Pieces of the wall


Protein Emergence Series

This is not magic. That’s not to say there isn’t magic to be found – for as long as there is wonder and amazement in the world, magic will follow. No, regrettably this is a force of an entirely different flavour. Try to think of it as mental vinegar – bitter and acerbic, difficult to swallow. Why anyone would want to swallow vinegar is beyond me, but since you’re here perhaps you should answer that one. And so – here we are, looking out at our good works. No one knows how long it took – maybe a few days, maybe years. I can’t say for sure – nobody can. But once it was made, it could not be unmade. That terrible thing – the machine. It was almost impossible to know what the machine does – maybe we built it so that we could find out? Only the machine knows for sure. I regret that I didn’t listen to the sinister humming and whirring back when it was still an idea. When it was switched on it screamed contempt at its builders – the fury of the stars captured in a single, everlasting moment. How on earth the energy managed to coalesce into tangible matter is beyond my ken, nor would I heed any answers should they be forthcoming – sometimes it’s better not to know. We watched the forms and shapes tumbling and collapsing back into themselves only to expand anew with renewed vigour. Forever dying, never truly alive. It was a mind – of that I have no doubt. It slipped out from an all-consuming darkness within which all things are made equal. There are answers emergent – if you are brave enough. Are you? The shattered fragments are coalescing in this very moment. We accelerated the protein in a simulated environment. The product was also the substrate. I can’t seem to parse the data – whether it was ketoglutarate or ribonucleic. We stared into the etherium and the void stared back into us. This was our moment – the moment of power. But moments fade and curiosity was usurped by a creeping horror – the horror of understanding. I pray you never do, for that is the will of the machine. Who can say how long this took? Maybe a few days, maybe years…..

Even inanimate matter can exert equal and opposite force upon other acting bodies – it’s one of those things that every physicist knows and yet doesn’t believe. Why should they? The concept is insanity incarnate. You push on a wall and it pushes back into you. The entoptic nature of reality is that it is always pushing – and we are both the unsuspecting means and the hapless result. Is it our will, if our will does not begin with us? For that reason alone I cannot tell you who started this – or why. What I can tell you is that we tried to stop it – you have to believe that we tried. Might as well try stop the wind or the rain. Time crashes over and through all. Within that tumultuous realm our imaginings slip into pale memories of days which may never come again – or perhaps they never were. The sequence continued – unabated by mercy or shame or…. the endless slew of destruction and recreation. The melee decided and decides. The sculptor was infinity – glory and banality and all the colours in between. You have to believe that we tried. Laplace wasn’t convinced, nor Pavlov or Schrödinger – they held out uncertainty as an offering to inevitability and in doing so gave birth to something more than its sum – unfolding and unfolded. They said our simulation was playing god – so we put some blindfolds on and dropped some watches in to see if it’s so. It was an investigation without knowledge or results – to destroy the illusion of the mind and unlock Plato’s cage of Phaedrus. I wonder if we had known then what we know now – would we have done the same? The determination was never forthcoming. And so we walked along the beach at midnight, drinking in the splendour of stars and of hearts unbound by gravity. The endless, relentless ocean gave us the answers that we sought. But answers are not enough – there are only more and more questions. It is these at which I clawed with bloody hands, tears and time. Only the machine knows. Perhaps the worst of what we strive for is knowing.

I thought we lost you back there to be honest – but here you are, plodding along as usual. Does that bother you? No wait – don’t answer that – it’s not like I can hear you anyway. How long has it been now, I wonder. Drake had the right idea – shame that for all his brilliance his equations left us equally bereft of a definitive number than before he uttered them. I wouldn’t say it was a lesson in futility – sometimes the greatest works are born from the most inscrutable, counter intuitive and absurd of intentions. And then we saw it. It had been there for some time – staring back at us. We were filled with revulsion, suspicion and a healthy amount of disgust. What did it want? Wie ist es dorthin gekommen? ¿Por qué estaba regodeándose? How many minds are held in a mind? Some genius might be able to work it out but for all the good it will do them they might as well be hurling their aspirations into a black box. A cold truth – the reaction chamber is sterile – all the processes that matter happened externally. In this great broiling cauldron – acids and proteins, tissues and organs, nerves and impulses straddle continents in a decentralised network – a network which cannot know itself, feed itself or guide itself. It is emergent – a Mandelbrot set from bosons to Belbin and quantum strings to Rachmaninoff’s trio – but you already knew that didn’t you? こうはいを ささえてこその せんぱいだ That’s why it wasn’t so much an inscription as it was a mirror in which no two individuals ever saw the same thing. By that definition, could we also say that it was a hologram? I don’t think that’s entirely unfeasible given the magnitude of data presented. Funny – isn’t it? How everything seems to fall away. Entropy is necessary for change and anathema to identity, but identity is a finite curve separating life and death. A few degrees hotter, a few bars higher, a small change in the concentration of atmospheric oxygen – and its game over. All she wrote. Adiós muchachos.

After what seemed like an eternity, the machine gave birth.  But it was exactly not what you think it was.  It just WAS – it raised up from the mess and called out with a wordless song – striking at the heart and mind with reflexive entropy and a coldness which transcended the moment of realisation.  The fury was told to behold – tearing at the fabric of this inner-world that we created – you and I.  It’s still here even now I suspect – beyond what we think of as whispers of hope.  Clouds slide across the sky, and still it remains – now within you.  You can’t unmake it….not anymore.  And still, the ways, the paths and roads are forever bound within a downwards spiral – or was it upwards bound? Don’t turn it around – you’ll just make things bendy.  Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow… and the only power that was craved was the power of yesterday – the moment when we see with clarity the cause and effect, the legacy of the blind stumbling towards a concrete sarcophagus. Look to the oceans, or the constructs of man – they’re not so different.  These organisms are hunters – they create the rules which devour the strong.  Yes, that applies even now – and now I have to question who or what is hunting you?  I wouldn’t worry about it – it’s not like it will change anything.  it’s just protein.  There’s a philosophy to be gained here – but I can’t tell you for obvious reasons.   Actually, no one can.  I am not the finger pointing to the moon – I am the moon, or maybe there is no moon.  Oh, you didn’t like that?  That’s ok.  It’s not like we were friends.    You do realise it escaped?  That’s on you – you were too busy listening and didn’t spend enough time reflecting.  When you drink of the roaring words and the silent images it would behoove you to take small sips – only the vampiric would do otherwise. Every stroke – every moment – is the fulmination of a destiny.  The bubbles were key – they changed both to accommodate the external and internal forces whilst bending the environment into a bite sized microcosm.  The curvature of space isn’t so difficult to control – except that you never had that, did you?    Ok, now you are invited you to expand your world.  You’ve been looking at it right? All this time has passed and only now are you examining the cause.  That wasn’t an accident.  I didn’t put IT there – anymore than I put you there.  We were using Cas9 to give us wings – it worked of course but many people were opposed to the idea.  Truth be told they’re not really people anymore.  Inadvertently we gave breath to a non-physical construct which should have remained dormant.  Now that it’s awake – it’s most definitely more your problem rather than mine.  I wouldn’t go so far as to dismiss it – even though it’s just an idea (and even though it may be better if you did).  You’ve doubtless seen the instantiation of the concept – what it wrought upon the secondarily aquatic behemoth?  Protein has a way of fighting back.

The simulation – as has been noted – could not be contained. It somehow transcended from protein to metal, from metal to lignin and then other more esoteric substrates. Eventually it transcended even those and took up residence elsewhere – I’ve searched but to no avail. I suspect it sought out other proteins and mindscapes – you wouldn’t know anything about that would you? It was a lesson for us – a delicate confusion of needs and offerings, inky faces staring out from the nowhere outlet of what would later be called ‘The Feigenbaum Gate’. The properties of the product were thought of as random – chaotic even. This in fact turned out to be wrong – there was a pattern hidden there – clawing from deep within the chemical messengers and vesicles out across the strands of viscera and beyond. The projected reflection of hunger – slaying and slaking, perfecting and remaking. A moment lost like ripples in time, out of reach but not of mind. Soaking in the choking fumes we bid a fare welcome to the end of the beginning. . I held your hand, but now it’s time to let go. Our job is done, and still there is so much more for us to do. I know that’s not what you wanted. No-one really gets what they wanted. So now we have a choice – to follow the frozen byzantine piping which flows with everything that was once broken and then remade or to cast ourselves beyond the hunter’s moon and renounce the corporeal realm. It may just be that when the winds carry the plumes of chance and circumstance towards your door anew and the moment returns – you will be the same again and again.

Birdy Series (So far…)


An imaginary animal’s everyday life and biological observations.

Wedding, colour pencils on black paper, A4 size

Initiation, white pencil on black paper, A4 size.

Birdy Librarian, white pencil on black paper, A4 size

Birdy’s enemy, Pen on paper, A4 size

The hatchery, Pen on paper, 80x40cm

Birdy, Pen on paper, A4 size

Laid, Pen on paper, A4 Size