Thursday, 30 April 2009


‘The system grows old without letting time escape; it garners age - the new emblems are caught up and subsumed by old ones; the baker molds memory...Time enters into the dough, a prisoner of its folds, a shadow of its folding over’ (Serres 1991: 81)

Tomb of the freedman baker, Eurysaces, Porta Maggiore
One of the most striking features of this 33-foot-tall tomb is the series of cylindrical holes along the sides. This is very different from the classical Roman styles of tombs, and thus, allows Eurysaces’ tomb to stand out on the very busy Via Praenestina and Via Labicana the streets that intersected next to the monument. It was later discovered that these unusual holes are the exact size of one unit of grain. Wikipedia

The route from local time to global time, from the instant to time, from the present to history, is unforeseeable; it is not integrable by reason, as analysis has shaped it. It seems to go crazily, no matter where, and drunkenly, no matter how. If the baker knew how to write, she would lazily follow the fly’s flight, the capricious foldings of pr
oteins, the coastline of Brittany or of Ile d’Ouessant, the fluctuating fringe of a mass of clouds. (Serres 1991: 82).


Prometheus Unbound

To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.

At the centre of the Demigorgon's culminating spell, is a remarkably compressed invocation of existence constituted 'as it is perceived' by the mind in its struggle for self-actualisation... Working with the terms of formal philosophy in 'On Life', Shelley says that 'Mind cannot create... it can only perceive". Demigorgon claims otherwise, stressing mind in its desiring and projective mode and in its determination to construct what it desires from the wreckage of history itself. 'Hope creates' the thought as 'thing'.

The Cambridge companion to Shelley

By Timothy Morton

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

historiated initial/ winchester bible

an image is an agent

Shape the safe made when burglars dropped it off the roof

Melencolia/ true colours

armes fausses (false arms) or armes à enquérir (arms of enquiry)

Melencolia coloured in retrospectively according to the heraldic convention of hatching. The noonday demon has goldfinch plumage and the dog looks like the now extinct thylacine.

But deep down this eternity of man through the stars is melancholy, and sadder still this sequestration of brother-worlds through the barrier of space. 
Louis Auguste Blanqui, L'éternité par les astres.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Zangrius, Rimbaud: hatching, tricking

Zangrius developed the earliest hatching system in heraldry. Particularly noteworthy about this chart is, that the metals gold and silver, and the colours red, blue, green and black, are rendered according to the same system of hatching by means of dots and stripes, as is being used to this day in modern heraldry.

The system of heraldry has two main methods to designate the tinctures of arms: hatching and tricking, i. e. designation of tinctures by means of abbrevations or signs.

A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
which buzz around cruel smells,

Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
in anger or in the raptures of penitence;

U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
the peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;

O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
silences crossed by [Worlds and by Angels]:
–O the Omega! the violet ray of [His] Eyes!

. . .

A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: voyelles,
Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes:
A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes
Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

Golfes d'ombre; E, candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes,
Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d'ombelles;
I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles
Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes;

U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
Paix des pâtis semés d'animaux, paix des rides
Que l'alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux;

O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,
Silences traversés des [Mondes et des Anges]:
—O l'Oméga, rayon violet de [Ses] Yeux!

Moholy-Nagy: The Telephone Paintings

In 1922 I ordered by telephone from a sign factory five paintings in porcelain enamel. I had the factory's color chart before me and I sketched my paintings on graph paper. At the other end of the telephone the factory supervisor had the same kind of paper, divided into squares. He took down the dictated shapes in the correct position. (It was like playing chess by correspondence.) One of the pictures was delivered in three different sizes, so that I could study the subtle differences in the color relations caused by the enlargement and reduction.

telephone paintings


This photograph of Prinzregent Luitpold Karl Joseph Wilhelm Ludwig von Bayern was the first ever photograph successfully transmitted by wire. This was achieved by Dr Arthur Korn (1870-1945), of the University of Munich, on 17 October 1906. 

Thurn und Taxis and the Trystero


similar images

similar goethes

Friday, 24 April 2009



We favour the simple expression of the complex thought.
We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal.
We wish to reassert the picture plane.
We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.

Gottlieb, Rothko, Newman 19


concrete dreams installation 2008

Thursday, 23 April 2009


We are the children of Fritz Lang and Werner von Braun.
We are the link between the ‘20s and the ‘80s.
All change in society
passes through a sympathetic collaboration
tape recorders, synthesizers and telephones.
Our reality is an electronic reality

warning signs

warning signs



yes, she said, yes

yes, yes, I know

photographs of animals now extinct

schomburgks deer

syrian wild ass



bubal hartebeest


Electrotherapeutic cage

Electrotherapeutic cage

Most sanatoria contained rooms full of the latest equipment needed for fashionable therapies. Electricity was particularly modish. The sanatorium at the Steinhof mental hospital had an electrotherapeutic cage very similar to this one. The patient would stand inside the cage, which was wrapped in current-carrying wire. The wire produced an electrical field, which would create strong currents within the patient’s body without causing discomfort. Doctors believed this increased the general metabolism and was particularly helpful in cases of hysteria.

Madness and Modernity

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


wittgenstein's eyes

By 'progress', Wittgenstein would mean a change for the better, an improvement, in the sense of something more effective. For example: if you want it to rain, do this rather than that. [Why shouldn't reciting a formula of words consistently result -- or be followed by ["constant concomitance"] -- a rain shower? And even if in our world, ritual never has such results, nonetheless we can imagine [describe] a world in which it did. In such a world there would be progress in magic: it would be a world where ritual held the place physics holds in our world. But that is not our world, and this page is about our world.]

Friday, 17 April 2009



Over espresso near Monte Testaccio in Rome I hear that the ancient Romans used the body as a metaphor for the city and vice versa. The ports, points of entry, were particularly subject to protection, hygiene. If you look down at the model of ancient Rome in EUR you cant help but read the aquaducts as veins, bringing life gushing directly to the organs of power. They invented concrete of course.

Nowadays I spend a lot of time wandering social housing from the 60s and 70s in South London: Heygate, Aylesbury, Brandon. Most nights I wander the web, finding similar patterns of movement and recursion, pieces of colour stuck between railings. A broken spectrum.

Online: The Bartlett tells me about the syntactical structure of cities; that poverty and crime still thrive like infection in places with no thoroughfare, dead ends, periodontal pockets.
I live in such a street, described by Mayhew in London Labour and the London Poor as the vilest street in London. It was isolated by the canal and the railway. Cut off. The structure of the city itself is apotropaic; read the warning signs.

I start thinking about Ballard and his terrible outskirt futures; Kubric, Kingsmead; the pre-inscription of violence.

Walking through the Brandon estate I find a Henry Moore; a patinated green woman. She has assumed a copper green, an attempt at camouflage in the summer grass, off by a few tones at least. Bilious. She leaks, passively staining the concrete plinth. A child is riding her like the raft of the medusa, waving at the apex of hope. I wonder what it is doing here, this bifurcated torso. A benevolence to provide the estate not only with telephone cabins, stamp machine and library but with a statue. Not a forest of statuary like the ancient palatine, where it would be quite normal for them to speak and to seduce those foolishly out late. In Rome even today there are five talking statues still engaged in political satire and pasquinades. On the estate there is just this mute one; no eyes or mouth to speak of, just a lumpy bisected feeling of approximate body, cast in bronze and placed on a concrete plinth on a small grassy knoll. The place of the assassin? There is also the image of a mammoth stuck to the library. Prehistoric. Extinct. Fossils.

Moore signifies establishment: ubiquitous to the point of invisible; corporation, incorporation into the social body. It’s not ‘Today’s Homes’…is it? It’s not POP, it’s not savvy. It’s not street, except as furniture. At first I wonder why it hasn’t been stolen, melted down like wartime railings, but I realise that it is at the centre of an ampitheatre, viewed from galleries all around: prisoner in a many-eyed panopticon. So visible that the lady vanishes.

The Heygate, curiously, has a walled garden. It is a secret garden at ground level, but from the concrete walkways you can see it contains a caryatid, another broken woman, noted as a remainder of Rotherhithe public library. Concrete demonstration: the concrete dream of modernism is built around the secret gardens of Greco-roman antiquity. Like a Barbican. You can see it from above.

image: Walworth now & then

I collect as I walk: encounters, photographs. The camera stops me from limping.

The city is demarked. Territories within territories, often drawn with fragile tapes, no go zones, political withins and withouts; provisional boundaries, pales of settlement, areas behind bars where rubbish accumulates, traffic islands.
Portals and lost places. Andromeda’s rock?
From my window I watched the slow death of modernism: a 3D geometric plaza made of engineering brick disrupted over time by scrubby trees and turned fabulously green every spring by thirsty grass painting the cracks. No-one went in it, a lost zone that would have been beautiful as a drawing. An abandoned place.

Architectures appear rigid, but as you walk them over time their provisional nature becomes clear, conservation, attention, demolition. You cant get a mortgage on high rise concrete.

Are estates islands?

Searching youtube for these localities I see what people want to show: mobile phone uploads of girls snogging in tower block living rooms, kids in hoods kicking down doors, beatings in stairwells, soap opera stagings, swaggerings. Eye level low on the familiar walkways, the world seeming bigger with bravado. Mass observation, surveilling each other. Eyes in our hands.

Rilke’s panther: the eye that can't see past the bars.
The stone lions at New York public library blindfolded by snow.


PAUL'S THEATROGRAPH opens to public, Wonderland, Whitechapel Road, London, April 1896.

Performances 'blurred and indistinct'.

vanishing point

alatheia talbot

tsar's bridge

inigo jones' scene changes

Mytens to Carelton

London the 18th of August 1618 …
Right Honorable my very good Lord, my deutie first /\ beinge remembered wishing
your Lordship? much healt and happiness. Th: favor : and to ::
that I send you by this bearer that picture or portrait of the Lord of Arundel and his Lady, together in a small format, it is covered up in a small case. I have done my endeavour to persuade his Lordship to send your honour those great pictures, but he is not willing to part from them, and he willed me to make these in a smaller form, which I trust your Honour will accept and :
as a smal present donne by my L. of Arundel, and for my part and
… & have donne … to the most of my power, … …
judgement to your Lordship good dis cretion
Have binne at … to see wether I could fynde occasion to
drawe the Princes figure picture, but the Prince … a …
and suddenly to depart forget in progres, I am returned for London
so that I must wait for a better oportunity at his Ri…d? bark
and this is for the pr… the offers of my willingness to your cousin?
the w… it may prevail? you to accept as from your : and :
servant when wil such be … to … my … …
which your cousin? shall find ocassion to make tyme, in the m…
which i pray … the Lord to pro… and hope your Hon.
is health and prospertie to the … of … gloria d:

your honour bade to command
daniel mytens


tools of the surveyor

Thursday, 16 April 2009



This wall painting was made in 2008 at LLS 387 in Antwerp as part of sunset is an all day process.
It is a working through of thoughts about a roman sarcophagus. They were often carved with this s-like, sibilant gesture so that the light ripples and hisses like interference, same as when you walk past a chain-link fence, an optical effect that produces affect: the sense of a hole in the world like a star trek transporter: - a space which infers a different order or dimensionality, appearing as a patch or macula in vision. The pattern is called strigilation, which comes from the shape of the strigil- a curved tool which was used to clean the body [I imagine like a window cleaner's gesture describing the hyperbolic surface of the body. ] These sarcophagi were above ground, in the light, and at Ostia certainly were set at the periphery of the town: the threshold. You would enter the town through a street of tombs. The pattern could function as an a apotrope [a device for turning away like the evil eye, or garlic for vampires]. Mazes and riddles are apotropaic devives often found at gateways to deter intruders, and in this case perhaps to guard in both directions the gates to the underworld. What fascinated me about the tombs was that the pattern often serves as a parentheses for a central figure, another form of doorway, the figure often being Endymion, who fell in love with the moon goddess and slept forever. The parentheses is like a shift of view, a story within a story, figure within abstraction, rhetorical gesture cut into the world. Like multiple stories of origin bracketed within one another, the tomb presents end-games in parataxis: teleologies.
This painting was made to figure painting as a skenographia, in this case an optic backdrop.

Blazon - Prima Belladonna

Sable, a fret argent.
: interlacing bendlet, bendlet sinister and mascle,

Marcus Gheeraerts II: Portrait of Mary Rogers, Lady Harington
she seems to be embroidered with pearls and deadly nightshade berries

the limit of vision

...what 'the ancients' called the horizon, the circle of which we are the centre wherever we go. This circle cannot exceed a diameter of about thirty five miles, at which point the line of sight becomes tangent to the earth's curvature and sight fails.

Vision, reflection, and desire in western painting

By David Summers

stills from machine room

function Disable Camera Constraints ()


Belief System (also, “conceptual system”) [krugozor]

“Literally in Russian ‘the circle of one’s vision.’ Primary here is the fact that krugozory are all always highly specific, and the visual metaphor emphasizes this: what I see can never be what you see, if only (as Bakhtin put it in an early essay) because I can see what is behind your head. Every [c]u[z]oj thus has its own krugozor. When the term is used on a global or societal scale we have rendered it as ‘belief system’; when it refers to the local vantage point of an individual, as ‘conceptual horizon.’”

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

table turning

Tragic Scene, fragment of an Apulian krater from Tarentum, ca. 360–350
b.c.e., Martin von Wagner Museum, Universität Würzburg. Photo: K. Oehrlein.
Drawing: B. Otto.
from Summers: Vision, Desire..