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It is often assumed that technology, scientific understanding, and human knowledge exists as a linear continuum that progresses and builds upon itself forever. It is presently unfathomable that any information or data once released or collated on the internet should ever disappear from human consciousness. The sensors are out and about, collecting the data. The data is being saved to disk. It will be widely distributed. When data collection is assumed to be ubiquitous, what is more interesting is when there are gaps in the record. Breaks in human understanding, a technological or scientific regression. Take technology for example. If there can be leaps forward, why can't there be leaps backwards, or in any direction really?


final photo at the end of the air sea search for MH370

It is interesting that the tragic events of recent loss of the AirAsia flight have unfolded in a way that has made many recall the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 which has mysteriously gone missing on what seems to be a routine flight from Malaysia to Beijing. It is a true mystery - what has occurred is an indisputable break in the continuum of human understanding. Today we assume that all of the earth has been explored and that there is no place to hide a Boeing 747 plane from the rest of the connected world. But what if we assume that there are places that can still exist without us knowing about them? Can things we do not know, or things beyond our understanding can be meaningful?

The Library of Pulau Saigon

My ultimate interest would be to produce prototypes of philosophical machines which automatically translate phenomena into language and other experiential forms. I would trade these books and libraries full of words for workshops and laboratories filled with tools and instruments. Tools, models, instruments, libraries, and machines do not just follow theory; perhaps there would be no theory without the prototype of the instrument. The instrument determine what is possible, and what we know or think to be possible also circumscribes what is likely to be thought.

If there could be a machine to reconstruct lost archaeological objects, would the outpit of the machine reveal secrets about the place which the objects came from, or would they merely be stating the conventions which we have designed into the machine?


{ keywords: counterfactual / reductio ad absurdum / scenario planning / trends analysis / forecasting / thought experiment / world building / what if / artefacts from the future / design fictions / probes / thought experiments / creating confusion between words and things / exploring future regressions / archaeological ambiguities}

The Museum of Mutating Futures

From seperate text I am trying to write about a Museum of Mutating Futures: Museums are important sites in which we organise our interpretations of the world; they are used to negotiate and establish socio-cultural meaning and ideas of authenticity. They can be used to challenge or to enrich existing interpretations of our possible futures.

Museums with their constructed dioramas, scaled models, and performances of “true stories” are places where we are expected to be receptive, and to come ready to suspend disbelief for a moment in order to become absorbed into the narrative.

The Museum of Mutating Futures is a platform from which we will explore a range of near-future scenarios as it might be explained to children.

Thoughts / Inspiration / References

Roadside Picnic

In 1971, the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky wrote a short science fiction novel known as “Roadside Picnic’. It was later used as the basis for the screenplay of Tarkovsky’s Stalker, although the movie bears little resemblance to the quirkiness of the novel itself, as the first cut of the film had allegedly been shot on poor stock, and financial pressures caused the film to be edited to become a cheaper, simpler allegorical version of the original Roadside Picnic.

Most alien visitation stories imagine that humans are worth the alien’s time in making contact with, or even worth expending resources on to blow us up. We assume that it we can understand aliens on our terms. But what if, similar to Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, the aliens visiting us are so far removed that no meaningful communication is possible? What if they just came and went without so much as noticing us? Like humans stopping by the road to have a picnic, leaving their random, meaningless detritus along the way for the animals to find but never understand?

In short, the objects in this group have absolutely no applications to human life today. Even though from a purely scientific point of view they are of fundamental importance. They are answers that have fallen from heaven to questions that we still can’t pose.

The items left behind were just pieces of garbage, discarded and forgotten by their original user, without any preconceived notions of wanting to advance or damage humanity. Users, inscrutable, whose motivations we cannot understand. The humans pick over the god-like alien’s refuse, some of which the humans use to revolutionise human technology, some of which have unexpectedly destructive effects on the humans. At the end, it leaves the humans rushing to make up theories to explain for the visitation.

  • "A picnic. Picture a forest, a country road, a meadow. Cars drive off the country road into the meadow, a group of young people get out carrying bottles, baskets of food, transistor radios, and cameras. They light fires, pitch tents, turn on the music. In the morning they leave. The animals, birds, and insects that watched in horror through the long night creep out from their hiding places. And what do they see? Old spark plugs and old filters strewn around… Rags, burnt-out bulbs, and a monkey wrench left behind... And of course, the usual mess—apple cores, candy wrappers, charred remains of the campfire, cans, bottles, somebody’s handkerchief, somebody’s penknife, torn newspapers, coins, faded flowers picked in another meadow…"
  • Read a longer excerpt about The Zone


Utsurobune.png Utsurobune2.png

The Utsuro-bune (うつろ舟) or "hollow ship" is an unknown object which was said to have washed ashore on the eastern coast of Japan in 1803, and which is mentioned in 3 texts - Toen shōsetsu (1825), Hyōryū kishū (1835) and Ume-no-chiri (1844). The hollow ship drifted ashore and was found to have carried a beautiful young lady in rich clothes with red hair and very fair skin. Some description of the ship was given that it even had windows made of glass which were completely transparent It is arguable that there were indeed round tub boats in Japan at the time, and that the details may have been embellished to make the tale more believable.

Tarai-bune (Japanese tub boat)


Technically speaking there has been round boats in Japan - from Douglas Brooks, a boat builder’s site: “Taraibune (tub boats) were once found along the Echigo coast of the Sea of Japan and on Sado Island. In spite of their ancient appearance, they date from only the middle of the 19th century. Prior to that, dugouts and plank-built boats were used to collect the rich shallow-water sea life around the southern tip of Sado Island, but in 1802 an earthquake changed the area’s topography, opening up a multitude of narrow fissures in the rocks along the shore into which it was impractical or dangerous to take long, narrow boats. Derived directly from the barrels in which miso is brewed, tub boats proved to be adept at navigating these narrow waterways. Indeed, they can be easily spun in their own length.”

Thung Chai (Vietnamese round boat)

Thungchai.png Vietnamese make an entirely round boat as well.

Parisal (Indian round boat) Parisal.png

Indians also have made ancient coracles since prehistoric times. Primitive, light, bowl-shaped boats with a frame of woven grasses, reeds, or saplings covered with hides.

Coracle (Ancient welsh boat design)


Lightweight Coracle boats are also built in Wales and other parts of the world. "Each coracle is unique in design, as it is tailored to the river conditions where it was built and intended to be used. In general there is one design per river, but this is not always the case. The Teifi coracle, for instance, is flat-bottomed, as it is designed to negotiate shallow rapids, common on the river in the summer, while the Carmarthen coracle is rounder and deeper, because it is used in tidal waters on the Tywi, where there are no rapids. Teifi coracles are made from locally harvested wood – willow for the laths (body of the boat), hazel for the weave (Y bleth in Welsh – the bit round the top) – while Tywi coracles have been made from sawn ash for a long time. The working boats tend to be made from fibreglass these days. Teifi coracles use no nails, relying on the interweaving of the laths for structural coherence, whilst the Carmarthen ones use copper nails and no interweaving."

A Canticle for Leibowitz


In the post-apocalpytic universe of Walter Miller’s “A Canticle for Leibowitz”, the first part of the novel is about the young Brother Francis who discovers a fallout survival shelter in which he finds the ancient Leibowitz Blueprints. Brother Francis is part of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz which seeks to preserve the last remnant’s of man’s scientific knowledge until the world is ready for them again. His task is not to explore or 'tamper' with ‘interesting hardware’ (noting a case in which another monastic excavator had been last exploring some so-called “intercontinental launching pad” and the village was now a lake with a big scary catfish living in it). His job instead is just to preserve archives, texts, and books in a universe where scientific knowledge has been lost, where socio-technological regression has occurred in reaction to offensive technologies / technological weapons. This preservation through oral transmission and hand-copied prints is reflected in religious behaviour and practices.

Back at the Abbey, Brother Francis painstakingly creates an illuminated copy of these drawings and is going to present them to the pope, but on the way someone steals the illuminated copy from him. Brother Francis continues on and manages to give the Leibowitz blueprints to the pope as a gift. On his way home he tries to get his illuminated copy back but is murdered in an untimely fashion by a group of “the Pope’s children” (people with severe genetic mutation caused by the effects of radiation).

My favourite part of the book still has to be the beginning section, at the point when I first read it without immediate knowledge of what the book was about - until one realises they are describing fragments of a normal life, a circuit diagram and this young monk has been mindlessly copying it out, tracing it out like a sacred text, completely unintelligible to his mind, followed by his own "impersonal disaster", which results in his search for knowledge being discontinued. What fascinates me is the sensorial, real, observable minutiae which mark these experiences as being "real" or believable to us.


  • "As Brother Francis readily admitted, his mastery of pre-Deluge English was far from masterful yet. The way nouns could sometimes modify other nouns in that tongue had always been one of his weak points. In Latin, as in most simple dialects of the region, a construction like servus puer meant about the same thing as puer servus, and even in English slave boy meant boy slave. But there the similarity ended. He had finally learned that house cat did not mean cat house, and that a dative of purpose or possession, as in mihi amicus, was somehow conveyed by dog food or sentry box even without inflection. But what of a triple appositive like fallout survival shelter? Brother Francis shook his head. The Warning on Inner Hatch mentioned food, water, and air; and yet surely these were not necessities for the fiends of Hell. At times, the novice found pre-Deluge English more perplexing than either Intermediate Angelology or Saint Leslie's theological calculus..."
  • ""The ruins above ground had been reduced to archaeological ambiguity by generations of scavengers, but this underground ruin had been touched by no hand but the hand of impersonal disaster. The place seemed haunted by the presences of another age. A skull, lying among the rocks in a darker corner, still retained a gold tooth in its grin—clear evidence that the shelter had never been invaded by wanderers. The gold incisor flickered when the fire danced high."
  • "First he examined the jotted notes. They were scrawled by the same hand that had written the note glued to the lid, and the penmanship was no less abominable. Pound pastrami, said one note, can kraut, six bagels,—bring home for Emma. Another reminded: Remember-pick up Form 1040, Uncle Revenue. Another was only a column of figures with a circled total from which a second amount was subtracted and finally a percentage taken, followed by the word damn! Brother Francis checked the figures; he could find no fault with the abominable penman's arithmetic at least, although he could deduce nothing about what the quantities might represent."
  • "The monks of the earliest days had not counted on the human ability to generate a new cultural inheritance in a couple of generations if an old one is utterly destroyed, to generate it by virtue of lawgivers and prophets, geniuses or maniacs; through a Moses, or through a Hitler, or an ignorant but tyrannical grandfather, a cultural inheritance may be acquired between dusk and dawn, and many have been so acquired. But the new "culture" was an inheritance of darkness, wherein "simpleton" meant the same thing as "citizen" meant the same thing as "slave." The monks waited. It mattered not at all to them that the knowledge they saved was useless, that much of it was not really knowledge now, was as inscrutable to the monks in some instances as it would be to an illiterate wild-boy from the hills; this knowledge was empty of content, its subject matter long since gone. Still, such knowledge had a symbolic structure that was peculiar to itself, and at least the symbol-interplay could be observed. To observe the way a knowledge-system is knit together is to learn at least a minimum knowledge-of-knowledge, until someday — someday, or some century — an Integrator would come, and things would be fitted together again. So time mattered not at all. The Memorabilia was there, and it was given to them by duty to preserve, and preserve it they would if the darkness in the world lasted ten more centuries, or even ten thousand years..."



  • "The set of objects the Museum displays is sustained only by the fiction that they somehow constitute a coherent representational universe. The fiction is that a repeated metonymic displacement of fragment for totality, object to label, series of objects to series of labels, can still produce a representation which is somehow adequate to a nonlinguistic universe... Should the fiction disappear, there is nothing left of the museum but “bric-a-brac...” a heap of meaningless and valueless fragments of objects (which are incapable of substituting themselves either metonymically for the original objects or the metaphorically for their representation." - [Eugenio Donato - from The museum’s Furnace: Notes towards a contextual reading of Bouvard and pecuchet (Ithaca. N.Y. 1979) in Josue V Harari. ed. Textual Strategies, 213-38]

Terry Bisson

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat, it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat." "Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you probed? You're sure they won't remember?" "They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them." "A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

  • purchasing parity, big mac index
  • hello america
  • barthes japan
  • Hebrews 11-13New International Version (NIV). Faith in Action. 11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
  • great gatsby contradictions in your head
  • cargo cult
  • negative capability
  • L'Argent, bresson

  • welcome to the museum of curiosity

because of the unique way that the bbc allocates its funding we’ve been allocated this huge magnificent building but no money.

The Museum of Curiosity is, as ever, hosted by the Professor of Ignorance from the University of Buckingham John Lloyd (now with added C.B.E). For this, the fourth series, he is joined by the intensely curious comedian Dave Gorman as his Curator. Dave is the latest in a line of illustrious Museum curators: Bill Bailey, Sean Lock and Jon Richardson.

The Museum of Curiosity has a unique method for collecting exhibits. Once a week it welcomes three luminaries from widely different specialist fields and asks them to bring with them their most treasured items to donate.

The Museum's collection already boasts The Big Bang When It Was The Size Of A Grapefruit; A Pineapple; A Yard Of Silence; Nothing; A British Railways Bridge Plate; A Telepathic Sheep; A Chimpanzee Rain Dance; An Impossible Rabbit; A Gay Bomb; A Choir Of Singing Sand Dunes; National Ignorance Day (of which we know nothing); and An Icelandic Volcano (long before they were fashionable).

Scrapeing letters offf Recursiveness. Magical thinking where printing is concerned. Scale print bed not flat - unlevel, worse at corners watcing it Printer fengshui? Meditating drones WHY DID I NOT GET AN SL PRINTER? WHY? WHY? SL 3D printing has a lot less drama to it than FFF 3D printing: there is no filament spools to get entangled, no nozzle clogging, no overheating hot-ends, no disastrous warps or other similar entertaining events. - See more at: when my body make contact with the 3d printer i hear a sound in m headphones

  • moving it to less about the filling it as blank holes and more about the vagaries and critique of the internet's understanding of what an object is

what about the magic we give to objects

  • james said why so uninteresting? what's behind it?
  • charlotte: sucks out the romance of wanting to know what it is
  • designed intention glitch

  • there are so many uncontrollable factors and unexpected outputs that ive almost begun to believe in printer fengshui. like right now i think my table has good fengshui for 3d printers because the prints looked nicer when i printed with the machine on this table.

Between 24% and 25% Cura changes it's algorithm for infill. At 24% it prints basically the same pattern on every layer. At 25% it prints the same pattern but odd layers all the lines are parallel and on the next (even) layer all the lines run in the other direction perpendicular to the odd layer. This pattern looks much more dense looking down on the print but has more gaps (or at least isn't as strong bonding between layers) when looking horizontally.

You can also increasing the infil to 25%. Instead of creating a square infil pattern, Cura will make parallel lines much tighter every other layer creating a better bed (or possibly airflow between gaps?) that dramatically reduce/eliminate pillowing.

Foreword from the book The Campo del Cielo Meteorites – Vol. 1: El Taco

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev: What is in the world that is older than the world?

Daniel Birnbaum: So you mean this object is somehow not part of our world?

CCB: Yes—it has become part of our world, but it comes from far away and is very, very old. It is transcendent and immanent at once. And it is in such an impossible condition because it has gone through a sort of trauma when it got pulled into our orbit and was shattered.

DB: I presume that this will be the oldest object in the exhibition. Are you sure it is an artwork?

CCB: Are we sure of anything? Are we sure that we are “we” because we know we shall die, and because we have language? What is an artwork according to you?

DB: Well, I doubt that I can give you a satisfactory definition of the notion of “art” right away. But I am quite convinced that this cosmic readymade will be accepted as a work of art—and a pretty great one at that. There is a rather recent book titled After Finitude by the French philosopher Quentin Meillassoux that would be worth mentioning here. He talks about objects that are so ancient that they precede not only humanity and intelligent life on the planet, but also any form of life known to us. He asks what these objects might have to say about our modern philosophical tradition, which takes subjectivity and language as its starting point. For him, the fact that we have these objects and can make scientific statements about them forces us beyond an insistence on finitude that is typical of modern thinking after Kant. The meteorite could be an example…

CCB: Yes, it could, if one looks at it from the point of view of time. However, Karl Marx, in “The Meteors,” the fifth chapter of his doctoral dissertation, uses the theory of celestial bodies of Epicurus to argue almost the opposite. To him, understanding the materiality of meteorites allows one to avoid any belief in the unknowable and the infinite: “The heavenly bodies are the supreme realization of weight. In them all antinomies between form and matter, between concept and existence, which constituted the development of the atom, are resolved; in them, all required determinations are realized”. One way or another, the Campo del Cielo meteorite field 1,200 kilometers north of Buenos Aires in Argentina was known from time immemorial to the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the region and since the late sixteenth century to the Spanish, although only in the late 1700s were scientists convinced that meteorites fell from the sky and were not rocks coming from the earth’s core.

DB: One last question. With this exhibition we are trying to rejoin what belongs together. But, of course, our rock is still in two parts. Do you see this as a tragic work?

CCB: I see the reunification of El Taco meteorite, from Campo del Cielo, as a joyous work that celebrates—at least provisionally—the possibility of reintegration. The fact that it gets divided again, at the end of the exhibition, just means that art could be a lot better than life.

thought vectors

The idea that thoughts can be captured and distilled down to cold sequences of digits is controversial, Hinton said. “There’ll be a lot of people who argue against it, who say you can’t capture a thought like that, he added. But there’s no reason why not. I think you can capture a thought by a vector.”

comment - will it finally prove that language is either incomplete or inconsistent