Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Work song 1

I was at work again. This was beginning to be a habit. As I said the other day I have three jobs: a blue collar, a white collar and a black collar job. I am a kind of trinity of demography. Today I was doing the black collar one again: being an audiovisual technician at the convention centre.

The convention centre is a network of caves by the river, caves temporarily above sea level, caves connected by tunnels and filled with ghosts. Machines project images on the walls. When you are in the caves you only know the outside world through those images.

The ghosts drift in, they drift out. They eat cookies and drink drinks, just like Santa does; they look at the images, which right now are about haemophilia, and listen to other ghosts talk about them. Sometimes I talk to them. Sometimes they even ask me questions:

ghost; you just do the sound, you don't know anything?
me: know anything about what?
ghost: o about haemophilia
me: well i had a friend who died from it. apart from that, no
ghost: but did you listen to the talk that was just on?
me: yes
ghost: (indistinct) chromosomes (indistinct)
me: i didn't listen closely enough to answer that. you should ask the flame-haired woman: she's just there

and so on.

The cente is an corporate world, which means it's run by machines. I was surprised when I started working there, because I'd just been at art school. Art school is a holy place. You take a vow of almost-certain poverty when you go there, so everyone is pretty dedicated. They're like members of a holy order, guilty when they waste any time on account of they know they could be using it for Art. People at art school talk in hushed tones about this thing they call the Real World, by which they mean the world run by machines. They worry the Real World world will eat them, that they're not up to the job of surviving in it.

So as I say I was surprised when I started working in the machine-run world, because the machines pay you to waste time a lot of the time. You wait for what one machine has said to match what another machine has said and sometimes you wait a long time before you can do anything, but another machine pays you all the same. I had the automatic guilt of an art student when it came to wasting time, but I had to learn how to do it.

That's all a bit of background. The foreground is this: Walking the tunnels yesterday I flooded them with my mind. I let Greenland melt and the West Antarctic Ice Shelf come off, and the whole place was full of seawater. I replaced the data projectors with iridescent squids that can change their skin to display any pattern. I replaced all the printers with squids too, on account of squids are full of ink. I replaced all the ghosts with jellyfish, drifting along with the current, watching the squids. I turned myself into a squid as well and swam around eating the jellyfish. X


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