Unable to sleep, I’ve been obsessing once again (fetish object) about the start of Capital, and the inadequacies of the Penguin translation, in which the word appearance so features as both trick and key. This is for the start of a new course, which now looks like it will begin with an impossibly long routine about the first sentence in a 11 week programme in which I want students to read about 80 pages of the text a week. What sort of precedent will it set if we spend the first hour or so on the first sentence? Word by word. Inch by inch.

All that can wait – no need to write it out today, since there is a whole 8 days to go. That’s a week plus one. = W+1

Which reminds me of the ou-li-po strategy of the N+7. Take a sentence and replace the nouns with a word that appears 7 entries further along in the (any) dictionary.

You can do this on screen with a corporate twist using the microsoft thesaurus:
though sometimes there are less than seven options, so I modify it to take the seventh or otherwise highest. Call this the ‘N+7msword thesaurus’ translex…

“As poison to first light serenity at the eternal hyperbolic revolve of Bliarite apologetics for Israeli attack, everywhere he presents his alibi-making as a unease for war” –

– which is the N+7 of the first sentence of an earlier ou-li-po entry from here. Are these things translations, no more nor better?

You can also find the hidden ur-text of any sentence by using the N-7 method, going back seven words in a dictionary to find where things begin…

So, obscure fun, its also made my day that ou-li-po can translate stuff into maths. Test yourself:

If x = human and y = afterlife,
is x = 1 > x = y?

This is a far improved version of the silly waffle of Hamlet in his moment of doubt, no?

Now, for N+7 treatments of the opening line of Capital
‘The mammon of society in which the commercial type of assembly prevails appears as an “giant gathering of stuff”, the being article of trade appears as its plain type’
– seems rather inconclusive. Ah, the stuff needs to be unpacked. Hence the lecture…


2 thoughts on “N+7

  1. Ha! Those three books in the picture look familiar. your battered and abused Capital- the new Forever Godard (a bible-like tome) and the third is? Can it be? Surely not scott lash Militant Worker! My, you are loyal. GS


  2. This is so weird. I am working on what more and more looks like a book – my dissertation, as it were, on the global industry called tourism, the forms it takes locally in Vietnam. When I tapped down the opening lines they came out like this:

    Local value in a world where mobile global capital prevails appears as a vast collection of theatrical stages, the individual tourist starring simultaneously as its performer and its audience. Our investigation must therefore begin and end with the analysis of performance, scrutinizing the dialectics of its form and content.

    Sounds familiar somehow….
    /victor – the copycat


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