11 February 2011

This quote is from here a good few days ago now.. so events have moved on considerably. But I was struck by this short description from protester and British actor Khalid Abadalla, of the spontaneously oragnised space of Tahrir.

The regime has realised that it’s days are numbered. Negotiation is going to have to be based on what is going to make the people in the square leave….. [and] the popular feeling is ‘I’m not leaving now’. Midan Tahrir has a system that works, it has borders that it can protect, it has its ways of feeding itself, it has ways to sleep, it has ways to bring people in and out safely. It has now become like a mini state that works and will function as long as it needs to in order to get what this country deserves.

Grand Moral Spectacle

7 February 2011

Before I could procrastinate, Britt sent through the full text of the leaflet pictured below. Here it is.







who after fastening her arms to her side, and putting a rope around her neck, will strike the scaffold from under her; and if the neck of the wretched victim be not by this shock broken, the said MORAL TEACHER will pull her legs of the miserable girl until by his weight and strength united he


This exhibition, (the admission to which is free) is provided by a "CHRISTIAN LEGISLATIVE’ for the instruction of "A CHRISTIAN PEOPLE" and is intended to impress upon the minds of the multitude of abhorrence of all cruelty, a love of mercy and kindness, and a reverence for human life!!!!

– – – – –
London C Gilpin, 5 Bishopgate Street Without

More Variousness

6 February 2011
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Apart from stimulants, the other key is “formula. You have to have a formula that’s absolutely strong enough to hold anything. That’s where people like me are very fortunate. I have a kind of innate sense of structure, which also makes me a good mimic. It’s very close to mathematics. When I wrote a computer game a few years ago, it was in some ways the easiest job I’d ever had because it’s all structure, and the guys know it has to be. If you’re talking to a Hollywood person they never know what they’re doing structurally. They ask for changes and everything falls apart, but computer game people are just perfect because they know the purpose of every element.”

Great interview/piece on Michael Moorcock by Hari Kunzru at the Guardian.


A nice piece on virtual/unrealised projects by Andy Field here, routing back to some of my own work – Bienale Reaymades which you can find here in the notebook, the sundry virtual events booklets and so on as well as the ongoing updated daily through 2011 spectacular Vacuum Days.

Still speaking of the Vacuum Days – Britt sent this image of what she called “a strange and awful announcement” from 1847. She came across it during a round table ‘Objects under Surveillance’ in relation to the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection. For some reason I’m assuming that this is an anti-Capital Punishment tract – the description of the Hangman as “the great moral teacher” seems beyond event the most enthusiastic capital punishment fans. When i get a moment I’ll type in the complete text!


Meanwhile nice link to a project on abandoned/repurposed cinemas by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, which makes a great parallel to the ongoing project Hugo and I have been doing since 2003 on empty stages.

Most recent empty stage from the series below, this one from a trip I took to see various quite amazing spaces in the Ruhr a couple of weekends ago.

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Cairo Salvage

1 February 2011

Just pulling out a few fragments from the coverage of events in Egypt.

AP interviewed some protesters. Radwa Qabbani, 26, said:

I am not protesting the police. They are citizens like me. I am protesting corruption, unemployment and high prices.
We are just asking for the smallest dreams.

 Quoted some days back on the Guardian Live Blog, here .


Protesters emerged stumbling from white clouds of tear gas, coughing and covering their faces with scarves. Some had blood streaming down their faces. One man fainted. Police dragged some away and beat a journalist, smashing her glasses and seizing her camera.

At one point, the protesters seemed to gain the upper hand, forcing a line of riot police to flee under a barrage of rocks. One demonstrator climbed into a fire engine and drove it away.

(Also from the AP release, as quoted in The Guardian live blog, link above).


This from The Economist’s Cairo correspondent yesterday:

I knew it was truly over when I came home to find a neighbour in a panic. He had smelled a fire nearby. We traced its source soon enough, after climbing to the roof of my building. Smoke drifted from the garden of the villa next door, where workers had recently been digging a peculiarly deep hole, as if for a swimming pool. In a far corner of the garden stood rows of cardboard boxes spilling over with freshly shredded paper, and next to them a smouldering fire.

More intriguingly, a group of ordinary looking young men sat on the lawn, next to the hole. More boxes surrounded them, and from these the men extracted, one by one, what looked like cassette tapes and compact discs. After carefully smashing each of these with hammers, they tossed them into the pit. Down at its bottom another man shovelled wet cement onto the broken bits of plastic. More boxes kept appearing, and their labours continued all afternoon.

The villa, surrounded by high walls, is always silent. Cars, mostly unobtrusive Fiats and Ladas, slip in and out of its automatic security gates at odd hours, and fluorescent light peeps through shuttered windows late in the night. This happens to be an unmarked branch office of one of the Mubarak regime’s top security agencies. It seems that someone had given the order to destroy their records. Whatever secrets were on those tapes and in those papers are now gone forever.

Continues here .

Room to Manoeuvre

3 January 2011

I see [language] as a play between constraint and room to manoeuvre. If you think of language in the traditional way, as a correspondence between a word with its established meaning on the one hand and a matching perception on the other, then it starts coagulating. It’s just being used as a totally conventional system for pointing out things you want other people to recognise. It’s all about pointing out what everyone can agree is already there. When you think about it, though, there’s a unique feeling to every experience that comes along, and the exact details of it can never be exhausted by linguistic expression. That’s partly because no two people in the same situation will have had exactly the same experience of it – they would be able to argue and discuss the nuances endlessly. And it’s partly because there was just too much there between them to be completely articulated – especially if you think about what was only there potentially, or virtually. But there are uses of language that can bring that inadequation between language and experience to the fore in a way that can convey the ‘too much’ of the situation – its charge – in a way that actually fosters new experiences.

Navigating movements – Brian Massumi interviewed by M. Zournazi in ‘Hope: new philosophies for change’ Pluto Press.


Andy Field flags the virtual/SMS performance I made last year – An S.M.S (A Short Message Spectacle) – in his round up of performances from 2010. Meanwhile my latest virtual/imaginary performance venture – Vacuum Days – makes it to the very early fourth day of a planned 365 tomorrow.


Over the course of two painstaking years in the late 1990s, Saddam Hussein… sat regularly with a nurse and an Islamic calligrapher; the former drawing 27 litres of his blood and the latter using it as a macabre ink to transcribe a Qur’an. But since the fall of Baghdad, almost eight years ago, it has stayed largely out of sight – locked away behind three vaulted doors. It is the one part of the ousted tyrant’s legacy that Iraq has simply not known what to do with.

More here.



2 January 2011

months ago. you are sitting in the lobby of a hotel somewhere (not England), waiting for taxi… as unseen, to your left, a pair of receptionists make early morning wake-up calls – one after another, after another after another. The calls coming out of phase with each other "Good morning. This is your wake-up call.. it’s 7am..", "Good morning. This is your wake-up call.. it’s 7am, this is your wake-up call….", "Good morning. it’s 7am.." And as you sit there you imagine all those sleepy hands reaching for phones, all those interrupted dreams, all those narratives (lives) starting over again after the interregnum of the night.


afternoon of new years eve. city centre. light fading but not yet gone from the sky. a man and a woman in a blurred dance, she pulling cans of special brew from a polythene bag, opening them and pouring the contents out into the gutter, the guy staring at her in resigned show, at a metre’s slow motion distance staggering slightly and watching his lifeblood glug out there into a set of mingling pools on the cracked paving. no one pays much attention.


Some nice material about Anna Chapman and her appearance on a Russian chat show, Let Them Speak, here .

On being asked if she would die for her country, she gives this very natural and easy going answer: "The incorruptibility of a person is one of the most important qualities. The only thing more important than patriotism is to be humane. Love of the motherland is vital to be a happy person."

Also an appearance by Chapman’s grandma, narrating how, as a child, Chapman had a favourite book called, The Tale of the Military Secret. "We used to play out the roles… I  would tie Anya up and say, ‘Tell me the secret!’ But she would always reply, ‘No!’ very severely. And I would shoot her."

New project. As if I didn’t have enough to do I launched a new web-project which will be updated daily with new entries through the whole of 2011. Scurrilous and often abusive or obscene Vacuum Days is a rolling version of the booklets of imaginary events I’ve produced from time to time for specific contexts in the last couple of years.


9 November 2010

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A couple of the more interesting blog/online reviews of The Thrill of it All which I made with Forced Entertainment: Carousel of Fantasies and Art Review. Also an extended web-radio/audio archive interview about the project here.

Above you see more images of the accumulating Red Sky at Night piece from my show in Bremen which closes on 21 November. I’m in Bremen next Friday 19th November at 7pm for a video screening and discussion.

Also coming soon: the Beunos Aires version of Ciudades Paralelas which features the project The Quiet Volume (auto teatro for two people in a library) which I made in collaboration with Ant Hampton. More info on The Quiet Volume at Ant Hampton’s website. Documentation here of the Berlin Ciudades Paralelas. Also here.