Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Das (Re) Boot

This week sees my first exhibition. Sort of. A few months ago, a friend of a friend asked if I could provide some artwork for her media practice degree project, the original plan being some kind of mural. The mural was kiboshed by those in charge, so the image got reworked as a large canvas that is to be hung as a background to the main piece:

The Re-Boot Sale is an interactive installation that questions the proposed ephemerality of media in the digital age. Conceptually grounded in tactical media practices, it aims to demonstrate the political and environmental repercussions of a society over-saturated with new technologies. Notions of technology fatigue are also explored in order to examine the possible emotional effects that such saturation may have.

The Re-Boot Sale encourages participants to have a traditional, mechanical interaction with objects and invites them to bring an unwanted piece of media to leave behind, explore the media already there and leave with something ‘new’. Visitors can also record feedback about their swap on a replica arcade machine. This prominent feature both encapsulates the change in technology as it too has become replaced by modern counterparts, and also by creating a lasting record of the event, challenging proposed notions that digitisation produces intangible art.

With original art work by Kelvin Green, designed specifically for the project, a panoramic canvas portrays our future waste sites. Littered only by unwanted media that has become passé, undesirable or forgotten; mirroring the space which it adorns.

Now to be honest I'm sort of dreading seeing my art up on the wall for all to see, but on the other hand I'm not sure I'm going to have this kind of opportunity ever again, so I'm staring in any direction other than that of the gift horse.

If you're in the area of the University of Sussex between the third and eighth of June, then do pop in and have a look.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Quickie Film Reviews: Ponyo (2008)

Splash meets The Fifth Element, with a little bit of Coccoon. Beautiful -- and defiantly non-3D non-CGI -- animation, and perhaps the most pleasant post-apocalyptic film I've ever seen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gave Up On Thrones

My problem with A Game of Thrones was that everybody in the A plot was a self-destructive idiot, while the B plot -- the Conan and the Horse Lords stuff -- was dull, which is quite the achievement when one's dealing with rampaging barbarian tribes, mysterious witches and legendary dragons.

The good news about the TV adaptation is that it's very faithful to the book. The bad news about the TV adaptation is that it's very faithful to the book.

Of course, everyone loves it, and a friend of mine posits the cretinous ramblings of the cast as a plus point, saying it's more realistic somehow. No. It's not realistic, rather it's the equivalent of those rubbish slasher movies where teenagers wander off alone to investigate that noise in the cellar. Now I'm quite a fan of the rubbish slasher movie, but this one is running to five hours and counting, and that's pushing it.

In fairness, the TV show does improve on the book in some places. The cast is excellent -- aside from Lena Headey, who does her usual squinty, frowny "I'm trying to remember something really obscure" acting -- and the writers have the benefit of knowing what's coming up in the next few books, so they've gone back and fleshed out some of the characters with that in mind.

They're all still idiots though, and I can't watch any more of them doing incredibly stupid things just so the plot can progress.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Who's Going On?

I can't wait to see what Rol says about last night's Doctor Who; he's made his dislike of Neil Gaiman's work very obvious in the past, but I had very few complaints -- and those minor -- about the episode. In fact, my only real complaint was that the "old" console room was just the previous one, as I would have liked to have seen one of the proper old consoles make a one-off return.

There wasn't much of the metaplot this episode, beyond an obvious reference to River Song, but there were some loose ends and notes that may yet prove significant.

I'm still convinced that the Future Doctor is from a rotten timeline and it's our Doctor who kills him off in order to stop the rot spreading to other realities. I also think that Phill may be on to something with his theory about parallel universes, and not only because it ties in neatly with my own.

Speaking of The Rubbish Pirate Episode, in that story a character went missing between scenes; the general opinion at the time was that this was bad writing, bad editing, and further evidence of Steven Moffat's destruction of the Who franchise. In Gaiman's episode, another -- more prominent this time -- character disappears, and there's a bit of handwaving to explain his absence, so I'm beginning to wonder if there's something going on there. Probably not -- I suspect I'm being something of an apologist -- but watch out for disappearing characters in future episodes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


This is Rol's fault. He's uncovered a wonderful site that can tell you which Marvel comics were on sale the day you were born, and of course I couldn't resist having a look for myself.

It's not a bad month, although the comics on sale the week I was born are not too impressive. That said, there is this:

I'll take that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Do You Take This Police Box

Much of the preview material for "The Doctor's Wife" features a prominent female guest star, and it's clear that the BBC want us to believe that she is the titular spouse. This is going to be a bluff, and the wife referred to in the title will be the TARDIS.

The Doctor's time machine is often referred to with female pronouns, and the TARDIS is the only companion constant enough to be considered a "wife". The message from the other Time Lord is a fake, intended to draw the Doctor to a specific location so that some force can steal his vessel, and I suspect that Amy and Rory will be trapped inside, resulting in a long-awaited explore-the-TARDIS episode.

That's my guess anyway.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

More Moon

"You will bring the silence."

That's what the Silence said to -- a possibly pregnant -- Amy Pond in "Day of the Moon". What did they mean? Is her potential child something to do with them?

Moon River (Song)

Well, it's clear that this year's Doctor Who is going to be all about hints and mysteries. "Day of the Moon" answered some questions, but posed a lot more.

There is certainly a strong suggestion that the Girl in the Spacesuit -- and why did the Doctor decide it wasn't worth chasing after her? I hope this is deliberate, rather than choppy writing, as it was the only duff note in an otherwise strong episode -- is Amy's daughter, if indeed Amy is pregnant, which seems to be uncertain at this stage. The ending of the episode also suggests that the Girl is a Time Lord (!) or at least has a "time head". So, are we to believe that Amy's pregnancy is complicated by the energies of time travel, resulting in a quantum baby and a child with the power to regenerate? Who knows what's going on there.

At one point, Amy refers to Rory "dropping out of the sky" just one episode after River Song uses the exact same words to describe the Doctor. This is probably only to allow Rory to have his comedy misunderstanding regarding Amy's affections, but it's still interesting. Regarding Rory, we had something of an answer this episode to the question of whether he's still an Auton; he certainly remembers his two thousand year vigil outside the Pandorica, which suggests that the Big Cosmic Reset of the previous series did not return him to a fleshy existence.

River seems to have misjudged her relationship with the Doctor, thinking that he should have been intimate with her in his past, when this does not seem to be the case; we might need a flowchart to work this one out.

(On a not-unrelated note, I think I've figured out how River knows the Doctor's secret in "Forest of the Dead"; there's been all sorts of outlandish and elaborate speculation on this point ever since the episode was shown, but I think it may not only be very simple, but also right there in that episode, and it's been overlooked such is its simplicity.)

Speculation will focus on the end of the episode, and the Girl's display of Time Lord abilities, but the most tantalising tidbit for me was the unexpected appearance of a one-eyed woman peering at Amy through what seemed to be some kind of window in reality, and referring to her in the manner of a scientist or doctor. Why is Amy being observed my multidimensional cyclopes, and why do they refer to her as "dreaming"?

My big hope is that Steven Moffat and his writers don't fall into the Lost/X-Files trap and start stringing these mysteries out without a clear plan; from what we've seen from him before, Moffat knows what he's doing, but it's a worry. Still, it was a fun episode, setting up lots of mystery for the coming series, and we've got pirates next!