Sunday, 30 August 2009

sonic marshmallows

Troika created this installation at Wat Tyler country park in Basildon Essex based on sound mirrors like the ones at Dungeness used as early warning systems during the war - if you stand by one and whisper you can hear by standing at the other one 60 metres away,

Saturday, 29 August 2009

in between spaces

I like the idea of this pod by Mariko Moro - a floating day bed pod for time out

in between spaces

Earlier this summer I worked on the installation of the Elephant Bed at Fabrica, a large scale site specific piece by the Canadian artist John Grade, made from soluble biodegradable paper. The shapes are based on microscopic structures of Coccolithophores that ultimately form the chalk sea beds. They create an intriguing space in which to retreat: warm and light, muffling external sound.

Must be entirely synchronicity that Olivia Decaris MA student in Design Products at the RCA has created something almost identical for a similar purpose. 

dysfunctional outfits

Maybe the continuing popularity of the high heels and the low slung jeans, that make it impossible to walk, is due to a need for inconvenience? Perhaps life has become too bland,predictable, and comfortable and we need some kind of physical challenge to make life more interesting?


note:  explore the potential for perforations to make deliberate patterns or messages out of shadows - this is the shadow of a device to make ready made instant kolams using flour - probably tin 

seeing in the dark

We eventually managed to get up to the Chattri on the Downs to see the Anish Kapoor installation Curve during the Brighton festival, a little late in the day. By the time we got there it was dark. Taking photographs with a flash created unexpected results: they had put one of those orange plastic netting fences that construction workers arrange around holes in the road to deter the sheep from licking the mirror..

there is life and then there are shoes

Function: something to protect our feet from the ground. Protection from the elements, wet cold, dirt. To prevent cuts and grazes, to keep feet clean.To make it easier to walk?

How fantastic is it that the fashion for higher and higher and higher heels has endured? These astounding elegant sculptural prostheses that slow you down, make you strut, and are all about glamour, sex, and objectification of legs?  Its such a blatant defiance of feminist arguments about hobbling women: sculptural Barbie-fication of girls..difficult not to be impressed.

It occured to me that perhaps the girls in high heels needed the occasional perch. I have named my first prototype: Slip on

its staring you in the face

How to account for the actual nature of the urban environment? How to document? How to anaylse? To understand the ground beneath your feet, the walls beside you, the spaces that have become the background to everyday life and normally pass unnoticed during the A to B. Spending time deliberately looking rather than just dashing past can be relatively uninspiring. It was suggested I look at  Georges Perec   : 

"  We live in space, in these spaces, these towns, this countryside, these corridors, these parks.. there isn't one space, a beautiful space, a beautiful space round about, a beautiful space all around us, there's a whole lot of small bits of space ... spaces have multiplied, been broken up and have diversified. There are spaces today of every kind and every size and every use and every function. To live is to pass from one space to another, while doing your very best not to bump yourself". (Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces,1974) 

His chapter on The Street prescribes specific exercises -" exhaust the subject.. force yourself to see more flatly. Detect a rhythm: the passing of cars. The cars arrive in clumps.... decipher a bit of the town, deduce the obvious facts

i have embarked on a number of different exercises to document local spaces: 
  • time lapse
  • redrawing maps from google earth to create maps of non consumption
  • just sitting while the time lapses and doing the perec exercises
its an act of faith - hoping for clues to support my hypothesis
I need some other subjective experiences other than mine .........wish you werent here?

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

in between time

is there any time inbetween now that it is possible to consume 24 hours a day. if the shops are shut the internet is open. if the pubs are shut the clubs are open. If the cinemas are shut the movies can be downloaded. anything on demand. is there a time inbetween for non consumption?

add clock....pie chart for consumption diary

in between spaces

There are many anonymous places in contemporary life between work, home, and entertainment . Perhaps thats OK, or perhaps they are wasted spaces or there aren't enough of them Richard Sennett talks about the need to design ambiguity into urban environments. Places that aren't for anything in particular that are not controlled or manipulated but allow for, or provoke interaction between people that is not proscribed. pedestrianisation of city centres is creating more space for potentially flexible interactions if it is not entirely inhabited by the service culture...

light shadows

The workspace at the resource centre in Andra Pradesh had this woven grass roof that created this beautiful patterned shadow. of course the light intensity there is very high, so it won't work on a grey day.

simple but effective

in Milan this year i was keeping a record of all those objects that had been successfully made from one piece: rope, sheet material, looped, knotted, stuffed. Then the other day Tom, whose mother is Danish was telling me about the appeal of these tin openers that have been used in his family for decades. I have never seen one before. Very appealing. According to Tom they also work.

where did that come from?

I often become transfixed by those
occasional indistinct white smears
that sometimes seem like a spray can 
test... and turn out to be reflected 
light or light shadows could be used
 to more deliberate effect?
 reflected light from glazed tiles in a pub toilet
no idea but very lovely

Monday, 24 August 2009

introducing the rural into the urban environment

Amongst the buildings, concrete, tarmac and increasing pedestrianised space, is there now more room to introduce more than just the odd plant pot into an urban environment? They seem to be having a go at vertical versions in Paris.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

use a bench

These benches in Paris are multi-purpose : day beds, card tables, bag hangers...

the longest bench that ade mentions in comment below is thomas heatherwick extruded aluminium. He is showing the offcuts as sculpture at the haunch of venison

sunday afternoon

Luxembourg gardens, Paris, Sunday afternoon. All you need is a couple of chairs. Make your own arrangements. At one time these chairs were for rent like deckchairs, Proust mentions them in Swann's Way:In search of lost time (1913):" the chair-warden and I are old friends"

Monday, 17 August 2009

sheep shelter

Even sheep need shelter sometimes

Sunday, 16 August 2009

building a shelter

Started building this in June - so far just the base - went back in August and it is growing itself

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

listening glasses

The exhibition for  the positivesoundscapes research project included a piece on listening glasses by Dawn Scarfe designed to vibrate when they pick up particular frequencies - ampliphying the sound in the ear. Lovely objects - to help hearing?  And Simon Elvins 
made a map of Silent London based on sound research to show the quietest places - evidence of what we might expect ? Could it be linked to GPS to guide you to the quietest places?

Friday, 7 August 2009

sitting post

New Road Brighton: was this intended as a seat? Definitely there is potential to consider heights of seats, a good form of storage for people who can climb? Theres a lot said about public seating and a good debate on Dan Lockton's blog Design with Intent about using design to influence behaviour and the lengths public authorities will go to deter the homeless from rough sleeping and teenagers from hanging around. Similar to the dissappearance of public toilets:why make life inconvenient for everyone? People will find ways around it. 

hearing devices

First experiments with hearing devices - so why wouldn't you use your hand? Does the stick make it more comfortable? more performative? how about the context? Would a ruff work as an ampliphier?

rejecting consumption

i am reminded of Michael Landy and his systematic destruction of all his possessions
as an ongoing performance Break Down deliberately located in the centre of consumption  a recently vacated C&A store in Oxford St,London.

24 hour world

we're discussing the potential of i-technology, on-line profiles and similar that mean that we can access the world in our pocket. how much are we in the present moment or able to experience parallel existences concurrently? They are explaining the situationist notion of society of the spectacle and realising that we are now able to weave our own individual spectacles..... constantly and ultimately able to be in touch and update and be updated in real time.. do we need a mode of escape? A magnetic field shield? do we need to create terrains of  non-consumption? 


in an atmosphere of sunny saturday affluence, they stroll in their favourite and informal shirts and skirts and hats and bags and hats and shorts and shades. its time off. Have come to meet Mark Bennet to borrow his camera so I can experiment with time lapse in urban environments. So I am explaining my research. 

As he points out: " there is nowhere on the high street that is not moderated by money" ( i have just paid £2.40 for an orange juice) and sees:" sharing as a subversive act".He hands over the camera.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

information overload

What intrigued me at first about Nacho Carbonnell Evolution series was the contrast to the rest of the Milan design shows. Amongst the onslaught of opulence and glamour of sumptuous materials and extravagant signature pieces, his work looks awkward, hand made, childlike. when you discover that its intention is to provide a refuge from information overload, and that it is literally made out of pulped printed material. - it makes all the more sense. There is something appealing about how the drab material, the crooked lines and apparently unstable structure compare to the ubiquitous sleek, stripped down, wipe clean urban shopping environments.