20.03.21 / 01 / paula scher on play

"I'm allowing my subconscious to take over, so that I can free associate. You have to be in a state of play to design. If you're not in a state of play, you can't make anything."

21.01.21 / 01 / modernist vs postmodernist objects

The modernist object tells you about itself

in the background until needed
simple and self-explanatory
good enough for everybody

The postmodernist object tells everyone about you

conspicuous consumption
elaboration and concealment
quality reserved for a few

10.01.21 / 01 / now responsive

It only took me 7 years to do it. In 2014 I rebuilt it as a sketch for a responsive site, but didn't do the responsive bit. The Grace site followed on using the same format and was responsive. I never got back to fixing the labyrinth site although I was embarrassed by its failure to work on a phone.

Now there is another issue - the online labyrinth is made in Flash and is becoming inaccessible to most users. This is a pity as its low-res animations are still delightful. I will make screen recordings that can at least be watched and heard, although the interactivity won't be there.

The labyrinth website (and the online labyrinth) will be 20 years old in September. I was busy 20 years ago.

04.11.20 / 01 / is 20 years old this week

The actual launch date is not recorded, but it was between 1st and 5th November 2000. I bought the domain on 1st October 2000, it took a month to make the site.

This one will be 20 next December.

A desk is whatever

My blog now archived here

30.08.20 / 01 / closing my typepad blog

The whole of my smallritual blog is now in the archive here, and I will be closing the Typepad blog by the end of the year. I haven't used it for a long while, and it costs quite a lot to maintain.

The peak years of the blog were 2004-2010. It was patchy but still regular until 2013. Then the number of posts went into decline, and it collapsed in 2015. There were a couple of posts in 2016 and one in 2018, and then nothing.

Facebook must of course take much of the blame. I was on Facebook from about 2011, but I never liked it. Leaving aside the security and privacy issues, and the way they kept rearranging feeds for dubious reasons, and the unattractive uncustomisable interface... the ideal length of a Facebook post was wrong for me. Different media have different natural writing lengths. A tweet is a couple of sentences. A Facebook post is a paragraph. A blog entry is five paragraphs. Medium is a short essay. Where you belong depends on your natural thought length. Mine is a blog post.

So Facebook took the time I would have spent blogging, but I didn't do anything useful with it. I also doubted that my material would be available to re-read or link to after a year or two. I abandoned Facebook amid the hysteria of 2016, and finally closed the account in 2018.

In the meantime, I had many blog posts in my head, but never the time or motivation to post them. I was busy rebuilding the Grace website and its huge archive, and then this one, and lately, and designing and publishing a couple of books. Ironically, I had complained from the very first month of blogging that I was too busy/tired to blog and would rather play with visuals instead!

So now what? There is always content going up here. I can write on the home page like this and call it a blog, as I did for the first two years. I was never happy that I had to split my blog and this site, because this site is my primary home on the web. It made sense to have the blog as the home page, but I never found a way of reintegrating it when it was on Typepad.

But I still feel a pang at closing the old blog. It was an important part of my life for ten years.


Written in 2000. The original Flash animation has been turned into an animated gif. The idea of doing a ritual collectively over the phone was weird once.

a ritual is a small fragment of self-replicating information
a nucleus of meaning wrapped in a friendly shell
that enables it to penetrate society’s defences

performance of the ritual will infect everyone present
they in turn will pass it on to others
the ritual form guaranteeing the correct replication
of the meaning inside

as the host society changes the virus must mutate
to ensure its continued ability to circulate and reproduce

societies have immune systems too

phone your mates - do a ritual right now!
you don’t have to be in the same place to do something together

Futurepresent book - Korean version

The Futurepresent book republished in South Korea

All-new Smallfire site

At last - big images and more of them!

I started in 2000 when people used modems to get online, so the images had to be small and few per page. I rebuilt it a few times up to 2010 but then let it stagnate. A couple of years ago I was thinking about deleting it entirely, but one or two people protested. And I realised that I could do a much better job now. All the constraints on photo size and numbers have gone. So the new site works on a mobile phone, and also on a big monitor. All of the photos have been reprocessed from originals. It's taken about a year to do.

Some things have gone, because they didn't seem to fit or weren't strong or interesting enough. And there is quite a lot of new material - new photos of events that only had a couple of photos published, and entire new events that were never published before.

Strange to think that most of the events were between 10 and 20 years ago. Strange to think that these images are the only record of many of them.

Click on an image to go to its section on

this space is not for sale