Tuesday, February 14, 2006


I think I've found it.

Here, the sun doesn't shine often, but when its wan rays drift down through the clouds they hit this statue outside the window of my friends loungeroom.

Its the Virgin Mary in a London Cemetery. I see her out of the window, in the morning whe I wakeup.

Today the clouds cleared and there were blue skies at about 11. Mary shone. Coppers on horseback clopped past, shitting on the street. I scurried to themetro to go and bury myself in a windowless cavern of curiosity.

Here, unlike Paris, the library (or the bit I was in) doesn't have any skylihgts or acess to daylight. So I'm in a large white walled edifice,. Inside it sound slike a church.

I'll sopt blithering.

Why did I only give myself a week in London??? I wanna see the mad Welsh rappers termorra, I wanna go to the tate old tate new, and british museum. I wanna go back to the national gallery.

I've got 6 books on reserve to get through tomorrow, and 6 the day after that and 6 the day after that. The day after that I leave. I can't take in pens, so I've got just a trusty 2B and 20p photocopying to take it all in. so many bloody books that I can't get at home. My wrists ache, may bakc aches, my eyes are blurry from the strain.

But I've found an occupation whih makes me strangely intensely happy. Doing researhc and negotioating the Fnrehc Bibilioteque nationale was incredible - an adrenalin rushto reaslise that I could and did have enough lingo to search, select, read and take notes from stacks of books. Enlish should be a diddle by comparison - but its a bigger library, I cna searhc more thoroughly, more widely....and there's so much.

I'm so tired, my typing has reached new lows.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Has Anyone Got a Cure for insomnia?????

One of the reasons why I keep so many blogs is bugging me right now. I've got and have had since I was a kid, terrible insomnia. Generally in the angloaustralian eurostrash post industrial aculturated miasma called society, the response of most poeple to a health complaint is to propose a cure.

I'm open to anything, but before you launch in I'll list what I've done and been doing over the past 20 years: Meditation, counselling, chiropractic, yoga, dental prosthesis, giving up coffee, moderating coffee, xanax, stillnox, temzopan, phenergan, random opiods, alchohol, THC, pentabarbithol, rohipnol, valerian, valerian tea, melatonin, St; Johns Wort, Hot milk, Lavender, Long Baths, Massage, Sex, Masturbation, Exercise, Jetlag.

Jetlag usually works while I've got it, melatonin doesn't. soft valium doesn't work at all; hard valium does briefly for a bit.

Opiods fuck up the stomach.
Maryjane fucks with my head.
Alcohol transforms lme into the hman fridge. I can sit in the corner and hum all night if poeple stuff beers in me. but I won't sleep.
Barbs are only temporary.

So, I avoid coffee after midday, try to get some exercise before dinner,accept to live with scrap sleep and read or write at night, and every couple of days pop a phenergan to wear off the bags under tthe eyes.

but , right now I'd REALLY like to be able to be sleeping right now. It's 4am where I am, and I'd REALLY like to be able to get up in 4 hours time and go this really amazing library that's only open from 9am to 6pm.

I've got 3 days left in Paris. I need all the brains cells I can find to be able to read and take notes in French, and at present my brain really only works from 3pm; With some gross moter skills after 11am.

what to do? what to do?

OK, I'm updating my blogs and this explains why my spelling is usually so shit. Also chekcing email and if things get desperate I can ring my mum and listen to enough small town gosssip to send me to sleep.......

But if anyone has any other cures, I'd be happy to hear about them.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Travelog:Slumming it in the Sezieme

I've been housebound lately, trying to save money and not splurge on metro tickets out of the burbs and takeaway lunches in the centre of town. its also been so cold that outdoor life is reduced to a frantic scurry between cafes. I think my lips turned blue yesterday. Advantage is that I found a fucking amazing hot chocolate on the boulevarde St. Germain. BouleGerm is the home of scary fucking $10 coffees and loud american tourists tyring to be Simone De Beauvoir, but this place had this fucking amazing melted concotion that was like hot chocolate mousse. and it was only two euros.

Anyway we got a bit stir crazy yesterday so we grabbed the car and drove across the bois de Boulogne. It s big forest where prostitutes do tehir trade. Apparently brothels were made illegal here in the 1970's, and stuck between the bourgie banleiu of St. cloud and the extremeley bourgie 16th arrondissment, it sa great place for Brazilian trannies to score trade. the better sex workers have big trucks in winter parked on the kerb, but I still find it fucking odd.

OK, so we crossed the seine, crossed the forest and found ourselves in the 16th. Most of PAris is pretty much a social mixture, but the sprawling being marble facades of the 16th are a screaming exception. I'm not sure if there's anywhere in Australia that can compare with it, maybe Pymble and Prahan mixed together? All the buildings are the same 5 stoery high topped terraces, but many of them have gates aorund them. There are no sleazy corner shops, and no dodgy cafe/ tabacs. All retail is located on the Grand boulevards. I think everyone is meant to drive 5 minutes to get their brad, but the rest of PAris is made for 80 year old pedestrians who walk their dog and buy their bread each day. In the 16th, the only Africans are pushing prams, wiht white babies in them. I think the pram pushers have uniforms, but its hard to tell under their parkas.

We thoguth we'd go chekc out the musee marmottan, coz there's a clamilla claudle show and I wanted to see her drawings. Unfortunatley Clamille claudel was made famous from the plays and books produced by her right wing brother Paul. And that movie from the type. Outside the museum there was a gaggle of dead animals and helmet hairsprays. Fear. We pushed past the stench of purfume to the tickets, located near the freezing outdoors, and refusing concessions to students over 25, the une,mployed, the elderley, but allowing tteachers, curators and groups over 20 to get in for 4.5 Eruos. We paid more. Inside, more dead animals and helmets hairdos, and big jewelry and scary makeup. all touching and pushing and cackling absolute shite. Paris seemed so much more sophisticated when I didn't speak the language. Now I know that Spanish touists are just as fatuous as amriecan tourists and french art patrons are just as banal as Australians. frightening. And the scarey fur coat brigade also push up and rub agianst smelly prols like me. I thought I'd arm myself by not washing for a week and carrying some used tampons in my pockets, but helas! didn't work.

So after 2 hours of teeth clenching irritation I went downstaris to the non heated room with Monets Giverney paitnings. There's one view of the Japanse bridge from 1918-1919 thqt I think is my favrouite panting in the entire world. Unlike Monet Slide test example No. 57, the colours are DARK, and the strokes aren't knitted toghether into the characteristic mesh that gives that impresisonist shimmer. The whole thing is covered in a series of abstract gestures, that look like Cy Twombly on a bad hair day,Its not jsut the colours, its not the contours, its not just the shapes. I think its the best example of what oil paint IS. Pure plastic light. but fuck oh fuck they resonate. And they shimmer on the borderline between abstraction and a landscape composition. Elizabeth cummings in Australia skates on the same turf, so does Aida tomescue ON a good day, and there are moments when Craig Waddell (chekc out his Wynn piece from 05) also hits the mark. Extreme sports paint. I'm haunted by the possibilities........ which is why I then spent 6 hours on a jigsaw puzzle.

thin Edge of the Wedge

On theoreo practico sidees of things I was wondering if anyone is in touch with the fibrecultists.... Definitely could be good for some of this stuff and how to expand from a very loose blogger.com into something else. Its a good group of mainly academic but some interesting people

I've cut and poasted the lates from the fibreculture list...... maybe its itneresting? Shoot me if its too ivory tower!

PS Also stuck comment son last pensive post... great!


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2006 11:55:57 +0530
From: avinash jha
Subject: ::fibreculture:: New Command and the Knowledge Question -
Invitation to contribute
To: list@fibreculture.org

[A pre-workshop publication containing significant contributions is
planned. So those unable to travel to Karachi may also contribute.
Discussion on this list is also welcome.]

Dialogues on Knowledge in Society-II
Invitation for write-ups, presentations, participation in the workshop
at WSF-2006 in Karachi

The New Command and the Knowledge Question

Virtual Domain

Questions related to knowledge have assumed radically new dimensions
with the emergence of the virtual world. We shall not attempt to
define what is a virtual domain or a virtual world. Is it the network
society? Is it the world of Internet? Is it the world of those who
have access to the Internet? Is it the world of just those who have
started spending a lot of time and doing a host of activities on the
Internet? Is it the new world of knowledge activity, power play and
finance? We have heard of virtual community, virtual society, virtual
forest, virtual experiment and what not. The idea and reality of the
'virtual' is in the making. The Internet (www) came into existence in
1990. So we shall not attempt a definition of the virtual. However it
is already perhaps an acknowledged fact that it is now the commanding
domain. The activity, development, interaction, formulation,
transaction, creation, invention, discovery, collaboration, criticism
etc. in the virtual world have taken lead and tend to give direction
to human activity everywhere, ?finance, science, art, entertainment,
name any.

We invite you to contribute to a dialogue for exploring the
relationship between the virtual domain and knowledge in society. We
believe that the knowledge question can help us interrogate the
virtual domain in both its philosophical and political aspects.

Knowledge in Society

Knowledge in Society may be seen as knowledge in different
locations - like the university and research institutions, monasteries
of different traditions, media, artisans, peasants, ethnic social
formation, social movements, ideological formations etc. These are
places where people engage in a variety of activities - productive,
religious, artistic, scientific and others. Their activities exhibit
paradigms of knowledge that are different from one another. Another
way of saying this would be they have different bodies of knowledge,
with different structure and logic, values, ontologies, ways of
thinking and speculation.

Such knowledge in society, other than in universities and
research institutions, is often described as just empirical,
cumulative, practice-based, and even superstitious. But then these
qualifications stem from a point of view that belongs to an era, which
is perhaps drawing to a close. We, who have great regard for people's
knowledge, lokavidya, or generally knowledge in society, believe that
it is not in need of criteria external to it because it is embedded in
the life of people at large where correctness and legitimacy has a
time-testing criterion (a real life consistency and delivery
criterion). But in so far as this knowledge is applied in broader
contexts, these criteria themselves are open to contention and

Hierarchy and Emaciation

Virtuality seems to legitimize all traditions and
locations of knowledge while elevating itself to a higher position
from where all knowledge is sorted and organized. In the process it
creates a new hierarchy in the sphere of knowledge. It is not merely a
structural rearrangement of locations but entails a certain emaciation
or atrophy of knowledge in society. They are now seen as places of
genuine human activity only to the extent and in the manner they
relate to virtuality. Can we propose a radical equality of all
knowledge locations as the basis of a future democratic society which
is also at peace with virtuality?

Knowledge Dialogue

Is virtuality the new location of the unity of the ruling
classes of the world? Has virtuality broken the concept of a community
as a face-to-face society? Is virtuality a new reality or is virtual
world only a world of representations? How do we start addressing
these questions? One way perhaps is to construct a universe of
knowledge dialogue that is simultaneously a political, economic, and
philosophical dialogue. This requires that no strict paradigm of
knowledge be allowed to govern the initial premises or the boundary

The knowledge dialogue that we are suggesting therefore
can take place in a universe of knowledge traditions and locations
where none is superior or inferior to another, virtuality included,
and by a method which recognizes theoretical constructs only in a mode
of transcendence, that is, the method involves transcending one's own
theoretical constructs. It is in some such knowledge space that this
dialogue is being proposed.


Contributions can take various points of departure and
attempt to address the question of virtuality or knowledge in society,
or the relationship between them. Writings that do not take explicitly
the context of virtuality are also welcome. Most welcome will be
contributions written in a non-technical language. Short stories or
narratives or even other forms of artistic creations may help in
creating fresh spaces of epistemic activity, not held down by the
given knowledge paradigms.

Topics can range from the question of property and knowledge, violence
and virtuality, art and science to knowledge and information,
innovation and freedom, law and virtuality to money and finance,
cities and media, and so on.

In what follows, we have formulated an illustrative list of questions:

1.In what sense is virtuality altering our concepts of property?
Present debates on intellectual property rights seem to be largely
governed by considerations of economics, law and politics. Are fresh
questions being thrown up in regard to the relationship between
private property and alienation? Is property now related to some new
form of alienation and human activity? Will addressing such questions
be relevant to reconstructing the debate on politics of emancipation?

2.Is virtuality just a new location for organization or a radically
new mode of organization? Is there a relation between this question
and images of new architecture of human settlements? Is the concept of
network essential to it or just a contingent expression?

3.How is virtuality reshaping scientific research and institutions? Is
the organization of science changing in a far-reaching manner? What
implications it has for scientific practice?

4.Is network society the virtual society? Is weakening of the
boundaries of the nation-state because the ruling classes are
reconstituting themselves through a new unity in the virtual space?
What is the consequence of such understanding for both the politics
that there is and the politics of emancipation?

5.In what sense is virtual real? Human sensibilities, physical,
aesthetic and ethical are simulated in the virtual space? Does it add
only a new dimension to human existence or transform it altogether?

6.Would art now be as respectable as science in the world of
knowledge? That is, does virtuality legitimize not only different
locations of knowledge as suggested above, but also creates legitimate
space for art in the epistemic world?

7.Knowledge in society is related to livelihood activity of the
people without often being mediated by business. Does the virtual
realm also provide such scope?

8. Software as knowledge, knowledge as software? What does the
primacy of software imply for knowledge?

[Workshop organised by Vidya Ashram, Varanasi (www.vidyaashram.org)
and Indigen Research Foundation, Pune (www.indigen.org.in)]