United States of America, 1954
Melvin Way was born in South Carolina and brought up by relatives in Brooklyn. He was fascinated by science at high school, where he also played bass and sang in a group. He was a student at the Technical Career Institute when he began to exhibit signs of schizophrenia; after leaving school he decided to become a musician and eventually found himself homeless on Wards Island (New York). Way uses a ball point pen to draw on scraps of paper, scribbling countless signs, forms and mysterious formulae, some gleaned from books, their secret known to no one but him. He spends weeks, even months, working on his drawings, keeping them in his pocket or between the pages of a book, and returning to work on them years later.