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Dreamed 1989/8/27 by Chris Wayan

Computer on fire. Cartoon by Wayan.


After a month of quarrels between my printer, CPU and hard disk (color graphics are still pushing the limit here in 1989) my computer seems to be actually WORKING! I stay up late painting on screen, starving my body to feed my soul. Or is the operative cliche "Make hay while the sun shines"? After all, who knows if it'll work tomorrow? 50/50 odds at best, based on this month...


My friend David and I built a big hard disk. Real big. Real hard! A steel disk near three meters wide, whirling on a hidden axle. On its face, I painted the image of a pool of koi, fringed in reeds and rocks. Through hard-disk magic, when you turn it on, the pool becomes real--assuming you can see my image AS a pool, of course, not just dabs of paint. We know it works: to test it, we just went swimming in the pool! Came out wet.

And virtual water's just our test run. It's a gate into any world you can picture and paint!

A man walks up with an alligator on a leash. He asks "My gator's hungry--can I let him swim in your pool and catch some fish or turtles?"

I say "Oh, sure. I painted those in; I can always just paint more."

So the man coaxes the gator to climb up on the disk, and we turn it on... Again, the pool turns real. But the gator just floats above, on the steel disk-face, unable to sink through the steel into the pictured pool. We forgot the gator's reptile brain won't see these swirls of paint as water, turtles, koi. And so the door to other worlds is stuck!

The gator needs real fish. We can't feed it art.

An alligator sprawled on a big steel disk painted to look like a pond with koi. Dream sketch by Wayan.


So I stopped staying up late and starving myself in the name of art, as my reptile brain was warning me, right?


Try about five more years before I really learned that lesson.

LISTS AND LINKS: computers & the web - labs & inventors - There Are Doors - other worlds - reptiles - asceticism - anorexia & food - workaholism - digital dream art - more crocs & world-gates: Time is a Croc & Ghost Gator - a brighter mind still blind to metaphor, from The Literal Empire

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