Friday, 11 February 2011

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Combining Species in one tank. I mean vivarium.


Old 06-22-2009, 12:55 AM
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[quote] each species occupies a unique niche even within the same general climate, where temperature, light, humidity vary depending on the specific habitat of each species (e.g. tree vs ground dwelling, terrestrial vs. aquatic). In an unnatural situation (the terrarium), it is hard to provide an environment that closely duplicates the natural environment needed to keep single species healthy and stress-free. Providing natural conditions for multiple species is extrememly complicated.
Terrariums for mixed species generally need to be much larger than those for a single species, and are more difficult to maintain. Extra room is needed to provide the proper environmental conditions and furnishings for each species, as well as allowing each species their own space to hunt and interact somewhat naturally. Crowding different species together in a small tank can be a recipe for disaster.

I do not disagree with this statement. In fact, if you reread my earlier statement, you’ll see that I said essentially the same thing:

[quote] if the species occupy different niches AND their temp, humidity, and regions from which they come are the same, you may be able to combine them successfully. For example, I was recently told by an expert breeder of Phelsuma that species from Madagascar can sometimes be combined if one is arboreal and the other is terrestrial. Note that he said "sometimes." They must also be species that are fairly nonagressive, and there must be plenty of space such that their niches don't overlap.[\QUOTE] (underlining added for emphasis)

Of course, as Austin explicitly states, you don't want to combine a species that is carnivorous or aggressive with a smaller or more delicate species.

I used to agree wholly with the person you quoted, Alex. However, a couple of people here on Vivarium Forums began the process of opening my eyes to larger possibilities, and talking with a gecko breeder and collector just recently completed that process.

Last weekend, we had the privilege of touring the facility of what is, according to a breeder in San Diego, at least the largest collector/breeder of geckos in the nation if not in the world: Jon Boone (check out the new website he has begun at!). Fortunately for us, he lives only about two hours away! He currently has about
275 species of geckos with about 2000 animals (more being hatched daily)—and he mixes species successfully. He is the one who explained what I wrote above, when I asked him about putting a trio of geckos in a 75-gallon aquarium. At one point in our discussion, he suggested combining Phelsuma laticauda (arboreal, diurnal) with Anolis (a small terrestrial species, diurnal) and possibly a nocturnal or crepuscular species and explained that people underestimate the possibility of combining species due to the problems that inexperienced keepers have had; experienced keepers who know how to monitor their animals can do so successfully. The key is combining species with the same environmental needs and different habits and niches in adequate space, monitoring the animals for stress, and making appropriate adjustments to accommodate the needs the animals demonstrate.

This is not something I would recommend for an inexperienced keeper.

My DH and I had a fantastic visit with Jon, who is extremely knowledgeable, warm, and friendly (and his wife is equally warm and friendly) as we toured his stupendous collection. We saw so many different geckos that we simply cannot remember them all . . . and we are really looking forward to going back for another tour and to get some geckos of our own after we finish building not just one tank, but THREE! My DH, who until this point has merely accepted my interest in herps, loved the tour and fell in love with the desert geckos and has decided he wants some!

Now we're
truly obsessed!!!
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:41 PM
Chasing Crickets

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Also I didn't mean to make it sound offensive.


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Old 06-22-2009, 10:19 PM
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Alex, I wasn't offended at all, so there's no need to apologize. You were doing precisely what I did a few months ago--repeating/reporting what you (I) had learned about mixing species from others who considered it taboo. It wasn't until 1) a couple of people on this forum offered qualifiers and 2) I met Jon Boone, who really educated me about mixing species. I learned that the taboo against mixing species should hold for those who are inexperienced but can be ignored for those who are experienced and willing to put in adequate research to combine species safely. So now you are learning what I only recently learned!

Embryo ideas.

Animal Rights for Insects. Watch out for the crazy tie-dye effect webpage...


#39 What about insects? Do they have rights too?

Before considering the issue of rights, let us first address the question "What about insects?". Strictly speaking, insects are small invertebrate animals of the class Insecta, having an adult stage characterized by three pairs of legs, a segmented body with three major divisions, and usually two pairs of wings. We'll adopt the looser definition, which includes similar invertebrate animals such as spiders, centipedes, and ticks. Insects have a ganglionic nervous system, in contrast to the central nervous system of vertebrates. Such a system is characterized by local aggregates of neurons, called ganglia, that are associated with, and specialized for, the body segment with which they are co-located. There are interconnections between ganglia but these connections function not so much as a global integrating pathway, but rather for local segmental coordination. For example, the waves of leg motion that propagate along the body of a centipede are mediated by the intersegmental connections. In some species the cephalic ganglia are large and complex enough to support very complex behavior (e.g., the lobster and octopus). The cuttlefish (not an insect but another invertebrate with a ganglionic nervous system) is claimed by some to be about as intelligent as a dog. Insects are capable of primitive learning and do exhibit what many would characterize as intelligence. Spiders are known for their skills and craftiness; whether this can all be dismissed as instinct is arguable. Certainly, bees can learn in a limited way. When offered a reward from a perch of a certain color, they return first to perches of that color. They also learn the location of food and transmit that information to their colleagues. The learning, however, tends to be highly specialized and applicable to only limited domains. In addition to a primitive mental life as described above, there is some evidence that insects can experience pain and suffering. The earthworm nervous system, for example, secretes an opiate substance when the earthworm is injured. Similar responses are seen in vertebrates and are generally accepted to be a mechanism for the attenuation of pain. On the other hand, the opiates are also implicated in functions not associated with analgesia, such as thermoregulation and appetite control. Nevertheless, the association of secretion with tissue injury is highly suggestive. Earthworms also wriggle quite vigorously when impaled on a hook. In possible opposition to this are other observations. For example, the abdomen of a feeding wasp can be clipped off and the head may go on sucking (presumably in no distress?). Singer quotes three criteria for deciding if an organism has the capacity to suffer from pain: 1) there are behavioral indications, 2) there is an appropriate nervous system, and 3) there is an evolutionary usefulness for the experience of pain. These criteria seem to satisfied for insects, if only in a primitive way. Now we are equipped to tackle the issue of insect rights. First, one might argue that the issue is not so compelling as for other animals because industries are not built around the exploitation of insects. But this is untrue; large industries are built around honey production, silk production, and cochineal/carmine production, and, of course, mass insect death results from our use of insecticides. Even if the argument were true, it should not prevent us from attempting to be consistent in the application of our principles to all animals. Insects are a part of the Animal Kingdom and some special arguments would be required to exclude them from the general AR argument. Some would draw a line at some level of complexity of the nervous system, e.g., only animals capable of operant conditioning need be enfranchised. Others may quarrel with this line and place it elsewhere. Some may postulate a scale of life with an ascending capacity to feel pain and suffer. They might also mark a cut-off on the scale, below which rights are not actively asserted. Is the cut-off above insects and the lower invertebrates? Or should there be no cut-off? This is one of the issues still being actively debated in the AR community. People who strive to live without cruelty will attempt to push the line back as far as possible, giving the benefit of the doubt where there is doubt. Certainly, one can avoid unnecessary cruelty to insects. The practical issues involved in enfranchising insects are dealt with in the following two questions. DG

I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such things as crawl upon earth. Mahatma Gandhi (statesman and philosopher)

What is it that should trace the insuperable line? ...The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Jeremy Bentham (philosopher)

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Mirror Neurons

V.S. Ramachandran talks about mirror neurons.


Friday, 9 April 2010

Do you remember when you made the decision to not go get a proper job and follow your dreams? I don’t, but my momz remembers well, she says it was the day my dad showed me the movie The Blues Brothers when I was eight. All the bad behaviour, wiseguy moves and the way they danced onstage at the Palace Hotel Ballroom killed any of the straighter ambitions I might have had, and (apparently) after that day I was never really the same (maybe the bit that did it was where Jon Belushi throws the car’s cigarette lighter out of the window and says “you need to fix the cigarette lighter”, a bit of wanton, pointless vandalism with a funny punchline and no consequences that is certainly my favourite bit in the movie now).

I learned all the swears from the movie and started listening to all the bootleg cassettes of rock music my dad had brought back from when he was on tour in the Middle East. The Blues Brothers made me think every musician was also a petty criminal or at least an arch mischief-maker, and even today it makes me so sad when I read an interview where the answer to a question like “so what do you like to do on tour?” begins with “well, we’re quite boring really…”.

Anyhoo, by the time I reached my teens, I associated pop culture with saying fuck off to everything normal and boring, and of course, anyone in charge of me -in other words, I became interested in ‘alternative culture’. Given I lived in a rural area and went to a strict boarding school, ‘normal’, ‘boring’ and ‘anyone in charge’ made up pretty much everything in my life, so I got pretty immersed in ‘alternative culture’ (gross). I made it into a built-up area to get a load of punk tapes in the summer of 1996 when all the record companies were doing all this ‘20th anniversary of punk’ stuff, then I got a subscription to Kerrang! magazine the next year and it was over for me. I couldn’t see myself in a straight job or regular type of life ever after that.

I reckon a reasonable amount of people who read this site have a similar story, like, you decided at some point that the rat race wasn’t for you and music or some element of pop culture took over and influenced everything about you. It feels great because it’s your thing, but also it stops you from having to get involved in a world where everyone is only meeting new people at Salsa classes, dealing with premature baldness and talking about mortgages at 24.

So, yeah, fuck the normals, they’re mugs and we’re onto a winner with all this creativity or living life free or whatever, really contributing something meaningful to the world while they just lie in front of Tivo and go to work for the man.

But what if they’re the ones who are winning and we’re just a bunch of clueless hippies who aren’t having as much fun or doing anything as important as we think we are? Do you ever feel like maybe still living like a student at 26 is worth it when all you’re really getting out of it is the ability to concentrate all your time on your music that only 400 people are ever going to listen to anyway? Do you ever feel like some of the smarter kids you know from whatever arts or music scene you’re around (if you’re around one) would be doing the world more of a service if they used their smarts in a role in the civil service, helping the general public? Has ‘alternative culture’ robbed the world of a bunch of smart kids who could be making life better for themselves and their community? Wouldn’t you watch Tivo if you could afford it?

No one needs to sell their guitars or give up art, but if it’s going badly -or if you’ve gotten someone pregnant- maybe it’d be ok to look into a desk job where you’ve got to stop thinking about your own shit and do things for someone else. If you’re good at desk jobs, I’m pretty sure they pay off better than running a cassette-only label, and maybe one day you can take a holiday that isn’t based around cramming five men into a van and driving to toilet venues around the Midlands/the Eastern Seaboard. Doesn’t a part of you sometimes think it might be nicer to work at a job where you have to wear a suit and then take a holiday to the Caribbean with three friends and stay in a real hotel? There’d be way less butt-cramp and you wouldn’t have to spend half your time looking for somewhere that does vegan food for your drummer.

What I’m talking about is security/comfort/responsibility vs getting up when you want/creativity/turning up to your retail job without any sleep, and obviously there’s different shades of it all. There’s a little moralityinvolved too- if you put a crust punk in a room with a doctor who saves lives everyday, then that face-tattooed fruitcake is going to look like a retarded selfish baby, even if he does hate the World Bank. But if you put him in a room with a dubious used car salesman, then I’m gonna wanna hang out with the crusty and discuss the best ways of Tippexing band logos onto vegan leather rather than some guy who shifts rusted deathtraps to grandmas for a living.

Maybe if Nevermind had never come out the world would be a better place, there’d be more doctors and less arts graduates, or maybe there’d be too many doctors and pop culture would be on the skids.

The morality of the situation is sometimes a great big ‘whatever’, though, because nobody’s perfect. When I’m faced with this dilemna (I met a kid from my school this weekend and he’d just bought a 46 inch tv but he gets up at 5.45am to go be an accountant) I look at it like: ‘who’s going to have had more fun in the end?’. If you take things to extremes, you’ve got two guys at the top of their game: one is someone who played by the rules all day long and it paid off -that would probably be an investment banker on the Alpha Course- and the other would be a louche, successful, free living guy – probably Mick Jagger. It’s so incredibly clear who anyone would rather have at their dinner party that I just say fuck it and keep on trying to go down the left hand path, because in thirty years time the stories are going to be way better.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Conspicuous Consumption

Rirkrit Tiravanija once again makes dinner for gallerygoers—this time, with self-references as a side dish.

Top left and right, installation views of Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Untitled 1992 (Free) (re-created 2007). Above left and right, installation views of Untitled 1992 (Free) and a re-creation of Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1972 piece Open House (2007), all at David Zwirner Gallery.

For Rirkrit Tiravanija, art is what you eat. The New York–and–Chiang Mai–based Thai artist became famous in 1992 when he made Untitled 1992 (Free), a sculpture–performance–guerrilla action wherein he emptied out the office of the 303 Gallery in Soho and installed a makeshift kitchen, complete with fridge, hot plates, rice steamers, tables, and stools. He then cooked Thai curry; anyone could drop in, serve him- or herself, and eat. For free.

Back then, it was disconcerting and thrilling to be this casual in a gallery, to go from passive viewing to active participation. With this simple gesture, Tiravanija (pronounced Tea-rah-vah-nit) seemed to bridge a mind-body gap that often exists in Western art. He was a medicine man who literalized art’s primitive functions: sustenance, healing, and communion. Subsequently, Tiravanija repeated this cooking-as-art sculpture all over the world—so often, in fact, that by the late nineties he had almost branded himself as the happy Thai guy who cooks. Intriguingly, this was reminiscent of Andy Warhol, who allowed himself be seen as a village idiot. The disordered, highly social situations Tiravanija set up mimicked Warhol’s Factory scene, too.

Although Tiravanija’s art never contained the Factory’s out-of-control self-destruction and exploration of sexual mores, there has been sex. In 1999, Tiravanija built a full-scale wooden replica of his East Village apartment in the Gavin Brown Gallery. This sculpture included a working kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom and was open 24 hours a day. All that summer, people lived, ate, and partied there. Some had sex; one person told me he had group sex there. I went dozens of times and only had lunch. But a lot of Eros emanates from Tiravanija’s chaos.

If you want to feel the love, have a free meal, and possibly chat up Matt Dillon, David Byrne, Cindy Sherman, or Rufus Wainwright—all of whom have dined here—go to David Zwirner’s West 19th Street gallery, where you can partake or just gawk at others in a life-size wooden re-creation of Tiravanija’s original 303 Gallery potlatch-piece. The original tables, stools, and fridge are here, as is the detritus from fifteen years ago (wrapped, natch). In this karaoke ghost-sculpture, Tiravanija explores what happens when we try to step into the same river twice.

Untitled is a time machine that can transport you to 1992, an edgy moment when the art world was crumbling, money was scarce, and artists like Tiravanija were in the nascent stages of combining Happenings, performance art, John Cage, Joseph Beuys, and the do-it-yourself ethos of punk. Meanwhile, a new art world was coming into being. This is the rub: Many of the people who were forming this new world, and who were trying to create a new system, have become the system. The ism Tiravanija and others evolved, which came to be called relational aesthetics, currently dominates international exhibitions. These artists are now flown to far-flung locations, collaborating on shows and curating one another. The low point of this was Utopia Station, the awful hippie hangout curated by Tiravanija and two bigwig curators for the 2003 Venice Bienniale. What began in 1992 as a shock to the system not only became the system—it’s now the academy.

Amazingly, this doesn’t negate any of the power or magic of Tiravanija’s Untitled redux. In fact, seeing it at Zwirner adds alluring new layers. What some will take for a power gallery absorbing a more underground one, and a successful artist allowing himself to be eaten alive, is actually an exquisite symbiosis. Zwirner reveals his scrappy roots, Gavin Brown (who still represents Tiravanija) ups his ante, and Tiravanija, who no longer owns the piece, is just “acting” here. Helping matters is the excellent re-creation next to Untitled of Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1972 Open House, a Dumpster the late artist turned into a homeless shelter. Unlike Matta-Clark, however, Tiravanija has never been able to make a convincing object—unless you call the re-creation a sculpture, in which case he’s a really good sculptor. This seeming weakness, however, is a crucial juju in his work. At Zwirner, it’s a huge relief not to size up objects or think about sales. Life takes over, commerce fades. Additionally, wasting all this space is an excellent strategy, especially now that efficiency is the norm and many shows look like product. There’s not much product at Zwirner, but the processes on hand are deeply rich.

Rirkrit Tiravanija and Gordon Matta-Clark
David Zwirner Gallery. Through May 19.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Monday, 8 February 2010


Tilleke Schwarz

- i may have posted about her before. I have loved her work since AS level.
Meanwhile i'm trying to figure out what to write for my essay. and mulling over it here.

- a similar aesthetic
-i think i'm having a similar dialogue with the viewers of my work as she is with hers...

"My work can be understood as a kind of visual poetry. It is a mixture of contemporary influences, graffiti, icons, texts and traditional images from samplers. The embroidery contains narrative elements. Not really complete stories, with a beginning, a storyline, and an end. On the contrary, the narrative structures are used as a form of communication with the viewer. Welcom

The viewer is invited to decipher connections or to create them. The viewer may assemble the stories and to produce chronological and causal structures. Actually the viewer might step into the role of the "author". It can become a kind of play between the viewer and me. The work also

relates to the history of humanity that is determined through stories."

HOWEVER: I don't feel like i am presenting a story or poetry. i don't feel like i am well realised enough to be showing a viewer anything. More like i am still squirming around in amniotic fluid, trying to stand up. And here i am talking about my self before i'm talking about my work. which shows you just how in it's infancy, i find my work.

Thursday, 28 January 2010


'The different kinds of people that there are"

People Who Tell Me Things "Just FYI"

Thanks, thanks very much. Just FMI.

People Who Are White Who Call Black People "Brothas" When Talking to Other White People, as in, "A Lot of My Friends Are Brothas"

Jesus Christ.

People Who Are Old

Notable old people include: Methuselah, George Burns, Andy Rooney, an elephant, Dick Van Dyke, Slade Gorton the senator, Father Time, Slade Gorton the Gorton's fisherman, Chinese people (they kick white people's asses at not dying), Wilford Brimley, the old lady who dropped it into the ocean at the end, Harrison Ford.

People Who Are Old and Think Pigeons Are Their Best Friends

Listen, old people. Pigeons do not love you. Much like robots and the British, pigeons do not have the capacity to feel love. They only have the capacity to desire croutons. And when you spread infinity croutons across the grass outside MY house, for the purpose of making pigeons love you (WHICH WILL NEVER HAPPEN), the only result is infinite feces. I now have to walk upon feces-encrusted streets through a feces-encrusted world. Because of you and your delusions of pigeon love. Stop it.


The opposite of old people. They are like you and me, except smaller, more illiterate, and with less money.

People Who Are Secret Hookers

They're your friends, but they're hookers! Ssssh!

Monday, 11 January 2010


'The (sometimes deadly) hardships of being an art student'

Monday, 4 January 2010


I‘m sipping a scummy pint of cloudy beer in the back of a trendy dive bar turned nightclub in the heart of the city’s heroin district. In front of me stand a gang of hippiesh grunge-punk types, who crowd around each other and collectively scoff at the smoking laws by sneaking puffs of "fuck-you," reveling in their perceived rebellion as the haggard, staggering staff look on without the slightest concern.

The "DJ" is keystroking a selection of MP3s off his MacBook, making a mix that sounds like he took a hatchet to a collection of yesteryear billboard hits, from DMX to Dolly Parton, but mashed up with a jittery techno backbeat.

"So… this is a hipster party?" I ask the girl sitting next to me. She’s wearing big dangling earrings, an American Apparel V-neck tee, non-prescription eyeglasses and an inappropriately warm wool coat.

"Yeah, just look around you, 99 percent of the people here are total hipsters!"

"Are you a hipster?"

"Fuck no," she says, laughing back the last of her glass before she hops off to the dance floor.

Ever since the Allies bombed the Axis into submission, Western civilization has had a succession of counter-culture movements that have energetically challenged the status quo. Each successive decade of the post-war era has seen it smash social standards, riot and fight to revolutionize every aspect of music, art, government and civil society.

But after punk was plasticized and hip hop lost its impetus for social change, all of the formerly dominant streams of "counter-culture" have merged together. Now, one mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior has come to define the generally indefinable idea of the "Hipster."

An artificial appropriation of different styles from different eras, the hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture lost in the superficiality of its past and unable to create any new meaning. Not only is it unsustainable, it is suicidal. While previous youth movements have challenged the dysfunction and decadence of their elders, today we have the "hipster" – a youth subculture that mirrors the doomed shallowness of mainstream society.



Take a stroll down the street in any major North American or European city and you’ll be sure to see a speckle of fashion-conscious twentysomethings hanging about and sporting a number of predictable stylistic trademarks: skinny jeans, cotton spandex leggings, fixed-gear bikes, vintage flannel, fake eyeglasses and a keffiyeh – initially sported by Jewish students and Western protesters to express solidarity with Palestinians, the keffiyeh has become a completely meaningless hipster cliché fashion accessory.

The American Apparel V-neck shirt, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and Parliament cigarettes are symbols and icons of working or revolutionary classes that have been appropriated by hipsterdom and drained of meaning. Ten years ago, a man wearing a plain V-neck tee and drinking a Pabst would never be accused of being a trend-follower. But in 2008, such things have become shameless clichés of a class of individuals that seek to escape their own wealth and privilege by immersing themselves in the aesthetic of the working class.

This obsession with "street-cred" reaches its apex of absurdity as hipsters have recently and wholeheartedly adopted the fixed-gear bike as the only acceptable form of transportation – only to have brakes installed on a piece of machinery that is defined by its lack thereof.

Lovers of apathy and irony, hipsters are connected through a global network of blogs and shops that push forth a global vision of fashion-informed aesthetics. Loosely associated with some form of creative output, they attend art parties, take lo-fi pictures with analog cameras, ride their bikes to night clubs and sweat it up at nouveau disco-coke parties. The hipster tends to religiously blog about their daily exploits, usually while leafing through generation-defining magazines like Vice, Another Magazine and Wallpaper. This cursory and stylized lifestyle has made the hipster almost universally loathed.

"These hipster zombies… are the idols of the style pages, the darlings of viral marketers and the marks of predatory real-estate agents," wrote Christian Lorentzen in a Time Out New York article entitled ‘Why the Hipster Must Die.’ "And they must be buried for cool to be reborn."

With nothing to defend, uphold or even embrace, the idea of "hipsterdom" is left wide open for attack. And yet, it is this ironic lack of authenticity that has allowed hipsterdom to grow into a global phenomenon that is set to consume the very core of Western counterculture. Most critics make a point of attacking the hipster’s lack of individuality, but it is this stubborn obfuscation that distinguishes them from their predecessors, while allowing hipsterdom to easily blend in and mutate other social movements, sub-cultures and lifestyles.


Standing outside an art-party next to a neat row of locked-up fixed-gear bikes, I come across a couple girls who exemplify hipster homogeneity. I ask one of the girls if her being at an art party and wearing fake eyeglasses, leggings and a flannel shirt makes her a hipster.

"I’m not comfortable with that term," she replies.

Her friend adds, with just a flicker of menace in her eyes, "Yeah, I don’t know, you shouldn’t use that word, it’s just…"


"No… it’s just, well… if you don’t know why then you just shouldn’t even use it."

"Ok, so what are you girls doing tonight after this party?"

"Ummm… We’re going to the after-party."


Gavin McInnes, one of the founders of Vice, who recently left the magazine, is considered to be one of hipsterdom’s primary architects. But, in contrast to the majority of concerned media-types, McInnes, whose "Dos and Don’ts" commentary defined the rules of hipster fashion for over a decade, is more critical of those doing the criticizing.

"I’ve always found that word ["hipster"] is used with such disdain, like it’s always used by chubby bloggers who aren’t getting laid anymore and are bored, and they’re just so mad at these young kids for going out and getting wasted and having fun and being fashionable," he says. "I’m dubious of these hypotheses because they always smell of an agenda."

Punks wear their tattered threads and studded leather jackets with honor, priding themselves on their innovative and cheap methods of self-expression and rebellion. B-boys and b-girls announce themselves to anyone within earshot with baggy gear and boomboxes. But it is rare, if not impossible, to find an individual who will proclaim themself a proud hipster. It’s an odd dance of self-identity – adamantly denying your existence while wearing clearly defined symbols that proclaims it.


"He’s 17 and he lives for the scene!" a girl whispers in my ear as I sneak a photo of a young kid dancing up against a wall in a dimly lit corner of the after-party. He’s got a flipped-out, do-it-yourself haircut, skin-tight jeans, leather jacket, a vintage punk tee and some popping high tops.

"Shoot me," he demands, walking up, cigarette in mouth, striking a pose and exhaling. He hits a few different angles with a firmly unimpressed expression and then gets a bit giddy when I show him the results.

"Rad, thanks," he says, re-focusing on the music and submerging himself back into the sweaty funk of the crowd where he resumes a jittery head bobble with a little bit of a twitch.

The dance floor at a hipster party looks like it should be surrounded by quotation marks. While punk, disco and hip hop all had immersive, intimate and energetic dance styles that liberated the dancer from his/her mental states – be it the head-spinning b-boy or violent thrashings of a live punk show – the hipster has more of a joke dance. A faux shrug shuffle that mocks the very idea of dancing or, at its best, illustrates a non-committal fear of expression typified in a weird twitch/ironic twist. The dancers are too self-aware to let themselves feel any form of liberation; they shuffle along, shrugging themselves into oblivion.



Perhaps the true motivation behind this deliberate nonchalance is an attempt to attract the attention of the ever-present party photographers, who swim through the crowd like neon sharks, flashing little blasts of phosphorescent ecstasy whenever they spot someone worth momentarily immortalizing.

Noticing a few flickers of light splash out from the club bathroom, I peep in only to find one such photographer taking part in an impromptu soft-core porno shoot. Two girls and a guy are taking off their clothes and striking poses for a set of grimy glamour shots. It’s all grins and smirks until another girl pokes her head inside and screeches, "You’re not some club kid in New York in the nineties. This shit is so hipster!" – which sparks a bit of a catfight, causing me to beat a hasty retreat.

In many ways, the lifestyle promoted by hipsterdom is highly ritualized. Many of the party-goers who are subject to the photoblogger’s snapshots no doubt crawl out of bed the next afternoon and immediately re-experience the previous night’s debauchery. Red-eyed and bleary, they sit hunched over their laptops, wading through a sea of similarity to find their own (momentarily) thrilling instant of perfected hipster-ness.

What they may or may not know is that "cool-hunters" will also be skulking the same sites, taking note of how they dress and what they consume. These marketers and party-promoters get paid to co-opt youth culture and then re-sell it back at a profit. In the end, hipsters are sold what they think they invent and are spoon-fed their pre-packaged cultural livelihood.

Hipsterdom is the first "counterculture" to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope, leaving it open to constant manipulation but also forcing its participants to continually shift their interests and affiliations. Less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion. But the moment a trend, band, sound, style or feeling gains too much exposure, it is suddenly looked upon with disdain. Hipsters cannot afford to maintain any cultural loyalties or affiliations for fear they will lose relevance.

An amalgamation of its own history, the youth of the West are left with consuming cool rather that creating it. The cultural zeitgeists of the past have always been sparked by furious indignation and are reactionary movements. But the hipster’s self-involved and isolated maintenance does nothing to feed cultural evolution. Western civilization’s well has run dry. The only way to avoid hitting the colossus of societal failure that looms over the horizon is for the kids to abandon this vain existence and start over.


"If you don’t give a damn, we don’t give a fuck!" chants an emcee before his incitements are abruptly cut short when the power plug is pulled and the lights snapped on.

Dawn breaks and the last of the after-after-parties begin to spill into the streets. The hipsters are falling out, rubbing their eyes and scanning the surrounding landscape for the way back from which they came. Some hop on their fixed-gear bikes, some call for cabs, while a few of us hop a fence and cut through the industrial wasteland of a nearby condo development.

The half-built condos tower above us like foreboding monoliths of our yuppie futures. I take a look at one of the girls wearing a bright pink keffiyah and carrying a Polaroid camera and think, "If only we carried rocks instead of cameras, we’d look like revolutionaries." But instead we ignore the weapons that lie at our feet – oblivious to our own impending demise.

We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Burning Man Ten Principles.

Last Wednesday i went to the elective ' Building Bridges, Forging Links' by Philippa Hadley Choy - which was so fascinating and entertaining and useful to me and my project. It started with showing a video of Patti Smith spontaneously singing in the street to an unexpectedly large audience who had flocked to see her friend Robert Mapplethorpe's exhibition in London. It had been rumoured that Patti was to be there, hence the crowds. People were pushing to get into the tiny exhibition space so she decided to go outside and talk to them all and sing a song. She asked everyone to join in, saying that she knew it was a bit lame, but to all...unite, and it made the moment purely about being in this space at this time with all these people and all being connected this way. The song she sang was 'Because The Night', which was the song that made her career. The music had been given to her by Bruce Springsteen and she had written the lyrics for her partner, back in 1975. Apparently Springsteen had known what a huge hit the piece of music would be, and still he gave the music to Smith as a gift.

At the moment i'm really into the idea of the group and inclusion. I went to a gig the other night, with this in mind and i was so consumed with thinking about how everyone was connected due to our common interest and being in that place at the same time. I think that was the first time that i have ever actively immersed myself in a group mentality without thinking of myself as an individual within it. I felt as though my presence was blended into the atmosphere.

Anyway, without going off on too much of a tangent, by the end of the session, we had started talking about manifestos. Here's the 'Ten core priciples' of The Burning Man Festival.

Ten Principles

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

Patti Smith covering Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. Oh lovely.

The Picture of Everything:

The Picture of Everything is an ongoing project by Howard Hallis. It's essentially a collage of all things cartoon, celebrity, tv/film orientated, as well as images representing different religions and faiths, zodiacs, elements, weather, types of transport from over the years, different eras in history...etc. It serves to bring together all these small things into one massive representation of everything. Click on the images for a slightly bigger picture of. Or go to the website.
I read his bio, and he was involved in starting The Burning Man Festival and also digs Timothy Leary -ie. the god father of the hallucinogenic-using subcultures.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Cy Twombly and the Black Boarders.

Wilder Shores of Love

So. I'm checking out Twombly for his quick drawing
The things i need to have a look at:

Tacita Dean &
Joseph Beuys - blackboard work

Cy Twomly - drawing

What the viewer takes from the artist's portrait

Vitamin P ...some artist who painted all his favourite painters including the big 'uns and and his brother and close friends.

The picture of everything!

Tileke Schwarz (sp?) - Textiles artist

Dazed and Confused

Begin talking about summer event

Don't panic!!!!!PJQOTW{PTI

Monday, 7 December 2009

Jeremy Deller

Okay, so i have to get some of this research in. Somewhere. I'm finding it hard to wade through the great subjects i want to explore for this work, and actually start somewhere. This morning Jeremy Deller's 'Procession' entered my head, and so I'm starting here.

Deller won the Turner Prize in 2004 for the piece 'Memory Bucket'. I'm not too up to date or well informed on the Turner Prize, but i was quite surprised that his work won. I really enjoy the unfinished and 'in process' nature of the 'Acid Brass' mind map diagram, and how 'Memory Bucket has a beautifully impermanent quality to it. But it is these qualities that I have always expected to detract from work, in terms of how it's received in the art world. Although i began to learn that this is not the rule, from the last project, and talking to Simon. -For example, Keith Tyson's incredible walls of working through thinking, are highly praised. ...I wonder if there are many women artists who work this way... And if they did, are they received the same way? Or are all great thinkers considered to be male still? Julia's feminism elective has affected my brain a lot........


Look look look! This is the map.

This is the Tateshot of 'Procession', an event that Deller organised. It was essetially a street procession aimed to incoporate and bring together all aspects of Manchester.

Procession will last approximately 1 hour and will start at the Liverpool Road end of Deansgate. Expect the noise, the colour and the excitement of a typical parade – but with a Mancunian twist. Here are just a few of the things to look out for:

From Bolton - the Blackout Crew with their latest track, specially composed for a fleet of modified cars
From Trafford – a centenary celebration of Stretford’s extraordinary Rose Queens
From Tameside – the Stalybridge brass band marking their 200th anniversary with a commemoration of the Peterloo Massacre
From Oldham – a musical tribute to the world’s first fish and chip shop
From Bury – the legendary Valerie’s market café recreated in all its glory
And from all over Greater Manchester – the largest ever gathering of local sporting mascots

‘I love processions – as humans, it’s almost part of our DNA to be instinctively attracted to big public events that bring us together. A good procession is in itself a public artwork: part self-portrait and part alternative reality.’
Jeremy Deller



Monday, 30 November 2009

Joe Minter's African Village in America

Joe Minter's African Village in America

images from:

I have found a blog entry written by someone who visited Joe Minter's African Village in Alabama:

African Village in America
Joe Minter (1935-)
Birmingham, AL
Visionary environment
Private property, visible from the street
Created: 1989 - current

" Joe Minter's "African Village in America" is located in southwest Birmingham, Alabama, in the lot next door to the house where he and his wife Hilda live. Behind their house and environment is the sprawling segregated cemetery, Shadowlawn, where his father is laid to rest. We walk the cemetery, and Joe gives me a lesson in the legacy of Birmingham's civil rights movement. (He was at the Kelly Ingram Park in 1963 when fire hoses and dogs were violently turned on the peaceful protesters.) He worries that those hard fight lessons are being lost and his home is a powerful reminder to all that stop.
Painted a brilliant blue, and despite its chain-link fence enclosure and its pathways of wooden planks and metal siding sheets - the home and environment are intimate and densely packed with both lush plantings and sculptures. Signs reminding, and teaching, the visitor of the contributions of African Americans in America.
The brightly painted tin and wood constructions, mixed-media pieces made of found objects-dolls, old car parts, chains, and cast-off boots-and placards painted with statements from Scripture and the Civil Rights movement. All are dominated by huge silhouettes of abstract metal and wooden shapes, many recalling human forms that loom against the sky. Underfoot are pathways of rusted metal and found lumber (punctuated by fire forewarned.)
As we walk the sculpture garden environment, Joe points out individual pieces that tell the story. Discards, tossed away scraps, echo the message of man's cruelty towards his fellow man. But also springing up with the same intensity of their colors, are monuments to hope and compassion. The sculptures frame Minter's home, occupy the carport on the house's other side, pack the garage behind it, and even in another house across the street, Minter's messages fill the yard and porch.
It was a special treat when Hilda and Joe invited me into their densely packed home to see a dvd created about the African Village in America. (He also wrote and self published a book of African American contributions and his reflections.) I left just as the sun had set, knowing that this was truly a blessed day.



Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Olivia Plender

Okay. So getting into the next unit.
Learning agreement is stressful on top of extremely mixed messages about my work.
This is an artist that Jason gave me to look at. Within the theme of 'communal living'.
On this list also, is Mai-Thu Perret (who i will write about)
and Ann Lowe who i can find nothing about on the net. again, one to consult the library about.

I spoke to Jason about my work and presented my crazy idea for the event/festival i would like to hold in the summer. -hence the 'communal living' bit.

And I'm still mixed up about whether i (want) to carry on the work that began to evolve at the end of the last unit as i got a really low grade.

BUT I'm mainly stuck on how these things go together..

Olivia Plender

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Olivia Plender (born 1977) is an artist based in London.

Plender was born in London. Her work is based on drawing and references pulp novels, magazines and comic strips.[1] She is best known for a project entitled The Masterpiece (2002 onwards), an epic hand-drawn comic book about the life of a fictional artist in 1960s London.[2]

Plender was co-editor of Untitled Magazine from 2002 until it closed in 2008.[3]

She studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design between 1995 and 1998.

Thanks Wiki.

But really, I can't find much about her. I think i need to get to the library.

Saatchi Gallery Says:

Inspired by the works of Övyind Fahlström, Olivia Plender uses the format of the comic book as an alternative mode of distribution for art, capitalising on its inexpensive accessibility as a means to challenge cultural ideals. This exhibition of templates from her ongoing The Masterpiece series is an expansive critique of originality; the drawings themselves are conceived as a by-product of artistic process, and not the actual art itself.

Appropriating her title from Emile Zola’s novel about Cezanne, Plender’s The Masterpiece 4 explores the concept of Romanticism, authoring a complex fiction examining the concept of artist-as-genius. Set in 1960’s London her protagonist is an archetypical painter, tortured by his creativity, exploited by a cruel world. Invited for a weekend in the country, the plot unfolds as a Byronic epic cum Hammerhouse horror, delving her champion into a world of psychedelia and occult as a metaphoric parody of artistic strife.

Drawing her references from a wide range of sources, from 19th century technical manuals to b-movie film stills, Plender’s graphic narratives are designed with the stylised glamour of pulp fiction covers; her disconnected images intertwine as surreal pastiche, adding a psychological complexity to her illustrated story. Rendered in pencil on paper, these original drawings provide a rare insight into the concentrated intimacy of Plender’s process, reflecting an obsessive passion worthy of her heroes.

Aidas Bareikis

"The Happy Lion is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition of new works by Aidas Bareikis entitled “The World Belongs to Nobody but Me”. As if awakened from a sleep of reason, Bareikis' figures emerge as the inhabitants of a subconscious fraught with the implications of both a ferociously decadent past as well as the promise of an eternally tormented future. Far from being menacing however, the figures convey instead, a sense of grotesque jubilation, of lonely but comic monsters.
In the tradition of artists such as Dieter Roth, Bareikis is an archiver of throw-away items. His constructions are made entirely of things found discarded on the street or purchased at ubiquitous 99-cent stores, flea markets and thrift shops. He chooses objects that “look weird but also betray a certain cruel exploitation in their purpose or in the way that they were manufactured”, Bareikis states. In addition, these objects are not only selected, but altered in some way. Obsessed with notions of alchemy, Bareikis subjects his collections to a succession of trials by fire or other transforming treatment, including (but not limited to) chemical, pressure and exposure. In many cases color is achieved through the introduction of food-based organic materials such as coffee and soy sauce.
Humanity's struggle with its history as it leaps into the future seems a pervasive aspect of Bareikis' work.

Contemporary anachronisms are collected and transformed into a tableau of orchestrated chaos.

Bareikis surveys the detritus resulting from consumer culture, environmental decay and decomposition alongside the philosophical and emotional limbo modern society can produce.

The artist has confined his creations to a perceptual purgatory, between a world of excess and exploitation and one of conscience and intent. As well, Bareikis re-asserts that it is the artist role, not only to produce work that excites the eye, but also to expose the monsters created by the human condition.
Aidas Bareikis was born in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1967 and graduated from the Vilnius Art Academy in 1993. He came to America the same year and completed the MFA program from Hunter College in 1997. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and has been the recipient of a Soros Foundation Grant. Bareikis has had solo exhibitions at Leo Koenig, Inc., the Zacheta Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland and at the Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius in Lithuania. In addition he has participated in shows such as “Generation Z”, and “Greater New York” at PS1/MOMA “Crossing the Line” at the Queens Museum, in New York City. Aidas Bareikis lives and works in New York City."
additional work and words relating to Aidas Bareikis:

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Loop Guru?

I can't say that i will ever get into this band, but I really love the description that LastFM gave them.

Loop Guru
More succinctly, Loop Guru are a protein shake for your head. In the blender are the literary works of William Burroughs, the films of Satyajit Ray, the philosophy of spiritual leader Ram Dass, the music of Brian Eno and the astral landscape of a Phillip ‘K. Dick novel.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Reading and Reading and Reading

I have bought (yet more!!!!!!) books. This time from Amazon. They're on their way now.

Generation Me
-yes it's American. But i have found that that's what I'm so very interested. And here in the UK, don't we have the same sort of issues but to less extremes? Kind of watered down America. But I always think of the US as an 'anything goes' kinda place and I don't think the same about the UK. Maybe these presumptions come from not knowing a lot about either.
ANYWAY this follows the generation that comes after Generation X - ie. the one I'm part of. And i would like to see what has supposedly contributed to the attitudes of people today.

The Bohemian Manifesto
I have posted about this earlier. It looks fascinating. I wanted to do some reading up on a 'counterculture' even though i suppose it's not so much a concentrated thing anymore. It's almost merely a personality component.


No One Belongs Here More Than You

Which is a book of short stories by Miranda July, the director of Me And You And Everyone We Know. which is a film I really love. I read the small extract available from amazon's 'look inside!' and it seemed as mesmerizing as the film did.
so i bought the book for a penny. (plus P&P)

The other day i spent an hour in the second hand book shop in Winton and purchased:

Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller ...looked fascinating. I'm really into reading the books that were banned back in the day and seeing them in the light of the present. See Also: Valley of the Dolls - Jaqueline Susann

A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess ....yes an obvious one but i have yet to read it.

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald ....ditto. read an extract in school and it's been on the list since then

Metamorphosis and other stories - Kafka ...and again.But apparently i should really give this a go said a variety of people

and The World According to Garp by John Irving -- for my friend Joe. Must Post.

all of these for a tenner. buying new things is silly, a tenner would have got me 1 and 1/3 of a new book..!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

I am reading Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller

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Henry Valentine Miller

Born December 26, 1891(1891-12-26)
Yorkville, Manhattan, New York City
Died June 7, 1980 (aged 88)
Pacific Palisades, California, United States
Occupation Writer, painter
Spouse(s) Beatrice Sylvas Wickens (1917-1928)
June Miller (1928-34)
Janina Martha Lepska (1944-52)
Eve McClure (1953-1960)
Hiroko Tokuda (1967-1977)

Henry Valentine Miller (26 December 1891 – 7 June 1980) was an American novelist and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of 'novel' that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is distinctly always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller and yet is also fictional. His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and Black Spring. He also wrote travel memoirs and essays of literary criticism and analysis.