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The diaries of L’Obscurier

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The hugely influential artist, architect, sculptor, painter and social engineer revolutionised the way we think about the built environment and then drowned in the Mediterranean

Translated by Danvers Couchmere from the original haughty French

February 21, 1954.

In the morning, I sketch some ideas for a Museum of the Revolutionary Plastic Arts. It is based on a photograph I have of a low-pressure ventilating fan. ‘Boogie-woogie’, as the saying goes.

Afterwards, tennis with my friend André from the Electro-Chemical Department. Then to the Patent Office to register my three latest inventions:

1) The Proportioning Grid.
2) The Atomic Cement Gun.
3) The Deferential Robot Servant.

A new epoch is upon us. We must seize these opportunities to re-fashion the world, to celebrate our dominion over Nature. Is not the Physical Universe reflected in the conquests of Man? For Heaven’s sake - we live in the Age of Radio, what may NOT be achieved!

Consider the possibility, in due course, of a global electrical-cultural network - let us call it an ‘Inter‑Network’ - of individuals linked via a universal communications ‘ring’. Imagine a personal kinema in every household, connected to the telephone and radiogram. Imagine a global assemblage of such personal kinemas. This will be the Inter‑Network.

It will act as a vast repository for information, an educational tool of unimaginable consequence, even for servants and the long-suffering house-wife.

How much more uplifting might this prove for the Common Man, beset as he is to-day with the smut and salaciousness of the popular prints!

In The World of To-Morrow, mankind will have created Hyper-Space, a new, rational extra sphere around the Earth to accommodate the thousands of miles of circuitry which will unequivocally be needed if the Inter-Network is to function efficiently. Punctuating this Hyper-Space at regular intervals will be Inter-Network nodes or ‘sites’ - standardised spaces for individuals to store information (as happens to-day in eg 78 rpm jazz discs). For each ‘site’ a small bakelite container should suffice - no bigger than a shoebox, say.

Are we as a Society prepared to march with courage and hygiene towards the New Radio Space Age? The answer must be a resounding YES.

POST SCRIPTUM. I need space, and light, and air. I spontaneously decide to go sailing - the servants are informed. Yet, despite a firm assurance from Mme L’Obscurier that their day off will be reinstated at a future and more convenient date, they choose to sulk. I encounter the same sullenness among the crew, who have been summoned from miserable, cramped, sub-urban homes to take my yacht, The Paradox, out into the timeless Mediterranean. Why this childish negativity? Do they not comprehend that a day spent at sea is much healthier, invigorating & cetera than a day in the city?

After lunch I am keen to try out my latest modern device, the Electric Snorkelling Suit. A large magnet strapped to the swimmer is used to generate power; the flippers are connected to a waterproof dynamo; air is pumped directly from the surface via a complex yet rational tubing system.

As I slide into the ocean and feel the tug of the electro-magnet, I wonder if the servants have remembered to check the tubing for blockages.

Ian Martin is away

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