The Daylight Press. Vancouver, B.C.
By the Light of the Silvery McLune: Media Parables, Poems, Signs, Gestures and Other Assaults on the Interface.
which is rendered on the half-title page along the vertical
The first poem in this book is called “The Birth of God” and is a concrete poem consisting of the figure 1 composed of zeros encompassed by the figure 0 composed of ones. The poem is reproduced in white on the black of the book’s cover which of course gets reversed (black print on white page) inside. There is a distinct yin-yang feel to the piece. This yoking of opposites is underscored by the note at the end of the table of contents on the page facing the poem.
Note: THE BIRTH OF GOD is a mathematical mandala embodying the perfect creative/destructive principle of the mutual interpenetration and balanced interdependence of opposites: one and zero, something and nothing, substance and void, being and oblivion, positive and negative, good and bad, spirit and flesh, black and white, yin and yang, male and female, thesis and antithesis, this and that — and all possible dynamic relationships of these polarities, the simultaneous representations of which are immediately obvious in the icons of sex, childbirth and death.
Jim Andrews has created a meditation on the work of Lionel Kearns which appears to begin with a reproduction of “The Birth of God” http://vispo.com/kearns/index.htm Interestingly, Andrews uses reverse video display to construct the inner figure of the 1 out of an assembly of ones. It is not an exact reproduction of the Kearns text. It is a meditation upon it. Clicking through the animation produced by Andrews one arrives at a sierpinski triangle which with more clicking fades.
The Andrews meditation reproduces an email message addressed to the author by Nan Yake and a response from Kearns which elucidates, for me, the sexual congress in the figure (which I failed to grasp without this helpful hint).
There are other ideas that can be drawn from the poem as well. Because of its shape, the 1 suggests the male, just as the shape of the 0 suggests the female. With the 1 inside the 0 we have the idea of sexual activity, or conception. Then again, the roundness of the 0 suggests the womb, with the 1 as the embryo contained within it, giving us the idea of birth. Finally the 0 can be interpreted as a coffin which contains a body. And so we have reference to the three principal points on the wheel of existence: conception, birth, and death.
I composed this poem many years ago, long before I had given much thought to computers, or their workings. However, I have been happy to discover that the poem anticipated today’s ubiquitous presence of the binary code that is the basis of digital programming (the play of 1s and 0s).
I first thought that the work was the ironic mark of an iconoclastic gesture against the false god of the computer as all-mighty gadget. I now cherish its undecidability: a 10 in decimal or a 2 in binary base [by another reading of the binary 01 we have one which is also one in decimal notation]. Representation as such. Not the thing in itself.
Yeah, and that McLune is a sure reference to the sometimes lunatic McLuhan of Wychwood Park. Exit singing %% the moon in June %%
And so for day 1295