Archive for December, 2011
The narrative doesn't impress me that much, but the detail work of his Hergé's illustrations is really impressive. And as I mentioned before I am really attracted to his drawings. And I think I got that bug ever since I was a child.
Ice Trilogy – Vladimir Sorokin (Mudd Up Book Clubb January 2012 pick!) – aaaahhhh! I wrote: “It’s ambitious, totally nuts, capable of generating new emotions, perhaps the first “21st Ct” novel I’ve read.”
Embassytown – China Miéville. Language, addiction, bio-urbanism. Embassytown is especially wow in light of the rest of Miéville’ ouevre.
My Common Heart – Anne Boyer. My one complaint: (not tryna be greedy but) IT’S TOO SHORT!
“At night I dream of a poetry for the crowd. I imagine the bodies pressed against each other until there is not one set of feet left on the ground.”
:in the category of city slickers:
[Photo: Tyrone Brown-Osborne]
Down & Delirious in Mexico City – Daniel Hernandez. You heard the radio show we did, right?
plus an important Mexico addenda:
El Narco – Ioan Grillo. Lucid overview of “Mexico’s criminal insurgency,” putting the complex mayhem into historical perspective while avoiding the sensationalistic.
“If the East India Company was the first drug cartel, then the Royal Navy was the first band of violent cartel enforcers. After the two Opium Wars, the company won the right to traffic in 1860. The Chinese kept smoking and took the poppy with them in their diaspora round the planet.”
“I ask Mathilde [a poppy farmer in the Sinaloan mountains] to describe the effect of these flowers. What is the magic property they have? What is it that makes them so valuable? She looks at me blankly for a moment, then answers in a slow, thoughtful tone.
‘It is a medicine. And it cures pain. All pain. It cures the pain you have in your body and the pain in your heart. You feel like your body is mud. All mud. You feel like you could melt away and disappear. And it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. You are happy. But you are not laughing. This is a medicine, you understand?’
I’m burnt out on the NYC 70s & 80s glorification/nostalgia/histories, a genre that seems to metastasize each year, but Will Hermes’ Love Goes To Buildings On Fire is exemplary for its wide-eyed span: a five-year history of musical innovation in New York City that takes on rock guitars, salsa, rap, jazz, minimalism. Rare that these contiguous/adjacent scenes get examined together. There’s a paragraph in here about how session musicians formed a kind of connective tissue across scenes & studios — so many ways to think about how music circulates and histories congeal. Here’s to more thought-provoking anticoagulants in 2012.
xintra: National Defense Authorization Act = Equality 2.0. Suck it America: Now we’re all black guys in terms of unfair incarceration! #paybacktime
Scientists at UC San Diego have made a bioluminescent bacterial billboard. They call it a "living neon sign composed of millions of bacterial cells that periodically fluoresce in unison like blinking light bulbs." Making it all work "involved attaching a fluorescent protein to the biological clocks of the bacteria, synchronizing the clocks of the thousands of bacteria within a colony, then synchronizing thousands of the blinking bacterial colonies to glow on and off in unison."
These are referred to as biopixels.
Two summers ago, we looked at the idea of a "bioluminescent metropolis," where light-emitting organisms could be used to supplement—or even replace—a city's existing sources of illumination, as if scaling the Newnes Glow Worm Tunnel up to size of a whole city (something that might be useful for places where streetlights are being turned off and even physically removed because paying tax in support of public infrastructure is socialist).
In that post, one of my personal favorites here on the blog, we looked at the work of architect Liam Young, who once proposed the creation of bacterial billboards, squirrel-like living screens that would crawl through and inhabit the city. They would nest in trees like LED ornaments and spring up whenever there's news (or advertisements) to display.
[Image: Bioluminescent billboards by Liam Young].
So could this vision of a bioluminescent metropolis be far off? UC San Diego suggests that their "flashing bacterial signs are not only a visual display of how researchers in the new field of synthetic biology can engineer living cells like machines, but will likely lead to some real-life applications." Surely it would not take much work—even if only as a media stunt—to make a full-scale functioning prototype of a bioluminescent streetlight? Or a bioluminescent bathroom nightlight for your kids?
But, then, of course, the inevitable escape from domestication, when invasive bioluminescent organisms, from genetically-modified kudzu and street weeds to super-bright worms and bacterial mats, conquer the city.
(Via Wired UK).
As with last year and the year before, I tracked the libraries that I visited this year. I usually take pictures if I can. I use Daytum to track visits. The graph it produces is weird because the one big chunk is the library I work in but the other big chunk is called “twenty-four more items” which is sort of a weird way to display data. If anyone has a better lifetracker app they enjoy, please do let me know.
I went to forty-four different libraries for eighty-three visits total, I’m sure I have forgotten some. It’s a big increase over last year. Here’s the short annotated list of what I was doing in libraries last year. I have a few library photos in this Flickr photoset.
- Kimball Library, Randolph VT – this is the library where I work as an on-call part timer since I live up the street, and also where I check out books
- Hartness Library, VTC, Randolph VT – this is the good college library nearby me where anyone in the state can get a library card
- Westport, MA – the library in the town where my father lived and where I still spend a good amount of time. Great booksale.
- Fletcher Library, Ludlow VT – I was part of the e4VT program here and taught a basic skills computer class with ARRA grant money, a lovely old school library
- Ann Arbor PL, MI – gave a few talks over a few days and got to hang out here, love this place
- Milwaukee Public, WI – a library I hadn’t been to in a long time, an impressive building that maybe used to be a zoo?
- Howland Green, New Bedford MA – one of New Bedford’s “not the main library” libraries.
- Terraza PL, Austin TX – a cool little branch near where I was staying.
- UNT – Willis – got a tour, enjoyed the open spaces
- Hudson PL, MA – a small funky branch right by a river
- Chapel Hill NC – in the mall for the time being, but pretty neat for a temporary library
- Lubec, ME – lovely and small with great furniture and mosaics outside
- Central Branch, Portland OR – long been one of my favorites
- Marquette, Milwaukee WI – got a tour from a friend and saw the abandoned old entrance
- SIBL/NYPL – the best place to check email downtown
- Southworth PL, Dartmouth MA – another small branch in Southern MA
- Emily Fowler Library, Denton TX – got some local history and learned about local architecture here
- Central Branch, Austin TX – another perennial favorite – got some books for the plane
- Ryerson Library, Grand Rapids MI – an impressive library with a lot going on inside
- Pierson, Shelburne VT – underneath the town hall with a good board game collection
- Kalamazoo Public – neat and fancy, got a tour of the basement
- UNT – Eagle, Denton TX – checked out the new learning commons getting set up
- Denton North Branch, Denton TX – a weird side-of-the-highway large branch
- Kent District, Kentwood MI – neat suburban library with some cool public art and terrific views
- Bar Harbor, ME – got a tour while they were setting up for the booksale
- Lawler PL, New Bedford MA – another small New Bedford Library, sort of sad looking
- Roanoke PL, Roanoke TX – a small library doing a lot with what they had
- Twin Oaks PL, Austin TX – a fancy new little branch
- Bailey-Howe, UVM, Burlington VT – one of my faves, especially the special collections in the basement
- TWU, Denton TX – got a tour from my friend Greg and enjoyed the history and the air conditioning
- Maine State Library, Augusta ME – a great hideout after a long day conferencing
- Ransom PL, Plainwell MI – one of the little libraries we saw driving from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids
- Kilton PL, Lebanon NH – tour from my friend Virgil! Neat new branch.
- Olin College, Needham MA – tour from the head librarian, neat materials science collections
- Alling PL, Williston VT – a small library good for checking email when on the road
- Hartland VT – my friend Mary works here!
- Allegan District Library, MI – a pretty straightforward library
- Parchment PL, MI – a diaorama of the parchment factory is hidden in the basement here
- Peabody Institute, Danvers MA – a beautiful building with a lovely landscaped grounds, nice for hanging out
- Putney PL, Putney VT – warm and small with a lot going on for a teeny place
- New Bedford PL, New Bedford MA – beautiful old building sort of clunkily repurposed, always great for a visit
- Ferguson Library Stamford CT – went to a CLA event here and bought expensive books from their booksale
- Holland MI PL – fancy and with turtles
- Brooks PL Brattleboro VT – some neat open source stuff going on there, got a tour after giving a talk
Imagine receiving a postcard in the mail. Ok, back up: remember the mail? Remember postcards?
Right, now imagine them. On one side, an image: a faraway place, an iconic sign, people smiling, a sunset. Perhaps someone has even scribbled on it, adding their own moustaches, thought bubbles, or other postal graffiti. “Having a wonderful time,” it inevitably says, “wish you were here.”
Or, does it? Turning it over, ostensibly to read, you find instead that it — sings.
Photos shared with the popular software Instagram are usually square in format, not unlike the cover to a record album. The format leads inevitably to a question: if a given image were the cover to a record album, what would the album’s music sound like?
WIth Instagr/am/bient, Marc Weidenbaum of Disquiet.com has commissioned sonic postcards for the digital age. Selecting 25 “musicians with ambient inclinations,” each musician was asked to contribute an Instagram photo, and to compose a short sound piece for one of the other Instagram photos. Many incorporate field recordings, found sounds whose particularity echoes the small, specific details often framed by the images. Their length, 1 – 3 minutes long, corresponds to the imagined shelf-life of an Instagram, as it pops into view on Twitter, then subsides back into the flow. A moment, discrete, evocative, yet surrounded with the ephemera and demands of the day, and available to contemplation only in potentia.
The result of the 25 musicians’ collective efforts is an investigation into the intersection of technology, aesthetics, and artistic process. What parallels exist, for example, between the visual filters that Instagram provides users to transform their photos and the sound-processing tools employed by electronic musicians?
In many cases here, the musicians employ sonic field recordings as source material for their music. In the case of both their photos and their compositions (photography in one case, phonography in the other), documents are altered to emphasize their atmospheric qualities: to eke a modest art out of the everyday.
Because what does a postcard, any postcard, really say? You may not be having a wonderful time. You may not wish they were there. But the small, rectangular window is a link. It says, most of this image, is idea, and part of this idea, is you.
- Artspace. Collect art from the world’s best contemporary artists at accessible prices.
- NYU Steinhardt. MA in Studio Art: Three-Summer Master’s Program in Berlin.
- Fred Torres Collaborations. Gretchen Ryan, Cheers in Heaven, November 15, 2011 – January 7, 2012.
- The International Center of Photography. Apply for the ICP-Bard MFA Program in Advanced Photographic Studies.
- Dia:Beacon. Now on view is Opus+One, a solo exhibition by Jean-Luck Moulene at Dia:Beacon concurrent with a new work by the artist at the Dan Flavin Art Institute.
- Artsystems. Efficient, comprehensive and powerful software tools for fine art and antiques management.
- The School of Visual Arts. Apply now for the new MA program in Critical Theory and the Arts.
- The Rhode Island School of Design. Apply for open academic positions, including Assistant Professor, Department of Painting.
- Kianga Ellis Projects. The New York Group Show — “I am the judge. I am the jury.” Rebellion & Empowerment in Contemporary Art.
- Emily Carr University. Focus your talents. Applications for the 2012 Master of Applied Arts now open.
- Fountain Art Fair. An exhibition of avant garde artwork in Los Angeles during Art Platform, New York during Armory week and Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach.
If you are interested in advertising on Rhizome, please get in touch with Nectar Ads, the Art Ad Network.
In a paper published back in the July/August 2011 issue of Seismological Research Letters, authors C. Läderach and V. Schlindwein from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research discuss the benefits of tracking deepsea earthquakes using "seismic stations mounted on drifting ice floes." Indeed, they write, because of the lack of fixed ground points, "mounting conventional land seismometers on drifting sea ice is the only way to acquire seismic data in the Arctic Ocean."
In other words, they want to turn drifting fragments of Arctic sea ice into floating research stations, mapping earthquakes at sea.
[Images: "From Seismic Arrays on Drifting Ice Floes: Experiences From Four Deployments in the Arctic Ocean" by C. Läderach and V. Schlindwein, from Seismological Research Letters].
The authors have already seen considerable success with this method. In a short passage detailing how these systems are physically installed, we read that the seismic arrays "are deployed and recovered by helicopters operating from icebreaking vessels." However, "the time for station installation is very limited," due to weather and rough seas.
Station installation requires two people and a helping hand from the helicopter pilot, and takes about 30 minutes with the data loggers being programmed before the deployment flight. The limited time does not allow waiting for the sensor to equalize. Therefore, we only check the sensor response and locking of the GPS position before leaving the station.While the authors compare this, briefly, to using buoys—indicating that their method is not all that different from other free-floating oceanographic instrumentation systems—the transformation of icebergs into scientifically useful platforms is a compelling example of how a natural phenomenon can become infrastructure with even the smallest addition of equipment. The iceberg has literally been instrumentalized: a temporary archipelago, too short-lived to appear on maps, turned into a scientific instrument.
In this context, it's worth revisiting the story of Drift Station Bravo, one of many inhabited icebergs in the Cold War era that had its own postal system, complete with historically unique stamp cancellations.[Image: Drift Station Bravo postage cancellation mark, via Polar Philately].
As explained on the website Polar Philately, Colonel Joseph O. Fletcher, commander of an Air Force weather squadron stationed in the Arctic, discovered "a large tabular iceberg... that had broken off the Arctic ice shelf... [and] gone adrift." This ice island was soon "codenamed T-1, taken from its original radar designation as a target." Future "ice islands" were codenamed T-2 and T-3.
On March 19, 1952, the U.S. Air Force led by Colonel Fletcher and some scientists landed on this ice island [T-3] in a C-47 aircraft, setting up a weather observation station. Fletcher established a research station that was manned at this big ice sheet for roughly the next 25 years, despite a grim quote given by the head of the Alaska Air Command at the time, a General Old, who was quoted in a Life magazine article of the time as saying "I don't see how any man can live on this thing."It's worth repeating that Fletcher's team operated this weather station on a repurposed ice floe for 25 years.
Fletcher's Ice Island, and the research station that was located on it, rotated in circles in the Arctic Ocean, floating aimlessly along in the Arctic currents in a clockwise direction. The station was inhabited mainly by scientists along with a few military crewmen and was resupplied during its existence primarily by military planes operating from Barrow, Alaska.The island—later renamed "Drift Station Bravo"—was inhabited long enough that it actually got its own postal network.
[Image: Letters postmarked from Drift Station Bravo, via Polar Philately].
From Polar Philately:
During the period of active habitation, T-3 covers [postage stamps] were serviced, each stamped with a variety of hand-stamped cachets and markings, dated, and often marked with a manuscript notation of the geographic position of the drifting station on that particular day of ops. The T-3/Bravo covers were often cancelled at Barrow or at a USAF base in Alaska, and then placed in the mailstream.In other words, envelopes would be stamped with the latitude and longitude of the iceberg at the moment of a letter's departure.
[Images: Postal marking and a letter from Drift Station Bravo, via Polar Philately].
The story takes on clear geopolitical dimensions when we remember that Drift Station Bravo and its ilk—such as Drift Station Alpha, about which you can watch an entire documentary film—were created in direct response to the Soviet Union's own ice island program. The Soviets "already operated six drifting ice camps of this kind," we read in the documentary transcript, downloadable as a 27kb PDF, but, "owing to the particular strategic importance and sensitivity of the Arctic Basin, little information from these early Soviet stations had reached the West."
The transcript goes on to explain how the U.S managed to architecturally colonize these mobile platforms. Military civilization on the ice established itself as follows:
...a ski-equipped C-47 landed on the ice and deployed the first team of workers. It included an Air Force Major as camp commander and several soldiers with technical skills who had volunteered for 6 months duty on the ice, plus four of the typical tough and versatile Alaskan construction workers.The story expands rapidly from here. In an article originally published in the September-October 1966 issue of Air University Review, we read that competitive Soviet drift stations apparently discovered a "second magnetic north pole... located near 80° N and 178° W, with magnetic medians extending across the Arctic Ocean," and that sulfuric gas fumes from a badly timed undersea volcanic eruption killed at least one unlucky crew member. A particularly eye-popping detail comes when we read that these researchers deliberately generated earthquakes in the iceberg they lived on: "we generated tiny earthquakes in the ice. The propagation of the compressional waves generated in this way are used to study the elastic properties of the ice."
Modular buildings, called Jamesway huts, camp supplies, fuels, two small World War II Studebaker tractors, called Weasel, and a small bulldozer, were dropped by parachutes.
This brings us back to C. Läderach and V. Schlindwein, whose paper in Seismological Research Letters examines the problem of "icequakes," or seismic activity internal to the ice floe on which their equipment rests, thus interfering with accurate measurements. They even mention at least one occurrence of a so-called "bearquake," when a curious polar bear came by to nudge the seismometer and see what was really going on. The authors refer to these events as "special signals."
In any case, will this floating seismic network adrift in the waters of the Arctic also receive its own stamps and postal cancellations? Presumably not, but it would nonetheless be interesting to examine the becoming-infrastructure of these ice floes in a larger geographic context.
I’ve set up a few VOIP phone numbers which record incoming voicemails as sound files and then email them onwards. Every so often, these numbers get called by bots doing automated market research. It takes a little while for the bot to register that there is no human response.
This is a recording of that little while.
I have known TinTin all my life and i must have read the series as a very very young tot, or my mom read them to me. For the past 40 something years I have been avoiding re-reading the books, while at the same time being very attracted to the author/artist Hergé's artwork. in fact I am totally nuts about it.
This book as well as the others I will read shortly are young reader's edition's, which is exactly (at least I have been told that) the same as the original, except the images are bigger, and each title has an additional 20 pages of bonus material, which is quite interesting.
Down below is a documentary on Hergé and his invention TinTin.
"TinTin & I Documentary Part 1
"TinTin & I" Documentary Part 2
"TinTin & I" Documentary Part 3
"TinTin & I" Documentary Part 4
"TinTin & I" Documentary Part 5
From Krugman’s blog today, via Deane Yang’s FB feed:
Math is a friend of mine. There have been a number of occasions in my life when doing the math on an economic model has led me to conclusions very different from my preconceptions.
But I have always been able, after the fact, to find a way to express in plain English what the math is telling me. If you resort to math to justify what looks like a very foolish claim, and you can’t find a plausible way to express that justification in plain English, something is wrong.
I disagree. The reason we use mathematical formalism is exactly because it expresses things that can’t be said precisely in English, or any other natural language.
We can, should, and do utter English sentences that paraphrase mathematical assertions; but that’s not the same thing.
Possibly useful analogy: “Music is a friend of mine. There have been a number of occasions in my life when a piece of music has conveyed to me a powerful emotion or sensation. But I have always been able, after the fact, to express in plain English the way the music sounded and the way it made me feel.”
If someone told you this, you would say “NUH UH,” and I think the same response is due Krugman here.
In 1886, Los Angeles moved the Fort Moore High School. "A contractor who claimed he could accomplish the task hoisted the building onto scaffolding and, using rollers, horses, and human labor, slowly moved the schoolhouse toward its new location," KCET explains. "After work was underway, the contractor decided that the task was impossible after all. The building remained where his crew left it"—unfortunately, not marooned on the stilts seen here, like some steampunk Walking City, but on its new ground-level site blocks away. Once lowered back to earth, it was "repurposed as a schoolhouse for younger students while a new, grander high school was built atop Fort Moore Hill."
It's as if, in a dreamtime state before any of us can remember, buildings once moved around Los Angeles, nomadic titans settling down only with the end of prehistory. Perhaps they will wake up and walk again, criss-crossing valleys, crawling over hills, rearranging roadways around themselves.
Eventually, most of Fort Moore Hill itself was physically removed from the city. "In 1949, construction crews transported away most of the hill by the truckload," we read, turning it into one of the "lost hills of downtown Los Angeles." If only the hill had disappeared, however, leaving all the buildings built upon it stranded on wooden scaffolds in the sunlight, a tablecloth trick in architectural form.
This past year, HiLobrow published…
- James Parker’s serialized swearing-animal novella, The Ballad of Cocky the Fox, with illustrations by Kristin Parker and an erudite/puerile newsletter (The Sniffer) by Patrick Cates. The serialization began in 2010; in 2011, we wrapped up the series, and produced hard copies (and t-shirts, and limited-edition art prints) for our Kickstarter backers. We have since published a few updates and additions, under the title The Cockarillion.
- Linda Linda Linda, a serialized novella — this one a “hollow-earth retirement adventure” complete with an original soundtrack and choreographed dances — by the multitalented Karinne Kethley Syers. Illustrations by Rascal Jace Smith.
- A series (Kirb Your Enthusiasm), edited by Joshua Glenn, in which 25 writers each examined a single panel by comics legend Jack Kirby. Douglas Rushkoff on THE ETERNALS | John Hilgart on BLACK MAGIC | Gary Panter on DEMON | Dan Nadel on OMAC | Deb Chachra on CAPTAIN AMERICA | Mark Frauenfelder on KAMANDI | Jason Grote on MACHINE MAN | Ben Greenman on SANDMAN | Annie Nocenti on THE X-MEN | Greg Rowland on THE FANTASTIC FOUR | Joshua Glenn on TALES TO ASTONISH | Lynn Peril on YOUNG LOVE | Jim Shepard on STRANGE TALES | David Smay on MISTER MIRACLE | Joe Alterio on BLACK PANTHER | Sean Howe on THOR | Mark Newgarden on JIMMY OLSEN | Dean Haspiel on DEVIL DINOSAUR | Matthew Specktor on THE AVENGERS | Terese Svoboda on TALES OF SUSPENSE | Matthew Wells on THE NEW GODS | Toni Schlesinger on REAL CLUE | Josh Kramer on THE FOREVER PEOPLE | Glen David Gold on JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY | Douglas Wolk on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.
- A series (Epic Wins), edited by Matthew Battles, which asked HiLobrow’s contributors to translate epic poetry. THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | THE ILIAD by Stephen Burt | THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | GOTHAMIAD by Chad Parmenter
- Dozens of new HiLo Hero posts, written by contributors Alix Lambert, Lynn Peril, Gary Panter, Peggy Nelson, Mimi Lipson, Chris Lanier, Deb Chachra, Tor Aarestad, Luc Sante, Brian Berger, Greg Rowland, David Smay, Adrienne Crew, Tim Carmody, Franklin Bruno, Joshua Glenn, Mark Kingwell, Jason Grote, Patrick Cates, Tom Nealon, Tosh Berman, Kio Stark, Adam McGovern, Amanda French, Barbara Bogaev, and Mike Fleisch.
- The following posts — among others — by HiLobrow’s Arts Editor Peggy Nelson, who…
…directed our gaze to artists with a particularly HiLobrow sensibility, including photographer Jan Lemitz in Future Imperfect, filmmaker Nick Rhombes in Do Not Screen, and collage/installation artist Michael Oatman, whose lengthy interview also inaugurated HiLobrow’s new #longreads series.
…joined Werner Herzog on a visit to our past of anamorphic cave art in 3D Graffiti, and peered into our present future with the digital glitch as part of her ongoing Eye Candy series.
…surveyed the multi- in media by examining the history of pop-up books, the hidden agenda of embedded video, and the sudden resurgence of the animated gif.
…in Our Amelia, channeled Amelia Earhart’s lost thoughts from her final flight, on the anniversary of her disappearance over the Pacific.
…in Quest/ions, featured Scryberspace, her online search oracle, in which queries were answered with time-motion mashups of web content.
…and in Reenacting Disaster, launched her Twitter novel @EShackleton, in which Sir Ernest tweets one of the greatest adventure stories of all time, his ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition Expedition of 1914-17.
- The following posts — among others — by HiLobrow’s Joshua Glenn, who…
… revealed the truth about Elvis’s Krishna consciousness in Blue Krishma!;
… analyzed Mike Watt’s opera Hyphenated-Man in light of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights in Mike Watt: hilobrow;
… distinguished between Rebooting (reviving the spirit of a phenomenon from the past and giving it contemporary relevance), and Retro (reanimating the phenomenon itself, forcing its spiritless corpse — the technical term is kitsch — to shuffle among us tragicomically), in Rebootiana;
… identified the older dancer who introduces the Pogo in the Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night as the pioneering social anthropologist Clifford Geertz, in Origin of the Pogo;
… and, in Enter Highbrowism, he discovered a 1911 Radium-Age science fiction story in which the highbrow is described as a mutant species — homo superior, except inferior at everything but striking radical chic poses and getting invited to dinner parties.
- More exegetical commentaries on Jack Kirby comics: Chris Lanier on Kirby vs. Kubrick | Scott Edelman recalls when the FF walked among us | Adam McGovern is haunted by a panel from THE NEW GODS | Matt Seneca studies the sensuality of Kirby’s women | Danny Fingeroth figgers out The Thing.
- A series (4CP Friday), in which the following guest curators detected uniquely meaningful patterns (Grids! Creeps! Resolution! Monsters! Sins! White eyes! Shadows! Effacement! God’s wings!) within John Hilgart’s amazing 4CP collection of comic-book details: Joe Alterio, Matthew Battles, Deb Chachra, Scott Edelman, Danny Fingeroth, Joshua Glenn, John Hilgart, Chris Lanier, Dan Nadel, Annie Nocenti, Kristin Parker, Lynn Peril, Eric Reynolds, Greg Rowland, David Smay, Matthew Specktor, Dan Wagstaff, and Rob Walker.
- Installments in the following series: Annie Nocenti’s Goudou Goudou, James Parker’s Bolanomics, Joshua Glenn’s Shocking Blocking.
- And the following series: Joe Alterio’s much-viewed Cablegate Comix, James Parker’s Angusonics, John Hilgart’s 4CP FTW.
- And the following series: David Smay’s Early ’60s Horror, James Parker’s Mouldiana, Joshua Glenn’s LATF Hipster.
- And the following series: Tom Nealon’s De Condimentis (including: Vinegar, BBQ, Butter, Mustard, and Sour Cream), John Hilgart’s Meet the L.I.S., Max Glenn’s DC — The New 52.
- And the following series: Sherri Wasserman’s Rebooting Museums, Adam McGovern’s Fanchild, and Skrullicism.
- And also these series: Adrienne Crew’s P-Afrofuturism, James Bridle’s Bookfuturism, Joshua Glenn’s Pluperfect PDA.
- Comics written by Adam McGovern, including the sci-fi adventure Idoru Jones.
- Plus a few installments in these series: Cthulhuwatch, Fitting Shoes, Ceci est une pipe, Comically Vintage, and HiLo holiday gifts.
- The winning stories in our spooky-kooky fiction contest.
- And lots of other posts, too many to mention here.
HiLobrow is grateful to its contributors, without whom none of this would have been possible; our readers; and our publisher, KING MIXER LLC.
Happy New Year!
“Why would other sectors nurse grudges against computers? Well, because the world we live in today is…”
Why would other sectors nurse grudges against computers? Well, because the world we live in today is /made/ of computers. We don’t have cars anymore, we have computers we ride in; we don’t have airplanes anymore, we have flying Solaris boxes with a big bucketful of SCADA controllers [laughter]; a 3D printer is not a device, it’s a peripheral, and it only works connected to a computer; a radio is no longer a crystal, it’s a general-purpose computer with a fast ADC and a fast DAC and some software.
The grievances that arose from unauthorized copying are trivial, when compared to the calls for action that our new computer-embroidered reality will create. Think of radio for a minute. The entire basis for radio regulation up until today was based on the idea that the properties of a radio are fixed at the time of manufacture, and can’t be easily altered. You can’t just flip a switch on your baby monitor, and turn it into something that interferes with air traffic control signals. But powerful software-defined radios can change from baby monitor to emergency services dispatcher to air traffic controller just by loading and executing different software, which is why the first time the American telecoms regulator (the FCC) considered what would happen when we put SDRs in the field, they asked for comment on whether it should mandate that all software-defined radios should be embedded in trusted computing machines. Ultimately, whether every PC should be locked, so that the programs they run are strictly regulated by central authorities.
And even this is a shadow of what is to come. After all, this was the year in which we saw the debut of open sourced shape files for converting AR-15s to full automatic. This was the year of crowd-funded open-sourced hardware for gene sequencing. And while 3D printing will give rise to plenty of trivial complaints, there will be judges in the American South and Mullahs in Iran who will lose their *minds* over people in their jurisdiction printing out sex toys. [guffaw from audience] The trajectory of 3D printing will most certainly raise real grievances, from solid state meth labs, to ceramic knives.”
- The Coming War on General Computation - Cory Doctorow
Hitoshi Nomura made ‘Moon Scores’ between 1975 and 1979, the project consisted to take photographs from the lunar body moving across the night sky. Nomura marked the film with five lines, turning the photographs series into an item of musical notation. Transferring the notes to staff paper, he then had the chance compositions performed by a chorus and a string quartet. Later Nomura made a similar series called “birds” photographing just birds.
I privately think to myself of Open City as a response to 8 1/2, which is weird. But it is episodic, it is concerned with structures of consciousness and I think it is immaculately curated. That is what I was going for: the curation of incident that to a careless observer seems like randomness.On a more personal note, I am alarmed by the revelation that Butler Library won't be open again till Wednesday. That's just wrong!
xintra: REALIZING I am one of probably 16 million women who thinks, “Paul Scheer is so oddly hot. I want to do him. He’d probably be so grateful.”
xintra: @johannacox I LOVES YOU TOO PRETTY GURL! You make me want to be gay so we could row crew together. Hopefully everything just gets weirder.
( Transcript )
Went to the Walker Art Center yesterday. My favorite thing in there right now is a video piece called “Flooded MacDonald’s” by Superflex. It's part of the John Waters-curated exhibit "Absentee Landlord." (Brilliant.)
The film is exactly what the title says. An empty MacDonald’s looks like it’s been abandoned mid-day. The camera lingers on each thing in the room: Meals both fully intact and half-eaten, a container of glistening french fries, trays of refuse, an empty cup on its side on a seat, a chair, a tall Ronald statue, a full coffeepot. All these objects become characters in the film.
Then water begins to rush in beneath the crack of the door. It’s thrilling to watch it pour in, clear and fast. It fills the room quickly. The first things it picks up are crumpled wrappers on the floor.
Flooded McDonald's from Superflex on Vimeo.
But as the place continues to fill, the water goes from clear to dirty. It darkens, clouds, fills with bits of trash. French fries drift by, ghostly cups, the chair a tilted shipwreck. The water reaches the big electric M on the wall and it blinks a few times, buzzes, goes out. Eventually it rises to the backlit menus and those too go dark. By the end of the movie the screen is a hazy brownout, water to the top of the field of vision.
It’s like watching death, I whispered to my companion, who said, I was just thinking that.
Also, it’s like America.
That alone was worth the admission. I also liked Mike Kelley’s framed carpet and map of his junior high, and the Glenn Ligon coloring-book painting, and this dolphin oracle you could ask questions by typing them on a keyboard. After you hit return, an ellipsis appears, and then the dolphin squeaks and chirps and writhes a little while its subtitled answer materializes. It is terribly charming.
|The answer to "Are you messing with me, dolphin?"|
But speaking of Facebook, this breakdown of the eight elements of status updates was in one of the newspapers on display.
Last stop before heading back north was Birchbark Books, which is owned by Louise Erdrich and is now one of my favorite bookstores anywhere, beautifully selected and appointed and staffed by an extremely relaxed dog named Dharma.
It's one of those stores where the selection is perfect instead of vast. And there are handwritten recommendations by Louise Erdrich all over. Doesn't get much better than that.
Drawing a blank at “performance art”? Turning down Verfremdungseffekt because you’re not into subtitles? Think about the avant-garde, if you think about it at all, as an art-historical accident of Modernism, something to be waded through, like seaweed, until you can get out to some decent waves?
Then it may come as a surprise — and later, recognition — that you’re doing it every day, at work.
Deploying a series of temp jobs as an analytical fulcrum, Ivor Southwood demystifies the precariousness of the global economy in his tightly-argued, book-length essay, Non-Stop Inertia.
A sort of low-level or latent precarity, as experienced by myself and many others, is now a fixture of everyday life, both taken-for-granted and uncanny, immanent and untraceable; a vague electrical hum, hardly worth mentioning, too trivial to be worth complaining about (“it’ll only be for awhile”, “at least I have a job”, “it’s the same for everyone”, “that’s just the way things are”). Especially with the guillotine posed over public services today, this repressed anxiety is fast becoming the norm; jobs dissolve into “Apprentice”-style compete-or-die self-marketing exercises, with the social purpose of the institution practically forgotten.
You’re working it not just in the workplace — the demands for believing in the system, for selling yourself back to your own employer, for ducking the threats of downsizing, reorg-ing and outsourcing, for negotiating the musical-chairs model of threatened unemployment imposed by the mutual interests of global capitalism and shareholder value — these demands, even as you may recognize the inherent futility of compliance, do not stay at work when you punch out.
We bring our work home with us, and not just via smartphone and laptop. We bring home the embedded attitude, even when, or especially when, we are not working.
The digital workplace is also now conveniently portable and no longer restricted in terms of space or time. Technological innovation has created new mobile precarity devices: there is no escape from the discourse of liberation. For most people “work/life balance” is not a Sunday supplement vision of harmony and enjoyment, but rather an ongoing war against an alien force which threatens to vaporise them, and letting work roam free in the open sphere of social and personal life creates an all-pervasive 360 degree anxiety. The culture of flexibility and mobility imposes an ever-tightening grip on the individual who is always accessible by mobile phone, email or laptop, while at the same time this culture is re-packaged as a gateway to leisure, sold through an Advertopia of “seamless connectivity.”
Southwood argues that with the internalization of instability as the common feature of a post-Ford economy (Henry, not Gerald; although the latter does bookmark the last gasp of the older economic story), capitalism requires a performative front to be enacted by all of us, every day, in almost all aspects of life. And further, that this dissociation between a false front of positivity (flexible! available! seamless! service!) and the lived dread and emptiness of job- and income-loss, often coopts resistance before it is even conceptualized. Structurally, older forms of collectivized resistance, such as unions, have been unable to organize an atomized, intermittent, global workforce, one compelled to enact the performance of “emotional labor” 24/7.
The individual must exist in a state of constant readiness. Predictable income, savings, the fixed category of “occupation”: all belong to another historical world.
Big Brother doesn’t need to be televised when He can be diffused and internalized — the modern workplace (and its associated constellations of para- and non-workplaces, including the phone, job-seeking websites, employment agencies, and your commute) requires not only your labor, but your soul. And the more you give over to The Method, the more you become the role.
As consumers, feelings are foisted upon us whether we want them or not, and accumulate in our consciousness like psychic junk, so that eventually it becomes impossible to differentiate between the real memories and the corporate implants; and through work we are asked, as responsible citizens, to recycle and reproduce these emotion-commodities, to sell them on to others.
While some of the passages refer to specifics of the UK’s welfare state, the demystification extends to more Hobbesian societies like the US, China, and beyond. But crucially, Southwood stresses that this instability (both of the workplace, and internalized as anxiety) is neither necessary nor natural: instability is in service to an ideology. We never live outside of ideology, but ideologies are constructed, not grown; and thus can be dismantled and replaced.
In a final chapter Southwood suggests gaining some critical distance by recognizing and reclaiming the performative aspects of contemporary work qua performances. Air quotes, robot-like or mechanical gestures and speech, and the reclaiming of the subversive aspects of camp are suggested as opening gambits for contemporary Bartlebys whose employers simply dial-a-temp for a replacement when you “do not prefer.”
Read this lucid, lively essay on your lunch hour, or on your commute home. If you must, hide the pages within an iPad cover, so it looks like you’re viewing a screen. It will be the most productive thing you’ve done all year.
Order Non-Stop Inertia through Zer0 Books
Ivor Southwood’s blog: Screened-Out
Some links, in no particular order:
Language Log on the twitter hashtag.
Wage slavery in its natural habitat.
George Pringle's new blog.
Greg Zinman on Bravo's Work of Art.
It seems likely that I will post again between now and the official end of 2011, but just in case not, I hope that you all have a very happy and healthy New Year!
[Gareth Long, Untitled, 2007; 8' x 5' x 7 1/4" (each sculpture), Ultralight MDF, MDF]
Index card: “Two flip-boards of the kind usually used for advertising, have been erased of all text or imagery. Emptied of information and bereft of purpose, they remain as mere support structures, or containers, for a potential text that fails in its delivery. Their screens turn over endlessly, alternating without meaning, in an attempt at communication that never quite succeeds.”
Linkage via LRJP! and Slavin.
For our most generous supporters, we offer two high quality, archival prints by Jon Rafman from his New Age Demanded series. During the annual Community Campaign, all donations come with a limited edition art work from some of the great artists in our community. Support the arts this year by making a donation today.
New Age Demanded (Dubuftet)
Rafman has created two unique digital prints from his New Age Demanded series. The prints are 3-D models of Greek busts that incorporate Sci-Fi elements, which Rafman suggests “evoke the covers of records for long-lost Space Operas.” Each bust represents an individual existing within their own realm, and features the settings and recognizable features of each person it is modeled after. For the works for Rhizome, this includes the artists Franz Kline and Jean Dubuffet. The series takes its name from Ezra Pound’s poem, “Hugh Selwyn Mauberly,” which is partly about an aspiring young artist’s struggle to write poetry in a philistine age.
- As far as I can tell, Cafe Poca Cosa is still the best restaurant in the city.
- Front page news during our stay: the state has outlawed the Tucson school system’s Mexican American Studies program.
- Downtown Tucson is an interesting case study for people interested in urban cores. Grand old theaters, lots of vacant buildings, Cafe Poca Cosa, and strangely specific yet apparently operational businesses (Ace Rubber Stamps, Wig-O-Rama.) Almost nobody on the street at 5pm on a Wednesday. On the other hand, no sense of blight. Is Tucson considered a successful downtown renewal, a failed one, or something in between?
- The only Republican campaign signs I saw in Tucson were for Ron Paul, and there were quite a few of them. Remark: this is also true of Madison.
Beach Anxiety #1 [Bed Landscaped] (by CantCopeWontCope)
I did a lot of reading-while-traveling this year. I got a lot of travel books from random library booksales. I’ve still been reading in paper-book form, as much as I see the compelling argument for ebook readers, I haven’t made the switch. Here are previous year end lists: 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004. My booklist lives over on jessamyn.info/booklist and it has its own RSS feed. Here’s the wrap-up of what I read in 2011.
number of books read in 2011: 56
number of books read in 2010: 48
number of books read in 2009: 39
number of books read in 2008: 31
number of books read in 2007: 53
number of books read in 2006: 60
number of books read in 2005: 86
number of books read in 2004: 103
number of books read in 2003: 75
number of books read in 2002: 91
number of books read in 2001: 78
average read per month: 4.67
average read per week: 1.01
number read in worst month: 2 (Feb/April/Dec)
number read in best month: 10 (July)
percentage by male authors: 72
percentage by female authors: 28
fiction as percentage of total: 54
non-fiction as percentage of total: 46
percentage of total liked: 92
percentage of total ambivalent: 5
percentage of total disliked: 2
I read a lot of books by a few authors that I found and liked the year including Tana French, Geraldine Brooks and Connie Willis. Still not really on the ebook bandwagon. Still enjoying reading paper books in bed. Still finishing a few books I started in 2011, I expect this trend to continue. Wish me luck, and happy reading in 2011! Feel free to link to your own reading lists in the comments.
Renault Z.E. brand new TV advertising campaign - The electric life (by RenaultZE)
Because, of course, this is how things actually are…
City of Work: unemployment camp
Hasan Elahi tells TEDxBrussels his story of becoming a well-known media artist. 8 years ago he started forfeiting his privacy to avoid FBI surveillance. He put his entire life online, but says he managed to keep his privacy. In our time, culture is changing fast, technology is developing rapidly, but the policies can not keep up with this speed, but “the rules of yesterday simply cannot apply for the life of tomorrow”.
Extreme Animals’s DARK GREEN, video by Jacob Ciocci
Anamanaguchi makes loud and fast chiptune music with a hacked Nintendo Entertainment System from 1985. They composed the original soundtrack for Scott Pilgram vs the World: The Game, and recently returned from a tour in Japan. You can check out their latest album Dawn Metropolis on their website.
Extreme Animals (Jacob Ciocci and David Wightman) blends together an unique combination of noise, dance music, and performance art. Over the last nine years, they have released numerous CD-Rs, tapes and videos, and regularly book DIY tours. Their ability to cross between fine art and music scenes has allowed them to play in galleries and museums, and underground music venues.
Both bands will be playing together in Ottowa, ON at SAW Gallery January 19th.
Radio last night was lively, with large exclusives from Traxman and DJ Matabaya, upcoming soca power from Poirier, the overlooked Luciano remix of a Salif Keita & Cesaria Evora song, and an overall energized future lean like Jay Electronica’s crushingly expansive Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge). Here’s lookin’ at you, two thousand one two! Streaming:
Salif Keita ft Cesaria Evora Yamore (Luciano remix)
Jay Electronica Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) What the Fuck is Jay Electronica
Jon Kwest Drunken Monk (Get the Fuck Out)
Popcaan Dem A Talk (bottle party riddim)
Traxman In Yo Lyfe remix EXCLUSIVE
Poirier Who Got Di Riddim Soca Road EP
DJ Matabaya feat DJ Kuimba Kassubody Funana Remix DZC Deejays Summer Storm UNRELEASED MUDD UP EXCLUSIVE FAST ACCORDIONS YES PLEASE & MORE
Ce’Cile Material World Yes, Material Girl.
Popcaan ? sorry no metadata on dis one
Sinden High Demand ft Jesse Boykins III (Brenmar remix)
DJ Funeral Nitemare Last Breath EP
Exuma Mama Loi, Papa Loi Exuma
Conjunto Los Rumberos Cumbia del Puerto The Original Sound of Cumbia: The History of Colombian Cumbia & Porro as Told By the Phonograph 1948-79
Luzmila Carpio Bartolino Sisaman Rough Guide to Bolivia
Mavado Cyaa Hold Me Again Tenement Yard Riddim