CODEX

The Codex Hackathon was a super interesting arena for exploring forms of reading and assembling information across digital and physical codices and expanded, immersive engagement with multiple texts. The work that I’ve been doing on speculative forms of online & offline exhibition of aggregations of digital and physical artworks has put me in a state of dysphoria regarding the current norms of information architecture. The infinity of formal possibility seems to be locked away in endless grids, with a temporality of “now”ness that nevertheless endlessly evokes historical elsewheres. Our group had a dynamic conversation and flexible, open membership with many folks dropping in and adding thoughts to the mix. The presence of the amazing book scanner designed by Dany Qumsiyeh – as well as the presence of other folks from the Noisebridge hacker space (great space! can’t wait to visit again!) in San Francisco – accentuated thinking across the intimacy of the physical presence of a book and the pleasures of annotating paper. With this scanning – a tactile/machinic process – as a starting point, and working with the amazing team of Dany, Robert Ochshorn, SJ Klein, Matthew Battles, and other important voices who dropped in, we began pushing on thinking vertically + horizontally, with the multiple speeds of video, words, and stills…and generated a series of experimental codices: an audio codex, a book codex, and a digital codex (please put all of those terms in quotes, as I’m not sure they’re accurate anymore…). The audio codex is a printed file of a conversation about a book – wavelengths, words, digital dust. The audio was a recording about Trevor Paglen’s contribution to The Thing The Book, and the slipperiness of situating representation itself that is proposed by his contribution is echoed by the codex, printed and folded in the barely visible pauses of sound (or as Matthew Battles put it, the “conversation white knuckling its way into code”); the “book” codex is a remix of scanned annotations of paper books; and the “digital” codex is a cross linking of scanned and annotated pages of McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage and video/audio from the Internet Archive and the Prelinger Archive. In fact, we had a great conversation Saturday night with Rick Prelinger and Megan Shaw Prelinger that energized us towards the already urgent project of intersecting video in ways that seem so simple, and yet so rare now online – beautiful compelling pathways that cross/expand texts! Isn’t that the intertextual promise – or maybe it’s precisely the formation of the “text” in thinking “intertextuality” that has limited the spaces of meaning? Grids, lines, the traces of a certain type of machinic thought production. Why is fluidity so locked away? Working to find the fluidity seems to mean rethinking everything, or thinking from other spaces of generativity. Other tools and machines yet to be produced and reworked…for me, a space that I am meditating on is in fact, the Mayan “codex” and “calendar” (are these really the right terms for such expansive frames, epistemically?)…towards the next iteration of the los archivos del cuerpo project…

excerpt from The Coming Insurrection