topic: human virtuality

50 in New York

ricardo in Time Square...

Something I’ve rabbited on about before is how the world is homogenising – the more I travel, the more it seems to me that everywhere is becoming the same. If this is even true for Sri Lanka, then how much more so is it for travelling between the UK and New York? But before I go into that (I think this is going to become quite a ramble, but hopefully you will forgive me, now […]


Moctezuma meets Cortez

When Cortez first met Moctezuma, the emperor of the Aztecs advanced towards him half-carried by a couple of his relatives, as if he were some fragile invalid. This affectation was one that Moctezuma could allow himself, lord as he was of the conquerors of Central America that, to its inhabitants, was the navel of the Earth and the greater and best part of the world. No doubt this kind of posturing was copied by lesser […]

force majeur

Snow has fallen heavily along the coast of the British Isles – 60cm, perhaps. With our maritime climate, this kind of weather is unusual enough that it has never been worthwhile investing vast resources in proofing our infrastructure against it: but common enough that when it happens it brings chaos. From the midst of this chaos rises the usual outcry: why can’t they do something about it? The same voices would be the first to […]

the vanishing thickness of books

[update: been meaning to put a link to this Robert McCrumb article in the Guardian that seems to agree with my thoughts in this post.] A few days ago I discovered that the book I’m currently working on (working title: Matryoshka) is not in fact a novel, but rather a novella. Initially I was rather dismayed. After some investigation I realized that of course it was a novella – not only because it is going […]

our perception of time

I have just come back from walking my dog to hear someone talking on the radio about a theory he has of the perception of time that sounds essentially the same as one that I have held for a long time. So I thought I may as well put down my thoughts for the record. Some years back I came back from shopping and realized that I had been there and back and could barely […]

orange and teal…

A friend sent me this. I had noticed this kind of thing happening, but had, rather quaintly, put it down to something to do with ‘film stock’, or the use of digital video… Beyond what Todd Miro says, what occurs to me is that this is yet another example of ‘virtualisation’… Before the advent of digital technology, filmmakers were forced to ‘push’ against the media they were working in… as artists in other media had […]

puncturing our reality…

It occurs to me that the recent eruption of (the delightfully difficult to pronounce) Eyjafjallajökul volcano was one of those rare events where the virtual reality that is human culture – and in which most of us live almost all of the time – was punctured. For a moment we broke the surface of virtuality and, coming up into ‘reality’, we all looked at each other puzzled, and confused – not really believing that this […]

who wants to live for ever…?

I used to passionately desire immortality. I would argue its benefits: the ability to experience so much more, to achieve so much more, to produce so much more artistic work. I wanted this so much that I remember getting quite manic reading Raymond Kurzweil who believes that we’re on the verge of being capable of halting ageing – and that, once this is achieved, it would only be a matter of time before rejuvenation became […]

imperfect knowledge…

Nothing is certain, nor should we expect it to be. What can we know about China (for example)? For me, it’s far away. I’ve visited China – but only Hong Kong and Macao. I’ve read about China, but only a couple of dozen books. I have studied T’ai Chi, but only for 10 years, and only one form of it, and dabbled in some others. I have eaten Chinese food and cook it myself. I […]