Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dirty Spaceships

There is a time and place for the pristine, sleek and sexy...

And there is a time and place for dirty spaceships...

Wabi Sabi?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Clay Shirky on Social Media

Clay Shirky
From CBC Radio: Spark

"The ugly parts of society get poured into these new tools just as surely as the good parts do. And, the Ethics of new tools are very rarely worked out by ethicists. You will see ethicists sitting around ringing their hands about “oh, technology is outpacing our ability to have ethics”… but that’s always the way it has been. Ethicists are ambulance chasers in terms of technological change. No ethicists are sitting around working on the ethics of time travel or anti-gravity machines just to be ready. So, anybody who makes that complaint is really saying “I wish things wouldn’t change because I understood the world the old way.” The way society works out the ethics is a bit at a time. These stories surface and people sort out the good from the bad, and then social norms start to form, and then at some point the law comes in and recognizes it. But that’s not a quick conversation ... The interesting thing about the history of the printing press is we didn’t move from a world with only scribes copying bibles to a world where there were lots of publishers publishing new material, there was a hundred and fifty years of chaos in the middle, and I think that we’re moving into a world where a lot of stuff that we’re used to in the current society is going to break. But what replaces it is not going to appear in any direct or short–term fashion. And so, rather than saying we need to sit down as a society and have a conversation about ethics –- which never actually happens –- I think that the people who tell stories need to tell bad stories as well as good ones. I think it’s imperative that we not just hear about the good news stories but also about the downsides, because society is going to have to factor all of that in, one member of society at a time."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

No More Strings

from On Bunraku
by Roland Barthes

"In dealing with a fundamental antimony, the animate/inanimate, Bunraku muddies it, makes it fade, without benefiting either of its terms. In the west, the puppet (Punch, for example) is expected to offer the actor the mirror of his contrary; it animates the inanimate, but the better to show its degradation, the indignity of its inertia. A caricature of "life," the puppet thereby affirms life's moral limits and presumes to confine beauty, truth, emotion in the living body of the actor, who, however, makes of this body a lie."

"It is very possible that the Japanese puppet retains something of this phantasmic origin, but the art of Bunraku imprints on it a different meaning. Bunraku does not aim to "animate" an inanimate object so as to bring a piece of the body, a shred of man, to life, all the while keeping for it its vocation as a "part". It is not the simulation of the body which Bunraku seeks; it is - if this can be said - the body's tangible abstraction. Everything we attribute to the total body and which is refused western actors under the name of "living" organic unit, the little man in Bunraku collects and states, without any lies. Fragility, discretion, sumptuousness, unparalleled nuance, the abandonment of all vulgarity, the melodic phrasing of gestures -- in short, the very qualities ancient theology accorded to heavenly bodies, to wit, impassivity, clarity, agility, subtlety -- this is what Bunraku accomplishes, this is how it converts the body-fetish into a body worthy of love, this is how it rejects the animate/inanimate antinomy and banishes the concept hidden behind all animation, which is, quite simply, the "soul".

"It is .. vain to wonder whether the spectator can forget the presence of the manipulators. Bunraku practices neither the occultation nor emphatic manifestation of its springs; it rids the actor's animation of all sacral staleness and abolishes the metaphysical connection the west cannot keep from making between the soul and the body, cause and effect, motor and machine, agent and actor, destiny and man, God and creature. If the manipulator is not hidden, why - how? - do you want to make him a god? In Bunraku, the puppet is not controlled by strings. No more strings, therefore no more metaphors, no more destiny. The puppet no loger apes the creature, man is no longer a puppet in the hands of divinity, the inside no longer rules the outside."