SecreT(uring)ly

Georg, with whom I worked on co-writing The Station, asked me if I’d like to do another piece of co-writing with him, this time an opera libretto. I said yes (duh!). Last Friday, we had a three-way chat with Henry Vega, the composer, about Alan Turing, neural networks, science fiction, queer stuff, and all, for a sharp hour (Georg’s good like that with his one-hour meetings).

Today I spent a couple of hours (after some dipping of toes last night) in installing TensorFlow-Char-RNN, a “a character level language model using multilayer Recurrent Neural Network,” as made wildly lovable by Janelle Shane of Letting neural networks be weird. That involved installing TensorFlow. I went for the direct MacOS approach (after toying with either a Vagrant VM or Docker container) of the Virtualenv flavour. Plus Python 3. And pip. Dependencies. We have them.

A bit of faffing around, and out is spat a ‘Shakespeare’:

t ‘vkdwsa avf
neu irot rS
, mvuaeea giCsouo aed renat rs
;iiweszteseooiiWhe thrr l st !htt :hsre

I mean, I was expecting a single, long ‘aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa’, so this was progress.

More faffing, fans to 6000rpm, CPU to 500%, and some short while later, ‘Shakespeare’!

Before we proceed any further,
Or each doth now foul branch with thy preser’d up
Young to devise me him;
But in my jewities rebeeve me to this,
Your soul than daggers and breeding
some abrother Arms
What will be pronound with a husband; he’s beauty much or a slaughter,
But I’ll wring my false find than how ill.

Nailed it.

Image

Ottensheim from Landgasthof Rodlhof

I found this photo, cleaning out my camera before yet another trip to Gemäldegalerie: the Danube is behind the line of trees.

Image

Linz Hbf, Waiting for the 🚞 Part of 🚌🚞🚌✈️🚌🚋

S.J wrote and talked with us about aftercare for Rest Area. Kali Rose said the snake I ran over on my e-bike was a good omen, and she’s never going to let that go. I arrive in Vienna, cafés I’d aimed for are closed for lunch so I find myself in Café Jelinek, a bit off Mariahilfestr. neighbourhoods I’ve biked through before. A second breakfast, after our all-’80s singing one in Landgasthaus Rodlhof on 3 hours sleep, raked from the work and hungover, is a big mug of coffee, croissant and honey, bowl of fruit and yoghourt, 4 slices bread with cream cheese, chives, tomatoes, all for 9,50 €. On the plane, easyJet to Schönefeld, they offer me two seats, ’cos I’m mad tall. I fall over myself into it. 4 hours later, a half before midnight and the Danube churning in my lungs, I arrive home. Katrin has left dinner on the table for me. Aftercare all the way.

Gallery

The Vans of Spotter Festival on Ottensheim Ferry

From the break during Friday night’s première, No. 4 van is S.J Norman’s Rest Area.

Rest Area. On the Ottensheim Drehseilfährt

I stood on the Ottensheim ferry each night, crossing and recrossing the Danube, the air growing cold and damp. Water. Spirits of the drowned. Direct line to Australian ghost travellers. A fog that hangs on the surface and coats metal with condensation, soaks into wood and lungs. I stood on the ferry’s Wilhering side, furthest from the wheelhouse, while Rest Area was in the van beside me. Unlit and isolated, I opened the van door twice every fifteen minutes, one person in, one person out. I breathed the Danube air, scraping my airways, sluicing my heat out. This is two minutes of the sound outside Rest Area, from the fastest part of the river, on Sunday night at 8:20pm. (Sounds like gargling static, but a memory nonetheless.)

Ottensheim & Danube Panorama

First evening in Ottensheim, we all jump on the Drahtseilbrücke Ottensheim, a cable ferry that pendulums across to Wilhering on the other side, about 160 metres away. Up the river to Kraftwerk Ottensheim-Wilhering, Schloss Ottensheim on the hill, the town of Ottensheim itself with Pfarrkirche hl. Ägidius above the ferry pier (play spot the building with Wikipedia) on the market square where Kali and I did Friday in with goat cheese, bread, Most, smoked fish, apples and pears, and the most excellent Donau.hof restaurant where we ended up most days, either for eating or for drinking (& cheers to the head waiter for mad good service), further right the pointy apex of old church cum organ pipe factory cum rest home cum apartments where we had impromptu afternoon tea with a woman who lives there because we liked her garden so she showed us around, past the hills of Dürnberg and down the river to Linz, 10 km or so around the corner, and all the banks of the river we wandered and biked daily, if only to get our heads and emotions in order for Rest Area.

Danube & Ottensheim

Twilight on the Danube, shortly before Friday’s general rehearsal on the Ottensheim Ferry.

Gallery

Ars Electronica

Wednesday in Linz. I had to pick up some requirements for S.J Norman’s Rest Area and pick up Kali Rose from the train station, all the way from Amsterdam to be the person in the bed in the van of Rest Area. I had an hour to kill, and had planned Sunday for mediæval art (did not happen), so went to Ars Electronica.

I’m rethinking my museum-ing, or at least for the moment not taking hundreds of photos, editing and blogging scores. These are simply things I liked and felt motivated enough to photograph. There’s so much in the museum, and much of it is temporal, interactive, and 3-dimensional; photography doesn’t serve these well.

I sent “Your unreadable text message to +43 664 1788374” for Stefan Tiefengraber’s your unerasable text. My phone autocorrected. It was pushed to the shredder then sat there, unshredded. The pink of the Biolab was so, so, very hot, florescent, candy, neon pink, rendered as something less than all those and fuchsia by my camera. Markus Reibe’s Protected Areas 2 is the closest thing to recognisable, non-interactive, 2-dimensional art I saw, on a wall documenting the history of what was digital / new media / computer art, and what I just call art these days. The atrium of Ars Electronica was bus yellow and grey cement. If I had time, I would have spent hours here with hundreds of photos.

Image

A Bus Stop near Linz

An attempt at the venacular of the photographic mundane: a prefab bus stop outside Linz on the way to Ottensheim, beside some of the saddest housing architecture I have yet seen.