Archive for June, 2012


Friday, June 29th, 2012


Statistician Simon Raper used Wikipedia and the open source graph visualization software Gephi to create a map of the history of philosophy. For me the most underwhelming aspect of this – and there is something tiresome about enumerating the ways in which things suck – is how it sets up an expectation of awe and wonder – something about the thrill of big data and cybersomething and rhizomatic whatever – when there is nothing to wonder about. It’s just a graph created by a standardized tool which belches out graphs in a way that has inspired awe and wonder in the past. That’s not to say that the map is meaningless or uninteresting, but what is incongruous is that while the map derives its appeal from the subject matter, the subject matter in this case seems wholly subordinate to the process imposed on it.

The Shard

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012


On July 5 the Shard will be inaugurated in London. What an immense, intransigent building. When I first saw the Shard it was perhaps a year ago, I think the structure was mostly finished but the top floors were still naked. I had come off a late-night easyjet flight to Stansted, or Gatwick – it’s all the same, a dance of machines you participate in, and I guess that’s the point. At London Bridge station a friend picked me up and we chatted a bit, walking across the bridge towards Shoreditch. I was still a bit dazed from the airport handling, or perhaps I was already a bit sick. Everything had the color of nicotine fingers and the few stragglers and the odd cab or Vauxhall speeding by just made the place seem more desolate. When we crossed the bridge I turned and saw it, if not beautiful, then spectacularly fitting, a jagged mess of metal rising up into the sky like a wrecked spaceship, just a stone’s throw from the London Tower and the Tower Bridge, with HMS Belfast in between, all these symbols of power, riddling sphinxes glowering in the dark.


Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Poetry? maybe later