Things I have read of late
What I’ve been looking at of late…

What I’ve been looking at of late…

Speculative Realism and Science Fiction by Brian Willems

Finally, I get it. I think so anyway. This book is currently changing my heed, into a marginally more understanding heed. And an excited heed. Thank you Brian Willems for using the right tools for this geek. And thanks too to Rob Churm for programming a talk by Brian into the Old Hair Programme as part of GI 2018. 

Do yourself a favour and buy Speculative Realism and Science Fiction by Brian Willems.

Alchemists and alchemical-like types…

…seem to spring up everywhere when you start looking – all part of its symbolic mutability and what not. This week I have mostly been watching & reading, with Eggs and Aliens for The Curios Society as the excuse…

The Holy Mountain, The Colour of Pomegranates, El Topo, Picnic at Hanging Rock, A Dream Within A Dream, Get Out, Possession, Arrival, The Story of Your Life, Memoirs of a Spacewoman, Blade Runner 2049 (again) & The Exterminating Angel. A mixed bag, I think you can agree. What can I say? I’m a nibbler and a picker at the black, white and red buffet…


A summer comes to an end…

…and, bar a research trip to Carradale, thoughts must, inevitably, turn to the education of others. This summer I’ve not watched much, but I have read things. Here they are. A Naomi Mitchison obsession develops. Walter Tevis’ Mockingbird turns out to be wonderful. Ballard – no more required. Love, communication and rabbits all on the bill. No Wodehouse, what?       


Some Press about Peter

Three mentions of Peter, and some ‘professor’…

ITV News, 


Outer Places 12 June 2017

and not forgetting

Cumbrian Crack (really) 26 May 2017

Peter (Screen Shot) Digital film 29:55, 2014, Jane Topping.

Peter (Screen Shot) Digital film, 30 minutes

Wasting Time on the Internet

Reading Wasting Time on the Internet by Kenneth Goldsmith this week, and planning workshops to test the resolve of the most share-hungry student…

Oh, and I’m also wasting time on the internet.


Here’s the real reason Curtis’ latest was so depressing:

BBC as Echo Chamber – thanks Torsten. And yet there’s a huge problem with Robin’s critique and that’s the presumption that Curtis believes what he makes his narrator say. No one can believe that. No one, anywhere, ever.

And is it so wrong to want certainties? Time to re-watch The Century of the Self…

Screen shot - Hypernormalisation, 2016

Screen shot – Hypernormalisation, 2016

Hito Steyerl – Politics of Post-Representation

This is good: Hito Steyerl – Politics of Post-Representation



Words – in pictures

Here’s what I’ve been reading, in no particular order.


Consumed – David Cronenberg

Thinking about my work this week, I realise that Cronenberg’s Consumed (2014), his first novel, is actually kinda pivotal. Two lovers connecting via Skype, the cannibalism of a French philosopher, gadget (camera) obsession, 3D printer recreation of the body via email instructions, Kim Jong-un.

See what I mean? No wonder I’m making Screen Used.

Sure, you could call it sub-Ballardian, but it’s just what he’s into, right?

Buy it here (or I got it for £3 in Fopp). Review here.


“Well, yes,when you no longer have any desire, you are dead. Even desire for a product, a consumer item, is better than no desire at all. Desire for a camera, for instance, even a cheap one, a tawdry one, is enough to keep death at bay.”

‘Was the iPhone a malevolent protean organism, the stem-cell phone, mocking him who had cameras with real physical shutters whose sound you couldn’t turn off?’

“We’re all photojournalists now. It’s no longer enough just to write.”

“That’s why we say that the only authentic literature of the modern era is the owner’s manual.” […] “Auto-flash without red-eye reduction. Set this mode for taking pictures without people, or if you want to shoot right away without the red-eye function.” She laughed that rich, husky laugh, and repeated, this time with great drama, “Set this mode for taking pictures without people.” A shake of the head, eyes now closed to fully feel the richness of the words. “What author of the past century has produced more provocative and poignant writing than that?”