(image digitally modified by the blogger)
(image digitally modified by the blogger)
The chaos theory butterfly woke up early last saturday morning fluttering its wings on a Swiss tree, which is currently being held responsible for bringing down the power grid across the whole of mainland Italy and the island of Sicily.
Was the black-out - which also switched the Vatican lights out - a cryptic neo-biblical sign? Or was it simply a case of Italy following the global fashion?
Blogwork: an art blog from the Venice Biennale.
I was back down around Rome in recent days. The city where I grew up. The city where my first travels took place, across history and location. A city where the ebbs and flows that make up the emotional cartography of psycho-geography are more apparent than elsewhere. Perhaps because some paths have been there for millennia, worn down in some cases to invisible meaning.
There are many songlines that could be sang about Rome and its environs. Today I sing in a croaky voice about the Super Strada 601 - the coastal highway that runs from Ostia to Anzio. A road I've loved since driving along it back in the mid-nineties in winter at night, and it was empty aside from the odd stray dog, and the solitary light in silent buildings, and the wind blowing sand across the tarmac in the shape of a question mark.
This is a journey that starts close to where Pasolini was murdered by rough trade.
This is an illustrated book that turns the pages on the architectural pastiche of the beach resorts that line Ostia's seafront.
This is a parable that gives you a glimpse of the president's beach, where politicians are kept in sun-drenched segregation.
This is a tattoo that twists and turns across the body of Capocotta, a free beach that has been Rome's longest running temporary autonomous zone: from Allen Ginsberg readings to all-day parties among the dunes.
This is a documentary that crosses in a straight line the illegally built buildings that make up Torvaianica, inhabited by holidaymakers and illegal immigrants and alleged mafia members.
This is a dream that ends at the hopes of surfers dreaming of ocean waves in front of the ruins of Nero's villa in Anzio.
This is a story that starts again in baseball-mania Nettuno, imported by the Americans during a landing in '44.
(The Tirreno: a run-down hotel along the 601. Image by the blogger)
Don't think I'll be back until Thursday 25 Sept.
I blogged something about the origins of war the other day. An item of theory, an academic disquisition. Clean words on a screen. And then today I came across this report on child soldiers in Colombia. And their stories are smeared in torture, killings and fear. And they're just another drop of rain-data brewed up by the daily info-storm which runs towards oblivion down the mental windows embedded in our souls. And I feel like a shit. And know not what to do, except push "save" and share it with you.
(full report here)
Via Adrant comes news of an online dating service based on Darwinian principles and bulging wallets. The California-based venture only grants admittance to its database if you're rich, beautiful and smart. But is this simply the dating agency equivalent of a walled neighbourhood for the platinum plastic set? Judging by the copy it seems more a PR provocation. A case of contrived controversy to drive a concept out in the limelight. In the tradition of the book of the musical of the movie, here's a website that aims to mutate into a reality show. Investors click here.
For those ugly, poor and stupid enough not to make it in, those that swim at the trash-infested bottom of the deep sea of shallow culture, No need to get depressed: Head down to MacDonalds for a health conscious adult happy meal and get fit. And better luck next time.
(The screenshot of this visual interpretation of Italy's prime minister was captured here)
The robotic courtesan, the hardware geisha has long been a fixture, a dystopian dream often found in sci-fi films and books. Now, this paper (in PDF) provides handy hints to designing your very own SIAR (Sexually Interactive Autonomous Robots).
While not disputing the prediction that sex robots will one day become a commercial reality, I do not think that we will be witnessing red-light districts populated by hooker androids or mixed-ware marriages anywhere in the near or medium-term future.
The sex robot, if anything, could be the twentyfirst century evolution of the blow-up doll, an item destined for the terminal sadness of a niche market.
But the paper is fun to read, if nothing else as a reminder of all those physical sensations, carnal nuances and scents that are omitted from its pages.
Having said that, remember this: "It is important that our SIAR be able to breathe".
(link found on things)
According to an article in New Scientist a new theory on the origins of war indicates sectarian divisions and proto-economic wealth as key factors in the development of this pastime peculiar to men and ants alike.
"The critical factor for the origins of war was the splitting of communities into clans which acted against each other, Marcus believes. But importantly, this happened also while living in an environment rich enough that, Kelly says, they "can afford to have enemies for neighbours".
Is it strange that this still rings true in 2003?
(via die puny humans)
(image snatched from my moblog. Taken with a Nokia 3650)
Landscapes of Capital, is an online project dedicated to the semiotics of corporate ads from the mid-nineties onwards:
"In this project, we are looking at how corporate ads represent global landscapes: how do they depict globalization as social and cultural spaces, the penetration of e-commerce into people's lives, the role of technology and speed in our lives, etc.
Corporate capital was transforming itself at a furious pace in the 1990s, sometimes through merger and acquisition, sometimes by virtue of new technologies, always by expansion. Our study examines the kinds of public self-representations that corporate entities offer as they transform themselves and the societies in which they exist. The transformations are of several orders -- one is toward globalization; one is toward a new economy of high-tech firms; one is toward the widespread populist incorporation of the middle classes into retail investing; one is toward the Internet and the wireless telecommunications to come. The transformations left out of their accounts will prove no less significant -- e.g., the steadily widening gap between rich and poor, the erosion of the middle classes; the disappearance of a regulatory state; the absence of panoptic authority and power.
Reading these ads as symbolic accounts of the transformations taking place in the world, we want to focus on the landscapes and narratives set forth in these ads."
The photocollages of Lucien Clergue are infused with cultural catholicism and flavours of southern Europe: the sacred mixed with the profane against a backdrop of art history quotations and a dash of bullfighting iconography. Truly stunning.
The fourth edition of the international tactical media festival Next 5 Minutes opened in Amsterdam yesterday. The site is currently down due to heavy traffic but the media library is still accessible together with the reader (which can be downloaded in PDF).
(image digitally modified by the blogger)
Brothers and sisters, there is dissent over the projects of globalisation all over the world. Those above, who globalise conformism, cynicism, stupidity, war, destruction and death. And those below who globalise rebellion, hope, creativity, intelligence, imagination, life, memory and the construction of a world that we can all fit in, a world with democracy, liberty and justice.
Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista movement, speaking at the counter-conference running alongside the WTO global trade negotiations in Cancun.
The document provides a global overview on a series of issues including the processing of genetic and medical data, the increased adoption of survelliance tools (from CCTV to facial recognition software, via proposals for RFID chips embedded in travel documents), and the extension of anti-terrorist laws to stifle civil dissent.
Perhaps it was my teen years as a punk, but I can't help but find powerful elements of poetry in images of protest:
(via Indie Nudes)
The eye is a hand visually caressing the contours of the urban body across the folds of a door, the ripple in a poster, the texture of walls made unique by time, weather, men.
(images lifted from my moblog)
(via wood s lot)
Time to chill? Take the dub selector for a spin.
Go wandering through the streets of London and get hooked on a mystery narrative with the wild, beautiful, literary-flavoured online comic: Cary Grant.
From the early avant-garde of the Twentieth Century, via pop art and punk, collages (perhaps the first post-modern art form?) have provided a visual thread to the (de)construction of mass and personal imagery. This tradition continues with the ultra-cool glue books of Feike Kloostra:
(via the Wooster Collective)
Last year, the now-silent Fabio Sergio coined the term interaction anxiety as a way of defining certain aspects of our relationship with the mobile tech tools that support our daily activities. The latest symptom comes from urban Japan where, according to an article in Red Herring, drivers are developing an addiction to in-car navigation systems:
"When Ken Harada, a Tokyo computer programmer, lost the remote to his car's navigation system, he called in sick to work. "I can't drive without it," he says of the device. "I was a little scared of getting lost"."