:: Notes from Somewhere Bizarre ::A Journal of Cultural Contamination by Ashley Benigno
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:: Wednesday, May 29, 2002 ::
Finished reading "Galactic Pot Healer". I hadn't read any Philip K. Dick in quite some time. Good to remember his dry style of writing - sterile backdrops against which ideas run amok. So much more of a philosopher (a little crazed perhaps, in synch with his schizophrenic times) than a writer somehow, despite his vast pulp production. Definitely a great artist of the last century, a paranoid seer.:: Sunday, May 26, 2002 ::
As I sign in to access the offices of a multimedia company in the west end of London, the guard looks at me writing and starts to tell me how he has noticed a much higher percentage of left-handed people in the capital than elsewhere in Britain. "It's the creativity", this empiricist says as way of explanation, and beams a smile. I feel sad as I always do when I see intelligence flicker in the eyes of a security guard, and forget to ask him if he uses his left or his right.:: Monday, May 20, 2002 ::
The future is now: Is it possible to make artificial fingers that fool fingerprint systems? According to Japanese researcher Tsutomu Matsumoto, yes - and easily too. A fascinating case study.:: Sunday, May 19, 2002 ::
Never mind Action Man, in times of war, get your military-correct toys here.
Flamenco-flavoured remix of Manu Chao's "La Chinita".:: Saturday, May 18, 2002 ::
As I trawl for second-hand books, I overhear an animated conversation between two volunteers working in a charity shop. On the walls pictures of Eastern European children and printed words of woe. On the shelf above them, gypsy craft is on sale. The volunteers are two elderly women. Their hair is white, but their talk is dark. "...six kids, a council house and they don't even work". I missed the ethnic group under attack. Could have been any of the many (immigrants). The other could not agree more, in a discourse made common across the European Union. And then there is wonder that the extreme right extends its base.:: Friday, May 17, 2002 ::
Hailed as "the world's first transgenic virtual pet game", the public beta version of Metapet was released a couple of days ago. The tag line reading: Are you ready to manage the worker of the future? Unfortunately, my bio-economy tamagotchi worker quit at the end of his first day and subsequently died of a speed overdose. What can I say?
As the US media tread lightly around president Bush after releasing the news that he had received warnings prior to September 11 that al-Qaida planned to hijack US planes, a visit to the Canadian-based independent media group Centre for Research on Globalisation makes for some thought-provoking reads.
The notion of 'somewhere bizarre' first came to me as marixxx and I sat in the back of a compact jeep being driven by a cousin I had not seen in many years through the streets of Sydney with his MTV presenter girlfriend sitting next to him and he spoke without stopping about life, people, places in the city, in australia and everything was 'bizarre'. While not a word I particularly use, that night it seemed to capture perfectly a feeling often found in the global ghetto. It has since stuck somehow. My cousin had booked us in to L'otel, a funky and glamorous little hotel. We were on a speeded up emigration process that lasted 40 days, like Jesus' time in the desert, before we headed back to Europe. But that's another story...:: Thursday, May 16, 2002 ::
Been catching up on Underground Diary. It used to be a near daily read when I was commuting across London, travelling on tube and train. Its clipped sentences capture the rhythm of carriages running the lines and circles of the transport network stuffed with people as metaphors for isolated pods thinking thoughts of anxiety, madness, violence, sex, shopping and inanity. The narrating voice at times reminiscent of Patrick Bateman, but more cultured. The text littered with unexpected poetry.:: Wednesday, May 15, 2002 ::
Hatten Baby!!!! a true masterpiece of the web.:: Tuesday, May 14, 2002 ::
"If they send me down (to prison), I'll take english lessons", says a guy, looking confused by the form he is filling in, down a local government office in Ilford. A television in a corner. Above it, information blinks in red LED dots. In front of me a woman with an enormous front tooth. Reading Empire I wait my turn.
As the Queen tours the country celebrating the golden jubilee of her tourist icon status, that other great British tradition - her bedfellow on london postcard racks - Punk, sees a series of tributes in the capital. The NFT is featuring Never Mind the Jubilee, while punk art gets a showing at the Centre of Attention.
Burnt at the stake as a heretic, Giordano Bruno believed melancholia provided a key to better understanding.
According to a shocking statistic on Adbusters half of all North Americans will visit a mental health professional or be prescribed a psychoactive drug. The issues of mental health and chemical treatement are explored in prozacspotlight, which highlights, among other things, the controversies surrounding the family of drugs known as the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and their links to suicidal tendencies, in addition to the marriages of convenience between medical research and big business. A random quote: "The eagle leans close to my ear. "Crazy is working 70 hours a week at a job you can't stand," he says.":: Sunday, May 12, 2002 ::
During a leisurely online stroll this sunday afternoon, I come across the work of a dear friend of mine on a japanese site - it's a small web, to paraphrase Steven Wright, but I wouldn't like to code it.:: Saturday, May 11, 2002 ::
Finished reading "Prometheus: "The Life of Balzac" by Andre' Maurois. I am always fascinated by the prolific, just as I am by debt-ridden artists, and Balzac was both. The guy just wrote and wrote and wrote, finishing off short stories in a night and novels in the space of weeks. Like many of the greatest writers, his inspiration was driven by the need to make money. "Everything about me must breathe opulence, luxury, the wealth of the successful artist...", he once said as he avoided his creditors.:: Thursday, May 09, 2002 ::
Thinking of marixxx dressed in a electric blue saree, looking stunningly beautiful one summer afternoon at the villaggio globale in rome
India as a nodal point again: hacktivism meets net.art in Mythic Hybrid by Prema Murthy. With a Google-like interface the work denounces the atrocious working conditions endured by women workers in indian e-factories through a mix of links to info sites, quotes from the workers and video loops, with corporate audio loops as voiceover. Also by Murthy, and worth checking out, is Bindigirl .:: Tuesday, May 07, 2002 ::
Global paranoia through the eyes of CCTV - a web project by the French net artist Reynald Drouhin.
There hasn't been much in the media about the massacres, the systematic killings that have been going on in the Indian state of Gujarat recently. With all the attention focused on Palestine and Afghanistan, some news just slips out of sight, like the war in Chechnya.:: Sunday, May 05, 2002 ::
Will the burqa be next? Maybe re-interpreted by Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein, of course. Designed in the US and made in Samoa, upon presidential request. After not wanting to put a cap on greenhouse emissions, Bush doesn't want the young to wear condoms and calls for an end to sex lessons.:: Friday, May 03, 2002 ::
An article Le Pen by Julian Barnes in today's Guardian makes for a good read over a morning coffee. a book read a couple of days ago made for a very eerie feeling when thinking of the extreme right raising its ugly, pig ignorant head in France these days.:: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 ::
I do not hear them call. marixxx and eva maria stand beautiful, waiting outside in the street.
May Day 2002. The International Workers' Day. Strange concept really, strange celebration. Makes me think of tanks rolling through Moscow on parade, on black and white television, as a child. My grandfather telling me how he had never spent a day unemployed.