more occupy

For a look at how many economists feel now about the occupy movement, 
watch this.
 (shared by @caspertk)

Occupy Economics from Softbox on Vimeo.


ai wei wei

I have just finished a great little book: Ai Weiwei Speaks with Hans Ulrich Obrist

I want to write about it, but there is a milieu of things I could say about Ai weiwei. 
Mostly in regards to how the Chinese government have treated this 'dissident' earlier this year. But I will focus on this book as a window into the artist's mind. 

This little snippet of weiwei is fascinating. His personality is huge, the way he sees life is fluid and unique and he speaks with stark honesty. Especially in regards to China. 

weiwei's sunflower seeds was showing in the turbine hall of the Tate Modern when I started working there earlier this year. It is breathtaking. And the film that accompanies the installation is a beautiful story of how and why this piece came about. In fact, I almost liked it more than the tiny hand painted seeds themselves. 

I think the thing that makes weiwei so incredible is the way in which he sees the world. Art is an attitude, a way of thinking, or a way of life. His insights into the impact of the Chinese cultural revolution, his fathers experiences, his relationship with books and architecture and blogging are completely fascinating. 

"On the one hand I take art very seriously, but the production has never been so serious, and most of it is an ironic act. But anyhow, you need traces, you need people to be able to locate you, you have a responsibility to say what you have to say and to be wherever you should be. You're part of the misery and you can't make it more or less. You're still part of the whole fascinating condition here."

"And I have one regret: I feel sorry that I can't write well. That's the skill that I value the most. I think that, if I could write well, I'd give up my art for writing. For me, it is the most beautiful and effective way to illustrate my thinking"

Definitely worth a read. 



oh hello good looking social media debate. hello indeed. 


Article 27 have a great tumblr.
take a wee look right here.

the human library

Last month a couple of friends and myself made a human library.

We were inspired by some discussion groups we had been holding for those on our MA and on our Indigenous Studies course. It was the most incredible experience to hear about some of my friends stories. Stories of difficult childhoods, indigenous struggles, living through war, having children, fighting against corrupt or oppressive regimes. Stories that could have gone untold, and many stories that needed to be shared.
It was an incredible experience for which I am hugely thankful. 

So we recruited some books from our group (and a few more from elsewhere), trained them, helped them identify their book titles and contents page and then put them on a shelf for others to browse and select.

 It was a great success by all means. 
 Some books were read 9 times in the 4 hours our library was open, over 50 people attended and all of the books (more or less) were returned in a healthy condition, buzzing from the experience of sharing their stories.

Here is a little video we put together for the event:

Many thanks out to everyone who took part in the event and all of the student groups and individuals that supported us. 
Not bad for two weeks notice. not bad at all. Well done team library!

Remember, don't judge a book by its cover... especially if it isn't a book. 


dark side of the lens

 is beautiful.

Hear more about why and how and who made this little piece of magic here at the most excellent 
do lectures.



confiscated life

Extract by Don Delillo on Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo

What happens to the writer caught in the tide of round-the-clock surveillance, enforced isolation, detention without trial?

Think of a man alone in a room. This is the writer's classic condition, cruelly extended when the state locks the door to the room. Think of the writer in opposition, the man who writes against power, who writes against the coiled mechanism of the state and the entire apparatus of total assimilation.

It's the nature of language to pitch itself against the smothering oneness of the state. Words want to be free. Lui Xiaobo's crime is called "an incitement to subvert state power." This is an administrative term for the exercise of free speech - the very activity, Lui writes, that is the mother of truth.

Writers everywhere tend to feel a natural kinship, country to country, language to language. We write to be true to some urgency of self. We find identity in the lines of poetry we write, in the sentences and paragraphs of our novels and essays. We write to think ourselves into existence.

Sign the petition to free Lui Xiaobo here

bon iver

This was my other reason for being in Oslo. Bon Iver magic
As I said on the night... I want to live inside their music forever. 
And that is not an exaggeration.
I heart crescendos. 


This past weekend I went for a little trip down the entire breadth of this huge country to Oslo. It was my birthday, and my birthday plan entailed two things. The second being the Nobel Peace Center (the first to follow shortly).

The Peace centre is hands-down the best museum I have ever been to. The interactive Nobel peace prize winners room glowed brightly with numerous kindles detailing those awarded, their exploits and the reasons behind their importance. There was an interactive story book, an interactive children's room and the most fantastic interactive time line with quotes, videos, articles, pictures and a room full of enamoured american schoolchildren asking "But Liu Xiaobo is a criminal in China?".
It. was. great. 

The first part of the museum was an exhibition of photography works by Espen Rasmussen a Norwegian photographer focusing on the plight of refugees, including a close up portrait of a young refugee living in Norway; Rahman. The pictures were fantastic, the captions honestly interesting and the portrayal of refugees was, for a change, not entirely grim and negative. It gave a slightly positive humanistic dimension to the experience of being a refugee showing a glimpse of family life in amongst the harrowing and shocking majority of the photographs. 
Highly recommended. 

Oo, there is also a great looking website for the Transit exhibition here