AntiUniversity of London

Omphalos of the British Empire
Omphalos of the British Empire

 

Jorn and Trocchi ‘United’: An UnWorkshop in Practical Triolectics

A proposal for the revived AntiUniversity of London, November 2015 CE

On Saturday 21st November, at 3pm, affiliates of Strategic Optimism Football and the Luther Blissett Deptford League will present a workshop in practical triolectics, conducted via the medium of three-sided football, as part of the revived AntiUniversity programme.

A contemporary of the original AntiUniversity in the 1960s, the artist Asger Jorn also rejected transactional modes of knowledge transfer, favouring experimental activity. A supporter of the Situationist Bauhaus in Sweden, he believed such experiments fundamental to both psychic and social revolution. Underpinning Jorn’s approach was his unique ‘triloectical’ system. Developing upon dialectics and quantum physics, it went beyond linear transfers of energy, constructing spatio-temporal fields of possibility and negotiation. Not oppositional but superpositional – contradictions resolved by blending multiple simultaneous potentialities.

As a practical pedagogical exploration of the triolectical system, three-sided football stands in continuity with the aims of the AntiUniversity’s original protagonists, including Jorn’s fellow ex-situationist, Alex Trocchi. The game has formerly been played at locations of psychogeographical significance around the world – from a forest at the centrepoint of Europe, to Taksim Square, to inside a Soviet fuel silo, to a druidic stone circle. This time we have selected the significant, if little known undulating terrain surrounding the Omphalos of the British Empire – constructed in the 16th Century by John Dee – as part of an ongoing campaign towards the psychogeographical unbinding of Eurocentric geometrical thought.

UNBIND THE OMPHALOS!

Greenwich Leyline - Northwest Passage
FIGURE 1: If the Greenwich Meridian marks the geomantic anchor of absolute time, then the Greenwich Leyline marks the anchor of absolute time plus space [Note: Dee’s Leyline actually utilises the geodesic insights of spherical geometry – showing the ruling class were well aware that in order to impose the ideology of Euclidean geometry globally, they had to transcend it. Similarly today, we find absolutist geometric ideology (such as that described by the labour theory of value) being inflicted on workers, even whilst new vectoral, topological structures drawn from non-Euclidean geometry are deployed to enforce more incommensurable regimes of valorization!].
In fact, the AntiUniversity programme, fascinating though it is, is but a subtle cover for our true, more clandestine purposes. Unable to reveal the full extent of our designs in advance, it was nevertheless important to gather enough people to the site in question in order, should they be willing, to allow our important rituals to unfold. The AntiUniversity offered us the opportunity we had been waiting for.

Omphallic Symbolism and the Hidden Psychic Gateway to the Northwest Passage

At the northwest passageway into Mudchute Park in East London, lies an Elder grove that conceals a little known archaeological treasure – the aforementioned Omphalos of the British Empire. The term Omphalos, or ὀμφαλός – meaning “navel” refers to a religious stone artefact, which in Ancient Greek mythology marked the centre of the world. Legend has it that Zeus sent two eagles out across the world to meet at its centre – or navel – this spot was from then on identified as its Omphalos.

In the 16th Century, at the dawn of European colonialism in the “New World”, John Dee, Elizabeth I’s chief magician/scientist (the two were, at that time, barely distinguishable), sought to create a “New Omphalos”, the omphalos of the British Empire, and in doing so conjure its psychic foundation (for a more detailed exploration of this latter-day Omphalos and its origins, see: Re:Action #2, newsletter of the Neoist Alliance, Summer Solstice 1995; Open up the Northwest Passage, London Psychogeographical Assoication Newsletter #3 Lughnassadh 1993; Nazi Occultist Seize Omphalos, LPA issued leaflet, ND.; Caer Ruis: The Empty Chair of the Isle of Dogs, leaflet issued by Preliminary Committee for the Foundation of a New Lettrist International, London, 1995).

Since the 1570s, Dee had been an ardent advocate of imperial expansion, agitating in favour of it in his Brytannicae reipublicae synopsis (1570) for example. By his 1576 General and rare memorials pertayning to the Perfect Arte of Navigation, he was firmly arguing for the establishment of what he called – coining the term – a “British Empire”, citing Geoffrey of Monmouth’s account of King Arthur’s supposed conquests in Ireland, as well as later, in his Title Royal (1580), the possibly apocryphal Welsh legend of Madog ap Owain Gwynedd’s arrival in America. Plotting his designs on a map of North America in 1577, Dee had noted Arthur’s own quest for the fabled Northwest Passage to Asia and his supposed conquest of Newfoundland, suggesting this vindicated a British claim upon the territory.

It is no coincidence that the new space of this “New World” would be opened up to Europeans, precisely at the temporal dawning of their “New Age” – or Renaissance. This was the era heralded – retrospectively, we might add – in the Rosicrucian’s Fama Fraternitatis with the line: ‘Europe is pregnant with child and will bring forth a strong child”. This strong “child” –  colonial capitalism – was emergent, as we will see, through a distinctly Platonic, maieutic method, from the midst of a water-girded navel.

The arrival of this “new age” was further confirmed for its adherents by the birth of a “new star”, in 1604 – the year in which the tomb of Christian Rosenkreuz was itself discovered and opened up. This star was noted by the Confessio Frateritatis as one ‘which has appeared in heaven in Serpentarius and Cygnus’. In fact it was a supernova that emerged in proximity to the great conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – known at the time as ‘The Fiery Trigon’. The Confessio Frateritatis has it:

Yea, the Lord God hath already sent before certain messengers, which should testify his will, to wit, some new stars, which do appear and are seen in the firmament in Serpentarius and Cygnus, which signify and make themselves known to everyone, that they are powerful Signacula of great weighty matters.

Gone were the two eagles of ancient lore, in their place soared the twin emissaries of imperial science – spacet/time and absolutism – here in the coded guise of Serpentarius and Cygnus. The conjunction itself, marked the ascendency of Dee’s workings on a global, indeed astronomical scale.

The site chosen by Dee to construct his Omphalos was in the centre of a horseshoe-shaped piece of land, protected on three sides by water – the Isle of Dogs, in East London, from whose docks a thousand ships would launch in the pillage and plunder of Britain’s burgeoning overseas dominions. It is a place, which even to this day, serves as the centre of a vast empire, this time financial, spilling out from the hermetic towers of Canary Wharf. Our investigations suggest that the site was chosen, not coincidentally, as it lay upon the remains of an Ancient British hillfort known as Caer Ruis. This, Dee believed, had once been the dwelling place of Merlin, Arthur’s own chief magician and a figure with whom he strongly identified personally, as is eluded to in Edmund Spenser’s Fairie Queene (1596). For Dee, it thus seemed the perfect place from which to renew Arthur’s mythic empire.

Through the researches of the London Psychogeographical Association in the early 1990s, it was revealed that in 1566, Humfrey Gilbert had “revived” Arthur’s mythological campaign to open up the so-called Northwest Passage – the semi-legendary geographical shortcut to East Asia, through the icy channels, bays and inlets north of what is now Canada. The quest for the Northwest Passage was a key driver in the development of British imperial expansionism and as the LPA noted, George Gascoigne’s Discourse of a Discovery for a New Passage to Cataia,  relates how Dee was particularly taken with Gilbert’s proposition, commending him in his preface to the English translation of Euclid. Indeed, so impressed was he with Gilbert’s text that Dee took his proposal and put it into action, constructing the Omphalos as the anchor of a powerful leyline that stretched all the way across the globe, marking precisely the main channel of the aforementioned Northwest Passage [fig 1., above].

Greenwich Leyline and OmphalosGreenwich Leyline and OmphalosGreenwich Leyline and OmphalosGreenwich Leyline and Omphalos

The alignment of the Greenwich Leyline [shown at various scales], connecting the psychic anchor of absolute space and time (the Omphalos) with the anchor of absolute time (Greenwich Observatory). One can also see where the alignment passes directly through Paris.  

Linearity and the Rule: The Absolutism of Imperial Measurement

It is important to understand that Gilbert did not limit himself to geographical speculations, his oeuvre also included the psychic, that is to say – in modern parlance – the pedagogical. It was through such means that he outlined propositions for an Elizabethan “Achademy”, proposals that were eventually realised by his fellow Merchant Adventurer, Sir Thomas Gresham in the form of Gresham College, forerunner of the Royal Society: the primary instrument for the harnessing of scientific knowledge towards the construction of the British Empire.

It was this educational enterprise, as much as Dee’s Omphalos, that cemented the imperial power of the British, but it too had its ideological and noological foundation in Dee’s Euclidean paradigm. Later, it was through this very same Royal Society that Newtonianism, itself heavily reliant on Euclid, was propagated around the world. It was also this that so fundamentally  underpinned the ideology of British Imperial power, as it likewise spread across the globe, as we shall now explain.

Newton’s scientific and philosophical works are founded upon a conception of space that owes a huge, if usually unremarked, debt to his alchemical work. This, alongside his more widely read treaties, is in turn heavily derived from Euclid, and Dee’s commentary thereon. In fact, with hindsight, one can see that the psychic basis of capitalism’s full emergence lies precisely here, in Newton’s (and to an extent Decartes’) absolute, homogenous understanding of Euclidean space, from which arose, in turn, the homogenous understanding of time. It is from this that the possibility of the absolute commensurability of abstract labour emerges – thus the basis of the value form and capitalism itself! Dee had been instrumental in advocating this paradigm, and the Omphalos served as its psychic foundation.

All the evidence suggests that Dee had, through his scrying and divinational activities, clearly forseen such an outcome and heavily incorporated it into the intricate knots of his “Great Working” – the vast alchemical undertaking through which the Omphalos was created and by which he constructed both the micro and macrocosmic underpinning of the British Empire – the ritual binding of this new Omphalos to the colonial pivot of the Northwest Passage.*

The global macrocosm of imperial geography was thus anchored in a psychic microcosmic representation, here on the Isle of Dogs. This was constructed by Dee as a kind of mental tableaux, or mnemonic spectacle, akin to an ornamental Renaissance Garden, of the kind remarked upon so lucidly by Francis Yates in her The Art of Memory (1966). This spectacle of Renaissance theatrics was, as we have seen, constructed on the site of the ancient fortress of Caer Ruis, purportedly, as already noted, the onetime dwelling place of Merlin himself. The LPA also link this magical, mnemonic process to the monuments of the Ancient Britons, for example, Stonehenge, reminding us:

The natural faculty of memory could be extended artificially by creating a mental journey through a well known place, and linking words with images, these images could then be remembered at the specific locations […] This is comparable to songlines, whereby Australian aborigines remember a specific route by reciting a story which embodies its elements (LPA, The Situationists and the Re-Appropriation of Renaissance Magic, ND).

It is our firm conviction that through this, Dee dramatised his magical workings, as a kind of psychogeographical gylph. He had clearly discovered the remains of the prehistoric earthworks, the horseshoe shaped pit, or amphitheatre, which remarkably, formed a perfect microcosm of the Isle of Dogs itself. What is more however, this was aligned along a Westerly axis with the so-called “Linea Regium”, or “Royal Ley”. A powerful leyline and the second part of Dee’s puzzle, to which we now turn.

This second alignment can be seen to this day, connecting a number of significant sites of power, and remains crucial to the continuing dominance of the British monarchy [Fig.2, below]. By connecting these two lines at the Omphalos – the Linea Regium and the Northwest Ley – to put it simply, Dee projected the Regnum of the British ruling class across the entire globe, via the pivot of the Omphalos.

Thus we can see how his seemingly innocuous Omphalos not only served as the physical and psychical anchor for the concept of Absolute Space – linked by the same leyline to the anchor of Absolute Time, at the nearby Greenwich Observatory – becoming the joint path of Newtonian space/time (not yet spacetime – the two were yet conceived as separate). Furthermore, it also linked these, and thus projected globally, the line of absolute rule/measure, that formed the psychic anchor of the British monarchy! It was these twin “eagles” – the axes of space and time – when married via Dee’s chymical wedding to the axis of absolute measure – that through their enabling of commensurable abstract social labour, facilitated British capital’s rise to global dominance.

Linear Regnum, or the Royal LeylineFIGURE 2: The Linea Regium, or Royal Line, anchored at its easterly end by Caer Ruis, passes through the Omphalos, before aligning with (from east to west): Millwall Dock; South Dock Entrance; Alfred the Great Statue, Southwark; St. George’s Cross, Southwark; Big Ben, Palace of Westminster; Buckingham Palace (Queen Victoria Statue); Wellington Arch; Hyde Park Corner; Princess Diana Memorial Fountain; Serpentine Gallery; Kensington Palace; The Windsor Castle (local boozer of the English section of the Situationists); and, the former BBC Television Centre (itself an important anchor point on the so-called “Rufus Line”, identified by the LPA in 1992).

To clarify this further, if the Greenwich Meridian marks the geomantic anchor of Absolute Time, then the Greenwich Leyline marks the anchor of Absolute Space plus time the two linked become the theatrical spectacle of the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm, whereby space and time, stripped of their unity, become separate yet twin, bound and intertwined as homogeneous extension and the container of all action. The world becomes as a stage, bestrode by imperial actors, full of sound and fury. The psychic guarantee, or regula, of this is embodied in this very line, projected northward to mark out the exact route of the fabled Northwest Passage. It is here that we argue, we have discovered the psychic root of colonialism, and this capitalism itself! In creating this line, Dee had divined the route to global dominance, connecting the Watchtowers of the East to those of the West, the Watchtowers of the South to those of the North, in an immensely powerful Enochian ritual.

Dee’s Post-Euclidean Insights and the Transcendence of Geometry

In mapping Dee’s construction of these alignments, we must point out that our techniques diverge from the frankly cartomantic methods proffered by those anachronistic ley-seekers still following the long-discredited OS grid reference technique popularised by well-known fascist sympathiser Alfred Watkins. In our own researches we utilise a combination of détourned satellite surveillance imagery, along with latitude and longitude readings attained via GPS. We are aware, as was pointed out as early as the 1990s by the Archaegeodetic Association – even before the rise of the GPS method – that such readings are subject to a margin of error, occurring as a consequence of the slight elipticity of the Earth (as indeed were Newton and Dee before us). However, since this is today most commonly given as 1/298.247167247 (Geodetic Reference System, 1967), it only produces variations in the order of a matter of inches. As the AgA and LPA were themselves aware, experiments in the French Academy during the 16th century placed the variation in distance covered by 1o at around 900 metres across an entire hemisphere of the globe, in other words, around 1%. When mapping the far smaller distance of the ley’s immediate locality in Mudchute therefore, our calculations should remain accurate to within a few metres at most.

It is crucial to note, that Dee’s leyline itself actually utilises the geodesic insights of spherical geometry – showing the ruling class were well aware that in order to impose the ideology of Euclidean geometry globally, they had to transcend it. Similarly today, we find absolutist geometric ideology (such as that described by the labour theory of value) being inflicted on workers, even whilst new vectoral, topological structures drawn from non-Euclidean geometry are deployed to enforce more incommensurable regimes of valorization.

It seems self-evident, therefore, that Dee’s formula was in fact based upon a proto-Riemannian geometry, something suggested to him via the “Angelic” – or, it might be ventured more prosaically, the unconscious, or surrealistic – inspiration of his “Great Table”. As Teresa Burns and J. Alan Moore argue, through a careful reading of Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica, and his use of letterist notation, the Great Table translates the Four Watchtowers of the Kabbalist “Cube of Space” from three-dimensional “Cartesian”, or “Newtonian” space, into the four-dimensions of the tesseract, or hypercube, with an attendant correspondence in Enochian gematria (Teresa Burns and Alan J. Moore, “John Dee and Edward Kelley’s Great Table (or, What’s This Grid For Anyway?)”, Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition 2, no. 18, (Vernal Equinox 2010): np.).

This innovations were not unknown amongst the 20th Century inheritors of the hermetic tradition, the artistic avant-garde. Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism are, of course, classic examples. However, it was in the mid-20th Century, that East European émigrés to France, Isidore Isou, and after him Ivan Chtcheglov, came to partially understand Dee’s efforts in the wider, post-artistic domain of everyday life. Chtcheglov in particular synthesised the utopian hermeticism of Thomas Campanella with diverse results pertaining to the geometry of surfaces, and specifically, the transformation of geodesics upon them, enabling the development of a “relativity” of urban space. Later, building upon a critique Isou’s kabbalistic, letterist reconception of space X time as messianic immanence, but also Chtcheglov’s new urbanism of relativity, it fell to their successor, Asger Jorn, to develop a more advanced paradigm of anti-geometric thought, that which he labelled “Situlogy”.

In truth Dee’s proto-Riemannian workings and Chtcheglov’s urban relativism were two currents that marked the end of Euclidean geometry. Though they were only partially conscious of it, they were contemporaries of the first and last great offensives of the bourgeois “scientific” revolution and its defeat in the absurdity of “scientific socialism”, something which left them trapped in the very sphere whose decrepitude they had denounced – the fundamental reason for their immobilisation. Dee and Chtcheglov’s geometries were historically linked yet also opposed to each other. This opposition involved the most important and radical contributions of the two thinkers, but it also revealed the internal inadequacy of their one-sided critiques. Chtcheglov sought to abolish geometry without realising it: Dee sought to realise geometry without abolishing it. The critical position since developed by Situlogy has shown that the abolition and realisation of geometry are inseparable aspects of a single transcendence of geometry.

A renewed “Achademy” of Practical Triolectics and Xenotopian Navigation positions itself here, openly declaring itself as Nashist, in the sense that it seeks to build upon John Forbes Nash’s “embedding theorems”, in which every Riemannian manifold can be – hypothetically at least – isometrically embedded into some Euclidean space. Therefore, the apparent free-form topologies of Chtcheglovian unitary urbanism, can see the length of any path – or in this case leyline – preserved. For example, taking a map and bending it, without stretching or tearing it, produces an isometric embedding of the leyline into Euclidean space because the ley drawn on the map has the same length, however the paper is bent. Chtcheglov noted as much, when he later revised his earlier hypotheses concerning the continuous nature of the dérive, noting that experimental practice had demonstrated, despite infinitely variable configurations of vertices, that it in fact possessed a finite length. Length is one thing, but form is quite another and in this case the Regina of a “New Elizabethan Age” – dawning, like psychogeography itself, in 1953 CE – becomes more of a “lesbian rule” – in Aristotle’s sense. It is to this new new age of colonial and capitalist domination – and our attempts to transcend it – that we now turn.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 09.47.34

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Traced in a northwesterly direction, adjusted in a geodesic manner for the curvature of the earth, one can clearly see how the Greenwich leyline passes precisely through the centre of the pivotal channel of the Northwest Passage. For a scalable plotting of the leyline, see this map

NEVER WORK: Undoing the Fascia of Dee’s Great Working

In the Summer of 2015, in the a forest at exact centre-point of Europe, an assortment of psychic workers began the undertaking we are calling “The Great UnWorking” – the psychic unbinding of Euro-binarist spatiotemporal thought, conducted from within. As comrades from the DAta Miners & Travailleurs Psychique union (DAMTP) have perceptively pointed out, the drive to create unity, the binding of people and concepts into fascia, is, as Jorn also hinted at, the dominant tendency of European thought.

Our efforts to unbind and overwind with a renewed knotwork of sympathetic entanglement began in Lithuania, with the construction of a patapositional supercollider, engineered through the superposition of three simultaneous games of three-sided football. From here our activities spread across the continent in the form of a probability wave: an imaginary solution aimed at undermining the foundations of its ongoing project of psychic colonialism. It is in the development of this programme that we now turn our attention once more to the Omphalos. We seek to use three-sided football in order to exorcise and unbind Dee’s workings, stripping from the terrain the remnants of his poisonous alchemical dualisms. This will be achieved through the unworkings of an “Achademy” of Practical Triolectics and Xenotopian Navigation, utilising three-sided football towards the introduction of a situlogical unwinding of the Omphalos’ connection to the Northwest Passage, via the introduction of chaos dynamics to the ley-linarity of Dee’s system. In the remainder of this text, it now falls to us to explain how we intend to go about this process.

It is the conjecture of comrades from the Luther Blissett Deptford League, in discussion with Strategic Optimism Football and the New Cross Triangle Psychogeographical Association, that by means of a ritual game of Three-Sided Football, in which the natural dynamic and spiral vortex of the game is constructed around the Omphalos itself, its situational power might be psychically uprooted.

If Caer Ruis really was the dwelling place of Merlin, as Dee believed, such an uprooting would of course become possible, by the very fact that it was Merlin ‘himself’, who – at least according to the theories put forward by the NXTPA – was the inventor of three-sided football (see NXTPA, Reclaim the Temple of the Sun, souvenir programme, summer solstice 2015 CE). Thus Merlin – as a multiple name avant-bard, channelled here through the avatar of Luther Blissett – might momentarily become manifest in the “empty” chair of Caer Ruis. In a re-enacted Eisteddfod – or chairing ceremony – a ritual three-sided football game might shift the Omphalos eastwards, along the Royal alignment, to the great horseshoe-shaped pit – throne of Caer Ruis itself. By thus carefully and gradually shifting the game eastwards as we play, by a mere 100 or so metres in fact, a major situlogical disruption might be initiated, the ultimate permutations of which we can but dimly imagine.

Unbinding the Omphalos: Situlogy in Action

The logic behind our proposition is somewhat complex, but becomes graspable with a little contextual information: In the mid-20th century, the American mathematician Stephen Smale rose to prominence for his work on the so-called “Poincaré conjecture” – i.e. that a closed 3-manifold is homeomorphic to the 3-sphere. It was a problem named, incidentally, after the codifier of the Analysis Situ – ­or “Situational Analysis” – himself, one Henri Poincaré. Having proved Poincaré’s intuition for all dimensions greater to or equal to five, Smale moved from his discipline of topology to instead work on questions of dynamical systems. This was a discipline that also had its origins in Poincaré’s geometric thought and the Analysis Situ, and ultimately might trace its origins back to the collision of metaphysics and mine engineering that informed the work of Gottfried von Leibniz in the 1600s.

In the 1960s, whilst active in organising international anti-Vietnam War actions, but also opposing the Soviet invasion of Hungary, blockading troop trains and being hauled before the House Committee of Un-American Activities, Smale began working with “oscillators”. Oscillators – pendulums, springs, strings and circuits – were usually considered an elementary field of classical Newtonian mechanics. However, Smale’s work was on so-called “non-linear oscillators”, a relatively unexplored terrain. Where previously it was assumed only significant alterations in parameters or initial conditions could produce significant differences in a system – for example between static stability and periodic oscillation, Smale proposed that seemingly insignificant interventions might produce significant effects. Smale’s grafting of topological insight into dynamic systems might be called “tektological” in the terminology of early Bolshevik systems theorist A.A. Bogdanov, in that in seeking “global” solutions, it transposes the method of one discipline into another. In this respect, as well as more specifically, that is to say, in its melding of topology and dynamic systems, Smale also clearly echoes the recent advances made by his contemporary, Asger Jorn, in what, as we have seen above, he called Situlogy. It must be pointed out however, that it seems unlikely that Jorn’s work was known to Smale at this time.

As Jorn had also illustrated a few years earlier in fact, dynamic systems – what he labelled “situations” – might be imagined as shapes, or forms – from a simple curved surface to a complex, multi-dimensional manifold. Both Jorn and Smale thus reached the same conclusion, namely that a traditional Euclidean point could only represent an instant of the system’s frozen time, and that forms were in fact emergent, dynamic situations across which points must oscillate and orbit. What Smale realised was that chaos and instability were not the same thing, that chaos could, paradoxically, be highly stable.

This was also the insight that the ruling class of the late 20th century took from his work, work that would form the basis for Chaos Theory – namely that islands of order can emerge from the seeming disorder of a chaotic, dynamic system. Indeed, this became the dominant paradigm of ruling class psychogeography in the age of militarised borders, uneven development and gated communities at the turn of the so-called millennium. It also marked the end of what Isou had called “the Age of Divinity” – the universe of classical mechanics and homogenous space – a development well noted by the LPA (Why Psychogeography? Electric Schizoo #1, May 1996).

Chaos theory, by transcending topology and understanding non-linear oscillations in a phenomenon’s “phase space” formally, as Jorn had also done with his work on ornament (see Asger Jorn, What is an Ornament? 1948), was able to  perceive the emergence of what Jorn would call the “arabesque”. This strange graph form [fig.3.] is perhaps akin to Epicurus’ Clinamen, or indeed, in an entropic – or deconstructive – system at least, the spiral-form navel of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi. For a pendulum, for example, its phase space describes a loop; a dampening pendulum describes a spiral-form phase space.

The example of a pendulum is not flippantly chosen. In practice, decoherence and entropy mean unmolested pendulums will always display this spiralform phase space. However, what Dee understood was that a pendulum’s motion could, under a regime of falsely imposed Euclidean idealism, be rendered symplectically. That is to say as an essentially conservative system, symplecticity could join energy and momentum as a so-called “invariant” property [not to be confused with the similarly named “invariance” espoused by French ultraleftist Jacque Camatte, after Italian Marxist Amadeo Bordiga]. To graph such symplectic trajectories in phase space preserves – that is to say, in Marxist terms, reifies – areas in time. Dee understood that such systems follow optimised trajectories, much like geodesics, and that utilising this, he could preserve what, for his Monarchical masters, was the essential homogeneity of Euclidean space on a global scale. It is this understanding that provides the final piece of the jigsaw in decoding Dee’s method and this that gives us our final clue in how to best undo it.

Jorn, page from 'What is an Ornament?'
FIGURE 3: Asger Jorn, page from the essay of Asger Jorn’ ‘What is an Ornament?’ (1948), in “Fraternité Avant Tout: Asger Jorn’s Writings on Art and Architecture, 1938-1958″, edited by Ruth Baumeister, des. by Piet Gerards Ontwerpers, trans. by Paul Larkin & Ken Knabb (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2011), p.197

 

The Pit and the Pendulum: Untethering the Northwest Passage

The Great Seal of Dee’s magical workings was first recorded in visual form in the Liber Iuratus in the 14th Century. This Sigillum Dei, was in fact however, developed much earlier, by Honorius, the son of Euclid. From this it was Dee who further developed it into its most well-known form, as the Sigillum Dei Aemaeth. What is clear, should one look more closely however, is that the points of Dee’s Sigillum Dei Aemaeth in fact describe the trajectory, or procession, of a pendulum. More precisely, they describe the path woven by a device known as “Foucault’s Pendulum”, derived from the 19th Century French mathematician Léon Foucault (not to be confused with the 20th Century postmodernist, Michel).

In the 19th century, Foucault’s Pendulum had provided, for the first time, a simple, visual proof for the rotation of the earth, by swinging back and forth and appearing to simultaneously complete a circuit around a peripheral “zodiacal” disc. In fact it remained fixed in relation to the firmament, whilst it was the earth upon which the disc was set that rotated about it. In this it performed a neatly inverted analogical description of the intellectual leap made by Dee in his Monas Hieroglyphica, and his shift from geocentric modelling to the heliocentric conception of Copernicus and Kepler. Yet its significance is more than analogical, our researches suggest that Dee actually developed a magical form of the device himself, in the late 16th century.

For Dee, it was this device that provided the desired symbolic, sympathetic significance – through a magical-tektological process of substitution – for the power of the Monarch and Empress, Elizabeth herself. She would remain, like the pendulum, as unchanging as the Sun – or the timeless “Language of Light” – whilst the world’s entire globe span about and around her. Through the sympathetic spectacle of such a device, she would thus come to constitute the centre of a “New World” and be symbolised as such by the new Omphalos of British Imperial Power!

Foucault's Pendulum example procession, given as a regular hendecagram.
Foucault’s Pendulum example procession, given as a regular hendecagram.
John Dee's sacred seal, the Sigillum Dei Aemaeth.
John Dee’s sacred seal, the Sigillum Dei Aemaeth – tracing the form of a heptagrammatical procession.

Now, as we have already seen, Dee had selected the site of Caer Ruis and its defensive pit as the location of a meeting point, or crossroads. As we have explained, the long revered Linea Regium, or Royal Line – for Dee an invariant, semi-divine force of symplectic reification – and the aforementioned Greenwich Leyline, the anchor of Space and Time (connecting Greenwich to the Northwest Passage), here met at the Omphalos, which thus became the psychic fountainhead of Empire.

It was here that we suggest, through his use of highly-coded symbolism, that Dee thus constructed the twin axis of a graphic, symplectic, Euclidean, rendering of Foucault’s Pendulum, connecting “invariance” (absolute timelessness, energy and momentum) on the one hand, as embodied in the Royal Line, with direction, or motion and orientation on the other – as manifested in the Greenwich Ley (i.e. time and space).

To recap: The absolutism and invariance of the Royal Line met the axis of time and space created through the binding of Greenwich to the Northwest Passage, and the meeting place of these two axes was none other than the Omphalos itself. The result was the conjuring of the “Absolutist” (what we now call “Newtonian”) conception of space and time, and its spreading of across the globe in the form of an imperial ideology, propagated by the Royal Society.

This ideology yet remains, blighting the lives of proletarians worldwide, even to this day. Most significantly, it has the blood of millions of Russians on its hands, informing, as it did, Lenin’s dogmatic conception of dialectical materialism, as famously articulated in his virulent denunciation of Bogdanov’s monist heresy.

What now becomes clear then, is that as a result of Dee’s “Great Working”, the Omphalos constitutes a complex abstraction of the process sympathetically described in Foucault’s Pendulum – the circuitous trajectory of a world enslaved to the absolute ideology of idealised Euclidean space/time, as embodied first in the Monarch, but later in the value form itself. It is for precisely this reason that is thus stands as a major target in the emergent offensive of psychic workers against the bastions of Euro-binarist domination. It is to this we now, at last, turn.

A Cunning, Anti-Euclidean Plan!

As students of Chaos Theory know, be they proletarian or bourgeois, dynamical systems, such as that utilised by Dee, do not truly follow the idealised geometrical rules of his symplectic, Euclidean spectacle. Indeed, apparently insignificant interventions or détournements of the initial conditions can amplify beyond predictability – the so-called “butterfly effect” – into widely divergent outcomes. Whilst the ruling class is aware of this, they continue to impose the ideology of absolutist geometry in an attempt to stifle the insurgent psychogeography of proletarians across the globe.

However, it is through such situlogical techniques that we now make our own attempt to, temporarily at least, seize the Omphalos! As we know from the unlamented fate of Ian Stewart and, earlier, Christopher Marlowe, attempts to seize the Omphalos are fraught with mortal danger. Its energies are such, that to try to shift it permanently would require a heavy toll in human casualties that would leave us with little to differentiate the inevitable tyranny of such methods, from those we seek to overthrow.

Instead, we propose to turn Dee’s dark arts against him, through a process of temporal, that is to say, Situlogical détournement. Again, to attempt to rip, tear or seize the Omphalos from its trajectory would be beyond our powers, however, to situlogically shift it, for a brief moment in spacetime, merely around one hundred metres or so to the east for around an hour or so, would, we calculate, be possible.

Unable to tear it directly from its absolutist foundations on the Linea Regium, we are, however, able to carefully drag it along that line, with the aim of repositioning it briefly at the summit of the only remaining section of reconstructed earthwork that comprises the Caer Ruis site, a shallow, horseshoe-like crescent, surrounding its amphitheatre-style pit. Following Smale’s work on the homeomorphic, yet chaotic transformation of a horseshoe form, as well as Jorn’s “transformative morphology of the unique”, we will thus subtly morph or deform the Greenwich-Northwest Passage Leyline by a tiny amount (around 100 metres). We will do so, through the dynamic motion of the triolectic, through the use of three-sided football, in order uproot, and slowly transport the Omphalos from its resting place. As long as we keep whirling and playing, like some deranged fairy dance, around the Omphalos, we will be able to hold it fixed in our vortex. By then shifting the field of play slowly along the Linea Regium, until it reaches the limit of the natural horseshoe shaped ridge of Caer Ruis, we can momentarily carry the Omphalos – and with it the leyline – along with us.

Whilst this maybe a tiny disruption in terms of the ley’s overall length, owing to the effects of chaos dynamics, and accounting for Nash’s embedding theorems, the leyline cannot be permanently stretched as such, and thus the deformation will produce a change in potential energy, rather like the drawing of a bow string. The integral dynamics and “bifurcation landscapes” of pipes, flagella and flags have been thoroughly described in recent years, nevertheless nonflat solutions for nonlocal events, arising from self-coupling via external fluid – such as might be found in a Routh string, Kirchhoff rod or Euler elastica, subject to inertia and anisotropic drag – remain under examined. As J. A. Hanna and C. D. Santangelo note in their paper At the end of a moving string (2013, arXiv:1209.1332v2), when dealing with such “thin structures” interacting with circumambient fluids: ‘An early and important observation [in this field] was of a towed flexible oil barge buckling and snaking “like an enraged sea-serpent” on the Great Ouse’ (W. R. Hawthorne. The early development of the Dracone flexible barge. Proc. Instn. Mech. Engrs., 175:52–83, 1961).

This is something they relate to the problem of a pipe conveying fluid as a model nonconservative dynamical system – think the chaotic writing of a loose hosepipe under high water pressure. Now, since Nash’s theorem suggests the leyline cannot truly stretch as such, the potential energy of its deformation thus remains contained until release – when the game ends. At this point, the Omphalos, and the leyline with it, should spring back into their former position like a released bowstring. Quite unlike a bowstring however, the leyline is not securely tethered at either end, and as a result the chaotic deformations, should, in theory, begin to oscillate wildly along its entire length, like the aforementioned snaking hosepipe!

Now, relatively small oscillations on the local scale – of a few hundred metres – when transferred, as shockwaves, up the line, will take on the properties of a chaotic, dynamic system, demonstrating significant energetic displacements, and, we postulate, the uncoupling of the Northwest Passage itself from the imperial, absolutist geometry of the Linea Regium. Dee’s Foucault Pendulum, with the addition of this intervening axis of force – the laterally induced divergence of the Omphalos – should, thus, convert into a “double compound pendulum”, whose trajectory – as is well-known – cannot not be predicted, but instead, follows the non-linear dynamics of Chaos Theory. The resulting phase space graph should present with something akin to Jorn’s “arabesque”, with the Omphalos transposed from an invariant Euclidean point, into something more akin to a drifting “strange attractor”.

Chaotic precession of a double pendulum.
Chaotic precession of a double pendulum. Introducing a distortion through a temporary shift in the Omphalos, out of its ley-linear alignment, will, it is our conjecture, replicate such an effect upon the larger leyline of the Northwest Passage.

We cannot entirely predict the outcomes of such a significant energetic disruption. However, it is likely to prove highly damaging for the Euclidean value form and the neo-Imperialist capital that continues to radiate out from the Isle of Dogs and beyond. It is our hope that this unbinding of the Omphalos, into an Ubuesque spiralform, sends the Atlanticist ideology of global capital into an entropic tailspin. Onwards comrades! so far topologists have only bounded the world, the point is to undo it!

*It was indeed to Dee’s ‘Great Working’ that Situationist ideologue and student of the occult Guy Debord famously referred in his ‘Never Work’ chalk inscription, ritually placed along the Parisian section of the leyline in an attempt to exorcise it. This explains why in writing his autobiography some years later, Debord would refer to this seemingly insignificant act as his single greatest undertaking.

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