Sedentary Psychogeography

Walking between Holborn Underground Station and Russell Square, I have often wondered about this tunnel:


Recently my curiosity built up to such a level that I conducted an internet search of the phrase: tunnel tramtracks near holborn. Insultingly, my search engine corrected my spelling of tramtracks to tram tracks and directed me to an article about the (frankly crassly named) “Kingsway tramway subway” on the Simple English Wikipedia. My pride was wounded by this species of pedantic, arbitrary and apparently tasteless rules about compound nouns, which I had never before encountered.

However, I was confirmed in my suspicion that this tunnel near Holborn with tramtracks was exactly that.  This is where a part of central London’s tram network, disbanded in the early 1950s, would dive underground, emerging again at Waterloo Bridge. There is something particularly exciting, to my mind, about the idea of a tram emerging from the bowels of the city to seamlessly join the realm of the living. This is probably for the same reason that I find myself walking from Holborn to Russell Square in the first place:  because I can’t stand using the lifts on the Piccadilly Line. However, a secondary factor is a fond memory from my youth of the (admittedly) pie-in-the-sky public transport proposal for the city of Newcastle, to install a ‘diving tram’ network as an extension the current Metro system in the run up to the area’s bid for European City of Culture. However, for some reason Liverpool won the bid and the fantastically named Project Orpheus (as the plan was genuinely called) turned out to be doomed to failure!

For those of you who don’t quite get the sense of adventure, mystery and majesty that I have come to associate with this half-cetury dead transport conduit: just watch this!

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A Vegetable Poem for Gertrude Stein

Gertie the Beetroot Seed

a fist and could it could. a reel & be or & to up and be to down. perhaps alone & together it would not being in not & not yet still not not yet not. traintrack and articulate chalk.

a knuckle & bone, not yet but soon

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“The Magic Button”.

Troubles? Just click it.

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Call for papers: Static 09. Buttons

‘Careful and curved, cake and sober, all accounts and mixture, a guess at anything is righteous, should there be a call there would be a voice.’           — Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons

The humble button encompasses ideas of connectivity, intimacy, relation, precision, production (on/off), kindness and smallness. Its origin in the Latin buttare, to thrust, and in the old French boton, bud, roots the button in a potentiality that stretches and plies its usage from metaphor to technology. The domesticity of the button, its closeness to our skin in clothing or its proximity in the home, the laptop, the TV remote control, the microwave, calls us to examine our relations to objects and the ergonomics of their interactions with us. As a mediator between man and machine, how does the button inhabit this interstice and what are the implications of their prevalence within the sphere of modern living? How do buttons function within digital culture? Buttons, too, can encapsulate very real threats; the detonation of nuclear warheads or the transmission of confidential information is only a button’s press away; they can contain and express our most strident political or aesthetic positions, but what happens when these buttons are in the possession of an enemy? They have become integral to the way we communicate: phone, email and the internet all require the push of a button to generate action. Playful and tender, the button functions as ornamentation and fastening, both aesthetic and practical.

We here at Static put forth the potentiality of buttons: a haberdashery of usages.

The submission deadline is 6 May 2012. Please send your submissions to static@londonconsortium.com

Static welcomes diverse formats of submission – essays, articles, interviews, short stories, poetry, visual projects, graphic design, illustration, etc. Video and sound pieces will be included in the online version of Static 09.
Submission guidelines and further information about Static can be found at static.londonconsortium.com/submission.html.

Please contact the Editors at static@londonconsortium.com if you have any queries regarding technical details before submitting your work.

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For those who have been wondering what’s happened to Static, the journal edited by students of the London Consortium…

Ironically, following the publication of Issue 08 – General, Static has been keeping true to its name, transfixing its gaussian noise into freeze-screen snow, an appropriate visual background to a hiatus that has been lasting for more than three years.

Well, the hiatus is finally coming to an end: a group of current London Consortium students has recently decided to revive the Static project, initiated by Vlad Strukov, in collaboration with Martine Rouleau, Irini Marinaki and Konstantinos Stefanis, in 2005. After a series of meetings, proposals, votes, debates, minutes and e-mails, the Editorial team has finally come to a decision with regards to the theme and general structure for Issue 09, and the call for papers will be published as early as tomorrow (7th February). We wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise, so please come back later for more details on the next issue of Static!

But that’s not even all. Of course, we now have the EcStatic blog, to contain all that wouldn’t fit within the journal proper and collect the Editors’ outpouring of ideas. And there may be more side projects on the horizon…

We will probably be experimenting with the design for both the Static website and the EcStatic blog, so forgive us for the frequent fluctuations…
Val

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EcStatic Manifesto

The internet is often conceived of in (pseudo)biological terms. Videos go viral, fragments of language replicate themselves as memes, and yet when it comes to the subject of transmission we tend to degenerate into a nursery school cant about sharing. Here at Ecstatic we know what the internet is really all about: infection. Wyndham Lewis once said that laughter is the mind sneezing. If this is true, then a blog post is the majestic residue sliding down the window of the number 55 bus.

Ecstatic is a scrapbook, jotter and general soapbox for the thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams of the students of the London Consortium and all the fascinating people that we know. It is being launched in anticipation of the exciting renewal of the Consortium’s student edited journal Static as platform on which to make important announcements and build enthusiasm. We want to write about living and studying in London, about the things that we see and do, about things that we read, the places we go to and the things we organise. We want to take these things and lock them in a room together: Ecstatic is a chicken-pox party for suburban toddlers.

And we want to infect you too. For what is an infection if not something you share with a lover or give to a friend? Please leave comments or email us if you want to get involved with the blog or want to know more about Static magazine or the London Consortium in general.

Ecstatic is a sniffle in an early morning morning lecture, a chesty cough on a crowded tube carriage and a sneeze in the cinema when the lights go down.

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