Thursday, April 28, 2005

Map of Empire

I have been reading a lot of new found blogs since my harddrive autodestuction and removed my well worn digital paths in cyberspace (see below for the painful details). This piece was inspired but something I found on BlondbutBright. The 2005 Terrorism Risk Map:A world map showing color coded nations as regard to the calculated risk of terrorist attack. It is manufactured by the German Insurance Company AON, who incidently had 3 workers in the WTC when the planes hit (one is still "missing").

This map inspired in me thoughts of "the empire upon which the sun never sets". A global community (Empire?) held together by a common concern. The "Terror" which the AON map concerns itself with is purely unidirection, their press release centered around the risk of "increased Islamic extremist activity". This is in turn coupled with concerns that if the United States' "TRIA [Terrorism Risk Insurance Act] does expire at the end of this year the aggregate capacity of the stand-alone terrorism market is going to come under severe strain.".
So there is such a thing as "the stand-alone terrorism market". I am confused.
Further to this is the recent article about a speech by Australian Army Brigadier Justin Kelly, that there is no 'War on Terror':

"In a frank speech, Brigadier Justin Kelly dismissed several of the central tenets of the Iraq war and the war on terrorism, saying the "war" part is all about politics and terrorism is merely a tactic."

But then according to Brigadier Kelly why are so many countries devoting so much to this 'War':

"Our proximity to populations enables us to influence and control the populations, [it] enables us to dominate the environment, generate intelligence and eventually bring the conflict to a resolution,"

Sounds again like Empire to me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Free Burroughs Material

William Burroughs and Tangier. Both are very interesting subjects as far as I am concerned. Burroughs on the cut-up techniques, language and the mind, reality and the place of technology in understanding, on the "breaking through".
Tangier, the international zone and point of transfer between the north and the south, Africa and Europe, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. There are several texts available online:

The Electronic Revolution (PDF)
The Electronic Revolution is an essay collection by William S. Burroughs that was first published in 1970 by Expanded Media Editions in West Germany. A second edition, published in 1971 in Cambridge, England, contained additional French translation by Jean Chopin.

The book is divided into two parts.

Part One, entitled "The Feedback from Watergate to the Garden of Eden" invokes Alfred Korzybski’s views characterising man as "the time binding machine" due to his ability to write. Burroughs sees the significance of a written word as a distinguishing feature of human beings which enables them to transform and convey information to future generations. He proposes the theory of "the unrecognised virus" present in the language, suggesting that, "the word has not been recognised as a virus because it has achieved a state of stable symbiosis with the host."

Part Two, "Electronic Revolution" concerns the power of alphabetic non-pictorial languages to control people. It draws attention to the subversive influence of the word virus on humans and dangerous possibilities of using human voice as a weapon. Recording words on tape recorders and employing the Cut-up technique can easily lead to the false news broadcasts or garbled political speeches causing confusion and psychic control over individuals.

The basic idea of language as a virus has been widely used and quoted from several of Burroughs' interviews. Here is a passage from the text:
I suggest that the spoken word as we know it came after the written word. (...) we may forget that a written word is an image and that written words are images in sequence that is to say moving pictures. (...) My basis theory is that the written word was literally a virus that made the spoken word possible. Doktor Kurt Unruh von Steinplatz has put forward an interesting theory as to the origins and history of this word virus. He postulates that the word was a virus of what he calls biologic mutation effecting a biologic change in its host which was then genetically conveyed. One reason that apes cannot talk is because the structure of their inner throats is simply not designed to formulate words. He postulates that alteration in inner throat structure were occasioned by a virus illness ....
The referred German Doktor Kurt Unruh von Steinplatz is another of Burroughs' inventions.

The book influenced numerous musicians in the industrial music scene of the 1970s. Richard H. Kirk, of Cabaret Voltaire, employed many ideas and methods from the book, saying, “A lot of what we did, especially in the early days, was a direct application of his ideas to sound and music.” He described it as "a handbook of how to use tape recorders in a crowd … to promote a sense of unease or unrest by playback of riot noises cut in with random recordings of the crowd itself."
La Revolution Electronique
CD released by crash magazine - France - 1998
all text cut into 96 parts
mastering : samon takahashi

Recorded by Brian Jones (of the Rolling Stones) and Bryan Gysin at Joujouka 1968. Liner notes by Burroughs (booklet included in download page).

Monday, April 25, 2005

Lessig Chats Piracy, Policy and Creativity

Professor Lawrence Lessig recently (April 7 2005) took part in a panel discussion at New York's Public Library with Wilco frontperson Jeff Tweedy. They and the audience discussed music, remixing, artistic freedom and the law.

Streamed audio HERE

Mp3 Download HERE (45MB)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

In Da News

This last week has been one of media contact for me.
First the HUMlab seminar on Podcasting with bicylemark on Wednesday.
Then interviews and articles with Vasterbottens-Kuriren (Saturday 23 April)
UCIT (Umeå Center for Interaction Technology) and finally an article which should come out in May's City magazine. All of these are of course in Swedish.
However I have made a rough translation of Mikael Hansson's article from UCIT, with notes and some name protect the idiotic:

File Sharing Gives a New Business Model
[with notes by Jim]

Although they live in Finland, Sweden, USA and Australia they can keep in contact with one another, share music and play music together even though they live in different cities. It is file sharing networks that makes this possible.

Jim Barrett is a doctoral student with the Institution for Modern Languages at Umeå University. A large part of his time is also spent in HUMlab, Umeå University’s centre for humanist and IT studies, where a transgressive and interdisciplinary group of researchers and students work. But Jim is also a musician with roots in New Folk Music or New Weird America. That is a group of artists who experiment with their music and mix it in a form of cross-culture.

NOTE: I would have used these definitions:

“All these artists are pursuing very personal music and making very human sounds.”
Michael Gibbons, who records as 500mg

“This musical direction is part of a destiny and we always consider ourselves lucky that we can do what we do. There is a much bigger picture behind what we do and it’s evident in what we do. It’s a bit more of a master plan or a divining rod than a direction. We're drawn to what we do by unseen forces.”
John Moloney of Sunburned Hand Of the Man

For many of these musicians the internet has become an important channel. Whether they live in Finland, Sweden, USA or Australia they can hold contact with each other and it is usual that they put music out as shared music files so that others can listen to what they have done. The internet is also a tool to bypass the record label’s distribution [monopoly] which they experience as controlled. Through file sharing they can inspire each other and share either finished or in progress music.

Make Music via the Internet:
The music collective which Jim Barrett belongs to is called Music Your Mind Will Love You. On the collective’s blog they are described as a loose network comprised of artists who through music and sound will free their senses: "We are a loose array of minds united by our art. Thru the manipulation of sound we strive to free the minds of all our brothers and sisters in the animal kingdom."

Although the collective is based in Australia and members live in different cities they produce music together.

“We make CD’s together despite us not being in the same place. I do a track with a voice here in Umeå- My friend in Australia can set down some guitar and another can do a drum track.

“Once you are connected you can spread culture much more”, says Jim Barrett.

Democratising in the Music World:
Many musicians and artists understand that the new technology has resulted in a process of democratisation. Before artists were dependant upon expensive recording studios, and a costly production processes in order to press a record. Physical distribution of the finished products was also difficult.

Today new powerful computers can take the place of each previous component with all the production being made much simpler and cheaper. Dependence upon the record company is not nearly so great. Technology also makes it possible a democratising whereby many more can have the possibility to release there music.

A New Business Model Grows:
But new technology also implies new business models and markets result. Jim Barrett states that he has travelled around Europe under a long period [ACTUALLY ABOUT 18 MONTHS] without have any significant amounts of money [NONE]. He played in the streets and collected what he needed by that way, and got to stay free with people he came into contact with [THANKS TO THEM ALL WHEREVER THEY MAY BE]. When the group Black Forest/Black Sea visited Europe and Sweden under 2004 they did it the same way.

“They sent out a question on the internet about who would help them during their tour around Europe”, says Jim Bla Bla, who was one of them who arranged the group to play in HUMlab in Umeå.

“The most important for them is the music. They want to have experiences, not money”, [AIN’T THAT RIGHT JEFFERY AND MIRIAM, WHO NEEDS THE STINKING MONEY....HERE COMES THE HIPPY BIT].

Criticism of the Materialistic Lifestyle:
But Jim Barrett also believes that it also has to do with a social philosophy.
- “There is among many a feeling that this society is not forever. We have to lower our standards in regard to our material lifestyles.”

“It has become so that we can begin to talk about a new currency”, suggests Jim Blim Blim. “That is not based upon money but belief, reputation and prestige.” You don’t buy people but rather they deal directly with you.

These next few paragraphs are about the great piratebyråns work…check it out but I ain’t going to translate it….

Help of the Little Record Label [YA YA FOXY DIGITALIS!!!!]
Another example of the business use of the new technology Jim Blutt Blutt spoke of. In December 2004 he travelled to Australia and met with his musical comrades. With that opportunity they also recorded a CD [ACTUALLY 2 CDs]. In order to spread the CD they made a contract with a small American Independent label [FOXY DIGITALIS] which will press up the first 100 copies of the CD. Therein the label has the right to sell the first 100 copies in order to cover their production costs. For Jim and the other musicians it is an opportunity to get help to spread their music. After that could Jim and the other musicians [MYMWLY] can take over the CD, burning copies as CDRs ourselves and continue to sell it.
Crashed the Hard Drive:
But the new technology can also have its problems [OHH THE PAIN..]. For Jim Boing Boing the problem came in the form of a hard drive collapse. It became apparent that it was six months since he had last done a back up of files. It resulted in the loss of a massive amount of files, and 6500 mp3s. Now he has promised himself to buy a DVD burner and back up religiously with copies of everything [BOUGHT THE DVD BURNER…WILL BURN ONLY WHAT I NEED…NOT GOING TO KEEP SO MUCH IN THE FUTURE…PRUNING IS THE SECRET TO GREAT FRUIT]

The interesting result of this was that he found out how important his files were also for others.

People had before contacted me to share files and exchange information on the bands. But now with the hard drive gone I am without my files and nobody is contacting me.

But Jim Boo Hoo tries to see it from a positive perspective:

“Now I have the chance to begin again from a fresh start.”

Check out the CD spoken of here released 10 May by Foxglove: 'Majik - In Mara's Glove'

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Death of a Lesser Known Dictator?

Hon. Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, KCMG, MLA (1911-2005?)
He called talking to journalists "Feeding the chooks" [chooks=chickens]

Seeing this picture this morning re-awaked memories for me. At the moment in the small eastern Australian town of Kingaroy, Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen lies dying at the age of 94.

From 1968 until 1987 Premier Joh, as he was called, ruled my homestate of Queensland with an authority that was absolute. He had the electoral boundaries redrawn in a Gerrymander that made it near impossible for his government to loose power.
All unauthorized public assembly and street demonstrations were made illegal, as were all forms of industrial collective action including strikes. Homosexuality and even oral sex were illegal under his administration. Censorship was extreme. The British punk band The Stranglers were banned from playing in Queensland in 1977 after criticizing Joh's government.

Joh's "government" was comical in retrospect. Russ Hinze was typical of the administration. A huge man dubbed "The Colossus of Roads" as he was minister for police, transport, racing and casinos. Described as "one of the most corrupt men in the Southern Hemisphere". An example of how the law was enforced in Queensland under Joh comes from the 1987 visit by the Greenpeace boat Vega:

"When the Vega reached Brisbane, capital of the state of Queensland, it was rammed by a police boat and impounded indefinitely. Seven Greenpeace members and crew of the Vega were arrested and face up to seven years gaol for blocking a waterway. Two were injured."

I was born in Queensland 1969 and finished high school in 1986. My parents were active in the movement for civil liberties in Queensland and I remember being able to identify if a phone was tapped by the sound of the clicks when you pick up the receiver at the age of about 8. The 'Special Branch' were the undercover [secret] police who could arrest and detain without charge and often used violence as a management technique.

It all came to an end in May 1987 with the brilliant Four Corners television program "Moonlight State" by Chris Masters. This led to the 1988 Royal Commission into "Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct" led by Anthony Fitzgerald QC. Over 100 officials, ministers and police were subsequently charged with corruption.

I began a university degree in Journalism in March 1988. I heard a lecture by Chris Masters later that year and was inspired.

On December 2 1989 the opposition state Labor party won government under the leadership of lawyer Wayne Goss. Joh was charged with perjury in 1991 but a jury led by a National Party member (Joh's party) failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

A tribute to Joh from The Stranglers (1978), although lyrics were never The Strangler's strongest point:

Nuclear Device (The wizard of aus)

I'm the wizard of aus
And I've got it all planned
For my first nuclear device

I don't really care about which way you vote
'Cos my gerrymander works out fine
I sell desert stretches like a big rubber glove
To Japan for a nuclear device

Nuclear device
Nuclear device
Nuclear device

If I could get lucky I'd secede from the states
I'd buy the country at an incredible rate

Brisbane men stay at home at night
'Cos I outlawed all of the vice (outlawed all of the vice)
I'm the wizard of aus
And I've rolled the streets
Dreaming of a nuclear device (nuclear device)

If I could get lucky I'd go out on my own
And sell Australia the rice (rest of aus' their rice)

Nuclear device
Nuclear device
Nuclear device

If I could get lucky I'd secede from the states
I'd buy the country at an incredible rate
If I could get lucky I'd secede from the states
I'd buy the country at an incredible rate
If I could get lucky I'd secede from the states
I'd buy the country at an incredible rate
at an incredible rate
at an incredible rate
at an incredible rate
at an incredible rate
at an incredible rate
at an incredible rate
at an incredible rate
at an incredible rate

Way down under Australia (Australia)
Very different from over here (Australia)
Getting rid of Abo's one by one (Australia)
Buy cheap land for uranium (Australia)
It reminds me of Sweden (Australia)
All the animals look so strange (Australia)
All victims of a testing range (Australia)
Of a testing range (Australia)
Of a testing range (Australia)
Of a testing range (Australia)
Of a testing range (Australia)
Of a testing range (Australia) ...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Just took part in a HUMlab seminar by Mark on Podcasting: the ins and outs, the ups and downs.
It seems to be yet another example of community media in digital form. As Mark outlined in his talk, how long this will last before it too becomes colonized as a mass media form is unclear. Perhaps there will always be a fringe of innovative cultural pioneers/artists and the rumbling behind them of the mass banality. This is how neighborhoods worked when I lived in cool areas of Sydney/Amsterdam/London. First it was the poor who built the cheap houses or worked in the factories, then when the economics changed they moved on and the artists took over the slums created in their wake. Once the area had a good social scene, streetlife and community active feeling then the real estate agents moved in, conducted a marketing campaign, raise the prices and BINGO "gentrification".
A podcast that I have a passing interest in is from Foxy Digitalis Industries, purveyors of fine culture and aural landscapes.
Check it out HERE:

Six Weeks Reading

Apart from a Language Symposium (11-12 May, HUMlab), a Workshop on
Roma Self-Writing (May 20 ) 3 seminars, 2 concerts and a summer school (June 4-12)I also have to have this lot to read by the end of May:


E.M. Forster A Passage to India
James Joyce Ulysses (Episodes 1-3 + 18)
Evelyn Waugh Decline and Fall
Graham Greene The Power and the Glory
William Golding The Lord of the Flies
Kingsley Amis Lucky Jim
V. S. Naipaul The Enigma of Arrival
Julian Barnes Faubert's Parrot
Nadine Gordimer July's People
J. M. Coetzee Foe
Nurraddin Farah Maps
Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea
Ama Ata Aidoo Changes:A Love Story

Wilfred Owen Dulce Et decorum Est
William Butler Yeats Easter 1916, The Second Coming
D.H. Lawrence The Snake
T.S. Eliot The Lovesong of Alfred J Prufrock, The Waste Land, Four Quarters
Dylan Thomas Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night, The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower
Phillip Larkin Church Going
Ted Hughes Pike
Derek Walcott A Far Cry from Africa
Seamus Heaney Digging, Punishment, Station Island

Prose and Criticism:
Virginia Woolf Modern Fiction
D.H. Lawrence Why the Novel Matters
T.S. Eliot Tradition and Individual Talent

J. M Synge The Playboy of the Western World
Sean O?Casey Juno and the Peacock
George Osborne Look Back in Anger
Arnold Weaker Roots
Samuel Becket Happy Days
Arnold Wesker Roots
Harold Pinter The Dumb Waiter
Tom Stoppard Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Critical Studies:
Steven Connor Postmodernist Culture: An Introduction to Theories of the Contemporary
Patricia Waugh Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction

What can one sleep for me!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Grey Album Video

As the sun was shining so profusely today I think I may have overdosed on vitamin D. Hence my blogging frenzy. Anyway here is a very amusing (6 month old) video for the DJ Dangermouse track Encore, made by a fan. But while you are laughing just remember: this is not legal (ha ha ha ha ha ha)!

Rapping my Blog

HTTP in tha House
lyrics by:

noscript a center
the urban space jenner
center p br
online magazine in both r
account of the
td bgcolor ffffff
the sounds of the words
this is the blog of ness

haloscan com
comment link href http em
or beginning
into the
com comments didgebaba alt comment
at umeå university key
center br br br
a href http del czar



Next week (Wednesday 20th April 13.15) we have a seminar by Mark Fonseca Rendeiro (aka Bicyclemark) on Podcasting in HUMlab. This should be interesting as I have a passion for community media and anything that may generally deliver mass communication out of the sticky hands of power and into the domain of autonomous agents.
In support of this seminar I found this whitepaper (sounds official, no?) on Podcasting & Vodcasting by Peter Meng - Technical Business Analyst at University of Missouri. See you in the Lab maybe.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Turning a Corner with James Joyce

James Joyce; "Signatures of all things I am here to read"

I have at last come to Ulysses by James Joyce(1922) in my course reading.
This seems to me to be the step into hypertext in the modern literary sense. Of course there has always been hypertext in the sense of an ongoing narrative which can appear as randomly appropriated within the contexts of space and time (beginning with the I Ching and even the ancient performative stories undertaken within the narrative space of pilgrimage). But Joyce was consciously attempting to break through the barrier created during the 19th century in regard to the moral values of the text. In Ulysses the body becomes a "social hieroglyph", the street a psychological condition:

"Such texts, whether they be Michael Joyce's Afternoon, or James Joyce's Ulysses, actively foreground disjunctive structure, thematic multi-layering and a machinic tendency to generate prodigious systems of meaning that are in excess of the sum of its parts. Reading such texts is an indeterminate and highly differential process that frustrates any sense of an ending or closure. It is rather an intransitive sense of unending, the building up of a rich mosaic of understanding that develops over time through many re-readings." (Tofts, "A RETROSPECTIVE SORT OF ARRANGEMENT": ULYSSES AND THE POETICS OF HYPERTEXTUALITY")

Take for example the enormous psychic distance covered in the following quote. Having put down the famous white "bowl of lather" Buck Mulligan stands beside Stephen Dedalus as they survey the view from the tower:

"Stephen, an elbow rested on the jagged granite, leaned his palm against his brow and gazed at the fraying edge of his shiny black coat-sleeve. Pain, that was not yet the pain of love, fretted his heart. Silently, in a dream she had come to him after her death, her wasted body within its loose brown grave-clothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her breath, that had bent upon him, mute, reproachful, a faint odour of wetted ashes. Across the threadbare cuffedge he saw the sea hailed as a great sweet mother by the well-fed voice beside him. The ring of bay and skyline held a dull green mass of liquid. A bowl of white china had stood beside her deathbed holding the green sluggish bile which she had torn up from her rotting liver by fits of loud groaning vomiting." (Chapter 1)

Rest(death)-granite(tomb stone)-palm-pain(Christ crucified)-dream-death-grave-odour-odour-sea-mother-bay-green liquid-bowl-green-groan-death (rest).

The passage splits on "odour" (olfactory), upon one side is the memory of his mother's corpse as it visits him in vision (visual), and on the other the great bile filled bowl of Dublin Harbour. Death permeates all things, holding it all together at the same time as tearing it all apart. This applies as well to the movement across from the interior monologue to the narrators description of the visual scene at hand. The balance between the two pulls it all into a single psychological landscape of immense visual import.

This are only my early impressions of Ulysses, but I can already read the omniscient magic of the text. Perhaps this feeling of new dawn or beginning is only part of the opening chapter. In a sense it doesn't matter as the story is not just in the plot, but in the sounds of the words, the tropes repeated strategically in an almost meme like fashion, the thread of awareness that runs through each poetic episode.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Dot Org Boom

Why are there so many good things happening and I am so busy? Finland. On a clear day I can see it across the water from not so far from where I live. It lies there upon the horizon as a blue line, like some emaciated snake lying upon the brackish waters of the Gulf of Bothnia. Now there is a festival/exhibition in Helsinki which seems to be worth walking there for.

Dot Org Boom is PixelACHE 2005 and will run from 14-17 April 2005 at Helsinki's Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. I quote from the website:

The main theme for PixelACHE 2005 is Dot Org Boom. Dot Org Boom is the non-profit version of the Dot Com Boom (RIP). The essential ingredients of this rapidly growing phenomenon are open source community, open content initiatives, media activist networks and myriads of NGOs around the world. PixelACHE Festival will bring together a diverse group of artists, engineers, activists, architects and designers to discuss and develop the future of Dot Org Boom.

PixelACHE 2005 also features following program sections:

VJ Culture and Audiovisual Performances
Experimental Interaction and Electronics
Interactive & Participatory Cinema
particle/wave hybrid radio workshop

I wanna go!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Rabbit Proof Fence

Tomorrow night (Thursday 07/4) at 8pm (KL20:00) in the Dramastudio of the Humanisthuset (Humanities Building) at Umeå University there will be a free screening of Philip Noyce's Rabbit Proof Fence. I have read about this film, and remember the tensions, feelings and discussions that accompanied it's release in 2002. This will not be an easy film to watch in many ways:

"Rabbit-Proof Fence is based on the true story of three Aboriginal girls, Molly (played by Everlyn Sampi), Daisy (Tianna Sansbury) and Gracie (Laura Monaghan), who in 1931 were separated from their mothers in Jigalong, Western Australia, sent to the Moore River settlement 2000 kilometres away to be trained as domestic servants, and then escaped, fleeing across harsh, desert landscape with the rabbit-proof fence as their only guide, to return home. The film is based on the book, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, written by Molly's daughter, Doris Pilkington Garimara, who was also forcibly removed from her mother. Documentary filmmaker Christine Olsen stumbled across the book in a newspaper story and from then on worked hard to turn it into a film, which included writing several scripts and bringing the project to the attention of LA-based Noyce. In press interviews, she admits that her first choice of director was Noyce primarily because of the uniquely realist and honest portrayal of Aboriginal characters in his debut Backroads. Noyce's realist style in this film was related to his work as a documentary filmmaker in Sydney throughout the mid to late '70s."
Long road home: Phillip Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence by Fiona A. Villella

The story of the stolen generations is one that much of present day Australia is still trying to come to terms with, that is, those who admit that it happened at all.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Critical Secret

Not new perhaps but I have just been reading with appreciation the words of Aliette Guibert from Critical Secret, and it is with pleasure I come to the works. The online magazine in both French and English is described as:

"Interactive magazine available on internet, focusing on perceptive thinking and associative emotion. Every other month a new thematic concept, according to a fiction selected to stimulate the prospective exploration of actuality and the active creation, is the inspiration for a collection of original texts and multimedia objects, graciously offered by the authors and creators who keep their copyright outside the review, and the staging of a new organic interface as art performance. All divided or mixed domains : philosophies, sciences, applied sciences, literatures, arts, applied arts, musics, sound contexts, medias, hypermedia, world news, etc... Successive issues are kept on line, freely accessible."

I recommend it to those who enjoy the poetic intellectual gymnastics of Artaud, Lacan, Lyotard, Derrida, Hölderlin, Baudrillard and the crew.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Digital Archeology and the Meaning of Noise

It is like rebuilding a mosaic of sound, vision and text. In a form of digital archeology I am using my page (365 for each day of the year) to rebuild some of the digital skin which was torn open when the hard drive died. From this I reconstruct some of the face and torso but most of the body is missing. I search the web for files I uploaded to news and music sites, of images sent to friends I ask for copies, there is a disk in Australia of 300 photos of our trip to Paris last year, a few Mp3s with a colleague........

Unlike archeology the survivors are doing the digging. It is basically to start again. A few days ago I listened to a recording of Tennyson reading The Charge of the Light Brigade (1890) its blistered surface snapping out a static voice. Does this give us something of the man? A preserved voice reaching out over 115 years to strike us with some of the energy of his being. It gave me a feeling for the strict sense of rhythm he employed in the poem and some idea of the restrained power of his words. But it is a prosthetic curio added to the pages of his works. The shift happened later with T S Elliot, Dylan Thomas and even Kerouac and his crew. They all threw the words out in public space and recorded wave of sound. They were not meant so much to last, be preserved or outlive the source, but rather to have a life of their own. To explode and in the explosion something would take root and grow in those that heard. That's noise I suppose (Elliot said The Wasteland was "a rhythmical piece of grumbling")and this brings me to something else I have been reading; Jacques Attali's Noise: The Political Economy of Music:

"More than colors and forms, it is sounds and their arrangements that fashion societies. With noise is born disorder and its opposite: the world. With music is born power and its opposite: subversion. In noise can be read the codes of life, the relations among men. Clamor, Melody, Dissonance, Harmony; when it is fashioned by man with specific tools, when it invades man's time, when it becomes sound, noise is the source of purpose and power, of the dream - Music" Jaques Attali (trans. Massumi 2003)p6

Saturday, April 02, 2005

"It hauds me sair down"

The computer is back with a new hard drive (200GB) and a DVD burner. I have managed to find several dozen saved folders of pictures and texts, many music images, most of my uni work, some of Erika's art work (she has most of it here anyway). I have loaded up some Mp3 I had on disk but am getting back into things slowly.
This hard drive crash has been a pretty devastating thing really. I have learnt a lot about documenting and archiving. I will never take the hard drive for granted again. It can all be gone in a flash.....Such is life I suppose.
I read recently of Thomas Carlyle who spent 5 months writing the first volume of his book 'The French Revolution', leant it to John Stuart Mill whose maid burnt it to start the fire. Here are his thoughts on loss and perserverance:

To James Fraser
7th March 1835, Chelsea

"My Dear Sir,
The miserablest accident (as we name such things) of my whole life has just befallen me; almost the only accident of any magnitude I had ever to complain of. I learned last night that my whole First Volume, by the silliest oversight and mistake (not on my part or my wife's), had been destroyed, except some three of four bits of leaves; and so the lavour of five steadfast enough months had vanished irrecoverably; worse than if it had never been! I can be angry with no one; for they that were concerned in it have a far deeper sorrow than mine: it is purely the hand of Providence; and, by the blessing of Providence, I must struggle to take it as such, - in which case (as I trust you to understand) it would not be loss but gain. That first volume (which pleased me better than anything I had ever done) cannot be written anew, for the spirit that animated it is past: but another first volume I will try, and shall make it, if not better or equal, all that I can. This only is clear to me: that I can write a Book on the French Revolution; and that, if I am spared long enough alive I will do it."

Thomas Carlyle