One man's visual art, largely consisting of digital manipulations of images, taken from (1) my own photographs/videos, (2) downloaded from the Public Domain, or (3) utilized under the Fair Use provision of copyright law.
VIDEO: Excerpt from 1974 Japanese film "Catastrophe 1999" based on the teachings of Nostradamus (Link1)
MUSIC: 2020 "Canon in F-sharp minor" by Andrea Turchetto (Link2) Permlink (Link3)
April 5, 2020POCKET WATCHES OVER LINOLEUM (Still)
Playful Friday night's digital doodle: a catalog page of stem-winding pocket watches over a sample of linoleum pattern. It is very large (3800 px by 5500 px). Zoom in to full size (may take several mouse clicks) and look at what has happened.
Second version focuses on the deformations in the clock faces, and adds text to communicate a mood reflecting the dislocation of our daily lives.
IMAGES: Pages from 1918 catalog of wholesalers G. W. Huntley, Chicago (Link1)
1 - Low cost American pocket watches costing less than $3.
2 - Cook's high-grade printed linoleum sample.
FONT: "Doctor Terror" by the talented Spanish typographer Woodcutter (Link2)
April 4, 2020ENTWINED SERPENTS: MEDICAL SYMBOL (Still)
The Caduceus, symbol of medical science, goes back to Greek mythology and old alchemical secret symbols. Here are a couple of the double dragons from a book on Alchemy. They are medieval decorations from churches in Italy and Switzerland. This is my gesture of thanks to the medical personnel who are working hard and at personal risk during this Corona Virus pandemic.
Second image is Irish or Anglo-Saxon double dragon on what is called the "world tree." The pre-Nazi swastikas on the tree trunk represent the movement of the heavens. Each dragon is composed of twelve stars (or suns) representing the months.
All three are placed upon a pattern of 1980's traincar graffiti.
I believe I fixed a long-standing computer problem caused by using a USB thumbstick drive instead of hard-drive as my Photoshop scratch disk.
IMAGES: From 1960 book by Titus Burckhardt "Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul" (Link1)
April 3, 2020PICTURES FROM INSIDE A WIND TURBINE (1:28)
Another frolic with industrial/engineering imagery, combined with music that Janice and I both enjoyed listening to on a Quarantine evening. The musician describes himself variously as "hard-style" and "ambient, electronic." All I know is I like it. Check the album out here.
IMAGES: Combined views from top of and FROM inside tower of Enercon wind turbine, taken by engineer Jack Dedekials (Link1)
MUSIC: Excerpts from "Traffic Lights." song from 2020 album 'Similaries and Tonal Differences' by Polish DJ and "hard style" music producer Genox (Link2)
April 1, 2020JAZZ AGE SPACE FORCE (Still)
Title pages of late 19th century sheet music are often decorated with text set in ornate printer's ornaments. I've always wanted to see how those old-fashioned swirls and curlicues would do when text was removed and they were enhanced. Here, such a desisgn is used to frase a still from one of Olympic swimmer Buster Crabbe's hokey but enjoyable science fiction stories as Flash Gordon, featuring the terrifying Ming the Merciless.
Having trouble with color calibration on my Photoshop. Not sure why.
IMAGE1: Buster Crabbe and Jean Rogers in "Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars" from 1938 issue of 'Sight and Sound' (Link1)
IMAGE2: Cover decoration for 1870 sheet music for song "Sweet Memories of Thee" (Link2)
April 1, 2020UNKNOWN SOURCE, UNKNOWN LANGUAGE (1:28)
No attribution for this. Uploaded anonymously. It seems to show a young construction worker (possibly Armenian, according to online guesswork) singing a Bollywood song at an unfinished job site. I liked his performance. I liked the way he handled the other workers.
VIDEO & AUDIO: From unsourced file "BOLLYWOOD.WEBM" uploaded by Anonymous to 4CHAN.ORG WSG board (Link1).
March 31, 2020PLAYING WITH PATTERNS FROM OLD MAIL ORDER CATALOG (Still)
Clothing fabric patterns shown in the 1956 Montgomery-Ward catalog (Link1). The patterns are separated swatches, but I like to combine them into a single texture. It is combined with an illustration of a pink phlox flower from the 1840 "Florist's Journal" (Link2).
Here's the main thing I'm doing for my community during the quarantine, other than occasional wellness checks on vulnerable friends. I'm running a Facebook album of "quarantine work" for the Plastic Club.
March 30, 2020INTERPRETATIONS OF FOUR MEXICAN RELIGIOUS IMAGES (Still)
Four illustrations from a religious book from Western Mexico. Note that the image on the right can be seen to depict a girl facing a knife-wielding man in the desert.
IMAGES: From the 1997 book "Los Exvotos Del Occidente De México" (Link1; trans: 'Votive Offerings from Western Mexico")
March 30, 2020BOWLING ALLEY MACHINERY AND NONSENSE SONG (0:33)
Odd combination of machine and musician.
VIDEO: Bowling pin reset system, from EngineeringVids Twitter feed (Link1)
MUSIC: "Chacarron" 2006 song (Link2) by Panamanian musician 'El Chombo' (Link3)
March 29, 2020INTERPRETATIONS OF ELEPHANT-HEADED HINDU MYTH (Still)
An interpretation of two images of the Hindu mythological figure Ganesha, the elephant-headed entity. Visual depictions of Ganesha are fascinating.
IMAGES: From a 1984 edition of the Indian magazine promoting Teluga language, "Andhra Patrika" (Link1)
March 28, 2020CELLULAR HUNTING TRIP (0:43)
Depressed person: "Nobody cares about me". White blood cells: "Are we a joke to you?". Red blood cells:: “Just smile and wave boys..”
IMAGE: Microscope footage showing a neutrophil (white blood cell) chasing Staphylococcus aureus among red blood cells, produced by David Rogers in the 1950's (Link1)
MUSIC: Song "Milk3" on album 'Digital Milk' by Thomas Park and Mystified (Link2)
March 28, 2020WARD'S CATALOG PATTERNS AND SODA FOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT (Still)
The fun of putting together crepe and batiste fabric patterns and topping them with a doubled image of an old-fashion cast-iron carbonizer machine,
March 26, 2020TRACKS THROUGH A STREET MARKET (1:00)
Six times a day, a small train travels 42 miles through Thailand. Along the way, it passes through a bustling seafood market, inches from the vendor's stall. The passage of the train is a tourist attraction.
This video is at the very edge of graphic intelligibility, but I like the busy-ness. The overhead view was "stretched" approximately 200%, making it longer. The music (another sample of the videogame remix genre) is odd and not exactly appropriate -- but I like the lush music combined with the visual density.
OVERHEAD VIEW: "Maeklong Railway Market" from VTravel Twitter feed (Link1)
STREET VIEW: YouTube video "The Train Arrives" (Link2)
MUSIC: Remix of music from videogame "The Legend of Zelda" by Rebecca Tripp (Link3)
March 25, 2020WHEN EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED (0:52)
I sense that the unregulated capitalist system is collapsing around me. Caption quotes Graham Greene: "Every act of creation is first an act of destruction." The blocks used are Kapla wooden toys.
Note link in upper right (new) to sources of many videos. Also, note that music comes from an unusual website known as Overclocked Remix, with fan remixes of videogame sounds.
VIDEO & AUDIO: From Milky Way Astronomers Twitter feed March 22, 2020 (Link1)
MUSIC: 2015 remix of videosounds, "ThisIstheMoment" by OCRemix (Link2)
March 24, 2020UKRAINIAN LADY (Still)
Simple treatment of cover image from 1934 issue of short-lived Ukrainian women's magazine, "Нова хата" (Link1: trans 'New House').
March 24, 2020RESTORED VOLCANO VID WITH GAMER SOUNDTRACK (2:25)
In the course of switching between two machines, accidentally deleted this one. Retreiving it.
VIDEO: Footage taken from GoPro camera left in Hawaii's Kilauea volcano (Link1). See story (Link2)
MUSIC: 2009 song "Reprise" from remix of videogame soundtrack 'Impulse' by 12 Followers-Meteo Xavier (Link3)
March 2?, 2020FANTASY ON GLASS AND STATUETTE (Still)
Playful harvest of images from latest tour of Internet. Escapism in a time of stress.
IMAGE1: Image of deep-cut glassware from 1918 home furnishings catalog of G.W. Huntley & Co. (Link1)
IMAGE2: Ancient bronze plaque of mountain goat from Pakistan, from 2007 "Kushans, On The Cusp Of An Era: Art In The Pre Kuṣāṇa World" (Link2)
BACKGROUND: Marbled end paper from undated "Nouvelle methode de guitarre / par Gatayes" (Link3)
March 23, 2020THE DISCOVERY OF ANCIENT LIFE(0:52)
Fossils: in my humble opinion, more precious but less valued than diamonds.
VIDEO & AUDIO: Finding a jurassic fossil in Yorkshire. from EarthBeauty17 Twitter site (Link1)
MUSIC: 2020 ukelele song "Aloha Idiota" by Lu Krautman on Tipsypoodl label (Link2)
March 22, 2020KEEP ONESELF UNSTAINED FROM THE WORLD (Still)
My natural instinct during this Corona-crisis has been to reach out from my medically-prescribed isolation to check on the welfare of those people in my circle of friends and neighbors who are alone. Luckily, they have largely been healthy and well-provided for. This verse from the letter of James (supposedly the brother of Jesus) captures that instinct.
Back in Detroit, decades ago, I worked with a WDET sound engineer who pointed out the Epistle's text to me and said he had set it to music. The words have always stuck with me and I've wondered what the engineer's melody was. Anybody want to write one?
This brief excursion into James' thinking reminded me of another controversy in Christianity. You know how Protestants always say salvation happens through faith alone, and not through good works? Well, here's another quote from James: "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, 'Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled'; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead." So I guess I'm on the Catholic side of the Catholic v. Protestant argument that bloodily raged through Europe in past centuries.
On a more contemporary and political note, check out a 3:02 video of preaching by today's Evangelical leaders being superstitious idiots about the Corona virus.
IMAGE1: Semaphore flag signal chart from 1967 "The Official Boy Scout handbook" (Link1)
IMAGE2: Illustration from 1929 Ukrainian women's magazine "Нова хата" (Link2)
March 21, 2020EARLY PLAGUE VICTIMS & TAMIL WOMAN (Still)
Composition from old books.
IMAGE (LEFT): Aztecs suffering from Smallpox after 16th century Cortes invasion, from undated "A people and a nation : a history of the United States" (Link1)
IMAGE (RIGHT): Tamil woman from Ceylon, from undated "The Smaller British Possessions (Europe and Asia)" (Link2; reversed)
IMAGE (BACKGROUND): Photographs from 2010 "A new genus of the spider family Caponiidae from the West Indies" (Link3)
IMAGE (BACKGROUND): Sample from 1905 "Graphology : how to read character from handwriting" (Link4)
March 19, 2020EARLY NUCLEAR EXPLOSION (1:05)
Finding beauty in the brutal.
VIDEO: Rare color footage of 1955 Russian test of a nuclear torpedo on the Arctic Ocean (Link1)
MUSIC: Piano Sonata No. 1 by Australian composer Nicholas Locke (Link2)
Link2: imslp.org/wiki/Piano_Sonata_No.1_in_F_Minor,_Op.16_No.1_(Locke,_Nicholas)#IMSLP612849, permalink imslp.org/wiki/Special:ReverseLookup/612850
March 18, 2020ANNIVERSARY CARD FOR JANICE (Still)
Who would I rather be isolated with? We're binging right now on two recent television series, Justified on Hulu and Friday Night Lights on Comcast StarzEncore.
ADVERTISING: From 1908 "Catalogue of everything for the garden" by Peter Henderson & Co. (Link1). Original text is "Henderson's Collection of Vegetable Seeds."
GRAPHIC: Jewelry illustratio from 1867 "Catalogue of the celebrated Esterhazy jewels" (Link2)
March 17, 2020COLLAGE OF ARCHITECT'S MATERIALS & PORN (Still)
In my explorations of the Internet, I run across a lot of porn. Usually, I don't use them in my creative work, but I'm always on the lookout for unusual compositions. Here, upside-down model/porn star Lena Nichole, with 18-year-old private parts obscured by brick, patterned glass, and paint swatches.
IMAGES from 1949 edition of Sweet's catalog library of building products (Link1). The library is still published (Link2).
- PATTERNED GLASS: "Meteor" figured glass from Southwestern Sheet Glass, p. 174
IMAGES from 1931 edition of Ramsay's Architectural Catalogue (Link3)
- BRICKS: from N.S.W State Brick Works, p. 41
- COLOR SAMPLES: Industrial lacqueurs from Hardie Trading, p. 216
IMAGE Model Lena Nichole from 2007 "Barely Legal" (Link4)
March 16, 2020GLOOM-ACCUSTOMED RUSSIANS DON'T CARE ABOUT PANDEMIC (0:30)
30,000 fans at a recent Russian football match, when most other nations have banned crowds in stadiums. The Russian fans have this gangster attitude (much like Philadelphia Flyer fans), professing not to give a fuck about Corona Virus. Interesting discussion in comments section about life expectancy in Russia and Soviet vodka-fueled resilience after Hitler and Stalin; also, a discussion of the phrase's grammar in comments: the verb is Future Perfect.)
Sorry that I messed up the timing of the claps: "We're all going to die (clap) (clap)".
VIDEO & AUDIO: From 2020 Russian football match between Venit and Ural, after other nations banned crowds because of COV-19 pandemic. (Link1)
March 16, 2020CORRUPT REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER AS PRESIDENT (0:19)
Short-sighted man makes bad decision.
Presidential press conference, February 26, 2020
March 15, 2020HOMAGE TO 19th CENTURY TYPOGRAPHY & LOVE (Still)
Here is the title page of the 1900 sheet music for the song "Say, Suz! How 'bout you?" by George Thatcher (Link1), published as a supplement to a St.Louis newspaper. (A different time in America, when newspapers published sheet music and lovers kept "steady company"!) The words:
If I knew where I could find a nice convenient little flat
in a good neighborhood
I'd have it fixed and furnished
and settle down at that.
Yes I would.if I could
cause I'm getting tired of
living like I used to
and there's someone I've just been introduced to
she must think a lot of me
cause she smiled and modestly hung her head
when I said:
Say, Suz, do you think you would refuse!
If I said you wuz de only gal I'd choose
to be my steady company
Say, Suz, how 'bout you?
Also part of the collage: a terra cotta plaque excavated from a temple at Bhita, said to show the arrival of a king, illustration from the book "Shakuntala", which tells the tale of a Shakuntala, a beautiful female in Hindu mythology (Link2_.
March 14, 2020NEW SONG FROM MY FAVORITE CLASSICAL COMPOSER (1:27)
Australian Nicholas Locke with a playful, upbeat piece, just published.
IMAGE1: 1785 American coin marked "Immune Columbia" (Link1)
IMAGE2: Pattern for tea napkin from 1894 French magazine "La Mode Pratique" (Link2)
IMAGE3: Image of diseased tissue from 1838 "Pathological anatomy. Illustrations of the elementary forms of disease" (Link3)
Filters applied from online dreamscopeapp.com and neuralstyle.art
MUSIC: "Allego Scherzando" movement of Nicholas Locke's 2019 'Piano Sonata No.3 in A Major' (Link4)
Link4: imslp.org/wiki/Piano_Sonata_No.3_in_A_Major,_Op.16_No.3_(Locke,_Nicholas)#IMSLP612858; permlink: imslp.org/wiki/Special:ReverseLookup/612860
March 13, 2020COLLAGE: COINS OVER HITLER CONTACTS (Still)
A whimsical if haunting image: at bottom, a photographic contact sheet of smiling Adolf Hitler mingling with children in native costume, from a 1980 pro-Nazi Italian book "L' Ultimo Signore Degli Arii" (Link1: trans 'The Last Lord of the Arii'). [Arii=Aryans?] The translated caption reads "The Fuhrer with the children of Goebbels."
On top of that, a page of portrait medallions of the day's celebrities from the 1867 Parisian "Les Médaillons de David d'Angers" (Link2).
Sent through a couple online filters. Note: to avoid confusion, I indicate whether an image is a video (with time) or still image in the title.
March 12, 2020DANISH FOLK-TALE OF BLIND PRINCESS (1:19)
From an old movie, the 1913 "King Rene's Daughter," starring the beautiful Maude Fealey. Iolanthe is raised in isolation in a beautiful garden, not knowing she is blind, until her 16th birthday, when a Moorish physician cures her.
Change in format in this one. Opening with action, not title.
VIDEO: From 2011 "The Beautiful Maude Fealy: Unseen Scenes from her Movies" by Syrian-Greek director Zouan Kortis (Link1)
MUSIC: Anna Netrebko sings Tchaikovsky's lyric opera "Iolanta" in 2007 (Link2)
March 11, 2020OLD SEED CATALOG ILLUSTRATION (Still)
Experimenting with using filters on illustrations from old seed catalogs, specifically the well-illustrated 1907 "Catalogue of everything for the garden"
(Link1) from Peter Henderson & Co.
March 10, 20201950'S HOLY CARDS (Still)
Going through boxes in storage, ran across my sister's Sunday missal, that thick black-leather-bound collection of daily Roman Catholic prayers. The missal included "Holy Cards" tucked among the pages. Many were idealized images of Mary, "The Blessed Virgin". You can see why these Marian images were so popular among Catholic schoolgirls of European origin; they saw themselves.
But there was also a darker side, as shown in another Holy Card to honor Pope Pius X. Pius X, who served from 1903-1914, was a stern anti-modernist, who required Catholic teachers to profess an Oath Against Modernism. Dig into the institutions that Pius X founded, and you'll find the roots of the bitter split in today's Catholic church, especially Sedevacantism
The original images are somewhat altered with digital filters in my signature style.
March 9, 2020TRUSTING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM (0:41)
From a film noir about a glamorous woman who smuggles a fortune in diamonds into New York City -- along with a case of Typhoid Fever.
A note about my accomodation to the Corona virus. I do three things: 1) I reduce social activities, 2) I follow the doctors' hand-washing regime, and 3) I wash my face frequently, which reduces the number of itches in my face and beard; it is so hard to keep my hands away from my face.
VIDEO & AUDIO from 1950 film noir "The Killer That Stalked New York" (Link1)
IMAGE: Recoloring of illustration from 1935 pulp magazine "The Blue Book" by John Clymer (Link2)
MUSIC: 2018 organ composition "Requiem a voce sola" by Carlotta Ferrari
IMAGE2: Ergodynamic illustration from 1960 catalog of hospital furnishings from Maysteel (Link4)
Link3: imslp.org/wiki/Requiem_a_voce_sola_(Ferrari%2C_Carlotta) Permalink: imslp.org/wiki/Special:ReverseLookup/549265
March 7, 2020FANCIFUL COLLAGE WITH MANHATTAN BEAUTY (0:58)
A new source of Film Noir films will allow me to do mashups with old black & white footage. I re-use here the work from previous Scarf design.
FOREGROUND: 4Chan Fantasy matrix of current movie stars with Dreamscape filter applied (Link1)
BACKGROUND VIDEO & AUDIO: Scene of Hedy Lamarr entering Manhattan office, from 1947 film noir "Dishonored Lady" (Link2)
MUSIC: Song "Longes IV" by Brazilian musician George Christian on album 'Longes' (Link3)
March 5, 2020POLITICAL STATEMENT (1:10)
Done before Biden's win on Super-Tuesday. I'll vote for Biden if the Democratic convention chooses him, but without enthusiasm. His victory is a stand for the economic status quo, which has spiralled into crushing inequality in my lifetime, as measured by the Gini Coefficient.
IMAGE: Digital filter treatments of color swatches from 1960 catalog of Gotham Chalkboard and Trim (Link1)
MUSIC: 2020 Song "Morskie Oko" by collaborative 'Ethernet Orchestra.' (Link2) Explanation of group. (Link3)
March 5, 2020EXPERIMENTS WITH FABRIC
Considering whether to do a textile piece for an upcoming show at the Plastic Club. Image is a matrix of 100 Hollywood beauties from 4CHAN, distorted by filters. I visualize this as a scarf, but I'm not good enough on that sewing machine to hem four sides. Our sewing machine is as plastic, new-model Singer, that uses a redesigned bobbin/thread arrangement that I can't figure out. Click to see full-aize.
The original is shown below:
March 4, 2020EXPERIMENT DURING REPAIR OF AILING COMPUTER (1:57)
Text to come.
IMAGE: Ornament from 1907 book "Magyar díszítő művészet" (Link1, trans: 'Hungarian decorative art')
MUSIC: Song called "d('-')m('-')m^('-')^w('-')w('-')P" on soundtrack '12 Followers-Meteo Xavier' (Link2; song title without explanation}. Group uses musical
technique called 'overclocking', an electronic technique that reuses videogame soundtracks.
FILTERS: Named filters applied to original image, the first 12 from neuralstyle.art and the final three from dreamscopeapp.com.
February 24, 2020MULTINATIONAL SURREALIST WOMAN SET TO BRAZILIAN PIANO (2:04)
A prolific modern composer is 45-year-old Carlotta Ferrari, who composes mainly churchy music for the organ. Ferrari generously publishes her work to share with others. The industrious Italian also typesets scores for her compositions. Recently I noticed that on some of these self-published scores, she includes illustrations. I looked up some of these illustrations (often using Reverse-Image-Search) and discovered Ferrari's taste in visual art shares a lot with her musical art: accomplished, female, spiritual, often unheralded and unrecognized in the male art world.
Today, we're looking at one of Ferrari's sources, Spanish artist Remedios Varo. Varo produced a lot of haunting, mystical paintings in her day. (The music is not by Ferrari, but a wild piece by a contemporary Latin American musician, Ingris Soares.)
Varo influences artists today, including Ferrari and my wife's friend Eileen Kennedy.
VIDEO: Animations of paintings by Remedios Varo, a Spanish surrealist artist working in Spain, France, and Mexico. (Link1)
MUSIC: Song "Hazaar Tarike" on 2020 compilation album 'Livecoderas Latinoamericanas' by LILA 1, performed by Brazilian Ingrid Soares (Link2)
February 23, 2020UKRAINIAN GRAPHIC DESIGNER & ELECTRONIC MIX(0:44)
A random collection of images from a famous Ukrainian graphic designer, including the 500-hryvnia bank note he designed. The images are combined with curious electronic/computer sounds plus tape composition by Wheatley Afton.
VIDEO: Images from 1930 collection "Heorhii Narbuto: mystetsko-istorychnyi narys" (Link1: trans: 'Georgy Narbut: artistic and historical development'). Narbut was the leading Ukrainian graphic designer of the 20th century. Other images from Wikipedia.
MUSIC & AUDIO: Title song from 2020 album "Go for a Punch" by Wheatley Afton (Link2)
February 16, 2020TO FLEE POLITICS IN A UNIFORM OF FEATHERS (1:33)
Note: I don't know Spanish, so I didn't understand the words of the lovely song by Cacatarsis. But I liked the song: its relaxed pace, its switch between male and female voice, etc. There is no connection between the images in the video and the words of the song.
Luckily, a friend in my Plastic Club sketching class, who hails from Puerto Rico, was able to translate. Did a second version, using Linda's translation, somewhat revised by me.
MUSIC: Song "Uniforme Plumoso" (Link1; trans: Feather Uniform") from 2019 album by Colombian group 'Cacatarsis', recorded in Berlin. (Link1) (Translation from Spanish by Bob Moore and Linda Avila.)
BACKGROUND VIDEO: Clip of 8 girls dancing on video-sharing site TikTok.com (Link2)
IMAGE 1: Cover illustration of 1923 "Ekspressionizm; Katalog der Ausstellung der Aquarellisten-Clubs der Genossenschaft der Bildenden Künstler Wiens" (Link3: trans: 'Expressionizm; Catalog of the exhibition of the watercolorists' clubs of the Cooperative of Fine Artists of Vienna')
IMAGE 2: Portrait of Empress Elisabeth of Austria from "Monographie de la Basilique de Saint Epvre à Nancy" (Link4: trans: 'Monograph of the Basilica of Saint Epvre in Nancy')
IMAGE 3: "Chatelaine," design for a biscuit poster, from 1897 "Alphonse Mucha et son oeuvre" (Link5)
IMAGE 4: "Jeanne Aux Champs," from 1903 'Jeanne d'Arc dans l'art' (Link6; trans: 'Joan of Arc in Art')
IMAGE 5: Painting by French Symbolist Maurice Chabas from 1928 "Catalogue des œuvres de Maurice Chabas: calme et poésie dans la nature et queques œuvres d'ordre spirituel" (Link7: trans: 'Catalog of works by Maurice Chabas: calm and poetry in nature and some works of a spiritual nature')
IMAGE 6: Engraving from 1763 "Musei Kirkeriani in Romano Soc. Jesu collegio aereaa" (Link8: trans: 'Museum Kirkeriano the Roman Soc. Jesus College')
IMAGE 7: Illustration from 1933 "Wystawa zbiorowa prac Leona Kowalskiego w Palacu sztuki w Krakowie" (Link9: trans: 'Collective exhibition of Leon Kowalski's works at the Palace of Arts in Krakow')
February 14, 2020SCHIFF ARGUES FROM COMMON SENSE DURING IMPEACHMENT (0:51)
A significant moment in Rep. Adam Schiff's closing argument during Trump's impeachment trial. Everybody knows that adding a rider that would help him politically onto a foreign aid package is typical Trumpian deal-making. Trump was acquitted without censure or apology, and America has moved one step closer to a rigged undemocratic system built around a money-grubbing reality-show host. Vote for the Democrat -- sny Democrat --on November 6!
Smyth, who did the music, is an interesting composer. He does a curious genre based on haiku; see his collection here. The haiku he built this composition around is: In ihe beach breeze
my travels forgotten…
Check out his blog Racket in my Head, motto: "Sharing the noise with everyone".
I'm depressed about Trump and climate change and the spread of proto-fascism around the world, as well as a painful social experience last night. But I feel better when I look at Smyth's work. Maybe amid this decline, there are spots of world-class creativity.
VIDEO & AUDIO 1: CNN News footage "Schiff gets choked up during Trump impeachment trial" (Link1) Jan. 23, 2020
VIDEO OVERLAY 1: Stock footage "De Focus Bokeh Leak Light Orange" (Link2)
VIDEO OVERLAY 2: Stock footage "Slow Motion Match Strike" (Link3)
VIDEO OVERLAY 3: Stock footage "Film Burn Special Effect" (Link4)
MUSIC: "In the Beach Breeze" 2020 Haiku-based composition by Maryland composer George L. Smyth (Link5)
Link5: archive.org/details/inthebeachbreeze; also see glsmyth.bandcamp.com/
February 8, 2020CHINESE COMPOSER'S WORRIES ABOUT CORONA VIRUS (2:35)
For some time, I have been watching the prolific musical product of Chinese-born composer Shuwen Zhang. He was educated in the U.S., but I can't tell from his online info whether he's in the U.S. or China right now. But you can easily imagine how concerned he is at the virus that has killed thousands in China. I was surprised to see this unusual, recently published (Feb. 3) piece, using the traditional classical form of the fugue, but with weird instrumentation -- wooden blocks, voices, and big Chinese gongs. (Note: I do not understand what a fugue is.) It reminds me not to get too focused on American concerns and remember that artists from all cultures are using the tools of their art to express their fears. The score of the piece is displayed against a background showing the workings of an automatic rifle. In some sense, Shuwen's composition is magical thinking, a superstitious spell. Usually I'm against magical thinking, but in the creative world I drop my objections.
VIDEO1: Video of automatic rifle action. date and source unknown
MUSIC & SCORE: 2020 composition "Anti-NCoV Scripture/Anti-Epidemic Fugue" (Link1) by Chinese music teacher Shuwen Zhang
Link1: imslp.org/wiki/Anti-NCoV_Fugue_(Zhang,_Shuwen)#IMSLP608291; permalink: imslp.org/wiki/Special:ReverseLookup/608291
February 7, 2020COSSACK SPIRIT, RUSSIAN ROADS (3:02)
As time passes, my work method becomes clear: spend some time everyday exploring the Internet, and eventually some subject or clip captures my attention. A dark hole opens. In this case, it is a fierce, warlike Russian song. The songwriter grew up in civilized Russian cities, but spent his summers with his Cossack grandparents in the country. The end of the song embraces punishment of invading countries, as Russia did to Germany in WW2.
The translation is given below:
VIDEO & MUSIC: Russian actor and songwriter Igor Rasteryaev performs his "Russian Roads" (Link1) about the role of bad weather in Russian history, humbling invaders like Hitler and Napoleon. The video was shot in the forest along the Road of Life (Link2), the ice road used to resupply besieged Leningrad between 1941 and 1943. The song also mentions Ivan Susanin (Link3), who, under torture, in 1613 "guided" invading troops into the Russian forest, where they disappeared.
Link1: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DljgSrTbNE; without English subtitles: www.youtube.com/watch?v=37l7P5V1eXU
Link2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_of_Life; www.facebook.com/pages/Road-of-Life/103121266394558
Along the crying earth, not feeling jackboots,
Our bloodless detachment's escaping from the enemies
Is eating sorrel leaves on the run,
Is staying overnight in a gully under an arrow-wood bush.
It's impossible to rest for us -- run away, run away, run away.
And our pretending friends are staying abroad.
And watching closely how we are being beaten.
And only the long roads are absolutely for us.
Wipe your tears, rest a little,
I'm Russian road.
Retreat and I cover your retreat
with mud and water.
But they're head over ears in mud, up to eyes in water.
Some time later the enemies ran us down again.
they're attacking us more strongly, are just about to overkill us.
But the biting frosts are rushing to help us.
Rest, wipe your bitter tears,
We are Russian frosts.
As enticing by Moscow, we'll freeze the enemies,
cover them with melancholy.
The nature is like our own mother in the war,
But it was time to hide, now it's time to advance,
And soon we're appeared in the enemy towns.
And began to destroy all around, oversmashed.
Broke off to pieces, thrashed into ruins.
And as crushing, we explained the moaning enemies.
Remember our strange tactical method.
When we retreat - it means we advance.
Together with frosts and forests, Susanin's ahead.
Just God gave us Russian road.
Russian road, Russian road, Russian road.
February 2, 2020OLD MAN'S RED DANCE (5:15)
Watching Grammies, Impeachment; not too productive.
VIDEO 1: Spanish singer Rosalia performs "Juro Que Malament" at 2020 Grammy ceremony (Link1; trans: 'I swear badly')
VIDEO 2: European folk dancers performing "Радость моя Улетай" (Link2; trans: 'My Joy Flies Away')
VIDEO 3: News coverage of Corona virus in China and Russia
MUSIC: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1792 "Requiem" (Link3)
January 31, 2020ARCHAEOLOGISTS DISCOVERY (0:55)
Not very productive. Distracted by impeachment drama. Had a show of my videos at my residence, It was part of a group show, a bit noisy, and I'm not sure anyone understood what I'm doing.
Interesting music discovery: an electronic group from Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
VIDEO & SOUND: Excerpt from 1940 movie "Phantom of Chinatown" (Link1)
MUSIC: 2020 song "Autumn" by Uzbekistan music project Aquatone (Link2)
BACKGROUND IMAGE 1: Illustration of 12th century paten of Saint Bernward from "Guelf Treasure" (Link3)
BACKGROUND IMAGE 2: Illustration of Frederick I of Germany from 2004 "Fighting for Christendom: Holy War and the Crusades" (Link4)
January 26, 2020UGLY DESTRUCTIVE WOMAN'S FASHION (2:13)
Brought to mind by the foot problems of two septuagenarian women I know. High-heeled shoes in the 60's and hard acrobatic roller-skating leaving both with unhealthy feet. Reminding me of the Asian practice of foot-binding.
I thought I found the perfect music for this one.
VIDEO: Excerpt from 1996 German documentary "Sex in China" (Link1)
MUSIC: Song "The Great Ambuscade" by Lui Tsun Yuen from 1964 album 'Exotic Music Of Ancient China' (Link2)
January 20, 2020VIDEO MASHUP: WEDGWOOD CHINA, MONARCHIC FLAGS, SUN SHOWER (1:54)
Another video mashup. Started with Wedgwood china. As a boy, my family would visit Windsor, Ontario, which had the unusual distinction of having four downtown stores selling fine china. First noticed Wedgwood there. Later, find out about Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795), an English businessman involved in public affairs such as the abolition of slavery. (Compare him to the businessman who runs U.S. today!) Flags are from someone who actually believes that monarchies are the best political system. Ran across music last, and chose the title from the composer's notes.
A lot of trouble on this one too. Turns out one of my flash drives has a problem (I think).
VIDEO 1: Page from 1924 catalog by Josiah Wedgwood & Sons, English manufacturer of chinaware (Link1)
VIDEO 2: "Monarchial Standards of the World" collection by The Mad Monarchist (Link2)
MUSIC: "Kitsune no Yomeiri," 2010 composition by Roberto Novegno performed by the composer in 2018 (Link3); the title is from a Japanese idiom for a rain shower while the sun shines, (literal meaning: foxes' wedding)
Link2: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Peu67V6XqHs&t=55s; Mad Monarchist website: madmonarchist.blogspot.com/
Link3: imslp.org/wiki/Kitsune_no_Yomeiri,_tbp_115_(Novegno,_Roberto)#IMSLP605855; permlink: imslp.org/wiki/Special:ReverseLookup/605855
January 19, 2020COLLAGE: FLUID DYNAMICS AND CHRISTMAS CAROL (2:24)
A montage of two visual and two audio sources. A lot of trouble with this one, took twice as long as usual.
VIDEO: Russian educational film on fluid dynamics in ink jets (Link1)
VIDEO & AUDIO 1: Performance by Libera Cantoria Pisani (Link2) of Carlotta Ferrari's 2018 choral work "In Questa Sacra Notte" (Link3)
AUDIO 2: Song from 2020 album "Psi" by Moscow-based electronic musicians WNRI (Link4)
Link3: imslp.org/wiki/In_questa_sacra_notte_(Ferrari,_Carlotta)#IMSLP605413; permalink: imslp.org/wiki/Special:ReverseLookup/605413
January 17, 2020EASTERN EUROPEAN FEMALE SINGING TROUPE (2:32)
Joyful women, beautiful voices, haunting song. The translation (below) reveals a restrained poem that combines an awareness of the bloody struggle for survival (the eagle attacked the swans) with a fondness for girlish fashion. (Remember: "down" in this case refers to a bird's soft, fluffy feathers.)
If you go to the group's website (Link1), you can see a higher resolution version of this video; my graphic treatment fuzzes and texturizes the original video, aiming at an aesthetic, nostalgic, dreamy effect.
At the sea, blue sea
There was a floating flock of white swans
And where did the gray-white eagle come from?
It dispersed the flock around the blue sea
White down rose to heaven,
Gray feathers fell on a green meadow
And who will collect these feathers?
- A beautiful girl
VIDEO & SOUND: Polish singing group Laboratorium Piesni (Link1; 'Female World/Ethno/Spiritual/Mystic Folk Music') performing traditional Belarusian song "Sztoj pa moru" (Link2; trans: "At the sea").
January 16, 2020MUSIC NOTATION SIGN OF THE TIMES
Above, a clever holiday card from a musician friend. Time signatures are a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats are contained in each measure, and which note value is equivalent to a beat. I vaguely comprehend 4/4 and 3/4 (waltz) rhythms, and my musician friend tells me that 5/4 is the time used in Dave Brubeck's masterful Take Five. Here's an article from Wikipedia on unusual time signatures. Of course, the political meaning of this musical joke is plain.
I've been a bit unproductive visually these days, because I've gotten heavily into reading. Some samplings:
"I always think that the absence of bad luck is the most important thing in life."
-- Peter Piot, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, survivor of 1976 and 2014 Ebola outbreaks, quoted in Richard Preston's Crisis in the Red Zone, 2019
"We held hands and rejoiced in each other's company as we had not necessarily done when young and bemused by each other's closeness, now relishing it! When young I had wondered why the aged were capable of such affection, and I attributed it to a soft-headedness But death is close and touches are precious and the beloved remains beautiful even to the aged swain. This had been delightful to discover."
-- Thomas Keneally, The Book of Science and Antiquities, 2018
I've also begun reading English novelist Ken Follett's The Century Trilogy a mammoth historical epic that follows five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English and Welsh - as they experience the events of the 20th century. The first two books of the trilogy come to some 2000 pages! SOURCE:
Music notation adapted from a T-Shirt design
January 14, 2019MY FATHER'S FAVORITE SONG (2:03)
My Dad was a World War II hero, an Infantry Captain in Patton's army. Dad won medals, but he measured his success by how many of his men he was able to bring back safe and sound. Not surprisingly, Dad's favorite song was this rousing call for good men to come together to resist tyranny. It's from New Moon, a 1928 operetta with music by Sigmund Romberg and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, among others. Some say it was "Broadway's last hit operetta", as the Golden Age of musicals approached.
This is from a 1940 remake with Nelson Eddy, as an aristocrat-in-hiding leading an army of peasants. It was revived in New York during the run-up to the Iraq war, and although the modern audience jeered at the male brotherhood the lyrics espouse, they cheered at the play's statement "One can be loyal to one's country and yet forswear its leader".
The song, with its heavy dose of testoserone, doesn't fit the mood today, when box-office-conscious Hollywood casts teenage girls as action heroes, male action heroes are ironic and silly, and armies are formed with careful attention to diversity requirements.
We have a male suicide rate almost four times as high as for females. Many young males, hectored on politically correct, identity-divided college campuses for their white male privilege, gravitated in 2016 to the Neo-Nazi Alt-Right, where instead of being attacked they were celebrated and became keyboard warriors in Donald Trump's election victory.
I know about toxic masculinity. I know about the horrors of war. And I know that the lyrics in this version have been sanitized (original lyrics: "For the strong obey / When a strong man shows them the way.") But all I know is things have changed and I'm not sure we're better off. I feel displaced -- and I suspect my father would too.
VIDEO & AUDIO: Song "Stout Hearted Men" from the 1940 movie version of the operetta "New Moon" with Nelson Eddy (Link1)
January 10, 2020BIBLICAL YEARNING & HOPE (0:54)
Had a nice night Christmas Eve, singing Christmas carols. But was disappointed that my favorite carol was not in the songbook and some folks had never heard of it. Here, from my Catholic 1950's, is "O Come O Come Emmanuel." I am fond of its music, which sounds Middle Eastern, and the words, that express the longing of suffering people for things to improve. SOURCE:
MUSIC: Traditional 12th Century Christian hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," 1861 version, by Concordia Publishing (Link1)
BACKGROUND VIDEO 1: Scenes from 1961 video "Atomic Weatherman" by U.S. Department of Energy (Link2)
BACKGROUND VIDEO 2: Scenes from 1984 David Attenborough documentary "The Living Planet" (Link3)
BACKGROUND IMAGE: Illustration of Borenote Marble from 1915 catalog "Building and Ornamental Stones of Australia" (Link4)
January 8, 2020CONFRONTING MORTALITY [IN GERMAN] (0:47)
Gert 3000's liner note to his album explains: ""Unfortunately, my oncologist thinks I have only months to live. Happily, to err is human. I still have a glance of hope in me and a fighting spirit. But the situation is serious and it does not look good for me. Therefore, I want generally to terminate my meek music production habits and release all the unreleased stuff that is lying around on my computer. Unlike other people, I have been warned about my potential demise and I can take things in my own hands. It's a bit like packing for a flight I don't know the departure time. But just having the stuff out in the web is a relief for me."
Note: I speak no German, so I have no idea what Gert 3000 is saying here. Also, his words may have been mangled in editing. I am using his German as a vocal instrument here. I do think he has a little English, though: at the very end, "Somebody help me?" SOURCE:
MUSIC: Remix of song "Alive" by Gert 3000 on album 'Gemischter Chor Waldenburg' (Link1), part of his 'Final Fight Series' uploaded after his oncologist told him he had "only months to live."
IMAGE: Illustration of Warialda Marble from 1915 catalog "Building and Ornamental Stones of Australia" (Link2)
January 7, 2020AS A CONTINENT BURNS (2:46)
Another area of concern, the bush fires in Australia. The right-wing head of Australia is a climate-change denialist who believes in prayer for rain and a carbon-based economy. To quote actor Russell Crowe's message at an award ceremony tonight: "Make no mistake. The tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based. We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is. That way we all have a future, thank you."
Music is by Australian composer Nicholas Locke; I've used his music before. I like his work a lot and he publishes his music with generous public domain terms. He wrote the piece two years ago on a vacation to a tourist area in Queensland, Australia.
VIDEO: "Aerial Footage Shows Scale of Fires in Australia" by VOA News (Link1)
BACKGROUND: Illustrations from 1915 catalog "Building and Ornamental Stones of Australia" (Link2)
MUSIC: Composition for piano and strings, "Harvey Range - Barringha" from 2018 'Townsville Suite Op. 13' by Nicholas Locke (Link3)
Link3: imslp.org/wiki/Townsville_Suite,_Op.13_(Locke,_Nicholas); permalink imslp.org/wiki/Special:ReverseLookup/557122
January 6, 2020FOND BEFORE-NUCLEAR-ARMAGEDDON MEMORIES (0:53)
With Trump's Wag-the-Dog military maneuver in the Middle East, I am nervous that war will break out. And these days, with I-think-I'm-smarter-than-everybody Trump on one side and religious zealots on the other side, all bets are off. Lots of chatter on the social media about "#WWIII" -- World War III. My confidence that the building I live in will still be standing in ten years is reduced by some small but measurable quantity.
Which brings to mind a form I've been noticing among the young social media outlaws on bad-boy 4Chan.org: threads titled "comfy." Amid the porn and gore and racism of 4Chan, these are glimpses into some kind of universal desire for comfort. (Unfortunately, in the lawless 4Chan world, no one pays much attention to copyright, so I don't know who filmed these scenes or who made the music.)
With this piece, I am imagining the modern world is destroyed and I am looking back sadly from the ruins on the comforts I once took for granted before everything blew up, like leisurely walks through suburban streets.
This piece also marks a change in my working routine. Instead of working from the laptop in the living room, I'm working from the desktop in my studio. More power, but I will miss sitting in the living room with Janice.
VIDEO: Posting on "Comfy" thread on 4chan.org WSG (Work Safe Gif) by Anonymous (Link1)
MUSIC: Same, musician not identified
January 4, 2020INCREDIBLE CHINESE CONSTRUCTION MACHINE (1:36)
A palate cleanser after the dark video from Somalia on 12/31: brilliant engineering builds a bridge without cranes. Man moves forward with ingenuity and science, not violence and religion.
VIDEO: Massive Chinese bridge construction machine in action (Link1), manufactured by Wowjoint Machinery Company (Link2)
MUSIC: 2020 Song "011001" on album 'Unexpected Loss' by Bulgarian group This Communication (Link3)
January 2, 2020NEW YEAR WORST WISHES FROM TERRORISTS (1:36)
A dark new year's malediction from the jihadist "Islamic State" in Somalia, calling for overseas followers to murder someone -- anyone -- in developed countries, hoping such terrorist attacks will eventually force all Western countries to pay a tax to the Islamic State. The video was uploaded yesterday (12/30). Note the above average production values, but be cautious about clicking on these links.
Jizyah is "a per capita yearly tax historically levied on non-Muslim subjects, called the dhimma, permanently residing in Muslim lands governed by Islamic law ."
VIDEO & AUDIO: Video press release from militant jihadist group in Somalia, uploaded December 30, 2019 (Link1)
December 31, 2019TRAGIC HIPPY SOUL SONGSTRESS (1:26)
I have been greatly enjoying music, in all its many forms, lately. I think my visual treatments add to the simple look of the music videos. Look at the YouTube comments for this section for some interesting back-and-forth on today's music versus yesterday's music. Myself, I'll take Janis over Beyonce.
VIDEO & AUDIO: Janis Joplin December 1969 appearance on "This is Tom Jones" TV show (Link1); 10 months later, Joplin was dead of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. The song is 'Raise Your Hand.'
BACKGROUND IMAGE: Illustration of wool rug pattern from 1975 "The Silk Road And The Shoso In" by Ryoichi Hayashi
December 30, 2019FORGOTTEN FEMALE FILM-MAKER(2:17)
Lee Dick was a female film-maker of the 30's and 40's who did industrial films with her own unique touch. Here is part of a film she did
for a mining commission. A couple things were going against Dick. Her name did not identify her as a woman, which may have been helpful 80 years ago, but is not helpful in gathering scholarly attention today. Do a Google search on her name and you get a lot of male genitalia and Asian filmstars. The only article I was able to find about her is by NYU Ph.D. candidate Tanya Goldman and all but a summary are stashed behind a paywall in the academic Journal of Feminist History. (From the summary: "Dick challenges perceived divisions between often overlapping spheres of nonfiction filmmaking and invokes tensions between personal and institutional authorship within a sponsored, and deeply collaborative, media context. Her largely unexamined career is a window into gendered labor and mid-twentieth-century media production.") She is also a very weird film-maker, as this crescendo montage shows.
VIDEO & AUDIO: Segment from 1940 documentary "Men and Dust" by little-known film-maker Lee Child (Link1)
BACKGROUND IMAGE: Woodcuts from 1556 book on mining techniques, "De Re Metallica" by Georg Agricola (Link2; trans: 'On the Nature of Metals')
December 28, 2019GEOPOLITICAL MANEUVERING BY SOVIETS (0:58)
Lots of worrisome stuff going on in the world, a few mentioned here. I am not satisfied with this piece, may decide to do it over (or may not).
VIDEO & SOUND: Military graveyard with flags near Dnipro, Ukraine from 2019 Twitter posting by Taras Kuzio (Link1); source of music is not identified. See interview with Kuzio.
VIDEO 2: From Physics-astronomy.org Twitter feed, 2017 launch of a Russian "Bastion" coastal defense missile in Arctic, said to be Hypersonic (Link2)
VIDEO 3: Scene of traffic leaving Idlib province in tweet (Link3) from Syrian pediatrician Amani Ballour; her caption: "They left their homes and memories because of the brutality of Assad regime and Russia. They don't know where to go."
PHOTO: 2015 photo of Donald Trump from wikimedia (Link4
December 26, 2019IRTHDAYBay ARDCay (1:08)
Product of a full day of birthday work. They say Ginger Rogers was so bored during rehearsal that she substituted a Pig Latin version for the song "We're in the Money." The producers liked it, and kept it in. Pig Latin is an interesting subject, popular in the 1950's youth: here is an English to Pig Latin translator.
Also made a card to be distributed to friends, below. Later: Some interest from my all boys' high school alumni association -- a crew of men facing the same 75th birthday, in using the image as a 75th birthday theme
SOURCE FOR CARD:
IMAGE: Illustration from 1954 "Leica Photography" magazine, showing trapeze artist climbing (Link1)
FILTER: Various online filters from www.neuralstyle.art applied to image (Link2)
FONT: "Streamzy" by Indonesian font designer Bangkit Tri Setiadi (Link3)
December 23, 2019SHERLOCK HOLMES' SOUL MATE (3:02)
Tribute to smart, attractive women.
VIDEO & AUDIO: 1946 movie "Dressed to Kill" with Basil Rathbone (Link1)
MUSIC: "Danny Boy" performed 2013 by James Galway (Link2)
ADLERS: Poster "The Many Incarnations of Irene Adler" (Link3)
PELOSI: Illustration from CNN "Internet Light Up Over Pelosi's Sunglasses" (Link4)
Link4: www.cnn.com › nancy-pelosi-sunglasses-trump-meeting-moos-ebof-pkg-vpx
December 23, 2019NEW CLOSING PANEL (0:11)
Experimenting with new closing shot for 2020. Video in background (Link1) shows New Zealand high school performing a Maori war dance in 2015. Not sure whether this will make it as my closing panel next year: it's kind of noisy and aggressive, and at 11 seconds, it's too long.
But as I near my 75th birthday and my young man's swagger disappears, my testosterone levels dip, and I am pressured in social media to lose my cis* binary mindset, I feel kind of mad and heedless. Also: impeachment.
* CIS: Short for "cisgender" (opposite of "transgender"), used to describe someone whose gender identity matches their anatomical gender at birth. SOURCE: