Plus Ultra, or Excerpts from the Living Digest of Dael_0@Gmail.com, a text messaging manuscript from the eventuality (Version 2.0) by Ray Ogar
>>> COPYRIGHT 2006
Version 1.0, originally released as a limited edition of 100, a handmade book with illustrations, vellum, and sewn pages. Version 2.0, now available as an unlimited paperpack edition, including updated text, original essays from the website, glossary and bibliography.
Speculative fiction, essays and neologisms based on extensive research into contemporary use of cellphones, mobile technology and the advent of Google.com. Told through a series of text messages received from a future version of the narrator.
<begin fiction excerpt >
Deep in the Metameta, fluxed under the wi-fi-worldserpent, I place my hand over the vibrating hull of my cellphone iconomorph. Baudrillard@Hotmail.com rings me. I see his face in the cell’s micro-screen. His totemicon blinks like a badly rendered .GIF animation.
I ignore Baudrillard in real-time and let my iconomorph’s primary simulac, Wyl1, field the message. Reduced to background noise, their conversation takes only a slice of my attention. The call abruptly ends as my feet grip solid my bike’s taloned pedals.
I balk as the pixilated insurgents of a smart mob spill onto the street from a nearby alley. I try to swerve but become instantly tangled in the confusion of faces. I flinch as someone explodes a text messaging fog above the crowd.
Compressed text messages, misspelled comments and half-resolved words project across a chalkboard of smoke. Various brand propagandas compete for the mob’s attention. I cover my ears as dozens of cellphones simultaneously ring a Walt Disney theme song. I smile as a competing flood of Warner Brothers ring-tones break out a few feet away.
Because of the confusion I can’t make out but a few of the brands that battle for consumer primacy. To my left I hear someone scream, “Figments! We are figments!” And I laugh when I finally look closer at the crowd. They all wear the face of Andy Warhol. Snarling. Frothing.
I skitter my bike unnoticed through the remains of a few misshapen smoke entrails at the mob’s edge. I sigh, already bored with the theme
One Warhol’s finger wags at me with disdain when I finally escape onto an unfamiliar side street.
The bike spokes tick.
My nerves calm as I coast into a fresh, ad-saturated space. Wyl1 minimizes most of the irrelevant pop-ups that vie for my audience. What few he marks for my later perusal are left to my tertiary simulac, Wyl3,
Around another corner. And an entire city block shifts in scale after a nearby server fingers my iconomorph. Wyl1 instantly alters the details of my infocloud. The Braille of me re-arranges. Now the server’s code tendrils caress an array of personas. My simulac merely confuses the city’s attempts to mirror my desires as well as any casual agent of Google.
As a fuzzy trace of me, Wyl1 is my loving precognizer.
I trust his intellect as I trust myself.
The wind streamlines my hair as I dip past a cancerous outcropping of ghost-repeaters. I can only hope, pray, and halleluiahize they won’t swing ambient spam into my cell.
Pedalling faster now, I accidentally slip into the gauzy dot-gain of a wireless notzone—almost entirely black and white, this mute subset of the city affects me with a dizzy moire of lines and walls covered in the scales of pyramid-shaped sound baffles. The zone is lightfast without the norm of ads. There is no motion but me. All of my personal hyperlinks dissolve. Stillness.
My pedals backspin. I squint to make out the features of a staticky wi-no clinging to a paperback book.
My eyes blur as the zone stagnates with the code crash of deliberately broken Internet links. When I finally look to my cell, it slowly reverts to a neutral, impersonal form, unable to pick up a wireless signal. I nearly cry as the ghetto continues to sap all of the city’s connections from my iconomorph, Wyl1—me.
To my right, a sliver of luminous RGB color beckons. I struggle to pull away from the zone’s hypnotic materiality and dive back into the Readymade.
As the notzone deflates behind me, I relax, once again, attended by comfortable ad saturation.
My legs turn faster.
Still queasy from the desaturated zone, a shudder persists across my body.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>My bike tires screech. Rubber peels, only to thread the concrete with chocolate shavings. A Penny Dreadful buds from the side of a building like a chameleon shifting in the sun. He caterwauls into his iconomorph, tweening and distracted. He is a cellphone lush.
Thousands of digital tethers writhe over his body. And of course his face is porcelain perfect from the excesses of Greeking. What parts of his body remain unfixed look more like exotic bird feathers than hair. My stomach turns slightly at the visual overload.
I carefully walk my bike around him.
Disgusted, I try to toss the phone to the curb but instantly stay my hand, clutching it as a doe-eyed thigmo would. I look into the micro-screen for Wyl1. Annoyance instead. Another call from Baudrillard@Hotmail.com. I ignore the call. Still, I want to throw away the cell. But my contract with Tmotile says that to continue free cell service I absolutely must always keep my iconomorph near. Besides, the thing has no OFF button.
This matters not and I temper my tweening. I grit my teeth. The wi-fi-worldserpent still snatches at my senses. It coils around the city with the slither of encryption. It lies like a hydra under all that is the Readymade. Sly. Shallow. Merely attendant to its own desires. I can never swat away its infinity of heads. I cannot control how it rapes my simulac like a swarm of digital succubi. Is Wyl1 in constant threat? But he is MY protector. As I pedal deeper into the city, I cannot help but notice how the einvironment I travel through more exactly narrowcasts me with its branding tattoos and advertising skins. How the city morphs to appeal to my supposed likes and dislikes. The bots of reptilian rhetoric try to model all my secondary selves. I take comfort knowing Wyl1 works tirelessly in the margin between me, the Readymade and the saturation.
Thankfully, I am nearly home.