The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Constellational thinking

A Tumblr vanity search for reveals that someone clipped this comment of Tim’s, in which he defines constellational thinking. I just put a link to it in my browser toolbar so I can summon it at a moment’s notice. I feel like I get something new out of it every time I read it. Maybe this is the beginning of my text playlist?


Textual playlists are a great idea. This and Alexis’s essay about literary criticism of Twitter (blatant Tim-bait than I am striving hard to resist, failing only in comments) make me think that we (by which I mean, I, and okay, sure, you) need to spend more time attending to the literary/aesthetic qualities of sentences on the internet. Not just writing or pulling or retweeting them but actively cultivating, curating, critiquing them.

Speaking of which, I’ve become semi-obsessed with Twitter’s “Retweets” page, which includes 1) things you’ve retweeted, 2) things your friends have retweeted and (crucially for vanity purposes), “Your tweets, retweeted.” I would love to just fully expand this field to see things like “your friends’ tweets, retweeted,” — you can find this out if you yourself retweet your friend’s tweet, just like you can find “your tweets, favorited” by going to a third-party site, but I guess I’m just interested in all of this stuff. Data. What moves people, and why.

I’m a bit late to this party, but I’m going to crash it anyway. On the matter of constellation thinking, I think there’s something similar in the creation of art that we could call constellation processing. A major part of being a human being is giving life to all this internal noise that goes on inside of us all the time. There’s the noise of our own internal voice, of what David Foster Wallace calls the brain voice. That voice gets mixed together and gooped up into the noise with all our emotions and memories and all this stuff just floats around inside of us at any given moment. We work hard to make sense of it.

We could think of the process of making art as the process of giving shape to this seemingly random noise inside of us. In other words, constellation processing is the shaping of all the noise that we think and feel and sense…And often, the end product of that noise, if it’s carried all the way through into something we can perceive and understand and talk about, that is art.

Music, literature, painting, whatever, it’s all a contouring and manipulation of the raw data of being alive.

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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