Monthly Archives: February 2007

Berliners, Ideas & Remixology

I’ve been to Berlin, and returned, despite having an extremely dodgy passport. I’ll write about it further at a later time, but I’ve completely fallen in love with the place. With the atmosphere, the people, the “way things work” as well as the rich artistic and cultural feeling that seems to spread from each corner of a block to the next. Since being there and returning I think I’ve been riding on a wave of positivity and free flowing ideas – a much needed boost.

Trickles on Monument. The full title of the monument is “The Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe”; it was one of the places in Berlin that affected me greatly. Opened in 2005 the monument is made from 2,700 stone slabs near the Brandenburg gate, arranged into geometric lines and rows, but each stone is slightly ‘awkwardly’ set in the ground, creating an uneasy contrast. An amazing places that I recommend anyone visit.

Whilst abroad I discovered the saga of naming my University course “Interactive Arts” (apparently the advent of that name brought significant extra funding – at the time). I thought it would be cool to set up some kind of forum (more of a list though) whereby students can record what they would refer to the course as, at any given time that they choose. The result would be an ever evolving list of creative titles or labels – potentially a fantastic source of inspiration. A bit silly on the face of it, but I think it could be really useful. Digital or paper?

Another thing I thought would be interesting to do, would be collate everybody’s photographs of Berlin and arrange them so that any photos of the same object or place are grouped together. It would be really nice to see all the pictures together, but also interesting to look at different individuals points of view. Probably logistically impossible.

The last idea is also probably impossible, but I’m trying to rationalise it and figure out a way that it could work on a relatively small scale. I’d like to create a system that would (ideally) have screens visible on all the extreme surfaces of a room. The easiest way to describe it would be to have a box room, with a desk and chair at its centre. The walls, ceiling, and potentially floor would have all their surfaces covered by screens. Next a location is chosen; it could be at the top of the Eifel tower, or Everest or in the centre of Bejing – anywhere. Now pre-recorded images & sounds are played from loudspeakers, and shown on the screen. The idea being that the person sat at the chair has a 360 degree audio-visual experience of what its like to be in that place. Far reaching; but I’m looking at it on a much smaller scale, using TV screens and my garden.

Also discovered an interactive control pad – the Lemur – which is another thing I’d like to create my own version of. I’m not sure I have the technology skills required though (the Lemur is made by one of the most forward looking, and advanced, technology houses in the world; Cycling 74). Its hard to explain, but you can watch a video of it in use by following this link; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0O70FrnH2JU

Made friends with Dan Staincliffe in Berlin, really like his work, check out these games; http://www.piczo.com/danielstaincliffe?cr=4&rfm=y

Dan’s Pigeons. One of Dan’s photographs taken with a mechanically triggered camera.

Entry or writers block?

I’ve often thought of writing critically about things in my journal, but then avoided it because I think the content isn’t relevant enough, or I can’t do it justice. I mentioned this in a journal workshop with 3rd year students, and the girl I spoke to simply said I should write about the inability to write.

So I’m giving it a go.

Mostly my reasoning has been routed in not thinking I, myself, am qualified to write about a particular subject. And in some cases I’ve just become frustrated by my own pompousness or submersion in doctoring my subjects with colourful language. The final convergence of thought that has put me off has been just thinking the subject matter is uninteresting; this includes topics such as Neighbours (the TV soap), children’s animation Charlie & Lola (which I saw at the Bradford animation festival), Google’s image editing software Picasa, Anthony Gormley’s Another Place, and so on. Of all those things I have opinions of them all, which to some extent I think would be useful for myself and others to consider. But maybe not quite as much as other topics and more to the point I believe that writing about other more obviously important things will probably leave more of an impact on the reader, or audience.

At this juncture I’m tempted to think this entry falls into the pitfalls I mentioned as reasons for not including several entries. I think my upbringing and frequent dinner table philosophical discourse as a child has left me with an avid appreciation of paradox. This in turn I think is fed by my own paranoid tendencies to think in circles.

It would be interesting to explore peoples’ cognitive processes in a work of art. In my case, here, thinking self-referentially, but it would be excellent to explore some common examples of traps. Maybe look at common dreams as a source?

Clean Sheets

Its a bit odd, for someone with a bed as unpleasant and messy as my own, but I really lust after the feeling of newsly laundered sheets that are freshly put on a bed.

Maybe I should have them more!

An ex-colleague of mine, Matthew McArdle, said he irons his sheets so they’re perfectly smooth.

Rotten Apples

Why does the iMac keyboard that I use to type not have a delete key? What is up with that? Backspace is fine, but I need to delete!

Incidentally – running Windows on MacOS seems to be a real reality now (if thats gramatical?) Maybe I should get a Mac next time I get a computer. In 2050.