So first stop is definitely Glasgow. I’ve booked a train ticket. Otherwise today I’m mostly discarding things that no longer serve me…
The two-day open-house creative jam that Martyn had suggested has morphed through our patented process of conversation, reflection and further conversation ;) into a project to record an album of new and improvised music (Martyn’s just talked about it in an e-mail as “
Anyway, it’ll be a scream with the people we have involved already, and we have the equipment to make the final recording, but if you want to come along (near Queen’s Park) and take part for any of it, learn with us about co-creation, improvisation and just flippin’ doin’ it – just let me or Martyn know. Bring your talent, food, drink, musical instruments and documentation tools, but overall come with the spirit of fun and willingness to learn together.
In In The Absence Of The Sacred (1991), Jerry Mander wrote:
“The corporation is not as subject to human control as most people believe it is; rather, it is an autonomous technical structure that behaves by a system of logic uniquely well suited to its primary function: to give birth and impetus to profitable new technological forms, and to spread techno-logic around the globe.
We usually become aware of corporate behavior only when a flagrant transgression is reported in the news: the dumping of toxic wastes, the releasing of pollutants, the suppression of research regarding health effects of various products, the tragic mechanical breakdowns such as at Three Mile Island, in Bhopal, or in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Sometimes we become concerned about a large corporation closing a factory, putting 5,000 people out of work, and moving to another country.
Even when we hear such news, our tendency is to respond as if the behaviors described stem from the people within the corporate structure – people who are irresponsible, dishonest, greedy, or overly ambitious. Or else we attribute the problem to the moral decline of the times we live in, or to the failure of the regulatory process.”
to which Jay Hanson responded:
“Thus, a large corporation may be seen as a man-made life form, a beast with a will of its own: an “economic cyborg.” Visualize a powerful creature that has humans for talons, a bank vault for a heart, computers for eyes and an insatiable need for PROFIT. The economic cyborg – a “terminator” – a machine in human disguise!”
Corporations, social enterprises and public institutions all suffer from this problem – they’re cyborgs and for the most part, the human elements within them don’t realise that that’s the case – that’s why using social media with them sometimes feels like talking to a replicant or a terminator.
The “human talons” I met at #localgovcamp on Saturday aren’t attached to an insatiable need for profit, but all organisations of this form have some primary function that at some point steals the humanity of those who work for it. And so discussions about conversing with them in non-mechanical ways will always revert to “Yes, but how can we make this more acceptable to our machine-masters?”
I posted this comment to Andrea Phillips’s blog in response to her post about snarky criticism of Rebecca Black. I don’t think we need to draw a line between whose work deserves to be beaten up online and whose doesn’t – I think the question is really why we think it helps anybody. I thought I’d written before about this (it came up a lot at the start of podcasting 2004/5 when everyone was saying “I would listen to podcasts if they weren’t crap”) and I would say “Look this is an emerging form where people are learning new skills, you wouldn’t tell your 3-year-old to go away and not show you any pictures until they’d learned that the sky and the ground touch each other. Anyway, this is what I wrote tonight. Then realised it should really have been a post on my own blog. That’s because I’m a bit crap at this stuff still…
“I’m really not convinced of the value of snark to anyone but the snarker (who are generally people afraid of putting their own art there) and their sniggering friends (who are generally people too afraid to start snarking).
I’ve long argued for an extension of the respect we show to 3-year-olds’ crayon scribbles to everyone else who’s just having a go at expressing themselves – especially in these new artistic forms that we’re bringing forth on the web.
Most people’s first blog post, first tweet, first podcast, whatever is highly likely to be crap, I know mine were. Some of us don’t get much better for some time. Get over it, we’re not doing it for anybody but ourselves.
Oh poo! This is a crap comment it really should be a blog post :P”
Just got in from this at The Place.
“A choreographic collection of live performance, film and installation” curated by my friend Joe Moran. It’s on again tomorrow afternoon/evening. It’s free. Go and see it.
The live performance happens simultaneously in two studios, but pieces are repeated throughout the session. The bits I felt I got to see properly were Singular, On The Off Chance and The Swarm Quintet all in Space Two.
Of these, I was completely seduced by Singular – I felt like I could have watched it all night. Pairs of dancers intimately riffing off each other in a tremendous range of lines and shapes and rhythms while repeatedly moving around the room in sweeping circular paths. Most of all they made me think of young wild animals taking sometimes clumsy, but often breathtakingly beautiful steps and strides and crawls around the room, paying equal attention to where they were going as to what the other was up to. Charlie Ashwell and Stephanie McMann were the first pair I saw and I didn’t want them to stop.
Luckily they both also showed up in On The Off Chance together with Elisabeth Schilling, Rosalie Wahlfrid and Flora Wellesley Wesley, oh and a metronome. Words are useless – I gasped and ooohed more than once but mostly when a moment of order just popped up out of the apparent chaos – a straight line, walking suddenly in time with the beat, which then broke off again in little syncopations.
No really, go and see it, you can drop in for as much or as little as you like – 1pm to 9pm tomorrow, Friday 17th July, The Place (Flaxman Terrace entrance), 16 Flaxman Terrace, London WC1H 9AT Tube: Euston or King’s Cross.
So I’m handing in the keys to my flat by the evening of 29th June (2 weeks yesterday) and then I’ll be heading up to Glasgow for a few days with Martyn and Mary Clark. As you can see, Martyn has plans!
From there (I’ll leave the Clarks on Sunday 3rd), I’m open to offers. Anyone else in or around Glasgow? Or that other big city to the east? I’ve an old school friend up in Dundee that I’d love to go see – never been that far north…
In fact apart from a wedding and a couple of business trips to Edinburgh I’ve not been in Scotland since 1970 – perhaps there’ll be time to pop to Strathaven and see what this place is like: