blog

2019-05-25 15:35 nature blog

Karl Blossfeldt’s Urformen der Kunst (1928) – The Public Domain Review

From 1898, and for the next three decades, Blossfeldt taught design at Berlin’s School of the Museum of Decorative Arts. It was here, using a homemade pinhole camera with custom magnifying lenses, that he first began to take his remarkable photographs, for the purpose of teaching his students about the patterns and designs found in natural forms. Through the technology of photography Blossfeldt was able to reveal to his students details difficult to see by the naked eye.

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2019-05-19 18:35 culture blog

Gallery: Weegee’s New York City Crime Scene Photos

Earlier this year, he pulled it out for a look. The prints had, over the years, curled up into a tight roll, and he had to slide them apart from one end. That’s when he noticed that most of them bore a photographer’s stamp on the back: PHOTO BY A. FELLIG.

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2019-04-05 17:23 books blog

Why 'Slaughterhouse-Five' Resonates 50 Years Later - The Atlantic

Fifty years have passed since the publication of Slaughterhouse-Five. It’s the same age as me. And the older I get, and the more lumps fall off my brain, the more I find that rereading is the thing. Build your own little cockeyed canon and then bear down on it; get to know it, forward and backward; get to know it well. So I don’t know how many times I’ve read Slaughterhouse-Five. Three? Four? It never gets old, is the point. It never wanes in energy. This book is in no way the blossom of a flower. Slaughterhouse-Five is more in the nature of a superpower that the mutant author had to teach himself to master—and then could use, at full strength, only once.

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2019-03-13 21:45 history books blog

A Brief History Of The White Horse Tavern, NYC's Legendary Literary Watering Hole: Gothamist

In the mid-20th century, literary luminaries including James Baldwin and Anaïs Nin frequented the watering hole, and Jack Kerouac was a particularly unruly patron. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation notes that Kerouac was ejected from the bar so many times that someone took it upon themselves to carve “JACK GO HOME!” on a bathroom stall. Legend has it that the idea for the Village Voice (RIP) was born over drinks at the bar, known colloquially as "The Horse." And most famously, the White Horse is where Welsh poet Dylan Thomas swilled his final drinks before his death; his portrait still hangs by his usual seat.

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2019-03-10 19:14 culture blog

Is This the Greatest Photo in Jazz History? - The New York Times

A friend gave Bob Parent a tip: be at the Open Door on West 3rd Street on Sunday.

Mr. Parent, a photographer with a knack for showing up at the right time and place, didn’t need much encouragement. He arrived at the jazz club early in the evening of Sept. 13, 1953. It was unseasonably cool for late summer. The New York Times front page detailed the marriage of Senator John F. Kennedy and the glamorous Jacqueline Bouvier in Newport, R.I. The Brooklyn Dodgers had just clinched the pennant in Milwaukee.

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2019-02-11 20:08 culture blog

Tomi Ungerer, Brash Illustrator for Young and Older, Dies at 87 - The New York Times

“Americans cannot accept that a children’s-book author should do erotic work or erotic satire,” he told The New York Times in 2008, when some of his children’s books began to be republished in the United States and Britain. “Even in New York it just wasn’t acceptable.”

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2019-02-11 17:31 tech blog

LTD: Context And Presence – WARREN ELLIS LTD

Social media does not “get” not-fully-baked. Social media is useless for thinking out loud and exploring notions. Social media — bizarrely, given its nature — does not do context.

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2019-01-23 22:20 culture blog

Jonas Mekas, ‘Godfather’ of American Avant-Garde Film, Is Dead at 96 - The New York Times

“I can’t understand why people prefer the grossness and banality of a Hollywood or a European Art movie, as against the illuminations and ecstasies of an Avant-garde Film,” Mr. Mekas wrote in an essay in The New York Times in 1969. “The Hollywood film deals with gross, simplified realities, banalized feelings, ideas, thoughts. The Avant-garde Film deals with the subtler nuances of experience, emotions, ideas, perceptions — it illuminates them — it deals with things that make you finer.

“I do not understand,” he continued, “by what logic the public, film critics and educators choose to spend thousands of hours of their lives with second-rate art, while at the same time making fun of the Avant-garde Film.”

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2019-01-06 17:09 nature blog

'Sonic attack' on US embassy in Havana could have been crickets, say scientists | World news | The Guardian

But a fresh analysis of the audio recording has revealed what scientists in the UK and the US now believe is the true source of the piercing din: it is the song of the Indies short-tailed cricket, known formally as Anurogryllus celerinictus.

“The recording is definitively a cricket that belongs to the same group,” said Fernando Montealegre-Zapata, a professor of sensory biology at the University of Lincoln. “The call of this Caribbean species is about 7 kHz, and is delivered at an unusually high rate, which gives humans the sensation of a continuous sharp trill.”

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2018-12-21 18:30 culture blog

The ‘Godfather of Animated Cinema’ Makes More Than Just Movies - The New York Times

The movie he was working on at the time, “Castle of Otranto,” came under greater scrutiny, and censors demanded he make many changes. Mr. Svankmajer refused and as a result was banned from filmmaking. He could not finish his movie until 1979 when the prohibition was lifted.

“I never was a political artist,” Mr. Svankmajer said “but I am an engaged artist, because Surrealism was always an engaged art. The idea of Surrealism is to change the world — that’s Marx — and to transform life — that’s Rimbaud,” he added, referring to the 19th century French poet.

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2018-12-18 16:03 culture blog

Mixtape: Métron Records – Masahiro Takahashi - Visual Melt

I think it’s important for me to keep my own pace by creating music as if I’m slowly tending a miniature garden after coming home from my day job. However, I’m not sure if my music is defined as ambient music. For now, I feel soothed when I listen to or make music that is quiet and calming or takes me to some faraway place.

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2018-12-14 09:04 mind blog

Bertrand Russell's Advice For How (Not) to Grow Old: "Make Your Interests Gradually Wider and More Impersonal" | Open Culture

The best way to overcome it [the fear of death]—so at least it seems to me—is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being. The man who, in old age, can see his life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he cares for will continue. And if, with the decay of vitality, weariness increases, the thought of rest will not be unwelcome. I should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what I can no longer do and content in the thought that what was possible has been done.

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2018-12-07 20:13 culture blog

We Are Drowning in a Devolved World: An Open Letter from Devo - Noisey

Forty-eight years ago, on May 4, 1970, as a member of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), I was front and centre being fired on by my fellow Americans in the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University, as we peacefully protested President Nixon’s expansion of the cancerously unpopular Vietnam War into Cambodia without an act of Congress. I was lucky and dodged the bullet, both literally and figuratively, but four students were killed, and nine more were seriously wounded by the armed, mostly teenaged, National Guard troops. Two of the four students killed, Alison Krause and Jeffery Miller, were close acquaintances of mine.

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2018-12-05 17:55 space blog

Falling in Love With the Dark - Nautilus - Pocket

For roughly the past two decades, at least two-thirds of the U.S. population have not been able to see the Milky Way at all, and it will get worse before it gets better. The dawn of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is expected to significantly lower costs and spur consumption. In addition, LED lighting produces light with a bluer cast, which is more effectively scattered by the atmosphere. “This has the potential to be the nail in the coffin for seeing stars in most communities,” Nordgren tells me.

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2018-12-04 09:16 culture blog

Edward Gorey’s Enigmatic World | The New Yorker

From 1985 almost to the end of his life, he put on vaudevillian musical revues up and down the Cape, using, for the most part, nonprofessional actors. Many of the shows were mystifying. Of one, “Useful Urns,” a spectator said, “There were these big stage pieces shaped like urns that would move about the stage with actors popping out saying various unconnected phrases.” Reportedly, a lot of the audience walked out. Gorey, by contrast, had a wonderful time. “He hooted, whooped,” a witness recalled. “It was almost more entertaining watching him than the performance.” Asked, once, exactly what he did on these shows, he answered, “I direct, I design, I do everything.” He didn’t do it too hard, though. His assistant director said that his idea of directing was “to keep the actors from running into the furniture.”

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