March 31st, 2011

men dream of women

Men Dream of Women by Jonathan Beaton

I made some audio. It’s available to stream and download on SoundCloud (or above).

March 26th, 2011

the wisdom of pessimism

Alain de Botton – On Pessimism from The School of Life on Vimeo.

Some wonderful truths (apart from the suggestion that the consumption of booze excludes misery absolutely and should therefore be absolutely avoided). Thanks Machteld for the tip.

March 26th, 2011

francis antonio blake

Antonio Saura‘s illustrations sometimes look like a mix between Quentin Blake and Francis Bacon… A lot of his work can be found categorized neatly on the website of his succession.

Above is an example of his graphic work from 1973.

Previous post: Quentin Blake keeps it jazzy

March 25th, 2011

seeking or paining

William Blake:

Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart;
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears,
Ah! she doth depart.

Soon as she was gone from me,
A traveller came by,
Silently, invisibly:
He took her with a sigh.

In another version of this poem Blake apparently replaced “Never seek to tell thy love” with “Never pain to tell thy love”. Wiki:

As the only textual authority for many of these poems is a foul draft, some of them are partly editorial reconstructions. In the notebook the first stanza of “Never pain to tell thy love” has been marked for deletion. Two variant readings are sometimes found in published versions of the poem. In the first line “seek” was deleted by Blake and replaced by “pain”, and the final line replaced the deleted version “He took her with a sigh”.

I like the poem even if the advice is not necessarily worth following. Why not try?

Never seek to tell thy love

March 18th, 2011

Imaginary Translation

Imaginary Translation from Jonathan Beaton on Vimeo.

The above is just a video postcard from yesterday in the atelier. More info about this, my latest project, later.

March 14th, 2011

the wisdom of hysteria

March 13th, 2011

an earring-wearing Incredible Hulk on a stationary bike.

The art of memory is credited to the ancient Greek poet Simonides, who was able to perfectly recall the scene in a banquet hall moments before the roof collapsed, simply by reviewing it in his mind’s eye. The “method of loci” assigns distinctive images to anything one wants to remember, placing the images in familiar rooms or buildings. Recalling, then, becomes a matter of traveling through those locations, or “memory palaces,” and noting the images assembled there. This seeming sleight of hand — memorize X in order to remember Y — takes advantage of a simple fact of human cognition: we naturally remember visual images. Take a moment to imagine your own living room; a detailed description of everything in sight is effortless.

Translating your shopping list into something memorable involves choosing good images and good loci — and then concentrating on them. The less banal, the better. Quotidian scenes are forgettable. What snags the cells of our brains are disgusting, bizarre and novel images.

Using a version of these ancient techniques, a past world memory champion named Ben Pridmore was set to prove he had memorized 50,000 digits of pi. (Trumped by a man who recited pi to 83,431 places, Pridmore spent the next six weeks cleaning the images of pi out of his memory palaces.) In joining their ranks, Foer develops various loci, including friends’ houses, his old high school, and Camden Yards. He mentally collects a population of images — often lewd or ridiculous — which he will assign to numbers, playing cards or whatever else he will need to memorize. (Hence his title, which represents the combination of images he uses to remember the four of spades, the king of hearts and the three of diamonds.) In this way, a long string of numbers becomes a farcical tour of fantastical images, distributed in a memory palace. They almost don’t need to be memorized, per se. Once you attend to them, it is hard to forget them. Dom DeLuise hula-hooping plays a pivotal role for Foer, as does an earring-wearing Incredible Hulk on a stationary bike.

Irregular images aside, Foer’s missteps are few. Discussing the neurological underpinnings of memory, he repeats some commonly held myths about it, for instance, that obscure facts — “where I celebrated my seventh birthday” — are “lurking somewhere in my brain, waiting for the right cue to pop back into consciousness.” In fact, not only are many such memories lost for good, even the memories we do have are often quasi-fictionalized reconstructions. Foer inexplicably devotes space to attempting to convince the reader that Daniel Tammet, a renowned savant who memorized 22,514 digits of pi, may not actually be doing it naturally, but only by using the same kind of mnemonic aids used by Foer and his fellow competitors (would it matter?).

Alexandra Horrowitz on Joshua Foer’s book Walking With Einstein, NYT.

March 12th, 2011

when you are old and grey and full of sleep

W. B. Yeats, When you are old:

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes once had, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face among a crowd of stars.

March 11th, 2011

chess boxing

I’m really happy this exists:

Chess boxing is a hybrid sport which combines boxing with chess in alternating rounds. The sport began when Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh, inspired by fictional depictions by French comic book artist and filmmaker Enki Bilal, organized actual bouts. Chess boxing is now growing in popularity. Participants must be both skilled boxers and chess players, as a match may be won either way.

Chess boxing (wiki)

March 10th, 2011


I’m learning how to wield a pencil. More photos from my sketchbook are on flickr.

March 2nd, 2011

light to sound translation

Colin from Make magazine modifies a Korg synthesizer to respond to light.

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