I am ever so glad that the last couple days are over.

Time to recast. Replan. Redefine. Reincarnate.

Who knows what might get reinvented?

"The key requirement for sovereignty is that the country must have some territory that it calls its own, and hold on to it against all comers. Travelling potentates may well have what is called 'extraterritorial status,' meaning that whatever premises they occupy are, for the duration of the occupation, the sovereign territory of their country. This is certainly convenient. However, the country through which the potentates are travelling must agree to this status, and such agreement is rarely forthcoming unless a potentate's government holds some territory of its own somewhere..."

Strauss, Erwin. How To Start Your Own Country. 1984. (amazon US)


Change is a puppy born into the lap of truth. (JK)

Yesterday we went to the zoo and walked around, somewhat restless and stressed, looking for small furry animals to distract and amuse us. And we weren't satisified until, on the point of giving up, our route to the exit took us past the gorillas... and the toddling infant on the left.

Today we went shopping and I read the first book of Cordwainer Smith's Norstrilia (amazon US).


And it rained and the wind blew. And we did nothing but play games the whole day long. And it was not as much fun as it should have been.


Heavy Retrospect

7:30 A.M. The sky lightens while it continues to rain. Reading Jouke's 'maudlin' and musical reminiscences on NQPAOFU this morning makes me want to go online and re-create my own 1975 with a MP3 of the final track of the Who's Quadrophenia, 'Love, Reign O'er Me'...

... And I wonder if I interpret JK's Vito Acconci reference (October 1) correctly. Realising (as the artist) that you are not happy with where you are (the retrospective) seems to have the (undesirable) effect that you rush things (in your work) -- and start speeding forward towards the finish line (which is death)...


Thank you to everyone who sent me mail and called over the last couple of days. Your kind words and advice have been greatly appreciated.

I went back to Groningen today (for the day) to settle things.

On the way up I finished the second book of Cordwainer Smith's 'Norstrilia'. On the way back home I cracked open Stephenson's Cryptonomicon (amazon US). It's been lying on my desk all summer, untouched, its virginity saved for some tropical vacation fantasy that never happened (much to L.'s chagrin). Well boys and girls, the time has arrived to read it.

As they say: Woo hoo!


Spent the day in 'Super Recovery Mode': reading Cryptonomicon (My God, it's a hell of a lot of fun!) and obsessively tracking down new German board games for my collection.

And true to my usual 'super recovery' form I did nothing else. Nothing.


The first printed book (1452-1456) and the first web site (1990).


Eavesdrop: The water which falls in drops from the eaves of a house.

According to this article the Berger-Liaw Neural Network Speaker-Independent Speech Recognition System can recognize speech better than any human being--an advance that brings the possiblility of a compleat voice transcription of *everything* a person says in his or her life a step closer.

Imagine being able to search and process everything you ever said? Imagine looking for and finding semantic and emotional patterns in your history of language interactions?

Imagine having a history of your own thought? Imagine having a history of everyone else's thought? What possibilities would this knowledge afford?


What do you need to record the world's discussions?

I spent a half hour searching the (was: DejaNews) site this morning looking for documentation as to how big their current operation is... I wasn't very successful. I guess this sort of information is considered a secret. The only intelligence I could find on the subject is a January 1997 SunWorld article by George Lawton on internet archiving. Way back then:

"DejaNews runs on two sets of machines, one performing database operations, the other providing the WWW interface. The database and web machines are dual 133-MHz Pentium systems running Linux SMP with up to 256 megabytes of RAM, as well as multiple one- to four-gigabyte hard disk drives."

A much more modest setup than one would expect given the size of Usenet in 1997:

"Usenet newsgroups were first started in 1979 as a way for people to exchange ideas or problems and solutions. DejaNews was formed when programmer Steve Madere was looking for a killer application for a new text indexing system he had developed. He settled on indexing the newsgroups and began archiving in March 1995. He went public on the Web with it two months later. Initially it focused on key newsgroups such as the comp hierarchy used to exchange technical information. In January 1996, it began archiving the significantly bulkier alt, soc, and talk hierarchies. The archive currently indexes 15,000 newsgroups and has close to 80 million messages online that require 120 gigabytes of disk space of storage. According to NetPartners' Usenet storage space calculator, 774 megabytes per day of Usenet postings are added, but that includes binary files that are not archived by DejaNews due to storage and policy reasons."

How big is Usenet today? According to this page, tracking the Remarq East Newsfeeder, almost a million articles (980, 492) were posted yesterday (October 6 1999) or 58.88 gigabytes of information. I wonder how many of those gigabytes are binary images/software and how many gigabytes are 'plain text'?

See also: Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive.


Extempore: (Spoken, done) without preparation; off-hand; speak extempore (without notes).

Given the affordances of digital sensing and storge in this environment of ours do you think we should continue to make a distinction between (casual) conversation and publishing?


Cryptonomicon. I'm 200 pages into it now and I must say that I'm enjoying it immensely. Yesterday it got me digging out and playing with my old (11/93) RSA key pair and then downloading and installing PGP 6.5.1 in order to generate a new set of keys.

Compared to the the last version (2.6) of MacPGP that I used (that just pasted a window interface on a command line), PGP 6.5.1 integrates amazingly well with the Finder, Eudora and Netscape. You want to have a bit of privacy? US and Canadian users can download a copy from MIT. European users (and the rest of the planet) can download a copy from PGP international.

Social Skills

Part 1 of the FAQ 'What is Usenet?' ends with the following definition of 'social skills' by Nick Szabo:

"Those who have never tried electronic communication may not be aware of what a "social skill" really is. One social skill that must be learned, is that other people have points of view that are not only different, but *threatening*, to your own. In turn, your opinions may be threatening to others. There is nothing wrong with this. Your beliefs need not be hidden behind a facade, as happens with face-to-face conversation. Not everybody in the world is a bosom buddy, but you can still have a meaningful conversation with them. The person who cannot do this lacks in social skills."

Nick Szabo's Home Page (Smart Contracts and more!)


Ralph Waldo Emerson said: All men plume themselves on the improvement of society, and no man improves.

How we pride ourselves on our concerns! Our concern for education, our concern for the lot of the poor, the lot of the rich, the lot of aids sufferers, the lot of young, the lot of unwed mothers, the lot of the environment, the lot of whales and seals...

I'm Glad I'm this Old

If you were 43, had grown up in Vancouver, had your first job at the Vancouver Aquarium (1972), and spent your youth scuba diving and reading books by John Lilly, you too would grin ever time you used the word 'whales'. And you would probably shiver if you listened to a sample from Paul Horn's 1972 recording, Inside II, with its spacey Killer Whale tracks...


Quiet day. Started to play the Kosmos game, 'Caeser and Cleopatra', with Loes. Stopped after she said that I take too much time thinking. She's right, even though the game's mechanics appeal to me, it's not really my cup of tea.

Speaking of tea. I've been drinking pots and pots of genmaicha spiked with a couple of extra teaspoons of sencha. This is remarkable because I've never really liked genmaicha (a Japanese green tea with roasted rice). Have I simply aquired the taste or is it a matter of season?


" we begin, so shall we go."

Spent most of the day finishing a last memo to the regents at Media-GN in which I outline a number of curriculum alternatives for them. While writing I'm amazed at how angry and emotional I still feel about the whole situation up there.

Drank lots of genmaicha tea.


A Dinner at the Crossroads

Jouke and his family have been in the Netherlands the last couple of days to visit relatives, stock up on tools and supplies, visit the doctor/dentist, and arrange various legal issues. This evening he was able to squeeze in time for us to have dinner together, so I grabbed a train up to Amsterdam and met him (cheerful, with a glass of jenever in his hand) at an old rendezvous of ours, De Jaren.

It was good to see him face-to-face. We ate and talked for hours, about our sites and some of Y-O-U-R-S (external links); about our futures; about art and IT; about connoisseurship and collecting; about epinions and auctions.

Low light, but still good to see Jouke face to face.

We also discussed our failures. Or, upon reflection, the single failure that we have witnessed as artist-entrepreneurs: follow-up. Should artists ensure follow-up on their production? (Should artists be faulted for the mis-management of their own affairs?) For the artist, ideas ship just as easily and successfully as physical products (and we all know, real artists always ship). But whether or not we as 'real artists' should feel obligated to ensure follow-up is a big question. I guess the answer is yes if we're feeling (like this evening) slightly 'frustrated' by its absence.

Last March 8 on NQPAOFU, Jouke wrote:

"Paul and I have had memorable dinners from Vilnius to San Francisco and from Copenhagen to Grenoble--tonight we added Scheveningen..."

Certainly the breadth and heights of our disscusions have corresponded to the longitudes and the latitudes of our dinners together over the years, but what now at these (Amsterdam) crossroads?

Which way forward?

This evening we discussed ideas for new net services. We discussed ideas for very special workshops designed for both art students as well as business people. We talked about the market for educational 'brokerages'.

And then I admitted that I'm tempted at the moment to walk away from all the *internet and educational protocol* that I've involved myself with over the last couple of years and head back into the purely unplugged business of Art making with a capital 'A'. Classical and elite. And focused on my own life and death issues.

Hopefully sometime between the 'womb and the tomb' the time will come when we are able to choose AND follow-through.


Discipline and Diversion

Diversion (OED). Deviation; diverting of attention, manoeuvre to secure this, feint; recreation, pleasant distraction, pastime.

Since last weekend, when I wrote a memo for Media-GN outlining alternatives to my own curriculum for the next MFA (with one of the alternatives focusing on hardware interfaces), I've spent most of my online hours (ie. most of my time) checking out what people have been doing with Lego Mindstorms. It's an understatement to say that I've been distracted. I've also been very impressed.

This Forbes article, 'Letting Go of Lego,' provides a good overview of the contemporary Mindstorms mindset.

"One visitor used Noga's LegOS to make a bar-code reader. Another is building an unmanned airborne vehicle to track animals."

I'm not sure what interests me more, the power of the community or the power of the robots that the community is building using what many consider to be simply a toy.

Consider, for example, this scanning tunnelling robot.

I wish I'd known about Mindstorms last February * when I was asked to rebuild an old work of mine called 'Predator Mark' (1995) for the exhibition 'Private Room, Public Space'. The original 'Predator Mark' was an autonomous device which sprayed bobcat urine (very rich in signalling pheromones) on a tree once every couple of hours. My one and only robot. It would have been cool to have remade it in lego.

* (See Alamut context: 21.02.98 - Solitude as Strategy).

Instead, I ended up symbolizing the idea in a new little work, 'Friends & Enemies', that I installed together on a wall with two other old works, a pair of 'ideological' banners painted in Pakistan in 1992, black with white arabic script, one related to the 'Jungle Book', the other to 'Moby Dick'.

Friends & Enemies. 1999.

Of further interest today: A page of supplementary material for a lecture on classical etholgical experiments which is part of a course on the 'biological basis of behavior.'


Looking out the window dreaming...

...(if I had an aquarium) I'd love to keep cuttlefish.

Saw that Peter Merholz has been appointed as creative director of This is wonderful news!


Finished updating Alamut with entries for 9-14 October.

Mitsu Hadeishi over at Synthetic Zero (October 14 entry) has given the subject of follow through (12.10.99) some more thought.

Pheromonic Fix

Pheromones over IP? Digiscents plans to deliver scent over the net.

Pray tell sister, do they know the name: 'Des Esseintes'?

"With the help of his vaporizers, he injected into the room an essence composed of ambrosia, Mitcham lavender, sweet-pea, compound bouquet--an essence which, if distilled by a true artist, well deserves the name bestowed on it of "extract of meadow flowers"; then, into this meadow, he introduced a carefully modulated infusion of tuberose, orange and almond blossom, and instantly artificial lilacs came into being, while lindens swayed in the breeze, shedding on the ground about them their pale emanations, mimicked by the London extract of tilia.

"This scene, once arranged in a few imposing lines, melting to the horizon under his closed eyes, he insinuated a light rain of human, not to say half feline, essences, smacking of the petticoat, announcing woman powdered and painted--the stephanotis, the ayapana, the opoponax, the chypre, the champaka, the sarcanthus, over which he superimposed a dash of seringa, to suggest, amid the factitious life of make-up and make-belief which they evoked, a natural flower of hearty, uncontrolled laughter, of the joys of existence in the eye of the sun.

"Then he let these fragrent waves escape by a ventilator, keeping only the country scent, which he renewed and reinforced, strengthening the dose so as to force it to recur like the burden of a song at the end of each strophe.

"Little by little, the feminine aroma disappeared, the country was left without inhabitants. Then, on the enchanted horizon, rose a row of factories whose tall chimneys flamed at their tops like so many bowls of punch.

"A breath as of manufactories, of chemical works now floated on the breeze which he raised by waving fans, though Nature still continued to sweeten with her fragrant emanations this foulness of the atmosphere."

(Des Esseintes was the aesthete whose house and habit were the subject of J. K. Huysmans' 1884 novel, Against the Grain. The passage quoted is from chapter 10.)


Slept in Amsterdam and dreamt that I'd discovered a very exotic tea in a shop. Closer inspection revealed that it had the consistency of powered mud and contained dried marine worms and shrimps. Looked interesting but I didn't get a chance to taste it. Spent the rest of a very pleasant day with Loes. On the train home read excerpts from the Journals of Denton Welch.

FYI: Exact Change Press is republishing a number of surreal and remarkable books, including two of Denton Welch's novels, 'In Youth is Pleasure' and 'A Voice Through a Cloud'; 'The Death and Letters of Alice James' (Henry and William's morbid sister, described by the publisher as 'an artist of the deathbed'); and Leonora Carrington's 'The Hearing Trumpet.'


Brilliant sunshine and warm weather in Rotterdam. Loes left this morning for a week's vacation to Leningrad. 'Leningrad', a location that doesn't exist anymore but which sounds decidedly more romantic and mystical than St. Petersburg, a location that didn't exist back when Leningrad existed but certainly then sounded more appealing... Anyway, whatever you call it it's freezing there now with the occasional snow flurry. Good that she and I went shopping yesterday for a new woollen hat and shawl.

While she's away I can watch the weather in Leningrad from the comfort of my office through the office window of the Soros Foundation.

Trade and Language

The Etymology of the word Tea:

The word for tea in most of mainland China (and also in Japan) is 'cha'. (Hence its frequency in names of Japanese teas: Sencha, Hojicha, etc.) But the word for tea in Fujian province is 'te' (prounounced approximately 'tay'). As luck would have it, the first mass marketers of tea in the West were the Dutch, whose contacts were in Fujian. They adopted this name, and handed it on to most other European countries. The two exceptions are Russia and Portugal, who had independent trade links to China. The Portuguese call it 'cha', the Russians 'chai'. Other areas (such as Turkey, South Asia and the Arab countries) have some version of 'chai' or 'shai'.

'Tay' was the pronunciation when the word first entered English, and it still is in Scotland and Ireland. For unknown reasons, at some time in the early eighteenth century the English changed their pronunciation to 'tee'. Virtually every other European language, however, retains the original pronunciation of 'tay'.

From the FAQ


Shit! People are starting to offer me teaching jobs again.

Information and Experience

From Idries Shah's Learning How to Learn:

"What people need is information, more often than they realise... With information and experience, man may make more reliable judgements about people, ideas and things. The less information he has, the less likely he is to be able to understand. To try and teach anyone who is in a condition of insufficient information is futile, never attempted by real teachers, and wasteful of time and energy to both parties."

I'm beginning to think that it is the educators and regents of our art schools who lack the information and experience necessary to understand our contemporary (art) world, NOT the students.

Steal this Link (thanks Fred)

The good Fred Pyen, over at Metascene, posted this link Friday:

Vintage Vinyl is making the complete text of Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book available online.

Which is cool, but also slightly disturbing. I mean, Hoffman's message isn't the same when you put his book online. The experience of the book (which in this case is perfectly encapsulated in the message contained in its title: "If you are are interested in me, then 'rip me off'"), just doesn't translate when transposed to another media. Personally, I've always considered 'Steal This Book' as *the* canonical example of McLuhan's adage: 'The Medium is the Message.'

Bet you won't see 'affording the possibility of being ripped off' listed as one of things that books do better than e-texts, but it is true...

Long Gone

I *wasted* a few hours last night trying to find signs of old friends and aquaintances online. Seems like most of the people that I knew 20+ years ago are either profoundly unwired or dead. True a couple of the art types have left traces of themselves in outdated exhibition announcements and tables of film credits; and I did stumble across the On Edge site of the unwavering Elspeth Sage and Paul Wong in the course of my searches; but where-o-where did everybody else go?

When's the last time you read the story of Rip van Winkle?

I can not magine that it will be easy to lose people in the next millenium. For surely the next generation will be able to check on the 'state' of everyone they have ever known with little or no trouble. Who knows what that will that mean for them as they grow old? For us, the past and its people are gone. We're beyond Rip van Winkle. We, the Last Mohicans...


One big happy community.

Who doesn't look at their referrer logs? This morning mine contained a link to Geegaw a new (at least for me) and very clever and well written weblog/journal that pointed to my (old) page of project descriptions and said this:

A yummy thing, art as it should be done. (Much more satisfying to read about it in concise paragraphs, than to actually have to look at it, I think).

Thanks for the compliment, (I guess...)


Here's an update that everyone seems to have missed. NYU's Ken Perlin has uploaded a new demo of Quikwriting, a much faster and a much more relaxed method for inputing text on your Palm Pilot than Graffiti (that is, once you have learned it, it has a very steep learning curve).

While the first demo (29.04.99) was a proof of concept, the new demo actually works with your Palm applications and includes a plastic insert which you can print out and stick under your pilot's bezel (looks tribal!) to help with the 'learning curve.' What's it like? To Quikwrite is to make small circular motions with a stylus that you never need to lift from the screen. I downloaded it last night and have been playing with it since then (as a matter of fact I wrote this with it).


Yet another bright but chilly fall day. Fourth in-a-row.

You know.

The stuff you go back for. It sticks in your head, a day later, two days later it's still there. A week goes by and it pops up, you remember it. It bothers you, so you go back and find it.

Just like in wartime. It is going to cost you to go back. But go back you must.

The Death of the Author

The other day while browsing, my eye fell upon the following passage about the play, Alice in Bed. What caught my attention was page author's remark that the 'Proustian' narrative could only be cut off by death and how this was (or is?) considered by some to be a mercy. My eye browsed further but the image stuck. This morning I found myself going back for it.

"The elder Henry (a ponderous Victorian patriarch) was himself a gentleman-writer, and he fostered in at least three of his children an astonishingly articulate hypersophistication. The four "writing Jameses" -- Henry, Sr., William, Henry, Jr. and Alice -- were graphimaniacal phenomena, turning all their minutest experiences into words-about-experience. The entire family anticipated by a generation the literary accomplishment of Marcel Proust, who transmuted his life (during years he spent in a cork-lined bedroom) into an all-but endless narrative discourse that could be cut off only by the death of the author. Some consider this death a mercy, and the now fashionable metaphor, "the death of the author," has come to characterize the modern condition of fiction. But the historical Alice James left no doubt that she welcomed the literal death that brought her acute physical and emotional torments to a close."

Written by Susan Sontag, 'Alice in Bed' is about the metaphor-as-illness of Alice James, the little sister of William and Henry. As mentioned last Saturday, a selection of Alice James letters has been republished by Exact Change Press and is available from Amazon as The Death and Letters of Alice James. (If you are really interested in the subject, Amazon also carries Jean Strouse's study Alice James: A Biography.)

Metaphor-as-illness: the belief that words and images can make you sick. (I believe.)

Waiting for a Buying Moment

I was hoping to watch the DOW crash when I turned on the television last night and watched CNBC for the first time in about a year (yes, that's right, it was the first time I looked at television in about a year). It didn't happen (but boy was I surprised to learn from my CNBC friends that yesterday was the 12th anniversary of Black Monday. Who would have believed it?) Turned out that the Consumer Price Index figures for September were in line with expectations and Alan Greenspan's address to the Financial Markets Conference contained no indication of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike. So much for the current market nervousness. Rumor has it that the European Bank is going to raise interest rates on Thursday though. So stay tuned.

As a reader rather than a television watcher, I must confess that when I do watch TV, I find it pretty amazing... Television watcher, if I am what I read then you are what you watch.

Flash Crowds

I submitted a note about quikwriting to /. And joined the queue--at the time of my posting there were already 342 submissions pending. They ARE a busy folk. And yesterday on Robot Wisdom I read that Slashdot's article on Britannica brought the encyclopedia's server to its knees. Hmm. I wonder how much the last edition weighs?


Laughter is the best medicine...

... Unless, of course, you happen to be the brunt of the joke. But then again, they say that if you can't laugh at yourself...

[ASIDE: Okay Peter, I'll give Davenetics a whirl. But I can't help thinking that their dot-com name *sounds* an AWFUL lot like Dianetics. Which is why it is funny from one perspective and painful from another, right? Or am I just imagining things?]

Glass House

Detail of 'Glass House' by S. Eisenstein (1929-1930).
From: Russian Utopia, A Depository (good link, follow it.)

Growing Up in Public

(Today, October 21, is Jam Echelon day.)

Growing up in public is certainly one of the more fascinating 'patterns' found in modern times. The product of mass media and youth culture, it was a youthful pop star, Lou Reed, who gave the pattern its name in 1980:

They're gonna do you in public,
Cause you're growing up in public
They're gonna do it to you in public,
Cause you're growing up in public with your pants down.

The message? Growing up (becoming) is a tender matter, requiring care and attention. The market place is rough. To grow up (to change) is to be vulnerable. When you are vulnerable it hurts when you're getting f**ked.

Don't believe me? Ask the nearest molting crustacean.


Warning! The notes that follow are slightly more deranged than usual.


Over the last 24 hours I've been thinking about opinions, specifically the difference between opinions cast on things and opinions cast on persons.

I've decided that we are all enchanted. Opinions are the spells, and the magic can be used for good or bad. This raises many questions:

1. - It is our right to formulate a private epinion on anything. And to publish that epinion. But is it *right* to publish epinions on private individuals? And what does it mean if we do?

2. - What has happened to the difference between a product and a person? (Or was that difference only a historical anomaly -- another historical enchantment?) As far as the market is concerned, the artist, the guru and the service-oriented entrepreneur are as much a brand as the shiny logo on my new digital camera.

3. - Artists have always been good at turning themselves into product; one could argue that artists and their ilk were born to do this. (Consider the spell, 'This is my body, which is given for your sake...' -- Luke 22:19.) What I'm questioning is the current net vogue whereby *everyone else* is busy developing and marketing themselves as a brand, with those first over the dam passing advice back to those who are following. Does this mean that everyone is becoming an artist?

4. - Do consumer opinions and reviews improve a product? I'd say no, not directly, but they influence others, both positively and negatively. If people don't buy a product, it is forced to either change or die. Thus opinions force the development of *better* products.

5. - Can consumer opinions and reviews improve artists in the same fashion as they help improve products? I sincerely hope so. Can they improve people? I don't know. What do you think?

6. - Will people continue to exist in an age that blurs the distinction between the corporation, the public figure and the private individual? What is the difference between a public figure and a private figure?

7. - Public figures seem to be served by attention even if the attention is only coming from their detractors. To a public figure any attention is good attention. True or false?

8. - If culture is our nature -- are opinions our currency?

9. - If opinions are our currency (as Ben Auburn, who writes in yesterday's Atlantic Unbound would have us believe) then it would seem logical that he or she who has a lot of opinions would have a lot of capital. Or not?

Enchantments, currencies and 'webs of trust' are like maps or guidebooks to the territory. When the territory is new there is no arguing that they can be very useful and even a great comfort.

But the trade is a trade (off).

For a spell the territory is traded for a map. A good trade when the map is beautiful and the territory ugly. A bad trade when the map is inaccurate and the territory quick.


Loes arrives back from Leningrad tonight.


Weblog behaviors: (1) Linking, (2) Name-dropping, (3) Propagating information, (4) Re-contextualizing experience, (5) Opinion-ating, (6) Souvenir collecting, (7) Stroking, (8) Stroke soliciting, (9) Dialog-ing, (10) Brand building, (11) Displaying, (12) Prioritizing.

I was part of the exam commission yesterday of 4 design students from the Sandberg Institute, Marcel van der Drift, Ruben Abels, Madelinde Hageman and Fred Inklaar. Each of them made a half presentation at the Society of Old and New Media. The other members of the commission were the theater maker and DasArts director, Ritsaert ten Cate and the design critic Max Bruinsma. The work was good.

Later I went to Rudy Luijters' opening at the Paviljoens in Almere.


The Wild, Wild, West

Loes came back loaded with stories of bad food, bombing murders, demotivated hotel personnel and fabulous art. She also came back with a hard copy of the local english language paper, 'The St. Petersburg Times' which, interestingly enough, possesses an entirely different flavor than the paper's web offering. Compare the web site's club guide with the dead tree version (Note: the OMON are special police units):

Fiesta Latina -- The goons are pretty menancing so keep your tango clean.

Griboyedov -- Located in a bomb shelter and operated by Dva Samaliota, this club is generally full and cool, with a good habit of booking alternative bands to mix with its habitual rave and techno. With lots of art exhibitions and various other happenings, this is one of the best in the city. The OMON thinks so too, which is why you may find yourself lying on the floor.

Hollywood Nites -- Overpriced and intimidating hooker/mobster joint. Pleasant but pricey diner/bar downstairs. The goons have a real attitude problem if you didn't roll up in an enormous Mercedes. If you did, you can do whatever you like.

Luna -- This place would spell certain and swift death if it wasn't for the security, which makes check-in at an El-Al flight look relaxed.

Mama -- Decadent house party feel with an element of personal danger. Extreme drum 'n' bass/jungle downstairs, while things upstairs are a bit more mellow - except when the OMON arrive - but just as dark.

Pyramid -- Egyptian interior (obviously), four stories, seven or eight rooms, loads of New Russians. It's possible if you refuse certain, ahem, in-house services, you will be asked to leave. Do so.

Loes's verdict on Leningrad/St. Petersburg: 'Nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.'


Bought a used copy of the 'Oxford Book of Essays.' Played a couple of games of Klaus Teuber's 'Entdecker.' Cooked chinese.


Victory, Love, Conquest...

Completely forgot that I had an appointment in Zoetermeer this morning. That is, until the telephone rang and I found myself apologizing and rushing off to the station to try and make the best of a bad situation.

The meeting was to discuss the restoration of 'Victory-Love-Conquest, A Monument to Rape' a work that I made in 1992 for the Allocations exhibition and that was later bought by the municipality of Zoetermeer. The pair of 5-meter-tall gray whale jaw bones (which form the arch in the picture below) still stand at the site, but the work's canoes were stolen years ago.

Zoetermeer is anxious to restore the work together with a number of other pieces (an Ian Hamilton Finlay, a Dennis Adams, a Rob Scholte), and I told them that I'm happy to oblige, but find that deep down inside I've mixed feelings about it. It is only a question of time before all the pieces are vandalized again. I hate the fact that public art is such a helpless target in today's urban environment. One day, I'd like to build an artwork that can fight back (and fight back hard), just to show that love can be cruel too...

Victory--Love--Conquest, A Monument to Rape. 1992.


Curiosity -- Web Society

I don't know how it happened -- but in the fray of the last couple of weeks my 'cat' seems to have got himself killed. Out of respect and mourning, I'm going to be minding my own business for a while. There will be no dialogue or opinion-ating on Alamut. You can expect updates but they will be short and circumspect.


Today's spell: 'Think Local, Act Local.'

"This is what we did, and it worked for us, but who knows what will happen to you."

Under this motto, Media-GN's last MFA graduates will open their exhibition 'Your Mileage May Vary' tomorrow in Groningen, simultaneously with their new website.

At this moment there seems to be no english descriptions of their work on the site. However, Eva Knutz, one of artists, has created an interactive fairy tale in english, which you can listen to (long distance) from the comfort of your own home or office.

Cindy Wood
A Dramatic Telephone Line
+31 50 313-2182 also houses Eva's infamous Persecuter-Victim-Rescuer 'mixing panel' animation (shockwave 640k).

Thou Shalt Not Hyperfocus

I want my attention back...

Song of the 90's. When Bill Buxton said, "I want my desktop back,"* six years ago at the first Doors of Perception conference, he was NOT referring to the top of his desk, which had been taken over by all manner of electronic devices, nor to his computer desktop, which had been taken over by desktop video; he was simply claiming back his attention. At least that's how I read it (today). YMMV.

Prof. Buxton's talk was entitled, The Importance of Ubiquitous Media.

"One of the tenets of Ubiquitous Computing is that it is inappropriate to channel all of your computational activities through a single workstation."

Yes. Yes. Yes.

*Note: A year after the conference, in 1994, "I want my desktop back," became something of an in-crowd catch-phrase when it was used as a musical sample on Mediamatic's award winning DoP CD-ROM.


Was in Groningen for the opening of the 'Your Mileage May Vary' exhibition. Despite a headache, managed to read a good part of Susan Sontag's 'Illness as Metaphor' on the train home.

"Nobody conceives of cancer the way tuberculosis was thought of -- as a decorative, often lyrical death. Cancer is a rare and still scandalous subject for poetry; and it seems unimaginable to aestheticize the disease."

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Page created: 17/10/99
Last modified: 25/6/01