Randomness #156D

The work of this underground group is unbelievable.

For a year from September 2005, under the nose of the Panthéon’s unsuspecting security officials, a group of intrepid “illegal restorers” set up a secret workshop and lounge in a cavity under the building’s famous dome. Under the supervision of group member Jean-Baptiste Viot, a professional clockmaker, they pieced apart and repaired the antique clock that had been left to rust in the building since the 1960s. Only when their clandestine revamp of the elaborate timepiece had been completed did they reveal themselves.

Read more: Guardian | Undercover restorers fix Paris landmark’s clock

Reminds me of the artists who furnished a room in a shopping mall and lived there over 4 years undetected. But they weren’t as altruistic.

Speaking of vigilante do-goodism, there’s reverse graffiti. Street art by cleaning. See Alexandre Orion’s striking short-lived “Ossario” (Ossuary).

(Does everything come back to Jan Svankmajer)?

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A friend suggested that I look up Mnemonic by Complicite. Sounds great, but I wish there were footage of the performance.

Then the piece glides seamlessly into a series of fragments. There is the story of Virgil, whose lover Alice has left him and disappeared for months. And there is Alice’s story as she heads east across Europe in search of the father she has never known. A broken Russian watch found in her dead mother’s drawer offers the only clue to his origins or whereabouts.

Interwoven with these stories, and other smaller stories, is an account of the discovery of the Ice Man, a 5,500-year-old corpse found on a 3,000m alpine peak in 1991. Who was this man who froze to death alone on an icy mountain all those centuries ago? Why was he there? How many songs did he know? What is the thread of collective memory that links him to me?

———-

Detailed report of a panel on a newly-published compilation of interviews with W. G. Sebald, hosted by the Mercantile Library.

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Arden is an open source, online world based on the works of Shakespeare. Alas! I can’t join in — no Mac support.

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