Archinect has an interesting piece up titled Delirious Moscow, In Search of Lost Vanguards, drawing connections between Soviet architectural modernism, avant-garde constructivism, utopianism, and that societies fluctuating ideas concerning space exploration. Quote: “One could look at the remnants of the avant-garde projects that litter the former USSR as the detritus left by the Martians: the incomprehensible, incommensurable ruins of a strictly temporary visitation by creatures not like ourselves.” It touches on the 1972 novel Roadside Picnic which inspired the Tarkovsky film Stalker, Tatlin’s Third International Tower, and Shukhov Tower among many other things. Great stuff (via enthusiasm).

10.17. filed under: art. design. history. ideas. 1

Her name is The Humanities

There has been a lively discussion going on over at Varieties of Unreligious Experience touched off by Conrad’s post Humanism and the virtue of anxiety. My mind, degenerate and poorly oiled as it is, could not help but take a particularly delightful exchange to its ultimate conclusion (pictured above through the miracle of photoshop). Rather than catastrophically lower the level of discourse there, I thought I’d post my addition where it could do no such harm- here.

09.20. filed under: ideas. misc. play. 3

The Last Epiphany

Waiting for a light bulb to go on… it can be a drag. That’s what I did though, just sat there and waited. I couldn’t understand it. Not a flicker of warning. Not a buzz. Not even that final brilliantly bright POP you might expect before a burn out… the thing just stopped working, leaving me to sit there in the dark. I tried a few times to coax it back… a jiggle… a tap. Nothing. At one point, and I’m not proud of it, I think I might have threatened it, saying something to the effect of, “go on or I’ll smash you against the fucking wall!” (Big man me, threatening a defenseless, paper-thin, spheroid of glass!) Other than that though I pretty much just sat there, waiting. 

08.02. filed under: ideas. life. personal. 4

Quote, “Some books are ahead of their time. Some books convey a message which threatens prevailing notions, and are therefore brushed away. Some books are mixtures of profound insights and garbled speculations. Hamlet’s Mill, An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time (1969) partakes to varying degrees in all of the above. Hamlet’s Mill began a revolution in understanding the profound sources of ancient mythology. Although it tottered on the edge of oblivion for years, it has reemerged as the fundamental inspiration for many progressive researchers who find the precession of the equinoxes lurking within ancient creation myths around the world.” - From an intro to the complete online text of Hamlet’s Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend. (Via.)

12.10. filed under: belief. history. humanity. ideas.

Gk. hysterikos, “of the womb.”

From wikipedia: An ancient Greek myth tells of the uterus wandering throughout a woman’s body, strangling the victim as it reaches the chest and causing disease. This theory is the source of the term hysteria, which stems from the Greek word for uterus, hystera. A prominent physician from the second century, Galen, wrote that hysteria was a disease caused by sexual deprivation in particularly passionate women: hysteria was noted quite often in virgins, nuns, widows, and occasionally married women. The prescription in medieval and renaissance medicine was intercourse if married, marriage if single, or massage by a midwife as a last recourse. It was a popular diagnosis in the Victorian era for a wide array of symptoms and treatment came in the form of a “pelvic massage” — manual stimulation of the woman’s genitals by the doctor to “hysterical paroxysm”, which is now recognized as orgasm.

Links: Female hysteria, Why Only Women Get Hysterical, In the History of Gynecology, a Surprising Chapter, Freud, Charcot and hysteria: lost in the labyrinth, Hysteria’s Notorious History, Medical texts and other fictions, The wandering wombUnbalanced Drive ShaftHistory of the vibrator, For pleasure, Come again?, Nerves and Narratives, The Wandering Libido and the Hysterical Body, and finally…

12.09. filed under: history. humanity. ideas. 12

Quote, “Have you ever considered the possibility that God might be a crazy woman? Or that John Dillinger died for you? Do you think there might be a secret technique by which the Enlightened can literally get Something for Nothing? Could the Martians have the true religion while Earthians are lost in superstitious darkness? Can a cup of coffee be a sacrament, and if not, why not? Does the mathematics of six-dimensional space-time and philosophy of Multi-Ego Pantheistic Solipsism explain the universe?” Intro to the 1986 piece Religion For the Hell of It by the revered Robert Anton Wilson.

12.07. filed under: belief. ideas. 2

Quote, “In the beginning was the Word. There was a little pond and in the pond was a little letter “O”, a word. Soon the pond was full of trillions of O’s, happily mouthing their meaning. And the word was fruitful and multiplied. Then something happened. An “O” changed to an “I”. Another changed to an “A”. (Others changed to “x” and “p”, but these were not fruitful and were, sadly, deselected.) Soon, the pond was swimming with O’s and A’s and I’s. The I’s, in particular, thought they were something special, but the O’s were happy just to be noticed…” Zachriel’s Sea of Beneficence, part of the larger Word Mutagenation.

12.02. filed under: bits&bytes. ideas.

Night of the Ground Stars

Or: urban shoe-gazing finds a purpose

Electric light, Concrete, and Chewing Gum, what have they in common? Though, admittedly, both concrete and chewing gum can ultimately trace their roots to antiquity, all three of these items, in something akin to their modern form, entered the American stage in the 1870’s.

Edison invented the first commercially successful incandescent lamp around 1879. At the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 David O. Saylor exhibited the first American made portland cement, though it was not until 1891 that the first concrete street in the United States was paved. Thomas Adams opened the first chewing gum factory in 1870, and a year later Adams’ chicle based New York Gum went on sale in drug stores for a penny apiece. By the beginning of the 20th century all three of these items had become popular and were on their way to being staples of American life.

11.27. filed under: !. history. ideas. observations. play. 5

Been reading the 1968 book Camp Concentration by Tomash M. Disch and have been enjoying it very much, more, in truth, than I expected to. It sat in my to-read pile for a long while before I actually got up the interest to crack it open. Perhaps it was the ‘72 cover illustration? The cracked spine? I don’t know. In any case, having never heard of Disch, I figured perhaps you had not either, and thought I’d share a few paragraphs to get you acquainted. The following is a snippet from a conversation between the protagonist, Louis Sacchetti (a poet, and conscientious objector to some conflict or other who has been sent, as an objective chronicler, to a military instillation where patients are injected with a modified strain of syphilis which makes them brilliant before eating away their brain and killing them) and Dr. Aimee Busk (an icey doctor at said military instillation.) Hope you enjoy.

09.10. filed under: books. ideas. 3

Mark Rothko on The Artist’s Dilemma

I’ve been making my way through the collection of Mark Rothko’s Writings titled, The Artist’s Reality, Philosophies of Art in fits and starts for a while now and have wanted to post some snippet of the text in order to share what I regard as some very beautiful and cogent writing. Problem is this isn’t sound-byte type material. I’ve decided therefore to simply take the plunge and transcribe the first piece in the book, titled, The Artist’s Dilemma, in full. (Hopefully Mark’s son, and editor of the book, Christopher, will look upon this as the loving tribute [and incentive for those unfamiliar with the volume to pick it up] which it is, and not merely a copywrite infringement, which… it also unquestionably is.) Though the public persona of “the artist” has certainly changed since Rothko’s heyday as a member of the artistic intelligencia - particularly in the wake of Warhol’s savvy marketing blitz - this piece is, I believe, still relevant in many ways and beyond that it is a beautifuly written and precious artifact from what many of us would surely consider “better days” in the history of painting. See below. 

09.02. filed under: art. !. ideas. observations. people. 2

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