Archive for August, 2014

The International Dada Archive… includes link to an half-hour documentary about the “irrational anti-art” movement born during WW1.

bloody typical, I would’ve loved this resource last year, it quotes George Grosz whose work I used in my essay and final dissertation.

The A B C’s of Dada – Open Culture – has a half-hour documentary about the “irrational anti-art” movement born during WW1 – and very nice links to the collection too…

The International Dada Archive is hosted by the University of Iowa: extensive digital collection of texts and images here:

391 Archive has a large number of podcasts and other Dada related items –

A German one at PG: Sekunde durch Hirn – Ein unglaublich schnell rotierender Roman (1920) by Melchior Vischer –

We are digitizing Marinetti’s writings (Italian futurist and inspiration for Dada) in French: two of them: Mafarka, le futuriste (1909), scans: Poèmes lyriques, scans:

(image – Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany by Hannah Höch (1919) – wikimedia)


On the 16th of August 1819 the huge open area around what’s now St Peters Square, Manchester, played host to an outrage against over 60,000 peaceful pro-democracy and anti-poverty protesters; an event which became known as The Peterloo Massacre.

The numbers of dead are disputed – the plaque, placed at the spot, says 16, but it is now estimated that 18 people, including a woman and a child, died from saber cuts and trampling.
Over 700 men, women and children received extremely serious injuries.
All in the name of liberty and freedom from poverty.

The poet Shelley, upon hearing of the event wrote ‘The Masque of Anarchy’, which was banned for 30 years and which ended:

‘And that slaughter to the Nation
Shall steam up like inspiration,
Eloquent, oracular;
A volcano heard afar.

And these words shall then become
Like Oppression’s thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain,
Heard again – again – again –

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you-
Ye are many – they are few.’

Full version here:

The artist taxi driver Mark McGowan’s reaction to Iain Duncan Smith claiming £100 expenses for 60 wet wipes.

“A” level University control through debt a video by –  The Artist Taxi Driver
My end of year exhibition included an artwork titled: 


Welcome to the world of unremitting debt, Control through debt and dashed expectations.

The university system has been commodified to the extent that A grades are almost irrelevant, it’s about bums on seats at least into the second year it’s impossible to fail. They want your fees. And good luck if you’re a lecturer on a zero hours contract…


this is a response to Owen Jones’ column in The Guardian 


13th August.

On this day 1831 Dic Penderyn was hanged on the gallows in St. Mary’s Street,outside Cardiff gaol at the age of 23. According to legend, his last words were “O Arglwydd, dyma gamwedd” ( “Oh Lord, here is iniquity”)

Dic Penderyn was a Welsh labourer and coal miner, who was born, Richard Lewis in Aberavon in 1808 and moved to Merthyr Tydfil with his family in 1819, where he and his father found work in the local mines. Richard was always known as Dic Penderyn after the village of Penderyn near Hirwaun where he lodged

On June 3, 1831, he was involved in the Merthyr Rising, which was one of many protests throughout industrial Wales at the time against the terrible working conditions in the mines and iron works, made worse by wage cuts and the lay offs as demand for iron and coal fell away. A mob ransacked the building where court records of debt were being stored and in a bid to restore order, a detachment from one of the Highland Regiments stationed at Brecon, fired into the unarmed crowd, killing 16 people. No soldiers were killed in the affray, but one, a Private Donald Black was stabbed in the leg with a bayonet. Along with his cousin Lewis Lewis, Dic Penderyn was arrested for the attack even though neither man could be identified as carrying it out, indeed it was said that Dic had had limited involvement in the rising and was there, more as a spectator than a participant. Nevertheless, both were convicted, sentenced to death and held in Cardiff gaol. Lewis Lewis had his sentence commuted to transportation, largely thanks to the testimony of a Special Constable, John Thomas, whom Lewis had shielded from the rioters.

The people of Merthyr Tydfil were convinced that Dic Penderyn was not guilty, and more than 11,000 signed a petition demanding his release. Even the conservative Cambrian newspaper objected. Joseph Tregelles Price, a Quaker ironmaster from Neath, who went to console the two condemned men, was immediately convinced of Penderyn’s innocence and persuaded the trial judge that the sentence was unsafe. However the Home Secretary Lord Melbourne, well known for his severity, refused to reduce the sentence and Dic Penderyn was duly hanged. Thousands grieved and lined the route as Dic’s coffin was taken from Cardiff to Aberavon where he was buried in St Mary’s churchyard, Port Talbot. Regarded as a martyr, his death further embittered relations between Welsh workers and the authorities and strengthened the Trade Union movement and Chartism in the run up to the Newport Rising. He became a working class hero, a folk hero, who through his death became a symbol for those who tried to fight and resist oppression.

In 1874, a man named Ianto Parker confessed on his death bed that he had been the one to stab Private Black. He had then fled to America to avoid justice. Another man, James Abbott, also confessed to having lied on the witness stand.

This video is by the most influential social historian of my childhood, the incomparable Gwyn Alf Williams

Philosopher Albert Camus in his The Myth of Sisyphus was more interested in discovering what Sisyphus was thinking as he returned down the mountain only to begin the eternal task, his punishment from the gods, of pushing the boulder to the top of the mountain again, or take his own life.
What was Sisyphus thinking on the way back down?”
The great philosophical question.
Where does one find meaning outside of Self?

Dream the impossible dream, and nature rewards you, throw yourself into the abyss…
and you see that it is just a featherbed.

RIP #RobinWilliams



Camus’ essay is dedicated to Pascal Pia and is organized in four chapters and one appendix.

Chapter 1: An Absurd Reasoning

Camus undertakes the task of answering what he considers to be the only question of philosophy that matters:
Does the realization of the meaninglessness and absurdity of life necessarily require suicide?

He begins by describing the absurd condition:
Much of our life is built on the hope for tomorrow,
yet tomorrow brings us closer to death and is the ultimate enemy;
people live as if they didn’t know about the certainty of death;
once stripped of its common romanticism, the world is a foreign, strange and inhuman place;
true knowledge is impossible and rationality and science cannot explain the world—their stories ultimately end in meaningless abstractions, in metaphors.
“From the moment absurdity is recognized, it becomes a passion, the most harrowing of all.”

It is not the world that is absurd, nor human thought: the absurd arises when the human need to understand meets the unreasonableness of the world, when “my appetite for the absolute and for unity” meets “the impossibility of reducing this world to a rational and reasonable principle.”

He then characterizes a number of philosophies that describe and attempt to deal with this feeling of the absurd, by HeideggerJaspersShestovKierkegaard, and Husserl. All of these, he claims, commit “philosophical suicide” by reaching conclusions that contradict the original absurd position, either by abandoning reason and turning to God, as in the case of Kierkegaard and Shestov, or by elevating reason and ultimately arriving at ubiquitous Platonic forms and an abstract god, as in the case of Husserl.

For Camus, who set out to take the absurd seriously and follow it to its final conclusions, these “leaps” cannot convince. Taking the absurd seriously means acknowledging the contradiction between the desire of human reason and the unreasonable world. Suicide, then, also must be rejected: without man, the absurd cannot exist. The contradiction must be lived; reason and its limits must be acknowledged, without false hope. However, the absurd can never be accepted: it requires constant confrontation, constant revolt.

While the question of human freedom in the metaphysical sense loses interest to the absurd man, he gains freedom in a very concrete sense: no longer bound by hope for a better future or eternity, without a need to pursue life’s purpose or to create meaning, “he enjoys a freedom with regard to common rules”.

To embrace the absurd implies embracing all that the unreasonable world has to offer. Without a meaning in life, there is no scale of values. “What counts is not the best living but the most living.”

Thus, Camus arrives at three consequences from the full acknowledging of the absurd: revolt, freedom and passion.

desperately sad news, RIP Robin Williams

desperately sad news, RIP Robin Williams