JULY 2003


(Wednesday, 1 July 1998)

Slightly crooked stamp.

Tilted Rooms

I was fascinated by this subject during the Microgravity Seminar at V2 last week. Especially intriguing was the material shown by Dr. Willem Bles of the TNO who lectured on 'Gravity and the Subjective Vertical.'

Here's some links on the use of the tilted room effect in 20th c. amusement parks:

Mystery Spots explained at

History of the Tilthouse at Dark Rides and

Re: the bicycle ride -- slightly off-topic but because N. and I just the other day talked about his April 1943 bicycle ride home from the Sandoz lab -- a link to an interview with Albert Hofmann by Stanislav Grof (PDF).


(Thursday, 2 July 1998)

Excellent, excellent, excellent Bergman site.

Watched Paul Sixta's new 'vampire' film at the Teek Festival in Breda this afternoon.

Deep Sea Crypto-Zoology

Following April's colossal squid find.

Chilean blob found on the beach last week.

More than 200 new species found in the Tasman Sea (via Rogério).


(Friday, 3 July 1998)

It would appear that three twentieth century philosophers have pretty much mapped out the hell game (hell being the most fundamental form of ontological instability): for Heidegger - hell is death, for Sartre - hell is freedom, and for Levinas (never mind what Sartre says!) hell is other people.

To Do

Finish Beckett's Endgame.

Find a good To Do list manager for OS X

Found: the bare boned, elegant ToDo X.

Russian Doll Treatment

Watched this evening and greatly enjoyed:

Vanya on 42nd St., "a film by Louis Malle of André Gregory's 'Vanya' based on Anton Chekhov's 'Uncle Vanya' adapted by David Mamet".

Must explore more Chekhov. And what about these Mamet adaptations? Grove Press publishes three of Mamet's Chekhov modernizations: The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya.


(Saturday, 4 July 1998)

(Mailed to Ewan.)

Apropos the prospect of the Self as fiction (as expressed in narrative psychology (link and link) and Dennett's The Self as a Center of Narrative Gravity) my attention has been drawn to Jose Ortega Y Gasset's essay History as a System.

Googlewhacking the phrase "Tautological Art" this afternoon (not really, I was looking for a definition but Google only returned 3 hits...) I came across this paragraph:

Meanwhile, a system of total tautological representation - both political and artistic representations, which are similarly structured - has evolved in the present-day mainstream art in the West. The legitimisation of a work by its author's earnestness has been, for the last twenty years, drastically reduced to its formal legitimisation which, unlike earnestness, can be checked and documented: I am making this kind of art because I am a woman, an Afro-American, a German, a homosexual, I have this or that disease, etc. This "tautological art", to note, is quite unknown in Russia, yet it has served as the main target for critical irony, as has the whole discourse of cultural identity. States Georgy Litichevsky: "Lack of identity is better than imposed identify".


Follow up games design: the Six Simulations node on Everything2.


(Sunday, 5 July 1998)

Finished Endgame. A line from Clov's last soliloquy reminded me of my good friend Stewart:

"I ask the words that remain -- sleeping, waking, morning, evening. They have nothing to say."

The question raised by Max Frisch's 1958 play The Firebugs: A Morality without a Moral (Biedermann and die Brandstifter) is both fascinating and familiar... in its horror. "At what moment do victims become accomplices to their own disaster?" An Amazon reviewer describes the plot as follows:

This short play is about a middle-class businessman whose biggest anxiety revolves around the Firebugs, men in the city who are responsible for a recent rash of arsons. They enter homes as guests and, after staying the night or dining, take advantage of their hosts' hospitality and trust and burn down their homes. The protagonist, at the height of such crimes, allows a couple of young men to spend the night at his house and refuses to believe (because of pride or trust or some other variable) that the sawdust, matches, and gasoline that they bring into his attic could have anything to do with malicious intents.


(Monday, 6 July 1998)

Still don't have a will.

Funny, I was just thinking that it was time that someone brought out a digital compact camera with a built in GPS (to provide a location stamp) and lo and behold it is there: the Ricoh Capilo Pro G3 (via Gizmodo).

Augusto Boal: Games for Actors and Non-Actors.

Sunday Movie Day

Watched Takashi Miike's Visitor Q (Bizita Q) this afternoon (yes, yesterday we posted a story about inviting a stranger into the house -- there must be something in the air...). Visitor Q is very strange, very disturbing, and despite all this, even comical at times. To reach a corresponding level of familial dysfunction and comedy you've got to think back to a film like Lynch's Eraserhead. But Miike isn't Lynch. Miike is on a production roll (releasing a record number of 9 films in 2002!) and his style is his own (though this review of his recent film Gozu calls Gozu "an utterly bizarre excursion into almost Lynchian realms of post-logic").

Later N. and I finally got around to watching Hideo Nakata's Ringu. Ringu was a big disappointment. We'd expected more. (Was the recent American remake any better?)


(Tuesday, 7 July 1998)

iChat AV public beta. What is very cool is that you can use your firewire enabled DV camcorder not only as an expensive webcam but as a video source -- ie. by simply pressing play you can send your video content streaming across the net to others.

(Rogério Lira 15:09 GMT+2)


(Wednesday, 8 July 1998)

Watched Fernando Arrabal's Viva La Muerte last night.

Cult Films

In the mid-70's, like many others, I was captivated by Roland Topor's animation film Fantastic Planet and slightly shocked by Alejandro Jodorowsky's two films, The Holy Mountain and El Topo (apparently El Topo was the first film to be associated with the word "cult"). What I didn't know until last night was that the two artists were connected with Arrabal -- that the talented Topor (who besides being a graphic artist also wrote the novel which was the basis of Polanski's 1976 film The Tenant (Topor's text online) and played Renfield in Herzog's Nosferatu) and Jodorowsky together with Arrabal had once formed an anarcho-surrealist group called the Panic Movement. Inspired by Artaud the three had performed chaotic theatre "mainly in Mexico" during the 1960s.

Another thing I didn't know: Jodorowsky was actually slated to be the first director of 'Dune' (before David Lynch picked up the project).

The End of Time

More accessible than the Edge interview, Discover magazine's December 2000 interview with Julian Barbour (author of The End of Time).

... There is no movement from one static arrangement of the universe to the next. Some configurations of the universe simply contain little patches of consciousness-- people-- with memories of what they call a past that are built into the Now. The illusion of motion occurs because many slightly different versions of us-- none of which move at all-- simultaneously inhabit universes with slightly different arrangements of matter. Each version of us sees a different frame-- a unique, motionless, eternal Now. "My position is that we are never the same in any two instants," Barbour says. "Obviously, as macroscopic human beings, we don't change much from second to second. And there's no question that we're the same people. I mean only an extreme madman would deny that," he says reassuringly. "To that extent, it's true that we do move from one Now to another. But in what sense can you say we're moving? The way I see it, not exactly the same information content, but nearly the same information content, is present in many different Nows." Nothing really moves, he says.

See too:

My 06.02.02 entry: Ammunition for the Deconstruction of Time.

Killing Time a Dutch documentary over Barbour by Ijsbrand van Veelen.

Chapter one of 'The End of Time' (NY Times).

Review of the book (NY Times).


(Thursday, 9 July 1998)

Today, without realising that it was exactly five years after the above entry, I visited Jules in Dordrecht.

Turkish gentlemen smoking opium on a tomb.

(A confluence of circumstances this evening resulted in my being able to finally fulfill a long term desire.)


(Friday, 10 July 1998)


Maurice and Nous. (Over the next phase of the Amsterdam 2.0 project. Part of the financing is in. Do we have enough budget to begin now?)

Lunch with Nous at Z & M.

Visited N.'s studio.

Coffee with Michael Murtaugh at the Urban Espresso Bar.

FRIDAY, 11 JULY 2003

(Saturday, 11 July 1998)

Re: Mammoth revival. Jalal writes in Vampires (Backward Movement chapter):

"We (almost) always resurrect another than the one who died."

Still talking about the premise of Max Frisch's play: The Firebugs (5 July) and the slow-motion-car-accident horror of inviting disaster into your home, N. mentions the place of prophecy in tragedy: Sophocles' Oedipus is told he will kill his father and marry his mother; in the hospital scene at the start of Topor and Polanski's 'The Tenant' Trelkovsky (unwittingly) sees himself and his future predicament.

Speaking with Michael Murtaugh yesterday about database design and programming got me so excited that I pulled out the venerable 'purple book' (Smalltalk-80 The Language) and downloaded the latest version of Squeak.

I don't have time for this.


(Sunday, 12 July 1998)

Spent the whole day playing around in Squeak.

SUNDAY, 13 JULY 2003

(Monday, 13 July 1998)

Discipline. Discipline. Discipline. Discipline.

Got up early. Finished reading Elias Canetti's play The Numbered which Stefan K. so graciously photocopied and bound for me a couple of summers ago (July 2001).

Read Philip K. Dick's 1978 lecture 'How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later' (Google link). This I downloaded last October. Even if you don't normally enjoy Dick's fiction this is amazing stuff, especially if you are interested in pre-Socratic philosophy and gnosticism (or time anomalies).

Strange... last time I Iooked this text was difficult to find. Now it seems to have proliferated all over the net.


I once wrote a story about a man who was injured and taken to a hospital. When they began surgery on him, they discovered that he was an android, not a human, but that he did not know it. They had to break the news to him. Almost at once, Mr. Garson Poole discovered that his reality consisted of punched tape passing from reel to reel in his chest. Fascinated, he began to fill in some of the punched holes and add new ones. Immediately, his world changed. A flock of ducks flew through the room when he punched one new hole in the tape. Finally he cut the tape entirely, whereupon the world disappeared. However, it also disappeared for the other characters in the story... which makes no sense, if you think about it. Unless the other characters were figments of his punched-tape fantasy. Which I guess is what they were.

MONDAY, 14 JULY 2003

(Tuesday, 14 July 1998)

Voluntary slavery = Pensum.

Four words:

Summer weather.

Moroccan cookies.

Exciting New Software

This is the sort of non-linear word processor that I like: MacJournal (Cocoa application. Don't be put off by the name. A lot of people are using it for non-journal project writing. And it's free.)


(Wednesday, 15 July 1998)


Jalal Toufic writes in (Vampires):

Raoul Ruiz's Un couple (tout à l'envers) is a palindrome that does not have the same meaning forward and backward: in one direction a woman wakes up her husband and prepares a meal, in the other she kills him.

Interesting. But what about the palindrome that occurs where there is no time (as in Barbour's theory) and existence is composed of separate frozen instants (nows)? In the middle of each of these moments one can legitimately wonder whether one is traveling forward or backward: every moment is perceived as a near death experience, a crisis. Every moment becomes a palindromic turning point.

Jalal again:

The vampire woke up and looked at the sunset. Around half an hour later, he was already uncertain whether he still had about eight hours till sunrise or about an half hour in the reverse direction of time till just before sunset.

Erika Greber in A Chronotope of Revolution: The Palindrome from the Perspective of Cultural Semiotics writes:

The genre of the palindrome, playful and ludic as it is, nonetheless has a strong implication of violence. In the work of its foremost practitioners, Velemir Khlebnikov and Vladimir Nabokov, as well as some of their postmodern successors, the palindrome is closely linked to death, cannibalism, beheading, and murder.

This morning I watched Michel Gondry's 'Sugar Water' clip for Cibo Matto. Amazing. Gondry, using a split screen and a palindromic effect, turns a violent moment (chronos topos) into the turning point of an elaborate pattern.


(Thursday, 16 July 1998)

Moroccan cookies

Groningen. Jente's birthday. N & I travelled up here yesterday to celebrate with J. and her family. Snuck out for a few hours to see if my favorite antiquariat bookstore had copies of Nabakov's An Invitation to a Beheading and Strindberg's A Dream Play. No such luck. I did, however, find a lovely hardcover edition of Artaud's The Theatre and its Double and a worn paperback of J. B. Priestly's 'Three Time Plays' (Dangerous Corner, Time and the Conways, I Have Been Here Before. See review links of the plays: 10 November 2002 entry).

Oh, and I bought a wayang golek (Indonesian rod puppet).


(Friday, 17 July 1998)

March 1964

Henry Corbin writes Mundus Imaginalis, an essay on the 'Alam al-Mithal' (the Imaginal Realm).

FRIDAY, 18 JULY 2003

(Saturday, 18 July 1998)

According to this article by Erik Davis, in the 70's Peter Lamborn Wilson worked at the same Iranian Academy of Philosophy that was (partly) founded by Henry Corbin.

Rogério came to Rotterdam so we could do some preparatory work for our film.

Watched Pasolini's Oedipus Rex.


(Sunday, 19 July 1998)

Bought an orchid. Read a play (Priestley's Dangerous Corner).

Constrained Literature

(Think Oulipo -- Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle.)

Searching for examples of line-unit palindromes (see 'Doppelgänger' below) I stumbled across this great table of forms at Spineless Interesting site. Must remember to go back for more.

(See too: Bibliography of Palindromic and Formally Perfect Literary Works.)


J.A. Lindon

Entering the lonely house with my wife
I saw him for the first time
Peering furtively from behind a bush --
Blackness that moved,
A shape amid the shadows,
A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
Revealed in the ragged moon.
A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have
Put him to flight forever --
I dared not
(For reasons that I failed to understand),
Though I knew I should act at once.

I puzzled over it, hiding alone,
Watching the woman as she neared the gate.
He came, and I saw him crouching
Night after night.
Night after night
He came, and I saw him crouching,
Watching the woman as she neared the gate.

I puzzled over it, hiding alone --
Though I knew I should act at once,
For reasons that I failed to understand
I dared not
Put him to flight forever.

A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have
Revealed in the ragged moon.
A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
A shape amid the shadows,
Blackness that moved.

Peering furtively from behind a bush,
I saw him for the first time,
Entering the lonely house with my wife.

SUNDAY, 20 JULY 2003

(Monday, 20 July 1998)

"Talk about public space!" Boy-oh-boy has this sort of public space caught on in a big way... Perusing Ward Cunningham's original wiki we find a Long List of Wiki Clones (is it up to date?) and another long list of Wiki-like Things. There is also an excellent list of Personal Wikis including a pointer to a page on wikis that will run on your palm pda.

Ward Cunningham's book The Wiki Way.

Read J. B. Priestley's 'Time and the Conways' (Priestley's take on J. W. Dunne's 'Serial Time').

Best line of the play (Kay Conway on her 40th birthday and feeling pessimistic): "There's a great devil in the universe, and we call it Time."

MONDAY, 21 JULY 2003

(Tuesday, 21 July 1998)

A Roman palindrome: 'In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni' (we go into the circle by night and are consumed by fire) is also the title of the last film of Guy Debord (reviewed).


(Thursday, 23 July 1998)

Spent a few hours in Delft this morning, then travelled on to Amsterdam. Found 'A Dream Play' by Strindberg as well as a book of Cocteau's plays. Had dinner with Jouke at Cafe de Jaren.


(Friday, 24 July 1998)

Read 'A Dream Play'. Not as good as I remember it. Want to re-read Sylvie and Bruno.

FRIDAY, 25 JULY 2003

(Saturday, 25 July 1998)

Harry Callahan. Eleanor. Chicago, 1949.

MONDAY, 28 JULY 2003

(Tuesday, 28 July 1998)

N. and I visited Zeeland this week-end to meet up with her sister and two Parisian friends who had decided to come up to Holland to buy 'Dutch bikes'. Thus a good part of Saturday was spent in lovely Middelburg: first in a bike store and then in a parking lot figuring out how to attach the 3 new purchases to a French car.

Saturday evening: On the beach near Domburg. From left to right: Rose, Anja (N.'s sister), Frank.

Sunday morning: A snail glides slowly by on the inside of our tent fly.


On the train home on Sunday I read Cocteau's play Orphée. At first I was quite surprised at the differences between the play and the film but since the play was produced in 1926 and the film released twenty-three years later (in 1949) I suppose it's more surprising that Cocteau managed to maintain his association with the theme over such a long period of time.

While some differences are merely technical -- in the film Orpheus decrypts the underworld's messages via his car radio, in the play he interrogates the spirit world via his horse's tapping hoof -- in many areas the film goes far beyond the scope of the play. In both play and film Cocteau uses a mirror as the underworld entrance but only in the film do we actually accompany Orpheus through the mirror on his necronautical adventure. And further: only in the film does Orphée fall in love with Death (in the shape of leather-clad Maria Casares).

This is not to say that the play is without charm. I particularly liked the complicated method whereby Death and her assistants 'take' Eurydice.

AZRAEL. The needle's moving past number five. Is Madame ready for the spool?

DEATH. Tie it appropriately and give me one end.

Azrael disappears into Eurydice's room and then returns with the spool. Death counts the number of steps between her chair and the door to Eurydice's room. At the doorway, she stops. Azrael hands her the spool which is shaped like a circular tape measure and wound with white thread, one end of which is now anchored in Eurydice's room.

AZRAEL. Raphael, the chronometer.

RAPHAEL. I forgot to bring it with me!

AZRAEL. Now we're in a fix.

DEATH. Don't get excited. There's another way...

She whispers to Azrael.

AZRAEL, stepping down to the footlights. Ladies and gentlemen. Death has requested me to ask the audience if there isn't someone in the theater who would kindly lend us a watch.

A man in the first row raises his hand.

Thank you sir. Raphael, would you hand me the gentleman's watch?

Raphael walks into the audience and takes the watch.

DEATH. Are you ready?

AZRAEL. Ready, Madame.

A drum rolls. The thread is wound on the spool; slowly it inches its way out of Eurydice's room into the metal box which Death holds in her hands. Azrael and Raphael stand behind Death, their backs turned. Azrael is counting. He holds one hand in the air like a referee at a boxing match. Raphael slowly goes through a set of hand signals, like a sailor practicing semaphore.


The drum rolls cease. Raphael freezes in position. The thread is taut. Death rushes into Eurydice's room. Whe she returns the bandage is no longer on her eyes and she carries a live dove which is attached to the end of the thread. The electrical apparatus is no longer buzzing.

DEATH. Quick now. Quick Raphael, the scissors!

She runs to the balcony.

Out here. Now, cut!

He cuts the thread. The dove flies into space.


(Wednesday, 29 July 1998)


A font that changes with the outside temperature.

(Type designers Erik van Blokland and Just van Rossum of LettError have designed a 'moveable' type for the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul...)


(Thursday, 30 July 1998)

The Other and the Other's Slaves

If, like me, you are interested Orientalism (or interested in paintings of lascivious Odalisques!) you may appreciate this site and this site.


(Friday, 31 July 1998)

Total Immersion Swimming

It's amazing... the instruction to "hide your head" has come today as something of an epiphany. Freestyle just got a lot easier. (I've ordered the Triathlon book and DVD.) Swimming will never be the same.

June 2003

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