Notes on Barker Speaks – The Ccru interview with Professor D. C. Barker: Palate Tectonics - It’s got you by the throat.
The interview is not so much an interview as a set of prose, beautifully, proto-occultian, neo-(grim)noir deleuzian, cthullhian cyberpunkian, hyperstitional voco-cryptics calcified in the morbid hieroglyphics of html.
(Laura) "While explaining his concept of Palate-Tectonics to the Ccru, Professor Barker said: "Due to erect posture the head has been twisted around, shattering vertebro-perceptual linearity and setting-up the phylogenetic preconditions for the face. This right-angled pneumatic-oral arrangement produces the vocal-apparatus as a crash-site, in which thoracic impulses collide with the roof of the mouth. The bipedal head becomes a virtual speech-impediment, a sub-cranial pneumatic pile-up, discharged as linguo-gestural development and cephalization take-off. Burroughs suggests that the protohuman ape was dragged through its body to expire upon its tongue. Its a twin-axial system, howls and clicks, reciprocally articulated as a vowel-consonant phonetic palette, rigidly intersegmented to repress staccato-hiss continuous variation and its attendant becomings-animal. That's why stammerings, stutterings, vocal tics, extralingual phonetics, and electrodigital voice synthesis are so laden with biopolitical intensity - they threaten to bypass the anthropostructural head-smash that establishes our identity with logos, escaping in the direction of numbers."
What first might sound like an impenetrable paragraph might become clearer with a more literal take and lay out the linguistic background for this “interview” in order to tackle Prof. Barkers voco-cryptix. The interview blurs the borders between traditional academic text, it creates a meandering or nomadic thought that draws heavily on Deleuze & Guattari notion of “deterritorialization”: it fusions theory with fiction, philosophy and natural sciences such neurology, bacteriology, thermodynamics, metallurgy, as well as chaos and complexity theory, become indistinguishable.
The interview is Applied Rhizomatics: Deleuze & Guattari suggest the rhizome as a new model, a map, of writing, a model that gets rid off the objekt of writing: “There is no longer a tripartite division between a field of reality (the world) and a field of representation (the book) and a field of subjectivity (the author). Rather, an assemblage establishes connections between certain multiplicities drawn from each of these orders, so that a book has no sequel nor the world as its object nor one or several authors as its subject.” Rhizomatic writings refuse notions of stability or ontological thought, they rather create a state of fluxus, conjunctions of unexpected milieus.
A Rhizome is a more of a mapping rather than a tracing. Deleuze writes, “What distinguishes the map from the tracing is that it is entirely oriented toward an experimentation in contact with the real. The map does not reproduce an unconscious closed in upon itself; it constructs the unconscious”
Expression is not a language-using mind, it is not rooted in a singular body. Expression, according to Deleuze and Guattari, is in constant flux, it is fluid, it disseminates where there is potential for what may become. It is this rhizomatic writing, with its fluidity of content and expression, the mutual inhabitation of objects and subjects, the lines of flight connecting schizoanalysis, geotrauma, neurology and biology that separates Logos from the word, meaning becomes a free floating vector rather than a fixed, frozen constant. This writing becomes dense and schizophrenic, a web of interconnected concepts, the development of a new vocabulary without a pause for explanation or definition. It is this unstable, deterritorialized field of content and expression, with its nomadic Logos that serves as a starting point to tackle this interview. (Laura)
In the small hours, whilst googling “pneumatic oral arrangements” I stumble across old Hyperstition posts where Anna Greenspan, directly quotes Professor Barkers concept of Palate Tetonics as well as mentioning an artificial intelligence machine that could communicate without vowels….
It's got you by the throat.
It might seem that vowels are more anthropomorphic than consonants - one can 'say' aaaiieeooouuu - but try saying kkttccc without adding vowel sounds.
Ccru discussed this issue with a (now sadly obsolesced) corporate AI called Marvin, who could chatter (vowelless) click-chitterings and polyrhythmic stutterings. Rather than using a voice synthesizer to simulate human speech, Marvin used it to exhume the inhuman 'within' language.
Yet, while it is tempting to disparage vowels as humanizing sounds, Professor Barker seems to have a more elaborate analysis, in which both 'sides' are primordially inhuman - after all, you can't actually 'say' aaaiieeooouuu, you can only howl it. It is 'vowelization' of consonantal difference that humanizes click-code into a language, but it is not vowels themselves that produce the human. Man emerges from a speech synthesis (rather than arising from a howl).
While explaining his concept of Palate-Tectonics to the Ccru, Professor Barker said: "Due to erect posture the head has been twisted around, shattering vertebro-perceptual linearity and setting-up the phylogenetic preconditions for the face. This right-angled pneumatic-oral arrangement produces the vocal-apparatus as a crash-site, in which thoracic impulses collide with the roof of the mouth. The bipedal head becomes a virtual speech-impediment, a sub-cranial pneumatic pile-up, discharged as linguo-gestural development and cephalization take-off. Burroughs suggests that the protohuman ape was dragged through its body to expire upon its tongue. Its a twin-axial system, howls and clicks, reciprocally articulated as a vowel-consonant phonetic palette, rigidly intersegmented to repress staccato-hiss continuous variation and its attendant becomings-animal. That's why stammerings, stutterings, vocal tics, extralingual phonetics, and electrodigital voice synthesis are so laden with biopolitical intensity - they threaten to bypass the anthropostructural head-smash that establishes our identity with logos, escaping in the direction of numbers."
- Ccru Shanghai
Posted by Anna Greenspan at July 17, 2004 03:38 AM
In the comments section of the site I find posts by Mark and Reza Negarestani, they hint at the (in many ways Lacanian notion) of language/logos as mutilation, as well as exploring language as virus and the role of vowels within this dynamic.
Reza expands on the vowel’s influence further and remarks on aaaiieeooouuu and hhhaaaaiiiieeeeehhh:
Anna this is a great text ... hopefully gives some space to speak about the inhuman space of vowels.
>>> Yet, while it is tempting to disparage vowels as humanizing sounds, Professor Barker seems to have a more elaborate analysis, in which both 'sides' are primordially inhuman.
The opening passage of Vendidad on Druj (The Mother of Abominations) have already narrated that the Abomination is inseparable from the sound, sound is the harbinger of the Abomination. aaaiieeooouuu and similar compositions are vowels anomalies, they simultaneously call upon the entire uttering machinery of human (a simultanous activation of all vocalizing components), flasing into what lies behind vowels and the vocalizing system in a matter of second. Old Iranian dervishes were completely familiar with the vowel-howls of the Abyss (Mowlavi or Rumi is one of the pioneers): hhhaaaaiiiieeeeehhhhh, etc (used for communication).
Such compositions are creatively digging up the inhuman howls behind vowels, but not the certain repressions that vowels plug into the nervous system via more widespread compositions of themselves.
Although vowels are auto-sabotaging agents but can’t get rid of appropriating processes they install on cognitive interfaces; while their tails diagram the Abysmal sounds (rattling insurgencies of vowels), their heads which generally pop up first are narrating a wide variety of systematic repressions. >>> in which thoracic impulses collide with the roof of the mouth.
The dominant vocalizing machineries of some languages creatively try to evade this compulsory collision. Arabic language has possibly the most capable vocalizing system that usually escapes this panorama. It has strange letters whose vocalization processes are not linear at all. The letter Ghaaf, letters Ha and Haa, letters Ayn and Ghain, etc. As I’ve previously discussed it with Nick, these letters are the curses of Arabic pronunciation system for speakers of other languages. Even Farsi speakers usually have difficulties.
One should be a crazed wolf and at the same time breathe as a lycanthrope to discharge the sound of the letter Ha. To vocalize 'Ghaaf', one should be a partly blocked tube attached to nothing.
To initiate as a Jay’s disciple, Col. West must be able to pronounce the letters Ha and Ghaaf; this ensures Jay that he has finally kicked the Delta-Force Qaaf-Complex out of his mind and mouth. Posted by: Reza at July 17, 2004 05:53 AM
PS. >>> Ccru discussed this issue with a (now sadly obsolesced) corporate AI called Marvin, who could chatter (vowelless) click-chitterings and polyrhythmic stutterings. Rather than using a voice synthesizer to simulate human speech, Marvin used it to exhume the inhuman 'within' language.
This is parallel to the note on the MURMURing sound-space of occult rituals derived from Mesopotamia and the ancient Near East. (Solar Rattle: http://hyperstition.abstractdynamics.org/archives/003535.html) Posted by: Reza at July 17, 2004 06:51 AM
Mark quotes Burroughs on Speaking Arabic:
But when it comes to Oriental languages you are using a whole different set of muscles and neural patterns... so you're bound to have a sore throat, just like your legs are sore after riding a horse for the first time... And Arabic is frankly the worst.. It literally cuts an English-speaking throat... Spitting blood is one of the first symptoms, though not necessarily the worst.. It is the stutter of neural response - remember when you first tried to row a gondola? The way you couldn't possibly get it, and you r muscles knotted up and you were making spastic gestures with the oar and the feeling in your stomach and groin, that sort of packing dream tension almost sexual...? And then suddenly you could do it? Well it's like that, only worse... And there is the gap between languages that can be terrifying... the great silences... Burroughs, Place of Dead Roads, 206-207 Posted by: mark at July 18, 2004 10:14 AM (Laura)
I find the excavation of the vowel as screaming, howling primordial remnant fascinating. The ordering of vowel’s through inhuman consonants (as a way of shackling our howls to an order) feels not dissimilar to some of the notions explored in Dolar’s The Voice and Nothing More. Reza’s and Mark’s examples of this vowel-trauma in non Arabic speakers learning Arabic are fantastic, I was speaking with a friend this weekend how is learning Arabic and she told me that words like ‘dog’ and ‘heart’ composed of exactly the same order of consonants, the only difference being the vowel sound – but this vowel sound is not always written, sometimes the vowel sound is missed in a kind of shorthand (I guess). I think the dichotomy or extimacy of consonants and vowels is another manifestation of the conflict at the core of language, for conflict of the animal and flesh against order and post anthropoid communication constructs.
Interesting enough that gargling in different ways is very helpful for learning how Ghaaf and Ghayn are pronounced (and especially recommended in basic Arabic courses); but the best way is speaking with a butchered throat, open arteries, veins and windpipe. Posted by: Reza at July 19, 2004 08:35 AM
From Shogun Assassin / Liquid Swords:
"When cut across the neck a sound like wailing winter winds is heard...I'd always hoped to cut someone like that one day, to hear that sound. But to have it happen to my own neck is ri..dicu...lous...." Posted by: L?RK?R at July 19, 2004 06:00 PM
>>>But to have it happen to my own neck is ri..dicu...lous...
A clever policy to remain an English-speaker, forever ;) (or maybe i'm wrong.)
also reminds me the last line of Borges' 'The End of the Duel'”(1)
But palate tectonics go back further as Kent G. Bailey studies in Human Paleopsychology 1987.
“The split brain research of Roger Sperry and his colleagues in the 1950’s revolutionized neuropsychology. This and the subsequent research on the brain hemisphericity revealed that the neocortex is really two brains rather than the one. The left brain specializes in language, speech and linear-rational functions, whereas the right brain is more imaginistic, holistic, intuitive, and spatially oriented. It is not clear as to why the human brain became lateralized, but several contending theories were discussed.
The interplay between brain structures is not only basically horizontal, as with left-hand brain interaction, but vertical as well. Paul MacLean view the human brain as like an archeological site composed of the recently evolved neocortex, the mammalian brain, and the reptilian brain. Our brain is thus really a “triune brain” composed of phylogenetically primitive reptilian structures, upon which are situated the paleomammalian structures, and, finally, sitting at the top of the hierarchy is the phylogenetically advanced neocortex. Although distinct neurochemically and behaviourally, the three brains interact functionally and dynamically, both protagonistically and antagonistically.. It is important to note that we humans share much of the repitilian and mammalian brain matter with lower animals, and that only at the neocortal level is the animal-human differential great.
Perhaps more than anything else, human speech enabled man to phylogenetically progress beyond animals. Human speech was something new in the evolutionary process; communication was now a basically neocortal phenomena involving transfer of auditory symbols rather than the transfer of gestural information in the visual modality. It was now possible to communicate in distinctive human fashion. Still, as Laughlin and d’ Aquili (1974) point out, human language is based on animal forms of communication and is only distinctive to a degree.
The phylogenetic regression-progression model is heavily indepted to MacLeans hierarchical brain concept. Following MacLean, we may think of the brain as a dynamic cerebral system involving reptilian components, mammalian components, and the right and the left neocortal components, all intertwined in a mutually interactive symphony of excitation and inhibition as behavior occurs when the lower centres take the upper hand.” (Baily, 1987, pp. 73-74) (2)
Again, I feel this is echoing the earlier notion of the primordial (or perhaps cthulhian) animal in conflict with the post anthropoid, human, communication construct – there is an extimacy at the core (both phonically, metaphorically and also, perhaps, physically/cerebrally- neurolinguistically).
1. http://hyperstition.abstractdynamics.org/archives/003641.html (last accessed 25/01/2012)
2. Kent G. Bailey, 1987. Human Paleopsychology: Applications To Aggression and Patholoqical Processes. 1 Edition. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
3. Authors diagram.
(Laura) The Burroughs text we’ve had to read also reflects this primordial animal that is without language.
“In the pass the muttering sickness leaped into our throats, coughing and spitting in the silver morning ... body melting pleasure-sounds in the warm mud. till the sun went and blue wind of silence touched human faces and hair. when we came out of the mud we had names”
If the subject is perceived to be essentially a function of language, its rigorous mediation and that of the symbolic order then Burroughs deliberately shatters subjectivity into pieces. Burroughs puts it that way: Your "I" is a completely illusory concept, he thus does away with a narrative voice, dismissing the reader into linguistic limbo, a pre-logos state of primate bliss, a being without names, without subjectivity. In a way, he aims to speak outside of language as he dismantles the presupposition of an autonomous self. There is no self, no Logos that speaks to us from Burroughs text.