Tuesday, March 30, 2010

State Of Emergency



some of the positive impacts of art education:

* 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
* 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
* 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
* 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
* 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem

Young artists, as compared with their peers, are likely to:

* Attend music, art, and dance classes nearly three times as frequently
* Participate in youth groups nearly four times as frequently
* Read for pleasure nearly twice as often
* Perform community service more than four times as often

The combined impact of declining corporate sponsorship and drastic government budget cuts is producing a genuine calamity for arts organizations in the US.

Concerts, theatrical productions, art exhibitions and, in some cases, entire performance seasons are being canceled at an alarming rate. Public schools are losing arts programs; artists are losing grants; numerous theaters, opera houses, music venues and galleries face closure. Arts workers, too, are losing their jobs, with the current unemployment rate in the field estimated conservatively to be 12.5 percent.

The CEO of nonprofit Americans for the Arts, Bob Lynch, told the Associated Press that some 10,000 arts organizations nationwide have disappeared or are close to ending their operations. This represents about 10 percent of the total, and the economic crisis is only a few months old.

Arts organizations in the US are especially vulnerable because so many in recent years have come to rely on either corporate largesse or the contributions of wealthy individuals, or both. Aside from the inevitable ideological limitations this placed on arts groups, this corrupt relationship tied the latter to the fate of the stock market and the wider economy.
From here

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Haiti by Arcade Fire


Montreal accordionist Régine Chassagne's family is from Haiti and here is one of their songs from a couple of years ago. It's nice to see Haiti when it is thriving in happier times...

Words And Blogging

I was going to make some kind of momentous post when I had a 100,000 visitors to this blog. But when that stat arrived I was knee deep in paperwork and it just went by. I haven't done a post with word searches that brought visitors to this blog in a while so here goes. Btw, 111,818 visitors have dropped by here and these are some of the word searches they used that brought them here...

Specific word, and times it brought someone to this blog...

sunset: 339 xs
dance: 587 xs
pirates: 2384 xs
meridian: 1344 xs
rolling: 1022 xs
porn: 728 xs
sunglasses: 364 xs
dancing: 261 xs
masturbation: 762 xs
gnostic: 1350 xs
pole: 400 xs
you: 267 xs

Some other word serches:

JR east
Stephen Ives
dugglers grew
hip hop is not on the radio
power animal
speed skaters booty
hugh hefner nagel collection
americas prince of polka
gnostic masterbation
hot cowboys
physical transcendental art
song from yaes prima vera advert
"he squatted over the wolf and touched her fur"
train map of europe

Thursday, March 25, 2010

5 Hats In 1 Frame


Working in the studio today Stagg and I landed up playing this movie in the background. We are collaborating on some tiny paintings for busking...but this movie started to hook me in with it's beautiful lush Mexican Douglas Sirk atmosphere. Yes, I googled "mexican douglas sirk" but was unable to find out the title of this movie or the director. We missed the opening credits and the WGN channel for Latin programming didn't include the end credits except for saying the Mexican movie was made with the help of the union (trabajadore). All that was listed on our channel guide was "to be announced". What a beautiful looking movie with a very 60's type of plot of a young teen girl trying to get her parents to not divorce.






I love this. In the background is a fellow walking a donkey with a sombrero on, and although I kept messing up...below you can see the woman is also wearing a sombrero. I loved all five hats in the frame.




Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Neely's Beet Salad


Last nights supper: Gina Neely's Beet Salad. I forgot what kind of greens to get at the grocery so used romaine. Salad was delicious.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday, March 29th



We watched this discussion this weekend and it was really good. The individuals involved were very insightful and inspiring. The discussion began with Smiley placing a box in the middle of the conference table, like a dice, but it said "love" on every side. The premise is really incredible that a black agenda is an American agenda. This is a must see discussion.

C-Span is playing it next week.


Because of the critical health care debate and expected vote this weekend on health care reform, C-SPAN will cover the debates live on Capitol Hill this weekend.

Consequently, our symposium is going to be taped by C-SPAN and broadcast in prime-time, Monday evening, March 29th at 8:30 p.m. EDT/ 7:30 p.m. CDT.

Now exclusively for CHICAGOLAND viewers ONLY they can tune-in LIVE at 8 a.m., Saturday March 20th to WYCC/ PBS, Channel 20. Additionally, WYCC will rebroadcast the conversation Sunday night, March 21st at 7 p.m. CDT.

We Count! The Black Agenda is the American Agenda will take place on Saturday, March 20, 2010, 8am (CT), on the campus of Chicago State University at the Emil and Patricia A. Jones Convocation Center.

Stratoshield


"It is generally believed that cars and trucks and airplanes contribute an ungodly share of greenhouse gases. This has recently led many right-minded people to buy a Prius or other hybrid car. But everytime a Prius owner drives to the grocery store, she may be canceling out it's emission-reducing benefit, at least if she shops in the meat section.

How so? Because cows-as well as other cud-chewing animals called ruminants-are wicked polluters. Their exhalation and flatulence and belching and manure emit methane, which by one common measure is about twenty-five times more potent as a greenhouse gas than the carbon dioxide released by cars (and by the way, humans)." From Superfreakonomics


"Once you strip away the religious fervor and scientific complexity, an incredibly simple dilemma lies at the heart of global warming. Economists fondly call it an externality.
What’s an externality? It’s what happens when someone takes an action but someone else, without agreeing, pays some or all the costs of that action. An externality is an economic version of taxation without representation.
If you happen to live downwind from a fertilizer factory, the ammonium stench is an externality. When your neighbors throw a big party (and don’t have the courtesy to invite you), their ruckus is an externality. Secondhand cigarette smoke is an externality, as is the stray gunshot one drug dealer meant for another that instead hit a child on the playground." From Superfreakonomics




Nathan Myhrvold also thinks that he has found a cheap and reliable way to solve global warming, which does not involve upending and perhaps destroying the world's economy. The global warming solution proposed by Nathan Myhvold involves running a hose up to the stratosphere with balloons and using that hose to pump out enough sulfur particles to dim the sun's heat just enough to counteract the effects of global warming. The estimated cost would be about two hundred and fifty million dollars.

Nathan Myhrvold suggests that volcanoes and other natural processes already pump out sulfur into the stratosphere and that his scheme, if adopted, would increase that amount by only one percent. Nathan Myhrvold therefore thinks that there would not be any unintended consequences (like starting a new ice age.) More here



Related Links:

1.) Cooking experiments and gadgets with Myhrvold.
2.) Driving versus Walking
3.) Iceland volcano and scientists to measure effect of yesterdays event.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Go Health Care Vote Go!!!

Fingers crossed and magic pleas to the godesses let some kind of compassionate practical vote occur tomorrow. The thing is I had no idea how mickey mouse and fiscally unsound healthcare is here in U.S....and ass backwards until I saw the system helping Stagg get a doc etc. Canada has such an amazing health care system...which I took for granted until I saw first hand how corrupt and poorly run the U.S. healthcare system works.

216 votes is a start...

Alex Chilton, Pop Star, R.I.P.


We have so many ways to see the measure of a persons influence on others and trace musics interconnectedness. The idea of pop music being some how lesser than other music is a social construct massively popular with people who feel good music must be able to prove its street cred as "authentic" or "alternative". Alex Chilton is a great example of what bullshit and self serving egotism such notions are. Chilton was a teen idol and pop music star as a young man...but he became an inspiration for the indie music scene in the 1980's. Above is a home made video of someone playing The Replacements song on Rock Band. What a great ethnomusicology example of influence...from pop music to alternative music to mainstream. This game is an amazing example of how music is actually all interconnected. Record executive types don't want music to be profound, interconnected and universal...they want it to be segregated. Alex Chilton was a singer-songwriter. Period. Fuck all the bullshit about authenticity or purism. Music is for people and its magic is universal. Alex Chilton was what it is all about-loving music. He will be missed.


Alex Chilton, lyrics by The Replacements

If he was from Venus, would he feed us with a spoon?
If he was from Mars, wouldn't that be cool?
Standing right on campus, would he stamp us in a file?
Hangin' down in Memphis all the while.

(chorus:)

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round
They sing "I'm in love. What's that song?
I'm in love with that song."

Cerebral rape and pillage in a village of his choice.
Invisible man who can sing in a visible voice.
Feeling like a hundred bucks, exchanging good lucks face to face.
Checkin' his stash by the trash at St. Mark's place.

(chorus)

I never travel far, without a little Big Star

Runnin' 'round the house, Mickey Mouse and the Tarot cards.
Falling asleep with a flop pop video on.
If he was from Venus, would he meet us on the moon?
If he died in Memphis, then that'd be cool, babe.

All Right!


Thanks for the "heads up" on this typo Alun!

(It's supposed to be Hadron Collider)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Get In Line, Hirst


Six weeks after a painting of a skull by Damien Hirst launched Michael Landy's Art Bin at the South London Gallery, Adam Ant rounded off the project by hurtling a collage he made on the spot into the debris. (from here)

More than a thousand works, with an estimated value of £1million, from artists including Tracey Emin, Peter Blake and Gavin Turk as well as the public had crashed into the giant see-through skip by the time it closed last night.

Today a team began work on sorting the canvases from works on paper, and sculptures from shattered glass, to recycle whatever can be salvaged from what Landy, 46, had envisaged as a “monument to failure”.

While he had understood the works were destined for landfill, gallery staff had always intended a greener conclusion for what has been one of the gallery's most talked-about installations.

Margot Heller, the South London Gallery's director, said paper would be shredded, stretchers removed from canvases for re-use and not a single work would leave the gallery intact.

“We have a responsibility to make sure that everything is disposed of and nothing goes back into circulation,” she said. So no chance of nabbing a discarded Hirst or Emin? “Dream on,” she said.

Landy, who now embarks on being the National Gallery's artist-in-residence, said he had enjoyed the way the Art Bin changed daily, as one layer of works disappeared under another. “It comes alive when people throw things in,” he said. “And it makes a fantastic noise when you hit it with something heavy. It's a primeval thing.”

The aim was for all contributions to be failures in the eyes of their maker which made it a kind of “sacrificial pit”. Novelist Jake Arnott came as observer not contributor. “It's great, isn't it?” he said. “I hate the idea that everyone can be an artist, but I like the idea that anyone can be a failed artist.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dreams

Yesterday afternoon a friend and I were talking about her dreams. She has been under the weather for a few weeks and she has also been having intense vivid dreams. We have been looking at her dreams and trying to understand them...and yesterday we spent a bit of time wondering if her dreams were suggesting what was going on with her body. We also were able to laugh at ourselves for thinking this way. Like as if her subconscious was trying to tell her what was off kilter with her body. Last night on House the team hooks up a machine to a teenager who is very sick and hallucinating in the hospital because House says "We don't know, but the brain knows" and “Her subconscious is trying to tell her something. We have to eavesdrop.” Then the team proceeds to hook the patient up to a monitor that manifests her hallucinations to evaluate based on cognitive pattern recognition. It was very Altered States. Kewl... I almost fell off the couch.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Humans Seem To Like Consciousness Altering



This video is so excellent. It's an hour long but I feel several people I know will really really find this interesting...you know who you are!

:)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Evolutionary Psychology and Oscar Picks

I posted the other day that I was torn up about choosing Avatar over The Hurt Locker as a better movie. Because I love Kathryn Bigelow... I wanted her to win. Purely as a fan and as an accomplishment for genre movies.

But...and I still feel this Avatar is better movie.

Seems like Evolutionary Psychologists agree with me!

It's obvious to anyone who knows me why I loved Avatar so much: The conflict and resolution with hunter-gatherers is the main reason I love Avatar. Totalitarian agriculturalists suck. Yep, it's real simple why I love Avatar....plus, and great adventure and setting.

Here is why Evolutionary Psychologists choose Avatar as Best Picture...

Two things we believe contribute to a great movie are:

1. Characters actively pursuing one or more fundamental evolutionary goals (Getting The Girl or Guy, Getting Along, Getting Ahead, and Getting the Bad Guy).

2. Characters having to choose between two or more of those fundamental goals.

Avatar is the only movie that simultaneously focuses on all four themes. It deals with those fundamental themes in classical mythological form - using all the tricks of cinema to engage the viewer's interest, and it's own new technological tricks to perceptually transport us to an imaginary place that triggers all the human mechanisms for appreciating the beauty of nature (a sub-theme is how we're destroying our own planet). Its big flaw is the sudden descent into unnecessary levels of violence toward the end of the movie, but by that point, we were hooked enough to go along like eight-year-olds.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Horror Montage



I loved this montage...can you name all of the movies included. Yes, of course, I can!!! Which is a sign of a mis-spent youth :)

Is there a Vincent Price movie in the bunch? Ink Casualty you out there?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Before There Was Tarantino, There Was Kathryn Bigelow


It's hard to describe how giddy I was last night seeing Kathryn Bigelow get two Oscars. I don't usually care too much about who gets the actual awards, I watch for the clothes and stuff...I mean, it's the Gay Superbowl. I love it. If you love the Superbowl, then maybe you might know how I feel about the Oscars. Hey...it felt really cool seeing someone I admire so much who has been working without the kind of critical acclaim or interest partly due to her working within genre stories get major mainstream recognition.

I am wondering what movie rentals might come out of Bigelow winning Oscars last night. I can just see someone saying "Hey honey, let's rent Blue Steel, it's made by that lady director". I liked Blue Steel very much but it's not uplifting the genre B-movies...it's not trying to rise above or bend the genre content. I'm trying to imagine Oprah discovering some of Bigelow's movies this week. I love Oprah and all but I can't imagine her enjoying the vampire horror film Near Dark. Not because of violence but because so many genre films are not considered "classy" or high-brow. Bigelow in many ways is a classic director her interests are in pushing technique and the viewing experience, rather than genre-bending. Bigelow movies have never seemed to shy away from the campy elements of genre movies or the sex and violence. Where a movie like Basic Instinct had aspirations of being Hitchcockian...Bigelow's films seem to accept their own history. They are embracing Russ Meyer or Al Adamson or Roger Corman genres rather than trying to tart it up. Much like QT. (and Sam Raimi, Eli Roth, Rob Zombie)

The thing is...so many people love to trash movies. Especially on the internet. A film maker like Bigelow is exactly the kind of director that weeds out the real lovers of movies. Bigelow makes movies for people who love movies. Kind of like QT, if you think about his work. It's no accident that Bigelow's nomination and Tarantino's nomination inspired the Academy Awards to dedicate part of the programming to the horror genre last night. Long fucking overdue. I can't imagine my movie-going history without the camp, without the spectacle and mess of genre movies. And I am so glad that someone like Bigelow might help bring more creds to horror and action movies. Maybe her filmography will knock all those film snobs over and we can all start to discuss the wide history of storytelling without worrying about whether we are fucking authentic high brow or not. Or tasteful.

Yipppeee Kathryn Bigelow!!! Bigelow hadn't been able to finance a movie for 7 years!!! Not since the commercial failure of The Widowmaker. So more than anything I hope people might open themselves up to the low-brow genre side of film history and Bigelow will surely get all kinds of funding now. Yahoo!



Probably the only movie a lot of people might have seen by Kathryn Bigelow is 1995s Strange Days produced by her then Ex James Cameron. They are friends to this day contrary to media games of trying to put them at odds in Oscar race. Above is the opening scene and it's pretty cool. Bigelow got a fair bit of word-of-mouth success with Point Break and established herself easily as a cult film maker. Tom Sizemore is in three of her movies including this one...which is kind of interesting Bigelow and her former husband Cameron have often cast the same actors in several of their films making for a near-ensemble company crossover in each of their movies (same cast for Aliens as for Near Dark). I've always thought this was a good sign of being great to work with these two directors. Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and wrote, "The movie is a technical tour de force ... The pacing is relentless, and the editing, by Howard Smith, creates an urgency and desperation". In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin praised the performances of Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett: "Mr. Fiennes gleefully captures Lenny's sleaziness while also showing there is something about this schlockmeister that is worth saving, despite much evidence to the contrary. As for Ms. Bassett, she looks great and radiates inner strength even without the bone-crunching physical feats to which she is often assigned"Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers called the film Bigelow's "magnum opus"


In Blue Steel you can see a lovely young Tom Sizemore, and the late Ron Silver. Tom Sizemore was in Celebrity Rehab just this season and his recovery and story is really moving, I hope he gets better because we stlll have yet to see what else he can do acting. Ron Silver just passed away a few months ago. Jamie-I-take-off-my-shirt-Curtis is terrific in this campy action flick. Bigelow seems to work and respect the tradition of the genres she explores, sometimes via camp, or role transgressions and with violence and action. Sound familiar?

The first time I ever saw Willem Dafoe was in this cool movie The Loveless.

Above is a quite long clip from The Loveless and can give you a good idea of the style and flavour Bigelow achieved.

Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson in the same movie! What more do you want?

I was really glad to see Keanu Reeves introduce The Hurt Locker last night on tv seeing as he was awesome in one of her early movies...and one of my favourite movies...Point Break.

Check out about 50 seconds into this clip...totally something we might see QT use...with the little mirror action and then re-creating it for the screen.

I've watched Point Break maybe 50 times. I mean, really, it's nuts how much I love this movie. Above is one of the best chase scenes and you can really see what Bigelow is made up of, she rocks! This chase starts out ina car but ends up as one of the best foot chase scenes ever. At the time of the movie's release, 1991, it felt unique. We've seen this recently in The Bourne Identity and Casino Royale but when Bigelow did this I thought it wa such a great idea, so organic and she made back yards very exciting. That's the wonderful Patrick Swaze in the Reagan mask btw.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sparklehorse, R.I.P.





Oscar Predictions...For Ink Casualty

I don't usually make many Oscar predictions but my buddy Ink Casualty wants to make a bet with me so I am going to post my preditions here.

I am not big on making predictions because well...I watch not so much for the awards but for the spectacle. I like a bunch of clothes and seeing the actors and directors. I don't thik this year is going to be a very big surprise. The real guessing game is between Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

I love both thoe directors...I've been following Katerine Bigelow's movies for her whole career and I am glad now other people will know who she is and maybe rent some of her movies. Some people assume there is bad blood with James Cameron...but he is a much cooler guy than people give him credit for...Last week James Cameron was asked how he felt being up against his former wife, Bigelow, who is also still one of his good friends (Cameron helped produce some of her movies and is a huge supporter of her work for decades)...he said "its a win win because he will be very happy if she is finally recognized after 25 years of being an excellent film maker".

I am having a hard time making a prediction about best picture because it might be a case were the voters want to support a female director. Bigelow would be the first woman director to win an Oscar for directing. But...as good as The Hurt Locker is...I am not sure I feel it's a "best picture" movie. I think...Avatar is a better more fully realized movie. I think Bigelow should get best director. Her direction is stunning in The Hurt Locker exciting and innovative and brings the viewer into the emotional truth of the work portrayed by the characters. But...I think Avatar is such a brilliant innovative, emotional and spiritual film set within a good old-fashioned adventure story, it outshines any other movie this year.

It actually makes me feel bad to say that. Because I have been such a long time fan of Bigelows.

Okay...so my guesses for tonights outcome...at the persistence of Ink Casualty forcing me to make this post...ha ha...are:

Best make-up for Star Trek, my wish for best animated movie is Fantastic Mr. Fox...but some kiddie crap will probably win. Best cinematography The Hurt Locker. If Avatar wasn't made this year...I would have totally gone with Inglorious Basterds: the most under-rated movie this year. Monique, Sandra Bullock, Christolph Waltz, Jeff Bridges, Katherine Bigelow and Avatar.

The more I think about it...the more I love Star Trek and Inglorious Basterds and if it wasn't such a good year for movies they might have had a chance at being recognized for their worth. Both incredible scripts, incredible cinematography and acting and stories.

Jeff Bridges! Go Man!


I used to have this movie poster hanging up in my living room. I thought Bridges should have been nominated for that role. Bridges has been nominated about 5 times for Academy Awards...but if you go through his movies it's amazing he hasn't been nominated 20 times, he's just that righteous.


One of my very very favourite movies is The Last Picture Show adapted from the wonderful Larry McMurty book. (who also wrote Lonesome Dove)

There are so many really good movies that Bridges has been in that it's crazy to list them all...even the genre movies like Tron and Starman have excellent performances and ambience with Jeff Bridges. (he was nominated for an Academy Award for Starman)Of course his role as the Dude is a beloved role and movie. I watched Starman at least half a dozen times, and I've lost count on TBL viewings.



Fearless is a movie that took big risks. Spiritual themed movies are very difficult to market and get people interested in seeing. Fearless is really such a good movie and many people have not even seen it.

I know three other people who loved Heaven's Gate along with me. I have been teased over and over because I love this Hollywood "bomb". I can't even imagine how someone couldn't like this movie...it's got everything and is super fucking cool! I LOVED this movie and it's one of the worlds most famous flops. It's so good I've owned it on vhs and dvd.

"Over 50 percent - maybe it's as high as 80 percent - of the moviegoing experience depends on what kind of baggage the audience is bringing in with them and what kinds of reviews they've read. A movie like Heaven's Gate was doomed, because of that initial hysterical review [written by Vincent Canby in The New York Times] that ruined other people's experience of seeing the movie. Everyone saw it through the filter of this critic's eyes. He was supposed to know what a good movie is and he missed it." Jeff Bridges

Gary Busey and Bridges

Thursday, March 04, 2010

What Is Stephen Harper Reading?

As visitors know, I am not a fan of Prime Minister Harper. I throw up in my mouth a little as type his name with the head of Canadian government. Ew. I am not a fan of programs, or traffic laws or public money spent on government offices and redecorating or limos. (I feel civil servants should ride bikes to work or take public transit as part of their job description...and meet in coffee shops instead of office buildings...allowing the current government offices to be reclaimed for low-income housing)

I think Canadian writer Yann Martel has made a brilliant pet project regarding Harper.

If you've ever read the fantastic novel Life of Pi you might be interested to know that it's author, Yann Martel, sends Stephen Harper a book every two weeks.

Here is Yann Martel's website where you can see the list of books he has sent so far plus the following sort of "mission statement"...

“The Prime Minister did not speak during our brief tribute, certainly not. I don’t think he even looked up. The snarling business of Question Period having just ended, he was shuffling papers. I tried to bring him close to me with my eyes.Who is this man? What makes him tick? No doubt he is busy. No doubt he is deluded by that busyness. No doubt being Prime Minister fills his entire consideration and froths his sense of busied importance to the very brim. And no doubt he sounds and governs like one who cares little for the arts.But he must have moments of stillness. And so this is what I propose to do: not to educate—that would be arrogant, less than that—to make suggestions to his stillness.
For as long as Stephen Harper is Prime Minister of Canada, I vow to send him every two weeks, mailed on a Monday, a book that has been known to expand stillness. That book will be inscribed and will be accompanied by a letter I will have written. I will faithfully report on every new book, every inscription, every letter, and any response I might get from the Prime Minister, on this website.”

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Frances Yates


One of my favourite writers is Frances Yates. I've been revisiting her work in the past couple of weeks because I am inspired by her works for a story I am writing. I haven't read the above biography on her seen above, but I've ordered it from the library. I can't wait!

Botticelli Primavera

Durer Melancholy

An example of the kind of ideas Yates was interested in:

Yates argues that Botticelli’s famous painting, Primavera, was a Hermetic talisman designed, like other talismans, “to attract the favorable planets and to avoid Saturn.... The picture begins to be seen as a practical application of [Ficino’s magic], as a complex talisman, an ‘image of the world’ arranged so as to transmit only healthful, rejuvenating, anti-Saturnian influences to the beholder.” Other Renaissance art-works were also (according to Yates) magical talismans. She says that Dürer’s Melancholia was inspired by the Hermetist Cornelius Agrippa:

Whilst Ficino’s magic avoids Saturn, Agrippa’s magic seeks the Saturnian gifts of high abstract contemplation and pure mathematics. (Thus, as Botticelli’s predominantly Venus talisman, the Primavera, reflects the Ficinian type of magic, Dürer’s predominantly Saturnian talisman, the Melancholia engraving, reflects the Agrippan type of magic.)
From here


The book I'm working through right now called Theatre of The World is centered on the structure of theatre designs in Renaissance England and focuses on mathemetician Robert Fludd and astronomer John Dee.

The argument of Theatre of the World is that the design of the theater built by James Burbage, which influenced the later theater movement, including Shakespeare's Globe, was based on classical theory on the design of the Roman theater as expounded in Vitruvius's book on architecture. The arguments used in building up this theory emphasize the fact that Vitruvius was known among the artisan class in Elizabethan London through the teaching and writings of John Dee and could therefore have been known to Burbage. Since the geometry of the ground plan of the classical theater was based on cosmology, I further argue that cosmic associations would have been implicit in the Shakespearean theater, and that the "Idea" or meaning of the Globe Theater would have been that of a "theater of the world," expressive of harmonies between macrocosm and microcosm. From a letter by Frances Yates.

Yates argues that the above design for a stage is based on "memory palaces"..what begins as a virtual image in the mid, is incorporated for stage design...(perhaps helping actors rememeber their lines and enable them to memorize entire plays?)

The method of loci (plural of Latin locus for place or location), also called the memory palace, is a general designation for mnemonic techniques that rely on memorised spatial relationships to establish, order and recollect memorial content. The term is most often found in specialised works on psychology, neurobiology and memory, though it was used in the same general way at least as early as the first half of the nineteenth century in works on Rhetoric, Logic and Philosophy. From Wiki

In classical rhetoric, images and text were mapped onto virtual places to aid the memory of orators. Memory was enormously important to orators because they were expected to deliver long speeches with total accuracy. In fact, memory was of such value that there developed an "art of memory" designed to strengthen the natural memory. Frances Yates explains that this artificial memory depended upon the recollection of images:

The artificial memory is established from places and images . . . A locus is a place easily grasped by the memory, such as a house, an intercolumnar space, a corner, an arch, or the like. Images are forms, marks or simulacra of what we wish to remember. For instance if we wish to recall the genus of a horse, of a lion, of an eagle, we must place their images on definite loci.

Artificial memory was a kind of "inner writing" the orator reviewed while presenting a speech, observing the places and their contents, the images, and recovering the memories for things (the subject matter) that those images represented. The orator used a series of places (the topoi of classical rhetoric in which one "found" arguments, known as inventio) in which he placed one of many sets of images, depending upon the speech he was to remember." . . . the loci remain in the memory and can be used again by placing another set of images for another set of material" (7). These images were to be easily memorized. The anonymous author of the Ad Herennium, a classical rhetoric, discusses which types of images the orator should use in order to best remember them. (summary of "Art of Memory")


Related Links:

1) Memory wheel cool site
2) Biography of Frances Yates
3) Art of Memory

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Catching Up...

Madly trying to watch a couple more movies this week before the Oscars on Sunday. I wonder what will win "best picture"? Today on Oprah, Roger Ebert predicted that Kathern Bigelow will get best director. He's usually pretty good at guessing these things. He also thinks Hurt Locker will get best pic. It's a great choice of movies this year. Okay...back to the movie screen...