Morning of the Magicians

qrcode.19743346Ever since I saw a QR code I have been somewhat disturbed by them. Something about their fragmentation, their pixellation, points to a disintegration of something that I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on, haven’t quite attempted to articulate.

What aberration of yin and yang is this?

I went to Wikipedia to learn something about them:

“…a type of matrix barcode … an optically machine-readable label … consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square grid on a white background … processed using Reed Solomon error correction …”

Then I wrote a few notes of my own in my notebook: “pixellated crosswords. deranged crosswords, estranged”.

Curiously,  I found this book lying around at my place recently. It’s called Morning of the Magicians by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier. It was first published in France in 1960 as Le Matin des Magiciens, and first published in England in 1963 as The Dawn of Magic. I haven’t read the book, but previously owned a copy that had a more mystical green and amber hued cover than the one I’m about to show you here. The book is touted as ‘a startling look beyond science – an investigation that recognizes no barriers to human thought!’.  It looks to be a book of conspiracy theories and investigations into the paranormal, alchemy, intuition, vanished and future civilizations  and so on. Check out the image of the cover, and the detail image:

morning of the magicians morning of the magicians crop of QR

You will see the top part of the image in the diamond-shaped box with the orange border looks very much like a QR code. This is rather interesting to me seeing as how this version of the book was published in 1973, some 20 years before the advent of QR codes being used by industry before they became somewhat ubiquitous. What prescience is contained within the pages of this book? or within the mind of the (unnamed, uncredited) artist who drew this illustration? or was the artist simply bad at drawing circuit boards?

Wikipedia indicates that QR codes can also have malicious uses, creating:

Risks includ[ing] linking to dangerous web sites with browser exploits, enabling the microphone/camera/GPS [on your smartphone], and then streaming those feeds to a remote server, analysis of sensitive data (passwords, files, contacts, transactions), and sending email/SMS/IM messages or DDOS packets as part of a botnet…”

Recently, Murdoch University also posted this bulletin to staff and students to alert them to QR-enabled shenanigans:


Wikipedia image: Version 40 QR code

QR codes come in several different versions . Wikipedia shows an illustration of a “Version 40” QR code (picture, above). Version 40 codes are able to store the maximum amount of information within their black and white fuzz;  to me, whether it’s a Version 40 or some other version, they remind me of, and leave me feeling akin to, nothing so much as this:


Here’s a link to a song with the word ‘poltergeist’ in it