In an idle moment on a winter day, have you ever looked at a slant of sunlight through your living room window and found yourself transported back to childhood? Well, even if you haven't, you may still enjoy Dispersion, a towering metal and glass sculpture recently on display at Brown University, which promised visitors a revelatory experience: "It truly can prompt memories that are beneath our conscious minds," stated a news release. How so? Dispersion, created by Providence artist Daniel Clayman, is made from 682 pieces of glass, stained a radiant gold and joined together in the shape of a full sail 16 feet high and 32 feet wide. Sunlight passes through the sculpture, bathing viewers in an amber glow meant to generate what Marcel Proust called "involuntary memories"- forgotten experiences invoked by a single brush of sensation.
"Light passing through any transparent material is assigned an Abbe Value, a mathematical number expressing how much light is dispersed upon passing through a material with a particular refractive index. Working with the Abbe Value and the ensuing quality of light, Dispersions becomes three things at once: a lens projecting and bending light, a filter changing the color and pattern and an object that redefines the space through its towering presence. As the light shines through the antique glass a stage set is born. Dappled light, projected by the object, becomes a device to capture a moment, in particular, summer sun filtering through trees."
Off to the playground, then, both children speeding ahead on scooters, the younger curling his back foot up flamingo-wise in ostentatious self-confidence. Later, he would experimentally let go of a swing at the top of its arc, to wrap up the day with a fat lip. Excessive possibilities. A small tree under the big trees caught its own portion of sunlight. The clouds had abandoned the sky. Even waiting indoors for takeout was too much. Better to take a slow walk around the next two blocks. A cool wind eased its way up the avenue. Everyone's hair looked fantastic, alive with subtle textures and shadings. The bricks looked good; the stains and grime on the bricks looked good. The bronze-toned facade of the old OTB parlor, now given over to yoga and herbs, gleamed richly. Even the dull red paint, slathered several stories up to further blank out a blank brick wall, was vibrant, each little broken peeling patch a point of interest. Nothing was gilded or honeyed yet, in the long end of daytime, just each thing saturated with the colors all its own.
Recently, he has found himself shaking his head at the litigious direction of his image-conscious occupation as the question of who owns a tattoo has become a source of tension.
The act of decontextualizing this phrase, and transplanting it from a legal document into something as ethereal and ephemeral as clouds in the sky, opens it up to multiple readings. Seen from below, the words could be interpreted as relating to a spiritual or religious epiphany or an agnostic response to the question of faith.
Or they might be construed as a meditation on the afterlife or the existence of UFOs: a not entirely inappropriate response given the rapid proliferation of drones populating our skies over the past decade. Anyone familiar with the ongoing litigation would likely recognize the wording for what it is. Yet on that clear day in May, many were left simply asking themselves, “What does this mean?” It’s a valid question that ordinary citizens would do well to ask their government.
Skywriting was invented by British air force pilots during the First World War as a way of making military signals visible over long distances. Today, it is the very piloted planes themselves that are being phased out by the U.S. Department of Defense in favor of unmanned aircraft. [via]
Some Hum investigators suspect that there's a global source responsible for the Hum worldwide. Deming's research, considered close to authoritative in the Hum community, suggests that evidence of the Hum corresponds with an accidental, biological consequence of the "Take Charge and Move Out" (TACAMO) system adopted by the US Navy in the 1960s as a way for military leaders to maintain communications with the nation's ballistic missile submarines, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, and long-range bombers during a nuclear war. As part of TACAMO, military aircraft use VLF radio waves to send instructions to submarines: Because of their large wavelengths, VLF can diffract around large obstacles like mountains and buildings, propagate around the globe using the Earth's ionosphere and penetrate seawater to a depth of almost 40 meters, making them ideal for one-way communication with subs. And VLF, like other low-frequency electromagnetic waves, have been shown to have a direct impact on biological functions. (Strategic Communications Wing One at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, which is responsible for the manning, training and equipping of aircraft utilized as part of the TACAMO system, did not respond to requests for comment.)
And there are other theories. While Moir agrees with MacPherson that the disturbance is occurring at a very low frequency, he's convinced that the source of the Auckland Hum is primarily acoustic rather than electromagnetic, partially because he claims his research team has managed to capture a recording of the Hum.
"It's a very, very low wavelength noise, perhaps between 50 or 56 Hz," Moir told Mic. "And it's extremely difficult to stop infrasound because it can have a wavelength of up to 10 meters, and you'd need around 2.5 meter thick walls, built with normal materials, to keep it out. It gets into our wooden houses very easily. And part of the reason people have so much trouble identifying the source of it is because of how low frequency the Hum is: It literally moves right through your head before you can figure out which ear picked it up first."
With the help of the Dream Machine, I came to view songs not just as entertainment to enjoy and consume, but as companions—sometimes even support systems.
...But on the weekends, suburban afternoons stretched out endlessly, particularly on bad-weather days. The boredom afforded by TV-watching led us to discover the lower half of the FM spectrum, which was crowded with non-commercial stations full of DJs who weren’t much older than us.
The first one we discovered was all the way at the end of the dial, so far down that sometimes tuning it in involved strategic placement of not only the radio’s antenna, but sometimes the entire device. On the weekends, it went all-metal, all the time. We taped songs we liked, creating chaotic mixes where the opening seconds of each song—Megadeth’s “Liar,” Metallica’s “Last Caress”—were cut off.
But if the conceit of #weirdtwitter is that any average person in America can remake themselves as a pseudonymous #weirdtwitter comedian, corporations joining the fray have an outsize advantage, because they are neither anonymous nor average nor even a person. When corporations tweet something “weird” and “funny” to us, we pay more attention: The thought of a traditional corporate entity, which has historically had no direct “voice,” suddenly distilling itself into an eccentric, devil-may-care character is instantly affecting, precisely because of how uncanny, even creepy, it is.
But he took definite pleasure in displaying his tiny family unit on the back of a new family car only slightly bigger than a toaster, he says, far removed from stick-figure families’ usual habitat: the rear windows of SUVs and minivans.
There, a conga line of figures, from tallest to smallest, provides smug proof of affluence, busyness and procreative prowess: You’ll see a barbecue dad and a shopping mom, followed by an older girl hockey player, a hip-hop teen boy, a girl ballerina and a baby boy, followed by dogs, cats, goldﬁsh—all duly named underneath. Pavlovic admits that image was in his mind. “OK, maybe in the back of my head, I was thinking, ‘Oh, go screw yourself, SUV riders,’ ” he says. “You take up so much room, you have so much—don’t put it in my face that you also have seven kids.”
...What interests Wade most is the blowback to “traditional” stick-family families, from people like Pavlovic. “This is activism happening, when you see couples with no children put decals of two people and piles of money on their cars, or women choosing to put a figure of a woman with a cat, or six.” Identifying yourself as a same-sex couple is another form of resistance, Wade says: “It’s very visible. They’re not coming out to somebody; they’re coming out to everybody.”
Just as encountering something obscure can be very personal and poetic, the act of posting about it can be quite vulgar, as it deprives others from finding it for themselves or having the illusion of being the only one. So, it is with mixed feelings that I share with you the following truly obscure digital artefact.
...In the restoration process, some tender aspects of the artifact could be uncovered. Bomb Iraqperforms best when embedded in its full context—which emulation is able to almost fully capture. While most users will be happy simply to experience Bomb Iraq, the whole system is there to explore. Cory and I worked to remove all the files that could identify the computer’s original owner, moving the focus to an afterglow of this person, drive-by inscriptions in the system’s configuration.
Letters, photos and some game high score entries bearing the owner’s full name had to be deleted, but the arrangement of icons, the software installed , the modified system font and desktop background—which all once made sense to somebody—demonstrate the narrative power of system ambience.
What about the visual side of your project? I love your nails, and you paint on that second set of eyes…
So how is that symbolic?
I used to do it before Ramona Lisa even existed, when I was just going out at night, to go to parties—and not even costume parties, but just regular ones, because I enjoyed how it changed my conversation with people. Because I would forget it was there, but they wouldn't, and it would kind of scare people off their guard a little bit. I really enjoyed that. And then when the Ramona Lisa project started coming together, I found myself gravitating toward outfits that were much more feminine, and much more kind of era-ambiguous than the way I would dress normally. Much less street, more formal. But at the same time I didn't want to be a little lady onstage either, I wanted something that would say yes, there’s this elegance, but you’re walking on edge with this dream space too. And I thought putting the eyes with that outfit makes it like the music.