The problem with recombinatory thought

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Img[1]: “The Moving Times,” featuring text by William Burroughs and Kenneth White, number 1 of the Sigma Portfolio assembled by Alexander Trocchi



December 6, 2016. Linkages, I suppose, are exciting. Learned about Project Sigma, an experimental practice carried out in the sixties by Alexander Trocchi, which may hold the rightful title to being The First Blog.



Classifying Project Sigma as a blog begs the question, yet again, of what exactly blogging consists of. As I write this I am sitting at the Little Big Burger on 39th and Division. My hand hurts a bit. I’ve been working for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service. Here I am, aching and wondering what blogging consists of.

[1] First answer is that blogging is a practice of replicating, translating, documenting, or otherwise duplicating the movements of daily life onto a constantly updating webpage which comes to be known as the “weblog.” This definition of blogging itself begs a question or a clarification. What is daily life? Whose daily life? The daily life of the blogger, surely. But who or what is the blogger? A person? Ah, so this is the personal blog, the blog that in documenting the person also builds that person, reifies their personality into a real being.

So this here is maybe definition [2] or [1.1] of blogging, depending on if you see the self-building of the person as divergent or supportive of the labor of documenting daily life. Most blogs are composed of many posts linked together in a straight line, which fold out onto many pages of a blog’s archive, found in a single place. These qualities of singularness and linearity are crucial for constituting the blog as a technology for self-building one’s own person. The fact that Project Sigma is comTaxonomies are a fool’s game, only to be played by scientists and colonizers. Let us look forward to blogging type [82] or [△x] or [Σ] posed of many pages that were scattered, copied, and mailed between people opens up a different practice of blogging, as well as a different ontology of personality. The relation between blogging which could be blogging as self-recombination. Imagine a blogging that freezes moments of daily life, and abstracts these moments as recombinable objects. Blogger as modular body with a thousand organs. Liberatory only when you renounce the imperative to taxonomize into ordinal sets. How boring it would be to maintain a steady log of one thousand days of living! In the end there would be no surprises. Just a thousand-day long plodding through day 1 to 1,000. self production thus becomes ruptured, insofar as the self is conceived as something fixed in a body, a one sovereign body, inviolate of matter and conception.

I’m so very interested in theories about dialogism, prosthesis, and boundary-breaking I don’t have my copy of Wark’s book, so I’m working from memory, and imagination. I might be participating in someone’s podcast tonight. my plan is maybe to impersonate myself. I’m gonna tell this guy that I’m a PhD student in Imaginary Science, with a specializationatize the logics upon which they are predicated. The logics internal to them. All one would need is the idea, or the seed of it, which could grow as one walked about the city. That’s the method I’ve taken for theorizing Trocchi in the absence of Trocchi. not least because they dispense with the notion of sovereignty in favor a multiplicity, thus also replacing lonely atomism with a vision of infinite sociality. In assemblage posthumanisms, we are never alone, becau se we are never only ourselves.



In ‘patabiology. Have you heard it told how humans are descended from pigs and bananas? Some certain scientists—laughing stocks of their communities—think so. It would be great to study these fraudulent disciplines, system

You know what the problem is? Research can be so dependent on books, which are heavy things. So heavy you have to either stay home for your research or develop a back problem if you insist on walking. That’s where I’m at. So often I hobble from pain and weight. I come to dread movement through the city at the same time I come to resent all the collected texts weighing me down in my pack. Today—December 6, 2016—I saw a glimpse of the aleatory, assisted by weightlessness and a recent reading of the

Type [hambone] of blogging is closer to Trocchi’s vision of a blogging decoupled from the personality or from the documentation of daily life. This is a blogging that is instead immanent to its own independent movement. A blogging that is not the duplication of a life

Beyond a rejection of atomism, I’d like to address the neoliberal tendencies of cyborg praxis, hoping forcefully to reclaim such gestures in the service of true liberation, against capitalism and soulless mechanization. The relevant image here is that of the nanorobot swarm, speculative science’s most extreme elaboration of the logics of mechanistic naturalism and capitalistic modularism. Nanobots represent the dissolution of matter into thousands of tiny bits which can recombine into whatever the capitalist desires—maybe not the My back hurts! You get this sense that the modes of production always require some engagement with fundamental theories of matter and ontology. Not sure if it’s capitalist or not. I want a 3D printer but not 3D-printed guns. but just like nanobots, such a “fluid” is actually composed of many tiny atomized components. The 3D printer’s components exist in digital space, informational components which mobilize malleable fluid plastic—which is, however, itself composed of atoms, which are mostly composed of void? What am I talking about? nanobot should here be our image, but the 3D printer, if only because the latter is an actual technology rather than merely an imagined one. The 3D printer performs a most excellent subjugation of matter to desire—Oh, but how the metaphor changes! Or not? 3d printers seem to perform an alchemy of fluid apparition,

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Img[2]: 3D printer building a tower out of cheese, found on YouTube.



You’ve spent months hunkered your chosen table over within the restaurant scribbling away on legitimate pads to finish composing the book. The restaurant serves cheese fondue. It covers the pretzels. Your back is arched from the hunkering; your hand is curled stiff, forming a claw. There is no going back. You’ve spent months scribbling and all you’ve got to show for it is seven dollars ($7.00) and twenty-three cents (& $0.23). Your body will never forgive your You, nor will your pockets. Two or three people will read your book, if that. You are now in debt for spending months ordering pretzels dipped in cheese.



My movie could make use of worm puppets and my emerging persona as an Imaginary Worm Scientist. What a great spectacle it would be! Worm puppets, gummy worms, actual living earthworms… Prosthetic interventions into the Dreamworld, greased by the lubricating goo of blended worm paste. Pink goo, clowns. It’ll be this strange, fun thing. I’ll present my theories with a cardboard presentation display. The whole time, I’ll be wearing this red lab coat that Eli gave me, red coat covered in numerical symbols, coat he wore on Halloween as part of a “raffle” costume.


All of this means a great deal less or more than you think it does.



but rather its very own thing. Deterritorialized flows of information that amble of their own accord. Go back to the 1960s, looking at Trocchi’s project (perform that luddite gesture of focusing at a certain crossroads of transformation, mentioned in entry 817), and here you find a blogging free of the oppressive interventions of view counts, mindless accumulation, and irrevocable singularity. Here is a blogging that builds on itself but is not trapped in itself—a blogging that scatters itself upon many individual pages thrown into the wind.

I look back at Trocchi’s strawberry nonsense (strawberry pastries masquerading as wormbread, pink ham playing the part of an experimental wormham). This is a persona to take to the streets—at 23 years old, I will finally approach my adolescent dreams of guerrilla filmmaking. I always wanted to be a filmmaker, and it project sigma and see a practice I’d like to imitate, if only for a while.

There’s this myth about the alchemist who shits in a beaker and transmutes their turd into gold. In my dreams I take the opposite tack—I find gold, beautiful jewels and treasures, and

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Img[3]: “Emojicon” strawberry-scented poop pillow, for sale on Amazon.



end up tearing the flesh of my butthole, so what you get is a bloody turd. This once precious metal has joined the annals of slovenly eating. That’s me. I’m a gross, lazy hedonist, like all the rest. I am not so interested in making my eat them. Then I get constipated. Pearls in my gut clog up my bowel movements, so when I do finally shit out the jewels, it’s not without some struggle. Diamonds and rubies scrape against my intestine; even when they have been softened up by my stomach acid and the hungry mouths of my gut flora, those ingots of silver and gold I swallowed like so many candy bars come out my butthole as these hard, jagged things. They are certainly fecal, yes—but they are still rock solid, and so they still own gold. I’d much rather eat someone else’s gold and then violently shit it out my wounded butthole.

This is one of the many modes of my artistic practice. I turn gold to shit. This is the luxurious promise of a hedonhistory of Situationism. I’d left my books and my laptop at home, bought a pocket notebook at Rite-Aid. Ran into some people, walked to and fro.

It was OK but these weren’t necessarily my favorite people. I’m having a lot of mood swings. Trying to get a grip. Feeling lonely and strange.


Writing this as I listen to Thaddeus Russel get interviewed for the Nostalgia Trap podcast. It is December 8, 2016. It is snowing in Portland and I have got a lot of back pain. I’m at a computer lab in my alma mater’s campus. I’ve completed 312 HITs for Amazon’s mTurk. 201 of them have been accepted, and 111

Yesterday I tweeted a paragraph from entry 823 of On Blogging, about Trocchi’s Project Sigma and the recombinable body with a thousand organs. That entry (and this entry) was written using an aleatory cut-up method, wherein I skip pages in my notebook, start and stop different paragraphs and are pending. So far I have earned $6.84 and am anticipating more. I would have done more HITs but Amazon won’t let me, not until I have more days under my belt. Thaddeus Russel said something about rejecting labor as a moral good, and liberalism’s problematic tendency to tokenize students of color in university campuses. strains of thought simultaneously. [REDACTED] texted me about it:



—holy shit

—that tweet u posted

—is that a joke or serious?

me: which one, the screenshot about blogging?


me: it’s an excerpt from entry 823 of on blogging

me: for several


leftists talk about how stuffy academics and liberals are skittish about sex and material pleasure.

It’s cold out, my back hurts, I had soylent for lunch, and my allergies are making it hard to breathe. I’d like to drink a cocktail and eat shrimp. Want to be in a room lit up by projectors. Or something.


entries i’m using a sort of recombinatory self-cutup method

—writing a paper on a small dose of add meds and can’t figure out if you are making fun of bourgeois attempts to radicalize individual subjectivity through post-modern theory


I’m here in this computer lab listening to this podcast, listening to these I think when I’m done with On Blogging I might try to make a short movie, like half an hour or so. Something using old digital cameras or even VHS cameras if I can swing it. Make something poetic, something that is not composed of 1,000 linear units, but something that is both That’s fine. The point is to get lost in thought. To get confused. And maybe it’ll amount to something later. Maybe this is too cautious. Maybe the aim should be to reject amounting and amountedness. 1,000 routines in a factory break your back. Fuck that. I’m just trying to have some fun. densely packed and intensely scattered. Maybe something about imaginary worm science? Earthworms, wormholes. Something with special effects, loud sounds, rhizomatic poetries. Something silly, outside the intellectual machine.

The “problem” with recombinatory thought is that it’s not immediately productive.



On the psychogeography of cities and the internet


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Img[1]: Maze screensaver from Microsoft ‘95

[1] Situationism and the Internet

The enduring legacy of the Situationist dérive for the 21st century may include its status as a method for breaking out of the psychic boundaries that delimit one’s daily life to an unchanging routine. In a reflection on the psychogeography of Tijuana, Aurelio Meza quotes Guy Debord’s observation via the text of Chombart de Lauwe that over the course of a year, a student’s daily movements throughout the city of Paris formed “a small triangle with no significant deviations, the three apexes of which are the School of Political Sciences, her residence and that of her piano teacher.” Debord had expressed “outrage at the fact that anyone’s life can be so pathetically limited,” so he proposed the dérive—“a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiences”—as a method for expanding one’s psychogeographical limits. Where capitalism and modernity had together conspired to make narrow psychic hallways out of a large metropolis, surrealism would break things open and make the city a world again.

“On the psychogeography of cities and the internet”

On Modularism / Science and Capitalism in Louis-Ferdinand de Céline’s “Death on the Installment Plan”

001.1—Twentieth Century Modularism

I have gotten about two thirds of the way through Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s Death on the Installment Plan, a novel I first became aware of via an oblique reference made in Beck’s 2006 song The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton. First published in 1952, and then translated into English by Ralph Manheim in 1966, Death on the Installment Plan follows the childhood and adolescence of Ferdinand, the son of an abusive antiques salesman in the filthy slums of Paris. Described in the book jacket as “creative confessions,” this novel uses ellipses to stitch together narrative and emotional fragments that often turn extremely lewd. The book is full of shit and vomit, written in such a manic and sometimes slapstick way that reminds me of the baroque sadisms of writers like William S. Burroughs or Thomas Pynchon.

“On Modularism / Science and Capitalism in Louis-Ferdinand de Céline’s “Death on the Installment Plan””

On Modularism / Science and Capitalism in Louis-Ferdinand de Céline’s “Death on the Installment Plan”


img[1], Diagram of OSCAR from The Modular Body (2016), an “online science fiction story” by Floris Kaayk 

001—The Modularism of Blogging

Blogging is characterized by MODULARITY. (It is the medium of modular modernity, or modularism.) Blogging takes individualized snapshots of life that can be linked to one another, reordered or otherwise reorganized, individually deleted or repeated (reblogged, annotated, etc.)… The blog is always-already a collage or a palimpsest, but what must be recognized at this juncture is that if the blog is a collage or a palimpsest then it is one that is spread out in a line, composed of many dots held together by a loose and entangling thread. “On Modularism / Science and Capitalism in Louis-Ferdinand de Céline’s “Death on the Installment Plan””