June 22, 2004


A radio telescope - a tower with a bowl on top. (see May 24th 2004 entry).

The tower takes as it's starting point the Tower of Babel. Genesis 11 - "let us build a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens". The story unfolds - God is not pleased and punishes the people by having them all speak different languages. No longer of the same tongue they can't understand one another. Babble. Radio noise.

Jump forward via Bruegal's painting to the late nineteenth century. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of space exploration, inspired by the Eiffel Tower, considers the building of a tower that will reach up into space where he imagined placing a "celestial castle" in geosynchronus orbit, at the end of a long long cable. A space elevator. A quarter of a century later, Vladimir Tatlin, designs another construction, a synthesis of the Eiffel Tower and the Tower of Babylon, The Monument to the Third International.

The spiral permeates the recurring towers through the centuries. The spiral, once one starts looking, is everywhere - from the pattern of seeds in a sunflower to the arc of a galaxy.

A satellite dish is a concave surface. A bowl. What falls in is gathered and focussed (as opposed to a convex surface which throws all that falls on it back out). Face a bowl to the sky and it will catch radio waves and focus them to a point. An antenna placed at the focus converts the waves to small electrical fluctuations which can be amplified. listened to, converted to visual maps.

Many designs for antennas are of a spiral shape. It's possible to make a radio telescope that is purely a wire tracing the path of a rising spiral.

Plotting hydrogen emissions - tune in on the 1420 Mhz waveband - reveals vast clouds of the gas, among them spirals, thousands, millions of light years across.

Posted by Jem Finer at 6:26 PM

June 15, 2004

01 YUK


Posted by Jem Finer at 1:00 PM

June 12, 2004

a drunk mans walk through the CMB

Being of an occasional nosey disposition I chanced to glance at a paper some of my "colleagues" were discussing over a cup of tea, "Fast and reliable MCMC for cosmological parameter estimation". My attention was grabbed by the word "markov" (MCMC = markov chain monte carlo). Here was something I knew something about, I thought. In my understanding a markov chain is a way to proceed along some path according to various probabilities. Arriving at any node in the path the chain specifies the probabilities of moving to each of a number of other nodes. In this way a network emerges which can be navigated in many different ways according to these probabilities at each node, at each point where a choice need be made.

They (Joanna Dunkley, Martin Bucher, Pedro G. Ferreira, Kavilan Moodley and Constantinos Skordis) were using markov chains to make cosmological parameter estimations. Taking a combination of various parameters including baryon density, dark matter density and the age of the universe, they were using the markov technique to determine which values of these parameters best fits the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) data. (CMB : see numerous previous posts).

Roughly speaking the technique involves taking a point and comparing it to the previous point. If the new point is higher, probability wise, then you move to this point. If it's lower, whether one moves is dependant on how much lower it's probability is. In this way one zig zags around the space of possible solutions closing in on the best fit, the highest probability.

This graph plots one such path.

It occured to me that this might be interesting to listen to. Jo Dunkley gave me lists of 1000 values generated by the markov chains and I scaled them up to audible frequencies. The list was iterated through, playing sine tones with these frequencies.

Base note b flat an octave below middle c :

Transposed up 20 semitones :

The data expressed logarithmically :

They sound pretty good together too . . . (they should play in seperate windows).

Posted by Jem Finer at 5:59 PM

June 11, 2004



Nekkar : Nekkar Krishnadasa Foundation, Udupi, India
delta : Nile Delta
Izar : cutting precision tools, Amorebieta - Etxano, Spain
Arcturus : Arcturus Exhibitions, Alexandria, Scotland
HR 5429 : "Researchers and Farmers Freedom from Terrorism" act, Washington DC, USA, October 2000
Seginus : AK - 133 Seginus, ship launched at Delta Shipping Co, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 4th March 1944

Posted by Jem Finer at 3:23 PM

June 10, 2004

guess bloody well who ?

Just spotted in the Guardian Unlimited . . .

"Sir Richard Branston aims to bring space travel within the reach of ordinary people by pioneering space flights at affordable prices.

The thrill-seeking entrepreneur told Guardian Unlimited that Virgin was investing money in "trying to make sure that, in the not too distant future, people from around the world will be able to go into space". He said he hoped to be a passenger on one of the first tourist space flights into space.

Sir Richard refused to be drawn on details of the project, but said the public should expect an announcement revealing Virgin's latest enterprise at some time in the next two or three weeks.

"All will be revealed over the next two or three weeks - but, in a general sense, space is the ultimate frontier, and something we at Virgin have dearly wanted to do is to bring space tourism one day to the masses. Having failed to bring a reliable train service to the west coast of England we thought we may as well branch out into something in which we have even less experience" he said.

Space expert Greg Klerkx, author of the book Lost in Space: The Fall of Nasa and the Dream of a New Space Age, said that, for some time, there had been rumours Sir Richard was very interested in space flight.""

oh oh . . . ever sat in one of his trains for hours while they try and figure out what the problem is ?

Posted by Jem Finer at 5:46 PM

June 8, 2004

transit of venus

Parliament Hill Fields, London, 7 am

venus coming up on the inside . . . a tiny black dot against a huge yellow white disc . . .


Posted by Jem Finer at 10:37 AM

June 5, 2004

Triple Bluff Canyon

I was invited to talk in Modern Art Oxford about Mike Nelson's installation, Triple Bluff Canyon. What follows is not a transcript but a collection of notes, gathered since its opening. I've avoided dwelling too much on its more well documented aspects, for example the re politicization of Robert Smithson's "Partially Buried Woodshed" and Smithson himself.

What has the installation and these notes to do with Astrophysics ? Apart from looking at it through a lens turned by my experiences and conversations within the department, Triple Bluff Canyon, and in particular its Egyptian and land art connotations, has made me start to think of cosmological events in a different light. Instead of seeing them as phenomena occurring exclusively in space, I've become interested in them in the sense that they impact upon the earth . . ancient astronomical practices meet land art in the pyramids, stonehenge etc. (There is a nook in the astrophysics library where such books reside - "In Search of Ancient Astronomies", "Megalithic Lunar Obsevatories" . . . ). At the other end of this spectrum lie, among others, James Turrell and Charles Ross.

Triple Bluff Canyon : Notes

To me, there is no clear path through Triple Bluff Canyon. The more that time I spend there, the more time that I think about it, the more complex it becomes. The first time I visited it it was all surface. Before long associations started to emerge. Any chance of a clear linear reading receded. So where to start, where does one start untangling a ball of tangled threads ? Pick an end at random and see how it unravels - or simply start at the beginning.

The Cinema Booking Hall and Foyer

Through double swinging gallery doors one enters the installation. In front a set of double doors, latticed, geometric, triangles, squares.

[The lattice work: squares dissected by diagonals, geometrical - a recurring theme, sacred geometry: the encoding of Masonic, Cabbalistic, alchemical meaning through geometry and numbers. Platonic solids and their occurrence as crystals. Crystals = Geology, a long, slow process. Connotations of Islamic tiling design]

I'm in a short corridor, double doors at the far end too. On the wall to the right a lamp in an upturned shade, under lighting the ceiling, the space. A smell of lamp and paint. The sensation of heat. There's a sound, the hum of air conditioning ? More like low end noise, ominous. (Not sure whether this is intentionally part of the installation or a happy accident, no matter. Whether it's intentional or an intervention from the gallery it adds to the atmosphere, the sound of shadows in a David Lynch film, the background drone of propulsion, air conditioning). To the left is the boarded up window of a cinema box office. The window is covered by story board posters of "Alien" and a poster for the Rose Bowl "olde tyme" flea market. A crushed up fast food drink carton is stuffed under the frame of the booking office window. All these will begin to make more sense in retrospect. The initial impression is one of dilapidation, something long closed down, of being inside a David Lynch film (the lighting - underlit), the fixtures, the stillness, the low hum).

The heat :
- entropy, premonition of desert. [all irreversible processes are equivalent to converting mechanical energy to heat. Heat flowing from hot to cold bodies everywhere in the universe. Useable energy is constantly diminishing (oil reserves). Heat death of universe, machines of the universe are running down]

The Alien posters :
- Nostromo, the name of the spacecraft, Nostromo, the title of Conrad's book about a mining village. We will find a "mine shaft", we will find a book on Conrad.
- The dead hulk of the space vessel wherein they find the alien eggs. ref to the "tomb" we will discover and the strange life forms within, sci fi, tension.
Flea market :
- flea pit
- ref to thrift shop where Maxwell film bought
Crushed cup ;
- globalization, crushed and discarded, waste, no one has removed it, no one can be bothered to remove it, no one left to remove it, literally messing up, shitting on the world.

Through the next set of double doors (on one is a small plate saying "3P23" . . . ? map ref ? P2 = masonic lodge with connections with the vatican - Calvi) and one enters an octagonal space, every other wall a door.

Thus one behind from whence one has come, and three possible exits. A multiplex, 3 screens, three films, three universes.
Here there is a choice to be made - which door to leave through ?
On the ceiling is another geometric design, criss cross lines of beading describing an octagon in the centre - or an 8 pointed star.

[from http://www.intent.com/sg/The 5 Platonic solids (Tetrahedron, Cube or (Hexahedron), Octahedron, Dodecahedron & Icosahedron) are ideal, primal models of crystal patterns that occur throughout the world of minerals in countless variations. These are the only five regular polyhedra, that is, the only five solids made from the same equilateral, equiangular polygons. To the Greeks, these solids symbolized fire, earth, air, spirit (or ether) and water respectively. The cube and octahedron are duals, meaning that one can be created by connecting the midpoints of the faces of the other. The icosahedron and dodecahedron are also duals of each other, and three mutually perpendicular, mutually bisecting golden rectangles can bedrawn connecting their vertices and midpoints, respectively.The tetrahedron is a dual to itself. ]

Octagons in labyrinths : eg The Amiens labyrinth - an octagon.(42 feet diameter, in the nave of the cathedral)

The octagonal space recalls polygonal chambers in stories of Jorge Luis Borge. Octagonal in "The Garden of Forking Paths", hexagonal chambers in "The Library of Babylon" ("the universe (which some call the library) is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries"), in which exist all possible books, all possible combinations of written language. The foyer as a nodes within a labyrinth. Here three possibilities.

[Quantum mechanics, the theory of the behavior of the very small, of particles and their ever smaller constituents, reveals strange and counter intuitive behavior. A particle can behave like a wave or a particle, it can be in two places at once. This is best illustrated by the double slit experiement. If one sends a wave of water through two slits in a wall, the ripples from the waves leaving the slits will interfere, either canceling out or amplifying each other. This creates a striped pattern of peaks interspersed with null regions. If one shines light instead of water through the slits the same thing happens. a screen will show a striped pattern - dark where the waves have cancelled each other out and light where they reinforce each other. Where this gets odd is that the same thing happens if one sends single photons, particles, of light through the slits. How can a single photon interfere with itself ?

This leads to several possible interpretations of the structure of reality - in one, any physical system remains in a superposed state of all possibilities until it interacts with an observer, at which point it collapses to one of those possibilities. If we don't know what a particle is doing then it's allowed to do everything possible simultaneously. It is in a superposition of states. It can pass through both slits and interact with itself the other side. It is in the act of observation that the superposition collapses, that something is forced to be in one particular state.

An alternative view, "the many worlds interpretation" says that a particle has two choices - to pass through the left slit or the right slit and at this point the universe splits into two universes. In one it goes through the left slit, in the other through the right slit. These universes interfere with each other, causing the striped pattern. Whenever something is confronted with a choice the universe splits into many universes, so that each possibility exists in a different universe.

The "many worlds" explanation holds that the observer has no special role, that the collapse is an illusion, all possibilities continue to exist. Like the books in the "Library of Babel", all possibilities exist, we experience the one we choose. This might sound obvious but the weirdness comes in the fact that at each fork, each choice, there exists another world where one walks - and ones where one doesn't.

According to which interpretation one subscribes to then behind the three doors all possible outcomes remain possible until we choose which one to walk through or the universe splits into three universes, one for each door that we could choose to walk through. (3 doors : 3 parts to installation)

I'm thinking about Triple Bluff Canyon along these lines - there are many routes / readings through it, a superposition of possible Triple Bluff Canyons. Depending on how you look at it, how you observe it, it takes on different characteristics. Like the classic sci-fi twist of multiple universes sometimes these different possible universes melt into each other, their multiple states are apparent.]

In the chamber, trying the doors, one discovers that the choice has been made for one already, the one to the left and the one to the centre are both locked. One has to leave by the door to the right. Russian roulette. From the three possible paths one crystalizes. The choice is made for us by the architect of the labyrinth. No choice, no free will. Our choices are being made for us. The illusion of choice.

Leaving the foyer one finds oneself back in the gallery, MAO, at the foot of the stairs. The foyer is a facade, a bluff. MAO invaded. We are back in the gallery, but a different gallery - how does its space connect up ? It's fractured, disconnected. A film set of a cinema, recursive reference.

[In the sense of Q.M. all but one slit is closed off - so are the three superposed states reduced back to one ? This is further confused by the fact that all doors end up at the same place anyway. I would argue that the superposed states exist not so much through the physical choices one makes but through looking at Triple Bluff Canyon from different angles, as through a crystal, multi faceted, through a prism.]

There is no attempt to disguise the fact that the booking office and foyer are a set. Once outside the wood is bare, unpainted, splintered, rough. Wiring, nails and bolts exposed. Not even walled off where the space recedes down each side. One can walk around each side and into a Lynchian void where shadow merges into the dark corners where the outside of the set meets the walls of the gallery. On one side nothing, on the other we find ourselves behind the closed off window of the booking office. It was never there to start with. In the sense of a maze, a labyrinth, these are dead ends, the negative space of the fabricated reality of the set.

Having emerged from the set of a cinema reception to discover it's a set (of course I knew it was to start with - but not in the sense that it's an isolated system within the gallery. My expectation was that I was inside an interconnected system) The message is "this is not real, this is a representation". Of course I knew this but was prepared to suspend disbelief for the duration of the experience.

With the structure, the cartography, of the cinema reception now complete it can also be seen to resemble a space craft. The octagon it's front and the booking hall it's rear. The hum it's engines, the sound of space. In this sense the space ship has landed on an alien planet. We step out of our craft into planet MAO.

So the reception is an isolated system, Triple Bluff Canyon is a network of isolated systems. Western science likes to look at things as isolated systems. To categorize, analyze, dissect in isolation. (Hence many ecological disasters). This is not my view of reality - I prefer to see everything as being connected, nodes in a relational network. The reception doesn't exist in isolation but in relation to the space it inhabits within MAO, which exists in relation to Oxford etc . . . Russian dolls, nested boxes.

There is a dislocation of space and time - we exit the foyer and find ourselves back in MAO. Like walking through a portal into another universe. The first time I did it my reaction was a mixture of disappointment - not to be immersed in a Disney-esque experience - and excitement - at the unexpected return to the familiar world of the gallery, the slippage between realities, a sci-fi fantasy. Except that even the gallery was changed. New spaces created : down the sides of the set, and the stairs seemed to be in a different space without the familiar approach to them. There was no attempt to co-opt these into the installation, except in the sense that making a decision to leave them bare does. A fracture in the space time of the installation. We can even pause and go to the lavatory under the stairs. That seems slightly different too - the light a bit strange and the noise of the dryer loud and threatening. The foyer was still in my head.

I keep referring to Triple Bluff Canyon as a labyrinth, which is not strictly accurate. A labyrinth has a single path to the centre while a maze has choices of path and direction. In the sense that we're guided by the locked doors one could say it's a labyrinth. The route through the installation is fairly straightforward, one doesn't get lost. Spatially I found it interesting in the sense that one is continually referred back to MAO, the relationship of one space to another, the nesting of spaces within each other. There is a major spatial twist when one later finds oneself outside the shed but to me the labyrinthine nature of Triple Bluff Canyon is primarily in the mind. The seeming isolation of the spaces from one another, the disconnectedness that appears on a spatial level, is re connected through the multi faceted, labyrinthine network of ideas. Multiple universes.

The Studio

At the top of the stairs one turns left into a gallery. In the centre of the space is another isolated system, another set, facade, of a room. The front room of a Victorian terraced house, bay windows one side and open on the other (through to what would have been the next room). We can look through either side into the room which is - we are told - a recreation of the artists studio. Running the length of the room is a table upon which lie various books and objects. Notably at the back end of the table is a video player and a projector. Interestingly though, rather than project straight out of the room the projection is first bounced off a convex mirror and thus reflected onto the wall of the gallery. The image is the right way round, positive, which means it has been projected onto the mirror in reverse (and upside down ?). To project onto the wall this convoluted method is not necessary. The convex mirror beaming out it's stream of light becomes a cyclops eye, the detritus of the studio behind the brain, the memory. The soundtrack to the film is tinny and virtually inaudible, an incessant monologue. One can pick out words, sentences, which taken with the images steadily build a narrative of conspiracy, of sinister hidden meaning lying within familiar symbols, beneath the veneer of "normal, everyday" reality. Another fracture.

The studio as a projection room, the gallery as a cinema. (Linking back to the foyer).

The exhibition blurb tells us that this is a video, Jordan Maxwell's "Basic Slide Presentation", picked up in a San Francisco thrift store . . . is this is the film alluded to in the foyer - the flea market = thrift store ? Alien, the sleeping dread in the wreck of the alien craft = the centuries old conspiracy to control the world - or - the studio as the alien craft, abandoned but broadcasting it's "come and find me" transmission (in the film the space ship "Nostromo" wakes it's crew having picked up a transmission of unknown, possibly non human, origin) ?

Jordan Maxwell is described as " a researcher in religious-political philosophy . . . exploring the hidden foundations of western religions and political movements". Otherwise known as a conspiracy theorist. The film is a document of a two hour slide presentation. Mostly the camera is locked off on the slides, occasionally panning to the audience or Maxwell. The voice is Jordan Maxwell decoding the slides with an occasional (in audible) comment from the audience. In the course of the film he interprets religious, political and corporate symbols in the context of a conspiracy to create a new world order stretching back to ancient Egypt. The focus is on the Illuminati :
[from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illuminati
The Illuminati is the name of many groups, modern and historical, real and fictitious, verified and alleged. Most commonly, however, The Illuminati refers specifically to the Bavarian Illuminati, described below. Most alleged and fictitious uses refer to a shadowy conspiratorial organization which controls world affairs behind the scenes, usually a modern incarnation or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati. Illuminati is sometimes used synonymously with New World Order.

Despite the organization's short lifespan (1776 - 1784), the Bavarian Illuminati have cast a long shadow in popular history, thanks to the writings of their opponents. The lurid allegations of conspiracy theory that have colored the image of the Freemasons have practically opaqued that of the Illuminati. In 1797 Abbé Augustin Barruél published Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism outlining a vivid conspiracy theory involving the Knights Templars, the Rosicrucians, the Jacobins and the Illuminati. Simultaneously and independently, a Scottish Mason and professor of natural history named John Robison started to publish Proofs of a Conspiracy Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe in 1798. When he saw the similar work done by Barruél, he included large quotes from the latter's work. Robison claimed to present evidence of an Illuminati conspiracy striving to replace all religions and nations with humanism and a single world government, respectively.

More recently, Antony C. Sutton suggested that the secret society Skull and Bones was founded as the American branch of the Illuminati. Robert Gillete has claimed that these Illuminati ultimately intend to rule the world through assassination, bribery, blackmail, the control of banks and other financial powers, the infiltration of governments, and by causing wars and revolution to move their own people into higher positions in the political hierarchy.

Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, claimed they intended to spread information and the principles of true morality. He attributed the secrecy of the Illuminati to what he called "the tyranny of a despot and priests".

Both seem to agree that the enemies of the Illuminati were the monarchs of Europe and the Church. Barruél claimed that the French revolution (1789) was engineered and controlled by the Illuminati through the Jacobins, and later conspiracy theorists have also claimed their responsibility for the Russian Revolution (1917), although the order was officially shut down in 1790. Very few historians give credence to these views; they regard such claims as the products of overfertile imaginations.

see also http://www.conspiracyarchive.comi

Maxwell starts by talking about how the [US] government wants people to be frightened, that frightened people will submit to you, and so they spread as much chaos as possible, that they want subservience. Sound familiar ? They create chaos to enable the establishment of a new world order, a world government. The US hegemony. Globalization. "They want total control over everything".

Spread of chaos = entropy, the gradual and relentless growth of disorder. Maxwell can be seen as an agent trying to reverse entropy. He cannot accept that entropy "is", that entropy is an irrevesible and unavoidable process. He needs to find an organising principle behind chaos, to attribute it to various people, factions, institutions spreading chaos for their own purposes. ie by implication, in Maxwells world without the illuminati etc and their fiendish plots their would be no chaos, no entropy in society.

His talk is relentless; no institution, no symbol is safe from the all pervading conspiracy: decoding the dollar bill, the symbolism of the Freemasons, sacred geometry, corporate logos - primarily oil companies, Fascist symbols, banking, the Knights Templar . . . . it's easy to write him off as a nutter as the allegations get ever more outlandish - the idea that the Illuminati wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1776 before setting up Marx as the author in 1848 for example - but there is a strong element of "just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not there".

Regardless, in terms of the multiplying universes of Triple Bluff Canyon, the film bifurcates, splits, forks and begins to feedback into our experience so far and to inform, and create pointers to, our future within the installation : conspiracy / not conspiracy, oil, Egypt, magic, geometry, chaos, appropriation / piracy, control, lies, hidden agendas. Points to the multiple interpretations, layers, in TBC.

[from http://www.crystalinks.com/freemasons.html
Many of the founding fathers of the United States, had a belief in divine guidance, though they did not speak openly about it. They were deeply committed to ancient secret societies and protecting the secrets knowledge of our creation. Today we know it as Sacred/ Creational Geometry.
These men acquired the knowledge while in Europe their souls having moved from ancient Egypt to the European continent. Whether they realized it or not, their quest to set this knowledge into the foundation of the US was encoded into the blueprint of why they were born and what they came here to do.
In the duality of third dimensional reality created by electromagnetic energies - hence polarity - poles and pole shifts - good/evil - yin/yang/ male/female - polarity of soul and physical - Groups were created - the Protectors/ Warriors/, the Record Keepers, and the Guardians.
The Freemason of years gone by - were Guardians. They guarded the sacred knowledge and incorporated into the physical creation of the US - just as it was encoded into the geometric blueprint of ancient Egypt - by the Priests and the creational forces that create our reality as if computer designed.
The philosophy of the Freemason's is a mystical approach to things. Dating back to our (US) founding fathers many of whom belonged to the Masonic Orders, believed in higher vision in the affairs of humanity.
George Washington was a Freemason - a Grand Master. When Washington dedicated the United States capitol he used the Masonic symbolism.
Masonic influence is evident in the architecture of Washington, DC where pyramids, pillars, and Numerology are repeated in nearly every official building. They follow the the sacred geometry of creation of our reality, as do most things we create.
The floor plan of the Capitol Mall was designed from the blueprint of the floor plan of a Masonic Temple - an East-West rectangle attached to an unfinished triangle. The lodge Master would reside at the cap of the triangle, where the Capitol stands today.
All of the designers of the Declaration of Independence, were Freemasons, with the exception of one man.
The symbols on the dollar bill relate to the Masonic notions of the founders. The all-seeing eye comes from the Masonic symbology. The concept of the pyramid with its missing capstone links with the ancient mystery school teaching of ancient Egypt.
The Masonic beliefs of the founding fathers were passed down to successive generations of government leaders. Freemasonry exists to this day.

Looking back to the cinema reception:
- geometry [ the Freemason symbol of the "G" sign and the square and compass, G = geometry, the square and compass as the 6 pointed star (Seal of Solomon / Templars) minus the horizontal lines] - the octagonal chamber (the 8 pointed star = 2 squares superimposed, the double square of Freemasonary, the entwining of order and disorder) , the lattice work on the doors and the ceiling, "3P23". The secret societies have put their mark on Triple Bluff Canyon, things are not what they seem.
- chaos and global hegemony - the (crushed) ubiquitous fast food drink carton, left without regard, squashed into the box office window frame. Riding roughshod over the planet. "The Day after Tomorrow"

The mirror itself suggests a multiplicity of meanings : alongside it's cyclopian quality it brings to mind mirrors in paintings - the convex mirror in the Arnolfini Marriage (Jan van Eyck) with its connotations of authority (alluded to as first use of painting as a legal document in that the reflection shows the artist and a witness recording and present at the moment of betrothal - in the same way that a notary might be asked to declare he'd been present at such an occasion). The artist as objective, perfect eyewitness through the medium of the mirror.

Parmigianino painting himself in a barbers convex glass. HW & Anthony Wilson write: " the painting bespeaks an interest in magic as well, the convex mirror valued in the Renaissance for its visionary effects, which seemed to reveal the future as well as hidden aspects of the past and future".

So the mirror has these connotations of objective truth, of uncovering the hidden, of visionary properties. Convex, in its geometry, projects, all reflected in it travels outward becoming larger, its reflected rays never meet. Concave in contrast, gathers in like a bowl. it collects all that falls into it and focuses it to a point. The flip side of the convex cyclops eye is concave, pointing back into the studio, the brain, the memory bank, the library, the receptacle of all knowledge, the history of the world. Gathering in and projecting out.

Near the beginning of Maxwells film he looks in detail at the symbolism on the dollar bill. One side of the note carries The Great Seal of the United States featuring a pyramid in two parts. The bottom half is truncated, unfinished, a rhombus, while atop of it sits a triangle completing it. Within the pyramid is a single eye, the all seeing eye, the eye of the great architect, the eye of Horus, the sun, god's eye, Jeremy Benthams pan opticon. Literally “all seeing”.

[from http://www.jahsonic.com/JeremyBentham.html
The Pan Opticon society is one where everybody is under the illusion they're being watched constantly, but they can't see the observers. The stronger this illusion, the more people feel they have to perform for the watchers, which makes the Pan Opticon useful as a method of crowd control.

The phrase was coined by the nineteenth century Philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who saw it as a principle for architectural design, especially in prisons. The original Panopticon prison was circular, with the cells built into the curve of the circle facing inward and the guard tower positioned in the middle. The inmates can't see each other, nor can they see the wardens who are behind one-way glass. The design works because the feeling of being watched is with the inmates constantly, making them regulate themselves. In one form or another, all modern prisons are built to imbue prisoners with this sense of being seen without seeing, with one-way glass or security cameras.

The Pan Opticon has been explored extensively in film and literature, and now in pop culture. Orwell's 1984, for example, or the Big Brother and Survivor TV shows, or The Truman Show (where the star of the show doesn't initially realize he's being watched).

It's tempting to compare this human behavior with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which applies only to subatomic particles, but the Pan Opticon is all about the illusion of being watched, and not the act of watching itself. Mount a dummy camera on a wall and people will behave differently when they're around it. Whether they're consciously aware of it or not, they perform for the camera, like straightening their slouch, sucking in their stomach, or even concentrating harder on “being comfortable” (an act that can be overdone, which is what airport customs officials are looking for in deplaning passengers). ]

Congress decided to create the Great Seal on the 4/7/1776, the day of the adoption of the declaration of independence, taking six years for Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Jon Adams to complete it. The conventional explanation is that the 13 steps (= original 13 "states") leading to the unfinished summit = future growth. The eye above = the eye of providence = looking to and preparing for the future + skill and wisdom in management + benevolent guidance of God + god, guiding power of the universe. Novus ordo seclorum = a new order of the ages.

Maxwell decodes the seal in terms of the creation of a "new world order" (novus ordo seclorum : appears on an illuminati document in 1774 - 2 years before they made themselves into a coherent order) being initiated by the Illuminati. The bill was made in 1934 on the authority of Roosevelt based on an idea of Henry Wallace (both 32nd degree freemasons).
[from http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/NWO/All_Seeing_Eye.htm
Henry Wallace : "Roosevelt as he looked at the colored reproduction of the Seal was first struck with the representation of the 'All-Seeing Eye,' a Masonic representation of Great Architect the Universe. Next he was impressed with the idea that the foundation for the new order of the ages had been laid in 1776 (May 1st, 1776, founding of the Illuminati) but would be completed only under the eye of the Great Architect. Roosevelt like myself was a 32nd degree Mason. He suggested that the Seal be put on the dollar bill rather that a coin."

Besides being a high ranking freemason and having the distinction of introducing socialism into the American political system, Roosevelt was allegedly a member of a secret society called the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystics Shrine (Shriners), attaining the grade of a Knight of Pythias. The Order of Nobles and Mystics claimed to be an offshoot of the Illuminati. The list of notables that the Order claimed as their own includes many who were also members of the Rosy Cross; Mirabeau, Frederick the Great, Goethe, Spinoza, Kant, Sir Francis Bacon and Girabaldi.

Freemasons, Walter Flemming and William Florence founded an American branch in New York, 1870. Membership in the order was open only to Freemasons who had reached the 32nd degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite or those who've attained the last degree of the York Rite, the thirteenth degree (Knight Templar). ]

On one level, one reading, the mirror eye then casts the studio as the top of the pyramid . . a pointer forward within Triple Bluff canyon, as do the references to Egypt in the film, tracing magical practices back to ancient Egyptian magic - "US known as the new Egypt by secret societies around the world, the Washington Obelisk - which has a pyramid on top - from above appears as a square within a (magic) circle - laws based on Egyptian magic - black magic and white magic, the colour scheme of police cars. California Highway Patrol = seven pointed star.

References to oil companies and their logos are another pointer forward - Exxon sign = double cross. Shell logo = sunrising between 2 triangles (secret society symbol in Europe), Chevron = 2 squares, one above the other, chevron of freemasonry, military connotations.

Pentagrams - The Pentagon for example, Texaco, Solomons seal - the 5 pointed star inverted has satanic associations, the goats head, the point pointing down, the devil.

[from http://www.theforbiddenknowledge.com/chapter3/
Pentagram :
According to occultic/Satanic doctrine, the upper four points of the Goathead represent the four elements of the world, Fire, Water, Earth, and Air.  The bottom fifth point represents the spirit of Lucifer.  In the Goathead Pentagram, the fifth point extends down into the mind of the goat, who represents Lucifer.   (study of Governmental Center, Washington, D.C. check out http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/pentagram.html)

from http://www.intent.com/sg/
The golden ratio is the unique ratio such that the ratio of the whole to the larger portion is the same as the ratio of the larger portion to the smaller portion. As such, it symbolically links each new generation to its ancestors, preserving the continuity of relationship as the means for retracing its lineage. • ratio of segments in 5-pointed star (pentagram) considered sacred to Plato & Pythagoras in their mystery schools. Note that each larger (or smaller) section is related by the phi ratio, so that a power series of the golden ratio raised to successively higher (or lower) powers is automatically generated: phi, phi^2, phi^3, phi^4, phi^5, etc
• phi = apothem to bisected base ratio in the Great Pyramid of Giza.
• phi = ratio of adjacent terms of the famous Fibonacci Series evaluated at infinity; the Fibonacci Series is a rather ubiquitous set of numbers that begins with one and one and each term thereafter is the sum of the prior two terms, thus: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144... (interesting that the 12th term is 12 "raised to a higher power", which appears prominently in a vast collection of metaphysical literature)

The mathematician credited with the discovery of this series is Leonardo Pisano Fibonacci and there is a publication devoted to disseminating information about its unique mathematical properties, The Fibonacci Quarterly

from http://www.swaylocks.com/cgi-bin/discussion/archive.cgi/read/41226

Fibonacci ratios appear in the ratio of the number of spiral arms in daisies, in the chronology of rabbit populations, in the sequence of leaf patterns as they twist around a branch, and a myriad of places in nature where self-generating patterns are in effect. The sequence is the rational progression towards the irrational number embodied in the quintessential golden ratio. This most aesthetically pleasing proportion, phi, has been utilized by numerous artists since (and probably before!) the construction of the Great Pyramid. As scholars and artists of eras gone by discovered (such as Leonardo da Vinci, Plato , & Pythagoras), the intentional use of these natural proportions in art of various forms expands our sense of beauty, balance & harmony to optimal effect. Leonardo da Vinci used the Golden Ratio in his painting of The Last Supper in both the overall composition (three vertical Golden Rectangles, and a decagon (which contains the golden ratio) for alignment of the central figure of Jesus. The outline of the Parthenon at the Acropolis near Athens, Greece is enclosed by a Golden Rectangle by design.
Notice the fact that you can fill the empty space inside a Pentagram with smaller and smaller versions of itself.. according to theory if you could MAKE them small enough ..you could do this.. forever !


magic, geometry, conspiracy = piracy, multiple readings.

The studio is ramshackle full of books and objects -

Attaturk mirror, a crow, a pigs head, a halloween pumpkin (magic, superstition, Durer's St Jerome in his Study), picture of an ape, a human skeleton (evolution from a to z, z to a), an ape mask ("primitive", voodoo), ape heads, 2 headless religious figures (virgins) [ beheaded . . hostages], a bulls head (minotaur, the studio as centre of the labyrinth), a clown, a black light, helmets, Henry 8th, musketeer, Russian packages for export, Turkish items - the Ataturk mirror and leaflet, a print of the Blue Mosque, boxes, cases, fans, voltmeter, battleships minus superstructure (impotent military), books galore (prominent are Journey to the Centre of the Earth(the pages spilling from the cover) and King Solomons Mines (old school kids adventure books, King Solomon & the Knights Templar, pointer to the "mine shaft", adventure, exploration) and Sci-fi book, Andromeda (I.Yefremov) (an aside ; if one were to travel at close to the speed of light to Andromeda and back ( a round trip of 4 million light years) one would age about 56 years. The earth would have aged four million years on ones return) . Also travel books and National Geographic. A book about Conrad (author of "Nostromo").
A Laurel - or Hardy - clock . . . time as a joke.

We can look in but not enter. It feels abandoned, Mary Celeste style, with Jordon Maxwell a relentless beacon. The exhibition blurb says it's a reworking of an earlier work, The Black Art Barbecue, inspired by an Albrecht Durer engraving, "St Jerome in his Study". Without being told I'd never have guessed. in the engraving a man sits toward the rear of the room behind a table bent over and engaged in what looks like some delicate work. Behind him is an hour glass (sand, time), a hat and various flasks and tools. A pumpkin hangs over head. There is a skull below the window and in the fore ground a lion and an ass.

The engraving is the third of a series of 4 - Meisterstiche - with occult and alchemical associations - St Jerome, Adam and Eve, Melancholia I and Knight, Death and Devil.

from http://www.aiwaz.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=33

He must have been amused when people admired his masterpiece, a supposed portrait of Saint Hieronimus in his solitary monastic cell, not knowing what they are looking at. But what are we looking at?

The engraving clearly represents all of the popular attributes of Hieronymus Eusebious, a Latin Church father that lived in the fourth century. His story is collected by de Voragine in The Golden Legend, describing a life of a Christian saint who first translated Bible from Greek to Latin. He was of noble descent from Dalmatia, and he was ordained as a priest in Rome, from where comes his iconography as a cardinal, since in earlier times of Christianity, the task of ordained priests was similar to cardinals'. He is particularly revered as a hermit who abandoned the mundane world in place of solitude in the desert. There he is usually portrayed as a bewildering man, beating his chest to regain the desired calmness and communion with God. As a symbol of victory of spirit over flesh a skull is never omitted from the composition. According to de Voragine, he also saves a lion from the torment of a thorn in his paw, when he wandered in the monastery in Bethlehem, where Jerome stayed. The lion became the guardian of the ass that worked for the monks. But one day, while the lion was asleep, the passing traders stole his companion.

But after some time of laboring the work of an ass, the lion spotted a train of merchants with an ass leading their way. The lion brought them all to monastery, where the merchants apologized for stealing and donate the half of oil they were carrying. So this is the legend that supports the iconography of the lion that is typical for St. Jerome. Perhaps, also legendary oil that was left by the merchants is represented on the engraving by flasks on the shelf behind Jerome's back.

This engraving is the second time in Meisterstiche opus, that a skull is a part of the composition. The first occurrence of a skull is on Knight, Death and Devil, signifying the year of the death of the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay. Durer is most of the time very directly using the symbols also at their most "simple" level of apprehension. Only two engravings from the Meisterstiche contain a skull, and only two are celebrating the year of the death of a "hero". The skull simply signifies death, or commemoration of death, and the interesting question is who died in 1514, the year that Durer signed his work on cartollino of St. Jerome in His Study together with his typical trade mark signature, monogram AD?

Leonardo da Vinci . . .

There is another detail to be explained - the pumpkin hanged from the wall, so obviously disturbing the iconography so carefully chosen. What does this pumpkin mean? If the Renaissance period is considered, there was only one pumpkin that was famous: Lo Zuccone.

This Durer's engraving is completely dedicated to life and death of Leonardo da Vinci, one of the two Grand Masters of the Renaissance current. The second illuminati is concealed in cryptic Melencolia I. (Michaelangelo)
In Melencolia I there are numerous instances of alchemy and sacred geometry and connections to the Knights Templar - a monastic military order formed at the end of the first crusade with the mandate of protecting christian pilgrims on route to the holy land.

Crusades = Bush and Blair

In comparison with what is to become this is the room in which lies everything, all knowledge, projecting and watching, the "meta" room.

The Shaft Leading into the Sand Dune

Temporarily returning to the gallery itself - on leaving the room wherein lies the studio - one enters the next space. Ahead is a shaft, an enclosed corridor, disappearing into a sand dune. The sand spills down from the wall at the back of the room, flowing around the pillars, resembling an engraving of the interior of the portico of the Great Temple at Idfu (Description of Egypt, 1808) - sand flooded, spilling around the columns.
The shaft has the character of the entrance to a mine shaft, being made of boards of wood, (King Solomons Mines), or the portal down towards the centre of the earth. In it's clear and tidy line it resembles more a shaft inside a pyramid. If the studio and it's cyclops eye is the top of the dollar bill pyramid, then this is the base.

Walking through the tunnel, the shaft carries on around a kink (not a curve, another straight path, a change of angle, another reference to geometry, like a slice of a polygon), one passes a door on the left - locked * - and comes to an old wooden door. Entering one finds oneself in a room, plastered bare, dirty walls, an oil drum (Shell) partially buried in the sand.

*behind this door is a passage leading to a lift. Shiny modern doors. I saw this by accident one day when a member of the gallery staff opened it. A very hidden secret within the system of passages inside the pyramid.

A burial chamber, an obvious reference to the Gulf, to oil, to a devolutionary process. The sand spilling in is like the sand run down, time run down, at the bottom of an hour glass. A suggestion of entropy, of increasing disorder here.
("And now the house begins to fill with desert, like the lower half of an hour glass which will never be inverted again" - Thomas Pynchon, "V")
There have been others to - the light in the booking office hall, the contents of the studio, allusions to the spread of chaos in Jordan Maxwell's film.

There is an opening to a second room in which is a window, too high to look directly out of. The view is of the white walls of a larger space - another part of MAO ? - and of sand spilling down the outside of the wall. This series of rooms is buried in the sand. It's very still, nothing moves. Outside is the sense of vast space. In contrast to the studio there is a sense of being immersed and not really understanding where one is within the gallery. Not lost within the rooms and shaft but within the bigger space that encloses it - MAO - the mother ship.

Now inside this room, this chamber, the studio, sitting in state in the middle of the previous gallery, is the mummy, or rather the sarcophagus, buried with all it's trinklets and pets, sacrificed headless virgins, with it's secrets and concubines, slaves and treasures and ghosts.

The Desert

There is no way out from under the sand but to return the way one came, to retrace ones steps. One returns to the landing of MAO and back on terra firma, in the "real world", aside from revisiting the studio where Jordan Maxwell is still weaving his web of conspiracy, onwards towards eternity, the only route is back down the stairs, into the cinema foyer and out past the booking office, through the latticed doors and returning to the open space of MAO, where one first started. Like a film running in reverse. Entropy again - a reversible process, no increase in disorder in navigating the spaces of the installation, not physically (actually there is in the installation itself, as opposed to what it represents - see below). No clear arrow of time, ie no time, except in the film. Here too there is a play with space in the reversed film being reflected before being projected the right way up onto the wall

Across the foyer of MAO, a void of another kind, an unintentional void that thinks it's part of an art gallery, and up a flight of stairs. Approaching the top of the stairs we see sand piled up against the glass - slide specimens, geological cross section, the tiny particles in their millions exposed.
Arriving at the top of the stairs MAO disappears. Here on a vast scale is what was hinted at by the invasion of the sand in the previous series of rooms, the "burial chamber". An ocean of sand sweeping down the whole length of a very large room. A desert.

There's a building partially buried under the sand. I know from reading the blurb that it's a reconstruction of Robert Smithson's "Partially Buried Woodshed". Looking at photos of the original it's pretty accurate - except that rather than being covered in soil it's covered in sand. The sand mimics the spiral pattern of the earth in the original. Re politicized re Iraq.

It dawns on me that it's the exterior of the rooms inside the sand. With this realisation comes a fabulous disorientation. How does it all connect up ? How did I get through the wall at the back of the gallery ? Somehow the shaft under the sand bored it's way through. A rift in the structure of MAO. An unseen Gordon Matta-Clark esque intervention in the building ? (Like light circling around a finite universe and ending up where it started - one would see the back of ones head - in the past)

Disorientation isn't within the elements of the installation itself - which is not self contained being made up of discreet elements - but within the museum as a whole, invaded and reconnected. The constant fractures between the gallery and the isolated systems of Triple Bluff Canyon resemble slippage between multiple universes. It's not normal to find a desert inside a building - the odds are long, though not infinite ( the gambling association is apt, the title has connotations of poker beside the obvious geological reference). There are instances eg the flooding of oceans of sand into millennia old Egyptian temples.

The desert splits Triple Bluff Canyon off into further universes :
- the connection with Egypt is continued and reinforced. The shed as the base of the pyramid, the studio both the sarcophagus within and the completion along with its pan optic eye.
- the Egyptian labyrinth: 12 kings combined to create a memorial for themselves : 12 courts communicating with one another, one wall surrounding them all. 1500 rooms above the ground and the same number below. the passages between them being intricate and bewildering. next to the labyrinth was a lake containing two pyramids, fed by a canal from the Nile.
The Egyptians as land artists, the difference being that their epic works evolved out of a matrix of beliefs and religion - as opposed here to the individual vision of a single artist.
- the desert in the room at the centre of the zone in Stalker.
- the desert in Smithson's "A Tour of the Monuments of Passiac, New Jersey". Walking through Passiac he comes across a sand pit. Quote below.

- elsewhere he says "museums are tombs" ("Some Void Thoughts on Museums"). So are tombs museums (TAO / MAO)? - the studio again. In a sense the desert resembles an exhibit in a natural history museum. Add a few stuffed desert creatures and an ambient desert soundtrack.

Sound is interesting in Triple Bluff Canyon : there is none save the low drone in the cinema reception and Jordan Maxwell. Otherwise silence and the murmur of the visitors.

- and - "history is representational, while time is abstract. Both of these artifices may be found in museums, where they span everybody's own vacancy" ("Some Void Thoughts on Museums")
- drawing - "Museum of the Void" (in "Some Void Thoughts on Museums"). The drawing resembles the entrance to a tomb, topped by a pyramid and assorted ruins. Resembles one possible map of Triple Bluff Canyon.
- and - "for many artists the universe is expanding; for some it is contracting" ("Quasi- Infinities and the Waning of Space"). Also in this essay - "The first obstacle shall be the labyrinth through which the mind will pass in an instant, thus eliminating the spatial problem " and "the centre of this pyramid is everywhere and nowhere".
- Smithson and Borges:
In the "Library of Babel" Borges writes that the library is defined as "a sphere whose exact centre is anyone of its hexagons and whose circumference is inaccessible". This recalls Smithson's favorite quote from Pascal - "Nature is an infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere." (Smithson added "or language becomes an infinite museum whose centre is everywhere and whose limits are nowhere" .
This could be a description of Triple Bluff canyon - or the universe.

There are oil drums in the shed (one is Texaco - 5 pointed star / Texas, Bush) - the connection is made with the Gulf, Iraq, the well publicized re politicization of Smithson's shed.

This is not land art / earth art though. It's a reconstruction in a gallery, a museum piece. We know this. From the start, on leaving the cinema foyer, it's been clear that there is no attempt to immerse one in a self contained world. Smithson's woodshed and it's experience of entropy and geological time finds no parallel here. You can rebuild the wood shed but you can't rebuild its future history, its accruing of a history.

Rebuild is an interesting word in the context :

Thermodynamics - 1st law states that energy is conserved.

The second law of thermodynamics tells us that the level of disorder in the world is rising. Relentless and irreversible. It says that some processes in nature are one way arrows - hence the arrow of time. Entropy is a measure of this disorder.

[from http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Thermodynamic_entropy

The thermodynamic entropy S, often simply called the entropy in the context of chemistry and thermodynamics, is a measure of the amount of energy in a physical system which cannot be used to do work. It is also a measure of the disorder present in a system.

Entropy as a measure of disorder :

We can view ? as a measure of the disorder in a system. This is reasonable because what we think of as "ordered" systems tend to have very few configurational possibilities, and "disordered" systems have very many. Consider, for example, a set of 10 coins, each of which is either heads up or tails up. The most "ordered" macroscopic states are 10 heads or 10 tails; in either case, there is exactly one configuration that can produce the result. In contrast, the most "disordered" state consists of 5 heads and 5 tails, and there are 10C5 = 252 ways to produce this result (see combinatorics.)

Under the statistical definition of entropy, the second law of thermodynamics states that the disorder in an isolated system tends to increase. This can be understood using our coin example. Suppose that we start off with 10 heads, and re-flip one coin at random every minute. If we examine the system after a long time has passed, it is possible that we will still see 10 heads, or even 10 tails, but that is not very likely; it is far more probable that we will see approximately as many heads as tails.

Since its discovery, the idea that disorder tends to increase has been the focus of a great deal of thought, some of it confused. A chief point of confusion is the fact that the result ?S ? 0 applies only to isolated systems; notably, the Earth is not an isolated system because it is constantly receiving energy in the form of sunlight. Nevertheless, it has been pointed out that the universe may be considered an isolated system, so that its total disorder should be constantly increasing. It has been speculated that the universe is fated to a heat death in which all the energy ends up as a homogeneous distribution of thermal energy, so that no more work can be extracted from any source.]

An egg is in a state of extreme order. Drop it on the floor and it is in a state of disorder. Easy. Now try and reverse this. Rebuild the egg into the original state. If one were to take a film one could reverse it, the splattered egg would jump back whole into your hand. But in reality this is not to be. There is a probability that it could happen, but it's so so minute you'd have to wait so long the universe would have died a cold and lonely death. Out of all the possible configurations of all the atoms, all the particles in the egg, only one gives the original egg - and there are billions of possible combinations.

Humpty Dumpty . . . couldn't be put back together again, couldn't be rebuilt.

Sand itself is the end of a long slow geological process, maximum entropy, disorder. How long does it take to make sand ? How long does it take for rock and bones and shells and soil to be ground down to tiny grains ?

Smithson : "A Tour of the Monuments of Passiac, New Jersey" :

"The last monument was a sand box or a model desert. Under the dead light of the Passiac afternoon the desert became a map of infinite disintegration and forgetfulness. This monument of minute particles blazed under a bleakly glowing sun, and suggested the sullen dissolution of entire continents, the drying up of oceans - no longer were there green forests and high mountains - all that existed were millions of bones and stones pulverised into dust. Every grain of sand was a dead metaphor that equaled timelessness, and to decipher such metaphors would take one through the false mirror of eternity. This sand box somehow doubled as an open grave - a grave that children cheerfully play in."
He goes on to describe an experiment where a child runs round and round a sand box where originally the sand is split half and half, black and white sand. The more he runs the more mixed up the sand becomes, the more disorder increases. he explains that by filming this and showing the film backwards we could prove the reversability of eternity - but "that sooner or later the film itself would crumble or get lost and enter the state of irreversibility. Somehow this suggests that the cinema offers an illusive or temporary escape from physical dissolution. The false immortality of film gives the viewer an illusion of control over eternity - but "the superstars" are fading"

Sand refers to Quantum Mechanics through it's own wave/particle duality. Blown sand is particular in its nature. Yet dunes roll wave like across deserts.

See the particular nature in the sand up against the glass at the top of the stairs. resembles a photo in Smithson book : (Slant Piece p184)

The 2nd law also states that all irreversible phenomena are equivalent to converting mechanical energy to heat. Everywhere in the universe useable energy is constantly diminishing. The machines of the universe are running down. (Back in the cinema foyer - the heat of the lamp - the heat of the desert - heat as diminishing of energy).

(the 3rd law states - as a matter of interest that all processes cease as temperature reaches zero. As the temperature goes to 0, entropy approaches a constant. Being pedantic one could argue that the representation of entropy being constant in Triple Bluff Canyon implies that its temperature is zero. Which is of course odd seeing as how we're in a desert.)

In Triple Bluff Canyon time is complex :
- evolution / devolution, moving from the ape towards the human. In the desert is a beginning and an end. Can be seen as a loop. So conversely devolution, moving back from the human towards the apes and beyond.
- forward: to the end of the world, heat death, entropy.
- the contrast between the static nature of time in the installation and the moving of time in the film.
- no flow, no arrow of time. There is no entropy. Nothing moves, not a grain of sand. Returning to MAO weeks after the opening the sand has not encroached one bit. Imagine if one arrived to find that it had slid down the stairs and filled the entrance, blocking the doors. But this is not the case. The evidence of entropy is in the slippage of sand over the plastered surface on which it lies, a veneer of a sand dune, not a real sand dune. Everyday some one has to sprinkle new sand to make it look like a dune.

Time is frozen - or time has stopped. It's the end of the world. Everything has run down. The energy of the planet, the oil, the rocks are ground to the dust of sand. The clock has stopped ticking.

Except somewhere the history of this extreme disorder is being beamed out, from a tomb under the sands, the lone voice of Jordan Maxwell intoning his mantra of conspiracy and the new world order. This is where it all ends.

- "the inevitable catastrophe is at hand", Poe


Some of the multiple universes within Triple Bluff Canyon :

Cinema : foyer, studio as projection room, gallery as cinema
Alien : Studio as alien wrecked spacecraft, film as transmission, cinema reception as Nostromo, MAO as planet
Conspiracy : Maxwell, geometry.
Labyrinth : octagonal chamber, the flipping of space between MAO and TBC, the mental maps, the multiple universes
Egypt : the sand, the shed as a tomb, the sand as the base of the pyramid, the studio as sarcophagus, as the all seeing eye
Iraq : desert, oil drums
Triple Bluff Canyon: surface
Museum : desert
MAO : all within MAO
Oxford : all within Oxford
Smithson : the shed, the entropic references, geology, museum / tomb etc
- frozen (museum)
- at an end
- moving forward towards heat death
- looping (evolution / devolution)
- geological (long, slow, millennia, light years)
- microtime (the merest instant, TBC as a tiny time slice)
- MAO time - the clock one wears.

Posted by Jem Finer at 8:45 PM

June 2, 2004


"the unending message that forms itself from silence" . . .

Contemplating a vista of sheds in the Victoria and Albert museum, The General Secretary of the I.N.S. (International Necronautical Society) asked me what I was going to do with the transmissions received by my (projected) radio telescope.

He responded with the quote above from Rilke.

In the spirit of his practice, what follows is an extract from a text derived from a broadcast of a meteorburst. Amplitude is mapped onto letters. Below a certain threshold = space.

. . . fcj gcd c bbkklil b b ffee k b chn f b d fei hefbb b bbnlhfg bb dfhg i bfi b h d gdf bdd c jbnoofk b eghkbfbb bgg e g b gh b ec b lclfjce bb bffgfg b ehcl g dgk g cbddk hddb b b kjlfh bb fffg i b cgp h cbfei ked c bcookhgb b fghd h dfj i b bd fed bfc bbh jmldg bb eggkdfb b fg f h c ki cc b hchcjci b cgenff c ehdi j b cin b j c edj idcb b cbgmkgj b b cien j cgi i c ech fed b bjokeg fihg e b bcej h c hhb eb b ncfmode b dihkch ck c h bb ii fb b hcibi f b fhphf b b fhff l bbhn d c eef heg bfnffi b difibh cgj j d cfh dec b dbmojgf ghko gb b fi f f c if eb b kcjkmddb c dhfigf b b df b h b bbcim fb bbhdj ecd b biilhl bb cfgf k cfk g b c fci gefb b kmgfg cb dfhg h bgk i d gdg ced b kcnnofk gjhl h dg g j b c gg b e b b jblfjbe bbb cfgjce efbi g b dhl g bbecj hdc b b jjkfj b dede k b b cho j b cbeei jde b bconigg b bhfhd h cgi i b bd gee bfc cbjblnmdj b dfgjdfb b dg e i ki cb bb jcjdjcg b bgdjgh b eick j bcgl b h c fck idd bb bbikjgj b dgfm j b chl g c fdh hed b cnolfgb bb ghig g bcdj j bb ghc eb b kcgkmdg b eghjch b dk c h cbih fb b idibibg b bfhpge b c fgeh l b bbjn f c fdh ife bbgmifh b fiekbi chj i c dehbefd bd kmjff b ehjo e b dj e f dbkf db lchlode b b dgfhch ef c i c cb ik fb bbjdi e d biioij b cfhf k cgl d b c fdg ggf b hmfgg c fhfh hb bfk j bd ddg dec c kclomek fjkl g fh g f b c ig b e b hcmgkbe bb dfgidd b b ff f g b b chn g b bbedibhcd b b jjkhm b defd k chm f d edj hfe b cnlgef b c bdfgd i cej h b c hde bec c jbmnpej b b fhhjbfb bee e h b ii dbb b mdmdhcd bfdjfg b cibm h cgk h c ddl iedb bb b iiifh b b defi j b b cgn h c eeh kfd b coolghbb b efge h bcfi g bc hgc fc b k ilkdg bb egjjde b fh e h cbjh bb b hcibjbh bfhnhg b c dgci i b bbjm b f c fdk icd b cbgmjej b fjfn i bcfi h c fchbgfdb b b knmeg b eghl f b dh e g c ih dc b ldglmde b dhhhcg dh c g c b hk eb cbheg f e hipifb b dfff l cgo d b bc efg gffb b hlhgj c fjfh h b bhi i bd efh dfc b iclokgh b giko g gj g g bb c jf eb b hciimce cb dgiief c df d f b b ckn i bbgdh gcd b jjmfl eege k chj f d eci hge b bbnlfgf b c dghe i cfk i b c gdf cfc b kbmnpfm b gjijbg eg e i c hi b ecb b mcldicd b b beejcd b b ehbk g dhk g c edj ged b b kiifj b b feeg h b cgm h cbdeh ked b conjgfbb bb eege h bcgh i bd hed bgc b i mlncg b eghidfb b cf e j bbkk cc bb hckcgbh bhenhh b c dgck i bbhm b h d fck kcdb b b hmgfi b b cjhm j b bbfl h b c fdg gfd b bknnfg bb eggi f eg c i c ghb fb b odiikdf b dgjhcg ek c g b c jh gb cbhdh h e b b ggphf b fhfg k b bcgo b e b c ffi ifd b bbhlihi b djfjbi b chh i b d eehbdgdb bb dblmkeg b ghip g b b fi g g cblg fb kcgjnce b dfhieh b c dg d h b c bhn h cbgeg fbd ihmhjb b dfgg j bdej f bc fdg fgf b jlhgf c dgff g b bfj i c efg cfcb b lcmnoel b gkkk g fh g f b c kg b e c jckekbf bb cfflce b ffbk g bbim g b b eeh gdd b b ihihm b b ccef j b chm j dbedh jed b b cnngegb c geeg h bgj i b bd ide bfc b lbmmpei bb ejiicf ce e k b ik db b icmcfcf b bgekhf b b dick h b bgj g c fdk idd b b ijgeg dghj i b b cgl f b deg ifd b cnnmgg bb ggff g b eg i bc jgc fc kcijjdg b dgkgcg b fi c g b bbki db c hdj hbg bhhohh c cgdg i b bcin b f b c fdl jfd b bbhki . . .

Posted by Jem Finer at 4:11 PM | Comments (1)

June 1, 2004

How many universes am I holding up ?

One thing leads to another. I'm back pondering the mysteries of Quantum Mechanics. Someone said to me, over a cup of astro tea, "what's new ?", to which I replied, "quantum computing".

To my surprise, my eminent colleague was unaware that such a thing existed, conceptually or otherwise. Before long we were debating various interpretations of the double-slit experiment.

As I understand it, the fact that a single particle can appear to be in two places at once has profound implications regarding the structure of reality and can be explained in several ways. Here's two :

A physical system remains in a superposed state of all possibilities until it interacts with an observer at which point it collapses to one of these possibilities. The particle goes through both slits until observed, at which point the act of observation forces it to go be in just one place, to pass through one or the other slits.


Whenever something is confronted with a choice the universe splits into many universes, so that each possibility exists in a different universe.
The particle has two choices - to pass through the left slit or the right slit. At this point the universe splits into two universes. In one the particle goes through the left slit, in the other it goes through the right slit.

At the moment, given the information I posses, I subscribe to the latter, the "many worlds interpretation". It can be a comfort. For example:

Yesterday Marcia and I were in the Tate Gallery (the old one as opposed to Tate Modern). We were looking at a large vitrine in which there were a number of very beautiful butterflies. They appeared to be dying. Seeing as how a lot of other art works in the same space were composed of dead flesh there is no reason to suppose they weren't. Behind me on the floor was a very large black banana (a sculpture). I heard a voice in my head, an old friend, Joe, enticing us to pick it up. "Hey, Finer (some public school throwback, he'd use my surname while trying to incite mischief) . . . you and Marcie, pick up the banana. Free the butterflies".

The choice was whether to pick up the giant black banana and then smash it into the large vitrine, thus setting free the butterflies within, or not. We didn't, but I wish that we had. It is a comfort to know that there now exists a universe in which we did wield the banana, with the desired effect.

Posted by Jem Finer at 3:38 PM