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Jacques Lacan, The Sinthome, Seminar XXIII, 1975-76

Lacan offered seminars annually from 1952 to 1980. Lacan’s seminars make an important contribution to the Theory in the CATTt guiding the invention of Konsult in general, and theopraxesis in particular. In this later seminar Lacan makes explicit some connections with the sources of our project that until now operated as assumptions. The first of these relationships is outlined here.


Real, imaginary, and symbolic strikes me as just as valid as the other triad from which, going by Aristotle, the juice was extracted to compose man, namely, will, intelligence, and affectivity. (Sinthome 126).

As discussed in the book, Konsult: Theopraxesis, one function of our experiment is to support a transition from literacy to electracy in education (to negotiate a passage from one apparatus to another). The pedagogy is centered on egents, the ones supposed to learn, appropriating the resources of Arts & Letters curriculum as means for students to undergo and develop their capabilities—their faculties, powers, virtues, potentiality—identified in the tradition dating from the invention of literacy in the Athenian academies as the embodied intellectual virtues: Theoria, Praxis, Poesis (theory, practice, poetics; thinking, doing, making; understanding, will, imagination). Kant’s Three Critiques take up this thread. The Third Critique promotes Aesthetics to equal status with Science and Morality, to propose aesthetic judgment as mediator bridging the abyss separating science and religion. Hannah Arendt took up Kant’s project as the best option for a Public Sphere in industrialized mass society after Auschwitz.

The importance of Lacan’s contribution is apparent in this context. His mnemonic image of the embodied virtues is a bag (the body, mathematically the empty set, the one) tied closed with cord (string, ficelles). RSI (playing on rhymes and puns with “heresy” and “airesis” or choice)—Lacan’s updating of the three faculties—Real, Symbolic, Imaginary—interrelate topologically, entangled in a way that Lacan explores through knot topology, with the Borromean knot specifically manifesting the sinthome (unique symptom). We have argued elsewhere that the sinthome helps account for the image of wide scope. One implication to be tested in our experiments is that in experience we encounter the apparatus stack (the popcycle) as entangled, knotted, in a manner articulated by topology. Lacan supplies one guide for the Kant-Arendt project, that we are calling theopraxesis: the virtues and their institutions already are fully integrated in a potential state (dunamis, but in a condition of privation, steresis). The “symptom” of this virtual condition is the polemos or seemingly irreducible conflict apparent in relations both macrocosmic and microcosmic of civilization.

HOGARTH: Line of Beauty

A second affiliation with tradition important to note in this seminar is Lacan’s reference to Hogarth’s curved line of beauty as relevant to the genealogy of his knot topology. This connection makes explicit Lacan’s contribution to the larger question of the gramme, the invention of the plasmatic line in the Paleo apparatus, in continuing service up to the present, now augmented in electracy through animation and digital FX. Sergei Eisenstein cited Disney’s animated film, Steamboat Willie (1928) as a revelation of the new order opened up in media by the plasmatic line. We will have more to say about the ontological properties of this line.

2019-01-10T15:32:44+00:00 December 19th, 2018|Categories: Capability, Diagram, Draw, Lacan, Popcycle, Sinthome, Theopraxesis, Topology, Uncategorized, Wide Image|

Theopraxesis: Allegory

Allegory of Konsult. Plato in Republic condensed his metaphysics of education in the allegory of the cave,  We take this famous story as a relay, prompting us to propose an allegory that dramatizes the equivalent experience of education in electracy. We will explore several possibilities throughout KE, beginning with the film version of The Wizard of Oz, based on the novels by L. Frank Baum. We recall the story of the cave was a round trip: the prisoner released from chains, turned around (converted), led out of the fire-lit cave into the sunlight outside, expected then to return to bring the news of this other world to the cave. This theme of Nostos (round trip, ida y vuelta) structures Homer’s Odyssey, of which Oz is said to be a remake update. A key point in our allegory relative to this tradition is the moment of consulting. Odysseus is prevented from returning home to Ithaca, held in thrall by Circe. Circe relents and tells Odysseus that to learn how to return home he must consult with Tiresias in Hades.

–Apparatus. The allegory helps clarify the difference in metaphysics separating the apparati. Each has a fundamental understanding of reality, and each focuses all its resources to manage the system of cause and effect according to the respective realities. In the oral world of Odysseus, gods represent cause, and humans manage this energy by means of ritual, sacrifice, worship. Odysseus’s behavior gave offense to the gods, thus activating the right-wrong metaphysics of orality. To gain access to Hades, Odysseus performs a ritual sacrifice of oxen, collecting the blood, which attracts the spirits of the dead, including Tiresias, who arrives and counsels the hero about his return home. Socrates as gadfly in the streets of Athens performs a literate consultancy, using dialectical logic questioning interlocutors, according to the true-false reality of literate metaphysics. The Wizard of Oz suggests a third manner of consulting, relative to the reality structuring electracy (Fantasy).

–Scenario. Assuming familiarity with the synopsis of the narrative, we may outline the allegorical import. In general the narrative is instructive of mystorical design in that there is an isotopic rhyming between Dorothy’s world in Kansas and the fantasy world of Oz. The encounter of these two orders is dramatized when Dorothy’s house lands in Oz, crushing the Wicked Witch of the East, whose red shoes Dorothy inherits. The tornado that interrupted a family crisis in Kansas represents Disaster. Dorothy is egent, or soul (psyche) in the allegory, and her journey to find the Wizard to get his advice dramatizes the egent’s actualization of her capabilities in theopraxesis. The three capabilities (virtues, faculties) are represented by the three companions Dorothy meets along the way, the Yellow Brick Road. The three figures embody the significance of the lack articulated in the term “egent” (they lack). The three companions represent the three virtues in a state of privation, Steresis, potentiality not realized (im/potence). Their impotence is a projection of Dorothy’s virtuality, her lack, the condition of any ephebe on the way. The three figures manifest the tripartite system of virtues, but Baum euphemized the assignments somewhat, blending heart and gut. In our appropriation of the story for konsult allegory the alignment with the tradition is clear: Scarecrow wants a brain (Knowledge, Theoria, Head, Rulers); Lion wants courage, so heart (Will, Praxis, Guardians); Tin Woodman’s problem is not his “heart” but his “axe” (enchanted by the witch), which prevents him from loving (having sex). He represents Viscera (Desire, Poiesis, Workers).

–Wizard. The scene of consultation with the Wizard, when Psyche and her three Capabilities make their requests, shows the full arrangement of apparati and their relationship at the collective level. In this expanded scene, the microcosm/macrocosm individual/collective isotopy is made explicit: Tin Man is Paleo (Family, sexual fertility), Lion is Oral (Church), Scarecrow is Literate (School), Wizard is Electrate (Entertainment). Much theory could be referenced here to support this configuration. To mention Lacan, for example, the Wizard is the Big Other, the one supposed to know, whose hold over us it is the purpose of therapy to dispel. The immediate value of the Oz allegory is to highlight this passage in education, the adventure of learning (dealing with the trials testing Psyche/Dorothy) as actualization of the three capabilities. Equally important is the fact that the Wizard is augmented capability, imagination mise-en-macbine, with the imperative of the allegory being for us to understand how Oz makes able, activates, the three virtues so Dorothy may return home (overcome disaster).

2018-08-01T16:03:46+00:00 August 1st, 2018|Categories: Capability, Overview, Popcycle, Theopraxesis, Visceral|Tags: |

TPE: Emblem, Wabi Sabi 2

–Tenor (Themata): Catechism. The image on the left is the emblem Ulmer generated from his mystory, leading to design of his wide image in Noon Star. The formal rules from Koren’s relay generates theopraxesis by requiring that the answer to the catechism questions must be derived from one of the popcycle stories, each story used once only. The three capabilities are expressed in Wabi-Sabi by three M’s (resonating with the H’MMM disciplines): Metaphysics (Theoria); Morality (Praxis); Mood (Poiesis). Egents ask themselves:

1) which of the popcycle stories, received as a fable (parable), expresses their understanding of how the world works, the character of reality. The Japanese tradition answers, “Things are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness.” For Ulmer, the Family story of the botched piano recital, the red star (not gold or silver) on the sheet music, is a parable of a reality in which one is continuously judged in endless competitions.  His epigram describes that condition.

2) Morality (Spiritual Values): which popcyle story is a fable of how one must act, given the character of reality? Wabi-Sabi proposes to get rid of what is unnecessary, ignore material hierarchy. For Ulmer, Custer’s foolish ambition serves as a negative example, a fable warning against Custer’s desire for glory. Ulmer’s motto expresses his lesson: Where are your Reservations?

3) The third question is Mood: given the necessity to act in that way, in a world of that character, how do I feel? Wabi-Sabi advises acceptance of the inevitable and appreciation of the cosmic order. Ulmer found his state of mind expressed in High Noon as a fable of duty: despite his contempt for the hypocritical community, the sheriff fought the gang of killers, after which he threw away the tin star. This gesture of discarding the badge of status determined the tin star as the icon of the emblem. In practice it is best to decide which popcycle story supplies the picture, and which question of the catechism that story answers, and the rest of the emblem follows from there.

The wide image has no innate form, and  is not confined to emblem poetics. It is inchoate, accessed intuitively, acquired during the early years of embodied visceral education. It may take many forms and manifest itself within the creative production of an egent. The heuretic frame of electrate pedagogy moves egents through the transition from a condition of privation, Steresis, impotence, potentiality of capability (Dunamis, Virtuality) into Energeia, Actualization, raising consciousness of their positioning and disposition relative to the archive of world culture recording in infinite variation the unfolding of the work of realization of life and death. Konsult is equipment for living (Kenneth Burke), thus, empowering in principle the egent with the resources of civilization available for a fatal encounter with disaster.

2018-07-30T01:53:14+00:00 July 30th, 2018|Categories: Assignments, Capability, EPS, Mystory, Popcycle, Theopraxesis, Wide Image|Tags: , , , |

MYSTORY: N. Scott Momaday

The Way to Rainy Mountain. Son of a White mother and Kiowa father, Momaday was raised on a reservation. His novel House Made of Dawn won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969. His autobiographical The Way to Rainy Mountain was assigned as relay modeling the micro form and overall structuring by means of signifiers repeating across levels of the popcycle. Rainy Mountain juxtaposes Kiowa myths Momaday learned from his grandmother; the actual history of the Kiowa symbolized in the myths; his personal recollections of his childhood on the reservation. The text manifests identification (with his grandmother Aho and his grandfather Mammedaty); the use of pattern (the unity of each section is created by the repetition of a detail within the exposition across the three discourses); the use of setting to express feeling (the memories of scenes from the reservation). Most important is the location of Momaday’s memories of childhood in the context of the traditional stories and actual history of his Community (Kiowa), thus bringing the three levels of his symbolic experience into contact–personal, historical, mythical (entertainment fictions in a modern point of view). The book is a collection of thirty-four three-paragraph units (plus introduction and epilogue) illustrated with drawings by Momaday’s father. Unit 3 is cited as example: the popcycle sequence is always the same: Mythology; History; Memory.


Before there were horses the Kiowas had need of dogs. That was a long time ago when dogs could talk. There was a man who lived alone; he had been thrown away, and he made his camp here and there on the high ground. Now it was dangerous to be alone, for there were enemies all around. The man spent his arrows hunting food. He had one arrow left, and he shot a bear; but the bear was only wounded and it ran away The man wondered what to do. Then a dog came up to him and said that many enemies were coming; they were close by and all around. The man could think of no way to save himself. But the dog said: “You know, I have puppies. They are young and weak and they have nothing to eat. If you will take care of my puppies, I will show you how to get away.” The dog led the man here and there, around and around, and they came to safety.

A hundred years ago the Comanche Ten Bears remarked upon the great number of horses which the Kiowas owned. “When we first knew you, he said, “you  had nothing but dogs and sleds.” It was so; the dog is primordial. Perhaps it was dreamed into being. The principal warrior society of the Kiowas was the Ka-itsenko, “Real Dogs,” and it was made up of ten men only, the en most brave. Each of these men wore a long ceremonial sash and carried a sacred arrow. In times of battle he must by means of this arrow impale the end of his sash to the earth and stand his ground to the death. Tradition has it that the founder of the Ka-itsenko had a dream in which he saw a band of warriors,, outfitted after the fashion of the society, being led by a dog. The dog sang the song of the Ka-itsenko, then said to the dreamer: “You are a dog; make the noise like a dog and sing a dog song.”

There were always dogs about my grandmother’s house. Some of them were nameless and lived a life of their own. They belonged there in a sense that the word “ownership” does not include. The old people paid them scarcely any attention, but they should have been sad, I think, to see them go.

Each numbered section is unified around one “pedagogical object”: arrow, spider, horse, hunting and the like. The importance of Mammedaty in this world is documented in unit XXI, in which Mammedaty appears in all three of the popcycle levels. The Disaster governing this world is that of the reservation itself, the destruction of the Kiowa people.

2018-07-27T14:57:57+00:00 July 27th, 2018|Categories: Device, Draw, EPS, Mystory, Narrative, Popcycle|Tags: , |

MYSTORY: Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak is best known for his Caldecott Medal winning illustrated children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are (1963), made into a film by Spike Jonze. Given the importance of childhood experience and how it is remembered to the Wide Image, Ulmer often included in the Hypermedia course a book of short essays by authors of children’s books on the art and craft of writing for children: Worlds of Childhood, edited by William Zinsser. (1998). Sendak’s essay, “Visitors from My Boyhood,” is organized as a mystory, addressing each of the popcycle slots in order to explain the source of his poetics, which suggests there is something intuitive or inherent in the popcycle as a matrix of imagination. Two other features recommending Sendak’s craft as relay for an Exercise is that his stories were rarely more than 300 words (the length of one micro fiction, the narrative  building-block of mystory documentation), and the drawings did not merely illustrate the words but developed the diegesis of the world in their own terms. Students used Sendak’s essay as a relay: making an inventory of his popcycle; extracting a template of examples for each slot; finding equivalents in their own experience.

–Family (Personal): Composition of mystory usually begins with a memory from early childhood, life with the family. Up to three such memories are allowed, to avoid getting stuck deciding on one that is most important (that dilemma if it arises is resolved when the remaining slots are filled, following the rule what resembles assembles). Sendak proposed two memories: the first was one of his earliest, an encounter with one of the pedagogical objects Pasolini mentioned, a book his older sister received from her book club. The book was very thick with a hardcover of pale green with gold lettering. Although not yet able to read, Sendak was fascinated with the book and demanded to have it, creating so much commotion the parents made his sister give it to him. When he finally returned it to his sister it was in bad shape, including suffering from being licked all over.

–Entertainment (Mythology): The popcycle premise is that identity is configured through identifications with people, places, and things during formative years: just as one has a capacity (potentiality) for language in general, with one’s native language depending on the chance of birth; similarly one has a capacity for imagination, and one’s native imagination (wide image) is formed within uniquely particular circumstances (visceral learning). A shortcut to determine which identifications took is just introspection: what remains in memory? Writer’s are good relay resources modeling these shaping identifications of which they necessarily become aware in learning their craft. For Sendak the memory was of The Wizard of Oz, and one scene in particular that he said “stole into my life in 1939 and has been flooding my work continually ever since.”

I was eleven when I saw the movie, and I remember it vividly because of how intensely in frightened me. The moment I am talking about is the one when Dorothy is trapped by the Wicked Witch of the West, and the witch takes an hourglass and turns it over and says something horrible like, “When the sand runs out, you’re dead, honey.” Judy Garland is left alone in the room, and one of her best moments ever was her way of saying, “I’m frightened,” and then, as though that realization has just actually dawned on her, says it a second time, “I’m frightened.” I still remember how her hand went to her head–the way she had of fluttering her hand, her desperation was so convincing. There was no way out of that room, nothing she could do. And suddenly, in the witch’s crystal ball, she sees her Auntie Em, back in Kansas, standing in the yard and calling to her. And she rushes to the crystal ball, and stands over it and screams, “Auntie Em! Here I am!”

–Community (History). Family and Entertainment memories are personal and convincing because they “belong to me.” The assumption of the History slot in the popcycle is that identity is formed within a social habitus, which is a major source of education (interpellation) received uncritically and internalized. To access this level of distracted education students first must decide with which Community they identify. Not everyone grows up in a home town. Community could also be an ethnic group, religion, race, military branch, nation. Whichever Community chosen, the story told must be one the Community tells about itself (what the Community remembers). Many students actually knew very little about their communities, so that some research was required. A shortcut was just to recall street names, festivals, memorials, school names and the like, to make a short-list. At that point some personal connection may help the selection. Sendak’s relay is somewhat awry, in that he did have a strong emotional association with his History event (as did James Joyce with the history of Parnell). The particular contribution of the History story is register a Value important to the Community. The Event documented by Sendak was the story of the Lindbergh baby.

The major event of my childhood was the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby in 1932. That nightmare was probably the origin of my conviction that children can’t be shielded from frightening truths. Although I was only three, I remember intensely the details of the Lindbergh case. Lindbergh was our Prince Charles, and his wife was our Princess Di. I particularly remember a newspaper that had the front-page headline LINDBERGH BABY FOUND DEAD and a photograph of a scene in the woods with a black arrow pointing to something awful. I’ve since learned that Colonel Lindbergh threatened to sue if the New York Daily News didn’t have the morning edition pulled off the newsstands, so I guess not many people saw the  picture.  But I saw the picture.

The first phase of composition is to document each of these scenes (in your own popcycle): use micro fiction form, three micros (900 words) for each register, focusing on the diegesis of the event. The goal is to capture and annotate details of the scene, since wide images emerge in patterns of repeating signifiers.

2018-07-26T21:54:27+00:00 July 26th, 2018|Categories: Assignments, Design, Mystory, Popcycle, Tutorials, Wide Image|Tags: |

Terms: Popcycle 2

Layout (Annotation): Popcycle 2

WHIRLING SQUARES : The name “Popcycle” alludes to the process of invention/discovery, to call attention to the fact that inventions draw upon the full range of cultural institutions and experience.  I have been especially interested in collecting examples of passage through the popcycle, the vector of creativity, to show how innovation detours outside discipline. A symptom of the popcycle at work may be found in the metaphors and images innovators use in describing their process of insight: The rebus puzzles Freud found in a humor magazine; the parlor game that inspired the Turing test; The duck/rabbit optical illusion central to Wittgenstein’s “aspect;” the children’s encyclopedia analogy that Einstein took as the basis for his thought experiment (riding a beam of light). Heuretics as pedagogy assumes that learning correlates strongly with creativity. Mystory maps (choragraphy) one’s position in the institutions of the popcycle, to track interpellation (construction of identity).  Konsult appropriates and adapts these practices, developed for electrate learning, to an education conducted online.



Meanwhile, some reflection on the popcycle diagram, by way of a question, to ask about your experience with the generative power of diagrams. The mise-en-abyme layout is not formally motivated, nor is there any one structure required to register the components.  Derrida’s reference to heraldry was one inspiration, having in mind his ambivalent explorations of abyssal figures, extending not only to modernist tropes, but to the  structure of Plato’s Timaeus and the operations of chora. I referred to it in terms of the fibonacigeometry of the whirling square (in Internet Invention), to call attention to its dynamics, as vortex (Pound). The figure will be unpacked further, since I have used it to think together every four (+1) series and set that presents itself, in the spirit of the four-color theorem: four causes (ancient and modern), suits of cards, divination systems, four (or five) tastes, the cardinal tropes, cardinal and ordinal directions, and more.

When it comes to the image of wide scope (four or five fundamental images structuring imagination, and central to the history of invention), the prototype is Einstein’s compass (received from his father as a gift at age four or five): the wide image is a compass for the existential positioning system of learning, to orient egents tracking the vector of invention.
Coming across the work of Stephen Willats, I recognized the diagram in Perceptions of a Married Couple (1975), which prompted the thought that I should do a systematic search to trace the diagram conductively. “In ‘Perceptions of a Married Couple’ , the main focus is in the relationship between the form of the inter-personal network that underlies perception of self and others and the resulting generation of social attitudes. It was Willats’ first work where people were photographed within the coded world they themselves had actually constructed.”

2018-07-22T18:25:45+00:00 July 22nd, 2018|Categories: Design, Mystory, Popcycle, Terms, Tutorials, Wide Image|Tags: |

Terms: Popcycle

  Popcycle. Learning is a complex adaptive system, and an aspect of what we are exploring is a certain isomorphism transversing all such systems. Heuretic pedagogy is describable within a systems perspective, beginning with the popcyle of institutions within which identity is constructed.  Mystory (electrate equivalent of historiography) maps the position of a subject within the popcycle of institutions. The premise of heuretics is that there is an equivalent in learning of the four color theorem in mapping (choragraphy maps learning).  “In mathematics, the four color theorem, or the four color map theorem, states that, given any separation of a plane into contiguous regions, producing a figure called a map, no more than four colors are required to color the regions of the map so that no two adjacent regions have the same color.” The analogy is that the four institutions of the popcycle suffice as interface relating a learner with every possible dimension of reality.  This allusive argument is unpacked in subsequent posts, seeking further understanding, in configuring konsult as the mise-en-abyme of a popcycle.

 –Mandala. A basic diagram (popcycle mandala) is used consistently throughout KE to map and correlate correspondences across the layers and levels of the popcycle-mystory-wide image as Interface for the Stack of digital civilization. The diagram is not original, but is appropriated from various fourfold system templates. The diagram below registers the CATTt of a seminar documented in Ulmer’s blog, Routine, which includes extensive exposition of CATTt generators.

2018-07-22T18:11:59+00:00 July 22nd, 2018|Categories: Design, Popcycle, Terms, Tutorials|Tags: , , |


The Popcycle of James Joyce

  History (School, Community): Young Joyce’s imagination was captured by the cause of Irish freedom, whose most prominent spokesman at the time was Charles Stewart Parnell, a national hero who suffered a tragic fall. “He was accused of adultery in the divorce suit of Captain O’Shea. At first it appeared that Parnell might weather this scandal, but a coalition of political enemies and devout Catholics ousted him from leadership of the Irish Parliamentary Party, and the rural population of Ireland turned against their hero with savage hatred” (Litz, 1972: 20). At Parnell’s funeral crowds tore to shreds the case in which the man’s coffin had been shipped in order to have a relic. Soon he became in the Irish imagination the type of the betrayed hero (21).

Church (Religion): Joyce’s formal education took place in schools run by the Jesuit order. His mot important religious experience occurred at Belvedere College, “when he was elected Prefect of the Sodality, “that is, “head of a group of students who banded together for the purposes of devotion and mutual help.” It was his duty according to the Jesuit manual “to excel the other members of the Sodality in virtue and to observe with the greatest diligence not only the rules of his own office but also the common rules, those especially that relate to the frequentation of the sacraments, confessing his sins and receiving the Blessed Eucharist more frequently than the others, and he should take care to advance the Sodality in the way of virtue and Christian perfection, more by example even than by words (28). Although Joyce broke with the Church, as Litz observed, this stance carried over to his “view of the artist as secular priest.”

Family (Paleo): The defining problem of Home for Joyce was his ambivalence toward his father, whose chief interst in life was “jolification.” “The declining family fortune had the greatest impact on James. The inefficiency of Joyce’s father and his wasteful habits gradually undermined family finances and family solidarity. When James entered the fashionable Clongowes Wood College in 1888, his family was quite well-to-do; by the time he had reached Belvedere College, five years later, his father had been dismissed from the Rates office on a small pension. The family had now begun a long series of removals to heaper dwellings” (919).

  Career: At age eighteen Joyce published a refiew of Ibsen’s play, “When We Dead Awaken” in The Fortnightly Review. In a letter he sent to Ibsen, the student Joyce explained that while he promoted the dramatist’s work at every opportunity, he kept to himself the most important reasons for his admiration. “I did not say how what I could discern dimly of your life was my pride to see, how your battles inspired me–not the obvious material battle but those that were fought and won behind your forehead–how your willful resolution to wrest the secret from life gave me heart and how in your absolute indifference to public canons of art friends and shibboleths you walked in the light of your inward heroism” (Joyce, in Litz, 24).

Mystory: These entries constitute a preliminary survey of Joyce’s popcyle, points of identification, both positive and negative, attraction and repulsion, by which Joyce oriented himself his existence: Parnell, Christ, Joyce’s father, Ibsen: together they constitute Joyce’s inner Board of Directors (superego).Even in these brief descriptions themata are evident, perhaps summarized in the completed sentence of Ibsen’s title: “When we dead awaken, we will see that we have never lived.” The Jesuit organization for boys, the Sodality, set the highest standards piety an virtue for lay people, perhaps too high: Parnell, Joyce’s father, the characters in the play, could not live up to them.


A. Walton Litz (1972), James Joyce, revised ed. New York: Hippocrene Books.

The image is a map drawn by Nabokov of the intertwining paths of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedalus around Dublin recounted in the novel, Ulysses.

2018-07-20T14:15:48+00:00 July 20th, 2018|Categories: Memory, Mystory, Popcycle|Tags: , , , |



Purpose: Details
The fundamental goal of each part of the mystory  is to record and accumulate details, sensory material signifiers, from each discourse of the popcycle. The mystory serves as a kind of “dream catcher,” an aesthetic filter, to register the events of interaction between the individual and the society. Within this general purpose there is a specific fit between each part of the mystory and the commonly available basic forms of composition and design. The commitments noted below were arrived at through a process of trial and error, and are open to revision (as are all aspects of this pedagogy).

  Family Discourse: Narrative
Memories of family experience are entered into the mystory by means of narrative form. The literary anecdote (adapted from oral storytelling) works well. The various versions of supershort, micro or flash fiction fit with the brevity desirable in online venues. The exercise of putting the memory into narrative form enhances and intensifies the memory experience. There is also the fact that any formal requirements tend to stimulate inventiveness. Some key points about narrative are:

  • Incident: something must happen. A narrative records a change from an earlier to a later situation, with the two moments having a relationship of similarity in difference. The very short forms that I favor are distinguishable from prose poems mostly by this inclusion of incident. These short forms are desirable not only because of the nature of hypermedia but because they may be performed successfully without special training in creative writing.
  • Structure: the narrative has two levels — a situation, and some implicit manifestation in the arrangement and treatment of the details revealing the narrator’s attitude to the situation. This dual structure allows the author to combine past and present times, to show the situation as it was then, and to evaluate it from the vantage point of the present. This evaluation of course is not made explicit or explained, but is shown implicitly in the story.

Entertainment Discourse: Exposition
Unlike the Family memory, the Entertainment work is already a narrative. The diegesis of this narrative (its imaginary world) is entered into the mystory not by retelling the story but by using the documentary form of expository analysis. The features of a scene deemed most relevant by the maker are recorded using technical, objective, encyclopedic style to enhance and augment those props and gestures that most contribute to the atmosphere of the world.

  One version of the assignment proposed that this documentation be entirely visual, to foreground the pictorial image in the way that the Family entry foregrounded the verbal image. However, this distinction is arbitrary since in both cases there is supposed to be a balance of words and graphics (adapting the forms to the medium of the Web). Roland Barthes’ Empire of Signs is a relay for the desired documentary description. Each entry of his short book on Japan constitutes a “sign,” consisting of some 400-500 words, often with a pictorial illustration. The instruction is do for the diegesis of your Entertainment work what Barthes did for Japan. Other relays are possible, including encyclopedic dictionaries. The principle is to adapt an existing model as a guide for your composition. Another possibility is to use the formal features of screenplays or scriptwriting to record the necessary details: shot lists, treatments, dialogue, camera work, and the like. All these versions may be used together. The scenario form in general is a useful model for konsult experiments, with sketchbooks, storyboards, scrapbooks, journals, as contemporary retrievals of manuscript commonplace books and memory palaces.

History: Combination and Repetition
In the version in which Entertainment features visual graphics, History is recorded using exposition. In an alternative version this third installment is an opportunity to repeat all the forms and devices introduced in the first two installments. The diegesis of a relevant historical event from the egent’s community is recorded using a combination of short narrative, documentary sign, and visualization. The narrative established the event (the situation) and the documentation (sign) focused on some detail, promoted through this intensification into a metonym evoking the attitude of the narrator to the situation.

2018-07-20T00:54:50+00:00 July 20th, 2018|Categories: Design, Mystory, Popcycle|Tags: , , |


  Identity (Know Thyself)

  • There are reasons why creativity is not the basis of conventional pedagogy. Creativity does not happen in general, but must take place in relation to specific fields of productivity and their paradigmatic problems. The assumption is that egents first must learn “normal science,” and then innovate. In the absence of the unknowns of a discipline, mystory poses the maker’s own identity as the mystery.
  • Another obstacle to education as creativity is the peculiarity of inventive reason, whose inferential movement from the known to the unknown involves risky departures from proven procedures, counterintuitive choices and operations, a persistence of application in the face of unpromising results, and similarly unusual experiences. The one object of study likely to motivate a maker to undertake these trials is a self-portrait. The problem of one’s own identity is a simulacrum of the unknowns of any field of knowledge. Within the framework of the wide image, every invention in the specialized disciplines is a self-portrait. It is difficult to remain indifferent or disengaged when the heart of the inquiry is a vision of one’s own being.


  • To make a mystory is to notice and record the identifications organizing our experience. We accept the theory of ideological interpellation as an explanation of identity construction, but with the understanding that individuals experience these internalizations of default collective norms of thought and behavior more through emotion, affect, intuition than through explicit concepts and ideas. The mystory maps the makers’ passages between living and artificial memory, between embodied experience and the social archives of lore, libraries, databases, festivals, rituals, and other external collective information storages. Thus for example long before one starts thinking about a career and how to make a living in a capitalist economy, one has already internalized the norms and expectations of competition within the lifeworlds of Family, Entertainment, and School. The wild card (the joker) in the deck of socialization, however, is the unpredictable way these default moods are internalized within the biologies and peculiar circumstances of individuals.
  • Poetic Encounter
    The overall effect of mystory is that of an extended parable. It is what Roland Barthes called a structural self-portrait. The makers compose an analogy between their own personal situation and the situations observed in the relevant stories located in the popcycle institutions within which our identity is constructed. The method is that of modernist poetics, variously named “objective correlative,” “correspondences,” “world-inner-space.” Some situation in the external world is recognized/adopted as an analogy or allegory of how the makers feel about their personal situation. The outside scene is the “vehicle” in a metaphor whose “tenor” is the maker’s spirit, temperament, state of mind. Thus when Ulmer identifies with Will Kane (Gary Cooper) in High Noon or with Custer at the Little Bighorn, it is not because he is the same as that person or resembles that person directly, nor that his circumstances are literally those of showdowns and last stands, but that his circumstances have a mood of showdowns and last stands (this is what a situation of masculine gendering in a capitalist society felt like to him).
  • Testimony, not Confession. For an image to become wide, for the simulation to work, egents engage emotionally with the design process. This engagement is easiest with personal memories of Family life. There is little difficulty in recalling Entertainment works, but then the work must be reviewed/reread in order to notice the relevant resonant details. This act of research is essential when it comes to Community History and Career field. The relevance of a specific history is established through the sheer fact of life circumstances associating the makers with a given context of place, ethnicity, religion, or whichever identity community one decides is most significant. After that the work of identification is intellectual, based on the assumption of interpellation, that I must have assimilated in some way the beliefs and attitudes circulating in my environment. The key in every case is the bodily emotional experience of recognition, the sting or punctum as Barthes called it, in which the Entertainment, History, or Career scene shows me figuratively, metaphorically, the nature of my own state of mind.
  • To make this event of revelation happen the makers must put themselves in the picture. But this entering of one’s own circumstances need not involve any secrets. Rather, one simply documents the external details of any situation that has persisted in memory. An assumption is that a reason for this memorability is that the situation involved some lack of fit between the individual and the identity expectations of the default norms. The mystory testifies to these moments of self-consciousness awakened by the problems of being and becoming. Indeed, mystory is considered relevant to creativity just because of the assumption that one’s approach to problem-solving in a Career field is shaped by the experience of “problem” in the institutions of the popcycle.
2018-07-19T19:58:18+00:00 July 19th, 2018|Categories: Mystory, Popcycle|Tags: , , , |