August 2005 Archives

First Flickr in Tokyo

I've been in Tokyo the last 3 days for work.

The hotel I am writing these words in is the same where the beatles stayed in 1966. The year I was born. Somehow that feels like it connects to something else. But I am not sure what. Jet lag leading to random anecdotes.

A few thoughts & impressions perhaps another day. For now, here's a link to some raw snaps snatched here and there. A dormant account first flickrs in Japan. Tomorrow I fly home.


August 31, 2005 | 03:49 PM | Permalink
Jason Sherry



August 28, 2005 | 12:01 AM | Permalink
Passion pigs


(aka pinkgasm - via)

August 27, 2005 | 11:50 PM | Permalink
Disciplining the avant-garde (an article)

Increasing state control of science, the management of dissent, contemporary art practices and business theory, a return to restraint, insularity, and suspicion: Disciplining the Avant-Garde: The United States versus The Critical Art Ensemble.

They won’t say: the times were dark. Rather: why were their poets silent? (Bertolt Brecht)

August 26, 2005 | 05:57 PM | Permalink
Brutality is in the eye of the beholder


(images of retinal scanning in Fallujah found thanks to Michael Shaw's excellent blog)

August 26, 2005 | 05:54 PM | Permalink
The paradox of silence in near-ubiquitous communication



August 24, 2005 | 02:45 PM | Permalink
The Afghan heroin hang-glider is shot down


August 24, 2005 | 02:24 PM | Permalink
The rise of luxury toilet paper


August 24, 2005 | 02:23 PM | Permalink
Your DNA as a painting on the wall


August 24, 2005 | 02:21 PM | Permalink
The world is 300 artificial islands



August 24, 2005 | 02:17 PM | Permalink
Stormtroopers stomp the rave

Police in full military paraphernalia raided a rave in Utah (USA) armed with assault rifles, tear gas and snarling dogs. Wikinews carries the details of this disturbing story.



August 23, 2005 | 11:54 AM | Permalink
Hard cash bot muggings in virtual space

Computer characters mugged in virtual crime spree:

"A man has been arrested in Japan on suspicion carrying out a virtual mugging spree by using software "bots" to beat up and rob characters in the online computer game Lineage II. The stolen virtual possessions were then exchanged for real cash."

I wonder if the police took mug shots of the bots.

August 22, 2005 | 05:54 PM | Permalink
Voices: Antonin & Anais

My French is rather rusty and I can only make out random words and sentences. Nevertheless it is fascinating to listen to Antonin Artaud rant and shout. Here's the sound of his voice.

Listening to this reminded me of Anais Nin recounting a wild conference given by Artaud on the theatre and the plague, and their subsequent walk through the misty streets of Paris (scroll down to "Anaïs Nin Diary Audio 1" for mp3 link). Wonderful.


August 22, 2005 | 05:45 PM | Permalink
The iconography of San Sebastian

The iconography of San Sebastian is an amazing collection. From Piero della Francesca to Pierre et Gilles, there are 100s of drawings and paintings and photographs and sculptures of the arrow-riddled saint spanning centuries and continents.



August 21, 2005 | 05:40 PM | Permalink
The illustrations of Daniel Egnéus

There's this short tale in the shape of a 4-page comic in which content and structure take on a rare fine form. Found in the August edition of "Blue" (an Italian print magazine, published by Coniglio Editore, which deserves a post in itself, prima o poi).

Two 30-something share a corner of a metropolitan Rome with talk and a kiss. Daniel Egnéus' "amore eterno" is both warm and aloof and very urban.

Meanwhile, his online portfolio is enchanting and erudite in its visual undercurrents: take the top image with its taurine quality; the annals of French Vogue in the second; the dream of Italian food design in the third.


He also blogs his sketchbook here.

August 19, 2005 | 11:54 PM | Permalink


(image found here)

August 12, 2005 | 02:51 PM | Permalink
Papal gadgets

Once upon a time it was possible to buy a papal indulgence, these days its gadgets.


On the website of the XX edition of the WYD being held in Cologne this summer, you can order your Christian pop compilation and buy souvenirs from the shop. There's even a blog!

August 11, 2005 | 05:13 PM | Permalink
Mutant Mediterranean

Late last month, swimming was banned along 15 km of beaches in Liguria (Italy) after toxic algae on relocation from tropical seas sent over 100 adults and children to hospital, suffering from breathing difficulties, high fever, stomach cramps, etc.

Further west, along the Catalan coastline, around 11,000 people have been treated for stings this summer after an invasion of jellyfish in Spanish waters.


(Detail from the Medusa of Caravaggio)

August 11, 2005 | 03:20 PM | Permalink


(seen here and here)

August 10, 2005 | 04:06 PM | Permalink
Kore Flatmo's tattoo art


(thanks to needled)

August 09, 2005 | 04:00 PM | Permalink
Flashback to the eternal love hippie mafia


(Found here and here)

August 09, 2005 | 02:04 PM | Permalink
3 notes somewhat musical

There's (down)loads of Bosnian hip hop over at FMjam. (Thanks Ozren!)


Cell phone rappers spit grime.

August 06, 2005 | 08:35 PM | Permalink
London, media & mobile phones

Shaping the media with mobiles:

"The BBC received 50 pictures from the public within an hour of the first bomb going off on 7 July. By the weekend it had 1,000 images and dozens of video clips sent by e-mail and direct from mobile phones.

Two mobile phone sequences were used on the Ten O'clock News, powerfully conveying the claustrophobic atmosphere on the smoke-filled underground, and a still image from a phone dominated the BBC News website. Around 22,000 texts and e-mail messages poured in with personal testimonies on the first day."


August 05, 2005 | 10:25 PM | Permalink
Banksy vs. The West Bank


(Thanks to wooster collective)

August 05, 2005 | 09:51 PM | Permalink
The Hong Kong Ballard murder

The ex-pat setting, forced sex fuelled by cocaine and whisky addictions, a high-flying financial analyst murdered by his wife and rolled up in a carpet: this Hong Kong news story reads just like a Ballard novel.


August 05, 2005 | 04:01 PM | Permalink
Sex & violence in San Andreas

Why does the representation of sex always cause more outrage than the visualization of violence?

Take the recent near-global scandal surrounding the hidden sex scenes in GTA San Andreas, which has led to political uproar and an adult-only rating in the US, a ban in Australia, and at least one lawsuit being filed.

Now consider that access to these sexually explicit scenes is not automatic. It's not what you'd call an easy lay. To run this kind of mod you need all kinds of hacks to your hardware/software and to know your way around baroque install procedures...

Meanwhile, in the pixelled daylight of the commercial release of GTA San Andreas, just seconds into the game and you can walk up to any man or woman and beat them to a pulp. Watch them bleed as you perform random acts of simulated aggression.

Why does the visualization of violence always cause less outrage than the representation of sex?

August 05, 2005 | 03:56 PM | Permalink
Taxi drivers, prostitutes and gypsies



August 04, 2005 | 06:12 PM | Permalink
Holidays in village land

It was so mundane it was exotic. So hyper-simplified to be nightmarish in the smiling precision of the simulacra on offer. It was loud, brash and regimented.

It was a vacation in one of the villages of a major brand name on the Italian package holiday market. For us, mainstream vacation methodologies were rather mysterious. We were used to independent travelling: fly and/or drive somewhere, walk about, get lost, find places.

This summer, to paraphrase Monty Python, we thought we'd try something completely different. We wanted to rest, do some hiking, read, provide some social activities for our 3.5 year-old daughter.

To say "Village" was semantically tongue-in-cheek. The village, located in the eastern Italian Alps, was a cement complex that jutted out the mountain side like a stranded aircraft carrier camouflaged in the futuristic aesthetics typical of the 1970s. The stain of an architectural wet dream turned dirty yellow and flaky.

Inside, the wood panelling that lined the corridors was marked by scratches and scrawled with the odd love message - the empty riverbeds of holiday romances that evaporated with the melting of the winter snow.

But this story is not about the way cement ages so quickly and ungracefully. This is a tale about the strict division of leisure.

When we arrived we were assaulted by legions of animatori (literally the "animators" - the foot soldiers in charge of driving rest & recreation activities), all saying "hi/hello" with the kind of emphasis found only in the best tradition of vacuous customer service. Beyond the continuous verbal stream of greetings, when we asked about places and events outside the village we received blank stares. Ignorance aside though, they all acted as if we were best of friends. In fact, amici (“friends”) was what they called the customers.

Saturday was turnover day. For the people working there it must have been like Groundhog Day, but on a weekly cycle. The routine was quickly outlined through sound system announcements. All activities regulated by the conveyor belts of time, turning holydays into clones of a working week. And like any self-respecting business venture, company was compulsory - "you will take part in group activities" was the not-so-subliminal message.

If you've ever taken time out in mountain settings, you may agree that one of its pleasures is enjoying the intimacy of a hike alone or with a limited number of companions. The sounds of the forest as soundtrack, the odd animal, the gurgle of a stream. Now imagine coming across dozens of people all rambling along together in a cacophony of extra-alpine sounds. After that first encounter, we bought a map and always headed off in the opposite direction from the daily communal walk.

The village became society, with its rules and regulations crawling all over you like spiders in some pop-anthropologist's delirium tremens. We rapidly fell into outsider roles, although by an ironic coincidence we kept dressing in the same daily colour code adopted by the animators.

We learnt not to try and have a snooze early in afternoon, as that was the time for the amplified guitar sing-a-long.

We also learnt lessons on the porousness of national identity, plummeting standards in culinary expectations and the pervasiveness of brand culture. The first two of these points went together like knife and fork.

I eat therefore I am (Italian).

Together with football, national pride runs through a gastrointestinal route in Italy. Being a gourmet is thought to be genetic here. And yet no riot broke out over the food being terrible. On the contrary I heard praise and saw heaped plates. To heap was to reap profit not pleasure from a buffet designed to qualify quantity and not quality as the driving spice in village life. Beyond badly cooked dishes, basic ingredients were bereft of identity. The tomatoes, which in Italy grow as red and ripe as a post-maoist capitalist, were tragic in their tastelessness, as were the mozzarella caricatures or the coloured water masquerading as wine. Outside the feeding pen, framed pages from their brochure featured Audrey Hepburn and the caption: "Diamonds aren't only for breakfast here..."

After a couple of days, our daughter started shouting "Italia Uno" each time she saw a fire detector. "Italia Uno" is the name of one of Berlusconi's TV channels. She explained it was the way to say hello to the gnomes that lived within. The children and kids put on a show inspired by, as the animators stressed, Disney DVD tales.

On our last evening, as we were greeted by a staff dance before dinner, I finally found the key that deciphered the experience: this was just like living inside Italian TV, with its endless programmes all made of white noise and dirty dances and primary colours and cheap sex & gender innuendo and the trivial pursuit of nihilism.

We checked out that same night. A day early. "You're not even waiting for the goodbye ceremony in the amphitheatre?" they asked at reception in disbelief. I realized that in terms of village-society rules we were being very rude.

As we escaped the day was dissolving in delightful technicolor. Shadows were the showreel for the coming night.

August 04, 2005 | 10:27 AM | Permalink