Keeping track of a lofty man enamoured with life

Category: Objects

Writing tips that are worth periodically reading



Living life creatively, with awareness

I feel this relates to the underlying premise of my research. Placing the Bend is about gaining a more holistic awareness of our surroundings and how we create and build attachments to places in an ever becoming flow of experience.


Industrial & post-industrial media practices explained

A great blog post explaining these differences between media modalities. I’ve always been interested in finding out about these terms but had no time to investigate. I’ve just stumbled across this post to explain the distinctions:


How to write faster

The Thesis Whisperer

In a blog post a while back I suggested being a fast writer can be a career ‘edge’. Afterwards a surprisingly large number of people wrote to me wanting to become faster writers, or questioning whether learning to write faster was possible. I was a bit taken aback by the questions as I assumed there was enough published advice out there already, including on this blog, but maybe I was wrong.

Screen Shot 2013-07-27 at 4.22.19 PMWriting faster is, to a large degree, a practice effect: the more you write, the quicker you will become. However if you keep doing things the same way you will plateau at some point if you don’t start doing things differently.

Significant gains in writing productivity can be gained by a combination of the right kind of practice and the right kind of tools. I’ve written about many of these tools and techniques previously, but I’ve organised all…

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AI makes us slack



An interesting article in Sunday’s Age (the full version can be found here), exploring the idea that the search engines and other artificial intelligence software packages that are becoming much more common these days are impacting on our own thought processes in a negative way. We are no longer asking why the search engine has found that particular information, instead, we are asking what it is. The statistical probability AI systems rely upon to come to their conclusions can be skewed, especially in personalised searches, as you can see in the above example.

I feel this relates to my research in the broad scheme of things. How we categorise data dictates how it will be accessed. Whether a folksonomy, taxonomy or associated relations, the way in which we “code” the sparse distributed representations of the information determines the form it will take within the system/software (i.e. how you will be able to access it).

The different combinations data assembles in defines your experience of it, an “organic narrativity” emerges from the raw information. The more you interact with the data the better understanding you can achieve, as you begin to understand how the information has been categorised/filed away in this system of operation. In Korsakow, understanding the keywords used to categorise the video files (SNU’s) will reveal the premise of the project. The keywords that are harder to find require more time to map out the commonalities and “contours” (Bernstein) of the work.

I am at the point where I feel I must switch hats and pull together the other Lit Review necessary for my exegesis and research. This involves revisiting the research I have previously done on interactive documentaries (idocs) and re-orientating the themes to suit my major research project. I feel I must first flesh out some of the similarities I see idocs have with placemaking. Put another way, how creating an idoc of a place will represent a more holistic depiction than a conventional, linear documentary ever could.

Here are some of the similarities I can think of off the cuff:

  • How the content is experienced dictates how it will be filed and therefore accessed

As briefly touched upon in my comments above, how we categorise either the facets we encounter in a space, or the video clips we SNU’ify in Korsakow determines the various sequences the information will make within our mind (as is the case with placemaking) or the K-Film. When we understand the connections made between each piece of information we begin to understand the form of the place or K-Film. By form, I do not mean a fixed structure. Rather, a dynamic set of behaviours that governs the various permutations the information will sequence in. As this idea of form is variable, both placemaking and K-Films share a kaleidoscopic quality that is impossible to pin-down into a clear definition. Hence the density, and complexity of placemaking.

  •  “Routes rather than roots” (Massey)

The form of placemaking and K-Films is modulated by a series of flows or routes that step in and out of operation within the our conception of a place or a k-film. These flows can be seen as particular themes or categorise that can reoccur in the sequence as a motif or manifest in different forms. The tagging cloud Korsakow employs when you designate a keyword to a video clip acts as a particular route that can make up one of the major flows of a K-Film.

Similarly, one of a hospitals main routes could be seen as it’s sterile features (i.e. disposable bins for syringes; disinfectants; flat, clean, white surfaces, etc.) that is a particular defining aspect of it’s placeness. Therefore, routes and flows are governed by how the information is categorised in the first place. Considering the descriptions/keywords we use of particular experiences change over time due to perceiving them in different circumstances, this impacts upon how the routes function within the sequence of place or k-films.

  • Musicality

Correlations can be made between the form a k-film takes and a piece of music. I also see this similarity in how we construct places. All three modalities we use (in the context of this post i condense the five senses we use to experience places to the one modality, the other two obviously are nonlinear audiovisual for K-Films and audio for music) depend upon a rise and fall of information in an ongoing process of becoming.

A brief description of becoming from my draft exegesis:

Becoming is a term often used to indicate the time it takes for raw stimulus – often physical objects or behaviours – to become a stable, “fixed” impression within one’s own consciousness. In the case of placemaking, Cresswell uses this term to explain the process of making a space populated with unidentified objects, into a place of meaning populated with significant objects. Significant in the respect of having been experienced, and from this experience a relationship has formed between perceiver and object.

As a gross simplification, we experience music in both a qualitative and quantitative sense. The former when an exacting note has been reached that truly resonates with us. The latter when a chorus or similar melody is repeated within the one piece to illustrate it’s significance or establish a closer bond between narrative and perceiver/user.

The depth of quality reached with a single note can be seen to signify how we spatially interpret music whereas the repetitive nature of a chorus utilizes the temporality of the narrative world. Both of these channels within the modality of music function in quite unique ways, generating the form the piece takes and thus instigating the assemblage of meaning the perceiver/user comes away with.

Claude Lévi-Strauss characterized music as “le langage moins le sens” (language minus meaning) (Mythologique 579) (Tarasti, 283), an intriguing view that sums up the openness of music. We can affix our own meaning to particular melodies, interpreting them whichever way we like. Of course, there is a language of music, certain notes and tones denoting particular meanings, but the sequence that comes into being assembles to mean whatever the listener interprets it to mean.

I see this same becoming of a meaning, a poiesis if you will, analogous to k-films and placemaking. Poiesis denotes a “revealing” of something. Differing from the Greek term Praxis, which means the act of doing, Poiesis is often used to articulate what the Praxis has created – the instance of an artefact evoking a meaning or sensation. To follow on with this trend of Greek terminology, a poiesis normally initiates an epoch – something that is given and retained. Significant experiences normally encourage an epoch to arise that solidifies gnosis (“to know” or “knowing”).

I digress.

The form of k-films and placemaking is similar music in the way that all three initiate and act out a similar type of becoming. 

  • Seamon’s “Place-Ballet” is similar to the rhythm you initiate in K-Films by selecting and experiencing different length SNU’s

The rhythm of becoming can be explained in Seamon’s schema body-ballet = time-space routines = place-ballets (Cresswell, 34). The habitual routines we act out on a day-to-day basis sequentially link together to form a time-space routine, where several activities/interactions with the environment we are in creates a routine. As we are exposed to the multifaceted nature of the place within any given routine, we establish a relationship with the place. Seamon believes that every time we perform these routines we are creating place-ballets, initiating multiple flows of interactivity to create a networked sense of place.

  • A sequence/assemblage that relies upon motion (space) and pause (place) (Tuan, 8)

Tarasti describes becoming as breaking into two separate categories.

In musical terms, Becoming is realised by the symbiotic relationship of what Tarasti calls the two modalities of music: “being” and “doing.” As he describes it, ‘Being means a state of rest, stability, and consonance; doing is synonymous with musical action: event, dynamism, and dissonance’ (Tarasti, Narrative Across Media, 296). Both play an important role in how we experience music and also K-Films. He goes on to say that the ‘alternation between tension, doing, and de-tension, being, forms a tiny “narrative” program, or, to speak metaphorically, a kind of “organic narrativity” (Italics mine, Ibid).

If we were to expand on Seamon’s schema of place being a ballet of flows and routines, we can see that the moments of pause in a dance sequence is the Being, whereas the instances of activity are the Doing. The tension and de-tension within a dance routine creates a rhythm to the dance that allows a form to emerge. Applying famed humanist geographer Tuan’s framework to this analogy we can see how the dancer in motion is transitory and therefore cannot be properly defined (symbolising space). However, when the dancer pauses, they orientate themselves in a space and thus establish a place.

  • Materiality-Meaning-Practice

All three modalities rely upon the motor schema of interaction and reflection. For this to occur there must first be a material facet to interact with. Next, a praxis that engages with that facet. And finally, reflection in order to evaluate the outcome(s) of the praxis.

  • If place can be seen as a ‘container of experiences’ (Casey quoted by Cresswell, 86), space can be viewed as an empty container. By this rationale, an interface offers the same opportunity to construct experiences/narratives from an “empty” space.

There are two sides to an idoc. As it exists within a web browser the same principles apply to that of any other type of web page. There is a front-end and a back-end. The front exhibiting the interface and the virtual facets that the user can interact with. The back-end storing the data and the algorithms or system of behaviours that govern how the project reacts to user interactions. As the raw information is hidden from view, in the back-end of the website, the interface can be seen as an empty space whereby interactions with the virtual facets reveals these experiences into an assemblage that informs the user what form the project takes. By understanding the form the user gleans an insight into the premise or essence of the project and how it can fit together in a variety of ways to produce a place.

All three modalities (music, placemaking and k-films) all rely upon gauging what form the information takes. The form is governed by how the information has originally been categorised within a closed system (the duration of a musical piece, a locale, or a k-film project); as a folksonomy, taxonomy, etc. The connections that are made between each piece of information creates a network of interrelated data that are in a constant state of readjustment and categorisation. This is why making a k-film about placemaking will portray the multifaceted nature and the changeable form of place.

Excerpts from “Poiesis and Art-Making: A Way of Letting-Be”

I submit that poiesis is something very much ‘in process’ contemporaneously, that it remains an ‘undercurrent’ striving toward the light of day. As such it is likely to surface in rather surprising forms, not least in ‘found objects,’ ‘ready-mades,’ ‘assemblages,’ or ‘installations’ where the artist’s intuitive faculty – in the selection and compositional arrangement of freely chosen elements – appears uppermost. Here I attempt to highlight the presence of a poietic dynamic in the activities of contemporary art practice from the perspectives of painting, poetry, and music.

Another feature of a poiesis ‘in process’ is its relationship with the concept of praxis. I exemplify their relation from Greek thought, and develop the idea that instead of seeing praxis as the exercise of a practical or intentional will alone, we may conceive its relation to poiesis as bringing about a transforming encounter between the artist and his/her work in the unfolding conditions of art-making itself. I go on to argue that in a contemporary sense we need to re-engage what I call thepoietic act: with that which discloses us as the receivers of the gift of art. This raises the issue of who or what gives the gift of art, and I develop this in both aesthetic and artistic terms. And I conclude that working with the raw materials of the imagination (ideas, concepts, schemata) and those of the material order (paint, clay, or stone), constitutes a means of renegotiating our sense of ‘place’ with a renewed and placeful place of poietic and non-exploitative encounter. I develop the idea that poiesis may be seen in those undertones of creative activity that drive us toward a space of ‘unitary multiplicity,’ wherein the artist, the artwork, and the receiver of such a work are brought forward in all the palpability of their self-presentation.

An artist, writer or musician is at some pains to give a work ‘its head,’ so to speak; for a work has a life of its own, as the abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock once said, and the attempt is to try and let it ‘come through.’

We could say, then, that parallel to the artist’s intentionality, an artwork’s essential features are given in one fundamental operation, that a work makes itself tangible.

As the poet Juan Ramón Jiménez has aptly said, ‘let us think more with our hands.’ It is this thinking with our hands that communicates not just any perceived intentionality on the artist’s part, but a site or space wherein a multiple and unified complementarity of idea and raw material coincide in the fullest potential of their happening. Working with the raw materials of the imagination (ideas, concepts, schemata) and those of the material order (paint, clay, or stone), constitutes for the artist and the artwork a means of settling an Umwelt, ‘a living environment,’ a renewed and placeful place of poietic and non-exploitative encounter.

I have suggested that poiesis will be sensed in those undercurrents of artistic activity that impel us toward a place of ‘unitary multiplicity,’ wherein the artist, the artwork, and the receiver enact themselves in the full complementarity of their self-abandonment.

Derek H. Whitehead

Full article can be found here. Whitehead has made some great points here. I’m jealous of academic writing that looks so effortless and simple, but manages to describe complex theories.

Checklist: How to Ease Stress

Spot on. Balance is the key. Not really my strongest characteristic!

Little Black Book

How to Ease the Stress Levels – Checklist

I am often very good at stressing, and when i do, my brain gets all fuzzy and clouded. When it does, all I do is whinge and procrastinate. In an attempt to stop this MADNESS, i devised a little checklist for myself. Ways to ease stress. or at least control the stress.




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Carving out my filter wheel to avoid more vignetting in the ’empty Filter’ setting. Seems to have done the trick. Now i just need to re-shoot all of the vignetted shots for the end K-Film.

Pred and -ologies.

Stumbling across many new terms today. Helpful terms. Whilst also trying to increase my word count. Good feedback from Jason and Josh. Wondering about the balance between formal and informal writing. As they are both writing theses, they have been instructed to employ a formal rhetoric in their syntax construction. I feel the desire to compose an exegesis that is accessible and enjoyable to read. My impression of an exegesis is that it can be less academically rigorous as the investigation occurs on a more personal level. Might raise this quandary in the lab tomorrow.

to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.

                                                    – Eliot 1942

This quote reminds me of the strong reoccuring theme in A Clockwork Orange (1971). Through destruction comes creation. This notion has always intrigued me. In the context of placemaking, Pred uses Eliot’s quote to underline his supposition that no new path cannot exist without the destruction of an old path (“Place As Historically Contingent”, 288). There must be the formation of an absence in order for a new presence to manifest. Some of the terms he has used are quite good. For example, socialisation = institutional; individual socialisation = biographical formation. He says both are ‘dialectically intertwined in the process of structuration, each constantly becoming the other, the material continuity and time-space flow of the two in place cannot be rent asunder’ (287). Unfortunately, if I use this paper I will undoubtedly open up the Pandora’s box of Structuralism. Hm… I don’t feel Pred is really touching on the points that I am needing though. He reminds me of Massey in regards to how he views placemaking as a socio-political battlefield where the dominant “power-geometries” transforms what once was a passive place into a combative place (or vice versa).


Chrono(logy) = events occurring sequentially, normally represented as numerical time (cyclical) or linear causality (narrative) (quantitative)

Kairo(logy) = events occurring prompted by the natural rhythms of one’s body-clock and desires (qualitative)

Choro(logy) = a place that is in the process of becoming/the study of the parts of a place as opposed to place as a whole(Geography), understanding that place is constructed not merely upon its physical elements but also on cultural-historical undercurrent.

Topo(ography) = an achieved place/the physical shape of a lands surface.

Yi-Fu Tuan (1930-Present)

“What begins as undifferentiated space becomes place as we get to know it better and endow it with value y the ideas ‘‘space’’ and ‘‘place’’ require each other for definition. From the security and stability of place we are aware of the openness, freedom and threat of space, and vice versa. Furthermore, if we think of space as that which allows movement, then place is pause; each pause in movement makes it possible for location to be trans- formed into place.”

(Tuan, 1977: 6)