Posters, patination and performance

ONE SUNNY SATURDAY IN MAY 2003, the majority of citizens in the Czech Republic village of Ponetovice (population approximately three hundred) went shopping at exactly 7 AM and spent ten crowns each on their groceries. They opened their windows at 9, swept their houses at 10, cycled around town at 10:30. At noon they had dumplings with tomato sauce for lunch. At 5 PM they all met up for a beer. And at 10 PM, in a final flourish of civic synchrony, they flipped off their lights and went to sleep.’ On Katerina Seda’s project ‘There is nothing there‘. The ‘rules’ are instructive:

1. There is no limit to the number of players. Recommended age 0-200.
2. All players start to play at the same time.
3. All players do the same thing for the duration of the game.
4. No one is allowed to spoil the game.
5. No one can be eliminated from the game.
6. No one wins and no one loses.
7. All players finish at the same time.

‘”While people in Czech villages feel that everything important goes on in towns, people in Czech towns feel that everything that matters is taking place beyond our borders,” Ms Seda told the BBC [in 2003].’ Generally, our acceptance and participation in such group performative events are shaped and steered by the internet and mobile media, hence the brief flurry of flash mobs back at the turn of the last decade, and their inevitable co-option by advertising. But the print-out on the noticeboard, as used by Seda, has little or no authority in modern society.


It also made us think of David Kerny’s sinister ‘A Day of Killing‘ from 1992. This Guardian article (pdf) from 1992 evokes the chillingly sincere posters, with their banal typesetting and calm statements (‘For the duration of the DAY OF KILLING, it shall be allowed and recommended to kill anyone, anywhere’). Just 18 years on, this raw irony would not, we suspect, go down very well at all. Another thing about Kerny; his 1996 project for the World Trade Center (‘Not realized for technical reasons [sic]’) has distinct parallels with Safdie’s Marina Bay Sands (2010).


More ponderings on patination. In Patina, Provenance, Mass Production, a456 spectulates further on our fleeting comments about ‘signature guitars’ last week, and in particular how there’s an apparent dichotomy within product design between the ‘need’ for objects to elicit emotional response in their use and objects to elicit an emotional response – a desire – that spurs the initial purchase. Patina, it would appear, plays a role only in the former. Patina is the history of use and personalisation, something that is near impossible to create in a new object, hence the application of history and memory as per the SY guitars.


Ninth Letter, an arts journal from Urbana / see also the weblog of things contributor Philip Graham / Perfect Worlds, a games blog / ‘Insane Clown Posse: And God created controversy: America’s nastiest rappers in shocking revelation – they’ve been evangelical Christians all along’. Entertaining Ronson read (“I did think,” I admit, “that fog constitutes quite a low threshold for miracles.”) / find articles and return to them easily with Instapaper.


A city has many faces, beautiful urbanism tumblr / why does it take so long to mend an escalator? (‘There are 409 escalators on the London Underground. At present about 95 per cent of them are operational at any one time’) / The Morrisons’ anti-Eames / Wooden Giants, by Postler Ferguson (via Swiss Cheese).

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