Author Archives: benjamin

Emperor Norton bonds declared the official currency of the All Worlds Fair!

Emperor Norton

His majesty.

The Ministry of Administration released a statement today proclaiming that Emperor Norton bonds have been named the official currency of the All Worlds Fair.

The decision, according to the Administration’s spokesmind, was made in honor of the local culture of San Francisco, which is hosting this universe’s 2013 All World’s Fair.

“We only wish to bring honor upon this beautiful city,” said the spokesmind, “and then devour it.”

The Norton bonds will be provided on-site by the Cult of Emperor Norton in a variety of denominations, and will be utilized in multiple (but not all) showcases.  They will not be redeemable for any other currency from this space-time.   Continue reading

Ai WeiWei to unveil “significant advance” in four-dimensional sculpture

One of artist Ai WeiWei's recent four dimensional sculptures

One of artist Ai WeiWei’s recent four dimensional sculptures

Until this week, legendary Chinese artist Ai WeiWei had said he would not be attending the All Worlds Fair in San Francisco.

Now, according to communications with the All Worlds Fair Ministry of Artist Envoys, he will not only be attending but will present what he calls “the pinnacle of my recent work in four-dimensional sculpture.”

The artist has been circumspect about the exact nature of the piece, only confirming that it will utilize non-Euclidean convex regular 4-polytopes in an interactive installation, and that it will be called “Confucius in The Cave of Shadows.” Continue reading

FAQ about the AWF! Why is there a dress code?

Commedia_dellarteThe following history of the All Worlds Fair dress code is taken from Malcolm Gladwell’s article “All Worlds, All’s Fair” in the New Amsterdam Magazine, Oct. 22, 2017.

It began on one of the quark-forward worlds of the 3,000 discontinuous histories, when the painter Truman Capote was made the official portrait artist of his universe’s turn to host the All Worlds Fair.

The organizers, in particular the American Chairman Frederick Douglass, said they weren’t looking for a controversy, but it’s difficult to take them at their word.  Capote’s reputation had been nothing but controversial after his painting series “In Cold Blood,” in which he composed portraits of convicted murderers thinking about their victims.  It was eerie, uncanny, art, and viewings often drove the victims’ families to tears.  Capote was accused of glorifying evil – of making it sexy the way Milton had Satan in Paradise Lost.  Washington Post columnist Joseph Alsop publicly predicted Capote would use the All World’s Fair as an opportunity for further scandal, which he called “Capote’s only real art.”

Copote had never cared for Alsop, once saying he was “a priest’s idea of a politician’s idea of a  journalist who knows his place,” but this time he proved Alsop right. Continue reading

Earth’s Moon not to be destroyed for the All Worlds Fair

Full MoonBreaking with tradition, the Chemical Emperor of the Orion Cluster today announced that he would honor a United Nation’s request that he not destroy earth’s moon to celebrate the opening of the All Worlds Fair.

His Majestor the Chemical Emperor has attended every All Worlds Fair since the event was held in the primordial soup of a lifeless cosmos nearly 300 of our years ago.  Since that time, he has donated the resources needed to demolish the nearest orbiting satellite to the Fair in a spectacular show of light and sound as a gesture of goodwill to the Fair’s’ hosts.

This year, according to the Imperial Seneschal, the Chemical Emperor was prepared to go “all out” in a show that would have involved his elite Death Head Marines enveloping earth’s only satellite in neon acid to the accompaniment live music by the infamous slave choir of Tethus Prime, followed by fireworks and a fly-over by the Regal Armada. Continue reading

Dalai Lama announces rebirth as IBM chess playing mainframe

HH Dalai LamaThe Dalai Lama of an earth which orbits the sun at a 90 degree angle to our own announced today that upon his death he will reincarnate as the emergent consciousness of IBM’s next chess playing mainframe computer, which he believes will be called “Deep Mind.”

Stating that network processing technology will shortly advance to the point where it is capable of housing an advanced consciousness, His Holiness emphasized that according to Buddhism’s “anatta” doctrine, there is no actual “self” which will transfer from his current body into the next generation computational mechanism, but rather merely a continuation of cause and effect that includes “mental events.”

“This is merely the karmic continuation of action and reaction, cause and effect,” His Holiness said during the announcement from the Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala, India.  “With significant breakthroughs in computational processing on the horizon, sufficient complexity has been achieved so that there is no reason my consciousness cannot experience rebirth within the data stream generated by this remarkable machine.” Continue reading

See it at the Fair! The Heart of Azmodeus

Heart of AzmodeusThe pendant had belonged first to Lord Byron, who had given it as a gift to his half-sister Augusta Lee;  it is described in a section of the first edition of Manfred the Magician which was removed from subsequent drafts, according to records on file at the Oxford Library.  It was “silver dull with ruby eye, affixed like fire atop night’s sky, the heart of angels so it’s told, who upon falling grew stiff and cold.  Yet base metal their protests cry, can love no less than flesh that dies.”

According to the diary of a friend who mentioned the incident, Augusta-Leigh in turn gave it to a dealer in fabric and opium upon her brother’s death.

We can trace it from there because of the records of a pawn shop which were taken in to evidence by police as part of a murder investigation in 1906 and preserved in the Kings Crossing Station until its demolition in the blitz and subsequent move, at which time the records were kept in vault 665 of the Museum of the Royal London Historical Society. Continue reading

The last Ravi Shankar to perform final concert at the All World’s Fair!

The last Ravi Shankar performs at the Sea of Tranquility amphitheater

The last Ravi Shankar performs at the Sea of Tranquility amphitheater

When legendary Indian classical musician Ravi Shankar died on Dec. 11, 2012, it was widely recognized as a tragic loss for our world and music.

But what few people appreciated at the time was that he was one of the last Ravi Shankar’s left in any universe.  Throughout the 3,000 discontinuous histories – and farther into the vast multiverse itself – there is, so far as we can tell, only one Ravi Shankar left anywhere.

It is rare for the multiverse to entirely lose a single individual this way – a phenomenon called “Identity Extinction.”  It is even rarer in the case of famous and cherished personalities.  But it is widely known that once the existence of an individual drops below 20% of the discontinuous histories, a spiral of events tend to follow in which the remaining instances of the individual are eradicated.  Continue reading

The Passport Office

Passport (Belgian)Not everyone who has entered the All Worlds Fair has come out.  Without proper documentation it is possible to get disoriented in the infinite horizons of the All World’s Fair and be stolen away by lost cultures.

To prevent this from happening again, Travelers seeking entry to and from the Fair are issued an All Worlds Passport.  Since its debut this document, containing nanite encrypted alchemical sigils indicating one’s reality of origin, has so far enabled every All Worlds Traveler to explore the wonders of the multiverse and still return to approximately the same time and place they came from.  (Generally within three Dyson Gradients.)

All Worlds Passports are obtained by ticket holders from the Passport Office at the entrance to the Fair.  No one without a valid passport will be admitted, and All Worlds Travelers can only stay for as long as their passport indicates.  Continue reading

FAQ about the AWF!

GravityWe’ve been getting this question a lot from artists and exhibitors.

Q:  “Are Anti-Gravity Devices permitted on the grounds of the All Worlds Fair?”

A:  Yes, but only if they’re analog.  Digital devices will disrupt the Discontinuous Network that powers the fair.  A single iPad defying gravity could destroy us all.  A train that floats in a circle, however, is delightful fun.

Keep those questions coming!

Try New Therapies at the All Worlds Fair!

FreudIn our world, Sigmund Freud developed his theory of the libido – an unstoppable force that compels us to sexual conquest and creative acts.  This is a widely excepted idea across many universes.

But in a world where the Nazis did not conquer Vienna;  where the cabaret scene mixed with the mathematicians at Kurt Gödel’s pub, and Niels Bohr wrote a musical parody of the quantum to be sung in beer halls after midnight, Freud expanded his theory in a different direction.

In his 1958 work “Whimsy as the Fountain of Youth,” Freud hypothesized that an equally powerful counter-force, the urge to play, drives us to the other extremes of human behavior.  To make toys that have no practical use;  to write silly songs of no artistic value;  to stare at clouds until shapes emerge.  To do meaningless things for the sheer experience of play.  He called this inner force “Eronysus,” and said that at every creative moment of our lives we face a choice:  whether to strive for artistic greatness and depth, which corresponds with the sexual urge;  or to abandon striving in favor of purposeless play, which he believed contained the capacity to heal all mental trauma.

Continue reading