EssentialstheDiagonal is a personal blog by Mike Gerra, skeptic, technologist, psychologist, artist, humanist, collector of grand, eclectic ideas.theDiagonal blog connects the dots across multiple disciplines for inquisitive, objective and critical thinkers, exploring the vertices of big science, disruptive innovation, global sustainability, illuminating literature and leftfield art. It is on this diagonal that creativity thrives, big ideas take flight and reason triumphs.
Yearly Archives: 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I’m missing Art Basel | Miami this year. Last year’s event and surrounding shows displayed so much contemporary (and some modern) art, from so many artists and galleries that my head was buzzing for days afterward. This year I have our art251 gallery to co-run, so I’ve been visiting Art Basel virtually – reading the press releases, following the exhibitors and tuning in to the podcasts and vids, using the great tubes of the internet.
The best story by far to emerge this year from Art Basel | Miami is the continuing odyssey of Herb and Dorothy Vogel, their passion for contemporary art and their outstanding collection. On December 5, the documentary “Herb and Dorothy” was screened at Art Basel’s Art Loves Film night. And so their real-life art fairytale goes something like this…
Artiss YouTube Embed: The YouTube ID of fMuYV_qvyEk is invalid....read more
Monday, November 3, 2008
In the West, manga has become a key part of the cultural accompaniment to economic globalization. No mere side-effect of Japan’s economic power, writes Jean-Marie Bouissou, manga is ideally suited to the cultural obsessions of the early twenty-first century.
Paradox surrounds the growth of manga in western countries such as France, Italy and the USA since the 1970s, and of genres descended from it: anime (cartoons), television serials and video games. The first parodox is that, whereas western countries have always imagined their culture and values as universal and sought to spread them (if only as cover for their imperial ambitions), Japan has historically been sceptical about sharing its culture with the world. The Shinto religion, for example, is perhaps unique in being strictly “national”: the very idea of a “Shintoist” foreigner would strike the Japanese as absurd....read more
Friday, September 19, 2008
Having condemned hyper-sexualized culture, the American religious Right is now wildly pro-sex, as long as it is marital sex. By replacing the language of morality with the secular notion of self-esteem, repression has found its way back onto school curricula – to the detriment of girls and women in particular. “We are living through an assault on female sexual independence”, writes Dagmar Herzog.
“Waves of pleasure flow over me; it feels like sliding down a mountain waterfall,” rhapsodises one delighted woman. Another recalls: “It’s like having a million tiny pleasure balloons explode inside of me all at once.”...read more
Friday, September 12, 2008
“There is only one way to turn signals into information, through interpretation”, wrote the computer critic Joseph Weizenbaum. As Google’s hegemony over online content increases, argues Geert Lovink, we should stop searching and start questioning....read more
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
“Manufacturing scarcity” is the new watchword in “Green capitalism”. James Heartfield explains how for the energy sector, it has become a license to print money. Increasing profits by cutting output was pioneered by Enron in the 1990s; now the model of restricted supply together with domestic energy generation is promoted worldwide.
The corporate raiders of the 1980s first worked out that you might be able to make more money downsizing, or even breaking up industry than building it up. It is a perverse result of the profit motive that private gain should grow out of public decay. But even the corporate raiders never dreamt of making deindustrialisation into an avowed policy goal which the rest of us would pay for....read more
Thursday, July 17, 2008
China perhaps, or even a dog!
As you know, a vast amount of global manufacturing is outsourced to China. In fact, a fair deal of so-called “original” art now comes from China as well, where art factories of “copyworkers” are busy reproducing works by old masters or, for a few extra Yuan, originals in this or that particular style. For instance, the city of Dafen, China manufactures more “Van Goghs” in a couple of weeks than the real Van Gogh created in his entire lifetime. Dafen produces some great bargains — $2 for an unframed old master, $3 for a custom version (prices before enormous markup) — if you like to buy your art by the square foot....read more
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
From The New York Times:
Robert Rauschenberg, the irrepressibly prolific American artist who time and again reshaped art in the 20th century, died on Monday night at his home on Captiva Island, Fla. He was 82.
The cause was heart failure, said Arne Glimcher, chairman of PaceWildenstein, the Manhattan gallery that represents Mr. Rauschenberg.
Mr. Rauschenberg’s work gave new meaning to sculpture. “Canyon,” for instance, consisted of a stuffed bald eagle attached to a canvas. “Monogram” was a stuffed goat girdled by a tire atop a painted panel. “Bed” entailed a quilt, sheet and pillow, slathered with paint, as if soaked in blood, framed on the wall. All became icons of postwar modernism....read more
Friday, March 7, 2008
From The New York Times:
Starting in the late 1950s the great American art critic Clement Greenberg only had eyes for Color Field painting. This was the lighter-than-air abstract style, with its emphasis on stain painting and visual gorgeousness introduced by Helen Frankenthaler followed by Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski.
With the insistent support of Greenberg and his acolytes, Color Field soared as the next big, historically inevitable thing after Jackson Pollock. Then over the course of the 1970s it crashed and burned and dropped from sight. Pop and Minimal Art, which Greenberg disparaged, had more diverse critical support and greater influence on younger artists. Then Post-Minimalism came along, exploding any notion of art’s neatly linear progression....read more
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
In the course of his life, Victor Gruen completed major urban interventions in the US and western Europe that fundamentally altered the course of western urban development. Anette Baldauf describes how Gruen’s fame rests mostly on the insertion of commercial machines into the decentred US suburbs. These so-called “shopping towns” were supposed to strengthen civic life and structure the amorphous, mono-functional agglomerations of suburban sprawl. Yet within a decade, Gruen’s designs had become the architectural extension of the policies of racial and gender segregation underlying the US postwar consumer utopia....read more
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
A fascinating infographic that summarizes what we were all doing online in 2007.
More from theSource here.
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Friday, January 25, 2008
From Scientific American:
By 2050 solar power could end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse gas emissions.
High prices for gasoline and home heating oil are here to stay. The U.S. is at war in the Middle East at least in part to protect its foreign oil interests. And as China, India and other nations rapidly increase their demand for fossil fuels, future fighting over energy looms large. In the meantime, power plants that burn coal, oil and natural gas, as well as vehicles everywhere, continue to pour millions of tons of pollutants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere annually, threatening the planet.
Well-meaning scientists, engineers, economists and politicians have proposed various steps that could slightly reduce fossil-fuel use and emissions. These steps are not enough. The U.S. needs a bold plan to free itself from fossil fuels. Our analysis convinces us that a massive switch to solar power is the logical answer....read more