Nico Vassilakis' iTouch Visual Letter Compositions (formerly vispo) and THIS: an essay

are these the first iTouch vispoems? probably not, but i'll say they are till i see different. does it bother me that technology enables such quick and finished pieces? yes. does it bother me that financially these gadgets are unapproachable to most? yes. does it bother me that advertising creates a desire for these items to be bought? yes. does it foretell an end to vispo as we know it? perhaps. does sensing a sea change count for something? perhaps. can the iTouch and future gadgets unravel the visual literature we grew up on? yes and no. as long as the grid is up it archives the past. there will come a day when what we generate electronically will surpass what is produced physically. will nature respond to these kinds of intended assaults? yes, but just once. and that's all it'll take. does visual letter art mean anything? no. is visual letter art a reflection of our own barrage of textual suffocation? yes, it's an alignment of possible meanings. but does it mean anything? yes, it intends to enhance the potential of how we see.


This. Written hundreds of times. Like this. This, this, this, this, this, etcetera. Till it fills a page or a poster. And somewhere in the center. Just slightly on the left side of the center of the page. The is in one of the this is in red. The rest of the text is printed in black.

In this do these contain anything interesting at all? Besides being derivative of many examples of advertising and early concrete poetry. Namely, the 1960s. Is there any value to such an image?

This sort of image and technique is lost in a world of infinitely more active and eye-catching visuals. It’s nearly a static museum moment. Captured in boredom.

It’s entirely possible that you can create a totally forgettable piece. In doing so you have fulfilled your duty as an artist. Well, it’s entirely likely you will. You see, you are just no good.

In order for something to rise to the top it needs to travel up and over other things. These other things are mostly made up of people like you. And so it is your duty to be the fodder for someone else to rise above.

Not standing out amongst this talent is not an unimportant thing. It is critical that you exist. That you take your place in the background. Without merit and recognition. History is filled with your type. Pebbles in a great big wall.

So is the going before, the going back or attempting a non-derivative piece even possible? How far back does one have to go? What lateral direction? What line of lineage to follow?

What also gets tried is leaping into the future in hopes of anticipating the next new thing. This is done by following current trends – you know – tomorrow’s invisibles – and guessing what will catch peoples’ eye.

The former, I think, will at least yield you a minor education yet assure you poverty.

Poets are in the same boat too. Their lack of financial reward is so laughable that the pebbles rest on poet’s backs before building the great big wall. Even less than fodder.

That said, it’s not just rising to the top, but staying there. Even this conversation I’m having is destined for the dust heap. Do we still literally have dust heaps? Never defile yourself by saying you are up and coming, because, of course, in no time you will be down and going. With any luck you merely ARE, without direction. And I don’t mean to vaguely mimic Buddhist ideology.

Then there’s Tina Turner’s ‘what’s art got to do with it?’ paradigm of functioning. That being the product is less important than the marketing of that product. That’s the sound of souls crying. Crashing under the weight of their own greed and vanity.

These temptations beguile us. Trick these artists into fulfilling their duty. As the amount of attention increases, so does the amount of attention sought. The more you seek, the more invisible it becomes. This has nothing to do with talent. It is the difference between feeding ego with shovels or teaspoons. It still needs feeding. Every person does.

Because you see a name doesn’t mean that name is worth anything. Because a name has been hanging around for ten minutes doesn’t mean it’ll be here 50 years from now. Because a name has a loyal fan base, it doesn’t mean their work is any good.

Finding out what is useful is three quarters the battle. By useful I mean your sensibilities are aroused and intentions are engaged. Finding this out is crucial. The other quarter is knowing what you like and why. By why, I mean you don’t need to know specifics, but intuition – knowing when to twist it. Well, I’ve managed to make this clichéd to the ear.

Once again has to do with creating that which has given you the most satisfying and lucrative response. And refashioning it endlessly to the delight of any audience you have mustered. Are these positive results and are they exploratory in nature. It takes a bit longer for them to reach the dust heap. But for 99% of them – they’re fodder.

Stability is a desired position. To know and even anticipate the next facet of your work for the next 5-10 years. Who wouldn’t love that? Who wouldn’t want that stable field – removing the guesswork for just a little while? To not step in unknown quagmires, but stand firm on predictable ground. It’s not wrong to want that. It’s not wrong to need a break.

Turning your fucked up face toward and then away from the business end of popular culture. Can you recall the dream where you were discussing with celestial entities. The diving board that brings you the unsaid universe. The pivot of excellent knowing.

In other words, used to be I could distinguish between creepy self-involvement and diligence worth respecting. Like sifting through swathes of jazz to suss out what compels and what disintegrates at lights first contact. Now I am lost – I mean I know what should be good, but I have dwindled the ability to generate an opinion on excellence.

So what effect does the computer have on creating work meant to be promoted - besides everything? Ultimately, it must be sent or visited – otherwise linked to - and this is how the fire spreading starts. It is basic knowledge that bloggers can say anything and commenters are free to respond any way they want. There seems to be no cap on this paradigm. Of course, saying anything is an open and democratic necessity. But it comes with pitfalls.

Though it seems I am a product of my own dilemma – the disease is further embedded – as it is I cannot extricate myself from it.

The futility of standing in a hallway with my work xeroxed and enlarged – tacked up to show its transparency. An ebook printed out and shown at a gallery. Can that be something? It might be, I simply can’t tell.

Lines are being drawn. Have been drawn. There is no purchase stable enough to steady myself. Any belief is strewn with haphazard entries that undo sturdy conclusions. Second-guessing along as you go. This is derivative too.

A misplaced item is a displaced item that stands out waiting to be recovered.

This structure is nervous – the zeal has left and what remains is an emptiness of lack, of confidence. The sense that I am to be my own words - however vague or dry they have become – is a sinking feeling that is to be faced right up at the microphone. Always faced with being false or the regret of momentum’s end.

The outcome was a hangover hook that suited the scene. A dismal prep with a fine cannon shot. In other words, I found my clown center and made the reading lift off the ground.

Don’t perfume your hand and wave it around. Respect communication, as you would an elder.

This is a poster. This is you looking at a poster. The arrangement is a known quantity. It melts along your eye line. The treacherous possibilities honed to a point. And that point delights at making complex what would otherwise be easy.

There’s an easy brown I’m thinking of for this. Brown background with black text and, of course, the red is. So a question comes up – this is what? (A Patti Smith album on your in-flight music selection)

To be absorbed is to live with possibilities – to explore the available – to get lost and found – to make mistakes that can be fixed. To be absorbed is to be in the system. Safe there. To not be absorbed is death. Impossible quotations. It’s unlinkably dim. No satellite connection. These aren’t even the youth anymore, as it used to be – these are the old. The non wi-fi elderly.

We’re several steps beyond an outbreak – it’s a mainstream condition. A breakneck wild fire pace spreading across land – screen by screen.

14 kommentarer:

troylloyd sa...

i can relate to what Nico is talking about, info gizmo from screen to screen & yeah, there's an app for that

mike cannell sa...

great experiment. he sent me some of these a few days back and i'm publishing some in wurm2.

where've you been?

is your aunt ok?

Matthew Tripp sa...

The wheel of Buddhist terms poster Velcro modular wall mural game. Doctoral dissertation for philosophy, title: The Interpenetration of Buddhist Practice and Classroom Teaching.

PARASITIC SPECIES INFESTATION alien robot telescope spaceship: audiobook first few tracks are good, PALE BLUE DOT as we transition to a knowledge based global society

as computing power increases exponentially and ubiquitous web enabled sensors allow for immersion in context relevant buddhist or ethics perspective, national broadband plan...

www.dharmaprinting.com augmented reality sociology subject index and table of contents Chinese military intelligence genius clones life energy word abacus sustainability transmission measurement context mapping twitter.com/globalcide is me Google for EXTINCTCULTURE please let me know what you think about this topic www.computer.org/pervasive (FOLDING@HOME and BIONIC software's, engineering 450 million new species to make deserts habitable or telepathic ecosystem maintenance) autodesk inventor prototyping software for genetics use the audio book list on audibles.com to build course of life coaching training young orphan people to be CIA certified ethical hackers download free at nowtorrents.com because if the current post world war 2 education system was meant to produce factory workers (not critical thinking curriculum video from best teacher nationally then teachers answer questions and do research while the kids watch, pause for Q+A, the videos podshifter software for iTunesU ) how much worse is this continuation of using the bible koran instead of critical mass ecosystem dynamics physics logistics?

google for flashcard database

subliminal education psychological profiling HDTV prenhall.com/dabbagh/

MIT OCW designing your life. The art of war flashcard deck, wikipedia article audio book the 48 laws of power... RAW stem cells movies: Eagle EYE, Minority Report, (gps and audio recording + all video survelance to DVR on web for all probation and parole ankle monitors, put more people on them and use software to monitor them, the probation or parolee pays for the ankle monitor and then gives it back to the probation office then the next probation pays for it again, thus buying another one) broadcom is makeing new version of these chips every two months now GPS + Bluetooth + WiFi + FM combo chip)

audio + video security DVR in juvinile prisons with audiobooks streaming leave the headphones you buy behind for the next inmate



web 2.0 directories: ziipa.com and go2web20.net USE THE TAGS cloud, also lifehacker.com and lifehack.org SHARE 99ebooks.blogspot.com


Stephen Nelson sa...

Whatever you think of the technology, these are great poems. Apps in about us!

troylloyd sa...

hey, sorry i've been out of touch, i'll send along an email shortly...

interesting commment
goodbye 20th century

the phildickien threads of our "immersive digital culture" are becoming more evident, and more frayed. the whole atmosphere raises some fundamental questions about our concepts of value...how to navigate thru such thick density.

"bionic hand wins top poetry prize"

an excerpt:
How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later
(1978) Philip K. Dick

"But I consider that the matter of defining what is real—that is a serious topic, even a vital topic. And in there somewhere is the other topic, the definition of the authentic human. Because the bombardment of pseudo-realities begins to produce inauthentic humans very quickly, spurious humans—as fake as the data pressing at them from all sides. My two topics are really one topic; they unite at this point. Fake realities will create fake humans. Or, fake humans will generate fake realities and then sell them to other humans, turning them, eventually, into forgeries of themselves. So we wind up with fake humans inventing fake realities and then peddling them to other fake humans."

Like cyberpunk, which he anticipates and influenced, Dick sets his fantasies within a world drawn from current configurations of global capitalism and the Cold War.His writings reveal deep fears of war, social breakdown, nuclear Armageddon, and military technology and political tensions escalating out of control. He portrays a future in which demagogues use media culture to manipulate and dominate underlying masses of people, and where the development of cybernetic systems results in a society where humans are mastered by machines, technology, and in some cases superior species. Hence, the collapse of humans and technology and a posthuman threat to individuals in technocapitalism are core themes of Dick's work.

yes, i think it raises interesting questions, both sides of the flip, there can be a positivist view about posthumanism, because indeed there are quite a few positive aspects, in the end, maybe it boils down to a question of value?

Christopher sa...

Lovely and beautiful!

eggtooth sa...

interesting dilemma,if not a provisional one. i sometimes wonder if the future will present that the only thing viral about the internet THAT took place was in meatspace. the implications of its directions of appearing and disappearing level playing field opp. for all to participate are fascinating. the quest does go a certain direction because of an elevation of an idea of reality,of sharing with our bullhorns into space,self-absorbed and defining ourselves -relative to ..what? who? what is the goal?everyone alone on their thrones developing their presence,with what senseof self being turned inward with what goal...to share? to be part of a community? to gather as many followers or friends as possible? to make money? so artists having to push do what?so we cook up a notion-the quest for boredom or excelling at mundane-trying to close the gap between the reaction to life that is art...it is no longer the lie that tells the truth,it is simply a lie.it has come fll circle...why? is it because of an ability to click a button and be published? the implications have an undefinite x-factor..it permanently exists in a state of "it cld be"..so therefore in some reality..it must be.shrodinger's phoenix reborn eternally. so somewhere it is. so that is naturally where we choose to exist. until we log off? we do travel into real time..he goal that reaches it is contained by realtime,of course. but sometimes it seems to be containing it.
the truth is working on a soup line,if what you wanna do is be amazing to somebody. the very act of sharing. how far do we trace back to that desire? internet's communicative implications echoe the very same senses of self and interpretations that are lost or take place FTF.
on local levels artists in many cities struggle with the fact that their city's desire to be is base don older models. some say chicago will always compare itself to NY. praps even that paradigm is dead and the thought is a zombie that still manifests on peoples lips and thoughts because it was how they were raised.to try to be this idea,because the physical space we move thru is still real. but the truth is...community is about education and family and sharing as much as it is about commanding an idea of value or high society or pushing an envelope or producing what is relevant to now or ahead of the curve,even..and the interesting thing is..i feel the two have finally met. its famous to just be sharing with friends. maybe this is evolutionary in a good way is what i am saying. real values have been thrown in a mixer and all will be sifted out..and inthe end..this internet thing will be considered a human virus that we found a cure for.or got under control and figure dout how and where to use it. how to establish a frame around it. around us.

Anny Ballardini sa...

I love this new work! To Nico, continue on the concrete way.

eggtooth sa...


troylloyd sa...

the June 1st edition of The New Yorker magazine featured a cover by Jorge Colombo, made with the iPhone app, "brushes".

i just point out the above to note how ingrained our collective neophilia actually is, how the various gadgets & programs effect our cultural makeup.

of course, the pieces Nico has created, regardless of any app used to make them, are worthy of merit -- but what he's written to go along with them echoes an argument i'm always having with myself.

an argument which i simply do not posses the critical apparatus to completely absolve.

something about the production & dissemination of work in this post-information environment: an oversaturated landscape where for everything which gains our attention, myriad others escape our attention -- it's impossible to keep up.

i suppose this swarm aspect is a healthy sign of a vibrant ecosystem, as it were.

one could say that the more available creative tools available, the better, because new tools are capable of new results.

however, there sometimes can be a loss of vital organic dimensions, a lack of tactility -- yet, the ease of pushbuttons allow for a wider range of participants, which is good.

there'll always be some amount of backlash, take for instance the recent Jay Z joint "death of auto-tune" critiquing the rise of the robovoice in popular culture -- this is just one example, but many more exist which are more relevant to art or poetics...

ultimately, i end up at square one: people should make things with whatever tools are available to them & that's that -- i can't seriously argue against technological tools because i start sounding like an old curmudgeon arguing that typewriters have killed handwriting or how telephones have destroyed the great art of letter-writing...

...so, i guess it really is an exciting time to be alive, interacting with this expansive ephemeral archive of our collective consciousness...

Stephen Nelson sa...

Like most things, it's not the technology, but how we use it and how we let it affect us that counts. It'll only de-humanise us if we let it, if we hide behind the sleek contours of our iphones or become addicted to whatever apps 'appen to be 'appenin. If, OTOH, we remain present to our humanity, to what we are, rather than what we know or what we receive via the info boom, if we remain in touch with our senses and the flow of our minds, as Nico undoubtedly was when he cretaed these beautiful compositions, then technology will serve us and be part of our evolotionary growth. Forever the optimist - S.

Mariana Soffer sa...

I liked this post very much, beautifull graphs, remind me somehow about fractals and the distortion of the eral world number of dimensions that there are. I also find very interesting your textual interpretation about image text and art,
Maybe you might light to check a friend of mine called \t, his blog is something like mopo.blogspot and his nickname is dalai llama

troylloyd sa...

jep, that be troo.
what ye sed.
it's funny, how one can get caught up in something, my sister has an iPhone & it just amazes me to no end, it really is a valuable piece of technogadgetry, capable of myriad functions, if i had the bread to spread i'd get one meself, tho they are cheaper now, however, i'll always harbour a bit of paranoia as well y'know? i'm very yet still much of a
" basketweaver " how ever much i find myself intergrated into the new ethereal consciousness, i'll remain a bookish brat as touch is touch is touch...

thanx for commmenting, i have read your incredible blog & the brainmaze goes hyperdepth on reception of your words, for real, all the various topics you discuss can put a fire under someone's ass, so to speak, there are just so many damn questions & often i shrug as to why i even attempt to resolve anything at all, but blogs like yours help me to navigate thru the sticky syrup of why we're even here...

it's wild to think of our large moon,
how it allows our 23° stability, the
stats involved w/ planetary collision,
how Orpheus collided w/ Earth but hit
sideswipe, gifting us our glorious moon,
it's only life afterall,
& life only.

& yes, Ted Warnell is a high capcity human entity mazing space thru codes & nodes & modes & all roads lead to poetry, if we say anything, let us say it well!

= )

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