Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Pointless















I often say ‘what’s the point’ or ‘there is no point’ or ‘where’s the point in that’. Negative talk you may think.

When a hand points, however, I don’t ask myself, what’s the point? I just follow the owner’s forefinger direction to its visual conclusion and hopefully learn something new.

So actually, there is always a point as far as your hands are concerned. Merely by positioning my hand and forefinger I can make (if I say so myself) a brilliant point without having uttered a word.  

Suddenly I feel liberated as I have proved empirically that there is no such thing as pointlessness.

I put my theory into practice. I point my finger up in the sky then out of the window, happy in the knowledge that there is some point to it. The point is, I feel liberated from my worry of there not being a point. For any casual bystander the point would be absolutely undeniable. 

One day, of course, you may find yourself in front of a crowd, say, the size of Wembley Stadium and be expected to make a point. Perhaps you forgot the point you were going to make.  (Damn, it is still in the rucksack along with your packed lunch at home). No matter, you can make the universal sign – no, not that one – and your point will be taken seriously, possibly even applauded. 

There might come a time, after all these public engagements, that you get pointed finger fatigue (PFF). Your muscles in your forefinger have seized up. This is where a pointy stick comes in handy. This is a plastic version of a pointing hand on the end of a stick. People might forgive you for using that to make your point instead of the real thing. On the down side, if everyone gets one, it could be hard to distinguish your point from the others. 

If all fails, you could always use the thumbs up sign, though there is not much point in that. A thumbs up is, at best, just ok. Inevitably, even a hand can get caught up in dogma. This is where you may have to rethink your point entirely. I mean, who is to say that a wave isn’t as meaningful or pertinent as any elegant or well-made point? It might mean a repositioning of your hands. Change can be slow or never come at all when it involves new distribution of power and hierarchy. In this case, your index finger will have to accept that is it symbolically equal to the other four digits. You may have a struggle on your hands. 

Then comes the day when waving is passé: “Waving is passé, and all because you couldn’t or didn’t want to make a point. Now look where we’ve got to. Now all we do is swipe. Swipe left. Swipe right. Swipe” But there is no point in pointing the finger of blame. Swiping is, in fact, a very elegant gesture. Its just a pity that swipe sounds like a cross between snot and wipe when, in fact, it is more of a swish or swoop or s’wow. Its true that it is rather individualistic. We’ve become a nation of selfish swipers etc. However, it can be argued that it allows people to express themselves. There is a delightful performative quality, albeit unconscious, to our swiping that was wholly absent when we were merely making a point. 


Now at this point, I’d just like to go back to my very first point, but as I was about two and a half years old at the time, its pointless I’m afraid.





Sunday, 9 July 2017

Cancelled


























Human spirographs in the 'cancelled' exhibition space of the artist Marlie Mul at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Glasgow.




Monday, 29 May 2017

The Mystery Hotel












Visiting the funfair is turning into a bit of a ritual. Here is last year's visit. I love the way the rides are cleverly packaged and I love the new striped awning that wasn't there last year. In my opinion, the fairground aesthetic just keeps on winning.




Monday, 22 May 2017

To the peninsula my friends

































To the Peninsula my friends*


To the Peninsula my friends,
the old one goes to ground
A whole new swathe of London
standing on the stirring ice
Scuffed knees and drowsy bees
in those stark and sullen solitudes

A cascade of irises,
The roar of heavy, distant surf
Towers cut like prisms
safe return doubtful
The naked soul of man
wrapped by the river Thames

Big, eclectic and original
The end of the axis
By endurance we conquer
vistas that never tire
Months of continuous darkness
15,000 new homes



* Inspired by the "Ernest Shackleton Lodge" ( pictured above) that I saw on my walk along the rapidly developing Greenwich Peninsula, I decided to combine quotes by the polar explorer, Ernest Shackleton, with the language of property development brochures to make a poem.







Sunday, 9 April 2017

So long, and thanks for all the fish

I walked into the Tate to see a member of staff holding an inflatable fish. 


This was after seeing a striped man trying to outdo St Paul's with his pointy hat.



At first sight unsettling, this image is benign: people enjoying merging and emerging from the water spray installation outside the Tate

These workmen at the Tate are responsible for your Seele (German word for soul). However, they are not buying at the moment. I tried. 


When you step inside, the 'book' is in fact a video installation showing unpublished photos of built spaces: urban, corporate, detailed. mundane, and epic side by side. In short, wonderful and insightful. This part of Tillman's show is off the turbine Hall and as far as I know this part is free entry. 



The former power station supports life: a bush. Actually, Peregrine Falcons have been spotted hunting pigeons from the tower.







you know it is a good show when the staff are still enjoying it

A surreal part of the day, seeing Wolfgang Tillmans in person who kindly signed the catalogue for me.





Perhaps the best slogan of all time?






 Scorched earth policy applied to design - Berliner U -Bahn seating







I obviously came late to the inflatable fish party: The Tate roof.


This aerial image is like a map of somewhere else
Canary Wharf. When you know the formative structure of the building is going to be more interesting looking than the building itself