Thursday, 27 March 2014


Then it began.
His hand groped for a long time, grappling air: there was no clock and no table. Sutulin opened his eyes at once. In an instant he was sitting up, looking dazedly round the room. The table that usually stood right here, at the head of the bed, had moved off into the middle of a faintly familiar, large but ungainly room.
Everything was the same: the skimpy, threadbare rug that had trailed after the table somewhere up ahead of him, and the photographs, and the stool, and the yellow patterns on the wallpaper. But they were all strangely spread out inside the expanded room cube.
"Quadraturin," thought Sutulin, "is terrific!"
And he immediately set about rearranging the furniture to fit the new space. But nothing worked: the abbreviated rug, when moved back beside the bed, exposed worn, bare floorboards; the table and the stool, pushed by habit against the head of the bed, had disencumbered an empty corner latticed with cobwebs and littered with shreds and tatters, once artfully masked by the corner's own crowdedness and the shadow of the table. With a triumphant, but slightly frightened smile, Sutulin went all round his new, practically squared square, scrutinizing every detail. He noted with displeasure that the room had grown more in some places than in others: an external corner, the angle of which was now obtuse, had made the wall askew; Quadraturin, apparently, did not work as well on internal corners; carefully as Sutulin had applied the essence, the experiment had produced somewhat uneven results...
...Then he switched on the light and stood there for a long time, his arms spread flat against the wall, his heart beating wildly: this he had not expected - not at all.
The Quadraturin was still working. During the eight or nine hours Sutulin had been out, it had pushed the walls at least another seven feet apart; the floorboards, stretched by invisible rods, rang out at his first step - like organ pipes. The entire room, distended and monstrously misshapen, was beginning to frighten and torment him. Without taking off his coat, Sutulin sat down on the stool and surveyed his spacious and at the same time oppressive coffin-shaped living box, trying to understand what had caused this unexpected effect. Then he remembered: he hadn't done the ceiling - the essence had run out. His living box was spreading only sideways, without rising even an inch upwards.
"Stop. I have to stop this quadraturinizing thing. Or I'll..."

Sigizmund Krzhizhanowsky, 1926
translation by Joanne Turnbull from Glas 39

Evicted From His Own Head: On Sigizmund Krzhizhanowsky - The Nation

Geoff Manaugh (BldgBlog). A series of four lectures at SCI-Arc on expansionary geographies including the fiction of China Mieville and Sigizmund Krzhizhanowsky: Quadraturin And Other Expansionary Tales

DIRECTIONS. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of the Quadraturin essence in 1 cup of water. Wet a piece of cotton wool or simply a clean rag with the solution; apply this to those of the room's internal walls designated for proliferspansion. This mixture leaves no stains, will not damage wallpaper, and even contributes - incidentally - to the extermination of bedbugs.