--> ap/xxxxx


interface and society presentation: 03:00 (2006.11.13:1)

Instruction Set


A few weeks ago a master's degree candidate in computer science confided, with an embarrassed laugh, that he had never seen a computer. His experience with the machine of his chosen vocation had consisted entirely of submitting punched cards through a hole in the wall and later getting the results the same way.

[Byte July 1978. A Short History of Computing]

Interface in all senses is that which is dictated and trusted (with crash exposing the flip-side of this social agreement). Such dictation, abstraction as propaganda, is concerned with belief; the belief that a data sheet, denuded and unauthored pure description, correctly and sufficiently exposes the abstracted hardware, or belief that an API (Application Programming Interface) offers complete or even correct advice for its own operations.


Exposition of the existent data sheet: its format

A line is traced there from exterior - pin functions and pin assignments

into an idealised interior, for example the block diagram.


Lines surround the idealised block diagram, a symbolic description; dotted lines mark the cut, the interface between exterior and interior, the precision of pins.

Precisely that which we are concerned with here: the exo-CPU. The black box that is existence exposing the pins of interface.


The CPU or Central Processing Unit, that which we will map over invisible world interface, is described as to its features, internal operation and interface operation - an instruction set is described - that which is held on the pin outs as physical, demonstrable and observable operation. The op code specifies for the machine precisely that operation which is to be performed; what series of active circuits will be rolled out as ever microscopic micro-code.

For the human mnemonics such as AND, or ROL (rotate left) correspond to these numerical codes. This is the first stage in a hide and seek game of abstraction with coded assembler (in what codes) translating between the two faked domains at an interface of language; that which is truly identified as a promiscuous realm of compilers, interpreters and self-modifying code. That precisely data, the physical, is code.


We can talk of hidden op codes, (so-called) holes within the official table contained within the manufacturer's data sheet. Such holes can be tabulated by analysing the effect of each instruction on registers and pins.

A typical study concludes with the following:

It would be interesting to find out if all (6800) processors follow the patterns in my table, or if the results are specific to my individual unit. (ie. unshared as officially undocumented - they may just be an anomaly, a conspiracy of observation even).

[Byte Magazine. 1979]

Yet what precisely does it mean to talk, within the context of an expanded world CPU, of "hidden codes," the pink light paranoiac strains of Philip K Dick, of Thomas Pynchon precisely tracking the circles of the simulation? To talk of a Gnostic crash exposition. Here where there is always abstraction. That which can not and should not be seen - abstraction as a hiding.


Circles and (clock) cycles.

Firstly, (gated) rings of privilege, rings of protection (from what?) within the contemporary CPU.

Secondly, Dante's Inferno. Tabulated into code by de Sade and later Pier Paulo Pasolini (Salo) - circle of manias, circle of shit, circle of blood. The circular mechanism of the Edison's Black Maria primal film studio.

Lastly Oberst Endian's rocket mandala: KEZVH. Klar, Entluftung, Zundstufe, Vorstufe, Hauptstufe (main stage) encoded in the sky over Alexanderplatz (Gravity's Rainbow). A circular design itself as the work arrives back in its own staging - the rocket crashing into the reader's interior cinema, a screening of contemporary film which is GR itself - the mirror production side of the Black Maria interior we are yet arrive at. Fast forward.


In very real terms there is an economic concern with that which is made public or retained as a private internal functioning; information which we (the life coder) do not NEED to know, and which could prejudice the very operation of the black box function interior, the Schwarzgerät, or central black apparat, of Gravity's Rainbow.

The operating system as entry point into the economic in all senses - economies of usability and of narrowed so-called interface (user becoming a subject of the OS, under the OS and to be coded for), economies of time-sharing (the original purpose) made plain here:

The large computer, being a very expensive resource, quickly justified the capital required to investigate optimum use of that resource. Among the principle results of these projects was the development of batch mode multiprocessing. The computer itself would save up the various tasks it had to do then change from one to the other at computer speeds. This minimised the wasted time between jobs and spawned the concept of an operating system (itals).

[Byte Magazine 1979]

The CPU (and its double) as tied into the Operating System. A (largely) unwritten history of this entry of the OS, a story of protected modes, privilege, segmentation, of rings, by way also of system calls and interrupts - the OS enters into and dictates economies of hardware and of the physical.


A system of design and implementation/white rabbit economies of the physical.


The CPU is a highly interiorised existent device/structure in the world. The interior is unknown - interface is presented both by way of assigned pins (labelled by numbers/assignments and control, I/O or time driven functions) and the literature or construct of the data sheet which presents this annotation - to some degree often incorporating purely theoretical rather than practical information. [lab measurement]. The product unknown to the manufacturer returns conjecture; it can construct itself at a further distance from this knowing. There is a relation to measurement and exploration by way of reverse engineering.


Yet, that precisely there is not that which would correspond to the CPU, an endophysical artefact dictated by the doubling or mirror corkscrew of the CPU; that exactly it is not there to be found in the world, being a question of interiority.




To extrapolate from such a (fictional) view of the CPU (in the world) towards the world/existent (and thus the arena of life coding: the darkened theatre and its double) implies an interiority which is rationality (a machine) with pin-outs extending deep into the black forest of an outside. It's a necessary exchange - expansion of CPU/machine interiority implies a sadistic or cruel rationality (contained) of the machinic. The CPU is (always) a rabbit hole within this forest which accommodates another extrapolated CPU - Edison's Black Maria.


A film studio with a constrained or reduced instruction set which well allows for viral reproduction and thus execution. This studio, in the forest, precisely mimes interiority. The encoding of the instruction set permutation, the program, which equally implies circular motion by way of both vertical sprocket-led motion (reproduction) and a horizontal rotation of the studio itself repeating the world's motion in attempting to track the light of the sun, a telescope's motion; this encoding is equally used within the first hardwired CPU of Konrad Zuse - a hardwired arithmetic unit implying circuit selection parallels the permutational (editing) possibilities of that life coding demonstrative double which is cinema.


W.K.L and Antonia Dickson: History of the Kinetograph (facsimile 2000 MOMA NYC):

p20: regarding the Kinetographic theatre or black maria:

As we peer into the illusive depths we seem transported to one of those cheerful banqueting halls of old, where the feudal chief made merry with human terrors, draping the walls with portentous black, and thoughtfully providing a set of coffins for the accommodation of his guests. And what is this mysterious cell at the other extremity, sharply outlined against the dazzling radiance of the middle ground and steeped in an angry crimson hue? Are these inquisitorial dungeons, and is that lurid glare the advance guard of the awful Question? Is that gentle persuasive in process of administration, and do these half-guessed recesses conceal the hellish paraphernalia of rack and screw, glowing iron and crushed stone? Has the doom of ages overtaken our wizard at last, and is he expiating, with twisted limb and scorching flesh, the treasures of his unlawful wisdom? Ah, me! that the prosaic truth must be told. No dungeons are these, thrilling with awful possibilities, but simply a building for the better "taking" of kinetographic subjects.


The CPU, a black monolith mirroring that of Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 is placed in the mysterious world, an interior is placed in the world. Rather, an exterior/interior interface which is the world is laid out in the forest clearing, a past chateau which can easily expand to world landscape.



Extrapolating further on this tracking (out) trajectory from CPU to Black Maria studio (a mobile police cell) to world/existent and maintaining a relation to containment (prison of language and rationalism), leads both to a permutational filmic construct arrived at when film, like all software, turns in on itself, eats its own promiscuous tail, in compiling or interpreting harmless, passive data as world-active code - an everyday operation which allows for an interface between high level expressive language (comments are nevertheless discarded) and the machinic: machine code exactly as it is termed.

This film: Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Welt am Draht. Thus a series of ever expanding containers, Searle's Chinese room embeddings. Leading both to the Kopf embeddings within Fassbinder's two part magnum opus, and equally to the question of interface. The clue that such a world reverse engineering, this mock turtle science, is on the right paranoiac or conspiratorial track revealed through further empirical evidence or coincidence.


Embeddings of real and virtual worlds within the context of consumption - a primary computer simulated world designed to provoke statistics...

I sat there for an eternity, staring incredulously ahead.

The road ended a hundred feet away.

On each side of the strip, the very earth itself dropped off into an impenetrable barrier of stygian blackness.

Out there were no stars, no moonlight -- only the nothingness within nothingness that might be found beyond the darkest infinity.


A notion of crashing, which embeds "of itself and not itself" as outlined in Welt am Draht and less so in the rest of works such as The Matrix (ignored for evident conceptual and aesthetic reasons), which share with The 13th Floor (another descendant of Galouye's Simulacron-3) the moment of bland revelation, hitting an edge of the simulation with a truth beyond. Mise en scene of nested illusions. In contrast Welt am Draht suggests an overlapping of interior Welt simulation with making simulation (the extruded machinery of simulation), and being outside; a mapped interior/exterior kopfschmerz of two holdings, constructing and constructed overlap which is crash; overmapping of the trajectorial at/on multiple simultaneous sites. One last note relating to Simulacron-3: a drawing found amongst the research notes of a previously disappeared scientist (who is aware of the simulated nature of this world) illustrates Zeno's paradox.

Fassbinder's Welt Am Draht is based on a novel, Simulacron-3, by Daniel F. Galouye in 1964, which is well referenced at the beginning of Otto Roessler's first manifesto for a new kind of science: Endophysics (1992) , or precisely science or physics from WITHIN. Equally the question of a "world as interface" - a thought movement made possible by the use of computers and the descriptive active means of programming languages to model the wonderland world: embedding a world for an equally embeddable observer (the Kopf). A science born of a science fiction which further following the conspiratorial track is further related (in 1970) by Konrad Zuse in his essay Rechnende Raum, or Calculating space/room.

The circuit is complete but the question remains of observer interiority - access to a falsified data sheet for a cruel world or rabbit hole CPU (forest surrounding the Chateau Silling - occupants interface or cut line of exterior and interior is the moat).



The double. The (Chateau) Silling CPU specification with some help from Pierre Klossowski.

Sadean life/live coding, with reference to clear systematics, tabulated regulation is of an extreme order, existing in obvious relation to Stewart Home and Florian Cramer's pornographic coding. By way of equally systematic artist Pierre Klossowski we can begin to decode Sade's writing in essential relation to the executable:

The description Sade gives of his own experience in the characters he created covers a twofold experimentation: (1) that of the representation of the sensuous in an aberrant act; (2) that of the described representation.

[Pierre Klossowski. Sade My Neighbour. Quartet books 1992 page 17]

Sade's text is not "purely descriptive" but rather functions as quine-like source code for an interpreter. Again we're near to the closed circuit of expanded hardware - an interiority of code in Klossowski's terms referenced as a bloody Cyclops eye otherwise known as the bedroom. Sade as the primal "coder in the boudoir."

This is made evident in Pasolini's Salo. The frame. The whore/storytellers (as true life coders) relating of an aberration interpreted by the machinery (the CPU) of the libertines; rendered executable and electric within that circuitry.

A spoken source code, grey as celluloid, lingers within the irreversible miasmic air of the chateau. The code is evident and heavily commented:

Klossowski writes of ...prescriptive formulas and recipes for procedures to follow or ways to act in the bedchamber. We do find here and there this sort of pragmatic note at the bottom of the pages of Juliette... These pragmatic notes belong to the exercise of purest irony.

[Pierre Klossowski. Sade My Neighbour. Quartet books 1992 page 42]

In this code walk through (low level to high level or in reverse to action) we are one step away from execution; the next paragraph. The ambiguity of live/life coding presents a similar exercise in irony/cynicism. Life as code, as dictation. The machine (for living - a house or a body) only does that which it has been instructed to do. Alternatively living coding at the command line; that horizontal prompt proving a horizon for contemplation. Just as Klossowski quite rightly states that such an exercise in the "purest irony," our code would not function if such notes did not achieve "real pragmatic use." It must be capable of being rendered executable, of indicating an outside which is "not at all the interior of the 'bedroom'..." (or CPU) where one would code.


What gives Sade's text its disturbing originality is that through him this outside comes to be commented on as something produced within thought.

[Pierre Klossowski. Sade My Neighbour. Quartet books 1992 page 42]