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They say I made the Moon. (13)
Nowhere, Somewhere
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    How to stay in touch with our biological origins in a world devoid of nature? The majestic nature that once inspired poets, painters and...

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    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    BACKSTORY: It all started with this film “17 things i made.” At the end of the film, viewers were invited to come make a cool 18th thing with me here in Chicago (at Millennium Park) on 8/8/08 at 8:08 pm.

    { Who Is Amy }
    Mon, Sep 8, 2008  Permanent link
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    ^ a work by Amandine Urruty

    I should be back with fresh posts soon! In the meantime, you can listen to the muxtape I made if you'd like (wait, nevermind, the RIAA says you can't). And while that's playing, I recommend either relaxing with closed eyes or, if you want to keep them open, you should peruse, FFFFOUND!, or our very own gallery. Later on, watch The Story of Stuff (or this critique) if you haven't seen it and read about the true origins of The Nonsense Nine.
    Wed, Jul 30, 2008  Permanent link
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    I'd now like to take the time to bring to your attention two deeply moving and intellectually stimulating documentaries which deserve far more exposure. Although the films deal with very different subjects, I would recommend both as absolutely essential viewing for all.

    First is a film which I had the opportunity to see during its theatrical release in Canada, nearly a year before its shockingly limited play in US theatres (despite winning numerous international film awards). I watch a lot of documentaries, but its rare that I come across one which presents information and ideas which truly challenge my mentality. The director (and first-time filmmaker), Rob Stewart, opened my eyes to a refreshingly different view not only of sharks, but of sustainability as a whole. We all need to be more aware of the impact humans are having on the environment. Sharkwater is a milestone effort in raising this awareness.'

    For filmmaker Rob Stewart, exploring sharks began as an underwater adventure. What it turned into was a beautiful and dangerous life journey into the balance of life on earth.

    Driven by passion fed from a lifelong fascination with sharks, Stewart debunks historical stereotypes and media depictions of sharks as bloodthirsty, man-eating monsters and reveals the reality of sharks as pillars in the evolution of the seas.

    Why save sharks? What makes them so important?

    Species evolving in the oceans over the last 400 million years, have been shaped by their
    predators, the sharks, giving rise to schooling behavior, camouflage, speed, size and
    communication. They have survived five major extinctions and now they are being fished
    Many countries have no sharks left because they are being illegally harvested for
    their fins and poachers are now fishing sharks from other countries, countries that depend
    on sharks for food. But no one wants to save sharks, people are afraid of them.

    Do specials proclaiming it the “summer of the shark” because of attacks and the
    JAWS perception upset you?

    It really pisses me off. You understand where they’re coming from because a dangerous
    shark makes money and sells papers. If they tell you a shark is beautiful and perfect and
    wonderful and won’t attack you that’s only going to make news once. But if they tell you
    “Shark attack. Shark attack.” That’s news every time.
    It’s ridiculous, but you know they
    are doing it just to play off people’s fears. The reality is totally different. Half the time it
    is a small shark that accidentally bites someone’s foot. You could have gotten the same
    injury from stepping on a piece of glass. It’s crazy how the media approaches it and
    they’ve given sharks such a bad rap. It’s ludicrous because so few people get bit.

    interview with Rob Stewart (PDF)

    My greatest environmental fear is that the oceans will continue to be ignored until it’s too late. There are 2.5 billion years of evolution in the oceans, and a mere 500 million or so on land. When life evolved in the ocean, the atmosphere was very hot, full of carbon dioxide. Plants in the ocean evolved, and started sequestering carbon, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, releasing oxygen, and the planet began to cool. Over hundreds of millions of years, much of the carbon that was removed from the atmosphere was stored as oil and natural gas reserves in the Earth’s crust. Now we’re bringing that carbon out again and releasing it back into the atmosphere. We have made great jumps in our awareness regarding global warming, but we haven’t acknowledged the ocean’s role in global climate. The oceans are the greatest regulators of climate on the earth. Phytoplankton (tiny plants) in the oceans provide 70 percent of the oxygen in our atmosphere, and are the greatest sink for carbon dioxide on earth. We’re now destroying the oceans, removing apex predators such as sharks, dredging the oceans; without considering that this atmosphere, our precious oxygen, and our hospitable planet, is all made possible because of life in the ocean that is part of a food chain. Food chains are sensitive, haven taken hundreds of millions or billions of years to form, and we’re destroying it.

    another interview

    The film was shot in high-definition, bringing gorgeous underwater footage of both sharks and their neighbours.

    { Official site, blog, trailer and other media, Saving Sharks }

    ~ ~

    This next film is one I discovered only through the recommendation of a friend which, after having seen it, makes me all the more determined to promote it. Like Sharkwater, it deals with the atrocious behaviour of humanity and its continued disregard for long-term, conscientious thinking. However, rather than bringing to attention our destructive impact on the natural environment, we are reminded of a chapter of human history which is all too often neglected even though it defined one of the most pressing issues we face today and for the foreseeable future. Steven Okazaki's documentary about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki not only teaches what school history books generally skim over (and often distort) but, through the words of survivors (and pilots), gives a true glimpse of what it was like to experience the events first-hand, to survive, and to continue struggling 60 years afterwards. Set to one of the best soundtracks I've come across, White Light/Black Rain is heart-wrenching, intellectually provocative, and relevant to many of today's most important debates concerning the likes of technology, morality, and war.

    As global tensions rise, the unthinkable now seems possible. The threat of nuclear "weapons of mass destruction" has become real and frightening. White Light/Black Rain, an extraordinary new film by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki, presents a deeply moving look at the painful legacy of the first — and hopefully last — uses of nuclear weapons in war.

    Even after 60 years, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki continue to inspire argument, denial and myth. Surprisingly, most people know very little about what happened on August 6 and 9, 1945, two days that changed the world. This is a comprehensive, straightforward, moving account of the bombings from the point of view of the people who were there.

    Like most American, public-school educated kids, I had no background on the subject at all. I knew that bombs were dropped on Hiroshima-Nagasaki and then the war ended. But that really was about it. I think the concept of their being survivors hadn't occurred to me. But here in this room were housewives and shopkeepers, and I just thought, well, this would be a less threatening way to tell the story...

    Some people are surprised by the reserve of the survivors. But you have to remember that culturally, for Japanese to just talk about themselves in any way that might elicit sympathy or pity is something that Japanese just don't do. When the survivors speak out publicly, they often face criticism and prejudice from their neighbors and the public. People tell them to be quiet, to forget the past, not to stir up old emotions, not to remind people of the war. So it's a difficult thing to do...

    Many people in the film are still dealing with survivor guilt but somehow have found reasons to live. One of the survivors talks about looking for her mother, and seeing what she thinks is her mother because she finds a burned corpse with a gold tooth that looks like her mother, and she reaches out to touch the body and it turns to ashes before her finger reaches it. And then her sister gets radiation sickness, her hair starts falling out, and the kids at school are taunting her sister because she's bald, and the sister steps in front of a train and kills herself. This woman says that there are two kinds of courage—the courage to die, and the courage to live. And she says she decided she wanted to live, despite her having lost everybody...

    I think what we want to do with the film is not make particular political points, but just the point that the bombs affected the lives of real people, and so let's hear what they have to say. No matter how important your message is, if the film is boring, no one will hear it. And my feeling is, this is an incredibly dramatic, amazing story, and if we just let the people tell their stories, that in itself is a political act, of sorts, and that people can find their own messages.

    Steven Okazaki interview

    It's sixty-two years since the bombing and it's still a really political topic. It's still a topic that makes people uncomfortable. I developed an insecurity complex while I was making the film. Early on, I was at a party and people would ask what I'm working on and I'd say a Hiroshima/Nagasaki film, and I swear, 80 percent of the people either went, "Oh. I'm going to go get a drink" or they'd change the subject. Or they start arguing.... People have really strong feelings, but they really know nothing about the subject. I think it's natural to have a block because the images and stories are so disturbing. But I think it's surprising — people really don't know anything about it.

    another interview: transcript, video

    { Official site, Steven Okazaki, survivor artwork, IAEA }
    Tue, May 13, 2008  Permanent link
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    If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four.
    If still boring, then eight.
    Then sixteen. Then thirty-two.
    Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.

    "So that each person is in charge of himself. " from Chicago '82: A Dip in the Lake

    Music is Everywhere, we just have to look for it.

    { From Miroslav Sebestik's Listen : In Love With Another Sound, A Bottle Of Coca-Cola }

    Like acrostics, mesotics are written in the conventional way horizontally, but at the same time they follow a vertical rule, down the middle not down the edge as in an acrostic, a string spells a word or name, not necessarily connected with what is being written, though it may be. This vertical rule is lettristic and in my practice the letters are capitalized. Between two capitals in a perfect or 100% mesostic neither letter may appear in lower case. .... In the writing of the wing words, the horizontal text, the letters of the vertical string help me out of sentimentality. I have something to do, a puzzle to solve. This way of responding makes me feel in this respect one with the Japanese people, who formerly, I once learned, turned their letter writing into the writing of poems. In taking the next step in my work, the exploration of nonintention, I don't solve the puzzle that the mesostic string presents. Instead I write or find a source text which is then used as an oracle. I ask it what word shall I use for this letter and what one for the next, etc. This frees me from memory, taste, likes, and dislikes, By means of Mesolist, a program by Jim Rosenberg, all words that satisfy the mesostic rule are listed. IC [a program that generates the I Ching numbers, available for downloading on the Net] then chooses which words in the lists are to be used and gives me all the central words, the position of each in the source material identified by page, line, and column. I then add all the wing words from the source text following of course the rule Mesolist does within the limit of forty-five characters to the right and the same to the left. Then I take out the words I don't want. With respect to the source material, I am in a global situation. Words come first from here and then from there. The situation is not linear. It is as though I am in a forest hunting for ideas.

    { The Music of Verbal Space: John Cage's "What You Say", Norton Lectures }

    Side A from the album: John Cage Meets Sun Ra, Meltdown MPA-1 (1987). Alternates performances by Sun Ra-Yamaha DX-7; and John Cage-voc. Sideshows by the Sea, Coney Island, NY, 6/8/86. (Ubu)

    We are living in a period in which many people have changed their mind about what the use of music is or could be for them. Something that doesn't speak or talk like a human being, that doesn't know its definition in the dictionary or its theory in the schools, that expresses itself simply by the fact of its vibrations. People paying attention to vibratory activity, not in reaction to a fixed ideal performance, but each time attentively to how it happens to be this time, not necessarily two times the same. A music that transports the listener to the moment where he is.

    ~ from "An Autobiographical Statement"

    Silence excerpt from The Dial-A-Poem Poets: Disconnected

    How do you feel about the intrusion of technology with art or the intrusion of art with technology?

    I think it is one of the things that characterizes the present period and that it will probably continue, and the technology will get more and more sophisticated. I think it will ultimately get to the point where we don't notice that it exists, although it will be, then, even more essential, and generally essential, to everyone's life. But I think instead of imposing itself on our attention that it will become more and more invisible. We notice — Fuller, Buckminster Fuller has noticed that we do more with less — copper, for instance, and we can notice the difference between, oh, engines of, say, 50 years ago and engines of the present time. And there appears to be an increasing ability not only to do more with less, but to do the same thing with something simpler. And I think it would be marvelous if, say, in some utopia that I hope we're going to that we would have all the advantages of technology with seemingly no presence of it.

    In other words, art should eventually become magic?

    Yes, if, for instance, I could telephone without bothering with the telephone.

    { John Cage @ UbuWeb Historical, Sound, Film }

    This post was originally inspired by squashed's third installment of Three Lists For The Lover (After Love) at motel de moka. And on that note...

    Love is memory. In the immediate present we don't love; life is too much with us. We lust, wilt, snort, swallow, gobble, hustle, nuzzle, etc. Later, memory flashes images swathed in nostalgia and yearning. We call that Love. Ha! Better to call it Madness.

    + +

    Amazing what discoveries one often makes whilst following a tangent!

    I was looking for an image of John Cage and came across a fascinating virtual collage of Cage-related information and media, created by Ralph Lichtensteiger, whose diary contains a wealth of enlightening entries. But that's only part of the main site (and here's his latest project).
    Wed, Apr 2, 2008  Permanent link
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    Rather than creating a series of toys and super-heros with weapons, we are interested in experimenting with the qualities of changing the perception as well as sensory enhancements changing your perspective or creating empathy with animals.

    We believe curiosity and exploration is one of the major desires of children and our goal is not just to create a series of devices for exploration and curiosity that might be just fun for one afternoon. Much more we are interested in providing tools seeing the world through a different lens and to learn more about ourselves. We believe those devices could possibly create empathy with animals, experiencing what they experience as well as providing an interface to communicate with them.

    This is just a start of the experiment and we believe it is possible to create also tools for play with deeper layers, learning levels and more layered interactivity that could even become an extension of your body rather than just an traditional play-object.

    ~ Kenichi Okada + Chris Woebken ~

    Animals have senses beyond human experience, they instinctively feel approaching tsunamis through low frequencies, communicate through pheromones or can navigate through magnetic fields.

    Students of Design Interactions Chris Woebken and Kenichi Okada, in collaboration with MBA students from the Oxford Said Business-school, have been developing a series of sensory enhancements toys for children to experience "animal superpowers." Each prototype allows the kid to change perspective or feel empathy with animals.

    At the work in progress show of the Royal College of Art in London a few weeks ago there were showing 3 of their prototypes:

    Ant - feeling like an ant magnifying your vision 50x through microscope antennas on your hands
    Bird - gaining a sense for magnetic fields
    Giraffe - a child to adult converter changing your voice & perspective

    They are also developing Elephant shoes that pick up transmitting vibrations from fellows and a head mounted Theremin (!) to provide children with an enhanced spatial vision similar to the one of an electric Eel.

    I played with the ant and giraffe devices while visiting the RCA show and found out that the objects do exactly what their description says: i felt humbled by the ant devices (i could not see anything of what was around me but could perceive all the tiny cracks and details on the surface of of the table i was exploring) and while doning the giraffe helmet i could only perceive the head of the tallest people in the room...

    Designed by Rokos in collaboration with Kathrin Bohm and Andreas Lang, the object lowered your vision to ground level, and outwards, by the use of periscopes. The device was set off centre on a wheel to create the sensation of hopping. The device comes with ears and a tail, so that onlookers can also understand the product's purpose.

    { Continued at we make money not art & there & here }
    Sun, Mar 2, 2008  Permanent link
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    Sent to project: The great enhancement debate
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    Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs, Cut-Ups, & Dreamachines

    "I Am" Machine-poem (1960) via UbuWeb

    Of course the sands of Present Time are running out from under our feet. And why not? The Great Conundrum: 'What are we here for?' is all that ever held us here in the first place. Fear. The answer to the Riddle of the Ages has actually been out in the street since the First Step in Space. Who runs may read but few people run fast enough. What are we here for? Does the great metaphysical nut revolve around that? Well, I'll crack it for you, right now. What are we here for? We are here to go!

    ~ BG, The Process ~

    { Brion Gysin @ Brainwashed, UbuWeb, The Western Lands }

    It is to remember that all art is magical in origin - music sculpture writing painting - and by magical I mean intended to produce very definite results. Paintings were originally formulae to make what is painted happen. Art is not an end in itself, any more that Einstein's matter-into-energy formulae is an end by itself. Like all formulae, art was originally functional, intended to make things happen, the way an atom bomb happens from Einstein's formula. Take a porcelain stove and disconnect it and put it in your living room with ivy growing over it... it may be a good-looking corpse but it isn't functional anymore. Or take a voodoo doll full of pins - authentic West African, $500 on the 57th Street - and hang it on the wall of your duplex loft. It isn't killing enemies anymore, and the same goes for a $5,000 shrunk-down head, which a fashionable shrink bought for his consultation room. Writing and painting were one in cave paintings, which were formulae to ensure good hunting...

    The painting of Brion Gysin deals directly with the magical roots of art. His paintings are formulae designed to produce in the viewer the timeless ever changing world of magic caught in the painter's brush - bits of vivid and vanishing detail. . . . The pictures constantly change because you are drawn into time travel on a network of associations. Brion Gysin paints from the viewpoint of timeless space.

    ~ William S. Burroughs, Essay in Contemporary Artists Magazine ~

    { The Cut-Ups (film; flash player + mp4 d/l), Gysin & Burroughs in Paris, Port of Entry }

    "3 Permutations" (1960) via UbuWeb

    When I first fell into the cut-ups and put those texts together which appeared in Minutes to Go, they amused me. I laughed out loud. I knew all about Breton's precious and pseudoautomatic writing and I had heard of the poem that TristanTzara pulled out of a hat about the same time that Aragon was reciting his alphabet poem to the avantgarde of the 1920s. all that was old hat. The cut-ups were brand new because the words were treated like mere material, like the images they are and treated in a painter's creative way rather than a writer's metaphysical view of language as the lesser part of speech. Words were attacked physically with the scissors or framer's Stanley blade.

    I showed the first texts to Burroughs hoping to hear him laugh out loud as I had. He took off his glasses to reread them even more intently, saying : " You've got something big here, Brion."

    ~ BG, Here To Go ~

    We began to find out a whole lot of things about the real nature of words and writing...What are words and what are they doing? Where are they going? The cut-up method treats words as the painter treats his paint, raw material with rules and reasons of its own... Abstract painters found that the real hero of the picture is the paint. Painters and writers of the kind I respect want to be heroes, challenging fate in their lives and in their art. What is fate ? Fate is written : Mektoub means "It is written." So ... if you want to challenge and change fate ... cut up words. Make them a new world.

    ~ BG, Rolling Stone interview ~

    { Interview about Cut-Ups, Non-linear Adding Machine, Video }

    Had a transcendental storm of color visions today in the bus going to Marseilles. We ran through a long avenue of trees and I closed my eyes against the setting sun. An overwhelming flood of intensely bright patterns in supernatural colors exploded behind my eyelids: a multi-dimensional kaleidoscope whirling out through space. I was out in a world of infinite number. The vision stopped abruptly as we left the trees. Was that a vision? What happened to me?

    Ian Sommerville, who also read Walter, ( Walter Grey, "The Living Brain" ) wrote me from Cambridge on February 15, 1960:

    "I have made a simple flicker machine. You look at 'it with your eyes shut and the flicker plays over your eyelids. Visions start with a kaleidoscope of colors on a plane in front of the eyes and gradually become more complex and beautiful, breaking like surf on a shore until whole patterns of color are pounding to get in. After awhile the visions were permanently behind my eyelids and I was in the middle of the whole scene with limitless patterns being generated around me. There was an almost unbearable feeling of spatial movement for a while but It was well worth getting through for I found that when it stopped I was high above the earth in a universal blaze of glory. Afterwards I found that my perception of the world around me had increased very notably. All conceptions of being dragged or tired had dropped away..."

    I made a "machine" from his ensuing description and added to it an interior cylinder covered vith the type of painting I have developed in the three years since my first flicker experience. Flicker may prove to be a valid instrument of practical psychology: some people see and others do not. The DREAMACHINE, with it's patterns visible to the open eye, induces people to see. The fluctuating elements of flickered design support the development of autonomous "movies", intensely pleasurable and, possibly, instructive to the viewer.

    What is art? What is color? What is vision? These old questions demand new answers when, in the light of the DREAMACHINE one see all of ancient and modern abstract art with eyes closed.


    { Learn, Build, HTML Dreamachine, 10111 }
    Wed, Feb 20, 2008  Permanent link
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    Upstate Hermit, Manhattan Composer, Blind Viking Poet, He's Moondog

    How I wish I would have been able to see Louis Hardin in person! What an amazing presence he must have had (see Eyewitness Accounts). Certainly one of the most intriguing musicians of the 20th century. Recent years have seen a revival of interest in his works (via reissues and scavenged rarities). Though very much at odds with my own ideas, his beliefs concerning "overtones", "The Common Calendar", and the 'creation' of the universe are quite interesting.

    You like? you like the thoughts? you like the thoughts i think? you do?
    They're naught to me compared to just one fleeting thought of you.

    Drag the river up and down to find the Miss who's missing.
    Crowd around her, curiously, to see whom Death is kissing.

    The gods who wielded bolts of lightning were not gods, but men
    who used the atom, as we did, to wreck the world again.

    "Go commercial," cried the prostitutes, in every calling.
    "SeIl your soul, but sell yourself. Get with it. Stop the stalling."

    A skeleton's in your closet and a mirror's in there too.
    You're looking in the mirror and the skeleton's none but you.

    "It's beautiful," i said as i beheld a marble bust.
    "Just who are you to tell me so?" it muttered in disgust.

    ~ Excerpts from 50 Couplets ~

    + +

    According to the Cosmicode contraction comes before expansion, so
    to say, expansion comes before contraction, isn't being in the know.

    The overtones from one to nine equate the Code, the Code that has a key.
    That key is diminution. Two to one the ratio rises out of three.

    Contraction and expansion, in that order, are the consequence of cause-
    effect inversion, quite the most chaotic of the cosmicoded laws.

    Diminutions one to three begin on G, harmonic three, and end
    on G, harmonic seven of the row below, on that you can depend.

    The system wouldn't work if any overtone, from one to nine, had found
    itself to be some other place, a fact that never ceases to astound.

    Contraction's cause has overtones, from one to four, that have no precedent.
    Expansion's cause has overtones, from six to nine, that have no precedent.

    The overtone of overtones dividing one to four from six to nine,
    is 5, the most imposing overtone of all, I call, the Dividein.

    Contraction's cause becomes expansion's last effect the while contaction's last
    effect becomes expansion's cause, with 5 between the present and the past.

    Why contraction's last effect becomes expansion's cause is plain to see.
    On passing 5 the last of all is finest of all to claim priority.

    Contraction and expansion merge their awesome urges in contransion, C
    for short, enough to pyramid a grid of diminutions one to three.

    The overtone continuum consists of C above and C below.
    In diametric opposition, base to base, the galacseers go.

    Closewise both in both directions brings the two-directionality
    of time into existence all the Milky way from C to shining C.

    Is this the two-directionality of time? The future is the past,
    and vice versa? This is how it's been since when the cosmic die was cast.

    Overtonean Equasion: O + D = C x 2 = T

    { 1, 2, 3 }
    Sat, Feb 9, 2008  Permanent link
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    Founded by Takashi Amano, Aqua Design Amano specializes in the manufacture and distribution of materials used for creating nature aquaria. Since 02001 they have hosted the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest where artists/aquarists from around the world submit their nature aquarium designs to compete for a grand prize of 1,000,000 yen ($10,000). These images are submissions from the 02007 competition. ~ ~ ~ Lovely!

    { Aqua Forest Aquarium, Aquatic Gardeners Association, Video of Takashi's own work }

    Sun, Feb 3, 2008  Permanent link
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    "In 1969, R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), the pre-eminent 20th Century engineer for the United States, and perhaps the World, threw out a very personal challenge. It was in the form of a book entitled Utopia or Oblivion daring the earth to make the choice. Reading now as both a futuristic and nostalgic tract, it appeared in 1969 like a literary barn-burner manifesto of the 1920’s Classical Modernist variety.

    Agreeing with the spirit of his message, I believe that not enough time has elapsed for the world to both absorb and accept the impact of his dare and to transform the soul of it into a completed cultural artifact. We must do it now utilizing whatever means we can. There have been, however, a few groups of Futurists who over the past 32 years have heeded Fuller’s message, and have attempted a convergence of as many aspects of human knowledge as possible within their limits. The goal of our present endeavor is to produce a transdisciplinary world-view which will sustain human existence into a continuous future. This, of course, was the basic message of Fuller’s book. "

    ~ Paul Laffoley, Lecture, "Utopic Space"

    Time travel, Kiesler, absolute life and death, building a tesseract house, color breathing... Though I've not read his commentary thoroughly enough to say how well our views correlate, I deeply admire the stunning hyper-complexity and diversity of Paul Laffoley's obsessive diagrams. I strongly advise viewing these works up close (1, 2 ; also see links at bottom).

    * Some may recognize "The Metatron" from the cover of disinformation's Generation Hex *

    { Biography, Gallery, Laffoley's Odyssey, Some Explanations, Catalogue Raisonne }

    "It is said that if the Time Machine really existed, we would already know of it.
    I say it has always been here, and we are beginning to become aware of it."

    ~ PL, "Geochronmechane: The Time Machine from the Earth" (1990) ~
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    "Experimental Studio no.1" 2005
    bonemeal, glue
    157 x 270 x 17 cm

    The Australia-based Chinese artist Shen Shaomin, seemingly a maverick in real life, stocks up in his studio with ghastly animal bones. A good command of this distinctive raw material - also a metaphor for death - facilitates his search of a spiritual world which has been long floating afar. In fact, Shen adopts a less-material approach to highlight the quality of spiritual value. Constantly skeptical about the mundane social rules, he casts a stare at the starry sky from time to time. With a silent attentive listen paid to a remote echo down from the prehistoric world, artist goes into and ponders upon the fortune of all creatures the Earth bears and rears, which is reflected in his work as a classic-idealistic perfection and a near ruthless visual pursuit as well as the pure persistent humanism of an intellectual.

    Read and see more at Galerie Urs Meile

    Installation "Unknown Creature no.1" 2002
    bonemeal, glue
    700 x 60 x 130 cm

    "Mosquito" 2003
    bonemeal, glue
    ca. 200 x 200 x 200 cm

    Shen Shaomin adopts the role of being anthropologist, scientist, and author of his own fabricated mythologies. Constructed from real animal bones, his sculptures collectively create a bestiary of fictional creatures that are wondrous, frightening, and strange. Reminiscent of Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings, Shen’s absurd assemblages exude an ancient wisdom, authenticating the magic of fable and folklore, while alluding to contemporary issues of genetic modification, consequence of environmental threat, and concepts of the alien and exotic.

    In pieces such as
    Three Headed Monster and Mosquito, the skeletal remains of ‘extinct’ creatures are presented with the validity of museum display. Their colossal scale reinforces their imagined prehistoric origin as Jurassic curiosities and spiritual totems. Assembled from genuine ossified animal parts, his creatures are simultaneously familiar and perplexing, indicating a warped and uncomfortable process of evolution. Often carving into his surfaces, Shen adorns his creations with scrimshaw, further entwining humanistic reference into his disturbing zoological evidence.

    via The Saatchi Gallery

    Installation "Unknown Creature no.9" 2002
    bonemeal, glue
    50 pieces

    "Egg no. 3" 2003
    bonemeal, glue
    17 x 17 x 26 cm
    Mon, Jan 7, 2008  Permanent link
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