Ilya Eric Lee on Thu, 9 Apr 1998 08:39:27 +0200 (MET DST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Nocturnal Wanderer Coming/Barking Out [Letter from Taiwan]

Dear nettimers,

Finally, I've decided to write something to U all. 

I am always shy and don't speak very good English (What is good English?),
and the most important is, I don't understand Internet. Really. So about
one or two months ago, Geert send a message to me, said, "Hey, say
something about you! "I was embarssing for I was starting to wrote
something already, titled "I am one of the Taiwanes Lurkers!"
But, don't know what to say, after that title.

Yesterday I read an article: "Dog Words", I found it very, very
interesting. It was talking about a bedouin loses his way at night in
the dessert, he tries to find his kinfolk at any price. You know what
stratagem he uses? He has the most keen eyes but does not work in the
late night, especially in a transient dessert. Everything will not stay
still, except power-capital-information accumulation. He is so urgent
to find his folk;  for he is lost, in such moment, and he tries to
imagine what a relief it will be after the mother-child reunion. 
So he get a cue from the animals: he barks, like a dog. 
It's a smart strategy: dogs are always near the camp fire, human
habitation. When dogs bark back, echo this simulacrum of a bark,
the hasty lost hero might found his way home via the authentic voice, of
dogs. "Eventually he will no longer need to bark, having returned to his
mother's tongue, the same one he had to twist and turn in order to
produce the sounds of the canine language." the story-teller said.

The storyman, barker, find something bizzare: what if the traveller lost
his voice, when he find his clan? What if he forgot the mother tongue?
Is it certain he will find his home tribe? Dogs everywhere barks the
same, and they can always lead lost one to a foreign tribe elsewhere,
where a exotic lost guy speaking strange language is deem an animal.
What if the lost traveller barks with no reply, for all the dogs busying
eating food provided by some big master? The Arabic word "mustanbih"
means "he who imitates the dog's bark", what if there's other lost
travellers barking back? The dogs are cheated by him, so dogs make
mistakes; what if there's lost dogs barking for no reason, point to
nowhere, or there's no barking, only crying and warning not to get
close any more? This nocturnal wanderer is quite clever at the barking
moment, and at the same time, he is dragged in to a net of language
mirror. This is a story of "lost, deprivation, diminution, or in a word,

For me, Internet is this kind of transient dessert. I was from Ethnic
Relation and Culture Institute, and cares about themes across interface
between screen and RL, and I am working on a thesis of "Testimony of
Uncertainty: Document RL via Internet". And I've known some of you
already, via Geert's Pacific Trip. This is the first time I mail out
something, an identical bark, I think. This is what I can share with you
now, for these months, I get so much inspire from you and your words. I
hope I can share with you more. 

Ilya Fishbone

*Dog Words, is written by Abdelfattah Kilito, translated by Ziad
Elmarsafy; from Displacements: Cultural Identities in Question, edited
by Angelika Bammer.

Ilya Eric Lee, graduate student of 
Ethnic Relations and Culture Institute;
National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, East Coast Taiwan.

#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL:  contact: