Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Double Oh Nothing

A monk once asked Ummon, "What is the Buddha?" Ummon answered thus: "A dried shit-stick!"

 The Invisibles tosses you into the maelstrom, the clamorous sea of a world hungry for bodies. Pulled swirling into this vortex, the reader seeks the support of a familiar flotation device: the Protagonist, the Everyman, fiction's life raft. The protagonist is a form of insulation between the reader and the fictive reality,  a mechanism of orientation, a ficto-symbolic body simulation through which the reader inhabits the text in a proscribed manner. Your fingers brush against him in the noisome clamour, and as you try to grasp his position as center of a heroic narrative, to cling tightly to the buoyant force of his "journey" and let yourself be carried passively along a well-worn trail of growth, you come across an issue.

He is a shithead.

Your hands slip.

 We have been led to think of virtual realities as something on the screen of a computer, or presented through a headset, but that's an electronic virtual reality. The primary technology for the building of virtual realities is language. Once you start talking about race pride, loyalty, our destiny, our God, our mission, it's like building virtual realities; and people begin to treat these things as though they had the substantiality of real objects, and to build their lives as though these things are real.  
- Terence McKenna

 Hero and Anti-Hero collide and annihilate each other in a burst of hot white light.

 Narrative is a technology. Story frames time and space according to certain rules and rubrics, providing a sense of perspective and progress. As a technology it is also a distinct argument, a rhetoric shaped by boundaries or rules defining what is meaningful and what is not within its discourse. Within this discourse, actions in accordance with rules, or rituals, generate readable and substantial meaning. Outside of this discourse is the realm of the meaningless and the unknowable. Interplay between these realms, between symbolic life and symbolic death, is fruitful. The Invisibles aims to push, pull, shatter, recast, dissolve and transcend these boundaries. It is a probe injected into the environment of narrative, as you are a player injected into the game of The Invisibles.

 It’s ragged at the edges but you can play any of 300 characters, some more involving than others. It’s a thriller, it’s a romance, it’s a tragedy, it’s a porno, it’s neo-modernist kitchen sink science fiction that you catch, like a cold.

The Invisibles is a virtual reality that is shaken, not stirred.


  1. For years I mis-read that as "Dave McGowan" and assumed it was a reference to the researcher/author, which is not to say it isn't.

  2. I'd never heard of Dave McGowan until now, so there's another path of exploration opened up. Thanks!

  3. I believe that Dane McGowan's namesake was a homage by name of the musician Shane Macgowan.

  4. If you're looking for Grant Morrison's conscious intention at the time, that's probably it, yes. I feel like I've seen it mentioned by him before in interview, but I may be mistaken.

    Does McGowan or The Pogues tie in to The Invisibles in any other ways? I'm really not familiar with either.