Showing posts from October, 2007

'Doubting Damien' by Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis wrote an interesting article on art subtitled 'Why Contemporary Art is so hilarious' for a free magazine given away at Frieze Art. and here on the web is another looking at Damien Hearst work. What interests me is that both are devastating attacks on the banality of conceptual art but carefully framed because to attack conceptual art is to risk being seen as a philistine, ludditte or fuddy-duddy. So Ben Lewis makes his attacks, if such they are, more obliquely, almost parodying modern art as being hilarious, and writes an article not attacking Hearst but saying what would an attack on Hearst 's work look like? Reviews: 'Doubting Damien' by Ben Lewis | Prospect Magazine July 2007 issue 136

The Non-Designer's Design Book: Books: Robin Williams

I was quite surprised how much I learnt from reading Robin Williams' book. I thought I had picked up enough design ideas to be just a little beyond this book. But I was completely wrong - despite being very simple, very easy and quick to read, it manages to clearly introduce better design by use of simple rules. I am now horrified by how often I use 12 point, Helvetica, Time Roman, and non-plussed by my horrific disregard of strong vertical alignment, the frequent use of centred text and ignorance of proximity and contrast as basic design principles. Indeed I have tweaked this blog to get rid of the centering and to reinforce the vertical alignments. The Non-Designer's Design Book: Books: Robin Williams

Kensington Walk - DIFFUSION EBook Generator

I have been trying out proboscis's book folding generator programme called Diffusion. It is a method of folding sheets to form a book without the need for binding, and it comes with a generator that takes text and formats as required for folding. It took me a while to crack it but I managed eventually and published a short walk on Kensington with it. This can be printed out here: A4 version : US Letter :

Social Entreprenure Show :

Nov 2nd 3rd November is the: Social Entreprenur Show at Olympia

St Augustine's Tower

I had a meeting with Beliz at the Hackney Historic Buildings Trust to see if 'And Did Those Feet' could help out in any way to help run the Round Chapel or St Augustine's Tower. HHBT

Bluestones and Stonehenge

Current Archaeology reports further on Tim Darvill's ideas on Stonehenge in the SPACES - Strumble - Preseli Communities and Envi ro nment project. By studying the source of the Blue stones in detail he has come to the conclusion that their placement in Stonehenge mirrors their origins in the Preseli Hills. The inner oval at Stonehenge is made of spotted dolerite and the outer circle is of rhyolite and tuff and dolerite - dolerite comes from Carn Menyn in Preselli, the other stones come from outcrops surrounding Carn Menyn. This finally ends any idea that the Bluestones were brought to Stonehenge by glaciation. The presence of water pools near the stones suggests to Darvill they were used for health care. Current Archaeology - Message in the Stones

'London's Contemporary Architecture - An Explorer's Guide'

Excellent book on modern architecture in London - unreadable as a book but excellent as a guide: Allinson, Ken 'London's Contemporary Architecture - An Explorer's Guide' 4th Ed, Architectural Press, Oxford 2006

Terracotta Army

We went to see the Terracotta Army at the British Museum this evening. It makes the old Reading Room of the British Library look good (but I still don't think they should have used this lovely public reading room for a fee paying exhibition), and it is great to get close to the figures. The details are amazing the soldiers with their top nots, and their wooden clogs. The figures and the chariots are the stars of the Exhibition - but can't help feeling there should be more than the dozen or so figures they have. The other objects are ok but the panels have that stripped down overly edited feel that makes them filletted of any interesting information. I felt after visiting the exhibition that I knew no more about the First Emperor, than I did before entering (although that may be because I watched an excellent documentary on the subject a few months ago). There is also a feeling of undue reverence as if the writers could say nothing that was in the least controversial in ca

St Thomas Church soon to be off the Buildings at risk register?

We had a very good meeting with the Cathedral Group, the new owners of St Thomas Church, today to discuss the building work that will finally take the building off the Buildings at Risk register. It seems there will be a short closure period for the Old Operating Theatre Museum but at least, this time, we are being involved in the discussions at an early stage. It was great to see the Reredos for the first time in at least 10 years.

Public Health walk for Camden Special Needs Group

Thursday I took a special needs group on a walk around Southwark for the Old Operating Theatre Museum's public health in the Victorian period programme. The walk was really enjoyable because the kids were so engaged. I think it started off well as I started rather gory with stories of Keats and the dead body that was delivered to his student digs in St Thomas St, and it went from strength to strength but really the kids made it. At long last this walk is now ready for wider dissemination.

Drovers Road and Markets Cycle Route

My cycle route back from the Old Operating Theatre Museum this afternoon Borough Market - listening to a band underneath the Railway arches by the Globe London Bridge City Bishopsgate Spitalfields Christchurch Brick Lane Columbia Road Broadway Market London Fields ( London Fields Drovers Road) Hackney Mare St where I saw a Latvian Dance Troupe on a cultural exchange - I asked what we were going to offer in exchange - the Hockey Cokey perhaps? St Augustine's Tower St John's Clapton It is quite an amazing slice of London and at the weekends this route is just heaving with people having fun.

CSM presentation - 'A Week in the Life of Kevin Flude'

I was asked to present my work to students on the Creative Practice for Narrative Environments on Wednesday. I decided that I should attempt the presentation in the spirit of the Course and not do a straight Powerpoint presentation. I wanted the presentation to be non-linear, interactive and perhaps not entirely authored by me. I began with the idea of the order being random - I wanted a spinning wheel to choose the order the components appeared in but due to lack of our 'Twister' set choose a chatterbox instead (see here for how to fold). I decided to use the idea of 'A Week in the Life of' and decided not to cheat and use the current week. The first 4 components of the chat terbox would be the 4 aspects of my life: 1. Home and Life 2. The Old Operating Theatre Museum 3. University Lecturing 4. 'And Did Those Feet' Elderhostel and the history and archaeology of London The 8 inner folds would be the 7 days of the week plus one for summer in ord

The Somerset Case

Lecture at Dr johnson's house on the famous case in which Lord Mansfield ( who lived in Kenwood House) adjudged that slavery was lawful in Britain. Lord Mansfield said: The quotation (from Wikipedia) is as follows: .. The state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political; but only positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasion, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory: it's so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law. Whatever inconveniences, therefore, may follow from a decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the black must be discharged." For more information click here:

Knights Templars and Friday the 13th

October 13th is the anniversay of the arrest by the King of France of all Templars in France. This was followed by the execution in May 1310 of 54 templars. In 1312 the Pope closed the order down. Knights Templars and Friday the 13th

Regeneration London Cycle Route

We went on a fantastic cycle ride around East and South East London at the Weekend. Amazing scenery - vast areas of 'regeneration' of wonderful views of Docks, Canals and Rivers. Plenty of squalor, fly tipping debris, brown field sites, heaps of gravel, industrial landscapes. So much space - it seems you could build another London in the space, rehouse all the homeless, provide cheap housing for the next generation - all in the area between Hackney, Becton and Greenwich. The Route took from 12 - 6pm but would want longer if visiting 'attractions' on the way. The route is circular so could start anywhere: Victoria Park, Hertford Union Canal to River Lee (near Carpenters Road) on edge of Olympic Site Follow river Lee to 3 Mill Pumping Station Take East branch of River heading east to pick up the Greenway Follow Greenway to Beckton (Alps) Turn South to Royal Albert Docks, cycle round the Docks to Thames at Woolwich Ferry Cross Woolwich Ferry or foottunnel Cycle West a

The Origins of Financial London

I revised a short paper Paul Herbert and I wrote originally for Linklaters and Paines as a briefing document for new staff as an introduction to the City. It is a simplified history of the City of London as a financial institutions. This is an extract (the full version can be accessed here: : From Coffee House to Financial Institution The other financial institutions soon came into being informally and most surprisingly located in the numerous Coffee shops that were springing up around London. Their role seems strange today but they were ideal meeting houses, because the alternative would have been the tavern and the drunkenness associated with them would have made business meetings difficult! There were as many as 2000 clubs and societies meeting in London Coffee Houses. Within a few short years the number of joint stock companies had increase to 140 by 1695. The issue of shares in these companies inevitably led to the dealing in shares and the Stock Brokers and Jobbers

Mint Street Workhouse

The Mint Street Workhouse, SE1 was the subject of a scathing report in the Lancet in 1865. Further details on the workhouse site: - The Workhouse Web Site

New Narrative Students

The new first year creative practice for narrative environment students showed their first projects today to the staff. Excellent and very varied work - some very witty films and interesting pieces. The idea was that the pieces should communicate without the need for a commentary - this was much easier if using a film or power point but was not really the object of the exercise - I'm wondering whether we should discourage film next year as the idea is to explore how an object or objects can convey meaning. Some pieces communicated very well without commentary, some became very rich but only once explained and others were weakened by explanation. There were some interesting examples of how the way a story is revealed can heighten excitement or interest, with other examples of how premature knowledge can destroy the interest that comes from speculation.

Architecture of Southwark Walk

I gave a walk for Better Bankside on the Architecture of Bankside - route was Borough Market, Hop Exchange, Redcross Street, Union Street, Tabard, George, Guys, St Thomas St, St Thomas Church, London Bridge Station, Shard of Glass, Tooley Street, Olaf House, No 1 London, London Bridge, Southwark Cathedral, Minerva House, Winchester Palace. It was wet and rainy but good fun and improved my familiarity with the more modern sights - although typically we did not have time to fit all of these in. It is quite amazing the amount of good architecture in Southwark today.

Homo Britannicus

I have now finished reading Home Britannicus by Chris Stringer. It seems a very important book as it brings together all the work from the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project. AHOB seems a model of a multi-disciplinary team working together in a scientific manner. The reason the book is important is that it first shows that Humans have been in Britain since 700,000BC but that the climate has often turned inhospitable so that Humans have abandoned this area of Europe on no less than seven abandonments of these islands. So we can only trace our descent from people who came back to Britain 12,000 years ago. Britain which seems such a benign place to live - no great disasters, no very poisonous or dangerous animals is actually not a secure place for humans. This is fascinating - it has contradictory messages for the climate change. On the one hand if we mess with the climate we can see what the implications for Britain can be, on the other this sort of changing climate is al

V & A opens original door

The V&A has opened the original door of the Museum which leads from the Garden to the new Cafe. The door which is inspired by the Doors of Paradise by Ghiberti was the original door in the main building in the 1860's above the door are the words: 'Better it is to get wisdom than gold'

Curator - applying meaning to the meaningless

Brian Sewell in the Evening Standard reviewing the Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Modern wrote: '...It provided yet another opportunity for the curators and critics of contemporary art to write of the many layers of meaning that they could perceive not only in the concept but in the labour of its embodiment, This is now what curators do - apply meaning to the meaningless.' The particular focus was on Shedboatshed 'its double metamorphis was more a matter of carpentry than art, as oddly remarkable as farting Annie Laurie through a keyhole (and no one would mistake that for music).

Maxim gun - Factory in Hatton Garden

I cycled past a blue plaque in Hatton Garden on a 19th Century factory building which recorded that it was here that Hiram Maxim invented the Maxim Gun which used the power of the recoil to eject the spent bullet and inject the new one. As Hillair Beloc wrote: Whatever happens, we have got The Maxim gun, and they have not. quoted from wikipedia article: Maxim gun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lethaby Exhibition at Central St Martins

There is a very interesting exhibition on the Lethaby Building in the Lethaby Gallery at CSM. Interesting insight into art training in the early 20th Century and some good arts and crafts designs. Also first view of the planned new CSM building in Kings Cross