Posts by tag: Internet and cognition

Amygdalatropolis interview

►/1404er/ (Fri) 23:34:11 No.10006857698

What kind of stupid fucking question is this. Of course nobody here has killed anyone. /1404er/ consists of three types of people: fat neckbearded virgins, thin neckbearded virgins and 12 year old edgelords, none of whom have ever been in a real fight, let alone killed someone.

And if you’re curious, i’m in the fat neckbearded virgin category, only i can’t grow a beard as it ends up patchy. (Amygdalatropolis p. 53)

Publishing today at 3AM Magazine is my interview with B.R. Yeager, author of the one-of-a-kind novel Amygdalatropolis (2017).

I don’t read a whole lot of contemporary literature, but this one did capture my attention and make its way into my home and my heart. In my introduction, I venture that it may be the great social media novel, perhaps the great internet novel for our time.

Those readers who have followed my writing may know that it’s been quite some time — 2 or 3 years? — since I donned my ‘book reviewer’s’ cap. And it’s been even longer since I did an interview with an author. (In fact, I have only done one interview previously, with Joseph McElroy.) Again, it was discovering this nonpareil book that spurred me to want to write about it, and, in fact, evangelize for it. (I had meant to write a review last year of Susan Howe’s Debths, but it never came to fruition: I choked on my mixed feelings for it. Maybe I will write something on it eventually and sort through those mixed feelings.)

To be more specific: it was the fact that Amygdalatropolis was published by a small press — you might even call it a micro-press — with no publicity campaign whatsoever, no pay-to-play review in Publisher’s Weekly, likely no official reviews at all, and in fact no social media presence as far as I can tell, etc. — that made me feel it deserved a fuller reckoning than just a single solitary reading. To some this might be obvious, but it can be very discouraging to see how stark the difference in awareness, publicity, and readership is between tiny independent presses and their larger, louder peers. I find this situation hugely depressing. The larger outlets tend to cover the same titles, usually from similar perspectives, and I start to find their voices and their online presence odious.

Hats off to small presses + the underdog.

Chejfec on the Internet & cognition

“[M]y morale as a walker had been in a bad way for some time.

The reasoning that follows may seem a bit abstract, so I’ll expound on it quickly. When I walk, my impression is that a digital sensibility overtakes me, one governed by overlapping windows. I say this not with pride but with annoyance: nothing worse could happen to me, because it affects my intuitive side and feels like a prison sentence. The places or circumstances that have drawn my attention take the from of Internet links, and this isn’t only true for the objects themseleves, which are generally urban, part of the life of the street or of the city as a whole, shaped precisely and distinguished from their surroundings, but also the associations they call to mind, the recollection of what is observed, which may be related, kindred, or quite distinct, depending on whichever way these links are formed. On a walk an image will lead me into a memory or into several, and these in turn summon other memories or connected thoughts, often by chance, etc., all creating a delirious branching effect that overwhelms me and leaves me exhausted. I’m a victim, that is, of the early days of the Internet, when wandering or surfing the Web was governed less by destiny or by the efficiency of search engines that it is today, and one drifted among things that were similar, irrelevant, or only loosely related. Until one reached the point of exhaustion over the needlessly prolonged Internet journey, with an ensuing loss of motivation to delve (or in my case, walk) any further, and then the moment of distortion would arrive, or of parallel nature, I don’t know which, when I would notice that every object had essentially turned into a link, and its own materiality had moved into the background, whose depth was virtual, peripheral and free-floating. / [ . . . ] It’s impossible for me to know how different my old-time, pre-Internet perceptions were; they probably were, in diverse ways. Before the Internet, my sense of a city was organized differently: my first impressions were stamped with their origins and the specific times, as it were, of their formation; they were bounded by the passage of time and by new experiences. And, in the resulting sedimentation, each memory retained its relative autonomy. But after the Internet, it happened that the same system formatted my sensibility, which ever since has tended to link events, in sequences of familiarity, though these sequences may be forced and often ridiculous. Those sequences of familiarity lead to groupings that are more or less volatile, it’s true, that nonetheless tend to leave what’s unique to each impression on a secondary plane, diluting in part the thickness of the experience.”

 

– Sergio Chejfec, My Two Worlds, p. 18-20 (Mis dos mundos, 2008; trans. Margaret B. Carson, Open Letter, 2011)