--> ap/xxxxx


rewrite of makeart presentation and goby slides: (makeart_notes#2)

slides: makeart4.gby

xxxxx: a journey into light (Reise ins Licht)

To begin with light:

[opening forest image]

Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow

[Eric S. Raymond]

The credo of an open source movement inspired by an economy of functionality. At the same time, without light these disembodied eyeballs can do little work. xxxxx as overarching project presents free software as light; an alternative (to) economy and to functionality / such an alternative is the angle of refraction - a split beam which can trace a so-called history in software. The story of a journey or voyage (set off on one evening, against the day) into light which can begin with the both the dark exterior of a CPU (Central Processing Unit), that black box which embraces the closed circuit of economy, that which stands as the ignorant dark heart of free software, and a so-called historical heart or root in the darkness of the MIT AI lab, enlivened by the flicker of memory-tied bulbs on the front panels of machines, messages from that dark interior reflected in the (glass) architecture of the building itself; the birthplace of twinned operating systems, the Incompatible Time-Sharing System, or ITS, mocking its sister Compatible Time-Sharing System.

[cpu image]

And both with a nod to the management of time, the very foundation and functionality of an operating system itself - the need for management of time evident as processes and time for a user (GHz and work), a dark rationale for the day which makes evident economy. And what takes place within the short circuit or pure economy of the CPU as object of industry, the rising edge of a voltage high, a ONE, in no time driving the design of architectures to be mapped by intrepid engineers in the mirror, in reverse, a city-scape reflected in the languages and constructions modelling the world, fabricated by pure fiction coders. An economy of that which "does" ("what does it do?").

[2 byte images - diagrams]

The large computer, being a very expensive resource, quickly justified the capital required to investigate optimum use of that resource. Among the principle results of these projects was the development of batch mode multiprocessing. The computer itself would save up the various tasks it had to do then change from one to the other at computer speeds. This minimised the wasted time between jobs and spawned the concept of an operating system (itals).

[Byte Magazine 1979]

The operating system is mapped over the CPU - it is that (Babel tower) of compilers, interpreters, assemblers, microcompilers, languages, of acronyms - of that which hides from the light.

[Babel image]

The operating system as entry point into the economic in all senses - economies of usability and of narrowed so-called interface (user becoming a subject of the OS, under the OS and to be coded for), economies of time-sharing (the original purpose) made plain here.

At the same time and with so-called security, anti-viral utilities for self-surveillance, as the link to economy, a ringfenced security, ITS is once again relevant in the context of a certain promiscuity which is precisely the realm of computation, of compilers, interpreters and self-modifying code. That precisely data, the physical, is code.


ITS, in contrast, had a command whose specific function was crashing the system. All you had to do was type KILL SYSTEM, and the PDP-6 would grind to a halt. The idea was to take all the fun away from crashing the system by making it trivial to do that. On rare occasions, some loser would look at the available commands and say, "Wonder what KILL does?" and bring the system down, but by and large ITS proved that the best security was no security at all.

[Steven Levy. Hackers. Penguin 1984]

Promiscuity as a major element within the construction of our artistic operating system, as a wormholed conduit from open hardware to free software: the promiscuOS project building on an exposed CPU yet to be mapped here, a mapping over the world, extrapolating a denial of (the) material which closed hardware describes; a politics which can easily be extrapolated from the realm of computation, such a locking-out is equally mimed by software. Users and software are heavily segregated under a universal operating system design which is haunted by the spectre of the viral and thus denies the potential of active, shared and networked play. PromiscuOS is concerned with the elaboration, in software, of an active networked operating system which exposes and interrogates control. This OS is concerned with non-functional artistic generation at socially-implied levels of code and production, favouring promiscuous, leaky code and data over security and division by function or task.

[leaks demonstration in buffer]

Twin terms light and time are put to work both in equations of economy (daylight saving time, time is money, ) and as a revelation which is film that software to some extent inherits as a dark centre, the CPU drawn from a measurement of work or cycles, each relating to an externalised mnemonic instruction (taking so many cycles) gleaned solely from the fiction which the data sheet represents. Equally time by light divided and broken up to measure and predict trajectory (the Gravity's Rainbow of Leibniz), to further divide light as frames for a story - taking place within the first or primal studio, Thomas Edison's Black Maria which is equally in this division (into instructions) the first CPU.

[studio internal]

The operation is simple under an internal, electric sunlight, the lid of the studio opened (truly open hardware) into the darkness. The script or program is performed or improvised, other than real, already a spectral double, ready for compilation or interpretation.

[studio external]

From 24 frames per second as a binary frequency (the lens of both camera and projector is either totally open or closed) into GHz, equally a frequency of broadcast; transmission as that noise of execution which is excluded by law. A return to frequency which can proceed towards that of visible light.

And before arriving at a map for xxxxx, to be drawn out soon, we have already a route from light and time towards an operating system, with the project described as the specification of an expanded artistic OS, open hardware, and economy. It's a journey without that map which embraces these doubles, this double refraction, the light, against the day of Thomas Pynchon and the equally paranoiac enlightening and the Gnostic or Manichean pink light (one one side) of Philip K Dick, what can be described as a relation to the existent (mirroring):

Deep among the equations describing the behaviour of light, field equations, Vector and Quaternion equations, lies a set of directions, an itinerary, a map to a hidden space. Double refraction appears again and again as a key element, permitting a view into a Creation set just to the side of this one, so close as to overlap, where the membrane between two worlds, in many places, has become too frail, too permeable, for safety... Within the mirror, the scalar term, with the daylit and obvious and taken-for-granted has always lain, as if in wait, the dark itinerary, the corrupted pilgrim's guide, the nameless Station before the first, in the lightless uncreated, where salvation does not yet exist.

[Against the Day. Thomas Pynchon]

The first double:

(call-process-shell-command "/usr/bin/self &" nil 1 nil)

Simple self3 code mirrors black-boxed interiority - a mirror held up to that internal shell (the dark, ceramic interior) - the onion skinned terms of kernel, shell and so on implying a user-related hierarchy masking that dark heart of closed hardware reflected and plotted here, the very place of execution, of property. Self3 is occupied with self reference in code, the split of readable source and active executable, and the exposure of otherwise hidden low-level process. Self3 proposes a poetic code dragon eating its own doubled tail; a process clones itself in order to minutely observe (its own) process. Such doubling is the price of mute self-observation.

A journey into light under the sign of Despair, Fassbinder's doppelganger; another film from the dark interior of Edison's Black Maria. "A map to a hidden space." The idea of a map, traditionally a two dimensional representation, that glass double outside time, a third or fourth axis which could sprout from this blown glass line at further angles of time branching to demonstrate this film or code landscape. This scripting. Code in a landscape dominated by the Black Maria, the black CPU:

Iceland spar is what hides the Hidden People, makes it possible for them to move through the world that thinks of itself as 'real,' provides that all-important ninety-degree twist to their light, so they can exist alongside our own world but not be seen.

[Against the Day. Thomas Pynchon]

[ap0201 image]

The ap0201 project installed in the Mojave desert, California: a custom-built CPU is placed outside in the world, instructions are entered by and from the lone environment. Code segments are exchanged between the three devices.

[ap0201 image]

ap0201 mirroring an equivalent, far more contained code-base, ap0202 within present hardware and a promiscuously inspiring environment of networks, filesystems and user-led operating system trappings:

(call-process-shell-command "/oldroot/AP/ap0202/cells -m10000 -f / -s &" nil 1 nil)

The dark CPU is mapped by xxxxx over the world where execution takes place - the world becoming that mapping with a set of features and architectures outlined by the discretisation of light. The central monument, 2001 style, is Edison's studio located within a forest clearing, a black obelisk which is pure short circuited economy, otherwise known as the system, a tower of Babel, an economy of white rabbits and this tower of multiplications/instructions. Our taught-as-user tower of abstractions opposed to light.

[ap0204 image]

Such a mapping takes place in the forest clearing:

We call this openness that grants a possible letting-appear and show 'opening.' In the history of language the German word Lichtung is a translation derived from the French clairiere. It is formed in accordance with the older words Waldung [foresting] and Feldung [fielding].

The forest clearing [or opening] is experienced in contrast to dense forest, called Dickung in our older language. The substantive Lichtung goes back to the verb lichten. The adjective licht is the same word as 'open.' To open something means to make it light, free and open, e.g., to make the forest free of trees at one place. The free space thus originating is the clearing. What is light in the sense of being free and open has nothing in common with the adjective �light� which means �bright,� neither linguistically nor factually. This is to be observed for the difference between openness and light. Still, it is possible that a factual relation between the two exists. Light can stream into the clearing, into its openness, and let brightness play with darkness in it. But light never first creates openness. Rather, light presupposes openness. However, the clearing, the open region, is not only free for brightness and darkness but also for resonance and echo, for sound and the diminishing of sound. The clearing is the open region for everything that becomes present and absent.

[Martin Heidegger.The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking. Routledge p.441]

The CPU/Black Maria is in the landscape or clearing within a pastoral or fictional scene, a painting after Breugel (the younger) which is purely allegorical (an allegory of autumn, flemish proverbs).


The bug-ridden eye is led finally towards de Quincey's exposure, a crashed carriage: towards the vanishing point of the pinned-down executable. An horizon-line dividing software from hardware. Again, separating a description from an active circuit - the line of an interior, a double. Light and life.(?)

[Despair still]