Daily Distribution of Labor

Sometime during the early 1900s Lost Signals instituted a record-keeping system whose methods were labor based rather than item-archive based. Previous systems of categorization (dating back to our founding in the 1830s) had centered on the archival materials themselves; recording the labor necessary for archiving and cataloging was incidental. What do we know about why the shift to a record system based on labor, not objects? As usual, there is an abundance of physical evidence marking the evolution to labor, but the meaning of this evidence remains murky.

What we know is this: around 1902, Grace Gomez devised the “Daily Distribution of Labor” pages, printing them in booklets labelled “Time Book.” Each employee was given one of these booklets per month in order to keep a daily record of his or her labor in the archives. We’re fortunate that, despite the numerous purges of the archives, there remained–squirreled away beneath a cement floor–a complete, blank booklet, a page of which is pictured below. Why the booklets (and almost all references to Grace Gomez) were purged is not exactly clear, although we have our dark theories.

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erin’s book

This video’s metadata indicates it was filmed last week at the Lost Signals Midwest Regional Branch by someone unknown to us. In other words, right under our noses. Since its beginnings in the 1830s, Lost Signals has had its share of moles, spies, turncoats, and even saboteurs. (Those of you who received Bulletin #1 know about the unfortunate legacy of arson-fires that have plagued our various headquarters.) Despite ever harsher, extra-legal measures to deal with spies and other disruptors, which we ourselves have documented (at great potential risk) to circulate here among our employees as a warning, these excursions against Lost Signals continue.

Why the saboteur has named this video file “erin’s book” is unclear, although we have our theories. In any case, we post it here for you, the curious.

A re-working, captured

As far as we know, this is the only surviving audio recording of Frank Cole, a biloquist whose sudden appearance in the rural American south in the late 1930s coincided with a rash of disappearances that have remained largely uncatalogued. The acetate disk recording came to us in 1971, but it was only recently that we got around to digitizing and archiving it here. The “Betsy” voice–a folksy farm woman–was apparently the most dangerous of the voices, indicating that Frank was about to set in motion the machinery of the listener’s disappearance, or “re-working” as Frank referred to it in his diary, which we have seen a copy of but would be grateful to hear from any reader who might have information about its existence, if it still exists at all.

So here is the short recording, Frank as “Betsy.”

Black Hole

From time to time we revisit our black hole archives. Although Lost Signals catalogues all received signals–no matter how tenuous, obscure, or doubtful–in truth we only pay attention to candidates for the Real. In other words: we are not interested in “alternative” or “parallel” truths. It was J. Baudrillard who wrote, in Impossible Exchange, that “it seems that reality, indifferent to any truth, cares not one jot for the knowledge to be derived from observing and analyzing it.”

So it is with a bit of fanfare that we present a deep-space image captured eight years ago, scrutinized and over-scrutinized to the brink of annihilation. There is no threat from this black hole (if you discount [and at what cost?] the existential threat) of the very existence of a light-eating entity. For without light, what dark . . . and without dark????

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Tidal Resonances

Tagger Julio Stevens discovered from a paper published by the University of Oxford that the ‘complex tidal dynamics of the Bristol Channel are not yet fully understood’, in particular ‘the sensitivity of the quarter wavelength resonance to changes such as those caused by energy extraction.’ For years, Stevens, in deep meditation, has watched the tides of the Channel rise and fall: a difference of twelve point two metres from low to high. Close by his observation seat is the site of the receiving station to which Marconi first transmitted radio waves across open sea from Holm Island to Lavernock Point in South Wales.

Stevens is convinced that the natural resonances of the sea tides, and the manmade resonances of the telegraph have combined to open a vortex in space/time so that signals from parallel dimensions, postulated in the quantum theories of Anthony Aguirre and Max Tegmark, are received and recorded in the molecular structure of the concrete of the abandoned Lavernock bunkers. By attuning himself to the resonances of sea, air and light, Stevens claims to record in his wall art fragmentary transmissions from an island (or islands) in one (or more) of our parallel multiverses, that are not limited to any fixed moment in malleable Time. —David Enrique Spellman

Something Wrong

Most of the signals we receive or recover are partial: fragments from a larger whole, glimpses into stories that may never fully be uncovered. We are familiar with the line “Fragments are the only form I trust,” from Donald Barthelme’s story “See the Moon.” And yet that story was first published in 1966, well before analog and then digital media cemented fragments as an untrustworthy form and way of thinking. That line’s electric future-telling has long since lost its charm. The Lost Signals Collection aims to demystify such fragments by bringing them out into the open, making them available for speculation, investigation, interrogation. Through the rituals of narrative we hope to coax them back into the stories they were meant to tell.

Below is one such audio fragment referring to a familiar yet unknown person here at the archives, a person who is has “done something wrong.” It’s becoming clear that what we first thought were many different people are/is, in fact, likely the same person. Over tens of thousands of archived audio recordings at least 7,000, so far, refer to this wrongful person.

Black House Rising

The Black House reconstitutes itself perpetually, never fully succumbing to chaos, never fully succumbing to order. It manifests a desire for something, but what? And at what cost, per chance that desire be met? Black House is always supposedly “rising,” about to seize power, and yet year after year, decade after decade, it sits there, reconstituting itself, perpetuating its own architecture. If only Black House would shift beyond the banality of its form and express itself, even if that expression wiped out the mechanisms of that expression. Those who hope for and actively labor in secret to bring about the rise of Black House are, inevitably, as disappointed as those who work for its demise.

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