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 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: