Blog archive February 2007

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26.02.07 / 02 / the queen

in response to helen mirren's oscar win,

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said she was "sure that the Queen will be pleased" by Dame Helen's victory.

"after all, one feels it is in some sense a best actress oscar for oneself"

26.02.07 / 01 / war and peace

wandering through central london on saturday:

gorillaz illustrations on a builders' hoarding outside the royal festival hall currently being rebuilt.

then i found myself in a peace demo in trafalgar square - just like the 1980s! all the same people by the look of it too. they were protesting against three things [at least] - the possibility of american action against iran, the probable renewal of britain's trident nuclear missile deterrent, and the possibility of american 'star wars' defence systems being based in britain. it's sad that we've got back to this again.

there wasn't a riot, so i went to hamley's instead to experience one. i was buying toys for some 'church toys' concept visuals. lego used to be an anti-war toy - there were no green and brown bricks to discourage children from making military things. but now two-thirds of it is displaced war - displaced into star wars, manga, dinosaurs - but still war, toys designed for boys to act out aggressive fantasies.


did the lego company actually used to have an anti-violence philosophy, or was that something that nice parents recognised when they saw the bags of army men beside the colourful lego bricks? i think i had army men standing on the walls of my bright-yello lego castle...

andrew lorien

it was a deliberate principle by the inventors of lego.


17.02.07 / 01 / inner/outer space / war in eternity / allen ginsberg / flying saucers / arrest the home secretary

visited the recreation of indica at the riflemaker gallery. indica was the pivotal art space in mid-60s london.

a teenage marc bolan ran errands, paul mccartney helped knock in nails. polanski and antonioni, burroughs and ginsberg hung out. international times started in the basement. john met yoko there.

a 2-minute video of the upper room here. the rather dangerous piece of kinetic art is by conrad shawcross. the little things on the wall between the windows are rotating flip-books of still photos [like a rolodex] to make a movie loop.

photos here. the memorabilia are in the glass case on the floor of the room. and the title of this post comes from the headlines on the copy of international times pinned up in the stairwell. not a usual combination of concerns nowadays.

yoko ono had an apple in the exhibition, but i refrained from taking a bite.

17.02.07 / 01 / not going to moscow after all

but it wasn't decided until the end of friday afternoon. having told us for weeks why they couldn't arrange a certain meeting in time, somebody decided at friday lunchtime to attempt to arrange it for tuesday. whereupon i pointed out to them that they had until close of business london time [and it's already three hours later in moscow], or i would not be able to get plane tickets and accommodation to fly out on monday morning. and so it proved.

but it suits me better not to go next week. i'm curating the next grace, and the next gracelet, and trying to recover from being ill.


glad you are not going - apart from anything else it is too cold there right now for a person who is not so well - i want to know about the process you go through when you have something like grace to curate - where do you start in your thinking and planning - do you make a list ? a mind map ? a pile ? a collection ? have a series of conversations ? what do you do ?

julie kenny

well first you have to rustle up a bunch of people to brainstorm with, by sending out an email full of silly questions about the service topic to get them thinking, and then finding dates that people can meet on. the job of the curator is to take charge of the process and make sure things happen, rather than have all the ideas although that does help too.


hmmmmm, what kind of silly questions that get people thinking ???

julie kenny

is jesus too fat for the catwalk?
should we ban size zero saints?
do they encourage christians to develop eating disorders?
what is a healthy weight for a christian?
why are we worrying about people being too thin in a society in which people are too fat?
does the one create the other?
if the poor are fat and the rich are thin, what does that say about the food we eat?
is there a connection between the health of our bodies and the health of the planet?
can christians have cosmetic surgery?
why don't evangelists look sexy, if sex sells?
how come friar tuck isn't in the latest version of robin hood?
what happens when the you of you isn't the you you see in the mirror?


nice !!! now you have got me thinking

julie kenny

forgot to say thank you very much (because i am such a polite girl usually and like to remember my manners !)

julie kenny

also, excuse me, but who says evangelists don't look sexy !?!

julie kenny

love the grace flyer. did you do that ??? where did you get those lovely little bodies from ?? peace

julie kenny

the original photo with explanation is on flickr


16.02.07 / 01 / jigsaw puzzle

tired after working later than i'd like to tonight. half the team are off sick and there's loads to be done for the presentations in moscow next week. it's a vicious circle: people are ill because they overworked, so there are too few people and everyone is overworked.

but refining a design can take an unavoidably long time. there are two aspects. first, one sees that something is not working overall, and one sees the general solution. but there is always some corner that will not fit easily into the new shapes. so then the painstaking marquetry begins, turning things this way and that, the pipe that cannot be moved but is in the wrong place, the basins too near the door, 100mm here and there, the awkward corridor. it's like doing a jigsaw puzzle - one can see that there is a solution somewhere, but getting it will be a precise matter. it works or it doesn't work. and the client will immediately pick up anything that isn't convincing. so you work on.

it's not clear whether i myself will be going to moscow next week. the meeting i was to attend seems unlikely to be arranged in time. there have been a lot of emails back and forth today about this.

09.02.07 / 01 / knitted breasts

i don't normally stoop to these things but... knitted breasts for infant feeding classes

Knitted breasts

is this the new adult teddy bear? i want three. in different colours.

06.02.07 / 01 / l'eglise st-pierre a firminy est finis

le corbusier's last building is finished after 45 years - the church of st pierre at firminy. as ever with corb, it combines sensuality and severity - it's certainly a space any emerging church would be proud of [though one wonders at the heating bills].


this set from the new york times are also good - better shots looking up into the cone - and the last one shows how the church was left unfinished for many years.

note how the small, thin cross on top of the building perches on a block that appears to be about to slide off the roof - and the steps to that block, as though it were a pinnacle for christ to throw himself off. corb is one of the most convincing religious architects of the last century, in spite of not being a believer, because his churches embody the struggle of light, faith, reason against opposite forces which threaten to overwhelm them. somehow beauty always wins - the cross stays on the top of the building - but perilously, in a harsh environment. very likely one is not meant to be warm, in this church, but to shiver, to not find worship easy, even while the sun falls on the altar and the stars blaze.

01.02.07 / 02 / luminous

brian eno's '77 million paintings' installation is in the basement of selfridges until march. it's the visual equivalent of his koan music - a huge number of elements combined at random, changing slowly. although the change is constant and quite dramatic it's curiously hard to actually see it happening - one's eye moves over the whole installation, and by the time it returns to any one element the pattern has changed. if you stare fixedly at one piece you see it, but you also find that in general the elements combine in a way that makes sense all the time - there is no 'in-between states' time. photos here.

01.02.07 / 01 / a sign of the times

brio used to be a wooden railway toy for small children. now it's a cyber-network with viruses and characters called emo. <sigh>

Brio_01 Brio_02

but i have to say the brio website is cool. click on  the section marked 'networkers' if you want to see more [it's all flash so no direct link possible]. half of me loves it, half of me is saying "oh no!!!"

i just thought... we could buy a few sets and make a model of the emerging church. you can make your own minds up about who the figures represent.


well the guy in red looks rather trickster-ish - could that be kester? the jolly one in yellow looks to be telling everyone how fab it all is, so it must be jonny. i think the chap in green is one of those who didn't like the frost & hirsch book ;-)

adrian riley

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