Archive for cosmic

Tombstoning

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2012 by javedbabar

The projectionist had carefully aligned the projection tent and screen scaffold positions as soon as he had arrived. The axis between them was the key to perfect screening. The crew had followed his precise instructions, he had fine-tuned the image, and everything was set to go by 4 p.m. The global launch of the film HUMANITY was at 8 p.m. so he went off to get some early dinner.

When he returned, he sensed something was wrong. What had happened?

Someone had moved the damn screen!

The crew were smoking near the bins. He felt like cursing them aloud from where he was but instead decided to walk over, by which time he had calmed down.

“Excuse me. Were any of you involved in moving the screen?”

The crew looked at each other nervously, and one of them said, “Yes, that guy there,” – he pointed at Sami – “asked us to angle it towards the trees.”

“That guy!” He exploded. “Who the hell is he?”

The crew member replied, “I think he is the local…”

Before he had finished, the projectionist ran towards Sami. While still ten metres away, he shouted, “I am the projectionist. I laid out the location this morning. Did you tell the crew to shift the screen?”

Sami was surprised by his aggressive manner, but responded coolly. “Sorry, did I need to ask you first? I didn’t realize. We need to give the VIPs a good view. Some of them have paid a thousand dollars for a ticket. The screen position needed adjustment.”

Sami backed away to ease tension, but the projectionist stepped forward. “Do you know what will happen now? The projector and screen are misaligned. There will be a tombstone effect. I am not sure if I can correct it. How will your VIPs like that?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean by that.”

“Tombstoning – keystoning – haven’t you heard of that? There’s image distortion…”

“Look, if it’s a technical issue, there’s no point in explaining it to me. There’s nothing I can do about it. You’re the expert here. Can you please fix it?”

The projectionist grumbled and went off to make the necessary adjustments. Sami didn’t like bossing people about; he preferred to work in a harmonious team, but sometimes you had to push a little. Hadn’t the projectionist already returned to his tent and started working on a fix?

Five minutes later, the projector came to life. A huge orange OM symbol filled the screen. It was the first frame of the film, instantly recognizable from the global marketing campaign.

Sami knew that OM was a symbol of infinity and could be expressed in myriad forms, but he had to admit that something was wrong with it. There were hazy areas and its dimensions were distorted.

The projectionist called to him, “See what I mean now?”

“Yes I do. Can we move the projector?”

“No pal, we can’t. All the kit here is set up now. Can we move the screen, or the VIPs?”

“I’m afraid we can’t. The VIPs…”

The projectionist had worked on hundreds of jobs. He was a professional. He said, “Okay, I’ll do my best.”

He reviewed relationships, reprogrammed forms and adjusted parameters using his projection software. The image flashed, shook, stretched and settled. Within half an hour, it was much improved, though still a bit hazy and distorted.

Sami realized that he preferred it like this. If the objective of filmmaking was to bring things to life, was it not more realistic for a cosmic symbol to be at least partly unfathomable?

Cosmic Whee!

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2012 by javedbabar

Terry wondered whether to join the queue. It was always like this at Lucerne’s Halloween Fair, with lines so long that they put you off the rides; they were up to an hour sometimes – what for? Were some rides really so much better than others?

The annoying thing was that the rides he took were never that good. His friends waiting longer seemed to have a better time. They whirled, jerked, spun, and flipped in ways they couldn’t describe. His best friend tried, saying, “It’s like being in a blender, drunk, on the ice crush setting,” and then putting on a Sean Connery voice, “Schaken not schtirred.” Terry’s ride had been lame, just an irregular creeping that made him feel disgusted. You were meant to feel scared.

This year, he decided, he would be patient and wait. He joined the line for the newest machine, called Cosmic Whee!, which was shaped like a neon tree about the size of a mature fir. When operational, its arms extended more like an oak tree, and they flashed through every colour. It seemed to ascend and expand, and sparked, and shot flames. Terry wondered how safe its electrics were, not to mention the gas lines fuelling the flames.

People waiting were enthralled. Imagine what it must be like for people enjoying the ride! He could see why it had the longest queue.

Then Terry noticed something strange, that there weren’t any people enjoying the ride. Nobody was sitting on the arms. Where were they? What were people queuing for?

He tapped the shoulder of the boy in front of him, and said, “Excuse me, what are we queuing for?”

The boy was annoyed at having his viewing disrupted, but then gave a quick smile. “It makes you disappear, you know.” He saw the troubled look on Terry’s face and added, “The Cosmic Whee! makes you disappear. That’s what they say.”

Terry said, “Who says? The fairground people?”

The boy drew up to him closely. “No, the people. My friends told me. That’s what they say. You’ll see for yourself. Don’t say I didn’t say so.”

Terry was confused. How could this ride make you disappear? He watched the next customer walk up to the contraption. A small round door slid open and he climbed inside. Then the door shut. It was only one person at a time – no wonder the queue was so long! Again the ride’s arms extended, flashed, ascended, expanded, and sparked, and flamed. Three minutes later, the round door opened, and was empty. Where had the rider gone? Had he disappeared?

The boy in front turned and raised his eyebrows, and said, “See?”

Terry noticed a figure at the back of the ride. Was it the rider? No, it was a young girl, much too young for this ride.

Terry waited in line for an hour and a half. He thought there must be some trick being played, with people exiting elsewhere. Maybe there was a tunnel to another part of the fairground, where they popped up and went home. He looked around at the other rides – traditional ones like dodgems, carousels and rollercoasters, and modern ones like Booster, Freak Out and Top Spin. There were also games of strength, skill and luck. But there was nothing as dramatic as Cosmic Whee! and nothing with a longer line.

Terry reached the front at last, and was greeted by a man in neon blue tailcoat and orange trousers and hat, who said, “Come on in! This is the real show!” He directed Terry towards the round door, which slid shut behind him. He felt claustrophobic at first but soon was comfortable on this bridge of darkness.

Twisting light rings appeared around him and then slid downwards with increasing speed, as if he were in a giant elevator with a crazy barber’s pole spiralling down around him. It was disorienting initially but became habitual. It seemed quite normal; a part of life. He was alive and part of life, at the heart of life, a twisting strand of DNA. He lost track of time. He could be here forever.

He didn’t disappear, just appeared in a different place, almost like this one. A parallel universe within the multiverse. And a being from a fairground there came to the fairground here. In ancient times there were shamanic flights and ecstatic rituals. Now there was technology and leisure. The goal was the same as ever – to cross-fertilize universes. A diverse cosmos is healthy.