On the fifth sub-basement level of the northeast regional archives compound (NERAC) are around 6,000 photographs and sketches depicting subjects whose faces are covered, either by their own hand or some other hand. There are versions of what’s known as “the woman with the gun” photograph (below) dating from circa 1948. It’s difficult to say which image is the original, the primary image, and in fact more than one archivist has suggested–after careful inspection of the details–that they are two separate photographs taken at precisely the same moment. This theory has gained traction of late, as digital encoding and sourcing technologies have improved to the point that we can say that the two images are, in fact, in perfect keeping with each other, apart from the two obvious differences (left-facing/right-facing and exposure). As improbable as it seems, we know now what quantum physics knows: that two incompatible states can exist simultaneously, that A and B can equal B and A, or BA/AB. The doubled, doppelgänged world is the natural world, made unnatural by its division. At NERAC the archivists are working to collapse that division and restore the balance.
Since the discovery of a hidden trench dwelling dug into the hillside behind an electronic appliance dump in a small town in Massachusetts, reports are emerging of the discovery of more underground chambers connected with the disappearance of Gerardo Fischer. It is thought that Fischer ran one, or more, archaeological projects in conjunction with the productions of his theatre company. The latest hidden chamber to be discovered lies close to the remains recently unearthed at Göbekli Tepi, in southern Turkey, that indicate the presence of a Neolithic skull cult.
There is no apparent indication of any connection between the Fischer chamber and the Göbekli Tepi archaeologists; other than coincidence, and Fischer’s known fascination with etched glass skulls. Amira Hamade, founder of the Iranian theatre group Gulmohar, is known to have worked with Gerardo Fischer on a production called The Flame Trees in a cave complex near Göbekli Tepi after she chose exile in Turkey following the Khomeini revolution in Iran.
Amira Hamade is convinced that these recently discovered skull remains are evidence of a force that resides in a deeper plane of being that links up author-nodes across continents via a spiderlike network in the collective unconscious. It was her daughter who discovered the cave chamber where Gerardo Fischer appears to have conducted his own archaeological research in this zone in southern Turkey.
So many of the signals we capture are in code, the code coded so well that there appears to be no code at all. Such is the case with this snatch of conversation retrieved from over a dozen a tape recordings labeled “Mr. Thompson.” Honestly, the conversation seems to last forever, and it’s all misdirection. The heart of the matter comes at around in tape #9, who Thompson’s name is finally spoken. He had been the subtext all along, and the makers of the tape assumed (incorrectly, thanks to LS archivists) that no one could slog through over 19 hours of audio to get to the point where the code finally revealed itself in the name of Thompson.
This footage depicts a camera infected by what it sees. The canister is labeled “Kino-Diablo” and has been in LS storage for some time, burning its way through storage level after level and into the sub-basements. Information is, or sometimes is, or sometimes can be a virus, and in this case the virus infected the apparatus (the term for cameras and camera equipment preferred by the Althusserian-Marxist theorists who discovered this film) so quickly that whatever aura it had most swiftly and notably (from a documentary perspective) melted not only the film and the camera, but the camera-woman herself.
Item #18,374 from the Lost Signals 35 mm reversal film archives, series C. This arrived at LS long ago, sometime in the autumn of 1968, from what can be gleaned. The boy in question (standing 4 from left) is, unfortunately, a familiar face here, whose name we are not yet prepared to reveal. (I.e., we are not yet equipped to defend ourselves from him once we expose him.) The camera in question, the one that hangs around his neck, does something terrible to those unfortunate to fall within its finder, its vision. It cripples them in a way that only gradually reveals itself, cripples them from within, a cancer of the soul, some have said, or else a cancer of spirit. In fact LS itself has lost to this crippledom a very dear archivist, in fact the very archivist who delivered this picture to us in ’68. This is the first of three images of “the boy” scheduled to be published here. We have to wait and gauge his response–and then settle upon our own response to his response–before pushing ahead with the other two posts.
When Lost Signals receives a tip about potential archival material in a remote location we generally send a small team out to scout the area, document the site, and collect samples to determine if full excavation is desirable. Such was the case earlier this summer when we were told of an abandoned hippie compound in southwest Illinois that supposedly housed old automobiles into whose seats had been sewn dollar bills with serial numbers that served as longitude and latitude coordinates. These coordinates, strangely, reflect the previous locations of the Lost Signals stations, beginning with the first one in 1838 and continuing with subsequent ones, after a series of arson fires destroyed them. (More information about the troubled and violent history of LS will be available in the Bulletin of Lost Signals, #1.)
Here is a short clip from the team’s arrival at the abandoned hippie compound, the first of thirteen barns on the 26-acre property, each housing broken down old cars with those dollar bills sewn into their seats.
On occasion there are artifacts from the archives that are unpublishable. Such is the case with an audio file so dangerous that it’s unlikely it has ever been listened to or heard. The file exists on a dedicated computer sealed in a soundproof studio in one of the rooms in the so-called “third basement” beneath the Lost Signals compound. It’s been played three times, in silence, and on one occasion its waveform image was captured, and is reproduced here. In 2002 an effort was made to re-create the audio from its waveform, the theory being that a version based on the source’s structural metadata might prove less toxic, if toxic at all. However, subsequent listening tests on mice proved, unfortunately, otherwise. The mice melted, which will be the subject of another posting.
So, the file exists, unlistenable as it is. Some would say it awaits its ideal listener, as a book awaits its ideal reader. For now, the closest we can come to hearing the file is the image below, undoubtedly a very poor iteration of the original.