My name is Primo Mentiroso. I live in a part of Bishopsgate in London where a fragment of dry stone wall still stands*, which I can see from my kitchen window. It curves beyond a modern office block fifty metres away, with a sweep that suggests it might go on forever. Wondering if this might be true, I have tried many times to approach the wall, but to no avail. The passageways that surround it always led me away, towards a main road.
One morning, a stranger who was stood at the entrance to one of these passageways introduced himself to me.
‘I am Joel Gethin Lewis,’ he said. ‘I have seen you trying to find the wall, but only those who know its secret know how to find it. It is built with OpenFrameworks, an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding. Follow me and I will show you.’
I followed him around a left turn I had somehow never noticed before and we emerged into the shaded space in front of the wall. A second man stood on the other side. Although the wall was made of solid stone, the outline of his body appeared on our side of the wall. The shape his body cast began to multiply and feedback, disintegrating into an complex array of coloured forms.
‘I’m Pete Hellicar‘ he said. ‘Joel and I are artists, and work together at Hellicar & Lewis. We have brought you here to see our projections. These silhouettes are our “NZ Projection“, the regenerated forms come from our “Feedback” project, and this is our “Hello Wall“.
Although I could see much more of the wall from where I stood, it still appeared to have no end and no beginning. The projections too could have begun and ended anywhere. My head swam with dizzying implications. Though I feared the answer, I was compelled to ask ‘Where does it start?’
‘Pete directs the art, and the art directs my OpenFrameworks development,’ explained Joel. ‘It’s an infinite loop, a perpetual motion machine. We put people in the moment, because the moment is all we have. Come to The Werks at 7pm on Tuesday 20th April and we will tell you more, including an introduction to OpenFrameworks.’
* – The wall in question may be the one mentioned by Wolfgang Erfunden on page 147 of the first edition of his ‘History of the Saxon People’. Erfunden is quick to point out that although the wall can be said to date from around 100AD and lies on the route of the original London Wall, the dry stone technique used was not in common usage with the Romans, and copper artifacts recovered from a site 500 yards to the north where similar stone were found reveal a degree of filigree and glasswork known chiefly to be associated with the coastal folk of Northumbria. It is worthwhile reading Erfunden on this, as the opinions of a lowly Argentine scribe are not to be ventured on subjects of which he knows nothing, such as Celtic knotwork and Roman walls.