Nicholas Monsour is a filmmaker, theater-maker, writer, musician and artist born and raised in Los Angeles.

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Thursday
Jan302014

ANTIQUE MICROSCOPE SLIDES, PART 2

Taken from www.victorianmicroscopeslides.com

 

Arranged Exhibition Slide comprised of Diatoms, Sponge Spicules, and Plates and Anchors of Synapta; Imaged using Darkfield lighting technique.

Arranged mount of Sponge Spicula by A.C. Cole, imaged using Darkfield lighting.

 

Arranged slide, Watson & Sons "Eggs of Butterflies, Etc." shown in detail.

Three arranged slides on opaque backgrounds for incident lighting

Thursday
Oct312013

Antique microscope slides

Found on Ebay.


 

 

 

Tuesday
Oct152013

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system. The book has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438), and may have been composed in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance. The manuscript is named after Wilfrid Voynich, a book dealer who purchased it in 1912.

The pages of the codex are vellum. Some of the pages are missing, but about 240 remain. The text is written from left to right, and most of the pages have illustrations or diagrams. Many people have speculated that the writing might be nonsense. However, in 2013, Marcelo Montemurro of the University of Manchester and Damian Zanette of the Bariloche Atomic Centre published a paper documenting their identification of a semantic pattern in the writing; this suggests that the Voynich manuscript is a ciphertext with a message.

The Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including American and British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II. No one has yet succeeded in deciphering the text, and it has become a famous case in the history of cryptography. The mystery of the meaning and origin of the manuscript has excited the popular imagination, making the manuscript the subject of novels and speculation. None of the many hypotheses proposed over the last hundred years has yet been independently verified.

The Voynich manuscript was donated by Hans P. Kraus to Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 1969, where it is catalogued under call number MS 408. A digitized high-resolution copy is also accessible freely at their website. (Wikipedia)

Thursday
Apr252013

Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness

In 2012, a group of neuroscientists attending a conference on "Consciousness in Human and non-Human Animals" at Cambridge University in the UK, signed The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness.  (Download a copy of the Declaration).

Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness

"The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates."

Thursday
Apr252013

Méconnaissance

Photographers Anne Marie Hubert-Brierre, Xavier Hubert-Brierre and Michel Guiss Djomo set up a mirror and cameras in the jungles near Nyonié in Gabon to record how the area’s leopards reacted.  More videos are on their youtube channel.

Tuesday
Apr162013

The hummingbird people

Regard Eloigne

"To the Yanomami, each person has an ‘image-essence’, a double called a utupë, to which they are joined until death.  A utupë can present itself in the image of many different living creatures, including a bird, mammal or insect. There are also spirits of trees, waterfalls and wild honey." (Survival International)

One by one the spirits arrived. The toucan spirits arrived with their big ear sticks and bright red loin cloths, describes Davi. The hummingbird people arrived and flew around. The moka frog spirits were there with quivers of arrows on their backs. Then came the peccary spirits, the bat people and the spirits of the waterfall.

My soul began to shine.

All came and slung their hammocks in my chest.


Wednesday
Mar132013

OSPAAL Poster Art

The Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America (Organización de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de Asia, África y América Latina), abbreviated as OSPAAAL, is a Cuban political movement with the stated purpose of fighting globalisation, imperialism, neoliberalism and defending human rights. It publishes the magazine Tricontinental. The OSPAAAL was founded in Havana in January 1966, after the Tricontinental Conference, a meeting of leftist delegates fromGuinea, the Congo, South Africa, Angola, Vietnam, Syria, North Korea, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Chile and the Dominican Republic. Mehdi Ben Barka, the Moroccan leader of the Tricontinental Conference, was murdered the year before, allegedly with complicity of the CIA.

One of the main purposes of the organisation is to promote the causes of socialism and communism in the Third World; for example, OSPAAAL strongly supported Hugo Chávez and demands that the Cuban Five be released. Social development, which the organization says is a human right, is a recurring theme in OSPAAAL publications.

From its foundation until the mid 1980s, OSPAAAL produced brightly coloured propaganda posters promoting their cause, however, financial difficulty and ink shortages forced the organization to stop producing these posters. However, in 2000, these posters began to be printed again.  These posters, as they intended to be internationalist, usually had their message written in Spanish, English, French, and Arabic. As opposed to being put up on walls around Cuba, these posters were instead folded up and stapled into copies ofTricontinental, so that they could be distributed internationally. This allowed OSPAAAL to send its message to its subscribers around the world.

All OSPAAAL-Posters from the beginning until 2003 are documented and indexed in the book The Tricontinental Solidarity Poster.

Comprehensive archive of OSPAAAL posters created by librarian/archivist Lincoln Cushing

These are some of my favorites:

Sunday
Feb032013

Biologically Inspired Network Design

1. Tokyo rail network designed by Physarum plasmodium

 

2. Slime Mold Physarum polycephalum networking on a map of the United States

 

3. Physarum Polycephalum solves Traveling Salesman Problem

 

 

 

Wednesday
Oct102012

New editing project — Witness: South Sudan

The episode of the docu-series Witness that I edited will premiere on HBO on Nov. 19th. It profiles the photographer Veronique de Viguerie.  It was directed and produced by David Frankham, and produced by Michael Mann.

The four-part series premiers on Monday, November 5th. For more information on HBO Documentary Films, visit http://itsh.bo/I83ODm.

Wednesday
Aug222012

The embodied voice: Thea Musgrave and Kui Dong

Below are two very different yet fantastic examples of perfomative choral music, and each brings entirely different musical and cultural influences to their work.  Thea Musgrave and Kui Dong are two of my favorite coposers who work in the avant-garde and yet ancient tradition of giving their musical performers performative cues as part of their musical score.  In works such as those below, these composers treat the physical presentation of the music as inseperable from the score itself, yet they present their works in a composed music setting as opposed to a theatrical or otherwise traditionally performative setting — to great effect.

Kui Dong (董葵, born 1966, Beijing, China) is a Chinese-American composer, musician, and teacher. She is known for her music which has often incorporated traditional Chinese music into contemporary contexts, and is currently Professor of Music at Dartmouth College.

Thea Musgrave (b. 27 May 1928) is a Scottish composer of opera and classical music.  In 1970 she became Guest Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a position which confirmed her increasing involvement with the musical life of the United States, where she has lived since 1972. She has received the Koussevitsky Award (1974) as well as two Guggenheim Fellowships (1974/5 and 1982/3). From 1987 to 2002 she was Distinguished Professor at Queen’s College, City University of New York. She holds honorary degrees from Old Dominion University (Virginia), Glasgow UniversitySmith College and the New England Conservatoire in Boston. In 2002 she was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.