A Mound of Things
By Ruth Catlow - 24/05/2008
My perpetual multi-farious-tasking keeps me from blogging. I've been enjoying many unspoken, unwritten, one-sided (yes...imaginary) conversations with Helen and Aileen about their recent posts. When I say recent, I include this post by Aileen, a robust and inspiring statement in support of and by the Freie Szene in Linz dating from early April. Early April! That's another aeon in Internet time. I usually keep a diary. But for the last few weeks I've just not been in reflective mode. There are just so many things, by which I mean activities, tasks, projects, plans, ideas, world events, responsibilities, dreams and annoyances that attract or preoccupy me or play themselves out in my life at the moment. And I struggle to know how to organise them, how they connect up and where they sit on the public <-> private continuum. So I think I may just have to do a bit of Close Encounters of the Third Kind- stylee mound making. And see if I find myself in communication with intelligent aliens. A Mound of Things 1) A new web page for Furtherfield.org called Learning and Participation that describes our approach. It includes some recent projects with young people led by artist, composer and musician Michael Szpakowski that I'm really proud of. 2) Planning an exhibition for the Autumn at HTTP Gallery of net film with Michael and Doron Golan. Also some other exhibitions that I can't talk about yet in case the artists change their minds; ) 3) Open Source Embroidery: Craft + Code curated by Ele Carpenter opened at HTTP last week. We are really happy with how well it works conceptually as well as the pure sensual (visual and tactile) pleasure of the exhibition. Need to upload and share piccies of the opening. 4) Reading interviews with German filmmaker, Werner Herzog and watching his films. Indescribable, unstrategic, in the moment, hilarious, humane, in the body, story-telling- very un-networked, ambiguous politics. 5) Preparing for residencies at Furtherfield HQ- so much simpler to imagine than to organise and host. 6) Sold our first 5 bags of Feral Trade coffee at Furtherfield HQ to Maja from Fo.am. 7) only 266 messages in my inbox right now (that's good going) 8) A load of college work to do - can't talk about this ... but its another iceburg of things. In danger of turning into a gumption trap for activities in other parts of my life. 9) personal communications get left till last...I think "I'll be able to give it my full attention once I've got these tasks out of the way"... but there are always more tasks, hence the imaginary conversations. 10) a colleague of mine keeps up to 60 different documents open on their laptop at any one time and works on them all at once because of out-of-control interdependencies. This is not a good thing. 11) Want to be working on Diwologue with Marc. To be working out what networked performance can be for ourselves. Ewan MacColl's Ballad of Accounting is the starting point for our next mix. 12) hope soon to be working with Alieen and Lottie Childs on further developing the online paths of Security and Joy for Street Training. 13) A new partnership with Drake Music (who work with disabled musicians and assistive technologies) on a partnership that is looking for ways in which artistic practice and technology can support ways of connecting across difference. 14) Epic dreams where - the features of a landscape are comprised of thousands of formation dancers: waterfalls, boulders, clouds etc - I'm doing a journey that I do regularly and I become utterly disoriented and lost. I can't remember anything about the route and I find I'm trying to drive from the back passenger seat. 15) Furtherfield.org's technician Giles and his girlfriend Ruth have just welcomed a new baby boy into the world. He's like a tiny, wizened old man one minute and a gremlin the next. Welcome to the world Theo! 16) Developing a new thematic for Furtherfield.org's future programme that looks at the responsibilities and possibilities for media art in the context of environmental change. I understand the issues and the urgency of the situation on a rational level but struggle to internalise them. I suspect I'm not alone in this. I enjoyed a conversation this afternoon with Maja about their 'series of gatherings' called Luminous Green. She made some great observations about the pitfalls of working in this way. By way of an illustration of the problems of vivifying the issues she said " who would ever first describe their relationship as 'sustainable'?". We also agreed that if we don't all start to think about these issues that others might solve the problems...but not necessarily in a way that we like. She also fascinated me with talk of a more open-source approach to molecular gastronomy as currently practised by celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal. 17) A realisation that there are different kinds of speech- instrumental, expressive, sharing- made my colleague's recent suggestion to "just be honest" really confusing. 18) Our poor sick cat Bobby- who is so cheerie when he's OK and becomes really pathetic when he's sick again, which happens more and more frequently. 19) Very few of the students at college blog of their own accord. We encourage it as a way for them to document and reflect on what they learn, share their ongoing research and represent their interests and experience to a networked community of practitioners. I think the biggest hurdle is the complexity of working out what is public and what is private. 20) Swimming as much and often as I can. It's stretching and cardiovascular all in one. I enjoy being with other swimmers. Sometimes I count the laps, sometimes I close my eyes and imagine that I'm swimming backstroke in a stream or that I am a frog. 21) Another separate mound of private and family affairs: invigorating, tricky, murky, neglected. 22) I haven't played up my violin for an age. The reasons are similar to why I fall behind with conversations and correspondences with people I really like. I have been working on various people to have me join their bands or do some recording to break the silence. I'd be happy to scrape away in any context really. 23) Enjoying our local neighbourhood of Haringey more and more. Discovering new neighbours and fresh and varied local food. 24) Flux-Olympiad part of the Long Weekend at the Tate this weekend. 25) Hundreds of thousands of people dead in recent natural disasters. The equivalent of double the population of London homeless. It's a windy night here but we are secure for now. 26) I'd like to be at the Eclectic Tech Carnival in Amsterdam.