Oct 29, 2005
In between reading all I can find about situationists, I do take a little time to actually work on my project. This is a sneakpreview of my Travel Companion™. So far it's a plaster "egg", the size of a small dog. On the basis of this I'm gonna make it as a shell of wax, the same basic principle as THIS.
It's to be carried along on a route through the city, registering this walk, this route, in the deformations and imprints it'll get by the way it's carried and the surfaces it's pressed against. Where my first attempt created frozen moments, this one should be better suited at recording the actual movement over time.
Any questions (i doubt it - this all makes so perfect sense)?
Oct 27, 2005
Quote of the day (and not particularly connected to the above):
"Men can see nothing around them that is not their own image; everything speaks to them of themselves. Their very landscape is alive"
Let's make a new competition: Who said this? Was he a man or a woman? Did he look like Santa Claus or not? And what was his favorite color?
Prizes will be as elusive as ever, this time you can win a warm smile and a long nose (as we say in Denmark).
As you might know I've been studying the urbanist ideas of the International Situationists. Two books they, more specifically Guy Debord and Asger Jorn, really seemed like something special. They "Fin de Copenhague" and "Memoire". The first one describes Jorns youth in Denmark and Copenhagen. The second Guy Debords in France and Paris. Each printed in just 200 examples of which most have been lost. Making the books rather priceless. Luckily they were printed in Denmark, so now I've ordered them at the royal library. I can only read them there. But I'm so thrilled about going there tomorrow, sit there and touch these original masterpieces. And see and feel for myself what the concept of detournement is really about.
This is from "Fin de Copenhague". I think it's amazing how cool and modern it looks. It was made in just 24 hours, and the story of the books creation is really interesting. You can read about it in this very nice essay.
Oct 24, 2005
I think we need a nice picture to start the week. This is from Hamburg.
Pruned is a blog I found a few days ago focusing on landscape architecture. And it's the nicest architectural blog I've come across so far. It's some quite cool and rather different examples he writes about. For instance this one about a Japanese stadium turned into a small city. Or this one with the most beautiful drawing of the mississippi rivers geological development. He even has a sense of humor :)
So, now you know - that's a good place to go in emergency situations when there's nothing of interest here. It'll be added to the links section.
Oct 21, 2005
I have a very ambiguous relationship to Cuba - on the one hand I have a great passion for the music and have been wanting to go there for many years. On the other hand it has dawned on me what tremendous asshole Fidel is and what a cruel dictatorship he is running.
Recently a friend of mine brought to my attention the Cuban installation artists Los Carpinteros (The carpenters). Their stuff is really nice, beautiful, on the border between art, design and architecture. But I can't help wondering how artists like that can work under strict censorship from the state. Is what we see just a faint shadow of what they would produce under other circumstances. There is however a lot of bridges, crumblings walls, even some watchtowers among their drawings and installations. And then, there's this drawing, Floatable Pool.
I believe it must be inspired by Rem Koolhaas' swimming pool, described in Delirious New York, powered by Soviet dissidents and constructed to escape to New York. With the cruel twist to the story that, for some reason which I don't remember at the moment, New York is not so alluring when they finally arrive. So they turn the pool around and head back.
Enjoy the weekend.
Oct 20, 2005
Ok, I'm back. Have troubles with the net in my house at the mo (perhaps something to do with not paying) and spend the weekend celebrating my birthday... and felt more like reading, real, oldfashioned books than surfing aimlessly on the net.
First book I read: "Det uperfekte menneske" ("the Unperfect Human"... oops that's "the Imperfect Human" to be completely correct) - brand new autobiography of Jørgen Leth, which caused such scandal that he can no longer be Danish consul in Haiti and no longer comment Tour de France for Danish TV2. Those bastards.
Second Book: "Theory of the Dérive and other situationist writings on the city". And I tell you- those situationists were some funny and thought-provoking fella's:
"Psychogeographical Game of the Week
Depending on what you are after, choose an area, a more or less populous city, a more or less lively street. Build a house. Furnish it. Make the most of its decoration and surroundings. Choose the season and the time. Gather together the right people, the best records and drinks. Lighting and conversation must, of course, be appropriate, along with the weather and your memories.
If your calculations are correct, you should find the outcome satisfying. (Please inform the editors of the results.)"
Situationists International Online is a collection of pretty much all their writings. And this link will take you straight to the Theory of the Dérive.
UPDATE: As a special service to my Danish readers here's a collection of Situationist texts in Danish - Situationistisk Arkiv på Det Fri Universitet.
Oct 13, 2005
As promised, here is the finished prototype no. 1 of my Travelcompanion:
The core is a skeleton of wood. Just to give some basic structure for its way to move.
Around this a layer of wool, tightly packed with a felting needle.
Then a more fluffy layer of wool to allow manipulation of the surface.
The outside layer is a skin of wax. It gets softer and sticky with heat and hard when it's cold.
The last "layer" it needs, which I've just started working on, is a number of mechanical instruments or tools, that will attach themselves to the wax surface and support different sub-programs. This can be help carrying it, protect fragile imprints, heat it, make signs and traces in it, etc. These can be taken on and off so the Travelcompanion can be modified for specific tasks/walks.
When it's brought along walking through the city it will take shape and impressions from the way it's carried and surfaces it's pressed against or dropped onto. Thus the first purpose of it is to as a registrant the walk.
The second (or perhaps this is in fact the first) purpose is as a medium through which I will start seeing the well known city with new eyes. In other words, help defamiliarize the city as discussed in my posts on the term ostranenie, here and here. And quite possibly, people who see me walking around, carrying this strange object, will also have an experience of defamiliarization. Let's see what will happen.
Oct 12, 2005
My friend Jens showed me this link today: e-Cuerpos, online retailer of quality, human bodyparts, originating from lovely places like Columbia, Uzbequistan and the more undefined east Asia, as well as Canada, Spain, etc...
"E-Cuerpos ... will always sell human bodies and limbs, discreetly and preserving the privacy of its clients. Scientists, collaborators and human body enthusiasts will always find in E-Cuerpos a serious, dedicated and socially responsible supplier."
Now, what I would like to know is, firstly - what exactly is a "human body enthusiast", and secondly - is this a joke?!? We've been discussing this, but don't feel sure about anything, what do you think?
UPDATE: My friend Libo, who is a very wise man, belives it's fake. He tried to buy a pair of blue eyes (a childhood dream for that poor italian boy) and it was impossible... so...
Came back from Venice last night. Feels like I was there for a week, though it was only 3,5 days. That city is so amazing, incredible, unique... I'm in lack of words... You can expect a couple of posts the next few weeks about my mind-boggling experiences there. Meanwhile an appetizer can be seen HERE - the photos I've uploaded so far.
Oct 8, 2005
... and if you miss me or just get bored while I'm gone, don't despair, for here is a somewhere for you to explore in the meantime:
UbuWeb have wonderful things stashed for anyone to watch, hear, read and/or download. They have several categories, fx:
Film - you could for instance start with Un Chien Andalou by Bunuel, or this absurd german 80'ies reggae pop with Joseph Beuys. They recommend you download rather than watch online.
Sound, yes it's true, free mp3s, imagine - I find Giacomo Ballas stuff, fx. Discussione sul futurismo di due critici sudanesi, real funny. But there's also John Cage, Burroughs and lots more.
Ok, that should keep you occupied then. See you.
A sneak preview of the Travelcompanion™, that's all you gonna get for now and then I'm off to Venice, oh yes :) Pretty exited about going back there. And also to just be in Italy in general and all the benefits that comes with it... like the food... and the drinks... hehe... Gonna bring a few things back from there: 2.5 kg of sweet, sweet tomatos and a bottle of pure alchochol for making limoncello and snaps.
Oct 7, 2005
Here's a quick one while working late and since I'm gonna be gone for a long, long weekend. Closing in (out) on a more urban scale:
Ellen Harvey have been out joining the fun on the graffiti-covered walls of New York - in the style of miniature classical landscape painting. She's placing them only on existing graffiti, calling it New York Beautification Project - which makes me wonder if she is one of those rare and elusive reactionary activists.
For people who might come by New York, or already be there, she's even mapped them. So there's a chance to get some fresh air.
And now I'll be off to sweet dreams with a good conscience since, going to and from this post, I managed to finish the first prototype of my "travel companion" - yippiyahu. Pictures can be expected later.
Oct 6, 2005
This link will take you to some of the most beautiful animations I've seen on the net. Mixing real film and computer animation they display a world of very intriguing lifeforms - thus fitting nicely with todays theme :)
Click "projects". I think my favorite is the top one -"sixes last" - but they're all good.
via Blue Tea
Lately I've been looking into an old facination of mine: Bodies. It's time for me to make a new one. A travelling companion whom I can bring along on walks through the city. So, today I have to very nice, and rather different, examples of bodies for you:
Firstly Patricia Piccinini who makes rather disturbing sculptures of some of the creatures she imagines genetic technology will bring us, some time in the bright future.
Secondly: Cloaca by Wim Delvoye - a mechanical version of the human digestive system. Well, it does probably lack some of the original finesse - like getting energy out of the food. But the end result is supposedly exactly the same. Shit.
Bon appetit :)
Oct 5, 2005
Sweet Dubi send me this:
"In the morning paper, I can read the weather report as well as the stock quotes. But when I look out of my window I only get a weather update and no stock exchange info. Could someone please fix this bug in my environmental system? Thanks."
Goodmorning everyone. I'm a big fan of google and all their innovative side projects, gmail, google earth and -maps, blogger, etc... Yesterday there were even rumours that they are to release a Google Office today and thereby start the battle with Microsoft for real.
As much as I love Google I can easily see certain problematic sides of fx personalized advertisements and their general allknowingness. Some people actually do an effort to stay out of Googles search engines - the socalled unGoogleables.
But to really get your paranoia running today I suggest you watch this nice little film: epic 2014, 8 minutes long and rather interesting.