April 27th, 2011

the sacred

There wasn’t a time when things were any more spiritual than they are now. There wasn’t a time when there were all these gods around us in this spiritual world and now consciousness has evolved so we don’t need that any more. It’s always there. We happen to live in an age that doesn’t reflect it or encourage it or focus it in the way that cultures have done in the past where religion has been dominant. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not there.


It’s not that the sacred isn’t all around us, but there’s a problem about having the vision to see it. — Bill Viola

April 27th, 2011

pure cinema / 6.18.67

At the end of his tenture at USC, 24-year-old George Lucas went to Arizona to follow the production of the western, McKenna’s Gold for three months. He made this short visual tone-poem while there.


Pure Cinema is the film theory and practice whereby movie makers create a more emotionally intense experience using autonomous film techniques, as opposed to using stories, characters, or actors.

Unlike nearly all other fare offered via celluloid, pure cinema rejects the link and the character traits of artistic predecessors such as literature or theatre. It declares cinema to be its own independent art form that should not borrow from any other. As such, “pure cinema” is made up of nonstory, noncharacter films that convey abstract emotional experiences through unique cinematic devices such as montage (the Kuleshov Effect), camera movement and camera angles, sound-visual relationships, super-impositions and other optical effects, and visual composition.

Pure cinema.

April 26th, 2011

if you find exiting exciting

If you find exiting exciting then you’ll love this early Lumiere Bros footage.

April 25th, 2011

digital poems

I recommend viewing full screen. Thanks Aengus for the heads up!

April 25th, 2011

the tabacco hornworm & bioaccumulation

The Tabacco Hornworm or Manduca Sexta. Photo: Daniel Schwen.

Some animal species exhibit bioaccumulation as a mode of defense; by consuming toxic plants or animal prey, a species may accumulate the toxin which then presents a deterrent to a potential predator. One example is the tobacco hornworm, which concentrates nicotine to a toxic level in its body as it consumes tobacco plants. Poisoning of small consumers can be passed along the food chain to affect the consumers later on.

Other compounds that are not normally considered toxic can be accumulated to toxic levels in organisms. The classic example is of Vitamin A, which becomes concentrated in carnivore livers of e.g. polar bears: as a pure carnivore that feeds on other carnivores (seals), they accumulate extremely large amounts of Vitamin A in their livers. It was known by the native peoples of the Arctic that the livers should not be eaten, but Arctic explorers have suffered Hypervitaminosis A from eating the bear livers (and there has been at least one example of similar poisoning of Antarctic explorers eating husky dog livers). One notable example of this is the expedition of Sir Douglas Mawson, where his exploration companion died from eating the liver of one of their dogs.

Bioaccumulation @ wikipedia.

April 21st, 2011

lacanian gaze

Wiki: Hieronymus Bosch’s The Conjurer. While other figures observe objects within the painting, the woman in green observes the viewer. The painting thus makes the viewer aware of being on display.

Gaze is a psychoanalytical term brought into popular usage by Jacques Lacan to describe the anxious state that comes with the awareness that one can be viewed. The psychological effect, Lacan argues, is that the subject loses some sense of autonomy upon realizing that he or she is a visible object. This concept is bound with his theory of the mirror stage, in which a child encountering a mirror realizes that he or she has an external appearance. Lacan suggests that this gaze effect can similarly be produced by any conceivable object such as a chair or a television screen. This is not to say that the object behaves optically as a mirror; instead it means that the awareness of any object can induce an awareness of also being an object.


Related: Men dream of women

April 21st, 2011

the matrixial borderspace

One of 11 videos on youtube in which artist/psychoanalyst Bracha L. Ettinger talks about her matrixial theory.

April 17th, 2011


An animated version of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

April 16th, 2011

biological energy storage

Above: Glycogen. “A core protein of glycogenin is surrounded by branches of
glucose units. The entire globular granule may contain approximately 30,000 glucose units.”

What is an energy storage molecule? All molecules have energy “stored” in the chemical bonds that link their atoms. However, relatively few molecules found inside living organisms function as significant energy storage molecules. Most molecules of living organisms have other functions such as forming structures, holding and organizing genetic information, transforming existing molecules into other molecules, sending signals that coordinate the behavior of cells. Some molecules have important primary function related to the storage of chemical energy and such molecules can be thought of as “energy storage molecules”.

Key aspects for all energy storage molecules are the details of how they are formed by chemical reactions, where they are stored, and how they are metabolized to release the stored energy. In some cases, the location in an organism where an energy storage molecule is formed, stored or where it is during release of the stored energy are not the same and transport of the molecule through an organism’s body becomes an important issue.

Among the energy storage molecules, one of the key distinctions that can be made is the normal length of time between the formation of the molecule and its metabolism and release of the stored energy. Molecules such as ATP can be formed, diffuse a short distance within a cell and be metabolized to release the stored energy within a very short time period (on the order of seconds). Fat molecules can be stored in fat tissue and then used many months later, for example, during hibernation. Other energy storage molecules are specialized to hold energy for intermediate periods time, from minutes to days.

Like the previous post, for me this is another case of rethinking previous conceptions and inspiring new wonder, where before my understanding was only adequate but not profound.

The above text is from this incomplete wikiversity page.

Posted in Biology | No Comments »
April 16th, 2011

a tremendous mess of light

I posted about these Richard Feynmann clips before but I somehow missed this one amid that first spate of videos. In this one Feynmann describes the way we perceive light, and he does it in such a way as to inspire (to me at least) new wonder regarding the matter.

April 16th, 2011

the imagination is a telescope in time

The Ascent of Man with Jacob Bronowsky, on youtube in six parts. A nicely philosophical and poetic approach to question “what makes us human?”. Thanks to Machteld

April 15th, 2011

a typical spring-loaded solder sucker

A desoldering pump, colloquially known as a solder sucker, is a device which is used to remove solder from a printed circuit board. There are two types: the plunger style and bulb style.

I got my own soldering iron and it came with a desoldering pump. It’s alarmingly satisfying to suck solder. And the noise it makes: Creak, Sklunk!

I’m only posting this because I like the caption for the above image on the wikipedia page for desoldering (“a typical spring-loaded solder sucker”).

April 14th, 2011


two experiments from 2010:

pencil, red wine

felt pen, charcoal, red wine

April 11th, 2011

literature portraiture

On the 5th of April I participated in a two week project in the Witte Zaal gallery space (Sint Lucas, Ghent) whereby, daily, new artists responded to the gallery space as it was left the day before.

Items and resources could be introduced to the space but not removed. The artist before me put all the previous works in garbage bags and numbered the bags by day.

I responded to that by making a trashy, anxious environment with ink-scrawled messages denying the value of art and announcing the waste of time art represents. A classmate arrived then and further added to the visual aspect of it by arranging old records and empty drinks cans in the space. Then I declared that I would just read and study all day, because it was more important than making art. I taped the pages of my art history syllabus to the floor and the walls (with a note saying I was keeping it safe for later because it was important).

I began to read a novel (Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence), flicking through pages at random and only reading full paragraphs when they immediately appealed to my present state of mind. Then whenever I felt a strong connection to the words — whenever they appealed to an immediately relevant memory, a philosophy, an attitude, etc — I wrote down the whole paragraph or line or lines. In the end I had a big scroll of paper which when read functioned as a portrait or snapshot of my mind as it was that day. So it became an experiment in literary portraiture.

If I can track down the text that was created, I’ll post it here (it had to stay in the gallery space, and was used by an artist in a subsequent performance during the project).

April 3rd, 2011

maths is real

Wonderful physics experiment (thanks Seán)

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