Take the privilege of being asked or any decision

Given the transforms along with the privilege of

Being asked or take any opportunity or any time

Between the granted and the granting as if saying

Pieces of language lean one way or another or

One could pick the path scour or disperse or as

If we all could pick etc and discern or derive

Looking forward to the next step calling on

Notions of step and or about leaning one or

Another and or who picks or experiences what is

Experienced or changed when it is potentially

Who as the what makes or in choices modes

Illustrate foreground partaking if you stop

Another ripple gauging feel from repetition or

Divide including from the confidence of going on

Notwithstanding any abundance or echo makes

Goes gauges why anyone would poised in leaning

Balance recognize an ancillary rank step whether

Back or otherwise mutual give and take sense one

Or another already however much you grant along


SOM Heath by Tan Lin by Kristen Gallagher by Wikipedia

I think of Tan Lin as someone who tries to bring reformat art practice the systems of reading & writing and also to outsource the space of the book. When you read Tan’s new book Heath: Plagiarism/Outsource –it helps to LOOK at it. You’ll see a lot of obvious cut and pasted stuff from the web, and a lot of unformatted text. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of the typical student plagiarized paper, the way a chunk of prose copied from an ASCII environment and then pasted into Word produces odd line breaks and shows up in courier, the ugliest of all fonts.

As a matter of fact, on the 2nd or 3rd page (it’s hard to say which page because in a book like this the front matter and the colophon are as much poetry as the rest of it) you see a close up of what looks like a description of an electronic book from Project Gutenberg, referring to ASCII as the format in which the following text will appear.

ASCII means no font specified: a “plain” code for the appearance of the western alphabet on computers. It’s what came with the original email environments: unix, pine, etc, where there was no choice of font or style by the user—just text as it is defined at the root level of the operating system. Flavorless, unstyled text.

ASCII, or American Standard Code for Information Exchange, is a coding standard. And this is important for thinking about Tan’s work, plagiarized and outsourced as it is. In a recent inteview on Pennsound with Charles Bernstein, Tan says of his forthcoming book Seven Controlled Vocabularies that he’s interested in creating “not a book, but a reading environment” I think you can see that tendency in all his publications. Heath: Plagiarism Outsource constantly makes it clear that it is playing with ignoring or maybe even disrespecting the conventions of the book. Some text copied and pasted from a Google search result for an article “The Arts of Contingency” runs right through the margin, into the fold of the book.

BlipSoak splays single lines of text across facing pages and works with varying font sizes in a way that suggests less a book-object than a video game that moves through words, or some other immersive environment—something you zoom in on or gradually “rez” into.

These textual strategies make it clear that Tan Lin is interested in ambient language, a transitory area of language practice, rather than the more typical avant-garde move of challenging the reader/listener to hang closely at the edge of the word or the line. In web development, a mashup is a Web application that combines data from one or more sources into a single integrated tool. The term Mashup implies easy, fast integration, frequently done by access to open APIs and data sources to produce results that were not the original reason for producing the raw source data. He wants you to be bored, perhaps like you are sitting at your computer taking in the news feeds on Jessica Simpson’s latest boyfriend, or in the presence of (but not exactly watching) a long, slow movie in the late night hours. Tan says, “I want people to relax, and if you fall asleep, that’s ok too.”

In Heath: Plagiarism Outsource we are in an environment of what, most of the time, feels like an RSS feed—a syndication format that gathers content from blogs, online news sources and other frequently updated web sites and pulls it into a single location, allowing you to, as you “surf” the web, also “build your own newspaper.” The foreground of the book presents a series of Project Gutenberg descriptions of the etext of Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist, while the main character who pops up throughout is Heath Ledger—the ultimate absent subject—whose death and “troubled life” appear as a series repetitions from news feeds and blog entries.

Speaking of “absent subjects,” here the “self” is present only through rumors, reports, data sets, and standardized consumer choices. The content is sometimes described as being "pulled" to the subscriber, as opposed to "pushed" with email or IM. Unlike recipients of some "pushed" information, the aggregator user can easily unsubscribe from a feed. The subject becomes more like a quadrant of the ocean--porous, saturated, clearly marked off but strangely indefinite—not internal experience, but an atmospheric condition produced by wavelengths, repetitions and redundancies.

Aggregators reduce the time and effort needed to regularly check websites for updates. Towards the front of the book, a reader will find this text: “Heath: or Samuel: was not “something inserted into the video: they were watching on You Tube “ “ (ie storage) but something taken away or outsourced (dissemination), i.e. the process was more like erasing each other (plagiarism) rather than viewing.”

Though the art data [environment] of this book is not entirely about viewing, rather about re-distributing observing texts and the meta data component construction of authors, there is something theatrical about the project. Today, RSS and BitTorrent based broadcatching provides a web based distribution channel capable of delivering broadcast media to a large group of consumers at a low cost. BitTorrent provides the low cost method for distributing large files to a large group, and RSS enables a website to easily provide a subscription to a series of BitTorrent files. The book opens with a series of ambient, half-heard language you get entering a theatre, “tickets for film programs in theatre 3 are available at the Museum lobby information desk,” alerting the reader that there’s a bit of a show [observation] being put on here, but the show will not be spectacular, it will be filled with the banal stuff no other poet would ever put in his or her writing.

“like a descriptive catalog of 40 or 50 different sweaters in an American Apparel or J. Crew catalog that are the same except for their colors, and // [they] [you] are beautiful pop ups”