NASA Workspaces

From the 'GRIN' (Great Images in NASA) image collection.

The Workspace

A new exhibition in the Photofusion gallery, Brixton features work by Richard Nicholsen. In the transition to digital photography, the professional darkroom is a dying and disappearing space. These beautifully captured mechanics of the darkroom initially drew me in, but then also the ordered sense of continued use and metallic, analogue sheen of production.

The current issue of Cabinet, themed 'Dust' features Perry Ogden's by now famous images of Francis Bacon's catatrophic looking studio in 7 Reece Mews. It is particularly iconic, as no-one can understand how he managed to do anything in here at all. I love images of workspaces, and recent years have seen a fascination with voyeuristic images of 'other people's desks'. Like this, this, and well, you know the kind.... Chaos, on one hand suggests that crazy lateral madness of original thinking, but on the other, it reveals frenzied dis-organisation and a lack of meta-aesthetic skills. I just made up that term, but think 'systems', think 'strategic thinking'. Naturally, when we work in the digital realm, out contact with the tools is mediated by the technology. So it's is not possible to compare lush, tactile work spaces to what we now take as quotidien like the ever evolving mac interface.
What is considered normal and utilitarian, becomes fetishised when obsolete. Nostalgia is a cosy hot water bottle. But to what extent is tactility as an index of work patterns and human processes part of this nostalgia to creative times past? Will we look back on mac/pc interfaces with the same cosy perspectives?


On blogging

There are blogs and there are blogs. How many blogs are there? Of course we can't really know because there is no way of counting accurately. When asking Google to respond, it linked me to this article in the blogherald from last year which gave an out-dated number of 112.8million not including the 72.82million at least in China. I can only surmise that the vast majority of these blogs have readership levels approximate to my own. (I'm speaking to myself here!) On the other hand, there is popularity: in the range of 500,000+ readers, e.g Zen Habits. That's more than the 327,937 daily sold circulation of the Guardian. I've done a quick search to find the established list of 'Most Read Blogs in the World 2009' but there is no list I can find so far. (Anyone know?). It's a fascinating idea of course, that something so personal and immediate can, by dint of simple 'word-of-links' and consistent quality entries build to what is equivalent to a national paper.

For the rest of us however, we can be happy to use our blogettes for purposes more humble and utilitarian. The students I work with in LCC have started their own and some of them have already built up a series of great entries which has set me thinking about my own. How can I make the most use of this space? What does it do for me? What do I say? For me, it's about finding a voice by building a series of tagged and articulated 'thoughts' (entries). It's a way of remembering out loud... of not just liking or bookmarking something, but committing it to one's own space. I'm guessing here, but maybe blogs are the contemporary version of songs, jokes, doodles, photo albums and letter-writing. We don't have that direct contact with family/friends/colleagues and community as before, but we are of course the same creatures. We can get to know ourselves and each other in different ways now, and maybe blogs are one of them?


Karen O'Leary – Handcut Maps

Completely and meticulously cut by hand, she has also done a Paris and London versions.
via infosthetics


Johnathan Harris – World Building Manifesto

Life/work can be lonely, a struggle, and very confusing at times. But then someone comes along and in their own way they speak a truth that inspires and resonates. You realise that many others battle with similar issues but some have verbalised it eloquently. Take a read of this presentation given last week. Thanks Mr. Harris.


Charles Bukowski – The Aliens

you may not believe it
but there are people
who go through life with
very little
friction or
they dress well, eat
well, sleep well.
they are contented with
their family
they have moments of
but all in all
they are undisturbed
and often feel
very good.
and when they die
it is an easy
death, usually in their
you may not believe
but such people do
but I am not one of
oh no, I am not one
of them,
I am not even near
to being
one of
but they are
and I am


Roxane Borujerdi

Website featuring work from current exhibition in covent garden, via lecool