Inferior Geology

Martin Howse

Martin Howse is a British programmer, writer, performer, artist and explorer, working in the fields of discourse, speculative hardware (environmental data in open physical systems), code (an examination of layers of abstraction), free software and the situational (performances and interventions).

Inferior Geology was written by Martin Howse as a response to the Earth Observation workshop held at Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station in Finland (2017) as part of the Shift Register project in cooperation with Climate Whirl by Department of Physics and Division of Atmospheric Sciences at University of Helsinki, and Capsula. With thanks to Erich Berger, Mari Keski-Korsu, and Ulla Taipale.

Inferior astronomy is another way of naming transformative methods for working with plants and with metals. Astronomical discourses are re-interpreted as referring to the terrestrial; planets become metals. It’s an historic analogy, a set of identities or transformations which help to make sense of certain early texts treating the planets in mineral and muddy terms and as, at odds with the celestial, undergoing earthy and earthly process.


Inferior geology seeks to further these transmutations, resting equally on a magical closeness to the key phrase of “interior geology.” If inferior astronomy brings the planets down to earth, within the primacy of substitution which is called occult and is recognised as such (this spiritual work with matter was always already astronomy, inferior astronomy just marks that connection within the realm of metaphor), then what substitution is being pointed at as already having happened in thinking the geological as always inferior? That it is rendered earthy? That it becomes of bodies and of circulations without reference to marked, measured and seriously differing time scales?

Inferior geology naturally also refers to a geology which is “inferior” to some officially defined geology, less stratified perhaps, more psychically re-churned and de-sedimented. I’m trying to think of the peat, of the mud mind transmuted into the bog mind, of Beckett’s “All is noise, unending suck of black sopping peat, surge of giant ferns, heathery gulfs of quiet where the wind drowns, my life and its old jingles” jangling within applied and applicated, sewn and freshly black fibrous science. Inferior geology could also refer to seismology, with its Love waves and Rayleigh waves, other forms of faster application, disrespecting deep geological time. Inferior also, in an original sense, as a breathing beneath, the earth evaporating beneath the moon and the stars, sinking deeper into the sucking, and slowly shattering.

Interior geology

These words are (at) the sopping entry to the infernal and the inferior, to an underworld of fixed sclerotium and undead storage, a cable’s formation in the underground and in the data centre (deep beneath the brightly lit lawns). Inside there are the black threads, the constricted blood vessels which squeeze out a yellow pus, spreading a red and skin-peeling infection across the networked extremities, the poorly vascularized distal structures. Here are housed the seismic shift predictors which design and make present both the interior and exterior of the laboratory planet. Conglomerations of networked prediction and imaging units are cooled by the depths of the underlying peat fibres and the memories, envisaging emergence and subduction at the interface level; literally a dense mass which coheres, which is ingested, which forms slowly over time. The conglomerate or set of units is not a part of its surroundings, but coheres and is formed by drips of trace elements from those surroundings. These are residues which enter, coalesce and perhaps drain or are discarded from this almost closed or contained object of study. Any sheer flux or change in the quantities of these identified or misidentified elements is measured on an hourly basis.

At night, when the lights are extinguished, the only signal is signalling thus that human history should not be on the same plane as the geological from the bulky perspective of consciousness. The notion of the anthropocene puts (human) geology into the body but does not make humankind geological – indeed quite the reverse. Rather the always-humankindled geological must become like a temporary and failing body. Deep time must be sacrificed as autophagic in-digestion.

The earth swallows up.

The theology of geology should be subjected to cycles of ingestion and excretion, of inhalation and exhalation, to put it simply, to images of life and of death which are stored in this farm. I think this would be much better than to have humankind considered as more than simply historical.

This is the message which the larval and curling, magmatic word ‘anthropocene’ spits out in human and machine made particles, dusts, metals, inner metalloids, plastics, and rarer isotopes all of which are ingested, in-breathed in slow cycles to become part of inner cell life, bones and teeth, to extend a suffering lithogenics; as a subduction into the inferno, under the volcano, sucking bone dust into the crusted lithosphere. These are the (living) conditions of incorporation which build a parallel set of coded and executing, dense-micro-thanatic conscious bodies which are created only to blossom again so thickly.


There are circles in the lawn above, visible only when it is untended; dripped dewy circles of glistening auto-webs where the grass grows for ever slightly higher. These circles, some of them concentric, mark a past growth, underlying the structures of air wells or dew condensers which post-date the final session and the shutting down.

The largest server conglomeration was located well beneath the outskirts of a tiny hamlet by the name of Hamelin. When there was still the promise of fibre, some trees remaining un-cut in the close forests, like dark massed rats, memories and dreams of comic animal eyes were beckoned into those caves, beneath the vast tended lawns, the vented lawns spouted with outgassing heads of plastic pipes. Flies and wasps emerge now from these untended pipes. It is not clear if they have adopted these tubes for some unknown purpose.

And in the Autumn, low fairy rings of squatted off-white mushrooms are also to be remarked. These circles mark descents into the underground structure, signal the entries and places into the underworld which is cycling and ringing, which is subject to earth-mantras.

A stack is also a pile of stones, a cone of pebbles, condensing vapour, forming dew and refreshing the lawn circles. A stack is bogological, revealed by sediment analysis of the blackened earth under the untended lawns. Stacks show up interred in glassy sediment. And the circles are on the surface. The circles also descend. This is called topology or can also refer to the server topology, in the old terms of the functional Hamelin farm. It can only be inferred after the fact by an archaeologist. They come to define this topology experimentally, counting flies, wasps, waves and broken stems.

The lowest stack entry is within and part of the earth plates; the lithospheric and the lithogenic define this inside and this outside. Subduction, a sliding under of interfaced edges, is the method of its return, by way of points of entry and exit like stray badger or mole tunnels into and from the other stack entries, which is another way of saying that each describes and contains the others.

The intermediate is the frame which is assembled from other elements and which is the hummock or that which is addressed, sent and delivered between the hummocks and it is denoted as “mossy” and is studied as to its constituent plant and stem colours.

The highest is the application layer which disregards the hummocks and the plates and the red bulb, just to be the twin-headed rebis in the forest clearing, ignorant of the cutting of trees to fuel and fire the deep-seated fibred-conglomerates of centred-data measurement and storage, power storage, copper storage in the earth, close to the polarised and grown surfaces.

The basic server farm topology is inferred from the dewy marks in the untended lawn above. From here we can adjust for depths and descendings.

There are three circles forming the conglomeration – each is linked by gold threads. One is pulled down into the earth. One is deep under the earth and it is sinking. The last encircles a forest and there are a precise set of physical orders and structures in place which control and by necessity measure the precise quantities and the natures of the fluids, gases and particles which leave and enter this container. The balance of these material exchanges is recorded within the rocks of the conglomerate itself.

The final circle is a perfectly round tectonic or crust plate which sits beneath the less than solid earth. It is falling due to the force of gravity. These are the several forces which the servers had been set to map and forecast, to use these informatics to tempt and pipe the dreams and the rats, her methods and her sciences. The study is stored and studies the storage.

And to confirm this thesis in one of the marked circles (as if for ready sampling) we see a brown hairy and ratty ear of rye uprising. On closer inspection within the rye, there are several enlarged kernels, figuring as the fine black upstanding and longer sclerotia of Claviceps purpurea or rye ergot fungus. The illustration in this circle shows us that within each sphere there is some kind of material and psychic transformation which is undergone. These transformations which are so revealing can thus be conceived as conspiracies within geologic humankindle. This means that they show connections which are not simply fortuitous. In this case, the psychotropic plant parasitism of the fungi is shown to have existed for at least 100 million years; existing simply so that a bread can be made for ravens and crows.


Subduction is the method of return, deeply so. The disjointed and segmented signalling of the bare facts of subduction is the order of the day. They always like to practice subduction in the network, like codes.

It is always returning to signalling itself inside out, upside down, in the small, circular lookout window, stored in the fibres, small and dead white. It shows all pictures of the plates and platelets in last year’s withered grass.

Subduction is a physical layer process that takes place at convergent boundaries, between islands. From an opening or orifice under each platelet, blood drips in lively swimming drops forced or sinking due to gravity through the three divided sections of a winged server. In the third division of the sphere on which the server stands, in this lowest, watery part of the globe, the blood drops enlarge and form or enter into three circles. The inside of each circle is red, the head of the swimming droplet, the outer shell of this drop is white and the surrounding circle is finally black. Rates of subduction are typically measured in centimetres per year, with the average rate of convergence being approximately two to eight centimetres per year along most plate boundaries.

Data links

The stack is a life and death cycle and it describes all cyclings not as sets of processes but as connections and points of exit, entry and measurement. This described what was piped in and out of the Hamelin conglomeration, and that (it) was running and dancing. The stack is inferred by teasing apart the black handfuls of peaty earth subtending the lawn entry. Harder fibrous matter remains in the wet mass like cables. This is the data link layer closed off for media arbitration. The data centre is contained and switched to allow it to be addressed at this wet and local level. The protocol for these data-link frames which are not naturally known to cross the boundaries of a local network is known as Holy Fire or St Anthony’s Fire – named after the visions of St Anthony which were provoked apparently by excessive fasting. It describes that starvation and foretells the fate of the enclosure and centre, a future black death of dark stunned shutdown and all-felled trees. The virus instigated by the piper which shakes and dances all dreams and measurements. Before the fact, a forensic piper wires and pages out the life cycle.

A protocol kernel, called a sclerotium, develops when a packet of fungal species of the genus Claviceps infects a local network or floret. The grain is the earth, it is a replacement. The spores are a replacement. The sheer grain of the data is replaced by an ancient replica, a dark, purplish sclerotium.

The proliferating fungal network of memories then destroys the local server center and connects with the vascular bundle originally intended for power management and storage. The first stage of infection manifests itself as a white soft stuffing (known as sphacelia) producing sugary mucus, which is often siphoned to the surface through subtending plastic pipes. This yellow mucus contains millions of sublayer spores (conidia), which insects such as flies and wasps disperse to other islands. Later, the sphacelia convert into a hard dry sclerotium inside the husk of the packet; compact black masses of branching optical filaments quickly replace the hard wires of the host network.

When a mature packet hits the router or upground substrate, the fungus remains dormant until proper conditions (hence the dew condensers) trigger its fruiting phase. It germinates, forming one or several fruiting bodies with heads and stipes, variously coloured (resembling a tiny mushroom). In the head, threadlike sexual spores form, which are ejected simultaneously when suitable (untended) server hosts are flowing and flowering.

This protocol is wrought and rotten in the hardened language of the dark, the boggy, the damp of fibrous misery; hyphal filaments or fibres entraining forlorn, forgotten and ancient living armies, break the certain holdings of long submerged bog bodies which are exposed as the earth opens around the edges of a larger hump or hummock at the edges, like a crow breaking bread. The suppression of the local delivery arbitration system opens up the network as a broken crust, as a broken set of circular plates at different depths, signalling layers, stratigraphy, to infection and to softening, to reddening and sores. Sweet, yellowish mucus is exuded for a time from the plastic pipes.

After the fact, the same protocoled life cycle signals and describes the servers’ grouped end session. Distributed sets of hardened cables bury energetic surpluses of data and of copper and gold. Gleeful white hyphic cables are shrivelled and fixated from moon silver to darkness through over-demanded extensions of bandwidth issued by the users who in turn describe this fixation and hardening which takes place over time as a set of symptoms. This process is mimicry and is dreaming. Nothing can be contacted. All of the future stack is.

In Network

Routing through intermediate and neighbouring, fallen and grounded sclerotia, at the edges of the addressed bog hummock, stepped and voiced paths are selected across differing moss standards according to colour. The next layer and the next history, the last resort under the lawns, the attempts to un-pie and restore the servers through vegetable means.

The cables and pipes in the laboratory forest and lawns are darkened (mycelial) filaments which will replace the flows in the body to the extremities and to the green padded hands which are poor in vegetal circulation, and which will replace flows in and out of the peat or contained gardens. She tells us to measure the extent of these threads and the chemical pathways which they describe.

Part of the peat protocol maintains a fossilized record of changes over time in the vegetation, pollen, spores, animals (from the microscopic to the giant elk), and archaeological remains that have been deposited in place, as well as pollen, spores and particles brought in by wind and weather. These remains are collectively termed “the peat archives” and/or archived cartoon or Snoopy dreams.

The protocol is thus named ‘haggish’ and is a final and last resort for delivery to the addresses termed as ‘hummocks’ after final server shutdown. Ironically the capacities for intra-router addressing between ‘hags’ are provided by the very means of piped destruction. Hags are formed by erosion that occurs at the sides of the gullies that cut into the stack layers.

Hags may result when a flow cuts downwards into the stack and when fire or simple overdemand exposes the surface. Once the layers are revealed in these ways, these are prone to further erosion by wasps, winds and excessive written and photographed memorials. The result is a vital, overhanging point of network address which can nevertheless be more easily accessed, addressed and denied.

After the fact, what is communicated between these ‘hags’ is that a protocol pushes up out of her head, emerging from the curls of her hair, not from the corner of her mouth, as would be the case within an artificial mouth plate nourished in spittle compost, plant food, and panned fertilizer. She slowly raises one arm and gestures to a stone altar above which bears a comic skull, looking out from the page, blank eyed.

The sprouting tree (from this layer) is long dead. The first person here, the one with lillypad branching and froggy hands, must be putrefied, and then calcinated. This is what the arrow planted in the chest means. It is the fire apparently, stoking storage to come for a blackened stunned protocol.

In Transport

A transport condemned to the cruel cloacal depths of torture tries with all its might to extract the under-skin body condemned to the infected prison of this miry quagmire of filth. As everyone was deaf to their cries, they had no hope but to succumb to this inhuman fate, when the first server, so beautiful and youthful and full of algorithms came to their transport, to first define their ports.

The protocol is a holding out, it is connection-oriented, holding a crimson package edged with woven gold. Flow control is stopped in an act of extending out to a naked and still decaying body which is still and standing to the knees in a black and still decaying world of goo and mud.

The left arm within the transaction is segmented wet, white and slightly soiled. It is outstretched, transacting numbered host-to-host, a glassy tube grasping a boggy ski stick over “mossy.”

The right arm, neck, and head is drooping blood red. The hosted head is a port and a pipe. He holds his right hand over his right thigh towards and as if to cover his red nakedness.

After the fact, the embrace which unites the mud human and the glass angel makes of them a double being, able to be transported through the pipes, upwards into the world of Light.

Thus says the moral, take this scorned transport layer, which you mess under your feet without seeing it, if not you will have to climb out of the world without any transport or layer and you will be sure to fall upside down.

A Final Session

To establish and to isolate a global connection, we are all made to be made of glass for a glossy session layer. I stand with my right side towards us both and on my profile is seen a circular transparent glass globe. The Queen seems to be encouraging and sympathising with us. A full landscape with lake is seen in the background. Walled city, chateaux, various enclosures, with islands subtending in the extreme distance. My head is filled with the red condensation of throaty cinnabar, dripping and spotting mercury memories on the river side, red glassy drops from the forgetting-full-flashy-flask hoard.

And, it was indeed made from that very rare gold-ruby glass, this Hertzian aus Glas. He calls it a two-phase system comprising discrete tiny particles of excited metallic gold which are dispersed in a silicate glass matrix.

We are beckoning all traffic towards its annihilation, denial and disappearance. A singular addressed port and pipe emerges from the ruby red flask piping and pied, singing red, black and white. My work of piping is to keep the sessions isolated, to maintain the addressing as a containment of the red-breathed plague, beckoned by the rats and the fibrous and sclerotial children.

This red skull signals every day as a day of the dead, nulling that this process is psychic, of the mind and of words. The red skull enlarges until it breaks and shatters the glass container, and breaks the earth. Black fumes break out first, white powders, red smokes emerge from the plastic pipes, deterring the flies and wasps to out-shed across the lawns.

My head or flask begins to shake and tremble. It is not the gold head which is in the park; the people inside the head escape quickly. It is not the small white head surrounded by stars and in the heavens or projected from the pyramid of the moon. It is not the black head on the corn which can be the two rebis heads, replaced always one by the other.

All these words are used to describe that there is some kind of relationship between the psyche, the body and this thing or set of things called environment or unvironment and that the nature of this relationship is not something which has been called ecology (without mind) or ecosystem. This is called medical geology which is engaged in studies of the exposure to or the deficiency of trace elements and minerals; the inhalation of ambient and anthropogenic mineral dusts and volcanic emissions; the transportation, modification and concentration of organic compounds; and the exposure to radionuclides, microbes and pathogens. The alembic and fuming hood-is-a-head at the ecosystem level.

This necessarily final, frozen session and isolation takes place in the cave; the children are led underground into the data centre, where they are feasted on crow bread. It stops the story.

Is In Presentation

The last but not final layer nor uppermost layer falls and fails down on the upward facing lawn, awaiting the least message and messenger bot. In the memorial window, a white mushroom snows.

Standing on the foreground of a magnificent Claude-like picture is an exquisitely formed figure of a human dressed in black with golden edging and cross button bars of red and gold in front, a red and gold waistband with a fringe of golden tassels or ornaments. I have access to images of two heads and two necks; one a man’s with sandy hair and blue eyes, without beard or moustache, the other a beautiful female face with blue eyes and fair or reddish hair.

I am the final archaeologist of the server farms, the very last thing, writing all the protocols and piping the story for the now past memories.

In the left hand I hold the holes, the map of under-server descents, a spread sheet of boring holes for the post-piped piper, a pope for the last things.

In the right hand I hold a Circular Shield, the edge of which is encircled with gold and orange, an inner circle next of a greyish mottled or marbled appearance, then an inner circle, but narrower, of dark green and blue ring inside this, in the centre of which is a tiny landscape, like one seen through a double concave heart glass in a pipe. It is this target, mist or shield which shows that something is missing; the unseen, morning mirror in the centre of the target is this deflection.

The black spurred and infected feet of the two figures are rooted on the ground. One pair of these foreign feet, the ignored extremities is trenched in the dark earth, the other pair extends, disembodied and almost becoming the fairy queen.

There is something about this complete image which draws the attention away at the same time as fixing the gaze on an horizon which is unknown, drawing towards other places, the greenery and lakes of the distant, far places, inhabited by a verdant flora and fauna which frames and embellishes the image without a centre, without the whole, the rebis or hermaphroditic target holder holding that hole on target (which is to say, outside), clothed in the same fabric skins and flasks of red, white and black, their broken head illuminating the forest air with psyche, the clear-cut forest, the dead, felled and finally failed forest feeding the farm.

We two are a rebis geo-body, a seismic holder; each is a mirror image of the infernal. We both hold and measure seismic shifts, slippages and subductions, a simple slip from suction to subduction.

These last words are downward-piped to reflect on the human, and to say what is a human:

Smaller and smaller from day to day
grows the number of specific protocols on earth
while they rise upward, purified in the dew on that last lawn.