The title for this image is borrowed from the lyrics of the song that inspired it.
Runaway by The National.
The title for this image is borrowed from the lyrics of the song that inspired it.
If everything had unfolded according to my travel plan, the 6 hour wait at Townsville Airport for the last flight home to Sydney on Wednesday this week could have been easily avoided; I could have booked in for the last Tuesday night flight out. It would have been tight time for check-in, but do-able. As it happened though nothing went wrong, or even slightly awry, to delay my completion of the install I was flown for: I didn’t get lost or take a wrong turn on the drive in to site; the client was fully prepped, present, and had all the necessary personal protection equipment on hand at the ready; no last minute changes required rewiring or hardware adjustments. In short, there was no need to stay late or go back again the next morning. But you don’t get bonus points for being ready to take your flight home a day early. Rather, they’ll keep what you paid in the first place and then make you pay the full price once again. So there was nothing to do but stick to the plan and stay one more night in (beautiful one day, perfect the next) Tropical North Queensland, Charters Towers.
I had the rental car back at the airport by 11am the next morning in order to save an extra day’s rent, checked in my tool case, and read the latest issue (#8) of New Philosopher on the theme of travel from cover to cover between numerous coffees until 4:30 boarding. By the time I was home—just on midnight—my reading had left me so deeply in such diverse thoughts on the ethics and utility of travel in general that I couldn’t get myself off to sleep for another 3 hours. Here are a few quotes from Issue #8 of New Philosopher to give you a taste for what’s inside.
“[Susan] Sontag argues that taking photos is a way of refusing life, of limiting experience to a search for the photographic.”
(News: Stealing the moment)
“Few places today uphold the right to be bored. Even our thoughts are hijacked. “Silent and lifeless, people sit side by side as if their souls were wandering far away,” writes Kracauer.”
(News: Radical boredom)
“[Peter] Singer’s is a philosophy that demands the end of travel as we know it, in that it demands that we unpack the special box of experience it represents and instead judge every action by the same criteria. How does what we say and do, every single day, affect the aggregate suffering of the world in which we exist? Where can most good be done – and how can we ensure that we contribute to that good?”
(Travelling with purpose: by Tom Chatfield)
I’m not sure that my purpose in Charters Towers – to help make personal protection equipment more accessible and accountable on a gold mining site – would impress Peter Singer, but it’s a step forward from my purpose 10 years ago, which involved servicing cash handling equipment for the gambling and hoteliers industries.
In brief response to Kracauer, I can say with some confidence after 6 hours waiting at an airport that airports are one of the few places that still uphold the right to be bored, though they do make the boredom, should you choose to accept it, terribly comfortable.
Finally, I haven’t read Sontag’s full argument On Photography for the dismissal of photography from the list of life enhancing experiences, but I have read elsewhere that she changed her mind later in life about some aspects of that argument, and, so, having now, by way of diary entry, at least partially justified using my free travel time between Sydney and Charters Towers to do some photography, I give you some photos of light playing on clouds filmed at a few different heights.
p.s. I’m not at all disappointed that I didn’t capture a photo of the iridescent fog that rippled and surged overhead of me like an aurora during my drive back to Townsville, but it wouldn’t have harmed my experience if I’d been able to stop by the highway for just a few moments to capture it without the fear of a truck slamming into me.
It’s surprising how many ecological transformations are possible given a salt lake bed and a patch of common reed to begin with. So many in fact that it’s taken a few days of sorting through all of my artist’s impressions to pick out a series that’s not merely arbitrary, but seems to comply with my basic idea of how reforestation works, but this is more like a regrasslandestation. Here we see what is basically the original salt lake bed, except I’ve cleared some haze out from the background to improve the view. You can almost see the low mountain range on the horizon.
The next step involved planting a nice green lawn in the salt bed.
I’m not sure what species of grass it was, but it clearly thrived on the saline conditions; it even outcompeted the common reed grass.
It strikes me now as I weigh up the pros and cons of this transformation that where there were at least three biomes before (mountain range, salt lake bed, and common reed patch) there is only one biome now (if you don’t include the sky). So there is nowhere for two communities to meet and integrate as per the definition of an ecotone, unless you include the sky.
The obvious thing to do here is to define the sky as a biome, thus permitting whatever community happens to be there to transact with the one on the overgrown lawn. This in turn leads one to wonder what kind of transactions occur between the other side of the sky, and, say, the surface of the moon. The result of this kind of wondering I found turns out to be mostly very silly, but I did start to wonder about how one would go about terraforming another planet to make it suitable for life as we know it on Earth, and that’s not so silly to wonder about. For instance, can the terraforming process manufacture a wide range of ecotones where biomes from different communities can meet, integrate, and produce edge effects? I’ve not seen any such consideration given to this question in the literature of terraforming. And if it can be done, how many salt lakes should there be compared to lawns and common reed patches? Which countries on Earth will the salt lakes and their vegetation be introduced from?
This image of a stunning sunset in Paynesville, Victoria was databent by resizing the dimensions of the image to a Golden Rectangle (1618 x 1000) and then using #FF to ‘white-out’ the Fibonacci Hexadecimal Numbers in the RGB values: #01,#02,#03,#05,#08,#0D,#15,#22,#37,#59,#90, and #E9 were all converted to #FF.
Apart from this brief introduction, there are no words for Part 14. Only a series of photographs that lead from views of wide open spaces of pure solitude along the Limestone Coast of SA to the point where I was overwhelmed with a desire to touch it and feel it course through my body.
When I took a photo of my computer monitor last night, with a datamoshed image of a Rough Collie dashing through a forest fire on display in full screen mode, the area around that image was in complete darkness. My reasoning for such strange behaviour? An experiment designed to locate the image in a three-dimensional space and mark it with a signature in the process. Like many of the handwritten signatures I’ve tried out from time to time, I’m not feeling inclined to stick with this digital one i.e., C:\Users\maekitso\Documents\bird\…
I’m keeping maekitso and bird, but not in that particular form.
Rather than delete it and pretend it never happened, I decided to take a screenshot of it and pass it through a few more iterations. I started by loading it into Irfanview and doing an ‘Auto-adjust’ on the colours. A light trace of what appeared to be electronic circuitry appeared through the black space. I opened up the manual colour corrections panel and played with the sliders. Increasing the Gamma Correction levels brought the traces out from hiding. What the!
Long story short, I can’t reproduce the effect from the original photo, but I did reproduce it by uploading a photo I took of the moon over Gawler Ranges in the black of night and then taking a screenshot of it and turning the gamma level up. I’m not sure if that points to a WordPress specific formatting artifact, or a WordPress specific method for determining levels of light pollution. Either way, it’s pretty cool. I’m working on the circuits around the moon now to see what I can do with them. Stay tuned…