June 25, 2005

"what's he building in there ? "

A cube, a cone, a sphere.

The shed, the tower, the dish.

I've been living in the shed, for three weeks now, from the sub zero nights of early June to the transient mid summer heat wave and back again. Once more it's cold, the wind from the north.

A lot of people don't realise that there is a connection, that the dish actually does pick up a signal, that the shed is not simply a random accumulation of wood and nails, but a room in which the signal is received, converted to sound and line, drawn by a mechanical hand.

How they don't realise, I don't know. Left unattended I turn the sound up to maximum volume, tone controls rolled to their peak. Shutting the door, it becomes a giant speaker box, walls vibrating, a rocket shed, roaring cosmic surf.

Look through the window and you'll see the chart recorder inscribing its endless line, the oscilloscope trace, drawings, books, coal, pine cones, a broom, chairs, table . . . . "what's he building in there ?!"

The signal passes from the spiral antenna on the dish, down meters of coax,into the receiver and out to the sound system. I'm on my second pair of speakers and amplifier. The full frequency noise of the universe destroyed the originals within days. The audio signal is accompanied by the rattling pen of the chart recorder, like a spirit hand from the other side.

Having made the ground breaking discovery that the sun, at 25.55 MHz, is at maximum strength during the middle of the day, through observing the rise and fall of the signal trace, I started to loop the chart paper.

Endless gyres, overwriting, obliterating, abnihilating any pretence of analysis, the chart recorder is transformed into an automatic drawing machine, the universe the invisible hand.

I experiment with different techniques; speed of rotation, nib, colour, signal and duration. Slowly a collection of drawings grows.

The days have a rhythm, an ebb and flow. The early morning flurry of dog walkers and runners, the mid morning lull, lunchtime rush hour, sleepy afternoon and the early evening peak. At night it's peaceful, save the occasional interuption, nocturnal ramblers looking for a tower to climb, a sleeper to wake.

Time passes, people come and go. I live in the shed, in The Centre of the Universe.

Posted by Jem Finer at June 25, 2005 11:25 PM

hello. has anyone emailed you yet? scrolling through i haven't found any comments so far. i will be excited if this is your first one. i am in london but am coming home to oxford tomorrow and will come to visit you. i am an artist. i believe i understand where you are coming from. i hid in a cube in the same parks last year. i have recently been concerned with cones too. have you read Thomas Bernhard's novel Correction? Does Yeat's A Vision concern you? who else have you been thinking about? Do you know Bruce Gilchrist?

I have a tower i am thinking about working from. My mother heard the talk by Ansuman Biswas. i was sad to have missed it. i think i want to be a hermit too. but people keep getting in the way.


Posted by: lucy parker at June 27, 2005 4:51 PM