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The Skyzoid Machine - Warren Ellis [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Warren Ellis

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The Skyzoid Machine [Jun. 9th, 2011|07:26 am]
Warren Ellis

Damn.  Things I wish I could be at.  Not only are François and Stéphanie just really nice people, but look at the way they generate ideas.


FR: Our concept of the skyzoid machine is based on Marcel Duchamp’s Bachelor Machine. It’s a machine which is not cybernetic. In other words, it’s a machine that does not define only on its  efficient mode of production. The skyzoid machine pretends to do something while doing something else, thus creating a confusion about the degree of its functionality, the extent by which it belongs to science. Immediately, it questions the limits of the technology and its place in production. So the machine actually participates in creating a blurriness.

AN: Do you mean that even the machine participates in the production of culture?

FR: Yes, the machine’s role is not to simply produce something in the phantasm of efficiency. The machine is both a freak and an operating system at the same time. We try to introduce an unpredictable behavior, or a fuzzy logic, to explicate the confusion between what “they” pretend to do and what “they” are actually doing. In other words, the skyzoid machine completely changes your relationship to reality, leading to paranoia. Because all paranoia produces a parallel reality in your mind, filtering perception, you can perceive it and describe it through fiction. Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland operates on an immediate level when he introduces illogic through pure logic, what in French one would call le malentendu. Malentendu – the wrongly heard or misunderstood – is a tool of linguistic exchange; it is a kind of stutter. We need misunderstanding or stuttering in order to communicate.

It’s actually kind of exhausting to listen to François for protracted periods, because he is so clever, so attuned to both the big idea and the jewelled detail, that any narrative he commences soon feels like a download too large for your brain to contain.  But I recommend it to anyone.

(Automatically crossposted from warrenellis.com. Feel free to comment here or at my message board Whitechapel. If anything in this post looks weird, it's because LJ is run on steampipes and rubber bands -- please click through to the main site.)