The Phantom Museum

2003 Quay Brothers AnimateTV 11’18” Sir Henry Wellcome (1853–1936) amassed one of the world’s largest museum collections ever to capture human culture and history through medical eyes. The Phantom Museum uses animation to ‘document’ imaginatively this extraordinary assemblage and simultaneously reveal an extremely beautiful yet odd inner cosmos of things.

Hollis Frampton

'Poetic Justice' (1972)

Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener

Prelude, pg. VII-VIII David Toop, Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener, 2010 

'Silent screams and deafening whispers'

With works by Leif Elggren, Lars Cuzner, Steven Cuzner, Sam Ashley

An evening dedicated to the phenomenon of ‘the silent voice’, a voice that manifests itself in a register beyond the acoustically measurable. The event will invite a number of guests, each one presenting a new location from which to call forth this voice. One finds it amidst the grooves of a copper engraving, where it for four hundred years has been laying in wait. For another one it is the voice of a missing brother, speaking to him from a place beyond. A third one lets the long gone voice of a dead gold digger enter his body and use his tongue to relate a series of events taking place during the California Gold Rush.

Der Siebente Kontinent (The Seventh Continent)

Michael Haneke 1989

Inside the Mundaneum, by Molly Springfield

…[Paul] Otlet’s creation of the Mundaneum is one of those rare, transformative moments in history—a point when some visionary fundamentally reimagines the way we organize, reproduce, and experience information. In the preceding centuries, others had envisioned memory theaters, curiosity cabinets, and various classification systems to collect and organize cultural artifacts. But Otlet’s vision was focused on pure information, not objects, and was distinguished by its universality and its emphasis on establishing the connections between bodies of knowledge, thus providing a blueprint for today’s Internet…

As the UDC’s classification tables and card catalogs grew, so did Otlet’s ambitions. He began to see the Mundaneum “as an encyclopedic survey of human knowledge, as an enormous intellectual warehouse of books, documents, catalogs, and scientific objects” that would “tend progressively to constitute a permanent and complete representation of the entire world.” The archive would become the center of a utopian “city of the intellect,” where all the world’s knowledge would be collected and preserved, and where the free exchange of information and ideas would foster world peace…

all knowledge, all information could be so condensed that it could be contained in a limited number of works placed on a desk.… The Universal Book created from all books would become very approximately an annex to the brain, a substratum even of memory, an external mechanism and instrument of the mind but so close to it, so apt to its use that it would truly be a sort of appended organ, an exodermic appendage.

Complete essay here

The Tale of the Big Computer, by Anna Lundh

….It was in the very distant past that the first computer appeared, and with it dawned a new era of which the main events form the subject of this account. Despite one appalling disaster, this period of history is dominated by a fantastic evolution which transformed the primitive pre-computer communities and welded them into the perfectly integrated and organized society of today.

The future historian begins in the past, with the formation of Earth and the origin of life. Biological evolution is here a mere detour through the human race, necessary to construct the first computer.

Our poets, especially those commonly called mystics, tend to regard the period immediately succeeding the formation of the Earth as a mighty effort on the part of nature to engender computers directly, without the help of any intermediary. They are alluding to the geological processes which crystallized out many of the substances of which a data machine consists. But the task of bringing forth computers from sterile soil proved too difficult. The tectonic forces which created mountains and differentiated minerals could not produce anything as subtle and complex as a computer. For this a lengthy, troublesome detour was required, and the greatest of all tasks had to be completed step by step.

The chronicler describes how early computers facilitated mathematical calculations that gradually led to the automation of all areas of society. First came inventions such as the Teletotal, a combination of “automatic telephone,” radio, and TV. Then came the Minitotal, worn as a wristwatch and in constant radio contact with the Central Computer, where all information was stored. Finally came the Neurototal, a tiny unit inserted surgically into a nerve channel, enabling direct contact between the nervous system and the computer system, intimately connecting everybody to one another and to the all-encompassing computer network.

For a time, all seemed to be functioning well, as most societal functions were now run by computers. However, the power struggles of human bureaucrats did not decrease. Human brain capacity was insufficient to analyze and organize the complex and rapidly progressing society. Additionally, there was always the imminent risk of human error: An imperceptible mistake could cause a devastating chain reaction. And this was exactly what happened.

Suddenly, there was a blackout, all at once, worldwide. The computers lost their power supply, and society became paralyzed. Nobody knew how infrastructure functioned—for food, water, electricity; everything was beyond human control. Most people died in this great disaster (though nature got a respite from exploitation).

The few who survived had to start again from scratch. By finding clues in archives and museums, they were able to re-create society’s entire cultural development. But they saw that safeguarding against similar disasters was an absolute necessity. The safest thing would be to not involve people in the most important functions of society.

The computers gained the ability to repair and replicate themselves, and eventually they solved all society’s problems in the most logical manner. The book ends in the narrator’s present time. Supercomputers are busy analyzing whether or not humans should be retained—for nostalgic reasons, or as a back-up in the event of another disaster. If it was not obvious before, it is now: The narrator “himself” is a computer…

Complete essay here

Picnic at Hanging Rock (film still)
1975 Peter Weir

Picnic at Hanging Rock (film still)

1975 Peter Weir

digital collage for David Brett (study) 2012

digital collage for David Brett (study) 2012

digital collage for David Brett (study) 2013

digital collage for David Brett (study) 2013


The first ever photographs of lightning shot by amateur photographer William N. Jennings between 1885 and 1890

(Source: likeafieldmouse, via thinkingimages)

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Interview with Gregor Schneider from 2012 about Basement Kellar Haus u r (1985-2012) at Art Gallery of NSW

Interview with Gregor Schneider from 2012 about Basement Kellar Haus u r (1985-2012) at Art Gallery of NSW