Monday, March 30, 2009

"How not to look like a banker"

"Banker chic can be described in so many ways: conservative, unimaginative, boring and, next week, downright dangerous. On Tuesday, the mere act of wearing a plain grey suit - be it from Savile Row or Reiss - anywhere within the confines of the London EC1-EC4 postcodes, will apparently be as provocative as donning a flamboyant matador's costume in a bullring, at least in the eyes of a G20 protester. So think the Metropolitan police, who have advised City workers to dress down on Tuesday and Wednesday to avoid being identified as bankers."

Imogen Fox, How not to look like a banker, The Guardian, Friday 27 March 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


"I am for art that is smoked, like a cigarette, smells, like a pair of shoes.
I am for art that flaps like a flag, or helps blow noses, like a handkerchief.
I am for art that is put on and taken off, like pants, which develops holes, like socks, which is eaten, like a piece of pie, or abandoned with great contempt, like a piece of shit.[...]
I am for art that unfolds like a map, that you can squeeze like your sweetys arm or kiss, like a pet dog. Which expands and squeaks, like an accordion, which you can spill your dinner on, like an old tablecloth.
I am for an art that you can hammer with, stitch with, sew with, paste with, file with.[...]
I am for the art of the washing machine. I am for the art of a government check, I am for the art of last wars raincoat."

Claes Oldenburg, 'I Am for an Art...', in Harrison, Charles & Wood, Paul (eds) (1995), Art in Theory 1900 - 1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Blackwell, Oxford/UK & Cambridge/USA, p.728, 729

Friday, March 20, 2009


"I unravel the wool from sweaters, gloves. This wool served to protect our organs; when unravelled it turns into a network of veins, vessels, arteries, which connect and conceal the anatomical fragments I draw."

Annette Messager, Anatomie (1995/6)
Exhibition text

Hayward Gallery, London, 4 March - 5 May 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A hard task leaving the mind free to wander

"Mi trabajo consistía especialmente en mantener la ropa de la casa, una faena dura que tenía como única ventaja la de dejar la mente libre para volar y sonar e inventar tiempos mejores…[…] Trabajaba en tandas de tres días. El primero escogía la ropa y dejaba en remojo la más sucia mientras iba frotando el montón entero para quitarle las manchas. Al día siguiente ya podría lavarla con jabón, aclararla, hervirla y torcerla antes de tenderla a secar al sol de mediodía, procurando reservar los lugares más luminosas para la apreciada ropa blanca. Sólo al tercer día sería momento de recogerla y alimentar el fuego para pasarle cuidadosamente la plancha. Luego, bien doblado, iba a los armarios. Si tienes en cuenta que en la casa había cuatro niños (el quinto venía en camino), además el padre y la madre, mis amos, y la abuela maternal junto a una hija suya soltera, la cocinera y Serafín, el chico que ayudaba al amo, ya te figurarás que trabajo no me faltaba.”

Teresa Moure (2008), Hierba mora, Delbolsillo, Barcelona, p.145, 146

“My work consisted especially in taking care of the laundry in the house, a hard task whose only advantage was that it left the mind free to fly and dream of the past and invent the future… […] I worked in a three-day rhythm. On the first I gathered the washing and left the dirtiest to soak while rubbing the whole pile to remove all the stains. The following day I was ready to wash everything with soap, rinse, boil and wring it before hanging it out to dry in the midday sun, making sure to keep the sunniest spots for the esteemed white linen. Only on the third day the time had come to bring it all in, to stoke up the fire and carefully iron it all. Then, neatly folded, it went into the cupboards. If you keep in mind that there were four children (and a fifth on the way), apart from the father and mother, my masters, and the maternal grandmother with her unmarried daughter, the cook and Serafin, the boy who helped the master, you can imagine that I wasn’t short of work.”

Women's Liberation

"The Vatican newspaper says the washing machine did more to liberate women in the 20th century than the pill or the right to work. The claim was made in an article printed in L'Osservatore to mark International Women's Day on Sunday."

Washing machine 'freed women', London Lite, 10.3.2009, p.15

Does knitting harm babies?

"Health officials battling hospital superbugs have taken action to thwart a new peril stalking the hospital wards - knitting. There are fears babies' hats, blankets and bootees, knitted and donated by volunteers, could be spreading infections. Such gifts have been banned from the neonatal unit at the Royal Blackburn Hospital in Lancashire.

The hospital was hit by an MRSA outbreak in 2007, that forced it to close its neonatal unit after six babies tested positive. Last year babies were quarantined after traces were found of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase, or ESBL.

Every year hundreds of items are donated for the babies, many of whom are too small for manufactured baby clothes."

John Harris, Babies' bootees linked to hospital superbugs, The Observer, 8.3.2009, p.17

Sunday, March 08, 2009


“… a Hélène, si aún le gusta algo en esta vida, es tener la casa bien abastecida de paños: paños para limpiar, para arropar, para refrotar, para envolver un regalo, paños para dar calor, paños perfumados con la lavanda que ahuyenta a las polillas, paños para arrebujar recién nacidos, paños para envolver los cuerpos amados cuando yacen enfermos, paños para vendar, enfajar, cubrir, liar, amortajar, envolver, adornar, paños para festejar la vida y disimular la muerte, paños para admirar por los retoques, las puntillas, los bordados, los tejidos, paños limpios, blanquísimos, suaves, paños para acariciar con la punta de los dedos no se vayan ensuciar, paños cariñosos para que con su tacto suave Hélène se haga la illusion de que la están tocando otra vez.”

Teresa Moure (2008), Hierba mora, Delbolsillo, Barcelona, p.132, 133

("... if there is something Hélène still enjoys in this life, it is having the house well stocked with cloth: cloth for cleaning and covering, cloth to rub things down with and to wrap a present, cloth to give warmth, cloth scented with lavender to repel moths, cloth to swaddle new born babies, cloth to wrap around the bodies of loved ones when they lie ill, cloth to bandage, to girdle, to cover, to tie, to shroud, to wrap and to adorn, cloth to celebrate life and to hide death, cloth to admire the finishing touches, the stitches, the embroideries and the fabrics, clean cloth, very white and soft, cloth to caress with the finger tips not getting dirty, so that Hélène can imagine herself being touched again.”)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Waterproof or Brandy

"As a final piece of advice they suggested that I should waterproof my walking skirt, since sudden showers must be expected. This sounded good, and I asked how it was done. 'Quite easy; you take it out of the band, dip it in a gallon of water containing a solution of ...' Then followed queer things like gum arabic; but I had lost count after the first sentence, for the very idea of taking a skirt out of its band was enough for me, since I had no notion how to get it in again, and decided to get wet and be done with it. This reminded me of the flask of brandy I forgot to take to America, and I told them that I should be sure to take it in my trunk for Switzerland. They were so shocked that I dropped the subject, fully intending, however, to take it in lieu of waterproofing my skirt."

A London Family 1870 - 1900, A Trilogy by M. Vivian Hughes, Geoffrey Cumberlege, Oxford University Press, London, New York, Toronto 1946, p.496

Sunday, March 01, 2009

An ancient topic

"Science and the humanities - an ancient topic, even a tired one. Like the faint lavender of old closets whose family gowns and dress suits and old uniforms are too interesting to throw away, yet plainly not suited to modern living, brought out only on special occasions."

Bruner, Jerome (1986), Actual Minds, Possible Worlds, Harvard University Press, Cambridge/Massachusetts and London/England, p.44


"The British people wear their liberty like an old comfy suit, they are careless about it, but the mood is changing."

David Davies, Conservative MP
in Tracy McVeigh, Liberty groups unite to defend UK rights, The Observer, 1.3.2009, p.6