354 Luminescent tropisms & quantum entanglements in this, like, lattice of coincidence: falling planes & collisions w/ Sarraute, Redniss, et al.

Dear Internet,

Snow's finally starting to melt ... some 2 or 3 months worth piling up. Wouldn't be surprised if they discover people missing since January. Or Malaysian jetliners. The Hudson is back to looking more like a river than a glacier ... tho still the occasional iceberg floating by. Here's a photo from yesterday, when a peloton of bikes kept looping endlessly around Riverside...

riverside pelotonRiverside loop (w/ peloton making the lower curve)

The blanket of snow provides/d a sort of continuity to the long winter, a backdrop to capture or ground our thinking. March 10, 2014. 9:05 a.m. In the time since we wrote the above 1st p-graph (we're distracted, multi-tasking) a squall passed thru ... snowing, tho today's forecast was supposed to be 51° & partly cloudy.

The place is Manhattanville. «Man______ville», we'll call it, as in Anvil. The Tohono O'odham (of the desert southwest of here, where we used to live) believe they were created when some I’itoi dude smashed a hammer on an anvil ... the sparks that flew off were the Tohono O'odham people. The anvil is/was Baboquivari, a mountain we used to like climbing w/ this in mind. This creation myth is stuck in our head, but we find no record of it on you, Internet. So let it be said here for the record ... not that we are a reliable source.

We have a photo of ourself atop Baboquivari ... some rich doctor guy took it & had it blown up & framed & gave it to us (in thanks for taking him climbing) ... which seemed a creepy gesture ... not to mention impractical (what we were supposed to do w/ it, hang it on our own wall?). Needless to say, we won't & can't show the photo here (we ended up giving it to our mother) ... we got nothing to prove. And we can't find any digital photos of Baboquivari on our computer ... we are still amidst the daunting task of digital archiving ... in no particular order—just randomly grabbing negatives from a big shoe/boot box—tho precedence is given to stuff related to our brother & the SSES project we are currently working on.

We're speaking off the cuff here as always ... in the spirit of quantum entanglement, which is the primary theme of this post. And we're speaking in 3rd person cuz everything we say & do is also intrinsically related to you, Internet, & all your readers.

J (the primary person i am entangled with in meatspace) was in a bad car crash once on the Tohono O'odham reservation. I was across the border in Mexico digging holes & pulling wires to lay a grid of potentiometers by which to take electromagnetic measurements (in search of precious metals). She was w/ a co-worker in a big Suburban, rolled it. Her co-worker was a young kid from NY (at this point we'd never even been) ... he used to tell us stories, 1st time we heard someone say «when NY is good, it's good & when it's bad, it's bad» ... & when it's bad, you lived like rats.

Around this time we had our coffee grinds read (as sarcastic kitsch ... at the «Tucson Eat Yourself» foodfair) & the Greek fortune-teller asked if NYC was in our future & we laughed & said we'd never been & had no intention of ever going (we were outdoorsy rock-climbers then). She tried to read into differently, but kept saying all she saw in the grinds was the unmistakable image of the statue of liberty ... & she didn't charge us for the fortune.

Anyway, the car crash ... the tribal paramedics show up, big Indian dudes & they start to take off her co-worker's boots, but the NY kid is panicking saying they didn't need to, but they insist & he's like «alright, but just so you know ... last night as a joke my girlfriend painted my toenails... it doesn't mean anything.» True story. Maybe we already told it here on 5¢ense ... & about the coffee grinds saying we'd 1 day come to NYC. Or how «there's this, like, lattice of coincidence layered over everything ...»

That was all some 2 decades ago ... the last 14 years or so of which have been mostly in NYC. These things are still intrinsically tangled into our existence. Our past accumulates like piling snow ... compiling snow that according to polar geophysicist Kirsty Tinto (in this article on the historical geology of this year's snow layers) are like tree rings.

Rhizomatic Shattering

The above is the 1st page of the 3rd (of 4) chapter of the 1st (of 3) book (en-Telemachy) of 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY', of which this (5¢ense) could at this time be considered the process notes to the making of ... i know, i know, last time we gave an SSES update we said we were done w/ the 1st en-Telemachy book. It's a 2 steps forward, 1 step back sort of process ... but at the moment this is where we stand, in the middle of an 8-sliced archaeological construct our brother laid designs for but (to our knowledge) never built.

As we are writing this, «The Racing Rats» by the Editors came up on shuffle:

If a plane were to fall from the sky,
how big a hole would it leave
in the surface of the earth?

Maybe we shouldn't admit we even have The Editors on our computer? Yeah, we were a sucker for the catchy pop hooks & their name ... but now we find his voice nauseatingly anthemic ... reminds us too much of Coldplay.

Some may recognize the above pie image from the cover of Mining in the Black Hills, the 1st book (chapped) we published w/ Calamari Press ... repurposed for our own devices. In our concurrent data mining thru photos & our brothers notebooks, we're starting to see a bigger picture. Here's the 2nd page of the en-Telemachy chapter...


It's a puzzle of sorts ... trying to fit in all together ... w/ the help of the enveloping Odyssey/Ulysses framework layed over it ... like a quantum lattice of coincidence ... ever revolving/evolving the while.

This interview we did w/ the incomparable Gary Lutz finally went up on BOMB (next to interviews w/ Thurston Moore/Patti Smith & Gaspar Noé/Matthew Barney!) ... we did it a while ago, but they were waiting for the new site design to post it (worth the wait as the new look is slick). They edited/censored it some (the working title was «On the grammatology of grudge-fuck writing») ... probly for the better as we're sure we overbaked it. As maybe we've also said before here on 5¢ense, in the interview we say Lutz's writing conjures 1 of those bubble-chamber images—people as colliding particles ... everything boiling down to interaction/relationships ... as expressed in sentence-level snapshots.

bubble chamber

But what we haven't said yet is that Quantum entanglement is a term reserved for situations when the state of a particle cannot be described independently, but we must think instead of the system as a whole—of the coupled, entangled particles. Which is perhaps another way of saying no one lives in a vacuum.

We haven't been reading anything in particular that is making us think these things ... we've been engaging this week w/ Tropisms by Nathalie Sarraute. You could say Sarraute is off in her own world, in a vacuum. «Hermetically sealed» is the term that comes to mind when we think of her writings ... at least her «tropisms» as she calls them, defining them as such in the introduction:

The dramatic situations constituted by these invisible actions interested me as such. Nothing could distract my attention from them and nothing should distract that of the reader; neither the personality of the characters, nor the plot, by means of which, ordinarily, the characters evolve. The barely visible, anonymous character was to serve as a mere prop for these movements, which are inherent in everybody and can take place in anybody, at any moment. Thus my first book is made up of a series of a moments, in which, like some precise dramatic action shown in slow motion, these movements, which I called Tropisms, come into play. I gave them this name because of their spontaneous, irresistible, instinctive nature, similar to that of the movements made by certain living organisms under the influence of outside stimuli, such as light or heat.

An attractive & ambitious proposition for sure ... but does Tropisms live up to it? It has it's moments, as they say. It's the movement part (that she keeps alluding to over & over) that we're not sure about it. The feeling we get is that she is capturing ... taking snapshots. Which is all fine & dandy, but you can't have your cake & eat it too. Or in quantum mechanical terms (per Heisenberg):

heisenberg uncertainy

I.e. The more information you have about where you are at (any give time), the less information you have about where you are going. You can't simultaneously capture movement & moment.

The general sense we get from Tropisms is of an intentful stillness, a running in place ... «fermo restando» as they say in Italian, which translates literally to «remaining still» but means more than that. As we said already in this post, in regards to the WORDATLAS/PAROLATLANTE book by Luca Arnaudo & Aldo Bandinelli: «"Its a curious Italian expression hanging between metaphysics and bureaucracy" & is used to describe the perhaps self-contradicting state of an active standstill, w/ wheels spinning, whereby not only are you still, but you are actively having to let it be known that you are still...»

bubble chamber

«Fermo Restando» by Aldo Bandinelli (from WORLDATLAS/PAROLATLANTE)

Maybe there's a term for it in Sarraute's native French, dunno, but here's a passage from the book that captures this anti-movement intent:

Underneath this heat there was a great void, silence, everything seemed in suspense: the only thing to be heard, aggressive, strident, was the creaking of a chair being dragged across the tiles, the slamming of a door. In this heat, in this silence, it was a sudden coldness, a rending.
     And she remained motionless on the edge of her bed, occupying the least possible space, tense, as though waiting for something to burst, to crash down upon her in the threatening silence.
     At times the shrill notes of locusts in a meadow petrified by the sun and as though dead, induce this sensation of cold, of solitude, of abandonment in a hostile universe in which something anguishing is impending.

And here's another moment, taken at random (the point (tropism XVII of XXIV) where we happen to be in the book at this time) that also captures the essence:

The scrubby underbrush was dotted with crossroads onto which straight paths converged symmetrically. The grass was sparse and trampled upon, but on the branches new leaves were beginning to appear; they had succeeded in communicating none of their luster to their surroundings, and looked like the children with slightly sourish smiles that one sees wrinkling their faces to the sun in hospital wards.

Some ethereal & transcendent shit. And to think the book is out of print (at least in English). Someone needs to re-issue it ... in the meantime anyone wants to borrow our copy let us know.

Nathalie Sarraute: Tropisms

The fact there are 24 tropisms is making us think we could also overlay a tropism over each of the 24 chapters of 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY'. Perhaps a stretch, but Tropisms is worthy of a recapitulated expansion. In fact, as it states on the cover, these raw Tropisms form the basis of all her future books (1 of which we read last year around this time).

We also Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie by Lauren Redniss. We wanted to like this book ... Marie Curie is our hero & graphic text/image novelizations always sound good at least in theory. But in the end it just sort of felt, i dunno, cheesy. Like a children's or 'YA' book ... trying to explain radioactivity without sounding lecturey while simultaneously telling the love story between Marie & Pierre Curie all the while showing you pretty little pictures & making it all artsy-fartsy. But it was a finalist for the National Book Award, so obviously people are saps for these sorts of things.

Most of the images were made using the cyanotype printing process, which was relevant to the subject matter & gave the book a nice «Prussian blue» luminous affect.

Laura Redness: from radiation

cyanotype page from Radioactive by Laura Redness

She also includes various historical documents & images in telling/illustrating her story. Like here's the first X-ray ever made of a human interior, made by Wilhelm Röntgen, of his wife's hand (the bulge is her wedding ring).

Wilhelm Röntgen: first x-ray

1st X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen

Redniss (the serendipitous irony of her name just struck us—considering the blueness of the book) even developed the font she used, so she gets style points for that. But again, we like the idea of these sorts of books, but more often than not the execution is lacking. It becomes more about the process, rather than content ... stylized design, rather than art. These are the sorts of trappings we hope to avoid in our own making of SSES ... wherein we also assemble/collage our brother's art & writings ... sometimes in their original form. Oh, that's the other thing, is half of the story of Radiation is cobbled together from letters & writings of the Curies & other people involved in the development of radiation ... even actual declassified government documents obtained under the freedom of information act.

Yesterday we made the cover for the next Calamari book ... The Luminol Reels by Laura Ellen Joyce. The luminous blue coloration & any resemblance to the Radiation images is purely coincidental ... the idea for the cover came before we even finished reading it last fall ... & then when the author herself sent us an image of the Virgin Mary in luminol blue/green saying she wanted something like it only confirmed our instincts ... namely it had to be the shroud of turin inverted to appear illuminated in luminol blue (as if the crucifixion of Christ was a crime scene). This, w/ some sort of spectral film elements thrown into the mix. Not sure if this will be the final version, but here's what we came up with so far ...

Luminol Reels by Laura Ellen Joyce

tentative cover for The Luminol Reels

We've always had a sort of fascination w/ the shroud. When we were studying physics (i.e. rock-climbing) in Arizona, we had friends that were involved in the carbon dating of the shroud ... & even after 3 independent labs confirmed w/ almost 100% certainty that it was made 1300 years after 0 AC/BD, the Catholic church still claims it is what Christ was buried in. It's fascinating to us in this respect, as a document, forged or not. When we were in Turin a few years ago we saw the enclosure it was kept in, but only on rare occasion is the object itself brought out onto display, into the light.

Don't member what we dreamt 2 nights ago, but when j turned off the alarm supposedly we said «you just interrupted a long line of presidents». We have no idea why we said it, but we said it again when she hit snooze the 2nd time & we member it seemed important that we say it.

Last night we were in the back of an airplane coming from Bangkok & it occurred to us that maybe China had something to do w/ the Malaysian airline going down—that they told the airliner to turn around & go back cuz they didn't want it landing in Beijing (because of the passengers w/ stolen passports). A few people were gathered waiting to use the bathroom when we speculated this out loud & within seconds 5 or 6 Chinese MPs appeared & said we couldn't congregate & we were like «all we're doing is waiting for the bathroom». They picked each of us up & shook us up & down ... evidently they wouldn't let us go until we sarcastically laughed. The other congregated passengers each made this sarcastic laugh & were let go ... but we couldn't bring ourselves to laugh, sarcastically or not.

The dream continued ... we finally got to use the bathroom, but the urinal was facing out into a kindergarten playground, so if we whipped it out to pee we'd be exposing ourself to small children. And then we were in Bangkok arranging for the shuttle to the airport, so it was like everything was happening backwards.

& we woke up & it's 4:30 a.m. Can never sleep well when there's high pressure fronts. J's the same (we're quantumly entangled after all) ... she was up even earlier. It does beg the question tho, since the plane was headed to Beijing, why is China not more involved in search & recovery? If someone told the plane to turn around (as radar seems to indicate), wouldn't it have been the Chinese? It was out of contact w/ Malaysia & next contact was supposed to be w/ China. Given China's general propensity to hide information from the rest of the world (including their own natural disasters), seems like something they'd do ... or that they would at least have more knowledge about it that they are not sharing. A brief search around you, Internet, & we find lots of crazy conspiracy theories as always about what happened (UFOs, etc), but none saying anything about China's involvement.

James Gleick (the author of The Information, which we talk about some here) yesterday tweeted «We’re so used to having eyes everywhere; it’s a shock when we don’t.» ... maybe what he's not taking into account has more to do with the silent mouths than lack of eyes? We'd tweet that back to him, but he doesn't follow us. We have 0 followers in fact (the account we read/feed from anyway) ... probly cuz we don't make sense to any 1 but ourself. Does this make you uncomfortable if you happen to get caught reading this? Since no one told you to & probly gets 0 likes on facebook?

And now we are googling about (inevitably leaving traces) & posting this (March 11, 2014 for the record—in case China's involvement becomes reality & we can say «told you so») & wouldn't it be funny (sarcastic laugh) if Chinese intelligence agents or the FBI came knocking at our door ... (if we disappear, haha, you know what happened) ... this is all easily dismissable as delusions of grandeur considering we have 0 followers & no one links to 5¢ense so in your eyes (in terms of search engine ranking & whatnot) we are not relevant to anything ... which is true. This is art, not information.

Not surprising we'd have this paranoid dream—besides the high pressure front ... & it seems that sweet, syrupy smell from across the river is back (tho no one else yet has tweeted verification)—as we were writing the above yesterday thinking about quantum entanglement & lattices of coincidence & whatnot it got us to thinking about Donnie Darko ... the event that triggers epiphany is the airplane engine falling from the sky w/ no explanation.

The other speculative hypothetical conspiracy theory we were pondering yesterday (in light of all our recent digital archiving) is: what if the people that invented the JPEG file format (or PDF, MP3, etc) embedded some code within the format that scrambled all the data after a specified period of time (a few decades, after the programmers die). So 1 day everyone wakes up & when they go to look at photos on their computers or devices everything is just scrambled junk. Haha. What if all information became unreconcilable junk cuz the format it was embedded in was itself a virus? That'd be hilarious. Maybe we should write a story about it ... or maybe not since we already just said it here. But maybe we shouldn't throw out those negatives & hardcopies just yet, just in case, like throwing out the baby w/ the bathwater ... & w/ this we'll sign off with these 2 sublime (& undoctored) scanner failures we experienced the other day ...

scanner failure

scanner failure #1 ( March 2014)


scanner failure

scanner failure #2 ( March 2014)

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