In Search of A/The Point of Life

Posts Tagged ‘journey’

**2012 May 30: Recorded version of performance-lecture at the Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster University**

This is a recorded version of a performance-lecture presented at the Lancaster University’s Sociology department’s for Centre for Mobilities Research Annual Research Day, 30 May 2012. Present at the session was the Distinguished Professor John Urry. Professor Monica Buscher made 3 inspiring presentations. The conference was hosted by the wonderful Professor Colin Pooley. Music, as usual, by the indefatigable longtime collaborator Philip Tan.

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KAIDIE TRANS-MIGRATING? 6

Art time, life time, passing time. Teh-Ching Hsieh with Kaidie, 20 June 2012, Hayward Lecture Theatre, Nondon.

On 20 June 2012 Wednesday, Kaidie runs into one of her forerunners, the legendary Taiwanese-American performance artist Teh-Ching Hsieh at the Wide Open School, Hayward Gallery, Nondon. Hsieh’s seminal durational performances, in particular One Year Performance (Outdoor Piece, 1982-1982), has been guiding Kaidie in her running about, 30 years on (2009-2012), not to mention that, before that, before Kaidie was Kaidie, Hsieh’s quiet but powerful works have been inspiring her in her journeys. As Kaidie prepares to run further, for the last time, in the final 80 days of her life, to have met Hsieh, face to face, eye to eye (Hsieh, like Kaidie, is not big, built like an endurance runner), has served as an important breath of life. With that, she carries on with her journeys (Photograph of Kaidie with Hsieh taken by another ‘Kai’, called Kai Nien, [unrelated]).

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KAIDIE TRANS-MIGRATING? 5

Cabled-up, taken a deep breath, pink-socked, wobbled, ready to take off, to re-turn, to life, on earth. Thummmmpppppppppppppppppppplunginggggggggggggggggggggfreefalling.................. (tbc)

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** The Creative Process of Running: A 22-minute Discourse (2012 January 25) ** (Happy deathday, 1 year on)

This is a 22-minute discourse on how the process of running – physically and metaphorically – can be creative.

Several of the points in the first part of this work (on how running physically can be creative) have been inspired by the points raised by Dr Alan Latham in his lecture The Zen of Running. You can learn more about the geographer – and hardcore runner – here.

A presentation of this as a slide show was first held on 2012 January 25 at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, and exhibited as a video at the Making Space PhD exhibition at the Slade Research Centre at the Woburn Square, February 2012. As with all uploads, this is an ongoing research and subject to change. For more of such inconclusive ‘moving images’, run to Kaidie’s channel.

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**2010 December performance-lecture at the Slade School of Dine Art**

Yes we are still rather dead. So here is a mini-retrospective of sorts.

This is a performance-lecture held 2010 December 1 at the Slade School of DIne Art, Nondon, UK. In the ‘live’ version, we would be reading the script ‘live’; in this recorded version, you can hear us (flipping the pages of the script).

What is crucial to note that, all this was so (very nearly) impeccable and mindblowing at that point in time, ie 2010 December 1. Yet, restless beings that we are, that you know we are, this is not fixed in stone (is any? Even stones are not fixed [in stone], for they move, do they not??). We have (clearly) moved on, specifically, improved, in leaps and bounds of course. As you know we are simply incapable of producing anything run of the mill, but evolution-believers (and practitioners) that we are, many of the points raised in this performance have shifted, and many of the imageries have also been transformed. For ever-newer-better-higher-faster-good-better-best rundowns/out-lines/maps/cosmologies and other configurations, come back here often though even that can be slower than what we think while we are on the run etc etc. And, we all know that there can never be a ‘final’ version – even as we reach the ‘final’, for, so long as our stamina (speed and endurance) lasts, we will keep on running.

And the more we run, the better we can run, the further we can run. So, each variation is as ‘final’ as they get.

Point is, run, and you will find your own way. Or rather, ways. So, there you go. Here we are.

This performance-lecture was undertaken as part of our MPhil upgrade to PhD status at the Slade School of Dine Art, University College Nondon, UK. The opening and closing musical accompaniment is created by our usual Co-Runner, PHILIP TAN

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** GOODBYE 2011, HELLO 2012**

Hello there!

We hope that you have had a fruitful 2011 as we have. Thus far,

1) … approximately 475,000 unique visitors have (allegedly) visited our running blog since 12.12.2009

2) … in our search for the/a ‘Meaning of Life’, we have run at least 6000km in the past 750 days in the primary world, including having completed 2 fool marathons (Nondon, Farnham Pilgrims), 2 half marathons (Safra Bay Run, Uxbridge Grand Canal), as well as other smaller races (Friends of MSF, PAssion), while raising some money for charity along the way (many thanks to many of you who had responded to our emotional blackmail!)

3) … we have made nearly 2500 ‘friends’ on Facebook, including turning some of them into wondrous collaborators (such as Jeremy Hight, who curated us on an online exhibition on Leonardo Electronic Almanac; James Odling Smee who baked us a heart-stoppingly-mind-shifting chocolate cake that sent us on the mostest moistest magnificently heavenly sugar-high; Chico (a many-pawed cat owned by Anji Reyner) who has just passed away from real life, and who is now accompanying us on our astral runs

… Indeed, we have been dead since 24th of April, when Kai Syng reached her Chinese age of 37, which was a week after Kaidie hit 4:24:37 at the Nondon Marathon 2011. Yet, there is no stopping us from coming back to life (or is there?)! How, indeed, will we spend the final 250 days before we finally hit the bucket on 09.09.2012, on the last day of the Nondon Paralympics? Will we catch Kaidie impersonating a 2012 Nondon Ambassador at the Kings Cross Station come Summer 2012? Before that, will we catch someone who resembles Kaidie as a Cultural Bloomsbury guide on the topic of Art & Society, and running the Bath Half Marathon, KNI Waltham Forest Borough Run, and a midnight sun run in Norway? And, last but not least, will we finally find the/a Meaning of Life? … Boundless questions abound…

Come run our last laps with us.

Happy New Year 2012.

Yours Sincerely,

Kai-die

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KAIDIE DIES: Variation 9. Rest in Peace Chico! Carry on running.

We also found a note, that says ‘Many, many thanks to ANJI REYNER, Kaidie’s Facebook friend, for Chico’.

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** TRANS-DIMENSIONAL RUNNING FOR OUR LIVES! A 7-MINUTE RUNDOWN OF OUR SMART WAY TO RUN OUR COSMOS TODAY (as of 2011 September, that is)

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KAIDIE DIES: Variation 5.

Photograph by the same Trespasser on his mobile phone after he drove Kaidie to an early grave, after he realised that Kaidie was gone, and when he saw Kaidie's corpse, and when he concluded that she was dead, and thereafter carried on with his walk at Jacks Rake, or is it Jake's Rack, while Kaidie continued with her own astral journey/journeys across dimensions.

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KAIDIE DIES: Variation 2.

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THANKS TO YOUR AMAZZZING SUPPORT, WE RAISED £1520 FOR SHELTER AND COMPLETED THE 2011 NONDON MARATHON IN 4Hours 24Mins 37secs WITH A PLACE POSITION OF 2132.

Click image to zoom in. Yes, our name on our vest RAN. Moral of our story: DON'T buy fat marker pens that say 'permanent' and 'water-resistant' from Paperchase. They lie.

An open letter to the 47 sponsors of Kaidie’s run for Shelter at the 2011 Nondon Marathon:

Dear Trespasser, Benson, Emmanuel, Wee San, Zadoc, Andy, Umi, Anonymous, Hapless, Veronica, Ateen, Sarah, Chin Hwee, Kelvin, Caroline, Paul, Chris, Michael, Michael,  Anonymous, Tim, Marc, Ying Yan, Anonymous, Shea, Laura, Sze Wee, Mirabelle, Christina, Daniel, Yentri, Stephen,  Cristian, Diego, Cliff, Laura, Andrew, Sonia, Fernando, Patricia, Kian Chow,  Eric, Pei Chi, Hillary, Pei Shan, ‘Your favourite Russian’, and Ben,

Who doesn’t have nights of tossing and turning, flossing and gurning, cold sweat and stiff muscles, sharp pain racing through the knees, swollen fat feet populated by misshapened black and broken toenails (if you are a foot-fetishist, you’re advised to NOT date a runner, or, if you insist on dating runners, you’d better develop other healthier fetishes) and absolutely-not-wanting-to-get-out-of-bed, especially when it is grey and cold, slippery and murky? We do too, and certainly did, but YOUR financial blackmail left us with no choice but to get up on our hefty-dimpled-cellulited- very-very-reluctant arse, and run. Afterall what’s a wee bit of cajoling our toes to stepstepstep on the pavement one step at a time (typical conversation with our toes and feet: ‘Please??? Prettttyyyyyy puuuulllleaasse!?!!! OH GET ON WITH IT WON’T YOU!’), compared to what people without a shelter have to face and live, day in, day out? Trans-dimensional runners as we are (which is our task for the 1000-days of our existence), running is the least we can do, to help raise money for Shelter for its meaningful fight against homelessness and poor housing in the UK.

So, with your generous support, we raised a total of GBP £1520, and on 17 April 2011, had the honour to participate in one of the biggest gigs on earth on our favourite city on earth, the 2011 Nondon Marathon. At a sweltering 16 degrees celsius, we completed the 42km course in 4 hours 24 minutes 37 seconds (which is 1 hour 5 minutes less than the time we took for our first full marathon last year in the hilly offroad course at the very very lovely Farnham Pilgrims’ Marathon, with battered shins), measured on our Garmin Forerunner 405 loaned to us by Urbantick. We are ranked 3484 in a total of 12,229 (lycra-clad and dimpled) female participants, and an WHOPPING 14,914 overall (of a total of 34,656 male, female and other-gendered participants)! Our position for our category (aged 18-39, although we are only 500 days-old in reality) is 2132.

Given that it was a flat route, it felt easy and not sluggish, generally-speaking. The crowd was wonderful, with people shouting our (DIY-marker-penned-NON-water-resistant) name to support us along the route (one girl shouted: ‘Shelter lady! Looking good!’ We shouted  – presuming it was us she was referring to??? – ‘Thanks! You don’t look too bad yourself!’), as well as feeding us with jelly babies, oranges, chopped bananas, home-baked cookies and cakes, chocolates and other candies. There were even 2 priests who sprayed holy water (we presume? or some other unidentified liquid) at runners (which we went for and basked in, non-believers as we are, although always opportunistic for a bonus)! Memorable too was a (drunk?) man who positioned himself at the kerb and held out a large plate of CHIPS goading us ‘GO ON, YOU KNOW YOU WANT SOME CARBS!’) We also slapped the extended hands of several kids (SOME OF WHOSE LOOKED REALLY FILTHY!!! What had they been handling!? Eeeeewwwwwww) as well as a couple of adults (Eeeeeewwwwww!). For the first half we kept up at a good speed, and the first 2 ten-kms were completed around 60 minutes, while the last 2 took a little longer, as we worked-in a timeout/lull session, before we went for a faster final 2km (of the 42km route). Our time at half-marathon distance (13.1 miles) read 2 hours 08 minutes (which is 20 minutes faster than our first attempt in a half-marathon in a previous life; we are hence now certain that a next half-marathon can be completed in around 1 hour 55 minutes). We burnt a total of 3186 kcals, and did not take any loo breaks (‘So what?’ you may snigger, but a record for our tiny bladder [and oversized brain, as you our dear reader are well aware]). We ran as a ‘GBR’ person (instead of ‘SIN’), not to mention the ‘Virgin’ (and ‘Money’) tag all over us It felt HOT HOT HOT for us – imagine what the fancy-costumers had to endure!!! We kept running into one of the Rhinos- and we had read that their costume was more than 18kg. Not one time did that Rhino, or many of the other costumed runners, stopped. They got on with it, step by step. Seeing that, we switched off our pain button for our supercramps that had haunted us the entire week, and got on with it.

What spurred us during the course? 1) Our anger at the enforced feeding and reduced training in the past week (as advised by ‘experts’: ‘taper and carbo-load!’). For 7 days we were so restless we were completely dysfunctional, not to say insonmiac (fearing that we’d oversleep and miss the gig) and murderous (wanting to slaughter runners we run into, out of pure envy) as well. The forcefeeding  -of CARBOHYDRATES, NO LESS!-  was most unpleasant and traumatic. 2) We found the sight of other wobbly, thunderous cellulite-cum-dimples in hips wider than 62-inch-wide plasma-TV sets IN LYCRA slightly offensive. AND THERE WERE MILLIONS, UNABASHED. Also to spare runners behind us of THEIR eyesore of OUR cellulited plasma TVs (although we were wearing shorts, NOT lycra), we huffed and puffed and kept moving. Like jellies. And the godmother of jelly, baby.

After the race, we attended the party thrown for us by Shelter at the Strand. We enjoyed a most lovely massage given to us by a most lovely Phil (who told us that he was a ‘functional therapist’. ‘As opposed to a dysfunctional one?’, we asked; Phil also said that our ‘IT band’ was tight. Techhy as we are, we are proud to hear that a band – an information-technological one, no less, inhabits our body), had a few glasses of prosecco (of course we would have preferred Champagne, but darling, it’s alright, as we do love bubbles), as well as linguini WITH FOUR meatballs (The race has brought out the carnivore in us!!! The waiter gave us 6 but we donated 2 back. ‘Are you sure??’ ‘YES!’ we cried, and threw his balls back at him, while we rolled ourselves back to our seat)!!! (All these benefits of our £100 entry fee!)

What did we do when we went home? Watch the BBC’s coverage of the event on iPlayer, of course. It is always always moving to watch endurance athletes do their thing. The show put up by this year’s winners was, to say the least, incredible. They were not running 42km – THEY WERE SPRINTING. Those large long strides – powered by their tiny, leanmeanmighty bodies. So you think that only us mortals suffer? As soon as the elegant Emmanuel Mutai came home through the finishers’ line, he stooped, to puke. Bright, yellow, stuffs. Who would have guessed? For, like fellow Kenyan and female champion Mary Keitany, his was a face of resilience and pure focus, from beginning to end. He held court, and got on with it, and won – gracefully. TALK ABOUT ENDURANCE.

After a day of rest and unsettling sleep (pierced intermittently by foreign pains in our knees  – and IT bands????), we resumed running (we mean limping) on Tuesday. We have also signed up for 2 races: the Kilomathon (26.2km – YES in our favourite METRIC system!!) on 23 October 2011 in Nondon, and the Bath Half Marathon (21km, or 13 miles) in March 2012. We do enjoy the full slap of 42km / 26 miles, but we think that the  twenties are the most suitable. Afterall, we do not have all that much time left in our 1000-day lifespan for hours and hours of training, and we still need to run not only in Life 1.0 (in the primary world), but Life 2.0 (online) as well. We intend to go for a couple more within our lifetime: a warm one, during Winter (Marakkech!) and a midnight sun run (in Norway! Aha!).

All in all, the 2011 Nondon Marathon was a pleasant race. We were fully focused on our given task – the task that you have entrusted us!! We feel honoured and humbled to have been given the chance to run such a big gig in our favourite city on earth, and to have done so for a meaningful cause. THANK YOU to all our sponsors for your generous support for our donation drive for Shelter!!! THANK YOU ALL for your lovely messages of support!

Yours Sincerely,

Kaidie x

PS For our other readers reading this, should you wish to show your support for Shelter, YOU CAN STILL MAKE A DONATION! Click a few clicks here!!

PPS: Dear ‘Trespasser’, if you are reading this, please write us to tell us who you are, for, how could we possibly thank you properly if you do not reveal yourself?

'Trespasser', won't you share with us about the perils of running on the digital highway?

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REVERIES OF A SOLITARY RUNNER II: flights with Qu Yuan and his beautiful suicide lament (3BCE)

We seek not immortality - not even longevity (what for?), but a life lived to its fullest, every lifetime, each time we live it.

Qu Yuan’s description of his passage to death and beyond (3BCE) is simply one of the most beautiful passages we have ever encountered – the juxtapositions of internal turmoil with external journey, the spiritual and the tangible, the political and the personal, the metaphysical with the physical, the melancholic and the ecstatic, the extreme feeling of isolation and liberation, the unliving with being most alive – are so skillfully presented that the reader can not but feel happy (for the narrator) and heartbroken (for us, for there will be no more beautiful verses from him) at the same time. (Any experience that evokes 2 opposing emotions simultaneously – that the sublime embodies perfectly, with the interplay of the fearful and the awe-inspiring – is the most powerful experience for us). While we certainly cannot say that we fully agree with or understand it (with the multiple references to the religious/spiritual), Qu Yuan’s song hits us. According to Livia Kohn in her delightful The Taoist Experience: An Anthology, Later Printing (State University of New York Press, 1993), Qu Yuan’s The Far-Off Journey (Yuanyou) is ‘most classical of all ecstatic journeys in Chinese religion and literature’. In this song, the poet and official describes ‘a visionary journey that takes him from the sorrows bad afflictions of his unhappy life on earth through various physical practices and concentration efforts to the realm of the gods and immortals.’ Qu Yuan is of course renowned for eventually having thrown himself in sorrow into the Miluo River as a protest to the corruption of his government, the reason for many Chinese to mark the annual Dragon Boat Festival by throwing rice dumplings into the river from dragon boats in the futile wish that the fish would eat the dumplings instead of the tormented poet. Sensible 21st century beings that we are, we respect and enjoy the lovely story/legend/myth that makes Qu Yuan heroic and poetic, as much as we take it with a pinch of salt (as we wolf down the rice dumplings). At the same time, trans-dimensional runners that we are, we have 1 foot on the ground, and the other in cuckoo land, in blue skies; grounded and earth-bound as we are, we travel the world(s) (in spirit – whatever that might be? With more bags of salt? How heavy is that!?!) with the doomed anti-hero-fantasist-travellers, ala Don Quixote (Cervantes’ and Kathy Acker’s), Fitzcarraldo and Orlando. While Qu Yuan flies (and at some point of the song, GALLOP!!), we run, trans-dimensionally; while he seeks union / re-union with an ineffable force (the Tao), we dispel the notion of the existence of any convenient, centralised thing/being/institution; while he is disembodied, leaving his physical body behind, we run, embodied, burdened, with us, our physical, corporeal beings – which is the point, which is also the problem, the problem of our 1000-day troublesome endeavour, but the problem is very much the point. And, unlike Qu Yuan, we seek neither longevity nor immortality (as if one lifetime is not more than enough!?!). Yet, like Qu Yuan, and like Rousseau, we know, and we do, want to move on. Here, we reproduce Qu Yuan’s Far-off Journey (Yuanyou) from Kohn’s anthology (p. 251 – 257). Qu Yuan’s astral journey reminds us of that of the ancient Egyptian as we learnt at the British Museum at the wonderful Book of the Dead show, as well as the hauntingly beautiful paintings of Marc Chagall (so much so that we are compelled to pick up the brush and paint and canvas to paint [again]- although the production of paintings, of things, is is direct contradiction to our desire/purpose of wanting to not attach, to be free from burden, in our earthly travels and beyond…). The process of transcribing the translated text help us move closer to Qu Yuan’s mind, as he traverses the worlds, as every word comes off the page to the screen, from the poet to paper, from text in one language to another via the translator, from the translator to us, from us to you.

Saddened by the hardships of the common world,

How I wish to rise up and travel ways far-off!
My own strength is feeble; there is no support –
What could I stride on to float up and away?

Encountering nothing but foulness and defilement,
I am alone and miserable – who could I talk to?
At night I lie restless, never sleeping,
My soul roving about till the approach of dawn.

Thinking of the infinity of heaven and of earth,
I cry with the eternal toil of human life.
People of the past I cannot reach;
People of the future I will never know.

Pacing with restlessness, I yearn to get away,
Confused and close to madness, I long for the eternal.
My mind goes wild, strays off without control;
My heart melancholy, I am ever sadder.

Then suddenly my spirit, off, never to come back.
My body, like a withered tree, left behind alone.

I look within, try to get back my grip,
To find the place where life’s energy arises:
All vastly empty and tranquil, there is serenity.
Quietly in non-action, spontaneous truth is found.

I hear how Master Redpine cleansed the world’s defilements
And wish to follow the model he has left.

Honoring the blessed virtue of the perfected,
I admire all who in the past have become immortal.
Taking off in a transformation, they were never seen,
While still their name and nature continue on and on.

Oh, how Fu Yue went to live among the stars!
How Han Zhong Succeeded to realize the One!
Oh, for the body to slowly fade off in the distance –
To leave the human crowd behind, to vanish so completely!

Oh, to follow the flow of energy, rising ever upward –
Swift as the spirit, wondrous as a ghost!
To see thaw rolled get hazy, look back from far-off –
All dazzling essence, flashing back and forth!

Oh, to go away from all the dust to greater purity –
Never to turn back to old home!
To escape all the afflictions and never fear again –
None in the world knows how this truly is!

And here I am, afraid of the passing of the seasons,
With every rising of the sun on its westward move.
A subtle frost descends, sinking ever downward,
I fear my fragrant freshness will fade all too soon.

Oh, to leave it all for free and easy journey
Through years eternal that will never end!
Here, who would enjoy with me my remaining fragrance,
Walk, through the country air and share my depth with me?

Gaoyang, my hero, is removed ever farther,
Where will this life, so lonely, lead me to?

Then again, as spring and autumn hurry,
How can I always stay in my old home?
The Yellow Emperor cannot become my model,
But I can follow Jumping Wang to please myself.

So I eat the six energies and drink the nightly dew,
Rinse my mouth with yang itself and swallow morning light.
Guarding the purity of the spirit light within,
I absorb essence and energy, drive out all that’s coarse.

Wandering in the wake of the gentle wind,
I reach the Southern Nest without a single stop.
I meet with Master Wang and pause to speak to him,
Inquire about the harmony and virtue of the One.

‘The Tao can only be received,’ he says,
‘It never can be given.
‘So small that has no within,
‘So big it has no bounds.

‘No twists at all inside your soul,
‘And it will come spontaneously.
‘Focus on energy and open up to spirit –
‘Let them grow in you at the midnight hour.

‘Wait for the Tao in emptiness,
‘Clear even of non-action.
‘All living species rise from this,
‘It is the Gate of Virtue.’

Thinking of my dear old friends in my imagination.
I heave a heavy sigh and brush the tears away.
Slowly again I float, rising ever farther:
Suppressing now my will, keeping myself controlled.

I point to the God of Fire and gallop straight to him,
Wishing to journey to the world’s southern end.
I gaze on wilderness beyond all known directions,
Float on and on over watery expanse.

The Blessed Melter of the South stops me on the way,
So I go back by phoenix and visit the River Consorts.
They play the ‘Pool of Heaven’ and sing me ‘To the Clouds’;
Both ladies then perform the Nine Songs of Shao.

Asking the Xiang goddesses to play their zithers for me,
I bid the Sea God dance with the River God.
They pull up water monsters ti step forward with them,
Their bodies coiling and writhing in ever swaying motion!

Gracefully the Lady Rainbow circles all around them;
The Phoenixes soar up, stay hovering above –
The music swells ever higher, into infinity.

At this point I leave to wander yet again;
With my entourage, I gallop far away.

At the world’s far end at the Gate of Coldness,
I race the rushing wind to Clarity Springs.
I follow Zhuanxu of the North over piled-up ice,
Turn from my path to pass through Mystery Darkness.

Striding on cosmic mainstays, I look back behind me,
Summon Qian Lei the Creator to appear,
To go in front of me on the level way.

Thus I tour all four outlands,
Traverse all the six regions,
Up to the crakes of Heaven,
Down to the Great Abyss.

Below just lofty openess, there is no more earth;
Above just empty vastness, there is no more heaven.

I look but my vision blurs, nothing to be seen;
I listen but my ears are numb, nothing to be heard.

Going beyond non-action, I reach the Clarity,
Become a neighbour of the Great Beginning.

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DO YOU WANT TO BE KAIDIE’S FINAL DONOR(S)? HELP US RAISE OUR FINAL £117 FOR SHELTER BEFORE WE RUN THE 2011 NONDON MARATHON NEXT SUNDAY 17 APRIL!


This mind-blowing image will grace Chin Hwee's wall, due to his generous donation. Mercenary, are we? Helping to redistribute wealth? Or merely spreading the immense beauty and poetry of our creative expression to everybody? (You're welcome, our pleasure.) Do YOU want a piece of our astounding art work? Give us £100 - or rather, give SHELTER £100 via us (we pocket NOT one penny), and a unique, signed print is yours. YOURS!!!! Call us now to engage in this meaningful transaction. Don't call us now, and you wil regret it, for our amazing works are not only going way below cost price (ahem) and our market value (ahem) in the art cattle market, the prices of our fabulous works will soarrrr once we kick the bucket (is the bucket half fool or half empty??). Don't live your life with regrets. Act NOW. Help us help Shelter NOW.

THANKS to the generous donation of Tan Chin Hwee, we have raised a grand total of GBP £1383 for Shelter, the homelessness charity!!!!!! This is superb, and beyond our expectation. We are so very chuffed that this money will be put into very meaningful use by the charity that fights against homelessness, an issue that is urgent now more than before due to the recession. THANK YOU to ALL 43 OF YOU WHO HAVE CHIPPED IN TO SUPPORT OUR EFFORT in the past 4 months! A MILLION, BILLION, GAZILLION, MEGAGAGAZILLION THANK YOU, everybody. THANK YOU VERY MUCH TOO ATEEN PATEL for your donation! Ateen is a runner as well, and is running the Paris Marathon in memory of his father, and raising money for the British Cancer Foundation – please do help Ateen if you can! Chin Hwee too is an avid sportsman and has always inspired us in his activities – we had taken part in the SAFRA Army Half Marathon together in a previous life. In spite of his madly punishing schedule at work (including work for the community), today Chin Hwee has resumed running seriously – presumably inspired by us, this time round, this life! Well done us, pats on our backs, ahem – and is taking part in the Singapore Marathon at the end of this year!! GO CHIN HWEE GO!! Chin Hwee has previously also supported our fundraising efforts at the 10km Friends for Medecins Sans Frontieres race, as well as the Farnham Pilgrim’s Marathon when we raised money for the Farnham hospices. We will make a print of the above image to present to Chin Hwee for his wonderful, wonderful support. THANK YOU CHIN HWEE!

With Chin Hwee’s kind donation, we are now tasked to raise the final £117 before our big gig next Sunday. Won’t you help us in our final lap? Please do – a £100 donation gives you a unique, signed print!, but any, any amount is greatly appreciated. With devastating cuts, times are hard, those of us who are able to help in one way or another should, all the more, do so!  Mentally and physically we are more than ready (although we have a disgusting patch of bruise/blister field on our right sole – TMI!!!!!!!!), having not stopped running throughout the entire $%£X####X winter, training very very nearly every single day, and frequently defiantly at 6am in the dark around our favourite Regents Fark, to stick two fingers at whoever/whatever creates cold and grey and depressing winters. We look forward to pounding the streets of Nondon. Nondon is our favourite city on earth and beyond, and running through the most spectacular parts of this inspiring and giving metropolis with thousands and thousands of people in one of the biggest shows on earth will be breathtaking, so breathtaking that we may forget to breath and die. We love running alone, but we also love running with masses and masses of people in our most beloved urban stage and playground, this life, and the next, and the next, and the next!!! Come and join in the rave. See you there. (We will be the ones wearing red! And panting with our big fat tongue sticking out! With blister fields on our feet! And not smelling very nice! And flapping our arms wildly! And … … )

For full interactive map, visit Virgin Nondon Marathon website.

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REVERIES OF A SOLITARY RUNNER I: Following the footsteps of Rousseau and his final work, Reveries of a Solitary Walker (1776-1778)

One of the images we collected in our solitary runs - a picture of peace and a fecal-matter-smeared wall and the defecator in Nondon.

The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote Reveries of the Solitary Walker (Les reveries du promeneur solitaire) between 1776-1778. When he died in 2 July 1778 at the age of 66, the work remained incomplete. The autobiographical series of essays is structured as 10 walks that Rousseau undertook in Paris alone. The work was written just after Rousseau ’emerged from the darkest passages of his life’ (says Peter France in the introduction to this 2004 Penguin edition, which we read at the Waterstones at Gower Street in Nondon one difficult midmorning), after many years of exile. During these final 2 years of his life, Rousseau felt misunderstood and unhappy. Rather than a work that is about walking, or has walking as a subject matter, Rousseau uses the act of walking as a medium, as a form, to express his final thoughts, before his death. Although Rousseau was not a runner, we identify with his sentiments as a solitary wanderer, and especially so in these unshiny days of ours. Bitter but at peace with himself (or rather resigned to his fate, whatever ‘fate’ might mean), Rousseau’s contemplations remind us of those of the other hermit-philosopher-poets, EM Cioran and Fernando Pessoa. We are also reminded of Viktor Sjostrom’s character in Ingmar Bergamn’s powerful Wild Strawberries (1957), who is also a bitter man looking back at his past, laden with regrets. While there is a salvaging epiphany at the end of the film/road-movie of sorts (and much quiet humour – Bergman or Scandinavian style, if we could say so? – throughout the film – some of which Woody Allen later played up), it is a nicely dark and murky. This is one of our favourite works of art of all times that continues to haunt us all these years and lifetimes, to our death(s). As Rousseau expresses in Emile (published 1762): ‘Every attachment is a sign of insufficiency […] A truly happy being is a solitary being.’ As we draft ours, Rousseau’s pre-death message in the Reveries of a Solitary Walker enables us to feel a certain delirium – as much as despair and desperation:

WALK 1

Everything is finished for me on earth. People can no longer do good or evil to me here. I have nothing more to hope for or to fear in this world; and here I am, tranquil at the bottom of the abyss, a poor unfortunate mortal, but unperturbed, like God Himself.

A recent event as sad as it was unexpected has finally extinguished this feeble ray of hope and shown me that my earthly destiny is irrevocably fixed for all time. Since then, I have resigned myself utterly and recovered my peace of mind.

…realizing eventually that all my efforts were in vain and my self-torment of no avail, I took the only course left to me, that of submitting to my fate and ceasing to fight against the inevitable. This resignation has made up for all my trials by the peace of mind it brings me, a peace of mind incompatible with the unceasing exertions of a struggle as painful as it was unavailing.

Even physical suffering would take my mind off my misfortunes rather than adding to them. Perhaps the cries of pain would save me the groans of unhappiness, and the laceration of my body would prevent that of my heart.

Actual misfortunes have little effect on me; it is easy for me to accept those which I suffer in reality, but not those which I fear. My fevered imagination builds them up, works on them, magnifies them, and inspects them from every angle. They are far more of a torment to me imminent than present; the threat is far more worse than the blow. As soon as they happen, they lose all the terrors lent to them by imagination and appear in their true size. I find them far less formidable than I had feared, and even in the midst of my suffering I feel a sort of relief. In this state, freed from all further fear and from the anxieties of hope, I shall learn from mere habit to accept ever more easily a situation which can grow no worse; and as my awareness of it is dulled by time they can find no further way of reviving it. So much good my persecutors have done me by recklessly pouring out all the shafts of their hatred. They have deprived themselves of any power over me and henceforward I can laugh at them.

Everything external is henceforth foreign to me. I no longer have any neighbours, fellow-men, or brothers in this world. I live here as in some strange planet on to which I have fallen from the one I knew. All around me I can recognize nothing but objects which afflict and wound my heart, and I cannot look at anything that is close to me or round about me without discovering some subject for indignant scorn or painful emotion. Let me therefore detach my mind from these afflicting sights; they would only cause me pain, and to no end. Alone for the rest of my life, since it is only in myself that I find consolation, hope and peace of mind, my only remaining duty is towards myself and this is all I desire.

WALK 2

These hours of solitude and meditation are the only ones in the day during which I am fully myself and for myself, without diversion, without obstacle, and during which I can truly claim to be what nature willed.

Today there is more recollection than creation in the products of my imagination, a tepid languor saps all my faculties, the vital spirit is gradually dying down within me, my soul no longer flies up without effort from its decaying prison of flesh, and were it not for the hope of a state to which I aspire because I feel that it is mine by right, I should now live only in the past. Thus if I am to contemplate myself before my decline, I must go back several years to the time when, losing all hope for this life and finding no food left on earth for my soul, I gradually learnt to feed it on its own substance and seek all its nourishment within myself.

The country was still green and pleasant, but it was deserted and many of the leaves had fallen; everything gave an impression of solitude and impending winter. This picture evoked mixed feelings of gentle sadness which were too closely akin to my age and my experience for me not to make the comparison. I saw myself at the close of an innocent and unhappy life, with a soul still full of intense feelings and a mind still adorned with a few flowers, even if they were already blighted by sadness and withered by care. Alone and neglected, I could feel the approach of the first frosts and my failing imagination no longer filled my solitude with beings formed after the desires of my heart. Sighing I said to myself: What have I done in this world? I was created to live, and I am dying without having lived.

Let men and fate do their worst, we must learn to suffer in silence, everything will find its proper place in the end and sooner or later my turn will come.

WALK 3

Secluded meditation, the study of nature, and contemplation of the universe force a solitary person to search with tender concern for the purpose in everything he sees and the cause of everything he feels.

When death is already at the door, is it worth learning how we should have lived?

The sad truth that time and reason have revealed to me in making me aware of my misfortune, has convinced me that there is no remedy and that resignation is my only course. Thus all the experience of my old age is of no use to me in my present state, nor will it help me in the future.

Since the days of my youth I had fixed on the age of forty as the end of my efforts to succeed, the final term of my various ambitions. I had the firm intention, when I reached this age, of making no further effort to climb out of whatever situation I was in and of spending the rest of my life living from day to day with no thought for the future. When the time came I carried out my plan without difficulty, and although my fortune at the time seemed to be on the point of changing permanently for the better, it was not only without regret but with real pleasure that I gave up these prospects. In shaking off all these lures and vain hopes, I abandoned myself entirely to the nonchalant tranquillity which has always been my dominant taste and most lasting inclination. I quitted the world and its vanities, I gave up all finery–no more sword, no more watch, no more white stockings, gilt trimmings and powder, but a simple wig and a good solid coat of broadcloth–and what is more than all the rest, I uprooted from my heart the greed and covetousness which gave value to all I was leaving behind. I gave up the position I was then occupying, a position for which I was quite unsuited, and set myself to copying music at so much a page, an occupation for which I had always had a distinct liking.

All the sharpest torments lose their sting if one can confidently expect a glorious recompense, and the certainty of this recompense was the principal fruit of my earlier meditations.

WALK 5

Everything is in constant flux on this earth. Nothing keeps the same unchanging shape, and our affections, being attached to things outside us, necessarily change and pass away as they do. Always out ahead of us or lagging behind, they recall a past which is gone or anticipate a future which may never come into being; there is nothing solid there for the heart to attach itself to. Thus our earthly joys are almost without exception the creatures of a moment; I doubt whether any of us knows the meaning of lasting happiness. Even in our keenest pleasures there is scarcely a single moment of which the heart could truthfully say: ‘Would that this moment could last for ever!’ And how can we give the name of happiness to a fleeting state which leaves our hearts still empty and anxious, either regretting something that is past or desiring something that is yet to come? But if there is a state where the soul can find a resting-place secure enough to establish itself and concentrate its entire being there, with no need to remember the past or reach into the future, where time is nothing to it, where the present runs on indefinitely but this duration goes unnoticed, with no sign of the passing of time, and no other feeling of deprivation or enjoyment, pleasure or pain, desire or fear than the simple feeling of existence, a feeling that fills our soul entirely, as long as this state lasts, we can call ourselves happy, not with a poor, incomplete and relative happiness such as we find in the pleasures of life, but with a sufficient, complete and perfect happiness which leaves no emptiness to be filled in the soul….What is the source of our happiness in such a state? Nothing external to us, nothing apart from ourselves and our own existence; as long as this state lasts we are self-sufficient like God. The feeling of existence unmixed with any other emotion is in itself a precious feeling of peace and contentment which would be enough to make this mode of being loved and cherished by anyone who could guard against all the earthly and sensual influences that are constantly distracting us from it in this life and troubling the joy it could give us. But most men being continually stirred by passion know little of this condition, and having only enjoyed it fleetingly and incompletely they retain no more than a dim and confused notion of it and are unaware of its true charm. Nor would it be desirable in our present state of affairs that the avid desire for these sweet ecstasies should give people a distaste for the active life which their constantly recurring needs impose upon them. But an unfortunate man who has been excluded from human society, and can do nothing more in this world to serve or benefit himself or others, may be allowed to seek in this state a compensation for human joys, a compensation which neither fortune nor mankind can take away from him.

WALK 6

I have never been truly suited for civil society, where everything is annoyance, obligation, and duty, … my naturally independent temperament always made me incapable of the subjection necessary to anyone who wants to live among men.

There are types of adversity which elevate and strengthen the soul, but there are others which depress and crush it; such is the one of which I am a victim. If there had been the slightest leaven of evil in my soul, this adversity would have fermented it to excess and driven me into a frenzy, but it only succeeded in reducing me to inactivity. Unable to do good to myself or anyone else, I abstain from acting; and this state, which is only blameless because I cannot avoid it, makes me find a sort of satisfaction in abandoning myself completely and without reproach to my natural inclination. No doubt I go too far, since I avoid opportunities for action even when I think nothing but good can come from them. But knowing that I am not allowed to see things as they are, I refrain from judging by the appearances my enemies give to things, and however alluring the motives for action may seem, it is enough that they have been left within my grasp for me to be sure they are deceptive.

I have never believed that man’s freedom consists in doing what he wants, but rather in never doing what he does not want to do, and this is the freedom I have always sought after and often achieved, the freedom by virtue of which I have most scandalized my contemporaries.

WALK 7

Seeking refuge in mother nature, I sought in her arms to escape the attacks of her children. I have become solitary, or, as they say, unsociable and misanthropic, because to me the most desolate solitude seems preferable to the society of wicked men which is nourished only in betrayals and hatred.

WALK 8

In all the ills that befall us, we are more concerned by the intention than the result. A tile that falls off a roof may injure us more seriously, but it will not wound us so deeply as a stone thrown deliberately by a malevolent hand. The blow may miss, but the intention always strikes home.

Since by the light of reason I could see nothing but absurdities in the explanations I tried to give for everything that happened to me, I realized that, as all its causes and operations were unknown and incomprehensible to me, I should ignore them completely, that I should regard all the details of my fate as the workings of mere necessity, in which I should not seek to find any intention, purpose, or moral cause, that I must submit to it without argument or resistance since these were useless, that since all that was left to me on earth was to regard myself as a purely passive being, I should not waste the strength I needed to endure my fate in trying to fight against it. This was what I told myself. My reason and my heart assented, yet I could feel that my heart was not entirely satisfied. Whence came this dissatisfaction? I searched and found the answer: it came from my self-love, which, having waxed indignant against mankind, still rebelled against reason.

WALK 9

Happiness is a lasting state which does not seem to be made for man in this world. Everything here on earth is in a continual flux which allows nothing to assume any constant form. All things change round about us, we ourselves change, and no one can be sure of loving tomorrow what he loves today. All our plans of happiness in this life are therefore empty dreams. Let us make the most of peace of mind when it comes to us, taking care to do nothing to drive it away, but not making plans to hold it fast, since such plans are sheer folly. I have seen few if any happy people, but I have seen many who were contented, and of all the sights that have come my way this is the one that has left me most contented myself.

…if my pleasures are brief and few in number, it is also true that when they come they give me an intenser enjoyment than if I were more used to them. I ruminate on them so to speak, turning them over frequently in my memory, and few as they are, if they were pure and unmixed, they would perhaps make me happier than in my days of prosperity. In extreme poverty a little is enough to make one rich; a beggar is gladder to find one gold coin than a rich man to find a purse full of money. People would laugh if they could see how my soul is affected by the slightest pleasures…

It is only when I am alone that I am my own master, at all other times I am the plaything of all who surround me.


WE ARE STILL RAISING MONEY FOR OUR RUN FOR SHELTER AT THE 2011 NONDON MARATHON  NEXT SUNDAY- PLEASE HELP! ANY AMOUNT IS APPRECIATED!

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RUNNING = LIVING = RUNNING. BUT WHEN WE HIT THE WALL MID-JOURNEY, HOW CAN WE FIND THE STAMINA TO COMPLETE IT?

Broken. (Super-)Glued several times, but falling apart (looped, like a broken record, like living, like the cycles of life and death, like dying, like running, like running on quicksand, like running on slowsand, like not running, but running, still).

For me running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit, I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. at least that’s why I put in effort day after day: to raise my own level. […] The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.[1]

We journey forwards to the finishing line in a running session (or at the completion of a race, which is the epitome of a running session, with set rules and a clear beginning and closure). In life, we journey towards the finishing line of death. In the process, like writer Haruki Murakami, we desire improvement and progress in any given run, as we do in life itself. Yet, any long-distance runner also understands the dictum that when we run, we are essentially running against ourselves (and not our fellow runners). As Bernd Heinrich states of his record-breaking championship in the 1981 ultra-marathon, he was running it ‘all by myself, against myself’; ‘I’d done the best that I knew how at the time. That’s what mattered to me.’ [2] Contrary to the short distance sprint, the emphasis of the long-distance run is its process. Given the strenuous nature of running, pain and exhaustion are the Achilles heels of any runner, capable of literally and metaphorically bringing us to our knees. Especially in the case of ultra-running (of distances above 42km), it is when our body and mind are pushed so far that we are reminded of our limitation, vulnerability, and indeed, mortality. For Murakami, ‘learning something essential in life requires physical pain’ in most cases.[3] Yet, while ‘the hurt part is an unavoidable reality’, what matters is how we respond to this pain.[4] Thus, ‘[p]ain is inevitable. Suffering is optional’.[5].In bringing us close to death, pain is that which reminds us that we are alive. We run after pain because it reminds us of our mortality. An undertaking such as endurance running fulfils this basic instinct of ours. Like the endurance hunt, the race becomes a metaphor for life and death, except that instead of competing against the nimble antelope, we are fighting against ourselves, outrunning our own limitations. No stranger to pain, Murakami states that it is ‘precisely because of the pain, precisely because we want to overcome that pain, that we can get the feeling, […]of really being alive – or at least a partial sense of it.’[6] Hence, that which is at stake as we journey in the process of a run or life itself is how we respond to the ups and downs that confront us along the way. In another words, how we negotiate, manage and navigate our runs, and, indeed, our lives —which is the question that we are addressing in our thesis of Trans-dimensional Running For Our Lives! A Rough Guide to a Critical Strategy for our Technologically-Layered Multiverse .

In fact, Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running can be read as a poetic discourse of the activity of running as a means to negotiate, manage and navigate his life and mortality itself.[7] Over a collection of essays, he discusses his peak as a runner (and writer), and contemplates about his own physical decline as a runner as he grows older.[8] In contrast to the image of a highly-successful novelist and athlete, the essays reveals Murakami as one ridden with anxieties and self-doubt about (his) existence. In tones not dissimilar to Antoine’s epiphanic laments in Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential textbook Nausea, Murakami ponders about whether he has overcome his ‘shortcomings’ as he ages (‘now here I am living in this unimaginable world’;[9] ‘wretched sort of feeling’;[10] ‘struck by how pitiful n pointless this little container called me is, what a lame, shabby being I am’;[11] ‘sad spreadsheet of my life that reveals how much my debts far outweigh my assets’[12]). In a particularly poignant (and humorous) passage, Murakami describes watching ‘young blonde girls’ swinging their ponytails ‘proudly’ as they run, and distils from it the metaphor of how ‘one generation takes over from the next’. He allows them to overtake him, for they have different sense of time, which is ‘the way it should be’.[13] For Murakami, ‘this is how the world is handed over in this world’. He continues to run his own run —and his own life—  and comes to terms with (his) mortality:

[…] I doubt I’ll ever be able to run the way I used to. I’m ready to accept that. […] And time does its job much more faithfully, much more accurately, than I ever do. Ever since time began (when was that, I wonder?), it’s been moving ever forward without a moment’s rest. And one of the privileges given to those who’ve avoided dying young is the blessed right to grow old. The honour of physical decline is waiting, and you have to get used to that reality.[14]



[1] Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Random House Inc., 2009). p. 10.

[2] Bernd Heinrich, Why We Run: A Natural History, Reprint (Harper Perennial, 2002). p. 266.

[3] Murakami, p. 140.

[4] Murakami, p. vii.

[5] Murakami, p. vii.

[6] Murakami, p. 171.

[7] Thirty-three —which he notes was the age that Jesus Christ died and Scott Fitzgerald began to decline— was the age that Murakami picked up running (as well as his ‘belated, but real starting point as a novelist’). Murakami, p. 47.

[8] Murakami, p. 11.

[9] Murakami, p. 18.

[10] Murakami, p. 152.

[11] Murakami, p. 152.

[12] Murakami, p. 152.

[13] Murakami, p. 94.

[14] Murakami, p. 121.


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In the chaosmos of RUNNING AGAINST and RUNNING AWAY: Our deliriouslydelicious 6am loops in myopicdarkness at Regents Fark. Alternatively, hitting the hamster wheel.


The first snow of Nondon, November 2010.

In the face of a snag, what can we do?

1) Our natural (insofar as there is such a thing as nature?) instinct is to fight it. Resist it. Put up a bloody good brawl and, if in the end we are nearly dead from the bloodiness, at least we have put up a good fight.

2) Yet, if fighting seems futile, and if it is wiser to not fight but fight by opting out, so be it. Rather than a sign of weakness, running away is a tactic of survival and can be a wise sign of strength, too. The Tarahumara Indians of North Mexico – superathletes capable of running ultradistances for days on nothing more than skimpy rubber sandals – first resisted the colonisers by running. The more danger encroached, the further and deeper they ran. As Bernd Heinrich observes (and reports of himself), (we) runners are guided by dreams and madness as much as we are by logic; stubbornness (the sisu that we see in the amazing flying Finns) and resilience as much as pragmatism.

In December, as Nondon experienced what has been repeatedly described as ‘unprecedented’ ‘arctic’ weather conditions, we ran into the conundrum of ‘running away from’ versus ‘running against’.  We were undecided if which was better (or the lesser evil), to fall in icy conditions outdoors (as we did in January 2011 in the Swiss alps while visiting Heidi, and on 17 December on our way to the opening of our exhibition), or to admit defeat and run indoors instead and risk falling off the treadmill (December 2009)? Which is a better fall? Which lousy choice is less lousy?

As 1.57m (Yes, when fully erect. Yes, back fully straightened. Yes, neck standing upright.) ex-tropical beings in a most recent life, our war with the Nondon weather looked like a farcical David-versus-Goliath mud-wrestling (or snow-sloshing) match. Yet, in our determination to raise two or ten fingers or twenty fingers and (callused) toes at the weather, we have been undertaking 10km dashes at Regents Fark at 6am, whenever the weather was clear. Being myopic, the darkness protects us from being fully awake and alert, but also grants us an other lens of lucidity, enabling us several orgasmically endorphin-filled sessions. Then, the first heavy snow fell in Nondon in late November, we were initially in denial, and continued to run outdoors. Wrapped up as Michelin Man, we treaded carefully and slowly. Did it feel good? NO, of course not. Running in layers and layers of heavy clothing will never be a comfortable option; neither is having to run watching every single step. In some senses, we could read that this sort of running as so compromised as to not do justice to the notion/spirit of running (do we hear shades of the pro-life versus pro-euthanasia debates here: better a bad quality but prolonged life, or one shortened  – perhaps while one is on top of one’s game – but lived to the full?).

Hence we decided that it was perhaps wiser that we stopped being obstinate in trying to outrun nature, but to let her do her job, or whatever it is that she desires or needs to do, and that we went for an alternative option. So, it has been the claustrophobic and soggilyventilated hamsterwheel in a gym for the wussy hamster. Outdoors, we have no problems whatsoever running 10-20km at a pop. On the treadmill, however, we sometimes struggle even with ONE kilometre. Yes. We are shocked too, and could not decide if we should laugh or cry (and use the tears to lubricate our psychological resistance to the machines)? Where has that inertia/animosity/fear come from?

Fortunately, that was then. The arctic conditions seem to have left Nondon, and we are back to our 6am (and lately, 5:30am, for our day does not feel begun unless/until we move our body) runs at our beloved Regents Fark. At the expense of paid gym membership, but feck it. Give us the great outdoors, anytime. (and save us from the disturbing phenomena of swinging ponytails in OFFENSIVELY LOUD west coast accents, trashy TV programmes, short men pumping iron, mouldy floors of showers). We take comfort in the darkness, as if the darkness protects us. On average, we meet (or rather, sense, or run into, and sometime bump into, given that we can’t really see them) about 15 runners (and about 8-15 cyclists, who go about in groups/herds, unlike us runners who go about [in life too?] necessarily [?] in solitude). We say neither ‘hello’ nor ‘good morning’; instead we are quietly work on, as if there is a tacit understanding that we are doing what we have to do. Of particular significance is an elderly (or simply beard-y? For, once again, being myopic, and especially so in the dark, we have no idea) man whose waist is tied to his labrador (or what looks likes of such a dog, for we are not able to differentiate dog-types, though we are certain that the most loathed of the canine family would be the chi*&%hua, which looks more like [somebody’s idea of] a joke. Except that it is unfunny). (We think/ assume it is a dog (?), although once again we have no way to confirm, unless we put on our glasses, but any extra thing we attach to ourselves is but a burden, and surely we do not need any burden, so we will have to take it that it is [or was] a dog.). A strong dog (and master) this labrador, or labrador-ish dog is, for it runs at a very strong and confident pace, every morning, leading his master forward. If we had a cat (THE BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL BRITISH BLUE, FOR INSTANCE!!) we would train her to do the same for us. The weather has turned muggy, so much so that we have been sweating unseasonably more than usual, and the dry-wick shirts do not help.

Could we possibly use our excess(ive) sweat production to lubricate the hardship and human and inhumane suffering that is to come in the remaining 593 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ONLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) days of our life?

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As we stuff our faces with stuffed birds/puds/sprouts/mulling about, shall we have a DISCOURSE? (RUNNING TO & FRO, from the Latin ‘discursus’)?

Hard at work (as if): reading, or rather, posing with books that we have ordered for the library. If we hold the books close enough, hopefully our skin will be able to absorb all the contents, swiftly. And paraphrase them enough to regurgitate in our writing, too, hopefully.

Before you complain that we have been less-than-diligent in our postings in the past couple of months, we must tell you that it is because we have been extremely hard at work writing something else, namely our grand 80,000-word fabulousness and sweetness of our thesis, which theorises our critical strategy of trans-dimensional running for our 21st century technologically-enabled multiverse.

To write, we have to read too, of course. Here are some pictorial evidence of us (LOOKING AS IF WE ARE VERY) hard at work, reading some of the books that we have ordered. We particularly enjoy running with Dr Bernd Heinrich in his Why We Run: A Natural History. Himself is a TOP marathon and ultramarathon runner (coming in as champion, at the age of 41, a race of 100km in 6 hours 30 minutes in 1981 in Chicago!!), award-winning biologist Dr Heinrich presents a dazzling story of why human beings, compared to our relatives in the animal kingdom, run. One of our favourite quotes is found on page 103. It is a conversation between the author and his friend, when the former ran 5-minutes faster than what the friend predicted.

As is usually the case in science, you make a prediction, and if it comes out close, you are happy because you’re potentially right with one idea, and if it comes out different, you’re closer to some other idea that you didn’t even think of before. That’s even better.

What a beautiful, powerful thought. And this comes from the perfectionist and overachiever of the writer-scientist-ultrarunner. To stray from an expectation is not a sign of defeat, but instead, a potentially exciting route of discovery into something that one didn’t expect, perhaps leading one to something else that is even more interesting than where one could have ventured.

Dr Heinrich’s writing is simple and clear, while also loaded with first-hand anecdotes (so this is not some armchair critic/theoryhead who only sits on their fatarses in their ivory towers and conceptualise about the world and the moons and the stars till the  cows come home, or as one of our favourite artists ever, the brilliant Groucho Marx, says in the 1933 cccclassssssiccccc Duck Soup, ‘I could dance with you till the cows come home. On second thoughts, I’d rather dance with the cows till you came home.‘) We are, frankly speaking, dogtired of all those highfalutin empty gibberish expounded by the socalled pureminds of the socalled academia, some of whom really are only capable of blowing pungent wind through their holycracks.

We are however disappointed with Christopher McDougall’s Born To Run, albeit its extremely exciting premise of learning to run ultra-distances from the humble and hidden tribe of the amazing Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, who have run all their lives, since they first ran away from the invading Spanish (what a poetic and empowering imagery!!).  What we find disagreeable however is ultrarunner-and-journalist McDougall’s writing style which has the irritating trying-hard-to-be-cute-and-oh-so-personal-first-person-narrative-smug-frockingfullofselfbelief-noironywhatsoever-chest-beating-we-are-the-world-we-rule-the-world-yayyayay-watch-us-we-feel-ohsofrockinggood-about-ourselves approach also neatly encapsulated in the American talk show which we quite absolutely cannot stand (unless, of course, if it is so very bad that it is very good, out & out excessively trashy The Jerry Springer ShowJerry!  Jerry! we chant, fists in the air and on other guests’ holy bodies).

Philosopher and runner Michael Austin was the one who drew our attention to, in his good (although could-be-better, if each essay by the different philosopher-runners wasn’t so short but was more developed) Running and Philosophy, the etymology of the word  ‘discourse’, which comes from the Latin discursus, and which refers to a running to-&-fro! What a poetic image. We have said this before, but we will say this again (because we keep getting asked!), but to all the snobs who still insist that walking is the only valid psychogeographical strategy, we say that you are too closed-minded, and that you really should try running (YES WE CHALLENGE YOU TO SWEAT IT OUT AND GET YOUR ‘PUREMINDS’ AND FATARSES MOVIN’!) to see how it works. Alan Turing would go for a 2-3hour run midday, to run away problems from that he faced at work; yet, it was in the middle of such a run that he conceptualised the beginnings of the modern computer.

Now, what better synthesis of the mind-body-technology-imagination could you get??

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DEFENCE OF THE REALM: Running into bloodcurdling mannequins and pigeon-espionages. And Alan Turing, of course.

A couple of Fridays ago, on 26th November, we made a little trip out of Nondon, to visit Alan Turing’s playground in the legendary Bletchley Park. This was our very first time in the National Codes Centre, and our very first time in the new town of Milton Keynes as well. Both were – how could we possibly articulate this in a diplomatic way? – interesting.

Apart from playing a vital role in the second world war as the UK’s primary decryption centre, Bletchley Park is also known as the ‘birthplace of the computer age’, as claimed by the poster displayed in Hut 8 (as seen in the image above).  Hut 8, of course, was also where Mathematician Alan Turing worked. Like many, we are lured to the complex and, indeed, enigmatic Turing for several reasons, including how the Father of Computer Science was an obsessive AND VERY HIGHLY ACCOMPLISHED marathon runner, and who apparently conceptualised the beginnings of the modern computer in the middle of his run. The park itself was legendary alright – in that it actually looked locked in time, in roughly the period of WWII and perhaps, up to the 1970s at the very most. Look, for instance, at the numerous mannequins on display- what are they if not camp and scary? That the park was populated by otaku-type middle-aged men taking very diligent notes of the machinery and toys on display,  in the midst of a rather frigid Friday afternoon in a somewhat godforsaken place, also added to the sense of uncanniness that we felt. Our highlight of the day was the sight of  this poster, which condemns the ‘killing, wounding or molesting‘ (italics ours – BUT we SWEAR THE WORD WAS SCREAMING AT US IN ITALICS ALRIGHT) of homing pigeons. Anyone found fondling these sassy birds in an inappropriate manner against their consent will have to sit in jail for 6 months or be fined £100 (which must have been a lot of money  – we don’t mean to sound condescending – ‘in those days’). SHAME ON YOU, PIGEON-MOLESTER!!! Now go stand in your naughty corners, beside the scary parade of mannequins!! Oh, and put on that anorak (why else would it be there on the wall??) and cover your filthy, putrid little brains!!!!

By the time we made our way to Milton Keynes central late in the afternoon, the weather had become even more frigid. We trrrrrembled in pain as we walked/stumbled down the very wide streets, which somewhat resembled boulevards that are normally found in Paris (courtesy of Hausmann – better for the horses to trample on delinquent Parisiens), or the West Coast, rather than what we would normally experience in this sceptered isle. Would we run here? YES YES YES! The lovely wide roads look most inviting. Our ‘running goggles’ that we wear to filter every city were flashing and glowing excitedly. Would we want to live here? … ellipsis … We figure that we would not die if we lived here  – but perhaps worse that that we might live as if dead, or deadened, as we imagine we would in any city that is less than large/overcrowded/anonymous/mixed/always-changing/can’t-be-pinned-down-as-they-escape-easy-definitions, although of course we cannot and must not judge any place so quickly could we (that said, time does not guarantee good or better judgement – whatever that might be- and can infact invariably impede judgement…).

Yet, each and every of the cab driver that we encountered had moved there from an other city or country, and each sang praises of this new town (‘Everything that you need in life, you can get it here’;  ‘I moved here for a fresh start, from zero, after walking out one day on my marriage of 23 years’).

Ground zero, or as if ground zero (since total, complete erasure is never possible – hence the interesting, difficult-to-pronounce word: palimpsest), as if in a new land, as if tabula rasa, as if without histories, as if new, as if new encounters, as if new beings.

We have always liked that.

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BRIGHTON ON THE ROCKS: In July, we asked for your advice for a short trip outside of Nondon; here is our VERY LATE postmortem!

It is already Winter as we speak and we are already nearly ALL OF  12-MONTHS OLD as we speak, but so many things have been happening in our lives that we haven’t had time to follow up and/or update you. If you recall, we asked for your kind advice over Summer for a simple day-trip out of Nondon, our favourite city on earth and beyond, and many of you very kindly wrote in to offer tips. MUCH THANKS FOR THAT, AND THAT!!! In the end, we took up the advice of Susan Collins, and visited Brighton for a day (THANK YOU SUSAN!). The day before we left, we also memorised the melody and lyrics of Brighton Rock by Queen, who is our favourite (and to our mind only valid) royalty.

Unfortunately, Brighton didn’t rock on this day we visited Brighton. Not only did it not rock, it was downhill, worse than a pathetic pebble or a piece of booger-looking plasticine also shat upon by a stray dog. It rained. And not only did it rain, it rained like it was nobody’s business. On and on. Already wearing our swimsuit underneath our clothes, since 5am when we woke up that morning (for the less-than-cheap coach bus that runs on ungodly hours) we went absolutely ballistic when rain hit hard, full on, at 9am when we arrived. Not only did we feel betrayed, we felt frocking humiliated. As you well know, we have been working bloody hard and running/living harder, and have not had the chance to have any break since our birth on 12.12. 2009, and the one single day we went on one, on a day which was technically defined as belonging to the season of Summer, so-called ‘Mother Nature’ has to screw it up.  Mother my foot. We felt sad too, as this was meant to be a trip we take with you, our Dear Co-Runners. We hurled all the ‘your mother’ insults we ever knew at the sky, stone, rocks, everything else, while ogling extremely jealously at runners going up and down along the coast. The above image shows the GPS record of our infuriated, heavy and sulky tracks. In pink.

Being tough (stale, even?) cookies that we are, in the face of setbacks, we can only be even more defiant. In the past week, when snow has made Nondon cold, miserable and ‘classic grey (or gray) Nondon’, we have continued our running, albeit all wrapped up as Michelin Man, along with his (defiant) smile. In reference to the ‘mountain’ of earth imprisoning them for nearly 70 days, one of the famed (ex-) ‘Chilean miners’ Edison Pena explains, ‘I could just lie down, but my fury has been channelled into a hatred towards this mountain. … I wanted the mountain to get bored, seeing me run … I am not defeated. I am fighting. I feel that by running, I am fighting to live’ [1]

1 year into our venture, we are so spent and pent-up that we MUST GET OUT OF OUR BELOVED NONDON AND HAVE A BLOODY BREAK. Yes we swear. So we will consult your list of advice. Perhaps we will (re-)visit Brighton, in the deep of Winter, and jump into the ocean for a dip, in utter defiance. Lubed and all wrapped up, like MM.

Oh yes.


[1] These are the words of the miner in one of many love letters he wrote to his girlfriend while he was trapped. Fiona Govan, ‘Chile Miners Attend Mass at San Jose Mine’, Telegraph.co.uk, 17 October 2010. [accessed 1 November 2010].


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UPDATABLE GLOSSARY: TRAVELLERS & TROUPE

Swimming across time and space.

GLOSSARY/ WIKI ABOUT THE UNIVERSE OF KAIDIE / LIFE 3.0,?AND THE THEATRE OF CHARACTERS (ongoing). SEEKING DEFINITIONS AND MULTIPLE+ ALTERNATIVE DEFINITIONS! CONTRIBUTE NOW!

* Traveller

* Time-traveller

* Tourist

* Transmigrant

* Sight-seer

* Passenger

* Passer-by

* Psychonaut

* Cybernaut

* Nomad

* Digital nomad

* Dervish swirler

* Hitchhiker

* Runner

* Trans-dimensional runner

Do you travel? Why do you travel? How do you travel? Where are you going? Where have you come from? Which type of traveller are you?

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Walk the talk / run the dmc: WE PAID UP FOR OUR 18948km NONDON-SAO-PAULO OF CARBON FOOTPRINTS WITH OUR FOOT+FOOT (=FEET) RUNNING 189.48km IN OCTOBER.

Rundown of our runs, 3-30 October, as documented by our Garmin Forerunner 405.

As you know (you do, don’t you?), we visited Sao Paulo, Brazil last month to present a paper of our of-and-out-of-this-and-other-worlds theory, Trans-dimensional Running for our Lives! A Rough Guide To A Critical Strategy for our technologically-layered Multiverse, at Soft Borders, Upgrade! Before we flew, we also came up with a plan to make up for our carbon footprints from the return journey, and decided that to pay back for our 18948km of travelling, we had to run 189.48km in Life 1.0 .

We are happy to announce that we reached our target on 30 October. From 3 – 30 October, we ran a total of 191.11km. This includes, unfortunately, one week of NO RUNNING while we were in Brazil for several reasons. So, in reality, the task was accomplished in 17 days, which works out to be an average of 11.24km each time we ran during this period.

Our next flight is a long-haul flight which is at least 10,000km one way. If we go by the same rules we have set up for our Nondon-Sao-Paulo journey, of moving 2 decimal places of a given distance, we deduce that we will have to run at least 200km, to make up for our dirty flight. Again we will aim to do that within the period of one month.

While we are at it, we want to tell you of our plan that we have been harbouring for the past 11 months of our existence, since we came into being: it consist of 2 runs in a certain city-state. One is a run running North-South (22.5km) of the country, and the other running West-East (41.8km) of the country. The former translates to slightly more than a half-marathon, which we can estimate we can run within approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes (and hopefully less) under humid conditions, the other a full-marathon, which we estimate taking us 5 hours, or less, hopefully. With these two runs, Kaidie, the partially-imaginary figure, runs the entire country. Read this statement in any way you wish. We will complete this exercise wthin our lifetime, this life. When we do realise this endeavour, do recall that you read it here, first, my Dear Reader.

While we are at it, some of you may also recall a stubborn shin splint and tendonitis that we experienced for a couple of months over Summer, on our right leg. You may be pleased to know that they are not so lonely any more, as we have introduced them to our left leg as well. We now have very well-balanced limps (and Lives). As they say, life goes on, or rather, Lives go on.

Our GPS track (in green) records of our locomotion in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with the image on the right as the most detailed.

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF KAIDIE IN A MINUTE: 7 September 2010 Nondon.

What did Kaidie do on 7 September 2010, Tuesday in Nondon? Or rather, what did we see when we were going about our business on 7 September 2010 Tuesday in Nondon, our favourite city on earth and beyond? Wearing a small camera on our chest (which has been lent to us by Urbantick of the Centre of Advanced Spatial Analysis of University College Nondon), this is a 1-minute time-lapse record of what happened that day, including: walking amongst large crowds in the streets as tube workers went on a strike in Nondon (as usual); attending a panel discussion – with Stelarc in-world in Second Life; presenting our 50-minute performance AUTHOR slash ACTOR slash AUDIENCE at the DRHA conference at the Brunel University; travelling to and from Uxbridge.

And, with all due respect to the dwellers and denizens of Uxbridge, no, we would not/never/ever want to live in Uxbridge in a house with a spouse/family/kids/pets/cars. No thanks very much.

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FOLLOWING THE FOOTSTEPS OF WALID RAAD / THE ATLAS GROUP at the Whitechapel Gallery!

Place: Nondon. Date: 2 November 2010. Time: from 13:00hr GMT. Starting point/point of departure: Central Nondon. Loop point: Whitechapel Art Gallery. What for: To see Walid Raad's show. Route: via the City. How was it, then: Crowded. Nice Gherkin you've got. Pet peeves: 1) Shoveling past people dangling cigarettes in their fingers. 2) Women/very large people who walk slowly but occupying entire pavements 3) Women/'girls' (sic) who are in a large group but walking very slowly or giggling and chatting away in the middle of the pavement believing that they look cute and are drawing attention - indeed, from an angry runner 4) Children/babies/prams with young parents with same level of entitlement as the chatty women and fat bastards who block entire pavements and roads, as if they are the first people on earth who have given birth and hence demand special treatment and that the rest of the world have been created from playdoh. We don't blame the kids but we blame their smugly parents. GET OUT OF OUR £k*fING FACE!!!! Attire: Short-sleeved T-shirt and shorts. Temperature: 14 degrees celsius (sweaty run). Smell: Not So Terribly Good for an art gallery (or elsewhere). Quality of outward-bound run: Painful now with not one, but BOTH legs with shin splints. Could not get a comfortable gait. At least our limp is balanced now. Run back was easier and even sweatier.

On 2 November, we awoke from a 12-hour sleep (after none the previous night) to run through the City to the Whitechapel Gallery. There are many, many artists we admire (Chris Marker, Marc Chagall, AES+F, Tarkovsky, Fernando Pessoa et al). Walid Raad/Atlas Group is one of these people whose footsteps we (attempt to) follow. In a previous life we had the privilege of experiencing his performance-lecture in a workshop we attended. Already conflating fact with fiction, objectivity with subjectivity, history with memory, ‘official’ grand narratives with micronarrative in our own work, and already familiar with the genres of the essay film, performance as practitioner, lecturer and sometime writer, Raad’s performance-lecture made an impact.

At this Whitechapel show, Raad’s appropriation of museum aesthetics in a trademark clinical austerity in his approach is chillingly disturbing as it is dead funny. We particularly love the small model of a gallery which contains tiny precise replica of his work.

We realised that there was another source of chilliness, and that came from our exposed legs. Another observation: except for primary school kids, not many other gallery-goers wear shorts. Was that why we received some interesting looks from the gallery-sitters, as we did when we visited the Wolfgang Tillmans show after a 30km run in Hyde Park? Will spandex and leg warmers have saved us from the faux pas (if it was indeed one), and also help us look ‘tuned in’ onto the retro ’80s look (or at the very least, an artistically clever and ironic wink/nod, that the artistically clever and ironic art world would approve of)? As usual, suggestions and advice welcome.

The above is the GPS track of our run to the gallery and back, totaling about 8.9km. For a detailed version of this and other GPS tracks of ours in Life 1.0, look here.

Anyhow. Go run with Walid Raad. He’s not bad at all.

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As we fly 18,948km Nondon-Sao Paulo (return), WE WILL RUN 189.48km IN LIFE 1.0 BY 7 NOVEMBER TO MAKE UP FOR OUR CARBON FOOTPRINTS (yes we are wussy by moving a couple of decimal points, but better a pathetic gesture than none??)

As you know (do you? did you?), we are flying to Sao Paulo this weekend to participate in Soft Borders: 4th Upgrade! International Conference. In this gathering of artists, curators and academics from 30 countries, we will be making a 20-minute presentation of our fabulouslyfeetstompinglyheartstoppingmindblowing theory, Trans-Dimensional Running For Our Lives! A Rough Guide To A Critical Strategy For Our Technologically-Layered Multiverse Today. Seasoned (ahem) and weather-beaten (ahem) world- and out-of-the-world- travellers that we are, this will be the very first time that we visit ‘that part of the world’. So, our Dear Conspirators of Pleasure, should you have any tips (Where would be interesting places to run? What to eat? What to drink? Whom to meet? What to do? What to say? How to say? etc. But unfortunately, no, we are not able to drop by at Rio for the famous beaches and silicone…) about the trip, do let us know! And, as usual, if indeed your advice is so amazing as to afford us an amazing experience or two, we will create and publish a post here to share with everyone!

As trans-dimensional runners, we would have liked to fully practice and live what we preach, of course. Nonetheless, for us to run all the way from our favourite city on earth and beyond (thus far), Nondon, to Brazil, would take a while. At 9474km one way and a grand frolicking 18,948km return (!!!), it would take – to put it mildly- ages. Recall now that we live only for 1000 days, and we have only 695 (!!!!!!!!!!!ALREADY!!!!!!! Time flies whether or not we are having fun, however we define ‘fun’, or not) days left. so for us to run to Brazil and back, we would bust our given duration many times over, and be fropped left right centre.*

*It would be appropriate at this point in time for us to have a reality check and undertake some scientific calculations: Someone at our recent ARTSingapore gig asked us how much we have run in the past 305 days of our existence. Good question, we thought. We know that we run an average of approximately 60km a week – sometimes more, sometimes less. On some days, we have 5km quickies, of speed training (we say ‘speed’, but we are pulling [y]our leg[s], as we all know by now that when it comes to running we don’t/can’t do hit-and-run quickies, unless you release an repugnantlyyelpingly ridiculousness of a ‘dog’ of a chihuahua behind us, or, ahead of us, a glass of crisp bubbly, but otherwise, we will not/can not sprint, and our running is no where near the word ‘speed’ and its variations – we do endurance and go the whole length for hours and kilometres [for instance, 1 kilometre per hour], but we simply just don’t Bolt, sorry) on the treadmill or elsewhere, and on others, we run outdoors for approximately 10-20 km. To deduce that we have run approximately a total of 2500km in the past 300 days should not be all that far from the truth, which works out to be an average of 8.3333km per day). All that said, we must confess that some days we do not run, but run off instead to conduct our illicit and addictive affair with an old and very brilliant flame, chlorine. (By definition, any affair would taste sweet because they are affairs [whether or not the affairs themselves are of any good]; illicit affairs are even sweeter, and intrinsically and necessarily so, simply because of their illicitness… Hence, in spite of our vocation/mission of trans-dimensional running in this life, our ongoing stubborn dalliance with swimming in madmade pools…)

Several of your would recall a previous trip that we undertook, to visit our Facebook Friend, the legendary Heidi, in Heidiland (YES HEIDILAND EXISTS), Switzerland, during our 3rd-lifer-In-Residency in Winterthur. The return journey between Nondon-Zurich was 1550km, and after several days of wrecking our brains, we worked out a sophisticated and sustainable system of a means to compensate for our dirty carbon footprints. We understand that not all of you are as mathematically able as we are, so, to explain it in very simple means for you, it suffices to say that our system involves the movement of the decimal point to a position that would render the distance run-able for us, within a decent period of time.

Now, our Dear Fellow Runners, do understand that decency is the governing concept here- for our ‘system’ of repayment of our carbon footprints has to be sustainable and do-able. Running 18,948km would have taken us AT LEAST 1894 days if we run an average of 10km a day, which is 894 days over and above our lifespan (and we have already spent 305 days). Running 1894.8km would still take us about 189 days or 6 months. Also, we are currently in discussion with Japanese art workers about a trip in December/January/February to Asia as part of a project, which would cost at least 10,000 km – ONE WAY. As already argued in January when we undertook our trip to Switzerland, we had already acknowledged that this is but a gesture, and there is no thing big enough we can ever, ever do to compensate for our continual slow smothering of the earth. Apart from having vowed from day one (actually day zero, many life cycles ago) not to create mini-mes to add even more wrongs to all the wrongs that are already happening and all the wrongs that we are already committing, we are also cutting short our lives, and making us put in physical effort every time fly. We have heard of some other gestures such as making donations to have trees planted whenever one flies, but we are uncertain of the impact of such a deed – it does not hurt those with deep pockets and merely buys them out of their guilt (as Zizek has eloquently and sweatily articulated elsewhere). Insofar as all gestures are vain, our tactic of running to repay for our carbon footprints amounts to not much (if anything) either, but as it requires one to put in slightly more physical effort (other than the physical effort of clicking a button to agree to donate money to plant a virtual tree and alleviate one’s guilty conscience), it certainly makes one (us for instance) think twice about flying. And we speak as guiltyfrockers who absolutely adore being in mid-air in large machines, suspended in time, space, cultures, nations.

As we can’t spend the rest of our lives to pay for our Nondon-Brazil return journey, we will move not one but TWO decimal points, to run a total of 189.48km by the end of this month. We begin this repayment from 3 October, when we properly resumed our running (after resting for 2 weeks on our laurels and gloating in the glory of our completion of our first Life 1.0 marathon). So far, over the first 7 days, we had covered 84.27km. Note that although we had had some lovely walks (and a funny dip in Thames!) with some of you during this time, they are not counted, as we will only consider running, and of distances above 5km at any one time. We have 15 days left to run the remaining 100km or so, so we’d better get our  magnificent inertia and monumental butts moving.

Watch this space for our updates, and cheer us on. Or, go right ahead to mock and boo us for being such a wuss, but we are trying, alright?

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