Wednesday, 28 September 2022

7x7 (10. 176)

moonage daydream: an interview with Brett Morgen on the subject of his latest documentary—see previously 

rupture: Nordstream pipelines have sprung a leak, sabotage suspected 

afforestation: a volcanic eruption is helping to rewild island  

eyewall: Hurricane Ian’s path of destruction as it reaches Florida 

omnishambles: the budget plan of PM Truss and Chancellor Kwarteng garners rebuke from Germany, the US and the IMF as the Pound Sterling approaches parity with the dollar  

mahsa: the death of a young woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police has touched off protests against the government  

let all the children boogie: an Australian museum brought the original hand-written draft of David Bowie’s Starman at auction

Saturday, 3 September 2022

ausflug thรผringenersee (10 107)

H and took a summer’s end quick excursion to the dammed Saale river valley to tour the landscape that developed around the reservoirs (Stauseen) and how the natural intersects the artificial.


First we stopped to take a guided tour of the Saalfeld Fairy Grottos (die Feengrotten), a set of caverns in a former mine for alum shale (see previously) remarkable for their colourful mineral veins, called speleothems, owing to the porous soil.

Commercial operations halted in 1850 (the use of potassium aluminate as a preservative was antiquated) and was opened to tourist as early as 1914 due to the reputedly curative properties of the ambient radiation present, after the discovery of the third chamber, the Mรคrchendom—the Fairy Tale Kingdom and the Grail Castle after various interpretations of the sedimentary creations.

Seeing this tableau inspired Siegfried Wagner to pattern the set design for his father’s opera Tannhรคuser for the Bayreuth Festspiele in the 1920s.

Friday, 26 August 2022

6x6 (10. 086)

chaoskampf: examining the mythology of dragons across cultures  

hurrian hymn № 6: learn about and listen to the oldest known song—see also  

public convenience: the best museum rest rooms curated—via Miss Cellania  

out of the fusion of two languages, two outlooks has emerged a great canadian metropolis: Montrรฉal by Night (1947) 

persepolis: a virtual tour of the ancient imperial capital (see also) from the Getty—via Maps Mania 


legendary large serpentine creatures
: a contentious ranking of the fifty best literary dragons

Saturday, 20 August 2022

erlebnis bergwerk (10. 073)

Decommissioned since 1993 but revitalised since as a living museum and working mine and venue, I had a chance to visit with H’s father the salt and potash (Kalisalz, used as an important agricultural fertiliser) extraction operation near the village of Merkers on the Werra river not far from Bad Salzungen.  

 Aside from the long history of mining and a comprehensive lesson on the enterprise and geology that bores under the Rhรถn mountains, the location is also the hiding spot for hundreds of tonnes of gold, silver and paper currency (amounting to around eighty percent of the holdings of the Reichsbank at the end of the war) and many priceless works of art looted by the Nazis, discovered per chance by the advancing United States army (tipped off by slave labour transporting treasures to the mine) who then worked quickly to clear it out of Soviet occupied territory before the borders were demarcated.

After being lowered in safety gear—like actual miners beginning their shift—in a hoisting cage that descended into the dark, and driven in flatbed transports from five to eight hundred metres below the surface through a network of tunnels that covers an area the size of Munich. 








Though the vehicles were only taking the dips, curves and ascents at under twenty kilometres an hour, the darkness, wind and narrowness of the shaft made it seem much faster, like a roller coaster ride stretched out for some two hours, with intermissions, lastly in the above Goldraum, a pair of excavated former bunkers that now serve as a machine exhibit, theatre and a concert hall with uncommonly good acoustics and unique crystal grotto with accompanying bar for refreshments—the deepest in the world.  

It was definitely worth the visit and would drag H along next time.
 

Sunday, 14 August 2022

9x9 (10. 059)

i’m sorry but this is quite clearly a haunted murder panda and/or the protagonist of moshfegh’s next novel. do not buy: an assortment of random oddities that one preeminent author is selling her online emporium—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (check it out!)  

quasi-modal: apparently “thy shall be done” is a thing now  

eye of the beholder: an AI visits a contemporary art museum 

printers’ auxiliaries: a beautiful 1940 book of typefaces from the Gujarati foundry  

if marisol and nilofer are the only non-white women at the staff meeting, how frequently will each be called by the other’s name: word problems for female professionals that aren’t so non-sequitur  

pulp power: the mainstay illustrative style of 1930s and 40s serial fiction  

heat dumping: searching for the etymology of the adaptive behaviour of splooting—which is referred to in England as squirrel “pancaking” 

world englishes: the OED on Irish’s contribution to language—see previously  

a lamb himself: an excerpt from Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel Lapvona

Thursday, 4 August 2022

7x7 (10. 037)

@artbutsports: juxtaposing scenes from professional sports with classical painting  

nearly right: an intriguing Chinese language t-shirt circulating on social media  

sommelier: a Rube Goldbergesque contraption that we would be far too impatient for  

flying down to rio: a profile of movie star Lolita Dolores Martรญnez Asunsolo Lรณpez Negrette 

requiescat in pace: an obituary of antipope Michael, who believed that there had been no legitimate pontiff since Vatican II  

wikenigma: compiling a compendium of unknowns—via Pasa Bon!  

pop cars: visit an exhibit of Andy Warhol’s colourful automobiles alongside the classic models that inspired them

Saturday, 16 July 2022

7x7 (9. 999)

featherbase: a consortium of ornithologists join their collections and make them freely accessible on-line—via Web Curios 

cut-up technique: Artbreeder (previously) creates collages with your help—via Waxy 

harry and the hitman: Oklahoma man pleads self-defence, claiming potential assailant had summoned a Bigfoot to kill him  

deep scatter library: stellar cartography mapping a billion stars in the Milky Way  

culmen > columna > compagna colonnella > coronnel > colonel: explore etymologies with this interactive tool from the creators of Interlinear Books and Language Hat  

unsleeved: an exhibit on the art of the record cover and designer Alex Steinweiss 

trainspotting: an obsessive database of European rolling stock—also via Web Curios

Thursday, 14 July 2022

7x7

nag on the lake: a new viewing platform with spectacular views of the Falls  

smart brevity: the prevalence of bulletin-point journalism 

light cycle: the lost TRON (previously) arcade documents—via Things Magazine  

true colours: Metropolitan Museum of Art presents statues from Antiquity with their original paint jobs—see previously 

granite & rainbow: the book jackets of Virginia Woolf

restored to its polynesian/craftsman/medieval-colonial revival/queen anne glory: an architectural doppelgรคnger of the Little House  

bonne fรชte nationale: images from Bastille Day from over a century ago 

sluicehuis: a cantilever housing bloc in Amsterdam’s IJburg district

Thursday, 30 June 2022

a quinquennial contemporary art exhibition

Curated and organized under the supervision of art director Harald Szeemann, the fifth edition of documenta (see previously), opening on this day and running through October (a hundred days) in Kassel, West Germany, with the theme of “Questioning Reality—Pictorial Worlds of Today” (Befragung der Realitรคt – Bildwelten heute) established the exhibition’s reputation as the most important, post war modern art show and set the model for future biennials. Wanting to liberate art and artefact from the museum setting, it strove to recontextualise work in politically critical and the provocative milieu that inspired them. documenta 5 also showcased Fluxus and happening art, which had not yet appeared by the last iteration. In all, there were over two hundred thousand visitors and dozens of participating artists and collectives including Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Adolf Wรถlfli, Marcel Duchamp and Yoko Ono.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

8x8

morning chorus: a suspended hotel suite in Sรกpmi cladded with three-hundred fifty birdhouses 

meanwhile margaret atwood says hold my beer: teach and student, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, spar over which dystopian vision is more plausible  

don’t say g*y: Disney introduces its first openly closeted cast of characters  

makeup and monobrow: a quick survey of the female eyebrow in art 

border and backsplash: the mosaic tile museum of Gifu—over ten-thousands exemplars, many rescued from buildings slated for demolition 

i had hoped that god would work one of his signature miracles and spare me from is also signature “horrible pain in childbirth” curse: the Virgin Mary reclaims her nativity narrative  

stonk-and-go: the US Securities and Exchange Commission weighs sweeping change to curtail meme-driven trades  

a doghouse for eddie: charmingly, Frank Lloyd Wright (previously) builds a home for a canine and his human companion

Friday, 17 June 2022

7x7

accepting payment in magic beans: professional scammer who bilked people and companies out of hundreds of thousands by posing as a German heiress turning to NFTs  

closed captioned: indexing video subtitles by any phrase of one’s choosing—via Waxy—perfect for creating a supercut  

great choice: award-winning short comedy-horror by Robin Comisar, via Super Punch  

the brautigan library: a repository of unwanted, unpublished manuscripts 

not reading the room: consumption and consumerism overshadow commemoration  

cat righting reflex: ร‰tienne-Jules Marey’s 1894 short is the first motion picture to feature a feline, demonstrating how it lands on its feet—see also 

web3 saint laurent: digital cosmetics for one’s avatars and more metaversal makeup from Web Curios

Sunday, 15 May 2022

salon des refusรฉs

A counter-exhibition with the official sanction of Napoleon III despite his traditional tastes in the arts opened on this day in the Palace of Industry in 1863 with a gallery of the rejected submissions received by the Paris Salon of the Acadรฉmie des Beaux-Arts, relenting to pressure by spurned painters and the public alike, who were finding the acceptance process increasingly fraught and favouring conservatism. Those showing the alternate exposition included many now-famous works by ร‰douard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Johan Jongkind and James McNeill Whistler.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

himmelsscheibe




Coming home from Saxony we took a detour and finally got the chance to check out the Arche Nebra—a museum and planetarium near the archeological site where the prehistoric skydisc was discovered. The actual artefact is usually kept in Halle and was presently on loan to the British museum as part of an ancient astronomy exhibit that couples it with the megalithic timepieces like Stonehenge and the nearby counterpart, the Goseck circle, a solar observatory from neolithic times—but there were plenty of detailed replicas on hand to study and gain an appreciation in situ of this rather overwhelming tool. From the perspective of the promontory where it was discovered (Fundort), the golden bands ringing the edge form an arc precisely corresponding with the Sun’s pendular journey between the peak of the Brocken and the peak of the Kyffhรคuser in the Harz rising and setting at the spring and autumn equinoxes and indicating by the appearance of the New Moon and its proximity to the Pleiades (see above) when to plant and whether the year will be a common year or will need an intercalary month inserted to keep the stars aligned with the cycle of the seasons, this earliest known representation of the Cosmos features no gods or heroes, only the calendar of the night sky. In the area, we also stopped at the village of Zingst on the Unstrut river to inspect this manor house by the road that looked like it had seen time conscripted as a factory with the addition of an industrial smoke-stack and the vista of the largest medieval castle complex—similar in scale and composition to the Wartburg—in middle Germany, Burg Querfurt, something to see another day.

Monday, 25 April 2022

san marco

Variously identified as the cousin of Barnabas and textually as the anonymous water-bearer of the Last Supper and the Naked Fugitive during Jesus' arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane (see also), the Mark the Evangelist, fรชted on this day, would go on to author one of the gospels—by traditional accounts—and to found the episcopal See of Alexandria, among the most important of early Christianity. Sharing the iconography of the winged lion with the saint, he is venerated in Venice as the city’s and thalassocracy’s patron and in Lithuania, where he is regarded as the guardian of the harvest and there is a general fast prescribed as a well as a prohibition on disturbing the earth as to give the land a rest before the planting season begins. 25 April is a national holiday throughout Italy, but not as Saint Mark’s Day and rather as marking the 1945 anniversary of the liberation of the country by the resistance movement against the Nazi occupation and the puppet government of the fascists.

Friday, 15 April 2022

universal day of culture under the banner of peace

Observed annually on the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments—or short-form the Roerich Pact after its chief sponsor Saint Petersburg painter and philosopher Nicholas Roerich—in Washington, DC on this day in 1935 (incidentally the first international treaty to be signed in the Oval Office, Roerich I think is seated to the left of FDR) with the underpinning idea and legal standing that the defence of cultural heritage and artefacts is above their exploitation as nationalistic or propaganda purposes or wanton destruction and that the protection and preservation of cultural is always more important than military necessity. Lightly influenced by the Neo-Theosophical movement, the signatories’ wish was that this day would be “consecrated to the full appreciation of national and universal treasures” and hoped that it would become a secular catechism to remind us all of “creative heroic enthusiasm, of improvement and enhancement of life” through the edifying arts. The icon is of the artist’s design and has been flown at the poles and the world’s highest peaks and incorporated into the coat of arms of many institutions working towards world peace and conserving the culture of all humanity.

7x7

who’s in your wallet: personalities and personages on banknotes—via Waxy (who is turning twenty)

simoom: a decade of dust storms 

hurrian hymn: paean to Mesopotamian goddess Nikkal is the oldest know surviving work of notated music

found photos: saved from oblivion and shared—via Things Magazine (plus a lot more to check out)  

alphabet truck: the whole ABCs on the backside of lorries captured by Eric Tabuchi—via Pasa Bon!  

meme-maker: Dutch national library offers a tool to scour medieval illustrations and marginalia—see also here and here  

the colour of money: a survey of banknote hues from the archives

Friday, 1 April 2022

7x7

health officials warn of “second wave” of immersive van gogh exhibitions: symptoms to be on the look out for include a flattening of the artist’s legacy and an intense desire to watch Emily in Paris  

a book by its cover: the absurdist collages of Paperback Paradise  

match game: flawless digital recreations of classic TV game show sets  

111 west 57th street: super tall, slender residential tower tapering from Steinway Hall is an homage to the piano-maker  

earendel: the Hubble space telescope images the oldest, most distant star  

old dutch master: a series of fifteenth century Flemish style portraits recreated in an airport lavatory—see also—via Things Magazine  

achieve hover status—everyone else will want to hover but can’t: an AI (see previously) comes up with pranks to play on the user

Saturday, 26 March 2022

see something, spray something

 

My workplace located in the extended concrete canvas of The Meeting of the Styles (previously) international street artist collective and noticing some of the murals being given a new layer, I took a stroll around Mainz-Kastel through the train depot and some unwalkable places to document some of the expansive graffiti, especially noting those that referenced the district’s Roman connections and the neo-Classical redoubt / reduit bridgehead fortress that’s just across the tracks on the bank of the Rhein from the station.  We’ll see if we’re host to a whole new gallery of works soon.


 

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

8x8

many years later, as he faced the firing squad, colonel aureliano buendia was to remember that weird folgers commercial where it implied the brother and sister were hooking up: first drafts of the greatest first lines in literature 

stories and studies of strange things: the life and legacy of Lafcadio Hearn (ฮ ฮฑฯ„ฯฮฏฮบฮนฮฟฯ‚ ฮ›ฮตฯ…ฮบฮฌฮดฮนฮฟฯ‚ ฮงฮตฯฮฝ / ๅฐๆณ‰ ๅ…ซ้›ฒ) itinerant author and journalist who introduced the Western world to Japan 

censored: people in Russia are frantically downloading Wikipedia in the wake of the threat of Roskomnadzor to ban it 

haunted art: an exhibition of the lingering possession in US museum collections 

the rites of spring: an arboreal celebration  

frozen chosen: unusual Antarctic ergot 

uncanny valley: AI rendered stories read by humans  

no set back: great authors on rejection

Saturday, 26 February 2022

der hรถllensturz

Whilst on display at the Alte Pinothek in Munich, the artwork The Fall of Damned by Peter Paul Rubens commissioned by the Duke of Pfalz-Neuberg in 1620 (for whom the great Flemish artist had already created the Greater and Lesser Last Judgment) features a jumble of rather Rubenesque figures being hurled to Hell by the Archangel Michael, the painting vandalised on this day in 1959 by a philosophy professor called Walter Menzl, who doused the canvas with wood polish stripping agent. Fortunately the painting could be saved and restored and the defacer turned himself in to the authorities, offering that he had intended to target rather The Four Apostles (that artist’s last major work) of Albrecht Dรผrer for the herostratic fame but decided against it for the religious implications.