Thursday, 21 October 2010

Delirious Scale

Wherein the artist uses examples of dimensions beyond all possibilities to express the boundless nature of the imagination.

“And all this Vegetable World appeared on my left Foot,
As a bright sandal form’d immortal of precious stones & gold:
I stooped down & bound it on to walk forward thro’ Eternity.”

William Blake – Milton

Here Blake, inspired by the return of Milton to earth as a fiery comet, sees the sensorial world as a mere sandal, which, once strapped on, allows him to stride forth in poetic creativity.
It was in the preface to this book that Blake wrote what would become his most famous lyric, “Jerusalem”

“Well I’ll stand up next to a mountain
And chop it down with the edge of my hand.”

Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

The power of Hendrix’s wah-wahed chops more than match the boldness of his lyrics. What I love about this verse is that after he has picked up all the pieces of the mountain and made them into an island, he suggests he may even “raise a little sand.” How generous, he’s going to make us child-like mortals a beach to play on.


“You race naked through the wilderness,
You torment the birds and the bees.
You leapt into the abyss, but find
It only goes up to your knees.”

Nick Cave – Babe, You Turn Me On

In this mischievous song, which sees the Gothfather liken himself to a “little deer,” the upsetting of scale is used to portray the immensity of the singer’s lover, the power she wields over him.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

A sign!

I made some toast yesterday, and look!

The face of Charles Darwin appeared.

This must prove something.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A Slight Delay

Nathaniel Webber, fat and forty, eased his ship against the tide of gravitons, geared down to third, and took up a wide orbit over earth. Coming out of light speed always give him the jitters. Going in and coming out. That thwock of light and the suddenness of location. It was Sunday evening and earth was busy; the weekend flyers were coming home to roost. He slipped himself into a lower stream and a light on his left flashed in time with a ping-ping chime in his right ear. Earth was calling him. His computer answered and was identified by the traffic centre’s computer. They chatted in quantum time, we’re going here – yes, you’re scheduled to go there. His monitor informed him he was free to come down in ... thirty-five minutes. Not too bad. He tapped on auto-cruise and sat back from the panel.
Thirty-five minutes. Which really meant about fifty, judging from the traffic. With his mouse he zoomed in on the craft in front of him. Tourists. Outer arm moneyed types, probably making the long journey to earth to find their roots. They’d go home with caps bearing the earth logo and stories of a special feeling, like we were there, where it all began.
He laughed and switched on the telly.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

One For Sorrow

The magpie didn’t move. Its attention was fixed on the ground, something there that the man, only a few metres away, could not see. This man, who had been still for so long the bird had not bothered with him, sat on a low wall waiting for something to happen.
All of this was being watched by another man through the scope his sniper rifle. He was just under half a kilometre away, tucked into the edge of a forest. The crosshairs panned from bird back to man, resting on his left temple. The sniper took a long, deep breath and prepared himself to ever so gently embrace the trigger.
Just then the magpie lifted, a flickering silhouette shot through with a brief blue sheen. Impulsively the sniper followed it, confused by its proliferation of wings, and he realised it was not one magpie, but two. They flew apart and off into the air. The sniper immediately dropped his line of sight back to the man, but he was gone.

Friday, 5 February 2010

France, Sep 8th, 1940

He knew this was no ordinary cave. He knew it. The others scrambled into the chamber and stood close, well within the weak light of the lantern. Marcel studied the ground and took a step. Another. The ceiling was low. There was a wall to his left. He lifted the lantern and a great white bull appeared, arching over him. He stepped back
“Mais, c’est quoi ca?”
He raised his arm again and they all looked up. A stampede of creatures ran out along the wall.
“C’est des animaux,” whispered Simon.
This was no ordinary cave.
Open-mouthed, the four boys walked from room to room, calling out the names of the animals they saw. Stag. Bison. Bear. Horse. Bird. Like young gods naming their world. The first visitors to a gallery, reopened after more than fifteen thousand years of darkness.

Polaroid art: Don Ng (click on image for larger image)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

No art

We stand.
We wait.
Our costumes are heavy but we do not move. The ceremony will begin when everything is as it should be. There is no art here. There is no politic.
So many of us that we make the silence resonate. Who will be the first to speak?
We look at each other. Or we look away.
Only our faces show. The costumes are heavy, though made of feathers, and we do not move.
The ceremony will begin when everything is as it should be.

Polaroid art: Don Ng (click on image for larger image)

Friday, 22 January 2010

Logic Bombs

In November last year the BBC news site ran an article detailing a new arena in global conflict. (Age of cyber warfare is 'dawning') According to a report published by McAfee, the world’s largest internet security company, we should be preparing ourselves for “cyber warfare.”

The language used in the piece is bristling with militaristic references. Many countries are “arming to defend themselves in a cyber war and readying forces to conduct their own attacks.” Apparently, there is evidence that recent instances of hacking were carried out as "reconnaissance" for “future conflict.”
Greg Day, primary analyst for security at McAfee Europe, is quoted as saying, "There are at least five countries known to be arming themselves for this kind of conflict."

Oh? Such as? The UK, Germany, and France. OK. And China. Worrying. Also mentioned is North Korea. Cue the alarm bells. What is cyber-speak for Def Con One?

But this is nothing new. The US employed “hack attacks alongside ground operations during the Iraq war.” There is even an operating manual “governing the rules and procedures of how it can use cyber warfare tactics.” Which prompts the question, what is out of bounds in cyberspace?

Interestingly, we are told many of the recent instances of hacking “were mounted with a explicitly political aim.” One expert goes on to say “most people can easily find the resources that could be used in these kind of attacks.” Yet the word terrorist does not appear once in the article.

The piece goes on to quote Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer at Veracode, a company that advises many governments on security: "In physical warfare it's pretty clear who has which weapon and how they are using them." - Is this man suffering from short-term memory loss?

A weapon of choice we can expect to see become more prevalent in this brave new world war is the logic bomb. A logic bomb is a hidden code designed to execute (explode) when a specific piece of program logic is activated. A virtual sleeper cell. The name, like the previous decade’s “smart bomb,” is an oxymoron. Whatever uses it is put to, logic itself is a benign thing – the idea of logic exploding serves to undermine the supposed certainties of the digital age.

A search for examples of logic bombs throws up a number of failed attempts, one of which, in 2008, was targeted at the, now infamous, mortgage corporation Fannie Mae by a disgruntled IT employee. A celebrated case of a suspected logic bomb takes us all the way back to 1982 and the Trans-Siberian Pipeline incident. The story goes that the KGB stole the computerised control system for the gas pipeline from a Canadian company. To avenge this theft, the CIA planted a logic bomb in the system that caused the pipeline to explode, resulting in the largest non-nuclear blast and fire ever seen from space. It later emerged that the whole thing was an April Fool’s Day hoax.

Forward now to 14th January, 2010, and another BBC article. (Google 'may pull out of China after Gmail cyber attack') “Internet giant Google has said it may end its operations in China following a ‘sophisticated and targeted’ cyber attack originating from the country.”

It is good to see that Google are reconsidering their decision to censor the services they provide in China, but, coming hot on the heels of the earlier warning, one must question the timing of this action. Firstly we are warned that China are “arming themselves” for cyber warfare, then, a few months later, we are informed of cyber attacks coming from China.

Today, 22nd Jan, two news items stand out. The first is China’s response to the support the US government has shown Google, and the warning that it may harm ties between the two countries. China, showing they fully understand the Newspeak of the digital age, has accused America of "information imperialism.” The second news item relates the fact that China is about to overtake Japan as the world’s second biggest economy. Second only to America.


On the same day the cyber warfare article appeared, another item was posted on the BBC news site. (Pakistan 'captures Taliban bases') In a video report by Orla Guerin, we are shown weapons seized by Pakistani troops fighting the Taliban in southern Waziristan. Amongst the usual ordnance, bullets, machine guns, shells, etc, are examples of improvised devices, the IEDs so familiar to American and British soldiers. One in particular stood out. A computer tower had been rigged with an anti-personal mine packed with three hundred ball bearings. The device was designed to explode when the computer was touched, triggered by a pressure mechanism underneath. A very real, and very lethal logic bomb.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

+++ Virtual Assassin +++

A novel about personal responsibility in a corrupt society …

Virtual Assassin
is a tense thriller with powerful political and moral implications from new author Simon Kearns. It tracks the story of successful young graphic designer, Lee Coller, sickened with the Iraq war and the no-regrets position of Tony Blair. When he hears a VIP is about to visit his office, he obsesses it might be Blair and chalks out a plan of revenge. But will Blair visit after all? And will Lee do the unthinkable? Can one act of violence make up for so many others?

click here for an extract

click here for the publishers - Revenge Ink

click here to get the book via Amazon