oberlin College
Fax: +1.216.775.8942 Oberlin, OH 44074 USA
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