Another way of looking at global urban unstability.

Here is a picture of the city of Bergen one evening this week, made while I was up Løvstakken mountain. There, right in the middle, that white thing is a huge boat from some Russian billionaire who came to visit Norway incognito. No, it is not Noah's boat. It is a yacht designed by poor Philip Starck and it is also not called 'Arc' but just 'A'. Should I write more or is the picture of the world we live in clear enough?


After the frog's gone

Tullinløkka, Oslo, the dead space behind the National Museum, the place where the new museum will not be. Car park. Temporary art space. Hole in the city. The cigar box on legs that was once part of "Kiss The Frog" (the frog got kissed and departed long ago) now seems like a forlorn reminder of all that might have been but never was. Now they have tried to reinvent and revitalise the place with this summer's big stunt "affektert veggmaleri akslererende faenskap assume vivid focus", a post-psychedelic labyrinth that spills out, through a fanged vagina/mouth with inflatable tongue onto the sad and lonely car park that tries to look like a carnival ground. Entering the installation I think "this is a bit like acid rock". Only without the acid and without the rock. There has been a lot of post- or neo psychedelic art in the past few years, while the original stuff has also been re-examined through exhibitions like Tate Liverpool & MoMA's "Summer of Love" and the recent Allan Aldridge retrospective at The Design Museum in London. It's a tendency I've observed with some interest, especially in the work of younger artists who have picked up the references without being burdened by historical baggage or by a sort of calvinist guilt that shuns the decorative and decadent surfaces of psychedelia. But in this case it just felt like a pastiche of a pastiche, overblown, overdone and, simply... over. It's too late, baby. It's like the museum has found itself trapped inside a Bony M song - "crazy like a fool / for Daddy Kool". But D. Kool is nowhere to be found; Daddy Kool has left the building.I wandered alone through the labyrinthine installation thinking "where's the party?" and feeling a bit foolish carrying around the collage mask with red/green lenses that is supposed to let you see the exhibition in vivid 3d. (you don't) 

The brochure/exhibition guide is a lexicon of drivel including such gems as "the group remixes a floorsticker from Central Park in New York producing a "carpet" that covers part of the outdoor area". Meaning that they have painted some grafitti-like stuff on the asphalt. It's about time the word "remixed" was erased from the vocabulary of permissible terms; to say it has become overused would be a massive understatement.

The brochure concludes 
"avaf mixes up a cocktail with elements from Brazilian carnival to prog-rock album covers to Norwegian textile art, to children's colouring books to Tibetan devotional art. Enjoy!" Sorry. I'd like to, really, but it makes me feel nauseous, like too much bad, sweet ice cream.

A couple of kilometers away at the LNM gallery there is an exhibition called "Wall to Wall" with wall paintings by six contemporary Norwegian artists. Proceed there directly, avoiding Tullinløkka. You'll save time and feel better.


TV-Tower at the horizon

a shepard with her flock approaching the city



Testing, Testing / Post-Post  / Bench Bitch


"Synfull" subway and city sounds

Hello BUUs,

there is a thread on an email list for people with synaesthesia I follow that is currently discussing various synaesthetic responses to sounds of the city. I am posting a couple of comments by list members that might be of interest, but as it is a closed list, the responses will have to remain anonymous:

"Whenever I travel on the London Underground system, I always get the unmistakable and very strong taste of rhubarb. Squealing vehicle brakes bring on the taste of very tart and sharp tangerines. One of my Labrador's bark tastes like what I can only describe as cold custard."

"As a student in Boston years ago, I had to stay focused on where I was walking near the subway. All of the high pitched noises upon train arrival would block my vision so that I couldn't see where I was going. It's similar when I walk down a street; I just stay focused on what's ahead by a few feet just in case my sight is blocked by cars and trucks."

"Driving, for me, is always a gamble. You have colors and shapes whizzing by you. Round, all encompassing, colored sounds blaring from people's horn honks (I live in Houston; loads of traffic). Then there are other road noises combined with my own radio's shapely and colorful music I try to drown out all the outside noises with. When I first get in the car and start driving, everything is okay. But, once the shock runs through me the first time I almost run into someone's bumper or don't see someone cutting me off - the realization that all of these distractions are interfering with my own and others' safety -- anxiety takes over.

These distractions, without anxiety, happen in settings where there are large groups of people in close proximity, too. In these settings, it's not so much dangerous or potential meltdown material but it is uncomfortable and a bit mind-boggling. I've become separated from the friends I'm there with or forgotten altogether momentarily where I was originally headed. I'm sure this is more annoying to the folks I'm with more than myself. But, one thing is for sure: it's not social anxiety. It's the overload of too many sounds, shapes and colors."