January 23rd, 2004


Welcome to wherever you aren't

'Turn off, log out, shut down!' screams an article on the BBC website, telling the story of a California researcher who plans to spend several months without internet access, just to see what it feels like to be on the other side of the 'digital divide'. I pity the fool. I had a couple of weeks without DSL in November and my life got very flat and grey indeed. In fact, very local. I was reduced to cycling daily to Automaten Bar to use their wifi network. The Guardian has Gereon Schmitz, one of the club's founders, speculating on its robotic appeal to Berliners: 'Berlin is not a beautiful city, so people are not always looking back in admiration at the past. Quite the contrary - its history has been grim. It could be that people in Berlin all want to get away from the past and into the future.' Maybe it's much simpler than that. Perhaps everyone really just wants to get away from wherever they are, out into the world.

My day begins simultaneously in London and Hong Kong. I'm listening to London art radio station Resonance FM and ICQing with a Hong Kong fashion student who's helping me set up a show in her city later this year. (I am so looking forward to seeing Hong Kong for the first time, I can't tell you how excited I am.) As we 'speak', Chinese New Year fireworks are going off outside her window, which becomes, in a way, my window, more real -- certainly more vivid -- than my window onto Berlin. (The Hong Kong show is currently planned for August, and there may be shows in Japan and the Philippines following it.)

Over lunch with my Japanese flatmate I'm clicking through Bzzzpeek's tremendously amusing site, in which children from all over the world make the onomatopoeic sounds they associate with various animals and birds. The perception of goats seems pretty consistent all around the world, but when it comes to owls things are a lot more confused.

After that recreation it's back to work, setting up a Moscow show (March or April, immediately following a show with Anne Laplantine in Helsinki). Then iMomus gets freshened with some new photos of a teutonic model village I saw in an optician's window the other day.

I'll probably only log out and shut down the hardest working iBook in showbiz to watch a little cable TV late in the evening. The Franco-German network Arte has a thema night about China.

Which sort of brings me full circle, really. Around the world and back again in a day.