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The Metaphor of Time as Space

"Many students of language are astounded by the fact that there are languages which lack tense. This confusion results from the fact that they do not realize that time is a semantic construct and tense is a linguistic one. All languages have ways of speaking about time, a semantic construct. Not all languages have linguistic markers of time, tense. Languages that lack tense, use time words to signal events that take place in the past, present, or future. With the passage of time, these time words become attached to verbs and the resulting conflation is known as tense. English has only two tenses: the present and the past. The future occurs as a time construct, but not as a linguistic one. In order to talk about the future in English, one must use a construction that employs the model will."

(Robert N. St. Clair, University of Louisville)



cultural construct • futurelanguagelanguages • linguistic construct • linguistic marker • metaphororderingpassage of timepastpresentsemantic construct • signal events • social construction of knowledgespace • tense • timetime as space • time words • transition


Simon Perkins
17 JUNE 2011

The Grid System: an online resource

"Made popular by the International Typographic Style movement and pioneered by legends like Josef Müller-Brockmann and Wim Crouwel, the grid is the foundation of any solid design. The Grid System is an ever-growing resource where graphic designers can learn about grid systems, the golden ratio and baseline grids."

(Antonio Carusone)



Aisle One • Antonio Carusone • baseline grids • design formalismgolden ratiographic communicationgraphic devicesgridgrid systemInternational Typographic StyleJosef Muller-Brockmann • layout aesthetics • layout designlegibilitymental imageorderingstructure • the grid system • typographyvisual communicationWim Crouwel


Simon Perkins
31 MAY 2011

Adam Curtis: the network ecology myth

"The new series, called All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace, takes complicated ideas and turns them into entertainment by the use of the vertigo-inducing intellectual leaps, choppy archive material and disorienting music with which all Curtis fans are familiar. The central idea leads Curtis on a journey, taking in the chilling über-individualist novelist Ayn Rand, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, the 'new economy', hippy communes, Silicon Valley, ecology, Richard Dawkins, the wars in Congo, the lonely suicide in a London squat of the mathematical genius who invented the selfish gene theory, and the computer model of the eating habits of the pronghorn antelope.

You can see why Zoe Williams once wrote that, while watching one of Curtis's programmes, 'I kept thinking the dog was sitting on the remote. ...'

Now he has moved on to machines, but it starts with nature. 'In the 1960s, an idea penetrated deep into the public imagination that nature is a self-regulating ecosystem, there is a natural order,' Curtis says. 'The trouble is, it's not true – as many ecologists have shown, nature is never stable, it's always changing. But the idea took root and spread wider – people started to believe there is an underlying order to the entire world, to how society is structured. Everything became part of a system, like a computer; no more hierarchies, freedom for all, no class, no nation states.' What the series shows is how this idea spread into the heart of the modern world, from internet utopianism and dreams of democracy without leaders to visions of a new kind of stable global capitalism run by computers. But we have paid a price for this: without realising it we, and our leaders, have given up the old progressive dreams of changing the world and instead become like managers – seeing ourselves as components in a system, and believing our duty is to help that system balance itself. Indeed, Curtis says, 'The underlying aim of the series is to make people aware that this has happened – and to try to recapture the optimistic potential of politics to change the world.'

The counterculture of the 1960s, the Californian hippies, took up the idea of the network society because they were disillusioned with politics and believed this alternative way of ordering the world was based on some natural order. So they formed communes that were non-hierarchical and self-regulating, disdaining politics and rejecting alliances. (Many of these hippy dropouts later took these ideas mainstream: they became the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who decided that computers could liberate everyone and save the world.)...

He draws a parallel with those 1970s communes. 'The experiments with them all failed, and quickly. What tore them apart was the very thing that was supposed to have been banished: power. Some people were more free than others - strong personalities dominated the weak, but the rules didn't allow any organised opposition to the suppression because that would be politics.' As in the commune, so in the world: 'These are the limitations of the self-organising system: it cannot deal with politics and power. And now we're all disillusioned with politics, and this machine-organising principle has risen up to be the ideology of our age.'"

(Katharine Viner, 6 May 2011, Guardian)

Episode 1: 'All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace: Love and Power', First broadcast BBC Two, 9:00PM Mon, 23 May 2011
Episode 2: 'All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace: The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts', First broadcast BBC Two, 9:00PM Mon, 30 May 2011
Episode 3: 'All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace: The Monkey In The Machine and the Machine in the Monkey', First broadcast BBC Two, 9:00PM Mon, 06 June 2011



1960s1970sabstract modelabstractionAdam Curtis • Alan Greenspan • All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace • archive footageAyn RandBBC2Bill MurrayblogsCarmen Hermosillochange • commune • computer model • computer utopianism • confessional memoirs • control society • convergencecounterculturecultural expressioncyberspacedemocracydigital cultureecologyemotions become commodified • Esther Rantzen • evolution • expressions of power • Facebookfreedom • Georgia • global capitalism • hierarchical structures • hierarchies • hierarchy • hippy communes • hippy dropouts • hyper-consumerismideologyideology of the timeindividualisminternet utopianism • Kyrgyzstan • Loren Carpenter • machines • Mayfair Set • mercantilist economy • modern world • natural order • network ecologynetworked societynetworksnon-hierarchical • non-hierarchical societies • orderingPongpopular culture • punchdrunk • reflexive modernisationRichard Dawkinsscientific ideasself-organising systemself-regulating • self-regulating ecosystem • selfish gene theory • Silicon Valley • social experiments • social mediasocialist realismsociety • Soviet realism • stability • stable order • Stakhanovites • structuresystems theorytechnology convergencetelevision documentary • TUC • TwitterUkraineunderlying orderunstable • Westminster • White House • Zoe Williams


Simon Perkins
13 MAY 2011

Taptu: another content integration tool

"Taptu provides instant access to all your interests in one beautiful little app.

Check out what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, keep up with the latest news and gossip from your favourite online sources and then share all the best bits with your friends.

Taptu keeps you up-to-date with all of your content with highly personal and visual ‘streams’. You can view them at a glance and then dive in if you want to see more."

(Mitch Lazar, Taptu CEO)



2011aggregating relevant contentAndroid appsapp • Bing RSS • bookmarkcollection • comment and like • content integration • content streams • convergenceFacebook • Facebook stream • favourites • Google Reader • gossipinformationiPadiPhoneLinkedIn • Mitch Lazar • orderingpersonalisationRSSRSS feedssharing • StreamStore • Taptu • technologytoolTwitterTwitter stream • visual streams • visualisation


Simon Perkins
10 APRIL 2011

Fragments and Figments of Knowledge: the Documentation of Contemporary Art

"The research project Methodology for the Documentation of Contemporary Art was initiated by Professor Dr Hubertus Kohle and Dr Harald Kraemer at the interdisciplinary Kulturwissenschaftliches Forschungskolleg at the Universities of Aachen, Bonn and Cologne [1]. The main aim of this project (1999-2001) was to develop strategies and structures for a methodology for the study and documentation of modern and contemporary art. Furthermore, the project was to demonstrate, through specific characteristics of modern art, the need for new documentation procedures and the use of digital technologies. Traditional, static methods of documentation can be significantly extended through the application of multimedia electronic technologies. The diverse prerequisites and specific demands of contemporary art require a changed methodology of analysis and documentation. Hence, the aim of the project was to find the answers to the following questions: to what extent can the revamped documentation methods provide a basis for meaningful interpretation of contemporary art? And what is the role of interactive digital multimedia technology here?"

(Harald Kraemer, 2001)

[1] Kulturwissenschaftliches Forschungskolleg (SFB / FK 427) 'Medien und kulturelle Kommunikation'. Nicole Birtsch, Kathrin Lucht, Martina Nied, Simone Schmickl and Christina Hemsley were the other members of the team.


2001archive • Bonn • Colognecontemporary art • digital art history • digital culture • digital multimedia technology • digital technologiesdocumentation • documentation procedures • Harald Kraemer • Hubertus Kohle • ICTintegrationmanagementmedia artmethodologymodern artmultimedianew mediaorderingprocedureresearch projectstaticstorage • structuring • technology • Universities of Aachen


Simon Perkins

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