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more about “The Manchester Hermit“, posted with vodpod
Take a look at the Hermit in the artist’s workshop.
144 Comments leave one →
  1. 26/06/2009 2:12 am

    is watching the hermit…

  2. 26/06/2009 2:16 am

    i ment

    is watching the hermit…..

  3. Ros permalink
    01/07/2009 2:12 pm

    Are you really there or have you escaped?

  4. 01/07/2009 6:07 pm

    So your in there some where – stay healthy in all ways – being not being on your own – talk as and when – love – mx

  5. Brother James permalink
    01/07/2009 6:54 pm

    Ansuman, So I see as you snuggle in your still living in silence, as I said earlier once playing house is over the real work starts. I can hardly wait until you start talking out loud. Clapping music then singing than talking to yourself…….I remember the days………Having said all this when I first started my great silence ( as it was called years back) there was no internet twitter ect. This is my first time using the computer like this, which I said I would never use in the first place, with my 4 year old email account. It is a great hallway into the world as we can now experience. This is my first blog my first twitter, internet camera watching or what ever that’s call…….all interesting this globe world thing is amazing……All thanks to a story on BBC I am now in a different level of existence .I don’t think the great monks well make it in north America , I for one am a solitary a far cry from a hermit…. Does twitter disqualify you as a hermit? Well July first Canada day. Happy birthday Canada

  6. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:37 am

    Comment from museum visitor:

    Dear Hermit – I think everyone is being really mean in their messages! – you are obviously a hermit because you aren’t seeing anybody and you’re spending time by yourself – I wish I could be a hermit too sometimes. I Hope you enjoy your stay at the museum and I’ll have a look at the webcam at you – does that not annoy you being watched though?

    All the best! Alan

    PS Maybe some of the 4 million objects could be sold and money spent on workshops for visitors/Manchester residents?

  7. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:38 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    Have you seen Napoleon Dynamite?
    It’s SICK

    Love you 🙂
    Becky & Gemma! XXXXX

  8. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:39 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    Want some cheese on toast? 🙂

  9. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:41 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    Perhaps some of the idiots who have abused you on these cards could be stored in the museum basement and we couls use their houses to display any goodies you find.

    PS. perhaps today’s unlocated stuff could be sent back to Africa if we don’t want it.

    You do know you can make dinosaurs from mosquitos in amber

  10. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:42 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    Does the Hermit have Facebook?

    Get a page/group yeah? 🙂

  11. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:44 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    Dear Hermit crab,

    What sort of hermit are you? You have access to the internet! You’re just going to be on facebook and youtube!

    You are just another example of someone doing a stupid pointless thing to get famous.

    Shame on you!

    And! You have a webcam?! You’ll just be video calling!!!!

  12. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:45 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    Please don’t get too sad about these mean nasty comments 🙂

  13. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:48 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    Just being honest but tbh if your in a luxury apartment with the internet does it actually really count? I’m sceptical.

    Anyway good luck & that.

    Milly XX

  14. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:49 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    it is a very good idea to fully appreciate the hidden qualities of the museum.

    Simply WOW

  15. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:49 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    You’re a looney

  16. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:51 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    Technically you’re not a hermit -> you have internet access, that’s cheating. C’mon anyone could just go on the internet all day and not go out. It’s not hard.

  17. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:52 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    Hey Hermit,

    My name is Kathryn. You should watch twilightonline gis us a tweet 🙂 X

  18. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:52 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    I wish I was a hermit !!!

  19. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:53 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    What’s the point of thinking about objects? It’s a waste of time.

    Also, you shouldn’t have the internet.

  20. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:54 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    Dear Hermit,

    You’re not a hermit if you have facebook.

    I will watch you on webcam.

  21. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    02/07/2009 9:55 am

    Comment from Museum visitor:

    Hello I’m Emily with Milly, Rosanne, Kathryn 🙂


  22. 02/07/2009 10:03 pm

    Hermit must be having a poop and no one wants to see a hermits doo doo. Plenty of those around the city. Poor chaps. Living on the streets, you gotta go somewhere and NO loos for the public now. So expect lots of hermit poop on steps and railway arches.

    Got to give an applaud to the Manchester coporation for having a great clean up system for the city streets as some of you are tramps too!

    Thank you Manchester. You are all wonderful and I really mean everyone. Even you tramps and beggers. Everyone needs some help at times, even you…

  23. 02/07/2009 10:40 pm

    Someone said – What’s the point of thinking about objects? It’s a waste of time.

    Who ever said that is an idiot… It is actually a waste of time not thinking about objects…A waste of life even. What good is living if you dont understand and appreciate everything you do, see, find, touch, smell etc. Everyone goes through life taking everything for granted and it’s crazy.

    This isnt some stupid david blane stunt… Ansuman/The Hermit is doing this to prove a very good point… So what if he has access to the internet. You should give him a break and all be glad that you can keep upto date with him and find out what’s going on.

    Nice work Hermit Man, Keep it up.


    • Sanjeeb permalink
      03/07/2009 2:56 pm

      U r great man…….. I m pround 2 b a bengali….

  24. 03/07/2009 2:50 am

    Having said that… The reason we keep things, isnt so much for now, but for the future. Imagine if everyone destroyed stuff once they’d discovered it, used it or seen it years ago, we wouldnt know anything about it… and even the smallest things can tell stories of the world as it was years and years ago. Everything you post is just another piece in the jigsaw of the history of the earth.

    A museum is a bit like a large storage cupboard for everything that has ever existed in the world that we have discovered as human beings. If people were to do what you are doing by destroying things there would be no evidence of anything… and we would all be non-the wiser and think the world was a pretty boring place once upon a time. Having all the stuff in the museum like the dead bugs and the the human skulls etc…. are all to help us learn more about ourselves and where we live. That is why we try to keep things in the museum. So by you destroying them you’re basically saying… No-one needs to know about this.. where as I think they do.

    Just think if there was no evidence kept in the museum, of lets say… bears, and we think they have become extinct in a few years… then some time in the future some guy is wondering through the bush somewhere and stumbles upon one of the last remaining bears. He’s either going to
    1. Freak out because he doesnt have a clue what it is and then get mauled and eatin because he’s paniced and tried running away… or
    2. He’s going to get a sneaky picture of it with his hi-tec three thousand mega pixel camera, and take it back to the city, jump in his flying car and head straight to the museum to tell them of his discovery, become rich from his ‘new discovery’ and then someone’s going to have to investgate it and spend money finding it, trapping it, taking it back to the museum, study it and write about it and basically replace the evidence that was once destroyed years ago by some guy sat in a tower bored one day in the past.

    For some reason humans get kicks from destroying things… especially if it’s not theirs, and they dont seem to care that they are damaging the earth and ruining it for future generations. The stuff you post on here and say you’re going to destroy if no-one can think of a good enough reason to keep it is probably not the last ever remaining one of it’s kind on earth… clearly there’s more of them in other museums and they’re not the most important things in the musem.. but that’s not the point really.

    Basically I’ve just realised i’m not sure I see what you’re getting at by destroying things…


  25. Shaun permalink
    03/07/2009 11:07 am

    Hi Ansuman
    Have you escaped not seen you on cam yet?

  26. Subhradeep Ganguly. permalink
    03/07/2009 11:12 am

    Anshu uncle, Bhalo Theko.

  27. Subhradeep Ganguly. permalink
    03/07/2009 11:15 am

    Ansu Uncle, Mummy,dinosaur,bhalo kichu artefacts er chobi post koro.

  28. 03/07/2009 2:20 pm

    All the best of luck

  29. 03/07/2009 2:24 pm

    Can you show us some nice artifacts

  30. Sanjeeb permalink
    03/07/2009 3:14 pm

    Plz post image abt some incredible things…..I mean which is difficlut 2 find now a days….

  31. Sanjeeb permalink
    03/07/2009 3:21 pm

    তুমি কি West Bengal এ ফিরবে না? তুমি থাক কোথায় বলত?

  32. Sanjeeb permalink
    03/07/2009 3:32 pm

    Where r u going?

  33. 03/07/2009 4:02 pm

    Hello Ansuman – so continuing our conversation – I’m trying to find out more information – more details on the contents of ‘unprovenanced – Africa’ cupboard we have talked about – this being one of you objects under question – you asked me to make contact with some people who may be interested in engaging with it – and I want to go and see a friend who may have some words of advice – is there anyone who you could direct me to – with info on the contents – what the contents is – where it has come from – who collected it – when it was collected – great glass image – good vest as well – Hermit Fashion wear – sporty yet comfortable – do they have any cloths you could wear in the museum – off to see Marina tonight – will send you update on experience – have written article for Chimp Mag – will send you copy of text – using skull image – article called – the art of being not being . . . being – talk sooner

    • 04/07/2009 3:06 pm

      mm – great to see you here!
      Everyone, let me introduce you to to Michael Mayhew, the hermit you could have had if you’d had your wits about you. Instead you got me. Well it’s too late to complain now. Just thank your stars that you know exactly where I am, whereas Mike Is roaming free. He’s my man on the outside, doing essential hermit work out in the midst of the congregation.

      Glad you liked my vest Mike. I chose it to match my eyes. You don’t think the trousers are bit baggy though, do you?
      I think I’ll try something a little more figure hugging tomorrow. I’m hoping it’ll help me feel more confident.
      Do they have any cloths in the museum? Funny you should ask that… I did while away a very pleasant afternoon a few weeks ago trying to convince them to let me try on a lovely kiwi feather number. They weren’t having any of it. VERY exclusive, apparently. (I’m not joking) They’ve got some lovely barks too, but I couldn’t find any in my size.

      Anyway I hope last night at the Whitworth Art Gallery was a grand affair. Sounds star-studded. I can feel my heroes walking around just a stones throw from here – Marina Abramovitch, Tehching Hsieh, Gustav Metzger, Alastair MacLennan, etc., etc.
      I mean not that I’d throw stones at them of course. Though it is a bit frustrating being stuck in here while there’s such a mega party going on. Anyway I’ll try to tune in on the astral plane we performance artistes like to frequent.

      Your questions re the cupboard are open for anyone to answer. I’m afraid I have no idea, but I would also love to know. I’m moving them over to the thread called ‘Genocide’.

  34. 04/07/2009 10:56 am

    listen to no more mosquitoes on spotify four tet
    might make you laugh

  35. 04/07/2009 12:06 pm

    we’re not we are and then we’re not – he’s crossing that river to get to the other side and by the looks of it the rivers not wide – the french pyrenees pull us to her bosom so we leave you this missive as an aside – bises – andrew leila and eden

    ps – off to the edgeland for the swim

  36. 04/07/2009 4:43 pm

    Do you feel alone when you have internet access and people watching you on webcam?
    I sometimes feel like I spend so much time getting to and from internet access that I may as well live silently in seclusion.
    Best to you!

  37. Brother James permalink
    04/07/2009 7:06 pm

    I sit looking out my window over the ocean. This is a wonderful world There are many of us worldwide living in silence solitude and the solace of god. This new way of connecting to the world via my twitter is and odd way to open a widow to the world just to have a peek. Now this watch a friend through the same window but live via a “web cam” being alone is not as easy as one thinks. Our human need to reach out to man v/s reaching out to god ”bla bla preaching stuff” but the point is the global community is here we are all connected yet all living in our own silent world. Do you know your neighbours?

  38. 04/07/2009 7:34 pm

    Hi Ansuman,
    great project -hope your well as I can’t see you on the web cam however the sound is quite good and I can hear the heavy traffic outside your tower- sounds like a rather unrestful place to stay enjoyed reading your current thoughts all far away from mine which are locked into getting baby ewart to sleep.

  39. Cosi permalink
    05/07/2009 9:35 pm

    well, finally i see you on webcam 🙂
    lots of new comments!
    i agree that internet access is somewhat contradictory to the idea of a hermit, silent in his contemplation and hermetically sealed from the world. BUT: how else should they engange the public in the process of deciding what to keep and what to destroy??
    he is still a hermit in the sense of being cut off from his friends and family and does live (mostly) in silence spending his time meditating on the fate of the objects and people’s comments….
    so i think it counts in a modern sense.

    and what’s with the bunny in the window???

  40. Brother James permalink
    06/07/2009 6:37 am


    How are you doing, easy is it? so far? Keep going deeper into the silence it will become still. The monkey chatter in your mind will hopefully become quiet. Hermits are not lonely.

  41. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    06/07/2009 9:04 am

    I’ve just realised, you have a hare sitting on the windowsill.

  42. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    06/07/2009 9:30 am

    Comments from Museum visitors:

    Hello Mr. Hermit
    they call me the Mosquito – Free me now!


    Ansuman biswas!
    You should heep the mosquito because it looks Awsome
    Lucy aged 8

    Do not destroy anything there all good!
    Robert, 12

    Hi Hermit!
    From Tasha

    Is Mr Biswas the invisible ‘ermit?

  43. Suzanne Grieve permalink
    06/07/2009 12:10 pm

    Hi Ansuman,

    Today is the start of Graduation here at The University of Manchester. Over the next 2 weeks thousands of students will graduate in 37 ceremonies. These ceremonies are being held in Whitworth Hall – just a few metres from your Hermitage. It is going to get quite noisy for you as the magnificant organ in the Whitworth Hall will be played during each of these ceremonies. If you would like to watch as well as listen to the action, you can via a live web feed

    Graduation fortnight is my favourite time of year here at The University of Manchester; all the students in their smart suits and dresses, proud parents and grandparents milling around. The energy around campus is so positive and hopeful as the students celebrate their achievments and get ready to embark on the next phase of their lives. I hope this positive vibe benefits you and more than compensates for any extra noise created!

    Best wishes


    • 06/07/2009 10:14 pm

      Thanks for your positive vibes Suzanne.
      Yes I guessed it was Graduation. What a racket! Champagne froth.

  44. 06/07/2009 4:58 pm

    click clack on the keyboard, how do we know you have destroyed anything so far

  45. Nina from Brittany permalink
    06/07/2009 5:08 pm

    How can you be so still and peaceful? Amazing…

  46. Ceri Seel permalink
    07/07/2009 9:16 am

    There is no mind in mind – the nature of mind is clear light!

  47. 07/07/2009 5:20 pm

    Thank you Ceri. How true!

  48. David Gelsthorpe permalink*
    08/07/2009 9:13 am

    Comment form museum visitor:

    If you have the space keep them and display them

    If you do not, pass them on to other museums for people to see and enjoy

  49. 08/07/2009 12:26 pm

    Greetings to Our Hermit In Manchester- by all means drop me links to any drip pieces and I’ll have a little remix day … looking forward to your Emergence and a fine Newanderthal gig at the Chill …



    • 10/07/2009 4:45 pm

      Hasn’t rained for a few days but check the webcam when it does. It was nicest when the glass was empty. A good plink. Now it’s more of a dull splat. We’ll have to wait for it to evaporate again.

  50. Ros permalink
    08/07/2009 3:11 pm

    Dear Mr Hermit,

    Where do you find the time to meditate? Can I come and join you? I could do to recharge my battery for a while.

    Om Shanti,

    • 10/07/2009 4:43 pm

      Please do join me. I will definitely be sitting regularly at 8am-9am, 2.30pm- 3.30pm, and 6pm-7pm. Also other times whenever I can fit them in.

      Let’s recharge together.

  51. Cat permalink
    10/07/2009 9:50 am

    Not only can I watch The Hermit on the webcam, but I also get realtime sound effects! I can hear him meditating right now! It’s somewhat distracting to hear his voice reverberating down the pipes whilst trying to concentrate on my work…Makes me want to stop and join in!
    (I work in an office in The Hermit’s tower btw!)

    • 10/07/2009 4:40 pm

      I’m so sorry I’m distracting you. I had no idea you could hear me anywhere else. I have been getting pretty loud I’m afraid. Sometimes you just have to. At least everyone else round the world can turn the sound down.
      Would be great if you joined in, though.

      • Cat permalink
        13/07/2009 10:06 am

        By all means, do not apologise for your meditative activities. It tends to remind me that there are other significant aspects to life other than work…and helps me to appreciate the times I’m NOT required to sit in my office. Although, having said that, I’m lucky that I love my job!

        I recently read Sara Maitland’s Book of Silence, and realised that silence is possibly the one thing missing from today’s bustling society. It made me miss that elusive quiet you can experience sometimes. I don’t think it’s really possible to turn the sound down in the world anymmore…rather, you have to learn techniques such as meditation in order to tune them out.

  52. 10/07/2009 11:21 am

    Hallow Anshuman, Ami kolkata theke tomake dekchi. Tumi Bhalo theko. Annyo loker baje kothay kichu mone korona. Tumi tomar kaj chaliye jao. Amar snehashi o suvechcha nio. Ami roj tomake dekhi. iti tomar suvakankshi ekjan. S.S.Debnath.

  53. 13/07/2009 10:36 pm

    Keep it up Mr.Hermit!
    Interesting project, but I just can’t seem to gather my thoughts to comment.
    Take care in there~

  54. 15/07/2009 6:30 pm

    Hi Hermit

    I’m watching you

    what do you see?

    so intent

  55. 15/07/2009 6:56 pm

    now you do look like a hermit

    wrapped in a white blanket

    crossed legged

    bare floorboards

    the strangest thing is the sound of city traffic outside

    do you dream?

  56. 15/07/2009 10:28 pm


    I’ve been meaning to take advantage of the time you are alone to connect with you. The ironic truth of that statement is very clearly communicated through your ‘performance piece’ (for lack of a better term). I understand that your motivations are deeply rooted in ecological contemplation, but to me this artistic experiment seems to live in the paradox of separateness and interconnectedness. I suppose it’s not entirely different, is it?

    I think that this particular type of hermitage, one that is wired, blogging, and interactive is something new to our experience in this generation. What you have separated yourself from is the structure you inherited from society. By crying ‘Hermit!’ you afford yourself the luxury of breaking with all social norms, and inventing your own. You are not confined to the schedule that mundane responsibility seems to require, since you are not depending on yourself for food, water, shelter, etc, as hermits of another age would have done. You have not, in fact, cut yourself off or gone into seclusion. I can see you. I hear the same sounds you are hearing. Your hermitage is a doorway to an intimate connection. But, as I participate in the experiment, I feel the dualities very strongly. The appearance of connection with you generates a longing for a more genuine one, as your isolation draws attention to my own on the other end of the wire. This whole piece seems to live in the paradox of separateness and interconnectedness. In our separateness, we are connected, and in our connectedness, we are separate.


  57. 17/07/2009 9:18 pm


    I went for a walk in the rain with my dog and picked up sycamore leaves. I also played itunes and danced with my dog in the rain. I thought about you in the tower at the Museum, thought about how important this work is! I admit I came racing back to see, if you had chosen to board what I had wrote.

    I am pleased that you did, thank you.

    I will be e-mailing you fairly regularly because I am interested in the Museum and my activities there. I am presently at the Museum doing a work placement and also as a volunteer.

    Good night to you,



  58. 18/07/2009 11:37 am

    Good DAy !

  59. Guy permalink
    18/07/2009 3:49 pm

    Dear Hermit,

    I came across this site the other day and I think that it is one of the best things that I’ve seen/heard on the net. It is simply a real time playback of the Apollo 11 mission as events unfolded forty years ago to the minute…

    …it struck me that you are in a unique position to hear all of it and reflect on what is still, arguably, the cleverest thing that we have ever done (the only thing that would have been even cleverer would be that they did hoax it). There is also a nice mathematical and chronological symmetry as regards the number of days of your hermitage and years ago of the events and light years away of the radio transmissions.

    You could debate the virtues (or not) of keeping the recordings or reflect on the fact that the transmissions are truly indestructible as they are hurtle undiminished through space now forty light years away.

    Most of what you will hear is silence and interstellar static (echoes of the creation) and the occasional international telephone call in the background. Much of the other stuff is the daily workaday routine of running an interplanetary spaceship: taking sightings with a sextant, checking the O2 flow rate transducer, terminating the charging on battery A, updating nouns and verbs and all sorts of stuff that I will never understand.

    They occasionally make nice observations about the Earth: the weather over South America or “A circulation of clouds just to the east of you there in Houstan.” I wonder if they ever looked at my corner of the World when I was looking up at their spot in space feeling even smaller than I actually was as a nine year old kid?

    Of course if anything had gone wrong they would still be up there now: that’s isolation!



  60. Tom Stephenson permalink
    18/07/2009 8:53 pm

    Tidy your room. That blanket is a disgrace! I have been asked by Dave Merriman to give you a shout, so this is what I’m doing!

    Get back in touch, before you go completely mad. Tom.

  61. Tom Stephenson permalink
    18/07/2009 11:23 pm

    Well, that’s a good sign. Everything proceeding as it should. I am a stone-carver, and I have built and restored many Grottoes in the past, consequently I have a pretty good insight as to your function at present.

    Ideally, you should be on a remote and hostile stretch of highway, or – at least – be visually decorative for the guests of those rich enough to employ you. Right now, I would say that you are fulfilling neither of these criteria, but I envy your job nevertheless.

    I do hope that they do not allow you to leave the tower in order to visit pubs, etc. in the locality. If so, let me know, and I could possibly arrange for vitalls to be brought to your quarters, and these might include the odd drop of beer, or maybe Chartreuse at Christmas time. However, the stipulation would be that you do not leave the tower under any circumstances, and that your ordure should be chucked out of the window onto the heads of sinners. You might also have to do a spot of traffic reporting on local radio (the sort which cuts into the program which you are really listening to, with a short blast of something like Erasure or Bon Jovi).

    How does that sound to you?

  62. Nick permalink
    19/07/2009 1:43 am

    I wish I could spend 40 days there. The guaranteed solitude…

    But at night you seem to have the same noises that all bad hotels have. Annoying humming sounds and the chugging of a of central heating pump or something.

    Still, I would like to do it. Good luck.

    Ps, I can’t find any link to find out what museum pieces you are going to destroy daily 😦

  63. Tom Stephenson permalink
    19/07/2009 6:54 pm

    I don’t suppose you visited David Blane when he was suspended in a glass box under that bridge in London, did you?

  64. 20/07/2009 2:29 pm

    Are you under the blanket?
    BTW, we should put one of your hermit musings on the Arts Catalyst blog.
    Let me have one and an image and I’ll put it on.

  65. 20/07/2009 2:31 pm

    Aha, I see you now.
    Have a good hermitday.

  66. Manchester Museum Visitor Services team permalink
    20/07/2009 3:49 pm

    Dear Hermit,

    Can you help us?

    As you may know, the visitor services team have the job of making the public feel welcome and we help them understand more about the objects in the collection. As part of this, we have been talking about your project and how we can explain some of the difficult concepts you are grappling with to a range of visitors, including very young children.

    We’d like to set you a challenge! In return, we will tell even more people about your project…

    In the outside world today is the first day of the summer holidays and the museum is filling up with families.

    What three things should we be telling these visitors about your project?
    What conclusions have you come to so far?

    We look forward to hearing from you!

    Best wishes from Nicola, Chris, Kes, Andy, Karen & Vicky from the Visitor Services Team

  67. the hermit permalink*
    20/07/2009 9:18 pm

    Hello Visitor Services Team!
    OK. Here’s what I would say to my three year old son:

    1. Look! One of the exhibits in this museum is a real live man? Well why not? If you can have a frog in a museum, why not a person? What’s the difference?

    2. This man has chosen lots of objects that are in danger of disappearing, or being forgotten about, or not cared about.

    3. You can save these objects just by loving them. Choose any object and show how much you love it by writing a poem or making up a story or singing a song about it, or by drawing a picture, or even making a video.

    If you’ve got an idea and want some help with it ask the nice people at Visitor Services. They can help you at the Resource Centre with cameras, and scanners and pencils and paper and all that kind of stuff. They might even bring the object out for you to look at and touch if you ask nicely.

    The hermit will be very happy if he sees how much people care about all his poor, sad, forgotten things.


    • Tom Stephenson permalink
      20/07/2009 10:02 pm

      I think you are missing the point about museums. 3 year old kids are much more interested in museums full of dead men – I know I certainly was when visiting the British Museum as a kid. Quite a lot of the dead people have been given back to their ethnic communities now, but the Egyptian section still fascinates the very young. I became obsessed with the Great Pyramid as a result of all these exhibits, and eventually got myself locked up alone in it about 20 years later.

      Children are very good at taking the moral high ground about social issues which they know very little about – because adults tell them they should care. It soon wears off though. My 15 year-old grand daughter has long since stopped telling me not to smoke, since she took it up as an experiment. She’s not quite so evangelistic about green issues these days either.

    • Vicky permalink
      21/07/2009 12:35 pm

      Good afternoon Hermit, thanks for your reply.
      I’m taking our “Hermit mail” to the team now;;we shall be back with more comments and questions….

      Best wishes
      Head of Visitor Services

  68. Tom Stephenson permalink
    21/07/2009 8:14 pm

    Don’t leave it too long, Vicky – there is only a limited amount of time in the upstairs wilderness!

    Here’s a thought – after the 40 days and 40 nights have expired, maybe he can be stuffed and mounted downstairs, so we never forget him?

  69. 23/07/2009 8:46 am


    All items that have been selected for proposed destrucution, have
    surely become part of your 40 day life, are you willing to have
    the remains of your theories (40 day legacy) lost in a puff of
    smoke, or should it be kept for the next hermit to make that

    • 23/07/2009 10:58 am

      Hello KaRen,

      There’s no decision to be made. Everything will be lost in a puff of smoke whether I am willing or not.
      Yes, the objects have become very close to me over the last few months. My theories are useless. My practice is to try to be happy regardless of how much I can cling on to.

      • KaRen BracKenRiDGe permalink
        23/07/2009 2:17 pm


        Other peoples treasure are other peoples trash.

        The victorian newsprint for me are treasure. Is the past not history
        even in the simplist form.

        Sentiment is to powerful to———–.(Ihave my own answer)
        Awiating your freedom to expand in detail

  70. Tom Stephenson permalink
    23/07/2009 10:43 am

    I liked the white light!

  71. Bodger permalink
    23/07/2009 10:07 pm

    I can hear a lot of outside noise, but can’t see anything.

  72. Kevin permalink
    27/07/2009 9:17 pm

    do you not feel really frustrated being locked up and do you think it will be wierd when you are finally set free?

  73. Tom Stephenson permalink
    27/07/2009 10:24 pm

    Got a cold mate?

  74. Tom Stephenson permalink
    28/07/2009 10:19 pm

    Is that a bomb, barbeque or bivalve on the seat behind you? I think we should know…

    • 28/07/2009 10:48 pm

      It’s a hang. You’ll hear more of it over the next few days.

      • Tom Stephenson permalink
        31/07/2009 8:00 pm

        You’ll get the hang of it.

  75. shaun permalink
    30/07/2009 9:43 am

    Looks like you have put a bit of weight on there, you not been exercising??

  76. Ros permalink
    30/07/2009 10:42 am

    From one blog to another…

    Thought you might be interested to see what other people are saying about your blog on their sites.

    Hope you’re ok up there in this storm. I always get a bit frightened being high up in the offices – especially when the lightning makes my computer flicker as it did just then. Makes me want to hide under my desk!

    Looking forward to seeing you soon.
    Take care, Ros 🙂

  77. becky permalink
    30/07/2009 2:24 pm

    Hi Ansuman,

    Hope that you ok after the massive lightening bolt earlier today!!
    I am interested in your response to it….!!!
    The lghts went out in sdome galleries and I jumped across the room in fear!


  78. M.E. Montenegro permalink
    31/07/2009 8:30 pm

    ~*~ daimon drops dance on endless shades of green

  79. 31/07/2009 9:27 pm

    hi can see you now no sound on this one

  80. M.E. Montenegro permalink
    01/08/2009 5:14 pm

    travel to you through this digitized arena
    every rapid pulse pretending to
    compete with heat
    of those who, kissing anonymity,
    practice perfect presence
    every sense,
    till their cells themselves break out
    of form,

  81. M.E. Montenegro permalink
    02/08/2009 4:32 pm

    Nirvana is the cessation of the mental afflictions that perpetuate the experience of conditioned existence.

    Suffering = pain + resistance to pain.

    Selflessness does not mean the annihilation of the aggregates (body and mental components) of a person.

    What is extinguished upon the achievement of nirvana is a mistaken apprehension of the way things exist.

    Selflessness refers to the realization that all entities, including one’s body and mind, lack a fixed, absolute, unchanging nature or identity.

    Understanding this about oneself and all entities can bring freedom from samsara.

    But it is not a mere intellectual understanding. Nor is it a realization acquired through attaining samadhi alone. If that were the case all those who have achieved concentration have achieved nirvana. It’s not easy to get over oneself.

  82. M.E. Montenegro permalink
    02/08/2009 4:40 pm

  83. M.E. Montenegro permalink
    02/08/2009 4:53 pm

    Dear Sir,

    When was the last time you laughed? From the gut? Laughter and contraction can’t comfortably abide together…that’s the difficulty of being a performance hermit…you can’t be absolutely your(non)self.

    Signing off, m

  84. M.E. Montenegro permalink
    02/08/2009 5:57 pm

    Dharmato Buddha drastavya
    Dharmakaya hi nayakah
    Dharmata ca na vijneya
    Na sa sakya vijanitum.

    Will chant this with your musical accompaniment…

  85. M.E. Montenegro permalink
    03/08/2009 5:29 am

    “What you’ve done is good, oh merciless one.”

    Swallowing paradox, that’s realization.

  86. Ian Jacobs permalink
    04/08/2009 8:20 am

    Good Morning my friend. I feel relief that you’ve arrived in your present circumstances at giving yourself away. Congrats. Was it Marx who said all property is theft? Are even ‘our’ bodies OURS?Whilst everything I have is yours. I have no wish to own you, any more than I do any other living thing.IThe outrage I felt some years ago at visiting the Sainsbury collection at The University of East Anglia:- A phenomenal collection of shamanistic and Objects of Power collected from cultures worldwide. Is still with me. these are objects I cannot conceive were given willingly, by their guardians.

  87. 04/08/2009 12:25 pm

    on leaving the tower you can just come round for a cup of tea – i think its as easy as that – if you need to make it – then you can – but your very welcome to just to call round to the studio – put your feet up – eat something – have a dance – tell a story – have a shave – breathe – smile – laugh – then go and get the train and see your family – pack ready for the big chill – you have my number – much love michael

    • 04/08/2009 1:45 pm

      Thanks Mike, sounds lovely. So you would take me and set me free?
      But I’m not convinced you really care. I mean, if you did nothing I might as well just get on with whatever I was doing anyway, right? Why would I come to yours? Do you actually want me there?

      As with any of the objects in this museum there has to be some quality about it that you appreciate enough to want to save it from disappearing, to have it or use it. Otherwise why not let it just go on as it was without your interference? The honey bee, the apple tree, the aboriginal peoples, the rainwater, the fossils. They will all just carry on as they are without your intervention. In order to intervene you have to care. And, to paraphrase Thomas Merton, you don’t really care unless you act.

      I am no different from any of the other objects. You would have to make some sort of conscious effort, however minimal. I suppose writing in is an action, though small. I appreciate it. Your scenario shows a touching concern for my welfare. Thanks.

  88. m.e. montenegro permalink
    04/08/2009 4:31 pm

  89. m.e. montenegro permalink
    04/08/2009 6:20 pm


    It’s been a pleasure during this brief spurt that I have come up for air.

    I will continue my humble work as a hermit, and wish you and yours every possible breakthrough to beyond even light and dark.


    • 04/08/2009 6:29 pm

      But does this mean you’re leaving? What a shame!
      Well if so, thank you for having walked a little way together. Your contributions have been funny, thought provoking, and beautiful.
      My best wishes to you.

  90. m.e. montenegro permalink
    04/08/2009 7:09 pm

    What leaves?

    Only wide open sky.

    You, and yours, are free to email me if it’s helpful.

    If my communication with Ansuman has caused you any pain, Barley, especially the pain of hurt feelings, insecurity, or the feeling of being threatened in any way, please know that I have the utmost respect for your sacred bond, and wish you all every happiness.

    I have to say that as a hermit, it’s been a gift to be able to share a bit some of the joys of this path with others. I have learned a great deal.



  91. Marie permalink
    04/08/2009 10:22 pm

    Ansuman I tried to create a Facebook ‘account’ but failed but I hope to join your group there.

    Again I seem to be lost in adding comments but this is what I wanted to say:

    Thank you Tom.

    Dear Ansuman, I too like you but as we are all saying we cannot want you because of course your family’s claim is deeper.

    Also to Tom I wanted to add something about Aladin who so so much now reminds me of Ansuman:

    “Tom Stephenson permalink

    “That’s another ‘Aladin Sane’, I think. A bit like asking Biswas if he was ever on Tizwaz.”

    I think in life when we are touched logic and context does not matter. I only remembered Ansuman’s friend (what a beautiful connection) as he also has spiritual qualities we would wish to find in our gurus but also the faults. After Tom mentioned ‘Tizwas’ I noticed that actually from Google that it was ‘Tiswas’ a children’s, very playful, show.

    Ansuman and his friend Aladin (whom I have at least had the privilege of meeting) have each the wisdom but also humility and playfulness which are each tangible. So not ‘Aladdin Sane’ of my beloved David Bowie but the sanity and fruitfulness of being available.

    So I must end by thanking Ansuman Biswas for being available and reminding us, like his Sufi friend Aladin, to be grounded while also being able to be a magician as Ansuman and Aladin are both*!

    My deepest appreciation.

    With a full heart,


    (* And the resemblance between the two friends you can all see: Ansuman – I understood that Aladin has Arabic ancestry as he is Sufi so I assume you are not related!)

  92. kim shankar permalink
    05/08/2009 11:41 am

    it’s a david blaine moment…in fact, you’re starting to look more and more like him now

  93. 05/08/2009 5:47 pm

    Where can we vote?

    For me, the most beautiful items were the diatoms! The gems of life. If only we could see the beauty of life from the ‘smallest’, in an attempt to appreciate the ‘largest’, to gain a brighter picture of how wonderful we all are, and in this wonder realise how trapped we really are, and wipe away the mask that controls us.

    Free the hermit 🙂

    • 05/08/2009 5:55 pm

      Hello MOLAX,
      Please read my latest post.
      What do think should happen to the diatoms? It need not come to a vote. If you can get a few people to agree with you then your wish may come true.
      Personally I liked the idea from Sadie, aged 7, of making them into jewellery for fish and mermaids.

      • 05/08/2009 6:08 pm

        Yes i just read that 🙂 That is a very good question, what can be done with items so small, that we are not doing with them everyday already. This moment does require you to slip back to the years of your youth, and to see the world without boundaries and with fresh eyes. I agree with Sadie, what a beautiful vision that truely is.

  94. Tom Stephenson permalink
    05/08/2009 7:32 pm

    Are you still there Ansuman? It’s 7.30 pm, August the 5th – haven’t you got a home to go to?

  95. Tom Stephenson permalink
    06/08/2009 9:45 am

    On a purely anthropological level, the position of your webcam this morning during the interviews is a great opportunity for concentrating on body-language! It looks a bit busy up there.

    • 06/08/2009 10:26 am

      I’ve just been noticing how big people are. They take up a lot of space.
      This is now performance blogging for the TV cameras. How multi-layered can you get?

      • Tom Stephenson permalink
        06/08/2009 7:33 pm

        About that multi-layered. Big Chill next?

  96. m.e. montenegro permalink
    06/08/2009 4:35 pm

    You’re still there!?

    • 06/08/2009 4:47 pm

      Yes I am.
      I feel no urgency to leave. I’m no longer isolated however. Have been filming and talking with journalists and on the phone to my mum and dad. My wife was on her way to pick me up but the car’s broken down!
      I have to stay in Manchester tonight for a conversation on the World Service with an Indian nun in the BBC studios down the road.
      So I can’t leave. Anyway I’ve got everything I want right here. The only urgency I feel is to meditate. Today has been crazy. There has been no time to sit.

  97. m.e. montenegro permalink
    06/08/2009 5:04 pm

    Go sit.


    It never ends.

  98. m.e. montenegro permalink
    06/08/2009 6:35 pm

    My pleasure. Truly.

    I would like, if you would indulge me, to express a few more things.

    Citizens, keep your mouths open, to be sure, but may they be so with the utmost awareness that what issues from them gives rise to freedom or toxic waste, and every manifestation in between.

    Goenka-ji, the founder of the wonderful Vipassana centers you refer to elsewhere, talks a great deal about Sila, Samadhi and Prajna. Right speech falls into the category of Sila, or ethical conduct. While ethics are culturally conditioned, yes, we don’t need a great deal of footnotes and debates to know what certain forms of speech feel like in our bodies. All we have to do is stop and make a laboratory of ourselves.

    Oh and since I am on the topic, I think Goenka-ji’s system is brilliant and pure. He is for me an absolutely enlightened being.

    He definitely nailed westerners’ need to abide in the comfort of their perceived rationality.* Since we have inadvertently as you point out elsewhere, donned Science as our Religion, we often necessarily reject symbolic representations of the divine, since these tend often to push our hyper-(and perhaps not even very) rational buttons all the way to stuck.

    But he compassionately understands this, and hence, no religious objects of any kind in any of his many magnificent centers dotted across the world. He gets it in there though with the recitations in Pali at the beginning and end of sessions. ; ) but he knows that when it comes to vedana, we are particularly susceptible via our eyes…

    The point is to transcend and include, not transcend and deny. It’s time these fields of human expression talk to one another, and listen. Anything else descends into dogma, whether religious or scientific. Fundamentalism looks the same across the board: strident and obfuscating, and pitifully narrow.

    If we can really don the other’s perspective, bring it into ourselves, feel it, we can slowly dissolve this indeed unsustainable illusion of separation.

    Context groans with truth.


    *which emerged from a scientific worldview and its implicit assumptions and biases. I recommend B. Alan Wallace’s book Embracing Mind and his video Toward the First Revolution in the Mind Sciences on Youtube).

  99. Nick permalink
    07/08/2009 1:25 am

    Hi Hermit,

    Is this still live from the tower? You’re up and it’s 1:24am.

    I thought your regime meant you’d be in bed by now.
    I hope you’re OK>


    • Nick permalink
      07/08/2009 1:34 am

      I’m sorry. I just read the main page. You have left. I have now idea where you are but it seems to be sunny. Daylight at least if the streaming video is indeed live.

      Good luck. I have enjoyed tuning in to watch you.


  100. 07/08/2009 1:31 am

    Yeah, I’m fine. Just been fighting some strange coding on this blog. Think I’ve licked it now. Knackered.
    The regime’s loosened now. But still….

    • Nick permalink
      07/08/2009 1:46 am

      Wow! You are still in the tower! You turned off the light and I realised that it wasn’t daylight after all.

      I know what it’s like to come down from a mountain after a few days and I think it must be what you’re going through now.

      Interacting with other people is tedious after being alone with your thoughts for so long.

  101. Beck permalink
    07/08/2009 5:12 am

    I would like to ask you what do you feel you have learned from this experience and would you recommend it to others?

  102. Beck permalink
    07/08/2009 5:13 am

    Would you do this again?

  103. Beck permalink
    07/08/2009 5:15 am

    Do you think that this experience of being alone will make you more or less patient with other people?

  104. Beck permalink
    07/08/2009 5:30 am

    This project has given me some peace and space and time to decide to act it has reminded me that this is not the dress rehearsal. We can choose whether or not to act

  105. Tom Stephenson permalink
    07/08/2009 9:57 am

    I hate these long goodbyes.

  106. 07/08/2009 8:38 pm

    Please accept my appreciation, affection and friendship. I was out of station so I didn’t know when you left.

  107. 11/01/2010 5:02 pm

    Webcam isnt loading !! dam

  108. 16/02/2010 8:20 pm

    Can’t you put a naked woman in his place?

  109. 16/03/2011 4:57 pm

    I cand see …


  1. The Ultimate Specimen « Mapping the Marvellous

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