Monday, May 26, 2008

Paul Driesser - The Killing of An Egg

They used to show this on Nickelodeon between shows and I can't tell you how it unsettled me. Ah, and all of my traumatic childhood memories come flooding back.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Consciousness - David Lynch

David Lynch: Ideas come from consciousness because ideas are things. Consciousness turns itself into things. So the whole cosmos is vibrating consciousness. There are things that cinema can do that can catch an abstraction and it can say something that can't be said any other way, or it could be said with words but it would take a poet. Cinema can do abstractions, but I don't think cinema can make you transcend. I think cinema could get you into deeper and deeper levels, theoretically I guess it could. It can say deeper and abstract things and give indications of hidden things. It's a magical medium, but this thing of consciousness... The best way to know what it is is to pretend that you didn't have it. And if you didn't have consciousness, you wouldn't exist. Or if you did exist, you wouldn't know it. It's the "I am" ness. It's the ageless thing we talk to. It's awareness and it's the thing. Some people think, "I think, therefore I am", that the brain produces consciousness. But it's the other way round; consciousness produces the brain - it produces a fish, it produces a tree, from the subtlest it just keeps coming out. It just makes things.

Synchronicity - David Lynch

David Lynch: It is true that Laura Dern came along and started this. She was walking down the sidewalk in front of my house and smiling as she approached. I hadn't seen her in a long time. She came and announced that she was my new neighbour. And this made us both very happy. And then she said, "David, we gotta do something again some time." And it struck me and I said, "Yes, we do. Maybe I'll write something." And that meeting there triggered a thing, a desire to write something. And desire is like a bait, it can bring things in. And lo and behold, it started bringing things in.

Where the title came from is another story. Later, in the middle of shooting, about a third through, she was telling me that her husband was from the Inland Empire, which is an area east of LA that encompasses many towns. She went on talking but my mind stuck on those words. I'd heard them before but now they had a new meaning and I stopped her and I said, "That's the title of this film." Then, at the same time almost, my brother who was up in Montana, cleaning the basement of my parents' log cabin, discovered this old scrapbook that had fallen behind a chest of drawers. He dusted it off and found that it was my scrapbook from when I lived in Spokane, Washington, aged five. He sent it to me. I get this, I open it up and the first picture is an aerial view of Spokane and underneath it says, "Inland Empire." So I had the most beautiful feeling of a correct title.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Stockholm subway system

It's in a cave.

On writing

"I think of it as a bad habit. In my childhood, stories were respected and revered. I understood from my teachers that there was nothing better you could do than write a story, paint a painting, play a musical instrument. And then I grew up into a world where none of that matters. A world of a million TV channels and terrible movies and music."

Julie Hecht in The Believer.

What the Living Do by Marie Howe

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there. And the Drano won't work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven't called. This is the everyday we spoke of. It's winter again: the sky's a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat's on too high in here and I can't turn it off. For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,

I've been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it. Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss--we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass, say, the window of the corner video store, and I'm gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I'm speechless: I am living. I remember you.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

On knowledge

"What does a fish know about the water in which it swims all its life?"
Albert Einstein


I've havent seen this film in entirety, but what I have seen is intense. Wikipedia tell me this: The film consists primarily of slow motion and time-lapse photography of cities and natural landscapes across the United States, with no dialogue or narration.

In the Hopi language, the word Koyaanisqatsi means 'crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living', and the film implies that modern humanity is living in such a way.

The director said that these films "have never been about the effect of technology, of industry on people. It's been that everyone - politics, education, things of the financial structure, the nation state structure, language, the culture, religion - all of that exists within the host of technology. So it's not that we use technology, we live technology..."

Friday, May 16, 2008

You got a problem with that?

Here's an article Smithsonian Magazine, about why New Yorkers might seem rude. It's just because, given that there is so much less of a separation between private and public life, we act the same way on the street as we would in our own apartments. And also, New Yorkers love to help people and cooperate. This article made me happy.

"The last time we had a citywide power failure, and hence no traffic lights, I saw men in business suits—they looked like lawyers—directing traffic at busy intersections on Ninth Avenue. They got to be traffic cops for a day and tell the big trucks when to stop and when to go. They looked utterly delighted."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pictures I saved while working today

Click on each for full size to see them better!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Neural Buddhists

I love this article by David Brooks for the NYT. It's about the way "science and mysticism are joining hands and reinforcing each other."

The Neural Buddhists

"This new wave of research will not seep into the public realm in the form of militant atheism. Instead it will lead to what you might call neural Buddhism.

If you survey the literature (and I’d recommend books by Newberg, Daniel J. Siegel, Michael S. Gazzaniga, Jonathan Haidt, Antonio Damasio and Marc D. Hauser if you want to get up to speed), you can see that certain beliefs will spread into the wider discussion.

First, the self is not a fixed entity but a dynamic process of relationships. Second, underneath the patina of different religions, people around the world have common moral intuitions. Third, people are equipped to experience the sacred, to have moments of elevated experience when they transcend boundaries and overflow with love. Fourth, God can best be conceived as the nature one experiences at those moments, the unknowable total of all there is."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

American Folklore

By William Gropper. A zoomable, full-size version is available here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I wish I was there

Stephanie busts out the Godard and time standing still at MOMA, and I bring you... bears on a playground. A family in Alaska woke up to this one Saturday morning:

Time standing still

Olafur Eliasson makes droplets of streaming water appear frozen at the MOMA. I don't want to describe it, because it's better just to see it.

Pierrot Le Fou

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On Larry, but really, I think, on life

"The race to keep up with Larry was such an Externalization of the problem, as the Stanislavsky boys would have it. I had no technique for dealing with him: only an overpowering, unnerving, irrational, chemical desire to be with him. Yes, all of that. The fear of losing his physical presence was tying my behavior into such knots that I was incapable of behavior as such."

Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

the best of youtube: lazy cat on a treadmill

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

six-word short story

I never really loved Hemingway's famous 6-word short story (For sale: baby shoes, never worn) but I do love this... from a collection of shorts comissioned by Wired Magazine. The rest are... well.. kind of a downer.

Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time
- Alan Moore

Friday, May 2, 2008

Raymond Chandler's instructions on publishing The Little Sister

"No dedication. No front matter from me, unless you want to vary the usual protection clause on the back of the title page by saying that 'The people and events in this book are not entirely fictional. Some of the events happened, although not in this precise time or place, and certain of the characters were suggested by real persons, both living and dead. The author regrets any resemblance to reality that may be found in the pages of his books, and he particularly regrets that he has on occasion made use of the names of real localities. He admits with shame that there actually is a place called Hollywood and a place called Los Angeles. It has streets and he has named some of them. It has a police department and he has referred to it. Los Angeles County has a District Attorney and said District Attorney has an office. To all of these matters the author has alluded. How careless of him! He should have called Los Angeles Smogville. He should have called its police department its Ministry of Corrections.' …"