Tuesday. A wonderfully
sneaky hack right down at the chip level. A funny effect where prime
last digits seem to predict last digits in subsequent primes. US law enforcement in San Francisco: hidden
microphones in public places.
Oh yes, and my article about the East Bloc view of Brexit goes online.
Monday. Some clever folk talking about how far maths is part of human culture:
Weinberg; yet only
again, seems to tackle it seriously. Here he says goodbye to
a colleague who worked both on 2D puzzles and shift-register sequences, which Wolfram compares to cellular automata.
Sunday. Long, quite informative piece on strikes and labour unrest in France. Perhaps tactless to mention
Saturday. US missile systems still use floppy discs. Strangely reassuring.
Friday. New claims that mobile phones do cause cancer after all.
Thursday. Akos & I discuss US military robots ("You have 20 seconds to comply.") Meanwhile, the Tory leader's former strategist says that if Cameron were not prime minister, he would favour leaving the EU. + Curious story that EU-wide tax numbers are planned.
Wednesday. Rahul spurs me with this inspiring snatch of Kipling.
- See you the ferny ride that steals
Into the oak-woods far?
O, that was whence they hewed the keels
That rolled to Trafalgar.
And mark you where the ivy clings
To Bayham's mouldering walls?
O there we cast the stout railings
That stand around St. Paul's. ---
Tuesday. Northern Ireland man traces guns used in several killings. Inquest into 1970s killings hears how young apprentice cried for his mother before being shot in the head by Republicans.
Monday. Nice old story: someone tries to hack
with number plate in SQL.
Sunday. Chomsky on Newton.
Saturday. 2003 child-murder
claims. Forgiveably shouty.
Friday. Show Lorinc my goose sketch. Abroad, schoolboy
finds lost city.
Thursday. Catalans dicing with AIDS? Bit News-of-the-Worldy.
Wednesday. Trees have soul:
Tuesday. Last week's Petrograd radio mix quite good:
Saturday. Sugar icings in Urals: stronger, more gloss than puny cake of Western weakness!
Friday. Lorinc challenges me to draw a goose. Closer up than this friend's photo, though.
Alex & I chat about
Russian car-crash videos. After dark Akos breaks the back off my
chair 2 by accident after laughing at my chisel work on
chairs 3 & 4
not being so good. He's right, really.
Wednesday. Weather continues to be wet, dry, warm & cold in unpredictable succession. The trees love it though. Street trees are suddenly big & bulky with thick pale-green leaf. A claim that Britain's economy is doing well.
Tuesday. Drop over to Deborah & David's flat for lunch. + Britain's traditional blue letter boxes.
Monday. Cruel but fair pastiche of Alain de Botton writing about love.
Sunday. Canadian adolescents discover their parents are Russian spies. Deep undercover. While cross-dressing retired British spy helps woman "hide with hippies in the woods".
Saturday. Peter encourages me to look at HTML5 with a fresh screen.
Friday. Bernardo Kastrup podcast interview: his attack on philosophical materialism + transcript with dodgy spelling. Meanwhile, has your password & account been compromised? Check here.
Thursday. Small hours this morning finished a book borrowed from Robin: 'New Art from London' by Chris Townsend. A bit dispiriting as a read, this 2006 book aims to describe what a later wave of artists based there were doing 15 years after artists around Damien Hirst & the Chapman Brothers were making waves in the early 1990s. The socialist viewpoint is so reflexive and taken for granted that every 3rd or 4th page carries a glib reference to "neoliberalism", "the priorities of entrepreneurs", or "global capital", assumed to be the obvious reference for any artistic activity today. After approvingly quoting Habermas on page 180, attacking how "the materialistic West" encounters other cultures, Townsend writes "The catastrophes that afflict the West now (9/11; the Madrid train bombings; suicide bombers in London and whatever else may follow), as well as those massacres that happen daily in Iraq, are largely a sign of the way that this version of modernity works, seeking to subsume other cultures in its materialism, rather than extending a hospitality towards them, a hospitality that, rationally, could acknowledge differences." This quote's clunky style ("a sign of the way that this version of modernity works"), simultaneously evasive and pompous, shows hardened habits of mind. The possibility terrorism might be largely driven by civilisations or forces outside the West never crosses his mind, because any cause outside western 'capitalism' would undermine Marxism's pretensions to explain everything. The idea that the West has in fact been hospitable to other cultures, precisely acknowledging differences, and the idea that this, the West's tolerance for differences and relaxed reluctance to assimilate incomers, might be the real enabler of terrorism - these two thoughts are likewise unthinkable for him. Viewed through his distorting lens, anything would seem drab, but I suspect that Townsend's mental filter is actually quite suited to the leaden irony of the artworks in this book.
vaguely glum-yet-elegaic paintings (from photos) of the West Midlands and some of
photographs of skies are the only works with any visual merit. The art & artists he gives most praise and attention to (the unsatisfying installations of
the anti-corporate filmed performances of
some multi-media work of
Jo Broughton's deliberately bleak, banal photos of Canvey Island;
miniature landscapes of supermarket packaging; the cartoonish debris of
paintings of "marginal" spaces;
fake miniature landscapes; the rocky chunks of
almost all seem "richly informed by" (that's to say, shallowly deluded by) dislike of Britain and business. I don't think this is Townsend misrepresenting their work - he's probably describing their aesthetic ideology quite fairly. Even art of the kind the NY-based American-photographer duo The Hilton Brothers do (example) could in his eyes veer dangerously close to the frivolous or decorative, I assume. To earn the approval of Mr Townsend, London-based artists must strive to be dourly unenjoyable, austerely theoretical, & politically didactic. Should take their pleasures sadly, in fact.
Part of the trick with this kind of writing about hyper-ironic retro-beyond-unmodernist post-whatever art is to use indirect phrases which suggest all sorts of clever stuff going on beneath the surface. Tensions are embodied, boundary situations are worked through, "language just isn't that innocent", performances of the self are "recapitulated". Words like 'sedulous', 'haptic', 'inhere' drop in occasionally to add casual authority to the prose. A typical sentence reads "Looking at her cramped, provisional studio space, one can't help seeing the work as an oblique commentary on 'modernity', fashion, and art's role as a catalyst in that process." One just can't help it. Considering the number of remarks Townsend makes about artists gentrifying unfashionable bits of London to the benefit of property developers, a brief mention of Sharon Zukin's detailed 1989 book-length study of just "that process" ('Loft Living') might have raised the bar a little.
Writing about Ryan Gander's project to present a fictional indie music band with mocked-up photos, packaging etc, Townsend adds in brackets "The history of bohemia is in part one where each generation apes the anti-bourgeois posturing of its forebears. In a mass cultural age where bohemia has no spatial or temporal identity, but has itself developed into a brand, it has become a tradition continued in the largely spurious opposition manifested by bourgeois children playing music to annoy their parents." That knowing little explanation, so sure of itself, unwittingly sums up the art & criticism presented in this book.
Wednesday. Lovely day out to Vienna with Paul, Deborah, & David. Refreshing! Gorgeous visuals in the Mozart museum.
Tuesday. More from the Dilbert creator who's been predicting for over a year now that The Honey Monster will succeed.
Monday. For anyone who rates biometrics, see how the FBI makes fake biometric science up out of whole cloth. Entire fake subjects in fact.
Sunday. A couple of new (to me) approaches to uniting the pesky quantum things. 1) You can entangle particles over time. 2) Space & time might be made of quantum entanglement.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com