2018-09-29 18:01 culture blog

Charles August Albert Dellschau (4 June 1830 Prussia – 20 April 1923 Houston Texas)

In the fall of 1899, Charles A.A. Dellschau (1830–1923), a retired butcher from Houston, embarked on a project that would occupy him for more than twenty years. What began as an illustrated manuscript recounting his experiences in the California Gold Rush became an obsessive project resulting in twelve large, hand-bound books with more than 2,500 drawings related to airships and the development of flight. Dellschau’s designs resemble traditional hot air balloons augmented with fantastic visual details, collage and text. The hand-drawn “Aeros” were interspersed with collaged pages called “Press Blooms,” featuring thousands of newspaper clippings related to the political events and technological advances of the period.

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2018-09-25 08:47 culture blog

The Cards of U’ut, Ellis Nadler | ANOBIUM

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2018-09-16 09:56 culture blog

Svanen, 1914 - Hilma af Klint -

When Hilma af Klint began creating radically abstract paintings in 1906, they were like little that had been seen before: bold, colorful, and untethered from any recognizable reference to the physical world. It was years before Vasily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, and others would take similar strides to rid their own artwork of representational content. Yet while many of her better-known contemporaries published manifestos and exhibited widely, af Klint kept her groundbreaking paintings largely private.

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2018-09-11 08:43 culture blog

In 1988, Acid House Swept Britain. These Fliers Tell the Story. - The New York Times

Shoom is often regarded as Britain’s first acid house club night. To the country’s tabloid press, the new music that swept the country in 1988 was headache-inducing, enjoyable only to partygoers on Ecstasy. The Daily Mail called it “the biggest threat to the health and welfare of Britain’s youngsters since the crazy drug cult of the ’60s.”

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2018-09-06 18:23 culture blog

Kenny Shopsin, Brash Owner of a Quirky Restaurant, Dies at 76 - The New York Times

“Essentially, if anyone asked me what I did for a living, I said I sold mayonnaise — mayonnaise with chicken, mayonnaise with shrimp, mayonnaise with eggs, mayonnaise with potatoes,” he told Calvin Trillin, a regular customer, in 2002, when he allowed Mr. Trillin to write a rare profile of him, in The New Yorker. “The key was that essentially you sold mayonnaise for eight dollars a pound and everything else you threw in for free.”

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2018-08-27 09:25 tech culture blog

How algorithms are transforming artistic creativity | Aeon Essays

It is getting harder to take a really terrible digital photograph, and in correlation the average quality of photographs is rising. From automated essay critiques to algorithms that advise people on fashion errors and coordinating outfits, computation is changing aesthetics. When every art has its Auto-Tune, how will we distinguish great beauty from an increasingly perfect average?

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2018-08-01 18:58 culture blog

panGenerator » apparatum

Analog sound generators, based on magnetic tape and optical components controlled via graphic score composed with digital interface.

The APPARATUM has been inspired by the heritage of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio – one of the first studios in the world producing electroacoustic music.

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2018-04-20 21:22 culture blog

What Does The Amazon Echo Look Mean For Personal Style? - Racked

We find ourselves in a cultural uncanny valley, unable to differentiate between things created by humans and those generated by a human-trained equation run amok. In other words, what is the product of genuine taste and what is not.

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2018-04-05 08:49 culture blog

The Art & Illustration of Nick Sheehy / Showchicken

The Grapple, Nick Sheehy

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2018-04-05 08:48 mythology culture blog

Mahlimae - Lost souls of the Erlking - Debut solo show | Beinart Gallery

For some, the Erkling is an omen of death; to others, he mirrors a source of confinement and impending depredation.

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2018-02-22 08:58 culture blog

Ornette Coleman's most crucial records set for 10xLP vinyl box set reissue

Six of Ornette Coleman’s seminal albums are set to be reissued in a new 10xLP box set, Ornette Coleman: the Atlantic Years, via Rhino this May.

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2018-02-13 12:14 culture blog

UbuWeb Sound :: Henri Chopin

While experimenting with visual poetry and other more traditional avant-garde forms, Chopin discovered the unique potentials of the tape recorder. With such a device, he reasoned, the poem no longer needed to be entombed within the confines of the page. He was not so much seeking the 'word made flesh' like some poets, but rather he was looking for the 'flesh which is sound': the poetic utterance stripped down to its bare essentials like the indigestible 'stone' from a piece of fruit. A rendered articulation which exists starkly, ready to blossom into a wild and tangled celebration of its own existence as an act of shear human power.

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2018-02-03 22:37 culture blog

'He used to lash himself with his brush when he was angry': artists' models reveal all | Art and design | The Guardian

I simply love that painting. Great eyebrows, which unfortunately, I’ve lost; I was 14 then. I don’t remember sitting for it, but I know I’m looking at him. Because, you know, it was not quiet. There were moments when he’d ask me to be still, or perhaps not speak, when he was really, really concentrating on something, but we spoke absolutely all the time. I think he knew it would unsettle me if he was too quiet; but also we were just hugely close and had masses to talk about. He used to recite poems and read to me, a lot.

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2018-01-16 23:59 culture blog

The 14-Hour Epic Film, Dune, That Alejandro Jodorowsky, Pink Floyd, Salvador Dalí, Moebius, Orson Welles & Mick Jagger Never

"Almost all the battles were won, but the war was lost,"Jodorowsky writes in an essay on his experience with the project. "The project was sabotaged in Hollywood. It was French and not American. Its message was not 'enough Hollywood.' There were intrigues, plundering. The story-board circulated among all the large studios. Later, the visual aspect of Star Wars resembled our style. To make Alien, they invited Moebius, Foss, Giger, O'Bannon, etc.," to say nothing of its traces visible in Blade Runner and The Matrix.

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2018-01-12 00:00 essay culture science-fiction

Franchises Are For Donuts, Not Culture

I’m bored. Maybe you’re bored too. I tried watching a well known movie last night and got less than a half hour in and had to turn it off. The soundtrack was the same style of music I’ve heard a thousand times now, with the sweeping, dramatic and emotionally manipulative score that tells you what’s about to happen, trying to make the viewer anxious, and, I guess, trying to keep everybody watching. The writing was a pastiche of old predictable concepts, and stupid quips, glued together by either a committee or even a computer program — it was impossible to tell. Visually it was a series of faces over-reacting to frenetic irrelevant mayhem. The movie was not necessarily terrible. But the movie was certainly not good. The sheer lack of anything substantive made me shut it off. I enter bored, I left bored.

From what I can tell, and I mean, from the noise in social media, everybody loves these kinds of movies. They repeat them, they recite dialogue, they reference. They idolize the actors to the point of creating religious pilgrimages or reliquaries, they seek any word from either within the movie or uttered by the actor outside the movie as something sacrosanct. They dress as the characters and go to conventions to meet other people who dress as the same kind of characters. They spend money on toys and collectibles related to the movie. They get teary-eyed when they have children so they can introduce them to their movie, assuming their children will love it as much as they do.

Which is all fine, loving a thing is fine — but the thing at the center, the thing so adored, is a product engineered by a corporation to sell more of itself. It would be naive to assume that a movie which will — or should — make a billion dollars, doesn’t have incredible marketing and process savvy.

Your response to it has also been engineered. But what have you been sold?

Like you, sometimes I have a craving for fast food. I know the food isn’t good, or even food really. And I always have the same regretful experience afterwards. Stomach feels bad, an ill feeling where I tell myself that I will never be doing that again. The more I try to eat well, and put effort into getting quality ingredients, and the more I cook for myself, and allow myself to have the time to do that, the better I feel. And the longer I go like that, keeping that habit, the less I want to eat crap. In fact, it’s only because of that juxtaposition that I come to think it’s crap. I went in hungry, in reality I left hungry.

But what if the world had only fast food? What if I couldn’t find good things to cook and eat? I suppose I wouldn’t notice. Since there wouldn’t really be any alternative, I would be excited to drive through TacoDome and get the triple cheese tostada bowl. Over and over. Any change in the execution of my tostada bowl would seem like a personal slight, an aberration that would need to be immediately avoided in the future. And so, TacoDome makes the same thing the same way over and over and over. TacoDome is smart, they keep me happy by not surprising me.

I don’t think the problem is merely habit and moderation. There are mechanisms reinforcing behavior. There are complexes devoted to consumption. The obvious end result of a civilization devoted to consumption is obesity in every aspect. Our cultural diabetes is related, and it’s more than just the normal impulse to occasionally binge, it’s rewarded behavior. It’s a result of concerted effort by the choke points in media, those running “franchises” particularly, to keep us coming back to the narrative drive-through window. Like TacoDome, they use every tool and incredible financial resources available to get you hooked. The larger they become, and the more that becomes the only option, the less likely it is a person will ever see an alternative as anything other than unsatisfactory. Why would you willingly subject yourself to something unsatisfying? Just repeat the last thing you loved, exactly. The first one is free.

Repetition is a funny thing. You can repeat a lie a hundred times, prove it is factually incorrect, call it for what it is, and yet it’s probably too late. People have heard it, and are now repeating it, truth doesn’t matter. The power of rebroadcasting is the power of repetition. The things now deemed important, influential by our culture seem like pale, cheap manipulative cons compared to the art and expression of humans even merely fifty years ago because they’ve been amplified by mechanisms that encourage consumption.

Maybe. The possibility here is that all cultural expression in the future will go through a corporation, and be approved by financial apparatuses, and that’s the way it should be and you should just shut up and buy an action figure and make sure to wear the appropriate Halloween costume or risk being shunned online. If you want to make a movie, or write a book, or draw a picture, you should attend the correct education programs and stick to the recipe. Do not deviate, citizen, unless the deviation can be capitalized.

If you want to make donuts, make donuts. I’m not here to add bitter sauce. I’ve enjoyed some of the same things you have. But ask yourself, every time you watch, read, or consume something from a corporation, what are you being sold? What is it you’re buying?