Space Tectonics

Siegfried “Ziggy” Echols was…changed…during his 1972 descent into the Udintsev Antarctic Trench. The marine paleocnidariologist had been observing cold water variations in the transverse binary fission of brooding sea anemone, when he stunned his crewmates by describing the pattern of a mysterious hydrodynamic cavitation, overheard at depths in excess of 10,000 meters, within inaudible—indeed unthinkable— sound frequencies.

Echols was removed immediately to Invercargill, where specialists diagnosed an idiosyncratic reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), which affected his cochlear nerves. Following doctors’ orders, Echols retired to the interior of South Island for an indefinite convalescence. There, he wandered the reach of its tussock grasslands, and vanished from known society…

…until the spring of 2009, perhaps, when a baronial envelope, postmarked from Dunedin, was dropped through the mail slot of Lost Signals headquarters. The enclosed note, signed with the dubious handle “Phineas J. Scurlock”, details an encounter with sounds of an enigmatic friction, composed in frequencies beneath the Gavreau threshold, which he offered as evidence of a possible tectonic shift between two or more spatial “plates”, along a nearby fault of sub-visual appearance, within some higher dimension.

To test his conjecture, “Scurlock” photographed the vicinity of the hubbub at 1-second intervals, using an infrared digital camera, before scoring it as a motion sequence to a pitch-shifted live audio track.

The composite film, reproduced below, was found on a media card attached to his note… –Hilbert David