From the other side of the bridge

14.50, Friday 12 Jun 2020

There’s a story about William Gibson’s jacket. In his book Pattern Recognition he confabulates a jacket for the protagonist, Cayce, in a colourway that never existed.

The manufacturer, getting requests from fans for this fictional jacket, approaches Gibson, and together they create the jacket for real. Gibson himself has a custom version. Here’s his telling from 2005:

I received a very puzzled letter from the folks at Buzz Rickson’s, who had been getting requests for black MA-1’s. Once I had explained what was happening, they amazed and delighted me by asking my permission to make a repro of *Cayce’s* jacket, to market as their Pattern Recognition model. Yes indeed, I said, and while you’re at it, cut me one with an extra four inches in the back, please. Which they did, and it’s over the back of a chair nearby as I write this. I love this jacket. It reminds me of the title of a Surrealist sculpture, “An Object From The Other Side Of The Bridge”. It’s real, but it emerged from a work of fiction.

So I’d forgotten this story. Then read it again this week in Pfeil Magazine 12 which I received as part of my Stack magazines subscription (I’ve signed up to get a different magazine each month, their choice).

That piece in the magazine (for completeness here’s a pic) also used that phrase an object from the other side of the bridge


it totally

ate my brain.

What I hadn’t realised, before looking up Gibson’s telling of the story, is that the phrase is taken from the name of a sculpture. Which I would now like to see.

Here’s the sculpture: De l’autre côté du pont, “From the Other Side of the Bridge,” Yves Tanguy, 1936.

Now, I’ve written before about fiction and inner and outer realities but this feels… different, somehow? More ouroboros. More like magick: speaking as a way of forming the universe.

A crossing between the fictional realm and our world! I mean, an invention in fiction is also an invention in our world, of course.

But there’s something special, here, about the way the object can only be reached via first constructing the ENTIRE FICTIVE UNIVERSE, thus writing it into being, and that process has to be conducted from our side of course; like projecting a hologram from a laser-engraved lens, but once inscribed you can step into the hologram and – grab it.

Like searching for a particular item in a dream, and waking with it in your hands.

Both the molecular structure of benzene and the molecular structure of DNA were brought back from dreams.

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