Street Furniture Death

December 11, 2009

Saturday. It had cracked on impact and the car had driven away. But the lamp-post stood, angled, grey and resolute, a soldier in a town that ignored it.

Saturday evening. From its wounded, brutalist, concrete core, long forgotten memories began to seep into the air like invisble vapour. Curious dogs approached, barking and snarling. Pedestrians walked close by and were visited by phantom memories of sun-blazed mornings, the rain-soaked windscreens of car crashes and of the tides of dark nights.

Sunday morning. It was all over. The lamp-post had split, fallen and shattered across the road.

Advertisements

Epicentric?

December 7, 2009

In the last 12 months I have spent a year away from the city of London whilst I traveled the world, and during that journey I was initially relieved to be gone. But after some time I began to experience a strange sensation. It wasn’t homesickness: I didn’t wish to return. But something about the place I had left seemed impossible to forget. As I explored other foreign cities London became the default comparison. Naturally, after nearly a decade of living in London, its street names and buildings, bus routes and tube lines, haunts and domains, had all forged a map in my mind forever.

I became aware that London emits a strange and captivating distress call: an ambient melancholic transmission. Not necessarily just to entice, but to hypnotise and draw in, like the Odyssean sirens. For thousands of years people have been compelled to London. Exactly why? Perhaps initially for the chase of riches, excitement, work and success. But, only then does the collusion begin: a process which takes years. I had felt this from far, far away. London is perhaps a dying star in its own cosmos: its gravitational pull luring passing objects into a tight orbit. It’s mantle formed from millenia of trodden grime and clay and the spectacular fires that have razed the city in the past now form its burning core.

Two months ago I returned, and I am immersed both physically and literally by London once more. As an introduction to a biographical quest, Merlin Coverley’s ‘Occult London’ served as an intriguing segue to the tome which is Peter Ackroyd’s ‘London: A Biography’, which I’m currently reading. I am also keenly following the developments of John Rogers and Nick Papadimitriou’s Ventures In Topography project on Resonance FM, and generally scrounging for appealing historical detail online. I am aware that this type of interest has become quite fashionable, but I don’t really care about that. I would argue its a cultural phenomenon of nostalgia created from the wealth of information online, but paradoxically, by a desire to reengage with our physical surroundings and explore them. Others can probably explain it better…

I’d like this particular blog entry to serve as an introduction to a series of posts which explore London’s gravity and depth by weaving a thread through (post)modernity, esoterica, history and occultism. I have no idea how this will work exactly, but as my travels have taught me, if you want to learn something, you must go on a journey.


Auto Destructive Art Manifesto – 1960

December 7, 2009

Man in Regent Street is auto-destructive.

Rockets, nuclear weapons, are auto-destructive.

Auto-destructive art.
The drop drop dropping of HH bombs.
Not interested in ruins, (the picturesque).

Auto-destructive art re-enacts the obsession with destruction, the pummelling to which individuals and masses are subjected.
Auto-destructive art demonstrates man’s power to accelerate disintegrative processes of nature and to order them.
Auto-destructive art mirrors the compulsive perfectionism of arms manufacture—polishing to destruction point.
Auto-destructive art is the transformation of technology into public art.
The immense productive capacity, the chaos of capitalism and of Soviet communism, the co-existence of surplus and starvation; the increasing stockpiling of nuclear weapons—more than enough to destroy technological societies; the disintegrative effects of machinery and of life in vast built-up areas on the person…

Auto-destructive art is art which contains within itself an agent which automatically leads to its destruction within a period of time not to exceed twenty years. Other forms of auto-destructive art involve manual manipulation. There are forms of auto-destructive art where the artist has a tight control over the nature and timing of the disintegrative process,and there are other forms where the artist’s control is slight.

Materials and techniques used in creating auto-destructive art include: Acid, Adhesives,Ballistics, Canvas, Clay, Combustion, Compression, Concrete, Corrosion, Cybernetics, Drop, Elasticity, Electricity, Electrolysis, Electronics, Explosives, Feedback, Glass, Heat, Human energy, Ice, Jet, Light, Load, Mass-production, Metal, Motion picture, Natural forces, Nuclear energy, Paint, Paper, Photography, Plaster, Plastics, Pressure, Radiation, Sand, Solar energy, Sound, Steam, Stress, Terra-cotta, Vibration, Water, Welding, Wire, Wood.

Gustav Metzger, “Manifesto Auto-Destructive Art” (London, to March t960), in Metzger at AA (London: Destruction/Creation, 1965).