Dead On

Posted by Rhizome | Sun Jan 5th 1997 1 a.m.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS : v. 2.0
Perforations 8
all media

Dead On

"I remember her saying, 'I'm already dead, I'm already dead'." - White
Zombie

"At the fleeting extreme limit of myself, I am already dead, and in the
coming-to-birth of this state of death, I speak to the living: about
death, about the extreme limit." - Georges Bataille

There a story in one of the tabloids a couple of years back concerning
the illegal trade in corpses in some part of indochina. It seems that
the bodies were being used as stand-ins for humans in various ways,
including companions. Tongue in cheek as that may have been, consider
any of the following scenarios:

1) You live in a small town. The cemetary is close to the center of
town wherein you walk by it every day. At night you walk thru it on the
way back from a Steven King movie. You pass the grave of your
grandfather. Then your uncle. Then your cousin. Do you believe in
ghosts? Do you think you are going to die some day? Do you think, like
your mother, that you will be resurrected some day in a Perfect Body at
the end time? Do you make it home without incident and then watch Night
of the Living Dead on the late movie? Do you wake up in the middle of
the night worrying more about dying or about paying the gas bill? Which
is now more important? Is there any difference for you?

2) You don't live at all. You wander the earth in a state of distress
and no body to speak of, only a diaphanous energy field. 'You' have
only vague, inchoate 'memories' of place, of energies, of configurations
of 'life' as it was once 'lived'. You are only barely a 'you' yet feel
compelled to retain a node in a structure, to mimic the living, a dry
flame guttering weakly, a corpse candle ladling out the last few drops
of wax -- but for who knows how many millennia? What's the half-life of
spirit? How long do the batteries of the uncanny last in the Everyready
bunny of walking death? Who do you/it manifest to? Are they special --
or are they ill? If you can't get help from the dead who can you get it
from?

3) It doesn't live at all. It's a collection of electrons circulating
in some ill-defined medium in some ill-defined future attended by
increasingly ill-defined humans. And yet it makes statements, It makes
predictions. It controls flows and hooks up systems. It performs
diagnostics. It talks to you. Does it say it loves you, that it cares
for you, that it wants to have your baby? Does it treat you like a
puppy? Like an invalid? Can you go to live with it when you die? Has
it made you die a little already in order to hasten the joining? What
would Maxwell's Demon say? What would Claude Shannon say?

A few last questions: Do you REALLY know you're going to die? Does it
make any difference to you? Do you feel dead already (we here at PD
call it the 'Post Mortem Condition')? Is that a good feeling or a bad
feeling, or, perhaps in being dead, it consists of NO feeling? Do you
know other dead people? How can you determine who is dead and who is
not? What's the difference? Are being happy and being dead compatible?

DEADline for P8: somewhat after the END of 1996

Perforations 7 now available at www.pd.org

text, hypertext, audio, graphics, animations, and whatever else we
haven't thought of will be considered.

[Contact Perforations and FORT! / da? at info@pd.org.]
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