Saturday, February 26, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
As we become evermore attuned to process over products, will blogs become an increasingly visible part of academics’ work? Or will blogs continue to remain on the margins of recognised academic output? How will blogs by non-academics contribute to research agendas? Those who are interested in these questions may want to follow the ‘Honest to Blog’ one day symposium in Dublin on the 4th March, which explores the use of blogging in arts and humanities research and practice.
Photos of the two different sets of 'lungs' are my own from research for both an academic ethnography and for this blog (see my Flikr set). See similarities with photographs in this post too!
Friday, February 11, 2011
This great bit of footage from Brazil, where a little bit of re-hosing has a magical effect, is the first post in my 'classics' category. The 'pneumatic tube classic of the week', following from the 'pneumatic tube map of the week', will be a post about a classic book, film, cartoon, TV show or other media about pneumatic tube systems.
Please send in any of your favourite pneumatic tube classics to be potentially included on the list!
Video from YouTube.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
"Serge Spitzer aims to reveal hidden elements, structures and systems, the effects of which we perceive without trying to question their nature. Since the 1970s, he has been formulating mechanisms of communication, perception, and consciousness. These “reality models” are extraordinarily lucid sculptures in which everyday life confronts while merging with the imaginary. The artist borrows a complex vocabulary from our surroundings to generate the constant conflict and equilibrium of his works ... Re/Search, Bread and Butter with the ever present Question of How to define the difference between a Baguette and a Croissant, a monumental installation first made in 1997 for the Lyon Biennial, coincides with the democratization of the Internet. Presented today in the context of information technology hegemony, this work attests to the pre-existence of a quasi-organic communication network. Serge Spitzer unveils a chaotic pneumatic transport system where capsules, propelled by air, whizz through a maze of tubes. Installed in 1866 under the streets of Paris, this kind of device originally served to transmit commercial orders between the Central Telegraph Office and trading rooms. By bringing a technology back into the public space that ordinarily lurks under our towns, like a beast in a cave, Serge Spitzer ironically interrogates its function and renders it perfectly obsolete. The installation brings together two systems that work against each other, but are forced to coexist together; the networks neutralize each other. Messages shoot through these vessels without sender, without recipient, and on a quest without beginning or end. Here, order faces off with chaos and stringency brushes against weakness: everything is intertwined, but all of it is accidental"
"The chaos of this seemingly stable structure, and the free will of controlled units is at the core of this piece: "The idea is to create the sketch of a chaotic structure that you follow and discover the 'clear' reality around it. The message of the work is to create something which is a question to itself. You build structures which seem to be very clear in their functions. But as you realise the work, you discover the irrationalities in the system. The narrative is about reality. You think the piece is about itself but it’s actually about the world around it, about the people, architecture, about the structure, you also look differently at the colours outside, or details and their relative monumentality. A big wild crazy transparent structure seen trough a large glass wall and next door you see the Eiffel tower, the most rational functional construction.”It is the so-called 'irrationalities' of pneumatic tube systems which fascinate me too. The free will and the structure, always in tension, visible in the adjustments that engineers make to networks, in the sketches architects draw during renovations, in the breakdowns and in the repair work that takes place in hospitals, banks, pharmacies and other places everyday.