This item also occurred to me while reading Tret'iakov. It's pretty blatant, and probably even counts as bad art. . .

Blue Bench

The Autumn number of the quarterly, October, contains a number of articles written in the thirties by Sergei Tret'iakov, notable proponent of the Russian Factography movement. In one of the articles, he uses this fragment of text to condense all romantic revolutionary literature.


Bionic Eye Saga Continues

I have uploaded more images of the bionic eye sculpture (originally posted on the 30th of December) at www.geocities.com/duncpatt

All These Are Possible

This is a study for later work.


Violence in the Media

This is a collage I completed recently. The silhouette is of Sean Connery as James Bond. The other image is a photo taken by a journalist in Palestine during recent riots. The point is to juxtapose the very real violence that confuses us so in the representative media with the way in which we conceive of violence in the media of fantasy.


Here is a sketch I whipped up recently as a study for a triptych painting. It's pretty cheesy, so I decided not to make it, but the sketch is still worth looking at.

The point behind this painting was to be to imagine that we became so independent of our sensory organs that we lost them entirely. At a conference I was at a couple of weekends ago, one of the speakers talked about the 'practical' telepathy afforded by cellular phones. I thought this was really interesting. He also spoke about researchers who seriously envision telecommunication implants in the throat and ears as a possibility in the near future. This would literally allow us to communicate sub-vocally.


I've finally got the old scanner up and running. Here's a diagram that I made recently concerning the question of how architects and designers can engage the world around them. . .


Proud Mullions


When I first moved to Toronto, I discovered this site close to where I live, defined by the rails of the train and King street. It is a wedge-shaped site, with a really dynamic feeling to it, formed as it is by transport infrastructure. Soon it will be saturated with mindless 'victorian' row-housing, which is sad for a parcel of land with such potential.

I now realize that this site is in fact part of a chain of such pieces of land left over from the industrial activity surrounding the rail line that run all the way from down by Fort York up to near Dupont. Most of these sites are now being developed either for row-housing or apartment buildings. For an area with so much potential for drama and dynamism, it is rather disappointing that the architecture will probably not do it justice.


Eternity 5

I descend the stairs ponderously, my hands slack in the pockets of my overalls, step after step, pausing at each landing, every ten steps or so, to look out into the darkness. I am always on the lookout for more material. Wood comes along every once in a while – often it gets caught, entangled somehow with the stairs. Nails are harder to come by.

I keep descending until I reach the bottom. On the last step I pause awhile before sitting and letting my legs dangle freely in the emptiness. At first it made me nervous, this emptiness, but I’m getting used to it. At first my stomach would get all knotted up ascending and descending these stairs, with nothing but black void to either side. I haven’t fallen off yet, anyway, so I suppose there’s no reason to assume that I shall.

A plank of wood. At first I see it only in the corner of my eye, but turning my head and focusing on it, I can be sure that that’s what it is. And it’s just about the perfect size: large enough for at least three treads!

My heart racing, I take off up the stairs at a gallop. It looks like it just going to miss the third landing up. The ‘catcher’ is currently hanging from a hook near the fifth landing, so I have to run up there to retrieve it before coming back down. Thankfully most of the stairs are even and consistent, so I won’t trip. On the eighth landing I rotated the orientation of the stairs a complete ninety degrees which I think makes for a pleasant change. There is a great deal more possibility for variation, but I guess I don’t really see the point.

Catcher in hand, I return to the fourth level. Seeing the plank, I reach out carefully. Hooking the crook at the end of the catcher around the board, I draw it towards me. When it gets close, I reach out and grab it. I hoist the plank over my right shoulder, balancing it with my hand, and then proceed upward to the summit of my stepped domain.

When I reach the top, I temporarily nail my new salvage to the side of the riser, letting it hang in the void. I sit on the top step now, catching my breath. Looking downwards, I can survey the extent of my construction: flight upon flight upon flight of toilsome building, leading up to this point where I now sit, weary, but happy. Below the bottom is nothing – there will always be nothing. But above the top, I see limitless potential.

- edited Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eternity 4

I am in a newly constructed house. The air smells of sawdust and cleaning detergent, crossed, multiplied and layered elegantly over the volume of the house. Cupboards, trims, finishes, tiles, wood, paint; all are in their place – aligned, straight and true. I can hear only my own solitary steps and shuffles. I know that most people would be more easily satisfied, but I'm just not most people. I look at things differently. I survey details. I'm looking for cracks and scuffs - signs of error. But anxious as my eyes may seem, inside I am relieved.

I kneel on one knee to inspect the dried paint of some four-inch base trim. I run my thumb over its surface as I feel for irregularities. I find none. The paint is smooth. Even the counter-sunk nails are elegantly and consistently done. I stand, feeling a smile sneak into the corners of my lips.

I carry with me a heavy, metal triangle. I hold the triangle up in the corner of the room, horizontal, with a side of the triangle against each wall. Again, as with the trim, my expectations are exceeded. I feel the smile broaden on my face of its own accord. Finally, before leaving the room, I lay a level down on the hard-wood floor in the centre of the room. Concentrating, I slowly rotate the level around in a circle. When, finally I have completed a 180° sweep, I stand again. This relief is magnificent. This room is perfect. No just good, not just passible, but perfect. I have no assurance that the next room will be the same, however, and so the relief is short lived. My tools in hand, I move into the next room. It's pretty much identical to the first at initial glance, but I won't be fooled. I survey the space from the doorway before heading over to inspect the light switch more carefully.

How I ended up here I don't know, but I'm getting used to it. It's as if this eternity expands and extends the moment of satisfaction that rarely greets the perfectionist in this world of entropy. I can leave my frustration behind. Now I am rewarded by the forces of space and time. This is a world of right angles and evenness, of flush surfaces and straight lines. All that is solid, is, and remains, solid.

- edited Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eternity 3

I feel as if I am balanced on a narrow ledge, suspended in that clarity of adrenaline that comes directly before a fall. Except I never fall. My eternity exists in the sweet precariousness of creativity.

Sometimes in my life I have felt like I have broken through something, exposing what is beneath. When I write it resembles a landslide. The words could be tumbling from my cramped, scribbling hand like rocks down a rugged hillside – and then all of a sudden it will hit. The stones stop tumbling and start sliding – straight, quickly and true, hurtling rapidly towards their eventual rest. In the visual arts it has happened to me as well, as the forced, forged form suddenly becomes inevitable. And in music, too – crafted art can unexpectedly give way to something else, something deeper.

Now I feel as if I have broken through a screen of some sort, like I have blasted through a projection scrim and revealed the blinding light beyond. And I am stuck in this light. I reached an apex and stayed there. The moment is sustained – extruded to infinity, spread out to cover all space and time. It is blinding, and sickeningly sweet. It is an eternity of impossibly sore wrists and unstoppable headaches. I am covered in paint and graphite. My hair is falling out.

- edited Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eternity 2

The stone is moulded just right to fit my backside. It is smooth and comfortable. I spend my time watching the shifting worlds before me, as scenario upon scenario are enacted upon my screen – understandable constructs and narratives. A man on a cool day in a light trench coat sits on a solid bench to rest his tired legs. He eats an apple to satisfy his hunger. He is cold. I forget about the unfathomable options behind me – the swirling masses of ideas and theories, of utopias tightly winding themselves around dystopias. They don’t need me and I can quite easily forget them. I am merely a selector or possibilities.

When I turn around, my eyes are very nearly overcome by the sheer complexity of the shifting, coiling, spreading potential to be found. Beyond the lip of earth-stained rock, the possibilities are endless. I have never dared venture beyond this threshold; the mixture of fear and complacency in me is strong enough to counteract my curiousity.

On my right, suspended by beige nylon elastic straps, hangs a large, complicated mechanical device. It is suspended from the ceiling by 3 straps, and tethered to the ground by another three and is thus prevented from swaying. It resembles an optometrist’s lens-selector, the big black-and-chrome machines they would press up against your face when you would sit in that comfortable chair. I am still working out the details of operating this device. It is exceedingly complicated! There are all kinds of different lenses to choose from – a cornucopia of colours and shapes.

I’m figuring it out slowly. The basic principle is that this device allows me to select which of the swirling collection of ideas and principles behind me, many of which are blatantly contradictory, I wish to admit into my enclosure. By fiddling with these lenses I can filter in certain possibilities . . . and fortunately keep others out! I can choose my own projections, thus, and when I get bored, by flicking a few switches, rotating a few lenses, or twirling a few dials, I can totally alter my projected reality – add new character types, say, shift values, flip meanings. Eternity, this way, is endlessly entertaining, even in the relative darkness of this enclosure.

- edited on Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Eternity 1

It was not my intention to hang on this long. Now, blinking in the grey light, I can't even remember how long its been. The more I realize how little I know (who I am, how long I've been here, where here is . . . ), the more I assert my own anxious energy to the task at hand. I pull, terrified, with all my weight and with every gasp of strength. But with every spurt of effort I pour into this pulling, she, in turn, pours an equal amount of effort into pulling the rope in the opposite direction. Why I am terrified I don't even know anymore, and this just increases my terror. She feels differently though, I believe. I've never discussed it with her. She seems to have resigned herslf to a blissful blankness of emotion - to a sort of meditational toil. Her body is coiled into a mechanized, brainless object, destined to respond to my effort in kind, and nothing more. Her physical fibre has become like a taught trampoline membrane, that when pushed, responds with an equivalent push in the opposite direction.

A vague shaft of light, from a small window high above, illuminates her form. I realize that I love her. Is she capable of love? We don't speak. Is she capable of speach?

Looking down, I realize for the first time that we are no longer hauling, as I had believed, on either end of a strand of rope. Rather, our two arms have become one arm, connected to my shoulder on one end, and to hers on the other, with two elbows in between. We cannot let go! We are one, defined by our antagonism.

At any rate, even if we could let go, we would only fall over!

- edited Sunday, January 14th, 2007


Wiki Eternities

My 'Eternities' series of fictional prose is now posted to Google Doc's. I had originally thought that if a document was stored there, you could open up collaboration to everyone and anyone, but it would appear that you have to be invited, so please email me at duncpatt@yahoo.co.uk if you wish to help me edit these! In addition, if anyone reads anything on here and would like to help me edit the work, please just let me know and I'll move it to Google Doc's as well! The beauty behind the Google Doc's setup is that many people can edit the same document, similar to a Wiki, thus making it a collaborative effort. Lawrence Lessig, a Lawyer from the States, once posted his book, Code, online as a Wiki, opening it up to editing by both his supporters and his detractors. Perhaps this could be tried with other texts that are already in the public domain, like the Bible, Origin of the Species, or Das Capital.

Untitled #A



Spread all over the map like intellectual custard.



Nerves and skin and blood and loose tendons; liquid.

Like a small lost child on a nameless day, under a

motionless sun, grass above my unguided vision.

What lies beyond the hill?

Are there trees to shade this fervered forehead? Is there

water to quench this aimless thirst?

Blades of green, worm-tillings, a couple of aunts,

Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan, a

shelf of hourglasses:

What lies beyond the hill?

All Tomorrow's Parties

What is this world into which I stumble every morning? Head over phallus, an adult newborn each morning, with every gloomy dawn of grey clouds, and silence, with intimations of whispering cars and muffled birdsong. Who are these people on all sides with words of their invention, with ideas that spring forth like jack-in-the-boxes from their random heads, wearing smiles and frowns and scowls so grey and serious? Why do they weave their paths so, these complicated tangles of trajectories left to melt in the snow, a puzzle never to be interpreted by any archaeologist? Why dance, why sing, why grumble about the weather? Why read, why write, why contemplate your sad reflection in the mirror? Such confusion! Such malarkey! Such a proliferation of monarchies; private domains, with private languages, with private deluxe ensuites with their very own love entanglements! Inclusive! So many latrines! So many vanities! So many wandering sexual organs! And billions upon billions of leaves, about to fall from trees, and rot in piles in corners and nooks.

Is there no silence beyond all this? If I sit quietly enough can I see through all these disorderly ids, this tangle of motion? Where is there room to stand in this cocktail party? Does eternity await with the next hors’d’oeuvre?

We Are The. . .

We are the fatherless


charging head forth

into the


of our own creation.

My father died in battle,

yours in surrender.

We follow their bloodless bodies

to revenge,

through dunes of grime and grit,

and clouds of fractured wit.

After The Storm

After the storm, I took to cleaning. I swept the hardwood floor and shook the thread-bare carpet outside. I made my bed and straightened my books.

After breakfast, after doing the dishes, I set out to work on the garden path – a task bestowed upon me by my hostess. The night before had been splintered by heavy southwesterly winds and thunderous rain descending on the roof of my cabin. I awoke on numerous occasions and couldn’t sleep for fear of being whisked away by these winds. The roof of the cabin was pummeled by branches that were violently torn from the surrounding pines, oaks, and maples.

My first procedure, then, was to sweep all of the fallen twigs and pine needles off of the path. This took some time, but was also highly gratifying. Sweeping the small plastic broom back and forth, swiping aside the needles, exposing the stones beneath. The path itself was a curved, drystone affair that led from the dock, around the garden, and to the back of the boathouse. It had been constructed by a previous guest and it was horribly irregular. My task was to rearrange it so as to assure that it was even and that it had smooth, regular sides.

Oh catharsis! To straighten a path – to rationalize a form, so! What a perfectly simple and clear problem! To take the world as you find it, and by moving earth and stone with your hands – with your arms and back and legs as well – to perfect its form, for firmness and delight- this is worthwhile!

And so, after the storm, I picked up my shovel, and my trowel, and my pick, and set hard to work rationalizing the surface of the earth.

Sun In . . .

Sun in melancholy morning

makes everything beautiful even

my cold hands as they clean

last night’s smudgy literary

coffee pot

swirling the grains with hose water

and splashing them

across the earth

where they desperately cling

to grass petals

but by afternoon are




I wrote this when I was living on Georgian Bay at the beginning of Autumn and I would swim each morning before work.

Swimming with these morning mists

I blend my body with such beauty.

This water, black velvety ink,

bends to my fingers.

I would I could cast it

in vast, flowing caligraphy

across these golden skies:

a Haiku, for God and

for You.

A Poem?

The clouds are heavy, perhaps fecund. They no more threaten

than a teenage mother. More, they loom complacently and

full. They brood over the landscape like office clerks brood

over fingernails.


I see your face as

if through thick

foliage and you aren’t


Your frozen expression looks off towards

a horizon

not my horizon.

I am standing on my horizon! Where are you

looking? Who is it there that stands in sillouette?


Cosmos Continued. ..

Further to that last posting, here are some more large numbers for comparison. They are taken from wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1_E9:

- Chance of getting heads 40 times
in a row in a coin toss _______________ - 1 in 10+12

- Chances of being dealt a royal
flush in Poker _____________________- 1 in 10+5.8127

- # of possible 5 card hands______________- 10+6.4148

- # of distinct astrological objects
in the the observable Universe __________- 10+8.9993

- approx. # of neurons in the
Human Brain_______________________- 10+11

- # of different positions offered by
a Rubik’s Cube _____________________- 10+19.6334

- # of different 9x9 Sodoku grids
possible __________________________- 10+21.8242

My uncle tells me that there are approximately 10+120 different possible games of chess.

Given a 26 note melody such as Mary Had a Little Lamb, and allowing the whole scope of the 12-note chromatic scale as possibilities, there are 10+28.0587 different possible melodies. Hence, anyone who claims that all of the melodies are already taken, should seriously think again. That's far more melodies than the number of centimeters between the Earth and the Sun, and back again. Then there are those that say “everything’s already been written”. To that comment I only have to suggest that the OED includes 616,500 (10+5.7899) different word forms, and that Don Quixote is 1072 pages long. Given a rough average of 400 words per page . . . my calculator refuses to even tell me how many different possible combinations there are.