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who or what is babel?

babel is a british/canadian artist, co-creator and editor of 391.org, a network of digital and traditional artists exploring early modernist movements in the context of new medias and the internet.

exhibitions in 2002 include Whalelane 3 (US); Stasis_Space Palimpsest Project (US); Window (New Zealand); Violens (Czech Republic); AugustArt (US); Arte (Brazil); ZeD TV ep.13 (Canada); 12-12 (Wales); Sleeping with Amnesia (US); aCaRamBoLa (Brazil); project hope (Germany/US); 404 (England/Canada/US)

e-mail: babel@391.org
web: latourdebabel.com / 391.org
more babel history: Chateau Versailles

BABEL (bA'bul, bab'ul) -n.

  1. an ancient city in the land of Shinar in which the building of a tower intended to reach heaven was begun and the confusion of the language of the people took place. (Genesis 11: 4-9).
  2. a confused mixture of sounds or voices.
  3. a scene of noise and confusion.

"Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other (...): "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth." But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building, and said: "If, as one people speaking the same language, they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." (...) That is why it was called Babel, because the Lord confused the language of the whole world."

"From times immemorial, man has aspired to the infinite. The first known attempt to reach infinity occurred in Babel and is told in Genesis... ever since, the Tower of Babel has become an allegory of the infinite - or of man's futile efforts to reach it."

"A fundamental reduction of scope and expressive power... is not the inevitable outcome of a sustained exposure to computer usage, but it is obviously increasingly likely with the growth in computer literacy... This is one form of standardization that clearly answers to the aspect of cultural degradation hinted at in the title of this book. Paradoxically, exposure to technobabble invites a resumption of the state of artificial unanimity anticipated by the builders of that tower whose destruction mythically inaugurated the creative babble of human history."

"Unlike the previous builders of the tower to truth ("God"), the citizens of this Babel will all speak the same language, but they still won't understand one other. Each word they say will be endowed with too much meaning, not too little, and consequently it will have none. Alternatively, the cult of silence, the ambience of the 'death of the subject', will reject the word as an unnecessary lie, and leave others to claim access to the authorial 'Word of God'"

Poetry / Texts

acronymphomania
kinetic/aleatory poetry
[IE preferred]
2002

after 391: picabia's early multimedia experiments
essay
2002

descriptions/inflictions
graphical hyperpoem
2001

prone and wrything
visual hyperpoem
text: lilly von
2001

manifestos
1999 - 2001

binary
hyperessay
2001

babble
random poem generator
2001

bubbles
animated process poems [IE only]
1996 - 1997

eggs
concrete process poetry
1996

prêt-à-voir
visual, concrete and kinetic poetry
1995 - 2000

blanks
1995 - 2000

loops
animated process poems [IE only]
1995 - 1997

boxes
1995

peekaboo
hyperpoem
1994/2001

lobster
play
1994/2001

The Creyer Faltics
1990 - 2000

Audio / Visual

flowers
soundgarden
[flash 6]
2002

turnbaby
interactive video
[flash 6 & high bandwidth]
2002

sandow sequences
DIY webart
2002

windows
kinetic environments
2002

muša
audiovisual environment [flash]
painting: inese vepa
2002

90.9 FM
audio stream
vocals: jane jones
2002

the turtle and the scorpion
interactive parable [flash, realplayer]
2002

30 pieces of silver
quote jukebox
2002

Ongoing Projects

391
post-dada collaborations
1999 -

panoptica
music/videos
1998 -

virtual babel encyclopedia
1997 -

alien-uk
alien and ufo conspiracy
1997 -

antitram
agitprop
1995 -

Quotes

Order = disorder; self = not-self; affirmation = negation; ultimate emanations of absolute art... I love an old work for its novelty. It is only contrast that attaches us to the past.

Without unleashing a storm of delirium one can work systematically to deprive the distinction between subjective and objective of both necessity and value.

The decision of poetry... to dismiss language is imminent

What we need to look at is not the message once grasped but the actual grasping of the message at the elementary level: at what happens when we read, when the eyes settle on the lines and travel along them, and all that goes with this perusal.

Everything is the same as everything that is not the same. Even if I didn't believe it, it's the truth of the fact that I've put it on paper - because it's a lie that I have fixed like a sheepdog on a string, shouting GO! GO!

..affiliated members of a gang of dadaist assassins have signed a self-protection contract for operations of this sort.

The word, the word, the word outside your domain, your stuffiness, this laughable impotence, your stupendous smugness, outside all the parrotry of your self-evident limitedness.

Dada has 391 different attitudes and colours according to the sex of the president.

In various ways, the lie has become the standard currency of culture. The cruel truth is that we have lost the right to choose when we want to be disbelieved.

Dada is the world soul, dada is the pawnshop.

Once the illegibility of the fragment has been confirmed by the sheer numbers of variant reading applied to it, the apparatus of commentary and interpretation becomes self-perpetuating.

Art must be unaesthetic in the extreme, useless and impossible to justify.