space for machines

#1

PSYCHIC READING, APRIL 2000: You can do no wrong for the next fifteen minutes. The world is your oyster . . . Things start coming to me pretty quickly.

You are at the age that you’re a different being than the person that sits before you. You grew up in a different time, meaning that time for lack of a better word is compressing in upon itself. Most humans feel it as acceleration, for lack of better words. Things are happening at such a speed and such. Computer network and availability of information is progressing logarithmically. So as you grow up that seems normal to you, but it is much greater speed than the person that sits before you. So do know this.

Surprisingly, painting -- and specifically the triptych -- is the force driving the narrative of What Dreams May Come, the 1998 special effects blockbuster. Again and again the viewer is reminded that Tracy (Robin Williams) loves paintings, that they are his “obsession” even. So much so, that after his death, his wife’s paintings structure his own secular conception of Heaven. When she turns suicidal and pours turpentine onto the final panel of one of her triptychs, Tracy watches a purple tree melt before his eyes. This destruction triggers another triptych: that of the hero story. Tracy becomes separated from the reality of Heaven (as tenuous as it was to begin with), undergoes his three trials and experiences the liminality of suffering, and is finally reunited with his wife through reincarnation. It seems then that the triptychs may allude to the trite yet “universal” structure of the hero’s tale. More than that though, the threes appearing throughout the movie each express a different relation to life and death: Tracy’s relation to the death of his children and the loss of his wife, the wife’s relation to the death of the three members of her family and her eventual self-destruction, the children’s relation to the loss of their family and the power of their childhood. There is a calculus of loss working through each sequence of three, that can’t be resolved through the lame reincarnation scene at the end which destroys the family triad by eliminating the children. The movie places itself in a precarious situation by showing the inadequacy of both two and three.

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I frequently dream of architecture, wondering who constructs these spaces which create atmospheres that resonate with feeling when I awake. Sometimes blurring my eyes and looking at a page of text, the white spaces between the letters, sentences and clauses will start to take on forms unto themselves. These forms can trigger my dreams’ architecture: a long line, a sharp angle, the hazy quality of blurred eyes mimicing the fuzzy logic of dreams and their remembrance. I wonder if it is the actual material that I’m reading which makes my eyes sees the places of my mind or if it’s just the product of the random consequences of typography.

“Lost and Found” Touched By An Angel Episode 216: Jasmine Guy stars once again as Kathleen, a fallen angel. Playing the foil to Monica’s Irish faith, Kathleen is most notably of mixed race. Her transgression against God is manifest on her body, allowing her to tempt men of all races with Satan’s promises. In this episode she tempts Detective Bob Champness, a specialist in finding missing children, with her mysterious sexuality. Of course Monica saves Bob’s soul and even some missing children while she’s at it. However, Andrew, the androgynous Angel of Death, has been working with computers the whole episode. Numerous shots simply show Andrew banging away on his keyboard, creating and aging composite photos of missing children. Like the transgressions of angels, these photos are visible mixtures. What borders are crossed when the Angel of Death compiles generations of family photographs with state of the art computing technology? And why does this mixing of borders lead to the image that will save the missing child? What makes this one count?

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Many times have I planned to write zines about car trips. The solitary daytime ones, fueled by coffee and the glare of the sun and possibly the situations which lead one to hide out on the moving streets of wherever it is you’re calling home at the moment. Pop music from the local mix station makes rhythm of the random turns and stops. It could be the meandering that cements a crappy mix to a day saturated with the reflection of sun on a windshield, forging a schizophrenic attention to the radio and what it might tell you to do. It is days like these when you’re most open to possibilities, perfectly ready for a life-changing moment suggested by the voice of what MTV and VH1 too frequently refer to as an “artist.” Of the schizophrenics who check in, nearly all of them claim that at one point the voices were bearable, enjoyable even. Problems only came when the voices started saying negative things. This is the rupture that leads them to believe that there was something wrong with them. Before that there were only secret whispers, perhaps so indiscernible from those of a wandering mind that the patient thought they were daydreams or their conscience made audible. Treatment will teach them that the body’s speech should mimic that of the sporstcaster’s play-by-play, an alignment of thought and experience so solid that one wonders where the brain is allowed to wander.

You helped build the temples at Machupicchu in South America. You need to go back there and visit as soon as you can. There are lights . . .

There’s an immediate association with the red planet which you know as Mars. This is a many layered onion, number one, you’ve been there before in your dreams . . . You have much information coming to you now in your dreams, but you’ve lived on the red planet before and that’s an impossibility, so stay with us. . . You’ve visited there. Your, your . . . We’re going to go onto the cards now,

Six months ago, I started working third shift. Slowly like the night, I’ve become amazed at my body’s relation to the day and the ease with which it is tampered. Finally I inhabit the night, my adolescent dreams of mysterious vampire lifestyle now being realized. The sprawling solitude hours of the night sometimes make me wonder if I can disappear. For nine hours I alone occupy a building, waiting on occasional customers, essentially running the show. The power trip somewhat besmirched by the gaze of eight surveillance cameras catapulting my mere nine hour shift into two and a half days of videotape. At the time of the least work being done per capita, my documented persona threatens to outnumber the actual hours of my life. A victim of mathematics and existence, I’m most fascinated by the fact that everyone’s sleeping, unconscious forces and dreams dominating the empty landscapes of this crazy college town. On my days off, I walk around at 4:00 AM, experiencing the deepest intimacy with my surroundings. Usually there’s no one else around, even telemarketers take a break. This town is pure Midwest. Its location in time and space begs you to ponder the idealist concepts of America. At night there is a quiet and a stillness and the flat Illinois geography allows the wind to maneuver at will. It transforms dark buildings into points on a curve. Nodes in the story of breeze.

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“Pandora’s Box” Touched By An Angel Episode 626: Angel of Death Andrew is at the computer once again, this time as the owner of Global Village Cybercafe. The angels are trying to help the Radcliff family, “a paradox of centuies.” 13 year-old Sarah has been slumming around chatrooms and becomes involved with a man, Dean, who claims to be a high school junior. When the two meet, Sarah finds that he is anything but. Dean lures Sarah to his apartment, but before he can offer her a spiked drink, Andrew steps on the scene. Wielding a baseball bat, Dean swings at Andrew who catches the bat and violently destroys Dean’s PC. Perhaps the first instance of an angel engaging in violence, Andrew seethes with anger. Monica an Tess can do nothing but watch as Andrew hits the PC, sending circuitry and sparks of electricity into the air. Later Monica explains that both the family and the computer are gifts from God, but that evil is able to navigate multiple channels of communication. Sarah’s father, hopefully miraculously cured of his internet porn addiction, takes over as manager of Andrew’s cybercafe.

Just a few weeks after the psychic reading printed here, I started experimenting with the Tarot, an activity which has required angelic intervention at least three times on Touched By An Angel. Like the psychic who was consulting me, I consistently drew Swords, specifically the 8, 9, and 10, images at once forboding, yet at the same time evocative of so many things at once. The habitual consistency of drawing the same three cards forced me into mathematics. For one thing, this particular suit correlates with time, each card representing a different number of months of continuing suffering and darkness. The average of the three is nine, a period of time that has just recently expired, leaving me to embark upon an emergence that for some reason I didn’t quite have time to strategize. I like to think that the duplicity of swords resonates with the binary of the digital: 0 and 1, on and off, good and bad. I’m not sure if I’ve arrived at the clarity which the psychic seemed so certain would come. Maybe being muddled is the relief that was promised me, the only way to resolve the harshness of two.

I am truly a lone traveler, and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family with my whole heart . . . I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude (Einstein, near the end of his life) If we’ve incorporated the theory of relativity into our scientific view of the universe, as well as our literature, art, music, and culture at large, it’s the great scientist’s attempt to devise a kind of personal religion -- an intimate spiritual and political manifesto -- that still stands in stark, almost sacred contrast to the Pecksniffian systems of salvation offered by modern society. Einstein’s blending of twentieth-century skepticism with nineteenth-century romanticism offers a different kind of hope. But then that woman with long, knotted brown hair, kind of looking like Janis Joplin, with her jagged mouth and pallid skin, with whatever abandon has led her to the breakdown lane somewhere in east New Mexico, she stays with me, takes her place in the constellation of images gathered from the road, and revisits me months later in the most unexpected moments. Excerpts from Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein’s Brain by Michael Paterniti, Dial Press

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What you’re feeling in your head are belief paradigms of other people. They’re not yours . . . You’re not to be a monk on a hill alone. Quit bein’ so serious all the time!

There’s a whole bunch of stuff that you’re conflicted about right now and it’s because there’s not enough difference in what you’re conflicted about to make the choice clear. But rest assured that the gift of the ability to make decisions is going to be given to you after a little bit more struggle. The swords are conflict.

However, this high moral formulation, “being worthy of the world,” was too abstract to be easily applicable to daily life. I told the truth and was a reasonably upstanding, if also rather solitary and inward, child; but heroism escaped me. There was even a brief interlude, at around the time I am describing, when I began to believe the world to be unworthy of me. Its false notes, its constant fallingsshort. This was, perhaps, my mother’s disappointed idealism, her growing cynicism leaking into me. Now, looking back, I can say that we have been more or less on a par, the world and I. We have both risen to occasions and let the side down. To speak only for myself, however (I do not presume to speak for the world): at my worst, I have been a cacophony, a mass of human noises that did not add up to the symphony of an integrated self. At my best, however, the world sang out to me, and through me, like ringing crystal. --Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet

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“An Angel by Any Other Name” Touched By An Angel Episode 325: A sour elderly woman, Carolyn, is touched by two angels. Bitter and a freak for control, Carolyn is displeased when a makeshift family of Down syndrome patients move next door. Chris Burke of Life Goes On fame stars as Taylor, the Down syndrome angel. Carolyn suffers a stroke and, like the Down syndrome kids, finds herself unable to clearly communicate. She is left to stew in her bitterness and the irony of being treated as if she were mentally impaired. Bathed in the bright light of God, Taylor and Monica inform Carolyn of God’s love and make sure that her garden does not fade away. After realizing that Taylor is indeed an angel and not just deluded with mental illness, Monica asks his forgiveness, which he readily gives. In turn, he asks her why God would place him in a body with Down syndrome when other angels have otherwise normal bodies. Monica doesn’t know. She herself has wondered why God has not given her the ability to sing. She tells him that all bodies matter, eliding his mental illness by telling him that “maybe God put you here to remind people to connect.”

Orpheus was the son of Calliope and either Oeagrus or Apollo. The greatest musician and poet of Greek myth, his songs could charm wild beasts and coax even rocks and trees into movement. He was one of the Argonauts, and when the Argo had to pass the island of the Sirens, it was Orpheus' music which prevented the crew from being lured to destruction. When Orpheus' wife, Eurydice, was killed by the bite of a serpent, he went down to the underworld to bring her back. His songs were so beautiful that Hades finally agreed to allow Eurydice to return to the world of the living. However, Orpheus had to meet one condition: he must not look back as he was conducting her to the surface. Thinking that he had been duped by the gods, Orpheus looked back just before the pair reached the upper world, and Eurydice slipped back into the netherworld once again. Orpheus was inconsolable at this second loss of his wife. He spurned the company of women and kept apart from ordinary human activities. A group of Ciconian Maenads, female devotees of Dionysus, came upon him one day as he sat singing beneath a tree. They attacked him, throwing rocks, branches, and anything else that came to hand. However, Orpheus' music was so beautiful that it charmed even inanimate objects, and the missiles refused to strike him. Finally, the Maenads' attacked him with their own hands, and tore him to pieces. Orpheus' head floated down the river, still singing, and came to rest on the isle of Lesbos. Ovid. Metamorphoses X, 1-105; XI, 1-66. Apollodorus. Bibliotheke I, iii, 2; ix, 16 & 25. Apollonius Rhodius. Argonautica I, 23- 34; IV, 891-909. http://www.pantheon.org/mythica/articles/o/orpheus.html 21

credits
The images and quotes used in Space for Machines is in accordance with the fair use clause of U.S. Copyright law. Any observed violations of this clause can be reported to the editor at marshall52790@lycos.com. Fonts are Slurry and Arial. The cover is Rapho Guillomette by Izis. Its original context is “The Family of Man” exhibition, curated by Edward Steichen in 1955 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition was also collected in book form published by MOMA, New York. The psychic reading reappearing throughout this zine took place over a year ago at the Spiritual and Intuitive Arts Festival in Urbana, IL. The fest is sponsored by S.E.A.R.C.H, Inc. of Urbana, (217) 3441510. The psychic was the immensely talented Jane Hawthorne, specialist in Tarot, UFOlogy, and Dream Imagery. She can also be reached at the above number. The Tarot cards come from the RiderWaite deck, originally published in the 1920s. The deck was originally conceived by Dr. Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith, members of the Order of the Golden Dawn. The deck is now distributed by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Orphic imagery as well as the Androgyne image on page 4 are from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, specifically “The Song of Orpheus” which is reprinted in Fables & Reflections, Volume VI of the Sandman Library. The Androgyne image comes from “The Parliament of Rooks” in the same volume. Aerial photos mapping the various places I’ve lived come from the United States Geographical Survey, disturbingly available at www.microsoft.terraserver.com. Many of the specific details regarding Touched By An Angel come from the episode guides available at the official website, www.touched.com. Engraved winged figures come from Surrealist Max Ernst’s collage novel, Une Semaine de Bonte (A Week of Kindness), specifically “Tuesday.” The book is published by Dover Publications. The androgynous Manga fellow on pages 6, 13, and 14 comes from Strain Volume 1 by Buronson and Ryoichi Ikegami, English adaptation by Yuji Oniki. It is available through Viz Communications’ Pulp Graphic Novels. The “distortion” on pages 10 and 11 comes from Barnett Newman’s Stations of the Cross, specifically Station One, 1948. The back cover comes from Frank Miller and Geof Darrow’s Hard Boiled, published by Dark Horse Comics.

the machines

G3 iBook G3 iMac Apple G4 PowerPC Dell Optiplex GX110 Epson Perfection 1200s Scanner Handspring Visor Eyemodule2 Adobe Pagemaker 6.0 and 6.5 Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Adobe Acrobat and Distiller Quite Imposing! Plug-In Appleworks 5.03 ACDSee Xerox Docuprint N4025 Xerox 265 ST Multi Bookletmaster

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Thank you so much for coming to my table. I wish you peace to your journey, love and light to your path. We are one in spirit, journey well.

Additional issues are available for $2 or 10 for $15 (concealed cash, please).

space for machines
PO Box 635 Urbana IL 61803
marshall52790@lycos.com

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