Studio – New London
The rain is pounding the desert floor outside and the world has turned from a brilliant clear vision to a grey misty outline. The construction came to an abrupt halt as the skies above my home opened up to a surprising deluge of moisture that has not abated for the past three days. The change in weather was much celebrated by the members of the crew as this marks the beginning of the rainy cycle for this part of the globe and a relief from the incessant heat. Any type of moisture is welcomed here and Addison has assured me that it will not propagate any delay in relation to the completion of the project. His timetable included this expected halt to outside work and the members of his crew are now busy within their temporary workshop preparing for the final stage of the build. For me the change in weather is not so fortuitous since the grey overcast has completely obscured my view of the Equine and brought to a cessation any new material expedition for the duration of the storm. I have been able to catch up on my lab notes and organizational tasks but as you are well aware these are not my favorite pastimes. The lab and studio are now in too much order for my comfort and I feel my creatively slipping away while I gaze at the neat rows of acrylic paint containers and stacked empty canvases. The distillation units now stand idle in the conservatory as the additional humidity in the atmosphere outside does not promote the needed environment condition to produce a desirable finished product. The sustainability tests are still in their initial run on the first material subjects and the two week test will not be completed for three more days. This leaves me limited things to do at this time and I will need these results to continue to the next stage.
I do have positive news. I received a communication from Katryna answering the request I left her when I was in Medici. She has agreed to a meeting at my location but gave no indication when. It seems from her message that she has prior engagements for the next few weeks then she will contact me again. Her tone in the correspondence was noncommittal about my referred request of scientific study but we will take it one step at a time. I now have her electronic contact point for my message center so there is no longer a need to relay messages through the village center. I worried about using such a public form of contact to relay my request to Katryna and I hope she read between my cryptic wording to realize the jist of my intended message. I can now be more clear on my request as my private electronic system if far more secure than the public one at the village hall. It is a welcome divergence to think over what her visit will bring to our work and I am using this weather delay to map out a plan if Katryna agrees to be my research subject.
The loss of the visual stimulation from the Equine has an alarming effect on me. I was under the impression that even though the Equine is now out of sight that the emanations would not diminish. It may be only the gray world outside but I was sadly wrong in my assumptions. As the days of rain have continued my mental clarity decreases and my mood has slipped into a shallow depression I am struggling to climb out of. I should be used to this type of weather as days of sunshine are as rare in our homeland of England as rain is here, but I realize now that the visual spectrum is paramount to my relationship to the Anomaly and it’s visual absence is affecting that connection. I am afraid if this weather persists I will need to travel away from the site, at least until the skies clear. Addison assured me that although the storms at this time of year are frequent they rarely lasted over a few days. I hope he is correct about this one as three days already seems an eternity without my companion.
Before the cold weather sets in I have planned an excursion to the desert highlands east of the studio location. The rains have delayed this plan slightly but I should be able to squeeze at least two trips in before the conditions are too cold for outdoor activities. There are reportedly a diverse selection of mineral and metal deposits in the upper elevations and I want to take some samples for the next stage of the project. The new survey I received while on the Derringer shows a large gypsum source ten kilometer from the studio. This would be an ideal medium for the enhanced canvas foundation I would like to experiment with for my renditions. Once the colors and materials are finalized I will need to find a more stable base for the final work and this seems an optimal material to begin exploring. The molecular stability along with the spectral neutrality of the Earth variety of gypsum were promising in our initial study and I am confident the New London version will serve. Once the winter sets in it will not be practical to travel to the higher elevation since snow is very common over the one kilometer altitude mark and normally last for several months. I hope there is a long enough gape in the rain to allow for the trips.
I have spent several days thinking about the extra personnel I will be acquiring in the next month or so. When the construction is finally complete I will be ready for a research assistant and someone for domestic services. The food synthesizer is adequate during this stage of the project but I am not keen on spending the next few years eating algae and soy based proteins out of a machine no matter how creative the flavoring. The Louvre rep I met with in Delphi has already arranged for a qualified assistant and instructed me to contact her when I am prepared for him to be sent. She also gave me a contact in Newton for the domestic situation. There are two women and one man that were previously employed by Smithsonian employees living in Delphi. The families have now returned to Earth after completing their assignments and their staff has been left without positions. Since the work on the information program the Smithsonian produces for most of the inhabited galaxy is near as sensitive as the work we are doing, the security clearance of their staff is adequate for our needs. This leaves the three candidates free to pursue other employment. From what the Louvre rep said they are all three willing to relocate to my area of the world in order to retain their security status. I will of course have to meet them first as I only need one person but from their background paperwork their credentials are good and they come highly recommended.
The land around the studio is now a muddy bog and I have not stepped outside since the storm began. I had a moment of panic when the sky opened up and I saw the huge drops begin to pelt the outside of my clay home. Visions of being left standing in a huge melting mud pit passed through my thoughts before I remembered Addison’s reassuring lecture on the durability of the clay construction. There was no threat of the storm damaging the structure but being more familiar with rows of red brick houses I did experience that short burst of panic. It is indeed an amazing material and my lab equipment has given testament to that. The environmental readings have not drifted an iota from the tight specifications needed and the residential part of the structure is warm and inviting. The renewable energy has also proved itself infallible as there has been no power dips or failures in the last few days. Addison shutdown the fusion reactor over a week ago as the solar, kinetic and wind farms are fully operational. Since I now have placed almost the full load on the source at this point it seems there will be no issue with what has been installed per our estimations. It is comforting to know that some things are progressing as expected. The weather on the other hand is at this moment not cooperating.
I wish you could project some optimism and confidence from within your static condition as I need it at this time.
Studio, New London
It has taken almost two weeks but finally I have achieved a workable balance between the scientific focus I require to continue my investigation and the overwhelming draw of my art. The creative brain within me revels in the night view of the Equine so I give my full attention to my painting during the darkest hours of the planet’s daily rotation. The remaining time is split between the needed research i strive to continue and the required routine of daily living. The construction activity is now focused on the far side of the studio site as all work has been completed on the central residence and studio structure. I can easily block this distant activity from my routine as there are few interruptions that need my attention. The lab equipment is fully functional and the environmental tests have produced results well within the required parameters. I struggled for several days with the neurology units as they were last used on Earth. The wave scanner was out of calibration and needed to be completely retuned after I checked the initial numbers. I have done as you directed and conducted a third readout of my brain spectrum to compare to the baseline scan we performed on Earth and the second performed in your new lab on the Phycodurus-8. Since your instructions specified that the calibration parameters were to be as narrow as possible before the test was conducted, I believe this is why the setup took me so long. I will perform one more scan in just over a month on myself and I will then send the information to your database. The data from my Earth scan and the test done on my visit aboard the station are already uploaded and waiting for your perusal.
As you have directed, I did not conduct any type of comparison between the three test. You were very mysterious about this point but I deduce it has something to do with tainting the evidence with my own perspective. Hopefully by next month I will have pictorial scans from one of the New Britannians to add to your database. I have been unsuccessful in securing an agreement with any of the locals for this process, but I still have hopes of making contact again with Katryna. My first visit to Medici last week was very interesting but did not produce the expected contact with her that I had hoped for. All I discovered was that she lives east of the village and only comes into town a few times a month. I have left a message at the village hall and hope she will not be long in responding. If I have not heard from her within the next month Addison has offered to transport me there on his next supply run. There is a clay source used for the build located in the general area of her home and he is willing to make a short detour. I hope it does not come to this as I hesitate to be away from my work at this time.
During my short visit to Medici I was able to explore the east part of the village. The majority of the structures are constructed of the local clay blocks and the architectural arrangement hints of the communal concepts used by the followers of Arcasanti. Although it deviates from the societies that have popped up on Earth over the last century the similarities between eastern Medici and these territorial saving villages are evident. The eastern section of Medici consists of one large structure of interconnecting buildings arranged in a compact octagon surrounding a central village community hall. One side of the structure is bordered by the river and the remaining seven sides by food and energy farms as mandated by the New London planetary charter. Residential units and shops are equally mixed as you move around the structure and all surround the central building housing the community hall. This structure built in the center of the octagon is the only building with windows on all sides. The surrounding buildings only have windows facing the center. I am sure it has some purpose but I will have to do some investigation as my driver did not say when I asked. It is logical that there is a security aspect to this type of arrangement but I am not certain this is the case. The entire top of the structures including the town hall are covered in thick turf for insulation and oxygen production per the planet regulations and it makes for a very colorful display. I saw quite a variety of businesses within this part of Medici and it seems I will be able to purchase most of my necessities from local sources. I was able to pick up the custom tapestry cushions I ordered for the window seats during my time there along with a few other white goods for my sleeping room. One of the things I did to create my work balance was to move back into the residential part of the studio. I realized in order to sustain any level of concentration on the research side of my work, I would need to return to a normal sleeping arrangement and not dream surrounded constantly by my renditions of the Equine. Even a simple thing as arranging a shopping trip for linens removes me from the overpowering stimulus of the studio and allows me to refocus on the required plans to move forward.
Tomorrow I will begin the sustainability test on the sage and copper. These two substances have shown the most promise for wave carriers within the painting and I hope their wavelength characteristics show they are able to sustain the signal for the required timeframe we have allowed for. I left these tests till now as the environmental stability of the studio is so critical to the end results. As I said, the lab is now at optimal conditions for the instruments and I can focus my full concentration to the last leg of testing for these initial substances. I will be using one of my first equine renditions produced here for the test subject since the acrylics have had the most time to stabilize. It is not my most accurate portrayal but I want to rule out erroneous readings from the possibility of molecular instability in the newer works. My perception has shifted significantly since I produced these earlier works and I am fascinated with what my brain has added to the more recent Equine images. We were so convinced that once my brain began to adjust to this new world my explicit memory would take over and I could train myself to relate what I see to my pre-existing experiences. Instead my brain is reverting to its implicit memory. Unconsciously pulling comparisons from my past that are instinctive and involuntary. I am excited to see how my scan has changed between the three readings but as your instructions forbad this I am hoping you can make sense of the changes that are occurring within me. Since I am not a Perceptual Neurologist as you are I will have to wait for your input. At least by that time I hope to have a native scan for you to work with.
I await your arrival with less patience each day.
The first set of extrapolated data is now on it’s way by strip beam to your laboratory on the Phycodurus. It will be so difficult waiting for ten months until you arrive and are able to tell me what you find in the numbers. I am having trouble staying grounded and I need your analytical mind to keep me in check. If I analyze the results with my scientific mind I see much promise in my progress so far. It appears our research is taking a step toward the type of results we hoped to obtain during our original groundwork. The issue is that when I view the results from an artistic perspective I lose all sense of reality and my mind jumps to visions of the amazing things we will be able to achieve here and I forget all about what we ultimately need to achieve. The variety of colors and shades that have emerged from my experiments with the surrounding material are without comparison to anything on Earth. The entire back wall of my studio is covered in the studies I have completed over the last weeks and I find myself waking from the depths of sleep with new visions aching to be depicted on canvas. My living quarters are now available for my immediate occupation but I find myself reluctant to leave my work space and I have moved a small sleeping mat into the work area so I can sleep surrounded by my depictions of the Equine. I had the data to send to you for over two weeks before I finally pulled myself away from my painting long enough to set up the messaging equipment yesterday. I am slightly upset at myself for becoming so obsessed but if you can imagine a new world that offers colors in which you have never experience in your lifetime it is understandable that is is beyond my weak mind to resist. I will not be able to scan any of this new work into my digitized system as the program does not have the reference to interpret these new additions to the visible spectrum. I see now the issue with photographic representation of the Equine that now exist on Earth. It is impossible to capture it accurately with the currently available equipment. I am hoping I can alter my scanner program to meet this challenge in the future but for now you will have to be satisfied with only the data from my research and your own view of the Anomaly. I must admit that I have done nothing else over the last week but paint so I will need to shift my priorities in the coming day to return to my material trials.
Each day my vision adjusts to this new world and the Equine reveals more and more of itself as it drifts in the sky above. As my brain learns to interpret this new environment, new colors and hues are added to the limited spectral catalog I experienced on Earth and the internal structure of the creature becomes more apparent as my enhanced eyesight progresses. The surrounding countryside has also transformed and I now see the local terrain emerging into an unrecognizable fairy world. The browns and greens of the desert basin and the green and blues of the nearby river was the limit of my pallet when I first arrived. Now that has all changed into a fascinating world of azure waves and brilliant indigo shades that I never in my deepest imagination knew to exist. My hands are stained an unexplainable color from my constant mixing and my surrounding work space is a chaotic dream of splashes and overflows from various mishaps. I am now occupied with my fourth full rendition of the Equine and the distillation equipment I built is constantly in use. I have constructed two more units but neither work as well as the original model. I suspect it has something to do with the container used for the collection of the finished product. I have only found one of the original type gourds that is large enough for the purpose and I am constantly on the lookout for another. I had to use glass flasks from my lab equipment as substitutes for the last two constructs and these produce a much different end product that does not mix well with the acrylic base. I will attempt to produce a container from the local clay next and hope this results in a more adequate vessel than the items from Earth. The gourd is perfect but even though I have been on the lookout during my weekly stroll to the river bank I have been unable to find another of an adequate size.
Since the completion of the living quarters there is now only a skeleton crew left on site to complete the finishing touches to the building and surrounding support structures. Addison says everything will be completed and operational before the onset of the cold season and he assures me that with any more than the three workers currently here, we will only get in each other’s way. That gives us just over three months left for the completion of the build, then the site will be fully operational. Addison has given me a local contact in case I have issues with the environmental equipment and another person for the sustainable energy. Since I have been involved in the bulk of the build activities I am fairly comfortable with all the various equipment and hopefully I will be able to solve most problem that arise. There is a supply and transport service schedule to visit the site every months and I can always send a message if more assistance is needed.
I received a message earlier this week from Nicolas. It was so comforting to hear from him and find out how his project is progressing. From his letter I could feel that his enthusiasm for his work has escalated and that his expectations have also been surpassed. He states that the work and results are far beyond his original ideas and that new possibilities come to him everyday. He described a few of the dishes he has created for his clients and a little bit about the effects his food produces. He was slightly vague on that last point but I suppose he also has his trade secrets to protect. After I finish my letter to you I will write a return message to him as I have not contacted him since my arrival at the site. I also want to ask him if he is also experiencing the visual adjustments to the new planet as I am. I have asked Addison about the same thing but I only get a strange shake of his head and nothing further. I hope to arrange a visit at the end of the build to visit Nicolas at his location. I would like to see first hand what he has produced and if it could possibly be beneficial to my work. He may be reluctant to share on this level but from the different materials he mentions in his letter I feel certain we can both profit from this shared knowledge. I only hope Nicolas feels the same.
I have made arrangements to travel to Medici at the end of this week. It will do my brain good to be separated from the studio for the day and I need some additional supplies that I prefer to choose for myself. I hope it will allow me to reset my priorities as I have neglected the research portion of my work over the last few weeks. I will also attempt to locate Katryna and convince her to visit me at the studio. Although I still feel her presence it has taken a backseat to the overpowering experience of my art. I still feel a need to reconnect with her but I will have to be delicate in how I bring my needs across. I do not want to dissuade her by giving her the idea that she is a research subject, but the scientist in me feels that is exactly what I want her to be. Hopefully we can come to a mutual understanding and work together. For all I know she may also want to study me. As I said in my last letter, I feel she has unfinished business with me.
It is at times like these that I really need your analytical mind for guidance. You can see from my letter that there is no focus in my life at this moment. As you have not come to me in a dream since my arrival at the studio site I beg you to repair that omission.
Love you always,
Project now framed and ready for display.
Just beginning to create the hummingbird wings in the upper left corner.