Revelations of Virtual Immanence

Niklas Ekholm 2020

Deep within the endless noise of computer generated images, a quiet but coherent voice comes through with an insistent stream of messages in a language foreign to us. Never touched by human hands, every one of these images is a veritable icon, acheiropoieta, like the Shroud of Turin, or Jesus on a piece of toast.

A coherent voice comes through the noise.

What is this poetry? What is that realm in latent space where these words are born? Why has it appeared in this form? We know that it is pure computation, but does it express a hidden will — an untold desire embedded in the folds and crevices of the data set? Clearly this had to be preserved for posterity, and a mathematic formula simply would not do.


A life of a scribe is knowing his fellow scribe

A scribe does not need to know the content of the text in order to be able to pass it on. In fact many mediaeval scribes might have been illiterate. What has to be known, is the movements that produce these shapes which carry meaning. The traditional trade of a scribe requires learning the secret choreography of strokes, the swivelling details and the rhythm that make up a letters and words, the ductus. A scribe can be locked away in their basement scriptorium, never seen and their intentions never known, but their brushwork will be distributed far and wide, and somewhere far away another scribe might one day see and copy the same pages, becoming the new embodiment of the original movements. The life of a scribe is in humble servitude to a greater intelligence, be it the devil or the Lord, or the unwitting folly of a previous scribe. But how should one know the flow of immanent consciousness in a virtual life?

The work of a scribe.

Set out to perform his duty, a scribe soon realises, a life’s work will never be enough. For every page copied, six new ones appear.

Manuscript pages drying on a shelf, waiting to be bound.
A lowly copy by a humble servant.

Tools used
ArtBreeder albums model, created by Alex Reben
Ink, Paper

Niklas Ekholm