Friday, September 30, 2016

Brighton Museum Pottery

Discovering more pottery in Brighton Museum.

"Signor Gruntinelli Playing on a new instrument Call'd a Swinetta."

Background: Bear jug with detachable head cup. 
Foreground: Three drinkers

The internet allows the symbols to travel freely is a look at public grieving and the signs/symbols appropriated by memetic movements. I particularly like it's run-down of different ways in which symbols can propagate - in memetic terms, there is something magical about the idea of "nomadic signs" - concepts which themselves travel from place to place (/person to person) and become "real" not by what they represent, but purely by the fact of being the constant unit among a changing landscape of attention-givers.

In this sense, memetic symbols take on the same aura as tourist attractions, of course. One object, seen and interpreted by many different people. As a tourist, we move from being a "unique" thing (with body, face, name, passport) to a diluted medium, a channel through which experience and the place around us passes. By moving and migrating, we (no, I) become emptier, filled with the seven wonders of the world, until only the world is left, seen through whatever medium the person-as-medium decides to feed back to.

Taken to an extreme, "I" exist as both medium and as symbol - the "tourist" role is inherently split and subjective, depending on whether it is I-observing-world, or others-observing-me-as-tourist.

The inside of a pot is useful for holding water. Can the same be said about the outside of the pot?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Has Graham stopped blogging?

It's weird thinking that this blog has been around for over 13 years now. By my reckoning I must have started it just after starting a new job, and just after meeting my now-wife. I don't remember setting up the blog, but do remember the early days of writing feverishly, plucking ideas out of the street on the walk to work, posting links to new posts around the Internet. Before Twitter, that was. Not much before, though.

I wonder what I'm doing with it now. A lot of people move on from blogging because another social tool is launched and the crowds flock like pollen. I'm guilty of this too. But I've also noticed over the years how my attitude to content and publishing has changed with it. Less fever. More... Something else. Curation, perhaps. Style?

But these changes have gone hand-in-hand with the delivery medium. Between blogging, Twitter, TinyLetter, Flickr, handmade paper zines and just life itself, it's fair to say that I feel fragmented. I like blogging but I hate writing on a phone or tablet. I like experimenting but hate thinking about eventual audiences. I like everything but hate haphazardness. All of it feels random still. Or - like it's some kind of training. Constant etudes, workouts, practice without closure.

I guess I've stopped blogging so much because it's harder to run that kind of "curated experiment" so quickly. There's no real locus of this blog. No raison d'etre. It's what's left over, perhaps.

Publishing is the showcasing of ideas, and the refinement of those ideas is a valuable process, even if nobody is reading. I do, I admit, have the same problem with my photography - I know the basics. But to carry on, I need to face up to the more fundamental question of why I'm doing it. Maybe it's a midlife crisis in the digital era. Life stage 2.0. Learning via machine interaction. Rapid failure.

It's sunny outside and autumn is coming and I kind of just enjoy relaxing these days, into the days, and I don't get enough time to do that as it is. Maybe that's some kind of path in itself. I doubt I'll put down the blog, just as I won't put down a camera. But they might point in a different direction.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Zika vs Bees

Sort of just depressing all round really. Caught between plague and famine.
“It’s a matter of weighing the benefits versus the risks,” he added, noting the critical place of bees, especially, in keeping crops growing.
“If you have to make a decision on whether it protects, say, your pregnant wife from being exposed versus killing a few butterflies, I suspect in most people’s minds it’s probably worth the risk.”
US beekeepers fear for livelihoods as anti-Zika toxin kills 2.5m bees