Ghost Army

The Ghost Army was a United States Army tactical deception unit during World War II officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. The 1,100-man unit was given a unique mission within the U.S Army: to impersonate other U.S. Army units to deceive the enemy. From a few weeks after D-Day, when they landed in France, until the end of the war, they put on a "traveling road show" utilizing inflatable tanks, sound trucks, fake radio transmissions and pretence. They staged more than 20 battlefield deceptions, often operating very close to the front lines. Their story was kept secret for more than 40 years after the war, and elements of it remain classified. [wikipedia]

33 types of moth

Angle shades
Autumnal rustic
Blood-vein
Blotched emerald
The brick
The clay
Clouded-bordered brindle
Cocaine tussock moth
Common footman
Common marbled carpet
Common wave
Coxcomb prominent
Dark dagger
Dusky brocade
The engrailed
Feathered thorn
Figure of eighty
The flame
Flame shoulder
The Gothic
Green oak tortrix
Lunar underwing
May highflyer
Minsmere crimson underwing
Pine processionary
Poplar kitten
The satellite
Setaceous Hebrew character
The shark
The snout
Snowberry clearwing
Svensson's copper underwing
True lover's knot 

(source: wikipedia)

 

Olga Poláčková-Vyleťalová

A Gentle Woman, 1969

Affection, 1974Escapes Home, 1980Tristana, 1972Krehké vztahy, 1980

Born August 8th 1944 in Hradec Kralove.  Painter and graphic artist. Private studies (1963; Antonin Kybal), Art school (1968) and Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague (1968-1969; Karel Svolinsky). She showed her works on collective exhibitions from 1974, on her own from 1980. She designed 76 movie posters between years 1969 and 1989. (Terryposters.com)
(See more here)

METAMORPHOSIS REVEALED

From the study Metamorphosis revealed: time-lapse three dimensional imaging inside a living chrysalis, by Tristan Lowe, Russell J. Garwood, Thomas J. Simonsen, Robert S. Bradley, Philip J. Withers, published 15 May 2013 by The Royal Society:

"Studies of model insects have greatly increased our understanding of animal development. Yet, they are limited in scope to this small pool of model species: a small number of representatives for a hyperdiverse group with highly varied developmental processes. One factor behind this narrow scope is the challenging nature of traditional methods of study, such as histology and dissection, which can preclude quantitative analysis and do not allow the development of a single individual to be followed. Here, we use high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (CT) to overcome these issues, and three-dimensionally image numerous lepidopteran pupae throughout their development. The resulting models are presented in the electronic supplementary material, as are figures and videos, documenting a single individual throughout development. [...] In the future, this form of time-lapse CT-scanning could allow faster and more detailed developmental studies on a wider range of taxa than is presently possible."

White Male Human Privilege

I just want to say something brief in regards to the use of live animals in art exhibitions, because it has recently re-re-re-emerged as an annoying trend. Most recently I encountered the dog that is living in the gallery at LACMA as part of Pierre Huyge's retrospective. While I personally believe that living beings have no place as part of human economic transactions (which art exhibits usually are in one way or another), I wont try to convince anyone that it is morally wrong, because there is endless far worse exploitation of animals occurring every second of every day all around us. Instead, I'll just say that I find it artistically pathetic. There is almost always in these cases a white male "provocateur" behind it, who clearly believes that including a non-human living being in the art work is in some way novel or edgy - congratulating themselves for provoking an emotional response from a viewer based on concern and empathy which they mock or play with from their meta-human meta-animal perspective. What's pathetic is that they think they are breaking with a tradition when instead all they are doing is cynically exploiting a tradition by breaking only its most superficial of rules. It's still objectification and commodification based on white, male, human privilege. It isn't novel, and it could hardly be a stodgier, more classical idea. Pierre Huyge could simply have rescued the dog and provided a good home for it, but that would hardly provide him and others who think like him with the false sense of provocation they depend upon to escape real ideas. And the monkey used in a video piece shatters at every moment any concept or artistic intent in the piece by clearly being a bored and confused monkey in a room. The crabs, lobsters and fish are almost certainly bred by businesses that exploit animals or captured wild - both of which are in a real and concrete way environmentally destructive, undercutting Huyge's otherwise interesting ecological constructions. The only way to enter into the meaning of the piece is to ignore these facts, and thats the same way of thinking that exists everywhere. It'd be fucking boring if it wasn't vile. Maybe it's just another banality of evil. It's unfortunate because I admire much about Huyge's work - but empathy and real politics are not in vogue in the very elite and lucrative echelons of international conceptual art exhibitions, or for those who aspire to be included in it.

✆ EXTINCTION PHONE

Nicholas Monsour
Extinction Phone, 2014

Aluminum, thermoplastic, PVC, plywood, paper, refurbished pay phone, crystal oscillator timer circuit, Arduino control circuit, audio circuit, lead-acid batteries, recordings of extinct species, phone book containing scientific names of extinct species.

The extinction phone rings every time a unique species goes extinct on Earth, which is 73,000 times per year, or 200 times per day, or every 7.2 minutes.

This project is a site-specific, interactive art installation.  The phone is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller, and uses an AdaFruit Waveshield to playback audio.  The phone also includes custom built timer and interaction circuitry.  The recordings of extinct animals were gathered from various libraries and collections around the world.

The directory that hangs from the pay phone contains the most up to date and comprehensive list of identified species believed to be extinct.  The phone book can be purchased here.

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

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)

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."

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.


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:

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.

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 Scottishcomposer 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 University, Smith College and the New England Conservatoire in Boston. In 2002 she was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

If the pain of love were not so pleasant

Adam de la Halle:

Se li maus c'amours envoie

This is the most beautiful song I've ever heard.  It was recorded by the group Sequentia — Barbara Thornton (voice), Benjamin Bagby (harp) — in 1984. The composer, Adam de la Halle, or Adam le Bossu (Adam "the hunchback") lived from 1285 and 1288.  Much of the notation of his music is lost or unclear, and requires active (re)interpretation.

If the pain of love

Were not so pleasant,

One could never suffer through it

For very long without taking the road

To despair, or worse.

But it is such pleasing pain, 

And Love is so gentle,

And is the source of such noble thoughts,

That, in truth, it can be Paradise

For those who love truly. 

The hope of the joy

Of seeing her,

And Love's amaible manners

Encourage every suitor to hope

That he will gain favor,

Provided he will be happy

And eager to serve,

Only hoping for the best,

For no one is suitably enamoured

Who has not this resolve.

I would not for anything in the world

Want to believe that a true lover

Could ever be inconsistent,

Or that he could shrink from sufferings;

Provided his heart and desires

Are ever inclined towards that smiling face,

Those sweet, loving eyes,

And the noble bearing,

And all the goodness, honor and worthiness

Which have made him a prisoner.

For this is what soothes and restores

Those who are most patient in love;

And this is what compels them to sing,

In the hopes that Humility will intercede in their favor.

No advantage is accorded to the bold

Who love only as they see fit,

But steadfast lovers always prosper,

Heedful of their tasks:

Mercy favors them.

My lady, if I thought that I would live

For one hundred thousand years.

And even if you were no longer living,

I could never think of another;

You have so utterly enchanted me

That there will never arise in me anything but joy

At that place where my pure and devothed thoughts

Are fixed. This is my suffering,

And I shall die possessed by it,

I am certain.

O sweet month of May or April,

I am barred from entering that sweet place.

See that my song gets sung

There, and is attended. 

Kestrel's Eye

This intrepid documentary by Swedish filmmaker Mikael Kristersson follows two European falcons as they go about their daily activities. Two years in the making, the film is shot without any supplemental audio, allowing the two birds to be the sole focal point. As the birds hunt for food and care for their offspring, viewers are treated to a literal bird's-eye view from their nest at the top of an old church steeple. (Netflix)