Doing as he is told
in this country 

we expect commerce and industry, local and national government
to take account of the differing needs 
and tastes 
and opinions of the people.

We expect
those who influence the lives of 64.1 million citizens to base their work

on facts

to find out
what people really think and feel and prefer

to help people
in management
make decisions

never appear to be bored by anything a respondent says
nothing is more likely to irritate a respondent than the suspicion that

you are uninterested in their opinions.

Obtaining a full answer
to an apparently straightforward question
is not always the simple matter it may seem.

Respondents tend to answer questions
indirectly or go off
at a tangent

give answers so vague that they hardly qualify 
as answers
or be so hesitant about expressing a definite 
opinion that
they will say don’t know  rather than say what they really think.

They may also say don’t know out of apathy
or laziness
use vague ambiguous 
like nice or  good
or say
                          I like it
and give no reason
as to why they like it.

In all these cases make another attempt to get a fuller answer.


The Sumerian ideogram for a market,Y.

Y indicates that the market is a juncture of traffic routes.

The flows briefly congeal, arched over with many voices, conversations, bartering. Agora begins not in the architecture but in the act, the circulation of actions, a space opening onto its own potential to be a parting or a meeting, a meeting and a parting, both, coming together and falling away.

I was once on a beach.  An ecotone, the meeting. 

The disparate communities come together, mingle. 

Land, sky, and sea stir a chemical cadence, a conjugal tide; elements trace and retrace their greetings. The ground is shifting, pebbles audibly grind in an estuarine wash.

My footsteps happily zigged and zagged, trailing the curl of expiring froth. Fossils and flotsam below, clouds and gulls above. Stones, glass, plastic, weed, rope; pick up, put down, investigate and study.

Objects dream in my fingers. 

If I were to take any of it home, how then to order it? Can I let it speak in new shapes?

Detritus has its own language, an inherent dignity; existence will not be denied in this. This transitioned from one state to another, from form to form.  
I pick up, I put down; “what it is” speaks in its own manner, I listen. In listening, the meeting.

And then my step

The body of a seal, black, like a dumbbell with hands carefully pulled into the animal’s smooth side. Its head removed. My head swam with a new and violent re-ordering: How to make sense of this? I cannot pick this up (do not want to pick it up!) I cannot put it down. Its smell actively haunts me, the poltergeist of rot. Who hacked this creature apart, where was the skull? Or could it have been an accident? The cut, so clean… Only in my body is there some semblance of justice as gentle ambulation is transformed into an anger sped stomp, my mouth lurched around a taste that offers no delight.

Has Leviathan suicided? What as of today has the sea decided? Is this the war of war against all – bellum omnium contra omnes? Such pessimistic savagery.

The war, some say, shall only be contained with cctv and a big stick. Surveillance and the common deployment of non-lethal weaponary are fine exampleres of how the war against all shall be waged.

There is still the meeting, there is still the shoreline and the market. There is still the grieving which is an allowing in of another form.

And my form also will move to another form. 

And if I were to continue listening, what else may be said?

iii. Statute Prerogative Regis, 17 Edward II (AD 1324) states that although the Crown has sovereign dominion over the sea around the British Isles, it has no general property in the fish and marine mammals in it except for cetaceans and sturgeon. These are ‘Royal Fish’ and belong to the Crown. An exception to this is if they become stranded or their bodies are washed ashore within the limits of a Manor, such as the Duchy of Cornwall, in which case title passes to the Lord of the Manor. The chief requirement of the Royal Prerogative nowadays is that stranded ‘Royal Fish’ are reported to the Receiver of Wreck who will then pass the information to the Natural History Museum, London and other relevant bodies. The Receiver of Wreck can be contacted via the local coastguard.
iv. In consultation with the Receiver of Wreck, local authorities may deal with the collection and disposal of carcasses of ‘Royal Fish’.

What is that 

which the key unlocks? 
Who calls the key to the text or is it the text that must come to the key. 
Come word, come key, come co-mingle:

Jangle, jangle…

Archiving systems impose an illusory structural order on the radically chaotic and indeterminate nature of everything.
of nature indeterminate and at root chaotic
is ordered as an illusory structure imposing an archival system.

Some fumbling in the dark
but persevere, if this is key; perspire if need be, for something shall come tumbling out.
Isms, prisms, lenses…
Prisons… but let us say fences…
Sometimes the very same text acts here as liberation and there is a dowdy don’t know what demanding all hush up and sit down.

If we make a list let’s pretend it will be a ladder.







“…based on the pursuit of vertigo and which consist of an attempt to momentarily destroy the stability of perception and inflict a kind of voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind. In all cases, it is a question of surrendering to a kind of spasm, seizure, or shock which destroys reality with sovereign brusqueness.

The happy graph 

shows all values meet.

The alert inquiry asks why is this complete and a pursuant mind delves for what is left out.

A furtherance of query restates the rout, values coalesce deeper than the sheet and look! there is little else.

The coincidence replete.

Transitional objects possess inertia. Energy is transferred through them. This energy is always in the journey toward and away and around and across.

A transitional true north is to be grasped as an intuitive whole, this including the fluid ontology being which surrounds “it”.

Simple compass removes the imperative for and potential of learning in relational complexity.

Fluid clustering of relational character and meaning is a manner to describe a far more complex environment than the traditional compass. True north is true AND.

Moments of learning. Learning relationships through journey deposit transitional objects.

The movement toward and away and around and across are relationships. Relating in sense, in stance, and in movement from the stance there are allowed moments of learning.

The in-between “be” becomes toward.

The toward begats a transitional object.

As the journey becomes cluster, in relating, so the relating journey excludes the object.

Itself cluster becomes journey. Itself cluster becomes… naming the movement and the quality of relating. The journey between nodes becomes the identifying quality (cluster of qualities). Journeying cluster becomes nodal explanation of itself.

There is an ache of a presence not properly attended to (and therefore the learning must be discovered in ghosts).

A few seeds hidden in my beard. Gravity measurements can predict river flooding. Kinetic memory in all things.

It is the inattentive reader who loses my subject, not I. Some word about it will always be found off in a corner and look! there is little else.

The coincidence replete.

Values coalesce deeper than on the sheet.

A furtherance of query restates the rout while a pursuant mind delves.

What is left out?

The alert inquiry asks why is this complete.

We are complete, but why? Look at this happy graph, it shows all values meet.

Hi, I’m Bob, I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…Hi, I’m Bob, I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…Hi, I’m Bob, I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…Hi, I’m Bob, I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…Hi, I’m Bob, I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…Hi, I’m Bob, I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…Hi, I’m Bob, I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…

And the beloved child would continue singing

would continue if not for a gentle suggestion that they cease.

I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…Hi, I’m Bob, I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…Hi, I’m Bob, I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…Hi, I’m Bob, I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…Hi, I’m Bob, I’m a goldfish with a memory of a…

No really. Stop.

Estate map

The map of the estate is an eulogy for Utopia (which retreats with each brick laid down and yet might nonetheless exist, beyond the design, in some lived proportion not yet detailed and never quite imagined). The map of the estate is an epitaph (that architects and planners will habitually erect before some others’ tombstone while never once suspecting how they designed it for themselves). The map of the estate is an epiphany of symbols and silence in the long _ alarmed _ night.

Sorry, copyright restrictions prevent us from showing this artwork here

 In ven to ry  (founded 1996)


Estate Map
DaSte19u99mmInventory is a group of artists, writers and thinkers formed in 1995 as a 
coMleledicumtiAvcreyliwc paoinrtkanidnmgarikneripnenteonradluimsicniiupmlinary spaces. These 
include published text, pDeimrfeonsriomnssaupnpcoret: 1in835pxu12b2l5imcmspfraamcee: 
1s9,33flxy1-3p25oxs9t0emrms pasted on the streets, an on-
Coglloecitinong research initiative called Inventory Survey Project and finished art-
works in sculpture, photography, collage, photocopy, graffiti, video documen-

tary, soAcuqunisditioanPnudrchpasierda20t0e2 radio. Since 1995 they have published an experi-
Tm078e3n9 Otnadlisjpolauy artnTaatel,BIrintavinentory, in which cSoomrrym, 
ceonptyarrigyhotnrepstorpicutiloanrscpurletvuernet, umsefdroimta-shoSwihngatrheis 
tionsExhoibnitiounr: RbuainnLulstife and arcane literary and philosophical issues jostle with di- 
verse texts found on the streets and an ongoing glossary of ‘phenomena’. In- ventory operates from 
a global standpoint expressing goals and at-

titudes ary

Abject / Collect

… let none of the nuances or small happenings escape even though they might seem to mean nothing. And above all, classify them

There is nothing much to say: I could not pick up the paper, that’s all.
I very much like to pick up chestnuts, old rags and especially papers. It is pleasant to me to pick them up, to close my hand on them; with a little encouragement I would carry them to my mouth the way children do. Anny went into a white rage when I picked up the corners of heavy, sumptuous papers, probably soiled by excrement. In summer or the beginning of autumn, you can find remnants of sun-baked newspapers in gardens, dry and fragile as dead leaves, so yellow you might think they had been washed with picric acid. In winter, some pages are pounded to pulp; crushed, stained, they return to the earth. Others quite new when covered with ice, all white, all throbbing, are like swans about to fly, but the earth has already caught them from below. They twist and tear themselves from the mud, only to be finally flattened out a little further on. It is good to pick up all that. Sometimes I simply feel them, looking at them closely; other times I tear them to hear their drawn-out crackling, or, 
if they are damp, I light them, not without difficulty; then I wipe my muddy hands on a wall or tree trunk.
So, today, I was watching the riding boots of a cavalry officer who was leaving his barracks. As I followed them with my eyes, I saw a piece of paper lying beside a puddle. I thought the officer was going to crush the paper into the mud with his heel, but no: he straddled paper and puddle in a single step. I went up to it: it was a lined page, undoubtedly torn from a school notebook. The rain had drenched and twisted it, it was covered with blisters and swellings like a burned hand. The red line of the margin was smeared into a pink splotch; ink had run in places. The bottom of the page disappeared beneath a crust of mud. I bent down, already rejoicing at the touch of this pulp, fresh and tender, which I should roll in my fingers into greyish balls… I was unable.
I stayed bent down for a second, I read “Dictation: The White Owl,” then I straightened up, 
empty-handed. I am no longer free, I can no longer do what I will.
Objects should not touch because they are not alive. You use them, put them back in place, you live among them: they are useful, nothing more. But they touch me, it is unbearable. I am afraid of being in contact with them as though they were living beasts.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Low collection, lowly collection.
“Objects should not touch…”
“I am afraid of being in contact with them…”

If classification is an order, is that order an expulsion? We collect things in order to throw them away – visibly. To see these things rejected, ordered; collected, exiled.

We live in an anaphobic society, in the idolisation of novelty it fears repetition. A phobia of phobia, there is a continual call to face your fear. Stick a pin through the spider.

“Been there, seen that, done it.” We have all heard this refrain; it may be advertising, it may be real life, this may be someone you know: Thrill junkies, world travellers, the beautiful people (and we can collect group definitions as we horde resentments). “They”; we allow ourselves to believe, are forming into a special class of collector. Emotion turned to ephemera, sensation packaged as series of statements.
The trip.
The buzz.
The vibe.
The high.
And that special mania of the field which is tourism; the collector as eye and bowel movement, opened up onto a previously unimaginable scale. This is partially achieved by simply denying that this is tourism. People will pay for the luxury of no luxury. A series of life style statements.
A traveller.
An explorer.
Sports enthusiast.
Snow boarder.
Mountain biker.
Not the tourist thing at all, this collection of places and sensations, seem barely to class as a purchase at all.
Something money cannot buy.
I was there.
No fear.

And that is just what I am trying to find, a fear so palpable it becomes an object. An object that does not touch. Because it is not alive it should not touch. The dead object touching the living object makes an abject subject. A collation of subject and non-subject make for a suspect deviation.

But look, if you can collect then you can order, nothing need ever touch. Death. No touching, not without my say so. Only knowledge can circumnavigate a collection. At best it is perfectly solipsistic: Choose any object within the collection and from the information embedded therein, the inevitable references, reverberations, echoes and clues, we will be cast out on an adventure. Albeit and adventure within a frame. The routes are prescribed, predicted, and perfectly calibrated so that eventually, if not repeatedly, the seeker is turned around all the far corners of the collection to find, at end, beginning; the original object.

As an ego will presume it is complete, so a collection presupposes completion. It might not be complete, but that does not exclude it from the hope. Indeed, to be excluded from the hope of completion would be to destroy the collection before it has properly begun. To complete the collection would be to kill both the hope and the desire. This of course is exactly what we cannot say.

Yet how pointless; to embark upon a collection that will be killed if complete and will kill us if never completed.

Imagine; nothing from outside needed. Yet given the end, it persists. When it was meant to finish, instead it lingers. It corrupts, it seeps. The waiters hum the tune (from your collection). A melody returns while one is at one’s ablutions… Abstract.

Abstraction collection: copulation, excretion, consumption, and contamination. These are the biological regions to be vitally usurped if capitalism is to have any success at all. (One does not have to be a capitalist in order to collect.)

Is the C word a success word? Is your record collection complete? Records, vinyl records, will happily proclaim themselves as food, sex, shit; the sort of shit one finds gold in.

Sometimes there need only be one classification. Or rather, the binary trick; there need only be a series of coupled terms linked but forever held separate by their mutual antagonism. (It is to be fervently hoped that these terms will never actually touch.) The fixity of exclusion demands an order to which everything proceeds:

No taxonomy will ever be pleased to deal with “and”.

“And” implies an existence in two (or more) frames. The subject (and object) that can so elude fixity immediately effects a collection’s status. By the rules of collection a subject becomes an object in the collection and therefore must be placed somewhere, it must be classified as something. Frame A or frame B? There is a decision to be made and, because of “and”, this decision begins to appear arbitrary. The decision may be accompanied by a series of rationalisations and yet, because of “and”, the rationale might also be arbitrary. Rational argument becomes an additional content in the collection, it was not anticipated and, taking on the air of an improvisation, another “and” is added as this rational adage must now be rolled forward to future objects and cast back across the pre-existing collection. An osculate object so kissing slips toward being a subject. 

White owl.

It may be that this “and” is denied a classification. “And” refused is abject, and this abjection is also a classification. That replete sense of self, complete even in the striving toward completion, can no longer be anything other than lack. A refusal might therefore be a revenge for undermining the collection’s solipsistic knowledge.

To proceed by denial is hardly satisfactory however. To be conscious of the denial even less so. All the elaborate games of taste and the connoisseur may come into play but still there will be a nagging unease; something missing. Or rather, not missing at all; below mattress A and mattress B there is a pea. Uncomfortable, this tiny thing that does not belong to bed nor to bedroom and most certainly it is not appropriate for the sovereign comfort of this situation and yet it still cannot be wholly excluded. Indeed, the story demands its inclusion. This present abjection is “and” could be. Identity comes to be defined via the defect. If eventually this osculate object must become present to the collection then its intimacy insinuates a gestation period. A rearrangement is born wherein A and B is subsumed to AB which is coupled to DC while held – forever – separate.

White owl in black night.

Someone placed a clay toad in amongst the collection of frogs. It could have become a collection of amphibians but instead the toad was taken aside and smashed.

She has thousands of frogs: 
Clay frogs. 
Plaster frogs.
Metal frogs.
Stuffed cloth frogs.
Knitted frogs.
Frogs fill every available nook and cranny of her flat. Special frogs are associated with special events; a visit here, a niece there, the day such and such happened. If something particularly upsetting happens she will select certain frogs and destroy them. More than merely breaking the item, the condemned ones will be pulverised, meticulously unstitched, or melted down to a formless slag. Following this destruction her anger is purged, some bad memory or association has been cleared away, and she has created space for new frogs.

The metaphor is now Colonel Kurtz. He collects the dead. He has responded to abjection in a brutal but thorough fashion. Any confusion surrounding classification is, he believes, resolved. The enemy are dead. Traitors are dead. The dead are dead. Yet objects should not touch and he is subsumed within this collection. Living still, he touches the dead; moving still, he shifts amongst the no-longer mobile dead.

How to destroy the dead? How to clear space so as to replace the dead (“and” their associated emotion, story, memory) with more dead. The dead must make way for death and in this rain they will not stay buried. A mountain of white ash; mounds of blackened, charred remains. The dead know the dead. There is an “and” and an abjection to their intimacy. AH! Nonetheless, the Kurtz character is, we say, alive.  Nonetheless, his collection is so large that it begins to frame him, as if these burning bodies take up more space not less; as if they were getting inside of us.

You see the dead might become ornamental if the collection is not properly ordered. This is what is meant by the phrase: “He is operating beyond any reasonable control.”

The Kurtz collection positioned within the larger field reveals itself as a mere hobby. An amateur collection. The proper military classification of the dead is impressive. If the hierarchical demands are rigorous it is only because of the need to make sense of so huge a collection. Precision is required for classification: This is alive. This is dead. Body bag, tags, autopsy report perhaps but proper medical certification certainly, paperwork aplenty for without these stabilising influences the object simply cannot be admitted into the collection. Terror is not lessened specifically by bureaucracy, not tamed essentially, but it is channelled. A controlled use of alienation, taxonomy is terror sublimated.

Value slips when touched.
The warmth of a living beast.
“You put them back in place […] they are useful, nothing more.”
The horror, the horror.
A white owl in a black night and I am no longer free.

Collecting is about meaning, is it not? What else might there be?

A pen, a packet of batteries, Humbrol enamel paint tins, sausage rolls, party poppers, a clockwork toy soldier, a pencil, a tube of PrittStick, a troll, two yellow felt tips, a chocolate did, a packet of iced gems, a balloon, a plum, a pear, a banana, Rose sweets, a Mars bad, a hamburger-lookalike candy, a lipstick tube, an eyeliner, a yoghurt, a milkshake, two cartons of Ambrosia rice, some wallpaper borders and a large tin of paint from Fads.

The above named is a collection made in February 1993. Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, aged ten, allegedly stole these items prior to their abduction and murder of James Bulger, aged two.

Original first published in Inventory: losing, finding, collecting. Vol.2 No.2 1997.


“If one holds the power of the evil eye and is frightened of his own eye, let him gaze upon the wing of his left nostril.” There are squint eyed people who settle for cake while failing for want of bread. They say: Fight fear with a ratchet, a hatchet, catch it and stab it.

The General at sex… A found text:
The General at sex
It’s true what they say
About army generals being cowards
Well the one who I’ve had the displeasure of meeting is
He really is a man of the lowest standards
A pompus git who relise on an image alone
He thinks the word patriotic is his ticket to kill…
Innocent men
who’ve far more courage in their little toe
Than he’s got in his whole body
He’s the type of man who likes to be carried [……] of using his own two feet […………..] to him are like sado masochism [………] must obey because it turns him on
SAVE OUR PIGEONS…cry Westminster Council:
A campaign has begun to reinstate Trafalgar Square’s much maligned and yet, by the Capital’s visitors at least, perennially popular bird. The pigeon has in fact been officially deemed the lesser of two evils. Anyone visiting central London recently can hardly have failed to notice that the pigeon has been replaced by the gull as our airborne pest.

“The common gull,” says one councillor, “we at first thought relatively benign. They help clear rubbish and actually reduce the pigeon population by taking their chicks. Nor will they nest beneath bridges of befoul our theatre frontages. Unfortunately,” he continues, “the greater black backed gull has also colonised our streets.” The council’s tolerance is not to be long lived. “These birds,” it is explained, “are huge and can be very aggressive. They have been known to peck out children’s eyeballs which we feel cannot be good for the holiday experience.”