Encrypted is an essay by New Yorker critic Alex Ross about French 19th Century poet Stéphane Mallarmé, and the difficulties he poses for translators and scholars. Notoriously the most bourgeois of avant-garde poets, his life has proved difficult to write about. So perhaps it's best to just go straight for the poetry. The Electronic Poetry Center has a nice page on his late masterpiece, Un Coup de Dés Jamais N'Abolira Le Hasard, with the original and several translations.
via Bigthink's writeup - "European researchers created a virtual reality simulation where participants could give advice to themselves — as Sigmund Freud. In the experiment, "volunteers wore very sophisticated VR (virtual reality) devices (headset and sensors) and were immersed in a virtual room where there was a duplicate representation of themselves and Sigmund Freud. The subject could alternately be in the avatar body representing themselves or in Freud's body. The movements of the avatars ... were perfectly synchronized with the subject's real movements, and this produced a powerful illusion of embodiment." The result was not only that people felt better, but also their advice was much more effective." But did the researchers pick the "best" psychoanalyst for this job? [more inside]
“I was very much into Freud and Jung when I was writing those books,” he says. “The whole point of Elric’s soul-eating sword, Stormbringer, was addiction: to sex, to violence, to big, black, phallic swords, to drugs, to escape. That’s why it went down so well in the rock’n’roll world.” - Michael Moorcock at 75 on his work, autobiographical fantasy, and why he thinks Tolkien was a crypto-fascist.
It won't be important to everyone, most people probably won't even notice it, but Facebook's icons are changing, in more than one case specifically so that the woman isn't "quite literally in the shadow of the man". [more inside]
As bread owes something to the wheat winnower, etc. So much happening in between. A letter from Ezra Pound to French critic/academic, Rene Taupin. [more inside]
Bret Victor talks about media, abstraction, and the richness (and neglect) of human experience (slvimeo) [more inside]
Find Your State in the United States of Thanksgiving [The New York Times] "We’ve scoured the nation for recipes that evoke each of the 50 states (and D.C. and Puerto Rico). Tell us your favorites." [more inside]
The Complex City Guide has a bit of information on 15 possible headquarters for the Illuminati, but it's a slideshow with limited information, and there's a lot of information out there, so let's get into it. [more inside]
Denis Forkas Kostromitin is a Russian artist that considers himself to be a modern symbolist painter (symbolism mentioned previously). The dark and dreamy quality of his work has lead him to be a frequent collaborator with metal musicians. Here he explains the process that led to the cover of Horseback's Half Blood and recently he was commissioned to create the cover of Polish blackened death metal stalwart, Behemoth's, new album, using lead singer Nergal's own blood.
Art History explained using Gifs (related: The true story of an art history grad student explained via gifs)
Dan Goodbaum edits together selected excerpts from Elvis Mitchell's interview with Quentin Tarantino about the role of food as a indicator of power in his movies (full interview here). Grantland's 20 Best Tarantino Food Scenes
"Note that Scriabin did not, for his theory, recognize a difference between a major and a minor tonality of the same name (for example: c-minor and C-Major). Indeed, influenced also by the doctrines of theosophy, he developed his system of synesthesia toward what would have been a pioneering multimedia performance: his unrealized magnum opus Mysterium was to have been a grand week-long performance including music, scent, dance, and light in the foothills of the Himalayas Mountains that was somehow to bring about the dissolution of the world in bliss." - From Russian composer Alexander Scriabin's Wikipedia page [more inside]
The Canine in Converstaion: Dogs in Metaphor and Idiom Illustrated. A Compendium of Words and Phrases Referring to Dogs
Essayist and cartoonist Tim Kreider is no stranger to film criticism ( previously) but his thoughtful, surprising, detailed analysis of Lynch's The Straight Story and Spielberg/Kubrick's AI deserve special attention.
In reflecting on the project, McAllister feels “caught between the intimacy of each individual response, and the pattern of the cumulative replies.” The question remains: Why did they answer? McAllister claims no credit, describing his survey form as “barely literate.” He recalls that in his cover letter (no examples of which exist) he misused the word precocious—he meant presumptuous—and in hindsight he sees that he was both, though few writers seemed to mind. “The conclusion I came to was that nobody had asked them. New Criticism was about the scholars and the text; writers were cut out of the equation. Scholars would talk about symbolism in writing, but no one had asked the writers.” Sixteen year old boy dislikes English homework, goes outside the chain of command.
Signs & Symbols: Decoding Mediaeval & Renaissance Iconography. An online exhibition from the Dunedin Public Library. Does what is implied on the tin, if you have a grounding in the history of tin-decoration.
Jugend was a German Art Nouveau magazine published from the 1890s to the 1930s. The articles are in German, but every issue features spectacular Art Nouveau art and design. The entire archives are online. Other Art Nouveau magazines included Pan and the The Studio (archives),
Among the anime films by Hayao Miyazaki made available in English translation, Spirited Away contains the most folk and Shrine Shinto motifs. The central locale of the film is a bathhouse where a great variety of creatures, including kami, come to bathe and be refreshed. This feature, plus the portrayal of various other folk beliefs and Shrine Shinto perspectives, suggests that Miyazaki is affirming some basic Japanese cultural values which can be a source of confidence and renewal for contemporary viewers.
Andrew Stantion, director of Wall-E, briefly talks about a sequel, why the female robot has a gun and the separation of animated and live action films.
The picture of a boat approaching a wooded island held a strange sway over the early twentieth century imagination. Strindberg closes The Ghost Sonata with the image; Rachmaninoff brought forth a symphonic poem from it; Freud, Lenin, and Clemenceau all owned prints, while Hitler hung one of the original five paintings on his wall. The work's creator, a Swiss Symbolist painter named Arnold Böcklin, never cared to give it a name. It was an art dealer who first called it Die Toteninsel —
"The Isle of the Dead."
Oh, mighty warrior 'twill be quite a task...Greg Allen reminds us what the mid-century phrase "kill the rabbit" is really all about.
Guess Who? Noma Bar depicts famous faces using symbols of what they are known for as facial features. More samples here (scroll down), and on the publisher's site. [more inside]
An Unfortunate View From the Sky. The U.S. Navy has decided to spend as much as $600,000 for landscaping and architectural modifications to obscure the fact that one its building complexes looks like a swastika from the air.
The stupa (aka the chorten or the pagoda) is Buddhism's universal piece of symbolic architecture. Borobodur in Java is probably the most famous, while Burma's Shwedagon Pagoda is the largest, and the Kyaik-htiyo Pagoda on the Golden Rock may be the most precarious. They're common across the Himalayas, and sometimes hidden in caves.
"Almost half the children committed one or more of these mistakes. They attempted with apparent seriousness to perform the same actions with the miniature items that they had with the large ones. Some sat down on the little chair: they walked up to it, turned around, bent their knees and lowered themselves onto it. Some simply perched on top, others sat down so hard that the chair skittered out from under them. Some children sat on the miniature slide and tried to ride down it, usually falling off in the process; others attempted to climb the steps, causing the slide to tip over. (With the chair and slide made of sturdy plastic and only about five inches tall, the toddlers faced no danger of hurting themselves.)"
Republican to Evangelical to English via Babylonfish. What Bush said about Supreme Court nominee
Bob Roberts John Roberts:
"In my meetings with Judge Roberts, I have been deeply impressed. He's a man of extraordinary accomplishment and ability. He has a good heart. He has the qualities Americans expect in a judge: experience, wisdom, fairness, and civility. He has profound respect for the rule of law and for the liberties guaranteed to every citizen. He will strictly apply the Constitution and laws, not legislate from the bench....He's also a man of character who loves his country and his family."What it meant to conservative fundamentalist Christians (in comments):
Rainbows, pots of gold, and leprechauns are images that come to mind on St. Paddy’s Day. They are beautiful to behold, but how much do you really know about rainbows? Did you know that there are double, triple, and supernumerary rainbows, that no two people ever see the same rainbow, and that rainbows consist of more than just the ROYGBIV colors? Rainbows permeate mythology, prophecy, spirituality, symbolism, mentality, and sexuality. Rainbows are a job for one, a link to the past for some, and a hope for the future for others.
Oldest Jewelry Discovered In African Cave At least 75,000 years old, the find suggests that early humans had a complex sense of symbolism.
Warchalking Collaboratively creating a hobo-language for free wireless networking. Here is the first draft of a warchalking symbol card. [via Boing Boing]
Criticism Over WTC Statue Race Issues -- I'm sure many of you are familiar with a recent photo featuring three firefighters raising an American flag over the WTC rubble. Now a company has been commissioned to make a statue of the photo at FDNY Brooklyn Headquarters. In the statue though, the three white men who were originally depicted in the photo have been transformed into one white man, one black man, and one Hispanic man. There has been criticism over whether it is going to far to make these changes in order to be politically correct. Others are saying the statue should be more of a symbolic representation of all ethnicities that sacrificed themselves during this tragedy. What do you think?
How the biohazard symbol came to be (from NYTimes Magazine)...
The perfect structure ‘Responding to his own call for “the perfect structure,” Matta-Clark wrote elliptically, “erase all the buildings for a clear horizon.” To illustrate this “perfect structure,” he sketched twinned skyscrapers... on a horizon line complete with the half-disc of the sun. But the perfect structure – or structures – was not so much the skyscrapers as the condition of their erasure, indicated by the two blunt Xs that violently mark the images of the buildings.’
A Subliminal Nazi Swastika has been found in a few different toys. In the first toy, the swastika is pretty blatantly obvious. In the second one, however, the swastika was made to be more transparent and less noticeable. And for those of you that don't know about the history of the swastika, when inverted (counterclockwise) it's actually an ancient symbol for good luck. But when shown clockwise (like these toys are) it is a symbol of hate. You can learn all about it here.
If you've seen Sixth Sense, check this out. There's an analysis of the symbolism used all throughout the film. Lots of it makes sense, but I didn't notice too much of it during the movie.