Thursday, October 23, 2008

intercostal clavicle

My mother is visiting Berlin. I've been preparing my apartment to sublet. Much running about. The second day of my mother's visit I was putting coal in the stove when the doorbell rang. It was the Post. A Pakett. I sign for it, tear it open - it's my intercostal clavicle! Well, OK, not really. It's Deepayan Sarkar's Lattice: Multivariate Data Visualization with R! I did not have the nerve to try to blag a review copy off Springer, given my bad habit of putting reviews in the drafts folder, so I ordered one online and now it is here. Have been getting my mother up to speed with e-mail and downloading new packages for R. Was reading Andrew Gelman's splendid Red State Blue State Rich State Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do before I went to Oxford and then got caught up in preparations to sublet / see mother and suddenly realised I was unlikely to write about it before the election, which is appalling but can't be helped, so I point readers shamefacedly to AG's blog...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

when is a hand-out not a hand-out

Currently waging a war against administration as the University have decided to ban students from accessing online resources until their fees are paid. One of my current courses has 120 students and is run entirely via 'e-learning' (whatever the hell that is). Basically, we can't use paper hand-outs, and all resources are on the intranet. Mmmm, lovely. However, given that a fair proportion of students are unable to pay their fees because their local authority has a backlog of loan payments, this means large sections of the class can't access the materials, or the exercises they are supposed to complete each week. It's as if the 'old-fashioned' lecturer with photocopies were to have intimate financial knowledge of their students and, on this basis, refuse to give copies to people in their class. It's immoral, and stupid, and cataclysmically time-consuming as I seek to find a way to get the oh-so-supposedly-bleeding-edge-of-technology materials to oh-so-old-skool-boringly-anxious students who are being punished for something that isn't their fault.

Infinite Thought

Friday, October 10, 2008


Before calling Luc, Pierre and I had talked about the place of silence, and more generally the question of time, in interviews and in their transcriptions. I told Pierre about my meeting with Hans Georg Gadamer a few years earlier. He was 101 years old, and he dozed off during the interview. For a few minutes I watched him sleep, without turnng the tape off. Later, Gadamer talked to me about the importance of silence in conversation, and about the impossibility of recording silence in a transcription.

The Tale of the One Thousand Signs, Hans Ulrich Obrist : Pierre Huyghe (Parkett 66 2002)