LAYC Almanac v.42
"We might say that the listener – or spectator – must respond to the glitch...as an event, as the bearer of the potentiality of something else. Put simply one must...be open to the possibility of something different occurring."
From Stuttering and Stammering to the Diagram: Deleuze, Bacon and Contemporary Art Practice, Simon O’Sullivan
We’ve been living in a cyber world this past year, sometimes hyper-real, often stranger than fiction. Part and parcel of techno life is the glitch: a malfunction; an error or mistake. In machinic terms a glitch is a failure to operate as expected. Think a car not starting, or getting stuck in cat-mode on Zoom.
During the pandemic we’ve spent a good bit of time hunkered in Taos, New Mexico which sits in a timezone called Mountain Time, occupied by only 7% of the US population. So while we’ve been living in one time zone, we’ve been teaching via Zoom to our community (spread across the world but) based in Los Angeles, located in another time zone, Pacific Time; and Erica has been attending graduate school in London, which is in a third time zone — Greenwich Mean Time; or seasonally a fourth time zone, British Summer Time.
When our collective clocks sprung forward here in much of the United States, it triggered a glitch in our carefully concocted matrices. Though we leapt ahead into an elongated sunset, the UK did not, and would not for another two weeks. It. Was. Mayhem! Suddenly events that were an hour apart were right up against one another. That was the best case scenario. Appointments that were previously back-to-back were now at the same time. It was a technical and clerical error, but it was also serious head-fuckery. All of a sudden operating across multiple time zones was incredibly disorienting. Wait, what time is it there? Is our appointment scheduled for Daylight hours or Standard hours? Did Arizona change times?
Time is no doubt a concoction, albeit a useful one for a globalized world. So when times no longer match up, it is destabilizing, casting light on the wobbly, constructed nature of it all. What is time anyway?
Timezones were introduced in the late 1800s in an increasingly industrialized, communicating, expanding world. Daylight Savings Time was introduced by Canada in the early 20th century to make better use of daylight. From our artificially lit perspective of the 21st century, though, it seems antiquated and designed to glitch both micro and macro systems.
In The Matrix (1999) Neo realizes he’s in a simulation because of a “glitch,” in the matrix. A black cat passing twice serves as a signpost that he is in an alternate reality. Rodney Ascher explores the idea that we’re living in a simulation in his recent film, A Glitch in the Matrix (2021). He interviews folx who believe that we are video game characters being played by something or someone else; that coincidences and synchronicities are glitches; and that if we pay attention we can see the simulation for what it is.
"The simulacrum is never what hides the truth - it is truth that hides the fact that there is none. The simulacrum is true." — Ecclesiastes in Simulacra and Simulation, Jean Baudrillard
In many ways this is akin to the patternicity and apophenia observed in QAnon followers who believe there are symbols and signs everywhere, one only need “do the research” to learn “The Truth.” Q believers also appropriate language from The Matrix. Inductees are said to be redpilled, a reference to the choice Neo must make between the red pill and the blue pill: wake up to reality or stay asleep in blissful ignorance.
This liberatory possibility of the glitch, while warped by Q, is reflected in Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto by Legacy Russell. Russell flips the script, describing the glitch as a refusal of the dominant paradigm. In her case this means refusing to inhabit a binary body:
"The concept of a body houses within it social, political, and cultural discourses...A body that pushes back at the application of pronouns, remains or remains indecipherable within binary assignment, is a body that refuses to perform the score. This nonperformance is a glitch. This glitch is a form of refusal."
Refusal as reclamation feels highly prevalent in a world ever more controlled by corporate entities vying for our attention, for our obedience.
Yoga’s roots are intertwined with śramaṇic traditions - which is to say that yoga’s roots are associated with religious renunciates - a tradition forged around the 5th century BCE. Śramaṇas gave up the sacrificial fire to live in the forest. Instead they internalized the sacrifice, the body becoming a sacred vessel, equivalent to, but resistant of the Vedic altar. They refused Brahminical orthodoxy; rejected caste; abstained from economic activities; and renounced participation from social institutions and householder life. The new religious movements, in other words, glitched, in order to seek liberation on their own terms.
Our yogic ancestors were actually trying to trip the switch. Hacking the system. They wanted to hurl themselves off the endless and cyclic monotony of suffering and rebirth. They used their bodies, breaths, and spirits to glitch. To somehow, someway stop the endless hamster wheel. Though our conditions, salvific goals and methods may differ, aren’t we too looking to end suffering?
In our reading of Gilles Deleuze, a glitch can reveal events through an intensity of being, an immanence that is inclusive, rather than transcendent, thereby pushing our ideas of the self ‘outside’ with a sense of resolve or impunity. Arguably, we also find ourselves stumbling into the glitch in Félix Guattari’s The Machinic Unconscious, as the membrane of the simulation, simply to provide “conditions to which the trans-semiotic creative assemblage must respond.” An opportunity, not for escape, but for revelation, transformation, and transfiguration.
“...by awakening the mind's attention from the lethargy of custom, and directing it to the loveliness and the wonders of the world before us; an inexhaustible treasure, but for which in consequence of the film of familiarity and selfish solicitude we have eyes, yet see not, ears that hear not, and hearts that neither feel nor understand."
–Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
, 1817, Chapter XIV
As a response to “the lethargy of custom,” within a system that is increasingly asking us to conform and remain complicit, we propose glitch as practice. Yoga has shaped us in every way we might imagine. It has also become an unwell industry, with all the itinerant woes of late-stage capitalism. What if we glitch? Resonating strongly with contemporary yoga and the wellness industry, Catherine Malabou suggests, in her pithy tome, What Should We Do We Do With Our Brain?—“to visualize the possibility of saying no to an afflicting economic, political, and mediatic culture that celebrates only the triumph of flexibility, blessing obedient individuals who have no greater merit than that of knowing how to bow their heads with a smile.”
We can refuse to perform our yoga for Instagram; disobey the sequence or the count; deviate from “perfect” alignment; allow for exploration; give ourselves permission to question authority; reject hierarchy and corporate commodification; promote equity. Glitch practice allows for a break in continuity; for malfunction; for breakdown; for confusion, and sees these as helpful experiences toward wakefulness and agency. We can glitch ourselves into greater awareness, making space for new ways of being in practice and presence. We needn’t dutifully continue apace.
“The glitch is a tool: it is socio-cultural malware... This is where we bloom. It’s time for new mechanics.
Let’s mutate, please.”
Yours as cyborgs, as very real beings, as glitch yogis,
Erica + Spiros
(classes + lunar notes)
YOGA PRACTICE SCHEDULE
◯ No yoga practice today, Sunday April 11.
◯ We will continue teaching through April, and then we will be pausing classes for the time-being.
◯ Register and sign up for final weeks of classes at our site: LA Yoga Club
EATING THE SKY
(Los Angeles timezone)
◯ New Moon occurs later today (Sunday, April 11), with the darkest indwelling occurring at 18:31 (6:31 PM) PDT, thereafter the moon’s brightness slowly begins to increase.
◯ When new, the moon is occulted, hidden, not seen by our naked eyes. It is a time for grieving what’s been lost; and seeding that which we wish to grow. It is a fruitful darkness, a wild unknown. It is a time of intuition and dreams, so you might notice what dreams you’re ceding, and conversely what projects, relationships, practices and truths are asking to be born through you.
◯ Is the Sun conscious? Rupert Sheldrake considers panpsychism in contemporary physics and philosophy for his recent piece in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. ‘We meditate on the adorable glory of the radiant sun; may he inspire our intelligence’ (Gayatri mantra, Radhakrishnan, 1994, p. 229).
◯ The Moon has a tail. | Boing Boing
◯ Our next Almanac is scheduled to transmit around Monday, April 26 alongside the forthcoming Full Moon.
◯ Our new tees and hoodies are spiffy.
◯ A collaboration with David V. D’Andrea, this is our favorite LAYC design to date.
◯ Order at The Boutique, and as loyal Almanac readers, we invite you to use code “GLITCH” for 10% off.
This Edition’s List of Links
It is difficult to imagine a medium without a gesture, without a body—from an expansive, cinematic view. The medium is the massage, so to speak. But this takes an expansive view and gesture. And it is from this place and heart that we offer a deep bow to Gene Youngblood. A media pioneer (and New Mexican!) who was an early advocate of experimental media of all sorts, and video as an art form in particular, who triumphed that “the media must be liberated, must be removed from private ownership and commercial sponsorship, must be placed in the service of all humanity.” Youngblood arguably spent the last fifty years waiting for society to catch up to the mind torrent unleashed with the publication of Expanded Cinema. It’s still relevant, timely and worth reading (PDFs). | ARTFORUM | + Gray Area’s lovely pandemic happening and re-visitation through Expanded Cinema With Gene Youngblood
Our pal Fletcher Tucker has a fabulous record label, Gnome Life Records, that has just produced an album with Anita Barrows, award-winning poet and translator, and Joanna Macy, a Buddhist scholar and eco-philosopher.
On the album, Be Earth Now, Joanna and Anita recite a selection of Rainer Maria Rilke’s seminal collection of poetry, The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, which explores the nature of—and Rilke’s relationship to—God through divinely “received” prayers. | Pre-order the vinyl or download the digital album @ Gnome Life Records
A subatomic particle called a muon is disobeying the known laws of physics - glitching - and throwing off what we know about the universe. The aberrant behavior poses a firm challenge to the Standard Model, the suite of equations that enumerates the fundamental particles in the universe (17, at last count) and how they interact. | NYTimes
In this conversation South African music journalist, DJ, and researcher Atiyyah Khan explores two hours of music from the Sahel Sounds platform. One particularly interesting segment of her talk with the label’s founder talk involves a fascinating, very William Gibson-esque “the street finds its own uses of things” moment recounting a time not long ago when North Africans used iPhone-knockoffs to swap cool sounds, recorded locally, using bluetooth. Sneaker-net style, no internet! Eventually these disconnected pockets in the Saharan desert did become internet accessible, and WhatsApp became the medium for recording and sharing filez. Music from Saharan Whatsapp was released this past year over the pandemic—profiling digital colonization and various low-fi DIY-technologies. Great stuff! | Future Nostalgia
Le Chȃteau du Tarot - a marketing device for Dior? Yes. And also a fun visual romp for Tarot fans. | YouTube
“Empires crumble, capitalism is not inevitable, gender is not biology, whiteness is not immutable, prisons are not inescapable, and borders are not natural law. We can abolish the organization of difference.” — Harsha Walia as quoted by Patty Krawec who continues: “We don’t know exactly what a world without all this *gesturing broadly* will look like. But our willingness to make the effort is to choose hope.” — A Broadened Sense of Abolition | Rampant Mag
Gender glitching in India: Sravana Borkataky-Varma is a scholar of esoteric Indian rituals, and in an upcoming (free) lecture she will explore India’s third gender, Kinnars (pejorative term hijṛā) and spiritual partners, categorized as “consorts.” These groups will be discussed within the ritual praxis of “lived religions,” which itself sits within the larger world of Śākta Tantra, Goddess traditions. | REGISTER @ Harvard Divinity School’s Center for the Study of World Religions
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a body. And one is not born, but rather becomes, a glitch. The glitch-becoming is a process, a consensual diaspora toward multiplicity that arms us as tools, carries us as devices, sustains us as technology, while urging us to persist, survive, stay alive.”
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Lastly, some of our link sources of recognition, gratitude, and inspiration for this edition include Erik Davis, Suzanne Corbie, Danielle Tsi, Roberto Maiocchi, Daniel Simpson, Mark Singleton, Patrick Olivelle, and others. Thank you! Banner detail from GBSK.