Morning Post No. 9 (No.2)

7 am/9am Alytus Biennial, Alytus Lithuania 21st August 2013

Today’s reading was from Mastaneh Shah-Shuja‘s Zones of Proletarian Development. She describes four elements of organisation:

1) Organisational joint dialectical activity

This was basically a knee exercise: “steps back and forth are taken for granted”

2) Organisational heterogeneity

This involved doing exercises both with and without our eyes open in order to understand both visible and invisible differences. Housework is often invisible work, however related to the oh-so-visible gender differences as regards who does the housework. The exercises involve polishing sweeping spicking and spanning.

3) Organisational carnivalesque:

Kind of free form and riotous.

4) Organisational empowerment

The raising of the clenched fist and chanting of the word empowerment. If words were things the whole world would have shaken.

 

 

Morning Exercise No. 8 (No.1)

7 am/9am Alytus Biennial, ALytus Lithuania

Yesterdays highly successful session has led to the next series of Morning Sessions to be run in the pine forests of Lithuania.

Initially today’s exercises involved exercising the stomach. By ingesting food a whole series of complicated chemical reactions were organised in a process called digestion. This is not as easy as it sounds, and we all took some time to learn how to do this as babies.

As we strolled through the pine forests we came a cross a war memorial. We originally mistook this for a First World War memorial, but in fact it commemorated the Laisvės kovos or Lithuanian Wars of Independence. These took place between December 1918 and November 1920.

In the first war, the country was occupied by the German Army. Despite a strange confusion in the popular imagination, the First World War was far from over. Whilst most hostilities had been brought to a halt, this was only an armistice.

Following the Bolshevik coup, Trotsky and co. had cut a deal handling the Baltic states over to the German military. In a largely futile attempt to trick their enemies – principally France and Britain – German troops were assigned to Lithuania in the pretence they were not party of the German Army. They were trying to get round the restrictions of the negotiations currently going on at Versailles.

Morning Exercise No. 7

7 am mid-air over Chelmsford Library

The technical issues about attending this discussion will be discussed at Morning Exercise No. 6. It was originally thought desirable to leave from London Bridge in the early hours, but as it happened the only facilities for travel available at the station at that our was simply being redirected from one group of contractors to another – the station was closed. What does this teach us: never trust the internet. So we ended up leaving from St Pancras.

The mid-air rendez-vous was successfully accomplished. However one thing which became apparent as we flew over the copy of John Speed’s map of Essex in Chelmsford Library was that the way they chose to store it meant that it was rotated by 180 degrees. What constitutes north in the everyday world of you and me was aligned with south in the map in library.

This led to a series of considerations leading to the fact that not many maps are produced for the dead, who, according to the traditional Celtic world view, live under the surface of the earth. For them any map would be quite different and would at least require a mirror image to the maps generally created. This unfolds another aspect of the ideology of visualism: maps privilege the viewpoint of celestial beings (including human beings on aeroplanes) over the denizens of the deep, whether below ground or even underwater.

The withdrawal from the physical space of the Barbican, London, can be considered part of a the Psychic Workers Strike:

Visuotinis Psicho Darbininkų Streikas

This was done as a re-re-enactment: Catherine Willoughby and her husband, Richard Bertie, fell foul of the ecclesiastic authorities during the reign of Queen Mary I. She had ensured she would not escape the attention of Bloody Bonner, one of the principal persecutors of protestant heretics, by naming her dog after him and parading the animal at court ostentatiously calling its name. In consequence the couple fled to Lithuania, as part of the Marian Exiles. Here Sigismund II Augustus, the King of Poland and Duke of Lithuania appointed them as administrators of Lithuania, based at Kražiai.

Thomas Drue‘s play The Life of Katherine Willoughby, the Duchess of Suffolk was performed at the Fortune Theatre (a short step from the Barbican) by the Palsgrave’s Men, an acting troupe sponsored by Frederick of the Palatinate. The play provided an allegory to the plight of Elizabeth, who had been forced into exile from the Palatinate following the defeat of the Protestant cause at the Battle of White Mountain.

 

 

Morning Exercise No. 6

7 am, Sunday 18th August, St Giles-without-Cripplegate

See Morning Exercise No. 5 whence we have taken the decision to meet on Monday in mid-air above Chelmsford Library, which contains a copy of John Speed’s 1611 map of Essex

Preparing for Morning Exercise No. 7: It was Isaac Newton whose theory of gravitation lead to him view the earth as an oblate spheroid with a flattening of 1:230. This knowledge proved sufficient to calculate known trajectories that would pass exactly over Chelmsford Library. The one which was chosen went from Luton Airport to Vilnius, Lithuania. A suitable flight was chosen to enable the plane to pass over the library within the 7 am –  8 am time slot. Our geodesic studies completed, success is guaranteed.

One key ingredient of this session was a re-enactment of the cycle-past which occurred on

Discovering that a book-fair was taking place at 11 am, it was decided to remain in the area, exploring various recesses, and visiting the far side of the former graveyard, which is close to the headquarters of the Surgeons Livery Company. From here it was a small step to wander into the Museum of London, where visitors are given the opportunity to view Oliver Cromwell’s death mask. However the display was disappointing, as it focused on the English Civil War rather than the English Revolution. However, back at St Giles without Cripplegate we were where Oliver Cromwell got married, and there was a life size statue of John Milton – whose strenuous republicanism is less well known than his poetry. Curiously his bones were thrown in with those of the map-maker John Speed. It was possible to buy a copy of Philippa Glanville’s London in Maps in the church itself. This seemed very appropriate.

Morning Exercise No. 5

7 am, 17th August, St Giles-without-Cripplegate

Today we extended the critique of visualism which emerged from yesterdays Morning Exercise, by experimenting with alternative forms of remote viewing which utilise other senses.

The first method adopted was “remote sitting”. This is a technique which various exam boards have developed to enable students to sit exams while not being physically present at the prescribed venue. This was adapted to involve remote sitting on one of the chairs located between St Giles-without-Cripplegate and the Barbican Centre. It was immediately realised that the tidal wave of photons entering the eyes generated a significant sensual distraction, and so the eyes were kept shut for this exercise. The first exercise proved disconcerting: the comfort provided by a cushion was quite at odds with the physical sensation of sitting on the wooden slats of the chair in question. However this was soon resolved by standing up, and removing the cushion. However as the chair being used in this experiment did not have wooden slats, the problem was overcome by introducing the act of placing the cushion on the chair as an integral part of the remote sitting. The result was successful.

The next method involved interacting with the stretch of water which lays between the wooden slatted seats outside St Giles-without-Cripplegate and the Barbican Centre. When the GLC built my dwelling they provided a receptacle for the keeping of coal. However as there was no provision of a fire place, this provision is available for other uses. I filled it with water and then immersed myself, naked. This gave me an immediate sensation of “being in water”. This was as near as I could get to the flotation tank developed by John Lilly in the comfort of my own home. I soon entered a state of hypnagogia – that condition which is to be found between sleep and wakefulness. However, my lucid dreaming  was suddenly interrupted: “Can’t you hurry up,, some of us have to go to work, you know!”

Morning Exercise No. 4

7 am, 16th August, St Giles-without-Cripplegate

This morning we once again used remote viewing (see Morning Exercise No.2 for a discussion of remote viewing). As discussed previously, it is sensible to be wary of what Johannes Fabian calls “visualism“. Fabian locates this ideology in the art of memory, particularly looking Peter Ramus, the protestant philosopher who was killed in the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572. However, we shall look at  the Royalist cabalist Thomas Vaughan, who asserted “we will ground our Discourse on nothing but what is visible and in front of it we place the Divine Majestie, who is the sole Centrall, Eternal Principle and Architect of all.” (Euphrates or the Waters of the East,1655). It is easy to see how this at depicts the practice of the court masques where theatre in the round was flattened by the invention of the Proscenium Arch, the forerunner of the modern computer screen. The scenery was designed to seen froma single privileged viewpoint, where sat the king.  Inigo Jones moved from being the set designer for these masques, into the permanent role of architect, whereby the psychological impact of architecture impacted on the citizen as they go about their Morning Exercises.

We can follow Fabian’s argument that visualism became part of the ideology of science when we recall how the Royal Society was established after a lecture by Christopher Wren, delivered at Gresham College following the restoration in 1660. Jonathan Goddard, one of the principle founders of the Royal Society, hosted meetings in nearby Wood Street. This road approaches St Giles without Cripplegate from the south. Gilbert Bridge can be considered as  merely the continuation of Wood Street by other means.

Morning Exercise No.3

7 am, Thursday 15th August, St Giles-without-Cripplegate

The man dressed in red – with a City of London tabard was there again today. However the man who I had seen two days ago was also present but I did not notice him feeding the pigeons. A modest amount of light entertainment was provided by another gentleman who sped around the temenos on a bicycle. He was only clad in red from the waist up, but he did wear a yellow tabard.  I like to think it bore the wording:

Visuotinis

Psicho

Darbininkų

Streikas

. . . but in reality I have no reason to think this likely. Anyway, all possible writing was obscured by a blue rucksack.

Today’s reading was from John Gleick‘s The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood. The Wikipedia article on this book is disappointing – no reference to Gleick’s discussion of London sources in the seventeenth century. No mention of Robert Cawdrey, Thomas Blount or John Bullokar. For me this is a shortcoming which I hope someone will address. Daniel Cawdry was the son of Robert and a prominent Presbyterian controversialist in the 1640s. I haven’t found mention of Cawdry preaching at the Morning Exercises, but I know one of the people Cawdry tangled with, John Owen. Owen made the transition from Presbyterianism to Congregationalism, but Cawdry was having none of this.

Are the disputes between the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists of purely historic interest? They are now co-joined within the United Reformed Church. Or do they shed light on the Knowledge Revolution which was going on in London in the mid seventeenth century? I think the latter.

Morning Exercise No.2

7 am, 14th August, St Giles-without-Cripplegate

Today’s exercise was an exercise in “remote viewing“, a controversial spying method which the CIA got involved with in the 1970’s. It involved using psychic means to sense locations the subject was far removed from. The Stargate Project was funded to the tune of $20M, but terminated in 1995. A final CIA report was inconclusive, but if they had found an effective means of gathering intelligence the only reason of advertising it would be for the scare factor. However as the US Department if Defence had already brought GPS on-line in 1994, they already had a we-can-see you/we-can-shoot-you ideology to promote US hegemony, so there was nothing to gain by claiming success. However by withdrawing public recognition of the research (and any further research) this would help fuel conspiracy theory. This is a useful methodology as pushing one’s opponent into conspiracy theory not only discredits them when they try and spread their ideas, but it also can start to induce paranoid social cognition and so undermining their ability to evaluate evidence in a realistic manner. However, who knows whether they are using such psychic means to track Edward Snowdon?

Another issue which arises from this is what Johannes Fabian calls “visualism“: the dominating role of vision in scientific discourse, through such terms as observation, leads to an under theorised approach to the use of visual representation which in turn leads to a corpuscular theory of knowledge and information resulting in their atomisation.

This psycho-geographical hotspot has been repeatedly domesticated and re-domesticated since the Roman Empire established its fort to pin the rolling countryside which existed before their arrival. In the very name of the church, this is what it is “without“.

“The great architect“, Christopher Wren, drew up plans to reconstruct London after the Great Fire of 1666. However despite favour at the court of the restored monarchy, there was no centralised authority powerful enough to overcome the interests of the existing plot-holders who wished to rebuild quickly and without bureaucratic interference. Wren and other proposals from people such as John Evelyn, were essentially visual. The age of the architect marked a shift to where a building started off as piece of visual speculation, as opposed to a more operative relationship to stone.

The modern visitor to St Giles without Cripplegate finds themself within the brutalist architectural visualisation, known as the Barbican Estate. Goering‘s failure to erase the church leaves it standing up like a sore thumb, swamped by the revisualised visualisation of sixties/seventies architecture. This is the terrain which will provide the backdrop for Wikimania 2014.

Morning Exercise No. 1

7 am, 13th August, St Giles-without-Cripplegate

By the time I got there, it seems the spirits had left . . . there was an empty vodka bottle until a man dressed in red – with a City of London tabard over it – took it away. The word “Enterprise” was written on his tabard and I wondered whether this was a sign of the times. A man had been feeding the pigeons.  As they gathered around him, I speculated whether this was some morphic echo of the Londoners who had come to the Morning Exercises in the 1640s. Did they gain some crumbs of comfort from the sermons and communal prayer sessions which took place on this very spot. A white van drew up. Soon it was parked up in the  compound which constituted a temporary building site outside the City of London School for Girls.

 

This was where John Speed was buried. He had been one of the first English map-markers. His Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain (1627) had been one of the first Atlases. By the time 8 am had come and gone i was making my way against the flood of workers streaming out of Liverpool Street Station. Soon I was on my way to Chelmsford.. The City library is not far from the station, and once there it was a short moment before I was gazing at Speed’s 1610 map of Essex. There was detail of Colchester but not Chelmsford.

However, I started perusing a copy of Hilda Grieve’s The Sleepers and the Shadows. Soon I stumbled on John Walker’s 1591 map of Chelmsford. She also had a page and a half about John Dee‘s schoolmate, Billy Maldon. While Dee had gone on to hitch the word “British” and “Empire” to one another, Billy had become one of Johnnie Foxe‘s informants. And where was Foxe buried: St Giles-without-Cripplegate, same as Johnnie Speed.