Residential Depopulation Atlas

The Residential Depopulation Atlas (mis-titled The Residential Population Atlas), published in 1966 by MIT Press, was one of many such reverse-Great Society works projects, different from each other in kind only. Although the term “planned shrinkage” was used ten years later by Roger Starr in connection with New York City’s mid-1970s (also planned) financial crisis, residential depopulation, much like the “deep state,” was a concept that left no record, that had no author. Unattributable until the publication of the MIT atlas the term had, by that time, been de-fanged and rendered as something barely worthy of academic study. Lost Signals acquired, via broadcast, four minutes of video, documenting the atlas until the recording is ended, violently, in a flood of red light. This clip is from the two-minute mark. —S. Martinez

The Surveillance Chamber

While searching for Gerardo Fischer, I came across a trench dwelling dug into a wooded hillside above a small town dump in Western Massachusetts. I thought the equipment obsolete and long since defunct. The moment I crossed the dark threshold a reel-to-reel tape clicked into life, and among the screens that I assumed were dead, three tubes flickered into silent life, monitors for cameras that I would fail to find, transmitting, as they were, from an unknowable source, a stream of images antic and alien. —David Enrique Spellman

Mother Goose Glitch

The Walter/Folkard Anomaly appears on the 76th page of two known copies of Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes (Walter, Lavinia Edna, Ed.; Folkard, Charles James, ill.; A. & C. Black Ltd.: London, November 1919; 1st ed.). One of these is in the Children’s Literature Collection at University of Glasgow Library; the other is privately owned. (Page 76 of any other copy on record is taken up by the obscure rhyme “A kid, a kid, my father bought.”)

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The anomaly’s discovery in 2010 actually postdates the Google Street View captures of a seemingly related object by roughly two years. No further evidence exists of this manifestation on that August day of 2008 in the Neu-Hohenschönhausen locality of northeastern Berlin. No one has claimed to witness it then (including those piloting the camera car), and no organization or individual have asserted responsibility. Now vanished from Google Street View proper, it still reveals itself in desaturated screenshots. —Colin Raff

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The Administrator’s Office

The images are so banal as to be uncanny: a blinking digital clock, a gleaming metal name or door plate with no name affixed, some stapled-together papers lying face down to obscure their meaning. There’s a calmness in the fluorescent office area, a calmness which masks the churning deep beneath the surface. The nonsensical sound, such as it is, seems nothing more than a distraction, an invitation to interpret the video clip in all the wrong ways. But is it even a matter of interpretation, or are the captured moments here already predetermined? Interpretation presupposes a sort of free will. And what of the administrator herself, in what ways is she accountable, or does even asking that question put those who sent this to Lost Signals in danger? Maybe it started as a prank, who knows? Let’s film the administrator’s office–she’ll never know. But of course she knew. She knew even before they did. In fact, she’s always known. —E. Edgewood

Parallax Literature

The celebrity of Brewster’s stereoscope during the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the excitement it aroused in young Queen Victoria, flung anglophile and noted iconoclast Arthur Lotshire into a fit of jealous rage. Unimpressed by image semiotics, Lotshire conspired to return his monarch’s affection to letters, after building his own notoriety.

His scheme invoked a series of lectures written by one Hermann Samuel Reimarus, an 18th-century high school oriental languages instructor from the Imperial Free City of Hamburg. Reimarus was a proponent of a theological oneness in ideas, and Lotshire speculated that if the devil could render images in stereo, then he could do the same with literature.

Stereo perception uses symmetry to exploit mental assumptions about parallax. One needs two eyes to see in three dimensions. Likewise, one needs two minds to read in stereo.

Problems in sensing parallax script inspired Lotshire to contrive a stereo alphabet, whose meaning was both similar and different, when read at the same time. He seduced a cadre of adherents to practice his new writing, but early attempts to understand resulted in spontaneous epileptic seizure.

When long term meditation in parallax caused schizophrenia, Lotshire was arrested, his cache of hand-written works was confiscated, and his group of adherents dispersed. All examples of Lotshire’s work were officially destroyed in the action, although accounts of surviving copies have surfaced occasionally.

The volume below, a work of fiction written in parallax, arrived at Lost Signals headquarters by way of anonymous delivery. We have not dared to open it.
Hilbert DavidParallax Literature

Sister from Another Planet

The images–familiar, if not nostalgic–remind us of something, but what? The sound is another story, and in fact constitutes the “another” from this post’s title. Lost Signals received this broadcast (we are obligated to call it that) at the very beginning. Which is to say: were it not for this so-called “lost signal” lost signals would not exist. The green grain of this video (and the sense of an ending with a new beginning) is a gendered thing, according to those here who have striven–over the past six years–to unbug this video and audio so that you, whom-or-what-ever you are, can see it now.

(What) Bright Future

I worked in solitude. . .
There is a certain slant of light (is there not?) that suggests the presence of the larger universe. Perhaps this occurs sometime before twilight, whenever that may be. There is the orange glow of the sun whose ridiculously-traveled-through cold space–approximately 8.3 minutes–rays reach us, as if happiness could be delayed any longer, not even one-second longer, than that. Bright. Brighter yet.
. . . in my own formal way

As these lost moments, lost signals, arrive here, their particular beauty and strangeness remind us not of who we are, but who we might become. Our better, brighter selves, waiting for us to remember.
–M. Sanders, M. S., E. O.