From Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi’s The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (New York: Macmillan, 1980): SLEEPLESS CITY, in northern Nigeria. The inhabitants have the singular habit of never sleeping, and have therefore no idea of what sleep is. The city is a particularly dangerous place for strangers. If a traveller should happen to overlook the [...]
Category Archives: culture
The following is a short piece on “The Future of Memory” written for The Junket, an online literary quarterly edited by actor and Man Booker Prize judge Dan Stevens. In his À la recherche du temps perdu Marcel Proust writes of memories unfurling and unfolding like Japanese paper flowers suspended in water – from small [...]
Earlier this week the Guardian, Forbes and others covered the discovery of 500 fairy tales collected by 19th century folklorist Franz Xaver von Schönwerth. I sent a note about this to Professor Jack Zipes, who promptly replied urging caution about the discovery and pointing to many other (in his view more interesting) 19th century collections [...]
Swedenborg’s system of the world wants central spontaneity; it is dynamic, not vital, and lacks power to generate life. There is no individual in it. The universe is a gigantic crystal, all whose atoms and laminae lie in uninterrupted order and with unbroken unity, but cold and still. What seems an individual and a will, [...]
Brain Activity at the Hayward Gallery is one of David Shrigley’s biggest exhibitions to date. If you’ve seen Shrigley’s drawings or books before, you’ll immediately recognise the world that the exhibition exhibits, with its roughly scrawled figures and thinly underlined block capitals.
An impromptu St. Valentine’s day inspired group missive from my friend Alex Pickup inspired its impromptu spirited republication.
Today Google marks the 112th birthday of Jorge Luis Borges with this colourful sketch.
A few years ago an architect friend and I used to fantasise about building and animating a model of a small but representative section of Borges’s “Library of Babel”. We wanted to incorporate the animation into a short film with a reading of Borges’s story, complete with lots of digitally-assisted indefinite zooming through the model. [...]
Today I co-ran a session called Ars Combinatoria at Transmediale. From the blurb: As a young man the philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz was interested in creating an ‘art of combinations’, which would allow people to create interesting new inventions from a set of basic elements. The ‘Ars Combinatoria’ project is about creating new works [...]
Pete McElligott was instrumental in setting up the Tool Lending Library at Berkeley Public Library. The Tool Lending Library is one of the oldest and most popular services of its kind – offering thousands of tools to local residents – from pipe cutters to carpet knee kickers, from lawn mowers to demolition hammers. I spoke [...]