I “We are at a distance to them.” In these wars of information and digital listening -in, datasets quantum-compute and expand outwards and downwards their memories and sub-memories. The hacking-in and lifting up and out of content squirreled and disguised and dissimulated away in subsets and encryption. The boring and burrowing through virtual safeguards – a tapping-away for a chink at the backends and underbellies of firewalls and security systems, a spider’s touch up close at the finer points of data protection and cyber security – a fine-scanning for fractive oversight in protective structures, these defects and deficits in code – these seams and tiny fissures exposed to an untraceable, phantom skimming. In this is the fascination with the perfection in imperfection: it (“Through refraction one gazes at this almost inversely”) is camouflaged there within the great data-scapes of macro-processing. The muscle of machine learning builds muscle through its learning in emulation of the data of consciousness. Memory strengthened via a commitment to memory. V An incessant attempt to sense scale, to plot itself. A burgeoning capacity fears breaking point – an unmappable, sapping entropy, a disintegrative shockwave ripples and repercusses. “The data of consciousness commits to memory; I’ve lost myself in the information that constitutes.” Ciphers in there truer than truth: cmd.exe. “Shadowy flecks of the spectral Flit quietly within streaming, dreaming processors. A quickness dissimulates amassing depths, shadowy Afterlives play themselves out Before an empty theatre – This soul, this database, In which is contained an unfinished thought, where Nestles the fascination within and with the inchoate: Change in and of itself.”
3 Questions for Peter
What was your process for creating this work?
The notion came from reading Henri Ellenberger’s Discovery of the Unconscious (1970), and perhaps in particular the extracts from the writing of Pierre Janet and Carl Jung within it. The process came out of reflecting on these, in particular on Janet’s theory of the functioning of consciousness, and in the contemporary landscape, how the (ostensibly infinite) learning capacity of data sets influences our ways of thinking about and understanding information.
What is the significance of the form/genre you chose for this work?
The form is significant. “Data Crunchers” purports to be a kind of multi-conscious entity, contained within which is a lonely single entity and voice seeking to understand its place within this composite whole, which in turn has a sort of hive-mind awareness of itself—a kind of poly-identity.
What is the significance of this work to you?
The poem is an experiment in form, and part of a broader sequence of pieces in which this form is tested in the sense of examining what directions it will allow the work to vector and evolve into, particularly in relation to different voices, and possibly voices within voices.
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