Reporter Signal

Episode Two Hundred Ninety Seven: Reporter Signal.
In which we branch.


  1. Rewatching the X-Files. On S2E8,"One Breath", Mulder gets help from The Lone Gunmen in analyzing Scully's blood sample after her return from abduction. One thing I'm noticing in this rewatch is the rapidity with which each episode careers through plot development. How absurd it is for Frohike and Byers to simply glance at Scully's chart to immediately know something's up. And then further absurd when they get their hacker friend to grab the incriminating study, replete with mpeg video (in '95, this was a novel idea, that you could get this video sent through email ... remember dancing baby?) that shows a rotating 3D color model of a molecule, as well as a short video of a computer analysis of Scully's blood work. It's a very quick, tidy explanation for something so unexplained.

    There's enough reality here (for all I know, it's quite accurate) to allow us to suspend our disbelief, but, in good sci fi fashion, it's likely all bs.

    Those two images, though, struck me on this rewatch. The audience following the story hinges on our being dazzled by those two mysterious images. The show is about our digging and digging to find out who we are, and to find explanations about the mysterious things that happen to us in life. Much of that mystery lies under the skin, in the hidden dark spaces inside our cells. We can try to understand how they work, but it's always a game of Plato's cave. The model is an approximation.

    Also, the strength of the show in general, imo, is about impressive, strange images indicating unexplainable things. Just watched one of the best episodes, s2e20, "Humbug," and that's exactly what that episode is telling us. The box is empty, we're willingly taking the grift, and it's the joy in getting there that makes it all worthwhile.

    The first frame is a still from a youtube upload of an extract from Eno's 77 Million Paintings, a generative art software project that Eno created that essentially allows your massive computer screen to become a forum for an art exhibit. I run youtube uploads of it as background noise, and also when I do yoga. That one still frame always struck me as significant for some reason.

    The final frame is a bit of a mess, but it approximates my attempt at modeling how I see "Daftendirekt," the first track from Daft Punk's first album, which has a robotized voice repeating a phrase that I never quite make out. The phrase slowly spirals in and out of detectability as track elements (synth parts, drums, etc.) are added and removed. I'm intrigued by what my attention does as it ongoingly recognizes and then loses recognition of the human element there.

    The title is from the science of genetic analysis. Reporter signals have something to do with an alert that geneticists receive that announce the presence of some sort of genetic activity. Or something.

  2. Noticed after drawing, too, that the molecule image resembles two horse heads fused, or two chess knights. This was totally unconscious on my part. Now I'm wondering if it's in the original image, or even in the real molecule structure. Like the seahorse, it's another example of our brains mis-recognizing a pattern.



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