Saturday, 31 January 2009


San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Photographer: Manfred Werner

A version of this story appeared in the November 1991 issue of OMNI magazine.

This version of the story concerns an unnamed girl and an old man named Skinner who live in the one-room shack built on top of the first cable tower of the Bridge.

The story takes place in a near-future where the United States is in decline, having been negatively affected by some event referred to as the "devaluations." Skinner has lived on the bridge, and in his room, for a long time, but the girl arrived only three months ago.

The story reveals that, long ago, the Bay Bridge had been closed to vehicle traffic (for three years) and that the pressure to find a place to live had forced people to seize the bridge and set up a squatters' town there. The community that arose was vibrant and was watched by the world's media. The town grew in a piecemeal fashion, built from salvaged parts as well as material donated by, apparently, more wealthy nations. The girl is interested in the history of the bridge town, and at the end of the story Skinner has a dream in which he remembers being at the front of the crowd who seized the bridge (Skinner is the first onto the bridge) and scaled the towers.

Hut in the woods

Thursday, 29 January 2009

HH Holmes' Murder Castle

images from

Winchester Mystery House

credit for photograph:
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA.

Sarah Winchester (1839–1922), heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune, grief-stricken at the death of her husband and infant daughter, was told by a medium that she must move to California and never stop building on a giant house, to appease the ghosts of all those who had died by her family’s evil rifles. Which she did. The Winchester Mystery House, now a tourist attraction in San Jose, California, built over 38 years, has 160 rooms, 40 staircases, 950 doors, and 10,000 windows.
“My interest in the mansion,” Jeremy Blake said in the catalogue for the 2004 Winchester show, “is rooted in an understanding that the site is more than just a monument to one person’s eccentric fears—it is the tangible outcome of a pileup of social and historical narratives.”

The Painter's Studio; A Real Allegory

Graph 1

Graph 1
. 29.5cm x 21cm. Graphite, digital print on paper

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Simon's words

Rebus is the instrumental case of res: things can be used like words and words like things. Interpretation has everything to learn from "the linguistic tricks of children, who sometimes treat words as though they were objects, and moreover invent new languages and artificial syntactic forms". Kittler: 1990

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Michel Foucault. Of Other Spaces (1967), Heterotopias.

First there are the utopias. Utopias are sites with no real place. They are sites that have a general relation of direct or inverted analogy with the real space of Society. They present society itself in a perfected form, or else society turned upside down, but in any case these utopias are fundamentally unreal spaces.

There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places - places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society - which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality.

cardboard city

The motif of Skinner’s room recurs through William Gibson’s Bridge trilogy as a place of refuge. It is a shack knocked together from salvage, suspended high on the bridge tower, a place where things and images, old tech and new tech are recombined into makeshift forms. A space for assimilation, where stories are woven together and electricity applied. It is the birds-nest vantage point of a post-devaluation community. In Gibson’s world metaphor is ‘a component like a capacitor’. Here the thought-form fiction of Skinner’s Room is the imaginary location to collect the works manifest in this real life show.