Monday, April 07, 2008

With the prisoned radiance of electric hearts

Sixteen screws per crate had to be unscrewed, by hand, that is. Somebody mentioned Marie Curie and the discovery of radium. The single parts were thoroughly wrapped and padded in plastic, as if to be shipped overseas.

I had imagined my first encounter with the Dreamachine to be somewhat different. But it turned out to be a magnificent ouverture to an impressive evening under the auspices of Aries, who brings out fine specimen, apparently, and one such specimen himself, Doctor Woodard, as well as the Dreamachine, the laterna magica, revolving stupendously at eleven cycles per second in a small cavelike rondel, called the Bergfried, behind the long banquet table.

Being familiar with the idea behind the Dreamachine, its frequency of stroboscopic light emission supposed to hook up gently with the brain’s idling state rhythm in the alpha (8–12 Hz) frequency range, I quite liked the fact that Woodard had decidedly chosen a prime-number frequency for this very exemplar:

I thought—and still think—that choosing a prime rhythm will make it the more difficult for the machine and my brain to hook up, like musicians haggling over the right groove, and I like the idea of this argument, as a kind of meta-play on the whole idea of the Dreamachine—just as the 13-year and the 17-year cicadas of Northern America avoid their predators by making an encounter highly unlikely simply through their own prime-number cycles of occurence—

All these thoughts were swarming like nervous insects behind my closed eyelids, possibly drawn towards the forceful light, as we got under friendly fire from the 200-Watt light bulb inside the copper-made revolver slash lampshade.

Also, as we sat there, Woodard and we, his guests, that night, with impressive encounters and instructive conversations all around, in front of this radiating perforated piece of metal, all of a sudden the 99-year old words of Marinetti (a constant guiding figure here at the WALL OF TIME) beautifully came to life and were filled with new, finally personal significance:

We had stayed up all night, my friends and I, under hanging mosque lamps with domes of filigreed brass, domes starred like our spirits, shining like them with the prisoned radiance of electric hearts.

Update—Another of Woodard’s guests, Momus, running of the best blogs imaginable, has also described and filmed this event.

Dieser Beitrag ist auf Englisch, doch einiges an der Zeitmauer gibt es auch in der hervorragenden Kultur- und Verwaltungssprache Deutsch zu lesen.