Ulterior Flux - Cylixe - ebook

Ulterior Flux ebook




a time traveler's diary Rielle, a young woman from the year 2107, is stranded in the present. While she is looking for a way back, without friends, papers, or money she fears attracting the attention of the authorities. She is homesick for a future that seems brighter than possible compared to our current dire vision of the end of times. So she begins writing this diary, taking a photographic journey through contemporary Berlin.

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Liczba stron: 133

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01 Please Know I Am OK

02 Stuck In The Age Of Angst

03 Hello World

04 A Heritage Alive

05 Paradox And Caffeine

06 Exile Is A Silent Shadow

07 Just A Thought Experiment

08 When Am I?

09 Ethical Time Travel

10 Burning Bright & Burning Out

11 Anacronopete

12 Timezone

13 Riding A Bike

14 Hold On Or Let Go

15 Please, Don’t Drop It

16 Ice Cold Suitcase

17 Prisms, Entangled

18 Strings Attached

19 My Own Event Horizon

20 Twohundrednineteen Days

21 Change Is Gonna Come



Dear Nana,

I must have written 10 drafts of this letter, but I’m still not sure where to begin. I am sure that you won’t believe me, no matter how I tell it. So here it goes.

This morning, I bought a newspaper dating from October 2018. Not from a museum, not from an auction. I bought it at a newspaper stand because today is Sunday, October 28, 2018. Somehow, I have traveled in time.

I am writing to you from the past. It is 2018, I have not the slightest idea how I got here, but I’ve been here for almost 3 months and I decided to start this journal in the hope of reaching you. I also hope it will keep me sane while I slowly figure out how life worked back in the anxious era.

I don’t know when you will read this, as I have no clue how time travel works. If you search for your show for the first time and this comes up, please tell me not to look for great grandpa’s things because that’s how this mess got started. On the other hand, if you had read my blog then and warned me not to visit his space in Berlin, I wouldn’t be here writing you – ugh! time traveling paradoxes are so messy, it gives me a headache.

I am just going to assume that this popped into existence once I disappeared from 2107 just in time for you not to be worried sick. What else can I do? I can’t imagine how worried you are, so first of all let me reassure you that I am, in fact, alive and well. I am so sorry that we argued the last time I saw you. I still don’t agree with you, but things didn’t have to get so heated and I shouldn’t have left things the way I did. And now I ended up here. When I first woke up, I thought I was in VR in some kind of 2k history fan project like they have at school, but way more detailed and grimy.

The last thing I remember before passing out was going through the stuff in great-grandpa’s studio. I know you didn’t want me to look for the past, but I guess I have your genes to thank for my curiosity, so you can probably understand. When you received that letter about inheriting a building in Berlin, I just had to go and see it for myself.

So I went, and I have to tell you, it was worth it! This house, they’ve kept it like a time capsule. No one has entered it since the day he disappeared. Imagine the treasures I found! A computer with a keyboard and a mouse! Brands, that have been out of business for decades. Unfortunately there are only very few clues about his story, but I found his art and his inventions! In any case, it turns out we were all wrong. He wasn’t an artistic maniac, or at least not just that. He was also some sort of inventor. I found lots of notes and sketches of machines and gadgets.

What a beautiful, confounding, creative mind, what a lost soul. I imagined him back in 2017, your mom and him falling in and out of love, it must’ve been so intense. I even found some pictures of the both of them on some kind of glossy paper. I felt like I had stumbled on a massive treasure, but I got no closer to finding out what happened to him. I kept rummaging through the paintings, notes, and machines and must have touched something I shouldn’t have. I felt a kind of electrical shock and I must have passed out.

I still can’t tell you how he disappeared, but maybe it has something to do with the mess I am currently in? In any case, I’d love to find him so he can help me get back. I have to tell you, when they teach you about the early 21st century they don’t tell you about the smell. And there is plastic EVERYWHERE. Single-use bags, wrapping material. The waste we are still dealing with? It’s being produced here in quantities that make you want to pull your hair out. The norms that are accepted here are unbelievable and the only people that challenge it are getting ridiculed.

It took me three months to at least partially fit in, but I still mess up some of the interactions I have with the contemporaries. I’ve often been out and had to withdraw quite quickly before anyone could figure out why my behavior was so different from everyone else's. I still feel so alien, so alone. You are the only one I can talk to, well, write to, and I will never know if my messages reached you unless I find a way back.

I’ll continue to write you nevertheless, even if it’s just for my own sake; to keep me sane and to keep a log of my encounters here. For all the pain it causes me on a personal level, this journey has given me access to an incredible trove of knowledge. More than we could ever find out through the half sunken half-truths of information overload that was social media back then (and still is now?). I’ll try and be as unbiased as I can and keep my observations scientific, but honestly, my knowledge of your future is probably making that quite a challenge.

Let’s take this one step at a time. First and foremost I wanted you to please know that I am OK, and I guess this is as close as I can get to contacting you with the technology that is available right now. I’ll keep you posted on a weekly basis, I promise. The main goal, however, is to get out of this mess as soon as possible.

I miss you.




Oh my dog, carnists! I completely forgot they still eat animals in the 21st. I mean, the plant based movement has started (it’s still called veganism here), but when you walk through the streets it smells like burning flesh on almost every corner. It’s mixed with another very distinct smell, which took me a while to figure out. It’s gasoline – the sweat of the 21st. I talked about the smell before, but really all the virtual exhibitions you may have visited cannot prepare you for this. Everything smells chemical, even the people.

I took a walk yesterday, through a public park. The nature here, as dirty and sprinkled with plastic as it may be, is so beautiful. Animals and plants I’ve only seen on screens are still alive and thriving here. Between plastic bottles and paper cups, cigarette butts and candy wrappers, there are murders of crows. They sit around decorated by daisies, ignorant of the paradise demising around them. Just like the people.

Not everyone here is like this of course. History has always happened in various velocities. If you compare this with the 2050s, for example, artists and activists are the forbearer of what’s to come, the avant-garde that’s dragging the rest kicking and screaming to an appropriate time line.

Aunt Rezan told me about the civil engineering work she did in the Middle East. A lot of rebuilding was only possible through the courage, vision and creative improvisations of local collectives. They used the rubble to rebuild a freer society, questioning the border lines drawn over a century ago by some self-centered imperialists. If you look closely you can feel the shift coming. Capitalism is still a global belief system, but the sharing economy has begun to undercut some of it. It is very interesting to see this mixed form regime – kind of like the evolutionary missing link. In some areas the namesake of these times is very present.

These anxious times, truly deserving of their nomenclature, are filled with so many conflicts, over resources, power, religion. I am lucky enough to have landed in Berlin, where things are still very rosy. If I had landed a few years later or a few hundred kilometers south or east, I probably wouldn’t have been able to survive with my lack of knowledge of current events. Berlin still is, if not welcoming, at least laissez-faire to strangers, to an odd egg like me, just a drop in an ocean of individual weirdness.

You might be wondering how I survived without money in the capitalist age. It was because of some exceptional people, that’s for sure. Artists and activists, as I’ve mentioned before. They found me naked and wounded by what I assume must have been the snags of time travel. I couldn’t tell them what had happened to me of course, but they tended to me anyway and even let me stay with them for a while. I had to completely rely on the kindness of strangers when I first fell into 2018.

I was asleep for most of the first few weeks, healing from frostbite (which was hard to explain in the middle of June), but from what I gathered, they didn’t have much themselves. The kindness of strangers hasn’t been cultivated yet, but it’s there, it always has been, and it’s been a force of progress for humankind, even here in the age of angst.

I can barely remember anything from the actual travel, only that my mind felt like it was having a migraine on an acid trip while my body appeared to be getting dipped in liquid nitrogen, everything was tinted in a red that was darker than black, tasted like silver, and smelled of dust. I must’ve eventually passed out and when I came to, my body looked the part.

After staying with my new friends for a few weeks, they helped me get work in a café. Imagine me standing in front of an old-timey coffee maker, a bridge between coffee and coins. This idea that one must do meaningless labor in order to provide for one’s own livelihood… I know you told me about it, but to live amongst people who have this ingrained in them as an unwavering reality, as the only possible reality…

I’m so glad this is just a phase. People being pressured into doing alienating work by an existential fear in a system they deem to be the evolutionary peak.

In any case I am happy about all the animals and plants I get to see and record. Of course it’s not as good as the virtual zoo, but something about being the creator of a photograph connects it to your own memory. So here, have some of my photographs. Though there’s so many of them out there, these are mine. They are also a way to keep my spirits up while I try to figure out how the freak I got here and how I can get back.

I feel lost but not without excitement,




Dear Nana,

I might have underestimated the signal I created with this blog amid the 21st century noise overload. From the web statistics I can see that this is no more a solo endeavor.

So, Internet,

Let me welcome you to what must seem like a hoax to you or some sort of neoclassical fairytale at the least. Far be it from me to tell you otherwise. I did not count on an audience however, so you will have to excuse me if I am ill prepared for you. Let’s assume for argument’s sake that all of this is real, so I can answer your questions from the unpretentious perspective of a lost traveler.

Berlin is so much smaller than it will be in just a few years. I live in a cultural and political hub. There are a lot of agenda meetings. And it’s empty, especially Mitte. It feels like the buildings are hesitantly waiting for occupants to finally turn them into homes. I walk around here at night because foxes are not extinct yet and sometimes you can see one, beaming at you with their reflecting button eyes! It’s worth it to learn how to use these old clunky cameras so I can document the wildlife and the zeitgeist of a city that’s so heavily disconnected from society.

Some foreshadowing here: it will get worse before it gets better. People here tend to focus on the «worse» part. A lot of them live in a state of fatalistic pessimism and take themselves out of the equation with a powerless shrug. I try to stay in the periphery during the daytime, I see tourists looking around that are just as enchanted and confused as I am, but I am a little paranoid about being checked for my papers. The nights are mine, however. As a small woman I am almost invisible to the police.

You know what is really frustrating though? I had all this technology at my disposal, which is just beginning to work here, and for the life of me I can’t work out how to duplicate any of it. The 3D Printers here are imprecise and I have never used an actual button keyboard before. It takes forever to write these texts.

I miss :mosiva, I really do. I know you don’t like to hear me talk about AI like it’s a person, but she was my friend and band mate and knew me really well. I don’t think anyone knew me quite like her. After all that’s how I configured her algorithms. So how is it that I know how to configure my personal assistant to fit all my needs, but I can’t even begin to recreate her?

With all this knowledge about the future and its development, I can’t rebuild any of the technology I had access to on a daily basis just months ago. Things would be so much easier if I could just talk to :mosiva. You guys can’t imagine how much we started to rely on personally encrypted AI.

Of course there is resistance, especially from old timers (no offense Nana, but you really should broaden your horizon!), but they have come to inhabit a space in our day to day life that is somewhere between a pet, a friend, and an extension of the self. I’ve heard of some people dating their AI. :mosiva and I were in a band together. I wish I could show you some of the songs we created. It was intense. When you can collaborate with someone who is configured to read your creative flows and stimulates them, it is almost a spiritual experience. Here, all you have is a megalomaniac search engine that will occasionally try to repeat the manipulation it’s been put through by manipulating its user into buying a certain kind of footwear. It’s frustrating! And just the difference between UI, the keyboard being a relic from a time when even you all weren’t born yet. The body being reduced to just finger tips, not stimulating the brain at all, plus the flat square screens and the church-like appraisal of self-value equaling to work value amounts to a generations’ worth of anxiety. I feel bad for your imbalanced brain chemistry.