Wednesday, 12 December 2012

[metaphorically looking][anger][2]


There is no reason why you should be finding here 
a piece of writing on conceptualization of anger. Anger has been 
widely studied in anthropology and cognitive linguistics across languages and time 
periods, to enable a multidimensional picture of how we structure and make sense of the experience.

There is no need to talk here on how we understand the abstract in terms of the physical or how we conceptualize the experience of the world in terms of our own experience of body in space. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson have dedicated years of work establishing the understanding of 
metaphor as a mode of thinking, rather then a mere mode of speech.  They illustrated 
well, how we translate the abstract notions into the metaphorical representations 
of corresponding perceptual entities in the physical world - and those 
correspondences build conceptual metaphors, which govern our 
most fundamental understanding and structuring 
of human experience.

This is not an indepth study 
- and not even a superficial one. 
Lists of ANGER metaphors have 
been accumulated by now and 
cross-referenced across cultures 
and languages. As anyone 
bilingual or near-bilingual 
will know, some cultural 
bias in conceptualising 
anger exists, although 
part of it tends be 
consistently dominated 
by angry person is a 
pressurized container - 
a metaphor, which reflects 
on the physical reality of bodily 
changes (such as temperature and heart 
rate) experienced during a bout of anger 
(International Handbook of Anger: Constituent 
and Concomitant Biological, Psychological, and 
Social Processes, eds. Michael Potegal, Gerhard 
Stemmler, Charles Spielberger): as emotions get 
stronger, so does heat as well as pressure in the 
container, until they reach the critical point 
and cause in a rapid release of energy 
in an extreme manner, i.e. 

A sudden release of energy - 
nuclear or emotional - causes an explosion, an earthquake, an outburst. 
All of those are as true in physics and geology as they are true in psychology.

Friday, 23 November 2012


 ”ɓuᴉuɹnʇ-xo“ uopēɥdoɹʇsnoq ‘νόδηφορτσυοβ ʞǝǝɹ⅁ ɯoɹɟ
from βοῦς, bous, “ox” and στροφή, strophē, “turn”; that is,
ןɐuoıʇɔǝɹıp-ıq ɟo puıʞ ɐ sı '(ƃuıɥƃnoןd uı uǝxo ǝʞıן ƃuıuɹnʇ
 text, mostly seen in ancient manuscripts and other inscriptions. 
pǝsɹǝʌǝɹ ɥʇıʍ 'pǝsɹǝʌǝɹ ɹo pǝddılɟ sı ɓuıʇıɹʍ ɟo ǝuıl ɹǝɥʇo ʎɹǝʌƎ
 letters. Rather than going left-to-right as in modern English,
uı sǝuıl ǝʇɐuɹǝʇlɐ 'ʍǝɹqǝH puɐ ɔıqɐɹ∀ uı sɐ ʇɟǝl-oʇ-ʇɥɓıɹ ɹo
boustrophedon must be read in opposite directions. Also, 
˙pǝɹoɹɹıɯ ɹo 'pǝsɹǝʌǝɹ ǝɹɐ sɹǝʇɔɐɹɐɥɔ lɐnpıʌıpuı ǝɥʇ

The wooden boards and other incised artifacts of Rapa Nui
 ,oǫᴎoɿoǫᴎoЯ bɘ||ɒɔ ƚqiɿɔꙅ ɔiᴎobɘʜqoɿƚꙅuod ɒ ɿɒɘd oꙅ|ɒ
which remains undeciphered. In Rongorongo the text in
 ᴎɒʜƚ ɿɘʜƚɒɿ ꙅɘɘɿǫɘb 08 bɘƚɒƚoɿ ꙅɒw ꙅɘᴎi| ɘƚɒᴎɿɘƚ|ɒ
mirrored; this is termed reverse boustrophedon.

  .ᴎobɘʜqoɿƚꙅuod ɘꙅɿɘvɘɿ ᴎi ᴎɘƚƚiɿw ꙅi ɘboɔ ᴎooM

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Stevie Ronnie @ Goldsteins

The very technologies we expect to replace the paper book can be used to increase its possibilities and appeal. (Stevie Ronnie)

Goldsteins. A nice little place to host the Brass Book, a project by Stevie Ronnie about... - well... - the book. To be more specific - about the book as a technological masterpiece and it’s survival in the modern world defined by computerization, kindlization and tabletization.

Stevie Ronnie choreographed the project across the disciplines and communities to involve Easington Writers, Lanchester Brass Band, Deride Thompson (a traditional bookbinder) and Nick James (furniture designer). He took the dialogue away from librophiles and reintroduced it through the people that would not normally be part of the discussion. Public engagement, Arts Council would cheerfully exclaim.

With a background in computational engineering and an MA in Creative Writing Ronnie has the context to experience books creatively from outside the fine art frame of reference.
It is a beautiful collaboration with very unexpected results.,_County_Durham,_County_Durham

BRASS BOOK created by:
Stevie Ronnie. A freelance writer, artist, tutor, researcher and digital consultant.
Lanchester Brass Band.  All are welcome; instruments and tuition can be provided.
Easington Writers. A group of local people of varying writing stages and styles with a shared common interest.

Nick James.  A designer maker of furniture.

Deride Thompson. Subversive, traditional, inflexible bookbinder and experimental letterpress printer

Monday, 19 November 2012

Harland Miller @ White Cube

... I have always seen books as ornaments, as objects in themselves, irrespective of the writing inside inside them, and so as such I'm going to have them on my shelves at home - the same way some people might have vases - and when I paint them it's kind of like painting still life, and the titles for the show I've done of those book jacket pictures come from the fly leaves of actual books I've found...(p.33, Harland Miller, ILG)

Monday, 5 November 2012

Organic Doom of the Paper Codex

The doom of the paper codex is riding high as a subject for all sorts of librophile events in these days. The book has gone digital. Finally, there is a good solid contemporary problem in the area of books: the problem that writes in e-ink megabites and does not smell of animal glue. The number of words on the subject is growing at the speeds that were earlier thought only attainable in particle accelerators.

The problem is about get the worse. The book has not simply converted into digital in the digital world of the digital appliances. This summer the book went organic. Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and his team have now encoded the whole book Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves (the text, the images and the design) into a DNR. Then they read it and copied it too. 70 billion copies of the book have been printed.  (How is that for an edition size!)

From Aug. 17 issue of the journal Science via Harvard Medical School news:

Biology’s databank, DNA has long tantalized researchers with its potential as a storage medium: fantastically dense, stable, energy efficient and proven to work over a timespan of some 3.5 billion years. While not the first project to demonstrate the potential of DNA storage, Church’s team married next-generation sequencing technology with a novel strategy to encode 1,000 times the largest amount of data previously stored in DNA.
The researchers used binary code to preserve the text, images and formatting of the book. While the scale is roughly what a 5 ¼-inch floppy disk once held, the density of the bits is nearly off the charts: 5.5 petabits, or 1 million gigabits, per cubic millimeter.
The information density and scale compare favorably with other experimental storage methods from biology and physics,” said Sri Kosuri, a senior scientist at the Wyss Institute and senior author on the paper.
And where some experimental media — like quantum holography — require incredibly cold temperatures and tremendous energy, DNA is stable at room temperature.
You can drop it wherever you want, in the desert or your backyard, and it will be there 400,000 years later,” Church said.
Reading and writing in DNA is slower than in other media, however, which makes it better suited for archival storage of massive amounts of data, rather than for quick retrieval or data processing.
Imagine that you had really cheap video recorders everywhere,” Church said. “Just paint walls with video recorders. And for the most part they just record and no one ever goes to them. But if something really good or really bad happens you want to go and scrape the wall and see what you got. So something that’s molecular is so much more energy efficient and compact that you can consider applications that were impossible before.
About four grams of DNA theoretically could store the digital data humankind creates in one year.
Although other projects have encoded data in the DNA of living bacteria, the Church team used commercial DNA microchips to create standalone DNA.
“We purposefully avoided living cells,” Church said. “In an organism, your message is a tiny fraction of the whole cell, so there’s a lot of wasted space. But more importantly, almost as soon as a DNA goes into a cell, if that DNA doesn’t earn its keep, if it isn’t evolutionarily advantageous, the cell will start mutating it, and eventually the cell will completely delete it.
In another departure, the team rejected so-called ‘shotgun sequencing,’ which reassembles long DNA sequences by identifying overlaps in short strands. Instead, they took their cue from information technology, and encoded the book in 96-bit data blocks, each with a 19-bit address to guide reassembly. Including jpeg images and HTML formatting, the code for the book required 54,898 of these data blocks, each a unique DNA sequence.
“We wanted to illustrate how the modern world is really full of zeroes and ones, not As through Zs alone,” Kosuri said.

I doubt very much if Robert Winthrop and his team considered for a minute the philosophical implications of their actions (hugely inconsiderate!) By the time the chitchat surfaces, they will be far away building an organic superlibrary as a pill.**

** Should be popular! (especially with the hummus generation of babyEinstein parents).

Thursday, 1 November 2012

between Vėlinės and Día de los Muertos

Vėlinės (Velines). Nov.1. Lithuania. Annual holiday to commemorate the dead.
Día de los Muertos. Nov.1. Mexico. Annual holiday to commemorate the dead.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Vindolanda Tablets

Romans didn't pull over in Essex. Rape and pillage got them to the north of England and they continued into Scotland. They did not quite like it there, however (why? no grapes?). Romans retreated back and fortified themselves by building Antonine Wall across the isle and Hadrian's Wall further south as the final northmost frontier. From one coast to another.

Vindolanda is one of the outposts just south of Hadrian's Wall. Regardless of the fact, that it sounds like a place in a computer game - it is a truly extraordinary site for anybody interested in the history of writing, the history of books, the history of media.  Waterclogged soil around the commander's residence beautifully preserved  invites and inventories, letters and shopping lists, that were thrown  out  into a heap of rubbish. Romans used thin slices (2,5mm-3mm thick, about A5 in size) of local wood as a writing base, which was inscribed using carbon based ink and then folded into half to make a letter, with the address and addressee noted on the top. The tablets contain a very wide range of subjects, most of which can be traced into modern day undertakings universally across the globe: work, money, family, drinking men, etc.

BBC page on Vindolanda
Vindolanda Tablets Online

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Words : SUIBOKUGA 水墨画‎

Hasegawa Tohaku 長谷川

Suibokuga (or suiboku; or sumi-e painting) refers to the Japanese tradition of ink drawings, that was introduced from China by Buddhist priest-artists in the late Kamakura period.

水 - water
墨 - ink
画‎ - picture

Suibokuga is "completely unconcerned with producing a literal representation. Its emphasis is completely upon the spirit. Japanese monochromes put no emphasis on scientific or rational realism. The Nanga school, especially, aims at the representation of the state of mind, using serenity as a keynote. (keyhole? - a Freudan slip?) Thus, the most prized masterpieces are those which are thought to display a noble soul rather than an exact reproduction. Suiboku is not photography or the copying of natural things, the shape and colour of which is seen with the eyes; it is the expression or the idea the artist received when he viewed the object."*(p.11, Ryukyu Saito Japanese Ink-Painting).

The artists use sumi-e ink (which is made of soot) and a soft animal hair brush. The drawings are all monochrome. The skill lies in the ability to control the balance of black and white through single brushstrokes to achieve minimalist drawings. The artist draws surfaces (no outlines); the ink runs and merges with the layer below. The strokes cannot be corrected or removed.

There seems to be some disagreement if suibokuga draws on the philosophy of Zen Buddhism (Ryuku Saito) or whether it has no relationship to it (Tsugako Shimada). From my very Christian seat here in London, it looks like suibokuga very much embraces Tao and Zen line of thought, especially the idea of intuitive understanding rather than rational representation of form. The minimal means of expression aim to capture the essence of the object.

Like a visual haiku.

Ike no Taiga 池大雅 Zhuang Zi dreaming of a butterfly

Josetsu 如拙 Catching a Catfish with a Gourd

A Chinese painter was once commissioned to paint the Emperor's favorite goat. The artist asked for the goat, that he might study it. After two years the Emperor, growing impatient, asked for the return of the goat; the artist obliged. Then the Emperor asked about the painting. The artist confessed that he had not yet made one, and taking an ink brush he drew eight nonchalant strokes, creating the most perfect goat in the annals of Chinese painting.

* The quote comes as it is in the book. Amusing it may be, but poor wording is not my choice.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Is it OK to like Turner 2012?

What do you think when you come to see Turner Prize 2012 and find a few coachloads of WI and a couple of vicars crowding in the ground floor lobby of Tate Britain? Great! I want to be part of their tour! This is going to be exciting! (Un)fortunately they were in for Pre-Raphaelites.
My rooms remained very satisfyingly uncrowded.

Paul Noble
Paul Noble
Paul Noble is in the first room: the room feels pleasantly safe as a gallery setting (good for sales). There are huge pencil drawings of pretend worlds that could almost exist in some space and some time that is distant but vaguely related to ours. I saw his Nobvile about four or five years ago in Tate as part of an excellent drawing exhibition. The city was much more human then. The spaces have expanded into an eery stillness of abandoned city: city in a perpetual state of unfinished construction (very much like our house, then). The pictures are neither exploring the limits of drawing nor setting new boundaries for contemporary art as a whole. They are detailed and skilled and their production required meditative amounts of patience. He is probably the only one in the lot who can safely be assumed not to win.

Elizabeth Price
Elisabeth Price. I saw her show HERE in the Baltic earlier this year. (Yes I did!) I remember being captivated by the combination of words (very matter-of-fact), the music and the visual footage.  Especially that video about the things - spinning sculptural everyday objects sequenced to the music with her trademark bits of text to punctuate the imagery.  This signature of hers became immediately obvious as soon as I sat down in front of  The Woolworths Choir of 1979 at Tate Britain. The sound, the words. The aesthetics of the slideshow. Flicking through a book. Very detached and very engaging.

Luke Fowler
It is fascinating, that three out of four nominees are using time based mediums: film, film, performance. Luke Fowler is also supplementing his film with photographic diptychs. I did not watch the whole film, unfortunately - 90 minutes is long for a gallery viewing. I will need another trip and a better planned morning. The photographs, however,  were atmospheric and the combinations were worth a stare or two. 

Spartacus Chetwynd

Another reason to return is that I missed Spartacus Chetwynd performance. The setup looks genuinely disturbing - I have found circus and puppetry scary since I had a glimpse of a horror film set in the theater. That happened at least 30 years ago. I will get back to this later. On the whole - the set up seems to strike the right kind of notes for a winning entry: definately on the boundaries of the mainstream and I haven't got a clue.

Turner prize has received a lot of beating in the last few years. I felt guilty for liking most of the show - is that  normal?

This is not part of Turner Prize 2012. This is a Tate corridor.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

3D drawing (book): One Minute Investigations into Spacetime

One Minute Investigations into Spacetime, 2012
open edition; unique drawing in each book

on show at Vibe Place Drawings exhibition.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Drawing: mapping the meltdown

Whenever things* start getting out of control, I get drawing. Mapping the meltdown, I suppose.

* as I have said in the previous post, it must be in the nature of things not go to the plan.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Al Mutanabbi Street Project: Ash rises silence falls

"Ash rises silence falls", 2012, [8] leaves : all ill. ; 23,5x32cm.
Limited edition of 10 signed and numbered books

The minutes of stillness and disbelief that follow the explosion are embodied into the quote by Kemal Bakarsic who witnessed the bombing of Sarajevo library.
Burning ash from the books carries fragments of pages into the sky. Like a cluster of birds they form shapes. Or possibly a pattern that I saw as a frontispiece of Mamluk Koran (AD1338 / AH738).

Monday, 15 October 2012

Kiev: something old, something new, books, art and Ukraine

(II International Arsenal Book Festival in Kiev) + (two suitcases of the most beautiful work from the MA Book Arts graduates of Camberwell College of Arts, UAL)

Random reflections on the experience:
1. Kiev is an extraordinary city, with superb food, warm people (and radiators), splendid architecture, a whiff of the Soviet past. A fine fusion of the old and the new and the borrowed and the blue.

2. Unsurprisingly, in preparation to the show things did not go to the plan: some shoddy paintwork, wrong angles, etc.  It must be in the nature of things not go to the plan - England or Ukraine. I am yet to experience a miracle of flat plasterwork and seamless paintwork.
3. Against all the odds - the stand looked superb. The best. (see the next post on the Art of Book and Book Arts).
Александр Сухолит loaned us some Übercool plinths. Black is a useful colour.

4. I met some inspirational people and it has been a lesson in many areas. It has also been an intensive course of Russian - total immersion, as they call it in linguistics. I have revived my nearly extinct knowledge of the language - and it was a good laugh too. Thanx to all involved!

Мистецький Арсенал, Kyiv

Margaret Cooter, Fanfan Yang, Maya Ohashi, Di Suo, Yue Li, Karen Apps, Jing Yao, Xizhi Li, Janet Marie Bradley, Shou Wei Tsai, Carolina Diaz Carmona, Mariana Valenca, George Cullen, Roland Brauchli, Egidija Čiricaitė.

Egidija Čiricaitė

Egidija Čiricaitė

Margaret Cooter, Fanfan Yang, Maya Ohashi, Di Suo, Yue Li, Karen Apps, Jing Yao, Xizhi Li, Janet Marie Bradley, Shou Wei Tsai, Carolina Diaz Carmona, Mariana Valenca, George Cullen, Roland Brauchli, Egidija Čiricaitė.

Егідія Ціріцайте «Мистецтво створення дизайну книг»
"Masterclass" on book design - it was a new and very positive experience to teach the audience this size. 

Егідія Ціріцайте «Мистецтво створення дизайну книг»
"Masterclass" on book design - it was a new and very positive experience to teach the audience this size.