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  • Alchemy and the Magick in the Media
  • Rob Roth (bio)

I would stare into TV static until I saw images, shapes, heard voices. This was part of my childhood, long before the movie Poltergeist (the original) reminded me of my ways. I would stare into that frenzy of grey dancing patterns and the show would begin. At that young age I would wonder what was this frenetic storm and its white noise? Was it always behind the images presented? Was it lurking in the back of the black and white Hollywood films I watched with my grandmother in her small Washington Heights apartment? Was it sculpting these beautiful images of Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Katherine Hepburn, and Greta Garbo that seemed to have some magical effect on me? I had my own theories that the static was messages from the eternal force (what I might have called ghosts at that early age). It was the emotional energy that would travel through these otherworldly beings during a passionate or dramatic scene. I believed this force was divine but also slightly terrifying. Where did it come from? If I got close enough to the screen, would I absorb some of its energy myself? Was it an exchange? I do know I longed to be imbued with this same otherworldly essence these perfected beings seemed to radiate out of that illuminated screen. As time progressed I became aware of the basic ideas of electricity, cathode ray tubes (CRT), antennas, and radio waves. It still didn't stop my fascination with the idea of a communication from other dimensions through these screen goddesses in those endless patterns that lurked behind. Was it an instinct or perhaps some psychic energy that my own internal antenna was receiving ? Radio waves were invisible after all, flying all around, were they sending images of these muses around my body all day? Was a message in the form of Bette Davis whispering in my ear as she spritely flew past? [End Page 122]

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Fig. 01.

Static Study 01 by Rob Roth

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Fig. 02.

Static Study 02 by Rob Roth

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Fig. 03.

Static Study 03 by Rob Roth

[End Page 123]




noun: Muse; plural noun: Muses; noun: muse; plural noun: muses


(in Greek and Roman mythology) each of nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences.


a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist. [End Page 124]

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Fig. 04.

Screen Test 01 by Rob Roth

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Fig. 05.

Screen Test 02 by Rob Roth

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Fig. 06.

Screen Test 03 by Rob Roth

[End Page 125]

As soon as my personal theory based on nothing but imagination and wishful thinking would finally start to fade, another science-based fact would revive the personal myth. As it turns out, mixed in with all those projected images are radio echoes of the Big Bang, the creation of the universe thirteen billion years ago. This discovery in 1964 by Bell Labs researchers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson revealed itself after an annoying static, that was assumed to be caused by pigeons roosting in their antenna pointing at the Milky Way, turned out to be ancient radio waves. They won a Pulitzer. Here it was, the proof that I was not just daydreaming into some deeper fantasy, but actually onto something. The static I had been staring into, bringing me those images of glamour, ferocious femininity, and pathos was also mixed with echoes from the birth of the universe. Was this ancient afterglow changing me? Could it be mutating certain aspects of my personality? I became more convinced that these images of silver screen goddesses were actually affecting me on a possibly metaphysical level.



a (1): a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology

metaphysics . . . analyzes the...


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pp. 122-132
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