Chapter 26: SIGINT

Annotations for Chapter 26
by Gian Gutierrez (Com12-G)

1. Lungfish as a description of Voytek’s project
- We learn besides Voytek’s quest to acquire patrons in which to provide him with funding, he has another more pressing matter. He needs a scaffolding to house his ZX-81 projects. This brings an idea of meshing together his entire collection of ZX-81 hardware. The use of the scaffolding can be both as a decorative and functional object. It keeps all the prototypes together while allowing them to be displayed openly to viewers. Such a project is described as being primitive in terms of computer systems and connectivity. It is even connected to the lungfish, a strange and primitive creature. Here is an example of how the ZX-81 was modified during its time.

The lungfish is a type of freshwater species that has been said to exist even during PANGAEA. While many of its fellow fish have evolved to become more efficient swimmers, it has retained some of its defining characteristics. Among them is the capability to breathe outside of water. It has specialized lungs which is much more detailed than the air sacs of regular fish. The lungfish also has an incredible survival mechanism that allows it to survive outside of water for months. Its metabolism slows down after it burrows into the earth and it waits for the rainy season to arrive. The lungfish remains to be a means of seeing the past and how it would look in a world that has evolved around it. This is much similar to Voytek’s project. His beloved Sinclair’s are but a relic of the past, yet they exist to serve as a means of returning to the yesteryears.


2. Konvolut and the lure or promise of treasure in consumerism.
- During their dinner celebration, Ngemi discusses his sale of curtas to a Japanese collector. He admits that while he and Hobbs have nothing interesting to offer, combining their current stocks leads to an interesting state of mind. They create the sense of konvolut or the lure of “the lot.” This denotes a term related to the possibility of making a good purchase. People are lulled into believing that there is the possibility of discovering something in the vast array of goods, a form of finding treasure amongst trash so to speak. And while this idea of buying seems to appeal more to antique collectors and those serious about their trade, it is interesting to see that even today the idea of the konvolut still lives. Some find treasure accidentally when purchasing old items which have been long forgotten in other people’s garages. Card collectors for instance, they enjoy the rush of discovering limited edition prints from decades ago. To the previous owner selling an old chest, the contents have no significant value. Yet to the collector-enthusiast, the discovery is clearly worth more than what he pays for.
A quick browse of the internet will no doubt produce a relation to the idea of bulk buying. Take for example people who use the internet as a means of completing certain collections. For someone interested in collecting Matchbox die-cast cars from a particular set, one can visit stores in the surrounding area. Or he can check in online bidding sites like E-bay and purchase them from other people. All this is aimed at collectors and hobbyists alike. Still, there are some lucky ones who find some kind of collector’s item by accident. The link below is an article that shows the possibility of finding treasure in antiques.

3. Signals Intelligence and the way we view society.
- SIGINT is the title of this chapter. It is short for Signals Intelligence which is basically a means of obtaining information. As its name suggests, intelligence is gathered through the use of signals and coded information that is exchanged everyday by people all over the world. There are usually places that operate as information collection sites. Most governments, if not all, employ the use of SIGINT as a means of security. It can be used to monitor areas during both times of war and peace. Through the use of complex machines they are able to filter signals that are transferred all around us.
This comes as an interesting way for us to communicate with each other. The use of intelligence or signals as a means of obtaining information affects us more than we think. We use this method of decoding everyday when we interact with each other. Even something as simple as the human language becomes an avenue of information exchange. Through repeated exposure to certain words we gain an understanding of it. We also get clues about other people based on the way they talk in terms of tone and even speed. In this case, we no longer need machines for deciphering messages. All we need is to be understanding to the actions of the other.

Com 12 - A

Scaffolding may be defined as a temporary structure on the outside of a building, usually made out of wooden planks and metal poles, used by workers while building, repairing or cleaning the building. Scaffolding has different types but in this story, it is used as a tool to help Voytek with his ZX81 project. In this case, it is the part of art that is necessary as it is created but it is invisible when we look at the finished product– we do not pay attention to it.

The type of scaffolding Voytek needs
Scaffoldings found outside an infrastructure

Magda explains to Cayce that Voytek needs funding for a scaffold.

"The scaffolding is not expensive, but neither it is free, and must be transported, measured, sawed, assembled, probably re-sawed, then assembled again, then stored somewhere until a gallery can be secured." -Voytek

He needs it to assemble around 300 ZX 81s. He is in need for the scaffold because he is planning to individually alter the their cases to accept connections of some kind, having each connection to be painstakingly soldered into the actual Sinclair circuitry. It is not a pure act, it entails a lot of work. By this, he is making an art.

Here is a video of an artist using a scaffold to paint

This art is old yet modified. Art always depends on material support used as it is being made. Imagine, instead of ZX 81s, replace it with computer monitors used in the art piece.


When can it be called art?
Art ranges from sculptures, paintings to anything abstract. Art also uses materials such as paint, modern as well as vintage things. Voytek uses ZX 81s, primitive calculators, as the main attraction of his art work. What makes this "art"?
Vintage things are usually seen as special and rare to people. They are more expensive and special because they are some how “extinct” today. We do not necessarily have to appreciate its function/use because obviously, it cannot work anymore but rather, we appreciate the beauty of it. Some people even find the time to collect these "useless" vintage things mainly because they want to.

Examples over the year of vintage collecting are
Postage Stamps

Comic Booksrian-fikes-action-figure-bathroom.jpg
Action Figures (with box - collect & display)

In the process of making art, one brings back the past. Voytek is trying to bring back the past. He wants to make an artistic statement that the internet is an old idea that can be done with old technology. He is making the past come alive again by infecting it with something present.

One does not really earn much of a living from it in the start. It always needs funds to finish an artwork. Ngemi was a potential funder for Voytek’s project. They were trying to sell something to a Japanese guy but the sale did not push through.

"Neither Hobbs nor I had anything special to interest our Japanese collector in its own, but by combining available stock, we could emply the psychology of "The Lot." Collectors behave differently then." -Ngemi

Voytek was looking for sponsors ( Billy Prion could not do it because he was shooting a commercial in Japan)

'Konvolut' or the lot is about synergy. Synergy means the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. Sometimes, combining things together makes the package more appealing.

For example, when collecting things. If you had the choice, would you buy piece by piece or everything all at once in a package?


Here is a video of someone trying to sell his action figures online

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