Monthly Archives: May 2015

Story

The following story is on the lips of children: a Paeonian called Bessus was rebuked for having deliberately destroyed a nest of swallows, killing them all. He said he was right to do so: those little birds kept falsely accusing him of having murdered his father! Until then this act of parricide had been hidden and unknown; but the avenging Furies of his conscience made him who was to pay the penalty reveal the crime.

Michel de Montaigne, On Conscience

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Writing and speech

When one is grateful for something too good for common thanks, writing is less unsatisfactory than speech – one does not, at least, hear how inadequate the words are.

George Eliot Middlemarch

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When shall we three meet again?

3 chairs

 

Clara Brack : Three chairs and a telephone book, Carlton May 2015

 

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scissors

Unknown

 

John Brack, The Scissors Shop 1963

 

 

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paper

PaperBridge-001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PaperBridge is a temporary installation by artist Steve Messam

which has been built to cross a river in the Grisedale Valley.

The bridge is made of 22,000 single sheets of paper

(read about it here)

(you tube here)

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rock

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Peradam Projects (Sarah Tomasetti, Heather Hesterman)

Deep Time:Blue Rocks

The Merri Creek was used as an artistic focus and outdoor studio

for Deep Time:An Expansive and Immersive Walking Art Project

at Spensely St Primary School 2014

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Giving up Control of the Writing

(From an interview with the writer, Anne Enright)

The Believer: Can you talk about what happens as you work your way into a new book, what that part of your process is like?

Anne Enright: What you have to do is not leave the house. You have to not get up and get some exercise and do yoga and clear your head. It’s the opposite of that. You start writing, and it falls apart very quickly. And then you have to start again. In the beginning, you have a plan for a book that everyone will love in various ways. And then you start writing and you realize you have a different kind of book on your hands. And so the easy, conventional novel, the idea of that novel, falls apart, and you must start writing the thing itself. If you resist and you continue to pursue the easy idea, you get a fake novel, written according to a preordained pattern. The world is full of them. You have to be less controlling. It’s like getting a herd of sheep across a field. If you try to control them too much, they resist. It’s the same with a book. If you try to control it too much, the book is dead. You have to let it fall apart quite early on and let it start doing its own thing. And that takes nerve, not to panic that the book you were going to write is not the book you will have at the end of the day. (from here) 

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The unexpected cry (1)

At the beginning of William Maxwell’s novel, the mother has died leaving small children.

‘My mother’s sisters and my father’s sisters and my grandmother all watched over us. If they hadn’t, I don’t know what would have become of us, in that sad house, where nothing ever changed, where life had come to a standstill. My father was all but undone by my mother’s death. In the evening after supper he walked the floor and I walked with him, with my arm around his waist. I was ten years old. He would walk from the living room into the front hall, then, turning, past the grandfather’s clock and on into the library, and from the library into the living room. Or he would walk from the library into the dining room and then into the living room by another doorway, and back to the front hall. Because he didn’t say anything, I didn’t either. I only tried to sense, as he was about to turn, which room he was going to next so we wouldn’t bump into each other. His eyes were focused on things not in those rooms and his face was the color of ashes. ‘

Towards the end of the novel, the boy is an older man.

‘After six months of lying on an analyst’s couch- this too was a long time ago – I relived that nightly pacing , with my arm around my father’s waist. From the living room into the front hall, then, turning, past the grandfather’s clock and on into the library, and from the library into the living room. From the library into the dining room, where my mother lay in her coffin. Together we stood looking down at her. I meant to say to the fatherly man who was not my father, the elderly Viennese, another exile, with thick glasses and a Germanic accent, I meant to say I couldn’t bear it, but what came out of my mouth was ” I can’t bear it”. This statement was followed by a flood of tears such as I hadn’t known before, not even in my childhood. I got up from the leather couch and, I somehow knew, with his permission left his office and the building and walked down Sixth Avenue to my office. New York City is a place where one can weep on the sidewalk in perfect privacy.

Other children could have borne it, have borne it. My older brother did, somehow. I couldn’t.’

— William Maxwell, So Long, See You Tomorrow

 

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Memory and images

If I try to conjure up a picture of that waiting-room today I immediately see the Nocturama, and if I think of the Nocturama the waiting-room springs to mind, probably because when I left the zoo that afternoon I went straight into the station, or rather first stood in the square outside it for some time to look up at the façade of that fantastical building, which I had taken in only vaguely when I arrived in the morning. Now, however, I saw how far the station constructed under the patronage of King Leopold II exceeded its purely utilitarian function, and I marvelled at the verdigris-covered negro boy who, for a century now, has sat upon his dromedary on top of an oriel turret to the left of the station façade, a monument to the world of animals and native peoples of the African continent, alone against the Flemish sky. When I entered the great hall of the Centraal Station with its dome arching sixty metres high above it, my first thought, perhaps triggered by my visit to the zoo and the sight of the dromedary, was that this magnificent although then severely dilapidated foyer ought to have cages for lions and leopards let into its marble niches, and aquaria for sharks, octopuses and crocodiles, just as some zoos, conversely, have little railway trains in which you can, so to speak, travel to the farthest corners of the earth.    W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz

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Memory and photography

We tend to think of photographs and memories as synonymous, but most of the better commentators on photography have in fact argued the opposite—that photographs displace, replace, or even destroy memory (that they replace the emotional thrills of involuntary memory with the dull certainties of history). Ordinary people have sought to overcome this dilemma by doing things like adding writing, paint, framing, embroidery, fabric, string, hair, flowers, butterfly wings, or other images to the photographs involved. The photograph becomes something that is touched, whether really or in the imagination of the viewer, and this helps drag its perception into the immediacy of the present. These practices also slow memory down, insisting on a drawn-out, interactive and multi-sensory process of remembrance.

On The History of Photography: A Talk With Geoffrey Batchen

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