Day, Kenneth Goldsmith

From Being Boring by Kenneth Goldsmith:

The simple act of moving information from one place to another today constitutes a significant cultural act in and of itself. I think it’s fair to say that most of us spend hours each day shifting content into different containers. Some of us call this writing.

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To read Goldsmith’s oeuvre, at a certain remove, reveals a consistent concern with spacing – with the collapse of distances into equal measures, and the differences and repetitions subsequently legible within regimes of periodic regulation.

Intervals not only have meaning, but they are, in some sense, what grounds meaning itself: “the spacing (pause, blank, punctuation, interval in general, etc.) which constitutes the origin of signification.” The semiotic system of language depends on its multiple articulations at different levels: those intervals between letters, words, and larger units of grammar which introduce the physical space of difference that permits us to distinguish, cognitively, different meanings. Moreover, as evinced by the move from the scriptura continua of western antiquity (in which texts were written withoutspacing between words),such intervals have had farreaching conceptual effects, with changes in textual space changing the way we understand the world around us.

On the other hand, the rigorously uniform and 21 exhaustive structures aspired to by these works are at odds with the modes of their assumed reading: irregular, discontinuous, distracted – skimmed and sampled and dipped.

“What is decisive in collecting is that the object is detached from all its original functions in order to enter into the closest conceivable relation to things of the same kind. The relation is the diametric opposite of any utility, and falls into the peculiar category of completeness” (Arcades 204).

At the molar level, the newspaper source of Day is twice removed from its original spacing. First, the paper is pulled from the dependable interval of the daily (a single date, September 1 , 2000, snatched from a series that st stretches back before any reader’s memory to 1856 and projects forward to any imaginable horizon). Secondly, the book removes the paper from the multiple printings of that single day’s circulation run, as its text is translated into the new format of a second codex edition. With this double withdrawal, Day fixes and monumentalizes the transient in the frozen moment of sculpture (like the implicit gossip and fleeting associations of the Birmingham monument).

Metropolitan Forecast

          D8 l the new york times tuesday, september 11, 2001
          Metropolitan Forecast
          today Less humid, sunshine
          High 79. Noticeably less humid air will filter into the metropolitan region on. Brisk winds from the northwest. High pressure building east from the Great Lakes will promote mainly sunny skies. Daytime readings will peak in the lower 80’s.
          tonight Clear, lighter winds
          Low 62. Skies will be clear overnight as high pressure crests near the Middle Atlantic Coast. Humidity will remain low, and temperatures will fall to around 60 degrees in many spots.
          tomorrow Mainly sunny
          High 76. Sunshine and just a few clouds will fill the sky. Breezes will turn and blow from the south ahead of a cold front approaching from Canada

Kenneth Goldsmith’s work is reproduced here with the blanket permission he has publicly given with his “usual arguments against creativity and for copyleft, file-sharing, and free culture” (2013). As he says in UbuWeb, his huge online archive of conceptual writing, avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts: “For the moment, we have no competition, a fact we’re not happy about. We’re distressed that there is only one UbuWeb: why aren’t there dozens like it? Looking at the art world, the problem appears to be a combination of an adherence to an old economy (one that is working very well with a booming market) and sense of trepidation, particularly in academic circles, where work on the internet is often not considered valid for academic credit. As long as the art world continues to prize economies of scarcity over those based on plentitude, the change will be a long time coming. But UbuWeb seeks to offer an alternative by invoking a gift economy of plentitude with a strong emphasis on global education.” ForBoredom aims to be that competition!