Carrowkeel (stone circles, centre) is an ancient artificial structure that causes little disruption to the natural landscape surrounding it.
What is the difference between artificial and naturally occurring?
The simple definition is that artificial objects are made by humans, naturally occurring objects are in nature already (i.e. not man-made). The idea of artificial is often regarded as sub-par – when we see man-made lakes for example.
At the end of last year I wrote a piece called Nostalgia for New York, which essentially looked at the idea of nostalgia that I was able to associate with a place that I had never been to. While writing that piece I was unaware that I would be in New York four months afterward, but circumstance and chance conspired and I found myself spending some time in the grand metropolis of the east coast of the USA recently, and this gave me the opportunity to rethink some of the topics I had originally looked at regarding New York.
It’s not that I had tried to write about New York specifically when writing the original piece – I was more tinkering with a popular culture model of the city; looking at how New York was portrayed and how this portrayal changed as I grew up. So one of the striking things I then found about actually hitting New York City was recognising all of these places that I had seen before in movies, TV shows or video games. Everything seemed bizarrely familiar – it wasn’t quite deja-vu, but more like borrowing another person’s memory to make sense of something that I was seeing Continue reading “Nostalgia for New York 2: Referencing reality”
I am currently attending a residency in Vermont Studio Center, Vermont USA. The residency invites up to 75 writers and artists to participate in their own studio practice for a predetermined amount of time in the company of other creative practitioners. During the first week, we, the aforementioned practitioners, have engaged in introductory conversations around the dinner tables etc, spouting the usual introductory dinner-table questions, e.g. “What’s your name?”, Where are you from?” etc. One recurring question has caused me an abundance of consternation time and again. That question is “What are you?” Continue reading “What Are You? – Society’s categories and labels”
In 1990, Bill Bryson’s comprehensive book about the history of the English language, Mother Tongue was published. In it, Bryson analyses the origins and evolutions of the English language from its conception to the date of publication of the book. Throughout the book, he places emphasis on the mixed etymological origins of many words and phrases.
Bryson notes various spelling anomalies in the English language. Some include the use of gh as an f sound, for example in enough, or the use of silent letters, such as the s in aisle. Much of the reason for many of the obscure spellings occur due to archaic spellings from mixed cultural origins, for example debt‘s silent b, with origins in the Latin word debitum, or the French origins of the spelling of debonnaire. Continue reading “Spking fnetics: Bil Brysn’s “Muthr Tung” & txt spk :-o”
Apologies to readers for the 2-week hiatus – I have been mid-adventure and things have been too hectic to write. This piece and the next few will follow up on this. Posts will be back to regularity from this week.
In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the protagonist Bernard Marx finds himself on a holiday visiting a rural reservation. The visit is an insightful event showing a strange community that live outside of the “social norm” of this urban-centred world. This journey marks a decisive moment in the novel, where Bernard’s story is turned on its head by the people that he encounters and the adventure that he has with the “savages” in the wilderness.
This separation of urban and rural in Brave New World was part of Huxley’s tongue-in-cheek mockery of the society that he believed he was watching develop. The greatest threat brandished to citizens in Huxley’s dystopia is being forced to move to Iceland – a desolate and unpopulated island. This relocation was the deepest fear for Bernard, who was pleasantly settled in the urban landscape of central London.
Last Thursday (March 8, 2012) Occupy Dame Street, Dublin, was removed at 3.30 a.m. by the Guarda Síochána in an operation involving more than 100 people so that the plaza that they had occupied outside the central bank could be cleared for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The de-occupation mimicked the late-night move made by police on Wall Street last November, but was met with far less public outcry despite the overkill of 100+ police removing approximately 15 protestors.
One of the most notable visual effects of the international economic crash in 2008 on the western landscape was the sudden closure of hundreds of small and large businesses, and the emergence of idle business premises in urban centres. From factories to fashion boutiques, empty spaces corrupted the urban landscape and spread like a pandemic through cities and towns in Europe and America from 2008 onward.
In town and city centres the effect was most visible as large chain stores began to go into receivership and their commercial outlet units began to shut up shop. Usually located in prime areas, these vacated properties created trails of desolate spaces in urban areas. The result was for these spaces to lie idle, in some cases for the past four years. Continue reading “Filling The Void: Art in disused urban spaces in Ireland”
The towns of Buda and Pest were amalgamated into one city in 1873. The monumental castle of Buda became the focal point for the new city; it sits enormous on the west bank of the Danube. It is the latest in a long line of castles to be raised and razed in this spot, the current castle is a Frankenstein’s monster consisting of parts of the 18th Century upgrade and reconstructed areas of the medieval castle amongst others after the castle was heavily damaged in World War II.
1640s, “evergreen,” formed in English from L. perennis “lasting through the year (or years),”
adjective lasting or existing for a long or apparently infinite time; enduring • (of a plant) living for several years
Some things last a long time. Others are over in an instant, as they pass from the near future into the recent past. This piece concerns the former. Some occurrences seem to become mainstays overnight. Although certainly nothing lasts forever, some events can span lifetimes or generations. Continue reading “Blink and You’ll Miss It: Events on the Internet”
Caribou are an enigma. The band perform with an elaborate amount of gusto live but seem to lack impact on recording. Caribou is Canadian multi-instrumentalist David Snaith and his live stage crew (i.e. Ryan Smith, Brad Webel and John Schmersal).
The most recent album, Swim, was a catchy electronic mish-mash, but does not withstand extended listens and seems to get lost in it’s own tame mixing and recording. However, live Caribou hit hard. The full band create a wash of energy and vitality that contradicts the album completely. They played a relatively intimate show in NASA, Reykjavik in June 2011.