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Notes Towards an Alchemy of Communication

August 1973September 1973

The following material is from the Bush Video special issue of Tharunka XL-5, August 7, 1973, pp.4-5. It has been edited only to the extent that I have fixed some typographical errors.


Joseph El Khouri

Man's powers of observation in time and space are very great. He is conscious of his awareness and expresses his consciousness in the symbols, rituals, architecture, and Institutions that he creates. These creations in turn act upon their maker, in an ascending spiral of ever widening loops that trace the limits of the world in which he lives. In man, the observer's role brings the participants role to levels of possibilities that know no limits but those that he himself accepts as the ultimate stages of his own development.

If you look on the horizon of the present continuous eternity you will notice that a sun is rising called, “total communications” – that’s our sphere – we, are the new alchemists brought together by our perception of the Lapis in the cauldron of the Videosphere, for the last three months we have been exploring this memory studio from centre to circumference with telepathic and orbiting satellite dialogues with neighbouring celestial bodies.

"Man can do nothing without the make believe of a beginning."

Where do we start AUSTRALIA 1973 TELEVISION ABC Channel 1234567891011 NEANDERTHAL TV – this network is more to be pitied than abhorred, it stands at the foot of an evolutionary ladder which it does not have the strength to climb. However, Universe consistent with its omni-directional history is mutating several television strains, as cross-fertilizing agents bearing the genetic message of total communication systems.

BUSH VIDEO - sometimes known as the outback of communications research or Channel Infinity.

Right from the start we were operating on many levels – idea, materialisation, myth, fulfilment, seed, information, the message is the media are undergoing revolution upon revolution on the technical front and are consequently generating ideas in the minds of artists educationalists and speculators. The history of our century has been the result of the design science of buying and selling under the profit motive. In an age when science has the means to satisfy all material needs for all men the problem is one of free information flow. Capitalist Design science has served its evolutionary purpose it is now obsolete.


It is 1 am. I am locked in the memory theatre watching the monads of Leibniz passing through the one-eyed chambers of Infinity through infolding feedback and the corridors of topology, spiralling amidst the Architecture of history, libraries, museums, computers, film-studios. The monitors are moving in fluctuating geometric formation now they suggest a Hindu Yantra now a Klein worm, a Hopi sand painting, the helical structure of the DNA, the icosahedron structure of a virus or a dome by Buckminister Fuller. I call this show:-



Man has secreted vast amounts of Art and Knowledge in communicatable forms, all this can be stored in a global memory and made available to all men.

"Survival now would seem to depend upon the extension of consciousness itself as an environment this extension of consciousness has already begun with the computer and has been anticipated in our obsession with ESP and occult phenomena." - Marshal McLuhan.

Information – omnidirectional, retrievable, open access, many faceted cable nerve satellite links, evermore precise – integrated circuits, microfilm, lasers. Many forms – telex, video, xerox – all knowledge available at any human terminal of global nervous system. Go anywhere portable recording devices in the hands of all. Invisible cords of energy information and 3-dimensional holographic projections form the Architecture of a new space.

"The Effect of Satellites is the conversion of the planet into a global theatre that demands spectacular programming beyond anything conceived of by the old Hollywood. The global theatre demands the world population not only as audience but as a cast of participants." - Marshal McLuhan.


As well as storage of this immense body of knowledge a new language synthesis seems to be required.

(1) To overcome the problem of possible overload and make retrieval practical - [the libraries of today are archaic forms in an age of electric information - the process is slow, bulky and inefficient - the word system is straining its bindings both literally and conceptually. The new Memory theatres would probably use multi-modal computer indexing with a light pen retriever system.]

(2) It is difficult and inadequate to properly express concepts born of audio-visual dialogue in the present word language.

(3) The immensity of Information will eventually require vast second level indexing to facilitate reaching the first level of Information.

Therefore an integrated synthesis of the stored information will be required especially for the Initiation or education of the young. This will probably mean the formation of a synchronous audio-visual language which will be used by men to extend consciousness and knowledge in similar ways to the previous language synthesis - first as sound then as writing.

Elements of the new universal language could come from many sources not only the literate cultures of the West. Some symbol systems which would probably be helpful - The multi-conceptual Churingas of the Australian Aborigines, the Mandalas and seed-mantras of Tantric Art, the symbols and systems of the Hermetic tradition. The Geometric extensions of consciousness cited by Anne Tyng, extending from Jung's idea of the Archetype -

"As ordering operators and image formers in the world of symbolic images, the archetypes thus function as the sought for bridge between the sense perceptions and ideas." - to the genetic code - "The spatial organisation of these helical circuits into spiralling coils can provide form patterns which give access and an infinite choice of pathways to fantastic amounts of stored memories, which become the basis of decisions and thought processes."

As well as these sources, there are vast areas of modern thought which seem to be approaching powerful syntheses which could provide a structure for this new language.

"At present thanks to the pioneering work of Cyberneticians, information theorists, general systems theorists, systems analysts, structural anthropologists, structural linguists and their fellow workers in related fields, we come to the insight that the properties of systems are independent of the origin, material and individual identity of their components. The same regulatory system, expressed in an information flow chart, may be realized as an artificial system composed of transistors and capacitors, as a hydro-dynamic mechanical system and as a system of nervous pathways and synapses. The exploratory hypotheses of this work suggest that underlying the complex phenomena of the human mind and of human interrelationships formed by communicating human beings, there is a basic regulatory structure which is shared by the biological body and by artificial servo-mechanisms." (Ervin Usilo)


Ever-increasing man-made sensory Environments necessitate comprehensive integrated design. Norbert Weiner, has pointed out the dangers inherent in man made Information systems, using the parables of the monkey's paw and the sorcerer's apprentice. - Many people today are alienated by technology because it is manipulative, elitist, too specialized, a pollutant - Increase in negative feedback suggests that we must have harmonic integration of all universe forms and minds or we will Self destruct.

Negative feedback is the result of first industrial revolution in which people were alienated by the process but enticed by the product.


"The Alchemists, the empiric philosophers of their time projected the contents of their own inward unconscious world into the detail of the equally unknown processes which they were striving to bring to fulfilment in the outward world of their experiments. These outward processes came on their own part to act reflexively upon the alchemist by the suggestive power of analogy until he could feel them literally reproducing themselves as though upon sensitized film in the recesses of his own psychic being." John Trinck: The Fire-tried Stone.

In the Second Industrial, or Information Revolution the product is the process and all minds partake in eternal dreamtime process, and creation.

Joseph EI Khouri