New beginnings begin with strolling about, strolling about with friends

New beginnings begin by ways of walking.

“And when public space disappears, so does the body, as (…) adequate for getting around.” ( Solnit, Rebecca, Wanderlust, a history of Walking. Verso, 2001, p.72.)

It was, as some Parisians later claimed, a perfect afternoon for a stroll in the Tuileries. Finally managing to escape the oppressive indoor drudgery to which they had been confined for so long, if not the whole of Paris, than certainly a specific political cross-section of the Parisians, welcomed this sunny January afternoon with a ferocity normally reserved for their traditional afternoon apéritif. The Jardin des Tuileries had always been, as it was to remain, a popular resort and few people could resist the temptation to walk past the Jeu de Paume towards the Place de la Concorde to go for a café at the Champs Elysées for although it was sunny, it was till bitterly cold. They could still gaze upon the Tuileries Palace, built by Catharina de Medici in the 16th century, it was not to survive the year 1871 when it was thoroughly plundered and destroyed by the Communards.

But now it stood firm testimony to the power of Kings and Queens over their subjects. A monarchical power that was, in the shape of Napoleon III, making a desperate attempt to survive by transforming an authoritarian Empire into a liberal one, a tactical move, which, as we know, did not succeed and led to the proclamation of the Republic on September 4 1870.

But to the people who strolled on the Champs-Elysées that fateful January afternoon this was still the Second Empire and they made no conscious connection between the amazing spectacle they were about to witness and the political earthquake that lay only a few months ahead.

A few weeks earlier, on January 10 1870, Victor Noire, a journalist from the extreme republican newspaper La Lanterne, was killed by Pierre Bonaparte, the Emperor’s cousin. This event profoundly disturbed the ‘eternal’ conspirator Blanqui whose revolutionary republican activism had earned him a wide range of dedicated followers. He suddenly realised that he only knew his lieutenants personally, and had never actually seen the men they commanded in his name. In effect, he did not even know their exact number.

Desperately wanting to assess the strength of his troops personally, he contacted his aide-de-camp.

The problem was obvious. They could not organise a parade of revolutionaries as if it were a regular military army. The solution, however, was equally obvious. You can hide a parade of revolutionaries in a parade of afternoon strollers.

He said farewell to his sister, put a gun in his pocket and took up his post on the Champs-Elysées. There the parade of the troops of which he was the mysterious general would take place. He knew the officers, now he would see the men they led for the first time, marching past in proud display. Blanqui mustered his troops for inspection without anyonesuspecting anything of what was actually happening. In the crowd that watched this curious display le vieux stood leaning against a tree watching his friends silently approaching in columns. The promenade was momentarily transformed into a parade ground.

In the very act of moving, walking men became marching soldiers.

Marching soldiers only had to drop out of line back into the crowd to be transformed into walking men again and ultimately into afternoon strollers on a sunny January afternoon. The Blanqui parade dispersed as swiftly as it had emerged. The unsuspecting onlookers were left with their bewilderment, in doubt as to what they had actually seen. They had witnessed a powerful manifestation of the existence of an another ‘society’ that had no institutional place in the political organisation of their time.

The covert world represented by the Blanqui parade erupted for a brief moment in the overt world at a time and place when it was least expected. In that brief moment, its presence deliberately unmasked, the covert parade coexisted alongside the overt promenade, and it is hard to tell which was the more real as the physical acts of strolling and marching seemed to blend into an harmonious simultaneity, thus revealing the frightening prospectthat they might be interchangeable.

In the blurring of the boundaries between marching and walking we are made aware of how we are positioned within a field of vision and that we might able to construct meaning through experiencing the transgression itself. At the same time, however, experiencing the transgression strengthens our notions of the very acts themselves, we translate the momentary – the simultaneous blending – into our everyday notions of walking and marching.

In the very moment that we gain the opportunity to make sense, we lose the opportunity to integrate it fully into our own ways of seeing.

To let it stand. On its own.


Solnit, Rebecca, Wanderlust, a history of Walking. Verso, 2001, p .11.

“Wenige Jahre nach Baudelaires Ende krsnte Blanqui seine Laufbahn als Konspirateur durch ein denkwrdiges Meisterstck. Es war nach der Ermordung von Victor Noir. Blanqui wollte sich einen Ýberblick ber seinen Truppenbestand verschaffen. Von Angesicht zu Angesicht kannte er im wesentlichen nur seine Unterfhrer. Wie weit alle in seiner Mannschaft ihn gekannt haben, steht dahin. Er verstSndigte sich mit Granger, seinem adjudanten, der die Anordnungen fr eine Revue der Blanquisten traf. Sie
sagte seinen Schwestern Adieu und bezog seinen Posten in den Champs-Elys?es. Dort sollte nach der Vereinbarung mit Granger das Defilee der Truppen stattfinden, deren geheimnisvoller General Blanqui war. Er kannte die Chefs, er sollte nun hinter ihrer jedem im Gleichschritt, in regelmSssigen Formationen deren Leute an sich vorbeiziehen sehen. Es geschah wie beschlossen war. Blanqui hielt seine Revue ab, ohne dass irgendwer etwas von dem merkwrdigen Schauspiel ahnte. In der Menge und unter den Leuten, die zuschauten wie er selber schaute, stand der Alte an einem Baum gelehnt and sah aufmerksam in Kolonnen seine Freunde herankommen, wie sie stumm unter einem Gemurmel sich nSherten, das durch Zurufe immerfort unterbrochen wurde.'” Benjamin, W., Charles Baudelaire. Ein Lyriker im Zeitalter des Hochkapitalismus in (eds) Tiedemann, R., SchweppenhSuser, H., Walter Benjamin, Gesammelte Schriften I -2, Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp Verlag, 1974, p. 604.

The history of the komuso can be found in: Malm, William P. Japanese Music and Musical instruments. Charles E. Tuttle Company, Rutland Vamont, Tokyo Japan, 1959, pp.153-154.


Reading Bernard Stiegler, difficult guy but

“Mallarmé thought, wrote and poeticised:
For the mediate, without traces, becomes evanescent.”
Now that makes sense to me.
In fact, sort of wakes me.

Katherine says

Hello to CASPIAN members and Supporters:

As I head for the plane to West Palm Beach, Florida this morning to protest the planned micro-chipping of 200 Alzheimer’s patients, I wanted to say a personal thank you to each of you for supporting our efforts.

As you know, we will be gathering in front of the Alzheimer’s Community Care center on Saturday to speak up for the vulnerable people there who have been targeted for injection with VeriChip implants.

For details about our peaceful march and prayer vigil, see:

If you are in Florida, I encourage you to come out and join us. I have organized seven protests since I founded CASPIAN in 1999, and every one has been a completely positive experience. People bring their families, their golden retrievers, and their shared love of freedom, and they leave with the satisfaction that only comes from taking a stand for
what’s right. That’s a lot in this increasingly apathetic world. And it feels great.

Free Studio and Environment events, 12-13 May, Manchester

Bricolabs around!



Sat 12 & Sun 13 May
Futuresonic 2007, Manchester

There is today a grass roots open source movement that is sweeping across Brazil like wild fire and captivating the world’s imagination.

You are invited to a series of talks, informal presentations, films and a workshop coinciding with the initiation of a local Ponto de Cultura (Cultural Hotspot) in Manchester, based on the Brazilian model.

Featuring Claudio Prado (Brazil), the leading figure in the Brazilian movement. He is now in a unique position, working in a very new frontier between government and media activists running the Digital Culture Department of the Ministry of Culture of Brazil. He is the man responsible for Brazil’s involvement in international discussions around digital and open source culture, and all its consequences in IP regulations, cultural production and identity, creative economy and so on. He is also responsible for putting all these concepts into practice, through the Pontos de Cultura project – 600 grassroots cultural centers spread all around the country that receive a digital multimedia production infrastructure and take part in a series of meetings and workshops regarding free and open source software for multimedia production, open licensing, gift economy and similar subjects.

Claudio will be joined by other international open source activists including :
Bronac Ferran (Bricolabs), Cristiano Scabello (Estudio Livre/Brazil), James Wallbank (Access Space/UK), Matthew Edmondson (Open IT Up/UK), Dave Carter (Head of Manchester Digital Development Agency), Vicky Sinclair (Ponto de Cultura – Manchester), Pedro Zaz (, Phil Mayer (, Francesca Bria (Ponto de Cultura- Rome), Dario Biagetti (Cultura Digitale Italia- Italy), Aoife Giles (Photographer from Pontos de Cultura Brazil), MediaShed, UHC.

2pm & 8pm, Saturday 12 May
2pm-4pm Saturday & 12pm-5pm Sunday

We do need to appreciate the ethos of bureaucracy.

We do need to appreciate the ethos of bureaucracy.

We do.


“Economic development depends mainly on the emergence of dedicated, talented, and honest national and regional political leaders.” [27]
And this requires bureaucracy:

“Sustained economic growth requires, everywhere, the accumulation of physical and human capital, as well as the acquisition of technological capabilities. This process does not occur in a historical vacuum, devoid of the influence of powerful social and political factors. Structure, institutions, and policies are critical determinants, as is the availability of qualified technical and administrative personnel.

Indeed, the availability of a highly qualified bureaucracy in both South Korea and Taiwan ˜ and before that in their model country, Japan ˜ was a necessary precondition for achieving rapid economic growth. By contrast, the shortage in SSA (sub-Saharan Africa), of scientific, technical, and administrative skills, such as those of engineers, natural scientists, managers, and technicians, is a key reason why the East Asian “miracle” could not be reproduced there.” [28]

(and that is what’s wrong with sub-Saharian Africa)

Building bureaucracy requires trust:

‘In a report in this week’s issue of the journal Science, Dr. P. Read Montague Jr. and colleagues at the BCM Human Neuroimaging Laboratory and California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., describe where and when trust is formed between two anonymous people interacting via functional magnetic resonance imaging in machines more than 1,500 miles apart. They found that as the interaction continued, the trust response occurred earlier and earlier in the subjects’ interchanges – until a decision about trust occurred even before the latest interaction was completed.’ […] ‘The study was made possible by hyperscanning or hyperscan-fMRI, a breakthrough that allowed Montague and his colleagues to synchronize the scanning of two interacting brains.’ [29]

Trust requires love:

‘In a springtime sort of story, researchers say they’ve used advanced scanning methods to pinpoint the region of the brain where feelings of trust arise.’ .. ‘Turns out those emotions are nestled in the same area as the most powerful springtime feeling of all — love.’ […] ‘“Love is a primitive, basic, emotional affective state,” he said. “So is trust. Trust is something that a child has for its mother or a lover has for a lover.”’ [30]


That is how simple it is.

Love brings trust. Love negotiates trust.

Trust builds relationships. Relationships are embodied in people: middle men. Love builds trust, trust builds bureaucracy. Love builds trust, trust builds boredom.

Three cheers for boredom.

Let’s hear it for some peace and quiet.

Sleeping in the midday sun [31]

Tone it down, now
Tone it down
Tone it



Sleeping in the midday sun and ah don’t you worry, you can walk about in my dream

walk about in my dream now

I will walk us home