12 July 2009

A curious melancholy about this story:

A Manhattan skyscraper in one of the most security-conscious parts of New York has become the scene of an unlikely missing persons mystery.

Police are trying to work out what has happened to a cleaning woman who vanished halfway through her shift on Tuesday evening at an office skyscraper near the reconstruction site at Ground Zero.

Eridania Rodriguez, 46, punched in for work at No 2 Rector Street at 5pm local time. She put on her blue uniform, chatted with other after-hours workers and was last seen on security cameras at around 7pm. Then, she disappeared.

The building’s cameras did not record her leaving the skyscraper. She didn’t meet up with coworkers for her regular subway ride home to Manhattan’s Washington Heights. Her purse and clothes remained in her locker. Her cleaning trolley was found abandoned on the eighth floor, a space recently vacated by the city’s transportation department.

Reminded me a lot of the very short story About Lisa in my Endland collection. Esp this part, the end of the narrative:

“Later (probably July) the automatic doors in all the buildings in the city seem to ignore her and no longer open anymore like they know she is no longer human or worse perhaps no longer a living thing of any kind.

Only by waiting for a stray dog to trigger the infra-red can Lisa get in anywhere.


Lisa gets more bad luck. She gets a skin complaint and falls out with her mum. Her new job at The Institute For Physical Research doesn’t last.

Before long Lisa can’t even see her image on the CCTV screens in town and she knows she’s disappearing and she understands quickly that this is the punishment the gods have meated out for her vengeance of her poor innocent sister.


People in the street try to talk to Lisa and try to act like everything is OK, but machines and most animals ignore her.

Lisa changes her name by deed poll. She calls herself something more suited to her age, race, sex and occupation. She calls herself SILENCE.

And from that moment on she lives up to her name“.


From a talk by Chris Petit yesterday at Site Gallery:

Borges describing London as a tattered labyrinth.


A pioneering approach to corporate security based on homeopathic medicine in which the body of a corporation or government department is encouraged to develop resistance to problems like fraud, corruption, extortion and suchlike by encountering them in minute amounts.

Here at XXXX the head of security encourages breeches in the computer firewall from time to time, even hires people that he knows will be sloppy with their swipe cards and passwords. A small number of incidents a year is what he’s aiming at, nothing too dramatic. Just enough to keep us strong.
And does it work?
Well, they lose thousands..
Yes. They lose thousands of pounds each year in direct ways, as well as untold amounts more in lost business, stolen research findings, leaked info to competitors etc. but so far at least he has management convinced that things would be much much worse if they weren’t following his advice.

Related projects