Iain Cameron's Diary
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2007-02-06 - 6:37 p.m.
At the Ikon at the weekend I saw an exhibition of sculptor, Richard Deacon, born the same year as me, sometimes lumped alongside Richard Long. There was a big wooden piece that caught my imagination – the wood having been steam-bent into swirls and loops. It filled the whole room. Unfortunately there was a book-sale on downstairs and so I bought the October Files on Cindy Sherman for under a tenner.
I have been looking at a DVD of Bright Lights Big City set in NYC in the 80s. The commentary on Sherman is quite strongly rooted in the culture depicted in the vid. It now looks like the past. Part of me thinks of trying to tell the characters – don’t make the mistake of getting so over-excited about sign and signifier. You should understand that some signs are symbols and when that happens they carry a grammar that you can rely on more, except you mustn’t say this – look I’ll show you. Hutto at Hertfordshire assures us that this is still true even in the 21st century.
At the end of BLBC the hero decides to start a new life and he is standing in the sun with by the Hudson River with WTC in the background, reassuringly so. Maybe Hutto means – rely on the forms of life – also on the forms of death.
Later on the Deacon Day I heard Bang On A Can in Symphony Hall. They opened with a solo guitar doing Electric Counterpoint – it was wonderful. Like the time I heard New York Counterpoint in a disused factory on the lower east side – of Birmingham.
The BOAC gtr player is in the Fred Frith 4tet it transpires. For the second half they did Music for Airports – a lot better than the original recording in my view. Later I exchanged ems with PW on the subject of continuities over decades. When I hear Steve Reich in Birmingham its just obvious that this is going on – the way that people talk about his pieces as they leave the concert hall. There was that wonderful evening when I heard them do some of Drumming at the Conservatoire too, with the Mexican percussion master.
I have been working on the longer article which is about the last 10 years and what the issues might be in the next ten years – the one for Slovenia. I have started to get some feedback from the many people that I have sent it to. And this is helping to shape the tricky last section. There is a line of enquiry on manufacturing-service hybrids – on the service side – about demand levelling without losing the basis of high value. Is it possible to level demand by a smart approach to forecasting?
There is also the question of processes. Do we really know what processes are? I read today that this country’s greatest metaphysician was a process philosopher. Have we digested this strange fact fully? He was also Russell’s partner in crime in Principia Mathematica. The Brits network so densely especially BR. And low and behold there was another loop. I mentioned that BR was friends with DHL and it’s a short step from there to Deleuze. On the process site I came across an article all about Deleuze as the successor to Whitehead – very strange. Deleuze can’t escape Russell.
Meanwhile in another part of the forest we are networking resolutely with Hertfordshire on the cultural value of a life in engineering. We really want the money to do our thing on this subject.During our brainstorm on this at Middle Aston In The Snow I had to remind someone that LW first came to the UK to study aeronautical engineering at Manchester - then Russell picked him up on the radar and there was no escape.