Saturday, September 30, 2006

More Bad News

It was not long after I had enlisted our latest defenders of Terra Incognita’s sacred boundaries, that we got word of the latest RoTten enormities! It threw my new minions into disarray. I had never expected troops of sand, expensive crack sand squads to be exact, to crumble so quickly and so completely at the first sign of difficulty.

cucaracha del sol was on hand to document their shocking collapse of morale. >>

They're completely useless for anything now! I'll have to replace the lot of them.

The news is, I must confess, bad.

The entire country of RoT is now under the thrall of that repulsive alien reptile, Rupert Murdoch, who twists the Khan, a once genial albeit celebrity-seeking despot, to do his foul bidding. The citizenry are cowed into submission through a media campaign of fear-mongery and disinformation. And to add insult to grievous bodily harm, they have suspended our habeas corpus! It’s inhuman! A mature habeas corpus should be treated carefully and stored in a cool dry place, not hung up for all the world to see!

But worst of all, RoT’s secret police, headed by the mendacious monster Murdoch, have seized thousands of perfectly innocent arachnids at random, plucking them off the streets or sizing them in dawn web raids, and they’ve massacred the lot of them. This appears to be a tactic they are deploying around the world! Wherever large arachnids congregate, they are being ssystematically butchered. In this report just in from Cambodia the true horror and systemic cruelty of this vicious regime is exposed:
“A quick twist of the fangs and the spider is rendered poison-less. A thumb squeeze of the thorax and it is left lifeless. As it is tossed on to a pile of around 100 other arachnid cadavers, the cooking is ready to begin.”
The Independent >>
Yes. That DID say ‘cooking’.

So now we know what we’re up against.

*We are indebted to passing samaritan, JDART, for information leading to the above proof of RoTten terror tactics. We will be lodging it at the next session of the UN and requesting that the strongest possible sanctions be brought to bear on these barbarians.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dust of the Day :: saw dust

Despite the inhuman pressure that I and the entire Museum of Dust endeavor are currently suffering, I always think that it's important to take time out to appreciate the really important things in life.

Like dust.

MOOk is someone who understands this very well -- and then does it! Dust always looks good, but MOOk's vision has transfigured it into the realms of pure aesthetic pleasure.You'd have to say; she really sees dust.

MOOks photostream >>

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Museum Building Program :: Walking Away

All this recent unpleasantness has made me think, what would we do if the worst happens? If Rupert Murdoch, for instance, should have his nefarious way [for I am now convinced that he is behind all that is evil in the world and most particularly has designs on Terra Incognita – and, can I tell you honey, he’s no graphic designer – they’re pretty ugly …

Where was I?

Oh yes! So if Murdoch does to us what he wants to do to the media globally, what are our defences? I mean, we have the >attack anemones, and Scam-Scam seems to be making progress with the lighter-than-air submarines, but the sponge-gun is still on the drawing board and I can hardly lob sponge-cats by hand at the invading forces.

We can’t simply rely on our superior forces and intelligence. There’s the faintest of slender chances that we might somehow not prevail. I have to think of ways to protect the things that are important to me.

As many of you know our current premises are merely temporary and I am STILL waiting for my chief architect to get me plans for our permanent home. But this could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, it’s giving me time to consider other possibilities, both defensive and offended.

As a pacifist by virtue of both nurture and talent, my first instinct, when faced with unwarranted aggression, is to remove myself. Obviously now, with responsibility for the museum and arguably the finest collection of dust in the world, I can’t just pick up sticks and skidoo. But I may have found a solution or two.

Actually I think it might be one solution, but in two parts.

The first part is British architect Ron Herron. In 1964 In an article in the architecture project, Archigram, he first outlined the walking city. This was a massive mobile robotic structure, with its own intelligence, that could freely roam the world, moving to wherever their resources or manufacturing abilities were needed.

Almost exactly like Howl’s Moving Castle, but without the story.
And, as you can see, with a pleasing arachnoid action.

This is the plan that really sold me on the concept. You can see how it would add to the landscape of Terra Incognita. *[hmmm note to self; if we vanquish the RoTtens, we could put a tax on them and then we could afford a flock of walking cities…]

I should have picked up on him at the time – but better late etc. Besides which, I’m not seeing many other national leaders investing in ambulating metropolises. Although given that no one had really solved ‘the giant ambulating AI robots’ part, that’s perhaps unsurprising.

No one, that is, until Dutchman and god, Theo Jansen, realised one very important truth. Things were going to change, the weather was going to hell in a handbasket and the environment was bound to follow. The future thought Jansen is going to be a big desert.

He has come up with the obvious solution; ambulating robots that live on wind and can stalk the dunes forever. So far this demiurge has created herds of gigantic spiky creatures whose skeletal forms are made from light and cheap plastic components.

But more recently, he has been investigating ambling robots that can hold several people. Animaris Rhinoceros Transport, a two-ton walking room is also powered by wind energy, which can be set into motion by just one person dragging it along.
He says a future version -- a 12-ton behemoth, big enough to have several rooms, is on the drawing board.

But I think he’s thinking way too small.

Well, it’s a very small step from a few people to a city, surely. I can’t wait to put the concept to him. I think he’s going to really love it.

I tell you, this could really be what I’ve been looking for. It wouldn’t have to be a full-sized city; just big enough for me, Inky’s collection of ancient mummified insects, the museum’s collections (and there’s only a few hundred of the larger ones), and a few other odds and ends. We could use a walking city to patrol our borders, stopping all unauthorised access to our shores – and, if things got too threatening, we could skedaddle -- I mean, retreat -- in dignity and comfort.

Strandbeest site >>
See videos of Jensen’s Strandbeests in action >>

Walking City first discovered in moonriver which has a wealth of links, thanks Mr X!

PS Since Inky disappeared, having a spider friend seems to have become fashionable! This is making it even more difficult to find my errant arachnid. Composer Roger Bourland, for instance, over at Red Black Window, has a beautiful black widow. He also has an ant colony that lives inside a block of transparent blue gel -- an insect storage concept that I think Inky will whole-heartedly embrace when he returns.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Today' s Dust :: Blowing in the wind...

Following the churlish and frankly, unmannerly, threats that the RoTten Khan has been hurling about, we have been carefully and constantly monitoring our boarders.

So far nada. Which is good.

But nothing as pretty as this bit of desert shot by cenz has come into our sights. Which isn't quite so good.

More of cenz's photostream --you won't be sorry >>

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Museum calls for cool heads during times of tension.

The Minister without Portfolio of the Museum of Dust today released a statement calling for the head of the Your Illustrious Khan to be snap-frozen and stored in the Museum. The Minister, Sub-lieutenant Leslie Fenton Scam-Scam, also said that, acting under sub-clause 314 of article 2857 of the Museum's charter, he has taken temporary control of the Ministry of Defence. His statements were made as he left a meeting with the ambassador from the Republic of Tinselman (RoT). Sub-lieutenant Scam-scam added that these were just preliminary meetings. "We are just listening to their grievances and trying to work out possible means of avoiding an escalation of hostilities. We deny outright any of their outrageous claims but in keeping with the Museum's pacifist philosophy we are prepared to negotiate." he said.

The ambassador from RoT arrived in the middle of the night, wearing a sack and gibbering frightfully. He and his noisome cortege were housed overnight in the Intersol betwixt the Hall of the Dead and Inky's private quarters. The meeting took place early this morning and lasted for two hours until, much to everyone's relief, the ambassador and his troupe stormed out. They were last seen outside the Museum trying to hitch a ride back to RoT.

Noticeably relaxed and unusually talkative Sub-lieutenant Scam-Scam spoke freely to the press. Pointing to the departing ambassador he said. "You won't believe what those guys said".

Regaining his composure he went on. "We are shocked by the statements from the Republic of Tinselman. All who know Inky agree that he may be eccentric and contrary but he has a good spirit, a heart of gold, kevlar body armour, and a collection of hidden weaponry. But for all that, he is harmless when approached with caution. The only similarity between Inky and Octobrain is the number of appendages. By the same measure the Illustrious Khan and a chicken are identical because they share the same number of legs, or perhaps he is a fish given the concurrence of eyes and brains. In light of the Khan's ridiculous threats it appears the fish may have a slight advantage in the brains department. In acknowledgement of the disturbing events in the Khan's past (being enslaved by an evil alien super-being must be traumatic) we will overlook the irrationality of his claims and the insolence of his language."

He added that it was somehow convenient for RoT to make aggrieved noises when the smoking finger of suspicion points directly at them in the case of Cog's recent unwellness. "We are a peace loving institution and abhor violence yet in troubled times such as these our policies in relation to our neighbours must be flexible. Accusations such as those stemming from RoT fan the flames of instability in the region. To be prepared for all contingencies we in Defence have developed the strategy of 'Preaction'. This allows us to react quickly, fairly and appropriately before things get out of hand."

The acting-Minister admitted that RoT was correct in its claims that, before his mysterious disappearance, the Minister of Defence (Inky) had ordered an in-depth strategic analysis of the borders of the Republic, its industrial base, and military preparedness. When questioned he did not try to avoid answering but responded with gusto. "And just as well he did! As a result we know their army is woefully unprepared, their industries are outmoded and inefficient, their people are sad, sallow and stunted, and their National Dust Collection is pitiful. Our advisors say we could have a brigade of the 1st Armoured Dog-riders on the Great Khan's doorstep within 48 hours of the commencement of hostilities. Our troops are ready. Many of them are battle-hardened veterans of the long, bloody wars against the Weed King in Intersol. Even our freshest troops saw action in the Sponge-cat incident." he said. He went on to say that this was in no way to be perceived as a threat but merely the reality of the situation.

By this stage the lightly armed but self-assured Sub-lieutenant was obviously enjoying himself and in no mood to brook recalcitrance. "In the Minister's absence I have drawn up plans for possible military action should the Republic of Tinselman become any more belligerent. The plan is called 'Appropriate response'. The central tenet, 'An appropriate response is a massively appropriate response', is based on the strategy of Mutually Appropriate Destruction." he said adding "Need we also remind the Khan that despite our set-backs with the development of the sponge-gun our weapons program has proceeded apace. Our recently developed lighter-than-air submarine provides us with the element of surprise and the ability to launch our air-to-ground torpedoes deep inside enemy territory. Despite our previous statements against the use of mimes we still have vast stockpiles of these hideous things awaiting destruction. Should any military representatives of the Republic of Tinselman enter our sovereign territory we will unleash our mimes upon them."

He wound up the impromptu interview with a final statement. "Unlike, our opponents we at the Museum of Dust do not instantly and blindly respond to perceived injustices with threats and bluster. We prefer conciliation over confrontation. In the spirit of neighbourliness we put out our hand to our brothers in the Republic of Tinselman. We can settle this peacefully. Our requirements are as follows:
The Illustrious Khan must merely provide an abject apology for his silly threats. (I was only bluffing about the head-cutting-off thing.)
The Republic of Tinselman will accept all the sponge-cats exiled from the Museum and be responsible for preventing their return.
Their army, such as it is, will disband at once and be reconfigured as an arts and crafts collective.
A series of statutes of Cog (made of only the finest dust) are to be erected in all their major cities.
Tinselman must cede all its territories bordering the Museum. These will become a buffer zone between the peace loving folk of the Museum of Dust and the benighted, belligerent savages of Tinselman. The population of these regions will be governed by an Anarcho-syndicalist sub-branch of the Museum's library. Peace-keeping will be handled by troops from Utopia, Erewhon, Lilliput and other concerned realms, nations and worlds."

Tomorrow in his role as acting-Minister of Defence Sub-lieutenant Leslie Fenton Scam-scam will discuss various matters with a delegate from Erewhon.

Press release from the Ministry of Defence of the Museum of Dust. Issued by the MoP.

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MoD Fights Back

Museum of Dust has been under attack. Yes, that’s right. Attack!

We have been infiltrated by clouds of noxious microbes that have insinuated themselves into every nook and infiltrated every nasal cavity.

I have my suspicions about where this microscopic eviltude has sprung from. I don’t think that it’s any coincidence that we have been laid low right at this juncture in history.

It is common knowledge that neighbouring Republic of Tinselman has territorial designs on Terra Incognita… a glance over the borders reveals a country so tiny that its cities are only a fraction of the size they would attain in a more commodious realm. RoT’s Khan has already tried blatant standover tactics – and has not hesitated to bluster on about invasive actions.

So I ask you; is it at all unlikely that he, in collusion with that virtual Beelzebot, Rupert Murdoch, and assisted by the unholy Brad/Angelina duopod, would attempt to undermine and weaken our martial spirit with biological warfare?

The evil trio was snapped by our in-house paperazzi as they plotted together

This is a Khan who wouldn’t understand the meaning of the concept ‘fairness’ even if his hair was painted white and he was renamed Grace Kelly. This is a Khan driven mad by his own power (and possibly, to be scrupulously objective, by his recent and purportedly terrifying experiences at the many hands of the Octo-brain). A Khan inflamed by his own fevered ambitions. This is someone who has wandered so far from the paths of rationality that he cannot tell a octopus from an arachnid.

Of course he would use whatever weapons lay close to hand, no matter how unethical, inhumane and expressly forbidden by the Geneva Convention.

But Terra Incognita’s revenge will be swift and really really frightening! I have sponge-cats – and I’m not afraid to use them. I have janitorial seizing the gauntlet and pushing on with Inky’s arms programs. And when push comes to shove, I’ve got a shoving robot and a pushing robot.

Pak Chooie Unf

Unfortunately, it does appear that everything might have to wait until I don’t have to breathe through my mouth anymore…

*and another thing about those miniature cities: I completely had first dibs on Futurama! I shall make its recapture one of my first priorities.

* Picture credits: Murdoch and Brangelina courtesy MoD
Mouth Breather: courtesy anonymous internet pics (although some say that it is actually a very good likeness of the RoTten Khan...)

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Spider Hunt :: RoT

I don’t get out much, so it wasn’t entirely surprising that I hadn’t realised just how close to Terra Incognita the Republic of Tinselman is. Commonsense dictated that I start my search close to home and so it was that, in transit between Prester John’s Land and Nan Madol, following a faint path through the dunes, bound for the harbour where I hoped to catch a boat to the basalt and coral islands of Nan Madol, I must have missed the turn-off. Before I knew it, I had stumbled into a realm governed by the self-titled ‘Your Illustrious Khan.’ I have to admit at first I was impressed and even, yes, slightly envious of the amenities that its citizenry enjoy. The have a flag. And a logo! They even have a national uniform of t-shirts AND they have tickets on themselves!

But I hadn’t been in the Republic of Tinselman very long before I became convinced that I was actually finally on the right track. YIK had serialised his recent history for the benefit of his citizenry and it was immediately clear to me that he had more than a passing familiarity with Intersol and perhaps even a connection with Musrum. For a start he had pictures of the subterranean level of the Great Museum of Sevastapol. True they were scarcely recognisable, stripped of the treasures they were meant to protect, but it was definitely them.

YIK’s account of kidnap and terror, despite the fact that he dwelled obsessively on his own fate and that of his off-siders (Brangelina and Wilmer the Super Gopher Boy*1), did contain hints that led me to believe that he might have had a brush with Inky.

Certainly the details of his capture, undignified conveyance and the subsequent ill-treatment he received had a left a deep and indelible scar on his psyche – so much so that he could scarcely bear to think, let alone write, about those events. So it was natural for me to think that Inky must have been behind it all.*2

YIK too, evidently.

Unfortunately, we were both wrong.

YIK’s first instinct, that it was some kind of octo-brain masterminding the whole sting, was, ironically, correct. Octo-brain is indeed a mutated Cephalopod. Cephalopods are amongst the five most intelligent species on earth. Small wunder then, that a mutation would breed a kind of uber-brain...

Human beings have long feared the Cephalopods – from the giant squid wrestling ships and taking their crews to their doom to baby octopus making us look lumpish by being able to look like anything they like, they plain creep us out. Cephalopods and humans have been natural enemies since the dawn of time.

Witness for example this documentary proof of squid piracy from Japan. *2

Anyway, it is immediately obvious to the astute natural scientist (and I am, after all, director, curator and acquirer of arguably the world’s best natural history collection, so I DO know what I’m talking about!), that the so-called Dr Uber-Brain aka Inky is a squid NOT an Arachnid. Even YIK should have picked it up from his nickname ‘Inky’ – in this case it is an obvious reference to his propensity to squirt ink when startled. Obviously unlike my Inky, whose name derives from the blackness of his heart.

And if that were not enough, Inky’s eyes are beautiful. The octo-brain’s are obviously the hard, nacreous and mysteriously hypnotic discs of a psychopathic cephalopod. Sure they’re beautiful too, and they may be the largest eyes of any animal on earth – but they’re certainly not Inky’s.

Compare for yourself. >>

I now have a strong suspicion that this whole ‘Hell in a Handbasket’ episode is simply a ruse aimed at deflecting suspicion from himself.

My suspicions were inflamed when he brought up the subject of the alien invasion of the US, which the octo-brain apparently also masterminded. How much does he know? How much are just lucky stabs in the dark?

We must also pose the question: what is the involvement of YIK and/or the octo-brain in the on-going terrorisation of the United States by by dust cells invading the country in 30million SUVs? >>

But whatever the outcome, gentler patrons of MoD, rest assured that I’ll be keeping a close eye on things…

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville >>
More about Nan Madol in wikipedia >>

octopus by Corx >>

*1 Admit it. You were impressed by the artful way that I managed the segue between pockets, gophers and RoT.

*2 Inky, for example, scarred an entire generation when he deployed mimes aas part of his internecine warfare with (or is it on behalf of?), the art world. >>

*3 Apparently the Cephalopods and the whales have ganged up on the humans together and the Japanese are amongst the very few who realise this appalling truth. That is why they sacrifice themselves and the cream of the scientific community, waging unstinting war on Cetaceans.

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Today's Dust :: Pocket Gopher Pocket Hole

You know, I always thought that pocket gophers got their name because they were so petite – like ‘pocket Venuses’ only rodents. Then I found out that they could weigh up to a fatty bom-bah 1kg, so that blew that theory.

Then I saw this photograph of a wild PG hole. That made me think they were so-named because they lived in pockets in the ground. That would make sense. Those hole-pockets are obviously dangerous to approach, hence this action-shot! This explanation seemed to fit the bill, but DID peeve me slightly because I then realised that I would have even more pockets to search for Inky.

Millions and millions more, given that each pocket gopher can dig 300 holes in a year.

But noooooooo! Imagine how humiliated I felt, Director of one of the world’s finest natural history collections as I am, to have not known that they get their name because they have pockets. And I don’t mean pouches to gestate their kittens in. No, I mean real honest-to-dog pockets. Sure they’re fur-lined and the pockets are on their cheeks and run across to their shoulders, so not entirely conventional. But their purpose is solely to store and carry things. Lots and lots of thing because PGs are hoarders. They also have very poor eyesight, long sharp teeth ‘n claws, and a propensity to bite if provoked. I think I’d get along with them very well! I’m almost looking forward to searching each of their pockets for Inky…

More information and videos in various formats of a PG in pocket-hole creating action from DesertUSA >>
Wikipedia on PGs >>

Other little-known facts about PGs..they shift about 4 ton of soil each a year and they are the state emblem of Minnesota.

Valley Pocket Gopher, Marina del Rey, 18th April
More by Dave Appleton

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More Pocket Solutions

This image provided by the Direction of Penal Centers of El Salvador shows an x-ray taken of one of four prisoners at a maximum security Salvadoran prison in Zacatecoluca, 35 miles southeast of the capital of El Salvador.

Who would have thought that my suggestion of compulsory universal pyjama wearing would cause SO much furore! It was meant to be helpful, people! I am only concerned with minimising the number of spider-related fatalities. But to hear people carry on, you’d think that I was suggesting over-turning civilization.* One of people’s biggest worries seems to be; what are they meant to do with their phones if they have no pockets?

I could think of a few solutions… taping them to your heads, being just one of them. But it is prisoners in Zacatecoluca who have really demonstrated that there’s no problem that a little bit of initiative, and Vaseline, can’t solve.

Last week officials at the prison found four mobile-phones, nine sim-cards and a recharger distributed between the *body cavities* of four inmates, all of whom are members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang.

The beauty of this storage and transport solution is that it’s so cheap and simple. And it’s what I most often feel like telling people to do with their phones.

Cell Phones Found Inside Four Prisoners >>

Thanks Mr S for drawing this innovative mobile solution to my attention >>

* It's not as if they aren't prepared to completely give up their civil rights at the mere mention of Terry Rism. Whoever he is...?

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Building Program :: Brodsky and Utkin

Image from Whitman-Zen

I swear I’m never going to speak damningly of anyone ever ever again. I have just discovered that an individual I have in the past dismissed as possibly the most boring man in the world and certainly the most boring person in NZ,* has displayed unsuspected vision and imagination. In 1992 (1992!!), he exhibited the works of Russian architects Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin. The very architects that I am currently considering employing as adjuncts to my family architect, Herr Steingruber! (And if he doesn’t get a wriggle on -– he is already three months late with his initial floorplans after all! – I’ll simply replace him with them). These two are no slouches; they have produced piles and piles of fanatically detailed but never constructed plans, elevations and perspectival views of various utilitarian and monumental architectural projects. Not to mention rooms full of sculptures and scale models.

But it is their aesthetic that really speaks to my display, storage and domestic requirements for the permanent Museum of Dust. They magpie bits from Egyptian tombs, Ledoux’s visionary architecture, Le Corbusier’s utopian/brutal cities, Bentham and Piranesi just to name the most obvious sources. And they think of everything! Consider, for example, the two projects below.

The Island of Stability

This image, in enchanting detail, presents possibilities worthy of consideration for MoD’s Back Garden… An open-sky museum of stone sculptures converging on the eponymous ‘island of stability.’

Villa Claustrophobia, 1985-90, from Projects 1981-1990

Villa Claustrophobia was created for "A Space with an Atrium," a competition organized by Japan Architect. The residents of B&U’s villa occupy a cylinder of tightly packed windowless apartments (also referred to as cells, or wards). A funnel-shaped 2-way mirrored-glass atrium provides the only view out. The mirrored windows provide a view to the sky only, isolate the residents from their neighbors by preventing a view into other living spaces, and support undetected surveillance of persons in the common space of the atrium.

Whilst I stumbled across B&U through Whitman-Zen's photostream, The Nonist of course got there first…and has more pictures >>
Pruned also covered it natch >>

First to find B&U or not, it got me thinking… why IS it that the Russians have such a strong tradition of Utopian, visionary and just plain un-buildable architecture? So I went out looking for answers… and found a world of evidence to support my contention... although few answers to my question that didn’t involve vodka. In industrial quantities.

Russian Utopia -- a Depository : Museum of Paper Architecture >>
“The Russian Utopia is represented by a compact depository of 480 architectural projects from the last 300 years of the Russian history that have never been carried out. They constitute but a fraction of the pool of ideas with a claim on the architectural reorganization of engsia - a collective Russian dream.

Each of these ideas was in its time directed into the future, near or distant - a time which, as of today, has already passed or is still to pass, and has survived as its authors dream.”
The projects are stored and displayed in a bank of blue filing cabinets, and includes a room of animated digital reconstructions of key works. It has been exhibited everywhere from the Venice Biennale 1996 to St Petersburg Russian State Museum in 2000.

*Okay it IS possible that I was exaggerating slightly due to the teeniest possible little feelings of competitive rivalry.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Dust of the Day :: Dust

I have become inured to the isolation of Terra Incognita. I know that it's so far from anywhere that no one is ever going to visit. But sometimes I long to share its splendors with others.

If you'd like an approximater experience of my world, but in a more convenient and accessible location, you could do far worse than dropping by Judy aka off my front porch's world. Which is north Nevada. And which, through Judy's eyes, is majestic, beautiful and multivarious.

off my front porch's photostream >>

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Spider Hunt :: To Pocket or Not to Pocket

If it wasn’t bad enough that there’s all these old pockets in every direction – now clothes designers are finding sneaky new ways to get more pockets into our lives. So if you thought cargo pants would be the last word in supernumerary cloth involutions, think again! Apparently our love affair with gadgets has spurred an explosion of pocket-oriented wear… whipped on by Apple’s encouragement of anyone who can come up with a novel place to store their iPod. (NO, not there, that’s already been thought of!)

So what happened to convergence, I want to know?! Don’t our phones do it all for us. Surely pockets should be superseded and gradually, like the arm of the State in communist theory, withering away?

Unusually, I seem to be wrong! Smart young designers are putting all their brain power and all their talent into designing perfect pockets.

Levi are gearing up to launch the RedWire DLX jean, which will boast a pocket with a built-in iPod docking station. A control panel will be sewn into the coin pocket, so that you can choose a song or crank up the volume without removing your iPod. Koyono, an Ohio-based manufacturer, offers a jacket that is partially lined with conductive fabrics and five pockets sized to fit everything from your nano to your notebook. SCOTTeVEST (SeV) designs clothing that's so geeky that it's worn by the Secret Service. SeV really takes the pocket fetish just about as far as it can be taken: their clothing is described as combining aspects of apparel, luggage and technology. So complex are their clothes that they even have a video explaining how to use and access their raison d’etre. They take their pockets so seriously that they employ engineers to design the placement and construction of them. Up to 52 in a single garment!

But don’t they understand? The more pockets there are in the world, the more places there are to look for Inky… do they WANT to make my life miserable?

The only answer is to outlaw pockets! Everyone from now on should wear pyjamas! That’ll stop them risking life and limbs by flaunting Inky-attracting orifices. And I’ve found the perfect source…

Australian artist Julie Sheils usually stencils pithy statements on furniture abandoned on the street as well as photographing the subtle traces of city life. As she explains it, mid-stencil on an abandoned mattress, Julie became transfixed by the beauty oif the mattress ticking. She started collecting mattresses and stripping them of their covers. These were then transformed into pyjamas, redolent with the stains, spills and smells which are the heritage of their former use… and ultimately into an exhibition 'Afterlife' at Melbourne fortyfivedownstairs (Flinders Lane, Melb. Tuesday August 29 – Saturday September 16). If in the area get down there asap… with pyjama possibilities as pocketless as these, they’ll be walking out the door.

Haute Pockets: The Business of Stashing Stuff in Style By Suzanne D'Amato >>

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Today's Dust :: Gobi lizard

Kate James is something of a dust expert -- particularly of exotic Gobi desert dust. Not only has she taken many evocative pictures of it, but she has even written a book about it.*

*Okay, so its main subject isn't ACTUALLY dust, but 'Women of the Gobi' has many fascinating insights into our central subject -- as well as a wealth of other stuff about ... well, go to her blog to find out more.

Kate James' photostream >>

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Bestiary :: control freaks and devil dust bunnies

Although you all know that I don’t have time to play games AND there’s no public transport here in Terra Incognita,* I couldn’t go past something that involves devil dust bunnies, Howard Hughes, urine and a bus-strap-controlled play system. Especially because its creator Robot School Dropout aka Haiyan Zhang has made a non-bus dependent version available that even I can play.

And suck at.

The premise of Evil Dust Bunnies is very simple: You are the head of Howard Hughes and you must collect jars of urine while avoiding the dust bunnies which will turn your head into a cloud of death if they touch you.

So far so easy – it all turns bad when you realise that you have to use a bus hang-strap to control it…

Evil Dust Bunnies was an early prototype towards ‘Control Freaks’, Zhang’s completed MA project.

Control Freaksare devices that attach to everyday objects, turning them into interactive game play objects. When the Control Freak attaches to a host object, its movement, vibration or sound can be translated into control functionality for a game. The situation, location and behaviour of the host, are all enablers for opportunistic play experience. The Control Freak device therefore enables any object in any situation to become the focus of play adventure.”

A Control Freak attached to a person makes them and their game avatar continuous as both bunny-hop to clear obstacles. Attach to an office-chair and it becomes a pong-paddle. A bunch of Control Freaks allows multiple users to join in social games.

Control Freaks >>
Evil Dust Bunnies >>

Photograph by haiyan on Flickr A couple of Zhang's friends mid-transformation in the process of becoming Control Freaks

* Now there’s no need because I never go anywhere, scarcely leaving the Chambre Ardente as I devote everything to coordinating the search for Inky.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Pocket Search :: Pockets should be bare

Image by blinkybee

This is what your pockets should look like after searching them. Completely empty. Turn them inside-out to be 100% sure that you are Inky-less.

An unnatural number of people have contacted Museum of Dust to get more information about the correct procedure for checking ones pockets. Let me say this one more time, people: SAFETY FIRST! Read the following carefully!

It is highly recommended that you don’t just shove your hand in and grope about.

Several correspondents have done the obvious thing – ie they’ve gone to an American airport and been searched by security personnel. Not only are these people paid to know how to search things, they are hyper-aware of the dangers… of everything.

'Security Risks': Michele Pred's mound of scissors, corkscrews, and other items confiscated after September 11, 2001, by security at San Francisco's airport. Photograph by SeenyaRita.

And if Inky IS in your pocket…well, it’ll be them that finds him. Couldn’t happen to a nicer type of person.

If on the other hand, you do not have an American airport accessible, then the next best alternative is to use a small child or any other expendable yet skilled pocket explorer. The image below illustrates the correct use of toddlers.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Finding Inky :: Old Media Pockets

More historical pocket content was found at Pockets Full of Memories, a multimedia exhibition exploring memory, archives and emergence, held at the Centre Pompidou back around century's turn.

It's an oldie but a goldie. Firstly, it impresses and inspires by the sheer number of people that they persuaded to empty their pockets -- more than three thousand objects were scanned into and described in a database at its Centre Pompidou showing*! Now, if we here at MoD could somehow perfect that trick, it would really speed up the search for Inky.

It was also notable for its prescience. An early example of social software, the objects were tagged and annotated by their donors. These were organized by an algorithm that positioned objects of similar value near each other in a two-dimensional map. The map of objects was projected in the gallery space and also accessible online, where individuals in the gallery and at home could review the objects and add comments and stories to any of them. Okay, they were also selling this as the ‘self-organising emergent properties’ bit… but we all understand that marketing hype is everywhere.

The project home site >>
The web interface *#!@Warning – sadly most of the internal links have been lost…>>

* It was later, if memory serves me correctly, exhibited at >Ars Electronica in Linz 2003 where a certain >tiny_havoc owner contributed her antique domino bracelet to the mix.

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