Yearly Archives: 2008

The BBB Dictionary


from the notes of Op A…

Op M buys a english-french/french-english dictionary from Charing Cross Road, London on Wednesday 10th December 2008.
The dictionary’s pages cannot be wider than the width of Op M’s printing machine in the BBB-Hotel. It will have to have sewn pages to allow Op A to take it to pieces (and put it together again).
It should be as comprehensive as possible. How many words is that ?

Op M sends it to Op A at the BBB Apartment. By post.

Op A then takes the dictionary to pieces, removing each “booklet”, a number of pages that are sewn together in the dictionary; for example if there are 1,600 pages in the dictionary and each booklet has 16 pages, there will be 100 booklets. This example is important as it will be referred to later in the notes.

Op A sends two 16 page booklets, each four double-sided sheets of the dictionary; one to Op O, one to Op M. Op O will receive the first booklet from the english-french part of the dictionary, Op M will receive the first booklet from the french-english part of the dictionary.
Op A will also send with the booklets to Op O and Op M each four double-sided sheets of blank paper, identical in size to the double sided sheets of the dictionary. Op A will send the booklets and the double-sided sheets of blank paper at the same time in the same envelope by post.
Op A is responsible for the choice of paper.

On receiving the booklet and paper Op O will take a pen in his hand and beginning with the first word on the first page of the first english-french booklet, record on the first page of the blank paper all words Op O recognises as being identical to the word in french. Op M will do the same beginning with the first word on the first page of the first french-english booklet, recording on the first page of the blank paper all words Op M recognises as being identical to the word in english. They will record after each word on the blank paper the number of the page on the dictionary, thereby creating an index.
for example:
Op O will write on the blank paper, Alligator Page 1
Op M will write on the blank paper, Alligator Page 800
(presuming the dictionary is english/french – french/english consisting of 1600 pages and that the dictionary is exactly divided into two halves and “Alligator” occurs identically on page 1 and 800)
The criteria for “identical” are thus:
Words that have identical spelling and not words that have identical meanings or non-identical meanings. For example, the english word “sensible” is spelt identically as the french word “sensible” so this word will be recorded. The BBB-Dictionary’s criteria is not to record words that have the same meaning in french and english. The BBB-Dictionary’s criteria is to record words that are the same in french and english.

All identical words identified and written onto the blank pages completed, Op O and Op M will then print over the pages of the booklet. The woodcut should be cut to meet the measurements of the border of the words printed in the dictionary but not the page number. If through error or intention the page number of the dictionary is obscured then ah thats how it is ah. When dry, a minimum of two days, the booklet and recorded pages will be sent back to Op A. By post.

On receiving the booklets and pages from Op O and Op M, Op A will then send the second booklet and second four double-sided sheets of blank pages to Op O and Op M. Naturally, due to the inconsistency of time and the postal service and workrate of Op O and Op M, Op A will send the second booklet and second four double-sided sheets of blank pages to Op O and Op M at different times. Also, Op A’s workrate is to be considered.


Op A’s next step will be to take the completed black-printed pages of the dictionary from the envelope and resew them back to their original format, a 16 page booklet. Op A will take the four double-sided sheets of paper with the recorded words on them and sew them into a booklet which will become part of the BBB-Dictionary’s index.
Op A’s other indispensible part in the process of the creation of the BBB-Dictionary will be to create the BBB-Dictionary Website.
Op A shall, on receiving the recorded blank pages type them onto a specially created website listing the words that appear on the blank pages posted to her by Op O and Op M. For example Op A receives Op O’s first, there will appear on the website;
Alligator 1 (page number)
Anathema 1
Attack 1
If the viewer is to click on the word, on the screen will appear the image of the black-printed page of the dictionary that it is taken from (with page number 1 if it is not by error or intention obscured).
For example if Op A receives Op M’s first, there will appear on the website;
Alligator 800 (page number)
Anathema 800
Attack 800
If the viewer is to click on the word, on the screen will appear the image of the black-printed page of the dictionary that it is taken from (with page number 800 if it is not by error or intention obscured)
A computer programme will automatically sort words arriving onto the website posted by Op A alphabetically.For example Op A receives Op O’s first, there will appear on the website:
Alligator 1 (page number)
Anathema 1
Attack 1
and when Op A receives Op M’s it will appear thus:
Alligator 1
Alligator 800
Anathema 1
Anathema 800
Attack 1
Attack 800
Again this consistency all depends on the inconsistency of time and the postal service and workrate of Op O, Op M and Op A, not to mention the beforementioned error or intention. But the BBB-Dictionary is not concerned with consistency or inconsistency or error or intention. Also this chosen example only consists of six words, or to be accurate, three words. In this chosen example the dictionary consists of 1600 pages.
Op A is responsible for the content and design of the website but should comprise of a list of the words and links to each relevant black-printed relevant page.
An example of a website consisting of a list of words, with links, although not exactly reflecting the BBB-Dictionary website is this :

Op A will send, over the years, a total of 100 booklets and blank pages to Op O and Op M, who will then send them back to Op A, to be collected into a list on the website. When complete, Op A will then reassemble the dictionary, with all its pages reinstated and a hand printed index at the back which will send the reader of the BBB-Dictionary to the correct page where each word occurs. Naturally through error or intention, pages, words, numbers will be lost.

All contact between Op O, Op M and Op A concerning the BBB-Dictionary will be made by post. In english-french/french-english.

Questions and queries in an envelope to;

Op M
The BBB-Hotel
rue marché au charbon 91
1000 Bruxelles

Op O
The BBB-Center
Les Anglades
30120 Rogues

Op A
The BBB-Apartment
rue e. bouilliot 19
1050 Bruxelles


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Reception. Perception. Deception.

1_bbb-okpage11_v2 Scientists distinguish between the sensation of black and the perception of black. Theories have been advanced to explain both aspects, one espoused by a group of physiologists whose best known representative  was physicist and polymath Hermann von Helmholtz, the other developed by physiologist and brain expert Ewald Hering. For Helmholtz, the sensation of black derived from the absence of light, from the lack of light stimuli. By contrast, Hering claimed that all visual perception including seeing black involved light, explaining the perception of black as the result of contrast. Von Helmholtz discovered that the human retina has three different kinds of cone enabling us to see colours and that these do not register stimuli at night. For Hering, this did not delve deeply enough. Incorporating the brain into his theory, he proposed that both the sensation and the perception of black result from a physiological-chemical reaction taking place in a nerve fibre. The two theories were eventually reconciled. For the perception of black this meant that first, a surface appears black when it does not reflect the light striking it, that is, when it absorbs waves that the eye can register; and secondly, although we register phenomena with our sense organs, lack of information received by the rods and cones in our retina does not make it impossible to see black, because ultimately we perceive with our brain.

Nevertheless, it has not been established how exactly the brain enables us to perceive black. We possess nerve cells that react to red and green, to circles and triangles, and to moving bars, but none of our nerve cells register black, which our brain processes in the areas reserved for shapes and movement.

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a Black is a Black is a Black is it ?


There are many different kinds of black.

Ad Reinhardt distinguished between “a black which is old and a black which is fresh. Lustrous (brilliant) black and matte black, black in sunlight and black in shadow. For the old black one must use an admixture of blue, for the matte black an admixture of white; for the lustrous black gum (colle) must be added. Black in sunlight must have grey reflections.”


Not all shades of black encountered in works of art contain black pigment.

As the painter and picture restorer Max Doerner explained in 1921, some blacks can be obtained from a mixture of dark blue and red. Doerner distinguished six black pigments: bone black, plant black, lampblack, manganese black, slate black and ferric oxide black.


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BBB-Bela Tarr

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Esquisse d’un scénario pour un court métrage muet

Première partie
Premier plan
Les fenêtres closes du village (filmé en caméra subjective un peu comme le plan-séquence de “L’Année dernière à Marienbad” quand la caméra s’attarde longuement à filmer les moulures du plafond), les bas-reliefs moyenâgeux sur les façades, juste au-dessus des fenêtres.
Deuxième plan.
Une main qui agite une cloche.
Troisième plan.
La troupe de la RTT arrive au village (un village reculé, des maisons de pierre, une végétation aride, sur les façades des visages de pierre sculptés, style roman). La RTT en première place suivie du cheval et du graveur. Dans les rues, personnes. Atmosphère hivernale. La troupe est filmée comme si elle était vue par les visages de pierre.
Quatrième plan.
La RTT, seule, abandonnée par ses servants, le vent qui agite les gravures. La machine est perdue dans le décor désertique. On a l’impression de n’entendre que le vent qui siffle dans les fils électriques. Des gravures jonchent le sol, certaines déchirées ou roulées en boulettes de papier.
Deuxième partie
Premier plan
La caméra filme les gravures accrochées au cheval avec le rythme posé qu’un lecteur attentif prendrait pour lire l’ensemble des images gravées. Le cheval demeure immobile ; on dirait une statue de bronze. La caméra opère ce faisant un mouvement spiralé autour du cheval de manière à ce que toutes les gravures soient vues et lues.
Deuxième plan
L’opérateur’s grimpent dans la montagne accompagné par le cheval revêtu de son harnachement de gravures. Buissons et pierres qui roulent. Vues des feuilles qui tremblent au vent. Montée saccadée à cause du terrain difficile : montée, arrêt, reprise de la marche, etc.
Troisième plan
Plan fixe d’un pic montagneux.
Quatrième plan
Le cheval seul au sommet de la colline avec une seule gravure noire accrochée à la corde qui entoure son cou. Il tourne autour d’un ancien fortin installé jadis au sommet de la colline. Le cheval est filmé du centre du cercle, la caméra le suit comme si un fil reliait le cheval à la caméra. Au centre du cercle, un monticule de pierres.
Cinquième plan
Les nuages en vue subjective, ensuite coupure et la caméra redescend vers les visages de l’Opérateur’s, et des visages vers les mains.
Sixième plan
Dans une pièce sombre, les mains du graveur en gros plan occupées à graver l’image d’un cheval et dans le fond de l’image la RTT, l’Opérateur qui imprime.

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I believe in nothing

Cologne Cathedral

In August 2007, the city of Cologne unveiled Gerhard Richter’s startling new window for the south transept of Cologne Cathedral. The original window had been destroyed during the second world war and replaced with clear glazing in 1948. Nearly 60 years later, Richter elected to fill in the sections of the Gothic tracery with thousands of gridded, vibrantly coloured squares which suggested that the early, stained-glass images of Magi and saints had been pushed through a processor to the point of hyperchromatic digital breakdown.

The seemingly arbitrary distribution of colours at Cologne was generated using a specially developed computer programme, and his renewed interest in using chance to determine composition led Richter to develop the idea for 4900 Colours at the Serpentine.

In this most recent work, acrylic chips are chosen at random, spraypainted, and glued to an aluminium sheet. “The random programme presents an instantaneous and apparently countless collection of coloured groupings,” the catalogue explains, adopting the tones of a public service announcement. “The computer executes instructions without conscience or discernment, without intuition or will, without feelings or inductive thought. We are in the finite and infinite universe of numbers where the calculation process is transformed into a production role.” All human agency has been removed.

Why would a painter present a series of 49 identically sized, identically gridded panels made of industrially manufactured paint chips and present them as a single exhibition ?

As long ago as 1966, Richter wrote: “I steer clear of definitions. I don’t know what I want. I am inconsistent, noncomittal, passive; I like the indefinite, the boundless; I like continual uncertainty. Other qualities may be conducive to achievement, publicity, success; but they are all outworn – as outworn as ideologies, opinions, concepts and names for things.”

And two years earlier: “I consider belief of every kind, from astrology to every elevated religion and all great ideologies, to be superfluous and mortally dangerous. Now that there are no priests or philosophers left, artists are the most important people in the world. This is the only thing that interests me.”

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BBB is everywhere


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