Sunday, November 29, 2009

Alice Fulton & Fractal Poetry

Fulton is a poet and Cornell Professor interested in the science of poetics. Her paper on fractal verse is a mind-bogglingly intelligent look at literature and the beauty of mathematics. "About Face" is one of her more beautiful poems.

About Face
Because life's too short to blush,
I keep my blood tucked in.
I won't be mortified
by what I drive or the flaccid
vivacity of my last dinner party.
I take my cue from statues posing only
in their shoulder pads of snow: all January
you can see them working on their granite tans.

That I woke at an ungainly hour,
stripped of the merchandise that clothed me,
distilled to pure suchness,
means not enough to anyone for me
to confess.I do not suffer
from the excess of taste
that spells embarrassment:
mothers who find their kids unseemly
in their condom earrings,
girls cringing to think
they could be frumpish as their mothers.
Though the late nonerotic Elvis
in his studded gut of jumpsuit
made everybody squeamish, I admit.
Rule one: the King must not elicit pity.

Was the audience afraid of being tainted
--this might rub off on me--
or were they--surrendering--
what a femme word--feeling
solicitous--glimpsing their fragility
in his reversible purples
and unwholesome goldish chains?

At least embarrassment is not an imitation.
It's intimacy for beginners,
the orgasm no one cares to fake.
I almost admire it.I almost wrote despise.

courtesy of Spacecollective

As 'Post-Art' comes to a close, it will be the artists who surrender their ego to the world of 'post-human' computation who will be the most important.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Digital Distortion

Have we been familiar with television snow, blocked cable channels or breaks in control track long enough to have an evolutionarily disposition to react negatively to digital distortion?

Special Problems thinks not. With their new video for 'Community Service Announcement' for Jonathan Boulet, Special Problems juxtaposes chaotic digital distortion with the natural beauty of the woods. I'm a biased judge, but the former seems to be the more captivating ingredient, like an Oulipoian treatment of computer code.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Post-Human

Digital Transcendentalism is our capacity for a collective consciousness in our singular world.

We tap into the digital brahma and create art

Photograph by Timothy Saccenti

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Freedom? yeahright.

Man is a masterpiece of creation if for no other reason than that, all the weight of evidence for determinism notwithstanding, he believes he has free will
-George Lichtenberg

United Snakes from Stephen Walker on Vimeo.

An intellect which at any given moment knew all the forces that animate Nature and the mutual positions of the beings that comprise it, if this intellect were vast enough to submit its data to analysis, could condense into a single formula the movement of the greatest bodies of the universe and that of the lightest atom; for such an intellect nothing could be uncertain; and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes

-Pierre Laplace

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Touch and Taste


a digital finger in the rippling pool of the Heraclitian digital river.


digital pineapple poetry.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Everything is Everything

Why? What makes it so that nearly everything we're made up of (along with everything we make) comes out looking the same. Is it the structure of chaos? Does that make any sense? The important diagram is that of the eye and the rays of photons entering. What is it that we are seeing? We only see colors, but really we only see photons. But can we really say that we 'see' photons or colors? What it should look like is electrical sparks, which is what our brain is doing to compute the sensory information of the empirical world. There is so much more filament between our appearances and the objects in the world as they are in themselves, it is remarkable.

Perhaps that is all we see: the electrical firings in the brain.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Math Abdicates the Ego

There's this French club, founded in the 60's, for writers, The Oulipo, where artists developed all these weird constraints and limitations in order to help their writing find a new or bizarre voice. Members include Italo Calvino, Georges Perec and Raymond Queneau. Oulipo stands for “Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle/Potential Literature Workshop.” They were fans of things like lipograms (works excluding such and such letter [lipogram in e, lipogram in g]), palindromes, Snowball (A poem in which each line is a single word, and each successive word is one letter longer) and, my personal favorite, the n+7. This is a poem in which the author takes an old poem and replaces each noun with a noun seven dictionary entries away form the first. For example:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.


To see a Worm in a Grampus of Sandblast
And a Hebe in a Wild Flu
Hold inflow in the palsy of your hangar
And Ethos in an housefly.

I find something really fascinating about this technique in that there is nothing the author adds to the poem whatsoever, outside of implementing the function. Some results are really astounding, but mostly the technique pumps out lines of poetry (or potential prose) that are mathematical functions that are, in the realm of art, beyond chaotic. It's brilliant, really. The process yield's strange, original lines that only a computing machine could create. I'm reminded of Deep Blue versus Kasparov. This was the fateful chess match between the world champion and the IBM computer. Kasparov claimed that the computer used moves that no one could have predicted: moves that were so strange and bizarre that it was nearly impossible to play as he ever had before. Maybe the age of artistic computers isn't so far off. Our art may be made up of simpler functions than we think.

Considering the beautiful world of fractals and other indifferent, mathematical art, maybe it is time for us to make some room for the robot da Vinchi?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Would the LHC kill its own grandfather?

Not the LHC I know; but mistakes do happen.

The obvious, of course, being that the collider should have been colliding for more than a year now and hasn't. For those who don't know, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a massive (17 mile long track beneath the Franco-Swiss border outside Geneva) particle smasher running on the largest Xeon grid known to man looking to collide sub-atomic particles at near speed of light speeds in order to discover the great mysteries of the very early universe and how it is made up today. Some pseudo-mythological, grant grabbing players scientist are on the hunt for are 'The God Particle,' or 'Higgs Boson'(the particle that all massive things are made up of), and the gravitron's hypothesized movement to dimensions outside of our own.

Two prominent papers have been published recently that suggest the failure of the LHC is due to the experiment's "aberrance to nature." The papers, “Test of Effect From Future in Large Hadron Collider: a Proposal” and “Search for Future Influence From LHC,” cite the Grandfather paradox as basis for their hypothesis. These scientists believe that the Higgs Boson ripples back in time to stop the creation of one like a time traveller Killing its own grandfather.

As asinine as this theory appears, it does bring up an interesting paradox. What does happen when we go back through time and kill our grandfather. Many argue, similar to that of the LHC arguments, that we cannot do it: that our grandfather would simply bend over and tie his shoes as the bullet grazed by his head.

The answer to this paradox seems obvious to me, so it is probably confused (I haven't worked in particle physics since the late 60's), but isn't one of the major goals of this experiment to prove the existence of other dimensions, of possible universes? If there turn out to be other possible worlds, this paradox seems to disappear. Killing your grandfather would place you in a dimension in which your grandfather was determined to die before you were born -- a place outside of your universe where people don't kill their grandfathers.

The scheduled reanimation of the LHC is dated around Christmas. Spacetime will tell.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Explaining Explanation

Ted, being one of the greatest sources of knowledge known to the modern man, carries with it the greatest minds of our times. David Deutsch is one of those minds.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Digitally Organic Monochrome Horses

Why are artistic fads -- that are so clearly fads -- sometimes so intellectually satisfying, even in retrospect? Is it that we realize the genius of predecessors after their work has seen the public light?

WeWereMonkeys: Land of Talk - It's Okay from WeWereMonkeys on Vimeo.

This is the new Land of Talk video by WEWEREMONKEYS. It's a really beautiful take on this three way juxtaposition of nature, digital media, and chemical aesthetic of old-school, monochrome photography. It's ironic! kind of.

It is reminiscent of painter Michael Zavros's 2006 series of monochrome horses.

It is justification for the belief that horses are the quintessential representatives
of everything that is organic.

This is The Joy Division's 1988 video for atmosphere. It's timeliness is scary.