notes.html*8"JJήsTEXTGoMk`3pVjn9 notes
Notes and credits - Nepabunna, alpha version by geniwate

Credits The 3D movies
Remote sensing imagery Beta version
Myths of technoculture Contact me
The text


Landsat 5 data
Hawker's Hill uses band 6 thermal data.
Topomap of 'Nepabunna', published on CDrom by the Resource Information, Government of South Australia The rough georeferences are: Top lefthand corner: lat 30:30S and long 139:00E
Bottom righthand corner: lat 30:45 E and long 139:15 S
'Extract from The Gallery' by Les A Murray, in Ethnic Radio
, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1977.
Quote from Cassirer, E (1946). Language and Myth. Translated by Susanne K Langer. New York: Harper Collins.

For those with an interest in Australian Aboriginal mythology, I also recommend Berndt, R M and Berndt, C H (1989). The speaking land. Ringwood: Penguin. The myths retold in Nepabunna are based on Aboriginal myth, but in detail they are wholly my own, derived from an engagement with contemporary technoculture. I am indebted to the cultural and religious frameworks of Aboriginal people for insights into how I can approach my subject.

Thanks to the School of Earth Sciences, Flinders University.
Thanks to Oscar.

top Remote sensing imagery

This project uses remote sensing imagery from the Landsat 5 satellite.

The image on the index page shows the region that my data derives from. The other images are aspects of this composite image. This is a region of semi-arid inland Australia called the Gammon Ranges (also known as the Northern Flinders Ranges). It is approximately 700 km north of Adelaide, where I live. Much of it is a national park, although mining companies do have an interest in it. Some of the land is owned by the local Aboriginal people. I have never been there.

top Myths of technoculture

The other purpose of this project is to start conceptualising the myths of technoculture. To that end I have tried to develop 5 technocultural 'dreamings'. They are not prescriptive (myth cannot be) nor are they exhaustive. These categories of dreaming are simply the ones I have been exposed to in the work of my colleagues, and in popular culture. Some of them are crass. Others approach a technocultural sublime. I haven't 'made them up'. They exist in technoculture and in everyday life. The 5 mythic dreamings are

  • meme dreaming
  • pattern dreaming
  • mamu dreaming
  • beginnings dreaming
  • avatar dreaming

Aspects of Nepabunna, like the remote sensing imagery and the future use of algorithms to generate audio patterns, exemplify pattern dreaming.

top The 3D movies

Having obtained the Landsat data, I created an image using software called ERmapper at Flinders University. As the data was collected in February, the end of the Australian summer, inferences can be made about heat stress for example, however I am not qualified to make them.

In Photoshop I created a layered image of the topographic map of the same area with the Landsat data. Another layer consisted of the inscriptions. I made a simplified version of the contours and transferred it to Canoma. I then created a simplified 3D animation of the topography, and rendered the animation several times using different combinations of the layered Photoshop image. The animation was output as separate jpeg images, a selection was chosen, and the movies finally assembled in Flash.

top Nepabunna, beta version

Hopefully this will be completed in the new year. It will have the following features:

  • McKinlay section
    animation to be completed
  • The game
    The final version of this project will operate as a 'game'. Mythic knowledge also operates as a 'game'. There are levels of initiation. Science also has these rights of passage.To win the game, you must have exhausted the options presented by the five 'songlines' - Italowie, Mt Mckinlay, Balcanoona, Badlands and Hawker's Hill. When you return to the index page, and find no further green text, you have completed the game / become an initiate. This game functionality is not working for the <Lume> version.
  • Algorithmic audio
    Will be incorporated into each of the 'songlines'.

Contact me

The text

top Balcanoona.dcr

Long live the code!

We will sing hillsides
and creek beds.
We will machine code the void,
sensitize it to circuits and optics.

Dancing formulae
will crash against the edge,
DNA diffracting light.
A kangaroo bouncing off radio waves and into numbers
perpetrating other becomings
in pattern-crazed, quark-infested rock.

There is no time, only
blistered consciousness.

We will erect possible frameworks, we will
the tail feathers onto the pigeon
the genetics in the porcupine
and the unified theory -
no effect without cause
no future without fruition.

top meme dreaming (balcanoona)

She walked a day and a night, through rocky country and sandy country. She went naming things along the way, singing with her footfalls. There were names for every thing. She had a strong language.

She had the human genome in her dillybag. She flung it here and there. People instantly sprung up, wondering ‘what land is this?’

She was walking through the country and out the other side. She put the yams in the ground. The names did not finish. She sang Euclidean space, through Newtonian space and into relativity. She sang Byzantium, she sang the periodic table and the four horsemen of the apocalypse, but they had no understanding yet. They looked at her, blankly.

She was still singing when she reached the door. The door wouldn't open. She knew it had the secret sacred things inside. She sat down, that old woman; she had run out of songs. She sat very still, and that's how she became apocalypse, right there, in front of that locked door.

top meme dreaming (balcanoona)2

He was lost. He kept wandering around and around, but he could find no signs that he knew. He sat on the ground to think. He started changing.

He was putting himself there, into the empty land. He put himself as a snake. As he was changing a funny thing happened: the earth started to change into numbers, and the river red gums started drooping under the weight of algorithms. He thought there must be birds singing in the trees, but no, it was only the code.

There were paths, constructed from the brightest colours, stemming from his feet. He was sure that they hadn't been there before. They were unstable, refusing to resolve into a static design. There was nowhere he could lie in the sun in such an unstable place. He must change again.

A curlew man found him there. It was too late, he was already rock.

top meme dreaming (balcanoona)3

access denied

top meme dreaming (balcanoona)4

They were camping near Italowie Creek, the husband, the wife and the child. They would move on, upstream, every two days, looking for food.

The child was always crying. No matter what they offered it, it would not stop crying. The husband found some honey in a tree. First he cut it out, then scooped up the honey with his digging stick. Still the child would not eat. Still the child kept crying.

At Nepabunna the rainbow snake Ngalyod heard the crying; she started to come for the child. The family kept moving but Ngalyod was coming closer. In her wake she put new rivers and valleys with her swishing tail. She buried herself in the ground and created billabongs. She put new resources for people to use later. But still the child cried. Still she kept coming on.

Ngalyod found the family. She swallowed the child. The father cut off Ngalyod’s head with his axe. It was full of code that hadn’t been written yet. It came rushing out in a jumble and filled up the land.

top badlands.dcr

I am the scientist.
I shall do extraordinary things to your body:
put you
name you
try you

rub you,
crack your code,
I will feel you come, die, resurrect – ha!
(you are
I am)

Babylon shall fall; the
digital Jerusalem reign and
one thousand years' peace and numbers -

(apocalypse, armageddon -)

I am the archaeologist:
converting the letters into language,
the code into patterns.
studing the civilising principle that transmutes
genotype to phenotype.

I am the poet,
tracing the civilisation of numbers
to where the meme kings rule
and momentary gods send signals
to the scientist.

(I am the scientist.)

top pattern dreaming (badlands)1

Man-labal-gimug. He was walking through the civilisation of numbers, naming things as he went. He sang: 'Hawker's Hill' and Italowie Creek'; he sang words for cumulous clouds, sandstone ridges and anthills. Sometimes he saw shapes and colours only. He left names on them too, and so they became teatrees and mulga and sandstone.

He was looking for a place to change, he was tired of being invisible. But there was nowhere that was not already taken; and there were too many features to sing. Data paraded before him in complex arrays of shapes and sizes, and there were lights behind his eyelids, even when he slept. The number people would not leave him alone; they kept giving him more and more equations.

He went to the billabong. He went down, down under the water, where it was quiet and cool and the number people wouldn’t bother him. He changed into the dappled light under the surface. Now you can see him swimming on the water.

top pattern dreaming (badlands)2

It was a flat plain. There was a low sky and a long land. The songlines were easy to follow because they had been drawn into the sand, but the language was an old, obscure one with very complex syntax.

Her language was visualbasic. This was a different language to the one that had written the patterns. She could only hope to approximate the meaning. And yet she knew there was meaning there. You could tell by the way the territory repeated elements of itself again and again, at greater levels of detail the closer you looked. It was ordered. She followed the curves of its gullies and crests and the arcs of its promontories. Soon she began to sing, she sang in visualbasic translations of the patterns for her people to understand.

And the people gathered round. They built fires in that country. They built shelters from the storm.

top pattern dreaming (badlands)3

The colour was not there right at the start. It happened after space, after the first didgeridoo. Then the world became drenched in colour, but no one understood it. People ran from the colour, but they could never get away. Eventually they sat cowering within the darkest caves.

He was very brave. He went outside to find food; he went through the colour and got some honey. He brought it back, but he would not share. The people were dying. He got geese eggs, and ate them all himself.

Eventually all the people died, and he was alone with the colour.

The colour whispered to him: ‘come to the blue’. He made himself wings and flew high, he went djang! He’s still flying. In Orion.

top Hawker dcr

slipping, sliding,
slithering, gliding
whooshing, cataracted and
super-conducted –

lately I find myself

lately I find
(searching, seeking)
lately I find
m y s e l f
sliding on sunsets,
stretched around hypotheses

there are times
(dripping, seeping,
trickling, streaming)
endless times, when
l a t e l y
I find myself
(streaming, experimenting,
slipping on the logos
into myth, I am

seeking the shifting science,
lately I find
m y s
(no, wait)

I have not found
m y s e l f
(slipping, continuing)

there are cracks and canyons,
fissures, ligatures,
banana skin epistemologies

q u e s t i n g – turning –

subtract passion from empiricism
and you get 0,

But that, too, is magic:
baby, you
oscillate my strings.

top mamu dreaming (hawker)1

The mamu were coming to Earth. They came to Earth and they were sitting on a big hill with lights. They were stretching themselves into shapes, but they still looked strange. These mamu were waiting for something.

The man and woman could see the lights on Mount McKinlay. They were looking for food, so they went to the lights, but there were only mamu, who started stretching their penes and vaginas when they saw them. 'We want to eat you', they said, and they made the man and woman stay.

When they had finished copulating the man and woman escaped. They returned later with spears and people, but the mamu had gone. There was only a light in the sky, and charred grass.

The friends of the man and woman believed they had suffered a lapse in their inter-subjective consenual hallucination. They took them to a dark place, and locked them away.

top mamu dreaming (hawker)2

The children were walking down Italowie Gorge towards a waterhole to go swimming. The gorge walls were steep and the bottom of the ravine was in shadow. There were glowing shapes moving in an underhang. The children were frightened; they thought they must be mamu.

The children hid to watch. The mamu had a baby that was playing in the sun by itself. The baby looked strange, but was also oddly compelling. The children stole the baby and ran away to their families.

The baby grew up with the people. He became a kind and gentle youth, but the people didn’t wholly trust him. They could not, however, ostracise someone who was so ready to oblige, although sometimes they did catch him searching the night sky for who-knows-what.

Finally the people felt they must kill the mamu youth. They hurled their spears at him until he resembled an echidna. The last thing the youth said was ‘forgive them …’ Then the other mamu, who had been there all along, came and took the body away.

top mamu dreaming (hawker)3

She was gathering lily roots with her sister when she heard the singing. It was not a song she knew. Both the words and the tune were strange. There must be strangers in her territory, strangers who did not know the way of the land.

She and her sister must help them.

They were very pale men covered with flaps of different colours. The sisters stood where they could be seen and the mamu men made loud bangs. But the sisters stood, and the mamu came and grabbed them. They wanted to you-know-what. They raped her sister first. Their penises were so big she split from vagina to neck and died instantly.

The other sister knew she could not escape. She started turning then, going to the Land of the Dead. The mamu were too slow to eat her. And if you go there you will see a pandanus tree, surrounded by stones. The stones are the lily roots. Do not disturb them, there is nothing for you here.

top Italowie.dcr

What is flying really?
Perhaps it is anti-body,
the opposite of flesh.
Perhaps it is disembody,
the denial of flesh.
I think it is re-embody,
a difference of flesh.

Perhaps flying is the cubism of consciousness,
the mind refracted by crystal,
and we scatter via death to diversity
like a hawk on the updraft, like a sideways crab through the tide -

In lab coats we will fly to other dimensions,
penetrate the membrane between
mind and the storm,
circle the field, plunge,
ache, cry –

There will be many trips and many
sometimes we will run the water / wine algorithm –

– and we will breed medusa heads and gorgons –

We will become
extract of haiku

the quotient of silence and science and myth.

top Avatar dreaming (Italowie)1

It was night. The territory was full of dark creatures, the moon was not full. They were crossing the badlands to find water, walking, travelling. They had to keep going. First they grew feathers and went as willy wagtails, they flew up in the sky. But it was night, it wasn’t right for willy wagtails. They flew down to a tree.

They could hear other people talking. The other people were saying, ‘those willy wagtails should come over with us’. But they were scared the other people might eat them. The other people were growing strange bodies, were going in and out of the territory. They had nets, and they were surrounding the willy wagtails.

The willy wagtail people made themselves djang, there on the road. They became people with other limbs, other heads. You can see them there today, as rocks.

top Avatar dreaming (Italowie)2

Owl wanted to copulate with the woman but the woman wasn’t willing. So Owl brought a big storm. The woman and her husband went into the dry cave. They covered up the entrance with sticks to sit out the storm, but it kept raining. Soon the land was in flood, and the people and animals were all drowning.

The woman got out her dilly bag. She started lapping all the water into it, and tossing it out to the south. This is what made the Great Australian Bight.The woman put herself there as a crane and her husband became the sand groper. The owl is still lonely at night.

top Avatar dreaming (Italowie)3

He saw a leaf in the air. He decided to follow the leaf. He travelled many days, sometimes over water in his canoe. Finally he reached a shore and got out. He was looking for the tree from which the leaf came.

Some people came towards him. ‘eat this!’ they said, and gave him blood and bones. He refused. He went on. A beautiful woman sang to him ‘Stay with me!’ He tore himself away and kept to the main path.

Finally there was a clearing, and in the clearing was the tree. It was huge, it reached from heaven to hell. He climbed p and plucked a leaf. The earth shook and he fell back to where his wives were. He had sex with his wife but his penis dropped off, and then he was dead.

top McKinlay.dcr

burning bright
does god or science
you ignite?

Or is there a difference?
to me

The (old) code is dead.

I am sifting the noise
for data to work with.

Seeking escape
from the triple suns
of science, art and god,

you are sublime and I am blind.

I can squint at your printouts,
learn where to hollow the land,
I can prospect for singularity;
leave this earth.

Satellite and I
trajectory is our love-song:
both seeking the higher high.

Oh, it's a groovy uni
verse, but
who is in whose power?

top Beginnings dreaming (mckinlay)1

Long long ago there was a singularity that had everything in it. Art, science and religion. It was nowhere, it was everywhere and everything. Everywhere was dark, but there was nothing to see, because everything was inside the point, and everything was nothing. Everything was silence.

Then the first people came. They separated into different tribes. They separated space and time, and created and peopled the earth. They set up territory, and they walked it, naming it with sound. The people created culture, and machines and fondue dishes. They even thought of lava lamps and Bakelite.

And when they had thought every thought, invented every thing and categorised all of culture and nature, they started to shrink back.

top Beginnings dreaming (mckinlay)2

First they shrank back through the machines they had made, and then through the history they had cooked, and then through all the theories – modernism, empiricism, romanticism and beyond, way past idealism and even matriarchal mythopoeia; it all had to go.

Finally they had done so much shrinking that their clothes didn’t fit any more, and fell off. They had a lot of sex then (there wasn’t much else to do). The world was getting smaller, but so were their brains so it didn’t matter; everything had fused somehow.

Just before the big crunch (this is a type of orgasm, only backwards) the first mythic traveller from parallel universe #53 went by. This was a race of highly intelligent singing canaries that had sent a man to test the safety of the ship. All the man saw was this: a gravitational field from which even the light couldn’t escape. He went a little closer -

top Beginnings dreaming (mckinlay)3

Once upon a time there was a princess. She lived in a castle surrounded by a moat, and she did a lot of embroidery. She was waiting for her prince to come, but they kept being eaten by the white pointer shark her daddy had put in the moat.

It was a strange castle, with endless rooms, and equally endless routes through those rooms. The princess used to try to represent the routes and the rooms in her endless embroidery, which was fast becoming as complex and concrete as the castle itself. However the princess never did reach the end of the rooms, the route she took always ended at the start of a new route, and the routes were always intersecting... She also suspected the routes were not static: yes there were rules; you could build models to predict them (as she did, with algorithms written in the tapestry) but the data the algorithms relied on seemed to change.

She started to think that the rooms and routes were types of knowledge, and the changing nature of knowledge itself was what was forcing the data to change. She found herself listening to the walls, trying to work out what songs they were singing, learning odd snatches of verse here and there and trying to map it.

Anyway that’s when one of the princes made it past the shark, and she had to go.