Suigenesis by Daniel Solomon


You have just come inside from blowing a cigarette together from smoke. Right now, you are in a dark room, seated, gazing into the screen of your computer. You are wide-eyed, tight-lipped, disturbed. A crab is rumbling in you, scrambling to be ejected.

You put your headphones on. There is already a faint static hiss between them, waiting for you to connect it and push it down the wire.

You bring a bottle to your lips and let a few drops of beer dribble into it from your mouth. You touch the computer screen, and an X appears at your fingertip. X is the anchor. X is a window that opens under the pressure of your finger on the touchscreen.

X is a website. It specializes in corralling unseemly fantasies of scattered, disorganized flesh. You and the other gore-hounds come to places like this to offload, to let loose your crabs. You all sit at your desks and stare into your varied, isolated screens, but the vision itself is ultimately collaborative. In concert, you project into this window images of bodies undone, inarticulate anatomies on the cusp of wholeness. Limbs and heads ready to be fastened to a core. Accidents and terrorism. Executions and acts of suigenesis.

When you gore-hounds feed an image into the screen, it's just an image: only a presentiment of horror. But each image is pregnant with a body. Each image contains the promise of real flesh and real violence. Whatever form you are envisioning, whatever unassembled body you are projecting into X—someday, someone is going to wake up right in the middle of it.

You can't know this, but the crabs in your gut and the static between your ears have been with you ever since your own violent and now long-forgotten awakening.

Even before that first moment when you drew breath, opened your eyes, and pulled the gun away from your temple, the crabs were with you. Over the years, you have drawn that original self-loathing from your nerves and distilled it into something more potent. Slowly, you have neutralized the toxin by spreading it thinly over the surfaces of your life and by passing it along to others.

In time, everyone will be getting their dram of your venom. Tonight, some portion of this bad seed must be planted in the wandering ghost of a man named Baron.

Your vision fills the screen with an image of an almost empty room. In the far wall, there is a windowpane hidden behind blinds. Behind that window is Los Angeles as it will be a few years from now; you can't quite touch that from here.

In the foreground, a chair is mostly visible: This is where Baron will appear.

Baron has not gotten to enjoy his stardom and never will. Like other celebrities of our age, the breadth and length of Baron's existence has been virtual. By the time he finally arrives in Los Angeles in the flesh, Baron will have spent decades—and possibly much longer—as an electronic premonition of an event that has not yet happened. It is an event that you and I are helping to manifest, and we are acting alongside everyone else who has ever thrown their gaze into X.

After a moment, a noise-image begins to leak into the scene. It's no more than a crackle of static. It could be the air-conditioning running in the apartment that you have imagined for Baron. It could be underground construction, workers drilling beneath the streets of L.A. sometime in the future.

Then, unbidden, a spasm. You jerk and wince as you project something sudden and different—and violent—into the screen and through the headphones. The spasm travels from your body, through your brain, and out your auditory nerves. The headphones capture the spasm as it shakes the air and transmits it down the coiled wires connecting your headphones to your computer. Your computer sends the impulses to the Internet. The spasm beams through radio signals and fiber optics, from computer to computer until, completely out of your head, it becomes a living sound—a sound to rouse a body to motion.

Baron's arrival is an act of suigenesis. It's not a typical means of arrival.

If you are religiously inclined, you might assume that in cases of suigenesis, the animating spirit reaches forward in time to occupy its naturally intended body, right in the moments before that body ought to be capable of action. Perhaps, in your mind, suigenesis is an action of the deity: an expression of a rightness in the universe that supersedes the banal biological mechanisms of most persons' arrivals.

If you are of a scientific bent, you might assume that what appears to be auto-execution of the self is actually an upwelling of static energy into pre-living matter—an example of spontaneous generation. In your view, the cold, blind energies of the universe gather to create a sufferer. In your view, suffering is a natural fact of existence.

In any case, suigenesis is an action out of order with time: an action that precedes its actor. In practice, it occurs in many different ways.

You might emerge from the nothing into a hot bath and immediately busy yourself with welding the seams in your wrists. Naturally, the required blade will have been placed at your side.

Or you might awaken in bed. You'll reach over to the glass on your nightstand and bring it to your lips. The glass will draw the sleep from you as whiskey and a handful of blue pills.

Or a gentle wind might part your lips. Your lungs may inflate, and your eyes may open, and you may find that you are suspended in the air. A noose will be caught on your chin, and you will kick until you have roused the chair beneath your feet to get up and catch you.

Each case is a paradox. Self-activation exposes the animating essence to an unliving body that should not yet be whole enough to act. Yet, the soul squeezes into life through rot, and it emerges bearing a mighty taint. That taint could be an unyielding pain—a tumor or a cancer. It could be despair. The effort of unshouldering such a burden can take a lifetime.

When a person arrives into life by their own hand, they are occasionally preceded by a letter. Sometimes, the letter describes the emotional world into which the new arrival is entering. Sometimes there is no letter, but a video or an audio recording. Such documents inevitably inform the direction that the new arrival's life will take.

Baron's video is unusual only because of its public nature. Most letters are private. They are placed on the scene by the police or by a friend-to-be of the impending arrival. Baron's arrival, however, is being orchestrated by millions of strangers, including you. The emotional world that Baron will experience when he awakens will have been determined by you—by all of you who have stared into the window and imagined Baron manifesting himself in a tiny apartment in L.A.

For the greater portion of his existence, Baron has been a swarm of data. He has been bytes in constant transition between states: from neurochemistry to hard drives, to radio signals, to magnetism on tape.

One might think that he has been trapped, but something different has been unfolding. During the decades or centuries of his celebrity, Baron has been interpreted and reinterpreted by countless contributors like you. They have been curiosity seekers, journalists, historians, artists, gossips, purveyors of the macabre. Each contributor has envisioned Baron in their own way, and each has deposited something of their own into his image. Each contributor has manifested Baron through different technologies, projected his image according to different sensibilities, and been drawn to the project by their own unique agency.

Here, in the dark at your desk, you are now working as one of them. You are part of the project. Through many conversions and re-routings, the signals of your eyes and ears are collected by your computer and condensed with the signals of who-knows-how-many other contributors. Each gore and gossip site does its part to collect the human transmissions and to reduce them into purer condensates.

Over time, the condensates gather. Sensually. Slowly.