and yet history does intrude on every word:
those with no memory, no history, no spirit, speak in mechanical tongues
old words like bridges, burned
the future story
an infinite echo
of barbarism: a return to the magic bison on the walls of the cave
Filed in culture and random linkage, philosophical ramblings | Tagged with TED, words | Comment (0)
“My turn now. The story of one of my insanities.
For a long time I boasted that I was master of all possible landscapes and I thought the great figures of modern painting and poetry were laughable.
What I liked were: absurd paintings, pictures over doorways, stage sets, carnival backdrops, billboards, bright-colored prints; old-fashioned literature, church Latin, erotic books full of misspellings, the kind of novels our grandmothers read, fairy tales, little children’s books, old operas, silly old songs, the nave rhythms of country rimes.
I dreamed of Crusades, voyages of discovery that nobody had heard of, republics without histories, religious wars stamped out, revolutions in morals, movements of races and continents: I used to believe in every kind of magic.
I invented colors for the vowels! – A black, E white, I red, O blue, U green. – I made rules for the form and movement of every consonant, and I boasted of inventing, with rhythms from within me, a kind of poetry that all the senses, sooner or later, would recognize. And I alone would be its translator.
I began it as an investigation. I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still…”
“The first follower is actually an underestimated form of leadership in itself. … The first follower is what transforms a lone nut into a leader.”
-Derek Sivers: How to start a movement (TED talk)
following up on my last #occupy post……
the Muppets have taught us so many things since 1976. and this week, they’ve taught us just how well popular Art can be used to call bullshit:
Miss Piggy was more combative and political; the puppet added that the charge was “almost as laughable as accusing Fox News of being news.”
(this is a response to this)
have the Muppets always been so intense?
anyway, i love it, and this is a great segue for me to post some of that which i recently wrote for my art school application on the subject of the current state and intersection of art vs. politics in America. this is definitively the longest post i’ve ever published, but if you’re interested, read on….Filed in art, culture and random linkage, personal favorites | Tagged with #occupyart, #occupywallstreet, #ows, adbusters, banksy, capitalism, huxley, marxisms, memetic, mimetic, shepard fairey, TED | Comment (0)
do you need to feel better about life today?
watch this. it’s illuminating.
Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.
(also: near-death seems like a real trip. i started listening to this in the middle and thought for sure she was talking about an acid trip. )
or: if you can’t watch the vid right now and want something else to brighten your day, check out these 45 photos from the National Geographic annual photo contest, each one simply amazing.Filed in culture and random linkage, philosophical ramblings | Tagged with NaBloPoMo, TED | Comment (1)
Waste Land (netflix) – a documentary about art and poverty, esp recommended if you enjoyed that amazing TED talk by french artist JR on using art to “turn the world inside out” and help impoverished communities – can art change the world? or at least a small part of it? while the setting of this film is the giant landfill outside Rio in brazil, the movie doesn’t really mention or suggest anything about reducing waste or get into environmentalism. i think the movie didn’t talk much about landfills and excess because the setting speaks for itself. this movie is about using art to change people’s lives who are on the receiving end of the damages of our first world excess, and it’s pretty heartwarming and inspiring. it will likely change the way you think about the people living in these places and might also incidentally change the way you think about waste. music by Moby.
Wristcutters: a love story (netflix) – another excellent very dark comedy, about the afterlife world of people who commit suicide. was not quite the tone that i was expecting – in a good way, and Tom Waits, as always, is an excellent character.
Get Him to the Greek (netflix): another lowbrow male comedy starring a pudgy wannabe who is going for the girl/fame/cred/whatever. if you liked Forgetting Sarah Marshall and/or Superbad, you’ll probably like this. or if you just like looking at Russell Brand, which i do. these kinds of movies are funny to me, but i don’t really LIKE them. i really, really could have done without the “performances” at the end. i have to admit though that Puff Daddy really made me laugh in this one. he was the best part.Filed in art, tv, books and movies | Tagged with TED | Comment (0)
i am often totally – literally – paralyzed by choice. jay goes crazy that i take so long reading labels in grocery store aisles. i spend forever deciding between garments in stores. i will, literally, stand, unmoving, in a department store or grocery store aisle or sit unmoving on my car while i mentally try to come to some decision. i find this happening more and more as i get older, and i am unclear as to whether this is me having too many preferences, always looking for the perfect thing in a sea of items, or whether modern consumer culture has thrust upon me this plethora of information i am mentally ill-equipped to deal with. this makes me feel, again, literally, retarded. i know it used to be referred to as the paradox of choice, but i feel it has now, in 2010, become more like paralysis for some of us.
this 24-minute TED talk discusses Choice, particularly the American valuation of Choice. is limitless choice good for us? does being an “individual” chooser create stress – and, sometimes, as she gives a very emotional example of, guilt – in our lives? is more choice always better? how do different cultures feel about the modern cornucopia of choices?
Sheena Iyengar studies how we make choices — and how we feel about the choices we make. At TEDGlobal, she talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions.
an embedded sidetopic here is something that i have become acutely aware of especially while living in San Francisco: if you have so many choices/options/variations, suddenly minutiae become important, and thus create distinctions where none previously existed, and people get really obsessed about these distinctions, to the point that their preferences become part of their identity, and create factions that, to the outsider, are invisible. you got X brand of organic free-range sustainably farmed ice cream and not Y brand?! that’s not 1/2 step dnb, that’s 1/4 step dnb! AH!
so much more to say on this topic but i am le tired.Filed in culture and random linkage, things you can do | Tagged with TED | Comments (2)
Submitted to TEDxSoMa
I’ve been working in the environmental public policy field for 10 years and moonlighting as a writer and performance artist. Both of these vocations suffer from the entrapments of “getting funded”, and ideas are never allowed to exist as JUST ideas. Big Thoughts! Discussions of What Could Be! are often viewed as overly idealist and forced to be tempered before hitting the pavement. I’ve been a fan of TED for a few years and have a huge amount of appreciation for the intention ingrained in the format – celebration of outside the box, big picture thinking (and just pure raw talent) on the arts and sciences that isn’t tied to funding or legislation.
Tell us in a few words your thoughts on the importance of interactivity in making the world a better place.
Like the important role Television played during the Vietnam War in exposing the general public to what was happening on the other side of the globe, and thus inciting the protests and public outcry, in this age of corporate media, social networking and the internet are now integral in keeping unbiased information accessible to the public. Without information, we have no power. Interactive exchange of information is key in getting people involved, excited, and empowered to make the world a better place.
[I DIDN'T GET IN]Filed in events, things you can do | Tagged with TED | Comment (0)
i have known and spent a lot of time with someone for almost 9 years now who drinks at least 2 cups of coffee every day, and never, ever, brings a reusable cup. i have been using a resuable cup every day for the same amount of time. so: 9 years x 365 days x 2 cups = ~6,570 paper cups, with plastic lids, that he has disposed of, while i have used ~1.
this kind of thing drives me nuts. i mean, on a rare occasion, i will get a to-go cup, if i forgot mine, or i am wanting a beverage at unusual place and time and without container. but why does someone who HABITUALLY drinks coffee at the same time, from the same place, refuse to bring a cup? i even bought him one once. he never used it. i, on the otherhand, will often forgo getting a drink when i am thirsty because i don’t have a cup, or getting food to go when i am hungry because i don’t want to get the plastic forks/spoons/containers. it can wait.
people sometimes think i’m being really ridiculous about this. but i do, honestly, i do, think that every. single. thing. matters. but i find i am often alone in this, especially about the cups.
and so i was SO EXCITED when i recently watched this TED video, in which Chris Jordan uses statistics about disposable cups to try to visually show the impact of people not recognizing their individual actions as collectively consequential.
i really like this talk because he gets into exactly why i get so unnerved about things like disposable cups in a way i could never before articulate, and then makes a really beautiful point in the end about our culture and mindfulness.
watch it.. it’s only 11 minutes.
the thing about cups haunts me.
40 million paper cups. every. single. day. mostly for coffee.
410,000 every 15 minutes.
think about it. please. (also embedded below)Filed in culture and random linkage, environment, most linked/commented on | Tagged with plastic, TED | Comments (13)
last night jay and i watched this documentary about TED. the tech innovations are wonderful and probably world-saving, but i like that they also include non-tech brilliance as being incredibly and equally important to the survival of humanity.
not long ago i was having a discussion with a friend about how one of the things everyone i know who has had children has said has been the most eye opening is how much creativity children have, how intuitively the childlike mind operates, how children seem to be in a psychedelic state up until the age of 10 or so, and how as soon as we start school, we are trained out of it. we are trained to not stare, to not pull apart and investigate, to not move, to not speak, to not squeak with joy, to not point, to not wonder, not to laugh when moved, not to let our minds escape logic. this is also true for other areas of life: intimacy, touch, physical needs. we are trained to restrain and to ignore these signals.
one of the most moving parts of the TED film for me was the discussion by Sir Ken Robinson of the kinds of creativity seen in children (watch it here) and of how the public education system focuses only on those things that are “practical” for getting a job in the industrialized world: math, science, literacy. those are the things taught and tested to the point that there is little or no room to nurture creativity, and expressions of creativity in the classroom are often punished because they interfere with these other subjects. the arts are always on the bottom of the list, yet for some, that is the gift they were born with, and the current way of the world seems to care less and less that nature blesses humans with so many different, unique talents, and for good reasons that we seem to be forgetting. what would the world be without art? without dance? Robinson noted that in the Western World we are more and more just talking heads – we live in our heads, staring at computers, feeding our brains, and ignore our the rest of our bodies. our bodies are just transporters for our heads. the public education system is designed to suit the needs of the industrial world, not to nurture all the talents of humankind.
to illustrate he told the story of one particular girl in the 1930s who was having difficulty functioning in school, difficulty sitting still, difficulty paying attention. the girl’s parents were brought in to the school for consultation with a specialist. the mother gave a laundry list of all the problems the girl was having in school. the specialist listened to the mother while watching the girl, who was trying very hard to sit still in the corner of the office. the specialist then said that he and the parents should go into the hall and speak, out of range of the girl. he turned on the radio and ushered the parents out of the room and closed the door. after a minute the therapist said: look into the room, and they did, and the girl was dancing. “gillian isn’t sick, she’s a dancer,” he said. “take her to a dance school.” and they did, and she grew up to be one of the most famous choreographers of the modern age. “now, somebody else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down,” he said.
there were a couple other talks in the TED film including Sir Robinson’s in which the idea that a new post-industrial awareness is growing stronger amongst the developers of the world – an awareness that even in a technological world diversity of talent is necessary in order for continued growth; that our education system’s heavy focus on “practical” learning is hurting humanity, not helping it; that moving back to our deeper roots of connection with our natural selves, instead of trying to put everyone into a mold, is imperative. this was incredibly inspiring to hear coming from those who have so much influence in the modern world.
so jay and i watched this movie last night, still recovering from a 76 hour weekend that involved 8 hours of driving, 14 hours of set up/tear down and volunteering, 12 hours of sleeping and about 42 hours of reckless dancing and wonderment: music and art and costumes and performance and sun and moon and stars and river and sky and dirt worshipping until we could stand no more (#priceless). is it a waste of time, energy and money to do such a thing? is it worth the investment? aren’t playfulness and creativity valuable to everyone, not just those in the art world? shouldn’t these be things in which the world is heavily invested? shouldn’t the childlike wonderment we are all born with be nourished, exercised, and encouraged instead of pushed under with medications and discouraged by pressure to conform to societal “norms”?
the participants in the TED community think so, and so do those who put on such events as we produced this weekend. as noted in my discussions of burning man, it gives me great comfort to know that there are other people in the world who value that which cannot be industrialized, mass produced, packaged and processed, because i just don’t find myself fitting into those little boxes. every now and then i get a little bit anxious about the idea that i’m “wasting my life” with all this tomfoolery and that i should try to find myself a career. i agree that i should find myself a career of some sort, because i would like to be more productive and give more of myself to the world, but weekends like this also remind me that life is for living, and as long as you are doing so to the fullest extent possible, it is never, ever a waste. a career is only one way to invest. the future depends on the present we create. do we want the future to be bland, conformed, and homogenized? or do we want it to be be diverse, bright, colorful, and full of wonder?
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.
– Arthur O’ShaughnessyFiled in autobiographical, culture and random linkage, personal favorites | Tagged with dreamers, TED | Comment (1)
highly recommended: - The Future We Will Create: Inside the World of TED, a documentary about the 2006 Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference held annually in monterey. i don’t know if i’d ever heard to TED before getting this on netflix – maybe in passing, but i certainly had no idea about what happened there. this documentary was enthralling, i think mostly because of its unabashed optimism (and perhaps because i watched it after spending a weekend with a crew who put everything they had into creating something most of the world would consider a waste of time and talent). these are the world’s leading thinkers getting together and talking about all the opportunities that lie before mankind in supportive, constructive, impassioned way – focusing on what is possible, not what isn’t, in all areas of humanity: art, music, technology, agriculture, health, spirituality. if you’re looking for some inspiration (or brain-bending mood lift), i highly recommend watching the documentary, or you can watch most of the 18-20 minute segments on the TED website.
i particularly enjoyed this segment: Sir Ken Robinson on schools killing creativity
Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen
Majora Carter’s tale of urban renewal in the south bronx