Hope you had a nice summer. Mine was good… I think? Memory is pretty atemporal these days. We’re on holiday in Wales this week, which is lovely. Here’s an image I made of the beach at Llanbedrog.
This is the irregular newsletter from Pete Ashton, artist, writer etc, covering stuff he’s up to and pointing to things he thinks might be of interest. Please unsubscribe if you’re no longer interested, or forward to your friends if you think they might be.
A couple of projects came to fruition over the summer and I’ve rejigged my website to get it ready for the next big thing.
Long-term followers of my stuff will know I’ve wanted to build a geodesic dome for about a decade but have never found a good reason to justify it. Well, I finally found one - a garden sun-shade and Covid-safe outdoor meeting zone! I wrote about the build here and will continue to document as it develops and skin over the next few seasons.
Andy, Fiona and myself proposed a talk for the 4WCOP on how the pandemic scotched our plans for Walkspace and how the experience of walking under lockdown build them back up again. This talk took for the form of the video, and because I’m quite experienced at giving talks I said I’d take the reins on this one. What I didn’t realise is making a video is completely different to giving a talk, because a talk just happens on the day while a video is forever, and the perfectionist in me spent far longer on it that was probably needed, and it’s still not up to my exacting standards because while I watch a lot of them, I just don’t make video essays. Live and learn.
But with help from Andy and Fiona the film came together really nicely, snapping together in the edit in that surprising way that you’re not sure you can take credit for, and went down well at the congress with some great feedback. We also did a panel discussion with congress co-founder Phil Wood which was a lot of fun. An informed and attentive interlocutor is massively underrated (I know I’ve failed in this role in the past) and Phil brought some great stuff out of us.
Making this film was also useful because it helped me figure out what I personally want from Walkspace, which is surprisingly little. It started, for me, as a way to help Fiona, Andy and folks like them develop their walking practices, but I’m not really in need of that. What interests me, as so often, is the hows and whys of enabling a community. My more artistic and theoretical needs lie elsewhere. Which brings me to…
My websites have always been a bit scattershot. I don’t see this as a problem as they’ve reflected what I’ve been doing, or attempting to do, and the joy of having control over your web presence is being able to start and stop things on your terms.
Since lockdown I’ve had this awareness that I wanted and in some cases needed to do more writing. Writing has always been at the heart of everything I’ve done, from fanzines to fine art, and as we enter into what looks to be a winter of pandemic lockdown (this time with the sigh of inevitability rather than the psychological trauma of reality revealing itself to be malleable in ways we hadn’t considered) I want to do an actual writing project, to produce a body of work that holds up.
The peteashton.com website will serve as a space to produce this work and also to present it. I’ve rejigged it as a pseudo-magazine-stroke-blog which will hold my writing and adapt to showcase it as themes and such emerge. I’m not going to jinx those by announcing them before they exist, but be assured I have a couple in mind.
Note that I also consider links to be part of this. I think linking is an important and powerful form of writing - using words to point to other people’s words - and its something I’m curious to develop.
One website, one feed. That’s the goal.
I will also append the latest posts to this newsletter, which will hopefully become slightly more frequent as my output increases. Here’s what’s emerged over the last month:
Friday Links Sept 18
Richard Seymour’s Twittering Machine reviewed, dyslexia doesn’t exist, plastic recycling is a lie, rich people are pointless, hacking Tony Abbott’s passport and a Paul Lansky tune.
Dome Up Sept 18
We built a geodesic dome in the back garden and it is awesome.
Economics and Epidemiology Sept 16
The pandemic has shown us how a lot of things we took for granted actually work.
Tuesday Links Sept 15
Fungi, Zeynep Tufekci, paywalls, Trevor Paglan, meritocracies, reality denial and Ogmios.
Photographs as data Sept 13
A rough draft at introducing the base concepts for machine learning and image recognition.
The Practice of Words Sept 13
I’ve been thinking about how I can run my websites to best serve my writing.
Revising the 1972 Project Aug 19
Making sense of how we make sense of the present by looking the events of 50 years ago.
That’s all for now. Thanks as ever for your interest and support. See you soon!