top sevens.

alva noto - transall series.
silver mt. zion memorial orchestra + tra la la band - horses in the sky.
ariel pink - worn copy.
autechre - untilted.
alva noto + ryuichi sakamoto - insen.
venetian snares - Rossz Csillag Alatt Szuletett.
the lappetites - before the libretto.

Duracell at the Spreadeagle + Bardens, London.
Merzbow at ATP, Camber Sands.
Kode9 at FWD, London.
Exile at Resonance FM, London.
Radio kamerorkest + Mum meets Xenakis at the Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam.
Battles at Sonar, Barcelona.
Rolf Hind playing Morton Feldman at the RFH, London.

Christian Marclay at the Barbican, London.
For the pillow.
Dots and Lines at the Jerwood Space, London.
For the Raster-noton microfilm, stickered walldrawing, and Golan Levin's Messa di Voce.
Tapies Foundation, Barcelona.
for this:

the KW, Berlin.
for the slide, the VHS archive, the independently published archive, the cowboy history + karaoke.
M/M Paris at the Toyko Palais, Paris.
for the alphabet.
Barry McGee at Modern Art, London.
for the cubes, and the squeaking hinges of the hooded boy.
Her Noise, at the South London Gallery, London.
for Kaffe's bed, the yurt, the performances, the archive, and countless funny recordings.

Jacques Perrin - Winged Migration.
Guy Sherwin - Cycles 1
Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda - Cesky Sen.
Bahman Ghobadi - Turtles Can Fly
Jem Cohen - Chain.
Todd Solondz - Palindromes.


30th december.

A giant version of Frankenstein's monster was trying to stifle me, he covered my ears and nose with his hands. I breathed quietly so he would believe he had succeeded. I was pretending to be asleep while I was asleep, so of course I woke quietly this morning.

The sabotage took place in a hyper-ATP/Sonar. Surrounded by oversized arcade games and almost slipping inbetween stacks of day-glo fluffy toys piled up inside one of the Sonar by night rooms, I could see Hungarian signage. The walls were lined with labyrinthine corridors of narrow passage ways where I kept losing people.

This is what happens when I try to compile mental end of year post-it notes in a fevered state as I fall asleep. I don't really enjoy crudely isolating moments from their context and holding them up as some sort of cultural pinpoint. Bullet points just don't hold up. The < p >, the pauses, the ommissions stringing them together are worth more.

When I was too young to have a job (although it didn't stop me trying) I used to save up my pocket money in a cat (see that cat?) and every time I took money out of that cat I wrote the date on the underside, until space ran out because I'd written GIG FUND too big. Why I had written it that big, I don't know; by this point no one was ransacking my bedroom and I broke the notes on jewel cases. I used to write down every band I went to see in a cross-referencing and (sometimes) colour-coded list. It's somewhere. At some point I got distracted, and stopped noting things down. Despite all this documentation, I still remember what I bands I didn't see, and the reasons behind these non-events sometimes more vividly than what gigs I did go to. (Mostly melodramatic tales of sacrifice in the name of friendship and academia. Quite tiresome.)

So, I can't decide if I remember the things that didn't happen this year more than what did. Or whether end-of-year lists are overly dunked in solipsism. Or just not enough to make them worthwhile. Any which way, I'll be sticking some fluorescent off-cuts up with my good friends at dot-alt tomorrow.

I'll end up a little like the German in Last Year at Marienbad, I'm sure. Instead of some passive (yet beautiful) French conduit, I'll be convincing myself: this is what is concrete, this happened this year, and this is what was good about this version of this.


Her Noise radio today.

The audio part of an audio visual project I did back in May is playing on Resonance this afternoon (16:30). It's only about a minute long. It's all field recordings from Budapest, which I piled ontop of each other in the form of manual loops on a 4 track. It's very scratchy; all the recordings were done using this (it fits snugly in my coat pocket you see):

I'm not used to going places where I don't understand peoples' words. A way of dealing with the myriad lost interpretations: I recorded any sound I liked. I still have 3/4 of a 60 minute cassette filled, somewhere.

I listened to the recording again last night for the first time in a while, trying to pick out the noises and remember where they came from. There's bus pneumatics, 1940s rally cries, government drumming troupes in the famous square, guitar music from a cab, lollipop whistling. And some more pneumatics. (I've made it downloadable)

The visual part comes in the form of a flash animation where each sound has its own photograph. Cut into n grid parts, the image slowly becomes whole after n repetitions of the sound. They form on top of each other and alongside each other, it's a little messy. Separately, they look like this:

Melanie Clifford from Creative Routes has been using her binaural mics to document pretty much everything that's been happening at the South London Gallery during Her Noise, and turning it into Her Noise Radio. There have been 15 minute shows every Wednesday, which are going to be archived as podcasts on the Her Noise blog. This week's episode has a 7 minute interview with Kaffe Matthews. She tuned the bed for Melanie the other day. Apparently, it was amazing.


The beard collector.

This isn't my story, it belongs to Theo. Nevertheless, it is a good story. I think I can tell it, I was the first person he told.

We had a mid morning break during a workshop last week, and Theo went into the college cafe to get a coffee. Waiting in the queue, he was accosted by an elderly man in a long coat who asked to take his photograph. Theo's nice, he said ok. Then he asked why.

"I collect beards. Check out my waistcoat."

The man opened his coat's lapels. His waistcoat was covered in beards.
Men wearing beards. Lots of beards, lots of men.

(This is the point in the story where I interrupted and inquired about the manufacture of said garment. I used to make a lot of my clothes, and had a project when I was 14 where we had to make a waistcoat, of all irrelevant things. Mine was made out of newspaper articles I liked, and had bubble wrap for padding. It broke 3 sewing machine needles.)

Anyway, turns out this man had collaged his favourite beards as I had collaged my newsprint; bound by sticky back plastic.

This is where Theo asked to take a photograph of the the waistcoat. The old man was nice, he said:

"Ok, but that's the moustache panel there, and if you take a photo of that you have to take a photo of this panel too, it's my favourite."

The old man didn't have a beard. According to the small conversation that followed, he was only in the cafe by chance, waiting around for one of the last 159 routemasters to start running, so he could catch it and document the journey.

(This confused me because 159s don't start and have never started from Elephant and Castle. They start from Streatham, but I'm not going to hypothetically argue with someone who openly collects beards.)

The story ends with the old man tapping his watch and leaving, Theo coming back to class.

He showed me the photographs on his phone, and apart from silencing me they kind of reminded me of this, which is all about beards.

An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.

Written in 1998 by Bruce Mau. Still relevant.

1. Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

2. Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you'll never have real growth.

3. Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we've already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

5. Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

6. Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

7. Study. A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

8. Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

9. Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

10. Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

11. Harvest ideas. Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.

12. Keep moving. The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

13. Slow down. Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

14. Don't be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

15. Ask stupid questions. Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

16. Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

17. ____________________. Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven't had yet, and for the ideas of others.

18. Stay up late. Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you're separated from the rest of the world.

19. Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

20. Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

21. Repeat yourself. If you like it, do it again. If you don't like it, do it again.

22. Make your own tools. Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

23. Stand on someone's shoulders. You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.

24. Avoid software. The problem with software is that everyone has it.

25. Don't clean your desk. You might find something in the morning that you can't see tonight.

26. Don't enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

27. Read only left-hand pages. Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our "noodle."

28. Make new words. Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

29. Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.

30. Organization = Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between "creatives" and "suits" is what Leonard Cohen calls a 'charming artifact of the past.'

31. Don't borrow money. Once again, Frank Gehry's advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It's not exactly rocket science, but it's surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.

32. Listen carefully. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

33. Take field trips. The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment.

34. Make mistakes faster. This isn't my idea -- I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.

35. Imitate. Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You'll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.

36. Scat. When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else ... but not words.

37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

38. Explore the other edge. Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.

39. Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms. Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces -- what Dr. Seuss calls "the waiting place." Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference -- the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals — but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.

40. Avoid fields. Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.

41. Laugh. People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I've become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.

42. Remember. Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That's what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

43. Power to the people. Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can't be free agents if we're not free.



What do you serve, but never eat?

A tennis ball.

I'm not good at remembering the punchlines of jokes, but this one sticks. Mainly because we've got it on paper three times now.
(Now four times.) We think that maybe our discounted crackers are made for large families where the jokes aren't shared.

We got other multiples too. What the hell are these?

At first we thought we could add water (no) then we thought we could pull to make great noise (no, it's plastic) then we thought it was merely decorative (see that heart there?) Now we are confused; we like to know the function of things.


Love like Salt.

This story's been on my mind of late. A project requiring the narrative of breadmaking brought it up. I've been trying to trace my knowledge of the tale, feels like I've known it forever.

I think the version in my head's an amalgamation of various folk tales though, because all the ones I've found here neglect the bread-making part where the princess in hiding shows her reciprocating love for the prince via a ring in the dough (kind of like the Gallette des Rois where you get to be King or Queen for the day if you find la feve).

Anyway, the basic story is this. (Shakespeare kind of stole it for King Lear):

A king asks his three daughters how much they love him. The first two give boring quantitative answers, something to do with constellations or Gold. The youngest daughter says "I love you as much as meat needs salt." This signifies to him that she doesn't love him so much, and she's banished from the kingdom.

She travels to another kingdom where she works in the kitchen of the palace. The Prince there falls in love with her, and slips her a ring in a glass of water to show her how he feels. In the kitchen she cooks him bread with the ring in it. He bites on it; they decide to get married.

On their wedding day the princess tells her kitchen friends not to salt any of the food for the celebration. Her dad turns up at the wedding but doesn't recognise her, and realises how much she loved him during the course of the meal. At the end of the wedding she reveals herself to her father, and they are reconciled.

Check out the German version of the folk tale for pared-down salt analogies. 5 lines! My favourite one being:
"He then recognized how important salt was, and that his daughter had spoken very positively."

And in the Indian version, one of the daughters adds "I love you as sherbet." What? Sherbet's pretty awesome though. I discovered that it takes 1.5 minutes in the microwave for the stuff to transform into a glue-like paste the other day. (| was building a flying saucer superstructure.. don't ask.)

Anyway, in conclusion, salt is important. I've always known this, but it's nice to have myths to back me up. I might get heart disease one day, but at least I'll know why.


Christmas Lights.

I realised it was necessary to leave my desk when I hadn't done much work and had been listening to FFT POP pretty much all day. Some real-time human interaction was in order, so I went to Woolworths.

I looked at my calendar and realised it's the 12th. 12 x 2 is 24. The 24th is when we celebrate le Reveillon. I figure now is the time to get festive. This is usually twinned with a panicky feeling, but I've been abruptly eased into the sentimentality via Exile's jingles on Saturday night.

Sometimes we go to France for Christmas. Montguers is surrounded by unnamed forests where we go and mark out our designated pine with a glove. Then we sledge around for a bit, (get lost) find the tree again and chop it down. Nobody notices one tree felled amongst so many, it's ok.

Back in London my mum usually goes 'somewhere on the South Circular' for the cheapest deal. And here on Mare street, in Woolworths, christmas tree fairy light decorations can be found for a decent price. They are all that is left, light-wise. The man at the counter asked if this was the last of my shopping. I confessed it was only the beginning.

Anyway, the christmas tree formations were a little irritating so I changed them so if you squint they say K + M.

They're not quite as great as Zurich's Christmas lights, The World's Largest Time Piece:

That's 240 000 lights, and 'Xmas Generator' made by Gramazio & Kohler which controls the lighting according to visitor frequency.

All I had to work with was 4.6 metres of cable and plastic thread.

At least no one's competitive round here. And when I say competitive, I mean the spirit of Christmas as documented by the people at uglychristmaslights.com. Highlight:


Dancing: Know the game.

"Apart from being a most pleasant social pastime, advanced Ballroom Dancing can be a stimulating recreation and sport. Ballroom dancing is equally valuable to those busy people who require mental relaxation."

I got given this book some time in the summer. I misplaced it, and just found it again. It is most informative, with flow diagrams too:

This book has one top tip for the Lady: 'Never look down towards the feet. This will completely upset the balance.'

When it comes to The Hold, 'the Lady's hold will always depend upon the Man. She must always adapt her hold to the requirements of the Man even if his hold is not correct.'


It seems that if I choose to spend longer than a few hours in one place, maybe even sleep somewhere that isn't my own bed, I'll leave something there. This doesn't usually worry me so much. Except now I've forgotten a library book I need to read in a Birmingham hotel. This hotel was very big, they hosted a wedding reception where the bridegroom wore white, which came complete with (obligatory) fight and fire. Both of these things happened on my floor, where I was busy sleeping. They haven't found my book.

I found their cereal dispenser quite appealing:

Anyway, I've found a tool via yugop to make the whole amazonian search more exciting (I have to re-stock my library). Amaztype typographically visualises all the possibilities of the search, words forming as more books are found.

They have a consistently refreshing zeitgeist. Anal Cunt are currently the most searched musical artists.


Wearing hoodies.

Photographs by Rachel, BA Photography LCC.

The ban on hoodies in Elephant and Castle is funny. The poster, blu tacked onto the automatic front door consists of a shoddy (and probably inkjet) print out, in a red capitalised italic typeface. Ugly. I have a photograph of it somewhere. I would find it, but Karolin's got her hood up on the wrong side of the glass.

An aside: fun stuff you can buy in the shopping centre pt.1 - Clocks with your photo on it. Like this:


Central Committee's Solaris criticisms.

These are some of the bizarre observations that the cultural department of the central committee, Demichov's office and the governing board made re: Solaris in January 1972. There were 35 alterations altogether, that they wanted Tarkovsky to make before allowing its general release.

3. What form of society was the starting point for Kelvin's flight- Socialism, Communism or Capitalism?

5. Cut out the concept of God.

12. As a scientist Sartorius lacks humanity.

13. Khari ought not to become a person.

18. How long did it take for the hero to complete his flight out, the return flight, and his work.

19. There should be a written introduction to the film (from Lem) explaining it all.

27. It is not made clear whether the Ocean is responsible for the situation.

28. Is science humane or not?

31. What is Solaris? And the visitors?

And my most favourite:

35. Take-home message: "There's no point in humanity dragging its shit from one end of the galaxy to the other."

Eventually Romanov came round and accepted the film without alterations (this series of events included mysterious unnamed high-ranking officials) in March 1972. In his diary, Tarkovsky figured that 'someone must have put the fear of God into him.'

Story's Shorts in Peckham.

Underneath the arches of Peckham Rye station, all are invited to bring along their short films.

Joe says there'll be free popcorn.