Casey (11/21/16)

Well, it's really hard to take notes on yourself, but I typed up my index cards, on a neighboring site:


And I transcribed my presentation:

CASEY: So, uh. I feel like I have a slightly weird proposal. It's not what I expected. And I also have notecards in my jacket, so I have to put my jacket on to get my notecards, in my left and right pocket. Basically when I thought about Projects, I remembered that I was in the first iteration of the class called Projects, and my project then was to make this wiki. So this has been publicly online since January 2013, and this was the first thing that I wrote, which is: "When I signed up for projects last semester, Judith asked me what my project was. I didn't really know what to tell her or where to start. And I guess I looked at her blankly until she was like, 'I literally just need one word to put down on the registration form.' So I told her, 'hypertext'."

WALID: Ok! That's good to know that Judith does it this way.

CASEY: Haha. I don't know if people had to say a project?


CASEY: Well, weird. Basically I had to tell her "hypertext", and I also had to explain to the class what I was working on. So in the past couple of months and weeks I've been going back to this wiki that I started, and just adding to it. So you can see this is a list of all the pages. A lot of them are from 2013, and I've been adding some. Some are revising. I guess I could show you some of the things that happened in 2013. One of which was that, this was a pretty different class, so I don't know why but Walid wanted us to write a biography. Ha. Like an artist bio. And I was like, "I can't do that I hate myself!!" Um, ha. So I dug up these bios from when I was 7 years old, like, "I have a goldfish named orange and a sister and a dad." Ha. And I had to like, try to like, describe what I was doing in college. And then my roommate wrote a joke bio. And then I pulled actual bios that I've had to use like since then, for this thing that Vic and I did right after school, the place I used to work, the fellowship I'm doing now, a talk we gave in January, and then a talk that I just gave. So kind of tracking all of these threads. It was surprising to me that all of these things that I'd had to do were kind of dormantly in this weird wiki. Another that's really terrible is this page called Art & Politics, which, like.

WALID: Let's read that one.

CASEY: AAhh I don't want to!! It was so painful. But like, I think that's why I wanted to go back to it. I think part of what I understand projects to be about is a durational idea of a project. And something that I've been thinking about as we pulled this class together was the idea that of my fears about this class was that it could get pigeon-holed as a protest class. And I think in this wiki I was trying to feel out what my interests were outside if I had a before I was doing "The Cooper Stuff". And, yeah, so: "When I'm doing art shit I'm in the worst mood. Some days I wake up and go into a crit ready to hate everything. I don't know why. My mom recently said to me how funny she thinks it is that I've gone to art school for 3 years and haven't made anything and hate art." Ha. "Where did she even hear that from? My reputation precedes me. It has to do, my sourness, with the bullshit art economy and the commodification of creativity, and is nothing holy or sacred?" Um. And, like. So this is all interlinked. But another thing that Walid made us do was write a fake grant proposal? Which, looking back, I'm like...this is a really weird assignment.

WALID: Are you sure? These are my assignments?

CASEY: was really confusing! But I also think it's the same kinds of threads that we talked about in putting this class together, which is like: where in Cooper can you talk about? Almost like a professional practice-type thing that you were trying to do. And I'm still interested in these questions. But I think the way I would write or think about them has changed, like so much. So I came back here and I was thinking about — in here there's also revisions. Ha. So every change here is tracked. And some of the more content type stuff, I was pulling in pages from books, this is from Calvino's "If On A Winter's Night A Traveler..." which is kind of like a hypertextual book, that's like every chapter of this book is a different book, and it's all about what it means to write in a time of computers. Um, let's see what else is on here. This is something I wrote about how I think screens are going to be illegal. Ha. In like 100 years. So I think, the other thing about putting the class together, is that I was really convinced, right before we started, that none of the readings or anything would have anything to do with Cooper. Because I think all of these thoughts about technology and wikis and systems and stuff are basically a way to think about the Cooper stuff, or the Cooper stuff is a way to think about this. Um. So I think I'm interested in like doing something maybe the most like oblique or something. Like when I heard about everyone's proposals they all seemed really interesting and really directly related to Cooper and it was kind of surprising. I don't know if it was something that we said or whatever. But partially I have this question for everyone that's, what in the work you do that doesn't seem related to Cooper is like...could be sort of funneled back. Yeah, so I can read some of these index cards to you which are from this morning. Ha.

CASEY: I want to continue a project that I've been a little bit unable to pick up. Why is a mind a series of transmitters? Signals? And not like a cake? Why was it a steam engine and not like a bottle of wine or a glass of milk or a droplet or rain? Technological metaphors. Can communication escape embodiment? Communication is literally just a theory, they should label that shit like they do evolution in Texas. It's an important question I think, about what is law, and how we tell. I used to be so ornery. That's how Judy described me. I'm trying to be like a rock in streams. Duck water. But what was left unresolved is still here. It's not integration. What was the word for it? Not synthesis. Not synergy. Not coalesence. Not coagulation. The idea—Not the idea that these things could be brought together, but the real bodily feeling of the boundaries dissolving. There's got to be a way to move through it, I know it. But the confusion mounts. I got over working in an office forever while I was still in college. Just work in a bakery on a street in a town. Mean emotional mathematical ontological, I still don't know what this word means. I'm trying to ask an existential question straightforwardly. Dumbass. Leverage points. A framework for figuring out how to act and where but not why. Leading and lagging indicators. Buffers, delays. Care, when you stop doing your own basics. When your house is too big to clean. Maintaining our collective clunker. We'll have to care for crumbling infrastructure we never wanted to support. Glass bead game—playing all of culture in a chesslike monastic larp. End of civilization, huh? Applicances are something you buy and repair when they break. Tools are something you sharpen. So what are instruments? Instruments, not tools. If I'm making progress it's the slowest ever. I still have no idea what these things mean. The wiki is a mix of content and meta-content. It's form is itself a kind of content. MIT a military industrial school?? Euphemisms: helping your friend find a balloon. Now every time I write a word, I see it spun around by the electrical brain. Information/action ratio. Famous vaporware, infamous? "Premature optimization is the root of all evil" (Donald Knuth). Not fear of death, fear of working hard on the wrong problem. I guess that IS fear of death. When you map you're being mapped (Wendy Chun). What *isn't* a system? Seepages? Viscosities? Universal law of retroactive advice? What is a system? A relation between things, I guess? Do any two things make a system? Governance is a system-tool? Hypertext is an impossible dream? Didn't it just happen or has it never been realized? A better pen will not make me a better writer. That it would, that's the dream, right? To think that better wiring could eliminate the ghosts.

CASEY: [Um. Ha. Sorry I have one more stack. Um.]

CASEY: Time and space both seem hard. I want to W.I.P.R.N. which is Work In Public and Reveal Nothing. Ha. And B.A.S.A.A.P. which is Be As Smart As A Puppy. Ha. Uh. I want to approach snifters with oblicity. I want to help. Collapsing of meaning. Studying a failure which is yet to be realized that I'm not even with. I want to work on a long project without an outcome, thesis, or strategy. Um. Living archive, dancer, dance notation. Architecture archive day. Ha. Haven't spoken about data since I was younger. Sorry! I've been busy thinking, but also now how COULD I speak about data. The COMPLEXITY! I always do this or does this just happen? [I think this is actually my project. The last card.]

WALID: Which would be what?

CASEY: Uh. A sandgarden. A ludens playspace with, with these things. I feel overinvested in strategy. Why are these tools SO not fun? Using a computer in a game. Communities in a game. Uh. Second order. Yeah. So. Yeah. That is my presentation.

SOMEONE: Applause.

CASEY: I hope that sets a precedent for being like very scattered about where you're at.

WALID: Yeah. Do you want questions, or comments, or anything?

CASEY: Um, yeah, that would be...definitely discussion or quetions, yeah, would be helpful.

VIC: Can you show the current wiki?

CASEY: Oh yeah, so like one of the things I added is. So the class wiki, I started it on April 10th, 2016. Actually, here, Vic made the first page. Ha. Vic's first and last edit. So I'm the only person that's basically used this. I've been using a similar format, just to try to track different documents that we've read, meetings that we've had. Just to keep a log. And just random stuff. So, yeah. I added back into the...

OWEN: How do we like, if we wanted to add or edit it, how would we do that?

CASEY: I'm pretty sure anyone can sign up, even a stranger might be able to. Strangers can't edit it, but anyone can create an account, so. You can just go to, create an account, and then. Ha, yeah, it's like 129 edits by one person! People like you! Ha.

OWEN: So is the wiki like a format that you're trying to tell us you believe in or are invested in? Or is this a reflection of your first wiki that you created in this class on Github?

CASEY: Um, I think it's like. That is the question, I think. Walid was saying something the other week when we talked before class, like, you're STILL trying to aggregate all these questions! And I'm like, no I'm not. I feel like I haven't been for years. But I think the forms of a wiki and the idea that technology or tools or systems present solutions. Um. I like it as a provocation but I don't feel like I believe in it. So I feel like I keep making them in a deadass way, to be like, "let's store this information!" But also there's like a really intense meta internal thread for me about the fact that nobody has really contributed to this. And I don't think that's always the case, like Wikipedia is really active but has its own problems. Maybe it's less for me about wikis and more about the idea of like, is there a...sort of the MIT thread, to me, I know a lot of really cool interesting people that have gone through MIT, but I don't...I think they became who they were in spite of what the school is set up to do. So part of it is a question about exceptions within a system...or something? It's an existential question about if its possible to build something that actually does what it says. Or if things only happen by accident?

OWEN: Ok yeah that kind of resonates with what you were saying before and the talking about chat platforms and communities. I just want to say that helped me understand you a lot better.

CASEY: Hahaha.

WALID: So how do you want to move forward? Where are places you want to go? What do you think you'll be doing in the next few weeks, months on this?

CASEY: Um. Well I think like I had a concrete idea a week ago. And I thought about it. And I got oldstyle crit nervousness, like "I don't want to present that! I don't wanna do something so straightforward!" But I was like imagining that the simplest most concrete thing I could do is to create a sand table, basically. Which is like. Ha. It'd just be like a table that's like, lliterally, potentially literally but maybe not literally, like a sandbox, or like a sand garden. I think conceptually there's a really interesting history around...there's something called the Sandbox Manifesto which is like a pedagogical idea about how children learn in an open space. And apparently some sand. I don't know if I'm making it up but there's a difference between people who are okay with a sandbox versus the idea of a sandgarden where sand would just be dumped in mounds and there's like plants and it's a lot more freeform. Um. But I think logistically I don't. Just because of the way everything has changed in my life I feel in some ways ready to re-pickup a thread that I think I was too busy with other stuff to like...I was too confsued in school to move these thoughts forward, they kind of stayed where you last see them in that wiki. And I think the biggest logistical problem is that I don't know if I have a life where I can make time and physical aznd mental space for playing with ideas. Like, I feel like that's kind of. It reminds of what school is supposed to be about, but when I was here I didn't really want to do that, and I had so many problems. So in a weird way I feel like I'm almost proposing some table/studio-like environment which I would maybe commit to spending an amount of time at, and doing, playing with all of these pieces. Um.

WALID: And the link to the wiki document is what?

CASEY: Uh. I think that it's, uh. I think all of the things that I'm thinking about, the pieces are still in the wiki.

WALID: Still in that origin.

CASEY: Exactly. And I think the idea of trying to make sense of things. I think this proposes that things could be indexed. And I think the big misunderstanding about myself, one of them...or something, is that I believe that this works. Like, I think that it's a funny, like, a funny thing that doesn't work. But it's still useful to play with and think about. So like I also pulled this guy, Goodiepal. He draws all over. So he gives this amazing lecture. And Vic and I saw him play in Brooklyn. Um.

WALID: So what does he do, can we see a video?

CASEY: Yeah. So I think there's also an element of performance. I think I want to do something like performance-thinking, or something. I don't know if there's sound. [Piano music.] So he gets played in. [Goodiepal speaking.] So he's kind of running around this environment, building a theory of computer music that's pretty controversial.

SOMEONE: Is he performing a character or that's him?

CASEY: I think that's him. That's another question, too. I don't really have an answer, but I think myself or a character, this idea of a larp or a self-larp, or something. Are you playing a character of yourself?

WALID: But this is a pretty elaborate stage, no? Plants.

CASEY: Right.

WALID: Is it explained, or?


VIC: It's a talk-lecture.

WALID: He references plants or something?

VIC: No, I think they were riffing on a televised setup. We saw one he did more recently. This was like many years ago. He did a really great one in Brooklyn. You have the video? It was another talk-lecture on the midi file format.

CASEY: So, I don't know. I think Goodiepal's an interesting figure to me.

VIC: He's like outlawed from his institution.

CASEY: Haha.

VIC: He's a teacher, a provocative, experimental music teacher, basically. A controversial person.

CASEY: Yeah, I think it's going to take a lot of different forms and a lot of playfulness to say what I want to say about some of this stuff. And I've thought about like why can't I say what I want to say about data? And I'm like I could never write it, because that would be the form that I would've used back when I was angry, because I thought a different thing. So I think the new thing will kind of have to be this multiform thing. I'm like, what's on this table? Is there a printer, a scanner, a camera, a joystick, a lazy susan or something? sort of like a turntable type thing. So it's kind of. The confusing thing is just that I have It feels really random and unsituated, but at the same time I see that it's one of my longest oldest threads. And even here, I've pulled...this is a new page of old stuff. When I was in school I would always be reading with a hula hoop or hanging stuff. I didn't really use my studio, but I always always just doing stuff with it that wasn't like making work. This is like a prototype of constructing a table that would rotate in like six different directions. So it's like concentric circles that rotate at different speeds. Ha. Um. But I never made that.

WALID: Do you imagine the table or the stage to be part of a performative thing, maybe?

CASEY: That's also what I can't tell, is it performative or is it something I do for myself. Um. I can't tell. I really like the idea of building a thing that wouldn't even be about an audience. Like I think it might just be a way to keep thinking through some of these concepts and trying to figure out...there's like a thousand more, I think I only added ten. But there's about a million nodes.

WALID: And just say something about the place would Cooper figure? Directly, indirectly, tangential, not at all? Does it matter? It's analagous.

CASEY: Um I think it is like, I mean the other interesting thing that's happened is like just getting into like a position, through the...through this Cooper stuff, where we talk about what's happened. Like, it's always been, it continues to be really uncomfortable to me to try and narrativize what goes on here, because it seems impossible. So even the idea of like giving a talk is like proposing that it's a version of events that's fixed and makes sense. So I feel like now when I talk about it I've started to preface by saying, "This has no plot." or something. "You might start to sense...if you start to see rising action? Try to undo that." Because a talk proposes like a ribbon bow on something, but I think what I'm desperately in need of in my thinking is to fray all of the end that have been superimposed. It's like the thing on a sneaker. A shoelace. The little plastic. I'm like, who put those on my shoelaces?


CASEY: What?

SOMEONE: It's called an aglet.

CASEY: Yeah! Like, agh. I'm like, where did they come from?? Um. Yeah. I think other people put them there. Ha.

WALID: Okay.

CASEY: Oh and yeah. So that's. I think it's a meta thing about like making sense of things. And trying to find a different way that things do or don't make sense. Yeah. I'm still as nervous, three years later, to be in class. Having a mental.