Monday, 29 July 2013

57th Rome

^Two pieces from the "57th Rome" 3d-printed Ceramic Collection

There was this old history doc on More4 the other day that had these really bad early cgi fly throughs of a super low-res version of Carthage. They were going on about how grand it had been, rival to Rome, how violent the siege had been, what a loss to the world its destruction had been etc. But its huge circular harbour, its acropolis and its piled up buildings were all rendered in badly bitmapped cylinders and rectangular extrusions, and everything was blurry-edged and a bit fuzzy cos the animation had been really badly de-interlaced. It felt more like Mario64 does Carthage with a faulty graphics card than anything else. It was gorgeous though. I’ve always liked ruins and their reconstructions, they always get me thinking and guessing about what this bit was, what that bit did, who lived in it, what was the world like then. This kind of did that, I mean just hinting at Carthage is enough to set your fantasy-loving mind off on a Game-of-Thrones-like bender, but it was also like another kind of reconstruction, of the early digital era, of when I was 12 and CD-Roms were new and we played Myst, a time that seems hazy and as impossibly remote as the colonnaded agora in which the Carthaginians sacrificed their children to the fire. The ancient Mediterranean meets antiquated technology, with somehow the former being infinitely more sophisticated than the latter. Take a Carthaginian column and you’ve got a stack of amazing sculpture, its capital, fluting, entablature, it’s all rich as hell. But then stick it through the filter of early computers like they did in that documentary and it gets completely changed. It gets reduced to a kind of even more ancient, prehistoric sort of primitiveness. The fluting goes, the capital loses everything except its bounding box, the entablature becomes a flattish surface. It’s a double ruin. The city got reconstructed from the ruins of its story, its traces, but the limit of the animator’s tools meant that in a way they ruined the reconstruction, instantly joining together for all eternity, in perpetuity, through the vehicle of that animation, a certain moment in the sped-up technological time of the 90s, and the pungent era of epic mythological time of Carthage and Rome. I think we should try and do it more often, what that animation did. We should reconstruct things that we are obsessed with from the impossibly distant past: things, objects, buildings. We should reconstruct them with all the modern tools at our disposal, knowing full well that we are ruining them in the process. Ruination through making. Fabrication Technology as Time Machine that transforms the past. Amphorae, Oil Lamps, Candelabra; NVidia Quadro, ZCorp6500, Photoshop CS6.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


^a Lovenir

There’s no point having sex unless you record it. And forget snapchat, vine, movs, you might as well go the whole hog and do something proper, push the limits, and I don’t mean just another fuzzy, badly framed phone vid pasted together on imovie with shit music. Put any old ebay web cams equidistant from each other in the four corners of your room, make sure they have an unobstructed view, and bam, there’s an app (called Lovenir) that syncs them together and takes as many 3d scans/vids of the action as you want. Like usual, you can both watch the fun afterwards as many times as you like, edit it, send it, post it whatever, the difference is that now you can pick your favourite frames and order them, have your very own little yous doing it all day on your bedside table. They 3d print souvenirs of you that get sent straight to your place, and you can get them any size, any material (all depends on how much you want to spend), you can pick whatever frame, and they've got filters which are like the 3d equivalent of instagram. You can get street-icon-people filter yous, Salvador-Dali-melting filter yous, 50s-tin-toy filter yous, it’s endless. I've also discovered tangentially that you should keep the ones which depict rather specific positions you have a penchant for. They can be rather useful in situations where otherwise explaining the desired set-up can become a bit long winded and awkward, especially if it’s an off-the-beaten-track kind of one.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Porcelain, the State, the Living Room and the Deviant

Earth, minerals, sand, and fire; some madness, lust, covetousness and greed; a little art, flair, pretension and pageantry; too much time, technology, loneliness and power: this stuff makes us into little prophets, we tap the plastic three times and out comes all the riches of the world, and more, fashioned in our own image like Medusa turning her own children to stone with a disinterested glance, through her webcam.

Friday, 19 July 2013


Sometimes he felt like he was outside of himself, looking with slight disdain at the expressionless features of his face, but still feeling his face somehow, numbly, like putty. This happened a lot in taxis. Often, he was attached to his body the way the lens in a phone is connected to its owner as it snaps the selfie in a mirror. Sometimes it was worse, much worse. Sometimes he felt like he was just a volume of paper thin skin encompassing nothing, a human balloon terrified of pins, trying to pretend to everyone that everything is normal, when he was actually terrified, rigid with worry that he might just pop at any given moment. This mostly happened in the build up to office socials. Occasionally he was overcome with remorse. He would feel like he had been entirely unfaithful to his previous selves by attaining so little, by forgetting their dreams, by allowing their passions to be slowly doused in alcohol and BBC reruns. This mostly happened during hangovers. His generally applicable panacea of aimlessly surfing Vimeo’s Staff Picks would no longer work in these instances, so he would walk. Preferably up and down things, like ramps and stairs, regular repetitions of similarly sized steps, but outside, so he could feel the cold or heat on his face. This left few options in his vicinity that were suitable, namely the assortment of multi storey car parks whose ramps and stairs he would ascend and descend in alternation, up the stairs, down the ramps, down the road and up the ramps then down the stairs and so on. The guards were always too busy chatting to notice him and incrementally, with each step he took, he would fill out. Not feel good or anything like that, just that the terror would go away. As he climbed he would slowly lose the feeling that he was his own double, or that there was nothing inside him and he had to hide it, or that he was only the sum of other people’s opinions of him. These walks, usually at night, lit by neon, were the only times he started to feel that the grammar-less 20,000 word email full of misspellings that he usually felt himself to be was sort of fixing itself, adding full stops, using spell check, becoming legible. The car parks were his tower of babel. He was building with his feet, up and up, piling on top of each other, ever higher ramps and stairs and stairs and ramps. Precipitously, endlessly, he was reaching for himself, for his one unitary self, whole, sure and pristine. But every time, sure as with the biblical tower itself, the moment would come when he would shatter. Like a warning that you can and should never try and approach an ideal, even yourself, let alone God, just as he was able to gather a glimmer of relief, each and every time, he would splinter back into a thousand anxieties, a million viewpoints, each with their own language, lost and confused. In the broken wake of his collapsed edifice, he would return home haunted each time with all of his facebook pages and twitter profiles crowding around him and shouting at each other like demented and vengeful spirits.

Friday, 12 July 2013


It was on the second visit to this girl’s flat that he noticed the vase, in the corner of the room, partially obscured behind an aspidistra. With her he was just going through the motions, being polite, maintaining for the sake of form conversations in which he could never really give his opinion, since the way she expressed hers clearly implied an absolute intolerance towards those held anywhere near the other end of the spectrum, which was where his tended to reside. He mostly mumbled agreement. And what went on in the bedroom left plenty to be desired. Lights had to be off, pitch black, lots of no go areas, no noises, or sometimes deadening, theatrically unbelievable ones.

It was during her interminable “chats” over mugs of cold tea that he developed an attraction for the vase, which was directly behind her end of the sofa, meaning he could study its contours, become intimately acquainted with the play of sunlight on its glaze, whilst appearing to be entirely concentrated on whatever infinite list of right-wing platitudes she was reeling off at any given moment. The uneven, translucent turquoise of its bulging central section glinted and shone from within like shallow summer waters. Shadows from the agitated aspidistra were passing clouds, they served only to emphasise the vividness of that which they would so briefly hide.

Where she always presented herself as flawless, her vase was full of imperfections. In one place there was a deep crack filled with shiny lead, looking for all the world like a river seen from space as it catches the sun. Nearby on a particularly broad expanse of diaphanous light-green, there was an area of finely interwoven, multi-layered crazing (fine cracks), as if the vase were a thinly frozen lake, and someone had just walked across it.

Its blue had more depth, and more intelligence than the blue in her eyes. Its curves gave themselves up to the sunlight, to delight, to his eyes more freely than she would have ever dreamed of allowing herself, and he found himself coming over more and more often, found himself saying how much he liked to “chat”, found himself waiting for each time she went to the loo.

Within the confines of its S-curve profile, its three different glazes and their varying depths, he discovered an entire world that he feasted on not only with his eyes, but as he drew close when she would leave the room, with the tips of his fingers, with his whole palm, cupping each protrusion lovingly, with the tip of his tongue, tickled by its alpine coolness, the occasional powdering of malty dust, the thrill, the sheer tingling release of running the full way around, from top to bottom, side to side, with the entire surface of his tongue, spread out at full sail and sliding with total abandon.

It was delicious, a delight. A pile of clay, a dusting of sand, some minerals, fire. It didn’t say a word. It didn’t do anything. And yet it filled his senses, pricked his desire, drew him back. He felt an affinity with the Hebrews who believe that human life originated in clay, that the very first man, Adam, was really also the very first piece of ceramic, fired in the breath of God. The vase was definitely more alive than the girl. He was even beginning to feel like it was more alive than him, like it was an object out of time that required his veneration, needed a weekly tribute of caresses, attention, adulation and passion from a mere mortal or else it would silently bleed itself away, disappear into an attic, die.

After a few weeks, already suspicious as to why he kept coming over, especially since their relationship had ended and they didn’t exactly get on like bff’s, she pretended to go and write an email in her bedroom, watching instead from her room as he surreptitiously crept over to her plant, kneeled down next to it, grabbed the urn which used to contain her great grandmother’s ashes, and started fondling, licking, and practically necking it like he was some disgusting, deranged dog in heat.

She pushed him to the door shouting things along the lines of ‘what the hell is wrong with you?’ and ‘get out you freak’. She never replied any of his texts after that. Luckily they did not have any mutual friends.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Me Me Me Me

It is the act of copying/modifying itself that keeps the thing being copied alive, maintaining its bloodline, sustaining its aura.

Its imitators, its satirists, its defacers are all just further validation of its genetic vigour.

The larger the number of its progeny the greater its value.

Every single distorted copy transforms the original to the exact degree by which it differs from it, so that the increase in value of the original is a direct outcome of the degree to which it is being constantly transformed.

Every reinterpretation forever alters the manner in which the thing being interpreted can be understood in the future.

This is a story of instantaneous genetic evolution, millions of Galapagoses a year studied with wonder from the little HMS Beagles of our laptops.

Beneath the biological matter coming and going and breeding and dying, it is also a geological tale.

It is about the slow sedimentation of layer after layer of meaning, compressing infinitesimally into something durable, cohesive, hard and representative, a collective landmass of superficialities layered so high they have become the very incarnation of depth, there for us to excavate before the whole thing slides into the sea.

The Arctic ice cap is melting in inverse proportion to the rate at which the internet is growing. 1 gigabyte for one cubic metre.

Less is more : Mies Van Der Rohe

Less is a bore : Robert Venturi

Less is a snore : Gianni Versace

Yes is more : Bjark Ingels

More is more : Gianfranco Ferre

I am a whore : Phillip Johnson