Borges, Gibson, Me, and Myself.

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

There’s this great, miniature story by Jorge Luis Borges called “Borges and I”.  His story suggests that the artist has a dual existence, as an ephemeral, present body and also as a finite, disembodied collection of their work and opinions/writing about their work.  It’s scary, but relevant.  The self extends beyond our fleshy confines, and far beyond our control over it.  It is there in our Facebook profiles, and in our selfies, and in our purchases and browser histories (and even in our wordpress blogs).  So that theme feel relevant for me.

http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/users/00/pwillen1/lit/borg&i.htm

(thanks to a friend for this recommendation)

The self indulgent artist in me imagines lots of ways of visualizing that concept.  I actually made a video/installation that was “about” a different idea, but resembles “existence of self outside of body” very much.  Oh, that also reminds of this great short story by William Gibson called “Fragments of a Hologram Rose”.  Beautiful story.

 “Parker lies in darkness, recalling the thousand fragments of the hologram rose. A hologram has this quality: Recovered and illuminated, each fragment will reveal the whole image of the rose. Falling toward delta, he sees himself the rose, each of his scattered fragments revealing a whole he’ll never know – stolen credit cards – a burned out suburb – planetary conjunctions of a stranger – a tank burning on a highway – a flat packet of drugs – a switchblade honed on concrete, thin as pain. Thinking: We’re each other’s fragments, and was it always this way? That instant of a European trip, deserted in the gray sea of wiped tape – is she closer now, or more real, for his having been there?”

– William Gibson, “Fragments of a Hologram Rose” (1977)

http://lib.ru/GIBSON/frag_rose.txt

I like the idea of separating body and self.  Digital amputation.  Maybe I could ask people to speak their names into a microphone and have their words manifest as a drifting, digital image of that name that floats and lands on someone else’s body.  Or maybe the name transforms the further away it gets from the speaker.  Turns into a bat or a monster or a unicorn or something random that they have no control over.

Anyway, here’s that video I made that I mentioned earlier:

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