... in civilisation

This is ridiculous...

13 Apr 2008 | 35 words | amsterdam fashion civilisation

Came across this tiny dog in a faux-gold and transparent plastic bag in the cafe of de Balie in amsterdam yesterday. Makes me wonder if they sell them in animal or in hand bag shops.

Rudas fürdő

13 Sep 2007 | 279 words | budapest cities turkey civilisation

I guess it is since i first read Enki Bilal’sPartie de Chasse that i wanted to go visit the various public bath houses in Budapest. there is a scene in Partie de Chasse where Vassili Alexandrovitch Tchevtchenko comes to Budapest during the Hungarian Revolution of 1966 to talk to Tibor Illyes, the local stalinist party leader, in a thermal pool to convince him to step down. later Illyes is found dead in the pool and officially it is said that he committed suicide. It is a fairly small scene, but it has somehow etched itself into my memory. Last week i finally had the chance to visit some of the bath houses in Budapest myself. my favorite is the Rudas, an old turkish bathhouse from 1566 that as been recently renovated (but essentially left unchanged):

If i was living in Budapest i could imagine myself spending a lot of time there (like a lot of the old fat locals do). The best thing about the Rudas is that it is open for mixed bathing till 4 in the morning on friday and saturday night (normally it is men only), which makes it an excellent last destination when having a night out (although going out with swimming shorts in you pockets feels a bit strange).

The Rudas was build in 1566 by the Turks, when Budapest was part of the Ottoman Empire, which makes me think that it is a shame that the Turks did not conquer all of Europe so they could have build places like this all over the place. Gives me one more reason to dislike the Austrians even more than i did before coming to Budapest.

For the benevolence of expression....

08 Oct 2006 | 311 words | europe media islam modernity civilisation

Patrice (thanks!) posted a translation of a posting by the french philosopher Fréderic Neyrat to the internal multitudes mailing list to nettime. It was made as a comment on the appeal by French intellectuals for a Salman-Rushdie-style protection of Robert Redeker, a philosopher threatened by fundamentalist groups after publishing statements deemed insulting to Muslim culture in general (more background here). well worth the read:

For the benevolence of expression and against the ‘clash of civilisation’ discourse.

Against a commonly held belief, the “clash of civilisations” monicker is not a descriptive, but a prescriptive statement.

Thinkers, university professors, publications that pretend to be ‘modern’, and politicians, all have actively participated in the manufacture of conflicts between a West gone delirious and the Orient it imagines.

This mind-set is grounded in despise and fuelled with insults. When the aggrieved party reacts violently, one can exclaim : “DidnÂ’t we tell you so? They’re all savages !”

This is a vicious circle. No identity, no civilisation will be ever its outcome – but deaths certainly will. This circle must be broken.

As far as intellectual work is concerned, this first and foremost requires to avoid the pitfalls of what Hegel has called “the fiendishness of expression”.

The media would like to impress on us that one is entitled to say whatever one likes to whomever one likes in whatever way one likes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Words do matter. They shape the reality in which we live.

The issue at stake is not one of (self-)censorship, or of freedom of expression, but is about the need for a ‘benevolence of expression’ : we must avoid those words that make our common space unliveable.

Then, there will be no need to call in the police, to demand protection from the state, and no man shall henceforth need to live in fear.

Fréderic Neyrat

meanwhile... is the personal weblog of Paul Keller. I am currently policy director at Open Future and President of the COMMUNIA Association for the Public Domain. This weblog is largely inactive but contains an archive of posts (mixing both work and personal) going back to 2005.

I also maintain a collection of cards from African mediums (which is the reason for the domain name), a collection of photos on flickr and a website collecting my professional writings and appearances.

Other things that i have made online: