Sunday, April 04, 2010

This blog has moved


This blog is now located at http://technologanda.blogspot.com/.
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to
http://technologanda.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default.

This blog has moved


This blog is now located at http://technologanda.blogspot.com/.
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to
http://technologanda.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Mind - New Research Focuses on the Power of Physical Contact - NYTimes.com

Mind - New Research Focuses on the Power of Physical Contact - NYTimes.com



If a high five or an equivalent can in fact enhance performance, on the field or in the office, that may be because it reduces stress. A warm touch seems to set off the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps create a sensation of trust, and to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Interview with YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES

Interview with YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES



YHCHI: It's pretty obvious that the "tone" or "voice" of Internet literature is more distant and difficult to "locate" than traditional writing. Mere book packaging tells a lot about the book and the author; browser packaging is generic. Internet writers can either see this as a problem or welcome it as a relief from the critical
fashion of reading biography into every aspect of literature.

As for the look of our work, we do what we can. We've never been interested in graphic design (a lot of Web artists--and even writers-- start out or double as graphic artists). There are hundreds of fonts, millions of colors, and we don't know what to do about that.

So to answer your question, no, we can't and won't help readers to "locate" us. Distance, homelessness, anonymity, and insignificance are all part of the Internet literary voice, and we welcome them.

TS: Can you say a few things about your process of collaboration?

YHCHI: We sit in front of our computers side by side on the floor of our tiny pre-World War II Japanese house in Seoul and try to ignore each other. Something inevitably comes up, and the laughs--sorry -- the collaboration process begins.

TS: What do you make of the critical writing out there thus far on Web-based art and Web-based writing?

YHCHI: There isn't much critical writing yet on Web writing. One reason is that it's a young medium. Another is that it's not taken very seriously (i.e., there's no money in it). Still another is that
it's more satisfying to create than to criticize.

There's a tendency to read quickly on the Internet. Speed is everything, and densely written texts, be they creative or critical, seem to make the reader anxious -- maybe because of the phone bill. Then again, maybe another reason for the dearth of critical Web writing is that there's nothing to criticize -- Web writing might not be very good.

Friday, December 25, 2009

the Encyclopaedia Britannica on film

The editors of Encyclopædia Britannica first commissioned an article on the subject of motion pictures for the Thirteenth Edition (1926), which, like the Twelfth Edition (1922), constituted a three-volume supplement to the famous Eleventh Edition (1910–11). The Fourteenth Edition was launched in 1929, only a few scant years from the advent of “talkies,” and was published yearly (with three exceptions) from 1929 to 1973. The 1929 printing included a discussion of many aspects of motion pictures, including some notable advice on methods of makeup--"False beards should be made with crêpe hair a little lighter than the natural hair. Comb out well, press in a book, cut off a straight edge, and after applying spirit gum on the face attach the straight edge to the face, and trim with scissors to the required shape."

Lillian Gish’s contribution, which ran under the heading "A Universal Language" was in print from 1929 to 1939. By the time it was replaced, Hollywood was in full swing and exposition of this sort probably sounded somewhat quaint.

The motion picture, by virtue of its intrinsic nature, is a species of amusing and informational Esperanto, and, potentially at least, a species of aesthetic Esperanto. Of all the arts, if it may be classified as one, the motion picture has in it, perhaps more than any other, the resources of universality. Even a simple waltz by Johann Strauss may remain alien and unassimilable to the musical ear of the Chinese; a Michelangelo fresco may fail to impress its significant beauty upon a Japanese or Hindu; a drama by Ibsen may remain completely unintelligible, even in competent translation, to a maharaja of India, just as Chinese music must ever remain strange, peculiar and incomprehensible to the Anglo-Saxon ear. But the motion picture art of Charlie Chaplin will inevitably make a Japanese laugh as heartily as a Dane.

The reason is simple. Pantomine is the aboriginal means of human communication and intercourse, and pictures bring to a child his first acquaintance with and understanding of the world about him. The motion picture, combining the two, is thus addressed to a common human understanding. It begins with the elementals of human perception and comprehension; it starts at the outset with the advantage of the fundamentals of human intercommunication and explicitness. It is for this reason that the moving picture has spread through the world and has been accepted far and wide in what has seemed an unbelievably short space of time.

The motion picture tells its stories directly, simply, quickly and elementally, not in words but in pictorial pantomine. To see is not only to believe; it is also in a measure to understand. In theatrical drama, seeing is closely allied with hearing, and hearing, in turn, with mental effort. In the motion picture, seeing is all--or at least nine-tenths of all.

This, of course, is the screen in its fundamental aspect. This is the motion picture simple and unsophisticated. This is the universal engine that is the cinema. The motion picture, plainly enough, in certain of its manifestations may remain largely vague and ambiguous to a people alien to the source of its imagination, preparation and making. But the motion picture in itself and in the aggregate is based upon materials of easy, common appreciation. Love, hate, desolation, despair, joy, ecstasy, defeat, triumph--these are universal emotions. Conveyed by words, as drama conveys them, they may offer difficulties to remote and various peoples. But conveyed by the movements of the human face and body, by smiles and tears, troubled brows and dejected shoulders, sparkling eyes and fluttering hands, they are immediately recognizable. A laugh or a sob is the same the world over. They need no words to explain them.

In another phase of the cinema, the so-called news-reel has already proved itself to be a form of journalistic Esperanto, just as the so-called educational moving picture has shown itself to be a form of informational Esperanto. The news-reel has brought to the far corners of the earth the life and daily activities of all nations and people. The educationals, as they are known, have acquainted the audiences of the world with various phenomena associated with invention, manufacture, discovery, ingenuity and enterprise peculiar to a certain country. The news-reel has informed every country of its neighbour, his leaders, his achievements, his troubles, his pleasures, his problems. It has spread a direct acquaintanceship with alien lands, peoples and customs to other lands. It has provided an international newspaper self-adapted to the understanding of all peoples, and a running commentary on contemporaneous history.

The motion picture is at once the common story-book, newspaper and text-book of the 20th century. In its loftier aspects, it may conceivably elude the comprehension of audiences remote from its birthplace. That is, when it abandons its more elemental nature and strives for isolation as an art form. But that is the fate of art, all art, wherever it be found. Art is for the few, unfortunately; the generality of people have difficulty in taking it into their understanding. Shakespeare and the Orient may remain strangers; Leonardo and Dostoievsky may find no sympathy and hospitality in the consciousness of half a dozen lands. But there is probably no land where the spectacle of soldiers marching off to war or a fat man being struck with a custard pie is not instantaneously hailed with understanding. It is in elementary excitements and humours such as these, together with the thousand and one others that they connote, that the motion picture, reaching constantly after higher things, finds the mainspring of its wide and comprehensive appeal. It deals for the most part with primitive instincts, primitive impulses, primitive human peace and alarm, happiness and ache, ambition and dream. These may be dressed in strange costumes and may be shown through strange peoples, but underneath they are the emotions and inspirations and trials of all the human race. The backgrounds may be unfamiliar, but the hearts that beat and struggle, triumph or fall, are the hearts of all mankind. And so the world laughs with Chaplin and Lloyd, cries with Seastrom and Murnau and Griffith, startles at the revelations of Eisenstein, gasps pleasurably at Fairbanks and Valentino, feels tenderness with Mary Pickford and warms to the homely lovableness of Wolheim and Beery.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Patronizing the Arts.

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Patronizing the Arts.

Oh heyyyy Ballet, wow, you're reeeeal fun to watch—all those pliés and jetés—good for you!

- - - -

Hey, Painting. What are you, like, oils on a canvas? Boy, that's a priceless way to capture the human condition.

- - - -

Whoa, nice beat you got there, Music. Yeah, that'll never get old. Why don't you repeat that chorus again? It's soooo catchy.

- - - -

Hey, Literature. What 'cha got there, some words on paper? That'll sure come in handy... when I'm in the can!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fordlandia



AMY GOODMAN: The documentary The Amazon Awakens, an excerpt, that was made by Walt Disney but commissioned by the US Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. Greg Grandin, author of Fordlandia, Walt Disney—he visited?

GREG GRANDIN: Yes, he visited prior to making this documentary. They were friends, Henry Ford and Walt Disney. And there was even evidence that some of the attractions in Disneyland in California were actually based on experience in Fordlandia, the Tropical Belle steamship ride or riverboat ride.

...GREG GRANDIN: Well, you know, let me say that, you know, Ford spent about a billion dollars, in inflation-adjusted dollars, on this project, and not one drop of latex made it into a Ford car. It was an absolute failure. And the more it failed, the more—this is also a resonance with recent history—the more it failed, the more he justified it in idealistic terms, not unlike, in some ways, the Iraq war. The more you fail to find weapons of mass destruction, the more it becomes a civilizational mission to bring democracy to the Middle East. The same thing with Fordlandia.

There were riots, and there were—workers rebelled against this attempt to impose Ford-style regimentation. One worker called it resisting being turned into 365-day machines.

And then, of course, the environmental aspect of it. Ford basically—by planting rubber trees so close together in the Amazon, Ford basically created a large incubator. Caterpillars and pests and blight just devastated the plantation. The more it failed, the more money that was poured into it.

AMY GOODMAN: And the people who were in the Amazon, the response there, the natives of the Brazilian Amazon?

GREG GRANDIN: Well, they did resist that heavy attempt to regulate every aspect of their lives, not just the industrial regime, but also their diet, their sanitation and medical regulation. And during one riot in particular, they smashed all the time clocks. This was a particularly symbolic rebellion against Midwestern industrialization.

...And Fordlandia, in some ways, is very resonant with this. Just, you know—you go to Fordlandia, and there’s almost a yearning for this kind of holistic capitalism, a kind of paternal capitalism or developmentalism, where capital—where industries cared about what happened to workers, in terms of education, in terms of healthcare. But you go 300 miles east of Fordlandia, and there’s this city of Manaus, which is the fastest-growing city in Brazil. It’s a free trade port in the middle of the Amazon. It kind of sprawls out like some kind of perverse Oz eating away at the jungle. And nearly every major electronics corporation—Nokia, Sony, Sanyo, Harley-Davidson and other—Honda—have assembly plants there, where they make—where they assemble brand-name products for sale elsewhere in Latin America. So it’s a perfect example of how Fordism has been extended globally. So you have this nice two contrasts, Fordlandia and Manaus, side by side.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Paradise Built in Hell: Rebecca Solnit on "The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster"

A Paradise Built in Hell: Rebecca Solnit on "The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster"

REBECCA SOLNIT: You know, a lot of my work has been based on the field of disaster sociology, which emerged after the World War II, when the US government decided it wanted to know how human beings would behave in the aftermath of an all-out nuclear war. The assumption, as it often is, is that we would become childlike and sheepish and panic and be helpless, or that we’d become sort of venal and savage and barbaric. And the disaster scholars started to look at this and eventually dismantled almost every stereotype we have and found that people are actually, as I’ve been saying, resourceful, altruistic, brave, innovative and often oddly joyful, because a lot of the alienation and isolation of everyday life is removed. And, you know, you saw that in the 1906 earthquake, which I studied a lot for the centennial a few years ago, that people created these community kitchens, that they were extremely resourceful and helpful. And you see that all through. You see that in Mexico City. You saw that in 9/11.

What you also see is that because the authorities think that we’re monsters, they themselves panic and become the monsters in disaster. Some of the sociologists I worked with—Lee Clarke and Caron Chess—call this “elite panic,” and that’s the panic that matters in disasters, the sense that things are out of control; we have to get them back in control, whether that means shooting civilians suspected of stealing things, whether that means focusing on control and weapons as a response, rather than on help and support or just letting people do what they already are doing magnificently. And so, it really upends not only the sense of what happens in disaster, in these extreme moments, but I think it upends our sense of human nature, who most of us are and who we want to be. There’s enormous possibility in disaster to see how much people want to be members of a stronger society, to be better connected, to have meaningful work, how much everyday life prevents that.