An ongoing, never ending editorial...

  • Hans Ulrich Obrist: And for the moment, for example at Wall Street and the St. Paul’s protest, is there no manifesto? [regarding OWS)

    Adam Curtis: I’m very, very, very cynical about this. I got into trouble, because I wrote an article in Observer criticizing them, saying that they are like office managers—they’re obsessed by process. And their idea, which they have, of self-organization, I just rather cheekily pointed out that actually that’s also a mirror image of the free market. Their idea that somehow you don’t need leaders, you just have the group coming together and creating a new kind of order. They are trapped by that. I mean, I mustn’t be too nasty about the protest because I actually sympathize with what they’re saying. But, to be brutal, I mean, to be brutal, and I have talked to some of them. A lot of the leaders of the protest movement, especially here in Britain, come out of academia. Some of them are PhD students who studied what is called network theory. And network theory is, I think, dangerously limiting because it leads you to both a very narrow and disempowering idea of what democracy is. They have a vision that comes out of things like the commune movement of the 1960s, fused with some anarchist ideas—that imagines an alternative way of organizing society in a non hierarchical way, networked together where everyone interacts through feedback processes to create a kind of order. Many of them look to the internet as a model of this—and dream of a world without elites. I’m afraid I think this is a dead end—it also oddly echoes the very thing they are against, the invisible hand theory of Adam Smith—but it’s really a dead end because underlying it is a static managerial theory. It says that the feedback between all the individuals will create order and stability, and that’s it. To go back to what we were talking about earlier—about the limits of rationality in politics—this kind of managerialism cannot cope with the dynamic forces of history that politics has to deal with, and it is also totally uninspiring as an imaginative vision of the future. And I am quite shocked by how the left as a whole has completely failed to capture the mood of fear, uncertainty, and doubt that rose up in the wake of 2008. It is an extraordinary failure not to have come forward and said—“you thought it was good to be on your own. But now, when things go bad, it’s frightening. But don’t be frightened. We’re going to create something that will take you out of yourself and out of that fear, and make you confident, because you’ll be with other people, and together we’re going to create this.” That’s how you do it. And that’s where the new politics is going to happen. And in a way, the protest movement by obsessing over process, talking constantly about non-hierarchical systems of organization, just like I hear managers talk in the BBC, is like a roadblock stopping that happening. So that’s what I think. It’s a failure of political imagination dressed up in smart geek philosophy of systems organisation. I’m also deeply suspicious of the cyber-boosters who for the last year have been endlessly saying that it was twitter and facebook that created the Arab Spring. There’s a new kind of patronising orientalism creeping in—“it’s our western technology” that created the revolts. No it wasn’t—of course they helped to an extent, but the real motive force was a mass wave of emotional fury and anger born out of suffering and indignity. And notice that it is now the Ikwhan—the Muslim Brotherhood—who are making the running, for the simple reason that they have ideas, and they have a vision. It’s a very conservative one—but it’s a lot more than the liberals have.

    e-flux, in conversation with Adam Curtis

    n.b., Funnily enough, this is also roughly the critique of OWS from “Will McAvoy” on The Newsroom.

    ¶ Rowan 4 years ago
  • ¶ Rowan 4 years ago
  • title

    Active until 2007 (and set earlier aesthetically), Martin Dodge’s An Atlas of Cyberspaces compiles hundreds of early maps of the internet; a multiplicity of visualisations, hierarchies and topologies all aiming to describe the same ‘thing’.

    (I’m presuming that the end of the project coincided with the kind of autonomous and private realtime mapping tech companies do with the data we give them, like Google plotting traffic via people using Google Maps on their phone.)

    ¶ Rowan 5 years ago
  • pickpocket

    Opacity as a defensive gesture:

    McKenzie Wark interviewed by Monty Cantsin:

    MC: If blanket surveillance of telecommunications is a given, if all our emails and texts are being monitored, I suppose one is forced to wonder, is there is any point in staying away from Facebook?

    MW: As I’ve said elsewhere, it is the height of vanity to think that you are under surveillance. No one gives a rat’s ass about most of us. But yeah, we ought to just assume that data is being collected about all of our lives for possible future use. You can just kind of assume that. And so then [what’s called for] is a counter-tactic of a certain nuance and unreadability and opacity about everyday life–to not announce everything in advance, and to not be careless with language. To try pass silently in some things. You know, before the Situationist International was even constituted, the police arrived. And Guy Debord writes about this in a letter, I think to Gallizio. Reading his version of it, it looks like the way he avoided the police trying to proscribe them is, he pointed out “We haven’t even been constituted yet!.” So the S.I. as an organization was under surveillance before it even started! Even though the S.I. was a minor insignificant organization in its time–in the moment of its founding, it’s like half a dozen people–there was always a certain carefulness, an opaque quality. Not everything has to be said to just everyone. So, act on that basis.

    ¶ Rowan 5 years ago
  • circadian

    Visit our new listing of interesting events in Melbourne, the Circadian Post.

    ¶ Rowan 5 years ago
  • The Noun Project is building a global visual language that everyone can understand. We want to enable our users to visually communicate anything to anyone.

    Humans have been using symbols to communicate for over 17, 000 years because they are the one language everyone can understand. Symbols can transcend cultural and language barriers and deliver concise information effortlessly and instantaneously. They allow people to communicate quickly, effectively, and intuitively. And for the first time ever, this language is being combined with technology to create a social language that unites the world.

    We’re hiring!”

    — from


    Isotype icons by Gerd Arntz

    Otto Neurath, Marxist sociologist who formed the Isotype visual “language-like technique” in 1925. “To remember simplified pictures is better than to forget accurate figures”.

    “To maintain visual consistency—a crucial factor if the isotype was to be successful—Neurath made print blocks for hundreds of identical symbols. He had soon created a vocabulary of some two thousand isotypes. Units of steel production were depicted by I-beams; strikes were depicted by rows of fists; whenever statistics on workers needed to be shown, the simple silhouette of a man in a flat cap and waistcoat, or a woman in a headscarf and long skirt, was depicted. Neurath had created a Bauhaus of language—functional, formulaic, and, most importantly, for the proletariat.” — George Pendle


    “Some objects resist typification: it seems almost impossible, for example, to design an immediately recognizable pictogram for ‘potato’; Arntz’s attempts are shown here in two different versions inside the middle sacks of the first two rows.” — Christopher Burke


    The Noun Project, turning Neurath’s socially-oriented (but uncomfortably unicast and reductive) Isotype into a ‘digital marketplace’.

    George Pendle on Neurath, in Cabinet
    ISOTYPE manual, Neurath
    Isotype Revisited, research project @ U. Reading

    ¶ Rowan 5 years ago
  • Babelswarm by writer Justin Clemens, artist/designer Christopher Dodds, and musician/3-D real-time artist Adam Nash

    ¶ Rowan 5 years ago
  • — Third-wave DIY: lionising regional ‘informal economies’

    ¶ Rowan 5 years ago
  • “Every click is doing you damage.” Justin Clemens



    1830_computer desk batch 2 (4)





    Young woman in office jubilates at desk

    ¶ Kelly 5 years ago
  • tumblr_mihpzdAJbv1s60o7vo1_r1_1280

    Apparition of a distance, however near it may be (2013) is a collection of found images portraying Google Books employees physically interacting with books inside the digital space of the book scanner. “Apparition of a distance, however near it may be” is a reference to the discussion of aura in Walter Benjamin’s seminal essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”

    Workers Leaving the Googleplex, responded to two versions of the film Workers Leaving the Factory: one by Harun Farocki and the other, the original by the Lumière brothers. The premise of your own video of course was to make a work that captured the shift in labor from the industrial proletariat into the informational proletariat.

    — Andrew Norman Wilson interviewed by Louis Doulas

    ¶ Rowan 5 years ago
  • Peter Tyndall —




    Dependent arising:
    On a general level, it refers to one of the central concepts in the Buddhist tradition—that all things arise in dependence upon multiple causes and conditions.
    — Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Interpenetration means that each [idea] is moving out in all directions penetrating and being penetrated by every other one no matter what the time or what the space. So that when one says that there is no cause and effect, what is meant is that there are an incalculable infinity of causes and effects, that in fact each and every thing in all of time and space is related to each and every other thing in all of time and space.
    — John Cage, “Composition as Process,” in Silence, 46-47.


    Anycast is a network addressing and routing methodology in which datagrams from a single sender are routed to the topologically nearest node in a group of potential receivers, though it may be sent to several nodes, all identified by the same destination address.
    — Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    ¶ Rowan 5 years ago
  • book_style_ipad_2_case_2






    ¶ Kelly 5 years ago
  • “All this stuff is from the internet, you know?”
    “Oh, really? Still, I want it in a book.”

    ¶ Rowan 5 years ago
  • firecracker

Welcome to Issue One of the West Space Journal. As mentioned in our About page, this is  an experiment. This online space is intended to ebb and flow after its initial release, as content is added and expanded, and we’ve designed the structure of the site to be completely transformed at each quarterly issue.

Our first issue is broadly focused on the internet — the protocols and infrastructure that this journal exists on. What is the internet (currently)? How are artists and curators using it? Are we anticipating social change via new forms of connection, or playing a self-mythologising game of cultural catch-up? How does internet access converge with and cloud our offline perspectives? What are the tensions between the presented narratives and pragmatics of the online platform? We think that, globally, we’re at a type of breakpoint where many of these questions might have new answers, somewhere within the spectrum between Evgeny Morozov’s charge that “the internet” we believe in doesn’t exist (and won’t save us), and Ethan Zuckerman’s research into a digital cosmopolitanism that we’re yet to embrace.

Happy exploring!