Friday, November 25, 2011
It strikes me, as I come to write, how delicate a process trying to pen a first blog post is–I sit mute for moments. My character and image depend on this first impression! These blogs are more daunting than I thought, little sketches of you. But as I think about it–what is a blog? Collected catalogues, separated as serialized encapsulations of singular opinions, living in the abstract. (clearly I’m still bitter about their trickyness). But though that sounds bleak–what I mean is the form of blogs themselves is a strange one. I would compare the feeling of writing a post to writing a letter–yet unlike the composition of missives, posts have none of the targeted personal endearments and that letter writing does. Blogging, on the other hand, is a personal act, in that posts are constructed with no specific audience in mind–rather more like a shout in the dark, a black crack that either resounds, or withers into nebulous internet space. And, unlike their papery, physical brethren, blogs do not deteriorate, letters do not smudge from tears or coffee stains, they are not misplaced. They live, conceivably, forever in the planar web: each webpage a singular plane as it stretches over your laptop screen, yet tied through hyperlinks to eight or ten other pages–abstract and unreal until you summon it, now a new plane splayed out in view, suddenly real. If seeing is substance, and substance is real, that is. Furthermore, the work is expanded through its audience: as readers leave comments, their thoughts are recorded to the minute they were made, and a textual conversation can ensue, quick thoughts, questions, crystallized in HTML ink. Each page, each post, is a record of thoughts, moments of emotion and conversation as touches. It has been marked upon, and reflects the moment of its mark.
To guide this wandering conversation, I’ve pasted in one of Walter Benjamin’s opines on the subject of history and of historicism in Theses on History, which I’ve found illuminating and suggestive to consider. It was one of his later and more mystical works, and it reads lucid and supple for a piece of theory. It has assisted in my reification of the internet–a body consisting of a vast, ebullient mashing of spacetime, translating and comprising our culture, our history.
“Historicism contents itself with establishing a causal nexus of various moments of history. But no state of affairs is, as a cause, already a historical one. It becomes this, posthumously, through eventualities which may be separated from it by millennia. The historian who starts from this, ceases to permit the consequences of eventualities to run through the fingers like the beads of a rosary. He records the constellation in which his own epoch comes into contact with that of an earlier one. He thereby establishes a concept of the present as that of the here-and-now, in which splinters of messianic time are shot through”
What Benjamin presents here is a new type historicism: a hyper-historicism, or even meta-historicism. But on second thought, I think it might be wise to stay as far away from that oft-abused and meaning-warped word meta. Hyperhistoricism is the method by which we are able to conceive of history as a timeless beast–a continuum through which we softly reach to touch time’s silky cloak, ripwhirling perpetually around the present moment of existence. He abolishes the notion of linear time: rather, it is ever-present, throstling near, husky breathy whispers fogging the lens through which we perceive our moment.
Thusly, our modern condition is formed. We interact with this planar web–flattening time into frames living always in potentiality, waiting for splintered messianic time to rip through. Perhaps we ourselves become a splintered mirror of history as we touch, floatingly, these frames and planes which never disappear, only lie in wait. Through the internet’s vastly spanning fabric, hyperhistoricism is birthed not just for the historian, but for all who are raised nestled within the curls of it’s cloak, if even unwittingly.