And check out this.
And check out this.
The final Madmen series premiere date was released yesterday, and along with it a new poster that seems to set the tone for where the new season might be headed. the series has charted Don Draper's journey through the late 50s and now we are firmly in the culture-changing 1960s and along with the enigmatic 30-second clip of Draper descending a plane in bright sunshine, the new series suggests a deep embeddedness in all that was happening in that era--we'll see about all that. But it was the poster that caught my eye. it was designed by graphic guru Milton Glaser and re-visits his incredible work in the 60s and 70s.
If you look closely you can see a woman, champagne and the Chrysler building, its just lovely.
Glaser set a new tone in graphic design, along with other artists like Peter Max, Peter Blake etc., that brought a splash of colour along with a heavy does of cultural critique and observation in the 60s, so it is nice to see it revisited in such a way. It's not the only reference to Glaser that has made an appearance of late. Questlove's brilliant music biography, Mo Meta Blues, features a cover by graphic designer, Gail Anderson that evokes a piece Glaser did for CBS Records for Bob Dylan's greatest hits,
And there are more around if you have eyes to see.
Chinese artist Qi Wei Fong is taking digital photography to some new places with his 'time is a dimension' series, creating single images out of a series of images of the same location taken over a 24-hour period, creating these somewhat futuristic and graphic looking images. He has also animated some of these photo collages which are equally stunning.
'the world of alchemical symbols does not belong to the rubbish heap of the past, but stands in a very real and living relationship to our most recent discoveries concerning the psychology of the unconscious' c.g. jung
I had never heard of this work until I came across this rather wacky book cover-it piqued my curiosity and I went on a search to discover more about it. Mysterium Coniunctionis was Jung's last full length work, in it he presented his research on alchemy and its contribution to psychology and human self-understanding. Alchemy, a sort of protoscience that contributed to the emergence of modern chemistry and science, had/s three major goals: the transmutation of base metals into gold; the creation of a panacea-elixir of life; and was committed to the discovery of a universal solvent,
"Alchemy is the art of liberating parts of the Cosmos from temporal existence and achieving perfection which, for metals is gold, and for man, longevity, then immortality and, finally, redemption. Material perfection was sought through the action of a preparation (Philosopher's Stone for metals; Elixir of Life for humans), while spiritual ennoblement resulted from some form of inner revelation or other enlightenment," H.J. Shepherd.
Alchemy has obviously been around a long time and was very integral to the development of Western civilization and culture. I have noticed lately that it appears to be making a comeback of sorts. Writer Erik Davis notes that 'many of the earliest books on electricity described the force in distinctly alchemical terms, dubbing it the "ethereal fire," the "quintessential fire," or the "desideratum," the long-sought universal panacea,' in his book, Techgnosis. Damon Albarn's opera project Dr. Dee (well worth a listen in my opinion) was about the great alchemist Dr. John Dee, adviser to Queen Elizabeth I, whose secret moniker for private communication with the Queen was appropriated by writer Ian Fleming (yes, that's where 007 came from). Old ideas and influences don't go away, they are eclipsed and ignored for a time, then often picked back up and rejiggered for a new time and a new perspective.
I don't have much of a point here, other than to note, that alchemy, rooted as it is, in a pre-modern view of how the world works, remains a source of influence in small and often unnoticed ways in our world, and I find that interesting. Jung was not willing to dismiss the symbolism of alchemy but sort to understand its influence, meaning and contribution to the emerging world of psychology, and somewhere along the way someone designer put together a particularly cheesy book cover that piqued my curiosity enough to get me exploring the field a little more.
I've made no secret of my love of Jospeh Arthur, surely one of the best song-writers around, and vastly underrated in my opinion. I heard him at Mccabe's in Santa Monica recently and he covered Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side as a homage to his friend Lou. It was a beautiful re-interpretation of a classic song, stripped of the familiar bass line and other familiar musical elements. He has recorded a tribute album called, Lou, featuring 13 versions of Reed's music, here's a taste of Wild Side.
Calvaire, the French word from whence comes our word, calvary, means pain and suffering and the journey we go through to experience those feelings. It drives some of the latest pieces from artist, Pascal Volcollet, most well known probably for his portraits of male faces. Girls of Calvary focuses on female figures whose pain is somewhat palpable, but the colour splashes are there to remind us that there is a way out of the shadows and the pain.
Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast etc.) directs Scarlett Johansson in a movie about a woman (alien) prowling Scotland for men--I'm in on so many levels, not the least of which is Glazer's amazing way with film.
UK artist Marc Quinn has created a series of works exploring our concepts and perceptions of beauty. Using the unique markings of the human eye as a foundation, he blends them with the markings or fingerprints of the planet. The paintings are also an examination of the intersections between art and science.
I'm a sucker for flowers, faced with a choice between a meal and a bunch of flowers I'd spend my last dime on the flowers, I am contstantly and continually capitivated by flowers of all kinds--arranged, wild, obscure, familiar. I still remember the breath-taking sigh tof fields of tulips when I moved to Holland when I was so much younger. Andreas Verheijen calls himself a 'flower engineer' and one look at this website will tell you why, amazing, absolutely amazing.
Blue Film is the title of Lo-Fang's debut release, which came out today. Lo-Fang is the moniker of classically trained violinist, Matthew Hemerlein, it is an attempt to capture the masculine and feminine elements in his music.
For him the word “lo” relates to the feminine energy, usually found in the string compositions that he incorporates into his songs. “Fang,” meanwhile, represents the more masculine, industrialized beats he tends to use. Hemerlein aims to strike a counterbalance between the two, so much so that “lo” and “fang” have become helpful keywords in the recording studio with him requesting “more fang” or “more lo.” “The meeting points of really disparate sounds is interesting to me,” he explains.
I try to avoid the Christian brouhahas as much as possible, the storm-in-a-teacup attitude and indignation that often springs up around an idea or person or theological perspective, but I happened across a little flare-up this past week that piqued my curiosity mainly because it involved some friends of mine, so I followed the rabbit trail. The whole thing began with an article by someone in Christianity Today and was about the 'wings of wax' passed onto to three evangelical leaders which resulted in their erroneous views on things essentially (I'm not going to go into the whole thing because it is really not worth it, so I'm not trying to be completely accurate), including a potential slide into universalism, abandoning church and the authority of scripture etc--the usual stuff that gets thrown around when people start moving beyond the boundaries and borders that others still find comforting. There was a statement about how in 2003 the future looked so bright, but somehow it all went wrong and ultimately it went wrong because these three leaders broke bounds and the remedy therefore is to 'get back into the fold,' or at least that's my take on it, I also thought it was ridiculously naive overall.
Now these three people were never people I regarded as carving any trail for me, one of them in particular I know very little of, and I didn't jump on his bandwagon at all, in fact, I didn't even understand the fuss (my only real connection was via another friend who took the books title and reconfigured it as a potential for his own memoir--Fucked Up Like Jazz Fusion--seemed much more like a book I would want to read!!), but I understand the liberation they brought to many who were feeling confined or constricted by theological and ecclesiological grids that no longer sufficed, and I have heard many of those same people wondering lately what happened, i.e. "where is the great movement etc?"
This article, along with a few others over the past year or so, seems to have questioned whether or not anything really happened, and whether its all over now, a flash in the pan rather than a long term thing.
A couple of thoughts. Firstly, I think that culturally, and I aways position what happens to the church in terms of its embeddedness in culture, we are in a bit of a holding pattern. Alongside the new moves in 'church-world' there were new moves in culture and technology, the last decade saw two huge things heralded by the digital shift--smart phone technology and the emergence of the social web-I don't think we can over-estimate what a massive shift these things brought about a decade or so ago. they are not new anymore, they are part of the fabric of our lives and we can't imagine life without them, or before them! And yet, like church movements that sparked a a few years back, we seem to be in a bit of a holding pattern with the social changes and shifts promised by new technological opportunities, we still have not fully worked out the monetising aspects (and lets face it, economics is the thing here--maybe with technology and also with church movements)and there is a bit of a tendency for all of this to feel a little just like newer versions of old broadcast technologies as people rely on old ways while working out new ones. But it's early days, an infrastructure has been laid, groundwork has been done, and it seems like we are in a bit of a dead zone. That could be the new reality, or it could be that we are simply pausing as new responses are developed.
A lot of the early digital activity was around the rejecting of the old ways, the old orthodoxies that shaped our lives pre-social media etc. there was energy, spark and fire everywhere, much like those giddy days the author referenced in his reflections on a decade ago. But there weren't too many 'new orthodoxies' and that I think is the task of the next phase--a time not for innovation but inventiveness. I am not sure that there will be any big technological change for a while--we might get Apple TV or whatever, but its seems that, at least for a while, our new horizon has been established and its fueled by mobility and the social-web, so this is our reality, and it is in this reality we must now turn our attention.
The author used the analogy of the Fall of Icarus as a descriptive of what has happened--these men were equipped with wings of wax by the church that birthed them and they have fallen to earth (or into error) and now we should all be chastened by this and return to a more robust embrace of three things the author obviously feels they didn't take seriously enough.
My take is somewhat different. I don't think they flew to close to the sun, I just think there are a lot of people around who are afraid to fly.
Now album, Time, produced by Meshell Ndege Ocello.
I've been laid low with some back issues this week and have found it difficult to spend time in front of my computer, but today is the birthday of Nina Simone and I wanted to mark it by posting one of my favourite songs by her, My Father. Written by Judy Collins I believe, but owned by Simone no question, like most of the songs she covered. Simone was born this day in 1933.
Zizek is back. Available today via iTunes and on Netflix I think, is the latest documentary from Zizek, The Perverts Guide to Ideology, directed by Sophie Fiennes, an exploration of cinema and "the mechanisms that shape what we believe and how we behave." It's pretty much the same format as the earlier PG to Cinema, but this time the focus is more on ideology itself. You know what you are going to get with Zizek, a marxist philosophical view of everything, but I find the man perhaps at his most insightful when he tackles what is going on in culture via cinema, coca-cols and chocolate eggs and much more. Any philosopher who tackles The Sound of Music, casually mentions religion as a means of harnessing sexual desire and then takes the film as an important ideological treatise and notes that Climb Every Mountain was censored for its Catholic propagandist tendencies in his native Yugoslavia when he first saw the film, is worth listening to as far as I am concerned. Complexity and the unseen depths of things are what I always take away from Zizek's cultural critique and that is always more than enough.
I'm a big fan of the School of Life and of its founder (or one of), Alain de Botton. The latest venture in their attempt to bring smart-thinking to the world is called The Philosophers Mail, an online news service with a twist. Using the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, as a model, the PM is approaching celebrity gossip and global issues as teachable moments--a genius idea if you ask me. It is run exclusively by philosophers, whose stated goals are
So you get images of celebrity couples with philosophical quotes on love, or its futility. There 'imagines' interviews and all kinds of quirky but insightful engagements with 'news' which also happens to be the topic of de Botton's latest book. Definitely worth a regular look and a thoughtful way of turning things upside down and helping people find meaning in the midst of what many would reagrd as little but the detritus of life.