Genius of the day: Victor Pelevin

As for the point where writing no longer interests me—I reached it for the first time five minutes after I had started to write my first short story. But on the sixth minute I felt that writing interested me again. If we take this to be my cycle, I reach this point approximately twelve times every hour that I dedicate to writing. So I don’t have to imagine reaching it, I know it very well. But this point is never the final one. I think there’s no final point at all. Life is a bitch, and then you die. Death is a bitch, and then you are born. Writing is very much like this, as it is living multiple short lives within your longer one.

- from BOMB

Human Transit: build your own system

A government agency’s process of communicating with the public needs to listen and educate at the same time.  Citizens want to feel listened to, but they also want to understand.  Metro simplified the question down to the essential non-technical value judgment, which was: “Growth is coming.  Do we grow up or out?  Increase density or spread out over more land?”  This was the hard question that first motivated Oregon’s land use laws — laws whose purposes is not to prevent sprawl but to ensure that it’s the result of such a conscious decision.

… It was a huge achievement, but the real achievement was not just that the question was answered but that it was so clearly asked.  A citizenry, through its elected representatives, faced a clear value judgment about their city.  It wasn’t about approving a project or assessing some politician’s performance; it was about raw economics and geometry: grow up or grow out?  No rational person could argue that this wasn’t a real and consequential question.  Through Metro’s work the question got answered, and, partly because the process was so clear and democratic, the basic answer has held despite the inevitable turbulence of shorter-term politics.

- from

Sarah Moon: major survey show at Stockholm’s Fotografiska

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A colourful approach to Kafka

- from

“I suppose what some find most relevant and compelling in Kafka,” writes Mendelsund on Jacket Mechanical, “is his ability to inspire in them that paradoxical feeling that great literature always aspires to arouse in readers – the feeling of the universality of their own alienation. Kafka is the ne plus ultra of alienation – alienation being arguably the defining emotional condition of the twentieth century.

Peter Granser


I was lucky enough to meet Peter Granser in Germany a few years ago. He gave me a copy of his amazing book, Signs, from which these images are taken. It’s a darkly funny/humorously tragic view of the Texan way of life, from a photographer whose sense of humour never outweighs his humanity. I’m really looking forward to seeing more work from Peter.

NIME 2011 | New Interfaces for Musical Expression | 30 May – 1 June, Oslo, Norway


"Recyclicity": Dutch House Built From Salvaged Billboards and Umbrellas

Unlike most projects that start with a design, Villa Welpeloo started with a heap of scrap materials sourced locally at factories and warehouses. The team also used Google Earth to find abandoned buildings and lots near the building plot in Enschede, The Netherlands that may contain useful materials. As a result, the home’s framing comes courtesy of steel taken from abandoned machinery in a textile mill. The exterior is clad with boards salvaged from 600 cable reels that were first heat-treated by a process called Plato to weatherize them. The cladding’s clean lines do not betray the humble origins of these materials.

Inside is a treasure trove of interesting reuse — advertising signs are transformed into cabinets that reveal their origin when a drawer is opened. The architects asked for people in the town to drop off their broken umbrellas, whose spokes were transformed into low-voltage lighting.

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(tuberose is now in season!)

David Cameron likes The Smiths? Heaven knows they’re miserable now

Alex Wodak: Agony over ecstasy is helping no one

If Chesher had been caught with an ecstasy tablet in Lisbon rather than Sydney, this would have been treated as a private health matter. He would still be employed and paying taxes. His family would have been spared considerable pain. Taxpayers would not have had their funds squandered.

- from SMH

(snorkeling at Clovelly)

Daniel Gilbert on the psychology of global warming

Why don’t we react to the threat posed by global warming? Because our brain has evolved to deal with threats which are:

  • intentional
  • immoral
  • imminent
  • instantaneous

… global warming doesn’t meet these criteria and so trigger an instinctive response.

- from Harvard Thinks Big on Vimeo.

Loveliest of lovely things are they, On earth, that soonest pass away

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Cheap Monday Office by Uglycute

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The Girl Store

The site asks visitors to “buy a girl her life back” by donating school materials to girls in India — thus helping prevent the common practice that its title alludes to. Visitors can scroll through a gallery of girls (the images are models, but names and ages belong to real girls) and choose who to purchase shoes, a uniform, pencils, or books for. When all of the items a girl needs in order to be allowed to attend school are purchased, the site displays an “off to school” label over her image.

Girls whose names are on the site are among the 57,000 that Nanhi Kali helps educate in India, a country where female children are often seen as economic burdens and more than half of women are illiterate. Because their families are often reluctant or unable to pay for their education and dowries, they are at risk of being sold into slavery or marriage at an early age.

- from Mashable

Snippets of new Seekae album…

- from Seekae

Will ISPs help bring value back to content?

iiNet Managing Director Michael Malone was emphatic that ISPs needed to be working with content companies to provide easily accessible legal content. In addition to the Fetch TV deal (see above), we have it on good authority that more content deals are on the horizon for iiNet.
- from Maddocks

Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille (and then to me, via Em Collins)

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you in to action and because there is only one of you in all time, the expression is unique and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine: how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions.

It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.

Keep the channel open….

No artist is pleased, there is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

wrapper chair

- from designboom

Social connectivity in the UK

Sound-modulated projection


- from 1024 on Vimeo.

(morning swim)

ON/OFF wall

French design firm Quarks has created a tactile “switch,” a fusion of paint and embedded electronic mechanisms that enable a wall to act as an electronic switch.
- from PSFK


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IMM Cologne 2011: Pressed Chair by Harry Thaler

Chair is made from one sheet of 2.5mm thick aluminum, bent into shape. It is light enough to be lifted with just two fingers, contains no joints or connectors and requires no external structural support. Its strength comes from the form of the chair itself, along with its relief details.

- from designboom

ZERI Foundation: The Blue Economy