Archive for May, 2022

The Ballad of Sassy and Lean [A Work in Progress]

May 30, 2022

Pursuit of Trivia – Part 2: The Mercy Seat

May 13, 2022

Hydrothermal slosh in the plumbing of the Phlegraean Fields produces a characteristic long period, low frequency (0.4-1 Hz) microseismic tremor. Persistent higher frequency tremors (in the 5-15 Hz range) associated with other volcanic features are also present. An obvious question: do lunar (and lunar-solar) earth-tidal effects influence this seismicity? The work of Simona Petrosino and St├ęphanie Dumont (and others) suggests that the answer is ‘Yes’.

Here’s what I want to do. To honor Hekate Trivia – in whom Selene (moon), Diana (woods), and Proserpine (underworld) are conjoined – and whose seismic footsteps were the terrifying signal that the katabasis in Aeneid Book VI should commence – I want to erect a golden throne in a cave near the ruined oracular complex of the Cumaean Sibyl, and install a network of Raspberry Boom infrasound monitors in the grove of Q. ilex sacred to Diana that still surrounds it.

Because these low-frequency tremors are inaudible (human audition is in the range of 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz), I think it makes sense – following the lead of recent projects like Hertz by Graeme Marlton and Juliet Robson – to either wire the throne with a transducer that will cause it to shake, face a large subwoofer onto it, or both. The idea is to monitor local microseismic infrasound, filter the data, extract the relevant amplitudes, use them to modulate sound waves at the lowest threshold of human audition, and push those through the subwoofer and/or transducer into flesh and bone. I’d like to be able to do this in real time and, ideally, find ways to isolate and emphasize gravitational arpeggios detected in the holy forest by robot fruit as one sits below in hypogeal darkness on an electrified throne quaking with moon music played on a super volcano.

Field Works – Part 1

May 4, 2022

I initially considered building a bathtub-sized version of a magnetic field cube: a big clear tank full of a magnetorheological fluid, or else ferrofluid (on sale now for $230 USD/L!), with a hidden rotor built into its base (or else mounted on a teeter totter) to help re-randomize the distribution of the particles between applications of a large magnetic field. So, something like a Damien Hirst vitrine, but for field lines.

But why stop there? Imagine how beautiful it would be to build a colossal tank like this (I almost wrote “along these lines”) at, say, Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, where lightning strikes up to 40,000 times a night for half the year. Something truly massive, so that whenever the lightning struck, the iron filings (or magnetite nanoparticles, or whatever) would organize architectonically at cyclopean scales: the vaulting ribs of an electromagnetic cathedral, of an ephemeral planetary gothic.