Moving to Mars

Moving to Mars

I went to this exhibition, amazingly there are projects in place that are thinking about this despite the horrendous difficulties this would entail. Getting there might not be the problem, but there is no oxygen and very limited water. It’d have to be taken with and recyled well. There are four exhibits that caught my eye.  A film from the Curiosity rover showing the Martian landscape, an exhibit/poster showing the world’s investment in space flight, in which the UK does not appear, an exhibit on what human houses might look like and an exhibit on a multi ten thousand year terraforming project using plants.

The Martian landscape is bleak and subject to, for humans, lethal dust storms. People and their homes would need to be protected from these, once the problems of oxygen and water, there is none, were solved.

Once the brexit transition period is complete, we’ll be out of the European Space Agency, so much for a high-tech, high wage economy. One of the exhibits on the geo-politics of space travel included a panel with Interkosmos suit patches from the Soviet Union, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cuba and others, a reminder that space travel does not belong to the USA.

They seem to be suggesting that people will live in kevlar tents, buried underground by robot builders. …

Free and fast broadband; it wasn’t to be.

Free and fast broadband; it wasn’t to be.

It’s time for me to consider the election results; I think in terms of ideas I am set back four years  but in this blog article I want to look at Labour’s manifesto for the Arts, callled a Charter for the Arts. One of the criticisms that being made of the campaign is that unlike 2017, the manifesto was not seen as signpost for better times. It was seen as a classic shopping list to bribe a winning coalition, and constructed without thought or knowledge of how to pay for it. The promises need to be bound into a single promise, and the details need to be the result of debate and consensus in the Party. Much, including the Arts manifesto seemed to be an after thought, an insight underlined by it’s late publication.

Policy for creative industries has not been debated at Conference in my memory, and the NPF reports have been weak although the 2017 manifesto played with ideas around the “value gap“; this document does not repeat this. Corbyn’s introduction is radical, as you would expect, establishing Art as the property of and the right of all.

The manifesto promises to defend and extend free access to museums and art galleries, invest in diversity in the arts, ensure lottery money is fairly distributed, that schools are invested in to support the arts, and possibly most radically, but equally unprepared, promised free broad band for all.

The decades old commitment to free access to museums and libraries, the productive macroeconomic arguments and the failure of the market to deliver nationwide fast broadband are all good reasons to make this promise but we allowed it to hang on the question, “Why free? We don’t do it for water!” and I don’t have an answer to that. (Although we do it for museums, galleries and libraries). …

You gotta laugh (or not!)

You gotta laugh (or not!)

I had reason to look at a YouTube compilation of what passed for comedy when I was growing up, in the Seventies. I was shocked at how poor it was; I actually saw very little of it. One reason for this was that we had only one TV in the house and my parents controlled the channel selector switch, there was no catch-up technology. Some of what we watched, and more importantly didn’t watch may have been based on their cultural aspirations; certainly we never had “The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club” on in our house, or in any house in the street; I grew up in, in Ruislip, not a hot house of working class or socialist culture. …

Greetings

I saw this a couple of days ago, and let it past, but today I am reminded what a good idea, letting people choose their greeting is and so decided to share it here.

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The Gemalderie

I went to the Gemalderie in Berlin’s Kultur Forum. The art was a bit too religious or bit too civic. It made me want to got back to the National Maritime Museum for some seascapes, or the the art gallery at Newmarket. I missed the classic, i.e. Botticelli pictures of Venus which it seems are there but found one by Titian, called Venus & the Organ Player, fortunately painted and titled 425 years or so before Peter Cook’s satirical speech on the Jeremy Thorpe trial summing up. It reminded me a bit of the Jo Brand & Helena Bonam Carter sketch on the objectification and changing fashions of female beauty.

The Gemalderie has a sign saying photography permitted, the staff were wonderfully polite, even when correcting me, and the Cafe had a fabulous salad, but I think I need to go to Musee Insel next time., now over to the Embassy to show solidarity with comrades on the “finalsay” demo. …

Good Eating

I fulfilled an ambition, I ate in the Fernsehtürm Restaurant, creamy coriander & carrot soup, Berlin meatball and potato salad finished with apple tart and cream accompanied by a rather pleasant German pinot noir. The weather and view wasn’t so good, but it’s very high in a low city Here are my pictures as a slide show


and here they are at flickr, for those without flash. …

Modern Art

On my first day in Berlin, I went looking for its future, and decided to visit the KW Institute for Contemporary Art. This has a three part exhibition on, in a beautiful building with an equally beautiful courtyard where the Cafe serves its wares. I spent most time in the rooms displaying David Wojnarowicz’s work. I don’t know if it was the arrangement or just the content, but I found this underwhelming. I am loathe to write too much about my views on art as I don’t wish to expose my philistinism and lack of education but this was not inspiring. Perhaps if I had spent less time getting to the warehouse room, I might have spent more time but most of the work on display was photography although there were a couiple of film pieces. They may even have been titled, but if so I missed them. There was one on the Cold War with a number of clips from US news stories, including stuff on Kennedy’s trip to Berlin. There was a talking head about the value and authenticity of rage which I am beginning to dispute. Political action must come from a sense of solidarity and you can’t find that when you’re angry for yourself. …  …