February 10, 2005

Refined Products

All the products developed by our software are matched to an author, the difference being that ScriptGenerator©®TM treats the author in the same way as all the other elements which make up the contents it delivers; ScriptGenerator©®TM makes up the author from existing elements and orders its functions within the dictates of the marketplace…It is impossible to overlook the fact that the author is a key element of any commercial strategy…

Is the book jacket’s marketing epigram a description or a lyricised algorithm? “The love child of J G Ballard and Baudrillard”; an unknown author, with an intriguing glamorous past (“he worked as a corporate detective in the US”) that bolsters the apparent verisimilitude of his account of financial alchemy and clandestine traffic.

On the opposite flap the author claims to run a newsletter “Africa Energy Intelligence”, so he knows what he’s talking about when he describes Liberian mudslides or namedrops "coltan, a mineral used in mobile phone microchips and currently the subject of an international embargo as it is extracted from a war zone, the frontier between the Congo and Rwanda".

He knows the places he describes, where fathomless quantities are extracted and massive exchanges are transacted: Canary Wharf office blocks, Liberian mines, Swiss hotels, the queasy, jetlagged world of demoniacally-driven men in suits, supremely confident masters of the elements: Gold, cocoa, barley, milk, pork bellies, all in biblical quantities. He knows the cold glow, the strained, artificial radiance of striplights seeping into carpeted offices in the early hours, the mud-strewn, primitive huts of researchers in rainforests where multi-billion-dollar interests are invested. Individuals who bargain with governments for release of their cargoes. The opaque nobodies whose only job is to pass commodities through themselves in order to separate them from the real players. Certainly Ballardian enough, these shadowy pharoanic beings happy to stay in the shadows, never touching what they trade, shifting megatonnes as lightly as digits.

Outlandish, yet utterly convincing, given the author’s background. And timely, too. The Parisian literary scene needs a ‘new Houellebecq’ and as if on demand, he appears. Phillippe Vasset is as convenient a fiction as his creation (ScriptGenerator©®TM Paris, Librairie Artème Fayard, 2003; English translation Serpent’s Tail, 2004.)

'Everything has been said'. It's time that you, entrepreneurs, use this mantra of artistic circles to your advantage. If everything has been written, filmed, and acted, if the flow of stories has effectively come to an end, it means that narrative has finally become raw material, a commodity. Therefore, its treatment can be mechanised. This manual will demonstrate how this can be done'

ScriptGenerator©®TM is not merely a program for the assembly of pre-existing elements of ‘content’ but a market where agents can trade these elements as commodities; not just all the fictions in the world, but documents created by individuals following a spectacular event – photos, amateur videos, recordings, oral descriptions will all be added to the stock, valued, floated, evaluated for potential profitability and risk-managed for potential litigations, checked for congruence with the ZEITGEIST index, and recombined into product designed to perfectly balance the public’s expectations with the range of available materials, create a slightly differentiated product from known elements, and ensure the potential of its exploitation in every one of the media channels that ScriptGenerator©®TM ’s target clients own.

Searching for the source of the ScriptGenerator©®TM manual, on a long hallucinatory journey around the demimonde of abstract trafficking, disparate locations linked only by hidden monetary chains, characters who know each other only as accounting acronyms, the protagonist never manages to be absolutely certain whether ScriptGenerator©®TM has been realised, and who is behind it. Uncovering russian dolls of shell companies, hotels with no guests where commodities are laundered, docks full of tonnes of containers which change hands thousands of times in transit, between owners who will never see them. All we are sure of is that beneath our feet and above our heads occult traffic is shaping the global state of affairs, steered by a ruling class the vision of which is both seductive and terrifying. Codes, fictions, instant recombinations, crowd alchemy

ScriptGenerator©®TM is no more unlikely than this already-existing realm to which we are more-or-less blind; indeed, as the ScriptGenerator©®TM manual argues, all that is wanting is its formalisation, and the concomitant sloughing-off of the ‘creative’ process:

ScriptGenerator©®TM is revolutionary in that it obliterates the ‘creative’ process, or more specifically, it transforms the production of content into one long treatment of raw material…This new tool will finally strip the entertainment industry of its unique status; it is the only industry which still develops a product from nothing, ultimately it will be transformed into a genuine industry, one which transforms commodities.”

An impossibly ambivalent, definitively loopy 'creation'. How's it done? As they say in the software industry: RTFM.

Posted by undercurrent at February 10, 2005 11:32 AM




Should read this book ASAP; just a question: Is the entire book a manual for this program or the main theme is a manual for ScriptGenerator©®TM plus parallel narrative lines?

Posted by: Reza at February 11, 2005 03:50 AM



it would give too much away to describe their tangled relationship, but it's both, yes. The manual is revealed piece by piece along the journey.

Posted by: u/c at February 11, 2005 11:35 AM



u/c (and whoever) - [brief nag] How about neatly folding these long posts (after an intro. para. or two)? Otherwise they clutter the blog.

On content - too tangled in the labyrinth of hyperstitional irony to work this out, hope there's going to be some follow up.
First irony: it's a book!?
Second irony: assuming this is too thoroughly gone not to have been hyperstitionally virtualized a little - or am I underestimating contemporary actuality again?
Third irony: tacit hyperstitional taboo prevents you helping with the resolution of the second irony, so the unresolved uncertainty requires propagation along a diagonal vector ...

Posted by: nick at February 14, 2005 01:37 AM



yes, I'll fold it...I just thought I remembered some injunction from years ago _not_ to do so (but that may have been another time, another place.

The best course of action is undoubtedly not to answer your questions, so I won't. (Of course, I made it all up, as usual.)

Posted by: u/c at February 14, 2005 10:09 AM



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