Monday, June 27, 2005

public/private space?

mobile phones again. what is going on? this morning the woman next to me on the tram had a 15 minute row with her boyfriend on the phone. she was pretty loud too. this lack of decorum (or shame?) has me wondering again about this odd quasi-private space that the phone tries to create. would she be having the same row with the boyfriend in person, or would it wait for a quiet spot in town or at home? i suspect it would. but on the phone there's no worry, all comes blurting out and at that extra-high 'phone voice volume' which seems to carry so much further than normal conversation.

what i still can't work out is what these people are thinking. do they think they're on the phone so it's a 'private' conversation despite the volume and location. or do they use the phone as an excuse for exhibitionism, big-brother contestant syndrome on a small scale? or perhaps they don't think about it, so used to phones are we all that it's not an issue with them or with the rest of those present? the mobile brings a strange extension to the mentality of the phone, something which is still associated with a private linking of two homes, two people, for a chat.

there's definitely some interesting ideas here, but despite all this it's still fucking irritating. especially when the height of rhetoric is "at the end of the day you know what you done" over and over followed by "carry on carrying on then" virtually screamed into my ear as i try to go to my happy place.

Friday, June 24, 2005

summer storm approaching #2

summer storm approaching #2
Originally uploaded by monkeyinfez.

the clouds are coming

fragments of a week spent creatively

The cat returns (studio ghibli) – brilliant, charming, whimsical, phantasmagorical, yes, yes YES

The enthusiast – the loneliness of coal is a winner "...if one were to seriously contemplate loneliness and silence it would be in terms of the coal period that one should do so. There's the archetype [...] That's when nobody was there"

Crap hound magazine – looking forward to making use of this (yeah, it's amy's, but I'm stealing it)

Applicant by Jesse Reklaw – possibly the best thing ever (this week at least, thanks amy j!)
remember: "domestic responsibilities may intervene".

Nigel Green's Dungeness book – industrial beauty.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

fog photos

more fog
Originally uploaded by monkeyinfez.

just finished a new gallery for, fog.

and i'm pretty pleased with it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


it was all feeling a bit arch and sinister. it's summer now after all, so let's try white for a while.

digital picture of britain

i've been mostly enjoying the 'digital picture of britain' the beeb is running in conjunction with Dimbleby's 'picture of britain' series (the former is shown on bbc4 after Dimbleby finishes on bbc1). it's interesting to see photographers at work and very inspiring - both when they create something beautiful which i admire OR something tudd which makes me think 'i am ok after all...'

anyway, there's some galleries on the beeb site which are well worth checking out (and i've just noticed they seem to be randomized every time you load them, so there's plenty to see). i've uploaded a couple of my pics too, feel free to search for me and give me some good ratings, although they didn't seem to be working properly just now.

Monday, June 20, 2005

new works

just uploaded another ridiculously esoteric essay on digital memory (don't feel you have to read it, only if you *happen* to have an interest... part I is a bit more universal though).

And (drumroll please...) longshore drift #5 finally arrives.

good times.

summer stroll

There's something about the temperature today, hot but not sweltering or oppressive, warm but not humid or sweaty. Walking to town I can feel it radiating from the sky above and the asphalt below, wholesome and happy.

It brings back summers past, walking through Bury or Vancouver (but, strangely, not Nottingham) feeling that same good, good heat, smiling that same summer smile, shorted and sandaled, happy and alive with summer sun and warm breeze.

Friday, June 10, 2005

bush was grinning as he said it...

"In terms of climate change, I've always said it's a serious long-term issue that needs to be dealt with. And my administration isn't waiting around to deal with the issue, we're acting. I don't know if you're aware of this, but we lead the world when it comes to dollars spent, millions of dollars spent on research about climate change. We want to know more about it. It's easier to solve a problem when you know a lot about it. And if you look at the statistics, you'll find the United States has taken the lead on this research."

...perhaps hoping we'd all be taken in, despite stories like ex-oil lobbyist watered down US climate research - and that was just yesterday's example.

full text from the white house.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Q - some comments

Q – an historical novel set in the 1500s. A story of rebellions, war, adventure but, above all else, Q is about ideas. Ideas that were important and helped get us to where we are today but seem, from the height of history, quite ridiculous, small and petty. That probably doesn't sound like a great reason to read it, but it is.

The tension arises from the tyrannical nature of the church, a creature grown powerful and rich, in command of much of western Europe. So much so that any ideas that go against the grain, anything that might damage the papacy, have to be swiftly brought under control with all the political, economic or military might that Rome can muster. And here is the conflict. The church seeks control, seeks to be a mediator between the uneducated masses and the god it preaches to them, the god – it claims – that they can only understand via this institution of learned men. So the people have no god except the church, the institution is lord. And the institution has no god except power, except control; no matter how many hours the cardinals spend discussing an issue raised in the gospels, no matter hour many hours they spend praying, it is only power that ultimately motivates them.

The threat comes in many guises, but the aim is always to free the common man from the dual yoke of the church and the gentry. So a sect preaching that god is within you, that you can understand god through yourself, that all you need is a bible and some quiet minutes of your own, such a sect is a major threat. So too is a man re-baptising adults and talking of how baptism as a child is meaningless as a child has no concept of god, no concept but the ritual of the church. From where I sit, atheist in 2005, these kinds of issues seem sometimes like nit-picking and sometimes completely, obviously, in the spirit of the church's teaching (as I understand it at least), but back then, at the time of reformation and rebellion, such teachings were bombs waiting to go off around western Europe.

And this is what is fascinating. An institution we take for granted as essentially without political power except, perhaps, for the ability to engage in dialogue with world leaders; an institution without even the remit to seek this power behaving like it owns the place. Behaving completely contrary to what we'd now see as its main teachings, yet behaving within a framework based upon those same teachings. It's incredibly sinister, it certainly makes you wonder how differently it could all have turned out.

And I think these ideas form our own bombshell. Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy discusses a lot of issues surrounding the genesis, growth and domination of the church. One comment that has really stuck in my head is how, in the Book of Isaiah (written around 700BC), one of the authors/prophets is the first to declaim: "there is no god but I" (p295). He simply decided that one god, his god, was the way it should be and promptly gave the church license to declared anyone with a different faith a heretic. Russell also reports that
"The idea that all religions but one are wicked, and that the Lord punishes idolatry, was apparently invented by these prophets [Jeremiah and Ezekiel, around 600BC]. The prophets, on the whole, were fiercely nationalistic, and looked forward to the day when the Lord would utterly destroy the gentiles." (p294)

These are incredible events. Where does this legitimacy arise? Simply from history and bloody-mindedness, from repetition over generations. Faith is, well, faith – unfounded and of human origin. How can anyone have such conviction in religious matters that they are driven not only to believe even the strangest tales but to kill because of them? How does this override the message of forgiveness and love thy neighbour which is the overwhelming message of Christianity? Fear has certainly got something to do with it, the image of a vengeful and angry god was prevalent through much of this time. But what else? The simple answer is I just don't know. I can see how religion can arise from ignorance of the world, how understanding is preceded by superstition and arbitrary belief, but how does this belief become so powerful? How does it become the dominant part of life? And especially now, why do we still believe? I have no answer, but what Q helps to teach us is how misplaced this all is, how whatever institutions we put in place, whatever ideals they arise from, the only ultimate motivator is power and greed. And the only conclusion is war, disillusionment and strife. All for no purpose but to perpetuate this crazy game.

Find out more on Q at Luther