Author Archives: Kobo Writer

One last link

I wonder if anyone is still reading this blog now? Anyway, one last post, just a link that made me smile.

Some art just makes me love the world:

— Sarah

“The Literal Value of Detournement”

One of the appropriated caches in our treasure-hunt cache project is this one. (You will need to be logged in to the GeoCache website to access the co-ordinates, but registration is quick, free and painless, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten any spam from them).

There are nine such caches, each one leading to the next, and each one containing a URL that both contains more information about the repurposed space that particular cache is in, as well as tells you where the next one is. In addition, on that site, you’ll find a portion of the URL for the final, ultimate, SUPER-SECRET tenth cache. You need to visit all nine caches to get the whole URL for the final cache.

One last thing: when writing out the URL for the cache’s site in each of the booklets, I made an error: the beginning of each URL starts http://theocaching/****.html — but that’s impossible. It’s — with a dot, not a slash. Sorry about that. Just keep that in mind and you’ll be fine.

— Sarah

Benedikt reading

I have to admit defeat. I’ve gotten perhaps twenty pages into the Benedikt article, “Cyberspace: Some Proposals,” and I’m utterly lost. I’m going to share some of my notes from this essay to let you know exactly where and when (and how) he lost me:

“Using decidedly low-altitude mathmatics, we will look at these [the rules and principles of cyberspace] in relation to the rules and principles of natural, physical space, and under five, essentially topological rubrics: dimensionality, continuity, curvature, density, and limits” (132).

I have to admit, he’s really starting to lose me here. He starts talking about the seven principles of physical space and cyberspace, and from what I can gather, he proposes to examine how the rules and principles of cyberspace are based on the rules and principles of physical space. I think.

“Now, any N-dimensional state of behaviour of a system can be represented in what I would like henceforth to call a data space of point-objects having n spatiotemporally locating, or extrinsic dimensions, and m intrinstic dimensions, so called because they are coded into the intrinsic character of the point-object. In sum: N=n+m” (135).

Yup. I’m lost.

Okay. Let’s see if I can make heads or tails of this.

An intrinsic quality of an object or system is something that is inherent in the object and not affected by its position in space or time, such as its weight, size, colour, etc. An extrinsic quality is what pinpoints that object or system in time and space, such as… it’s age, perhaps? Its geographic location, such as “on the desk” or “next to a tree”? Its GPS coordinates? Age. Time. Place. Okay.

And in order to understand and fully measure an object/system, we must take into consideration all the qualities, both intrinsic and extrinsic.

I think.

“Any two objects in the same data space can be said to be identical if they have the same values on the same, matching intrinsic dimensions; similar, if they have different values on the same, matching intrinsic dimensions; and different if they do not have the same same intrinsic dimensions” (136).

So… two objects are identical if they’re identical, similar if they’re similar, and different if they’re different. Okay. I can handle that.

I’m guessing that because he’s dealing with intrinsic dimensions, that extrinsic dimentions don’t affect the similarity or difference of an object. A laptop, for example, if it is identical intrinsically (i.e. in size, shape, colour, function, appearance, etc.), it can be said to be identical even if its extrinsic dimensions don’t match exactly (its age and its location). In fact, it would be literally impossible for two objects to share exact extrinsic dimensions, as then they would have to occupy the exact same space at the exact same time. Physically impossible.

I think I’m getting this. This is the Principle of Exclusion.

“The Principle of Maximal Exlcusion (PME) advises the following: Given any N-dimensional state of a phenomenon, and all the values—actual and possible—on those N dimesnions, choose as extrinsic dimensions—as “space and time”—that set of (two, three, or four) dimensions that will minimize the number of violations of the Principle of Exclusion” (139).

I’m lost again. I’ll try to make sense of this.


Nope. Still don’t get it.

So I understand the Principle of Exclusion, but his explanation of the Principle of Maximal Exclusion utterly escapes me.

Does anyone understand it? Can you enlighten me if you do? I’ve been banging my head against this for too long.

— Sarah

Chora Project

Considering that my presentation on Foucault yesterday went a bit long (sorry about that), we didn’t get a chance to talk about our chora projects in class. It was suggested that we could blog about them instead, though, so here we go.

The location I chose was Jane Bond in Waterloo, mainly because I have a lot of fond memories of the cafe it used to be back in 1994—Acid Sweetness. When I was in my last year of high school (during the aforementioned 1994), I ran with a very artistic crowd. One of the ideas we came up with was a concept we called the “Psychic Sandbox.” Basically, in a rather pretentious turn of phrase, a person’s Psychic Sandbox was where an artist found the voices of the muses spoke the loudest. It is where an artist does his or her creative thinking, where inspiration often strikes. Everybody had their own personal Psychic Sandbox (or a few of them), but we also identified certain places that were “Collective Psychic Sandboxes,” where we enjoyed working on collaborative artistic pursuits. One of those places was Acid Sweetness.

At the same time as exploring the relationship between the Psychic Sandbox and chora, I also explored the concept of the genius loci, the “spirit of place.” The three concepts actually dovetailed into each other rather nicely, even though it seems on the surface that chora and genius loci are pretty much polar opposites (chora being an unformed, non-physical, difficult-to-define thing and genius loci being embodied and defined by an actual physical space). I think I did a good job of explaining it in my concluding paragraph:

Even though “one cannot get to, acheive, expose, define, determine or reveal chora, one cannot ‘give form to the meaning of chora’” (Derrida 151), one can do all those things with genius loci. It can be gotten to, achieved, exposed, defined, and revealed. It is not just contained in a physical place, “The genius of places lurks there; or, more strictly, he is it” (Lee 13). Its meaning is its form. Chora and genius loci are opposites in many ways, but they can indeed be related, and even contain each other. Just as the Timaeus continually unravelled itself in imitation of chora, so too does the genius loci of a specific place reinvent itself over and over again. The genius loci of Acid Sweetness encompasses and contains chora. The concept of chora also encompasses and contains the idea of the Psychic Sandbox, a place for continual creation and the raw potential of new ideas. The Psychic Sandbox encompasses and contains genius loci, being tied to and unified with both physical place and spiritual purpose. All three encompass and contain each other, over and over again – a mise en abyme with no end.

One of the neat things I found while researching my topic was the Waterloo Directories in the Local History room at the Waterloo Public Library. There’s a volume for each year from the present day continuously back to 1960, and then sporradically from then to 1899. You can actually look up a specific address in either Kitchener (Berlin in the earlier directories) or Waterloo, and it will tell you what was there (company, or name and occupation of resident). I found myself looking up a bunch of completely unrelated places simply out of interest. A bit of a time-sink, but an interesting one.

— Sarah


Of the plethora of photos I took, five of them turned out well enough to share (the magic of digital photography!):


I liked this one because the black branches go in all different directions and at all angles. It’s not sublime; I think the subject (a lone squirrel) is too tame a subject, but it might be a bit picturesque.


A concrete bench covered in snow. I liked it because the patterns of snow visible around the foot of the bench appealed to me.


The same bench, but with the tree beside it. This appealed to be because I liked the fact that the snow covers both the bench and the tree in the same way — nature does not discriminate between what is man-made and what is natural. Just as moss and vines will grow over ruins of old cathedrals and abandoned carts, so too will snow cover everything. Nature cannot be held back.


This is a featureless wall of Hagey Hall. I took a page from Burke’s book and went with perspective and vantage point to try to generate a feeling of awe or infinity. This I suppose would be much more along the lines of “technical sublime” than true sublime, but I liked the way it turned out.


This is one of the sculptures that stand in the courtyard outside Hagey Hall. Again, more “technical sublime” and more experimenting with vantage points and perspective. I think the brick wall works better, really, but I still like this shot, too.

— Sarah Carless