I'm blown away by the recent piece Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart, a chronicle years in the making, presented as an entire issue of NYTimes Magazine. In terms of form I am reminded of a documentary approach, i.e. following different people in different locations for years (reminiscent of 'Iraq in Fragments'). Beyond observation, the piece provides an illuminating roadmap for those like me who need to be reminded of certain 5 Ws e.g. an overview of the Kurds, of the Arab Spring, of US involvement... I learned more about conflicts in the Middle East from this single piece than I have from traditional reporting. The whole functions as a constellation of sorts, where lines between events become more clear while ultimately pointing to the overwhelming scale of things. I got my hands on the print version and wish it had been bound into a solid book. It deserves to be.
At the Exposition Universelle 1900, in Paris. This boat ride simulator provided the feeling of seafaring for up to 700 people at a time. with rolling panoramas, rocking floor, seaweed odours, synthetic ocean breezes and accompanying sounds. I'm feeling hints of that Borges story about the world-sized world map.
"Stability itself is nothing but a more languid motion."
I say therefore that likenesses or thin shapes
This was on Hastings St in Vancouver. The sign is no longer there, nor the gallery below it.
Link to this work on website of Catriona Jeffries Gallery.
Robert Schumann's Piano Concerto in A Minor (1846) and Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor (1868) are often compared. Grieg apparently saw a performance of Shumann's piano concerto in 1858. Conscious influence or not, I enjoy (plausible) examples of cross-polination before the internet.
I was lucky to catch a discussion with Joshua Oppenheimer in Vancouver before a screening of The Look of Silence. Along with its precursor The Act of Killing, these two films are staggering companion pieces, must-sees that are having very real impacts on filmmakers, politicians, societies, etc. For in-depth pieces, try this one from The Atlantic, or this one from The Independent.
Since most who attended the talk are involved in filmmaking, he indulged our curiosity about the particulars of his process and techniques. Here are a few highlights :
... because the notion of 'truth' is open to excellent, necessary debate/conversation, of which the previous post is but one hint. I turn to Errol Morris for more depth:
First on Radiolab, discussing the truth/untruth of an 1855 photograph taken during the Crimean War:
And in conversation with The Believer. I pulled a few excerpts (below) but the whole article is worth a read!
... to me these are really, really, really important issues.
Diana Vreeland's fashion-forward ideas are currently cruising at breakneck speeds in the form of in-flight entertainment. Something tells me she would approve. The 'entertainment' in question is a biographical documentary about her called Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel. The film appeals on many fronts, not just the fashion/art perspective. One of my favorite parts - in her later career with the Met's Costume Institute - recounts her insistence on exaggerating the wig of a mannequin for the exhibit 'The Eighteenth-Century Woman' (pictured below). In reasoning with designer Harold Koda (who happens to be stepping down this month from heading the Costume Institute), she says, and I'm paraphrasing, 'it is not about showing the whole complete truth, but the integrity of the idea' .
See 'read more' for another example from the film Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.
this is my favorite Ideas episode. Fascinating approach to history. With this in mind what does today's music forecast? See link for a listen:
It's often been said that WW1 created who we are today: geopolitically and culturally. Robert Harris explains how music -- classical and popular -- both prefigured and reflected the war in the years leading up to the unprecedented destruction and after.
Sparse highlights from the great spinning sphere of publication.