Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Cheap fix

ah yo! it a fine day innit
the drizzle a bit, ya cunt!
got mush fer brain, fuckin idiot
can't drive, how ya b'n

Lizzy alrigh comin la'ah?
hear about the bodies
in the subway, Christmas? wast'ah!
trippin weird at Lolly's

dead blokes from two floors
stoned blokes, ya got it?
nuthin doin me, there's more
ten for the fix, dude, have it.

what's that, where u goin?
dun get heavy ur goin down
God is laughing dude, moanin
there's Lizzy, let's together now!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

crown of suffering

as sure as these spikes on my forehead
crown the suffering not dead
so i recoil from
my persistent nude embarrassment
you must look away to hear my subtle instruments

slowly will the holes in my soul
the spikes in my heart
and the shape of my face
start to whistle like bagpipes

to to to ro ton to to ro ton to to!

Friday, December 08, 2006


dis vrees wat nou my drif beseer
die boog wat eens deur mag bekoor
en meesterloos die lot se oor
na vryliker idees wou keer
pyl innerlik en pyn al meer

nag na nag van spannings-angs
die vroeer lewenslus verslyt
asem vergryp uit kille pyp
en liefde reeds verys waarlangs
verdoem tot 'n verslae vangs

ek yl en geleidelik aggressief
met smart en eindeloos gegrief
die lotspel lok met doodsplesier
stom spartels van my lewensspier
vir oulaas nog die lewe lief

Monday, November 27, 2006


Gripped by an impenetrable sadness
near the drawbridge, John Grim retches
cold lies the sweat upon his forehead
old at heart he enters the ancient church
sombre shadows surrounding the altar
as crows enclose the woeful's flesh
and dire, ringing ghost-octaves
of organ strains in the chapel nave
swirl in his mourning eyes, his tortured soul.

Hid in his black robe the bloody blade
that cleft her ripened beauty, cold and pale.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

An abandoned passion

Gripped by an impenetrable sadness
near the drawbridge, John Grim retches
cold lies the sweat upon his forehead
old at heart he enters the ancient church
and the shadows at the altar
as crows enclose a death
and the melancholy ghost-song
that fills the empty church
and the handle in his monk's robe
of the silver, bloodied blade
remind him of her lovely face
and pale breasts, now breathless, by the moat.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rocky and the New Rebels

He had the idea to start a group called Rocky and the New Rebels. It was just an idea that came to him one day, like others that rubbed against his brain and then flung themselves out into the world like a magician’s pigeons. In fact, his brain was a veritable volcano of rebellious ideas. For instance, while he was working at McDonald’s he would sometimes greet his customers with subersively mangled idioms. To one he would say “the early turd catches the worm” and to another “a fool and her fanny are soon fucked” and once “the tenner is mightier than the turd” when a young sales professional paid for his Big Mac with a ten pound note.

It’s not that he actually intended to change the world or tried to kick against some regime or his parents or society. In some ways he was too happy for that. And it’s not that he was simply eccentric either. You could say his rebellion was against reality itself, against the inability of his surroundings to be impressive and satisfying in and of themselves. Of course, all rebels pay a price – James Dean died young and so did Sylvia Plath, and Ali got Parkinson’s. The curse is different for each one. In Rocky’s case his reality started to fulfill his wishes by turning his fears into reality.

The first time it happened he was talking on his mobile. It sounded like a breaking signal, a crackling hum in his ears. When he cut off the connection and dialled again his mother picked up, but this time a giant fly the size of his fist was sitting on his mobile’s arial, fluttering its wings. He dropped the phone immediately. Even greater was his surprise when the fly spoke to him: “Fly with me, fuckface”, it said. Then it took off with a buzz and swivelled out the window in a wavelike motion. Rocky was totally startled and ran next door to his friendly Swedish neighbour Katrina.

Katrina had just been fingering herself and was in no mood to eject from her fantasy of meeting the handsome yoga coach in a warm, bubbly jacuzzi at the gym. As a result Rocky was greeted by a rather dour-faced girl who barely responded to his story of a giant fly on his mobile.

“Come in”, she said, “I am just about to make some coffee.” Although Rocky was a pretty ordinary-looking bloke, she wondered whether he could somehow compensate for the intrusion upon her private pleasures. “I wish I could meet a giant fly right now …” she thought, but didn’t say anything.

“Do you want to be in my new group, Rocky and The New Rebels?”, he asked Katrina when they’d settled down with a cup of coffee on the sofa. “I just thought about it today.” He rifled his fingers through his gelled hair and, for a moment, felt like someone he’d seen on TV once. The feeling passed and Katrina said: “Is it a band or something?” “Yea, kind of, except we write stories.”

“OK”, she said.

Then it happened again. Katrina turned into a huge, hairy gorilla. First her face blurred and became woolly, then her whole body started to look more muscular and furry. The gorilla got up from its seat, slurped the last of the coffee in an animalistic way, then proceeded to bear upon Rocky like a hungry predator. Rocky was way too petrified to move. He had once learned in a self-growth book that you should face your fears before you can move on and develop personally. He hung onto this thought as the gorilla, who turned out to be astonishingly female, shoved him to the ground and unbuttoned his trousers to have sex with him.

"Is this rebellious, or just plain rude?", he wondered before his mind got swept into a swirl of brusque urges and occasional pleasures.

Friday, September 08, 2006

quitting him

hosed-down, hosed-down, quitting him
chamfered places pleases him
what concrete cleaned-up crate a herm
dare frame chamfered another time?

who waits and pales and farrow crates
then switches off the pump-iron?
what upstanding here elsewhere?
red work my head light there?

who's hosed-down brightly burning him?
whose concrete chamfered pleases him?
what concrete cleans up crates aherm
and dares to frame a fearful time?

who waits and pales at farrow crates?
whose words switch off, disintegrate?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Words written at the lake in Verulamium Park in St. Albans

Sitting here by the lake
the cool breeze chilling
our ability to remain for long;
in my mind nevertheless
like aspirin in a glass
the recent strains
are dissolving to nothing
within its peaceful atmosphere
(or, perhaps, are becoming
more transparent);
and somewhere the sound
of the word "geese" and
the idea "goose" are
also dissolving as I
hear them bleating
as if for the first time
by this modest lake
harbouring them
without intrusion

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Modern Living / Neurotica

Thank goodness for Mr. Hoogerbrugge, who takes the sour side of living seriously! Do you believe that it's possible to hear music through the mutilation of your face? In anima 97 "Rash" he would have us try out what it may be like. Using his own likeness. If he were not so ready to deface (or is that efface?) himself, I would say he has a case of Narcissis Musicis.

Or one of my favourites 98 "Prelude", where Mr Hoogerbrugge's face is masked to sinister effect, his mouth covered while it sings a wordless song.

The fact that these animations were created between 1999 and 2001 is testament to some creativity ahead of its time. I am also reminded quite a bit of Red Meat.

Other snippets to check out are (by number only): 15, 26, 32, 35, 40, 57, 73.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Stumble Upon

One of the great ideas for netizens: StumbleUpon. Definitely one of the more interesting trends I've come across - and above all: useful. So what is the idea? Discover unexpected web pages on your topic of choice.

First download the toolbar. You will be asked to select your topics of interest (choose what you will - Games, Film, Self-help, what have you) Now you will notice a new toolbar with several icons - the one you are most interested in is the one on the left: "Stumble!" Just click there and you will be transported to a webpage that someone in the community recommended, of one of the categories you chose. Just to the right of that icon you can find the categories icon - either let it randomly select the category for you (All), or specify the category you want.

The other side of the coin is that you can also tag pages for other people. So suppose you have a favourite page about dance culture you'd like to share - simply give it a tag (tag textbox) and confirm it by clicking the tag icon. It's as simple as that.

And in addition you can keep track of your favourite stumbles by clicking on the "I like it!" icon and later view them on your StumbleUpon userpage - just click on the "pages" icon to get there.

There's a community growing around this, but it gets my vote and I hope it continues to expand. It's rare that I find a net trend as useful as this one - now whenever I have a free moment I find myself stumbling upon new web pages. Explore the internet!

Have fun!!

Monday, June 26, 2006


Here is a website giving essential information regarding the state of the earth.

Monday, May 29, 2006

or New Media Art

The Taschen "New Media Art" put me on a couple of new angles to Internet Art or New Media Art as they call it (although the label as a reference to the employment of "emerging media technologies" seems on the one hand of its time only - why appropriate the term when other media will come along sooner or later?).

So we have hacktivist artists who combine political activism with art. See Borderxing Guide and then data visualisationists who make data patterns more visual, eg. in the project

But there are also those who explore the world of technology and its relation to traditional art and media more thoroughly, and it is some of these projects that I find the most interesting.

First in line we have Life Sharing - an anagrammatical play on file sharing - by Eva and Franco Mattes shared the content of their computer online using the Linux Debian OS and opened up a whole can of worms: the notion that privacy in the contemporary information era is becoming an outdated concept (and what will replace it? Perhaps, as Donna Haraway says in her A Cyborg Manifesto, a hybridised cyborg citizenship!). It is not purely for show either - it is true sharing, everything can be downloaded the same way that software can be shared in the open source community. It problematises the notion of sharing and who can use it, since we are all aware that our identities are floating around the databases of large corporations. How visible are we really? Can our identities be constructed into profiles that are as defined as Eva and Franco allow?

For every old school gamer (which includes me - I haven't played a contemporary game in years, but how can I ever forget the joys of Software Projects' Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy, or Gremlin Graphics' Bounder and Trailblazer?) Cory Arcangel's Super Mario Clouds evokes the nostalgia inherent in the almost iconic familiarity of clouds in Super Mario Bros. He hacked away to edit out the rest of the onscreen digital presences, leaving only the clouds.

And finally, for a more intellectual experience one may go and look at the excellent The Intruder, brainchild of Natalie Bookchin. It explores the line between narration in the traditional literary sense, using a short story of Jorge Luis Borges, and information media by weaving the story - a misogynistic plot wherein two brothers mistreat and eventually murder a sexually enslaved woman - into a simple computer game wherein the different stages engage the user to participate in the story by moving it forward whenever certain game actions are successful. The game is very simple but the concept is adequately realised. I found the voice over quite atmospheric.

The possibilities opened up by these commentaries are quite vast. Imagine the subversion possible in online games such as World of Warcraft! Creatures that criticise the violence or the quests themselves - annoying online consciences that spread their thoughts by constructing protests or hacking the very network fabric that holds the game together.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Never let me go and stay connected

I finished reading Never Let Me Go on Monday and my clearest memory is the perception of the main characters' dilemma - their sheltered upbringing, then their gradual acceptance of their sad fate - as analogous to the fate of people in society in general. Those of us brought up in above average families in terms of education and economic wealth, and a measure of love, tend not to lack some cherished dreams and fantasies lingering from childhood into adulthood. But what a shock adulthood can be for so many! Expending your energies for the sake of others who are shut off from you by the barriers and burdens of bureaucracy, in order to earn a living. This, it occured to me, is what was meant by the concept of a donation.

Of course I don't pretend that the analogy holds up all the way, perhaps I am too self-centred and my own life's anomalies prevent me from imagining Ishiguro's characters living the way he wants us to believe they did. They are me, and I am not a clone. Although it is just as true that in the bureaucratic world I am replaceable like practically anyone else. New age self-growth remedies aside, no amount of self-promotion will ever cause that annoying reminder of bottom-line factuality to stay away.

On a different note I was thinking of the fundamental connectedness of everything and everyone and wanted to remind you that this highly spiritual concept does not you shouldn't disconnect from time to time. But ideally, hey, I think the connection is the healthiest thing one earth! What can be better for your emotional, physical, and mental health than having the harmonious companionship and support of your entire being?

Has Internet Art been forgotten? Not at all! It has transported itself through time and will reappear in soon. xxx

Monday, April 17, 2006


Does it pay off to experiment? Of course it does! It's just not always obvious. People seem to think that experimentation without a clearly defined form or intent is just improvisation and exercise - and they may not be entirely wrong - but there is also the converse problem of looking at something that appears to be novel and a little too accidental to be of any significance, but may in fact have some guiding hypothesis embedded in its structure that is not obvious to the superficial reader.

In the following two stanzas I have thrown together words and phrases that sound similar and sometimes pleasing to the ear, but they also conjure up meanings when read to the end. To put it differently, what started as rhyming nonsense ended up creating an atmosphere. Isn't that interesting in itself?

Callous sandal quay
salad candalee
love lost, listless thistle thee
lilt the still-loved sea

ill and Linda Lee
did India link darkly
"go now" so dearly she
angelically from me

Friday, March 03, 2006

Agatha Appears

I know, it seems like I am throwing bones - but I am just SO busy! Well, here is something that has an OLD feel to it. You know, like those old ZX Spectrum games. Who these days would believe that 48k could give so much pleasure?

It's almost like that - cool, but since time has passed now it somehow leaves you wanting a bit more sophistication.

Agatha Appears.

The actors even share a bit of pop philosophy, like characters in a John Wyndham novel.

- You know, Agatha,
[_1______ ]#[__1______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]
Internet is not computers, applications, scripts
[_1______ ]#[__1______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]
it's not tech, but new world, new philosophy
[_1______ ]#[__1______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]
new way of thinking, to understand the net u must be inside
[_1______ ]#[__1______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]
u should come through it u must be in it ...
[_1______ ]#[__1______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]
- New world? I want to try!
[_1______ ]#[__1______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]#[__2______ ]

Monday, February 13, 2006

Action, interaction, art!

"I am interested in creating products, but by rethinking the notion of a product as a transformation of actions not as a transformation of material" - Tino Sehgal

Last night at the ICA Cecilia urged me to go and see the Tino Sehgal exhibition. "It's still open?!", I asked, since we had arrived after 6pm and I was sure we'd missed our window (blame overland trains only every half hour from South East London to central ...). Well we went and it was indeed fascinating - being led around the ICA building, up and down winding stairways, into spacious rooms with no furniture, to be asked if I have dreams and what is progress? Ultimately we went around in a circle, but I guess it is about the process - and being, suddenly, left alone at the end in medias res as if nothing ever happened.

But I am also thinking about internet art these days and what distinguishes it from other art forms. We have music, the visual arts, literature, film, and a host of genres in between. But the internet is a just-hyped artistic phenomenon, why should anyone care except to look at the enthusiasm as just another dotcom dream?

So here I have been set upon an exploration, knowing that at the inception there is so much possibility and yet so little has been defined. Do we perceive the internet as a series of user actions, and interactions? Do we start art by the simplest representation - not of images on the internet, god forbid, but of these very interactions. As a playwright's drama captures some essence of the human drama, so, perhaps internet art captures something of the interactive information intenities that take place every day.

But does it?

Judged by such early forms as Alex's supposed iconic web look, it's still early days. And what else do we have? Well watch this space, I am onto it!

For those unable to get hold of a copy of Rachel Greene's (very promising so far) Internet Art, you are lucky because someone else is reading it for you. That's me. But in French, and my French is not so hot - don't ask, we were in Paris the other day and of course who wouldn't buy some iconic text at the Centre Pompidou when you are there? Even if it takes an hour to translate a single page ...

But for starters, have a look at, and also at

The thing to do at the latter is click on one of the numbers and at the new place start interacting by having your entered sentences' words stripped of all consonants or vowels, as the case may be. Funky stuff.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Iconic internet art?

Ever since I saw this article and the corresponding caption "An iconic image of internet art?" next to a snapshot of Alex Tew's web page I have been wondering about the emergence of an artistic landscape on the internet. If the internet is a city - or at least its streets and byways and pedestrian walkways, then perhaps it is something like Martin Scorsese's depiction of New York avenues at night.

Or maybe I'm getting carried away. Although I hope someone will get that far ...

I looked up some of the other web pages since Alex's is currently down, to see if the images continue to appear interesting. Here are two - one from Million Penny Home Page and another from Million Pixel Page.

Million Penny Home Page

Million Pixel Page

Is it possible for art to exist in an image that was not created by an artist, and if so what does that say about art - that the beauty of it lies in the eye of the beholder or in the vision of the creator?

But at the same time it is reminiscent of Tristan Tzara's dada advice on writing a poem:

"To Make a Dadaist Poem:

Take a newspaper.
Take a pair of scissors.
Choose an article as long as you are planning to make your poem.
Then cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them in a bag.
Shake it gently.
Then take out the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag.
Copy conscientiously.
The poem will be like you.
And here you are a writer, infinitely original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.

Tristan Tzara"

Is there a better metaphor? Perhaps this iconic image is not so novel after all, and digital Dada has finally hit the mainstream.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Resolution! dance performances

Went to see three dance pieces as part of Resolution! at The Place on Friday (6 January). As a relative newcomer to the contemporary dance scene I am still finding my way but in the company of the much more experienced Sabrina and Matthew I got to place my perceptions in better perspectives.

Resolution! is an annual launch pad (this the 17th one) for new choreographic talent and although there is an application process the criteria for admission appears to be in the region of the experimental and interesting and therefore one shouldn't be too sure what to expect. Resolution! is to dance what resonancefm is to music radio (yes, do check it out!).

Of the evening's performances the second by Lunacy Nicked was probably the most accomplished, but each had its own distinctive flavour and personally I enjoyed all of them.

The first, For Better, For Worse by Helix Dance had as its theme the relationship between a man and a woman in their twenties - focusing specifically on the emotional turmoil they experience while in relationship. At the start two cut-out cardboard figures are apparent on the centre-stage, holding hands. These are the silhouettes of a man and a woman and generally show where the relationship is at emotionally - together or not, or trying to move closer or apart.

From the beginning the tension is apparent as the guy tries to move his figure away and the girl indicates "no, here!" forcing him to bring it back next to her. During the first part we become acquainted with them as they relate, in words, some of their experiences to the audience - the descriptions are often comic. This self-reflective aspect of the piece - talking to the audience - becomes even more apparent later as they continue to stop each other with "is it my part now? what was I supposed to say?". The device is not original but it is probably more interesting than a straight delivery. I will soon mention one moment that made it worthwhile to use this device.

The second scene focuses on the relationship and the dance intensifies - they are dancing in tandem with one another but the cut-out figures are no longer together and it is therefore clear that they are slightly at odds while they manoeuver around the stage. It is during the second scene that the girl suddenly falls away from the guy and says something like: "I know that we said that this is forever and that I want to be with you always but now I ...". She stops. The typical emotional subtext is that she is afraid to say the worst, namely what she is thinking, but she could also be provoking his emotions, putting him onto a different but otherwise expected script within their emotional relationship context. Here the dance is therefore a bit like a script - something that could be open-ended, but somehow has to work within confined boundaries, known boundaries. The dancers communicate to each other according to what they know and respond - prefer to respond - in ways familiar to them; much like the dancers also have to communicate to the audience in a way that is at least somewhat familiar to them - but with some openendedness to leave room for imagination and innovation.

The guy's response is "you want to throttle me then". But he could just as well have kept quiet - and she could then have said: "But I want to try new things now, I feel we have come to the end." His response puts them at odds again, they are having an argument, but the intensity is something they experience together - it is still an attempt to draw closer.

In the third scene they have drawn apart in order to search and experience their own emotions and inner life. Their dances are no longer in tandem with one another, instead they are dancing by themselves - experiencing individual intensities and reactions, but connected to the other (as is apparent by frequent glances to the partner).

The third scene ends when, after the guy has placed his cut-out figure in front, left of the stage, the girl eventually joins him there with her figure after her own inner searching. They are back together again. However the very last action is that they hug and kiss in the middle of the stage and then become aware of themselves as dancers again and request a "fade to black". The directorial awareness is therefore an important part of the piece - however it is not explored in great depth or to really good effect.

The second piece, Lunacy Nicked by Ear Me In, was the most accomplished - the 3 dancers were all excellent and what distinguished this piece from the other two was its ability to project to the audience. The viewer never felt cut off from the presence of the dancers. M noted that the dancers have a theater background in addition to a dance background, and that certainly explains a lot.

There are basicaly three girls in 3 different situations throughout the performance. At the last they are apparently quite drunk in some bar. The main aspects that seemed exploratory to me was the constant use of familiar gestures in that environment (drinking, giggling, acting stupid and drunk) and secondly the use of an audio voice-over that sounded a lot like TV sports commentary ("and here we have Nikki, doing a cartwheel!" "and now Lucy leaves the spotlight ..."). M explained that they are connected to Integrated Dance Company and therefore it is partly to engage an audience who may be visually impaired - but I also felt it is an interesting blurring of media boundaries. Nevertheless, in the last instance, I missed something to stir the emotions - which I found in the first piece where music was used to very good effect.

The last piece, Grain by SLAPDASH, was definitely the least audience-friendly - a real exploratory piece. There were two dancers and two musicians (playing what looked like a violin and a cello respectively). They started at different corners of the stage and then the musicians tried to cue the dancers (in a very slow start - they restarted about 5 times and it just seemed to lose the audience's interest eventually) as if to get them to dance in sync.

The reality is that, apart from some visual symmetry in their positions their actual movements and music were not synchronised with one another at all - intentionally. Furthermore the dances were neither symbolic nor gestural - to me personally they seemed abstract albeit flowing. The same can be said for the music - the players played in time to each other and the dancers, but their was no sense of melody at all. The music was not recognisable in any sort of way. If the ending reminded me of a rapid neo-flamenco finale with its rising intensity that was probably just to give the piece a sense of reaching a relative destination.

Nevertheless, as with all the other pieces, the audience clapped a lot at the end. And I was left with a good feeling that dancers and choreographers are encouraged so enthusiastically to continue exploring and experimenting - even though not all of it is audience friendly or even highly successful.

The lasting impression about Grain is that it tries to communicate on an ideas level and does so in part by distancing itself completely from familiar meanings in the individual movements and sounds. It may well be that someone else could have deciphered more but this much was apparent to me. Taking it for what it is I was interested, but felt that they too suffered from the first piece's lack of projection to the audience. To communicate properly to your audience your presence should be unmistakable in the viewer's mind. They seemed rather tentative to me at first, and only gradually shone with more confidence and freedom.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The controversy surrounding AllPeers

There has been something of a storm over the new hyped peer-to-peer software over at And it hasn't even been released yet, it's still in beta.

From what I can gather so far it is:

1. P2P using a BitTorrent client
2. fully integrated with Firefox
3. media file oriented, so you get to share all your media files with selected peers
4. open source
5. and free "as in beer"

I find it hard to believe the authors' contention that no legal issues can be raised, especially since their discussion of the issues do not make much reference to technical legal details. At any rate at this moment it remains controversial.

You can also read more over at their blog.

Monday, January 02, 2006

And since I've been studying current developments in psychology

As much as I enjoyed 33 x Around The Sun I am, in the last instance, discouraged by the looney atmosphere of the mental hospital. At the risk of sounding like a member of the PC entertainment police it seems a bit stereotyped to put a bunch of people in this setup without considering the advances that have been made in the field of mental health. It does not really harm the exploration of consciousness though because the institutional framework is merely a backdrop for the main themes. At most it would have been refreshing to see a more progressive milieu.