Diary Entries found in the Vital Materials Store in the autumn of 2016
[Presumed to belong to someone associated with The Gateway, perhaps a brother or son of the young man mentioned initially in Payne’s entries from 1988]
Have sensed new fragilities in the emitted notes. Number seven seems to bear a wound, liquid crystal shimmering beneath. I listen for the shrill semibreves.
Form keeps secret the wealth of matter. That is the core, the lure. I must work out a word for this colour, the way its transience contains briefly more beauty than any delicacy of oyster. Quiver between sound and colour. Refer to accidents over objects. Must be a way to train the senses, like appreciating rainfall.
Today’s changeover: five control units, trying to make blue light illumine the glass, where yesterday I attempted red. Drew diagrams to rack up the hours, couldn’t make head nor tail of any of it. I used to be so enamoured with the variables, but now they’re always eluding me. I hear a certain roar when I go to sleep. The aeolian call of things that ripples through my dreams; creates fissures in the space between flesh and metal, the me and not-me.
Took the train out to the ocean, stood for hours by the dirty firth, cold air at my neck. The way each wavelet curled over itself seemed to suggest something else. Art you throw back in the ocean, the ocean giving up its objects. Auto-destructive, evocative without context. You can’t quite reach the wild from here, just the lip of its land-borne edges. I wonder the difference between sound and matter, how you materialise one for the negation of the other. Sometimes I close my eyes and the dark beats come again, thudding deep without tempo. Everything travels in contours.
Got to work after a week off and the shop’s been all rearranged. Dad’s useless with the catalogues. I employ my meticulous influence and have everything exact by noon. No customers, but a shady old man comes sniffing around. He’s not from round here, though there’s something in his eyes a little familiar. I’ve seen it before on the objects, that intensity of methylene blue. Two drops from the ether, haunted point of stars. SSRIs that pulse in the blood, the pupils widening upon inspection. He wants to see our ‘special collection’. I wonder if his blood would look the same under a microscope, the flowering cells dipped in indigo. I remember breaking a piece off number 32, how smooth it was like a new MacBook, this freshly aluminal skin. But what horrors within! I made the mistake to look too close. The void looms in lieu of microbials. The trick is a drifting, a drawback, an attention to tuning. The details cause nausea, if you’re not too careful.
Folk come in sometimes and hang over the shelves of nuts and screws like they’re kids choosing pick’n’mix. I dole them back over the counter, noting prices from some autonomous spot at the back of my mind. A long time ago, I was forced to learn all the numbers. They did something, you see, entered the slipstream of energy. All sorts of lariat forces and colours fall over my thought. I can’t quite say it’s ever original; what counts is how the figures coalesce into something else. Sometimes I take time to add to the cells of the Document, free-writing what digits spill from my head. The codes are endless, snaking across the tables I drew up as a kid. I’ll go back to the room, touch certain objects. Sometimes talking that language leaves me bedridden for days, my body reduced to a shell. The inverse of astral projection, forcing yourself back into your body as body. An objective experience of self, staring behind glass at the skin’s fragility. I treat it indeed like something delicate, unused to food and starving for clarity of water, light. Shrivelled leaf or shard of quartz. Hide it in darkness and then soon when the dust comes bearing its alien sparkles, I can emerge once again to drink in secrets.
I think of the waves, falling over themselves, the spill-out of froth and foam. Isn’t that like a body, all its trivia spreading out then dragged back again? This is the sixth diary I’ve kept this year, but I keep burning the old ones; the blue flames lick the skin of my words and I know it’s imperative. Language is matter and matter is lethal. In the wrong hands, the aeration of knowledge might burst on contact--fire upon paper, the sawdust scatter of words in the flames. It’s like I’m always touching the void, coming up happy in absence. There’s another vernacular I need to speak, a parlance of groans and machine-borne judders and whirs. Every rainstorm, every hurricane gust that comes off the sea, blows inland past cities to the core of me. I feel it, the steadily building oblivion. I can’t mention it to anybody. It’s something that requires more than casual expression; I’m still working on the form, building fragments from this imaginary factory.
I go in again and again to check things on compulsion. Sometimes skimming my fingers for the wounds, for the pulse points, I find myself weeping. I have glimpsed in the oozing eyes the dying algorithms of warming seas; upon that cool metal you can feel the spectre of eternity. The coral-like polyps of copper and steel, something akin to a weird plasticity. Nothing bends at my touch, but often there is the softest of shudders. Whatever quantum event would shiver, liminal, between here and deep space. I love the colours, the prismatic films of light that one might peel with too human hunger. I have learned to be receptive, to make contact and wait. It’s possible when my body is gossamer in the ruptured stillness of the room, when each thing hums with metallic, then harp-like silver croon, I too am unfolding, bearing this skin to celestial plasticity, ready to emit what spirit stirs eerie from within me. Sometimes I wonder if this is all illusory, these helices spinning DNA from objective possibility. When I blink I am between currents, the twisted coils of sinew and bone that flash upon the calcareous exo-shells with their coat of coolly varnished temporality.
I can’t help but think that maybe this is all connected to something bigger: dimensional space, spirit, climate itself. There’s a word that ricochets over and over: hyper. I feel it when I lean against things; press my palms into the giveaway stillness of a soldered surface, or glimpse the chromatic flickers of nickel, titanium. All these materials I measured myself, identified as a child with science textbooks. And yet, always not quite. There was always an excess. I think of a burgeoning chord, mercurial mass nearly major in key, errant in tone. Each time I’m with the objects, when I go back outside the weather has turned. Turned quite dramatically indeed, as in some avant-garde symphony, where the strings are cut-ups, the shortening staccato that spills into rain, crescendos of sunlight which furl at last in the lip of a rainbow, the queer legato of a new viscosity. A slowed tempo, a pool of impossible tune. The light slicks its colours like oil upon water, and I wonder if soon there might be an aesthetic reckoning. Too long have these things lain silent, dormant. What I want is a formula, a way of exposing how beautiful they are: the way they are never quite what they are, how within each crafted form you might find the enmeshment of everything. Until then all I have is words, the secreted lines on a page; but it’s music I really crave, liquid and spilling and strange.