< Soundtrack: Rub Out The Word, which consists of Steve Buschemi reading William S. Burroughs' as a sort of thesis for human behavior. While I can't endorse the model that Burroughs is presenting, its better than almost anything else out there even if to get to the core of it you have to resolve your relationship to the cantankerous, Joan Vollmer shooting psychic cannibal that Burroughs was. Also, Ladytron - Ghosts, because its emotionally resonant and why not. >
Touched down in Bangkok maybe 10 hours ago. 4AM dinner of morning glory, noodles + grillpork, Singha. Cafe was a 50/50 shot of expats and locals, the expats exactly the kind of raw anglophone male aggression that I was expecting, but not looking forward to. I'm starting to realize just how little I understand about the globe because I've never spent any time in a tropical environment, and the psychological experience of being somewhere like this is distinct enough to merit fairly intense study by experience.
The greatest way to trap a design in the past is to endeavor to make it futuristic with earnestness. In that attempt, the designer inevitably overextends their position and conjures a cheap version of their aspirations, a subset of which are inherently unrealizable, and another subset of which are only realizable as symbolic facades.
This seems like it might be conceptualized well as being part of an overall subset of design by environmental/psychological determinism of the designer's mind. A good example of this in practice might be the request by Alejandro Jodorowsky to H. R. Giger to design the Harkonen world in his failed version of Dune.
In American culture, the thing that we're tracking when we say that someone looks like a cult leader is that someone is not trying to achieve global validation from a higher power. This makes a lot of the writing that I've done on cult systems before make a bit more sense, as it would mean that the usual centerpoint of cults are individuals who have the hubris to assume that they might actually be able to be the center of the world are able to hijack minds who are looking for an alternative to the dominant system in their region. It seems like this would likely bifurcate into three sub-systems: foreigners, who are just uninterested in the local culture and prefer their own, leading to a sort of nationalist cult, autistics who are in their own world and invite others in, and psycho/sociopaths who end up mad with power and are much more akin to the traditional interpretation of a cult leader. The important thing to note is that the system of behavior is effectively emergent, and not solely the cause of an individual's malice.
The 2016 film I Am Not Madame Bovary, which is supposed to be a comedy, happened to be what I watched on my flight over here, along with Who Sleeps My Bro and some of McDull: Rise of the Rice Cooker. I am utterly confused about Chinese Cinema in more ways than I can name. It's also worth noting that, when flying through Wuhan, you can get a 72 hour period of being able to hang around China without a visa, provided you can deal with the annoyance of the PRC border service. Additionally, Wuhan really looks a hell of a lot like the Le Corbusier Plan Voison from the air, covered in smog, and seems to be experiencing all of the second order effects you'd expect from such an architecture.
Also, there was this wonderfully odd advertisement in front of my seat:
It's actually just an ad for marble, not some kind of extended visual metaphor.
While walking through Wat Pho, my traveling companion Mirabelle made a remark about Watts Towers' resemblance in tiling style. Cue the putting a wat in your Watts, because what do you need in your Watts but a wat?
Also, down the road from Wat Pho is a place called AMA Art & Eatery that had a giant picture of Salvador Dali and a bunch of happy looking monks. Supremely tasty and friendly.
Somehow the main section of the Museum of Siam was closed, but there was an exhibit on the Tom Yum Kang crisis in a side building, including large sculptural representations of graphs of the banking crisis outside. Bizarrely coherent for being a likely state-sponsored description of an economic crisis. Included a disco ball and an automatic bubble blower at the height of the bubble in the sequence of the gallery.
One of the core things I noticed was an interview with a former graphic designer who became a hairdresser, remarking that "it's all the same measurements." It seems like the general variable of a given people to survive economic hardship is that ability to transpose the enjoyment of differing types of work onto different technological levels, be they material or social. Thinking of the career of Xi Jinping, this seems to sometimes be accomplishable by certain kinds of technocracies, but it likely must generally be a cultural phenomenon and thus decentralized, with the centralized element serving only as a method of incentivizing a subset of behavior.
Back at the apartment. Getting ready to head out again in the evening to a night market. The sense of malaise that I've felt in Europe, the States, and Latin America—really the West as a whole—that we know where we're going and we definitely don't want to know what's behind the next turn—isn't here. Maybe it's just that I'm a foreigner, but even if it's hallucinatory, the feeling's comforting.