Text by Alex Boland
Indefinite cessation, suspended verisimilitude, the miasma of its smothering embrace unmistakable, the promise of a warm blanket periodically dampened by the weight of misplaced intimacy. Curtains.
Violence (n): resistance to signification. Spectacle (or grinding dread) moving too fast, too slow, in-X-orably marking the spot, scuffing the frame so painstakingly constructed in an effort to set boundaries, disregarding all the conditions that prune and reduce the uncountable number of things any given utterance could mean and bring about some reasonable possibility of communication. Not poetry, impact. I Explain Myself with nothing more than collisions and the resulting shrapnel, I Explain Myself as pain, or maybe pleasure perforates the habitat humans call “language”, zipping towards its own climax without any regard for however the story was supposed to unfold, however, the wave was supposed to crest, otherwise.
III: Artificial Life
No closure to be found, just the sea, just endless primal depths, depth drives juiced with depth charges. Perhaps there’s nothing more to desire than redemption in this intractability, to yearn for no more and no less than a few simple rules of thumb, finding order from chaos as one sh(r)eds all thoughts in the mechanistic simplicity of a few endlessly renewable rituals:
Boids is an artificial life program, developed by Craig Reynolds in 1986, which simulates the flocking behaviour of birds. His paper on this topic was published in 1987 in the proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH conference. The name "boid" corresponds to a shortened version of "bird-oid object", which refers to a bird-like object Incidentally, "boid" is also a New York Metropolitan dialect pronunciation for "bird."
As with most artificial life simulations, Boids is an example of emergent behaviour; that is, the complexity of Boids arises from the interaction of individual agents (the boids, in this case) adhering to a set of simple rules. The rules applied in the simplest Boids world are as follows:
• separation: steer to avoid crowding local flockmates
• alignment: steer towards the average heading of local flockmates
• cohesion: steer to move towards the average position (center of mass) of local flockmates
More complex rules can be added, such as obstacle avoidance and goal-seeking.
~Wikipedia (as of October 25, 2021)
See? It’s doable. You need only construct an enclosure, a couple extra walls to fabricate a geometry from which everything else follows like Newton’s laws of motion. Maybe it’s technically artificial, but doesn’t it seem natural enough to return to Eden without a care in the world? Be like the boids, be boid-friends, like Boyd.
Wait did you say Boyd? The fighter pilot? Yeah, that guy was a real cartoon character, his one big concept was the OODA loop: observe, orient, decide, act. You gotta do it fast, fast enough to get inside the other guy’s, then you’re in control, then you’re the predator and he’s the prey.
Of course, there’s a balance to be struck there too, the predators eat their fill until the prey runs dry, only for the predators to slowly die out from starvation until balance is restored. Nature is a see-saw like that: no matter how simple the inputs and outputs, you’re in for a ride, you can’t just glide along forever, acting dead. But maybe, just maybe that means you can be yourself and give part of yourself to others all the same, so long as you can find that not-entirely-stable equilibrium that doesn’t simply collapse into stasis the minute you take your eye off the ball.
Snap out of it. This isn’t real, this isn’t even the fiction you came to witness, put the paper down and look around you. It’s up to you what to make of this triptych: do you look up towards the sky, at the possibility of heaven, of being free from the pain that comes with desire at the cost of everything else about you? Or do you get on your knees and descend to hell, where you lose yourself just the same to transient sublimation? Or do you stare dead ahead at purgatory, keeping everything beyond that fourth wall out of sight and out of mind?
Nothing here can tell you what to do, Earth means deciding for yourself that you’ll find a way through all three and back out to where you started, and doing it again and again and again however many times it takes.