Alternative pathways to the primary visual cortex

He turned around and looked in my direction, his dark glasses reflecting the library lights like distant stars. Then he smiled. Automatically I smiled back at him, but then I remembered that he was blind, and my smile froze. I … Continue reading

The twelve Nights of Christmas – Night eight – Yggdrasil

The twelve Nights of Christmas – Night eight – Yggdrasil

  It can’t be helped, I guess, but once in the twelve nights Yggdrasil is bound to show up. I do not observe Ragnarök, I do not live by the old Norse Tales nor by their subscription into a modern … Continue reading

The Twelve Nights of Christmas, Night Seven (New Year’s Eve): DEA (Data Encryption Algorithm) ex machine

DEA (Data Encryption Algorithm) ex machina – one of the strange aspects about art is that it can be very specifically “about” something, yet address it in a way that common language would not. I worked on this drawing waiting for the New Year to arrive in Central Europe and the Eastern US. Interestingly the term “common language” also refers to lingua franca, a language systematically used for communication between two (or more) groups not sharing a mother tongue whereas I used it to express the idea of non-artistic, every day communication using words. Foto

deep blue pride / from my new novel (nasciturus pro iam nato habetur, quotiens de commodius eius agitur)

IMG_2442One day Aunt Melissy, Uncle Joe and a I had been invited to an assembly on a Sunday after church to the church elder and his wife. The men and boys were gathering in the meeting hall of the church while the womenfolk were expected to assemble at the church elder’s house. His wife was entertaining us with cake and good strong smelling coffee in her dining room that was big enough to fit at least twenty people at the table and then some around the benches placed at the wall. Even at such a gathering  there was no idle chatter but the women discussed who in the community was in need of support or charity and how the community should cooperate to provide it. The girls were clearly as bored as any girl at any time would have been even though I was sure they were working as hard and obediently as I was. We were all seated alongside the wall on the benches, holding on to our mugs and a piece of cake. I exchanged glances with a girl about my age who was seated across the table at the other wall. The girl seemed strangely familiar but I could not place her face. She was dressed just a bit prettier than the other girls and in fact she was a bit prettier than everybody else.  After we had finished our coffee she got up, left the room and returned with a tray to collect our mugs and the dishes we had been balancing on our knees. When she took mine she made a funny face at me, and the girl next to me giggled. I couldn’t tell whether she had been laughing at me or about me but the pretty girl had already filled her tray and carried it out of the room. When she came back into the room she did not reclaim her seat on the bench but stood next to the state elder’s wife, her hands neatly folded in front of her apron and  waiting to be allowed to address the woman sitting at the table. Finally, her mother decided to look up and notice her. As soon as her eyes found her daughter’s smile you could see the smallest glimpse of pleasure and pride you will ever catch in another person’s face. I looked at Aunt Melissy. Nothing much escaped her sharp birdlike eyes and, sure enough, she was squinting her eyes in the familiar way she displayed only when she was alarmed by some misbehavior while observing elder’s wife intently. The lady was well trained though and the moment of satisfaction with her daughter’s beauty and well-displayed training had passed quickly and had been replaced with the usual sober inquiry she met everyone in her church with, never letting on that she was the first lady of the community. I think that in this moment though I knew that behind all of this admirable display of virtue people were as they are through all times – well meaning at their best, proud and ambitious underneath, full of insecurity and doubt. Maybe even Aunt Melissy knew some of these feelings. I looked at her. Nah, not Aunt Melissy, I corrected myself. Maybe every hundred years or so somebody came along who was actually virtuous and good to a fault. In this room I knew this one person not to be the church elders’ wife  but Aunt Melissy.

the nonsense dictionary of lifeforms on Helium-3 and other insignificant by-products of music-poisoning

English: Spectrum of helium

English: Spectrum of helium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

or: when will we start to harvest the moon …

surprising studies show that if the anti-venom of bureaucratic correctness  is not injected in time and the victim instead continues to breathe slowly through the nose, the seemingly alarming condition develops from a hallucinatory episode to a temporal ability to find one of the hidden doors into the helium-3 universe. the first sign of this conversion from the three-dimensional limitation into a full comprehension of the “it” including helium-3 is a steady stream of blue light from the nostrils. this oscillating string of conscious matter should not alarm the victim nor bystanders as it is not a loss of matter but a reconfiguration of the same. slightly nasal intonation after readjustment not uncommon but overall harmless. for reassurance the progress of the victim’s condition can be  measured at a frequency of 8.665 GHz (3.46 cm), which is emitted naturally by ionized helium-3. the comprehension of the fact that most of the matter in the universe is non-baryonic, that is to say not made of any subatomic particle that include neutrons and protons, and that this matter is thought to be the primary source of gravity recording the constellation of the universe like the grooves on a record record a song, allows the observer to deduct from the state of rapture that the poisoned mind is – for a moment – privy to nothing less than a fusion of dark matter with consciousness, the first music of time.

an intervention at this point seems not indicated.

from: the dictionary of lifeforms on Helium-3 and other insignificant by-products of music-poisoning

childhood

IMG_3109When did we forget to spin the dream, when did our world cease to hold small promises of meaning and adventure, a life time of stories still to be told? How did we grow up to forget the sensual richness of the world, the intense pleasure we can find only in simple things and moments? When did we cease to live today in order to reach for a tomorrow that we never truly know will exist – and if it does, it comes only to be given up and traded in for yet another tomorrow until there is no tomorrow left? When did we start squandering our present moments for squalid projections of who we could be if only? When did we tire of that what we have , right here and right now, the word, the discovery of nothing and everything, the breath of boredom and adventure alike?

do you feel like you are being watched?

fearful knowledgeit’s because you are. the recent discussions about the privacy of data – or the absence of such privacy when it comes to any form of telecommunication or electronic communication – has revealed that for now that even the basic implications that could lead to a meaningful discussion of the issues at stake are at best only vaguely understood.

the increasingly public lives we seem to live obscure the nature of information even further. the general public as judged by news coverage and political discussion seems somewhat nonchalant about their own data privacy, maintaining that private data could not be of any use to those who fish for it (what do you care about what I had for breakfast?), and that those who had anything to hide should better be found out early, with other words that to the law-aiding citizen the privacy of data is not of great urgency. The sheer mass of private, non-relevant information creates the further illusion that what one reveals in electronic form was as elusive as a thought shared with a friend in a crowd of people.

to reintroduce the idea  that information may not be – as more commonly understood – an abstract observation extracted from a state of reality to communicate the specific nature of that given state, but instead the first cause to make reality, with other words, that information is to the “thing” it describes what the letter is to the word and the line that draws the letter is to the letter, to reintroduce this thought at the moment when countless legal aspects of data privacy are already causing the discussion to meander without true force, may be pushing the discussion to the brink of madness, but it could also turn out to be immensely useful.

“In the beginning was the word”, this grand opening refers to the provenance of the idea – translating thus the term “logos”, which refers to the inherent logic and order of things. The order of things as encoded in a word very much like a program that at the same time provides a building plan for a specific “thing”, is the cause for its realization and provides the necessary algorithms to build it. Furthermore, if the chosen word, data, information, has “wisdom” (Hebrew for “word”), which means: knowledge of the world as a whole, to speak the right word is to give the initial and irrevocable impulse for the creative act out of which reality follows.

Maintaining authority over that kind of knowledge as far as it refers to your individual data, even if it included plainly what you had for breakfast, whom you’ll meet for lunch and what your favorite color is, might be a cautious and recommended approach until you could positively rule out that this kind of data is indeed what makes you. That could be the making or the unmaking of you.

 

the art of evolution

IMG_0875the line that weaves a monster creates a world of possibilities. hopeful monsters, evolution by systemic mutations, as developed by goldschmidt in his theory on “hopeful monsters”, provides, as a metaphorical recourse, the right to hope against all odds that what is uneven – think Kant and the crooked timber of humanity – might be not only necessary but at times preferable to what is normatively expected. (citation after: dartouth.edu/~dietrich/NRG2003.pdf
“a single mutational step affecting the right process at the right moment can accomplish everything, providing that it is able to set in motion the ever-present potentialities of embryonic regulation” Goldschmidt, R. The Material Basis of Evolution (Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, Connecticut, 1940).