Thursday, July 28, 2022

Alfred Jarry's Time Machine is still happening

In 1899, Alfred Jarry published his 'Commentary and Instructions for the Practical Construction of the Time Machine', under the pseudonym of Dr. Faustroll. In it, Dr. Faustroll explains: "The machine consists of a jointed, ebony frame, analogous to the steel frame of a bicycle... Under the seat and a little in front are the storage cells of the electric motor... The anterior fly-wheel clicks with each complete revolution, and four ivory dials, concentric or juxtaposed, mark the days, thousands of days, millions and hundreds of millions of days, by the agency of a grooved wheel and an endless chain... We shall later see that the return to the present from the future is achieved by slowing down the Machine's motion, and that travelling forwards into the past requires an even greater speed... than that required for travelling into the future. To stop at a chosen point in the duration, simply pull the lever of the triple brake to lock it. / The machine, once up and running, always sets off in the direction of the future… Travelling back in time consists in the perception of the reversibility of phenomena… since the Machine cannot reach the real Past until it has first shot into the Future, it must pass through a certain point, symmetrical to our Present.. Which we should call the imaginary Present. To the Traveller on her machine, Time thus presents itself as a curve…" — Alfred Jarry, "Practical Construction of the Time Machine" [1899] in Adventures in Pataphysics, Collected Works 1 (Atlas Press, 2001) p.215-217.

associative image, Jean Tinguely "Cyclograveur" (1960)