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Current Topic: Arts

Derelict London
Topic: Arts 2:23 pm EDT, May 22, 2004

"For fans of the capital's hidden underbelly, these abandoned and derelict buildings carry a melancholy poignancy."

"Derelict London" is an unusual photographic portrait of the nation's capital. This is not a compilation of familiar tourist sights, as another of those is hardly needed, but a depiction of an (often un-picturesque) view of everyday life in London.

Derelict London

Rhythm Science
Topic: Arts 8:38 pm EST, Feb 28, 2004

"Once you get into the flow of things, you're always haunted by the way that things could have turned out. This outcome, that conclusion. You get my drift. The uncertainty is what holds the story together, and that's what I'm going to talk about."

DJ Spooky delivers a manifesto for rhythm science -- the creation of art from the flow of patterns in sound and culture, "the changing same."

Larry Lessig: "Rhythm Science is science; it is art; it is the story of how freedom would build better science and art."

Rhythm Science

Books as Art Objects (Reading Is Optional)
Topic: Arts 11:00 am EST, Jan  2, 2004

In "Agrippa (a Book of the Dead)," a collaboration between William Gibson, the science-fiction writer, and Dennis Ashbaugh, an artist, the poem has been encoded in the letters C, A, T and G; they represent the first letters of the quartet of nucleic acids in DNA: cytosine, adenine, thymine and guanine.

Among Mr. Ashbaugh's prints are two photosensitive images that either appear or disappear when exposed to the light. The poem itself, on a floppy disk, becomes encrypted as soon as it has been downloaded and can never be accessed again. The book has never been fully opened. But there it sits among its admittedly tamer cousins in one of the Edna Barnes Salomon Room's august tilted, glass-fronted cases, enigmatically doing its part to answer the exhibition's prevailing question.

Can books, without even being read, say something?

The answer would be a provisional yes; some can. And if it's not always clear what these books are saying, exactly, at least in saying it, or trying to, their fabricators seem to have had a good time.

Books as Art Objects (Reading Is Optional)

'Global Networks': Webs Connecting the Power Brokers, the Money and the World
Topic: Arts 11:09 pm EST, Nov 15, 2003

Mark Lombardi was onto something ... His drawings - you could call them maps or charts, and they also have some connection with 19th-century panoramas - track global financial fiascos and related political shenanigans, mostly of the 1980's and 90's.

Some drawings are as much as 10 feet wide, rather lightly marked in pencil with arrows and names: delicate spider webs of scandal.

Lombardi's work has been called "conspiracy art". It's a kind of global MemeStreams, elegantly visualized with a purpose, as Art.

'Global Networks': Webs Connecting the Power Brokers, the Money and the World

Have You Heard the New Neil Young Novel?
Topic: Arts 7:33 pm EST, Nov  9, 2003

It is best to consume "Greendale", Neil Young's newest work, by treating it as a hybrid between a printed work and a book-on-tape -- to read it as one reads a novel.

Mr. Young really has done something new, rendering into this combination of print and audio a novel that is surprisingly sophisticated and satisfyingly complete.

... the fusion of news and entertainment media has completely eaten up everything we used to think of as concrete reality.

With the multidimensional twists that bind his music to his narrative, he's stitched the novel into a whole new set of clothes.

I thought, "Cool!" when I read the title of this article, because I recall having discussions along these lines back in college.

Kudos to Neil Young for being innovative. It will be interesting to see how the idea is received by other artists. In another year, will you overhear one teenager asking another, "have you heard the new Hilary Duff novel?"

Perhaps the term "duet" will take on a new meaning. Consider the collaborations corporate chiefs could concoct: Marilyn Manson and Steven King; William Gibson and the Future Sound of London; Liz Phair and Candace Bushnell; Leonard Cohen and Elmore Leonard; Rudy Rucker and DJ Shadow. And if you could go back in time, or bridge eras, creating a "duet" without one or both artists: Louis L'Amour and Gene Autry; Yo-Yo Ma and Miyamoto Musashi.

It's the new turntablism.

Have You Heard the New Neil Young Novel?

Fuji: Images of Contemporary Japan
Topic: Arts 7:53 pm EDT, Oct 25, 2003

Stark, mysterious, potent, looming, seductive, beautiful, iconic Mount Fuji. Overcommercialized, stereotypical, omnipresent, overcrowded Mount Fuji.

Typically seen as a backdrop to Japanese life, Chris Steele-Perkins offers a different frame to Japan's magical mountain.

Mr. Steele-Perkins captures this collision of time -- the past rushing full force into the future -- from a careful outsider's view of Japanese society.

Fuji: Images of Contemporary Japan

Channeling Propellerheads on Kill Bill and Quicksilver
Topic: Arts 4:37 pm EDT, Oct 11, 2003

Quentin Tarantino and Neal Stephenson are birds of a feather.

Both are passionate about their work and conduct extensive research on the subject matter. The artists' latest efforts have been criticized for being overloaded with details -- some might say trivia -- that demonstrate their mastery of the literature. Their works are laced with references within references, including many so obscure that few in the audience are likely even to detect all of them, let alone trace them back to the source.

Each of these works is so large, so grand, so packed with detail, that the marketplace is unable to accommodate it all at one time. And so a story is broken into pieces, with the releases spaced apart in time, that the audience might take advantage of the intermission to savor the tasty bits of the first course while waiting in eager anticipation of the next.

Channeling Propellerheads on Kill Bill and Quicksilver

Before The Matrix, There was Only Meat
Topic: Arts 10:09 pm EDT, Jun  3, 2003

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in that sector and they're made out of meat."

"Maybe they're like the orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take long. Do you have any idea what's the life span of meat?"

Before The Matrix, There was Only Meat

The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld
Topic: Arts 12:09 am EST, Apr  3, 2003

Things will not be necessarily continuous.
The fact that they are something other than perfectly continuous
Ought not to be characterized as a pause.
There will be some things that people will see.
There will be some things that people won't see.
And life goes on.

The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld

Radebaugh: The Future We Were Promised
Topic: Arts 5:37 pm EST, Mar  1, 2003

Welcome to the exhibition of rediscovered works by the mid 20th century illustrator A.C. Radebaugh.

A very cool exhibit, soon to open in Philadelphia, displaying lots of futuristic graphic artwork from the 1950s. Flying cars, urban airships docked at skyscrapers, and more. This stuff is almost propagandist in its technological optimism.

Radebaugh: The Future We Were Promised

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