The Null Device


Santiago Sierra is an artist who specialises in winding up the art world and using the medium of "art" to criticise the world we live in. As previous works, he has hired labourers to masturbate or to blockade galleries, recorded street riots in Argentina and distributed CDs to gallery patrons with instructions to play them out loud, and most recently, invited patrons to a gallery opening where the gallery was blocked off:

Last month, a steady stream of them turned up to the opening of the £500,000 extension to the Lisson Gallery in London, expecting canapes and cocktails. Imagine their frustration at being confronted by a sheet of corrugated iron across the entrance. "It was as though they were saying: 'Just get me inside and give me a drink. That's what I've come for.'" So the invitees weren't so much frustrated at being deprived of an aesthetic experience, but angry because they couldn't get inside for champagne and nibbles? "Obviously," says Sierra. "I mean, there were 10 other openings in town that night. And the aesthetic experience was right in front of them. The corrugated sheet was beautifully made. They just weren't ready to look at it."

Now that's what art is about, I think; more so than pretty landscapes, portraits of sportsmen and prime ministers and safe, bourgeois decorative objects. More in the realm of conceptual terrorism.

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This coming Sunday has been declared a day of mourning for the Bali victims. At least they're keeping this secular around here; none of this "national day of prayer" mumbo-jumbo, and no snide implications that secularism is a moral deficiency and atheists are borderline sociopaths who do not belong in society.


Aardman Animations have created 10 new Wallace & Gromit shorts, titled Cracking Contraptions. As you can imagine, expect zany inventions and general garden-shed/teacozy Englishness all round. And the first one, Soccamatic can be downloaded from the BBC. (It's Quicktime, and not some poxy DRM format either.)

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A former spy claims that Anthony Burgess' most famous novel, A Clockwork Orange was inspired by his work with the CIA; the "Ludovico technique", and the use of images to trigger emotional responses for Skinnerian conditioning, was based on top-secret trials of a mind-control technique, and the Russian-based slang used by Alex and his droogs comes from Burgess' dealing with secret agents. Apparently the location of Fort Bliss, a US military base used in mind-control research, is encoded fnord in writing on Alex's bedroom wall. (via Unknown News)

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