Weekly Expeditions of Spirit
Road-trip notes on perceptual cross-modality, thinking with the unthinkable, revenge of nature, knowing how not to, synaesthetic epistemology, the temperature of truth and bullshit, limits of worldly ambitions, sinister coincidence, hit song science, one-night stands, and more...
Monday | August 2nd — 2021

On Music as Danger

Claude Debussy was once asked what he would like to be if not himself – by then a composer a few years away from the pinnacle of his fame. "A sailor," he replied. His La Mer (1905) stands out as the greatest orchestral seascape of all time, an absolute masterpiece of musical impressionism, a dazzling mélange of sounds and emotions forged by the creative alchemy of his singular genius. It did not trouble Debussy that he had never come into real contact with the sea. This fact pops up from the book called Language of the Spirit. See, the sea as he imagined it was all that mattered to Debussy. Likewise, it did not in the least bother Edgar Degas who, I learn, was painting dance classes for years without ever having seen one.

But then, in this one other book titled Debussy: La Mer, you find that the impressionist did in fact get a real sense of it, once. It was when the sailboat transporting him got caught in the horrendous storm. "There was a cloudburst overhead and, in the midst of freezing rain, the boat was tossed about like a rag caught in the wind." Everyone on board was sick and felt miserable – the crew and passengers alike. That is, all except Debussy alone who was thoroughly enjoying himself at this unexpected turn of his short sea voyage. It is just that in so doing, he was also driving the chief boatman completely nuts.

The old sea dog got it into his head, not unreasonably, that his passenger's delight, physical all too physical, boded deadly danger to everyone on board. He tried to suppress the potentially perilous "sensations fortes" by cursing the living crap out of the composer, as if knowing exactly in what way, shape, and form that danger would come crashing upon them. The maestro could not help it: "It is something I have never felt – the sensation of danger! It is not unpleasant at all. You feel alive!"
Wednesday | June 9th — 2021

Sound Unbound

Some leftfield vibes for what feels like Wednesday... From the Life in the Basement series. At B31 I Schloss Beesenstedt.
Saturday | July 3th — 2021

On Perceptual Cross-Modality

What follows is not exactly what we mean by perceptual cross-modality, union of the senses and synaesthetic potentiality of music – the notions that underpin our new endeavor. Very close in some basic theoretical respects, though – with the subtraction of steroids, as it were.

Sept. 9, 1967: At the Electric Circus discotheque on St. Mark's Place in Manhattan. Club-goers are subjected to "the technique of multimedia, a jarring combination of stimuli – sounds, lights, colors, smells and moving images", the way of "reaching audiences by a supersaturated attack on all the senses, not just eye or ear." Back in the days, as relayed in The Lively Morgue blog, this technique was increasingly being used to liven everything from business presentations to museum exhibitions: "In our daydreams, we approach every project with 'how many senses can we involve?' The better we can control everything – light, sound, temperature, humidity – the better we like it."
Monday | July 5th — 2021

On Proper Naming

Calling things by their proper names... Hawks do not have wings, legs, claws. They have sails, arms, pounces. I did not know.

It turns also that tomatoes, apples, eggplants, and avocados are botanically classified as berries. And the popular strawberry is not a berry at all. And then: a pack of wolves, a murder of crows, an ostentation of peacocks, a parliament of owls, a knot of frogs, and a skulk of foxes, a school of fish...
Saturday | April 24th — 2021

On Political, Social, and Cultural Theory

These are absolutely the best series of lectures on Political, Social and Cultural Criticism and Theory: Lyotard, Barthes, Foucault, Gadamer, The Frankfurt School, Heidegger, Bergson, Husserl, and Freud. By my all-time fav professor Michael Sugrue. Recorded in the early '90s. Nice catch!

Freud and Philosophy
Husserl: Phenomenology and the Life-World
Bergson: Elan Vital and Vitalism
Heidegger: Being and Time
The Frankfurt School
Gadamer: Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences
Barthes: Semiotics and the Revolt Against Structuralism
Foucault: Power, Knowledge, and Post-structuralism
Jean-Francois Lyotard: The Post-modern Condition
Conclusion on the Series
Monday | July 19th — 2021

On Full Circling

On behalf of our true visionaries, Dick Branson and Jeff Bezos, whose status of head honchos in charge of the world to be "built back better" is supported by the sheer fact of their illustrious success in the world of Old Normal, I want to thank you all for all your genuine and as much strenuous effort over the years taking care of the planet, leaving no plastic cap behind. Thank you for all that self-inflicted pain when you opt for poorly air-conditioned public transportation in order to cut on toxic emissions. Please, in the names of our supersonic betters, keep limping on that honorable path for at least another year or two so that with your 100% organic sweat globally combined we can partly compensate for this noxious fart fired from the triumphant butthole of our shiny phallic Virgin. And then again – full circle. God bless you!
Wednesday | April 21th — 2021

On Heroes and Leaders

Reading it: "What, then, is the leader, the masterful man of power? Robespierre – the sickly, shy, sentimental pedant, the most unassuming, good-natured, and tractable of mortals in private life – represents one of the bloodiest of them... in the first degree responsible for that horror perpetrated in the name of freedom and equality... A man of books and theories, who dreamed of Rousseau's Arcadian state of humanity, thinking that with a couple of dozen guillotines he could bring humankind to virtue, simplicity and selfless altruism transforming rococo France into an abstract, ideal habitat..." — The Psychology of Men of Genius: Heroes and Leaders. Book by Ernst Kretschmer. 1931.
SUNday | July 18th — 2021

On 432Hz of Nonsense

"Orpheus, the god of music, death, and rebirth... His instruments were tuned at 432Hz."

Good heavens! Zeus the Almighty! How on earth would they figure this out? It can't be that uncle Hertz himself has confided this divine technical number to them on his deathbed in 1894. The physicist was not that senile, wrecked in his mind so much at the age of 36 when he died. I sense instead that something is conceptually wrong with that Miracle-Tone Downtempo, Love-Frequency Trip House, Aura-Cleansing Phlegmabeat, Ultra-Positive Dreamflow scene... Or how you call it these days? If you know what I mean...

For all the 432Hzers out there... Get real, seriously. There is good music and... not so good, the whole swamp of it. Certainly, it's largely all in your head. So go ahead tune in to some commercial station. Play a hit that instantly strikes you as utter rubbish. Then snap-switch it to 432 cycles per second. You'll find, just as instantly, that transposing the key pitch on that junk down 1/3 of a half step flat from A=440Hz does not convert it into a wholesome authentic gem. Nor does it turn you into a beaming masterpiece of humankind. Tweaked, that nonsense gets you nowhere farther on the path of becoming. It is simply because good music is not just about the pitch.

There are thousands of other things to consider and their myriad relationships – the interplay of all elements and how they cohere. On 432, the dung may sound a tad different for a while, if noticeably at all, but it most definitely will not "sync you with the 'heartbeat of the universe', heighten your perception, unlock your intuition, boost your creativity, and raise your consciousness". Stop kidding yourselves. This is not how it works. No shortcuts to good music. No shortcuts to enlightenment, either. Only to more stupidity.
Sunday | November 4th — 2019

The Way of Noble Savage

It's about how, while roaming pointlessly around, your true purpose finds you in the end. Tbilisi, Georgia.
Sunday | July 4th — 2021

Thou shalt not Cannibalize

Oct. 9, 1972: "Everyone seems afraid of meeting a pervert. Or perhaps of being thought of as one..." Times Square in New York City at its seediest. A symbol of the Apple: "what happens there is symptomatic of the whole".

What is happening there, I gather, is nothing particularly anomalous these days of total surveillance and discipline. Hardly anything weird worth reporting – for better or worse. To a measure of anarchistic regret, the square is no longer the "sleaziest block in America". The "bottomless sexual sewer" of spontaneous sociality – crude bacchanalian as it might be, yet deserving a room – has been sanitized through and through into a safe and sleek shopping destination. It's been the case since around the noughties, the zero decade. The seediness as depicted was still there in the early 90s. Some of it anyway and I remember it well. Though my memories are those of an occasional pedestrian – of the kind, most certainly, not absolutely aloof from its grotesque thick and sticky reality when passing by.

The photo appeared in the New York Times, featured in an article titled "A Look Through a Solemn Sodom". Despite the header, which manifests a value judgment with some uneasy religious overtones (most likely that of an editor), the piece is, in fact, a prime exemplar of impartial journalism, executed in the exact same dry neutral manner as the day's front-page lead story on the progress of Kissinger's Vietnam negotiations in Paris – although commanding four times as much space in the issue.

This is about how much more interesting this article is, too – for one thing, content-wise, given the topic; for another, with regards to its style as noted. Intentional or otherwise, the withdrawal of personal rhetorical expressivity from the sultry "human-interest" story – steamy as it gets on the pages of "The News Fit to Print" in 1972 – somehow returns this expressivity into the narrative multiplied. The stylistic limitations of objective reporting, abstention from speculation in favor of raw facticity, the staccato pace of paratactic sentences… all these constraints shape it into a powerfully evocative literary masterpiece. Almost.

And it is not entirely bereft of valuable didactic insights – with some illegitimate reshuffling and juxtapositioning, yet justifiable:

"Tickets to most dirty movies cost $3. There are also peep shows, flickering reels of one minute, which costs only 25 cents. They are both soft and hardcore. The king of the peep show business in New York is Martin Hodas, who has a beard and a deep voice. The voice is made for shouting: 'A pogrom! A pogrom, this pogrom for $4,000, $5,000 gross a week, a net of $1,000 ... This year I don't think I'll make $40,000* … The aim is not to make money. The aim is to not dilute the service."

On this "no dilution" high-pitch note, genuine or not... It blows my mind pondering how in so distant 1972 this ostensibly sleazy king of peep show biz in New York could hack into and read our innocent minds in 2019, if not verbatim. It is when, far away across the world, we were busy nurturing our Noble Savage, feeding the newborn with all the right nutrients necessary for its growth, but not the kind of growth that would "cannibalize" the concept in the process, as buddy Till Harter would figuratively put it.

* $40,000 is equivalent to $278,000 in purchasing power these days.
Monday | July 12th — 2021

On Thinking with the Unthinkable

Thinking "outside the box" may quite literally mean thinking with some part of the body other than your head. Perhaps with the most unthinkable one – for maximum cognitive divergence, as it were. This, of course, preliminarily requires a rather rigorous intellectual pumping for your bum to kick start it in a new and so promising epistemological direction: "Limbs were never made with specific functions in mind: hands were not made for grasping, eyes were not made for seeing; legs were not made for walking. 'In fact, nothing in our bodies was born in order that we might be able to use it, but the thing born creates the use. There was no seeing before eyes were born, no talking before the tongue was created... All the limbs existed before their use. They cannot, therefore, have grown for the sake of being used." (Lucretius, De Rerum Natura).
Friday | July 2nd — 2021

On the Revenge of Nature

I would guess that structural failures have something to do with architectural blunders, poor engineering. But this Energy Secretary suggests "climate crisis may have played a role in Miami condo collapse."

Right! What do I know? Politicians to whom we have outsourced our thinking always know better. The structural integrity of apartment buildings is what they study in law schools, perhaps – along with virology and epidemiology. Amazing though, if it's true, how the global climate change is so precise, leaving the rest of the neighborhood, city, country, and the world at large more or less intact. More precise than precision bombing.

One may imagine this is precisely how nature takes revenge on the human race for the continent-wide deforestation (ten million hectares per year), ocean-deep water pollution (eight million metric tons of plastic annually), and other global-scope assaults – needle-pointedly, in the manner of a virtuoso acupuncturist. Our sharp politicians have figured this out on spot. Hence, no need for a mass evacuation from the surrounding area. It is simply inconceivable that the global climate crisis might in a second play its retaliatory role next block and all around.
Saturday | April 17th — 2021

On New Complexity: Music

The hour I discovered the New Complexity music. The 61,000-light-year-long stretch of insufferable transgalactic apathy has finally paid back. In one single 10 minute installment. Brian Ferneyhough: String Quartet №2.

What's wrong with all these people in the comments?

— When Beethoven discovers cocaine.
— Chuck Norris plays this all alone.
— I hope all those instruments are over 18.
— Played this to my plants. They died.
— Play this at my funeral, please!
— The 2nd violin missed a demi-semi quaver at 6:12. It took me right out of the moment.
— This is like throwing a hundred matches on the ground and then writing instructions for how to reproduce the configuration.
— Just imagine having a neighbor that is practicing this piece.
— Thank you for the notations. Very useful.
— I'll be humming this all week!
— When sinners die, they join the orchestra that plays this.
— Shouldn't there be an atomic bomb going off to this?
Tuesday | April 13th — 2021

On the Ideas Worth Spreading

I cannot recall a TED thing that I enjoyed as much as this episode. Dr. Kary Mullis can boast of a fair volume of the "ideas worth spreading"... starting with the PCR test that he has invented and for which he has received a Nobel Prize in chemistry – the polymerase chain reaction process which appears to have been hijacked and grossly misused these days (you get the drift reading comments to the video). Instead, he sets out recounting his early childhood triumphs in the field of outer space exploration, blasting a handmade rocket into the air, with a frog in it to stay ahead of the game against the Soviets. Sheer genius. R.I.P.
Sunday | June 20th — 2021

On Knowing How Not to

I knew it was coming. The gig was canceled moments before the opening – busted by the municipal authorities. So we took some residual action in a small pack to the roof with a boombox.

A few sensible suggestions for local organizers in the times of uncertainty and extra precaution: Scale your gigs down, deglamorize, shift to the periphery, into the open (it's Summer, after all, 30°C), off the radar, or at least, gee, why flash the events promoting them for weeks with the wall-sized LED screens on the facades of shopping malls, illuminating the major public squares in the capital. Some 20 bucks to target-boost the message to past participants and to defined interests with social media algorithms would do the trick and much better. Besides, at least some names and faces (those with principled underground affiliations) look a bit unexpected, if not downright weird on such displays – both in terms of luminosity, sizewise, and conceptually. "Socks and stockings at affordable prices"...
Thursday | March 4th — 2021

On Perpetual Moment

Note well, Schloss Beesenstedt is what may easily be the oldest clubhouse in the world... Certainly so in its conceptual league. Originally conceived and built in the imperial times of Kaiser Wilhelm II as a palatial residence and to serve as Maison de Plaisance, a retreat for the culturally inclined, this flamboyant four-storeyed 5,000m2 piece of Neo-Renaissance architecture towering over vast open fields has seen it all.

Over the course of a century and a half, it has been through thick and thin, the vicissitudes of fortune and misfortune. Yet, it has always managed – somehow miraculously – to withstand the permutations of history and preserve its core identity as a gathering place where tour guides leave off and the real socio-cultural adventure begins.
A silent ode to a lot of things said and done under its sub rosa roof (including the instances of mental extravagance bordering on insanity and behavior that outstrips the modesty of nature), today it only looks dead. In fact, with the whole world on hold, Schloss Beesenstedt has hardly ever been more alive – in spirit. In anticipation of better days ahead, it has been breathing with all the optimism there is in the hazy orb of human will and reason; and pulsating with all the energy that has been accumulating in the atmosphere since a year ago.

We are taking the current circumstances as a perfect opportunity to revamp the structures, refurbish the interiors, and reclaim the spaces that have been dormant in disrepair for decades. It is also the time to reinvent the concept without losing its original raison d'etre concerned, in short, with the purpose of propagating a certain aesthetically inclined empathetic sociality. In other words, there is plenty of life down in the basement, and here is some new music to it. Stay tuned.
Thursday | July 8th — 2021

On Synaesthetic Epistemology

A compact and lucid recapitulation of Nietzsche's vision for new humanity based on the pre-modern concept of human experience and knowledge. The world of the ancient Greeks is the axis about which so much of his philosophy revolves. This is the origin of his synaesthetic conception of sense experience, according to which every sense is not just seriously considered as a medium for acquiring knowledge (against the claim that only reason qualifies for that task) but also hardwired with other senses comprising one sensory bundle, an aggregate sense.
Monday | July 12th — 2021

On Non-Physical Substance

The age-old mind vs. body problem is close to being solved. It has taken a while since René Descartes first formulated this distinction. Once considered separate from the body, a nonphysical substance, the mind gradually coalesces with the body or ceases as a meaningful category altogether. Its functions are being outsourced to – or, rather, being appropriated by – patented apps and gadgets. They already know us much, much better than we know ourselves; do so much of the observing, thinking, and choosing for us.
Saturday | January 9th — 2021

On the Temperature of Truth and Bullshit

"When we lie, the temperature of the tip of the nose drops up to 1.2C, while the forehead heats up up to 1.5C... One has to think in order to lie, which rises the temperature of the forehead.."

Good gracious! What kind of freedom is this if we can no longer afford falsehood – rosy pictures, noble lies or otherwise, including all kinds of self-deception, our fantasies that regulate our action in most if not all cases; and drive us toward "achievements" as we imagine them, reaching the fictitious heights usually at the expense of something else in life – that is to say, failing miserably in other domains of pseudo-becoming. How practical is it knowing and reminding ourselves constantly that we are all mortal, for instance? That all our achievements are but farts in the cosmological order of things – this kind of radical candor. What's the point of being totally honest with ourselves and others and all the time? No fun at all. Unless we are robots. And further... What is the value of truth itself if untruths and all sorts of half-truths are technically out of the picture and so easily? Now get this: Telling the truth is no good for sapience. Technocrats have screwed everything and there is no exit.

> Talking about Truth as bivalent to falsehood?

I know all this may sound weird from outside – whatever one finds in this bestiary of words. If only because when I jot something down in this format I do not really strive for completion, cohesion and clarity – let alone universal lucidity. This would not be possible anyway. As long as I myself someday can get the drift of it – what the fuck I am talking about at the moment.

This is definitely not a primer on the subject of truth and falsity. An ironic comment of sorts, rather. Detached from its source. A cognitive aftereffect of following a protracted debate online on one of the hot issues of the day, the kind of debate that gets nasty from the word go – all in the name of truth, of course, on both sides.

There is this book I read a while ago called "On Bullshit" by Harry Frankfurt. He is also the author of "On Truth", another short tractus. Having both as references, I simply can't help but agree with the thesis that our devotion to bullshit (falsity, half-truth, rosy pictures, noble-lies, self-deception, etc.) is much stronger than our attachment to truth. "Many of us deploy the truth only when absolutely necessary, often finding alternatives to be more saleable, and yet somehow civilization seems to be muddling along..." I just take it a bit further entertaining here the idea that this is actually the only way for our civilization to get going if we've got this far with the word "civilization" still applicable as a description of our discursive manners and all other ones.
Sunday | December 27th — 2020

On the Limits of Worldly Ambitions

What follows describes quite well my foray into the corporate world upon graduation, in the golden times of dot com rush. It was a brief excursion.

Aleister Crowley was active in the university Chess Club devoting a few hours a day to the game when at Cambridge. His frank ambition was to become a world champion. But during the vacation he visited Berlin where a major international chess conference was taking place:

"I had hardly entered the room where the masters were playing when I was seized with what may justly be described as a mystical experience. I was looking on at the tournament as if from outside myself. I saw the masters – one, shabby and blear-eyed; another, in badly fitting would-be respectable shoddy; a third, a mere parody of humanity, and so on for the rest. These were the people to whose ranks I was seeking admission. 'By the grace of God,' I exclaimed to myself with disgust... and registered a vow never to play another game of chess... The sermons of father Edward as to the limits of worldly ambition had once again shown their power."

Quote from: Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley by Lawrence Sutin
Photo: Kenneth Anger visiting the Abbey of Thelema in 1955.
Sunday | November 22nd — 2020

Not Really, but Close

Are we zombies or what? Not really, but close. Near clinically deranged, we are suffering from echopraxia, one of the so-called neuroses of imitation, from which we also derive so much pleasure. Both hedonistic and highly moral. In some cases – our complete identity. At times turning it into politics and taking it a step further to the battlefields – the "bellum omnium contra omnes" kind of psychosociocultural engagement.

Well, some are more afflicted by the malady than others as they are much more compelled to repeat what is said to them, utter nonsense as it may be, zealously passing it around thus rendering the gibberish with conventional truth-value. This many people cannot be wrong! They are also much more inclined than others to imitate the gestures and actions carried out by actors in front of them.

In the 1960s when Ethnopsychiatry was published – the book I am now paging through, which is "the study of mental illnesses in cross-cultural perspective" – this neurosis of imitation was not yet so widespread and massive. Much less so in the mid 19th century when this phenomenon was first observed and researched. For some reason, the spread was limited to Indonesia and Malaysia, where this aberration was known as latah; to some indigenous people of eastern Siberia, where it was called myriakit; and, known as umu, to the Ainu, a small tribe in northern Japan.

Today, this psychosomatic derangement characterizes, it seems, pretty much the entire humanity as it attaches itself for knowledge of the world and for self-comprehension to the mass media. Try saying something meaningful without repeating what you've been told in prime time. Do something significant which is also radically original. I tried. I can't. So I'll just copy and paste from this book for reference and call it a day:

"A third group comprises individuals who, with or without the symptoms displayed by the other groups, compulsively begin to carry out actions performed or begun in front of them, even very unpleasant or very dangerous ones. A woman of respectable character and advanced age found herself, when facing a man who was taking off his coat, compelled to undress completely in front of him, all the while protesting against this outrage, swearing and asking witnesses to kill him…"
Sunday | November 22nd — 2020

On the Madness of Conceptualization

The last time I did it – naming and other brand fundamentals – was for our club in Tbilisi. It took some two months going through all kinds of heuristic procedures (dope-smoking included), accompanied with high octave screaming contests and the hysterical rhythms of desperate foot stomping into the sunrise. It was the kind of highly erudite and solid methodical brainstorming bordering on physical brutality. And that was between three of us – old good friends living together. Till (one of the founding figures on Berlin's club circuit), Friederike (the most cited professor of Communications turned a McKenzie Partner), and myself. The only unanimity that kept us together through this madness of fine conceptualization was "I am not ever getting into it again".

Invitation for the opening night (already two months behind schedule) contained all the information except the name of the club. And this is not to mention our clients/investors who were not thrilled about the name – when we finally nailed it. Smart or just too busy to get involved in deliberations, they simply took our word for it: Noble Savage.
Sunday | December 20th — 2020

In Utrumque Paratus

In this day and age, living in the era of post-truth, there are many chances that everything we are told is bullshit. In his book, The Varieties of Religious Experience William James quotes Renan as if to help deal with this kind of situation. How would he know back in the 19th century? Describes so well my attitude on all the issues reaching me via the mainstream media.

"We must therefore arrange ourselves so that on neither hypothesis we shall be completely wrong. We must listen to the superior voices, but in such a way that if the second hypothesis were true, we should not have been too completely duped... In utrumque paratus, then. Be ready for anything – that perhaps is wisdom. Give ourselves up, according to the hour, to confidence, to skepticism, to optimism, to irony, and we may be sure that at certain moments at least we shall be with the truth..."
Saturday | October 31st — 2020

On Disputability of Disclaimers

Succumbing to the temptation of saying something? Never forget a disclaimer! Cuz... you know... just because. This is how:

I think, therefore I am. Disclaimer: Some parts or all of this statement is disputable and might be misleading *.

I see robots are now doing disclaimers for us in social media. Isn't it one of those solutions, as so many in politics, which only multiply and aggravate the problems? When none such attached to a message, as in most cases, the stupid (to whom these stupid disclaimers are addressed) may conclude on the possibility of views that are indisputable through and through, down to an interjection, leading directly and most certainly to absolute enlightenment. Yeah, right! This is utter bullshit and the worst of the kind.

The disclaimer which is not misleading applies to all utterances by default and should say this instead: "People, if you cannot find at least one way to dispute what you hear or read – online and especially in the mainstream media – if you cannot resist going the direction you are pushed by means of language and the spectacle, you must be fucking morons. So fuck you very much and enjoy your journey. For this is truly your destiny. Sincerely yours, Twitter."

Or, as my friend Vadimus says here in the comments: if you believe what you read and hear, you are not really reading or listening.

- - - - - - - - -
* For disputation of "Cogito, ergo sum" see Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy, Chapter II.
Saturday | October 31st — 2020

On Sinister Coincidence

Everyone with a brain is entitled to entertain at least one conspiracy theory at a time. If only to avoid being ridiculed as a coincidence theorist in polite society and beaten to a pulp by fellow polymaths for it.

"Harvard professor George Mackey would ask of Nash, 'How could you, a mathematician, a man devoted to reason and logical proof… believe that extraterrestrials are sending you messages? How could you believe that you are being recruited by aliens from outer space to save the world?'"
Thursday | November 5th — 2015

Top Hits Lab

Why scientific papers have to be so long and so boring! To cut the cheese through to the bottom of it, this empirical Hit Song Science from Cambridge teaches all shortcut wannabe-artists that songs on topics repeatedly explicated in terms "nigga", "shit", "don't" and "bitch" have more chances of reaching the Top of the Pops than songs on topics expressed through "away", "day", "eyes", "I have", "gone", "he is". The best way of predictably getting there is, however, through capturing the semantic energy emitted by such words as "oh", "girl", "hey", "baby", "yeah", "she is". You earn an extra lift by sugaring your lyrics with "love", "cause", "money". For lyrically mute wannabe-composers, make sure some of the clues are in the title. Better all somehow.

Automatic Prediction of Hit Songs PDF
HP Laboratories, Cambridge
Thirsday | December 31st — 2015

New Deal: One-Night Stands

"A growing army of freelancers, temps, contractors, part-timers, day laborers, micro-entrepreneurs, gig-preneurs, solo-preneurs, contingent labor, perma-lancers and perma-temps... There was a sense of commitment and a joined destiny. Now, employers just want a bunch of one-night stands with their employees. The advantage for a business is obvious: an employer usually can increase its profit dramatically, often by 30 percent or more. Is it any wonder the middle class is vanishing before our eyes?"
Schloss Beesenstedt - Burning Baer
Friday | October 30TH — 2015

Out of Focus until Tomorrow

I envy people who can manage to stay focused, to ignore culture and all that wonderful bacchanalia surrounding it, and that generates it in the first place, in favor of sober practical things, what brings herring to the table. But in the final analysis, I feel sorry for them. Off to techno until tomorrow.
Schloss Beesenstedt - Burning Baer
Saturday | May 12TH — 2012

On Cultural Capital and it's Redistribution

Memorial day for MiniSuper. Papaya Playa Project. Tulum. May 12th, 2012:

This makes me feel so complete! I've got a huge load of odds and ends salvaged from our PPP Minisuper store – in the spectrum from usable to weird tidbits. The store was disbanded a week ago with the wrap-up of the Papaya Playa Project and now it is history, non-existent in any concrete shape and form.

What I could not grab and carry – the store's wooden carcass itself hammered out of some washed-up wreckage – has been dismantled and piled for removal. My farrago load includes some hundred meters of garland lights, a bunch of Indian pipes, as many miniature disco balls, a few stenciled tee-shirts designed to be worn inside out, two handmade striped cotton patchwork carpets, colorful wicker belts, authentic Zapatista rebels bags, couple of Ziploc baggies containing 20-30 grams of the mysterious white powdered substance, a commercial sex poster that exclaims: "Tell me how to f●ck and s●ck! I'm hot, wet and long to be good at being bad. 1-800-735-WETT"...

C'mon, this is ridiculous! If not a sheer exceptional genius, who in their right mind would ever think of it as merchandise, to begin with? – let alone, luxury merch. On the other hand, all this jambalaya treasure perfectly qualifies as raw luxury in our catchy subversive brand vocab. So it is precisely this kind of conceptual luxury that I am aiming at with this bewilderingly eclectic omnium-gatherum now as we speak decorating the dark'n'damp interiors of my exclusive ambassadorial thatched-roofed pest-infested jungle hut.
Schloss Beesenstedt - Burning Baer
Wednesday | September 16TH — 2015

Semiology of Wrestling: Barthes on Trump

"Why the attacks on Trump are so ineffective? Some have taken to calling out Trump as an 'entertainer', rather than a legitimate candidate. This is as effective as running into the middle of the ring during Wrestlemania and yelling: 'This is all fake!' You are correct, but you will not be received well."
Schloss Beesenstedt - Burning Baer
Saturday | May 26TH — 2017

In den Alten Zeiten...

Every story has to begin somehow, somewhere, somewhen: Once upon a time in a time, before time... In den alten Zeiten, als das Wünschen noch geholfen hat... In the land of myth and magic, behind seven mountains and beyond nine seas, there was, or there was not... Though if not, it would not have been told...

...Und sie lebten glücklich und zufrieden bis ans Ende ihrer Tage.

So what's the message? See, they don't call us savages for nothing!

P.S. Hard to believe it's been almost 10 years.
Till Harter: This was a fun party. But, in a way, this was the beginning of the end.

SchizFlux: In a way, yes. Our Mañanas Forever definitely did not contain or restrain the process in any way. As to how much we actually facilitated this dead-end area "development" – knowing that there are so much more powerful forces and interests involved in the whole of the region than the sheer enthusiasm and pure energies emitted by a bunch of freaks on the beach – this would be an interesting topic to research. I can imagine it as a demographic tsunami with its epicenter in Cancun. Then, around 1995, the wave swells, hits, and swallows Playa del Carmen and so on in this direction slowly but surely reaching Tulum around the time we landed at Papaya. Playa del Carmen was growing in population at the rate of +20 %/year between 1995-2005. It was simply the fastest-growing city in Central and South America back then. I would guess the rates for mass tourism were much higher than those of the resident population – people coming and settling to service the burgeoning hospitality industry, I suppose. Now when Playa del Carmen is oversaturated, it is Tulum where it's all happening.

Till Harter: This is a valid theory! But we fired up the process. And the master plan behind the project was always to use the freaks and creatives to generate the vibe and hype with our global communication to ultimately sell the casitas for premium prices and make good deals with the land. More than creating a sustainable cool place.

SchizFlux: Well... It's just that I am a bit reluctant (on behalf of all of us "savages", you included) to take the blame, all of it, for Tulum turning into the "Jerry Springer Show", as Michelle described the scene recently. Bracketing out all other agendas operative in that whole scenario, strictly insofar our involvement in this plot is concerned, the project was very much (if not radically) antithetical to anything mainstream. The appeal was to certain and very marginal sensibilities. By the time we arrived, Tulum had already been set up as an enterprise encoded with the logic of maximum profitability (with greenwashing as its global marketing strategy – despite the fact that real sustainability is technically impossible there, given the scale of real-estate development) – its fate already decided with the residential real-estate mega-developments such as Aldea Zama next door, among others. So I agree with you that it was the beginning of the end because it certainly was. It's just that this trajectory was not something we anticipated and served in "good faith", or at least not as much as it was envisioned and consciously administered by other "players" in the field… with all their vested interests, all their billboards on the highway and indiscriminate sales pitches in the global mass media. And it's all that matters for our exculpation – if only partial.