The Infinite Regress Example:  

Randy Adams with a piece of found art--in an e-mail to WebArtery, one Monday in October.

Subject: [webartery] file(s) found Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2000 23:48:40 -0700 From: Randy Adams Reply-To: To: file(s) found

In order to delete
a corrupt application
infesting my hard drive,
I performed a search in c colon
for occurrences of the word cool.
My computer found 260 files.
One in the bootlog default folder,
then a user file in the shell cache.
There was even a cool
in my configuration.
Next came 43 options
and system extensions,
some scanjet isf's
and an idx in jscript.
Eight coolgray colors
decorated photoshop,
and three cool files
languished in the trash.
Ten readme files offered help
with reboot setup information,
and network associations.
I found soft time, quick time,
remote controls and more.

It all seemed such a mystery,
so much cool needed
to run my functions.
But I recognized a few
familiar wordperfect files:
ilhara/cottage, dog/death,
web/moon and budapest.
These were certain texts,
parts of myself consciously
entered into the machine.
And this got me wondering:
how much of me inhabited
the gray plastic tower?

Continuing my curious quest,
I ran a search for body parts:
eyes, nose and ears,
mouth and heart,
fingers, hands and arms,
waist and penis,
thigh, knees and legs,
feet, ankle and toes.
I searched for tears
but the machine stalled,
as if balking
at that one strange request.

Determined to uncover
further relationships,
I ran percentages
based on 2983 files
containing body parts,
then used graph paper
to create a scaled drawing.
Although my heart was huge,
my ears were three times that size.
I had eyes bigger than my stomach,
and hands long as my arms.
Encouraged by my narrow waist,
I was disappointed with my penis.
My ankles were thick as an elephant's,
and I could scratch my forehead with my toes.

A preposterous caricature,
but what did I think to find?
Omens in everything?
What sense is there
searching for ourselves
in machines?

my computer crashed.
The screen went blank
and the fan stopped.
During my search for body parts,
I had neglected to delete
the infected cool files.
I tried for hours
to retrieve
lost parts of myself,
but they were gone.
I sat with my head in my hands
mumbling backup, backup,
while the passionless machine
hummed and hummed.
The digital camera port
stared back like a single eye,
and the disc slot grinned
as if enjoying itself.

The Infinite Regress


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