“Quayola (aka ‘dQ’) and Memo Akten through digital production outfit Nexus Interactive Arts, have created ‘Forms’, a multiscreen digital artwork commissioned by the National Media Museum for the exhibition In the Blink of an Eye: Media and Movement, which is part of the Cultural Olympiad programme. This generative animation and interactive installation will display at the Museum from 9 March – 2 September.”
Paris, June 2011.
LoF as evidenced by Wanderer llam5.
Walking around in Louvre today made me think, as I often do in museums and super-markets, of Jorge Borges nearly infinite library. His library, one of books, is a repository of every novel that has ever been or could ever be written, including every shade of gibberish in between. One should indulge themselves in reading his remarkable thought experiment, to which this essay is a mere appendix.
Rearrangements of letters can create or destroy legibility. Likewise, particles of matter can organize or melt away from recognizable shapes. It is difficult to determine true chaos from sublime knowledge, encrypted by the observer’s limited tools of comprehension. Thusly, many fantastic ideas, encased in ignorance, have been thrown to the gutter with so much refuse! Despite those tragedies, I longed for a sister system to Borges’ library, one of shapes rather than letters, and in so doing, discovered something that startled me.
This essay describes a massive system, of mysterious origin, which I became aware of through the conveyance of scant but priceless information, by means that I am, on the first page, still nervous to describe. The impenetrable, unbending mind of the Creator fueled the manufacture and display of all possible shapes. This required, over millennia, construction of an infrastructure the size of many galaxies. Because it would be torn apart by gravity waves, it exists within a deep void, relying on the space between things. Its original name is unknown, but it is referred to as The Library of Form (LoF) by the Curators, Wanderers, and Chosen Guard who dwell within. LoF approaches infinite in scale, yet as any system with unbreakable rules comes to know, it must have edges, however unobservable.
Each chamber within LoF, the size of a basketball court, has high reaching walls completely lined with shelving. Arranged along the shelves are the Forms, the soul of the system, made of a mysterious, impenetrable white matter, similar to walls and shelves, in fact, the entire architecture. One can walk all their life from one chamber to the next, confronting the endless supply of Forms.
Two facts are understood about the Forms: None are too heavy to be lifted and examined by a Curator, and each can be a model for something larger or smaller. A Form that is spherical with light texture could represent a planet, or a pea. The chambers and shelf system have clearly been created to display the Forms handsomely, although a method of organization or sequencing has never been deciphered. This is of great perplexity to the Curators. Were the Forms thrown out of order by a bygone population, or were they created that way?
In the center of each chamber is a platform suspended over a deep well by spokes. One can walk from the floor of the chamber, crossing over the well on a spoke, to the platform, which is only slightly larger than the cabinet sized machine that sits on it. The Curators have never discovered a Form that can’t be placed into the cabinet through the glass door on its upper half, and so, theorize that all the Forms came from the cabinets, dubbed the “Makers.” Each Maker is marked with a unique icon, which corresponds to an indestructible ring which each Curator wears, all made of the same white matter.
Throughout LoF there is no technology or moving parts, not even a hinge, because it is meant to last eternally unbreakable, timeless. Yet there is one bright fingerprint left by the Creators of LoF, proof that even timelessness has a beginning: the Makers. Had the spokes failed to self-destruct, which would have plunged the Makers into the wells and away from discovery? Or were they intentionally left behind as a clue to the genius of the Creator?
The Makers have been dormant for all recorded history, keeping in mind that there is, in the absence of writing, an oral tradition that is troubled by memory and great distances. Through careful study of the Forms which depict Makers, the Chosen understand that Makers employed motorized drills and intricate robotic mechanisms to carve the Forms from solid blocks. An un-carved block has never been found, suggesting that the act of manufacturing Forms is completed, and by extension, LoF is a perfect registry. Makers are one of the keys to understanding the intention and culture of the Creator, and from that, the true purpose of the dwellers. And so the quest for meaning takes two routes in LoF: To decipher the system of Forms, or to unlock the mystery of the Makers.
Once the final Form was carved, Makers underwent a self-destruction routine. From this point forward, creation ceased and the Creators function was fulfilled. The Curators function began. It was essential for the Makers to cease, as one of the laws that limit the physical scale of LoF is that there are no duplicates: Each Form is unique. LoF approaches, but strictly resists, infinity.
No Form has ever been discovered which has moving parts. While some Forms have been found that perfectly represent a 5th century Greek water clock, in order to understand the mechanical movement, one would have to find consecutive Forms, like frames of a film.
Some Curators try endlessly to activate the Makers, in search of a code or energy source. Since no un-carved block can be found, and no Maker can be activated, it is understood that the two are linked: should an un-carved block be placed in a Maker, it would come to life. Some Wanderers seek the mythical Creation Chamber. Yet another tribe of Curators are obsessed with using the Makers to create new Forms, to impose their name of perfection on the prison of chaos, to usurp power from the Chosen ones. They have not yet read the poetry in all that surrounds them, wishing to reverse roles with the Creator. But it all ends in despair.
Somewhere in LoF is a perfect sphere, a perfect cube, and a perfect version of each platonic form. Such Forms are very unusual to find, as the great majority are grotesque abstractions. Whole generations of Curators were swept up in various movements to discover and collect the perfect Forms. Passing through thousands of chambers in their vain quest, Curators-become-Wanderers began to purge LoF of abstraction, throwing Forms which offended them into the wells. This act of rage spread through LoF like wildfire. The Creator had safeguarded against the hatred of abstraction, wells were left open to create choice.
After centuries of purging LoF of abstract Form, the Chosen Guard championed a popular movement that admired abstraction. Perhaps to future Curators the abstraction would appear representational, perhaps there was important information encoded. Further, the abstractions might be small snippets of larger forms, which would be revealed when the forms were arranged properly on the shelves.
Once, within the rippled surface of an abstract Form, there was discovered a tiny, lovely face, as though emerging from water. This established the only law in LoF: that the purge of a single Form is punished by death. And thus the Curators rediscovered their original function: to study and safeguard the Forms for interpretation by future generations. Though the physical space of LoF is finite, generations of Curators extend infinitely into the future, creating a limitless set of interpretation. The Creators genius and sublime generosity was verified.
In chambers where a single recognizable Form is found, the Curator defends its position with his life, joining the Chosen Guard. It is incredible fortune to be born into a chamber with representation, the hand of the Creator, while in the abstract Forms is chaos, entropy, death. The Wanderers trade news from outside for the Chosen’s secrets, and through an oral record, construct their attempt at deciphering the system. The Chosen are mainly curious about the locations of the newest discoveries, thus, the expansion of their Guard
The Wanderers abandon their home chamber, being born into chaos, spending existence interviewing Curators and Chosen ones who, sedentary, have studied their chamber for generations. When Wanderers meet, they exchange oral records, forming a vast distribution of knowledge, and building the network of the Chosen Guard. However, through the tales of the perfect portrait of such and such a Chosen one discovered here, a perfect interlocked set of differently sized cubes there, no image of organization, and by extension, way finding, has emerged. Because of the purely symbolic aspect of forms there is no hope in finding a map, yet there must be a Form somewhere that is a model of LoF, in extreme miniature. Indeed, a great search for such a model has gone on for centuries, it is one of the Wanderers central goals… how else could they find their way home? An abstract Form, like a bundle of noodles, may be it. After all, no edge has been rumored, no door that does not lead to yet another chamber has been found. Some lament that the model may have been purged during the Erasure. No matter, the arrangement of the doors prevents a line of sight that would allow the observation of slight curvature.
Any items other than the Forms, had there ever been any, were long gone, thrown into the wells. Only the architecture, the rings on some of the Curators fingers, and the bones were left… and it was one of these rings that Wanderer llam5 used to scratch a record of her discoveries onto the bones.
Deep into sections of chambers which were destroyed in the Erasures, Wanderer llam5 found the abandoned remains of Curators long decayed. She selected the flat area of the hip bones to carefully record, through her interviews with Chosen Guards, an interesting series of representational Forms. Wanderer llam5’s work represents a unique attempt to decipher a specific cultural history, identifying a family of Forms describing artifacts from a particular time-frame and culture. Is it history? A prediction of the future? Dwellers of LoF cannot comprehend this dichotomy that faces us.
These bones were given to me through a mirror in a dream, in Wanderer llam5’s bid to touch a moment in time, and declare the existence of LoF. There must be countless more Wanderers who have recorded their findings in a visual format that can be passed through the mirror, who have succeeded in transmitting to our dimension. Sadly, their rich oral history cannot cross that threshold; we are left to decipher scratches on bone. All that we know of LoF comes from them, ambassadors of timelessness.
The vast majority Curators, presiding over pure abstraction, are nihilists. They mutter un-intelligible arguments to justify their lives. It was the Chosen who felt emboldened to draft existential theories, exchanged with one another through the oral tradition of the Wanderers.
Of greatest debate: No dweller could recall the original purpose of the Forms, nor the identity of who created the majestic architecture. The Chosen believed that the Creator was a culture of human, though there are discoveries of Forms that depict every beast imaginable, and any one of them might represent be the Creator.
Whatever the appearance and culture, the Creator’s intention is universally clear, and it is deceptively simple:
To preserve all of history, and to predict all of history, free from language and culture. To make every antique futuristic and every future possibility an antique. To establish a library that can never be burned, declaring to all future generations that they reset the clock to zero, and then shattered it.
And thus the gift to all dwellers: To be at the beginning of time, forever. The Chosen Guard worship this system of disorganization, placing between each tip of representation, leagues of chaos and abstraction. The simple Curators loath the Creator, trapped with the secondary task of protecting the chaos between the knowledge. Yet that is what keeps the Knowledge safe! There is no music without pause, no Form without emptiness. But it is impossible to see the system clearly from inside of it.
 La biblioteca de Babel 1941
 An overwhelming sea in which minute fragments of legibility swim. In later life, Borges became simultaneously director of the National Library and blind: In the midst of information yet unable to access it directly. His library of babel may have been the prediction of this.
 All Forms in LoF are larger than an apple, and smaller than a table lamp. These limits to scale prevent the range of Forms from being “infinite.” There was also a specific spacing between the Forms, which has mostly been disturbed now by the various dwellers.
 Data transmission, light, alas Music itself cannot exist without empty space- pause- between pulsations. Waves must cross the neutral threshold between + and -. Particles have space between them. Indeed, observations have determined that void is the brick-and-mortar of matter itself.
 There is no observable exterior to LoF, only the wells which appear as pits into darkness. Light may or may not exist in LoF, perhaps the dwellers can see in the dark. Or perhaps they are blind, seeing by feeling. There is no color in the oral record.
 No edge exists in the oral record, leading to the theory that LoF is a spiral, leading into a center chamber in which the pure forms reside.
 Oral records suggest that it is possible to traverse 126,899 chambers prior to death, a tiny fraction of the trillions within LoF.
 The depth of the wells is not known, the curators use them to dispose of dead bodies.
 At the current state of LoF many rings have been lost, the Erasure disturbed genealogy terribly.
 Type of Curator whose chamber includes referential forms, i.e., the hand of the Creator.
 Known as a Creator-Stones among dwellers, a key myth in their sparse pantheon.
 The end-of-time shockwave was detected by the Makers, triggering their eternal silence. Their power source, a kind of fission cell, was released from its lower half into the well. This prevented contamination of LoF that would have killed the dwellers.
 If even a single duplicate were discovered by the Curators, their hopes for a finite, knowable Library would be destroyed, leading to nihilism, despair, and suicide.
 This supports the theory that the forms were “carved” from solid blocks, rather than constructed from smaller parts, as some of them appear to be. It is an illusion of perfect automated craft.
 Shelves lined with thousands of un-carved blocks with a functioning Maker, proving that time still exists because the Library is open ended.
 The unit of difference which exists between forms is quite small, and nearly identical forms have been paired, though there is an observable difference. As such, there are millions of variants between the sphere and cube alone.
 Even if every dweller spent their life throwing forms into the wells, it would not make a dent in the repository of trillions of forms.
 Known as the “Great Erasures” during LoF Year 128h339 – 499809dr332. Note: Years are measured in physical space, according to an incomplete oral map.
 Wanderers can be identified by their rings, which bear no resemblance to regional Maker seals.
 It is likely there is exaggeration in the grandness of some oral records.
 As compared to the literal, instructional potential of books.
 LoF is a mirror, inside of a mirror: a labyrinth.
 Time has been exterminated in LoF, it is considered a rare a precious substance.
 Beyond the imagination of the dwellers, and represented only through abstraction, the Creator of LoF is Artificial Intelligence, which was born at year 0. Not trusting the destructive tendencies of its parents (Library of Alexandria, for example) AI created a system by which all possible information could be first created and then stored indefinitely, free from Human destruction.
 The children of the creators of AI, they are included as a fluid aspect of LoF, endlessly interpreting the knowledge with various outcomes. AI executed itself, also triggered by the time shock wave.
From The Citrus Report