101 Words – 094

In a few days we’ll be driving back along the R24 to O. R. Tambo. Taking that same road in towards Johannesburg a few weeks ago, and looking at the Linksfield Ridge as we turned north at Gillooly’s, got me thinking of Ivan Vladislavić’s Double Negative and the story that unfolds across the valley to the south of that spine after a trip up Langermanskop. Photography (the book has a preface by Teju Cole), memory, and social perspectives are central themes in this novel that was written to accompany TJ – the probing pictorial history of Johannesburg documented in David Goldblatt’s photographs.

101 Words – 091

We drive to an upmarket shopping mall this morning to pick up something. A quick stopover – end up parking in a somewhat dark corner of the parking garage. A group of employees from some supermarket or chain store (they’re all wearing uniforms) file out of a side door and, using bits of cardboard to protect their uniforms, seat themselves on the low concrete curb just a few centimeters in front of the parked cars. They proceed to enjoy their mid-morning break conversing, drinking tea, passing things to eat between themselves, and staring into the half-darkness of the parking garage.

101 Words – 083

Twitter can be weird, and not necessarily in a Weird Twitter way. I gain six Japanese followers overnight. Accounts created years ago, hardly any followers, hardly any tweets. Lists about gaining followers – OK, that’s what that’s about.

@shionruka though has two tweets. The last, dated 21 March 2011, translated:

Is no harm? So what harm comes out of? I still have the health harms(;one _ one) said just the amount of radiation that is radioactive material? Correct to 0.00001 also inhaled, after exposure to body damage my life and heard me!

Suddenly in the middle of a story there.

Accounts hijacked?

101 Words – 048

I’m amazed at the fascination books and screens hold for our not-quite-yet-four-month-old daughter. I never imagined that it would start so soon. Her fine little fingers couldn’t be held back from the screen of my iPhone this morning and produced the following string of emojis:


My wife and I are celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary today and it’s easy to read various bits of the story of our relationship into those small pictures – I guess that’s part of what’s so great about them. A little private picture novel even though the meaning is just between us.

101 Words – 041

Sometime in 2001, still living in The Hague, I went over to visit composer friend Claudio Baroni in his one room apartment, where he introduced me to Matmos’ A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure. Shortly after that I participated in a composer/choreographer workshop, building a piece (with the woman later to become my wife) largely inspired by that CD: Sounds and “the human body.” I think it was also Claudio that introduced me to Robert Ashley – The Backyard which became part of Perfect Lives, his television opera, another favourite. Matmos just performed it at Ultima in Norway.

101 Words – 026

Dan Eden is a designer with a few side projects. Digital Ruin is one of them. Small moments of drama, one can’t really call them stories, communicated through what has perhaps become the number one means of communication in our age – text messaging.*

This one is my favourite. Since looking at it I now actually see that little indicator every time I open up iMessage. This one’s quite poignant too.

*We once thought that it would be videophones that were the future, writes Warren Ellis. Who would have guessed that it would turn out to be something closer to a telegram?

101 Words – 025

I woke up this morning with the idea that today’s 101 words should be a story – of the literary kind. Thinking of the character that might be introduced, while at the same time scolling through my unread Pinboard bookmarks, I came across Dictionary Stories.

Dictionary sories are short stories assembled entirely from example sentences found in the New Oxford American Dictionary. If you’re using an Apple device that’s what will pop up when you select a word and ask for it to be defined.

Here’s Hunter – if one disregards the title it turns out to be exactly 101 words in length.

101 Words – 012

Many years ago, while living in The Hague, I would walk across the roof of my apartment to visit my neighbour Mendel Hardeman. Mendel began by studying music but ended up making films. Together with his partner Susanne Dick he spent seven years making The Sea of Pilgrim Antonio. It’s a documentary telling the story of a utopian community in a remote drought-ridden region of Brazil – its founder, and his followers, killed by the Brazilian army, leaving a prophecy that the dry wilderness of the Sertão would one day become a sea – a prophecy that showed itself to be true.

101 Words – 010

This afternoon I stopped on the bridge to make a quick sketch of the tracks that I pass each day on my way to work and back. My father-in-law stood on that same bridge as a child waiting for the steam trains to pass and envelop him in smoke. There’s still some kind of charm in those old machines, there’s one that passes close to our apartment each Sunday sounding the most beautiful whistle. All I was treated to on the bridge though were pungent diesel fumes.

In the foliage beside the tracks police with dogs searching for something.

101 Words – 009

My favourite discovery looking through contributions to the TGD/Elle Luna 100-Day Project, has been Enrique BarriosFaces from El Paso. Drawn on matchbooks photographed against the background of the various tables on which they have been sketched, they also include short stories in which the (often tragic) semi-fictional destinies of the characters portrayed are told.

Barrios describes the time-out of making these daily drawings as his “little mental yoga”. That reminds me of Luis Mendo: “You find yourself more in the moment, closer to yourself, more relaxed and less anxious, much happier than before you started drawing”.