presentation at goldsmiths' college, february 2008

Table of Contents

life coding


… as a play or theory of (exposed) encapsulation …

peenemünde project description

a journey into light …


– the screen is a dim page spread before us, white and silent

[Gravity's Rainbow p760]



The Peenemünde location, hermetically sealed by military and scientific interests for over fifty years prior to the reunification of Germany in 1990, acts as a questionable, treacherous and highly concentrated site for an examination of information, signal meaning and technology, under the overarching parabola of Thomas Pynchon's epic novel Gravity's Rainbow.

Heeresversuchsstelle Peenemünde (HVP)

http://1010.co.uk/images/Rocket-insignia.jpg http://1010.co.uk/images/frau1.jpg

Under the technical directorship of one Wernher von Braun, so-called father of the cold war US space program, major developments encompassing aerodynamics, analogue computing and surveillance technologies took place at this site within the context of the V-2 (A4) rocket development, and against the backdrop of the Third Reich military-industrial apparatus. We can enumerate a series of so-called firsts: the first entry of a man-made object into near space in October 1942, the invention of the analogue computer (characterised as an embedding of mathematics within the real (Helmut Hoelzer)], closed circuit television technologies.


During the early 1940s Peenemünde can be characterised as an engineer's paradise, with skies little darkened by a twin location in the Harz mountains later devoted to the production of rockets using enforced labour; Mittelbau-Dora where 20,000 prisoners died in 18 months. The trajectory, technological development and war can easily be sketched, helped by the mythic figure of Wernher von Braun, tracing a route from early rocket amateur work in the 1920s, inspired by Fritz Lang's Frau im Mond, towards Peenemünde, and post-war through popularisation of space travel during the cold war with Walt Disney as partner figure.


During the early 1920s, the Peenemünde site presented a vast living and working complex, at one point employing 12,000 scientists, engineers and forced labourers occupying the peninsula. The site was almost totally destroyed by both Allied bombing in 1943 and 1944, and by international agreement after the Second World War. An erased location, bearing few traces of previous occupation, Peenemünde signals a too clear meaning, contrasting the utopic dream of spaceflight with an economy of propaganda, and destruction. The landscape is perhaps too easily decoded, inviting both speculative psycho-historical mapping, and advanced decryption technique.


Peenemünde is a place concerned precisely with hiding, and it is this hiding which allows for the however visible overlap of two diagrams, one over the other; an historical map, the now erased Heeresversuchsstelle (army research centre), and another set of diagrams which hint at concealment, those attempting to both map and construct a contemporary digital (landscape).

encapsulation and embeddings//OSI layer model


We can examine and question, as given, the onion-skinning of protocols, levels and layers of protection and privilege, circles and rings after Dante, and Pasolini. Finally to arrive at Oberst Endian's rocket mandala: KEZVH. Klar, Entluftung, Zundstufe, Vorstufe, Hauptstufe (main stage) encoded in the sky over Alexanderplatz (Gravity's Rainbow). And all of this, a circular design within diagram and structure of discovery or (signal) detection, arriving back at its own staging (for what divined, so-to-say conspiratorial purpose) is present within modern networking design and protocol; agreements precisely of (information) exchange. These layered diagrams are named as OSI Reference Model or TCP/IP model, before arriving again at issues of concealment and more obviously cryptography.


The two diagrams overlaid point towards another, more traditional model, which equally occupies the networked imagination, steganography described as the concealment of the fact that there exactly IS a hidden message. Yet, neither is there this alterity of a well-intentioned signal, noise, the surface appreciation of an encrypted code. Rather a clear or cover message, however innocent which belies the presence of hidden information; originally hair grown to cover an image, map or message tattooed on the low-bandwidth carrier's head. A hidden writing, after the apparent magician Johannes Trithemius whose own Steganographia, encrypted a treatise on the very subject of cryptography, within an ostensibly magical text. A circle again drawn on the map, embracing our two diagrams, seven layers advancing steganographic possibilities under the most recent model, before we even examine encryption as technique.

// encapsulation - and rationalism


  • and language
  • and simulation/Welt am Draht -> Endophysics

The film: Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Welt am Draht. Thus a series of ever expanding containers, Searle's Chinese room embeddings. Leading both to the Kopf embeddings within Fassbinder's two part magnum opus, and equally to the question of interface. The clue that such a world reverse engineering, this mock turtle science, is on the right paranoiac or conspiratorial track revealed through further empirical evidence or coincidence. (Godel's incompleteness, Bohr's blind man's cane.)

Embeddings of real and virtual worlds within the context of consumption - a primary computer simulated world designed to provoke statistics…


I sat there for an eternity, staring incredulously ahead.

The road ended a hundred feet away.

On each side of the strip, the very earth itself dropped off into an impenetrable barrier of stygian blackness.

Out there were no stars, no moonlight – only the nothingness within nothingness that might be found beyond the darkest infinity.

[Simulacron-3.Daniel Galouye]



A notion of crashing, which embeds "of itself and not itself" as outlined in Welt am Draht and less so in the rest of works such as The Matrix (ignored for evident conceptual and aesthetic reasons), which share with The 13th Floor (another descendant of Galouye's Simulacron-3) the moment of bland revelation, hitting an edge of the simulation with a truth beyond. Mise en scene of nested illusions. In contrast Welt am Draht suggests an overlapping of interior Welt simulation with making simulation (the extruded machinery of simulation), and being outside; a mapped interior/exterior kopfschmerz of two holdings, constructing and constructed overlap which is crash; overmapping of the trajectorial at/on multiple simultaneous sites. One last note relating to Simulacron-3: a drawing found amongst the research notes of a previously disappeared scientist (who is aware of the simulated nature of this world) illustrates Zeno's paradox.


Fassbinder's Welt Am Draht is based on a novel, Simulacron-3, by Daniel F. Galouye in 1964, which is well referenced at the beginning of Otto Roessler's first manifesto for a new kind of science: Endophysics (1992) , or precisely science or physics from WITHIN. Equally the question of a "world as interface" - a thought movement made possible by the use of computers and the descriptive active means of programming languages to model the wonderland world: embedding a world for an equally embeddable observer (the Kopf). A science born of a science fiction which further following the conspiratorial track is further related (in 1970) by Konrad Zuse in his essay Rechnende Raum, or Calculating space/room.

  • [as a] protocol

layering and protocols at each level - protocols as a scheme of/for fiction

the protocols - protocols of/for mapping


of/for description and construction of a world

again this embedding and circle - of describing itself

The list of protocols:

  • a) W.A.S.T.E
    • the first protocol concerned with hiding and the evident(ce).

    [an appearance]

    1] the network exists 2] hallucination 3] it's a plot (against you) 4] fantasying a plot

    You find you are writing notes to yourself, first thing in the morning: calm, reasoned assurances to the screaming mental case inside—1. It is a combination. 1.1 It is a scalar quantity. 1.2. Its negative aspects are distributed isotropically. 2. It is not a conspiracy. 2.1 It is not a vector. 2.11 It is not aimed at anybody. 2.12 It is not aimed at me . . . u.s.w. The coffee begins to taste more and more metallic.

    [GR p 414]

    anti-paranoia - there is no connectivity

    • no signal/vacuum
    • encrypted signal
    • steganographed signal - the carrier is the obvious " - good and a bad rocket"
    • an erased signal in this case

    Wernher von Braun - nothing disappears without a trace:

    Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death.

  • b) alice

    our container:

    A boat beneath a sunny sky, Lingering onward dreamily In an evening of July -

    Children three that nestle near, Eager eye and willing ear, Pleased a simple tale to hear -

    Long has paled that sunny sky: Echoes fade and memories die: Autumn frosts have slain July.

    Still she haunts me, phantomwise, Alice moving under skies Never seen by waking eyes.

    Children yet, the tale to hear, Eager eye and willing ear, Lovingly shall nestle near.

    In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die:

    Ever drifting down the stream - Lingering in the golden dream - Life, what is it but a dream?

    alice acrostic in signal territory/ yet another "too obvious" message

    //demonstration: python scapytest.py IPADDR and wireshark

  • c) forest/clearing

    (a journey into light - revelation)

    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:

    into the clearing/a journey into light:

    Despair - Eine Reise ins Licht



    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].

  • xxxxx

    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]

  • d) chicken


    From Berlin Alexanderplatz [Epilog], Rainer Werner Fassbinder

    das huhn besteht aus dem äusseren. nimmt man das äussere weg, bleibt das innere. nimmt man das innere weg, bleibt die seele

    [after Godard: Vivre sa Vie: A chicken is an animal with an inside and an outside. Remove the outside, there's the inside. Remove the inside, and you see the soul. ]

  • e) sheep/island

    Promenade des Anglais//nativity or some other advent/ure

    passed over

    Heidegger (by way of Derrida - Of Spirit):

    What does "world" mean when we are speaking of the darkening of the world? The world is always world of spirit (Geistige Welt). Animals have no world, nor do they have world-environment…

    (Sein und Zeit)

    Arriving at the island/vacuum protocol after:

    What if there is no Vacuum? Or if there is—what if They're using it on you? What if They find it convenient to preach an island of life surrounded by a void? Not just the Earth in space, but your own individual life in time? What if it's in Their interest to have you believing that?

    “He won't bother us for a while,” They tell each other. “I just put him on the Dark Dream.” They drink together, shoot very very synthetic drugs into skin or blood, run incredible electronic waveforms into Their skulls, directly into the brainstem, and backhand each other, playfully, with openmouth laugh—-you know, don't you is in those ageless eyes . . . They speak of taking So-and-So and “putting him on the Dream.” They use the phrase for each other too, in sterile tenderness, when bad news is passed, at the annual Roasts, when the endless mind-gaming catches a colleague unprepared—”Boy, did we put him on the Dream.” You know, don't you?

    [Gravity's Rainbow. Thomas Pynchon 1973 p697]



Islands: clotted islands in the sea. Sometimes even the topographic lines, nested on a common point. 'It is the map of my Ur-Heimat,' imagine a shriek so quiet it's almost a whisper, 'the Kingdom of Lord Blicero. A white land.' I had a sudden understanding: he was seeing the world now in mythical regions: they had their maps, real mountains, rivers, and colors. It was not Germany he moved through. It was his own space…

We sailed Lower Saxony, island to island. Each firing-site was another island, in a white sea. Each island had its peak in the center … was it the position of the Rocket itself? the moment of liftoff? A German Odyssey. Which one would be the last, the home island?

  • f] vacuum

    victim in a vacuum!

    Nur . . . ein . . . Op-fer!

    Sehr ins Vakuuni, ("Won't somebody take advantage of me?")

    Wird niemand ausnut-zen mich, auch? ("Just a slave with nobody to slave for,")

    Nur ein Sklave, ohne Her-rin, (ya-ta ta-fez) ("A-and who th' heck wants ta be, free?")

    Wer zum Teufel die Freiheit, braucht?

    (All together now, all you masochists out there, specially those of you don't have a partner tonight, alone with those fantasies that don't look like they'll ever come true—want you just to join in here with your brothers and sisters, let each other know you're alive and sincere, try to break through the silences, try to reach through and connect. . . .)

    Aw, the sodium lights-aren't, so bright in Berlin,

    I go to the bars dear, but nobody's in!

    Oh, I'd much rather bee

    In a Greek trage-dee,

    Than be a VICTIM IN A VACUUM to-nite!



Author: m <m@1010.co.uk>

Date: 2009-12-31 15:41:40 GMT

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