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Zenpundit made a fine DoubleQuote via Twitter

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — refugees in art & photography ]
.

Zen — meaning our host, Mark Safranski — just posted a fine visual DoubleQuote on Twitter. First came this retweet:

Then, in short order, his own tweet:

— which, if you follow the link, leads to this:

Raft of the Medusa
The Raft of the Medusa, Théodore Géricault

**

See also:

  • Kaitlin Hanger, Boat Refugees in Art: Inspired by the anniversary of the sinking of Cuba’s “13 De Marzo” tugboat victims on this day in 1994
  • Comparative martyr photos for Ibn Siqilli

    Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — Muslim and Sikh memorial photos have similar aesthetic & emotional appeal ]
    .

    I’ve long been interested in the death photos used in AQ and IS propaganda, several of which Chris Anzalone [aka Ibn Siqilli] has documented, eg:


    Al-Zubayr al-Sudani, as featured in the AQC-produced video series “Wind of Paradise

    and:

    baitullah-mehsud
    The late Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan leader, Baytullah Mehsud.

    **

    Today, I ran across similar images from a site devoted to the Khalistan (Sikh homeland) liberation movement

    Sikh martyrs

    As far as I can tell, being linguistically and historically challenged, the gentleman on the right would be Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala — perhaps someone can help me identify the gentleman on the left.

    On form and beauty

    Saturday, November 28th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — capable photographers capture “form” in their viewfinders, not just “content” ]
    .

    A toothy sea
    A toothy sea

    **

    I have just been browsing someone’s choice of the “100 best photographs ever taken without photoshop”, and was struck by the ways in which form in general, and contrasts in juxtaposition more specifically — two of my recurring interests, form and the DoubleQuotes respectively — kept cropping up. I’ll get to them, and offer some stepped-down images from the series —

    but first, take a look at the whole series as posted at The 100 best photographs ever taken without photoshop. Even the reduction to 60% of published size necessitated by the ZP column width loses much of the beauty — and imagine how they’d be as actual framed prints, in their original full sizes!

    Someone’s choices? Yes, and by no means necessarily the best choices — this selection no doubt answers to a selection bias in the individual who put the series together — so the patterns I’m seeing here may belong either to that individual, or to the general human delight in contrasts, parallelisms and oppositions.

    **

    Earth and Sky, Heaven and Earth:

    Waterspout on Lake Victoria, Uganda
    Waterspout on Lake Victoria, Uganda

    Fickle moods
    Fickle moods

    Volcanic eruption in IcelandVolcanic eruption in Iceland

    **

    The seasons: time as change

    An autumn forest. 50 percent Downloaded
    An autumn forest. 50 percent Downloaded

    Autumn and winter meet in Colorado, USA
    Autumn and winter meet in Colorado, USA

    Autumn and winter meet in Miklukhin, Rostov region, Russia
    Autumn and winter meet in Miklukhin, Rostov region, Russia

    **

    Human impact observed:

    Two worlds divided, New York, USA
    Two worlds divided, New York, USA

    Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s founder
    Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s founder

    An Italian beach
    An Italian beach

    **

    On reflection, sheer, simple symmetries:

    The aftermath of a flood in Ljubljana, Slovenia
    The aftermath of a flood in Ljubljana, Slovenia

    An eagle soaring over a lake in Canada
    An eagle soaring over a lake in Canada

    **

    And that’s only a fraction of what the whole series of a hundred photos offers us. Each of these, I’d submit, is what I’d term a DoubleQuote in the Wild.

    One final shot, color against grey — perhaps the loveliest of all:

    A temple covered in ash from the Ontake volcanic eruption, Japan
    A temple covered in ash from the Ontake volcanic eruption, Japan

    So much humanity, so much pathos there.

    **

    Brilliant minds in both the arts and sciences focus as much on form as on content — on patterns, repetitions, symmetries for their own sakes, as much as on the particulars of the fields they study and in which they find them. At heart, this is a matter of aesthetic cognition.

    We would do well to cultivate this kind of double vision — the awareness of form as well as content — across the board, from education and the arts to the sciences and strategy.

    The moment we become polarized, however, in terms of a political or other form of partisanship, content becomes all we see (and agree or disagree with), and form effectively evaporates. In terms of the images above, we see earth or sky, summer or autumn, town or country — left or right — but not — but no longer — the whole.

    Which best captures the fleeting present — past or future?

    Monday, October 26th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — architectural history as a question in philosophy — Palmyra ]
    .

    Future?

    Past?

    **

    I’ll admit my preference for “past” — but is it just “the patina of antiquity”I’m appreciating?

    What building from the first decades of this millennium might people think worth preserving — or destroying — a thousand years hence?

    And what if the present should arise and fade, unaided?

    On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: five

    Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — Hofstadter Langdon Kim — for Gabi Nasemann, & in recognition of Gödel Escher Bach ]
    .

    My friend the photographer Gabi Nasemann recently inquired whether I knew John Langdon‘s book, Wordplay, and I responded, DoubleQuote-style, with Scott Kim‘s Inversions:

    SPEC kim langdon

    I had the pleasure of meeting Scott Kim lo these many years past at the Computer Game Developers Conference, and he was kind enough to say of my HipBone Games:

    Your game does seem to really call to mind the Bead Game. Almost a divination system, much more metaphorical than most games.

    **

    Scott Kim and his friend Doug Hofstadter both have a keen interest in Bach, so I thought it might be neat to see Scott’s treatment of the name — an ambigram, lower panel below — and how John Langdon might treat it — upper panel:

    SPEC bach

    Langdon’s Bach I assembled from his own typeface, Biform, which apparently seeped from his grasp into the wider world under the entirely irrelevant name Lampoon.

    **

    Of all Langdon’s ambigrams, the one that’s no doubt best known — since Dan Brown used it in one of his execrable books — is his square of the four elements, upper panel, below:

    SPEC langdon oronce

    It was a nice touch, though, that Brown offered Langdon an hommage by naming his professor of symbiology after him. No doubt the fictional Robert Langdon would be familiar with the glorious diagram of the elements created by Oronce Fine, which he’d have run across in a 1549 Harvard Houghton Library volume, Le Sphere du Monde, and which I have elsewhere compared with Jewish and Christian diagrams:

    Sembl and HipBone gameboards are in the same genre.. being games of linkage that you play with your mind:

    games you play in your mind

    **

    Sources and further readings:

  • John Langdon, Ambigrams
  • Scott Kim, Ambigrams on Google Search

  • Scientific American, Remembering Martin Gardner, with Douglas Hofstadter
  • Slate, Can You Really Be a Professor of Symbology?
  • The New Yorker, Harvard_ No Symbology Here
  • Wikipedia, Robert Langdon
  • Random House, The Official Website of Harvard Symbologist Robert Langdon

  • John Langdon, Biform
  • John Langdon, Lampoon

  • Triple Canopy, This is your brain on paper

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