The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

Radio, fossils, sound, abjection

Some extremely old (crystal) radio equipment I'll be working with in
New York and West Virginia:

The cylinders are the oldest - they're called a 'loose coupler' - this is
probably an 'Arlington' type and is an adjustable inductor used for
tuning. I think the date is between 1912-1914 which is extremely old for
radios. The earphones are newer, but I'm not sure how new, since I have a
Western Electric 1903 linesman telephone set (I showed it to you ) that I
has roughly the same design. So probably around the same time. The 'box'
is a tunable spherical inductor - I have no idea how to use this (yet; I
do have schematics back in Brooklyn); I'm guessing the date is between
1915-1919 at the latest. So all of this stuff is extremely early. The cat
whisker and galena crystal mounted on the loose coupler is much later; I'm
guessing the 50s or so. The loose coupler would have attached to elements
spread out on a bench - there weren't any 'sets' that I know of from this
period, although I may well be wrong. In other words, this is a more
modern crystal that someone attached to the board to complete the set.

I want to set all of this up with an extremely long wire antenna; I don't
think it will be that difficult and I'll probably have the thing running
in a week or so after returning to NY. The eventual idea would be to
record the roar of the world, as well as VLF signals, and then to study
the result with a modern signal analyzer, either hardware or software.

Now part of the theory here - again, thinking of mirror as digital - and
then one might think of sound and its reflections as neither or both
digital and analog - 'uncanny':

Sound always within the imminence of presence - the same sound or
granularity whether present nearby or at a distance - echo etc. gives an
indication of distance (as if there were a 'distance function), but it's a
'spread' of the original which is always already spread (in time). The
original is always present. The original is always present. Sound is
always interior and exterior, it relates to abjection (as in opposition to
the mirror (stage)); it's second person, it speaks within the body, it's a
'voice in the head' - the mirror on the other hand is all exteriority,
purification -

Echoes are uncanny - they're a dislocation of granularity; at the same
time they preserve it as a kernel (within an aura). - They re/present the
kernel as if it were within the abject.

The visible has no aura.


Then there are two fossils of interest - these are belemites that seem to
be mating. (These were found in the Denver Public Library marble!)

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