Saturday, 29 July 2017

We shape our tools and our tools shape us

The mobile phone can take photos. 
We shape our tools and our tools shape us
Really detailed instant photos. 
We work out too and our tools shape up
So posing for a selfie is a reflex mode. 
We shape our truth and our truth shapes us
Hugging a friend in an instant well drilled repose. 
We shape our tools and our tools shape us.
We live in a realm mapped by the snaps we take. 
We shape our tools and the tools shape us
But what if mobile phones had been really good at testing air pollution as a side product?
We shape our tools and our tools shape us.
Or were easily adapted to being phasers set to stun?
We shape our tools and the tools shape us

Or mind reading devises?
Or instant Voice translators?
Or peace negotiating ambassadors?
Or lie detectors?
Or instant truth deliverers?
Or Ghost revealers?
Or God messengers?
Or parallel dimension portal openers?
We shape our tools and our tools shape us.
Instead we have learned to live with the ever-present photo opportunity
Narcissus what in our wisdom terwit terwoo do to deserve this?
We shape our tools and the tools shape us

Monday, 6 March 2017

Auto-destruction. Who or what are the Deadends?

The Deadends are perhaps a view of ourselves through the cosmic microwaves of time via a post-apocalyptic primordial telescope. We live in a state of self-hypnosis to permit our disavowal to frame our lives with perfectly engineered precision. We are all akin to the footballer who inhabits a Caravaggio painted mask of pleading sincerity to indicate that he played the ball despite having been pulling his opponents shirt for ten seconds. He believes he is correct in pleading to the referee’s sense of reason. This is clearly an evolutionary glitch that has us in its grip. This separation is what keeps us estranged from the very part of us that would reconnect us to the immediate embodied responsibility to each other. Each and every other.

Now here we will remain until more idiots claim to have a soul. This is Ginsberg saying something similar in the TLS in 1964

"The individual soul is under attack and for that reason a “beat” generation existed and will continue to exist under whatever name Rosey generation lost or as Kerouac once prophecied Found until it is found. The soul that is. And a social place for the soul to exist manifested in this world. By soul I mean, that which differs man from thing, i.e. person,—not mere mental consciousness—but feeling bodily consciousness."

The language of the soul is what will reconnect us but even the artists persist in speaking in the strangulated adenoidal mewl of the systematic mind. The systematic mind that insists on its right to disavowal and moral righteousness fuelled by charity donations and truthful communications on social media. As long as we know right from wrong we can go on maintaining this system of separation perfected.

Gustav Metzger makes art that addresses our separation and consequent lemming like movement towards self-destruction but this conceptualising as moving in a state of progress is part of the problem. More art needs to be speechlessly thunderstruck rather than reasonably ordered in such a way that we can carry on living in disavowal albeit with a feeling of self-satisfied detachment. Its a thought and we can speculate all we like at the Deadendings event on 12th March from 2-5pm at Studio One Gallery Wandsworth Plain SW18

Why should I care about the role played by the imagination in shaping reality? Such is our faith in the systematic convergence of data via the senses that we insist upon the illusion factor when confronted by the falsehoods the senses can muster at any time. Instead we might realise that actually it is collective imagination that shapes the world and consequently a sense of communality. We don’t trust the idea that the imagination is central to reality and having jettisoned it we are left instead with disavowal and self-deception, which we soothe with fantasy – the surrogate version of the imagination. Fantasy is an adjunct we see as being an escape from the harsh reality of black and white data. This is a trick we have played on ourselves in order to forget the idea that our imaginations could shape utopia. Yes utopia is nowhere but so is the universe without the imagination of the beholder.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


Getting on for ten years ago my friend Barry recommended I read The Master and his Emissary by Iain McGilchrist. Another left-brain right-brain tract I presumed and thought it would hold little worth beyond the usual character insights – perhaps there would be some of Jung’s personality types thrown in. How wrong I was. This book addresses, with its specific thesis, the problem addressed by any recent critical theorist of note – namely the distortion caused by systematic or mechanistic modes of thinking. Most of these theorists eventually have to break free of the mechanistic mode and end up writing something like poetry – Deleuze, Derrida, de Bord, Adorno even Foucault to an extent. That McGilchrist doesn’t do this is perhaps why his book is so lasting and resonant. It’s tough going but if you stick with it the evidence marches forward like the massed ranks of one of the civilisations he reveals to be self-destructing. The reason for this self-destruction is that systemised or left brain thinking is what allows the power of the system to be maintained and expanded. Eventually though the systemic or data accruing function forgets that it was collecting the data on behalf of something else namely the over-arching whole and the systemic or broken up and dissected version of events becomes the normal or consensus idea of how things really are. To boil this down further in order to categorise, which is a vital function of mechanistic thinking one must employ a subject/object split. This in itself is fine as a method of analysis but to actually believe that things (people included) exist in an isolated separation is absurd. This, however, is the state that we and other hyper successful civilisations before us, find ourselves in. For me the exquisite part of McGilchrist’s thesis is his making clear that in allowing the mechanistic mode to saturate our sense of ourselves we have lost the voice/language/vocabulary/means of solving the problem facing us, which is namely that we have totally lost the voice that would once help us to connect and therefore allow ourselves to put the system to one side that we may develop the empathy required to live as evolved and intelligent beings.