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Robert Rapoport

Arrival.m2v (“Codec”: Compressor-decompressor)

The codec arrives without wiping its feet. Today it is a contortionist balanced on the tightrope of bitrate, clipping its toenails with its teeth, leveraging the incommensurable, is some parody of becoming. Or,
The codec arrives spitting nail clippings into an abyss of the residual, where the untold terabytes it has saved wait for infrastructure to resurrect them. Or,
The codec lets itself in without knocking: tells us proudly it has subtracted two vertebrae to believe itself through the network, now funnelling 4K over 4G
under Chromecast,
through the new Votive Inevitable, laughing at prepositions that try to place it.

Who pays for the surgery? Brick and mortar stiffs who actually work for a living. H.264 reborn as H.265 is actually a loan floated on tomorrow’s CPU. Bad debt? Good debt? Who can keep track?

Data Journalist as codec; Passwords as codecs for forgetting; Jeff Bezos airborne as codec: traveling with nothing in favour of ordering himself a new wardrobe at each instance of debarking, downloading, never arriving. All codecs as drive to efface—immaculate consumption or conception? Always votive, but to what, for what?

The contortionist yawns and takes the shape of a foetus.

AirBnB as codec for what used to be done by social capital. An actual codec for reciprocity? --too much bandwidth.

Or: The codec arrives dripping behind the ears, licking its soles, asking who said ‘arrival’? Is that just an artefact? And echo? With every new standard: new lighting, old thunder.

What the codec wont say, it saves for moment too full for an origin: Audio codecs for VoIP allow for no latency, no hint of space. A compressed voice very quickly looses patience with its lag. Hang up and reset. Give the codec a moment to rehearse its trick—a slight of hand years in the making, wasted on those who believe it is real.

The codec arrives chewing on its own placenta: “how is anyone supposed to sleep in there?” it asks while pulling out a family album—half a million jpgs of The Nightwatch, each too busy to wipe its feet.


Rembrandt van Rijn “The Night Watch” (1642) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam



Compression Augmentation