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01 Dec 10:29

The Election, Lao Tzu, a Cup of Water

By Ursula K. Le Guin

Americans have voted for a politics of fear, anger, and hatred, and those of us who oppose this politics are now trying to figure out how we can oppose it usefully. I want to defend my country, my republic. In the atmosphere of fear, anger, and hatred, opposition too easily becomes division, fixed enmity. I’m looking for a place to stand, or a way to go, where the behavior of those I oppose will not control my behavior.

Americans are given to naming enemies and declaring righteous war against them. Indians are the enemy, socialism is the enemy, cancer is the enemy, Jews are the enemy, Muslims are the enemy, sugar is the enemy. We don’t support education, we declare a war on illiteracy. We make war on drugs, war on Viet Nam, war on Iraq, war on obesity, war on terror, war on poverty. We see death, the terms on which we have life, as an enemy that must be defeated at all costs.

Defeat for the enemy, victory for us, aggression as the means to that end: this obsessive metaphor is used even by those who know that aggressive war offers no solution, and has no end but desolation.

The election of 2016 was one of the battles of the American Civil War. The Trump voters knew it, if we didn’t, and they won it. Their victory helps me see where my own thinking has been at fault.

I will try never to use the metaphor of war where it doesn’t belong, because I think it has come to shape our thinking and dominate our minds so that we tend to see the destructive force of aggression as the only way to meet any challenge. I want to find a better way.

My song for many years was We Shall Overcome. I will always love that song, what it says and the people who have sung it, with whom I marched singing. But I can’t march now, and I can’t sing it any longer.

My song is Ain’t Gonna Study War No More.

Though we’ve had some great scholars of peace, such as Martin Luther King, studying it is something Americans have done very little of.

The way of the warrior admits no positive alternatives to fighting, only negatives — inertia, passivity, surrender. Talk of “waging peace” is mere glibness, you can’t be aggressively peaceful. Reducing positive action to fighting against or fighting for, we have not looked at the possibility of other forms of action.

Like the people who marched to Selma, the people who are standing their ground at Standing Rock study, learn, and teach us the hard lessons of peace. They are not making war. They are resolutely non-violent. They are seeking a way out of the traps of anger, hatred, enmity. They are actively trying to get free, to be free, and by their freedom, free others as well.

Studying peace means in the first place unlearning the vocabulary of war, and that’s very difficult indeed. Isn’t it right to fight against injustice? Isn’t that what Selma and Standing Rock are — brave battles for justice?

I think not. Brave yes; battles no. Refusing to engage an aggressor on his terms, standing ground, holding firm, is not aggression — though the aggressive opponent will always declare that it is. Refusing to meet violence with violence is a powerful, positive act.

But that is paradoxical. It’s hard to see how not doing something can be more positive than doing something. When all the words we have to use are negative — inaction, nonviolence, refusal, resistance, evasion — it’s hard to see and keep in mind that the outcome of these so-called negatives is positive, while the outcome of the apparently positive act of making war is negative.

We confuse self-defense, the reaction to aggression, with aggression itself. Self-defense is a necessary and morally defensible reaction.

But defending a cause without fighting, without attacking, without aggression, is not a reaction at all. It is an action. It is an expression of power. It takes control.

Reaction is controlled by the power it reacts against. The people who at present claim to be conservatives aren’t conservatives at all, they are radical reactionaries. The position of the reactionary is not that of the agent, but that of the victim. The reactionary tends always toward paranoia, seeing himself as the obsessive object of vast malevolent forces and entities, fearing enemies everywhere, in anyone he doesn’t understand and can’t control, in every foreigner, in his own government.

Many contemporary Republicans have permanently assumed the position of victim, which is why their party has no positive agenda, and why they whine so much.

The choice to act, rather than react, breaks the paralysis of fear and the vicious circle of aggression, frees us go forward, onward.

We have glamorized the way of the warrior for millennia. We have identified it as the supreme test and example of courage, strength, duty, generosity, and manhood. If I turn from the way of the warrior, where am I to seek those qualities? What way have I to go?

Lao Tzu says: the way of water.

The weakest, most yielding thing in the world, as he calls it, water chooses the lowest path, not the high road. It gives way to anything harder than itself, offers no resistance, flows around obstacles, accepts whatever comes to it, lets itself be used and divided and defiled, yet continues to be itself and to go always in the direction it must go. The tides of the oceans obey the moon while the great currents of the open sea keep on their ways beneath. Water deeply at rest is yet always in motion; the stillest lake is constantly, invisibly transformed into vapor, rising in the air. A river can be dammed and diverted, yet its water is incompressible: it will not go where there is not room for it. A river can be so drained for human uses that it never reaches the sea, yet in all those bypaths and usages its water remains itself and pursues its course, flowing down and on, above ground or underground, breathing itself out into the air in evaporation, rising in mist, fog, cloud, returning to earth as rain, refilling the sea. Water doesn’t have only one way. It has infinite ways, it takes whatever way it can, it is utterly opportunistic, and all life on earth depends on this passive, yielding, uncertain, adaptable, changeable element.

The death way or the life way? The high road of the warrior, or the river road?

I know what I want. I want to live with courage, with compassion, in patience, in peace.

The way of the warrior fully admits only the first of these, and wholly denies the last.

The way of the water admits them all.

The flow of a river is a model for me of courage that can keep me going — carry me through the bad places, the bad times. A courage that is compliant by choice and uses force only when compelled, always seeking the best way, the easiest way, but if not finding any easy way still, always, going on.

The cup of water that gives itself to thirst is a model for me of the compassion that gives itself freely. Water is generous, tolerant, does not hold itself apart, lets itself be used by any need. Water goes, as Lao Tzu says, to the lowest places, vile places, accepts contamination, accepts foulness, and yet comes through again always as itself, pure, cleansed, and cleansing.

Running water and the sea are models for me of patience: their easy, steady obedience to necessity, to the pull of the moon in the sea-tides and the pull of the earth always downward; the immense power of that obedience.

I have no model for peace, only glimpses of it, metaphors for it, similes to what I cannot fully grasp and hold. Among them: a bowl of clear water. A boat drifting on a slow river. A lake among hills. The vast depths of the sea. A drop of water at the tip of a leaf. The sound of rain. The sound of a fountain. The bright dance of the water-spray from a garden hose, the scent of wet earth.

–UKL

A Meditation

The river that runs in the valley
makes the valley that holds it.

This is the doorway:
the valley of the river.

What wears away the hard stone,
the high mountain?

The wind. The dust on the wind.
The rain. The rain on the wind.

What wears the hardness of hate away?
Breath, tears.

Courage, compassion, patience
holding to their way:
the path to the doorway.

~~~

06 Nov 23:59

Alex Van Gelder – Mumbling Beauty Louise Bourgeois

by Doug Stockdale

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Photographer:  Alex Van Gelder (now based in Paris)

Publisher:  Thames & Hudson, New York, NY, 2015

Essays:  Foreword by Hans Ulrich Obrist: “Ever Louise” / Introduction by Alex Van Gelder

Text:  English

Hardcover book with 112 pages, not numbered; 81 color photographs without captions; sewn binding; cloth cover with dust jacket, printed and bound in China.

Photobook designer: Béatrice Akar

Notes: This photobook presents 81 extraordinary collaborative images taken during the last three years of life of the French-American artist Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), who came to the US in 1938 and was primarily known for her sculptures and installations, but also for her paintings and prints. Her art received the most attention from the 1970s on, and she was also a strong fighter for artistic freedom and social justice. Alex Van Gelder, the photographer now based in Paris, became her friend and, from 2008 to 2010, was repeatedly invited to her home in New York City in order to participate in the creation of this personal yet public reality of a highly creative and spirited individual. As Van Gelder says in the foreword, “She became a consummate performer in front of the camera.”

In viewing the images, we can literally experience the joy of the artist in the process of creation, as well as the pain of aging, perhaps foremost among them her inability to move around as freely as possible, as she was paralyzed from the hip down. The photographer uses a variety of techniques to show the difficulties of both artistic creation and old age, such as distortions and long exposures with the resulting blurred appearances: self-reflection through visual ambiguity. The viewer is not only reminded of the work of John Coplans, but also of Cindy Sherman: Louise Bourgeois here assumes many roles (some with disguises) in a number of settings within her house. A very creative look at the last few years of this artist as a result; she is shown working in her studio on paintings, posing with some small sculptures, as well as in mundane settings of everyday life.

This book confronts the viewer with his or her own aging process and creativity. It is a stark yet supportive and positive, even optimistic presentation, at times with some humor as well. As the artist is shown active even at the very end, we get the idea that she is creative and hopeful in spite of it all. Since Louise Bourgeois considered much of her work autobiographical, based in part on childhood traumas, these portraits give us a glimpses of the relationships between the artist and her art, and many other dimensions to reflect on as well. The human body, with its fragile and temporary nature, was a main theme in her art, and this is certainly well represented in this visceral yet elegant collaborative photographic study.

Gerhard Clausing

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12 Oct 18:45

Designing Bon Iver’s 22, a Million: An Interview with Eric Timothy Carlson

by Emmet Byrne
Olena Bulygina

ungodly long post, but so good

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When I first started to see fragments of the artwork for Bon Iver’s new album, 22, a Million, I immediately recognized the hand of Eric Timothy Carlson, an artist and designer based in Brooklyn, originally from Minneapolis. Carlson’s work frequently mutates from medium to medium, a sketch becoming a poem becoming a sculpture becoming a shirt. Through it all, the idea of reading—the fluidity between text and image, the discarded pictographic origins of alphabets, the semiotic slide between icon to index to symbol—guides his work.

Symbols especially fascinate Carlson, who has obsessively explored their cryptic and explicit power within the realm of music, having created logos, icons, and glyphs for a number of midwestern bands like P.O.S., Gayngs, and Doomtree. In Carlson’s world, symbols rarely speak with the intent of reifying meaning, or branding something with repressive authority, but in a way that evokes multiple readings at once, asking to be adopted and infused with new life. It is this spirit that is on ebullient display in his new artwork for Bon Iver. This work is thick—an extensive collection of symbols and drawings and texts that spill out from the dense LP design (the legend/key to the entire transmedia system) to populate Instagram posts, giant murals, lyric videos, etc. The work is less a graphic identity for an album and more a documentation of a collaborative network of players, places, times, and tools.

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In the following interview we present the finished artwork, supplemented with process work and related materials. Eric takes us down the rabbit hole, describing the intense, fluid work sessions with Justin Vernon and others at the Eau Claire studios, the numbers that permeate the track list, the influence of digital culture on the new album, the prevalence of cryptic symbolism throughout the Minneapolis/Wisconsin music scene, and the Packers.

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Emmet Byrne: How were you approached to work on this? Do you specialize in music packaging?

Eric Timothy Carlson: It’s been a long process. Five years ago, I received a message from Justin that said “I like what you’re doing, and I want you to know that.” A year or two later after actually meeting for the first time: “Can we work on something together? You should come over and we’ll vibe.”

Music has always been an important aspect of my practice. I’ve played music my whole life, and I come from a musical family, raised with it. In college I interned with Aesthetic Apparatus, screen-printing gig posters. My first design projects were for friends’ bands, and posters for art/music shows. Never really wanting to pursue any sort of traditional employment, I’ve made my way on small projects, working with musicians and artists and performers.

I lived in Minneapolis for a decade before moving to New York, so much of my work is born of that Midwest community. P.O.S’s Never Better was the first complete art direction project I had the chance to fully develop. It was a crash course in working with an artist and a label in unison, and aligning the intent and capabilities of all the involved parties/minds. I owe a lot to that community: P.O.S, Doomtree, Rhymesayers, TGNP, Building Better Bombs, Poliça, Gayngs, Skoal Kodiak, The Plastic Constellations, Marijuana Deathsquads, Dark Dark Dark, The Church, Organ House, Medusa. It was an opportunity to participate in defining a decade of music in Minneapolis.

For a couple of years, I also worked with Mike Cina, who is a book and record collector, and really learned and internalized a lot about typography and album art in my time with him. My practice has expanded outside of that through zines and the internet, but a lot of my work to this day has spawned from this continuum.

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AT APRIL BASE 

EB: How did you work with the Bon Iver crew to create this artwork?

ETC: Some projects, you can see what the cover is supposed to be—a floating image in the mind—or there are certain “rules” that you’re supposed to play by that determine much of what is being created. This project, however, could be whatever it wanted to be.

The original desire from the start was to create a robust world of work. So instead of pursuing a specific vision right off the bat, we just worked and experimented and tested ideas. I worked closely with Justin. I worked at April Base—the recording studio—a couple times a year, each time was a unique experience focused on that stage of the music. Usually with an intimate group of two or three guests (musicians, writers, chillers, curators) and the studio crew, for a week or so at a time, to make a unique creative space, where each of us would be a part of defining that period of creation. The whole Bon project is for the most part entirely driven in house. Each visit would be a new experiment—creating temporary installations and interventions, painting murals, sharing books and inspiration, playing music. We came to listen and work and get to know one another, to get a feel for how to work and talk and think together. Not overthink anything. Developing the conversation, making art, and sharing our scope of vision and capabilities.


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In the rural setting of Eau Claire, when it was freezing outside, almost everything took place inside the studio, and we barely even left the property. It puts you in a certain headspace, and you develop a pattern of waking up and just getting into the work and process of it from noon to midnight—an uninterrupted cycle for a week at a time. But we’d make sure to sleep and eat well too, and not miss too much of the limited winter sunlight.

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There were some early birds in the studio, and of course the night owls as well. The amount of people shifted depending on what was happening, and the vibe changed depending on who was around. I think the Indigo Girls were recording the week before I first visited, and there was another project in one of the sound rooms overlapping with my time there. That first visit was one of the most frenetic, fluid experiences, multiple projects developing and recording simultaneously. Sax and string players visiting to record their own work, and then session on the album in process as well. The later visits were more focused—everyone was there for the album, in a no distractions kind of mode.

I’m a habitual drawer, so these visits to the studio resulted in an accumulation of many, many sketches, like writing. Later, these sketch pages became a reference point for the final work. There was an honesty in the notes and collection process that very much influenced the final work.

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ON THE SYMBOLS 

EB:  How does the artwork respond to the music?

ETC: The songs were all numbers from the start, multiple numbers at first. So we would listen to each song, talk about the numbers, talk about the song, watch the lyrics take form, makes lists, make drawings. Real references and experiences are collaged in both the music and the artwork. I was able to interview and interrogate each song—digging into weird cores—and by the end of each visit, each song would develop a matrix of new notes and symbols.

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Between the numerology, the metaphysical/humanist nature of the questions in 22, a Million, and the accumulation of physical material and symbolism around the music—it became apparent that the final artwork was to be something of a tome. A book of lore. Jung’s Red Book. A lost religion. The Rosetta Stone. Sagan’s Golden Record. Something to invest some serious time and mind in. Something that presented a lot of unanswered questions and wrong ways. A distant past and future. An inner journey somehow very contemporary.


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EB: When I saw the artwork for the first time I immediately recognized the feeling of it, the general design language. The use of rune-like symbols felt very much like your previous work, and like the work of some of your collaborators—but it didn’t feel like Bon Iver, at least as I understood it. Was Bon Iver looking for something different than their previous, pastoral vibe?

ETC: Early on in the process, it was said, “I want each song to have a symbol,” and I knew exactly what that meant. Symbols just naturally come out of me, which is why I use them so much. Icons, signs, symbols—they are cultural fragments and a well made one can cut so deep into our language. I’ve been mentally collecting these all my life. There’s an exercise I enjoy—sitting down to draw out all of the symbols you know without reference: logos, symbols, characters, etc.—and it’s often surprising what comes out, what we have locked away in memory. The anarchy A, yin yangs, Mr. Yuck, Super “S,” Kilroy, peace sign, etc. I admit that one of my desires regarding design and art is to add something to that deep cultural symbolic well of knowing. But they also come from a decades-long conversation within this specific community. I designed the Gayngs symbol for Ryan Olson in 2010 and worked with Doomtree in 2011 on their No Kings album, which also involved the generation of a series of glyphs. These ideas—claiming icons, masks, unknowables, unsayables, unpronouncables—resonate with that community. The Artist Formally Known as Prince. Zoso. CRASS. etc.

 

 

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And as far as the feeling of the previous Bon albums, I mean, they brought me in for a reason. That version of Americana was ripe and appropriate when For Emma, Forever Ago and Bon Iver happened, but the Bon project didn’t want to further perpetuate that aesthetic. The new album remains explicitly connected to those before it, but the feeling has undeniably evolved, as has the culture around it.

 

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I spent years in a perfectly weird corner of the heartland making apocalyptic noise art in the vibrant community of Minneapolis. Landlocked bloggers. High and low are just as much the fabric of our home as is a melting pile of snow. So on the surface, the new album aesthetic might seem like a dramatic shift in the Bon aesthetic, but I see it true and deeply bonded to its current state as well as the history out of which it developed.

For 22, a Million—in their creation—they felt automatic. I enjoy the puzzle of creating a ligature. Justin assigned a specific meaning to the numbers and a logic to their creation, but in the end, they are open containers to be filled with new meaning. Symbols in the context of music have a lot of power, and people are very willing to own and wear/display their cultural experiences and allegiances.

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As the artwork developed, it became clear how we would seed the material into the public. With 10 symbols, we would make 10 murals, and 10 videos, and a 20-page book, etc. As with many numerologies—just follow the numbers—be them true or not.

The artwork is a collection of hundreds of pieces, icons, ideas, motifs, most of which are capable of standing on their own. The proper album packaging is the legend of symbols, where you find everything all in one place. When applying the art to outside uses (murals, ads,Instagram posts, etc.), we could utilize individual components. But no piece should be as comprehensive as the album packaging.

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EB: How did you land on the prominent use of the yin yang symbol?

ETC: In establishing that each song was to have a symbol or a set of symbols designated to it, I wanted to also arrive at an overarching symbol, to house them all within. The yin yang proper was in play loosely from the start, working well in the context of the humanist/spiritual pursuits of the project. I created the collage compositions for the LP package by hand at 33˝ x 33˝, as it proved the best way for me to deal with the amount of material produced, and to massage it all into a sound and organic composition. The center was originally occupied by an altered mandala, as a satisfying placeholder, waiting to be filled with the final symbol. The yin yang design we ended up with happened while working in vector—on something of a whim. Changing the symbol into a square format proved to be enough to keep it recognizable but make it unique to the project. The “smile in the mind” bit of the “i” and “b” emerging from the mark was the final step in both owning the mark, as well as settling its roll. It is a simple design, two circles centered, but the point where they touch in the center is sensitive and requires some optical adjustments. Following the geometric paths produces a little tick that requires massaging to look right. The proportions of the “i” work within the proportions system created for the LP design, and align with the typographic proportions as well. As organic as it feels, it’s a tightly made structure throughout it all.

 

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There was a short conversation as we arrived near the final art design, where I wanted a very clear confirmation that this was where we were going to land, “There are going to be yin yangs and down crosses on your album cover … and … you’re down with that?” and the response was more or less, “Dude, yesssssss!”

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ON THE DIGITAL MILIEU OF 22, A MILLION

EB: You’ve described the way ideas of digital collage, digital formats, digital thinking really encompassed the creative conception of the album, both musically and visually.

ETC: 22, a Million to me still feels very tied to Emma and the self-titled album. There is still the gospel and folk and mountain songs, but in the studio I could feel and see the visceral digital collage of it all, how our technology and the internet has truly affected the way we collect, organize, think, and make. This album is built on our history of music, noise, poetry, and Americana, but also seamlessly incorporates and celebrates the technological nuances of our contemporary—employing it and expanding it.

Visualizing music has been an exercise I’ve practiced since I was young. The first PlayStation had the visualizer function where you could customize your equalizer/screensaver with the controller, responding to any CD you put in, which informed a bit of how I approached it then. I try to let the ideas be more expansive now. When I first heard the digital disturbances crackling over these new songs, it was such a trip, seeing layers and relationships I hadn’t yet encountered.

The computer so readily pairs with futurist visions, pushing forward futuristic, technology-oriented aesthetics. But the reality of our relationship with digital technology always retains this messy pulsing humanity. Marshall McLuhan predicted computers in every classroom, people connected around the world, utopian vibes. Technically he was very right, but we still have bad carpeting and ugly plaid couches and gas station tchotchkes and dirty bathrooms. Regardless of time passing, we remain in communion with the century preceding us, and even the previous millennium or two.

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EB: How do you understand album artwork in the context of the digital music economy? Prior to the proper release of the album, your artwork was published in a variety of ways, from a cryptic track-list graphic approach on Instagram to the YouTube lyrics videos. The graphics seem to be very front and center in Bon Iver’s pre-release strategy—they are presented as standalone thoughts, with very little context, in lieu of a slick marketing campaign. Was this the intent from the beginning?

ETC: I believe Bon Iver has had unique success with both digital and physical album sales, perhaps an anomaly of sorts. Being of my generation, I can’t help but desire access to music and movies and such things for free—I understand how that is problematic, but upon tasting Napster, it was hard to go back.

Labels, album makers, vinyl fetishists—people love the richness of album art, the nostalgic object to own and consume. It’s fun to produce that stuff, and much of the best album art was made for that format. CD’s are junk, and Digipaks are junk, in my opinion. (My favorite CD format is those massive Case Logic binders of poorly labeled CDRs.)

Given the opportunity, I like to make artwork first for the LP format because it is the most generous format for artwork (assuming one pursues the object creation). Then I try to find a good way to make a system of format conversions. I love old cassette tapes where they just drop the square album art on the cassette cover, and type out the titles again bigger underneath in the worst/best way. So honest.

Format conversions are such a crazy part of doing a big release like this, because there are so many when it comes to international releases: LP, CD, Cassette, Euro LP, CD, Central/South American CD, Australian CD, Japan CD, etc… all slightly different sizes, with different printers, different distributors. Aspects of this obviously become a certain hell, but I can’t help but pursue quirky packaging details in the different designs, which, if done well, can result in so many unique details that make each version special in their own little mutant way.

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When working with bands, I’ve often made the case that they should find a way to make an album available for free, since someone will do it anyway, and if you try to control it, you end up keeping people away from the work. I can’t back up any financial rubric supporting this, but it feels right to me. Most of my friends are posting their work on SoundCloud or YouTube. When they release an album that is freely available, the ideas that form around the real base are a little more true to humans than the rules as laid out by companies.

For 22, a Million, there will be lyric videos that I created with Aaron Anderson for each song that will be available for free on YouTube (save the ad experience/big data), which is great as it opened another gate for us to expand the language of the artwork into an entirely different realm—time and motion and the casually fluent—because internet. 

EB: Lyric videos are an interesting choice for an album like this. Vernon references Richard Buckner when talking about becoming comfortable with writing words that sound like something, instead of lyrics with explicit meaning. “Sound things out and find out what it means later. Gave me the courage to write like that.” I feel like your cryptic use of symbols matches that strategy pretty closely. It suggests a deep, diverse world of language but the viewer is allowed to fill in the meaning of what it is actually saying.  The lyric videos seem deliberately deadpan in their delivery of the lyrics—a little too straight up for lyrics that make very little “sense” at first listen. There’s something unnatural-feeling about literally reading these lyrics while listening to the music…

ETC: The lyric videos initiative came from Justin. I’m not sure they ended up looking like what he was imagining, but that’s one of the things that has been so great about the project: the trust in the work of everyone involved. I was originally a little hesitant about the lyric video concept, largely due to the quality of lyric videos in general, and because I was dreaming of an entirely abstract/ambient visual component to live with the music online, without typography. But many lyric videos found online are made by fans—iMovie/After Effects motion graphics class projects. I feel that that amateur aesthetic has gone on to inform what official, professionally produced lyric videos look like. Those videos are getting a lot of views, so they are probably important to produce and control, but I can’t imagine any of them are allotted budgets comparable to that of a music video—they are more of a checked-off assets category in the end.

But it was a good challenge, figuring out how to do it good/weird/right, how to acknowledge the format, and how to expand the album art into this realm. They didn’t need to be explicitly narrative, and they didn’t need to live by the rules of the print material. They are made for YouTube, to ultimately listen to the music in that format—but we wanted to prod at the format, and use it to expand upon the inherent digital truth of the album.

The simple and natural aesthetic of digital collage that these videos utilize is deeply rooted in the core of 22, a Million. From the start, the note taking, the creative process, and the music embrace the idea of digital collage. For example, “10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄” samples a low-resolution YouTube video of Stevie Nicks casually singing backstage. These lyric videos where the perfect place to expand upon this digital aesthetic.

 

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It would be amazing to take a 5K to New Zealand and make all the videos of Gandalf blowing lyric smoke rings, but we have a lot of readily-available capabilities in our pocket already, and feel capable of making something great on a napkin. I’ve always loved making design work in text edit, for example. The initial footage from “10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄” is all video screen captured in Acrobat. The video for “22 (OVER S∞∞N)” is a slowed down video text message, with the lyrics applied in a broken subtitle generator, shot off the screen because it wouldn’t export correctly. It feels right to leave some of these inconsistencies, like a painting’s visible underdrawing. Something beautiful in mistakes—techno wabi-sabi. Folk motion graphics… motion graphics are so bad.

I like the idea of domestic psychedelia. Which isn’t so much tie-dye as it is being half asleep on an ugly couch and the floaties in your eyelids.

 

The artwork certainly goes to reference something ancient—a lore—but so does the music, with the voice, the folk and gospel music. But it is also inherently new, and defining what comes later, the future, so it seemed important to address the contemporary, to break the contemporary, and show how fucked up good and weird our domestic tools can be through simple layered process.

 

 

ON FOOTBALL JERSEYS AND RAINBOWS 

EB: It feels very natural, the way you mash up your ancient/masonic-looking symbol system with contemporary, mundane imagery such as football jerseys, bad YouTube videos, old hotel rooms, beer cans, rainbows. What’s that about? Nostalgia? High/low? Irony? Is it recontextualizing the everyday iconography we live with? Is it something much simpler?

 

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ETC: I like the natural humanity of all these things. These just feel like very human marks to me, from the fabric of communication and the material of our lives. I like acknowledging how weird and aesthetic our environments and immediate cultural surroundings are. Prodding at basic structures of communication and language. At the same time, I’m drawn to these old symbols, as they have so much responsibility for what we are and how we communicate today.

The symbols are deeply ingrained in the social mind, and define so much for us. We grow up seeing and accepting symbols as part of our reality. Spades, clubs, diamonds, hearts: where do these come from, and is there a deeper meaning? Are they violent, or controversial, or of the tarot? The cross, the star, sun and moon, the spiral: they all have vast meaning and association inherently available to anyone and everyone—owned at times by a particular culture or movement—forever shifting, but retaining a trace of a cultural pulse.

The letters of the Roman alphabet developed out of other symbols older and of meaning that no longer register in their use. Quelled by changes in regime and religion. Conquerers assimilating the occupied. Symbols collage through time.

 

img_6090

 

These simple things—jerseys, beer cans, rainbows—function in a similar way to the symbols. They too are symbols. The beer can is there, suggesting traces of the people behind the project. Everybody drinks the same Coca-Cola Classic. Chipotle has the same burrito any place you eat it. The football jersey—I mean, nothing ever got done at the studio on Sunday afternoons because the Packers were on, and I was like, “Noted.” It’s real.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-9-56-50-pm

Above: unrealized concept art of a Bon Iver/Packers mashup

Though of course, contemporary symbolism is heavily influenced by branding and advertising. I imagine a good portion of the last century’s most enduring symbols come from that sector. “I Heart NY,” though an endearing sentiment, in part serves an economic end.

22-million-jacket

We so naturally have embraced a form of communication now defined as the social spaces of the internet. Images work in this space in a way unique to the speed and format of it all. We can accumulate and disperse vast immaterial fields of information, sifting through it all collectively. This field absorbs all that is fed into it and expands exponentially.

I’m not explicitly working to employ irony beyond what is casually interlaced. I don’t see it as nostalgic or particularly mundane—though at times perhaps critical, taking specific notice of problems, things understood as ugly or wrong. The Papyrus typeface. A simple awareness with unpleasant political implications—the peripherals we blissfully allow to escape notice. So re-contextualizing, yes, but also exposing some truths.

Stop and smell the flowers, connect the not obviously connected to new end. I find a lot of beauty in these things, which doesn’t require aesthetic and defies design. Slick is good and buttoned up but so often such a facade.

We also collected a massive amount of found imagery during the process, often texting these images back and forth. Some of these images appear in the newsprint zine released the day before the album came out in cities around the world—drawings of my own, a number of images from the Taschen Book of Symbols, a still from the Eames’s Powers of Ten, and a napkin drawing from one of our first conversations about the album art. The found imagery also showed up in other formats: the lyric videos, posters, etc. The actual album packaging itself very strictly required entirely original work, though.

 

ON TYPOGRAPHY 

EB: Why Optima?

ETC: I didn’t want anything too tricky. A system font felt good, since I was working with the lyrics in text-edit documents. Optima just looked so right spelling out “BON IVER.” It sung the first time I saw it. I didn’t share it with them right away, or even implement it in design off the bat—but it continued to resonate every time I went back to it, which is usually a solid test. The first example I found of Optima in use that stuck out was the McCain presidential campaign, and I thought, “That’s legit” —thought it was funny—so there’s your irony. Helvetica-y was too sterile, and Garamond was too sentimental. Optima proved it could be both contemporary coffee-table book and Magic the Gathering. Find yourself a font that can do both.

I also just use Univers and Garamond for pretty much everything I do, so I wanted to do some due diligence in playing with other things. I had been using Courier New for all of my process pdf’s—because I think it looks great digital—when its all the same size (12pt or under), but kind of loath it any larger.

EB: How did you approach designing the booklet?

ETC: We knew from the start that we wanted a substantial booklet in the LP. Upon establishing that all of the drawings would be on the jacket, I was excited to limit the booklet to just typography, and find a way to keep that experience just as rich and nuanced as the rest of the system. I started using Courier, and that immediately started evoking the feeling of concrete poetry and ’60s conceptual art, employing the limitations of a typewriter. The hipster in a coffee shop working on a typewriter is the worst thing ever, and I was perhaps towing the line of steampunk a bit, but the direction felt right.

By the time I was working on the book I had listened to the album in process nearly a hundred times, so the layout decisions proved natural and intuitive, knowing where the phrases broke, making visual decisions in response to the music of it, using parallel columns where the lyrics overlapped.

Personally, this approach also connects to strategies of working with text digitally, such as finding ways to successfully break a blogspot layout.

 

45 33 29 22 8


ON THE BON IVER ILLUMINATI 

EB: One last question: How does it feel to blatantly expose the Illuminati once and for all?

ETC: “Ouroboros! Obelisk!” Such perfect confirmation. I’d like to note that there is no Ouroboros in that video.■

 

bi_newprint01_small-cover bi_newprint01_small-2_3 bi_newprint01_small-4_5 bi_newprint01_small-6_7 bi_newprint01_small-8_9 bi_newprint01_small-10_11 bi_newprint01_small-12_13 bi_newprint01_small-14_15 bi_newprint01_small-16_17 bi_newprint01_small-18_19

Above: spreads from the newsprint zine that was distributed at surprise listening parties worldwide the day before album release

 


_collage01

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12 Oct 14:44

An Installation Weaves Through a Brooklyn Cemetery Chapel

by Allison Meier
Installation view of 'unSeen Green' by Aaron Asis in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel
Installation view of Aaron Asis’s ‘unSeen Green’ in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel in Brooklyn (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

In a series of three site-specific installations, artist Aaron Asis is highlighting the historic structures of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. His first piece in unSeen Green laces through the 1911 chapel, which was designed as a Gothic tribute to Christopher Wren’s Tom Tower by Warren and Wetmore, of Grand Central Terminal fame. With fuchsia parachute cord weaving over archways and resting on door frames, even emerging out on the façade, the work is intended to encourage a closer look at the building’s architectural details.

Installation view of 'unSeen Green' by Aaron Asis in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel
Installation view of Aaron Asis’s ‘unSeen Green’ in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel

Harry Weil, manager of programs  at Green-Wood, told Hyperallergic that there are no official details yet on the next interventions by Asis in the cemetery. “However, what I can say is that the two other projects will continue to thoughtfully engage Green-Wood’s built environment after close study and investigation,” Weil said.

The current installation lasts two weeks, with musical performances bookending it. Both feature percussionists Owen Weaver and Dennis Sullivan performing Tristan Perich’s Impermanent.” Perich is best-known for his pieces using 1-bit electronic speakers, such as “Microtonal Wall,” which was part of the 2013 exhibition Soundings: A Contemporary Score at the Museum of Modern Art and features 1,500 of them. “Impermanent” has just two suspended on either side of tubular bells; Weaver and Sullivan play the bells lightly with mallets to create a drone of sound in the space.

Installation view of 'unSeen Green' by Aaron Asis in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel
Owen Weaver and Dennis Sullivan performing Tristan Perich’s “Impermanent” in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel

At the opening performance, the music rarely got above a murmur, often drowned out by the shifting of the audience in the church pews or on mats sprawled on the stone floor. The 1-bit speakers punctuated the ripple of the quiet bells with high-pitched notes, their electronic sound able to pierce the heaviness of the space. It made me think of hearing church bells from a tomb. We were in a cemetery, after all, surrounded by at least 600,000 graves.

Installation view of 'unSeen Green' by Aaron Asis in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel
Night view of the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel

Cemeteries were designed as gathering spaces for grief and memory. Green-Wood, for instance, was opened back in 1838 as a place for picnics, carriage rides, and strolls away from the crowded city, as well as a burial ground. The cemetery has recently hosted readings, performances, and other events in its chapel and on its 478 acres, but it’s exciting to see Green-Wood also experiment with contemporary art. Such experiences can encourage a new type of congregation at the cemetery, while still respecting the people interred there. UnSeen Green has a light touch, not overtaking the delicate stained glass of the chapel or distracting from architectural highlights like the crowning oculus. It will be interesting to see how Asis, who has previously created installations in complex sites like the 30th Street Station and St. Andrews Chapel in Philadelphia last year, continues to interact with its built environment for mourning.

Installation view of 'unSeen Green' by Aaron Asis in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel
Installation view of Aaron Asis’s ‘unSeen Green’ in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel
Installation view of 'unSeen Green' by Aaron Asis in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel
Installation view of Aaron Asis’s ‘unSeen Green’ in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel
Installation view of 'unSeen Green' by Aaron Asis in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel
Installation view of Aaron Asis’s ‘unSeen Green’ in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel
Installation view of 'unSeen Green' by Aaron Asis in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel
Installation view of Aaron Asis’s ‘unSeen Green’ in the Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel

Aaron Asis: unSeen Green continues in the chapel of Green-Wood Cemetery (500 25th Street, Sunset Park, Brooklyn) through October 20. The next performance in the space will take place on October 20

The post An Installation Weaves Through a Brooklyn Cemetery Chapel appeared first on Hyperallergic.

20 Sep 10:30

Lena Groeger on Discrimination By Design

Headshot_Groeger.jpg

A few weeks ago, Snapchat released a new addition to its face-altering filters that have become a signature of the service. But instead of surrounding your face with flower petals or giving you a funny hat, the new photo filter added slanted eyes, puffed cheeks and large front teeth. A number of Snapchat users decried the filter as racist, arguing it was the outcome of not having enough people of color building the product. In a tech world that hires mostly white men, the absence of diverse voices means that companies can be blind to design decisions that are discriminatory or hurtful to their customers.

The company countered that they meant to represent anime characters and deleted the filter within a few hours. They also said that they’ve recently hired someone to lead their diversity recruiting efforts.

But this isn’t just Snapchat’s problem. Discriminatory design affects all aspects of our lives: from the quality of our health care to where we live to what scientific questions we choose to ask. Let’s take a look at some tangible examples.

You can’t talk about discriminatory design without mentioning city planner Robert Moses, whose public works projects shaped huge swaths of New York City from the 1930s through the 1960s. The physical design of the environment is a powerful tool when it’s used to exclude and isolate specific groups of people. And Moses’ design choices have had lasting discriminatory effects that are still felt in modern New York.

A notorious example: Moses designed several Long Island Parkway overpasses to be so low that buses could not drive under them. This effectively blocked Long Island from the poor and people of color who tend to rely more heavily on public transportation.

The design of bus systems, railways, and other forms of public transportation has a history riddled with racial tensions and prejudiced policies. And zoning laws that determine how land is used or what schools children go to have long been used as a tool to segregate communities.

If maps are the visual manifestation of a design process, then designers can quite literally put discrimination on paper. Take, for instance, 1930’s-era redlining maps, which color coded neighborhoods based on their “desirability” to banks and investors. Areas with the lowest rating were outlined in red — and often traced inner city black neighborhoods. The effects are still visible today.

Industrial design plays a role as well, by steering human activities. For example, benches designed with prominent arm rests or shallow seats discourage homeless people from sleeping on them. This phenomenon is known as “hostile architecture” or “unpleasant design.” As one critic points out, it says a lot about a culture when its solution to homelessness is to put spikes on public surfaces.

Architects and real estate developers also play a role in discriminatory design. For example: designing buildings with separate entrances for affordable-housing tenants and market-rate tenants. So-called “poor doors” were banned in New York City, but are still being installed elsewhere.

Or consider the paucity or poor design of women’s bathrooms, which is a constant reminder of the many ways women operate in a world literally designed for (and by) men. It’s not just an inconvenience: it’s health and safety concern. Women who are menstruating need regular access to a bathroom; a filthy toilet that may suit men’s needs puts women at risk for infections; many women have no other place to breastfeed; and women are still responsible for small children who accompany them into the restroom more often than men.

Such design decisions are both caused by broader discrimination and have a way of enforcing it. Yale Medical School and Harvard Law School at one point claimed that they couldn’t admit women because there were no ladies rooms. Or, from our own generation, see the recent hysterics over transgender bathrooms — a perfect example of how the design of spaces can disadvantage some groups of people over others. And every day people with disabilities face challenges in getting around buildings and spaces not designed with them in mind.

It’s likely that as long as humans and their institutions hold prejudices and bias, their designs will reflect them. But some progress is possible. Two decades ago architect Ronald Mace imagined a new standard, in which anything humans make — a new piece of technology, a public park, a household product — is usable by everyone. He called this idea “universal design.” One way to help us get there? Make sure the design process itself is also accessible to all.

Adapted from Discrimination by Design, ProPublica (Sept. 2016)

❔ Whois

Lena Groeger is an investigative journalist and developer at ProPublica, where she makes interactive graphics and other data-driven projects. She also teaches design and data visualization at The New School and CUNY and is on the board of the Society for News Design. Before joining ProPublica in 2011, Groeger covered health and science at Scientific American and Wired magazine. She is particularly excited about the intersection of cognitive science and design, as well as creating graphics and news apps in the public interest.

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18 Aug 15:55

When Steve Buscemi Was a Firefighter — and Took It Up Again After 9/11

by Colin Marshall

Steve Buscemi’s roles in movies like In the SoupThe Big Lebowski, and Ghost World have associated him for life with a certain kind of character: awkward, ineffectual, and even slightly creepy, but nevertheless strangely endearing. But types and the actors who play them can, and usually do, diverge, and that goes especially for Buscemi. He may have made his name portraying a host of loser-ish men, but his skill at bringing them and other characters to distinctive life have kept him a highly successful performer for decades now. And what did he do before that? Why, he fought fires — and he didn’t hesitate to do it again after becoming famous.

steve-buscemi-fdny

Unilad’s Alex Watt quotes a post on the Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page which reveals how the Boardwalk Empire star entered his other profession: “In 1976 Steve Buscemi took the FDNY civil service test when he was just 18 years old,” became a firefighter a few years later, and for four years “served on one of FDNY’s busiest, Engine Co. 55.” He returned to that very same engine after September 11, 2001, “and for several days following Brother Steve worked 12-hour shifts alongside other firefighters digging and sifting through the rubble from the World Trade Center looking for survivors.”

Though he avoided publicizing his brief return to firefighting at the time, Buscemi has spoken openly about it since, as he does in the CBS Sunday Morning clip at the top of the post. Many who hear the story of a high-profile actor putting his life on hold and rushing right into a disaster site might rush right to the urban legend site Snopes, which doesn’t just verify it, but also collects some of Buscemi’s own words about his firefighting days. He started, he recalls, when he “was living in Manhattan, working as a furniture mover during the day, doing stand-up comedy at night and looking for a change. I liked the job — the guys I worked with and the nature of the work. I think I would have been happy doing it if I hadn’t had a greater passion for acting.”

Buscemi’s firefighting experience and ability to appear onscreen come together in A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY, the documentary just above. Co-produced by Buscemi himself, the film goes “behind the scenes” of the New York City Fire Department, showing just what it takes to put out the blazes of America’s most demanding city. (You can see Buscemi talking about his experience during 9/11 around the 43 minute mark.) The “good job” of the title, one retired firefighter explains, means “a really tough fire.” And no matter what kind of “job,” Buscemi says, “they’re all frightening. Any time you go into a burning building, there’s the potential for disaster. I never had any real close calls, though there’s no such thing as a routine fire.” No doubt he keeps himself mentally prepared for another — just in case.

Related Content:

Steve Buscemi’s Top 10 Film Picks (from The Criterion Collection)

Quentin Tarantino & Steve Buscemi Rehearse Scenes for Reservoir Dogs in 1991 (NSFW)

William S. Burroughs’ Home Movies, Featuring Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Steve Buscemi & Cats

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

When Steve Buscemi Was a Firefighter — and Took It Up Again After 9/11 is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

16 Jul 11:14

Fashionable 2,000-Year-Old Roman Shoe Found in a Well

by Dan Colman

roman shoe

When the Romans pushed their way north into the German provinces, they built (circa 90 AD) The Saalburg, a fort that protected the boundary between the Roman Empire and the Germanic tribal territories. At its peak, 2,000 people lived in the fort and the attached village. It remained active until around 260 AD.

Somewhere during the 19th century, The Saalburg was rediscovered and excavated, then later fully reconstructed. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage site and houses the Saalburg Museum, which contains many Roman relics, including a 2,000 year old shoe, apparently found in a local well.


If you think the Italians have mastered the craft of making shoes, well, they don’t have much on their ancestors. According to the site Romans Across Europe, the Romans  “were the originators of the entire-foot-encasing shoe.” The site continues:

There was a wide variety of shoes and sandals for men and women. Most were constructed like military caligae, with a one-piece upper nailed between layers of the sole. Many had large open-work areas made by cutting or punching circles, triangles, squares, ovals, etc. in rows or grid-like patterns. Others were more enclosed, having only holes for the laces. Some very dainty women’s and children’s shoes still had thick nailed soles.

The image above, which puts all of the Roman’s shoe-making skill on display, comes to us via Reddit and imgur.

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Fashionable 2,000-Year-Old Roman Shoe Found in a Well is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

23 Jun 13:10

How the Bloomberg Terminal Made History--And Stays Ever Relevant

By definition, any computing platform invented in the first half of the 1980s that has survived until 2015—and is an enormous business—has accomplished something remarkable. There's the Windows PC, which traces its heritage back to the original IBM PC announced in August 1981. There's the Mac, which famously debuted in January 1984.

And then there's the Bloomberg Terminal, which hit the market in December 1982.

Unlike the PC or the Mac, the Terminal has always catered to a niche—investors and other finance professionals—which is why most people have never seen one in person. But it's one of the industry's few truly enduring successes. It's mattered so much that a current Bloomberg Terminal setup is one of a handful of artifacts in "Tools of the Trade," a new display at Silicon Valley's Computer History Museum that traces the history of financial technology, beginning with the tokens used by ancient Sumerians to track the trading of items such as sheep, which eventually led to the invention of the clay tablet.

"We start the story 10,000 years ago, which is why we have the clay tokens," says Computer History Museum Curator Dag Spicer. "There’s a reason we put them right beside the Bloomberg Terminal, to give you the alpha and omega of trading. Trading, as a human activity, is something that’s been with human civilization since the beginning."

This is the Bloomberg Terminal's second museum appearance this year: The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History included two Terminal keyboards in an exhibit on American enterprise, including one that belonged to legendary bond trader Bill Gross.

Bloomberg's current dual-monitor system and specialized keyboard

Good Timing

The Bloomberg Terminal of today—which, speaking more precisely, is a service known as Bloomberg Professional—provides more than 325,000 subscribers with everything from an array of information on financial matters to a chat system to the ability to actually execute trades. It processes 60 billion pieces of information from the market a day. Yet it's still recognizable as a descendant of its 1982 progenitor, just as a 2015 MacBook retains the DNA of the 128K model from 1984.

The tale of its creation is one of a scrappy little company engaging in technological innovation, but it's not the classic born-in-a-garage startup story. Michael Bloomberg had been a general partner at investment bank Salomon Brothers, where he was forced into a job heading IT development and then pushed out of the company altogether. In 1981, at the age of 39, he took his $10 million severance and started a company called Innovative Market Systems, later to become Bloomberg LP. IMS called its product Market Master at first, and the 20 original units went into service at Merrill Lynch at the end of 1982.

What a dual-monitor Bloomberg setup looked like in 1997, as demoed by Mike Bloomberg himself

Technology companies had been working on bringing automation to the stock market for years, with gadgetry such as the Telequote III dating to the late 1960s. But Bloomberg's timing was fortuitous, even though the company got going during a raging recession. In the 1980s, stock exchanges from New York to Tokyo were going electronic, a prerequisite for a truly sophisticated online service for traders. It's what enabled not only the Terminal but other devices such as 1984's way-before-its-time QuoTrek, a wireless handheld gizmo for investors.

Big companies such as Dow Jones and Reuters were eager to take advantage of this revolution in financial information, too. But just like today, being small, focused, and unburdened by legacy concerns was an advantage. "Bloomberg was this new startup that was nimble, that was experimenting, that was battling against the Goliaths of the time," says Marguerite Gong Hancock, executive director of the Computer History Museum's Center for Entrepreneurs.

Michael Bloomberg himself talked like the startup guys of later decades when the New York Times interviewed him for a May 1982 article about launching companies during an economic downturn. "This is an interesting time," he said. ''You can't go out and start a steel mill, but the position of the business cycle and the rate of technological change are such that people can go and start small companies when they have a few people with good ideas."

A Bloomberg Terminal keyboard circa 1990, with trackball and built-in voice-chat features

As Bloomberg's 1997 memoir Bloomberg on Bloomberg notes, Merrill Lynch owned 30% of his company in the early years and benefited from an exclusivity agreement that prevented Bloomberg from selling Terminals to Merrill Lynch's major rivals. In the late 1980s, Bloomberg successfully lobbied Merrill Lynch to end this restriction, whereupon it began to grow by 25% to 30% a year. It also upgraded the Terminal on an ongoing basis with new technologies: color, for instance, in 1991, and flat-panel displays five years later.

The Terminal, Evolved

One of the odd things about the moniker "Bloomberg Terminal" is that it's a nickname rather than an official brand. ("People often refer to the 'Bloomberg Terminal' when speaking about the Bloomberg Professional service," explains the Bloomberg website, which doesn't have any choice but to confront the issue.) And enduring though the nickname is, it's a wildly insufficient way to describe what the company offers today.

A Bloomberg Professional screen, dense with information

A terminal, after all, is a piece of dedicated, all-in-one hardware for connecting to a network. That's what Bloomberg once sold. But 20 years ago, it began to let subscribers access the service from a PC. Today, the hardware aspect of the service is a suite of accessories—a custom keyboard with keys such as EQUITY, GOVT, and NEWS, the credit card-sized B-Unit fingerprint scanner, a slick, optional dual-screen display—that customize Windows PCs for use with Bloomberg Professional.

The B-Unit fingerprint scanner

Still, there's something . . . well, terminal-like about Bloomberg Professional's interface. In 2015 as in 1982, the investment pros who use the service like to gorge on data, so screens are dense with text, much of it in tabular form, complemented with charts where appropriate. The default is still amber characters on a black background, a color scheme that was commonplace in the early days of computing—and that remains easy on the eyes even though it was long ago supplanted almost elsewhere else by black text on a white backdrop.

This is an area where milliseconds count.

Bloomberg Professional does get quite graphical in spots: For instance, it offers a feature that lets you track ships carrying commodities as they travel around a map, a bit of intelligence that can be very valuable to a trader. It's still about data: "You can see the position of every ship in the world," says Zach Haehn, head of R&D for Bloomberg's San Francisco operation. "What they're carrying, how fast they're going, where they're going." (Four hundred years ago, Dutch merchants used telescopes to gaze at distant ships for the same reason—a fact noted in the Computer History Museum's "Tools of the Trade" exhibit.)

Though it's now possible to use the service on any Internet-connected PC—as well as on wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets—the fact that Bloomberg operates its own private network, isolated from the flaky, insecure Internet, remains core to the concept. "When it started out, [the Bloomberg service] was basically a time-sharing system, with terminals," says Computer History Museum curator Marc Weber. "It was in the '90s that it became truly networked. Most of the private networks have disappeared. This is one of the few [that remains], and finance is clearly one of the areas where people value the privacy, security, and speed. This is an area where milliseconds count."

"Our network is really about control," says Shawn Edwards, Bloomberg's CTO. "It's about being able to manage our own system and have fine grain control. It's expensive, but it's worth it to us."

A Bloomberg screen monitoring tankers transporting liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) between the Gulf Coast and the U.K.

When Haehn gave me a demo of Bloomberg Professional, the biggest surprise wasn't what the service could do, but how fast it did it. Screens crammed with information popped into place with such alacrity that it almost felt like a mocked-up simulation. But it was real live data being streamed over Bloomberg's private network.

As an engineering challenge, the need for speed isn't just about introducing new features without performance degradation. "It's getting worse," says Vlad Kliatchko, Bloomberg's head of R&D. "The volume is going up. The crazy speed requirements are going up. We used to put data in front of humans, and only needed to do it so fast. Now many of our systems are connected to customers' computers, which like to see things faster than humans."

Going West

Bloomberg has 4,000 engineers and makes tweaks to its service on a daily basis. But in some respects, it must make them without it being too painfully obvious that anything's different. "We have an incredibly loyal user base," says Edwards. "They're very motivated in what they're doing with the terminal. It can be a challenge even changing a font ever so slightly. People will notice it and complain. At the same time, if we don't change and evolve, we'll fall behind. It's a really interesting balancing act."

Keeping up with users' expectations requires the company to take advantage of the latest trends impacting software engineering. For example, it's been aggressively adopting open technologies such as the Hadoop big-data framework and Solr search platform. Just as important, it wants to have a shot at hiring world-class developers—the type of folks who, if they weren't helping to shape the future of the Bloomberg service, might be working at Google, Facebook, or some red-hot startup.

How Bloomberg engineers the Terminal

With this in mind, the company opened a West Coast Technology Hub last May in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood, on two floors of the Pacific Telephone & Telephone Building, a 1925 Art Deco gem that was the city's first skyscraper. The presence lets the company hire engineers from a rich talent pool and generally strengthen its ties with the Bay Area tech community.

For Bloomberg, insinuating itself into a geeky culture 3,000 miles from its New York home base is an ongoing effort. "Most [job candidates] don’t know a lot about us," explains Haehn. "They know about us from a TV perspective, a media perspective, a news perspective. They might have been to our website or our iPhone app. And they don’t even do their homework before the interview, which tells you a lot about the way the developer market is right now. They’re just like, ‘Whatever.'"

"But every once in awhile, I meet [someone] at a hardware company or a networking company," he says. "And they know everything about us. They’re like, ‘Oh yeah, you guys have pushed us to the limit.’ They’re impressed."

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09 Jun 14:26

danewsea: …just like U & yourSlides !!! by...



danewsea:

…just like U & yourSlides !!!

by surfer/adventurer Lex Weinstein 

09 Jun 14:25

theleoisallinthemind: mansur gavriel march ‘16 ”



theleoisallinthemind:

mansur gavriel march ‘16 ”

25 May 17:23

The World’s Biggest Industry Just Got Served — NewCo Shift

It could save the US economy tens of billions of dollars a year, and its proponents claim it will save or extend millions of lives. The Wall Street Journal called it “radical.” Major industry giants lobbied against its implementation and warned of mass consumer confusion and uncertain scientific validity. It took years to crawl through one of the largest bureaucracies in the US government, and represents the largest update to that department’s public policy in more than two decades.

The subject at hand? A new version of the familiar Nutrition Facts label, which sits on every packaged food product sold in the US. Late last week the FDA finally announced a new food labeling regime, and it takes aim squarely at a new public enemy #1: Sugar.

The news came last Friday, the weekday all politically sensitive news goes to die. I’d have missed it myself had it not, by pure coincidence, come out one day after I sat down to interview my first guest on the Shift Dialogs, a new video series we’re producing with our partners at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center.

My guest was Dr. Jordan Shlain, a peripatetic and entrepreneurial physician who has started several health-related businesses and has taken an active stand against processed sugar through a foundation he founded with Dr. Robert Lustig, a noted pediatric endocrinologist who has seen the devastating effects of childhood diabetes firsthand. Lustig’s 90-minute lecture, “Sugar, the Bitter Truth,” has nearly 6.5 million views on YouTube and has been called “sugar’s tobacco moment.”

Shlain is also a close friend, so he was willing to put up with all the hiccups and warts inherent to shooting the pilot of a new series. Toward the end of our conversation Shlain and I discussed his foundation, the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, and he noted that new FDA regulations were coming soon. The next day, the news dropped.

And the news is stunning. Among other changes, the FDA is requiring all food manufacturers to identify and call out all “added sugars” in their products. Previously, these added sugars were hidden in the “Total Carbohydrates” section of the label, and only naturally occurring sugars were called out. Take a look at the FDA-provided comparison of sugar labels — I’ve circled the massive shift in sugar content:

That’s a twelve-fold increase in reported sugars. The processed food industry regularly adds an extraordinary amount of sugar to our diet — but until last week, consumers weren’t informed of that fact. Here’s the Wall Street Journal on added sugar in the American diet:

“Government health officials recommend eating no more than 50 grams of added sugars — or the equivalent of 12.5 teaspoons of granulated sugar — a day, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. However, the FDA estimates Americans on average consume the equivalent of 20 teaspoons through added sugars like honey, high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners.”

Put another way, the average American consumes 60% more sugar than they should — and that’s based on US figures. Other health organizations suggest we should limit our sugar intake to six teaspoons a day, or less than half the amount recommended by the FDA. Lustig and Shlain were blunt when I asked about the impact of sugar in our society: They called it a massive public health and financial crisis. More than a third of all people in the US have diabetes-related diseases, and our healthcare system has ballooned to consume nearly 20 percent of our overall GDP, with healthcare costs are rising far faster than either real income or overall GDP.

That’s simply not sustainable — and it augurs a massive shift in consumer behavior and business practices. The food industry is the largest sector of the global economy, estimated by the World Bank to comprise ten percent of all economic output. And the largest food companies — Coca Cola, Nestlé, and General Mills, for example — have developed sophisticated economies of scale based on the chemistry of processed sugars. Sugar not only makes food taste better, it also helps foods retain their texture and form during transport and storage.

Because sugar is a fundamental building block of the worldwide food system, it’s also one of the most heavily subsidized by governments. We’ve built our society on sugar — and we’re now realizing that our approach is killing us, both physically and financially.

So while a label seems like an afterthought, the FDA news is actually a significant milestone. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans use food labels as a shopping guide. When the new labeling system goes into effect — in summer of 2018 — the impact on the food industry will be massive.

We live in an age of data. Food labels are a window into the data ecosystem that comprises the food industry, and that window just got a bit more transparent. Kudos to the FDA, and to the food industry itself, which fought the regulations tooth and nail, but in the end, capitulated to the reality of the facts on the ground. The new leaders of the food industry will be those who do more than simply bend to a new labeling regime, but instead focus on innovation and transparency to earn the newly informed public’s business by creating the next generation of healthier and more sustainable food products.

The video above is a short preview of my conversation with Dr. Shlain, who also edits a publication called Tincture. The Shift Dialogs will debut next month.

###

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17 May 11:17

Chris Mottalini

by Willson Cummer

© Chris Mottalini

Mottalini.com

Land of Smiles is a quiet, surreal exploration of Thailand’s everyday architecture and landscapes.

I have spent a considerable amount of time in Thailand over the past five or so years (my wife is from Bangkok). Still, I remain an outsider and am fascinated by many aspects of the landscape that most Thais would never think twice about. The images featured here focus on the accidentally sculptural fluorescent bulb streetlights and nightscapes of rural Thailand.  

Land of Smiles takes you on a walking tour in a dream-state. This is Thailand as few people will ever see it (especially in light of the political turmoil and chaos of the past decade).

— Chris Mottalini, Brooklyn, New York, USA

© Chris Mottalini

© Chris Mottalini3

12 May 14:30

Charalampos Kydonakis

by Willson Cummer

APR 21 Charalampos Kydonakis

DirtyHarrry.com

Once Upon a Time on the Island of the Minotaur

Crete’s strategic location exposed the island to siege and piracy continuously during the centuries. This fact pushed local people to the mountainous interior of the island to protect themselves from the pirates’ assaults across the seaside. 

More or less until the 1970’s, when tourism appeared here, the Cretans’ character, life and customs were much more related to the mountains rather than the sea. These photos are a kind of observation at the dyadic nature of the Minotaur’s island, this key-shaped mountain that was planted in the Mediterranean sea.

— Charalampos Kydonakis, Rethymnon, Crete, Greece

© Charalampos Kydonakis

© Charalampos Kydonakis3

12 May 14:24

Soulwax’s Studio Deewee

by rane
Studio Deewee - Imgur-1 Studio Deewee - Imgur-2 Studio Deewee - Imgur Studio Deewee - Imgur-3   Studio Deewee - Imgur-5 Studio Deewee - Imgur-6 Studio Deewee - Imgur-7 Studio Deewee - Imgur-8 Studio Deewee - Imgur-9
12 May 14:21

Marilyn Minter

12 May 14:19

1.8 Million Free Works of Art from World-Class Museums: A Meta List of Great Art Available Online

by Josh Jones

Rosetta Stone

Since the first stirrings of the internet, artists and curators have puzzled over what the fluidity of online space would do to the experience of viewing works of art. At a conference on the subject in 2001, Susan Hazan of the Israel Museum wondered whether there is “space for enchantment in a technological world?” She referred to Walter Benjamin’s ruminations on the “potentially liberating phenomenon” of technologically reproduced art, yet also noted that “what was forfeited in this process were the ‘aura’ and the authority of the object containing within it the values of cultural heritage and tradition.” Evaluating a number of online galleries of the time, Hazan found that “the speed with which we are able to access remote museums and pull them up side by side on the screen is alarmingly immediate.” Perhaps the “accelerated mobility” of the internet, she worried, “causes objects to become disposable and to decline in significance.”

VG-Self-Portrait-1887

Fifteen years after her essay, the number of museums that have made their collections available online whole, or in part, has grown exponentially and shows no signs of slowing. We may not need to fear losing museums and libraries—important spaces that Michel Foucault called “heterotopias,” where linear, mundane time is interrupted. These spaces will likely always exist. Yet increasingly we need never visit them in person to view most of their contents. Students and academics can conduct nearly all of their research through the internet, never having to travel to the Bodleian, the Beinecke, or the British Library. And lovers of art must no longer shell out for plane tickets and hotels to see the precious contents of the Getty, the Guggenheim, or the Rijksmuseum. For all that may be lost, online galleries have long been “making works of art widely available, introducing new forms of perception in film and photography and allowing art to move from private to public, from the elite to the masses.”

Kandinsky-Composition-II

Even more so than when Hazan wrote those words, the online world offers possibilities for “the emergence of new cultural phenomena, the virtual aura.” Over the years we have featured dozens of databases, archives, and online galleries through which you might virtually experience art the world over, an experience once solely reserved for only the very wealthy. And as artists and curators adapt to a digital environment, they find new ways to make virtual galleries enchanting. The vast collections in the virtual galleries listed below await your visit, with close to 2,000,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, books, and more. See the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum (top), courtesy of the Google Cultural Institute. See Van Gogh’s many self-portraits and vivid, swirling landscapes at The Van Gogh Museum. Visit the Asian art collection at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries. Or see Vassily Kandinsky’s dazzling abstract compositions at the Guggenheim.

And below the list of galleries, find links to online collections of several hundred art books to read online or download. Continue to watch this space: We’ll add to both of these lists as more and more collections come online.

Art Images from Museums & Libraries

Art Books

Related Contents:

Download 448 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Puts 400,000 High-Res Images Online & Makes Them Free to Use

Free: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Offer 474 Free Art Books Online

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

1.8 Million Free Works of Art from World-Class Museums: A Meta List of Great Art Available Online is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

09 Feb 12:19

An Eccentric Visual History of Our Most Basic Shapes

by Allison Meier
X Hour (created by Bruno Munari)

Bruno Munari, X Hour (all images from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle,’ courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press, unless otherwise noted)

The square, circle, and triangle are the most basic shapes on Earth, supporting structures both synthetic and natural. In the 1960s, Italian artist Bruno Munari explored the visual history of these shapes in three books, which Princeton Architectural Press recently compiled into Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle.

squarecircle01

Cover of ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’ (click to enlarge)

“A circle drawn by hand showed the skill of Giotto,” Munari writes in the 1964 La Scoperta del Cerchio (The Discovery of the Circle). “The first thing a child draws looks like a circle. People spontaneously arrange themselves in a circle when they need to observe something close up, and this led to the origin of the arena, the circus, and the stock exchange trading posts.”

Munari had published La Scoperta del Quadrato (The Discovery of the Square) a few years earlier in 1960, and then La Scoperta del Triangolo (The Discovery of the Triangle) — specifically the equilateral triangle — in 1976. The books are fascinating to explore together in this new reissue, which guards Munari’s original black-and-white design in a square-shaped book. Munari created over 60 books for various audiences during his lifetime (they were chronicled in last year’s Munari’s Books by art historian Giorgio Maffei), and he mainly intended the shape books for fellow designers. “Knowing everything about this simple, basic shape, in all its aspects and formal and structural possibilities, is a great help to designers,” he writes in Triangle. However, there’s a broad appreciation possible for this eccentric exploration of the three shapes through Munari’s omnivorous approach. He never nails down what any of the shapes are, yet looks at every aspect of what they mean, where they appear, and even their significance in language. In Square, he writes:

As tall and as broad as a man with his arms outstretched, the square has always been used, from the oldest writings and rock engravings made by early man, to signify the idea of an enclosure, a house, a village. Enigmatic in its simplicity, in the monotonous repetition of its four sides, its four identical corners, it can generate a whole series of interesting figures.

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle'

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle'

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’

The subjects are all arranged alphabetically (according to their Italian names), adding a level of objectivity; Square, for instance, begins with the Hellenistic plan of the Agora of Ephesus and a 1951 Josef Albers painting, and concludes with a sculptural model by Mary Vieira and blocky Chinese calligraphy by Wang Hsi-Chih. Much of the information can feel random, with just two pages in Square including the Chinese character for mouth, the Sumerian word for house, the square Tokyo home of architect Makoto Masuzawa, the proportions of a French cathedral, and a photograph of the early computer “electric brain.”

Still there are symbolic patterns that emerge, such as the circle that often “deals with the divine.” Munari includes the sun disk of the Egyptian god Ra, the ouroboros biting its tale symbolizing eternity, a Raphael painting of the Madonna, magic circles, a Gothic rose window, and the crown of thorns. He also can never resist a bit of whimsical wit, and at the end of Circle throws in a monowheel — a circular bicycle.

Even if you’re not a designer, the trilogy on shapes encourages a closer look at the repeating structures around us and their deep human and natural histories, in which the simple square can simultaneously be an ancient symbol with “the power to drive out the plague,” and the boundaries for a game of chess.

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle' (photo of the book for Hyperallergic)

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’ (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle'

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’

Roof Covering (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Roof Covering (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle' (photo of the book for Hyperallergic)

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’ (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle'

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’

Tangents Image credit: Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

Tangents (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle' (photo of the book for Hyperallergic)

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’ (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

Boschin Image credit: Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

Boschin (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Electronic Brain Image credit: © Eredi Ugo Mulas

Electronic Brain (photo by Eredi Ugo Mulas)

Banana Image credit: Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

Banana (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Folding Chair Image credit: Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

Folding Chair (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle is out now from Princeton Architectural Press.

30 Jan 18:04

Lauren Everett - People Like Us: The Cult of The Rocky Horror Picture Show

by mrs. deane

People Like Us: The Cult of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
by Lauren Everett
Preface by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, introduction by Lauren Everett, with additional essays by the performers
140 pages, 8.5 x 11"
Offset soft-cover
$25 US

"My book is a collection of environmental portraiture, documentary images, and text that explore the vibrant DIY sub-culture surrounding the ultimate cult movie. Though there have been many titles about the film itself, this is the first and only photography series ever to focus on the remarkable story of the folks who have been the driving force behind the film's unprecedented 40 year theatrical run, and the community they have forged."

website / order 
30 Jan 18:00

Elmgreen & Dragset The Well Fair 2016The artists have...



Elmgreen & Dragset The Well Fair 2016

The artists have transformed the main hall of UCCA into a fictional fair by building multiple rows of rectangular booths, mimicking the generic architecture of art fairs worldwide. 

28 Jan 11:07

N.Y.C. to L.A. to N.Y.C. to L.A., Ad Infinitum

Credit Illustration by Walter Green

When I realized that New York was a cesspit filled with the viscera of broken dreams, I decided that the time had come for me to move to beautiful, sunny Los Angeles.

When I arrived in L.A. and realized that it was creatively dead, had a withered husk for a soul, and considered ombré the height of culture, I took the first plane back to New York.

Of course, my plane landed in a sea of overstressed, overworked rat kings fornicating with cockroaches and three of my exes. So I bought a used Prius and drove cross-country straight to L.A., because in L.A. people go on hikes.

On my first hike in L.A., I had to talk to someone who’d never read Joan Didion and who’d had—get this—plastic surgery. Before he could say “juice cleanse,” I had ridden a fixed-gear bicycle right back to the Big Apple.

My bike wouldn’t fit in my two-inch-wide urine-soaked apartment in Sunset Park, so I found someone to take over my lease and I rode a Segway all the way to Hollywood, eating local fruits and reciting positive affirmations as I rolled merrily along.

At my first party in Los Angeles, I heard the word “agent” more than fifteen thousand times. (I tried to keep a tally, but my fingers started bleeding, so I stopped.) People went on “generals” and never returned. I knew I needed to get back to where the real people were, the people of substance and letters, who understood the Struggle.

So I took the secret subway train that goes from L.A. to New York. It was O.K. until 3:30 P.M., when a gang of youths attacked me, emotionally. Somehow I arrived in one piece, but it was the middle of winter, so I sat alone in my apartment until spring. During that time, my hair fell out and my skin fell off.

I hitchhiked to L.A. at the first opportunity. When I arrived, the people were sun-kissed and the rampant depression was barely noticeable compared with New York. You can hide all manner of mental illness with a solid tan and veneers. I hopped in my car, got on the 405, and headed to the beach. I was stuck in traffic for six years.

By the time I got back to New York, I was very old. I was twenty-seven. I was too old for the constant partying I assumed people did. I was too old to keep pretending I’d read all the articles and listened to all the bands. Pretending to like things was a young person’s game. I just needed a change.

And L.A., city of vapid angels, provided that change. No one cared if I’d read anything or listened to anything, or whether I even had eyes or ears, as long as I didn’t get the part of Surprised Waitress No. 2 over them. Everything was fine until all the yoga made my bones dissolve.

Skinless and boneless, I jiggled back to New York, but everyone kept making me feel so ashamed of being a blob. I threw on my comfiest sweatpants, poured what was left of me into a Vitamix, and shipped myself to L.A.

Halfway between New York and L.A., I imploded. I am so much happier now. ♦

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24 Jan 10:32

norafleischer: Little Explorer. Cantwell, Alaska



norafleischer:

Little Explorer.

Cantwell, Alaska

22 Jan 17:32

Writing new episodes of Friends is easy if you use a neural network

by James Vincent

When humanity is immortal because of gene-repairing nanobots in all our fast food, we'll need something to do to pass the time. Watching infinite episodes of Friends written by a computer and acted out in virtual reality seems like a good start, and, thanks to cartoonist and software developer Andy Herd, we're pretty much halfway there.

Herd create a neural network using Google's open source machine learning software TensorFlow and fed it a bunch of Friends scripts. From this data, the network learned how to write its own scripts, Herd told The Daily Beast, coming out with gems like this:

[Scene: Monica and Rachel's, Monica and Phoebe are dancing.]

Van Damme: I'll go in a crap.

Monica: Keep talking!

Phoebe: Wow lady! You're just gonna come over to him jumpy. (They start to cry.)

Chandler: So, Phoebe likes my pants.

Monica: Chicken Bob!

Chandler: (in a muffin) (Runs to the girls to cry) Can I get some presents.

Isn't it flawless? Isn't it everything you'd expect? You've got the late-'90s guest star, the sexual tension, Monica's famous wacky catchphrases, and random outbursts of crying. Here are some more of Herd's scripts, which he posted on Twitter on Monday night:

i fed a recurrent neural network with the scripts for every episode of friends and it learned to generate new scenes pic.twitter.com/RIPvYuzEJM

— Andy Pandy (@_Pandy) January 18, 2016

Herd, who makes the web comic Pandyland, says that a lot of what his neural network creates is still gibberish, but that he hopes to improve its output in the future. He told The Daily Beast he'll "maybe make it public one day" if it gets good enough, or start experimenting with other TV shows. "Maybe Frasier or Seinfeld," says Herd. "Or maybe mash them all together and create The Perfect Sitcom."

18 Jan 09:46

The Architectural Legacy of Pizza Hut Restaurants

by Claire Voon
Ho Hai Tran, "The Great Wall, Glendale Heights, IL, USA " (all photos courtesy Ho Hai Tran and Chloe Cahill)

Ho Hai Tran, “The Great Wall, Glendale Heights, IL, USA ” (all photos courtesy Ho Hai Tran and Chloe Cahill)

While our love for pizza will never die, the dine-in locations of the red-roofed Pizza Hut have been gradually shuttering across the world. Still, even if they no longer house cheesy, greasy goodness, their iconic hut-shaped forms endure, dotting the landscape as buildings for new businesses. For the past two years, freelance photographer Ho Hai Tran has been traveling the world, hunting down these shells of former Pizza Huts and photographing nearly 100 of them. The series of images in his forthcoming, Kickstarter-funded book, Pizza Hunt, is an homage to a particular period of the fast food chain’s history, one that introduced an unexpected architectural design that spread globally.

The former flatbread eateries now exist as Chinese restaurants, liquor stores, pawn shops, gospel churches, and funeral homes, but certain lasting or repurposed architectural elements remain that hint to days when patrons gathered around sticky tables to double-fist doughy slices and hunks of cheesy bread.

Cover of 'Pizza Hunt' by Ho Hai Tran and Chloe Cahill (click to enlarge)

Cover of ‘Pizza Hunt’ by Ho Hai Tran and Chloe Cahill (click to enlarge)

“The huts vary from the slightly altered to the drastically transformed but were all originally built in the same image,” Tran told Hyperallergic. “Some of the tell-tale features of the hut are the trapezoidal windows and the two-tiered shingled roof.”

Pizza Hut’s first location — which opened on June 15, 1958 and now exists on the Wichita State University campus — was actually just a small brick building, where a shortage of space on its entryway sign in addition to its architecture dictated the brand name. As the chain expanded and competing businesses emerged, however, its founders decided to set Pizza Hut apart with a new and unique design. As e-zine Dairy River explains in a heavily researched essay on Pizza Hut’s famous roof, a local architect Richard D. Burke takes responsibility for coming up with the red, pavilion-style roof. His design dates to around 1964, and it popped up just about everywhere, from Anchorage, Alaska, to Alimos, Greece.

Ho Hai Tran, "Olsens Funerals , Revesby, NSW, Australia"

Ho Hai Tran, “Olsens Funerals , Revesby, NSW, Australia”

Many of those red roofs are now repainted and many buildings disguised, but Tran, along with creative director and editor Chloe Cahill, combed Google Maps, mined existing online research, and spoke with locals to confirm a business’ original pizzeria status. Some are still easily recognizable, like the Pizza Hut-turned pagoda-style Chinese restaurant in Illinois that tweaked its roof with a teal paint job and upturned edges; or “Copycat,” a copy store in Pennsylvania that stays true to its name and pretty much adheres to the structure of the pizza parlor. Others, like Olsens Funerals in Australia, bear faint resemblance to Burke’s design, requiring much more digging into history.

 

Ho Hai Tran, "Copycat , California, PA, USA"

Ho Hai Tran, “Copycat , California, PA, USA”

“Pizza Hunt” isn’t the first compendium devoted to the enduring legacy of the hut-like diner, although it will be the first printed publication on the topic that is self-compiled. Since 2008, the blog Used to Be a Pizza Hut has been crowdsourcing photographs to document the current nature of the franchise’s old establishments. Like Pizza Hunt, its archives reveal the significance of Pizza Hut’s architecture not only in building the pie giant’s brand but also in creating a now-distant experience that predates the arrival of delivery services.

“The Pizza Hunt is a celebration of the golden era of dine-in fast food,” Tran said. “For anyone who’s ever made a mountain of mini marshmallows on their self-serve sundae, maxed out on free refills at the drink fountain or driven past a hut and felt its strange allure – this book’s for you.”

Ho Hai Tran, "Vacant, West Palm Beach, FL, USA" (click to enlarge)

Ho Hai Tran, “Vacant, West Palm Beach, FL, USA”

Ho Hai Tran, "Church of Our Savior, Boynton Beach, FL, USA"

Ho Hai Tran, “Church of Our Savior, Boynton Beach, FL, USA”

Ho Hai Tran, "Los Burritos Mexicanos, St. Charles, IL, USA"

Ho Hai Tran, “Los Burritos Mexicanos, St. Charles, IL, USA”

Limited edition Clams

Limited edition book with custom pizza box clamshell

Pizza Hunt is only available through Kickstarter.

05 Jan 21:02

robertge: overfedvenison: thebuttkingpost: friendshipismax: W...



robertge:

overfedvenison:

thebuttkingpost:

friendshipismax:

Why is Dark Vader fighting a Playboy bunny model?

That’s clearly Luke skywalker.

Tag your spoilers

The Force Awakens looks amazing.

28 Dec 13:54

Galaxies Not So Far Away

by Rebecca Robertson
© Neil Folberg © Neil Folberg © Neil Folberg © Neil Folberg © Neil Folberg

The stars look close at hand in Neil Folberg’s cosmic nighttime photos, made in the deserts of Israel and the Sinai Peninsula and on view in “Celestial Nights,” an exhibition at The Dryansky Gallery in San Francisco up until January 17. Set among ruins and natural landscapes, the images suggest the radiant glow of a world lit by starlight. Like the work of the great 19th century landscape photographers such as Gustave Le Gray, the photos, originally made in the late 1990s and early 2000s, are composites of sky and earth. Folberg used the technology available at the time to create “a “digital negative” which enabled [him] to produce the images as silver gelatin prints,” reads a statement from the gallery. “As a result of new technology, Folberg has been able to revisit and digitally remaster the images bringing them closer to his original vision.”

Folberg was born in San Francisco and studied with Ansel Adams before moving to Israel in the 1970s, and the dramatic landscape of the Middle East has been a recurring theme in his work. The inspiration for the series came from spending time on the Sinai Peninsula while working on an earlier project. “I felt it was the greatest and most wonderful adventure I could imagine, wandering through the wadis, listening to the wind, feeling the stones or sand underfoot, sleeping outdoors below a sky of blazing stars,” Folberg said in a 2009 interview. “It began to feed on my imagination and reveal my inner character. The harsh daylight can often hide things as well as reveal them. During the day we feel all powerful, at night we begin to realize the vastness of the universe and one becomes aware of its scale and one’s limitations and our place in it. Between the finite and the infinite, the known and the unknown…to capture it on film is what drove me to create ‘Celestial Nights.'”

Related Stories:

Richard Misrach: Graecism

From Emerging Photographer: How Did They Do That: Meteor Showers

Night Lights: 6 Approaches to Shooting in the Dark

28 Dec 12:43

Soviet Inventor Léon Theremin Shows Off the Theremin, the Early Electronic Instrument That Could Be Played Without Being Touched (1954)

by Josh Jones

You know the sound of the theremin, that weird, warbly whine that gets a solo in the Beach Boy’s “Good Vibrations” and signals mystery, danger, and otherworldly portent in many classic sci-fi films and the original intro theme to Doctor Who. It has the distinction of being not only the very first electronic instrument but also the only instrument in history one plays without ever touching any part of it. Instead, the theremin player makes hand motions, like the conductor of an invisible choir, and the device sings. You can see this yourself above, as the instrument’s inventor, Léon Theremin, demonstrates his thereminvox, as he called it at the time, in 1954. Speaking in Russian, with English subtitles, Theremin describes how the “instrument of a singing-voice kind” works “by means of influencing an electromagnetic field.”

Theremin originally invented the instrument in 1919 and called it the Aetherphone. He demonstrated it for Vladimir Lenin in 1922, and its futuristic sound and design made quite an impression on the ailing communist leader. Theremin then brought the device to Europe (see a silent newsreel demonstration here) and to the U.S. in 1927, where he debuted it at the Plaza Hotel and where classical violinist Clara Rockmore, soon to become the most devoted proponent and player of the theremin, first heard it. Although many people thought of Theremin’s invention as a novelty, Rockmore determined that it would be taken seriously. She apprenticed herself to Theremin, mastered the instrument, and adapted and recorded many a classical composition, like Tchaikovsky’s “Berceuse,” above. More than anyone else, Rockmore made the theremin sing as its inventor intended.

The origin story of the theremin, like so many invention stories, involves a happy accident in the laboratory. Just above, Albert Glinsky, author of the history Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage, describes how Theremin inadvertently created his new instrument while devising an audible technique for measuring the density of gases in a chemistry lab. The first iteration of the instrument had a foot pedal, but Theremin wisely decided, Glinsky says, that “it would be so much more intriguing to have the hands purely in the air,” manipulating the sound from seemingly nowhere. Although there are no frets or strings or keys, no bow, slide, or other physical means of changing the theremin’s pitch, its operation nonetheless requires training and precision just like any other musical instrument. If you’re interested in learning the basics, check out the tutorial below with thereminist Lydia Kavina, playing a ‘thereamini’ designed by synthesizer pioneer Moog.

In his day, Theremin lived on the cutting edge of scientific and musical innovation, and he hoped to see his instrument integrated into the world of dance. While working with the American Negro Ballet Company in the 1930s, the inventor fell in love with and married a young African-American dancer named Lavinia Williams. He was subsequently ostracized from his social circle, then he either abruptly picked up and left the U.S. for the Soviet Union in 1938 or, more likely, as Lavinia alleged, he was kidnapped from his studio and whisked away. Whatever the case, Theremin ended up in a Gulag laboratory called a sharaska, designing listening devices for the Soviet Union. Thereafter, he worked for the KGB, then became a professor of physics at Moscow State University.

Theremin never gave up on his electronic instruments, inventing an electronic cello and variations on his theremin during a 10-year stint at the Moscow Conservatory of Music. He gave his final theramin demonstration in the year of his death, 1993, at age 97. (See him playing above in 1987 with his third wife Natalia.) To learn much more about the inventor’s fascinating life story, be sure to see Steven M. Martin’s 1993 documentary Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey.

And if you’re intrigued enough, you can buy your very own Theremin made by Moog.

Related Content:

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Soviet Inventor Léon Theremin Shows Off the Theremin, the Early Electronic Instrument That Could Be Played Without Being Touched (1954) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

28 Dec 12:25

Sending Out an SOS to Save Our Concrete Brutalist Monsters

by Allison Meier
Olena Bulygina

Б — Брутализм или посмотрим за Barbican

Visvesvaraya Center.jpg Charles Correa: Visvesvaraya Center, Bangalore, Indien, 1974–1980 Foto: © Addison Goedel 2010

Visvesvaraya Center, Bangalore, India; Architect: Charles Correa (1974–80) (© Addison Goedel, 2010, all images courtesy SOSBrutalism)

The monolithic concrete that forms some of our most creative 20th-century architectural heritage is in danger of disappearing. Brutalism, that heftily named form of modernism that favors right-angles and a palette with the colors of a storm, is facing demolition and decay around the world, whether the Birmingham Central Library in England demolished this month, or Chicago’s Prentice Women’s Hospital torn down last year.

Kulturzentrum Mattersburg.jpg Herwig Udo Graf: Kulturzentrum Mattersburg, Mattersburg, Österreich, 1972–1976 Foto: © Johann Gallis 2015

Kulturzentrum Mattersburg, Mattersburg, Austria; Architect: Herwig Udo Graf (1972–76) (© Johann Gallis, 2015) (click to enlarge)

SOSBrutalism is a new initiative for raising awareness of the preservation of “our beloved concrete monsters.” A collaboration between Wüstenrot Foundation, Deutsche Architekturmuseum (DAM), and Uncube, it’s aimed at growing a database of the world’s Brutalist architecture, with over 700 entries so far. In April of 2017, the project will culminate with an exhibition at DAM in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

“By showing the phenomenal diversity of forms and shapes, and presenting remarkable, imaginative, or outrageous examples of this wonderful style, we try to create a sense of wonder and admiration for those buildings and sway people from preconceived notions of a kind of oppressive, dull, gloomy, unattractive architecture that is not worthy of preservation,” Oliver Elser, a curator at DAM, told Hyperallergic.

The online database encourages crowd interaction for photographs, history, and preservation status (with color categories from red to blue depending on threat of demolition), with endangered buildings and their preservation campaigns being a major focus.

SOSBrutalism database (screenshot by the author for Hyperallergic)

SOSBrutalism database (screenshot by the author for Hyperallergic)

There are entries for the 1973 terraced La Pyramide by Rinaldo Olivieri on the Ivory Coast, which is mostly abandoned and deteriorating; the USSR-era Buzludzha Memorial in Bulgaria, a sort of UFO-shaped behemoth in the Balkan mountains, vacant since 1991; and the surreal (and infamous) 1960 El Helicoide by Jorge Romero Gutiérrez in Caracas, Venezuela, which has endured stretches of abandonment, squatting, shadowy government surveillance operations, and political prisoner housing. While a recurring theme is a lack of maintenance, practical use, and the impact of decay, there are other risks like a chapel in Lebanon damaged by a missile.

Felix Torkar, curatorial assistant at DAM, noted that Brutalism “still suffers from a particularly bad reputation,” with its heavy name derived from Le Corbusier’s “béton brut” meaning exposed or raw concrete. He added that some of SOSBrutalism’s entries were discovered through “‘the 10 ugliest buildings of xyz’ listicles.”

“In theory, exposed concrete is a great, long-lasting material, but it requires a certain amount of maintenance,” Torkar explained. “Most architects had optimistic projections — this was largely before the 1973 oil crisis — for maintenance budgets and future upkeep, which, in a lot of cases, never materialized. This is especially true with large-scale public housing projects, some of which pretty much started immediately decaying in record time after being completed — one more reason for Brutalism’s bad image.”

Istituto Marchiondi.jpg Vittoriano Viganò: Istituto Marchiondi Spagliardi, Mailand, Italien, 1966 Foto: © Caterina Maria Carla Bona 2014

Istituto Marchiondi Spagliardi, Mailand, Italy; Architect: Vittoriano Viganò (1966) (© Caterina Maria Carla Bona, 2014)

Their database is riddled with recent losses like the modular 1971 Orange County Government Center by Paul Rudolph in Goshen, New York, and the 1970 Stage Center by John MacLane Johansen in Oklahoma City that mixed colorful farm catalogue elements with its concrete. Yet there are examples of successful contemporary use, such as Gordon Bunshaft’s circular 1974 Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum, and Marcel Breuer’s 1961 St. John’s Abbey Church in Collegeville, Minnesota, with its sculptural bell tower.

Brunel Library.jpg Sheppard, Robson and Employees / John Heywood: Brunel University Lecture Center, London, Großbritannien, 1965–1967 Foto: © Ian Rawlinson 2014

Brunel University Lecture Center, London, UK; Architects: Sheppard, Robson and Employees / John Heywood (1965–67) (© Ian Rawlinson, 2014)

SOSBrutalism is only one of a number of recent actions of Brutalism appreciation, including the Brutalist London Map from Blue Crow Media and the Twentieth Century Society, which includes a walking tour of 50 of the city’s buildings, or more playful projects like Zupagrafika’s paper cut-out models of London’s brutalist architecture. Like these projects, SOSBrutalism is encouraging a recognition of the modernist concrete architecture in our everyday lives, and how it represents design history, and gives the cityscapes a distinct character.

“Since we’ve started this project, we’ve noticed in ourselves that once you start looking in your own city you start noticing all those wonderful concrete monsters you’ve been walking by for years,” Elser said. “In the long run, we think that if you know and remember certain styles and buildings, you’re more likely to appreciate them and get attached to them, rather than tearing them down.”

AT&T Building.jpg John Carl Warnecke: AT&T Longlines Building (33 Thomas Street), New York, USA, 1971–1974 Foto: © Addison Goedel 2013

AT&T Longlines Building (33 Thomas Street), New York, USA; Architect: John Carl Warnecke (1971-74) (© Addison Goedel, 2013)

Birmingham Central Library.jpg John Madin: Birmingham Central Library, Birmingham, Großbritannien, 1969–1973 Foto: Erebus555 2007 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Birmingham Central Library, Birmingham, UK; Architect: John Madin (1969–73) (photo by Erebus555/Wikimedia, 2007)

Preston Bus Station.jpg Building Design Partnership (Keith Ingham / Charles Wilson) / Ove Arup: Preston Bus Station, Lancashire, Großbritannien, 1959–1969 Foto: Dr Greg 2007 (CC BY 3.0)

Preston Bus Station, Lancashire, UK; Architects: Building Design Partnership (Keith Ingham / Charles Wilson) (1959–69) (photo by Dr Greg/Wikimedia, 2007)

Scarborough College.jpg John Andrews: Andrews Building, Scarborough College (heute University of Toronto), Toronto, Kanada, 1963–1964 Foto: © Iqbal Aalam

Andrews Building, Scarborough College, University of Toronto, Canada; Architect: John Andrews (1963–64) (© Iqbal Aalam)

University of Zambia.jpg Julian Elliott / Anthony Chitty: University of Zambia, Lusaka, Sambia, 1965–1968 Foto: © Dr. Ruth Craggs 2011

University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia; Architects: Julian Elliott / Anthony Chitty (1965–68) (© Dr. Ruth Craggs, 2011)

Robin Hood Gardens.jpg Alison und Peter Smithson: Robin Hood Gardens, London, Großbritannien, 1966–1972 Foto: Steve Cadman 2008 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Robin Hood Gardens, London, UK; Architects: Alison and Peter Smithson (1966–72) (photo by Steve Cadman/Wikimedia, 2008)

Kyoto International Conference Center.jpg Sachio Otani: Kyoto International Conference Center (KICC), Kyoto, Japan 1959–1966 Foto: Blondinrikard Fröberg 1990 (CC BY 2.0)

Kyoto International Conference Center, Kyoto, Japan; Architect: Sachio Otani (1959–66) (photo by Blondinrikard Fröberg/Flickr, 1990)

Wallfahrtskirche Neviges.jpg Gottfried Böhm: Wallfahrtskirche, Neviges, Deutschland, 1963–1973 Foto: seiter + seier 2008 (CC BY 2.0)

Wallfahrtskirche, Neviges, Germany; Architect: Gottfried Böhm (1963–73) (photo by seiter + seier, 2008)

Zentrale Tierlaboratorien FU Berlin (Mäusebunker).jpg Gerd Hänska: Zentrale Tierlaboratorien der FU Berlin („Mäusebunker“), Berlin, Deutschland, 1971–1980 © Matthias 2012

Zentrale Tierlaboratorien FU Berlin (Mäusebunker, Berlin, Germany; Architect: Gerd Hänska (1971–80) (© Matthias, 2012)

Explore over 700 examples of Brutalist architecture at SOSBrutalism.

27 Dec 22:05

Custom jet by snarkitecture. I’m super into this one, but still...



Custom jet by snarkitecture. I’m super into this one, but still kind of love Ruscha’s more.

23 Dec 12:18

The Queens of Botswana’s Metal Scene

by Carey Dunne
The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Vicky” (2014) (all photos courtesy Paul Shiakallis and used with permission)

Beavis and Butt-head, in their AC/DC and Metallica t-shirts, might best sum up the stereotypical metalhead in the popular Western imagination: a young white dude who likes headbanging and hates authority, found mostly in American cities or in Nordic countries with long, dark winters and plenty of old churches to burn. But South African photographer Paul Shiakallis’s series Leather Skins, Unchained Hearts provides a visual alternative to this image. He documents the leather-clad women of Botswana’s metal subculture, called “Marok,” which translates to “rocker” in Setswana.

Last year, Shiakallis met a couple of Queens, as female Marok fans like to call themselves, at a gig in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital. As their Queen alter-egos, these women go by names like Onalenna Angelovdarkness, Amokian Lordess, and Phoenix Tonahs Slaughter. “They had this confidence and freedom about them — they could just let go without feeling they were going to be reprimanded,” Shiakallis tells Hyperallergic.

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Bontle Sodah Ramotsietsane,” 2014

This type of self-expression is rare for women in Botwana’s conservative patriarchal society. Since mainstream culture often perceives metal as “satanic,” many women of the Marok movement wear more traditional clothing by day and only reveal their brutal alter-egos in their Facebook photos, posing in full metal regalia, often in front of trees outside at night. “I believe facebook allows u to be who u are. only girls who believe in themselvs and aint afraid to express themselves can be rockers, [sic]” one Queen, Phoenix Tonahs Slaughter, told Shiakallis. “They don’t tend to pose aggressively like the men do, so I liked that they showed a softer side to the Marok movement,” Shiakallis says.

Shiakallis began photographing these Queens in their homes, a project that proved more difficult than he’d expected. “Every portrait I took almost never happened,” Shiakallis says. “Sometimes, the Queens’ boyfriends or husbands would thwart the shoots,” since they didn’t want their partners to be photographed by, or even in the presence of, another male. “Some Queens were reluctant to pose for photographs, wary about where the images would end up, as they’re still ‘coming out’ as rockers.”

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Debbie Baone Superpower” (2014)

In bullet belts, spiked cuffs, leather jackets, bandanas, and Iron Maiden t-shirts, the women in Shiakallis’ photographs resemble characters from post-apocalyptic cinema, like the road warriors from Mad Max. Marok fashion fuses the styles of 1970s and ’80s heavy metal (specifically, from the cover of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades); the tasseled leather jackets and black boots of Botswana’s sizeable biker community; and the cowboy hats, spurs, and vests worn by many of the country’s rural farmers. Posing against backdrops of rural villages, pastel-painted bedrooms, and cozy living rooms, these Queens highlight how the Marok subculture is a kind of fantasy world, an escape from the confines of tradition and domesticity.  

Skinflint, Metal Orizon, Wrust, Crackdust, Overthrust, and Amok are some of Botswana’s biggest metal bands, but since the Marok scene is very small, they only play shows every few months. “When they do have a show, rockers from all around Botswana make the effort to show up, even if they have to travel 700km from another town,” Shiakallis says. At festivals or shows with big lineups, the Morok tend to unite beforehand to “march for a cause.” They first donate to an elected charity, then march together, led by Marok men dragging chains on the ground as the parade of metalheads mount each others’ shoulders and play fight in “ritualistic dances.” “It’s a very surreal sight,” Shiakallis says.

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Bonolo” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Katie Dekesu” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Distant Hill” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Millie Hans” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “From Mokatse Boulder” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Phoenix Tonahs Slaughter” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Samie Santiago Newsted” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Sierra” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Snyder” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Green Field” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Lonely House” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Backyards” (2014)

19 Dec 11:34

Hunter S. Thompson Sets His Christmas Tree on Fire, Nearly Burns His House Down (1990)

by Dan Colman

It was something of a Christmas ritual at Hunter S. Thompson’s Colorado cabin, Owl Farm. Every year, his secretary Deborah Fuller would take down the Christmas tree and leave it on the front porch rather than dispose of it entirely. That’s because Hunter, more often than not, wanted to set it on fire. In 1990, Sam Allis, a writer for then formidable TIME magazine, visited Thompson’s home and watched the fiery tradition unfold. He wrote:

I gave up on the interview and started worrying about my life when Hunter Thompson squirted two cans of fire starter on the Christmas tree he was going to burn in his living-room fireplace, a few feet away from an unopened wooden crate of 9-mm bullets. That the tree was far too large to fit into the fireplace mattered not a whit to Hunter, who was sporting a dime-store wig at the time and resembled Tony Perkins in Psycho. Minutes earlier, he had smashed a Polaroid camera on the floor.

Hunter had decided to videotape the Christmas tree burning, and we later heard on the replay the terrified voices of Deborah Fuller, his longtime secretary-baby sitter, and me off-camera pleading with him, “NO, HUNTER, NO! PLEASE, HUNTER, DON’T DO IT!” The original manuscript of Hell’s Angels was on the table, and there were the bullets. Nothing doing. Thompson was a man possessed by now, full of the Chivas Regal he had been slurping straight from the bottle and the gin he had been mixing with pink lemonade for hours.

The wooden mantle above the fireplace apparently still has burn marks on it today. It’s one of the many things you can check out when Owl Creek starts running museum tours in the near future.

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via Gothamist

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Hunter S. Thompson Sets His Christmas Tree on Fire, Nearly Burns His House Down (1990) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.