WHITEOUT (12:07 min)
(Please turn the sound of mobile device on!)
POINT NO POINT LIGHT
Snow in the form of fine dust is coming down.
Its is not the ideal weather to hike up a mountain,
but we are doing just that.
Soon, the trees give way.
The path, covered by a thick, fresh pack of snow
has become nearly invisible
so we have to use GPS for navigation.
besides GPS we also carry a small, hand-held device called Limenia,
Which picks up electromagnetic radiation from the surroundings
and translates these frequencies into the domains of humanly audible sounds
it serves as an interface,
distilling the intangible and imperceptible infrastructures that are beaming around and straight through us.
our mission is to the top of this mountain, which,
like many other mountains, is marked by an antenna; a radio transmitter,
that we would like to document
As we move along the trail, the atmosphere becomes denser and the wind picks up,
blurring a sense spatial perception
A visual gradient fills my viewing plane, changing its values from grey whites to white greys.
the wind is roaring in my ears
The snow is constantly slowing me down
Limenia has become the only proof of life outside of this grey space.
Its become comforting to hear its sounds in my ears as it pings invisible infrastructures,
assigning parameters to a space my eyes can no longer see
Last month I had the opportunity to speak to several particle physicists
I asked them about hypothetical ‘impossible images’
And I now have a collection of impossible images that offer me an insight into the limits of different imaging technologies.
But the question also offered me a preliminary categorization of ‘impossibilities’.
One scientist told me he wished to have antennas mounted in his eye sockets,
to see through the walls and straight into the electromagnetic spectrum.
With 20/20 electromagnetic vision his sight would entail ev erything from electricity to cosmic rays;
including the colors that I am currently blind too.
With antennas as eyeballs, I would clearly distinguish the antenna on top of this mountain
the beacon would actually be relentlessly screaming at me
in signals stretching beyond the infrared
but i see nothing
as I scale the mountain,
I wonder if there could be creatures out there, in the fog, that,
can perceive the noise of the antenna,
How much of this landscape, hidden in layers of snow and fog,
exists to organisms and networks with passive electronic properties?
Are my human qualities simply inadequate to understand the violence of these intangible signals?
thoughts like these float and sink on the rhythm of the beating wind.
as the path seems to be twisting,
I have lost the sense of light.
As my eyes stare into the greyish white, it seems like all might be dark.
White without light,
white in the dark.
Some years ago, I found myself inhabiting a little cabin in the desert.
I had rented an SUV to get around
But though the car was shaped like an SUV
I found later it did not come with high-suspension or horsepower I expected
Either way I was excited about the endless vastness of the desert,
I drove for days
without a route,
following the heat aberrations and dust devils into the unforeseen.
On one of such drives, I found myself on a dust road,
quickly getting narrower
when suddenly, there was no more space to turn.
Trapped into always moving forward, I saw my path changing
from dust to big sharp rocks.
I spend hours on that path
I remember the extreme relief I felt when I finally reached a clean stretch of asphalt,
looking out over an interstate stretching into the horizon, cutting a valley in two.
In the distance
a pillar of light peeking over the rim of a mountain,
a strange daylight lantern, shining with immense intensity
Forty-five minutes later,
I pulled up at a concentrated solar farm
I swung my door open expecting to hear a buzz,
from the power that incredible white light must harness
But it was quiet,
I closed my eyes.
Suddenly all that was left was the quiet of that space that enclosed me
It might as well
have been as dark as vantablack.
I pull myself back onto the mountain.
Here it is cold, and definitely not that type of white.
The weather has escalated from a gentle snowfall into a storm.
The reflections of
pixelate my sense of horizon,
A line that could have been a guiding beacon.
A particular capacity of the line is to create surface.’
Kandinsky once wrote
This trail presents a space devoid of lines;
It is a place of distortions – without surface, resolution,
Progress without depth or end.
Dictionary of the English Language, describes
seventeen definitions of the Line.
Amongst which a longitudinal extension, a string, contour, and a family line.
These lines are here neither,
Maybe If I run some lines, maybe that could give me a lead….
Aborder, a boundary, a frontier, a limit
An outline, a separator, a perspective, a line of flight, a guideline, a progress bar, a ruler, a red thread, a storyline, a chronology, a Timeline, a vector, a ray of light, a beam, a sequence, an axis, a connector, a link…
I have none of these.
Lines offer not just direction but also shape: a rastrum, grid, wave;
Amaze, a mesh, a labyrinth.
This snow is infinite,
I see none of these possibilities
Everything remains unresolved.
Matt Fuller would probably laugh at me,
But in this problem I cannot even see threads that make the knots
yet things seem to be unravelling
At CERN another scientist spoke to me about the fact that humans can only remember one direction of time;
The direction that accounts for the past.
He speculated about the possibility of a four-dimensional object, that could help him remember a future.
With access to that object, he could carve slices of time – including the future –
Which could then help him navigate the present.
But on this mountain, there is just an endlessness of snowflakes,
And while I can see stories
I can see stories of both my future and my past…
I can carve nothing.
The twirls around me are not uniform.
And the thoughts in my head are dancing.
The white noise is no longer coming down
Its instead comes from all directions –
Without a focus, no start or a path.
The flakes have become the length and depth of my hike.
I have become the distance.
In this intense perspective,
I am the form, I am the lines,
I have become the very matter of the intangible
The storm has entered me and ‘I have become the snow globe’.
A terrible feeling of dread and loneliness comes over me.
This space does not allow me to make place,
To plot and situate myself
Full of invisible rules and viscosities
That keep me from inhabiting it.
Blurred is this blizzard;
A blizzard of thoughts that does not offer me any clear line of definition.
Shadows and shapes appear in the corner of my eyes, apparitions that disappear when I try to see them.
The ghosts are dancing in a fog of flakes and my hair is dancing with them, reaching out like tentacles in front of my eyes.
The twirls of white noise make space for a flurry of references —
Images that take up the space beyond my retina.
These projections in my brain
Is that Steyerls apophenia….
Suddenly there is a little clearing in the sky:
I can see a shimmer of light.
The Sun has given me back a sense of perspective: a vertical perspective.
The final stretch of the track is suddenly there,
and it is not too long before we reach the end of the trail and arrive at the summit of the mountain.
But our video and photographic equipment is depleted.
The base of the Antenna is visible, but the rest is shrouded in grey.
Its sending and repeating inaudible messages, encrypted on different frequencies,
But I can clearly hear them through my Limenia
Obfuscated in snow and fog,
Its stands there like a monument to Grey Media…
Sunshine in my Throat