Danny Cooke’s Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl summons a lost history of familiar and alien dreams. The drone-mounted camera glides deliberately through the spaces within and above the empty city. The soundtrack is haunting, or “haunting.” We think of drones moving relentlessly forward: into the hidden terrain of surveillance, into the kill zone, into the future. Yet many of the shots point the lens in reverse, effectively pulling back to show first a figure and only then its surroundings. A diving platform with paint peeled away, then the empty pool. A circular emblem, large and sculptural, then the great apartment block on whose roof it sits, visible for miles. Not all shots follow this rule, and not all are taken by drone, but this is the general approach of Danny Cooke’s Postcards From Pripyat, Chernobyl, a three-minute video from last year. It’s quite beautiful. [more inside]
Here Is Your Glorious Hour-By-Hour Guide to Netflix on Valentine’s Day [SLMic] by Kinsey Lane Sullivan.
“Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from.
The great Iraqi poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab died fifty years ago today, on December 24, 1964. [more inside]
Neither Thucydides, Gibbon, von Ranke, nor Braudel ever cited a paper appearing in Geophysical Research Letters. They did not worry themselves about fluctuations in the Siberian High or the Southern Oscillation. The vast majority of more recent historians also remained untroubled by such concerns. However, in the past five years, a handful of highly distinguished historians have come out with new books that put climate at the center of historical explanation. What on Earth is going on? [more inside]
What is a work of art in the age of $120,000 art degrees? A new report (PDF) by activist collective BFAMFAPhD laments the shrinking job prospects and growing debt burden for art school graduates. [more inside]
"London has become a literary playground: a project by the National Literacy Trust has scattered 50 book-shaped benches across the capital for the whole summer, each dedicated to an iconic London-related author or character." (The Guardian). The BBC report about the literary benches; the full list of benches from the Books about Town website. CNN has a slideshow that includes a nice photo of the Paddington Bear bench in use.
Beyoncé's "Rosie the Riveter" Instagram photo is causing internet waves. The Independent has a more substantive, historically concerned article.
14-18 NOW is a project commissioning contemporary artists to commemorate the centennial of the First World War and explore its resonance and effects today. For three summers (2014, 2016, and 2018), the organization is presenting a summer season of events. This summer's opening act was curated by Billy Bragg at Glastonbury; live performances can be found on the site. Other events include a radio series of essays on the theme of Goodbye to All That, cartoons, recreating Dazzle Ships, and letters to an unknown soldier (including the opportunity to write your own).
Second Breath. On Saturday night, the first breath of the BBC's new Arts initiative was a live stream on the evening of Museums at Night which included this short dance piece by Russell Maliphant and English National Ballet at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. All the BBC Arts clips also have their own page which includes other reports from Saturday including a visit with Spencer Tunick in Folkstone and artist Bill Fontana discussing his superb Vertical Echoes sound installation. [more inside]
The Three Languages of Arts and Cultural Funding : It is a truth universally acknowledged that the public funding of arts and culture will cause political strife. Reasonable people just do not agree on this, and can be surprisingly quick to accuse others of ideological warmongering. An Australian application of The Three Languages of Politics [interview: podcast and transcript] by Arnold Kling. Via The Conversation.
The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution - "[Charles Percy Snow] was pleading for a more adequately educated ruling class so that the suffering of the poor might be ameliorated... Snow wanted to believe something like this: political decisions in the modern world often concern how to deploy science and technology, so people well-trained in science and technology will be better prepared to make those decisions. But that's a syllogism without a minor premise." (previously) [more inside]
Rodrigo Davis of the MIT Center for Civic Media is currently researching crowdfunding for civic and community purposes. Some of the issues he covers includes the ethics of crowdfunding (including Kickstarter's seduction guide debacle and Gawker's attempt to crowdfund a video showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack), a case study of Kansas City's crowdfunding campaign for their bikeshare program, a timeline of online crowdfunding since 2000, and how the Statue of Liberty was made possible via crowdfunding.
For over 17 years Furtherfield gallery, London, has been working in practices that bridge arts, technology, and social change. As its physical and online territories expand to include a new 'Commons' lab space curator, director and critic Marc Garrett reflects on the gallery's rich history, arguing that art from beyond the mainstream exhibits an ever burgeoning oppositional agency. [prev-iously]
The second of 3 auctions of the Dr. Hans Sachs poster collection (scroll down for text) can now be viewed online. Day One, Day Two, and Day Three. A sample (click image to enlarge). Previously...
The Organist is an arts and culture podcast [iTunes link] from The Believer Magazine and the Californian public radio station KCRW. Each episode is generally a mix of interviews, essays and music. Among the contributors so far have been Nick Offerman, Rachel Kushner, Jonathan Coulton and Matmos. Each podcast begins with a short dramatic monologue, for example episode three starts with Sarah Silverman talking about her pet owl, in a piece written by Alena Smith (Conan O'Brien has another dramatic monologue in the same episode). There have been six episodes so far and they are all worth a listen.
"I wondered why someone who hates words would take the trouble to arrange so many of them in a row." The Millions reviews Tao Lin's new novelty.
A variety of Bay Area data sources are combined to highlight a problem common to many of the performing arts in the US. The good news? There is a healthy and vigorous discussion in the community around this issue.
In 2001, Zhu Zhiqiang began uploading a series of martial arts animations featuring stick figures to Newgrounds.com. The name of the series was Xiao Xiao.
"The new constitution 'recognizes the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood,' and art that is deemed blasphemous or 'anti-national' is now the target of a full-blown campaign of suppression."
21 emotions English has no word for. Some things "light us up". Some things "leave us cold". Such dim metaphors only hint at the unspoken universe of feeling, dimensions we can only guess that we share. A new infographic explores "untranslatable" feeling-words from other languages.
Beate Sirota Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89: a NYT obituary relates the fascinating story of a young woman who was just the right person in just the right place at just the right time and managed to strike a blow for gender equality. [more inside]
Flipping through public access or PBS channels one might have seen Classic Arts Showcase with it's familiar ARTS bug. The 24-hour non-commercial free-to-air satellite channel broadcasts a repeated 8-hour mix of about 150 video clips weekly a mix of various classic arts including animation, architectural art, ballet, chamber, choral music, dance, folk art, museum art, musical theater, opera, orchestral, recital, solo instrumental, solo vocal, and theatrical play, as well as classic film and archival documentaries. The channel has no VJs and only silent interstitials encouraging the viewer to “...go out and feast from the buffet of arts available in your community.” [more inside]
Recent developments in online learning have increasingly democratized the exchange of information in higher education: the launch of University of the People, a tuition-free online university; Khan Academy's acquisition of SmartHistory and its growing emphasis on humanities and liberal arts; the University of Reddit's crowd-sourced lessons being taught in real-world classrooms; Skillshare creating a community marketplace for teachers and students; Lore opening its doors to learners from all walks of life; major institutes in India putting every class lecture on YouTube in English; LectureFox collating together free university lectures from across the web. Of course not everyone is happy with the way things are going.
WIRED has been running a fascinating series: Olympic Physics: Can Runners Benefit From Drafting?, Scoring the Decathlon, New [Swimming] Platform Is No Chip Off The Old Block [more inside]
Your change, with thanks — Among the refinements of middle-class Victorian shopping was the giving of change not directly from hand to hand but in paper packets. The envelope, known as a ‘change packet,’ measured some 60 mm (2 ½ in) square and was printed with the legend ‘The change, with thanks’, often in a decorative roundel or other device. [more inside]
Contortionists Unite! is a public network for professional contortionists, where they can exchange photos, videos, and advice. Want to hire a contortionist, aerialist, or circus performer? Be prepared to offer what they're worth.
Is it possible to make a living in the arts? Meet the double jobbers.
Today's I09 has a guest column by John Clements titled "Swordfighting: Not What You Think It Is." And it isn't. [more inside]
Novelist Neil Gaiman tells the graduating 2012 class of the University Of The Arts everything he wishes he knew starting out and all the best advice he failed to follow. (Vimeo 19:55)
Why fiction, even trashy TV, is good for you, by Jonathan Gottschall related to the book The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human (book trailers), more at Scientific American, and a video presentation (6-min).
Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts was a literary magazine founded in 1962 by Ed Sanders, a poet later co-founded The Fugs. Its credo was "I'll print anything", and Sanders produced thirteen issues on a mimeograph machine from 1962 to 1965. Issues included works by Tuli Kupferberg, Charles Olson, Peter Orlovsky, Philip Whalen, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, Julian Beck, Herbert Huncke, Norman Mailer, Gary Snyder, Diane DiPrima, William S. Burroughs, Leroi Jones, Gregory Corso, Robert Creeley, Michael McClure, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, and Andy Warhol. - wikipedia. With a helpful index. [more inside]
290 cultural Icons in their own words - a nicely curated collection of audio & video clips of great artists, writers & thinkers ... Einstein, Eliot, Beckett, Nabakov, Malcom X, Muddy Waters, Georgia O'Keefe, Zora Neale Hurston & 282 more
Welcome to Arts & Architecture. In the case of some, maybe, welcome back...Old-timer. On this website you will find selected projects from issues of the magazine 1945 through 1967. [more inside]
Elias Canetti is regarded by many as one of the century’s most distinguished writers. At least since he was awarded the Nobel Prize, in 1981, he has been regularly compared, if not to Proust or Joyce or Mann, then certainly to his Viennese brethren Robert Musil and Hermann Broch. Yet one suspects that, in America at leasts Canetti’s works have been rather more respected than read. This is particularly true in the case of the two long and difficult books upon which his reputation mainly rests: Auto-da-Fé (1935), his first and only novel, and Crowds and Power (1960), the meticulously idiosyncratic contribution to social theory that he considers his major work. - Roger Kimball [more inside]
All told, Updike has published more than a million words on books. ... In Picked-up Pieces (1975), Updike’s second collection of essays, he lists his rules for reviewing... Without coyness, Updike renders a stern judgment based on telling quotation. He builds toward his findings in plain sight, earning him an authority that is based on his presentation of a plausible case. [more inside]
The 2011 Edublog Awards are on. The nominee lists provide rich resources for everyone, perhaps most especially in the free web tool category. A personal selection: Online Convert (free online conversion of dozens of video formats), GeoTrio and TripLine (recorded tours around the world), CorkboardMe and LinoIt (online, shared pibboards), Cover It Live (online event presentation) and A Google A Day (daily questions and puzzles, presented by Google (previously)). For kids, there’s Artsonia (the world’s largest children’s arts museum) Tarheel Reader (illustrated readers for multiple platforms) and SweetSearch (a search engine for students),along with much, much more. [more inside]
“We shall have a man in the White House who will feel as responsible for American civilization as he does for American power and prosperity.”
"It was no accident that arts funding was once again brought to national attention with the exhibit Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. Since the 80s, the enemies of the NEA have not been those with differences of opinion about what art should be supported or how. Instead they oppose any support at all for art of any kind." Hide/Seek, Culture Wars and the History of the NEA (NSFW, art)
The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program manages information about hundreds of murals that have made Philadelphia famous. Muralfarm.org is the site where information about the growing body of public art created by the Mural Arts Program has been planted. Pictures and detailed information about murals can be searched by artist, theme, date, location, neighborhood, and other key terms. [more inside]
Smithsonian.com lists the top 10 books lost to time.
Let's Get Critical is "a new Longform.org partner site dedicated to surfacing the best cultural criticism on the web."
There is a crisis in Argentina due to foreign dancers' increasing proficiency in the tango, allowing them to defeat locals in important competitions.
Canadian contemporary dance icon Margie Gillis gets interviewed by right-wing network "Sun TV". Perhaps "interview" is too kind a word. (and as there is reference to it in the interview, a little background on the current PM's views on the arts)
There are symbols from Asia. Wiccan symbols. Symbols from Freemasonry, Christianity, and Native Americans. Explore the Symbol Dictionary.
The National Endowment for the Arts' new Arts in Media Guidelines now include video games as an art form eligible for federal grants. [more inside]