Three posts down the end of the road, and their multipliers.

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“They stand there. And the shadows all point the same way. That’s something I’ve noticed. The shadows all point the same way, and they stand there. That is all. How I ever got mixed up in this darned business is far beyond me; whether it was all the fates all weighing heavily right here, down the end of the road, I don’t rightly know. All I know is that they stand there, and the shadows all point the same way.

I guess you must think I’m  a bit soft in the ‘ead, gettin’ all fixated on these darned concrete posts and everything. I mean, these three posts have got to be the most boring thing in the world, haven’t they? I mean, they’re so boring, they just disappear, don’t they? You kind of just block them out of your mind when you’re going down the shops, don’t you, maybe so you don’t have to see how utterly miserable these things are. You know they’re there, but you can’t see ’em. Funny.

Well, so long as I stand here, I make one of them. My shadow points the same way, doesn’t it? And, you know, your shadow points the same way too…”

Transcript of an interview with the old woman down the end of the street, from which nobody ever comes back.

CADE, 2013

 

The project “…drifting towards (x)” is an EIE – an Evolving Interactive Environment.

To enter into the full environment of these ideas as they grow and adapt, visit us here…

The Body Politic: The Waste Problem

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Explore ‘The Waste Problem’ at The Unstitute

What sort of ‘waste problem’ are we dealing with here? It is true that the health of the whole body politic rests on the sanitary measures taken to deal with its waste, but to reduce this ‘problem’ to a concern for hygiene in the regular sense would be to somewhat miss the object of CADE’s  enquiry. ‘Hygiene’ could conceivably indicate some form of ‘racial hygiene’, (attested by increasingly frequent outbreaks of fascism, like buboes on the skin of society,) a mendacious attitude towards ‘cultural cleanliness’ even, or a division of the clean and unclean; it may refer to a physical blockage in the waste-disposal system of the city, (as in the sewerage pipes we see stuffed with dog carcasses by operatives from Thames Water,) or it may even point towards a mental attitude towards waste which itself is becoming problematic – things formerly considered ‘useful’ are re-categorised unconsciously into the ‘useless’, provoking widespread nausea and apathy towards the value of things. One thing is certain however; CADE takes no moral stance on this rubbishing of everything – indeed, he seems quite at home, nestled amongst the spreading tendrils of entropy all around, a lotus-eater. His writings indicate no critique of post-industrial capitalism and its excesses; no Camorra-style syndicate is holding politicians to ransom with garbage; no general strike amongst sanitation contractors is prostrating the system. There is in fact no good reason why it should be so, but there it is: CADE presents a compromised system in which everything is in a process of ‘being-wasted’ – including its people.

On several occasions CADE himself displays the tendency towards purposeless drifting – swept along, object-like, mysterious to himself – to everything. His records are begrimed with apathy:

 “A machine for the production of rubbish.”

This phrase, written out several times in his journal, must make us reconsider what is meant by rubbish and by what is not meant by rubbish; are things becoming rubbish even before they are used? There is doubtless more, (or perhaps even less,) than meets the eye. After touching this material, watching it, hearing it, reading it, one gets a stale odour on one’s fingers, so to speak – used, spent, empty. This system, as it is perceived, is in the process of losing its useful energy at a highly accelerated pace, decay is encrusting every corner and every object in ambiguity, and the cohesion between the sensible and the impossible is becoming meaningless – is becoming rubbish, in fact. The apparently systematic methods employed by CADE in gathering this material is not one of retrieving something meaningful or useful out of the rubbish-heap; rather, in his method is a peculiar desire to join with this rubbish, to become part of a system which is in the process of becoming useless as we speak. And perhaps CADE’s ‘machine for the production of rubbish’ is some kind of entropic engine, devaluing the usefulness of anything, a Heraclitean cosmic-accelerator in which the cohesion of the meaningful tends ultimately towards dissolution and chaos. Another quote from his journal seems conclusive:

“The universe is a great pile of rubbish, heaped up at random.”

Bettany Unction

Chief Curator

View the entire project here: NEO-LONDON

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Non-conductor

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There’s a lot to be said about inertia. I myself have been inert for…seven years now, ever since the old Routemaster buses were taken out of service. Yeah, I was a conductor, see. Oh, It was a merry old life we had back in the old days. Great times, they were…yeah…nah, hold on a minute…that’s a lie. A complete lie. I just told you a complete…listen; I had an awful time back in the old days. Working every day for sod all money, having horrible people shout at you for no reason on that filthy old bus that stank of vomit half the time…thirty-eight years of it. Even then I used to nag about how things were better in the old days! And now here I am, saying that even those old days I used to hate were better than these days are now. How do people go on like that, always complaining about the present, in the present? If anyone sours the taste of the present, it’s me – let’s face facts here! It’s not as though its got something to do with all this progress that’s…what do you call it…decadent, is it? You know, like how even though we’re progressing into ‘a better world’ and all that guff, somehow life was always better in the past. I mean, it must be me who’s wrong…it can’t be ‘our age’ that’s up the spout, can it?

Sorry…rambling away there…completely lost my thread. Don’t get much chance to speak to anyone these days. Where was I? Oh, yeah, I used to work on the Routemaster number 38 bus that ran from Clapton Pond to Victoria Station ‘til it was decommissioned seven years ago. There was a big hoo-ha about cutting down on expenditures, and how my job was seen as expendable, you know, unnecessary…so I got made redundant, didn’t I? Well, it had quite some effect on me, that did. You see, it all happened when I was reading through the redundancy notice the bus company sent me. Hold on a minute…I’ve got it somewhere…here it is. I’ll read it to you, shall I?

Dated April the 9th, 2005

Dear Mr Bus-Conductor Man,
(that’s me, see,)
Dear Mr Bus-Conductor Man,

This bus company don’t need you no more, right, so you better get yourself gone real quick. If you don’t, I’ll eat your children, though you probably don’t have any ‘cause you’re such a massive tosser.’

Yours with deep affection, etc, etc,

Sir Frederic Cunthole, CEO

Well, apart from this personal letter I received, (which I thought was lovely, you know, that ‘personal touch’ helps soften the blow in these instances, dunnit?) I also got an information pack about why they was making blokes redundant, and I was reading about how ‘by cutting down on unnecessary labour the company could save money and deliver a better service, ready to face the challenges of an uncertain economic future’, etc, etc, etc, etc. Well…I was struck – suddenly – by an idea. I mean, what if it was true? Perhaps I ought to treat this redundancy note as a word of warning, you know, sent by providence? Perhaps I should cut down on excess labour – that might help me progress into an uncertain economic future, ready to face the challenges I might find there? I mean, blimey! What’s this future going to look like, eh?…I got…well, I got bleedin’ worried about the future, didn’t I, and I thought…well, I’d better get my arse in gear and start cutting down on unnecessary labour.

Well, I started out small; you know, by sitting at rest and not bumbling about all day. I don’t know if you ever been put out of work, but you tend to bumble about all day, worrying about bumbling about all day. So I just sat in my chair. I thought it’d be best to meet this uncertain future by expressing the minimum amount of effort physically possible. It was weird though, ‘cause I’d been travelling along that same route every day now for the past thirty-eight years, and all of a sudden, I has this sudden great change in velocity thrust upon me, like a lifetime’s movement suddenly stopped, and now there’s, there’s nothing but this…inertia! But I tried to keep calm and carry on, you know, being inert. Well, since then, I haven’t moved from my armchair. No kidding…I’ve resisted every impulse to get up and move about, and taken my redundancy completely literally.

You know, things really spiralled out of control after that, cause, you know, my wife tried everything she could think of to get me out of my inertial state, (which she took to be some kind of melancholy, albeit a lot less psychological, ‘cause, err, ‘cause I got less psychology than the average man, according to my doctor,) and there were doctors and social workers here all the time, prodding me about and asking questions. But I just sat here, and after a bit, they buggered off. Well, after my wife left me, strange thing happened…I had these people round from the TV company, see, and they wanted to do a story on me. I didn’t mind, ‘cause, err, I just sat here. You know, it didn’t affect my inertia one bit, ‘cause, you know, I’d taken remedial measures against the uncertain future, like. But then, right, weird thing is, is after this programme goes out on daytime TV right, all these young people started coming round. Yeah, they would just…sit…you know, all over the place. I could have as many as two hundred people round here at any one time, just sitting about. On the landing, the stairs, the cooker, all over the place. It was like…I started some kind of movement or something…except it weren’t moving nowhere! Or, or, like I’d become the conductor of some kind of force…some kind of resistance or something. It was like being back on the bus again, with these people coming in and sitting about before moving on. Except we didn’t go nowhere.

Well, then they stopped comin’ round all of a sudden, didn’t they. The youths. And then some geezer from the Department of Health comes round, and he prods me about and asks me a load of ‘questions’. I mean, ‘questions’! The bleedin’ cheek of it! And he tells me it’s a ‘Risk Assessment’ or something. I mean, what’s going to happen to me! I took all these measures against the uncertain future, didn’t I, and now me future’s all bleedin’ uncertain again, isn’t it!

Bleedin’ council!

 

View the entire project over at The Unstitute: NEO-LONDON

 

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A Small Plastic Dog

This page contains a 2-part micro-narrative broken into separate channels; the moving image, and the text. The moving image does not exactly have the same effect as the text, and the text doesn’t express quite the same thing as the video. A certain degree of cognitive dissonance is therefore required on the part of the viewer to combine the two in such a way as suits their own interpretation best, or so as to not need to interpret anything at all…

#1: Video extract

#2: Journal extract

On the Waterloo Road I became aware that I was being followed. I first realised this at the sound of a faint clicking noise somewhere in the distance behind me. I veered right past the Old Vic so I could get a brief look behind me without betraying my awareness to my pursuer; but I saw nobody looking suspicious. I turned sharply onto Greet Street, which was deserted, so as to better isolate my pursuant. As I approached the railway arches, the clicking sound was almost upon me and I spun round to make a confrontation. I found a small plastic dog.

It was not moving. I pushed it along with my foot and it made a clicking sound as the wheels turned the dog’s head by means of a simple mechanism. Cheaply manufactured in China, such toys have become popular through retail chains such as Argos and may be found in almost any home in the UK. Children attach the dog to a nylon lead and walk around with it as though it was a real dog. But there was no child attached to this one.

As it was causing no harm I allowed the dog to tail me at its own leisure, and anyway, it seems to be impossible to get rid of it. The irritating noise can easily be drowned out by moving into busy areas and for brief intervals I can create the impression I am not being followed at all. But moving through crowds like this – using a herd of people for cover, I mean – is really not my style. I cannot help but get the impression I am being herded in some way, and this is a feeling I do not like. After several failed attempts I succeed in losing it near Borough Market after giving it a good kicking and running away.

view the entire project at The Unstitute: NEO-LONDON

visit The Unstitute on your day off: www.theunstitute.org

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“NEO-LONDON” – The London War

man-in-holeOver two years into production may seem a little late for beginning a blog on The Unstitute’s project “Neo-London”, but it seemed a fair time to move some ideas out of the agglomerated notebooks and fragments of paper currently littering up the workshops, seminar rooms and lesser outhouses around here. Truth be told, there is no limit to space at The Unstitute, (unlike many other large buildings,) so the drive to publish what was until only recently a chaos of insensible materials was motivated less from practical reasons than it was from the need to disseminate ideas which, left to their own devices, would soon grow musty and useless or else escape.

The project began from a late night discussion about the possibility of a war breaking out in London that nobody was able to notice. Although fanciful, this idea itself had a long incubation period, albeit a semi-conscious one illuminated by half light and speculation. It seemed perfectly tenable, in those days, to imagine such an occurrence if only on the strata of sensibilities – harsh affects dominating the cowing drives to submission on the level of everyday life. So, committed to this idea as we were, off we set to document the tiniest inflections of violence registering on the surface of London’s streets, it’s lesser enclaves, it’s people, animals, garbage and, critically, the speech of its residents. Such seemingly useless recordings of wheelie bins, the call of street hawkers at the market, semi-private telephone conversations in the financial city, tiresome studies of rubbish and decay all pointed us towards the semi-conscious idea from the beginning, confirming the long held belief that people often find what they want to find during research, and rarely capture contradictions to their original prejudice.

This was of no bother to us, however. The Unstitute hardly prizes the evidential over the unconscious at the best of times and what seemed irresistible was the original impulse that had driven such research along; what was it’s object and to what lengths would it go in order to solidify such phantasy representations, group mythologies or mass hysteria in the locales of Southwark and beyond?

Soon it became apparent that there was no war happening after all. That dream of violence in which one’s drives, reasons and actions all seem to make sense according to the logic of survival – as some half-baked radical alternative to advanced capitalist urban living. We began to give consideration to such ‘survivalist’ planning, to the mindset of the siege, the channelled thinking of the pack animal. Although there was no war scheduled for London in 2012, we went about as if one was really in progress.

Truth be told, if we journey back to the so called London Riots of 2011, the seeds for such an effort were already gestating. Having experienced the whole fiasco only through Twitter – through language and the rumour mill which such small talk demands, it seemed there was a desire for large scale sedition to break-out and wake things up, and half the time we expected the rioters to do what everybody was expecting them to do, just so as not to let anybody down. We wondered also whether a vast, subconscious reservoir of raw violence, fascism and the enforced suppression of all leisured affects was building like a magma chamber somewhere, an unparalleled need for harsh speech, tough decisions – a crisis, so to speak, was being generated in the generally sedentary metropolitan lifestyle.

We could only hope.

But a new consideration rapidly emerged. What if people really had this strong desire to engage with some form of tough reality, (the kind we see in films or in the news and which inform our imaginary speculations,) but that the impulse to do so, the desire had simply grown too atrophied and weak to ever break out onto the surface? This was a concern we had not glimpsed before, and that was when the themes of inertia, entropy and heat-death began to seep into the moral universe of our research.

The work in progress may be seen here: “NEO LONDON”

Barry Cade @ The Unstitute

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