Archive for April, 2009


Exquisite corpse

Upon perusal of some of the more technical aspects of the Ghost Island I came to discover that the list of signed up contributors is far greater than the one displayed to the right of the text you are reading right now. So, in some sort of attempt at improved collectivism here on the Island, I am proposing a story composed of exquisite corpse style postings from as many of the inhabitants as we can possibly drum up. I will start:

Rodger went to the store on Wednesday, which was strange for him, as he was a regular Thursday shopper. He had decided upon coming early in the week because a failed attempt at making a cake for his Grandmother’s 82nd birthday had left him without some basic essentials. It had cost him 7 eggs, 18 cups of flour, 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, 9 cups of brown sugar, an hour and a half, and one gallon of spilled milk that was knocked over by his cat Walter the 2nd.


Capitalism in Excel

As an exhibition through the oversimplification of Capitalism as a Lotka-Volterra style graph, I present the following pictures of graphs:


These graphs are the result of the multiplication of two functions; a binary function representing a text that is 1 if the space contributes toward a 3d plotting of it looking like a particular letter or 0 if it doesn’t, and a Lotka-Volterra style discrete step differential function that has been used as a mathematical model for “Predator-Prey” type simulations.

Text is entered in a specific cell which is treated as a variable in determining the values of a further array of cells, so if I type a different letter in that first cell, the graph will change to display something that looks like the new letter entered.

The Lotka-Volterra functions were represented by a dx=x*(α-βy), dy=-y*(γ-δx) type relation, where α β γ and δ are constants you tweak to get the graph to do things like look periodic or collapse dramatically. The x presumabely represents the number in a “prey” population while the y represents the “predator.” If a particular cell represents the unraised “0” part of a character, that cell was mapped as an inversion of the Lota-Volterra “prey” component y. If a cell was a raised part of the character array, it was multiplied by the “predator” component and scaled up to be more noticeable (as the prey population is usually many times the predator population.)

I think this is a fairly simple example of combining the medium of excel, as a way to abstract and then graphically represent the phenomenon of the real world, with a meaningful subject matter.



About half Georges Perec’s ‘W’ consists of a description of an island, the titular W, on which the residents care only about Sport. Living to compete and competing in order to live, W’s residents are reduced to a brutal and cruel existence in which comfort is only guaranteed to a handful of parasitic bureaucrats that build their power on the perfect young bodies of the island’s athletes. Given Perec’s biography, ‘W’ is easily read as a critique of fascism and the Nazi state.

Perec’s model for the competitions on ‘W’ were the Olympics. As is well known, the Olympic Games were a site of massive international controversy when they were held in Hitler’s Germany in 1936. This collision of sport, spectacle, and power grounded the force of Perec’s novel.

However, only a few decades earlier, the Olympics were less spectacle than farce. In the 1904 Summer Games in St. Louis, more than half of the athletes were American and many events had no non-American competitors. Besides the officially sanctioned Olympic Events, the 1904 Games featured competitions like a local YMCA swim meet.

The most absurd event was the Marathon. Here are some facts culled from Wikipedia:

– The first to arrive was Frederick Lorz, who actually was just trotting back to the finish line to retrieve his clothes, after dropping out after nine miles. When the officials thought he had won the race, Lorz played along with his practical joke until he was found out shortly after the medal ceremony and was banned for a year by the AAU for this stunt, later winning the 1905 Boston Marathon.

– Thomas Hicks (a Briton running for the United States) was the first to cross the finish-line legally, after having received several doses of strychnine sulfate mixed with brandy from his trainers. He was supported by his trainers when he crossed the finish, but is still considered the winner. Hicks had to be carried off the track, and possibly would have died in the stadium, had he not been treated by several doctors.

– A Cuban postman named Felix Carbajal joined the marathon. He had to run in street clothes that he cut around the legs to make them look like shorts. He stopped off in an orchard en route to have a snack on some apples, which turned out to be rotten. The rotten apples caused him to have to lie down and take a nap. Despite falling ill to apples he finished in fourth place.

– The marathon included the first two black Africans to compete in the Olympics; two Tswana tribesmen named Len Tau (real name: Len Taunyane) and Yamasani (real name: Jan Mashiani). But they weren’t there to compete in the Olympics, they were actually the sideshow. They had been brought over by the exposition as part of the Boer War exhibit (both were really students from Orange Free State in South Africa, but this fact was not made known to the public). Len Tau finished ninth and Yamasani came in twelfth. This was a disappointment, as many observers were sure Len Tau could have done better if he had not been chased nearly a mile off course by aggressive dogs.


History vs. Becoming

I thought this was related to our discussion following Ben’s article in defense of radicalism, specifically seen as a response to those who use historical failures as an argument against revolution. It’s from Deleuze in conversation with Negri in Futur Antérieur in 1990. I think it can also be found in a collection of Deleuze essays and interviews called Negotiations. Maybe you will find it interesting as well:

The thing is, I became more and more aware of the possibility of distinguishing between becoming and history. It was Nietzsche who said that nothing important is ever free from a “nonhistorical cloud.” This isn’t to oppose eternal and historical, or contemplation and action: Nietzsche is talking about the way things happen, about events themselves or becoming. What history grasps in events is the way it’s actualized in particular circumstances, the event’s becoming is beyond the scope of history. History isn’t experimental, its just the set of more or less negative preconditions that make it possible to experiment with something beyond history. Without history the experimentation would remain indeterminate, lacking any initial conditions, but experimentation isn’t historical. […] It’s fashionable these days to condemn the horrors of revolution. It’s nothing new; English Romanticism is permeated by reflections on Cromwell very similar to present-day reflections on Stalin. They say revolutions turn out badly. But they’re constantly confusing two different things, the way revolutions turn out historically and people’s revolutionary becoming. These relate to two different sets of people. Men’s only hope lies in a revolutionary becoming: the only way of casting off their shame or responding to what is intolerable.


Links Party!

So we have links now! Visit them. They will make you smarter and cooler and probably also clear your complexion.

Also, please add more links to our party. If you don’t know how, then send us emails or post to the comments section and I will add them. I will. I will add them to the side of the page so other people can click them and be improved physically & spiritually.

Our Website is now a Links Party, like this:


Famous First Line Friday – Pt. I

“LOL me Ishmael.”




Seriously though. Y’all gotta step up. Me too. But you too, too.

1) CHUGHEROHN!– That needs doing.

2) Our friends and comrades from Deep Leap/co-collaborators here on GI are curating a really exciting show in July. It’s actual Laser Cave curating the show, which is a kind of DL parent group, and thus another half step removed…Anyways, it’s good. We should send them things. I am doing something with text and glow in the dark paint. The show is at Department of Safety in Anacortes, WA and will be part of the really awesome What the Heck Fest. It’s called ‘In the Light Cone’. From the description: “The concept for this exhibition draws from the basic pairs and associations of light/dark, day/night, laser/cave, source/shadow. The foundations of visual phenomena and visual culture resultingly are based upon the existence of light; its presence and absence dictate circadian rhythms and our innate notions of temporality; light is food, we love the sun. It is impossible to overstate light’s import. We hope to give the light/dark//laser/cave idea revitalized potency by showing artists who understand that this isn’t merely a dichotomy: it is an experiment in the movements of the sun and the shade of the trees as well as the human abilities of fire, flashlight, lcd, and laser.

The novelty and heat of the show is not so much in curating a host of objects created with light as their genesis, rather it is in our choice to allow two views of the show: one, during the day, in which natural and artificial light will commingle to create an atmosphere comfortable to the casual gallery-goer and the other at night, once those lights have been replaced by a natural darkness and a more focused, specific and piece-generated lighting scheme. Accordingly, art works should function one way during the day (light) and another at night (dark). We encourage, for example, sculptures that become tactile obstacles in darkness, ghosts that lurk in the shadows of paintings, light-art whose presence awakens and increases in the gloaming, and more and better ideas.”

Send proposals to before June 8.

3) I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO ADD TO THE BLOGROLL!! I AM USING CAPS BECAUSE OF ALCOHOL!!!! — it’s fucking pathetic that instead of sleeping with people i’ll regret, booze makes me type IN ALL CAPS. But yeah, somebody tell me how to add to the blogroll. please.



he abomasum, also known as the maw[1], and the rennet-bag[1], is the fourth and final stomach compartment in ruminants. It secretes rennet.

So, to brag a bit:

I have a new tiny short story available in the Spring Issue of Willows Wept Review.

WWR is one of many good and exciting projects belonging to Molly Gaudry, who is also my new friend and fellow Philadelphia resident. Y’all should probably google her and then read her work, because it is very rad. Or you can just go to the central hub for all things MG. Do it.

Also, I changed the theme again. Also, Dallas, start a blogroll. I’ll add to it.

Also, this thing is called abomasum. You use it for cheese.



This theme is gross.


Yeah, that’s right, I did it.

I have changed the layout and theme of Ghost Island. If you guys don’t like it, or have a better idea, let’s talk about it. I just figured it needed some sort of change. If you’re interested, you can look under the themes in “appearance” and preview what the site would look like with each of them. Since none of us really have the time to reprogram it (I am assuming), I think we should just decide on a new theme.

I’m not even certain I like this theme, I just thought that perhaps I should force the issue.

April 2009