Playing with some random shots of book-case shelves, I blended them with a tropical screen composition. They are aptly called the Paper Jungle pieces.
Note that the title, The Moon Pool, is very visible in the second image. The novel, by Abraham Merritt (1884–1943), is considered a classic example of the early science-fantasy or science-romance genre that laid the foundation of science fiction and would inspire H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Remnants of a lost civilization in the Pacific islands guard a terrible metaphysical creature, The Dweller in the Moon Pool.
Merritt’s two short stories “The Moon Pool” (1918) and its sequel, “Conquest of the Moon Pool” (1919) originally appeared in All-Story Weekly .
Merritt then reworked them into a novel released in 1919. The various covers for the book reflect the times and perceived target audience for the novel. Most covers are typically pulpy, suggesting sex (while the narrative actually portrays a very chaste romance), exotic or strange realms and all sorts of adventurous action. Notice both the 70s cover on the left and the 40s on the right feature the beautiful white female in exotic undress and amphibian bipedal figures. The girl from the 40s wears some sort of knitted swim suit and is in need of rescuing by manly men. The lady on the 70s cover is more exotic and seems to be in command , ordering the guard/warrior creature as she surveys the exotic landscape. Different expectations for a different generation of readers.
Interestingly, the cover of the novel (1993) that I have in my possession , appears to better represent another one of Merritt’s works, The Snake Mother (1930).
Besides the above links, which provide more information, you can read the novel online or if you prefer, listen to it from Librivox. Both are free; many of Merritt’s works are available for free online.
These pieces visually represent the change in Media Literacy & the consumption of text. As we shift from printed text to digital text, our reading behaviour is altered. As various reading tablets make digital text more portable & accessible in different environments, the printed text is replaced by digital text. Currently, sales of e-books are exceeding those of printed books ; even the comic book is becoming a digital commodity. So what happens to the reading lamp ? Will it become as quaint as the phone dial and vinyl record ? Perhaps in future museums & dusty libraries only highly trained specialists will understand how to turn the lamps on, open the books, and flip the pages.
Here is the latest model of a Raygun Television done in the retro-classic Raygun Gothic style. Note the blend of metal & wood with the rustic charm of the digital future. This model comes with High definition 4D capabilities for the most rapid online matter transfer shopping. You can have the future today & yesterday all at the same time with multi-channel recording & doppelgänger settings. Schroedinger setting allows you to observe the show when you are not there . Security features ensure that inter-dimensional spam is filtered out and Cthulhu fields are blocked.
Immanuel Velikovsky (Russian: Иммануи́л Велико́вский; 10 June [O.S. 29 May] 1895 – 17 November 1979) was a Russian-Jewish psychiatrist and independent scholar, best known as the author of a number of controversial books reinterpreting the events of ancient history, in particular the US bestseller Worlds in Collision, published in 1950
Velikovsky argued that electromagnetic effects play an important role in celestial mechanics ( these changes to the configuration of the solar system violate several well-understood laws of physics) .
He also proposed a revised chronology for ancient Egypt, Greece, Israel and other cultures of the ancient Near East. The revised chronology aimed at explaining the so-called “dark age” of the eastern Mediterranean (c. 1100–750 BC) and reconciling biblical history with mainstream archaeology and Egyptian chronology.
Planet Earth has suffered natural catastrophes on a global scale, both before and during humankind’s recorded history.
There is evidence for these catastrophes in the geological record (here Velikovsky was advocating Catastrophist ideas as opposed to the prevailing Uniformitarian notions) and archeological record. The extinction of many species had occurred catastrophically, not by gradual Darwinian means.
The catastrophes that occurred within the memory of humankind are recorded in the myths, legends and written history of all ancient cultures and civilizations. Velikovsky pointed to alleged concordances in the accounts of many cultures, and proposed that they referred to the same real events. For instance, the memory of a flood is recorded in the Hebrew Bible, in the Greek legend of Deucalion, and in the Manu legend of India. Velikovsky put forward the psychoanalytic idea of “Cultural Amnesia” as a mechanism whereby these literal records came to be regarded as mere myths and legends.
According to Velikovsky’s interpretation of comparative myths the causes of these natural catastrophes were close encounters between the Earth and other bodies within the solar system — not least what are now the planets Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and Mars, these planetary bodies had moved upon different orbits within human memory.
While all this speculation are fanciful & creative, they have lead to an arrayof beliefs & flawed interpretations of the cosmos.
As previously noted, Professor Palindrome is/was an inventor, traveller and Chrononaut. Besides creating a successful aetheric steam engine and photonogram (See: Professor Palindrome’s Chrono-Postcard1 ), he also developed the Kirlian Cyanotype process. Alas little is known about his methods and attempts to rediscover the process have not been successful. It is assumed that knowledge of aetheric physics and quantum alchemy is required, studies which are absent from current educational curriculum.
Palindrome’s name & history form a bit of a puzzle. It appears that there was both a Palindrome & Palindome. At times they appear to be the same person, while at other times there appears to be two distinct individuals.Palindrome seems to be going both forward & backward through time. As to which is the inventor and which is the time traveller, well, ……… it is even unclear who is first recorded in the history books. The same archival source will be different each time you look at it. Palindrome references suffer from Schroedinger Observational Effect, and are altered by observation.
Kirlian Cyanotype appear to be a means of recording the a Kirlian field as a Cyanotype photo print. Semyon Kirlian, in 1939 accidentally discovered that if an object on a photographic plate is connected to a high-voltage source, an image is produced on the photographic plate. The technique of Kirlian Photography has also been known as “electrography” and “electrophotography”. The nature of this field has been hotly debated ever since it was widely publicized in the early 1970s.
Palindrome appears to also attempted to create a similar aetheric process that produced an image on a glass metallic plate. While this image is very striking, the aetheric energy has left bubbles & scratches embedded in the plate. Those who have handled the plate claim that not only does the image become a holographic 3D impression, but that they hear aetheric tones of the photographed subject. Further study is required to better understand the nature of this lost photographic process.
Upon the discovery of The Doll in the Wall, Dr. Ignatius Walter-Jons was trembling. Here was the evidence to validate his theory about the last days of Lost Vegas . Not only was the artifact proof of the Simulacra Epidemic, it also linked the event to The Singularity Wave of 2047. Furthermore, the wall itself showed signs that the “Children of Yig” virus must have established itself in the region within a couple of decades following the city’s demise.
His colleagues praised Dr. Walter-Jons’s accomplishment. His research and the new evidence shed light on a dark area of human history. It was with great reluctance that they returned The Doll to the Wall, but it seemed like the best thing to do,……. after they found their esteemed friend’s bare arm bones & skull covered in peculiar small teeth marks. Curiously, they never did find the rest of his remains. However, the whole affair did prove the old proverb true, ” What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
Note: The images were inspired by Syncopated Eyeball’s new avatar“.
The Show will Commence Shortly;
Gentlemen Remove Your Hats.
Please refrain from Shouting
At the Robotica.
Aetheric projected actors
Are so sensitive
Dream-scapes are staged
Using Quantum Steam.
Must remain Constant.
Please refrain from Shouting.
Gentlemen Remove Your Hats.
There is much talk about who will become the next incarnation-regeneration of Dr.Who now that Matt Smith has announced he will be leaving the role. This is especially of interest because it is the 50th anniversary of the series. The media hype is even greater now that there is a huge increase in popularity of the show in America.
People speculate on the age, gender, race and actor’s profile/level of celebrity. Who will be the next Dr. Who ? All sorts of rumours and attempts to generate increased news media attention have been happening across the internet. Keep in mind the Mass Media Principle – All Mass Media have business interests – check out How To Predict The Next Doctor Who.
To keep all this media hype & existential pondering in context, consider the video provided. Some choose to walk on the bridge, while others use the rope. Who is better centred in their sense of Self ? Who indeed ?
Raygun Gothic was a term coined in the short story, The Gernsback Continuum (pdf) . I encountered William Gibson’s story in the anthology, Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (Highly recommended). Gibson uses the story to explore the dark side of the bright shiny future first envisioned in the early Science fiction pulp magazines introduced by Hugo Gernsback.
Cohen introduced us and explained that Dialta [a noted pop-art historian] was the prime mover behind the latest Barris-Watford project, an illustrated history of what she called “American Streamlined Modern.” Cohen called it “raygun Gothic.” Their working title was The Airstream Futuropolis: The Tomorrow That Never Was.
— William Gibson, The Gernsback Continuum
This future society was depicted as the triumph of technology in the service of mankind. This fictional world, like most of the pulp fiction of the time was full of the biases that filled American Media. The future would be an idealized American society that contained only a white-anglo culture. Robots and aliens would replace other races and ethnicities.
In Gibson’s story a photographer is hired to gather images of the architectural remnants that were based on this vision of the future. As he explores the American country-side taking photographs, he becomes aware that reality is shifting. He is somehow entering this alternate America. Is he having a mental breakdown ? Is he tuning into parallel time line ? Or is reality bending to accommodate his photographic vision ?
Note: While double checking background information, I discovered a short British film, Tomorrow Calling, an adaptation of The Gernsback Continuum. It is an an interesting & effective adaptation, but I suggest that you read the story first ( see link above).
Physicists have long known
A subtle connection -
Be TWEEN Quantum PARTicles.
Quantum Mechanics ALLows 4-A
Measuring 1 PARTicle
INstantLY sets the “state,” of anOther PARTicle
Light Years aWAY.
“HAPPY SUNFACES EVERYONE!”
Entangle 2 PHOTOnS
That don’t EVEN Exist
At the SAME Time.
TICK TALK TIME TRAVEL
NOTE: The following link describes the experiment entangling two photons separated by time, it is real. The Article is the basis of the found poem in this post.
This is a bit different, both in subject matter and source. I happened upon an intriguing blog site, Vintage Printables. They have a vast collection of out-of-copyright scientific illustrations that extends to Medieval material. Make sure to visit the blog ( after reading this post).
As an experiment, I have taken two images from the site and re-imagined them. The Hirsuite Man riding a unicorn (original image) has been changed into a colour image that suggests ageing & enhanced textures. It has been given a slightly metallic-gilded quality.
The Medieval images I selected are Archetypal in nature. The Archetype is described as ancient or archaic images that derive from the collective unconscious“. These images/symbols/motifs can give us a better insight into human behaviour, social structure and creative expression in all of its forms.
For example the Hirsuite Man is the Wild man or Hairy Man of the forest. From Canadian First Nation’s lore he has become widely known as Sasquatch. In the regions of the Himalayas this creature is known as the Yeti and Meh-Teh . The Cryptologist will search for proof of such creatures or evidence that they until recently existed. Those whose views relate more to parapsychology will pursue an extra-dimensional rational for sightings.
Through literary & symbolic imagery we can connect this being with Beowulf’s Grendel and Gilgamesh’s Enkidu. They are wild forces within human nature that is confined or in opposition to society. We can see this expressed in the dark conflict of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde and in the chaotic freedom of the musical Hair.
The Unicorns were first mentioned by the Greeks. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance the significance of this creature grew. It was commonly described as an extremely wild creature of the forest, a symbol of purity and grace. The combination of the two symbols in the first image would represent the forest/Nature in balance, Yin & Yang.
The second Medieval image that I chose from the site was that of a Dragon ( original image). The dragon derives from the imagery of the giant serpent, either land or sea. Beowulf faces the dragon beneath the sea in his final battle. The classic representation of the winged creature with legs, ( flying lizard) does not become common in European culture until the Middle Ages.
The dragon is a complex symbol. Again a force of Nature, linked to the air, water, and fire. It can sleep beneath the earth and gather riches in its nest. It is associated with raw resources and man made creations of beauty and art. It can represent both destructive and creative energy. As with many symbolic images there is duality, light & shadow.
Because the original image was in colour and of a very recognizable Medieval iconography, I chose to turn it into a stained glass image. Suffering from a bit of duality myself, I ended up with two versions. The one is darker and appears to me to be somewhere between stained glass and a satin tapestry in texture. The second brighter image adheres more closely to the illumination of stained glass.
The dragon’s connection to the sea serpent links it to the mythic creature of the Kraken and the very real Giant Squid, made famous in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
This brings me to a final image and creature whose name combines the real with the mythic, the Vampire squid. The same blogger who has Vintage Printables also has the blog, Neurological Correlates. It was there that I found an article on the Vampire Squid and their intriguing eating habits, not what you think. Included in the post was a video of the creature.
I captured a shot of the squid from the video and put it through some modifications. Here is the original shot and the modified image.
Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: ……… ( Kraken by Lord Tennyson 1830 )
In Jungian terms the sea/ocean represents the great unconscious full of treasures of wisdom and the dark shadows that we must confront in order to acquire this wisdom. I hope this experiment in imagery and imagination opens the way for your own exploration of the realm of the Archetypes.
Shadows are cast
in three dimensions.
Behold the Trinity.
An imposing structure,
Illuminated by the Light.
Light – dense enough,
Passes through -
In the tree,
The Crow calls out
To let the Light
in 3 dimensions.
Behold the Trinity:
Beams imposing structure,
Illuminated by the Light.
Cousins to crepuscular rays
“Behold the Fog”.
Note: Found poem with hyper links based on Wikipedia -Fog
According to Relativity,
The curvature of space-time
In all seriousness,
(ou’re kidding, right ?)
Everyone knows the secret -
The curvature of space-time
The Colour Green.
According to Relativity,
The curvature of space-time
Big News in the rumour mill of mass media culture is Justin Bieber’s unconfirmed role in the Star Trek Into Darkness movie. While everyone has been concentrating on Benedict Cumberbatch’s character in the movie, no one has yet said anything about this piece of marketing hype. All Cumberbatch has said is ” that he is not Khan”.
Justin Bieber was heard to say ” baby, baby”, possibly referring to his supposed role as genetically modified youth, which would tie in to the Khan hypothesis and the movie trailer Star Trek Into Darkness references the Cumberbatch character talking to concerned parents about their child.
It is difficult to know what to make of this Justin Bieber Star Trek connection. The Grey Cup half-time show demonstrated that celebrity poularity does not guarantee effective marketing or broadening of target audience. ( See: Grey Cup Boos , The Risk of Celebrity Worship & Get Justin Bieber in Your Classroom to Teach Media Literacy ) Time will tell if this marketing ploy will have a positive or negative effect, perhaps the intent is to generate public interest and keep the names of the celebrities and the movie in the headlines.
The passage of time and Mass Media, both in generated content and format, is part of the controversies surrounding both the Star Trek franchise and Bieber-mania. In both cases, we have different age demographics with varied perceptions of the content and the delivery of that content. Depending on one’s age and gender, Justin Bieber’s fame/celebrity status seems justified or out of proportion. Bieber’s success came through very effective use of social media to reach the intended target audience. Social media solidified and maintains this success, but at a price. The content can not change/ evolve in style, form or information. Success hardens, like amber, to trap the celebrity.
Furthermore, the community that embraces this content does not welcome change or criticism. Those who observe the content and the community from the outside will make comparisons to other teen & tween idols of the past. They will be less impressed by the Bieber’s career ( the message is not directed at them & it will seem less unique or special) and they will find the fan fervour an antagonizing barrier.
We see a similar problem with the Star Trek franchise. The franchise grew out of a beloved television series. Attempts to re-imagine and convey the message of the show in the form of a feature length movie has had mixed results. Change the medium, change the message. Not all the films have been equally successful. The most recent attempt uses the trope of time travel triggering an alternate sequence of events to reboot the series. The original characters are re-imagined with new actors. The reality of Star Trek is constructed using present day cinema technology. Inevitably, various demographic groups will either be accepting or rejecting this version.
This brings us to the concept of what I call Necro-media. Necro-media refers to past forms of mass media and media content. Necro-media is often rediscovered by a new generation. This generation may embrace it in its original form, (lovers of Old Time Radio, silent films, or original pulp/fictional detectives) or they re-purpose the medium, (those who take up Alternative Photographic processes or attempt to emulate them using digital darkroom methods).
The accompanying visuals fit into this latter example. The first image, Big News, suggests an aged photograph of times past. The subject are bundled newspapers & flyers, a print medium that some say is reaching the end of its days. The second image, Yesterday’s Print,makes use of an aged newspaper texture in combination of two book covers, Peter the Great by Nia Brown Baker (1943) & Dave Dawson at Singapore by R. Sidney Bowen (1942). Both works and writers were popular at their time ,writing for a early teen audience, combining accurate information with fanciful youthful adventure and a set values, beliefs and ideologies that today make them forms of Necro-media.
In Advanced Vaudeville – Bieber Shakes Harper the lost theatrical entertainment of vaudeville, child labour of the early 1900’s, Cab Calloway’s iconic face, contrast Bieber and Prime Minister Harper shaking hands when the youth was presented with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, designed “to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.” Unfortunately his backwards cap and overalls were seen by some as disrespectful to the honour. Others thought that he was simply not deserving of the honour. What was the media message being sent out by the Prime Minister of Canada? What would Cab Calloway, famous for his signature style of dress think of the white teenager’s attempt at clean urban grundge ? For that matter, what of the children of 1910 in their working clothes , how might they respond to this ? Perhaps Vaudeville has not died. Like other Necro-media it has just resurfaced in a new form.
In a way, both the Star Trek brand and Bieber brand, are Necro-media. The first is much loved television series that been reborn in the 21st century in the evolving medium of cinema. Justin Bieber is part of a long line of popular singers, going back to Rudy Vallée, whose popularity was first spread by the dominant forms of Mass Media at the time, records (1928) and radio and movies (1929).
“Vallée also became what was perhaps the first complete example of the 20th century mass mediapop star. Flappers mobbed him wherever he went. His live appearances were usually sold out, and even if his singing could hardly be heard in those venues not yet equipped with the new electronic microphones, his screaming female fans went home happy if they had caught sight of his lips through the opening of the trademark megaphone he sang through. A brief caricature of him in the Fleischer Brothers‘ color Betty Boop theatrical short cartoon from 1934 Poor Cinderella depicts him singing through a megaphone .”
Necro-media and an application of Media analysis helps us put the Bieber Star Trek rumour in context. I hope to further explore the topic of Necro-media, both through visual creations and analysis of mass media events, real & imagined. Enjoy the day.
Here is a method for becoming industriously contemplative or achieving steampunk spirituality. Shall we burn incense and motor oil ? Perhaps with a turn of a screw we will see phantoms among the wires & tubes.
Synesthesia is involuntary and automatic [linked].
Synesthetic perceptions are spatially extended,
Meaning they often have a sense of “location.”
i.e. For example,
of “looking at” ,
a particular place to attend to the experience.
Synesthetic percepts are consistent and generic
(i.e., simple rather than pictorial).
Synesthesia is highly memorable.
Synesthesia is laden with affect.
Sound → color synesthesia
colour synesthesia, or chromesthesia is “something like fireworks”
people with synesthesia are well known
They explode with creativity
like fireworks on De sterrennacht
on the colours of music keys
Note: This experiment in words, images, and graphics has no specific name. It is a blend of media and idea. It includes elements of hyper-text found poetry. That means some of the text will take you to other web-pages. In most cases the images can be seen in larger formats when you click them. The images are a combination of new and older pieces. Their meaning and context has been re-imagined for this piece. If you have questions , I will attempt to answer. Enjoy !
In yesterday’s post I commented on how exotic plants were used on the sets of the Original Star trek show to create an alien/futuristic setting. Following on that idea this post presents Alien Plants to consider for your future garden.
This next one has built in internet capabilities. Transmit your photos to your WordPress blog by way of floral scent. Pollinate posts with comments and watch them bloom over the Social Media.
This next beauty is a quantum variety of this bloom. It is lovely with multidimensional petals. Be careful to check for infestations of multidimensional spider-mites. They have been known to enter gardeners’ dream states. Very difficult to get rid of without astral neurosurgery .
Sitting on a brightly painted deck chair, staring out at the data waves rising up from the Ion Sea and rolling in onto the shore, Caravaggio ruefully smiled. The paint was peeling a bit, that didn’t matter at the moment. The blue surface of the sea shimmered as the emerald waves of data twisted and flipped their statistics above the the shoreline’s variables. Life wasn’t going badly for now, he thought, as he took a final sip of his pumpkin spice latte.
Rising from his chair, he lifted his arms with a flourish, then hesitated. The latte would work nicely. He threw it to the approaching waves. In response, the data waves eagerly leapt up into the air, weaving into a fine lattice that hung suspended just above the dry edge of the black beach. As Caravaggio began to masterfully paint in the lines and shadows along the fifth and seventh dimensional grid that he had laid out the previous day, he could see the airship Lester B. Pearson approaching.
The walls and sky took shape. He brushed out the Déjà vu smudges, allowing a large Arctic Tern to soar beneath the silver clouds. The airship was getting closer and the bird rose higher. The painter was confident that he could finish the next section of the grid before the airship arrived. Skillfully building up layers of information along multiple vectors increased the speed of the airship, but it also increased the size of the bird. Inspite of this, he was still unconcerned.
He had not, however, anticipated what would happen next. The tern suddenly veered from its gentle spiral to avoid an outcrop of urban blight that spread above a distant horizon line like a smokey haze. The bird, now the size of a mature eagle, was tracking the lateral line of the fourth dimension on Caravaggio’s left. If he did not work quickly , it would arrive in his peripheral past. He lightened the temporal patina in an effort to re-establish the tern’s original course. He adjusted the grid to track the lateral line of the fourth dimensional vector. Unfortunately, this would result in it arriving in Caravaggio’s short term memory.
As he adapted his brush strokes to increase the conceptual layer of the piece, the airship began to descend and prepared to dock at the CN Tower. Painting in an open window high above the Canyons of Toronto, where it could hang along the seventh spatial vector, would help stabilize most of the artwork. The painter vigorously weaved strands of hieroglyphs, hexagrams, and hexachords into his canvas. Just a few more brush strokes left to go, then the sound of approaching footsteps intervened. They were rapidly crossing the boardwalk that he had finished painting two days before.
“Peace be with you Caravaggio.”
“Peace be with you Beatrice. You are late. I had to start without your interface.”
“Anastasia and Naomi were finished early with the presentation, but there were problems. The buyers were not completely satisfied with d the app for the temporal pinhole camera. We made the sale, but our bonuses will be smaller than we had anticipated.”
” Well it is your fourth sale, if you include the Syncopated Eyrie.”
Caravaggio was growing uneasy. He winced as the bird’s shadow obscured the freshly painted window. The left grid lines became fragmented. Distractedly he only caught the last part of of Beatrice’s continued description the day’s events.
“…….. and that guarantees our data stream. We will be ready for the next synchronicity wave.”
The painter became aware of a large Arctic Tern flying in the distance. He would need to remember to incorporate the bird’s flight path into the next quadrant. Why hadn’t he thought of that before ?
Considering both Beatrice’s unexpected arrival, and the now rapid approach of the tern, her remark was an obvious swell of an emerging synchronicity wave. As Beatrice chattered on about the rise in popularity of Singularity Credits after Justin Bieber’s reality quotient imploded, Caravaggio picked up his cup of latte. He had barely touched it. Somehow that did not seem right. How had he forgotten to drink it ?
As he sipped the latte he became aware of a large Arctic Tern flying in the distance. He would need to remember to incorporate the bird’s flight path into the next quadrant. Why hadn’t he thought of that before ? The bird was almost as large as the lone hang glider soaring through the Toronto Canyons. Even the now disembarking airship passengers could be seen pointing at the bird as they made their way down the crystal titanium ramp-way.
As if on cue a discordant note rose up. It grew louder. They now were both watching the huge tern as it rapidly shifted in response to the sound of the harmonium. The bird’s shadow flew through the window as the bird dove toward the hang glider.
“Life’s a beach.” Caravaggio threw down his cup.
“True,” sighed Beatrice, ” but we will always have Toronto.”
Through the window they could see a record player. A record playing on the turn-table. They were dimly aware of Doris Day singing, just before the data waves flat-lined into monochrome and rust.
For those who may be a bit confused: See the previous Surreal Thursday post to understand how Caravaggio and Beatrice ended up in this situation or at least how the narrative began.
For those unfamiliar with fantasy literature and why science fiction is an inaccurate literary term see blog page on this topic.
Thanks to Brent St. Denis for directing me to the tenth dimension (video).
Click images to see larger more detailed versions. Click links to extend your understanding and find surprises. The videos extend context of the narrative. Please comment/ ask questions. Enjoy the day! Hopefully another episode next week, when we find out what is going on on the other side of the window.
Sitting on an Adirondack chair, staring out at the data waves rising up from the Ion Sea and rolling in onto the shore, Caravaggio smiled. The blue surface of the sea shimmered as the emerald data waves twisted and flipped their statistics above the shoreline’s variables. Life is sweet, he thought, as he took a final sip of his anchovy spice tea.
Rising from his chair, he lifted his arms with a flourish. In response, the data waves eagerly leapt up into the air, weaving into a fine lattice that hung suspended just above the dry edge of the black beach. Masterfully Caravaggio began to paint in the lines and shadows along the fifth and seventh dimensional grid that he had laid out the previous day.
The walls and sky took shape. A lone bird soared beneath the silver clouds. The only other object in the sky, an airship in the late Romantic tradition, purposefully flew through the clouds. The painter was confident that he could finish the next section of the grid before the airship arrived in the section’s first quadrant.
He had not, however, anticipated what would happen next. The airship veered off its scheduled course and adjusted to track the lateral line of the fourth dimensional vector. This would, of course, result in it arriving in Caravaggio’s peripheral past.
As he took this information in, the sound of footsteps could be heard making their way across the pebbled path that he had finished painting two days before. Looking along the spatial vector, he saw Berenice wave at him as she reached the end of the path and step off the edge of the data lattice. She was as beautiful as on the day Poe first put her description to paper.
She had legally changed her name to Beatrice, in an effort to establish herself as an independent character and a successful business woman in her own right. She did not what to have her accomplishments always qualified by the phase, “Poe’s Berenice“. The shadow of Poe’s genius was not completely withdrawn, no matter how many “nevermores” she declared or how hard she worked.
“Peace be with you Carvy.”
“Peace be with you Bea. You are early.”
“Anastasia and Naomi were finished early with the presentation of the new app for the temporal pinhole camera. The buyers were very satisfied. We will all get bonuses. You too! The Syncopated Eye is out performing their expectations.”
Caravaggio was growing uneasy. The open window he had painted was beginning to close as the airship flew past. Distracted he only caught the last part of of Beatrice’s continued description the day’s events.
“…….. and that guarantees our data stream We will be ready for the next synchronicity wave.”
The painter winced. Considering both Beatrice’s unexpected arrival, and the now rapid approach of the airship, her remark was an obvious swell of an emerging synchronicity wave. As if on cue, the sound of George Bernard Shaw playing his viola could be heard growing louder as Beatrice excitedly chattered on about Anastasia’s latest shoe fashion discovery and Naomi’s plan to go hang gliding from the CN Tower as part of her “Lost Canyons of Toronto” documentary.
The viola music grew louder. It was the second suite from the ‘I Ching“. The Synchronicity wave would be a big one. Beatrice finally took notice as the lone bird responded to the music and began circling the urban decay that had protruded out of the bottom of the clouds.
Caravaggio sighed and stepped back from the lattice. The work for the day was done. Beatrice pointed at the looming shadow of the airship as the data waves shifted up and down the lines of plausibility, like so many politician’s excuses and promises. Neither of them heard the music stop as the painted window completely closed.
The early E-Books of the 1940’s had a difficult time establishing themselves, in spite of war-time paper rationing. The strongly traditional education system was not comfortable with such an innovation and most bound books were kept in better condition; the North American throw-away mentality would not become a strong business/consumer model until the 1960’s. The E-Books had trouble acquiring access to a large variety of material. Most established writers were still under contract to the large publishing houses. There was an attempt to cover the lack of material by supplying an anthology style format. Of course this put them in competition with the still successful pulp magazines, which together with the growing comic-book market, held sway over the news-stand outlets.
To further compound their problems, this was the Golden Age of Radio, and access to wireless networks were dominated by both national and regional broadcasters. Radio of this time period emphasized group/family audience and shared experience. It was also providing the majority of its programming live. Immediacy was the key word. In a time of war, people were drawn together for mutual support and shared common experience. They needed a form of mass media entertainment to take their minds away from their troubles and also provide up-to-date news to keep them secure.
The final obstacle that these early E-Books faced was a lack of a consistent long-lasting power source. Once again these innovators ran into problems with established industries. Power companies were reluctant to make changes to their electrical plugs to accommodate this new technology. Since a number of Radio broadcast networks were closely connected to electrical generation, there was little appetite to open the doors to any new form of mass media technology.
As a consequence, the E-Books had to rely heavily on kinetic generation of electrical charging. This necessitated that the books were as thick as most standard book and had the additional weight of the early electronic components. This made E-Books more cumbersome than they could have been and the added weight increased the risk of damaging the components.
The E-Books did leave one lasting impact on vernacular language . Because of their unusual variety of content and innovation in their front display menu many people responded with some confusion ( another obvious marketing weakness), A common expression entered the language that is still with us today; “You can not judge an E-Book by its cover.”
It is Wednesday, time to explore another what if of history. One of my particular favourite historical what ifs is steampunk. The retro-Victorian Science Fiction has generated an interesting body of work. The aesthetic has spread into popular culture, even if the term is not necessarily well-known. A recent winter photo and a nature shot taken a while ago became the basis for these two pieces.
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away…
This week’s Existential Friday brings together photography, poetry, philosophy, quantum physics, history, Buster Keaton, masks, toys, and puppets. This post is of course linked to the first Existential Friday post in that it looks at the question of the gaze and perception. When we look upon something does that make it real ? For a photographer composing a shot/constructing a media-realiy, this question has added significance. For the quantum physicist , it brings to mind Schrödinger’s cat; the cat that is both dead and alive based on perception of the event.
If we are “perceived” by a machine, say a security camera that automatically records our image, but no one views the recording, does the recording exist ? If we look at a photograph of an event, say our parents’ wedding does hat perception of the image make the event more real ? Then of course we may be looking at a manipulated image, does that perception make the manipulated reality more real ?
If our reality depends on being perceived, can we escape perception ? Orwellian issues of freedom suddenly turn into metaphysical questions of reality and existence.
When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door… (SLAM!)
Consider the ideas of George Berkeley (March 1685 – 14 January 1753), also known as Bishop Berkeley (Bishop of Cloyne). He was an Anglo-Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called “immaterialism” (later referred to as “subjective idealism” by others). This theory denies the existence of material substance and instead contends that familiar objects like tables and chairs are only ideas in the minds of perceivers, and as a result cannot exist without being perceived. Thus, as Berkeley famously put it, for physical objects “esse est percipi” (“to be is to be perceived”).
In Samuel Beckett’s Film (1965), Buster Keaton attempts to evade observation by an all-seeing eye. But, as the film is based around Bishop Berkeley’s principle ‘esse est percipi’ (to be is to be perceived), Keaton’s very existence conspires against his efforts. View -Film by Samuel Beckett.
Now for one last flying leap of logic. Let us take the imitation/synthetic perception one step further. What if the imitation of the perceiver was a photograph, a mask or a puppet/toy ? We perceive the imitation that appears to be looking at us. Is that how we convince ourselves that we are real when no one else is around ? Or does it ensure that we are real ?
Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away
Note for those less interested in my ramble through philosophical paranoia and more interested in the photography side of things: The puppet on the stair that started this twisted thought process is one of many puppets made by my wife. The toys are my daughter’s. That scary eye shot is of my son’s allergy blood-shot zapped eye. He suggested I take a close up and see what I could do with it, besides the puns. The final eye shot is from the Samuel Beckett Film. The Daguerre reference is to the daguerreotype style frame & effect that I used with several of the images. Enjoy the weekend !