Eulogy for the silver grain

Tacita Dean’s current installation in Tate Modern is a homage to the dying art of creating images on celluloid film, before it is completely killed off by digital media. It’s a compilation of film clips blown up to enormous scale to show features unique to that medium, such as sprocket marks, scratches etc. For her, […]

Our star

The photographer Wolfgang Tillmans recently selected his best shot. It’s a black and white photo of the sun showing the transit of Venus, a small black circle in the lower half of the image. The photo is indistinguishable from many ‘scientific’ images of the Sun. It shows ‘limb-darkening’; the darkening of the sphere at its […]

Report from the EdBookFest

I’ve been blogging on various events at the Edinburgh Book Festival lately, over on Genotype (the Genomics Forum’s blog) – Will Self on W. G. Sebald (one of my tip-top all-time favourite writers) Alistair Moffat on genetics and national ldentity Stuart Clark on writing fiction about Galileo and Kepler Philip Ball on unnaturally created humans […]

The elephant in the Observatory.

For some time I’ve been working on a short story based on a historical event (I read an earlier version at last year’s Book Festival). Part of the reason for doing this is to explore and maybe even commemorate this event, which has been almost completely forgotten, along with a whole range of other similar […]

In remembrance of the last people

Recently I went to see an exhibition of August Sander’s photos at the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh. Sander was a photographer who took detailed portraits of people in Germany in the early part of the last century. He’s notable for his series of photos in which he attempted to portray the entirety of German society, […]

Welcome back (again)

I’ve had another break from blogging. I appear to have a one-track mind, and I’ve been so pre-occupied with finishing the first proper draft of my novel that I haven’t been able to write any non-fiction. Right now, the novel is lurking in a mountain of paper underneath my desk. I’m waiting for feedback on […]

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