Tuesday, 26 October 2010

cats cradle

I'm having a small Head space trying to get my head around the latest madness being explored by our Conservative Coalition. I'm going to explore some ideas re walking and thinking.
So for the next couple of posts its a little journey around me and my walking,then its down to the continuation of expreimental theatre. This is short a brief,my mind is a bit like a maze trapped in a blanket of mist and anger.See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

catscradle walking and thinking

"Britain's culture is defined by a violent contact with foreign peoples"

"A fundamental problem with oral testimony:that it is not"the voice of the past" but rather the way in which people, influenced by their own histories, by how they imagine the world and how the incidents described have been discussed publicly,structure their memories of the past"

"Truth exists only as a product of historical becoming"

"We relive or revive our childhoods to make them sweeter"

"the eternal recurrence of the same"

"where ever you are is called here"

"the new regime knows how to protect itself from everything but its own stupidity and brutality"

"Visual symbolism is taking over the role of language"

"It was during the 80s that people started to conceive of their identities through what they consume"

Sunday, 17 October 2010

TOUCHED BY FIRE..the business of giving...

Ask any City or New York headhunter and they will tell you the talent is moving its focus.In New York, Manhattan is showing the way from simply investment in banking or in in the media conglomerates.The bright young thinks are turning their gaze into the heart of Harlem in order to get a foot hold in the door at the Clinton Globe Initiate.

Alogside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or Google,org. C.G.I stands at the forefront of the latest trend in wealthy giving:Philanthrocapitalism. A fashinable form of High value charity that as now crossed the Atlantic and started to catch onamong Londons more socially minded plutocrats.Indeed under New Labour the multimillionaire philanthrophists Jennifer Moses was appointed by Gorden Brown as an advisor to influence Gov thinking in the realm of"giving" But a little knoen pamphlet by the philanthropic guru Micheal Edwards warns the grandious claims of philanthro-capitalism both over play its results and masks its more naferios effects.....

Saturday, 16 October 2010

creativity and depression1

"What,though,might be the biological origin of mania?One possibility is that it related to happiness,which is clearly adaptive as it encourages one to do things that are rewarding.Thus mania could be malignant happiness.It may also be related to creativity. The existence of a link between madness and genius is an idea both old and controversial. If it were true,would it not be possible to see, perhaps, the positive virtue in depressive illness? It is just such a question that Kay Radfield Jamison has explored in depth in her book "touched with fire"

Aristotle praised melancholy, since he thought that all those outstanding in philosophy,poetry and the arts were Melancholic. It was an ancient Greek view that, as Socrates put it, "madness", provided it comes as the gift of heaven, is the channel by which we receive the greatest "blessings", for it was thought, that inspiration was the only obtainable in particular states of mind, of which madness was one.The Greeks recognised the distinction between those mental illnesses which were detrimental to artistic achievement and the "sacred"madness of inspiration. There was also a fashion for melancholy in the Renaissance.

But to what extent is there really a relationship between creativity and psychiatric illness? Literary scholars have considered this question and Lionel Trilling has commented that the idea of artist as mentally illness "one of the characteristics notions of our culture". Like the Greeks, he emphasises that health is also essential for creative work, as is discipline and sustained effort.
Note here,and in most of what follows, the discussion of creativity and genius is confined almost entirely to the arts-writers,poets,painters-as if only they are creative. The relation of creativity in science,business and politics for example is barely touched upon.Yet it is hard to take seriously the idea that creativity is associated with the work of those in the arts.

Anecdotal stories about creativity and mental illness will not suffice. This has been recognised and a number of scholars have tried to find direct evidence of a link. A study of the biographies of a wide range of modern artists found that the highest rate of mental illness was in poets; almost 20per cent of those studied had committed suicide. Composers also showed high rates of mental illness,particularly depression. In general the mood disorder of artists were at least three times greater than among other professionals,including scientists and businessmen.

Jamison investigated the mod disorders of poets in Britain and Ireland born in the hundred years from 1705 to 1805 Within this group are famous figures like Lord Byron, Samuel Johnson,William Blake, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelly, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. There was a strikingly high rate of mood disorders.These poets were, compared to the general population,30 times more likely to suffer from manic depression and five times more likely to commit suicide. Studies on a group of 30 modern writers confirm these results in general. Almost 80 per cent of this sample ha a mood disorder.

Jamison interviewed a group of nearly 50 British writers and artists, all of whom had won at least one prize oer reward that recognised their distinction in their field. Most were men the average age was 53. What she wanted to to know was the role of moods in creativity. more than a third had been treated for a mood disorder and most of these had been for manic depression or depression.The artists and writers had suffered from their depression but not their mania; virtually all said that they had experienced intense, highly productive creative episodes. Almost all reported a reduced need for sleep just prior to these intensely creative periods. There were reports of mood change with descriptions of ecstasy and elation; one reported a "fever to write".Others experienced feelings of anxiety. For most,these moods were integral to their work.

It seems that the artistic creativity can benefit from a variety of experiences, including visions, fears and melancholy.Perhaps the struggle to come to terms with emotional extremes supports the creative endeavour. Profound depression can change an individuals beliefs about the nature and meaning of life. Writers, artists and composers have described how, having struggled with a depressive episode and come through it, they have used the experiences in their work.The poet
Anne Sexton used pain in her work and said that "creative people must not avoid the pain they get dealt"

While it seems easy to understand why mania, with its surge in energy and confidence, should help with creativity, it may be less easy to see why depression could be helpful. As just mentioned, depression might put into perspective thoughts and feelings that had been generated in a more manic phase. It might serve,as Jamison puts it, a critical editorial. Depression can force one to look inward and ask very difficult questions about oneself: what is it all about, what is the purpose, and who and what am I? Herbert Melville wrote that, "in these flashing revelations of griefs wonderful fire, we see all things as they are; and though when the electric element is gone, the shadows once more descend, and the false outlines of objects again return; yet not to with their former power to deceive" The poet Anton Artaud exaggerates but makes the point:" No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modelled, built or invented except literally to get out of hell."

Some manic-depressive illness can apparently give a touch of fire to an individuals work. Since it has such a strong, genetic basis could it also, perhaps be, at times, an adaptive characteristic in the evolutionary sense? It seems implausible, particularly since manic depressives are so prone to suicide and the disease is so disabling.


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Touched by fire..admin 2

Like aspects of the Post Modern,the Cultural Industries rapaciously consumes marginal identities under the guise of plurality and respect for"otherness" The Cultural Industries have created a working environment which mocks the reality of otherness. It is totally disengaged from its own ego,and devoid of a self confidence to engage in the realm of radical negotiation because of the deep rooted fear that the "other" might,in reality,rise up and challenge the existing order and demand a change in the power structures of the privileged order.Hence a system of forced communication,which is non communication,is devised by introverted administrators resigned to,rather than revelling in their experience of alienation.

This cynical abuse of language is a means of not engaging in the world of human emotions and all corresponding uncertainties which are activated by involvement with fellow human beings.This is not just an avoidance,a sort of turning away from the chaos of life, rather its an attack on the problems and dangers of creative engagement.What is going on here is an attempt to live in a world of anti engagement,an imprisoned limbo akin to the corporatist dependency on creating for the consumer a desire for inner comfort.The outside "real" is reduced to nothing more than interiority and the abnegation of the real.

In this inward looking,frightening world we encounter those other worlds,two of which are represented as "enlightened false consciousness" and the "passionate attachment".Two sates of emotional unbliss which arise from the desire of the unobtainable.

The Enlightened false consciousness is concerned with the resurgent interest in mystical accounts of the world and the return of the ritualised concern with sentimentality,a form of dysfunctional personality within the community of sentimentality..A return to the false occult and the seeking out of the conservative exploration of the irrational in popular culture,the embrace of the authoritarianism which is at the heart of the"psycho-technic" rhetoric in the corporatist propaganda and publicity,the publicity of the essentially event less.

...publicity,situated in a future continually deferred....experience is impossible within it.... everything publicity shows is there awaiting acquisition...all hopes are gathered together,made homogeneous,simplified,so that they become the intense ,
yet vague, magical yet repeated,promise offered in every purchase....publicity is the life blood of this culture....

The passionate attachment....that emotional drive which makes our lives uncomfortable yet at the same time satisfying, the strong urge to forget reason is dangerous.
To forget reason is to forget,or for ego rationality.Passion drives the motivation of rational thought into areas of transgression;it leads to an ill defined logic,whereby the act of passion unites both parties in an embrace which logically will end in bitter separation.

The separation will cause catastrophic complications for all those involved,either directly or on the periphery of the relationship. The passion will involve and eventually devour all those parties caught up within the relationship.This all consuming emotional relationship serves as a warning to the naivete of greed.Passion becomes a shared emotion,a locked embrace at the expense of the external world.

Post Modernity collapses the disjunction between aspiration and reality;it annihilates the difference between the possible and the reaching out for the impossible,the very locality of art. It is this reactionary acceptance of the moment which as led creativity in to the hands of the publicity machine.Art is no longer used as a means to rebel against the censorship of our "big other"the bigger super ego.The Dionysian forces which push to extreme satisfaction, the subconscious thrust of excess have been sacrificed on the alter of banality,tragedy is reduced to living in a state of the ever present;there is no space in which to ventilate our instincts.

Dionysus,in Greek mythology provoked excess.He transcended into animality and chaos.He sacrificed himself and was torn apart. A restrictive reality principle circulates the domain of the impossible.We are dominated by the tyranny of the script and a false dream for the desire called normality.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

touched by fire...administration


The bureaucracy within the institutions which makes the Cultural Industries have acclimatised themselves,and,wholeheartedly embraced the totalising language of the Market place,and in so doing have debased the "artist" of her/his Socratic right-to reject conformity,inevitability and unoriginality. There are no democratic choice systems within the market ideology.The essence of the marketplace and its ideology is essentialist,which effectively denies the possibility of engagement and its proximity to real change.People,or,customers/consumers,are subordinate to its temptations which,in turn,gives force to the authoritarian nature of the system and creates the illusion of democratic participation.

The Cultural Industries have nothing to do with creative discipline, but every thing to do with power.Power starts from a defined system which denies the anarchic scope of creativity.No matter what it says in its defence, the industry and its bureaucrats fail to embrace the actual chaos which emanates from the process of creativity and experimentation.It only real concern is the normalisation of difference..Its reality is a system which beneath the ornamentation offers only a standardised,monitored,streamlined attraction more suited to entertainment and immediate sensation rather the disruption of the"now".

The "now" creativity desires the acceptance of the new establishment and the new elites.Of course,the deeper understanding of the terminology associated with "establishment has been debased by a language of over use and attraction.We have a tendency to re brand meanings in order to justify the existence of individuals or groups who are in power at any given period,most notably those individuals we envy the most.

The idea of the "establishment"is concerned less with the actual exercises of power than with the the established bodies of prevailing opinion which powerfully, and not openly,influence its exercise to exist.The "establishment"is not a power elite in the imagined terms of its impact on our envy.If its members have any connections with power blocks in culture or society,it is not these connections which give them their particular influence. If they represent actual interests,it is not their representation of these interests which make them members of the "establishment". Indeed I would go so far as to suggest is that the one significant fact about the "establishment" is that it represents nothing in the national life.It as its roots in no class,gender or race;it responds to no deep seated national instinct.It is this rootlessness which is seen by its defenders as its main virtue, and by its opponents as its most distressing fault.Its defenders have of course found a euphemism for this rootlessness:they refer to it as disinterestedness.It must be disinterested,they argue,because it represents nothing.

Friday, 8 October 2010

touched by fire ENVY

"The attack for its own sake on the life and goodness of another person is Envy.
In order for the infant to survive, the primordial self directed form of destructiveness has to be dealt with in some way-urgently and immediately.Melanie Klein observed that the first method the infant uses is to direct its hatred of life towards another object that stands for life and liveliness-and especially the object that seeks to keep the baby alive. Such an object is represented in the first instance by the mother,or mote specifically for the infant,the bit of her that it knows best,the breast. This immediate externalisation of the death instinct results in fantasies sucking the life out of something,scooping out the goodness in a form of raiding,stealing,breaking and entering.
In relationship to creativity,Klein's ideas can be seen in the lack of originality expressed via the growth in stealing other peoples ideas...A distressing admission of a lack of individual originality and even more distressing and ultimately self denying and self destructive force is the idea that it doesn't matter....In the end the inner self becomes a site for self loathing.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

toched by fire..postmodern

"life should have a flow;water which doesn't flow becomes stagnant"

A simple definition of the Post Modern.It is an existence which avoids the conflict between the personal and the political.Post Modernism creates a society without tradition,without past,without continuity,reduced to modernising the already modernised.Absent of feeling,without time and space-just like the inner experience of psychosis.

The Post Modern embraces the Hegemony of the capitalist interests and is, to all intents and purposes,in the grasp of the emotionless,bureaucratic, officialdom,which views "The Great Leap Backwards"to re establish the quota patronage which demands the construction of an all embracing apparatus for the control and direction of art.

Like most of the "new"institutions,the Cultural Industry, without blinking an eye,has presided over a cultural disintegration and social alienation,by embracing the existence of,and reinvention of the BOOK KEEPER.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Touched by fire..romantics

"to be free is nothing;to become free is very heaven"FICHT (1762-1814)

"Failure is nobler than success.Self immolation for a cause is the thing,not the validity of the cause itself,not some intrinsic property of it...These are the symptoms of the Romantic attitude.Hence the worship of the artist whether in sound,or word,or colour is the highest manifestation of the over active spirit and the popular image of the artist in the garret,wild eyed,solitary,mocked at,but independent,free,spiritually superior to his Philistine tormentors.

This attitude has darker side too;worship not merely of the painter or the composer or the poet,but that of a more sinister artist whose materials are humanity-the destroyer of old societies and the Creator of new ones,no matter at what human cost;the superman leader who tortures and destroys in order to build new foundations-Napoleon on his most revolutionary aspect.

It is this embodiment of the Romantic ideal that took more and more hysterical forms and in its extreme ended in violent irrationalism and Fascism.
Yet this same outlook bred respect for individuality,for creative impulse, for the unique, the independent,for freedom to act in the light of personal, undictated beliefs and impulses and principles,for the understated emotional needs,for the the value of private life,for individual conscience,for human rights. The positive and the negative.. ISIAH BERLIN...

Saturday, 2 October 2010


Popular culture, in the guise of the media,is now hosted into a notion of history which offers our gaze a place of safety populated by people just like ourselves,yet at the same time untouched by the reality of the past.Like Heritage Culture,this contrived vision,entwined with the problem of perspective that a way of life that as come down to us,with all its disturbances and distinctions,is linked to a place and a time,an object, a building which allows us a sense of pleasure, a homesickness for better times linked into the past.A remembrance of the past which is manufactured for our gaze in the studios of the corporate media institutions.Popular history, in the guise of serious investigation and Heritage Culture are the results of an increasingly conformist society seeking out a release from a normalizing sensation and delving into a sentimentality, a regretfulness for better times in a better place somewhere in the past. The future is lived in the ever present whilst reality becomes a horror show. The past is not reconnected with its disappeared shadow.
We, the passive observer,are fed information and sensation filtered through a dominate system which entraps our attention in order to offload the commonality which yesterday as become.
It is also a propaganda technique which subtly appeals to the emotions.In propaganda as in advertising the important consideration is not whether information accurately describes a objective situation but whether it sounds true.History like art ,now,represents part of the mass production of commodities in ever increasing abundance which demands a mass market to absorb them.History and Art are now dominated by appearance.
"in the period of primative accumulation,capitalism subordinated being to having,the ME value of commodity's to their exchange value,as a commodity's capacity to confer prestige-the illusion of prosperity and well being."when economic necessity yields to the necessity for limitless economic development"writes Guy Debord"satisfaction of basic and generally human needs gives way to an uninterrupted fabrication of pseudo needs.Propaganda of commodities serves a double function.Its up holding of consumption turns alienation itself into a commodity..
This is a victory of conservative centralisation over the examination of a more mysterious procedure....the very act of creativity itself,the act concerning the process of creation,rather than its effects,on motives rather than consequences;and as a corollary of this "on quality of the vision" on the state of mind or the soul,of the acting agent-accurate correspondence of the given,the emphasis on the activity and the moment,those actions that cannot be reduced to static segments.
These are the sentiments of the Romantic movement,which gave rise to to Modernity.As the sensiblities interact,where does one begin and end,where does the end close?History is not dead,it is simply redefining itself in the methodological reflections of the Great Leap Backwards.

touched by Fire


There are individuals within the administration of the Cultural Industries who ask very big things for themselves,not of themselves. This attitude is not only confined to the Cultural Industries. The spread of the bureaucratic society and its entrance into language of the everyday has opened the way parallel oppositions,notably democratic individualism versus corporatism;the citizen versus the subject.
We are entering,or re-entering the mindset of the darker side within us and within society;the battle of language versus propaganda and the consciousness versus the unconsciousness.This is what is implied by the expression the "The Great Leap Backwards". It doesn't only apply to an historical time map of the 1930s,it also concerns itself with our leap into the unconscious beloved of the subject:"who existing as a function in any one of the tens of thousands of corporations-public and private-is relieved of personal,disinterested responsibility for his society"
Permanent human patterns have to exist and in the end battle against the temporary.We are reminded of what Tocqueville observed when writing about America attempting to escape the intangling influence of the past "they imagined their whole destiny is in their own hands"
Social conditions Tocqueville wrote severed the tie that formally united one generation to another. "the roof of time is every instant broken and the track of generations effaced.Those who went before are soon forgotten:of those who who will come after,no one has any idea:the interest of man is confined to those in close proximity to himself"