Sunday, February 25, 2018

Last snow of the year

The date of my latest picture of snow in a specific year:

2009 - Jan 09
2010 - Feb 14
2011 - Jan 10
2012 - Feb 12
2013 - Feb 24
2014 - None
2015 - Jan 22
2016 - Jan 17
2017 - Jan 23
2018 - March 1 <<< I had to update this twice. At the last possible moment we got some snow on 28 February and 1 March!

I tried to make a complete nature calendar in one go, but that is too much work. I'll have to do it in small steps.
This is how far I came before I gave up:

2009 2010 2011

Crocus - - -
Hazelnut - Feb 23 Feb 06
Snowdrop - - Feb 06
Butterbur - Mar 28 Mar 19
Coltsfoot - Mar 28 Mar 19
Catkins - Mar 28 Mar 04
Hyacinth Mar 31 Apr 10 Mar 20
Dandelion Mar 31 Apr 10 Apr 16
Celandine - - Mar 19
Fruit tree Mar 31 Apr 24 Apr 04
Magnolia - - Apr 04
Tulip - - Apr 02
Speedwell - Apr 10 -
Cats-foot - Apr 10 -
Forsythia - Mar 22 Mar 19
Cuckoo-flower - Apr 10 -
Rapeseed - Apr 10 -
Cow-parsley - Apr 27 Apr 25
Dead-nettle - - Apr 25
Yellow-archangel - - Apr 25
Elm-seed Apr 28 - Apr 26

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Trump poetry

Last Friday evening  I was browsing in the Donner bookshop when I was surprised by The beautiful poetry of Donald Trump by Robert Sears. I doubted whether I should buy the booklet. It looked like a novelty item and surely ... this couldn't be any good in a poetic sense?
There were only three booklets available and one was immediately bought by another grazing customer. And the salesman at the checkout register said cunningly: "We only have a few ones, and most likely there won't be a reprint."
So I bought the book for 13 euros for my collection of weird books. I paid too much, but I'm glad to support the bookstore.
The reviews for this book are all over the place. On Amazon it gets one star to five stars. From people who hate the (non-) poetry to people who like the idea. On Goodreads it gets much more positive reviews. See for yourself:
 In my opinion it is quite good found poetry or conceptual poetry. The poems themselves are interesting. They paint a satiric but probably accurate picture of Donald Trump. And their effect is enhanced by the meticulous footnotes on the opposite page.
I'm glad I bought the booklet. It's more than just a gag gift.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Particles of deep topography - 26

Portraits from other dimensions

Text: Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality (Edward Frenkel)
Text: My Work Is Not Yet Done (Thomas Ligotti)
Text: Teatro Grottesco (Thomas Ligotti)
Pictures: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Media museum Hilversum, Berlin, Zeeuws Museum Middelburg, 2012

It is impossible to see other dimensions (is it?). But it is possible to think, model and (maybe) sketch other dimensions. Many artist tried. And the results could be powerful and eerie. Especially when applied to portraits of people from these other dimensions. During walks we could keep this in mind: are there membranes to penetrate, portals to enter?
Duchamp was fascinated with the idea of the fourth dimension as well as non-Euclidean geometry. Reading E.P. Jouffret’s book Elementary Treatise on Four-Dimensional Geometry and Introduction to the Geometry of N Dimensions, which in particular presented the groundbreaking ideas of Poincaré, Duchamp left the following note: The shadow cast by a 4-dimensional figure on our space is a 3-dimensional shadow ...  
(See the Sierpinsky cube in the picture above and the 3-D skeleton in the picture  below.)
... by analogy with the method by which architects depict a plan of each story of a house, a 4-dimensional figure can be represented (in each one of its stories) by three-dimensional sections. These different stories will be bound to one another by the 4th dimension. Duchamp found something deliciously subversive about the new geometries with their challenge to so many long-standing ‘truths.’
("Stories" is used in the architectural sense in this quote, but imagine that "stories" in the narratological sense could be connected in higher dimesions, isn't that a cool speculation?)
At the beginning of the twentieth century, artists got interested in this idea and used it as a way to include the fourth dimension into their paintings, to render them dynamic. A milestone in this direction was Marcel Duchamp’s 1912 painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2. It is interesting to note that Einstein’s relativity theory, which demonstrated that space and time cannot be separated from each other, appeared around the same time.
Can we enter these dimensions and bring back artefacts? Artworks from these realms should be  weird and unsettling. They're also impossible to describe:
In the reception area where I waited to be called for my interview there hung a portrait of U G Blaine. It was a flattering-enough likeness of a middle-aged man in a business suit, but the effect of contemplating this portrait was such that I wanted to turn away and purge it from my mind before I started thinking thoughts that I did not want in my head.

It appeared to be a sculpture of some kind. However, I found it initially impossible to give this object any generic designation, either artistic or non-artistic. It might have been anything. The surface of the piece was uniformly of a shining darkness, having a glossy sheen beneath which was spread a swirling murk of shades that almost seemed to be in motion, an effect which seemed quite credibly the result of some swaying of the lightbulb dangling above.

About this series - Over the years I've collected many place descriptions. It's a waste to keep them on my harddisk. So I'll publish them from time to time. I will add some pictures when suitable.
Enhanced and amplified topographies can be found in a broad range of literature. The best ones link to metaphysics or mysticism and (pre-) load the landscape with unexpected layers, sheets, slabs and strata of meaning. We can appropriate all this work to enrich our everyday surroundings.
Previous posts are 1:The paranoid method, 2:Rooftops and sacrifices, 3:Oil and electricity, 4:Sewing machines, 5:Rooftops and apparitions, 6:Woods, 7:Mushrooms, 8:Formlessness (2d), 9:Formlessness (3d), 10:Autumn, 11:Monsters and mad scientists, 12:Empty spaces, 13:Stars and planets, 14:Addiction against emptiness, 15:Suggestive vagueness, 16: Ominous places and books, 17: Military technology, 18: Ominous telephones, 19: Observation, 20: History distortion, 21: Spy stories, 22: Dead places, 23: Mannequins, 24: Secret walks, 25: Stories, 26: Other dimensional portraits,  27: Mysterious fragments, 28a: Dino Buzzati, 28b: Mushrooms.