I’m at my desk at home, and I’m meant to be working on my research essay. I’ve just finished the section on Tea From An Empty Cup, the part that goes
Yuki, likewise, discovers that in order to recreate Old Japan it is necessary for her to “open” herself to Old Japan, and allow herself to be controlled by three puppet handlers in order to perform bunraku, the classic puppet theatre of Old Japan. Unlike her earlier experience, bunraku is a different sensation, and has a different purpose:
Something rippled through her, like a sensation from someone else’s body, as if someone else were sharing the suit with her by some remote access. Except this time, it didn’t feel hideously obscene, like being invaded by a stranger from within.
There was a gentle touch on her shoulder and she looked up to see a large doll-woman in traditional Japanese costume floating in front of her on the table. It bowed and began to move slowly and precisely, with as much grace as a living person.
Not a doll. A puppet, with several living persons behind its movements. Her movements. Bunraku. Not a children’s diversion but the classic puppet theatre of Old Japan, as serious as Noh and Kabuki, a demonstration of skill and grace, control and cooperation. Now she could see the outlines of the people moving the puppet if not their faces. See them and feel them- (p. 219.)
The distinction between the two types of possession is important. The first type, as initially experienced by Yuki, as well as Konstantin’s victims, is a twist on any sort of lifeworld prostitution; while the second depicts nothing less than the manifestation of Levy’s knowledge space, Ryan’s potential, emergent worlds, Galloway’s social ‘control and cooperation’, and Hayles’ complex commingling of ‘disembodied information’ and an ‘embodied human lifeworld’. In short, the climax of Tea From an Empty Cup can be seen as a unification of each of these seemingly different approaches. Cadigan’s future portrayal of cyberspace does nothing less than to envisage a technical, cultural and spiritual unity, where virtual emergence is initiated through nothing less than a massive societal unity.
The problem, I’ve just realised, is that I want to discuss both Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, but is it tacky to have two books by Neal Stephenson, and just one by Pat Cadigan? Somehow it seems inbalanced, and well, just wrong.
9:41pm. Still in my work clothes, plus my Rosa sweater that I’ve been stitching together. I’m wearing it with one arm missing. That’s the sort of evening this one is winding up to be.
I miss traveling. I guess that’s one of the main drawbacks about living in New Zealand. James mentioned something similar in an email he sent me a few days ago. He really likes it here but it just takes so long to get anywhere.
When I left Dublin he gave me a CD of the Stone Roses, and a book of Kavanagh poetry. I like “Ploughman”:
I turn the lea-green down
And paint the meadow brown
With my plough.
I dream with silvery gull
And brazen crow.
A thing that is beautiful
I may know.
Tranquility walks with me
And no care.
O, the quiet ecstasy
Like a prayer.
I find a star-lovely art
In a dark sod.
Joy that is timeless! O heart
That knows God!