frac·tal // noun, Mathematics, Physics // a geometrical or physical structure having an irregular or fragmented shape at all scales of measurement between a greatest and smallest scale… [^]
This came up at the most recent Mudd Up! Book Club, which led me to looking up this, which led me to the video below. Don’t like the way dude says “singing and dancing” near the end, and a couple other small things (and the way he looks at me) but otherwise fux wit it.
This week, the 2012 EMP Pop Conference hits New York City. They write:
“What do you get when roughly 300 academics, journalists, and musicians gather to talk about music and the urban jungle?… The participants will explore sounds of the city–the reverberations of people gathered en masse. . .Presenters will pay particular attention to what urban environments have meant for race, gender, and sexuality”
The talks are free and open to the public, but advanced registration is strongly encouraged, and today is your last day to do that… Many, many fascinating talks are scheduled.
I present at 4pm on Friday, in conversation with the brilliant Jayna Brown. I’ll unveil my Sufi Plug Ins project — free music / software / tools based on nonwestern & poetic notions of sound in interaction with alternative interfaces. It’s easiest if you come see them in action. But then there is Julius Eastman! And Berber Auto-Tune! And a brand-new video to debut! And how it all relates to the roundtable’s stated topic of “The Time and Space of Alternative Sonic Blackness,” with professors Daphne Brooks, Tavia Nyong’o, Brown, and more.
[Sufi Plug Ins: Bayati Maqam synth GUI as artist print]
The week/end will conclude with a quick & dirty Mudd Up Book Clubb meeting on Sunday. Short story edition, details soon.
For the January edition of Mudd Up Book Clubb, we will be reading an epic and incandescent piece of contemporary Russian fiction: Vladimir Sorokin’s Ice Trilogy. It’s ambitious, totally nuts, capable of generating new emotions, perhaps the first “21st Ct” novel I’ve read.
Ice Trilogy is like a joke without the relief of a punchline. I regret recommending it to friends because suddenly I need to explain what it’s about, and end up sounding crazy… The book opens as a 19th century Russian novel. Then comes a trip to Siberia and an encounter with the Ice. It’s best if you read it. Let’s just say that the traditional arc of 20th century history is left intact but superimposed with a much more urgent momentum: the Brothers and Sisters of Light’s search for blond, blue-eyed people to smash in the chest with an Ice hammer, in hopes that the heart inside will awaken, and speak the language of the heart.
Pulpy, “literary”, and unrepentantly other, Ice Trilogy is a book you read with and against, a work that lingers.
The NYRB translation collects Sorokin’s three books — Bro, Ice, and 23,000 — into a single volume. 700 pages long, and entrancing.
The Mudd Up Book Clubb will meet at 5pm on Sunday January 22nd (TBC) in Manhattan for lively discussion followed by popsicles.
Past Book Clubb selections:
December 2011 NYC: Lauren Beukes Zoo City
November 2011 NYC: Samuel R. Delany Times Square Red, Times Square Blue
September 2011 Tangiers: Juan Goytisolo – Exiled from Everywhere
August 2011: Madrid: Cesar Aira – How I Became a Nun
June 2011: Casablanca: Maureen F. McHugh – Nekropolis
[originally posted at Mudd Up!]
[screenshot from the June Mudd Up Book Clubb’s Ustream]
The Mudd Up Book Clubb continues! Every six weeks or so we gather (preferably on a rooftop) to talk about a good muddy book, stream the conversation so The Internet can participate, then eat delicious food. The Clubb is meant to be a realtime feast-for-the-senses thing, but I’ve started a low-activity Mudd Up Book Clubb mailing list, which will mostly be used to remind folks about the dates and give out location info. For the inaugural Casablanca edition we read Maureen McHugh’s Nekropolis, a novel set in 22nd century Morocco. For the second edition, the Clubb will meet in on a Madrid rooftop on August 10th or 11th (date to be confirmed soon), to discuss César Aira’s Cómo Me Hice Monja, a novel translated into English as How I Became A Nun. Este edición del Clubb va a ser bilingüe.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Argentine novelist Cesar Aira, I suggest that you simply read the book. No spoilers! It’s short and deliciously strange. Aira has published over 80 novels in Spanish, often scattered across small presses. The act of simply finding his work has a magical easter-egg hunt quality to it. How I Became A Nun is his most popular book, and a decent entrance. All Aira’s novels are quite brief. I’ve read around fifteen of them. I keep reading him. Some are terrible. But even the bad ones have special moments filled with an uncanny freshness and surprise and moments of aphoristic clarity.
I first learned about Aira from this comment on my blog:
I’m sort of obsessed with Cesar Aira, Argentinian, ridiculously prolific, starts from a premise and then writes forward, throwing up all these absurd obstacles and traps and pitfalls that he has to write himself out of, like some kind of perfromer trapped on stage who has to keep on improvising tricks and art out of nowhere and without knowing why, until for a second you glimpse a pattern in the chaos – and the whole theatre collapses.
There is nobody else writing like Aira, yet his writing isn’t at all “difficult.” Even at their weirdest, Aira’s books are syntactically uncomplicated; the big picture might be bizarre but he doesn’t clutter his prose with a lot of adjectives or challenging vocabulary — so he’s perfect for a non-native Spanish speaker like myself to read in the original. If you’d like to give it a shot, this website appears to have the entire text of Cómo Me Hice Monja.
[the lovely Madrid rooftop where we’re gonna meet!]
“Pero no hay situación que se eternice. Siempre pasa algo más.”
‘Nothing lasts forever. Something else always happens.’
– Cómo Me Hice Monja / How I Became A Nun
As announced in this post, the Mudd Up Book Clubb kicks off this month. We have a time and location now: It’s going down on Monday June 27th, at 7pm on the rooftop near rue Jean Jaures in Gauthier, Casablanca. It’s a particularly appropriate place to sit down and discuss Maureen F. McHugh’s Nekropolis, a science fiction novel set in 22nd century Morocco involving biochemical slavery, immigration, genetic chimeras and more. See the original post for more info on the event and the book.
We’ll have a Ustream feed going for everyone elsewhere. I’m looking at a Filastine’s Barcelona rooftop for the next edition, let’s keep these pages turning..