Tuesday, February 28, 2006

An interview with Mark Danner...

"That leads me to a conclusion I came to then: that in many stories it's not the information, it's the politics. It's not that we were lacking information. It's that, when that information came out, it was denied and those in power were able to impose their view of reality. Political power decided what reality was, despite clear information to the contrary. When I look at our time I see that phenomenon writ large. It's gone way beyond a massacre in a relatively obscure Central American country. It's gone to policies and statements that led the United States to invade a country that had not attacked us, to torture prisoners and deny we're doing it even when clear evidence says that we are, to domestic spying in which the government is clearly breaking the law and the President declares that he will continue to do so. In all these cases, it's not the information, it's the politics. This is a hard thing for journalists to admit because the model of journalistic behavior in our era is Watergate. It's very hard for journalists to come to grips with the reality that wrongdoing can indeed be exposed, and continue to be exposed again and again with no result, in a kind of tortuous eternal return. "

This is a good blog for ideas...

9/11 conspiracy theories

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Trouble in paradise

This guy's work is the art-equivalent of spam e-mail and infomercials. What's more American than "sign on the dotted line to get rich"? Nothing, I say.
This kind of thing isn't going away.
There is a causal link between banality and insanity.
"Flowers" by Adolf Hitler
Link to LA Times article, "Gallery Owners Win Ruling in Kinkade Case", via ArtsJournal

Thursday, February 23, 2006

jokes and jokes and jokes

One day a fourth-grade teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came up--fireman, mechanic, businessman, salesman, doctor, lawyer, and so forth.

But little Justin was being uncharacteristically quiet, so when the teacher prodded him about his father, he replied, "My father's an exotic dancer in a gay cabaret and takes off al l his clothes in front of other men and they put money in his underwear. Sometimes, if the offer is really good, he will go home with some guy and make love with him for money."

The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set the other children to work on some exercises and then took little Justin aside to ask him, "Is that really true about your father?" "No," the boy said, "He works for the Democratic National Committee and is helping to secure the 2008 nomination of Hilary Clinton, but I was too embarrassed to say that in front of the other kids."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Off to Mars

The image above is a secret meeting with "Intelligences", from beyond our galaxy. One could say that his ideas for space travel are, well retro. Through laborious discussions he has given us "USA" and us only the technology to reach the planet Mars by 2015, years before expected. Thanks to "Intelligence " he has handed over a formula that can take simple materials, like wood from trees, grind it down to a fine paste to form the fuselage for a rocket, smaller bits can be added to enhance the look and color. Thanks to a crack team in the UK we now have the translated plans. Look above to see.

Ski Dubai!

Don't want to go to the mountain? Then bring the mountain to you! The New indoor Skiing Resort in the middle of "Sunny" Dubai!

Ski Dubai, 85m high by 80m wide, has to cope with average outside winter temperatures of 77 degrees fahrenhiet and summer temperatures soaring above 104.

The 22,500sq/m of piste are covered with 6,000 metric tons of manufactured snow all year round.

This an image of the new Snow City they want to build next.
Why not make manmade islands that are shaped like the countries of the world next?
a space elevator perhaps....

Friday, February 17, 2006

Commercial space flight

The X prize was the first step: to gauge if space flight could be achieved under a certain cost. The next step is to get it to turn a profit.
Link to a Feb. 17th NY Times Article.
2003, "Target", Scott Listfield, via Austin Lee, via Tyler Paint

Thursday, February 16, 2006

torture haircut

Cop: Where is your bat cave?
Dave:I will never tell you, torture me if you want to
Cop: I have ways of getting people to talk
Dave: Yeah but I am a vampire and I am really strong
Cop: Well I am a cop,
Dave: What does that matter? what do you think of my hair?
Cop: I like it, it's nice and blond, how do you find the time to bleach it?
Dave: I am vampire I have all the time in the world
Cop: do you like my mustache?

Jack Bauer likes Torture

Edit: And Dale Cooper likes coffee...
and Fox Mulder loves the porn...
TV heroes, we salute you! - Mr. Alex

The ongoing atrocity exhibition

There's some rumination in the Washington Post today about the terms of expression in one of the newly released photographs from Abu Ghraib. The photograph is of a large blood splatter and a soiled rag next to a basin, that served as a toilet, set into the rough concrete floor of the prision. Philip Kennicott of the Post writes:
"Comparing blood to paint, violence to art, is dangerous, even repellent. But in one sense, the blood on this floor is exactly like the paint drippings of Jackson Pollock, who captured the visible traces of action, the visual memory of gestures. In Pollock's painting, the gestures fixed on canvas were often graceful, melodic even, with paint obeying the law of gravity with a gentle quiescence. If this is blood, we can only imagine what the gestures were."
I think the writer is confusing ends and means [ed.] with byproducts. The torturers were not bent on painting the prision with blood, they were interested gaining information by way of [ed.] inflicting pain. The evidentiary value of these photographs is enormous. But I don't think that these photographs can help us to empathize with the prisoners, or understand the torturers, in any significant way. In fact, I think these photographs are illustrations of the gulf that exists between the viewer and the prisoners. In their torment and pathos, the prisoners were utterly alone.
Walter Benjamin has a good analogy of painting and drawing to photography. He compares the draftsman to a medicine man or faith healer, who act based their own holistic understanding. The photographer he compares to a surgeon, who reaches into the patient (in the photographer's case, reality) and cuts out a small piece.
Malcolm Morley, Painter's Floor, 1999, 95 in. square, oil on linen with diamond chips. This painting is a copy of an overhead photo of Jackson Pollock's floor.

* I'm not going to post the photo from the prison because I don't want to look at it every time I log onto Astromen. There's a copy of it with the article.
Link to the Washinton Post article, via ArtsJournal.
Link to a description of The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard


This application may be a good solution to my earlier dilemna regarding freeware digital music players (see my previous post iTunes 6.0.2 - Spyware or not?). Winamp is a tight program, but to use more than its most basic capabilities you need to register and pay 20 bucks, thus eliminating it from the freeware category. The Songbird program is being built in close collaboration with the developers of Firefox and VLC, two of the best programs out there from the open source crowd. It is still in a development stage but I like the range of possibilities that this might have once it is finished. My experience thus far is that the open source crowd is developing the best programs on the market with the least bugs and security issues, seeing as any problem is immediately descended upon by a bunch of crack programming geeks. "Must fix bug . . . before going to work at Microsoft . . . in the morning . . . more coffee . . . mind strong . . . body weak . . ."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Lets get Tan Yall

"The blast wave travels more slowly than the heat flash. Several seconds may pass after you have seen the light or felt the heat before the blast wave reaches you, depending on the distance you are from the explosion. It is like the time between seeing the flash of lightning and hearing the sound of thunder. For example, at ten miles from the centre of an explosion, it would take about 35 seconds for the blast wave to reach you. If caught in the open during a nuclear explosion, this time can be used to find some protection from the blast wave.
You might be injured by being thrown about by the blast; therefore, keep low. The greatest danger is from flying glass, bricks and other debris. The blast from a 5-megaton explosion could injure people as far away as 15 miles."

Friday, February 10, 2006

Lets raise the level of discussion

Not surprisingly, intellectuals commonly use allegations of anti-intellectualism as a charge against their critics…. The term 'intellectual' implies knowledge, wisdom, and intelligence, and thus to be called 'anti-intellectual' can often be perceived as meaning one favors ignorance or stupidity.
Sometimes criticism of intellectuals can take the form of a specific critique of an intellectual's specific field of study or theory. Not all 'intellectual' theories are correct, and thus an intellectual's beliefs can be disputed without necessarily being against the larger concept of intellectual study.
The worst offenders are the artists and the intellectuals. The artists invariably believe that since God has provided them with an easel, a canvas, a few brushes and some paint, they are superior to the rest of the species. Therefore, you are likely to come across them looking either lost or with fire in the eyes. Both these are legitimate expressions. No one will ever bother to insinuate that they are either uncomfortable and constipated or have had one too many.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

International Astromen World Headquarters?

55th and 6th. Midtown Manhatten. Best cheap greasy spoon hamburger I have ever had. The bottomless coffee mugs bear this logo as well.

In other news we score as high as 4th with a Google search of the forum title, along with a headline pleading "
Notify Blogger about objectionable content."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Graffiti Archaeology

to neat-o time-lapse images of graffitied walls, taken over the period of years. Via Artcyclopedia.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

"Non-rational logic will not go away."

Here's another exhibition I didn't see. A few years ago, David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame, showed a suite of PowerPoint presentations that he had made; which where essentially a taxonomy of coporate-ese. The project was called "Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information". Byrne is someone you can count on for oblique, unexpected insights, even if they are somewhat hodge-podge. A cursory search of the Web only turns up a handful of stills from the project, though there was an NPR spot, and a Wired article.
Link to Wired article, "Learning to Love PowerPoint."
Link to David Byrne's website.
Link to NPR
Day to Day spot, Jan. 14th, 2004.

Negativland's "Gimme the Mermaid"

This is a Negativland piece about Disney's copyright lobbying, and is the best Black Flag cover ever. (or maybe it comes in second to Ice-T doing "Police Story".)
I still feel guilty about missing these guys' gallery show in NYC a couple months ago.
Link, via Illegal Art.
Edit: Also, you can download the classic "Spin", in its entirety, from the Illegal Art website. Link to mp4 (133 mb).

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"You will pay us to see!"

"The Act contains certain anti-speech aspects which will directly affect illustrators, photographers and others.

It will serve to eliminate the current protection for non-commercial speech currently contained in the Lanham Act. It will prevent businesses (artists)and consumers from invoking famous trademarks to explain or illustrate their discussion of public issues.

For example, using the phrase "Where's the Beef" could be actionable. Although you might use it in a non-commercial way, the (very) famous Wendy's slogan when used to comment might not be protected by the fair use exception.

The Act would give companies considerable leverage in preventing artists and photographers from employing their marks in images by claiming the mark is being "diluted". The bigger the company, the more famous the trademark, the easier it will be to prevent you guys from using it. National companies with highly recognizable marks would have more leverage than any single creator or small business and would easily outspend any of you to prevent your using their mark. Exceptions for fair use, non-commercial use, reportage, commentary, etc. currently existing could disappear and would be no defense to claims of infringement of a registered or unregistered mark."
More here...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Luke-warm left-overs

George played political softball tonight; mentioning little about the how's and wherefore's of his foreign and domestic policies. He was most noticeably unspecific about any kind of quantitative, or explanatory, (read, answerable) observations on our country's military engagements and espionage activities. The term "hopeful society" seemed to be the stand-in term for "moral values", but with more of a siege mentality flavor.
All-in-all this was nothing new, left-overs really. He did some mincing about the Palestinian elections, to what end, who knows.
Each year during the State of the Union, I'm waiting for George to lose his cookies and dissolve the government, while storm troopers march into the Congressional chambers. (see "Pres. Manson" below.)
P.S.: Also, it was a spooky moment when the President warned of "human-animal hybrids"; is there something he knows that we don't?