the pictures are better on radio

Still working my way through the backlog – this time another attempt at documentation that doesn’t involve sticking a video camera or a telephoto lens in anyone’s face. Including mine. urgh.

Here I walked with a voice recorder in the side pocket of my rucksack and a camera on interval timer just held in my hand as I walked. The result is some fairly snap, crackle and pop audio and some blurry photos…

…I think it works quite well!

The images [portrait format, distorted horizontally to fit the video’s dimensions – apologies to the woman in the brown dress] appear at minute intervals so there’s a long gap in between them where you only have the audio. Initially I was planning to have the images on screen for longer, thinking that visual = interesting. What I actually found was the images became something of a distraction. Ideally I’d just plug myself into my headphones and settle back with my eyes closed, but here I have to stay mindful of the screen and a minute is a really long time

Instead we have flashes of imagery to act as sort of orientation for the sounds, but not until you’ve had a while between photos to imagine up your own images to accompany the noises. In this way I think I regard the white as a blank canvas to paint your own pictures onto. Maybe not being able to understand what the people are saying is another aspect to this too?

There comes a point when you just have to back off and leave space for people to make their own meaning.

The full walk lasts for over 1 hour and is not for the faint-hearted, so here is a 10 minute extract. I really recommend headphones; whether you keep your eyes open or not is up to you.

Oh, and I was also hooked up to a galvanic skin response sensor at the same time, but that’s another story.

call and return

Yesterday I posted a few YouTube videos of work from SoPG:Yamanote.

Looking at the post later, I happened to set both players off at the same time and was struck by the effect of having two narratives running side by side.

The videos are definitely much stronger when taken as part of a group, so this is something I’ll be investigating further.

In the meantime I rattled off a quick side-by-side rendering as a test of concept. I like the way there seems to be a call and return between the two tales. Imagine what this would be like with 29 stories running at the same time!

The resolution of the video isn’t very high at all, so if you want to actually read the text, you can watch slightly better quality versions on the original post.

two kinds of tents

2 done, only another 27 left to go.

line up!

Walk to work: but very slowly and without getting out of turn.


January 18th, 2007: Waiting for a friend outside the Serpentine Gallery, in quite strong winds.

renga roundup

Wow. Has it really been 7 months since I first agreed to go and sit under a tent in a housing estate and write poetry with strangers?

Yesterday we gathered in Keith’s house and penned the final batch of the 100 Verses for 3 Estates (Alec Finlay, Gavin Wade and Paul Connolly Paul Conneally Little Onion).

You already *know* there was a good bunch of people there and the atmosphere was great, but the food was delicious and deserves a special mention – thanks guys!

Does it sound like we didn’t work very hard?
There was some serious thinking going on too…

analogy for current levels of productivity

not free tissues

On Suturday 4th of November, 2006, the Free Hugs Campaign came to Shibuya.

free hugs

After 3 free hugs and managing to completely confuse them, I gave them a free map and continued with my journey…


and the video appears on YouTube:

band practice

Come back home; start to open front door; hear loudspeaker below; peer over railing; there’s a band. It’s not moving. Band starts moving and it’s LOUD! Grab camera; start filming; battery dies.


Yesterday I went to the festival of Tokyo University of Music and Arts (Geidai) in Ueno.

Part open day:

…part exhibition:

… part car boot sale:

…and part barbeque and music festival:

a good time was had by all!

The students kept asking me how it compared to festivals in the UK, and I had to say that I’d never seen anything like this in the UK. But then maybe my experiences in Bournville aren’t particularly representative.

I tried asking them what the festival was for and who came etc etc. It seems that many students from all the other Tokyo art universities come to these things, as well as families of Geidai students. In addition to showing and selling some of their work, each department has its own batch of beer and food stalls as well as two or three student bands playing throughout the evening. After which, apparently it is traditional for the students to decide to go for a swim in the pond of the nearby park.

Now that part at least sounds familiar!

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