Tuesday, November 29, 2011


In front of the craft shop,
a small nativity,
mother, baby, sheep
made of white
and blue balloons.



Pick out the one
that doesn’t belong.


Some thing

close to nothing
from which,

everything has come.

Rae Armantrout

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Horizon Problem

Horizon Problem, 2011
38 x 19 x 13 cm
Wood, plywood, Acrylic.

Paper Model of a Functional House

Paper model of a functional house with a roof terrace made by a 14 year old girl form a pattern in "familiejournalen". The house has en antrance hal. kitchen, bathroom, living room and several bedrooms. Denmark, 1936.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Metod" Talk

Kostis Velonis’ work draws from a variety of sources like political theory, history of art and architecture and is a lengthy study and reflection upon the concept of the archive as a key tool for art and knowledge. In recent works Velonis re-examines issues of the modernist architectural tradition in relation to the radical aesthetics and theory of the avant-garde. Velonis has a three month residency at Iaspis in Malmo (October-December 2011) and his exhibition The Promise of Happiness is shown at Signal 25 November 2011-19 Februari 2012. The talk will be held in English.

Metod is a series of lectures that focuses on working methods within the field of contemporary art- and culture.

Signal Center For Contemporary Art, Malmo
Thursday 1 December 2011, 7pm

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Promise of Happiness

There is something promising, something desirable about the Swedish model, especially in times of global economic crisis when the swedish economy seems to stand as unaffected and well rooted as a pine tree in the deep forests. This is of course not entirely true, but the cliché image is striking. The project of modernisation with technology, social engineering and the promise of a better life propelled the emergence of the swedish success story. However, a more nuanced analysis of the Swedish welfare state entails the complex understanding of its achievements and its drawbacks.

In The Promise of Happiness Kostis Velonis engages with the mutual relationship between social welfare and cultural modernity based on the belief that architecture and design will improve society, and that behind formal and aesthetic applications there is a plan for the production of happiness. With equal amount enthusiasm and critical investigation, he embraces the two contradictory interpretations of the welfare state – from one perspective it is understood as a democratic structure which is liberating on the individual level; from another the individual is understood as controlled and repressed by the state. Sometimes adapting the skillful language of the carpenter or the furniture designer and sometimes splurging into the amateur do it yourself-attitude Velonis' sculptural work both salute and satirize the principles of democratic design that combine politics with domesticity.

”Individual and mass... The personal or the general? Quality or quantity? - an insoluble question, because we cannot escape the fact of collectivity, just as little as we can disregard the individual's demand for autonomous life. The contemporary problem is: quantity and quality, mass and individual. It is necessary to solve this problem also in architecture and the crafts.” From the Swedish functionalist manifesto acceptera (1931).

25 November 2011 - 19 February 2012
Opening Friday 25 November at 7-9pm

Kostis Velonis holds a three month residency at Iaspis in Malmö with Signal as the host institution.

Source: www.signalsignal.org

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Earth People

Earth People, 2011
Slide Projection

Folkets Hus in Malmo

The People's House (Folkets Hus) in Malmo, 40's-50's
(See also my post "Folkets Hus -Local Labour Centers", 11 Oct.)

Source: famgus.se

You Might be Able to Climb but Definitely you Will Fall

You Might be Able to Climb but Definitely you Will Fall , 2011
100x 85 x 85 cm
Wood, plywood.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Words Words Words

Leo Ferre

Et qu'ont-ils à rentrer chaque année les Artistes ?
J'avais sur le futur des mains de cordonnier
Chaussant les astres de mes peaux ensemellées
La conscience dans le spider je mets les voiles
Et quarante millions de mètres de tailleur
Prenaient la taille à la putain de Galilée
La terre a bu le coup et penche du Tropique
Elle reste agrippée à mon temps cellulaire
Je déchargeais des tombereaux de souvenirs
Nous étions une histoire et n'avions rien à dire
Moi je prendrai la quatrième dimension
Pour trisser dans l'azur mes jambes migratrices
Le mur instantané que je dresse à la Chine
Mao c'était le nom de ce Viking flamand
Le tissu d'esquimau vieillit beaucoup plus vite
Des plaies sur des grabats du Chili à Lisbonne
S'exténuaient en équations de cicatrices
Le malade concret et l'interne distrait
Sont allés boire un pot au Café de la Morgue
Des vieillards le chéquier à la main à la banque
Faisaient des virements de testicules abstraits
L'embryon vaginé derviche dans le manque
Un pavot est venu l'asperger cette nuit
Mon berceau féodal et mes couilles gothiques
Des faux-nez des trognons des tissus ajoutés
Fondaient sous les sunlights de l'Opéra Comique
La Standard Oil prend du bidon et du gin fizz
La fièvre est descendue ce soir à Mexico
O ce parfum diapré dans la nuit des cigales
Dans une discothèque on a mis des barreaux
Les fenêtres s'en vont de la gorge et du squale
Ça sent la perfection dans ces rues amputées
Saint-Denis c'est un saint au derrière doublé
La fièvre est descendue ce soir dans un bordel
Et fallait voir comment ça soufflait dans la cale
Il y a partout des cons bordés d'oiseaux
Comme des lettres cheminant en parchemin
Nightingale O chansons crevées à minuit trente
J'ai le concile dans la main qui se lamente
Devant le mur à faire un peu des oraisons
La Folie m'a tenu la main à sa culotte
On eût dit de la mer s'en allant pour de bon
Viens petit dévêts-toi prends du large et jouis
Je sais des paravents comme un zoom d'espérance

Que font-ils ? Qui sont-ils ?
Ces gens qu'on tient en laisse
Dans les ports au shopping
Au bordel à la messe ?
Et ces mômes qu'on pourrait
S'carrer entre deux trains
Histoire de leur montrer
Qu'on a du face-à-main...
Ils ont voté Ils ont voté
Comme on prend un barbiturique
Et ils ont mis la République
Au fond d'un vase à reposer
Les experts ont analysé
Ce qu'il y avait au fond du vase
Il n'y avait rien qu'un peu de vase

Et qu'ont-ils à rentrer chaque année les Artistes ?
J'avais sur le futur des mains de cordonnier
Chaussant les astres de mes peaux ensemellées
La conscience dans le spider je mets les voiles...


" Words... words... words... " disait-il

Videla ?
En français : BUDELLE, tripes
En italien : BUDELLA, tripes

En argentin ?
Allez-y voir !


Where does such tenderness come from?

Where does such tenderness come from?
These curls that I stroke with my hand
Aren’t the first that I’ve stroked, and I
Knew lips that were darker than yours.

Stars rose in the sky and faded,
Where does such tenderness come from? –
And glowing eyes also rose and faded
Right next to my own two eyes.

And I used to listen to greater hymns
In complete darkness, at night,
Betrothed - Oh, tenderness! -
On the chest of the singer himself.

Where does such tenderness come from,
And what do I do with it, you, sly,
Adolescent, vagabond singer,
Whose eyelashes couldn’t be longer?

Откуда такая нежность?
Не первые — эти кудри
Разглаживаю, и губы
Знавала темней твоих.

Всходили и гасли звезды,
Откуда такая нежность?—
Всходили и гасли очи
У самых моих очей.

Еще не такие гимны
Я слушала ночью темной,
Венчаемая — о нежность!—
На самой груди певца.

Откуда такая нежность,
И что с нею делать, отрок
Лукавый, певец захожий,
С ресницами — нет длинней?

Marina Tsvetaeva, 1916
Translated by Andrey Kneller

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Home under Construction (The Project of Happiness)

Home under Construction (The Project of Happiness), 2011
Slide projection, Lindh family collection.


Christian Berg belongs to a group of Swedish modern sculptors who remain influenced by functionalistic and constructive ideals but not with the usual radical frame of the Soviet and German colleagues of his time. His coolly controlled sensualism is rather conventional in the eyes of the polemical avant-garde. After a period of personal crisis, during the years preceding the war, Christian Berg he made a journey to Greece and this had a fertilizing effect upon him. He began to sculpt again, this time as a portraitist, discovering the possibilities of the classic expression beyond the fashions of the post cubist stylisations. In any case he is recognized as a pioneer of the north european sculpture and at the following pictures I choose one model and a drawing which I really like it. Both the two works have been realised for specific purposes.

'Accent", Proposal for a monument for the unknown political prisoner, bronze,1952.

Cover for the publication of Sigfrid Siwertz, "The Big Project", Stockholm, 1930.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Albert Jensen, Sabottage : Rδttegεngen i Karlskrona
Sveriges ungsocialistiska parti, Rδttsfall, 1909.

One Side gets even Lonelier

Untitled (After "the Melancholy of the distance") 2011
Wood, acrylic, mirror, wool.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Old Marx

I try to envision his last winter,
London, cold and damp, the snow’s curt kisses
on empty streets, the Thames’ black water.
Chilled prostitutes lit bonfires in the park.
Vast locomotives sobbed somewhere in the night.
The workers spoke so quickly in the pub
that he couldn’t catch a single word.
Perhaps Europe was richer and at peace,
but the Belgians still tormented the Congo.
And Russia? Its tyranny? Siberia?

He spent evenings staring at the shutters.
He couldn’t concentrate, rewrote old work,
reread young Marx for days on end,
and secretly admired that ambitious author.
He still had faith in his fantastic vision,
but in moments of doubt
he worried that he’d given the world only
a new version of despair;
then he’d close his eyes and see nothing
but the scarlet darkness of his lids.

Adam Zagajewski January 21, 2008
Translated, from the Polish, by Clare Cavanagh.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Charles Schulz’s self portrait

Charles Schulz’s self portrait :: scanned from The Peanuts Collection :: Little, Brown and Company :: 2010

Source: http://heyoscarwilde.tumblr.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Setting the Scene

A rather similar way of protection (see Occupy Copenhagen protesters, "Trees don't Grow on money" post) of the "rebellion" equipment around Zuccotti Park, renamed Liberty Square by the occupation, at the end of October.The tents are still up, and the songs are still singing.Occupy Wall Street, NYC,2011.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rettet die Würde der Demokratie

Man muss die aufsehenerregenden Interventionen des Herausgebers nicht immer goutieren, um dringend zu wünschen, dass die Wirkung seines jüngsten Artikels zugunsten einer „verramschten“ Demokratie nicht mit dem schnellen Szenenwechsel verpufft. Seine Interpretation der kopflosen Reaktionen unserer politischen Eliten auf die Absicht Papandreous, das griechische Volk über die trostlose Alternative zwischen Pest und Cholera selbst entscheiden zu lassen, trifft ins Schwarze. Was hätte die dramatische Lage einer von „den Märkten“ kujonierten politischen Klasse besser entlarven können als die pompöse Aufregung des Chefpersonals von EU und Internationalem Währungsfond über den unbotmäßigen Kollegen aus Athen?

Die Hauptdarsteller auf der Bühne der EU- und Euro-Krise, die seit 2008 an den Drähten der Finanzindustrie zappeln, plustern sich empört gegen einen Mitspieler auf, der es wagt, den Schleier über dem Marionettencharakter ihrer Muskelspiele zu lüften. Inzwischen ist der Gemaßregelte eingeknickt. Über dieser Wendung sollten wir nicht vergessen, was aus dem Schauspiel zu lernen ist. Ist es wirklich der glückliche Sieg des Sachverstandes über den befürchteten Unverstand des Volkes oder eines Spielers, der sich zum Anwalt des Volkes aufwirft?

Papandreou hat das Vorhaben eines Referendums aufgegeben, als sich sein Finanzminister vor dem Morgengrauen in einen Brutus verwandelte. Am Nachmittag desselben Tages konnte Reuters vermelden, dass der Euro „angesichts des bevorstehenden Kollapses der Regierung“ deutlich zugelegt hatte und die Aktien-Indices an den europäischen Börsen gestiegen waren. Erst die Peripetie, Papandreous Kehrtwende, enthüllt den zynischen Sinn dieses griechischen Dramas – weniger Demokratie ist besser für die Märkte. Mit Recht diagnostiziert Frank Schirrmacher in dieser Affäre die Abkehr von den europäischen Idealen.

Ob Papandreou die Vertrauensabstimmung übersteht oder nicht – zurück bleibt eine Gestalt im Zwielicht. Inzwischen wird seine Äußerung kolportiert, das Referendum sei „nie Selbstzweck“ gewesen. Zurück bleibt ein Vexierbild, das sowohl den tragischem Helden wie den Machtopportunisten zeigt. Es sollte nicht verwundern, wenn die Person selbst beides in einem wäre – sie verkörperte dann den Typus des Politikers, der am Spagat zwischen den Welten der Finanzexperten und der Bürger scheitert. Heute sind die politischen Eliten einer Zerreißprobe ausgesetzt. Beide driften auseinander – die Systemimperative des verwilderten Finanzkapitalismus, den die Politiker selbst erst von der Leine der Realökonomie entbunden haben, und die Klagen über das uneingelöste Versprechen sozialer Gerechtigkeit, die ihnen aus den zerberstenden Lebenswelten ihrer demokratischen Wählerschaft entgegenschallen.
Beruhigungspillen liegen griffbereit

Gewiss, in liberal verfassten Steuerstaaten hat immer ein Spannungsverhältnis zwischen Demokratie und Kapitalismus bestanden. Demokratisch gewählte Regierungen können sich Legitimation nur dadurch erwerben und erhalten, dass sie clever die Wege aufspüren, auf denen die Imperative beider Seiten irgendwie zum Ausgleich gebracht werden können – die Gewinnerwartungen der Investoren und die Erwartungen der Wähler, die wollen, dass es im Hinblick auf Lebensstandard, Einkommensverteilung und sozialer Sicherheit halbwegs gerecht zugeht. Aber Krisenzeiten zeichnen sich dadurch aus, dass solche Wege blockiert sind. Dann müssen die Politiker Farbe bekennen.

Natürlich liegen ideologische Beruhigungspillen, die die Vorstellung hervorrufen, das kurzfristige Wohl der Banken und der Shareholders sei eins mit den langfristigen Interessen der Bürger und der Stakeholders, immer griffbereit. Aber heute dürfte sich kein verantwortlicher Politiker mehr etwas vormachen. Die Politiker, die die Bankenkrise den überschuldeten Staaten in die Schuhe schieben und dem ganzen Europa ohne Rücksicht auf Verluste Sparprogramme aufnötigen, sehen nur auf einem Auge. Sie erkennen, dass der Mechanismus der öffentlichen Kreditaufnahme an seine Grenzen gestoßen ist, aber sie fragen nicht nach den Gründen für den Legitimationsbedarf, den der Gesetzgeber auf diese Weise befriedigt hat.

Der legitime Anspruch, dass es in den europäischen Wohlstandsgesellschaften neben dem privaten Reichtum keine öffentliche Armut und keine marginalisierte Armutsbevölkerung geben darf, wird ja nicht schon dadurch entwertet, dass der Überhang des liquiden Kapitals nach Anlagemöglichkeiten sucht und irgendwann auf Kosten der Bürger „abgeschöpft“ werden muss. Man möchte den Politikern, die sich in die heile ordoliberale Welt einer richtig eingestellten, aber unpolitisch sich selbst regulierenden Wirtschaftsgesellschaft zurückträumen, die Lektüre eines Aufsatzes von Wolfgang Streeck in der letzten Nummer der „New Left Review“ empfehlen. Dort untersucht der Direktor des sozialwissenschaftlichen Max-Planck-Instituts in Köln, warum der Schuldenmechanismus, der heute unerträgliche Kosten verursacht, seit den achtziger Jahren den damals in ähnlicher Weise untragbar gewordenen Inflationsmechanismus abgelöst hat.
Der drastische Schamfleck

Papandreou hat das Verdienst, den zentralen Konflikt, der sich heute in die ungreifbaren Arkanverhandlungen zwischen Euro-Staaten und Banklobbyisten verschoben hat, für eine Schrecksekunde ins Licht jener Arena zurückgeholt zu haben, wo aus Betroffenen Beteiligte werden können. Gerade wenn nur die Wahl zwischen Pest und Cholera besteht, darf die Entscheidung nicht über die Köpfe einer demokratischen Bevölkerung hinweg getroffen werden. Das ist nicht nur eine Frage der Demokratie, hier steht die Würde auf dem Spiel. Ein Kommentator der „Financial Times“, die sonst mit den Idolen der Hochfinanz nicht zimperlich umgeht, vertrat nach Bekanntwerden des Referendumsvorhabens die pikante Meinung, eine Entscheidung politischer Natur sei eher Sache des Parlaments, während ein Referendum nur im Falle einer Verfassungsänderung angebracht sei. Hätte nicht die griechische Bevölkerung wenigstens nachträglich über den verfassungsändernden Souveränitätsverlust abstimmen sollen, der, wie auch in Irland und Portugal, mit den Auflagen der Troika aus EU, Weltwährungsfonds und Europäischer Zentralbank längst eingetreten war?

Lehrreich ist Papandreou aber nicht nur in der Rolle des tragischen Helden. Als der Machttaktiker, der den politisch-kriminellen Machenschaften einer gewissenlosen Opposition das Wasser abgraben wollte, hat er, kaum eine Woche nach der vermeintlich großen Lösung, die Unberechenbarkeit einer zerrissenen Europäischen Union bloßgestellt. Man muss nicht sogleich von Unregierbarkeit reden; aber drastischer hätte der Schamfleck einer Währungsgemeinschaft ohne Politische Union, die fehlende supranationale Handlungsfähigkeit nicht ausgeleuchtet werden können.

Die bailouts, die sich überschlagen, haben bestenfalls aufschiebende Wirkung. Eine überzeugende Lösung der Finanzkrise ist mit Mitteln der Fiskalpolitik allein gar nicht zu haben; überzeugen könnte die europäische Politik nur mit dem glaubhaften institutionellen Entwurf zu einer abgestuften Integration. Langfristig scheint die gegenwärtige Krise ohnehin keinen anderen Ausweg zu lassen als die überfällige Regulierung der Banken und der Finanzmärkte. Den reuevollen Absichtserklärungen der G-20 auf ihrem ersten Treffen im Jahre 2008 in London sind keine Taten gefolgt.
Für eine europäische Verfassungsgebung

Es fehlt am politischen Willen zur globalen Einigung, weil die Institutionen fehlen, die eine supranationale Willensbildung und die globale Durchsetzung von Beschlüssen erst ermöglichen würden. Auch aus diesem Grunde müssten die Staaten der Europäischen Währungsgemeinschaft die Krise als Chance begreifen und mit der Absicht, ihre politische Handlungsfähigkeit auf supranationaler Ebene zu verstärken, Ernst machen. Das griechische Desaster ist jedoch eine deutliche Warnung vor dem postdemokratischen Weg, den Merkel und Sarkozy eingeschlagen haben. Eine Konzentration der Macht bei einem intergouvernementalen Ausschuss der Regierungschefs, die ihre Vereinbarungen den nationalen Parlamenten aufs Auge drücken, ist der falsche Weg. Ein demokratisches Europa, das keineswegs die Gestalt eines europäischen Bundesstaates annehmen muss, muss anders aussehen.

Dieses Projekt verlangt nicht nur institutionelle Phantasie. Die überfällige Kontroverse über Notwendigkeit und Nutzen eines solchen Projekts muss in der breiten Öffentlichkeit ausgetragen werden. Das verlangt allerdings von den politischen Eliten nicht nur den üblichen Spagat zwischen Bürgerinteressen und dem Rat der Experten. Die erneute Anbahnung eines verfassungsgebenden Prozesses würde vielmehr ein Engagement verlangen, das von den Routinen des Machtopportunismus abweicht und Risiken eingeht. Dieses Mal müssten die Politiker in der ersten Person sprechen, um die Bürger zu überzeugen.

Der Politik und Parteipolitik wäre eine solche Initiative gar nicht mehr zuzumuten, wenn sie sich tatsächlich zu einem selbstbezüglichen System geschlossen und gegenüber der Umwelt einer nur noch administrativ als Stimmenreservoir wahrgenommenen politischen Öffentlichkeit abgekapselt hätten. Dann könnten sich die Parameter für das, was in der Öffentlichkeit als selbstverständlich gilt, nur noch im Zuge einer sozialen Bewegung verschieben. Wer die überregionale Presse in Amerika verfolgt hat, wird über die Reaktionen erstaunt sein, die „Occupy Wall Street“ ausgelöst hat.

Von Jürgen Habermas

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 04,11.2011
Source: http://www.faz.net

Trees Don't Grow on Money

The Occupy Wall street movement has not been a popular option for demonstrations in Denmark as it's been in United States and other European Nations. In the central square of the Copenhagen, a small group of people have however realized the conditions for a kind of public presentation using creative and crafty ways about the protection of their equipment. Here are some shots from a recent travel to the capital city of Danes. November 2011.

The Grand Domestic Revolution – User's Manual

Revolution' is no longer just a notion from a bygone era that is periodically resuscitated as a fashion buzzword or in celebration of some technological innovation. The current crisis makes it abundantly clear that the triumph of neoliberalism has not guaranteed a better life for the majority of citizens and non-citizens. Living means struggling with perpetually rising housing rents and mortgage pressure, with the consequences of having work or no work, and anxieties arising from exploitation and self-exploitation. Living is flailing under the constant demand for individualised performance. Living means being locked up in our homes and workplaces, connected mainly through the Internet. Our lives have been distanced from families, friends, colleagues, neighbours and strangers. We want to change this—and that change has to be more than cosmetic.

'The Grand Domestic Revolution—User's Manual' (GDR) is our proposal for taking action and amending our precarious living conditions right here and now, starting from our homes, neighbourhoods and work places, to our towns, cities and beyond. After two years of 'living research' residencies, home productions, town meetings and affinity actions, GDR culminates in an exhibition that aims to share proposals for a grand domestic revolution today. We ask you to join us in our investigation of the conditions and status of the contemporary domestic sphere and in exploring ways of transforming it—building new forms of living and working in common.

Long Live The Grand Domestic Revolution!

The exhibition includes works by:

Agency, Ask! (Actie Schone Kunsten) with Andreas Siekmann, Sepake Angiama & Sam Causer, Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, Doris Denekamp & Arend Groosman, Domestic Workers Netherlands (part of FNV Bondgenoten) with Matthijs de Bruijne, Paul Elliman with Na Kim, Hans van Lunteren and Rob van de Steen, Casco-HKU Creative Lab 'Extended Family', Andrea Francke, 'Our Autonomous Life' with Nazima Kadir, Maria Pask and evolving cooperative cast, Shiu Jin, Mary Kelly with Margaret Harrison and Kay Hunt, kleines postfordistisches Drama, Germaine Koh, Graziela Kunsch, Wietske Maas, Gordon Matta-Clark, Travis Meinolf, Emilio Moreno, Read-in, Martha Rosler, Helke Sander, Kateřina Šedá, Patricia Sousa, Xu Tan, Valerie Tevere & Angel Nevarez, Mirjam Thomann, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Jort van der Laan, Agnès Varda, Werker Magazine, Vincent Wittenberg, and Haegue Yang.

Spatial design is by Ruth Buchanan and Andreas Müller. Exhibition map and signage is developed by Åbäke.


Through the two-year research process, four main themes emerged that have become key lines of thought for engaging the large scope of GDR research and actions.

- Domestic space: housing the commons and living together
- Domestic work: invisible labour and working at home
- Domestic property: struggles between ownership and usership
- Domestic relations: extended families, neighbours versus networks


The works themselves perform their positions in dialogue with the exhibition themes across Casco and other venues shared by our neighbours.

1. Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory, Nieuwekade 213–215, Utrecht www.cascoprojects.org
Casco is transformed into a living and working space, functioning as 'home base' of the exhibition and further actions. It is also where GDR's cooperative sitcom 'Our Autonomous Life?' is produced and screened, and includes space for children and the GDR library.

2. Volksbuurt Museum, Waterstraat 27–29, Utrecht www.volksbuurtmuseum.nl
The Volksbuurt Museum finds its seed in Committee Wijk C, founded in 1974 to preserve and recover the neighbourhood, where Casco is also situated, in response to rapid urban renewal and demolition projects. GDR works are cohabiting with the various documents and objects in this local folks' museum. Annexed as a temporary structure to Volksbuurt Museum is 18b Pavilion consisting of the structural devices installed in the former GDR apartment.

3. De Rooie Rat, Oudegracht 65, Utrecht www.rooierat.nl
De Rooie Rat is the oldest leftist political bookstore in the Netherlands, established in 1974 just up the canal from Casco. Works that call for action mingle with the inspiring books at De Rooie Rat!

Watch out for the activities throughout the exhibition, including pilot premiere of the cooperative sitcom 'Our Autonomous Life?', 'Teach-in' by Read-in, 'Kitchen 139' organised by W139, Amsterdam with Casco in conjunction with GDR, 'Assembly (The Grand Domestic Revolution)' by Agency, 'Keywords Cooking School' book launch by Xu Tan, collective futurist fiction writing conference and home schools on GDR Future' (finnissage?). More information is available on our website or GDR wiki.

6 November 2011–26 February 2012
Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory
Utrecht,The Netherlands
Source :www.cascoprojects.org

Friday, November 4, 2011


I hate the phrase “inner life.” My attic hurts,
and I’d like to quit the committee
for naming tornadoes. Do you remember
how easy and sad it was to be young
and defined by our bicycles? My first
was yellow, and though it was no Black
Phantom or Sting-Ray but merely a Varsity
I loved the afternoon it was suddenly gone,
chasing its apian flash through the neighborhoods
with my father in vain. Like being a nuclear
family in a television show totally unaffected
by a distant war. Then we returned
to the green living room to watch the No Names
hold our Over the Hill Gang under
the monotinted chromatic defeated Super
Bowl waters. 1973, year of the Black Fly
caught in my Jell-O. Year of the Suffrage Building
on K Street NW where a few minor law firms
mingle proudly with the Union of Butchers
and Meat Cutters. A black hand
already visits my father in sleep, moving
up his spine to touch his amygdala. I will
never know a single thing anyone feels,
just how they say it, which is why I am standing
here exactly, covered in shame and lightning,
doing what I’m supposed to do.

Matthew Zapruder
“Schwinn” from Come on All You Ghosts, 2010.

Sports Cottage built with masonite

Sports Cottage biult with masonite, 1946, Sweden.

Outdoor Furniture

In the heart of the expanding "docklands" of Malmo's harbour i had to deal with a remarkable number of public design. Winter 2011.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Swedish exhibition of Modern Homes

..at Malmo 7-28 September, 1939 and illustrated by Anders Beckman, a very active artist of his time. I found this poster from the Annual "Svensk Reklam" publication, P.A Norstedt &Soner, Stockholm, 1939.

Le Corbu et la Suedoise (Marguerite Tjader Harris)

Le Corbu et la Suedoise (Marguerite Tjader Harris), 2011.
Wood, plywood, clay, felt, acrylic
133 x 92 x 86 cm

One World Government? Not So Fast!

Since the Enlightenment, human civilization has increasingly lived with the presumption that, via reason and knowledge, we would have the power to manage.

It is the so-called "General Motors" view of scientific management that took hold from the 1950s onwards. We argue that it is a profoundly inadequate model for how businesses, societies and civilizations evolve.
If one looks at the United Nations and other post-World War II, Bretton-Woods institutions such as World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), there seems to have been, since their inception, the same mid-20th Century faith that such management might even lead to some form of a centralized world governance structure that would "know" and "allocate" and "manage."This view of global governance and this arrangement of international organizations is misguided, even dangerous. It can't adequately cope with many issues, including global climate change, food insecurity, loss of biodiversity and other similar global policy problems.

The slender loris: looking for solutions to deforestation and other biodiversity challenges.

Policy makers — both global and local — need to question one of the central assumptions found in top-down scientific management models. This assumption states that a global or "regional" social welfare function could be used as a proxy to design institutions and their organizational functions. We argue that no one can pre-state what new "salients" of economic or cultural activities will arise, from what little or large triggers. Critically, not only do we not know what will happen, we do not even know what can happen.Optimization and control relying solely on the variables known right now is often a dangerous illusion. We cannot optimize over a state space of a pre-defined social welfare function. We do not know the new relevant variables that will arise.

Instead, an evolving and adaptive complex-systems approach to global governance, with one's focus on wise enablement, not control, might provide an alternative way to design the functions and capacities of international organizations.Under this view, we are called upon to be open to the partially unknowable adjacent possible, not to control, but to enable and adapt, and partially shape what will emerge. This is the profound opposite of the General Motors model, from dictatorship and from a controlling global governance managed by the elites who "know."Under this complex-systems perspective, we begin to see democracy in a new light, a framework of freedoms and procedures that allows and enables adaptability, shaping the possibilities of where we will go.If we assess the three global crises currently known as global climate change, global food insecurity and global biodiversity loss, we find that centralized decision makers at international organizations such as the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organization (WTO) have valued maximization of economic growth as a primary decision element.

That emphasis has led to unintended environmental and social effects, including global climate change, global biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and increasing food insecurity.Emphasis on maximizing economic efficiency for global production of goods and services has led to strongly centralized "free trade policies" that are enforced by international organizations such as WTO. The environmental impacts of such free trade policies have not been internalized through imposition of Pigovian taxes in the conduct of international trade.

The powerful industrial north and allied transnational corporations have been able to negotiate terms of trade that maximize their profits and retain current socio-political power patterns, while greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the global industrial complex, mining, deforestation, wasteful consumption and energy burning continue to accumulate in coupled atmospheric and oceanic systems. Global climate change science is unable to predict an accurate timing of critical phase transition; however all global circulation models agree that our business-as-usual path of GHG emission trajectory will sooner or later cause a phase transition in the coupled atmospheric system; after which socio-political policy actions and behavioral changes by themselves will not be adequate to stop run-away climate change because natural bio-geo-chemical cycle would have degenerated to the point that reduction in anthropogenic GHG emissions would be inadequate to stop global warming effect from playing havoc in the global socio-ecological systems.

Protection of free trade through centralized global institutions and maximization of economic growth will only exacerbate GHG emissions. On the other hand, international climate policy experts are well aware of the fact that any strong action by a handful of nation-states would shift global industrial production to the nation-states that do not take any meaningful action on regulating GHG emissions.The governance of global climate, food and biodiversity crises pose a fundamental normative or value ambiguity challenge, i.e., experts in centralized international organizations do not and can not know the space of variables and strategies over which the optimization-decision problem is to be stated. Both the mitigation of and adaptation to global climate change requires deep, long-term foresight, and unwavering collective/normative human action at the global scale.

Yet, the complexity of managing global-climatic change, and its impacts on irreversibly changing the evolutionary pathways of biological, technological and economic systems, remains a deep puzzle, beyond the reach of positive sciences.From a normative standpoint, which is an essential component of any governance effort to deal with the complexity of complex systems, international organizations need to move beyond the positivistic goals of managing and controlling global socio-ecological systems. Management and international organization sciences need to move beyond "optimization-envy."There is a need to accommodate both facts (understanding) and values (normative prescriptions) for managing global environmental and social crises. Furthermore, management and international organization sciences will need to let go of reductionism and replace it with the acknowledgment of normative (or value-laden) complexity of managing complexity.

Perhaps most importantly, we need to explore, not control, "enablement" and adaptability to manage huge systems which engender ever new relevant features that alter the wisdom of earlier management plans. Again, we not only do not know what will happen, we do not know what can happen, hence we must change our organizations to reflect this reality of the real world as it evolves. Enablement and adaptability may well require a mixture of interacting local and regional structures that explore, cooperate and compete for wise policy decision.

This is the opposite of global, top-down control pretending that it knows. Further, given the complexity of dealing with global climate change, global food insecurity and global biodiversity loss, the rationalist and normative arguments based upon the logic of Pareto optimality and Nash equilibria lead to poorly defined international institutions that create perverse incentives for local and indigenous communities, displace biodiversity through the removal of old growth forests, engender inequities due to century old property right and tenure conflicts, assume technological methodologies that cannot objectively assign baselines and, above all, place a monetary value on natural and biological systems that trivializes the worth of biodiversity and social-ecological systems through assumption-laden, institutional-design frameworks and game theory.Due to the many invalid assumptions, and a lack of reality-checks, the Pareto optimal fitness landscapes could not be pre-defined by rational and/or centralized planners. This in turn implies that global social welfare functions could not be pre-defined by rational planners.

We emphasize this un-prestatibility by arguing that the expected utility functions and strategy spaces of different stakeholder groups are not fixed; rather they are context dependent and change in unknowable ways. The expected utility functions and strategy spaces of different stakeholders change with changes in technology, boundary conditions, biological evolution and other endogenous and exogenous drivers of change in the social-ecological systems that are typically ignored when modeled by Pareto-optimizing rational planners.Global governance mechanisms and policy designs need to incorporate a complex-systems perspective in designing and supporting international policy and institutional mechanisms.

Under a complex-systems perspective, social-ecologoical systems could transition in and out of multiple stable states, or even exist far from equilibrium. Instead of arguing over the design of inter-temporal global welfare functions, or assuming that economic growth is the dominant criteria in setting up utility functions for macroeconomic policy making, a complex-systems perspective opens up the possibility of an adaptive, decentralized and democratically anchored global governance.

Text by Asim Zia and Stuart Kauffman
Source:www.npr.org, Sept.6, 2011

En svensk utopist

Nils Herman Quiding wrote a "rational" vision of a Swedish utopia based on the principle of equality and solidarity which in turn would constitute the basis of a society of prosperity. Here is a presentation of his oeuvre by Gustaf Henriksson. En svensk "utopist" : Nils Herman Quiding ("Nils Nilsson, arbetskarl") i belysning af hans egna skrifter bearbetade och i sammandrag populärt framstälda Holmberg, Gustaf Henriksson (författare) Björck & Börjesson och Tiden (Två utgåvor samma år med olika omslag men samma inlaga), 235 s.