QRCode City


I’m lying on the gum-specked pavement, ignoring the other people reaching into their pockets after smart phones for their own un-trusting reasons. From here I see strange markings. Calling them hieroglyphics is granting them too much signifier, as graphemes clearly look like things, and what these most resemble are splashes of paint. In fact, they are splashes of paint. Orbits of drips, scattered across the pavement like interstellar dust caught in the filaments of micro-gravity embossed into the fabric of space-time. Scribbles of silver paint marker, visibly more steady-handed and intentional than the markings in a toddler’s coloring book, but their meaning no less obscure. Postal Service Priority labels re-purposed into personal branding stickers, marking phone booths, newspaper boxes, and other paleo-infrastructural fixtures in a dense, overlapping network of clots fixed from past decades’ own obsolete life-blood. Scrapings of keys or other metal blades into plexiglass rain barriers; photographs of electron orbits around the molecular statements of anonymous graffiti artists. “Graffiti artist” may not be a controversial term anymore, but applying the phrase to any and every defacement of public space does not necessarily follow. And yet, I’m seeing the larger code again, and the streets are looking better. *


You have a dozen lovers names tattooed on your bicep. And every piece of art has its own billboard to alert you of its existence. How many appliances in your house have a digital chime? Can you tell them apart? What do you gain from recognizing the voice of your coffee grinder, your toaster oven, and your iron? What are they telling you that you could not have gleaned from the smell of ground coffee, fresh toast, or a burned shirt? *

And this bit of wonderfulosity:

We are constantly overwhelmed by our internally autonomous odd-dot astrology, picking apart apopheniac patterns that we have constructed between the brick facades, the mirrored windows, the unplanned drips of paint, and the magic marker vector geometry that grows extremophilic over the surface of our perceivable world. I long for the day when you not only need to present your verified address to buy a QR sticker printer as you do a can of spray paint, but proof of age, as when you enter that kind of club. As if any such control would stop technology from seeking out its desires, when technology like this is the most rampant evidence that our cities are departing from a Technological Victorianism to return to a gorgeous, sleazy, semiotic burlesque. Technologies like QR codes are the beat that gets our society’s machines tapping their feet. From the gaping maw of our technological future comes ugly, distorted, beautiful music, singing out loudly from bricked and re-bricked exteriors, from rusting, twisting pipes, from arcing buss fuse boxes, as our constructions slowly devolve back into the calciferous strata from which their concrete was originally mined, and our culture rediscovers what it used to do to have a good time. *

All here.

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