Archive for the 'arts + culture + serendipity' Category

An example of

A series of observations, reminiscence and mystery, putting to bed some things from the past-present.

Who noticed the filmic treatment for the latest advertisement playing at cinemas recently from the US Navy? Facts were delivered in captions, such as the high percentage of the world population living close to the sea. The seductive aerial view of a state of the art aircraft carrier from bow to stern played out with some ambient rumble. At the end the US Navy claims that it is committed to a kind of total protection. Emphatically stylish with no hint of threat or destruction, presented as a global brand. We also learn this week that the US military is the largest employer in the world with ‘3.2’ million ahead of Wallmart, McDonalds and the Chinese PLA. This must be some kind of satisfying safety net , knowing we can all rest safe in our beds. Could we speculate that it’s the worlds working class that is the biggest employer by far, no that doesn’t make sense, but the very idea of employment / unemployment is starting to feel a thing of the past. There must be some new concept around the corner about human existence that we are waiting to recognise, not as a phenomena but a useful reconfiguration of time.

In ‘Ratners Star’ (Don De Lillo) –  Cyril, who is on the committee to define the word ‘science’ says that “If a medicine man chants over your body all night and you wake up cured, that’s science”

Everything is included as science and now all artistic practices have taken the oaths of the methods of the institution.

A man working on a plane I fly on is Asian, he speaks three languages, possibly four, and he is in fact an actor and a poet. The airline company has a growing reputation and respect as an employer. All the women doing the same job come from the country of the airline, as do the pilot and the rest of the crew. He seems an exceptional man and I am aware of how his presence embodies the necessity of dignity. ‘Let us go then, you and I’.

What would you name and how could you describe the strip of built environment that runs from Gatwick into London? It’s a patchwork of villages, estates, dwellings and industries, intersected by other routes and crossings. Snowfall emphasises elevations, contours and boundaries. Infinite divides produces a temporary nausea in my stomach. I don’t know if it is the past or the present that creates this sensation, either the land has been divided into ruins or where I have come from barely requires any such divides. Allotments appear and they are always good for the eye because they represent endeavor and production on a human scale. Bridges, tunnels and cuttings punctuate the line and the suburban shifts rapidly to the urban. London eats it’s green surrounds, it’s leafy glades, it’s moral bounds.

Across town, on a train heading north there are conversations; two people, small groups, on the phone, headsets, strategic business chat. It’s a kind of edu-speak in scenarios, sales and marketing where fluid modernity flexes its inhuman manners. The surrounding cranes and the sites of new-build provide the necessary backdrop to the dumb-downed drama, a construct of business seminar and role play.
The man speaks, the men speak, the woman listens, the women listen, she interjects using her mouth, they interject using mouths to form aah’s, ehms and oh’s. When she speaks he says yea, when they speak he says yesss, quickly interrupting to expand and clarify. Micro middle managers, on the move, creating capital for the others, maybe on bonuses for clinching the deal. Fictions played out as fictions of careers. Work, an increasing accommodation of ambition and purpose.

Some memories are made up of quite easy and obvious things. The missing locations of shops that punctuated a street or square can set me wondering about business systems, the employees, the whole flow of goods and the whereabouts of the customers, and I was one of those consumers even when I assured myself that I wasn’t.
Virgin megastore meant the music business, the entertainment industry, video games. Waterstones meant writers, publishers, the printed word, the page, turning. Habitat meant design, kitchens and bathrooms, curtains and bedding (though bedding actually came from elsewhere), sofas, dining and lighting, the world of interiors.
All gone now, elsewhere, god knows, as company efficiencies stripped out sustainable work and then the identity of employees. Now empty spaces, waiting the next wanderlust, a graveyard to unborn memory.

Across the great divide of negativity, someone’s light becomes another persons shadow, the anxious persona, psychopathic,  looking to short circuit life’s sweet halo. Some view life, it appears, through smoked glass, in mistrust, an outlined ode to love thought of as lust. Out the blue, at the close of day, a monologue might play of blackmailed threats about accumulated debts. When love left town, dancing in the light, it was tapping out a line, burning bright, at closing time.

That’s an example of what happens when you think consequences was a game of the past, when memory triggers a time you can’t catch, when there’s no rhyme or reason that make the pictures match. A colleagues says, you know, I see now that you are interested in the everyday and another says, you know that the poem that starts ‘Let us go then, you and I’ , that’s like an experience I had and am still working with. We agree, as we walk and talk, smoke, eat or drink, that everyone learns about what we know and then understands what we need to know.


You can’t repeat the past – of course you can! (ack. to Fitzgerald&Dylan)

Artangel – from the 2011 Jem Finer’s ‘Longplayer’ annual talks. John Gray speaks with James Lovelock

Ideas spiraling around regulation and adaptation, anecdotal tales along with general scientific and social descriptions gives this event a level of basic interest. A bleak humanistic prospect is discussed calmly where a more radical technological mutation is seen as unlikely. Intelligent communities seem to be one of the leading optimistic solutions.  Population control and feeding people appears to be a central concern and there was agreement over the need for women to be leading the way globally in issues of childbirth. A sense of politeness prevented the essential contradictions of James Lovelock’s ideas and opinions to become more fully illuminated. When asked about the role of the Artist, it seems it is to keep people happy and the role of the Arts is to become understood through a broader context of institutional creativity that can be associated with the scale of impact of modern science. No mention of a political or social engagement for the Arts that will impact or resonate in ways that may change the way we ‘see’ the world. Maybe art is the entertainment to technocracy and should, subversively, decide to be so.

Science Friday – Connecting Science and Art, speaks to Cormack McCarthy, Werner Herzog and Lawrence Krauss

This is more discursive and a more accessible event where the presenter Ira Flatow engages the three guests in a round table dialogue around connections. The range of knowledge and enthusiasms is evident and the exchanges of interest deeply mutual and meaningful. Listening to Werner Herzog read an extract from – All the Pretty Horses – is memorable and you wonder why it isn’t Herzog himself, making a film about one of McCarthy’s stories. But if you want to taste the connections of science and art then there is much more here to inspire you. Lawrence Krauss’s book on Richard Feynman looks too good to miss and the listeners couldn’t help but reflect on the work of Richard Feynman in some relation to the Gaia principle, where putting humans on the outside of Gaia, firstly, trying to integrate and then co-adapt as an inappropriate contemporary narrative. It’s emergence with the rise of the Green movement may have been a useful one at the time.  If anything, as time has passed, the bongo playing Feynman has become more closely inclined towards the intention and imagination of the Artist and the Arts and McCarthy and Herzog are making significant contributions to the dialogues that are appropriate for constructing the humanistic narratives about long term futures.


Letter from Southern France – First Impressions – What does the world’s oldest art say about us?
by Judith Thurman

icelandic-volcanic [sleeping and dreaming]


Check into the exchange, links and information via this Fbook site – we did – its a nice archive too. Sites like roadshare and couch surfing and a host of other news views and life on the [rail]road.

Alain was expecting to pass through Alicante to London on Thurs 15th, arrived from Joya by bus on the 14th and after a night in a hostel went to the airport to find himself part of the process. There was no accurate news, information or services. Thousands of queueing customers in all states of unpreparedness created a subdued chaos.

On Saturday after failed escape attempts and updated media misinformation Alain decided to head out to Gothenburg by land, leaving London plans by the wayside. Wednesday was the first available train ticket. Five days in Alicante may have unwittingly shifted Alains world view and what was to follow in a rail journey via Barcelona, Paris, Brussels, Cologne, Copenhagen to Gothenburg.

Many others were doing the same kind of thing and conversations on culture, environment and human activities connected to mind and destiny were also in the air. He says it was more like a series of marvelous events with people and a contemporary snapshot of the western axis of Europe. The UK election knocked off course and Brits hopelessly lost outside of their usually safe tourist corridors, a work began at the Joya residency – sleeping and dreaming – has become developed as a result of the serendipity of earth activity. Cecilia had left a week sooner [for the announcement] and arrived home to run the internet hub, ticket booking and tea&sympathy.

Skype is our angel, love is the code.

no room for the Arts …?


Johannes Hahn, former Austrian science minister and Austrian EU Commissioner is now the new EU – DG for Regional Policy leading DG Research (RTD); Joint Research Centre (JRC); European Research Council (ERC). How well will the arts flourish in relation to the science and technology priorities as the EU furthers its aims for innovation and measurable economic value to lead research in the Universities?

Androulla Vassiliou has been the EU Commissioner for Health. She is now in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth and as such one would presume she holds responsibilities for the Arts under the banner of Culture. With a background in Law and a strong political family (her husband being a former President of Cypress) where will the arts find its health in this seemingly overcrowded space?

three weeks togetherapart

Cecilia is in Gothenberg and Alain is in London. Cecilia has meetings today and Alain is going to locate one or two car bodies for the work ‘car 13.08.08’.
We will work on our communications through Skype mostly, recording ourselves in different ways and seeing what we come up with. It is intensely busy for us both with so much to do and so little time etc.
When we are together we take regular walks to be together and to talk. With this flow of movement, breath, sights and sounds we reconfigure ourselves into the present, discovering what is important and recalling stories and experiences of the day, of the past, of ourselves, generously.
This period apart provides us with an opportunity to consider what is home or home sickness, where home is or is not and how do we manage to be with one another in a way that Jean Luc Nancy refers to ‘being with’ as recognising closeness and distance. The body, touch and passion is temporarily at distance but being together becomes reshaped and requires a space of togetherness beyond an occasional text, email or phone call. The spirit and the heart, the body transform. A rapid process of adaptation intersects with the daily patterns of home.
The documentation of this experience is a recent understanding for us and as we begin, technically, a bit clunky. We are probably concentrating more on being in the space of exchange right now as well as with the need to create an organisation around this with growing video files, reviewing content and making edits.
Real time could be ideal and emerge but we’re not confident about that yet as 60-90 minutes of us may be only interesting to us. So. we will discuss and review what our main wishes for this are. We are thinking about how to mix different platforms as installation and to explore what is gathered and sifted through this into our co-productions / artworks.

made at the same time we first discussed ‘archaeology of love’, ‘sculpture on the move 20 & 21’ are part of a series of works made for real-time pauses




This is how it began in the summer in Sweden. A moleskin notebook and an eye on the future of our own creativity. Months later after a lot of thinking about it all – we have kept asking ourselves – could we use these spaces to elaborate on ideas, communicate and collaborate with others.

Currently based in London we want to open some new spaces listed here to work with arts and ideas that may well need to adapt and change.

Al’s Cafe – where to meet
ObjectProject – with those who know what it is
Archaeology of Love – how it is
Plus+One – where creativity connects

“Caught with our fingers in the ‘jam-jar’, drinking coffee from a flask in the car with lovely raspberry and blueberry muffins, smearing the paper we’re writing on we decided to start an archaeology of love. The soundtrack of today is the sound of the rain and wind.” August 08