Daily reflections based on the notes taken by the participants of Alchorisma, 2-8th December 2018, between Hasselt & Kyoto.
Alchorisma was Constant's work-session alluding to the relationships between algorithms, charisma, rhythm, alchemy and karma. It looked at integrating cosmogenetic views with the charisma surrounding technology and ways to infect existing algorithmic models with positions that acknowledge the importance of co-existence with non-human entities. FoAM Earth's involvement in Alchorisma consisted of designing (1) daily reflections using the words and ideas proposed by the participants, and (2) a workshop focusing on the attunement to the geological substrates of digital technology.
We designed the meditative and poetic reflections by working with online documentation posted online daily by the workshop participants. The participants used the reflection as part of their 'morning practice', before delving into the working sessions each day. It was an experiment in remote participation and facilitation, purely based on content generated during the workshop, without personal interactions with the group.
Collages on this page are made by Peter Westerberg
Listen to the first guided reflection here
Place the stone in front of you, in silence.
Observe the stone, or the space in front of you, its shape, colour, texture…
What do you notice? What do you notice as you take your time to pay attention?
Close your eyes and attempt to sense the presence of the stone, its existence in time and space.
How does the stone's presence influence your experience?
Widen your attention to include the other people in the room.
Humans, stones, dust mites…
Common places where people linger…
Echoes of hearing trees leaning, turning inwards, hardening up to endure the cold and darkness of winter.
The human bodies you are sharing this space with.
What do you notice around you? What is it like to sit like this with each other in this room?
Without attempting to change anything, investigate what's going on inside you - in your body, your thoughts, moods, emotions…
Allow it all to co-exist, to flow in and out of your attention.
Observe the flow, but try not to get swept up in it.
Notice how thoughts, sensations and emotions appear and disappear. Perhaps with some resistance, or some friction…
Cycles, iterations, recycling…
Notice how one thought effortlessly links to another, information bridged by association…
Notice how you are drawn to some things, repelled by others, or indifferent.
Let it all flow through you, without grasping onto any particular thought or sensation.
Open your eyes without focusing on anything in particular.
Let all your senses gradually awaken.
Eyes in the ocean of sight, ears in the ocean of sound, skin in the ocean of touch…
A complex sensory world that allows you to feel around and attune to different situations and different entities.
Across a multitude of spatial and temporal scales.
Deep time, nuclear time, timescales in conflict, time out of joint…
This morning we'll be attuning to the geological scale of rocks and stones.
Once… twice… three times.
Look at the stone or the space in front of you and acknowledge its presence.
Pick it up and hold it in your hands while listening…
Listen to the second guided reflection here
Imagine yourself in a world filled with friction generators, planar cuts across multiple timelines. Where markets function as esoteric worlds. Flowcharts as neutral zones.
You are practicing algorithmic geomancy in a place where harmony died. Where every computational technology is kabalistic, their incessant number crunching influencing the world.
What can you see on the surface of this world? What is surfacing?
The surface is a surface only from the outside… surface is a variable, changed by erosion, by inner and outer transformation. An operation without a return.
Nature fills the void.
How do you relate to the void? How do you sense across the spectrum between active and passive, existence and non-existence, positive and negative space?
What is guiding you? How do you explore? Which algorithms do you (un)conscicously apply?
How do you sense matter in this world, as its stony surfaces massage your feet, while its weather soaks you through?
How do you open yourself, transform yourself from i to another i. From senses to an i, from n things to an i? From any two things to the middle thing.
How do you change your processing time, the space of operation?
What are your inputs and outputs? What happens when you flip inputs to outputs?
What happens in between?
Where is your subjectivity? Intentionality? Spirit?
Are spirits matter? Etherial matter with Earth as their medium… What is the weight of spirit matter?
What would make spirits laugh? An algorithmic spirit invocation?
Skirting borders guided by light and life. Stones becoming organic, depending on the scale. Expanding the timeframe.
Is the tree dead or alive? Dead = false.
The colour red and decomposing leaves, in the silence of acorns, among sheep and grass. A colour that you cannot hold in your hand…
What might non-human abstractions look like? Abstract receptors?
16 pixels of ultimate defining animalness. No rules but gradual tuning.
Training the trees. Training on the world.
Humans becoming part of algorithms, transformed into objects. Objects into subjects.
How does it feel to be broken, to be carved, to become like stone, to be stony, silent as a stone?
A blurring, a de-binarisation, an erosion of opposites.
Erosion, corrosion, reaction, expansion, imagination, projection…
Sustain function as a condition. The weather decides.
Changes pass from layer to layer. Filters evolve over time.
Feedback loops. Repeat, re-iterate. Logic with illogical elements. Infinite loops. Black boxes.
How to stop? When to stop?
Create directions, find directions, ricochet, gravitate.
Travel deeper into the neurons. Attune. Learn and unlearn. Recalculate. Convolute.
In teleoric observations. cqrrelations and cqllisions. Taxonomic milieus.
Weathering of taxonomies. Weathering of stones. The sound of gravel turning into dust.
What are the operations that stones do to complement the things that humans do to stones? Throwing rocks and observing their rhythms.
Replace solutions with proposals, propositions. Non-performance. An active notation that changes the world. Experimental syntax and common vocabulary. A language that acts upon the machine.
Opening algorithms to other logics. Away from optimisation and towards hesitation, resistance, queering of exhausted words. GCP.
Execution itself is not without risk for the machine. A shell interface able to melt parts of the computer. Overclocking, limitless growth, devouring sensitivities. Depending on the perspective, you see either potential or catastrophe.
Be careful with the systems you imagine. Be careful with words. Be careful when using technology with other-than-human entities. Numbers are not innocent. Many daemons are at work, even if the machine is idle. Bugs and errors reveal ghosts. A squirrel in the algorithm. Bridging, decaying, transforming. When many become one and one become many.
Listen to the third guided reflection here
Let's begin by doing something without talking.
Come back to machines.
Return to older rituals.
If you are walking, just walk.
If you are sitting, just sit.
If you are lying, just lie.
Notice the contact points between your skin and the earth.
The places where there is no space between you and nature.
Continue the movement. Moving, still.
Between the barrier and the old church.
Navigate all the boundaries
Squirrel all the links
Modify the surrounding space by acting on an element
perform, reflect, rewrite, perform…
Embody the recursive chain.
Moving, still… your body enacting multiple algorithms while you breathe,
at the intersection between ritual and self care
Being as a performative act, making your discomfort tangible.
IIf you are ready,
Over there, right here, in a place where myths are made, where old knowledge and algorithmic knowledge co-exist,
uncover a spirit, in a stone, in a tree, in the land.
Let your presences, converse in silence.
Outside of models, waylaid by systems. L-systems, economic systems, computational systems.
Unfinance. Unmodel. Incarnate.
Life Is Not Amenable to Precision-Nested Scales.
Skillfull experience. The craft of noticing. Noticing connections. Erasing subjectiveness of interpretation.
Algorithms as companion species. Food for all but not forever. Tree spirits and vegetable fractals. Adaptive imitation strategies. Characters translated into geometry. Citizen AI. Data in trees. Numbers. Sounds. Flashlights. Exposures. The many forms of silence. Planetary frequences and other logics.
Do not hurt anyone.
Heal database anxiety. Concoct legal remedies. Expand the meta.
Subvert those logics, conditions, loops, functions, cascades; observe as the definiteness of the algorithm becomes infected by Queer Analytics.
Ambiguity and disambiguation performed by a human machine.
Languaging, re-languaging. Never claim that something is
Understand the how, sense the why.
A parapsycho-geogreology through panpsychic worlds. Microbiomes and biospheres. Insects nearly extinct.
Rio magdalena, ethiopia, villacabamba, altrato, whanganui, ganges.
walk in the places where witches burned;
mothers, lovers, servants;
trees, stones, spirits.
not green, not moving, not going forward.
stop. go backwards, sideways, at oblique angles.
always skirting the potential of friction, the potential of catastrophe, a queering damage, a glitch.
And then, think about remediation.
Infect, infiltrate, influence, align.
Fight with existing tools of power. subvert, turn against, flip force onto itself
Fire fighting fire
Speak from the new paradigm.
Reclaim. Re-enact, Pre-enact. Mitigate.
Or don't. What would happen if you stop doing? Just for a few minutes.
Return to breathing…
Spirits congealing in the dampness of your breath. The breath congealing in the steam of spirits.
every inhale a new beginning,
every exhale a letting go…
In and out…
In and out…
Listen to the fourth guided reflection here
you are in a forest…
loop in loop in loop
hybrids, subspecies, names morphing … ambiguity as part of the anxiety.
geontologies, plant conditions: A, E, G, Q, I
alive / dead / between / indistinguishable mass
inorganic / not-living / dead / non-living / ghost trees
the collection manager's nightmare.
trees have a right to privacy.
beware of bioeconomies, lively capital, accumulation.
sing to a being to ask permission to be spoken to. repeat. repeat. repeat. speak in tongues. align. be still.
listen to the essence of a spirit.
imagine a collective life otherwise.
accept affective forces of nonhuman animals and machines
move beyond reparative narratives or benevolent utopianism towards more-than-human life
you are in a sacred space.
calling all spirits… across all frequencies.
3, 6, 9. creator, mantainer, destroyer.
design a spell generator. develop a vocabulary. scry a sacred geometry. practice permutational tuning. contest anthro-normativities.
write software to cajole the spirit out of matter. an incantation. across all frequencies. beyond human perception.
oscillate, vibrate. matter and energy, energy in matter, awaken.
scan your body for energetic signals. search your light memory and shapes of shadow.
what can you sense? extraneous vibrations? warmth? constriction? release?
the more questioningly we ponder the essence of technology, the more mysterious the essence of art.
machines talking to machines.
ponder the possibilities and limitations of informatics. computation, analytics, bioinfotech.
a counter-strategy against optimisation. from on-off, 0-1 to continuous inception and subsiding. wabi-sabi. kintsukuroi.
visualise a vertex of a triangle, a permutation of a frequency.
6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
nikola tesla. technogaians, heidegger, whitehead, stengers.
capitalist sorcerers, economic black magicians, financial golems, patabotanists and witches of old.
you are in an ancient catholic town.
there is a market, a witch burning hill, a graveyard.
remember your oppressed ancestors. witches, cats, trees, owls, fishmarket stones.
recognise the experience of damage and pain, partial reparation, loss and disposession
fight the erosion of memory. resist deliberate collective amnesia. mourn lost resources.
smell the remnants of burning flesh and crackling wood, wafting across centuries…
practice hauntology. summon memories from possessed objects. eerie disturbances of past torments.
commune with cats. honour the stumps. channel the specter of a witch. read. recognise. remember.
circle, cycle, loop. spiral. dance. perform secret algorithms. propagate…
where does it hurt?
you are damaged. experiencing damage. witnessing damage. damaging.
consider the damages shared by humans and nonhumans. queer politics, contestation, affirmation.
bodily damage, community damage, environmental damage, personal injury, historical damage, public damage, fictitious damage, cultural damage, file damage, structural damage, naturalized damage, computer damage, urban damage, transgenerational damage, geopolitical damage.
a double contamination. political fictions, poethics, figurations & wild fantasies.
microbial, animal, plant, mineral, cosmological technoscience.
alive or not, human or not, powerful or powerless
spatiality / situatedness / displacements / distribution /anti-fragility
temporality / durability / existing / extinct / repeated
signs and matters
Incomplete reading, bibliographic resistance
Subculturing. the (im)possibilities of being with a slime mold, a spirit, a stone, a tree, …
Cut apart and together
^ scale timespace to n
© creative force
survival, caretaking, respect, responsibility,
“Listen” to the silent meditation (in the dzogchen tradition) here
a secret place, between the city and the country side.
downstairs, red room, new moon.
welcome, all that was left out. all those that were left out.
all agents, flip operators, externalities, multiple perspectives, computers, pictures, luminescence, computer science, internet cats, pots, dykes, volunteers, technoshamans, fish and rain.
optimisation, maybe; doubts, definitely.
check your intentions. specify your licenses. prepare your tools.
situate yourself. attune. lose your road. trespass. obfuscate.
hold space for damage.
quiet your mind. recognise interference.
open up in multiple perspectives.
close your eyes. be receptive.
care, care take, take care.
begin your summoning
within summoning grid
come, all those who organised this
who lend us sacrifice
what cook their imagine
who breathe, it gather
“nnp”: [“Gullveig”, “Oracle”, “Warlock”, “Väinämöinen”, “Angel”, “Befana”, “Häxa”, “Sorcière”, “Midsummerblót”, “MotherShipton”, “MotherSuspirium”, “Toverkol”, “Mansin”, “Mare”, “MalleusMaleficarum”, “MagnaMater”, “Hexe”, “Hexer”, “GreatMother”, “Healer”, “Morgana”, “Fellow”, “Fordodha”, “Galsterweib”, “Shaman”, “DonnaDiFuora”, “Fae”, “Feek”, “Circe”, “Medea”, “Eko”, “Element”, “Czarownica”, “Czarownik”, “Cailleach”, “Brahma”, “Divine”, “Universe”, “Mother”, “MotherEarth”, “Aura”, ”“],
you will see, hear, feel, four flashes of intense light.
cast your spells. read your meta-instructions.
rebirth, renovation, time for new thoughts
healing spells. for those affected by mudslides. for those with database anxiety. for training trees.
flip, love, shape.
ask your questions.
SorciÃ¨re yourself worship more metamorphosis
MidsummerblÃ³t yourself wash lower divine
what celebrate this spill
gather my glassball
obstacles, my power
go to the garden, look at the trees. focus on your stone.
behead your sacrifice while you face fifteen trees.
make your offering. cast your salt
herbs from the south
hands sticky with resin
imagine my offering
what drink they drink
please do not speak.
experience the connections
loop, and loop back.
recognise different ways of seeing.
Divine must breathe, greater magic
listen to the essence of your spirit.
in the absent moonlight, a nascent impression of data care.
a pool of imaginary results.
different spaces for action, opened. nuanced, ambiguous. luminescent.
when all is said and done, notice a welling up of gratitude.
pay tribute. say thank you. individually, collectively.
to trees, stones, spirits. to machines and algorithms. to objects and processes. to names and the unnameable.
to places you dwelled in and paths you followed.
say thank you to each other.
then sit together in total darkness and total silence. rest.