Martin Jackson-four poems
A simulation of the physical effects caused by the movement of water at a distant location
So there’s this buoy, out in the Pacific,
collecting data about wave heights and frequency,
g-force and other things I always forget.
Station 51-003, I think it is. It’s that data
that we’re seeing output kind of directly
to this mechanical grid structure, here in Wrocław,
via that pretty elaborate mechanism up there.
Eleven 24-volt motors controlled by an Arduino Mega.
I still like to show that, even though it’s so high up,
the mechanism. For it to be part – to make it a part
of the piece. It’s important for the viewer
to see how each wave is articulated.
As I work with them, systems, like this,
they fascinate me. Like the way this movement occurs is
it’s not smoothly mechanical but sort of tetchy,
unpredictable, like the surface of water.
That was something I couldn’t predict,
was a nice unexpected. And it’s these
this assortment of unexpecteds, foibles,
mistakes, maybe, in the machines,
they’re what make me
are what make the work interesting,
keep me interested, in it, them.
Sorry, yes, the buoy. It was moored originally
I think about two hundred nautical miles
south of Honolulu but then got loose, adrift,
I think April last year but is still to this day
transmitting this very valid data
that’s seen right here, wherever
that here happens to be.
Would you like to draw circles
like this one? It is good for you?
Or this one, it is better?
Watch my elbow, my wrist
for this one, my shoulder:
there is no necessity
for the centre point to be
the same plane as the circle.
It is simple geometry we play with,
our tool, your shoulder, my wrist.
This one, it is perfect for you?
This certain point remains
constant during the operation
it is my elbow, my soul, look,
it remains in its certain place.
This circle, is it good enough?
Smaller circles, yes,
they are possible.
For those I use this
my father’s trumpet.
How things are not
Suppose this: that a clock’s no more
than a graphical interface, an OS,
any & all devices that countrymen
can nod along to at country intervals.
Suppose, then, that the event that drives
such clock can be about anything: the bounce
of a ball, the unwind of a sprained string,
the swirl of a pendulum, a change of current.
Then suppose no let’s together construct
a clock in which a beam no ball of light
bounces between two mirrors: each lit strike
a tick or tock of discrete rules advanced.
Suppose two such clocks are stationary: time
indicated on each will miss precisely nothing.
But suppose one clock gains motion
away from the other: shipped out through space
the moving clock’s light must travel longer
diagonal patterns as the mirrors separate,
light itself sabered to 186 thousand miles per second.
Light is light. Clocks are clocks. The only solution
sees the moving clock click slower for any
stationary observer. To be on the clocked ship
is to see no change in speed but to return
is to have aged. Suppose then that spooned
spacetime is an approximate transcription.
In general, any observer can believe their style
and that the arrested universe remembers.
Each and any observer quelled correct.
A skylight in a basement
I mean not real-real, you know, sun-light.
But we didn’t want to just replicate the effects
of sunlight, you know? All our light, out there,
comes filtered – agitated through 10 kilometres
of oxygen atoms, nitrogen, whatever else
we’ve pumped up there and so that’s the depth
we wanted, needed, so we compressed it all –
the idea of it, at least – into a few millimetres
of polymer. Nanoparticles. Titanium dioxide.
Some things I can’t, you know, trade secrets.
So just like in our actual atmosphere
the light waves from our light source
are sort of scattered. The light’s made to
kind of dance, is how I think about it.
That’s what makes honestly everyone
look at me like they do when they – you did it,
when you came down here just now.
Like I’m a conman or something but
but imagine if
one example I think about is this:
say you want to invent the skyscraper
but there’s no elevator, no one’s invented
the elevator yet. We can only build what we –
yes, exactly. Exactly. Yes. So that now
instead of the skyscraper someone can –
someone probably already is, aren’t they.
Someone’s building us an earthscraper.
Martin Jackson is a writer and artist based in Berlin. His 2014 project as 'writer in residence' of Google Maps was featured in 3am Magazine, Frieze, WIRED, Dazed & Confused and elsewhere. Last year he attempted to write a novel live in Google Docs, as featured in The Quietus. He received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry in 2011. His photography began with bands and gigs in east London in the early 2000s, and his work has been shown in two small solo shows and two group shows in London. Currently, he is researching and writing about technologies of writing and creative production. Martin’s writing will appear in Hotel #3.