Munching squares.

Via Wolfram.


Antiopic | The Allegorical Power Series.

Seven volumes of online MP3 releases issued monthly from June - December 2003.

Antiopic say:
This series was meant to address the possibilities and roles of abstract or experimental music as social and political response; it attempted to provide a forum and space for artists to present new work as protest and as an exploration of the meaning and potential of sound art in the context of and as response to global injustice.

Found via Powerbooks for Peace.

Muf and "the female thing".

Last week I sat down next to a girl drawing grids with a scratchy pencil and listened to the people from Muf talk about what they do.

Muf want the subtitle of interrogation / research.

They say they question the status of shared ground. Spaces that aren't used for anything, the route as a destination. Finding out what's special about a place as opposed to overriding it with their own values.

Tony Fretton wanted to talk about "the female thing" (yes, that's what he said). 2 of Muf are ladies. Tony joked they should change their name to "mum".

" ".

Zaha Hadid came up. To quote Tony again, apparently she "operates with more acknowledgment, with aggressivity you wouldn't expect from a lady."

This made the girl next to me stop scratching imaginary systems, and grumble. There was a lot of grumbling.

So, gendered perspectives came up. When pushed, Muf opined that perhaps their specific outlook - or softness - comes across in their furtive attempt to get it right. And that everything they do is never enough. I like this idea of getting it right so much I've abbreviated it and stamped it places: GIR. !

I also like their idea of gorgeousness. Of a gorgeous experience as opposed to a gorgeous object.
Also, importing the gorgeous to the municipal - inclusive shared ground.
Specific places made for specific terrains and a specific populace.
A social construct played out through practice.

Someone mentioned Eisenman and drawings. Where are Muf's drawings?
They said they would hire someone do draw diagrams about funding, then they'd show us their drawings.

Their projects are here.


London Institute rivalry.

Don't know who these people are, but they emailed me.

Dear Reader,

A public service announcement from influence us now!


to respond email; influenceusnow@hotmail.com

Actually, nope.

That this question is still relevant, is pretty funny.
It's interesting that St. Martins still trades on a reputation fostered decades ago.
I grew up wanting to go to St. Martins, but by the time I could I realised it's not a great place.

I made my choice based upon the usual stuff:

+ facilities
+ tuition
+ theoretical/practical balance
+ workshops
+ projects
+ studio space
+ library
+ collaborative opportunities
+ job opportunities

And I'm still sure I made the right choice. It might be more fashionable or bankable or conversational to have studied at St. Martins, but I prefer learning things.

Dom Robert.

This book is so good:




Branding needn't be boring.

Michael Johnson talked to us about logos in his Clapham office today. He had a double bass and 2 acoustic guitars in his room. And a copy of Dadgad music.

He thinks design students don't get taught about branding. We don't.

He got a bit historical and started talking about the "monoline bandwagon" which made me laugh and think of this great corporate identity resource, and my recent acquisition:

He talked about charity logoitis, mapping analysis and project commitment:
"It's tempting to say: ER's on tonight, I'm going to go."

I have learnt that it's all about "living logos" right now. This one moves, sometimes:

And killer apps: the diplomats go for ties and umbrellas. Blackpudlians - if that's a word - go for flexible type.

I asked him whether his Daniel Libeskind paper structure was a branding exercise:
"If it was, it didn't work. It was just a very expensive direct mail."

There are a few brands I fully endorse. Sometimes I pick stuff off if it irritates me. I got given a bag from a family friend a few years ago that had this big red thing on it:

I don't live in New York. I've never even been to New York. This was a perfectly good black bag. I don't get it.

Anyway, when asked what his favourite brand was, Mr. Johnson made a humming sound and said: "I'm a bit anti." Ha!

Peter Eisenman and Rem Koolhaas at AA.

Monday 30th January, 18:30
34-36 Bedford Square, WC1

Via Kultureflash.

Free - for AA students. Not fair.

The University of the Arts don't get anyone in half as exciting.
People who study architecture are too busy making things that work to read. I don't have anything to build, so I read.
I tried this on the phone, it didn't work.


poke up the micro!

Suicide-referencing slips aside, the Anglo / Dutch micro / macro architecture talk at the RCA last week was fun.

Thought it'd be a more practical comparitive study, utilising the huge screen for more than powerpoint introductions, but oh well.

Lots of talk about English politeness (vs. Dutch rudeness) and over regulation in the UK.
I'd like to extend this idea to more or less every way of doing things in this country.
A big regulated wave of generalisation engulfing any institution I've come into contact with, or have had explained to me.

Lots of talk about masterplans too. In relation to the above:
in the UK it'll take 8 years to do the masterplan and 2 to build. In Holland, 2 to plan and 8 to build.
Process vs. end result etc.

Will Alsop was in the crowd, talking about what "the people" want. Apparently, "the people don't want parks."

People were referencing his Barnsley-cum-Tuscany a lot. It looks interesting.

Favourite quote of the evening: "poke up the micro!"

That's what the people at Crimson are doing in Holland:

Crimson's activities can be divided over three categories: hardware, software and orgware. Hardware means proposals for physical transformations of or additions to the built environment. Software means making ideas about the city that can be presented either through text or through images. Orgware means influencing the organisational, legislative, bureaucratic and political structures that in the end define the effectivity of every proposal for the city.

Their book too blessed to be depressed looks great.


Complex networks.

A network of sexual contacts between individuals from a study by Potterat.

Isn't it pretty.

From this paper on: The structure and function of complex networks. by Mark Newman.

Found on r-echos which used to be anti-chambre.net feeds.


pink sky.

The sky was pink yesterday! It wasn't a discreet shade of pink. Not the kind of pink that stays around either. I thought it was a big deal, more than a conversational punctuation anyway. I don't know what it means though, there must be an affiliated proverb that rhymes.

Elephant and Castle used to be painted pink. It got painted red one March for red nose day which was kind of funny. It still looks bad. The regeneration's going to look like this: (I have a suave DVD to prove it)

I started my interactive design course. I have to figure out how to 'touch the ceiling'. There's a girl in my class that's moved from New Delhi to Elephant and Castle. I don't get it. You can see us all here. It's supposed to keep our mothers reassured, and thieves dissuaded from our kit. I have my eyes set on 2 things: the midi keyboard, and Frank our digital projector.


Sonic Acts XI: the anthology of computer art.

Hypothetical UK tour forbidding, this is where I'll be February 23 -26 2006. It looks so good. In Paradiso and De Balie in Amsterdam. Can't miss:

Granular Synthesis, AGF, DJ/Rupture, Boris & Brecht Debackere, Jammer + Matt Shadetek, Skepta, No Lay, the Bug.

Andreas Broeckmann - Image, Process, Performance, Machine. Aspects of an Aesthetics of the Machinic
Golan Levin.
Lillian Schwarz.
Joost Rekveld - Light Matters.
John Oswald - A Short Talk on Endlessness.
Ben Fry.

Concrete Cinema from the Groupe de Recherches des Images - part I + II
Pioneer Computer Graphics.
John Whitney.
Lillian Schwarz.

Shared Territories: Anglo-Dutch debate series at RCA.

The School of Architecture + Design at the Royal College of Art is hosting a series of Anglo-Dutch evening debates this spring on contemporary issues in design and architecture.

Free of charge, these evenings give the public and students an opportunity to hear a distinguished selection of Dutch and UK based or connected practitioners discuss critical themes relevant to contemporary design and architecture. These include the challenges their disciplines are facing internationally, not just at home or in Europe. Individual events will tackle urban design strategies and procurement processes; the qualities of 'glocal' product design; pinpoint new directions in 'inclusive' design, and explore what happens when you put design, people, technology together and envision the future.

Thursday 19th January 19:30
Macro/Micro Architecture

In response to globalisation and its inherent mobility of capital and labour, two urban development strategies have emerged in force. The first, frequently focussed on an image-based approach, is about rebranding cities; the second goes for broad brush master planning. What are the merits of these approaches, and how does each of these relate to much more strategic micro-design initiatives evident that go hand in hand with educational and information exchange between stakeholders and citizens? Now that so many cities and regions wish to tackle their post-industrial voids and territories, make new cultural capital out of the land and solve housing problems, we would also like to identify ways in which design procurement processes can be broadened, or are already changing, to take account of emerging patterns of social dynamics.

Mindplay conference.

Via Pixelsumo's great events calendar.

Mindplay is this Friday 20th January at the Metropolitan University, Kingsland Rd.


Free online graph paper.

In the form of PDFs. Wow. There's even trapezoid tumbling blocks in 5 different colours.

the design encyclopedia.

"The Design Encyclopedia is a user-built source of reference material with the sole intention of defining, describing, chronicling and documenting the world through design in all its implications and manifestations."

It's got a page about dot-dot-dot which is good enough for me. dot-dot-dot has had articles on semantic poetry, stereolab record covers, relational aesthetics, the death of the novel, polish women magazines. And so on. In short, it's the only design magazine I'd buy, if I could.

Last issue, issue 9, listed all the people that owe them money on the back page. Except some of them didn't really owe them money: magma, notably. The ICA aren't on there, but they're not stocking any more either. Why can't this magazine keep friends in London? Now I can't buy issue 10 from an independent retailer, which irritates me. I'll give in and get it from borders when I lose my patience. Or get another hypothetical subscription.

Bayes Rules.

According to the Economist.

I wish the Economist weren't so expensive, and secondly that I had a subscription, and thirdly that I wasn't so lazy so I'd have a subscription, and fourthly that I made enough time to read it every week.

Kurt Vonnegut's memoirs extract.

He says a couple of funny things, like:
I think that novels that leave out technology misrepresent life as badly as Victorians misrepresented life by leaving out sex.


If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.

and gives lessons on creative writing:

First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.


I want to share with you something I've learned. Let a vertical line represent the G-I axis: good fortune - ill fortune. Death and terrible poverty, sickness down here - great prosperity, wonderful health up there. Your average state of affairs here in the middle.

Let a horizontal line - extending from middle of G-I axis - be the B-E axis. B for beginning, E for entropy. Okay. Not every story has that very simple, very pretty shape that even a computer can understand.

and briefly mentiones Cat's Cradle, which I am happy to have read because it includes the most entertaining fictional religion of bokononism.

The calypsos are so good.

Also, Kurt knows what's nice


Bok-Bok on the radio.

Alex is on UTZ 12 - 2 AM tonight / tomorrow morning.

Here's the live stream.

There's a shout sending facility and a webcam there too. Possibilities!
Stay in and listen to all his favourite grime + dubstep. He likes good things.


Ben Fry's PHD dissertation

on Computational information design is a little old (2004) but very good.


Nico Ismay.

1952 - 2005.


Variably linked:


Script at the Design Museum.

So, this is where I'll be rubbing my temples in a couple of weeks time:

Monday – 23 January, 20 February, 20 March, 24 April

Is irony killing design? Are we educating designers or design-egos? Is there anything that can't be defined as design? Script is new series of topical design debates held on the third Monday of every month. Leading designers and design commentators will participate in each session and the theme will be chosen - and posted on this website - ten days before. Tickets for Script – with drinks – cost £5 each. Featuring public sector design reformer Hilary Cottam and Marcus Fairs of icon magazine, the debate on 23 January will explore What isn't design?


V&A, Foer, V&A.

The 20th century department in the V&A is a strange place, if it weren't for the salmon pink boom box, I'd despair instead of chuckle at the unacknowledged gaps. Actually no, I'd still find it funny. The salmon pink boom box has some sort of magnetic effect on me. That alone is funny.

Anyway, the V&A is a place for 16th century textiles in cabinets (room 100, always empty). Not stuff shoved together in cabinets under such headings as: "These objects were made between the period of 1920 and 1940". If museums in old buildings weren't already a thing of the past, I'd wonder what future generations will prod out of Dada newspapers next to Art Deco teapots next to Johnston.

Room 74 in the 20th century department of the V&A used to be filled with Penguin books. It's a small room, it was used compendiously. Those books are also in this book, but it was warming to see them all in one place.

The Illustration Awards are now in that room. These awards are silly, but they had some spreads of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on show. It's a great book, I don't usually carry hardbacks around with me. The first chapter can be read online but it's not the best one, by far.

I've tried to locate the pictures inside the book but all I can find is lots of red hands. This is disappointing. The pictures in the story were found on the internet by the boy in the story, the action itself being integral to the story and the boy and the pictures. This whole thing should be overtly cyclical. Where are the pictures?

Jonathan Safran Foer recently made a libretto: Seven Attempted Escapes from Silence. With 7 composers. It's about prisoners who lose the power of speech. I want to hear it but knowing the idea will be ok for now.

He's also written about empty paper. I collect empty paper, but mostly they've never been owned before. Some good friends who know give me nice graph paper, I guess that counts. When I started throwing things away this was the hardest part; deciding what size makes a piece of paper a scrap and not a potentially useful piece of paper. Calculating the probability of what could then happen with a piece of paper is so pointless that I still have dedicated drawers.

There's a conference about paper coming up at the V+A called Ascribing Value: The Production and Collection of Architectural Drawings. There's some interesting headings like: Design & Collection: The New Fluid Dynamic Between Design and Electronic Retrieval Systems and If the Architect is Dead can the Connoisseur be Far Behind?: Connoisseurship in the Digital Age. It's £16 a student-day. There's seminars in the lunch break. The lunch break takes place in the new RIBA/V&A architectural collection, I think the days are some sort of celebration.

Renoir retrospective at the NFT.

30 December - 2 March. That's 2 whole months. There's time for everything. La Regle du Jeu is being shown 7 times, The River 14 times.


Films at the tate modern.

I just got a little over-excited and updated kontent's event's page with a few films coming up. I can't help it, these are good things for under a fiver.

The complete listings are here.


the distributed library project.

There's Tufte, Maeda, Brecht, and that book about John Freyer I've been meaning to look at for 3 years. All in the 'art' section of this library project. There's something about hypercircles elsewhere that interests me too. But I don't think this project's online faction is working so well. Last updated 2003.

The idea is nice though. I've been using this postcard (picked up from the Lux centre, Shacklewell lane) as my bookmark for the past month or so. It says everything you need to know:


ideas 2006.

The shakiness of my connection and journey time are increasing in tandem: reading the newspaper is back in. The Guardian had an interesting article in it the other day: Emergence, diaspora, the 'imperial consumer': which ideas will shape the coming year?

My highlights:
Daniel Kahneman wanting to minimise misery.

Turing's Cathedral.

Susan Greenfield's reconfiguration of modern education.

And Roger Scruton says: 'I look forward to a radical decline in the influence of the nihilists - among whom I count Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault.' This prompted a giggle.


happy new year.

The new year started with 15 sets of fireworks, we had a panoramic view across London from my roof top.

Down the road, Sud at the Lord Cecil was great for want of a better good word. Margarita thought Oliver Hacke was the ultimate tease, and Alex kept wailing for a drop. I don't have that much of an overactive imagination, but I couldn't stop dancing.

Sans Soleil was most apt for the first film of the new year. Ariel Pink for motivation to leave the flat. Over a vegetarian Indian feast I got told that people who make resolutions should die.

This year I'm going to be on time.

Hangover cure n: Maison Bertaux on Greek Street (take your dates there, I'm told). I couldn't choose the profiteroles; my mum makes them in triple digits in the early hours of the morning for NHS nurses. They are better than most things.

Yesterday, I saw the funniest trailer I've seen in a while. Woody Allen should stop making films about relationships.