Thursday, December 30, 2004

A Great Tragedy

This is Karl Nilsson, he is a Swedish child alone in Phuket. He was photographed on a street corner yesterday (Thursday) by an Australian Photo-journalist. The image is linked to the news page it came from if anyone can help.

I felt I had to write something. I am feeling almost sick with sadness after the last two days of what has been unfolding along the coastlines of the Indian Ocean. Not only do I live in Sweden, a country which is missing 1500 of its citizens but my wife is of Indian Origin, my brother in law is Indonesian from Java (safely living in Australia with my sister) and I have been to Thailand twice, the second time working for over a month on an organic farm in the north east where I saw beyond the commercial side of Thailand to the charm of a society based on Buddhist tollerance and kindness to strangers.

So very very sad.

Almost too much to describe...................

Monday, December 27, 2004

Art in the Culture of the Copy

This is the scene around the Mona Lisa by da Vinci in the Louvre, Paris. If one can get to the front row it resembled for me a mosh pit at a punk concert. Frantic characters from around the world pause for long enough to take a digital image and then are swallowed again by the flowing crowd. Like fish trying desperatly to escape their poisoned water they launched themselves upon the bank of her smile for a few seconds only to be dragged back again and swept along to the Mannerists Gallery.

It was this experience I thought of when I read:

"What withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is not the aura, the Happen-Stance, of works of art but the assurance of our own livliness. [Walter] Benjamin got it sidewise as he got the solution to the First Mover of von Kempelen's automaton chess player, whose cabinetry was occupied by no devious hunchback (of "historical materialism") but, for twenty years, by a stooped man six feet tall whose endgame was a little weak. Philosopher of the snippet, Benjamin confused misdirection with deformity. It is not that we ourselves are sudden monsterous, but that we look misguidedly to our creations to find our animation and learn our fortune. Only in the culture of the copy do we assign such motive force to the Original. What we intend by "Original" these days is that which speaks to us in an unmediated way, an experience we seem to believe we have lost between ourselves, human to human."
Hillel Schwartz The Culture of the Copy: Striking Likeness, Unreasonable Facsimiles. (1996) p141


Imagine a television network with an unlimited number of channels each being broadcast from someone's home computer and live streamed 24-7. In my imagination this is what Cybersky-TV is but we shall see in February 2005 when the German company which created the Peer-2-Peer networking software behind the project begins broadcasting. That's providing they can get out of the courts long enough to push the Send button to start it up.

From Red Herring: "Mr. Ciberski expects to have roughly 5 million users sharing the service at any one time, while the network is built for a maximum 30 million. Kazaa currently cites 300 million downloads."

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The joys of the season

I am glad christmas is over. So much eating, exchanging of consumables, frantic shoppers crowded into small spaces, early morning or late night telephone calls from the other side of the world, high blood sugar, manic advertising and themed television programs running for weeks on end (I write mainly of SVT's 'julkalender' which has been dominating my son's mornings since December 1st when we began waking at 7am in order to watch the nonsensical antics of Alram and his puppet cohorts...I liked much more Håkan Bråkan last year just for the anarchistic gritty narrative of it). That said it has been a great Christmas (whatever that means) with no arguments among family members, great company with friends, collegues and family, myself having rested and managed to read a bit, and no fatalities among friends (although I was saddened to hear of the passing of Ubu Starbrow in Sydney, an acquaintance from 1994-5 and the drummer with the Mu Messons and The United States of Mind).
Now there is but New Year's upon us. It is more a festival for recollection and reflection for me and a sort of thanking to the Powers for the great plentitude that I have.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Happy Christmas from the Beatles

Happy Christmas from the Beatles (1968 sounds like it was an especially happy year for the four)

Ultra-red Public record and other free and thinking things

Public Record is the new internet-based archive of the Ultra-red audio-activist organization. Established for the distribution of work by Ultra-red members and allies, Public Record serves as an interface between the organization and its publics with free fair-use downloads of exclusive full-length albums, images, texts and video.

Artists and aesthetic-political organizations aligned with Public Record include Ultra-red (US), Elliot Perkins (UK), Kanak Attak (DE), Manoa Free University (AT), Terre Thaemlitz (JP), Pet Shop Beuys (CA), Jack Tactic (US), Aeron y Alejandra (SP), Random Inc. (AT), Needle and Sony Mao (US)

It real its here....take a look.

Another site Ive been watching is a loose collective of loose people who make great music if your into stuff that wakes you up and makes you think even though it has few words....and some pictures that are of uncertain subjects....but none the less cool...Victory to the Donuts

Ive also started reading The Anarchist in the Library by Dr. Siva Vaidhyanathan and I quote:

"I won't accept intractability. We have only begun to consider the long term ramifications of these revolutionary technologies and the behaviors they will enable or inspire. If we can energize an open, distibuted, diverse network of thinkers and writers to consider these conflicts in a new way, using fresh vocabulary and models, we can genenerate social, cultural,legal, and technical protocols that will strengthen democracy and inspire trust and confidence. If we fail to generate this conversation, if we continue to let these conflicts work their way through courtrooms and technological incubators, basements and boardrooms, both democracy and stability are in danger" pxvii

I think I'll include that in my research outline.........

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Surveillance Camera Players

New York's Surveillance Camera Players have been performing in front of the city's often invisible security cameras since November 1996. There is a Swedish group as well. As I am currently writing an essay on disiplinary gaze in 18th century literature I have been thinking a lot about how we watch and 'read' each other. Behavior is clearly codified and has a range of signified meanings attached to it. We subscribe to certain looks to send certain messages, or to obtain the understandings about us we want from others, or to disguise our inner texts. Behaviors are read via the images supplied by these cameras and judged by their operators according to codes established over time. Transvestism was once a dangerous sign, now in many countries it is not so. However, characture and ridicule of political leaders has long been a dangerous sign system.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Vison, Discipline and Pleasure

I have been rather busy as many seem to be this week before the christmas thing unleashes itself upon us....I have been mainly trying to finish two essays I have to write on the literature of the Restoration and the 18th century. This has been an interesting adventure in text. I have come into the field so well described by the French thinker Michel Foucault and as all his books in the library in English have waiting lists of 4 or 5 on them I've brought Discipline and Punish and eagerly await its arrival in the mail (perhaps after the christmas thing). My second paper is on Visual Presence and Disciplinary Gaze in the Spectator by Addison, and in Moll Flanders by Defoe, and here is the intro for those who have just clicked over from some blog of steamy gossip and taudry lives and are interested in Literary criticism as well:

Gordon (2002) describes the textuality of the Spectator (1711-13) as the depiction of “all behavior as rhetorical, designed to satisfy or persuade imagined audiences, and which also shared the desire to produce legible subjects.” (Gordon 2002:86). I argue this as resulting in textual production as being representations of visible and invisibly regulated visual codes of appearance and behavior in pervasive discursive spaces (Home, Workplace, Coffee House, Park), the physically largest being the city of London itself. Texts depict and propagate this legibility with narrative maintenance of spectatorship and cautionary examples of the failure to maintain acceptable codes of behavior through the production of various forms of subjectivity. I propose that two parallel textual examples of this are Addison and Steele’s Spectator broadsheet (1711-13) as a manual and reporter of code and Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1722) as a textual depiction of the failure of maintaining codes or the dangers of impersonating them.

Pretty riveting stuff ehh......

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Fatta Festival 2005

I will be taking part in a festival of intergration and diaspora culture at the Umeå Bildmuseet and Västerbotten Museum from 12-20 February 2005. The co ordination has just begun but the energy of those involved is fantastic.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Trauma of Gender: A Feminist Theory of the English Novel

I have just been reading the online introduction to the text:
The Trauma of Gender: A Feminist Theory of the English Novel by Helene Moglen
It seems like a good argument to me.....

Friday, December 10, 2004

PhD: Piled High and Deeper

I am discovering a whole new dimension to the world of academic work...really the reading and writing have become the only things I do apart from basic food and hygiene, and some of that is negotiable....
I am currently working on a paper entitled; "The function of Sensibility in negotiating the narrative of Tristram Shandy by Lawrence Sterne." which examins the metatextual component of Sensibility as a reading device in the's a taste:
"In relation to Tristram Shandy ‘sensibility’ takes on the elements of a domestic or familial setting, professional and leisured new gentry, nostalgic neo-feudalism, rural, masculine, conversational, benevolent, and as a historical work of autobiographical fiction with its own connotations of self and individualist identity. In both structure and content and as being heavily reliant on assumptions and counter assumptions of contempory moral philosophies, (particularly those of John Locke and David Hume), Tristram Shandy is entirely consistent with the general literature of sensibility. As a satirical work the importance of sensibility to narrative is furthermore keeping with Knight’s (2004) analysis of satire whereby “the issue may not be one of shared values but of shared recognitions” (Knight 2004:51). These recognitions assist in the narrative pattern and exploit the ‘imaginative gaps’ so well known in the text of Tristram Shandy as: “The brain, apparently, does not preserve sequences step by step but, instead recognizes overall patterns. Our not necessarily conscious but prior recognition of these patterns enables us to unconsciously synthesize gaps such as missing phonemes without noticeable effort…” (Yellowlees Douglas 1992: 2). Although applied by Yellowlees Douglas to postmodern hypertext narrative structures, this situating of narrative structure codified outside the text is relevant to Tristram Shandy as referring to Sensibility."

Yee hhaaaa

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Approximations/Contradictions by Belgian born Ana Torfs (b.1963) is a digital art piece that may not be be what one would expect from the internet medium, but I believe it has a sharp beauty to it that points to possibilities in web art that are not that common.
It is hosted by diaart which is:
"Dia Art Foundation was founded in 1974. A nonprofit institution, Dia plays a vital role among visual arts organizations nationally and internationally by initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects, and by serving as a locus for interdisciplinary art and criticism."

A Dream

Last night I dreamt I moved out and began living in a tree...of course I took my computer with me and ran the cables back through the snow to the flat I now live in...the traffic nearby disturbed me but the computer worked fine.....

Monday, December 06, 2004

art and the pace of life

Things have been moving along at a cracking pace, as my grandmother used to say. First is the PhD which is opening out just now into the field of narrative studies, which is fascinating and feels as inevitable given my thesis proposal as being on narrative in electronic texts. I am working on a paper on the 18th century text Tristram Shandy and the metanarrative of manners.
The next area of development has been music. Things are looking positive in this area with more news when it develops.
One of my musical comrades and an old friend has built up a fantastic site on recomend it to all.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Seed Phone

When jet lagged, Blog:
"A biodegradable mobile phone containing a seed which germinates when the handset is buried in compost has been developed by researchers hoping to encourage consumers to recycle." more HERE
I look foward to the development of more organic technology, such as when are we going to start growing digital chips as crystals from saturated sollutions?

Jet Lag

I could not resist doing a 3am jet lag entry. I collapsed at 7pm last night and now am wide awake and raring to go at 3am (the rest of my household is sound asleep). I do feel however a bit dizzy. Everytime I move my body between Australia and Sweden the result is havoc with my circadian rhythms. When I was in Australia a neighbour of my mother's told me "rub the back of your knees, that's where your internal clock is..." I tried it but did not notice any realignment of the ol' internal clock (couldn't hear any ticking coming from that region of my anatomy either).
Being in a jet lagged state is a surreal experience, combined with the changing seasons Australia: summer, blinding sunlight, warm, the whole society in summer holiday mode, to Sweden: winter, dark, delicate snow clinging to everything, the school term in full swing, I feel to be skimming along the peripheries of a fascinating world culture as viewed through my crossed eyes.......
This has been a jet-lag-jim entry....feeling strange ;-}going back to bed......