Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Promethean Subtlety

“Perhaps the history of the errors of mankind, all things considered, is more valuable and interesting than that of their discoveries. Truth is uniform and narrow; it constantly exists, and does not seem to require so much an active energy, as a passive aptitude of the soul in order to encounter it. But error is endlessly diversified; it has no reality, but is the pure and simple creation of the mind that invents it. In this field the soul has room enough to expand herself, to display all her boundless faculties, and all her beautiful and interesting extravagancies and absurdities.”

 - Benjamin Franklin, from his report to the King of France on Animal Magnetism, 1784

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pink Floyd... Anything of Highbrow Value Worth Remarking Upon?


The following video unpacking the Wish You Were Here album has been the subject to recent International Authors back channel discussion:

A few notes:

Barrett's genius is "inspirational." The experimental character of the band's approach--which I take to be Barrett's legacy--especially pre-Meddle, is worth considering as we work through our own creative projects.

Meddle is an OK album, but "Formula Floyd" by this time was established, and as they imply in the video, their success--or rather their mastery of the mechanism of "product"--was in some ways disappointing. Ironically, perhaps, their interest in experimentation yielded opportunities in the marketplace that these young men just could not ignore. I am skeptical when they suggest they were somehow puppets of the record industry. These fellows were never the record company's dupes. They owned their own business (as much as anybody could in that industry), though their criticisms of the industry remain valid, I suppose. It's rather like they are saying, "What a beastly bore it was getting rich." There is a video elsewhere about the Barrett days, and a person from that scene said that Barrett was accessible, while the other three were toffs. I gather they were rather middle class, which for the person talking was enough to call them toffs.

The negative "message" and vibe of the albums after Meddle make it difficult for me to listen to those albums, and I don't.  Really, anymore I don't listen to their music at all.

And that's all I have to say about Pink Floyd. As a coda, however, I would like to point in another direction, and this is the most useful observation I have to make about Pink Floyd. In the following selection are two pieces from the album Three Friends by Gentle Giant. The final track here, "Three Friends" is very Floydian, and I remember telling my friend when I first heard it, "Wow, this is better than The Floyd." His response was a rather idiosyncratic but nonetheless apt observation: "The Floyd is better than The Floyd," which I take to mean that the band's conceptual approach, their emphasis on invention, and their exuberant creative energy exceed what Pink Floyd ever accomplished musically. This is not to denigrate them in anyway, but rather to highlight their adventurous spirit, which is worth inquiring into. Anyway, I grow windy. Here are those two tracks from Gentle Giant:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Emanations in Strawberry Fields

Emanations: Foray into Forever has now reached the proof stage.  The book looks good, the colors are striking, and I am fixing typos and formatting errors, which inevitably appear here and there.  The book should be available soon. It's a tedious process, but what can you do?  Here it can be seen displayed atop the "Imagination" mosaic in Strawberry Fields in Central Park, New York City.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

chat with Ray's robot

Meet Ray Kurzweil's chatbot "Romona 4.2." 
You can chat with Ramona 4.2 by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Lost (Hi)Story: Sibyl Archer & Simultaneous Planes, Inc.

I recently visited he Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York to meet graduating MFA student Polixeni Theodorou, who showed me artifacts from her project entitled "A Lost (Hi)Story: Sibyl Archer & Simultaneous Planes, Inc." At the narrative level, the theme of the exhibit concerns time travel and parallel realities, and features a character named Sibyl Archer, a chrononaut who exists at a number of historical periods, and who seeks to bring people into contact with her mysterious organization, Simultaneous Planes, Inc. Philip K. Dick  is an important inspiration for (and part of) the instillation, and as the visitor views the collected  materials and is drawn into the phenomenology and the character of the "evidence" that leads us to perceive time and history, the uncanny impression of multiple realities advances from a concept into a plausible fact of human existence. The project has an interactive aspect that is developing into an on-going "instillation" at a number of levels. Evidence of Sybyl Archer's adventures in time will surface in "real" space and media as Poloxeni develops new artifacts and events that will appear in unexpected places... and at unexpected times. 

Click HERE to view artifacts from her exhibit.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Aziz Mustafa and Emanations: Third Eye at the Prishtina Book Fair

Here with Emantions: Third Eye is Dr. Aziz Mustafa at the 16th annual Prishtina Book Fair, which is being held now (June 3-8) in Prishtina, Kosovo. About 30 publishing houses are represented. Dr. Mustafa, a physician in Kosovo, has been a contributor to Emanations since our second volume, and his poetry will appear in Emanations: Foray into Forever, which will be available soon. 

Dr. Mustafa's new book My Land is in Love will be published in Kosovo by Olymp--stay tuned for an announcement.  I should add that Aziz has joined the International Authors Board of Editorial Advisers.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

progress reports, getting the word out...

Dario Rivarossa has posted on Emanations: Foray into Forever.  He includes a few illustrations from the book, and the back cover can be viewed... HERE.

Dario also has posted a progress report on the translation of Tasso's Creation of the World... HERE.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Elliott Carter - String Quartet No. 1 (1/4)

From Wikipedia: 
A primary compositional technique used in the quartet is the principle of metric modulation (temporal modulation)—one for which Carter was to become particularly renowned. Although he was not the first composer to use this device (such as Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments, (1920)) he was seemingly the first to develop such complex transformations. It is said that Carter assigned to tempo the structural role that earlier composers gave to tonality.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pax Cultura

The text of the Roerich Pact can be read HERE.