The butchers of the world would like to wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year. They also have a large supply of festive appropriate meats for you to purchase to enjoy with your loved ones.
Personally, I would rather be celebrating the seven day roman festival Saturnalia and topping it off two days later with Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the birthday of the unconquered sun god, Sol Invictus.
Does anybody else find this fucking nuts? Mars. Seriously. Mars. I don't know how I came across it yesterday, but I ended up trawling through images of the two rovers Opportunity and Spirit and the latest robot up there, Phoenix, which you can see above. There are two active robots wandering around on Mars, taking pictures, chilling out and taking totally rad pictures of another planet. Not only that, but thanks to it's perfect landing, Phoenix took samples of the soil that had water in it. Water, on Mars. Uh huh, yes sir. It was big news when it came out earlier this year but I paid little attention to it and let my jaded side take over. Silly. Freaking Mars.
Meanwhile, if that doesn't excite you as much as it should, how about looking at the tracks made by these cute little rovers. Trundling along and doing our work for us. And we're not really driving them either. They are doing it themselves. Uh huh. Nuts. I mean, NASA is telling them where to go, but they are steering around obstacles themselves.
Pardon the enthusiasm, but this is just mother fucking nuts. Mars.
Look, let me get one thing clear. I'm all for a gift economy. Silent community minded gestures such as free lemons and chillies make me proud of my area; proud enough to discuss it before. But, umm, I don't really know what to make of this. Free leaves? Free dirt and twigs? It's not even compost. SRSLY. What the hell is going on here? There's no sign letting people know that it's free for the taking either.
Which leaves me with two possible conclusion. Ockham's razor leads me to the assumption that it's not free, and I've somehow mistaken a wicker basket and cardboard box full of this stuff that is in front of a yard isn't free for the taking, and there must be some other explanation that my hypothesis hasn't allowed for the full spectrum of possible events leading to this moment. But that doesn't sit well as the solution to this little conundrum. I'm more inclined to think that not only has this eco-warrior society we live in gone so far while my back was turned that they assume that the occupants of the house have chosen to leave a pagan sacrifice to the community so that they may use it as topsoil. That they presume that everyone will understand their intentions and be delighted at the warm outreach program going on here. And why line the basket with plastic either? Why not fill up the basket all the way? They still had plenty of this stuff as well, and it didn't look like they'd done a proper job of gardening. Or maybe someone had seen this largesse of nature, realised that it was their birthday and christmas rolled into one and happily delighted in taking a few handfuls and sprinkled it liberally over their own patch of nature to improve their authenticity score. I just don't know what's going on anymore.
Update: I came across this box of coat hangers the other day. Despite it's lack of signage it seemed fairly evident as to be a gift to those walking past. The fact that it's a man-made object and not the result of gravity and time seemed to make it fairly obvious that it was for the taking. If only they were wire coat hangers, I gladly would have relieved the box of a few.
One of the requisites of share house living is a crumby old couch on the front porch. Some change with the occupants and some seem to have been born into the fabric of the house; every stain and burn a micro-narrative of youth. Some become the focal point of congregation while others are ignored and left to fend for themselves against the elements. For some reason I decided to start documenting couches while walking around: looking for patterns, points of socio-economic interest, the interplay between the private and public realm, also for their aesthetic charm. While the majority of couches don't belong to share houses; having been the impetus for the project they acted as a fixed point of reference where the quality of the couches could only get better.
At what point does the public realm interfere with the private? Suburban streets aren't exactly known for the cacophony of human interactions that one gets in an urban environment, while the transitory space between private and social space is reflected by subtler signifiers. Occasionally I'll walk past people who are using the space and the lowering of voices is clearly noticeable. In suburbs where front yards aren't accommodated for, the space between the gate and the couch is minimal; the buffering zone between the street and the house hardly provides for intimacy and thus the notion of privacy is rendered somewhat obsolete. Instead, car friendly infrastructure acts as a long zoom quantifier, empty sidewalks as an assurance of solitude. In suburbs where workers cottages aren't the norm, shrubs and a long front garden provide a spacial zone of privacy. The downside to this usually affects the warmth of the mise en scene. The porch feels unused and merely placeholders for wealth. These usually reflect conservative aesthetic tastes, an older age bracket and a predisposition to anglocentric notions of the home.
I also noticed the high prevalence of ashtrays. The aussie myth of owning your own home, coupled with the current housing crisis brought on by poorly managed economic legislation has provided melbourne with a tough rental market. These conditions for strict rental controls and coupled with the anti-smoking crusade have caused a trickle down effect create a reinforced need for a casual smoking area. As indoor smoking bans have provided melbourne with a more lively street life through the need to provide patrons with a space to enjoy their coffee and cigarette; previously disused private spaces have been subtly retrofitted for this need. While I would personally love to see a residential community spring up around disaffected smokers, I hardly think that's going to happen.
If you feel like having a perv at some more of these, my flickr set will hopefully continue to grow.