ALGIRHYTHM
& MONOLITH

BRAND

ALGIRHYTHM
& MONOLITH

BRAND

/CASE STUDIES

Exponential Mission Patches & Ethos

What initially started as a branding project to spark conversations at the DEFCON hacker conference, ultimately grew into a revolutionary ethos: to find, fund, and train the future change agents of the free world (algirhythm).

OVERVIEW

What Are They For?

The algirhythm and monolith are a pair of mission patches designed to be given to unique people who are in search of their own truth, and on the mission to transform the monoliths that have impacted their lives.

  • Inspired by the art of clandestine military patches (skunkworks), these patches were initially designed to spark conversations with interesting people that I met at DEFCON, the largest hacking conference in the world.

Image of patches and sketchbook.
Prepping to hand out patches at DEFCON 25.

GENESIS

Stealth & Future Tech

Skunkworks is a term widely used in business, engineering, and technical fields to describe a group within an organization given a high degree of autonomy - and unhampered by bureaucracy. Their task is to develop advanced or secret projects that are usually visionary and forward thinking.

  • When I mention “McKinsey meets James Bond” in the About section, this is what I meant.

  • The roles that algirhythm fills, specialize in building ad-hoc Skunkworks programs within larger organizations (monoliths).

Image of sketchbook and patches.
Whiteboarding the algirhythm.net 2020 remastering during COVID-19 lockdown. The whiteboard is located behind the motorized projection screen (right) for quick access and ease of use.
Image of sketchbook and patches.
Tracking weather patterns on radar in the studio. Retractable projection screen covering the whiteboard (left).

Who’s it For?

The patches are known in the military as an esprit de corps with personnel. Designed to identify with a particular unit, patches are intended to build a winning spirit within the culture (algirhythm patch). A common spirit existing in the members of the group inspires enthusiasm, devotion, and strong regard for the honor of the group.

Image of sketchbook and patches.
17th Psychological Operations Battalion
Image of sketchbook and patches.
125th Military Intelligence Battalion
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VF-213 Blacklions

Other Military morale patches are for groups that undergo the same event (monolith mission). The purpose is a shared sense of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty between members of a particular group. In the case of these patches, I find people who are in resonance with their own unique truths. Those same individuals are usually infected with a purpose, seeking to change and transform their own personal monoliths.

  • The algirhythm and monolith patches were designed separately but naturally grew into a cohesive pair. Today they are given as a pair because you can’t be motivated as a change agent without a purpose or cause to change.

  • The algirhythm patch represents the cohort of change agents you are joining up with. The monolith patch represents your personal mission of transformation.

Image of sketchbook and patches.
The algirhythm and monolith patches given as a pair.

ALGIRHYTHM

Quintessence

The algirhythm started in 2003 when researching the concepts of resonance, rhythm, and flow. I was searching for the signal that we as humans can instantly tap into. Our own unique resonant frequency makes each of us unique.

  • While researching the concept of resonance, I came across an ancient word quintessence: the most fundamental or perfect  essence of a thing.

  • In medieval times, quintessence was called the 5th element, ether and believed to be latent in all things. Earth, water, wind, fire, and ether (your quintessence).

  • In physics, quintessence is a hypothetical form of dark energy, postulated to explain the accelerating expansion of the universe.

  • The purpose of the algirhythm is to help people identify their own quintessence, or the most essential essence of their being.

Image of sketchbook and patches.
The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is a field of electromagnetic radiation left over after the Big Bang. Although invisible to the naked eye, the faint signal or glow is detectable with radio telescopes.
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CMB measurements by the COBE satellite in 1992 strongly support predictions that the universe is constantly expanding (inflation  model).

Resonance

In order to tap into your quintessential signal, you need to find your most resonant frequency or truth. The question then becomes, what personally resonates with you as an individual? What is your individual truth?

  • Resonance is difficult to define in plain terms. Suffice to say that a resonant sound is deep, clear, and continuous.

  • If something resonates with you, it typically has the ability to evoke or suggest an enduring image, emotion, or memory.

Image of three resonant waves.
Example of resonance on a clamped string.

The algirhythm waveform is modeled after the concept above illustrating resonance on a clamped string. There are three  harmonics in the algirhythm wave.

  • Fundamental: The singular wave represents the fundamental or source frequency. It represents the individual's quintessence.

  • Second: The second harmonic represents the infinite as well as the pair. Ie the relationship that is created by pairing two similar objects, emotions, or people.

  • Third: The third harmonic represents the new whole that is created by the pair. Also symbolizing a triad, this is  where a group begins to form.

  • Nodes: Each node in the algirhythm wave represents an element with ether in the center.

Image of three resonant waves.
The five nodes in the waveform represent the four elements, plus the individual’s ether at the center.

Spelling

The algirhythm waveform is modeled after the concept above illustrating resonance on a clamped string. There are three  harmonics in the algirhythm wave.

  • In Greek “algos” was a neuter noun meaning pain. The suffix “-algia” denotes a painful condition. The “O” in algorithm symbolizes the cycles or seemingly infinite loops we can get stuck into.

  • In Greek “algos” was a neuter noun meaning pain. The suffix “-algia” denotes a painful condition. The “O” in algorithm symbolizes the cycles or seemingly infinite loops we can get stuck into.

  • The suffix “-rhythm” represents your resonant cadence, pulse, heartbeat. Each person’s rhythm is different and unique to the individual.

  • (Dot) net in algirhythm.net represents the growing network of change agents that I am building.

Image of three resonant waves.
The five nodes in the waveform represent the four elements, plus the individual’s ether at the center.

Inspiration

As a hobby,  I collect clandestine mission patches. The artwork on each patch is packed with hidden symbolism and interesting codes. The patch designs are not only exquisite, but are created with the intention to make people think about what the patch is supposed to represent.

Image of three resonant waves.
Unknown Dragon Patch. The Latin phrase Omnis Vestri Substructio Es Servus Ad Nobis is a parody of a famous internet meme from a poor translation of a Japanese video game in 2001: All Your Base Are Belong To Us. In the opening dialogue, the operator says “We get signal.”

I also find inspiration decoding the hidden messages in street art. Oftentimes my walking meditation will be to wander the street of a city and see what the universe reveals.

  • One of the tricks spies use is to hide in plain sight. With street art, there are many conversations that take place in public - hiding in plain sight.

  • Some of these conversations artists can’t have in public for fear of punishment or retribution. Others, just make you think.

Image of sketchbook and patches.
Street art found in Soho NYC. Are You Helping, Are You Hurting. What is the means by which 2 determine the tru difference?

When working through the initial patch design with Dan from EFWA, we hit a wall where the concept was strong, however the final cohesive design hadn’t landed yet. I decided to take a quick walk to change the air, and on my street art adventure, I serendipitously discovered the missing piece.

  • Fortran is an old low-level assembly language developed by the OG Monolith IBM in the 1950’s. It was designed for scientific and engineering applications. Fortran is old, but it is still very fast because it was designed to enable applications to parallelize operations.

  • The Smith Chart on the Field and Electromagnetics textbook (left) ended up being used in the bottom of the algirhythm patch. Smith charts are used to visually measure impedance of a transmission line and antenna system as a function of frequency.

Image of three resonant waves.
Two serendipitous textbooks found during a moment of resistance while designing the algirhythm patch.

Patch Design

The algirhythm patch has many layers of meaning. Everything starts with the fundamental resonant waveform, representing quintessential energy as well as the cycles of life. The subcomponents are listed below:

  • 14 stars represent 14 rules in my code. These are listed under The Code section of this website.

  • The shadow shape in the middle of the patch represents two things. First a massive satellite dish broadcasting(see below). Second a Phoenix rising from the ashes, symbolizing transformation (death and rebirth).

  • A massive satellite dish broadcasting truth out into the cosmos. In 20 years, humanity will be encoding consciousness into data, and beaming ourselves across the stars.

  • Gold represents money without a central bank. Gold has also represented what is of value for over 5,000 years. Gold in this case also represents your value system (stars). What is your value system that will stand the year of time?

  • Morse code spells out algirhythm.net

  • The Smith Chart is an impedance map. Also representing the need to get grounded in order to face resistance.

  • The algirhythm name is faded because I blend in seamlessly with operations.

  • The green waves represent the alpine forest. A quiet space for the massive dish to pull a strong clear signal. Second, they can represent energy fields in the background like Quintessence in physics.

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Algirhythm patch breakdown.
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Monolith

Definition

A monolith is a large and impersonal political, corporate, or social structure regarded as intractably indivisible and uniform. Monolith means we always do this one thing “mono” the same thing “lith”.

  • Cycle of Monolith: All innovations become monoliths over time. Monoliths are cultures or institutions that don’t want to change, because the old way has solidified to the point that it’s almost unbreakable.

Image of three resonant waves.
A modern monolith spotted in the wild in Los Angeles California. (Photo credit: Frank Andrews).

You hit peak monolith when an s-curve (accelerating innovation) runs out of gas, and a new disruptive innovation (s-curve) is building steam to overtake it.

  • The culture of the monolith then becomes centered on survival. As a result, the monolith is motivated to change even less, and thus accelerate its own demise.

Image of three resonant waves.
S-curves tend to overlap. As an old technology matures, a new entrant brings revolutionary change.

The goal is to transform legacy systems without shutting them down. If you don’t do this, you surpass the point of systemic risk and the monolith collapses. This is the cycle of monoliths.

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This chart shows how long it took each wave of technology to reach 100% adoption in the US market. The further right you look on the graph, the steeper the curves get, and the faster the adoption becomes.

Old Monolith

The old monoliths ruled from the top down. Think organized religions, centralized governments, or command and control style organizations. There was a deliberate and understood hierarchy through which power flowed.

  • These were the institutions of old that seemed to stand the test of time.

Image of three resonant waves.
Catedral de San Cristobal Hanava Cuba. Built 1748. The catholic church is one of the oldest living monoliths in the world.

New Monolith

The new monolith is an algorithmically generated network, with invisible rules that no one can see. We think we are using technology to express ourselves, but the more we integrate with it, the more individuality and privacy we surrender.

  • Eventually the structure will either form a decentralized networked consciousness, or a homogeneous consciousness that is centrally directed.

    The monolith is made of people and powered by AI’s. The hive mind is taking over as we feed it with our selfies and infinite chat logs.

Image of sketchbook and patches.
Image of sketchbook and patches.
“Not a monolith” tweets. People from all walks of life yearning to be seen and understood as unique individuals.

Today we live in an economy of attention. As humanity attempts to express individuality, the paradox is that we end up becoming more homogenous by mimicking what appears popular. Social media algorithms tune and filter what we see and think.

  • Digital feudalism is here trying to disintegrate individual and locally decided social contracts.

Image of three resonant waves.
Save Yourself  Street art in Soho NYC 2019. A ghost of a person, trapped inside their phone - warning you about the economy of attention.

Patch Design

Today we live in an economy of attention. As humanity attempts to express individuality, the paradox is that we end up becoming more homogenous by mimicking what appears popular. Social media algorithms tune and filter what we see and think.

  • Orange progress bar is the monolith consuming all organic things (burning) green and blue. Blue color is shared with algirhythm, which is an embedded but dissolving truth.

  • There is silver thread on the monolith patch vs gold thread on the algirhythm patch. Silver is the sister metal of gold, representing smaller denominations of value throughout all of time.

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Monolith patch breakdown.

The spelling of Monolith has 8 letters.

  • 17 total nodes: 1+7 = 8 in numerology.

  • 8 = infinite. Tapping into what is infinite within each human and the culture as a whole.

  • In Buddhism and Chinese traditions, 8 symbolizes balance and harmony of the cosmic order whereas the Pythagoreans of ancient Greece expressed the eight as organs of knowledge; fantasy, sense, art, opinion, wisdom, science, and mind.

  • Digital feudalism is here trying to disintegrate individual and locally decided social contracts.

  • Digital feudalism is here trying to disintegrate individual and locally decided social contracts.

2020 Remastering