Argonautica Holographicum (Part V)

For Part I, click here

For Part II, click here

For Part III, click here

For Part IV, click here


V

Outside the holding cells of the local precinct the two gentlemen from the Pangu Foundation, Hoffit and Maldacena, are halfway through their golden cigarettes. They are wearing identical tang suits, black with white trim. Hoffit is leaning forward on the edge of a plastic chair attached to the wall, elbows on knees. Maldacena is standing beside him, balancing on his heels, his back against the white brick wall. Both men appear lost in deep thought.

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Argonautica Holographicum (Part IV)

For Part I, click here

For Part II, click here

For Part III, click here


IV

As part of his fellowship Talus stays in a townhouse just across the street from the student union. The small complex is owned by the university and straddles a dead forest extending over the cliffside. A single street connects the townhouses and curves down into the forest, following the edge of the cliff that overlooks the deep maw of the coastline, where the ocean falls off abruptly underneath the earth.

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Argonautica Holographicum (Part III)

To read Part I, click here

To read Part II, click here


III

Later that week Talus meets with two gentlemen from the Pangu Foundation, Hoffit and Maldacena. They’re both in their late forties, both white, European. They wear matching tang suits. Hoffit is balding and wears a white moustache and pair of heavy jowls. Maldacena wears a flat top, closely cropped and dyed black to hide his age, though he shows plenty of silver in his stubble. His eyes are black and his brow is heavy and level. They both smoke golden cigarettes, Maldacena very quickly and Hoffit slower, more absent-mindedly. By the time Talus finds them in one of the classrooms of the science building a yellow pall has settled over the desks. He shakes their hands and takes a seat at one of the chairs in the front row. Hoffit sits behind a long rectangular table across from Talus, while Maldacena rests his hip on top of the table.

“We read your email,” Maldacena says in a growling, baritone voice. “The one you sent to the Center’s director.”

“You read my email to Jen?” Talus asks, smiling at first. “Are you guys allowed to do that?”

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Argonautica Holographicum (Part II)

To read Part I, click here


II

The black box theory of consciousness states that the mind can be fully understood once its inputs and outputs are well-defined. That is to say, when everything surrounding the system is known, the system will be known, too. Though, at such a time, the understanding itself always loses its original intention, for a system whose inputs and outputs are well-defined has vanished into the background of yet another, larger system. And how one understands that still larger system must be answered again by the same endeavour.

To understand Midi, the simulated woman, and her peculiar response to Talus’s command line, is to understand the circumstances of her life within the simulated reality of the Q7.

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An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump

I’ve been obsessed with this painting by Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-97) for the last few weeks. I love the use of chiaroscuro in general, and I love how Wright has used it to deify the scientific experiment. I’ve also been reading Boynton’s Beginnings of Modern Science, a collection of the early letters and essays showing the development of major scientific fields of study. I am always in awe of our curiosity and ingenuity as a species.

This poem is also dedicated to Artschaft, whose excellent art criticism has exposed me to lots of new art and artists. I encourage you to have a look at her work.


 

An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump

 

And Boyle said let there be the element

primitive and perfectly unmingled body

made of no others nor of each other mixt

of one and only one kind making all things.

 

I know this because they know this.

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