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2006, Apr 18; 19:05 ::: Goya (2003) - Werner Hofmann

Goya (2003) - Werner Hofmann [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
A new and profusely illustrated appraisal of this leading Spanish painter and graphic artist.

Hofmann places Goya's paintings, drawings, and prints in a biographical context, revealing the specific character of each phase of the artist's life and work. He discusses "the glory and the pain of faith" evinced by Goya's early work, the artist's parabolic representation of the threat posed by the French Revolution, his dramatic documentation of the French occupation of Spain, his variations on cruelty in the Disasters of War etchings, and the religious faith apparent in his late work. Hofmann also relates the artist and his work to contemporary intellectual developments, drawing comparisons with writers, critics, and philosophers from Goethe to William Blake to the Marquis de Sade. 220 illustrations, 185 in color.

See also: Goya - Goethe - Marquis de Sade - William Blake

2006, Apr 18; 19:05 ::: European Gothic: A Spirited Exchange 1760-1960 (2002) - Avril Horner (editor)

European Gothic: A Spirited Exchange 1760-1960 (2002) - Avril Horner (editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Please note the Chapman brother's rendering of Goya's print on the cover of this book.

"European Gothic: A Spirited Exchange 1760-1960 sets out to challenge the tyranny of the Anglo-American narratives that have dominated critical histories of the Gothic so far. It argues that the Gothic novel did not simply derive from "The Castle of Otranto, but that it has been forged in the crucible of translation. Focussing on Gothic writing in English, French, German, Russian and Spanish, the collection charts a rich process of cross-fertilization and, in particular, examines the importance of Anglo-French exchanges in the development of the Gothic novel within Europe and, subsequently, the US. Within this framework, and from a variety of critical perspectives, the 13 contributors re-assess the work of authors such as Clara Reeve, Sophia Lee, Charlotte Smith, Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Charles Maturin, Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Jan Potocki, Balzac, Dostoevsky, Gaston Leroux and Djuna Barnes. The volume thus offers a fresh way of thinking about Gothic lineages and histories. --from the publisher

See also: Gothic literature - 1760s - 1960s

2006, Apr 18; 19:05 ::: Soul Jazz presents: A Tom Moulton Mix (2006) - Various Artists

Soul Jazz presents: A Tom Moulton Mix (2006) - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Track Listings
1. I'll Be Holding On 2. Keep On Truckin' 3. La Vie En Rose 4. Moonlight Loving 5. Peace Pipe 6. Dream World 7. You've Got The Power 8. Make Me Believe In You 9. Free Man 10. Needing You 11. Feel The Need In Me 12. Moonboots 13. Lip Service 14. Love Is The Message 15. More More More 16. Won't You Try

Product Description
''A Tom Moulton Mix'' is released today on Soul Jazz Records. This is the first album to bring together some of the classic and rare tracks that have been blessed with the phrase "A Tom Moulton Mix" on the record label. Tom Moulton is one of the most important people in the history of dance music. From inventing the first ever 12" single to remixer to the stars, the trademark "A Tom Moulton Mix" is a mark of quality given to only the finest records -From Grace Jones' seminal "La Vie En Rose" to the million-selling MFSB disco anthem "Love Is The Message", to over 4000 remixes in an incredible career that has now lasted over 30 years.

New Tom Moulton compilation on Soul Jazz.

See also: American music - seventies music - dance music - studio - disco - mix - Tom Moulton

2006, Apr 18; 19:05 ::: First Thought Best Thought (2006) - Arthur Russell

First Thought Best Thought (2006) - Arthur Russell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

New Arthur Russell compilation on Audika.

See also: Arthur Russell

2006, Apr 15; 19:05 ::: Don Quixote and Sancho Pansa (ca. 1865-70) - Honoré Daumier

Don Quixote and Sancho Pansa (ca. 1865-70) - Honoré Daumier

See also: 1860s - Honoré Daumier - Don Quixote

2006, Apr 15; 19:05 ::: Realism in the arts

I have been working on the realism page after reading an 1960 essay by W. F. Hermans entitled antipathetic fictional characters (Dutch title: 'Antipathieke romanpersonages'). The concept of realism in the arts is a very complex one. It differs from field to field. Generally, these differences can be divided in issues of content and issues of style. Realism in the visual arts can refer the way a subject is depicted (life-like as opposed to fantastical) or to the choice of subject matter (everyday life as opposed to mythology). In literature it can refer to verisimilitude or to a 19th century European movement centered in France.

The introduction of realism in fiction and art parallels the development of modernism.

The main problem with realism is its link with reality. Reality often supersedes fiction as far as incredulity concerns. An audience may object to fiction claiming it is not 'realistic'. But reality is often more unbelievable than fiction. If somebody would have made a film speculating on the Holocaust, nobody would have thought that it was 'realistic'. Open any newspaper on any given day and you will read stories nobody would believe in a fictional story.

2006, Apr 11; 19:05 ::: The Map Is Not the Territory (2001) - Alan Woods, Ralph Rumney

In search of Stefan Themerson.
Page 37 - Stefan Themerson was almost the only person I came across in London who had any idea about this relationship of art and ideas. ... -- Ralph Rumney

The Map Is Not the Territory (2001) - Alan Woods, Ralph Rumney [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

This innovative book is an interaction based on a series of interviews between the artist Ralph Rumney and the writer Alan Woods. Rumney's extraordinary life is chronicled here, as well as his works over the last 45 years. He is the only British founder-member of Situationist International, and the lone founder of the London Psychogeographical Society. Complementing the open elements of play and discovery inherent in Rumney's psychogeography is an almost Duchamp-esque interest in the applicability of games. This volume contains over 100 illustrations, many of which have not been previously reproduced. --from the publisher

Ralph Rumney
Ralph Rumney (June 5, 1934 - March 6, 2002) artist, born in Newcastle, England. In 1957 lifelong conscientious objector Rumney was one of the co-founders of the London Psychogeographical Association, which was dissolved to form the Situationist International with Walter Olmo, Michèle Bernstein (who he was later to be married to), Asger Jorn and Guy Debord in the Italian village of Cosio d'Arroscia. However, within seven months Rumney had been 'amiably' expelled from the SI by Debord for allegedly "failing to hand in a psychogeography report about Venice on time".

Rumney spent much of his life living as a wanderer, and was variously described as both a 'recluse' and a 'media whore', seeing his existence as a 'permanent adventure and endless experiment'. He moved, as his friend Guy Atkins said, "between penury and almost absurd affluence. One visited him in a squalid room in London's Neal Street, in a house shared with near down-and-outs. Next, one would find him in Harry's Bar in Venice, or at a Max Ernst opening in Paris. He seemed to take poverty with more equanimity than riches."

Ralph Rumney died of cancer at his home in Manosque, Provence, on March 6, 2002, aged 67.

A book about his life, The Map Is Not The Territory (Manchester University Press, ISBN 0-71-905951-8) was published in 2001.

See also The Consul by Rumney (Verso, ISBN 1-85-984395-6) published in 2002.

An extensive interview with Rumney appears in Vague magazine, issue 22. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Rumney [Apr 2006]

The map-territory relation
The map-territory relation--the relationship between symbol and object--is one of the lasting philosophical quandaries.

The map is not the territory is a related expression meaning that an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself, e.g., the pain from a stone falling on your foot is not the stone; one's opinion of a politician, favorable or unfavorable, is not that person; a metaphorical representation of a concept is not the concept itself; and so on. A specific abstraction or reaction does not capture all facets of its source — e.g., the pain in your foot does not convey the internal structure of the stone, you don't know everything that is going on in the life of a politician, etc., — and thus may limit an individual's understanding and cognitive abilities unless the two are distinguished.


The surrealist artist René Magritte illustrated the concept of "perception always interceeds between reality and ourselves" in a number of paintings including a famous work entitled The Betrayal of Imagesimage, which consists of a drawing of a pipe with the caption, Ceci n'est pas une pipe ("This is not a pipe").

The expression "the map is not the territory" first appeared in print in a paper that Alfred Korzybski gave at a meeting of the American Mathematical Society in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1931. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_map_is_not_the_territory [Apr 2006]

Stefan Themerson (1910-1988) was a Polish writer and philosopher. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefan_Themerson [Apr 2006]

Tip of the hat to W. F. Hermans

See also: semantics - Situationist International

2006, Apr 10; 19:05 ::: La Belle Dame sans Merci

La Belle Dame sans Merci [Google gallery]

La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad (1819) is a poem by English romantic poet John Keats and a prototypical example of the 'femme fatale'. It was a popular subject for painting in the Symbolist and pre-raphaelite movements.

Mario Praz devotes a chapter to “La Belle Dame sans Merci” in Romantic Agony:

Mario Praz has observed how the fatal and cruel lovers of the first half of the nineteenth century are chiefly males, while in the second half of the century the roles are gradually inverted until late century decadentism is dominated by femmes fatales. --Xavier Zambrano, 2006

See also: femme fatale - Romanticism - 1810s

2006, Apr 07; 19:05 ::: The Stone Breakers (1850) - Gustave Courbet

The Stone Breakers (1850) - Gustave Courbet [Google gallery]

The Stone Breakers painting shows Courbet's rejection of both Romantic and Neoclassical formulas. His subject is neither historical nor allegorical, religious nor heroic. The men breaking the stones are ordinary road workers, presented almost life-size. Courbet does not idealize the struggle for existence; he simply says, "Look at this."

Courbet's detractors were sure that he was causing artistic and moral decline by painting what they considered unpleasant and trivial subjects on a grand scale. They accused him of raising a "cult of ugliness" against cherished concepts of Beauty and the Ideal. Realism was perceived as nothing less than the enemy of art, and many believed that photography was the source and the sponsor of this disaster.

When The Stone Breakers was exhibited in Paris at the Salon of 1850, it was attacked as unartistic, crude, and socialistic. From then on, Courbet set up his own exhibits -- the beginning of the continuing practice of independent shows organized by artists themselves. --http://faculty.etsu.edu/kortumr/HUMT2320/realism/htmdescriptionpages/stonebreakers.htm [Apr 2006]

See also: 1850 - Gustave Courbet - Social realism

2006, Apr 07; 19:05 ::: Faultlines in 20th century art

  • Straight line vs the sinuous curve
    • Straight: art deco, international style, De Stijl, minimalism, cubism
    • Curve: Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Surrealism
  • Wit vs seriousness
    • Wit: Dada, Surrealism, Pop art, Postmodernism
    • Serious: High Modernism (literature, architecture, arts)
  • Cult of beauty vs the cult of ugliness (or sexuality vs asexuality)
    • Beauty: Art Nouveau, Symbolism
    • Ugliness: High Modernism, Pablo Picasso, Samuel Beckett, Abstract Expressionism

See also: art - 1900s

2006, Apr 07; 19:05 ::: Cult of ugliness

The Modernist Cult of Ugliness : Aesthetic and Gender Politics (2002) - Lesley Higgins [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
"Cult of ugliness," Ezra Pound’s phrase, powerfully summarizes the ways in which modernists such as Pound, T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, and T. E. Hulme—the self-styled "Men of 1914"—responded to the "horrid or sordid or disgusting" conditions of modernity by radically changing aesthetic theory and literary practice. Only the representation of "ugliness," they protested, would produce the new, truly "beautiful" work of art. They dissociated the beautiful from its traditional embodiment in female beauty, and from its association with Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde. Their cultivation of ugliness displaced misogyny and homophobia. Higgins takes in texts such as John Ruskin’s art criticism, Eliot’s literary journalism, Lewis’s pro-fascism pamphlets, and the poetry of Pound, Conrad Aiken, and Langston Hughes. She demonstrates that even vigorous champions of beauty were committed to aesthetic practices that disempowered female figures in order to articulate new truths of male artistic mastery. --from the publisher

In his 1913 essay The Serious Artist, Pound discusses two types of art; The "cult of beauty" and the "cult of ugliness". He compares the former with medical cure and the latter with medical diagnosis, and goes on to write "Villon, Baudelaire, Corbiere, Beardsley are diagnosis." - "beauty is difficult": Cantos LXXIV, LXXX --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cultural_references_in_The_Cantos [Apr 2006]

See also: modernism - ugly - cult - T. S. Eliot

2006, Apr 07; 19:05 ::: Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon (1980) - James Henry Rubin

Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon (1980) - James Henry Rubin [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Courbet was friends with Proudhon and supported the latter's views on social change. Proudhon was avant-garde in politics, Courbet in the visual arts. Contrast this with art for art's sake.

More on the origins of the avant-garde: http://www.journalofaestheticsandprotest.org/3/Katsiaficas.htm [Apr 2006]

Alongside his painting of peasant and working-class life [Courbet] also found time to collaborate in 1863 with Proudhon on a book entitled 'Art and its Social Significance'. Courbet also painted his portrait after his death in 1865, as Proudhon would not sit for him whilst he was alive. In 1871 Courbet was elected chair of the republican Arts Commission and was made a member of the Commune. --http://www.redflag.org.uk/frontline/five/05courbet.html [Apr 2006]

See also: avant-garde - 1850s - Gustave Courbet - anarchism - Social realism

2006, Apr 06; 19:05 ::: 'I'

"I is the first letter of the alphabet... The frank yet graceful use of ‘I’ distinguishes a good writer from a bad.” --Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

See also: Ambrose Bierce - ego

2006, Apr 06; 19:05 ::: Enrico Baj

Enrico Baj Google gallery.

Enrico Baj (1924-June 2003) was an Italian artist and art writer. Many of his works show an obsession with nuclear war. He created prints, sculptures but especially collage. He was close to the surrealist and dada movements, and was later associated with pop art. As an author he has been described as a leading promoter of the avant-garde. He worked with Umberto Eco among other collaborators. He had a long interest in the pseudo-philosophy 'pataphysics.

He was born in Milan, into a wealthy family, but left Italy in 1944 having upset the authorities and to avoid conscription. He studied at the Milan University law faculty and the Brera Academy of Art.

In 1951 he founded the arte nucleare movement with Sergio Dangelo, which unlike the abstract art was overtly political. Baj himself was aligned with the anarchist movement. His most well-known pieces are probably he series of "Generals": absurd characters made from found objects such as belts or medals.

He made numerous works using motifs from other artists, from da Vinci to Picasso. Sometimes he recreated entire works of other painters.

In 1972 a major work, "Funeral Of The Anarchist Pinelli" is believed to have partially inspired the murder of the police officer who was holding Pinelli in custody. However his work continued to be polictical. In his last years he created a series of paintings in protest at the election of Silvio Berlusconi. He died in Vergiate, Italy. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrico_Baj [Apr 2006]

Baj's work shows similarities with Jean Dubuffet, Roland Topor and the Cobra group. It has a grotesque quality. Baj has also collaborated with Paul Virilio in a book on art horror.

See also: Italian art - anarchism

2006, Apr 05; 19:05 ::: Pierre Marteau

Entertainment and politics: La France Galante (1696).

Pierre Marteau (French for Peter Hammer), publisher, allegedly residing in Cologne, is the 17th century label of a publishing house which – obvious to contemporaries – never existed.

Open Pseudonym and Political Joke, spreading in the 1660s
First French Marteau books appeared in the 1660s and were immediately identified as everything but published by a man called Pierre Marteau residing in Cologne. The name would have been that of a Frenchman who had opened his shop outside France yet close to the French border. Cologne's geographical location smelled of political freedom – he avoided France’s censorship by publishing outside France. Cologne promised access to the European market and the chance to get a good deal of the production smuggled back into France where it would sell on the black market for ten times the price. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre Marteau [Apr 2006]

See also: Pierre Marteau (continued) - publishing - banned books - clandestine publishing - pseudonymity - anonymity - 1600s literature

2006, Apr 05; 19:05 ::: Study of Hands (1715) - Nicolas de Largillière

Study of Hands (1715) - Nicolas de Largillière

Image found via site:http://www.pierre-marteau.com

Nicolas de Largillière (October 20, 1656 - March 20, 1746), French painter, was born at Paris.

His father, a merchant, took him to Antwerp at the age of three, and while a lad he spent nearly two years in London. The attempt to turn his attention to business having failed, he entered, some time after his return to Antwerp, the studio of Goubeau, quitting this at the age of eighteen to seek his fortune in England, where he was befriended by Lely, who employed him for four years at Windsor. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_de_Largilli%C3%A8re [Apr 2006]

See also: painting - 1710s

2006, Apr 04; 19:05 ::: System of Nature (1770) - Baron d'Holbach, Denis Diderot

In search of banned books.

System of Nature (1770) - Baron d'Holbach, Denis Diderot [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The System of Nature is a philosophical book by Baron d'Holbach (Paul Henri Thiry, 1723-1789). He wrote this book (with the assistance of Diderot) anonymously in 1770, describing the universe in terms of philosophical materialism (i.e., the mind is the same thing as the brain, there is no "soul" without a living body, etc.), strict determinism (free will is an illusion, and whatever happens, must), and especially atheism.

Materialism, determinism, and atheism are logically related though distinct philosophical doctrines. [...]

To be sure, d'Holbach's views were not entirely original (but then he never claimed to be original): Hobbes had preceded him in materialism, Spinoza in determinism, and Hume in anti-religious attitudes. But in general, the philosophes of the French Enlightenment such as Diderot (a good friend of d'Holbach's) and Voltaire were not technically original philosophers - they were men of letters who publicized enlightened philosophy. And d'Holbach was more a patron of the Paris philosophes than a thinker in his own right. Perhaps this explains why d'Holbach is not well-known today (many dictionaries of philosophy don't even mention his name). D'Holbach himself would not have been too concerned, however: fame meant little to him (after all, he was a billionaire) as long as his ideas get the attention they deserve. He did not even seem to mind that this book (like most of his other books) had to be published under a pseudonym, just so he could avoid the gallows. (It was not for money or fame but truth that the rich man, noted for his personal kindness and generosity, risked his own neck.) --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_System_of_Nature [Apr 2006]

See also: French philosophy - materialism - banned books - Denis Diderot - 1700s - 1770s - enlightenment - nature

2006, Apr 04; 19:05 ::: The Challenge of Periodization : Old Paradigms and New Perspectives (1993) - Lawrence Besserman

The Challenge of Periodization : Old Paradigms and New Perspectives (1993) - Lawrence Besserman[Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Lumping and splitting refers to a well known problem in any discipline which has to place individual examples into rigorously defined categories. The lumper/splitter problem occurs when there is the need to create classifications and assign examples to them, for example schools of literature, biological paleo-species and so on. A "lumper" is an individual who takes a gestalt view of a definition, and assigns examples broadly, assuming that differences are not as important as signature similarities. A "splitter" is an individual who takes precise definitions, and creates new categories to classify samples that differ in key ways. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodern_philosophy#Postmodernism_and_post-structuralism [Apr 2006]

See also: periodization - history - category - classification

2006, Apr 03; 19:05 ::: Epiphany (feeling)

An epiphany is the (often numinous) shift into a state of new perception, a kind of mental rebirth, the so-called "Eureka!" or "Aha!" moment (eureka meaning, incidentally,"I have found it") described by Colin Wilson as "absurd good news".

The word's secular usage may owe some of its popularity to James Joyce, who expounded on its meaning in the fragment Stephen Hero and the novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916).

In traditional and pre-modern cultures, and up until this day, initiation rites and mystery religions have served as vehicles of epiphany, as well as the arts. The Greek dramatists and poets, would, in the ideal, induct the audience into states of catharsis or kenosis, respectively. In modern times the Surrealist Marcel Duchamp and the Pop Artist Andy Warhol would invert expectations by presenting commonplace objects or graphics as works of fine art, simply by presenting them in a way no one had thought to do before. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphany_%28feeling%29 [Apr 2006]

2006, Apr 03; 19:05 ::: The Abuse of Beauty: Aesthetics and the Concept of Art (2003) - Arthur C. Danto

The Abuse of Beauty: Aesthetics and the Concept of Art (2003) - Arthur C. Danto [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

On the cover of this book is Duchamp's L.H.O.O.Q.: a Mona Lisa defaced by a drawn-on goatee beard and moustache L.H.O.O.Q., a coarse French pun (when the letters are pronounced in French they sound like the phrase "elle a chaud au cul", meaning "she's got a hot ass").

From Publishers Weekly
Charting the disappearance of beauty as a primary artistic value in the 20th century, Danto (The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, etc.) offers a hot-and-cold mix of philosophical musings and autobiographical reflections that attempt to restore a place for beauty as an "option for art" and a "necessary condition for life as we would want to live it." To that end, the veteran art critic and Columbia University philosopher discusses and, at various points, disagrees with Hume, Kant and Hegel, building a view of beauty as one among many modes through which artworks may present thoughts to human sensibility. He distinguishes between natural and artistic beauty, between beauty and sublimity, and between beauty internal to an artwork and external to it. Although Danto clearly defines an artwork as an "embodied meaning," he does not as clearly define what he means by beauty, making much of his discussion unnecessarily vague. It is also unnecessarily meandering, too often feeling like notes from assorted lectures, which is how most of the chapters originated. "Read it as an adventure story," he says, "with a few philosophical arguments and distinctions [brought back] as trophies." But good adventure stories need a strong narrative, and there isn't one here. Still, there are trophies: philosophical insights of genuine value to anyone interested in beauty, art or the connections between the two. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. --via Amazon.com

See also: beauty - modern art - Arthur Danto

2006, Apr 03; 19:05 ::: Wittgenstein (1973) - William Warren Bartley

Wittgenstein (1973) - William Warren Bartley [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Although Wittgenstein was involved in a relationship with Marguerite Respinger (a young Swiss woman whom he had met as a friend of the family), his plans to marry Marguerite were broken off in 1931, and Wittgenstein never married. Most of his romantic attachments were to young men. There is considerable debate over how active Wittgenstein's homosexual life was--inspired by W. W. Bartley's claim to have found evidence of not only active homosexuality but in particular several casual liasons with young men in the Wiener Prater park during his time in Vienna. Bartley published his claims in a biography of Wittgenstein in 1973, claiming to have his information from "confidential reports from... friends" of Wittgenstein (Bartley 160), whom he declined to name, and to have discovered two coded notebooks unknown to Wittgenstein's executors that detailed the visits to the Prater. Wittgenstein's estate and other biographers have disputed Bartley's claims and asked him to produce the sources that he claims. What has become clear, in any case, is that Wittgenstein had several long-term homoerotic attachments, including an infatuation with his friend David Pinsent and long-term relationships during his years in Cambridge with Francis Skinner and possibly Ben Richards. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Wittgenstein [Apr 2006]

One of the more enlightening comments on Wittgenstein's life and philosophy is to be found in Colin Wilson's The Misfits. He especially links Wittgenstein's homosexuality with his reluctance to speak about his own uncertainties and doubts.

Bartley's comment [on Wittgenstein's homosexuality] help us to understand Wittgenstein's attitude to philosophy. Wittgenstein possessed the disposition that is often found in saints and ascetics: a powerful craving for meaning and purpose, and immense self-disgust at his own failure to find them. [...] It was this sense of failure, of living on the brink of an abyss, that produced in Wittgenstein the craving for certainty that led him to create the philosophical system of the Tractatus. --Colin Wilson via The Misfits

[In the Tractatus], Wittgenstein was led to define truth as tautology - a mere repetition of the same meaning. [...] Wittgenstein agrees that there is such a thing as religious truth and ethical truth. But he insists that it cannot be put into words, and that any philosopher who thinks he is talking about these great universal truths is merely deceiving himself. --Colin Wilson via The Misfits

See also: Ludwig Wittgenstein - tautology - Colin Wilson - homosexuality

2006, Apr 03; 19:05 ::: Titanic

Sinking of the Titanic (1912) - Willy Stöwer

The most popular trope of the Titanic is the orchestra continuing to play while the ship sinks: "After the Titanic hit an iceberg and began to sink, Wallace Hartley and his fellow band members started playing music to help keep the passengers calm as the crew loaded the lifeboats. Many of the survivors claimed that he and the band continued to play till the very end. None of the band members survived the sinking and the story of them playing to the end became a popular legend. A newspaper at the time reported "the part played by the orchestra on board the Titanic in her last dreadful moments will rank among the noblest in the annals of heroism at sea."

The most notorious ocean liner was the Titanic, infamous for sinking on her maiden voyage from Britain to the United States in 1912.

The sinking of Titanic has been the basis for many novels describing fictionalised events on board the ship. Many reference books about the disaster have also been written since Titanic sank, the first of these appearing within months of the sinking. Survivors like Second Officer Lightoller and passenger Jack Thayer have written books describing their experiences. Some like Walter Lord, who wrote the popular A Night to Remember, did independent research and interviews to describe the events that happened on board the ship.

The most widely viewed film adaptation is the 1997 film Titanic, directed by James Cameron and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. It became the highest-grossing film in history.

Using Titanic as humour has not been exclusive to popular entertainment. The Intel Itanium microprocessor has often been jokingly called "Itanic", since (as of 2005) its sales have fallen far short of expectations.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Titanic [Mar 2006]

See also: 1910s - 1912 - ship

2006, Apr 03; 19:05 ::: Swinging the Machine: Modernity, Technology, and African American Culture Between the World Wars (2003) - Joel Dinerstein

Swinging the Machine: Modernity, Technology, and African American Culture Between the World Wars (2003) - Joel Dinerstein [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

In any age and any given society, cultural practices reflect the material circumstances of people's everyday lives. According to Joel Dinerstein, it was no different in America between the two World Wars -- an era sometimes known as the "machine age" -- when innovative forms of music and dance helped a newly urbanized population cope with the increased mechanization of modern life. Grand spectacles such as the Ziegfield Follies and the movies of Busby Berkeley captured the American ethos of mass production, with chorus girls as the cogs of these fast, flowing pleasure vehicles.
Yet it was African American culture, Dinerstein argues, that ultimately provided the means of aesthetic adaptation to the accelerated tempo of modernity. Drawing on a legacy of engagement with and resistance to technological change, with deep roots in West African dance and music, black artists developed new cultural forms that sought to humanize machines. In "The Ballad of John Henry, " the epic toast "Shine, " and countless blues songs, African Americans first addressed the challenge of industrialization. Jazz musicians drew on the symbol of the train within this tradition to create a set of train-derived aural motifs and rhythms, harnessing mechanical power to cultural forms. Tap dance and the lindy hop brought machine aesthetics to the human body, while the new rhythm section of big band swing mimicked the industrial soundscape of northern cities. In Dinerstein's view, the capacity of these artistic innovations to replicate the inherent qualities of the machine -- speed, power, repetition, flow, precision -- helps explain both their enormous popularity and social function in American life. --from the publisher

See also: Machine Age - 1920s - 1930s - Modernism - jazz - swing - dance music - black music - American culture

2006, Apr 03; 19:05 ::: The Soundscape of Modernity : Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933 (2002) - Emily Thompson

The Soundscape of Modernity : Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933 (2002) - Emily Thompson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

A better title for this book may have been The Soundscape of Modernism. Compare modernity with modernism.

From Publishers Weekly
In a pioneering study of America's culture of listening, University of Pennsylvania professor of the history and sociology of science Emily Thompson depicts a culture busily rationalizing, quantifying and taming sound in The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America 1900 1933. Beginning with the extraordinary (and little known) career of architectural engineer Wallace Sabine, from his felt-covered acoustical correction of the Rhode Island House of Representatives to his role in the influential design of Boston's Symphony Hall, Thompson analyzes the checkered (and ultimately futile) history of noise abatement and the implications of the introduction of electronics. Her account culminates in the design and construction of Rockefeller Center, and is powered throughout by the utopianism of the scientists, architects and engineers she depicts. --Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Sound culture
Sound culture is an interdisciplinary field of studies which considers the "the material production and consumption of music, sound, noise and silence, and how these have changed throughout history and within different societies, but does this from a much broader perspective then standard disciplines" (Pinch and Bijsterveld, 2004).

Sound Culture differs from traditional academic fields such as sociology of music, ethnomusicology and history of music because it adopts a much broader perspective on music and sounds in the social world. Especially Sound studies are interested in the connection between the development of the highly complex contemporary society and the ways people developed in order to manage and rearrange objects, discourses and practices involved in the listening acts.

A strong role in developing the sound studies is played by the field of Science and Technology Studies, (cfr. Social construction of technology) inside which a clear definition of the field has been presented in the special issue of the academic journal "Social Studies of Science", nr. 34\5 (october 2004).

The first seminal contributions in sound studies could be considered the books of R. Murray Schafer The Tuning of the World (1977) and of Jacques Attali Noise: The Political Economy of Music (1985).

Current important contributions also are Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco's Analog Days (2002); Jonathan Sterne's Audible Past (2003) and Emily Thompson's The Soundscape of Modernity (2002). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_culture [Apr 2006]

See also: 1900s - 1910s - 1920s - 1930s - Modernism - sound - soundscape - American culture

2006, Apr 02; 19:05 ::: Alfred Kubin expo in Brussels

Two innovating exhibitions, built around the complex imagery of Alfred Kubin (1877-1959), one of the strangest Austrian artists, will be presented at the Provincial museum Félicien Rops in Namur and the City Hall of Brussels. A remarkable draughtsman, Kubin was also a great lover of the Arts, a passionate art collector and experienced bibliophile.

The exhibition at the City Hall of Brussels presents the work of Alfred Kubin in relation with lithographs and etchings of Honoré Daumier, Henry de Groux, James Ensor, Paul Gauguin, Francisco de Goya, Max Klinger, Edvard Munch, Odilon Redon, ... All of these artists whom he admired greatly, shared the same passion for drawing, illustration and literature. The exhibition at the Provincial museum Félicien Rops in Namur focuses on a confrontation between Kubin and Rops. More than 70 works of these two artists, shown side by side, illustrate that in the same visionary and macabre spirit, they both approached the subjects of erotism, satanism, death, body transformation, etc. --http://www.province.namur.be/actl/agenda/mars_2006/folder_kubin.pdf [Apr 2006]

Some of Kubin's works are reminiscent of the drawing style of Roland Topor.

See also: Alfred Kubin

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