Wednesday, 25 November 2009

I think its about spreading out
Stopping and spreading out
Delivering something
Moving it to its place of use
But having various protocols, - or even simply the ability to improvise - for potential situations, climates, circumstances.
To stop and survey, to record.
It is to be prepared, but to have a larger whole that contains dedicated agents, the demarcation of responsibility.
Its being part of a team, to be words in a sentence.
The etymology of the word team being traced back to expressions meaning to pull or to draw.
So it leading something and supplying its motion, its energy.
And I’m maybe interested in the jig that lets that happen with ease, with clarity and precision.
Not just supplying to force but the reasoning.
The application.
Ultimately though its about moving forward.
About progressing.
But not about the end, not about completion which is stopping.
A pausing on the road is not stopping.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

nixon and khrushchev


appropriate technology

For along time now I have been talking about a concept that I couldn't put a name to, that I simply didn't know the name for or where to find the name.
I've talked about concept as being a study of vernacular technology, but really its more specific and more tied to my own personal interests and prejudices than that, as with most stuff. Really this concept is concerned with a really lean (to borrow Frank Stella's language) kind of field technology. The image above is a fine example, the wood being carried with a bare minimum of the most mundane material, in this case some rope.
I also frequently think of the techniques for aquiring drinking water in the desert.


I am quite fascinated with this kind of fluid poetic living, of these methods of living with the minimum of items with physical permanence and to utilise the readily available, to then let it return to its inert or natural state after completion of the task.

No here I should admit that this interest contains a lot of adolescent fascination with the Romance of exploration, of exotica and more than likely informed by my favourite childhood television shows.
Kung Fu

and Macgyver

But psychological beginnings aside, this philosophy of travelling light not tearing the rice paper still totally holds me. I think my main interest is in the anthropological sense, of a people's method of utilising their immediate environment to facilitate their individual requirements. When I have tried to explain one part of this in the past I have used this definition:
To stop and evaluate the immediate terrain in relation to yourself in time and space. To consider this as being one side of a triangle with both points then converging at the third point, which is what must happen.
I see this very much in terms of art, I nearly wrote sculpture because that is where it is so readily apparent at the moment

 But its not just there. I see it in drawings and film and painting, but I think this sort of improvising is most readily available in three dimensional expression.
That's not to say its always right, not to say its always good. There is a rising tide of bullshit post-minimalism leaking and dripping through galleries the world over. So often this can be characterises by its knowingness, its awareness, turning the triangle into the square or worse simply replacing the self with the spectator. Its this work that is so focused on its own cleverness, to utilise a virgin material. In the age of the internet nothing is hidden, nothing is beyond our potential acquisition (and our peer's techniques are equally visible and threatening) and its easy to get caught up in the novelty chasing, so carve a new ground for ourself in a panic.
This hollowness aside, there are still plenty examples of the fluidity of adaptation present and its still exciting.
And back to my point if I had one.
This improvising, bending like the reed and solving myriad problems with a square of fabric, this is what gets me.
The Pico-hydro systems in the post below just blew my mind .
This is what modernism is, in my own fragile definition anyway. This is where the philosophy should lie. surveying the terrain in relation to ourselves, our knowledge of the past and the margins and then acting, the tiny knock of the little finger that sets it all in alightment and you realise it was there all along.
Everything else just looks bloated and sweating under the weight of its own anxiety of existence. It is self-justification taken to the point of coronary event.

we have things like the Persian windcatchers

or a Yakhchal

 So I've been focusing a lot on this at the moment, I'm writing projects for my 3D design students and reading Victor Papanek's "Design for the Real World" that my dad bought be as a very early Christmas present that I really should have bought myself and read years ago. And everything started to line up and the concept of appropriate technology, lights up in this overlapping sphere next to my clumsy ideas about the zen poetics of use.
I've started reading this while I'm writing this entry.
Its not all there yet, its not clear in my head as if it ever will be.
I think there is a lot I'm missing out, about the relationship between the individual and the group, about the relationship between the landscape and the architecture. About gesture, about the importance of that adolescent need for the Romantic wasteland, for Caspar Friedric, for that longing to be just as important as the practicalities.
That said Appropriate Technology is a good start.

pico hydro from

pico hydro link

"Micro Hydroelectric generation in NW Vietnam village. Set-up involves bamboo and wooden sluices channelling water into oil drums fitted with hand-carved bamboo turbines. Electricity generation was via motorbike alternators. Interestingly, high-tension power lines ran through the middle of the village, but clearly were not used by the villagers. Taken in October 2000 by Shermozle."


Solar Thermal Water Heater For Less Than Five Dollars - More DIY How To Projects

Hari's foot


Friday, 20 November 2009

I've had a few ideas floating around my head recently relating to a variety of different things that I'm trying to consolidate into one focused area. I'm finishing off a talk on a specific form of idealised expression of overwhelming gesture that is definitely related to my recently having the weekly opportunity to play quite crushingly heavy music on the loudest (borrowed) bass amplifier I've ever heard.
I watched The Eiger Sanction recently too and that's been playing on my mind equally, not least as Clint Eastwood stars as an Art History lecturer and mountaineer with a secret history as a government assassin. Awkward 1970's rape-jokes are possibly the few negative points in this especially photographically interesting film. I also have a lot of enthusiasm for films of this era of this type which show an idealisation of such genuine hero as the climber. It reminded me yet again of a documentary I saw when I was very young about the death of a renowned cave diver (which still remains one of my strongest memories of total terror at something I was just imagining).
I'm currently working toward a really interesting sounding show that's happening in January, I thought I'd be able to write something more interesting about all of this but my brain isn't really kicking in this week, I think I'll post this so it doesn't just add to the long list of the drafts folder.


Saturday, 14 November 2009

I've got a book coming out.

november 27, 6-9pm at space, 129-131 Mare St, Hackney, London E8 3RH

launch of issue 8 of "me & my friends"
a zine published by Nieves that I was asked to do.
my issue is entitled "Mountain Summit" and it centres around the theme of "going"