TUWL: ‘PAN’ by Ryan Murphy

TUWL: ‘PAN’ by Ryan Murphy

The Urbanista Writer’s Ledger (TUWL) continues with a new and original piece from Ryan Murphy; an artist, musician and writer based in Liverpool. Ryan is the founding member of both Hooton Tennis Club and the recently formed Seatbelts and is also a prolific short story writer. Ryan is currently working on a novel.

PAN imagines an anomalous and recondite reality that allows its subject to experience and observe the entirety of human existence and beyond. PAN is a challenging and remarkable piece of writing that pays homage to the more innovative tropes of the science fiction genre; those that allow a text to transgress ideological contexts of culture, society and morality. There is also an elegiac sentiment at play which is drawn out through the neutral and objective space in which the subject finds themselves and encourages the reader to look anew at those things once so familiar.


 During the vision, the ‘year’ was 31298. The singularity communicated with me telepathically. It told me human history completed itself close to the ‘time’ I inhabited outside of this one. Suspended in the vacuum of the vision, the singularity disclosed access to information buried deep within its matrix. I was simultaneously observing and populating the opalescent sphere. Texture-mapped polygons served as resemblances of anything I wished to see. The past was holistic, the future: null and void. It is impossible to catalogue something nonexistent. Within the matrix of the singularity, binary served as an indicator of ‘time’, which displaced the polygonal suggestives – human, or otherwise – further from their individuating vagaries of experience. Revealing, connecting, and extending: polyglot anti-matter. Simple. On or off, one or zero.

I floated as if I were extinct.

After some time, I entered a subject close to my heart: Ontology 4,723,002: Music. Whether it was I or the singularity forming this decision was unknowable, but with an action closely resembling the feeling of swimming underwater, I navigated the image-based disambiguations of Ontology 4,723,002: Music. I began to recognise some of the data within the matrix, larger portions of which included multifaceted intervals of the lifespans of the likes of the following:

LaDonna Adrian Gaines, Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, James Marshall Hendrix, Michael Joseph Jackson, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles, Whitney Elizabeth Houston, Anna Mae Bullock, Britney Jean Spears, Reginald Kenneth Dwight, James Paul McCartney, Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, Elvis Aaron Presley, Prince Rogers Nelson, Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen, Aretha Louise Franklin, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, Leonard Norman Cohen, Taylor Alison Swift, Marshall Bruce Mathers III, Madonna Louise Ciccone, Stevland Hardaway Judkins, Keith Richards, David Robert Jones, Thomas Alan Waits, Robert Allen Zimmerman, John Winston Lennon, Kurt Donald Cobain, Neil Percival Young, Mariah Carey.

The data was synchronic. By varying the binary, I was able to increase or decrease the order of magnitude as I desired. Moving from entire years to one Planck unit required nothing more than a thought. What puzzled me was the origin of the reason for these thoughts – why their specificity, why this path of dialogue?

I was simultaneously observing and populating the opalescent sphere.

A thought rendered itself and the singularity answered with distressing fluidity of detail. Ontology 134: Early Universe. Physical cosmology: baryogenesis. The physical process during the early universe that produced baryonic asymmetry, i.e. the imbalance of matter and antimatter in the observed universe.

It was too much to know.

Once my attention came to rest on a particular IBD, the singularity would communicate all related texture-mapped polygons. I am unaware of how much time I spent swimming through this data, but knowing and becoming more than a million people, places, and things was enough.

Fortunately, the singularity granted me continual control. A pause for thought and I let my mind enter a different Ontology 4,407,113: War.

In a heartbeat I felt the painful conclusion.

So war won?

Ambiguity: won.

Silence descended. I was simultaneously observing and populating the opalescent sphere. More texture-mapped polygons invaded my mind. Ontology 4,699,485: Literature followed by Ontology 4,711,977: Film and Ontology 183,113: Coral. Each was filled with logarithmic, exponential IBDs: all of observed history in concurrency.

What year is this?

Ambiguity: year.

My mind entered Ontology 5,301,670: Internet. Within the matrix of data, the word ‘PAN’ appeared at several stages. The IBDs formed an opalescent sphere, which caused the vacuum containing the vision to resemble a wormhole.


At this point, the singularity took control and I felt pushed as I entered Ontology 5,323,409: PAN. My body swam through polygonal representations of roads, fields, motorways, and finally a large warehouse which became modernised as the IBDs transpired. People populated the space and busied themselves about various machines. The ‘year’ terrified me. How could we have been so close?

Then I saw myself.

I was strapped into one of these machines.

The singularity exposed various subsections of Ontology  5,323,409: PAN. The chosen matrix of data opened before me and I became aware of uploading my consciousness into PAN. A moment passed, a green light winked on, my body went limp. The singularity ended Ontology 5,323,409: PAN. I was simultaneously observing and populating the opalescent sphere.

What does it mean?

Define: it.

Ontology 5,323,409, pan, what does it mean?

Request: explanation: PAN, to wake creator when all has passed and all data is collected.

For the longest time, nothing happened. Everything had already happened. I was awake and this was now, is everything.

I became lucid.

I no longer.

Simultaneously observing and populating the opalescent sphere.


Contact Ryan on twitter at @RyanMurphyTube 

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