Pad Thai

I think I am going to choose this quote from Harman cited in Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology.

“For we ourselves, just like Neanderthals, sparrows, mushrooms, and dirt, have never done anything else than act amidst the bustle of other actants”

It has changed the way I see myself in relation to everything else. It allows me to understand that there need not always be a causal reason for everything. Everything in existence is both and actor and an actant. Much like wind, one actant acts upon another and another until it leaves us without a defined beginning. I do not know where that cool breeze came from and is going to go. The deconstruction of everything into a categorical, logical, knowable order gives solace to our sense of dignity as human beings; it helps us position ourselves in this messy complex world. But as this quote suggests, to put ones self above mushrooms or sparrows does not really get at the reality of how things are (and what I think Harman is saying). We are but a thing on a list of things. Or maybe we are like the prawns in the Pad Thai I’m eating – what a mesh of food – think of all the relations!

Kind of looks like the drawing I did for what I think this studio looks like.


What I think I need to do in order to learn what it is I want to learn:

I need to start planning. Collating everything I’ve learnt this semester and work out how to put this into something I can show (through the medium of film) – as Adrian says, creating and inventing is about ‘bringing things together into new constellations’.

So…with this, making media to me is not yet a habit and practice as the way language is. But it can be, by doing it a lot. I need to start making stuff, even if it doesn’t end up in my final assessment.


Martin Stewart/flickr

Gone are the days when content had to be generic in order to reach a bigger audience. Gone are the days of expensive resource intensive big grand monumental media companies. We are living in a post industrial media era where the landscape is unknowable.

With the internet the cost of distribution = 0
Cost of production = as much as a smartphone.

If media nowadays doesn’t have ‘porous edges’ in that it can be continually adapted and transformed it will fail – Like myspace..poor murdoch.


Last week I forgot to blog about this.

We can generate legitimate artefacts out of processes that are arbitrary – but still work.

We played the game exquisite corpse which was my first time.

This helped us to understand procedural work – To familiarise ourselves with making work that might itself be unspectacular, but what matters is knowing the rules. If you look at these without understanding the game (drawing something, folding the paper and giving it to someone else) they’re pretty weird and not that impressive.

There is no emphasis on the finished work of our soundscapes and videos. Its about the rule or constraint we set ourselves and once you define the rule its infinitely repeatable.

Blue Poles is a significant painting because of its political backstory – it has a place in Australian history. Its a marker of the flourishing abstract expressionist movement in 1950s New York.

If Blue Poles was on the ground in the laneway outside the gallery – you’d probably walk over it. The initial conditions matter.

Jackson Pollock. Blue poles. 1952. © Pollock-Krasner Foundation/ARS


Simple stories about a messy world can’t help us.

If we understand the world as a dense truculent clamour of things then what would it be to use the form of documentary to try and show that. Not explain but acknowledge the legitimate clamouring of all this stuff.

If everything is messy and complex then documentaries should account for it and not conceal it behind abstraction and generalisations.

Stories matter but they are a human cultural device. Documentary as a non-fiction practice should not be about something but should be with something.

We don’t need more people telling us what they think about stuff. We need more ways of letting things speak for themselves.


I found it interest when Adrian talked about how our language is completely dependent on our biology.

“to ‘elevate’ something” – I’m sure a snake wouldn’t use that word or to a wombat it might be to “burrow down”.