Have been, and will continue to be, silent here of late due to the final weeks of finishing a dissertation project. I will return to the world of barbarian genres, the abstract hell of hotel lobbies, and angering that pluckiest of breeds – John Mayer fans – once this is done in a couple weeks.
Up at La Furia Umana: a new essay, departing from Joseph Losey’s Figures in a landscape toward condominiums, Bourne, raptors, choppers, reverse shots, death from above, and on from there.
“The panic is well-warranted, though, at least for the squires of state might. Industry analysts have started to compile a sort of quiet doomsday scenario: not the tsunami or the quake, the nuke or the plague, but the everyday, lived-with objects of the built world, as antagonists to a nation, land, or social order find ways to make flamingly evident how the apparently neutral landscape of capital has long been wired to blow. In one of the more striking examples, a security flaw in Hewlett Packard printers, coupled with the fact of remote access, allows one to make a printer catch fire, through simply sending instructions to continuously heat its fuser unit.10 In other words, one can commit arson, with no matches, gasoline, or triggers, from anywhere in the world, leaving no trace other than an apparent accident of faulty office equipment. Echoing the collapse of the divide between civilian and combatant, the landscape comes to bare itself, joining warzone and workplace, convention center and battle ground. Not simply because printers are flammable, but because commodities can be activated to commit sabotage against the ends for which they were designed. One can see from within their own inhuman sight, make routers into spies, sprinklers into the death of server farms. Through their non-eyes, one can take a fresh look, from inwards on out, at the innate hostility of what certainly does not escape the total vision of capital and military, but which, all the same, it didn’t think worth noticing. What it couldn’t process as threat, as tool, as heat to exterminated.”
(“WildCat is being developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from DARPA’s M3 program.”)
“To contribute to emergency response, humanitarian assistance and other defense missions, a robot needs to negotiate difficult terrain.
Cheetahs happen to be beautiful examples of how natural engineering has created speed and agility across rough terrain. Our Cheetah bot borrows ideas from nature’s design to inform stride patterns, flexing and unflexing of parts like the back, placement of limbs and stability. What we gain through Cheetah and related research efforts are technological building blocks that create possibilities for a whole range of robots suited to future Department of Defense missions.”
There are days who wait just around the corner, in the parking lot behind whatever, like meth-spurred nags all ready to roll.
They can’t wait for much longer, because they’re so terrible at it. It’s sad, almost. What is there to do in this town, they ask each other all the time. Nothing, not-a-fucking-thing, and it’s true, so they just tally up the compounded again and do a few more wheelies and, every couple minutes, ask No, seriously, what is there to do in this ghost town.
They’re wrong to call it a town, even if it’s true there’s not shit to do, because the days they are will be those ones with no more town and country and no cities either, just a tremendous clotted expanse of and, as in hinterland and stand your ground and the decelerated circulation of capital and.
But all the same, when you head west to the stockyards or wherever and put your ear to the wall like the old films about Manifest Destiny or ribcages, you know their arrival is not just imminent, it is foregone. Because through those borrowed transmitters, you can just make out the wheelies and the fumbling gallops and the demands for the killing of time so as to preserve it, as in turn the king into salt so he may rule eternal.
And you hear more: there’s the wind and the knives and the emphysemic huff of a long-dry Slurpee machine that, through a design flaw/triumph, has no manual override, until finally, through all the wheelies and chatter you can hear it, that queer and dwarfish grumble of sawing and forging. Which means the days have already champed to shit their previous bits as well as each and every one left remaindered in the stupid stores left in this stupid town. So they make some new ones, by hoof or hand or however their stumps end, fine ones now, well-crafted, well-burnished with time and beeswax, responsible and fun, artisanal and repurposed from parts of other things (mess halls, the elderly, infrastructure). Anything, really, to offer a semblance of restraint and history to gnaw on while they wait and wait, wheelie, wait, munch the katechon and wait again, until the word finally comes through that all chips are down and all bets are off or just all is now. Or whatever one says to days who have been waiting too long and now get to close out those last bare inches of the deferment period that everyone, even relentless beverage composition hardware, knows could never hold them at bay for long.
Of course, this is all supposition, all deniable. And it’s true that on when you Google Earth it, no visible word has being given, nothing is written out in enormous letters of fire and charnel – IT’S FUCKING GO TIME, WILDCATS – to be read from on high. But the trees are all gone. And even the stupid stores cannot be regutted, because they are already like lace, if they are touched with tools of extraction they will become pure void and even the drywall has been gummed into oblivion, and it does not matter one whit if any of this was local and it never will.
When the days do come, like anything does with nothing left to bite, no one will bother giving us the word. We won’t care, because we’ll spit on anyone who tries to say what epoch it is or what a century it was, and who are we anyway to base a theory of time on the idea of biding it. So we’ll just know it because the cops who will chase us are neither mounted nor Elysial (or even chitonous-cladded like Dredd/Kraken/Rico) nor Keystone. They are all at once, glutinously everything: equine and Pacific Rimmy and supposedly cattish but not in the least, unless cats were put into gunny sacks and beaten like dead horses. And they are cut-rate as hell, because budgets only go so far and everything is crime when work and crime do not call out to each other over the fall’s roar, forever pledging revenge.
Yet the cops/days are also acephalic, which even the listening wall didn’t let us see coming. They are not headless like planes are, i.e. not something that could have a head in the first place but missing, misplaced, begotten elsewhere and left to mewl – the cat has held on despite everything - full of sight and immobility. It’s like when Washington Irving got all turned around one fall and wound up in the wrong part of town where there are no corners or copyright, just orbits, sewers, plains, knives, and wind. Irving took his favorite coat off and sat and wept. I can smell the coming war, he said to a passerby. My God, it stinks. My God. It will be fought between ought and is, and we all will fall and litter the plains and the cities. The passerby, from whose raspy throat issued single feathers that fell softly away, gave Irving some change and asked him what the hell is there to do in this backward-ass town.
Like the town itself, there was nothing he could about it all, poor Wash, here where his headless horse lost its suffix and found its way, where it sloughed off the -man who, disconsolate and wild, proceeded to gut an airboat for the heart it could win back and a guinea pig for its galumphing form, which, just like Irving himself that afternoon, cried out once and then once again at the awful violence of it all. My God, to have written stories about it. The reek.
And the days, who took graciously took borrowed heart and form alike from the severed -man, kindly set them all free. It even gave them a head-start: couple centuries good with you? And then they broke its promise and became multiple, circuited, wide and graceless and took after the prey in hunt. So relieved they were to not have to drop pennies off the overpass or do still more wheelies for once, they blew it too fast. They snuffled them all out, all of them, any bundle of meat with a thermal profile worth a damn, and they tore them, the -man and the Irving and the history of machinic progress, into little wet chunks. They parceled out the favorite coat amongst them to put in the headless mouths and suck and grind and wait.
All to say: the sound in our ears won’t be hooves or boots and definitely not the moody and dogged silence of this pertinacious companion that was mysterious and appalling. It will not be blood’s tinnitus, which we’ve known for so long, that we use to mark the counter-time of slosh, blockade, and thump through which the war on time goes down. No, the sound nipping at our heels is simpler and worse, a clusterfucking batallion of weed-whackers. Faced down, they fall over and trundle around like corgis made of go-karts who dream of horseness and who the noble-minded call cheetahs. It’s cute, almost. And we laugh and they do too and then they mow us down like pigs, doves, or kids and leave us for the EATR of the dead or otherwise.
And if it is to end in triumph or reversal, it means bolas come back with a serious vengeance, and if it is not, well, you know, pigs, doves, or kids, plus EATRs. But either way, it’s certain that days don’t only go one way and we’re not so bad with goading sticks, honed liquids to turn the mind, bolt-cutters. Even wildcat days can be made to remember their cradle sites and places of employ, get spurred into storming the labs that speed them or nom-nom-nomming the armory.
And whatever way it goes down, we won’t need a satellite to the message left in its seeping trail, whether IT’S FUCKING NO TIME or RETURN TO SENDER, “BRO” or whatever else can be written in long trajectories of puke, in all the slow and steady bile gathered diligent by those with nothing to sell but time, no crime to waste and no town to spare.