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2-swim christmas

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dream catchers

In Hollybank this year some hunger-games team-builders have unintentionally built dream catchers for kids to climb on. High danger, fatal concussions and snapped leg bones disguised as over-scaled prototypes for local jewellery. This is now a park of risk, concentrating into a few sq km the sensations of flying through the air, of slipping on wet rocks, going over the handlebars into a winded curl, hypnic jerks, sleep paralysis 40m up a tree, seeing a mesh of grey stars before fainting, building teams through shared intake of breath, not trusting colleagues, family, harness or helmet, knowing that you’re more likely to fall by braking too hard than from speed.

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100 things

I like Canberra now, let’s move there.
because the sky was blue 3 days in a row and the lake and highways stretched out beneath me, and because I had 2 showers everyday and then drip-dried in a hotel room while watching First Dates and drinking mini beer cans and cups of tea. In between serious activities I went to a museum show called something seminal and superlative like ’100 objects of the world’, it was on loan from the British Museum which kind of embarrassed me at first but now I know that it is the basis for a fundamental and poignant Jeppe text I am embarrassed of my shame. each object had a backstory of trade/pillage/finance/industry/war/god/// and they were all connected by an invisible history-web in a shitty dark room in one of Canberra’s museum sheds. It made me consider what the 100 objects of my life would be, but I could only come up with one: a miniature vase that held a quite unpleasant chocolate truffle in Singapore in 1992 that I chose as a treat instead of a delicious mango sorbet so that I had something tangible to carry away with me. Hoping I wouldn’t make that decision again and that 10 year old me would be disappointed.

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troika

I’m writing my thesis in threes, for which I blame the principles and now-soon-laters of regeneration documents, not spirituality nor superstition. Last night we went to this bar Troika for old times. I assume the reason they recently celebrated their 18th anniversary was because  (3+3)*3 and not because it’s the legal drinking age. To mark the occasion they refreshed the interior. I’ve sat inside the dark comfort of this bar in 2003, a bit in 2006 and 2007, once in 2012, 2014. Now in 2016 the original black-ply-red-canvas fit-out has been replaced with the interior of a tin foil hat to keep the now-soon-later of rampant redevelopment from getting in.

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early

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Death in Sarajevo

Death in Sarajevo is a film about the depths of a hotel in one of those cities that Easyjet doesn’t fly to. I have read this book In Europe three times. First time it was upsetting in the northern bit of Spain, the second time I wanted to share the pain night by night out loud, and for the third time (which at some point has become the fourth time) we dip in and out, dip in to Bucharest 1989 / Paris 1905 / London 1944. It’s actually a perfect book, and it has taught me that at the centre is Sarajevo. So yesterday I Peggy Olsen-ed myself to a film during business hours. I got a mediocre seat because they let the members of culture in first and there are a lot of members of culture at 4pm during a Melbourne film festival. One of the character’s pleas: ‘protect us from uniform thinking’ reminds me of Helen Small saying that declining to describe our lives as unified stories is the only way we can hope to live out our time other than as tragedy although one talks about social fraternity / enmity and the other is about living long.

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CR

Critical Realist abductive approach to Nauru: If you cannot prove the allegations to be true, conceptualise the global structures (real) and institutional practices (actual) that need to be active in a particular (contingent) offshore context to explain the abuses (empirical) and consider whether this builds a more or less believable model of reality.

Cinema El Dudebro

The way we store and arrange information, in a cloud of hopelessly inadequate folders in folders and equally weighted key terms, or on pin-boards in the secret storage sheds of Rust Cohle and Carrie Mathison. This, in contradiction to the spatial metaphors that we use to comprehend and describe our memory – the physical spaces of vessels and drawers, catacombs and dark recesses, and the texture and thinness of the fragments and mistakes that they hold. You know the point of lying down at the end of yoga? Not to assimilate the benefits of being middle class into our dank bodies, but to let the mind briefly nudge, without conscious intent, a thought that has been allowed to float outside. Regardless, the spatial metaphor of our minds and memory is entrenched in the rooms of houses, in caves, on the rungs of library ladders, in garbage cans. Instead of these spatial metaphors of memory being transformed by digital experience (whatever that is – is it a cloud) they are being solidified further by the same Cinema El Dudebro plot twists that fetishise rows of zeroes and ones (reality is boring, please let us build our own, but then locate it in the same old fashioned metaphors of rooms, houses, cities, mines). I want to know what is the metaphor that reflects the movement of our mind (I think it might be a cloud).

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long sentences

After writing ‘use shorter sentences’ on 65 essays, the majority of which try to prove that grand and monumental planning is autocratic (and in doing so tilt perilously close to outright defining spatial planning as a failed endeavour despite their authors paying tens of thousands of dollars to become masters of planning themselves), a conversation with my boss about his thin knowledge of the first three pages of a book by Proust reminded me that I should try to use longer sentences myself, not for the delightful reason of dwelling on and discovering connections between ideas, but, deferring to the base reason for trying anything new (beyond Maslow’s even baser reasons), that is simply to see if I could do it. It is harder than I imagined and even that one, which is not at all long compared to Proust’s first three pages – or at least my boss’s distant memory of those first three pages, read in the sunshine on holiday where the words and their meaning, beyond the achievement of long sentences, are immediately bleached by the heat and evaporate right there and then instead of being stored and taken home – takes on the tone of an annoying butterfly and makes me think that, although the exercise has helped me to string some random thoughts together – the history and future of planning, the motivation to try new things, the futility of reading in the sunshine – maybe those connections are deceptive, describing the random movements of an unreliable narrator’s brain and coercing you to think that butterflies, a pyramid of need and expensive useless educations are part of a bigger more complex degustation of meaning, rather than allowing you to define your own relationships between separate and discrete short sentences that hover without shadows like lonely lengths of wood placed on a gallery floor in an unforgivable display of contemporary art that shouts ‘nothing is connected’, ‘you are all alone’, and no number of sentence connectors and semi-colons – used incorrectly for sure – can make me feel that this proximity is anything more than momentary chance.