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Audite o vos in terra habitandes Hanc, fabulam, audite de oceano Et quo modo petiverint id quod desiderant Quoque modo eos tandem consumpserit Loquimini, o machinae, de libertate Loquimini, o machinae, per aerem temporis nostri.
Listen, O people of the land To this story of the ocean And how they looked for what they wanted And how it ate them in the end Speak, machines of liberty Speak through the air of our time. --Laurie Anderson
space for machines #2 adolescent geography
The last week of July, I found myself driving a particular stretch of I-74 that I have subsequently resolved to avoid. Now, I fidget with a GPS apparatus and complicated topographic maps of the midwestern locations I need to navigate via the backroads. I was unprepared for I-74 that day, rising early to pack my gear for the Underground Publishing Conference in Ohio. Fearing academia and my own tendency to quit in the middle of large projects, I hit the road, specifically I-74. I estimate that I’ve probably travelled that When I was
Welcome to Twin Peaks. My name is Margaret Lanterman. I live in Twin Peaks. I am known as the Log Lady. There is a story behind that. There are many stories in Twin Peaks--some of them are sad, some funny. Some of them are stories of madness, of violence. Some are ordinary. Yet they all have about them a sense of mystery--the mystery of life. Sometimes, the mystery of death. The mystery of the woods. The woods surrounding Twin Peaks. To introduce this story, let me just say it encompasses the all-- it is beyond the “fire,” though few would know that meaning. It is a story of many, but begins with one. (Pilot episode/1:0)
particular stretch of highway 500 times.
young, the road was the way to college and the future and a really cool town to hang out in. Later it became the distance of a commute, the frightening drive to receive devastating news, the way to and from the marriages which are slowly absorbing my childhood friends. That July morning, it was 40 miles of hysteria. Following the car crash deaths of some teenagers in construction zones, the state had clamped down. From the bodies of fallen comrades came a disturbing expression of surveillance. Traffic patrolled by
aircraft, tallies of tickets given to drivers, machines which flash your speed at you, and lurking cops surround the peaceful drive. I just wanted to go, to pass
through this display of power, to drive past my hometown and continue to a place that seemed to still hold the promise of the future.
doors that let you in
Were you there my muse? That night we were traveling the roads between the crops? The crops are always the same, soybeans and corn, alternating yearly in fields that stretch farther than you can see, a steady oscillation between two types of produce. We were always happiest the years when corn grew behind the cemetery, when it grew so tall that it became more interesting than the place we were, when the space
between the stalks was so welcoming and mysterious. It was in times like those that we wandered in between the stalks, closing our eyes and turning in circles to purposely lose ourselves in the long rows of stalks cluttered with other people’s beer cans and cigarette butts. Close your eyes, spin in a circle until you forget where the axis lies, then open them again only to find yourself looking at the same scene. The goal was to find our
way out of the corn, but that was never really our desire. We wanted to be lost in it, consumed by the infinite flatness of the Illinois landscape. We always found our way out of it, of course, ambling back to the car to listen to OK Computer. The car in the cemetery by the cornfield next to the church of 13 sides. You used to be able to drive around the church 13 times, at which point you would be greeted with some sort
of apparition, but that’s not possible anymore. Security cameras and floodlights and sirens attached to motion detectors reduce all tourists to just one or two trips around the church before freaking out about security and privacy. The renovations to the church, made necessary by the lure of urban legend, made possible by technology and Columbine. That night though, there were soybeans where we’d hoped to find corn, and the drive through the quiet empty back roads was what we really were seeking. Starting at the cemetery, proceeding down a road that was known to most only as a number and a cardinal direction, past the sad white cross marking the spot where that girl was killed by a drunk driver. Maybe she played the same games or was looking for the same things as us. We never really discussed it, except to point out the
and out but never open
creepiness of that white cross with her photograph affixed to the telephone pole. That night we sped past it, feeling the summer wind in the car and Radiohead on the stereo. In the dark of the night, the lights from the nearby airport’s landing strip shine with the stars, outlining the fields and roads with a strange phosphorescence. All that’s left is us, driving in a car, our headlights a part of this mysterious illumination. We were going to State Line, a town between two states that look like each other.
left. Though we were never really quite sure of our navigation abilities, we were confident in the perpendicular geometry of the Midwest, that four turns in the same direction would bring us back to where we started. Driving
due to the lack of enthusiasm for off-track betting in the car. Though we’d traveled those roads hundreds of times, our navigation failed us, leaving us in a search for muses, wondering if it was a lesson in crop circle geography or some kind of event that exists in order to throw all subsequent forms of logic into question. Could that have been the moment in which it all changed? The point from which adulthood would
that night though, we were fairly positive we were Once we got there we played m o v i n g t o w a r d s h o m e . in the park, I guess it Instead we came out at was cool because that town South end, that weird quiet was always so small and part of town populated by foreign to us, like we hotels and a jail, the Offdiscovered it ourselves Track Betting facility and amidst the grain silos and the big church which the genetically engineered skaters seemed to worship. cornfields. We sat on the We were at the completely playground and talked about wrong place, one which we Real World 5, and then we hadn’t planned on visiting
inevitably careen toward us, taking in its momentum the paths through the landscape that seemed unequivocally ours? I can’t drive those roads anymore without thinking about that time which could have been 100% inconsequential, wondering when it was that I started to doubt my own sense of navigation. Perhaps after that night, the possibility entered my mind that I could be lost and never know it, that even geometry can trick you into places you didn’t want to go.
Proper crop circles -- that is the ones not created by hoaxers -- are always growing, the mashed down wheat somehow bent in such a perfect way that no stalks are broken, only subsumed by the curve of a circle or the angle of some sort of agroglyph. It is said that the formation of crop circles only takes a few minutes or so, during which a wave of mist or a cloud of dust seems to descend on the crops, leaving perfectly designed patterns in its wake. These patterns can only be
fully glimpsed from above. Like the aliens are somehow aware of the way we mediate all experience with television and satellites and that the only way we’d really get the point was to build something that was more amazing when photographed than seen firsthand. Many people who enter crop circles claim that later, when they tried to leave the circle, they were in foreign territory, sometimes occupied by strange figures. In these scenarios, it is thought that the individual
actually traveled back in time, as if the electromagnetic fields on which the circles are constructed somehow bent space and time so that the innocent bystander could see what the Druids were up to. Very rarely do people think that they were transported to the future. Legitimate crop circles appear all over the world, but mostly in the UK, near Stonehenge and other monuments of the Upper Paleolithic. Some think this is because there are magnetic forces at work under the ground or odd water accumulations that are best easily understood through dowsing. Additionally, there is some reason to believe that crop circles may affect brain wave frequency, altering the consciousness of the person in the circle. Water and the elements of electricity, conflicting protagonists usually, are cited most often as the source of the circles. Perhaps the circles are a sort of subterranean e l e c t r o c u t i o n , reconfiguring wheat into the shape of shock.
There are clues everywhere -- all around us. But the puzzle maker is clever. The clues, although surrounding us, are somehow mistaken for something else. And the something else -- the wrong interpretation of the clues -- we call our world. Our world is a magical smoke screen. How should we interpret the happy song of the meadowlark, or the robust flavor of a wild strawberry? (Episode 27/2:20)
I discovered Twin Peaks in the midst of discovering all of the other intensities of adolescence. Its sprawling landscape of metaphysics and terror was solace and contemplation when the world more frequently seemed only to provide the banal. It was structure too, hours a day were required to watch the show on tape, reviewing subtle VHS moments and testing out hypotheses. Twin Peaks was science and that which is beyond knowing, an active
With Radiohead providing the soundtrack to the Twin Peaks perspective in our heads, we drove cars through the flat cornfields of Illinois. Driving while the town sleeps quietly, visiting empty midnight schoolyards, trying to find exactly where on the outskirts of town it is that the Satanists were supposed to live, juiced on coffee and the intoxicating high of exploration. It’s hard for me and my high school chums to figure out exactly where most of our time went. Going back to town for a visit always involves at least one night retracing our tracks, but it’s different. We seem to find the best ways to hit all our destinations in an efficient manner, reducing the time of our trip and our vehicular flanerie. tension among dichotomies t e m p e s t u o u s leaseEventually we resort to new that wound through the breaking, the confusion and territories, trying to spaces of individual lives lingering of a last college explore what are now only and a whispering wood. semester. What’s more, as half-remembered stories of the albums (beginning with mysterious places just on Somehow Radiohead would OK Computer) were released, the edges of town. become entangled with my they coalesced into a sort adolescent experience as of trilogy that started by well. T h e s e a l b u m s charting an unexplored land differed from watching the and ended by embracing the collected video of Twin schizophrenia it provided. Peaks in that they entered Like Twin Peaks, there are the world in a rhythm out striking juxtapositions of of my control, yet this an elusive spirituality rhythm seemed to mirror my w i t h the confused life, affirming moments of imagination of a machine intense transition: high age steeped in metaphor. school graduation, a
taking off and landing,
Illinois Summer Youth Music camp has been going on in Champaign, such that every now and then you’ll hear the roar of children walking to camp out of no where. Summer camps of various missions have been going on all summer, but ISYM seems to be different. I remember in grade school and junior high, ISYM stickers on instrument cases signified that the owners were part of some sort of hardcore musical elite outside of school. This group of campers seems to have cheers they sing on the way from their dorms to their morning and evening activities. It’s kind of loud and disturbing, not to mention weird when they just bust out with “Boom-Chikaboom” or another favorite from Camp Drake Boy Scout getaways. One of their teams must be called the lions or something because for the past two days now, my television viewing and sleeping has been startled by children screaming about lions, spelling out the word so their competitors don’t forget who they are. I think about Clamor magazine’s slogan, “until lions have their historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter.” The other morning when I was walking home from work. I saw this group of ISYM kids coming out of the coffee shop. I couldn’t believe that these young kids had worked going to the coffee shop into their camp schedule, entailing as it did, probably waking up at 6 AM. Most of the kids probably did so just to have something to do. One girl though was walking out sleepy with a large coffee, a ballsy move that I only make when I’m either determined to race through a day or planning on passing out early in the afternoon. Even then, I rarely drink the whole thing, hopefully the girl
the emptiest of feelings
didn’t end up with an arrhythmia. But then I thought that maybe she was already in some high stakes control binge, practicing incessantly at her music, trying to be some sort of child music prodigy. & No-Doz intake. Unfortunately, she was not I remember my first tastes being Saved By the Bell. of caffeine came in the “There’s no time . . early years of high school, there’s never any time!” coinciding with Jesse S h e c o u l d n ’ t j u g g l e Spano’s control problems G e o m e t r y , Harvard
applications and Hot Sundaes, a weird girl group she was forming with Kelly and Lisa. In between popping pills and studying theorems, she was wired, singing “I’m So Excited” in that great frenetic junky way. I wasn’t that extended: band practice and academics and the creation of a zine called
vision. I think I was more enthralled with the intensity of it, the jolts and surges of energy coming from a Mountain Dew on an empty stomach or a 200 mg pill chased with glasses of water. There was something almost purifying about that ritual, staying up until 3 AM staring at pages of chemistry notes
and zine ideas. Caffeine then kept me perfectly hydrated, the only drawback being a ravenous appetite a few hours after the dose. I remember I wore baggy pants and t-shirts wearing deodorant only -- no antiperspirant -- because I liked the feeling of sweat. Maybe the caffeine and sweat was all a way to establish a physical feeling within the monotonous school day, to straddle the pernicious
mind/body split, or make physical the processes that were happening in my head.
I remember copying notes late at night to get them just right, forming perfect study references. Part of I sat wired in Latin and this was because I could Geometry, ready to pounce never decide on a note on the questions asked of taking strategy, bouncing us, not physically by back and forth between actually participating in spiral notebooks and threethe class, b u t ring binders, looseleaf technologically, shaping f o l d e r s a n d t r a p p e r the answers in my notebook. keepers, Ms. Wieland’s “T Note taking System” and
elaborate schemes I would construct myself in the jittery haze of caffeine. These wonder-filed nights seemed like sprawling masses of hours which were mine for the taking if I could just stay awake long enough and apply my mind, find my will.
The adolescence of every free human being is a war, a struggle with those who came before; it is this war that maintains vitality, that fashions destiny—a deadly war one must wage against the very factors and influences which gave birth to oneself. –Brutus to Julius Caesar
David Lynch’s last few films -- Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway, and to a certain extent even the frivolously Disney Straight Story -- have all started with the road as the point of departure from which Lynch begins his meditations on identity, dreaming, and evil. A man recklessly drives on a hazy interstate, able to focus only upon the Doppler blur of the yellow lines dividing the road in Lost Highway. In Mulholland Drive, the action begins once a woman survives a car
wreck, walking away only with a purse full of money and the persistent urge to recreate or destroy herself. Generally speaking, road as metaphor is usually stupid or trite -- a lame management strategy, a vague allusion to a Robert Frost poem -but with Lynch the concept is seductive, a sort of perverse, Rushdie-like appreciation for The Wizard of Oz. The nihilist would be right to point out that frequently for Lynch, the road goes nowhere or ends only in despair or
destruction. However, to focus only upon the road’s end is to too easily embrace the cheesy road metaphor and ignore the ways Lynch invokes the Oedipal drama, crafts a complete symbolic language, or builds a visual experience out of imagery that seems derived from the unconscious. I find driving especially fun after going to the movies, speeding around in that half-haze where you’re still reacquainting yourself with reality but feeling the rhythm of a movie. Driving in general elicits a kind of ambient state, guided by music on the radio and the pulsating landscape you’re moving through at speeds only machines can achieve. Driving is thinking and moving and place all at once. It’s both the perfect coping mechanism as it gives you time to think and perhaps cool down and
i used to think there was
the best escape, for more often than not solitary drivers -- even in the most mundane subdivision cul de sacs -- are elsewhere, lost in thoughts and fantasies and reverie. This incongruous melding of thought to machine is so fresh and modern, decades after the invention of the automobile. It is also compellingly American, everyone allowed to feel like navigator and explorer of vast terrains, mired in both technology and the thinking-through of identity. Lynch of course knows this, and though he too frequently tweaks driving for the sake of the disturbing, it does explain his quintessential American demeanor. He says “golly” and wears unlayered flannel shirts, yet you can’t help but think that his freaky movies aren’t enough to exorcise a tormented mind. idealistic and innocent character. Betty does not own a car, is never seen driving, and is transported to the dream world of Los Angeles via commercial jet. Unfortunately, it is there where she must actually encounter dreaming in life: symbolic power struggles writ large, a slight recurring terror, the dissolution and reintegration of self and identity. In putting together this hackneyed In Mulholland Drive, Lynch writes perhaps his most tribute to adolescent
wonder I’ve been perhaps most delayed by commercial jets, the terror they’ve instilled in the country, and the paralyzing compulsion for information about war events that they’ve led to. Since I was a kid I always imagined in an innocent way that I would die young, thus staving off adult responsibilities or college or learning to drive or any other possibility that was remote or far away or nerveracking. It wasn’t that I was a morbid child, it’s actually more similar probably to self-help ideologies of “living for today!” or savoring the moment. Now, in moments of Anthrax, I find myself more confused, thinking I’d adapted to long range planning enough to stop thinking my demise is an adequate excuse for not doing anything. I try to think of terror’s significance at this point in my life, how maybe we’re
so susceptible to it because of an alchemical imbalance, the foundations of the sublime lying equally upon terror and wonder. Positioned between leaving the cushy college life and embarking on anarchist utopian pursuits, I find myself searching more directly for the sublime, hoping it will win out over biological terrorism or a nihilist excitement for death. Extension provides a sort of comfort. This is a concept Lynch has grasped all too well. Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, both grapple with identity in similar ways, laying bare its schizophrenic subtext and fracturing it among different characters and
really just voice what everyone doing zines was really up to: making extravagant gifts for strangers, tapping into the world from the periphery and sprucing it up while you try. I have found wisdom in bathrooms and parking garages, the sage words of postmodern prophets banged out on that stupid typewriter every hipster seems to have, and at times this has been the only knowledge that mattered. It consoles me now, when war has driven people who mispronounce zine to Sharpie their own manifestoes and distribute them, hoping that each sloppily stapled missive does something or connects It’s enough to I think about all the people. beautiful zinesters at the make one remember the UPC and how the best future, not as a suite of solution anyone could come new technologies, but as expanse of up with at one of the t h e possibilities which have seminars was to leave zines in bathrooms, which was to not yet happened. bizarre Mobius morphings of time, place and person. Josie Packard’s the hermeneutic for this one. Recall in Twin Peaks how when faced with such extreme loss and despair and complete entrapment, Josie morphs into the drawer pull on a dresser in a hotel fraught with mystery. The drawer handle literally takes the shape of Josie’s face howling in agony. It is as if Lynch’s surreal lesson to everyone is to realize that everywhere is imbued with hidden meanings and lives that at some point actually threaten to overtake whatever counts as reality at a given moment.
2 1 1 2 3
1 from Gray’s Anatomy 2 from Flinch #14, Vertigo Comics 3 screenshot from Twin Peaks The Laurie Anderson quote (in Latin on the Cover) comes from Songs and Stories from Moby Dick (1999) Cover: (1999) Diagram from Crop Circles by Lucy Pringle 1 The comic fellow is from “Summer Job” in Optic Nerve #2 by Adrian Tomine (Drawn & Quarterly Publications) 2-3 Original photographs 4 from the liner notes to Amnesiac by Radiohead Headline is quoted from “Pull Pulk Revolving Doors” on Amnesiac.
The use of images and texts within space for machines falls within the fair use clause of US Copyright law. space for machines #2 is copyright 2001.
3 1 4 2
1 original photograph 2 from Rising Stars #1 by J. Michael Straczynski 3 from Crop Circles: A Beginner’s Guide by Hugh Manistre (Hodder & Stoughton press), p. 46. 4 from the liner notes to Amnesiac, Radiohead 5 from Rising Stars #3 by J. Michael Straczynski
1, 3-4 original photograph/work
2 from the Danville Off-Track Betting facility, located in the Ramada (south side)
5 1 2 1 2 4 3 6
1 from Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware, (Pantheon, 2000) 2 sculpture located outside of Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL. FE (artist’s initials 3-4 original photographs 5 from The Schwa Sound by Nate Powell, 7205 Geronimo, N Little Rock, AR 72116, firstname.lastname@example.org
1 from liner notes to Kid A, Radiohead 2 screen shot of Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks 3 sculpture located outside of Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL. FE (artist’s initials 4 from Rising Stars #4 by J. Michael Straczynski 5 Columbine, AP photo 6 from Astro City #1 by Busiek, Anderson, Ross Headline quoted from “Let Down” on OK Computer, Radiohead
4 2 3 2
1 the chemical structure of caffeine 2 from the liner notes to OK Computer, Radiohead 3-4 original photographs 5 from The Schwa Sound by Nate Powell, 7205 Geronimo, N Little Rock, AR 72116, email@example.com 6 from Crop Circles by Lucy Pringle (Thorsons, 1999), p. 130 1-4 original photographs 5 screen shot from Twin Peaks
space for machines
PO Box 635 Urbana IL 61803
Issue #1 (Touched by An Angel fanzine) is still available for $2 cash by mail. Both issues can be downloaded for free as PDFs at www.spaceformachines.org.
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