Typeface designers versus the Internet

“Helvetica [Blu-ray]” (Gary Hustwit)

I’m glad I’m not currently struggling with designing websites, and beating fonts and typefaces into online versions, especially for corporations that have specific fonts they want used in all their communications. I have great sympathy for those who are engaged in that battle

Since 1860

Something similar happens to the text that appears on your computer screen whenever you log on to a Web site. The site’s owner has so little control over the fine details of what you will see that the typeface in which the text appears is bound to be distorted. Pity the poor designer who struggled to perfect it.

“It’s very, very complicated,” groaned one of those designers, Jonathan Hoefler. “One problem is that pixels operate differently on screen to blobs of ink on paper, so typefaces for the Web need different qualities. The bigger problem is all of the technology that delivers the font to the viewer. The Web site is delivered by one cluster of hardware to another, often with a different operating system, different browser and, in some cases, different pieces of software. That’s a very long chain. The number of variations is almost bottomless, and the results are unreliable at best.”

To see what he means, take a look at Georgia [wikipedia entry], the typeface on the IHT/New York Times Web site, on a Mac, then see how different it looks on a PC.

[Click to continue reading Design – Typeface Designers Wrestle With the World of Pixels – NYTimes.com]

Obama palooza

Curious to see what happens in this arena in the next few years, including the new font, Vitesse

[Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones] are preparing for the launch on Thursday of a new font, Vitesse. It will be the 29th type family (that’s type-speak for a full set of text with letters, numbers and symbols) they have published and the first of three new ones to be introduced in 2010. If Vitesse is anywhere near as successful as some of their other designs, which include Gotham, the suave font adopted by Barack Obama for his presidential election campaign, and the signature typefaces of the Art Institute of Chicago and Whitney Museum in New York, you will see it somewhere very soon.

Despite occasional media frenzies, such as when the Obama campaign embraced Gotham and IKEA dumped the vintage modernist typeface, Futura, for tech-savvy Verdana, typography design is still an esoteric business.

Speaking of fonts, you should rent Helvetica if you haven’t already seen it [Netflix]

We use it every day on our computers, we see it on street signs — and we take it for granted. Now, Gary Hustwit’s unique documentary introduces us to Helvetica, a font whose readability has made it the most popular in the world. Interviews with designers and artists offer insight into the development, use and universal acceptance of Helvetica as the typeface of choice for everything from writing letters to creating corporate logos.

William S Burroughs Thanksgiving Prayer

And Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without William S. Burroughs Thanksgiving Prayer

Music video by William S. Burroughs performing A Thanksgiving Prayer with Gus Van Sant [Video Director], Wade Evans [Video Editor], Bob Yeoman [Director of Photography] (C) 1990 The Island Def Jam Music Group

Text reprinted from Inter-Zone

Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger.

Thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin leaving the carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.

For nigger-killin’ lawmen, feelin’ their notches.

For decent church-goin’ women, with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces.

Thanks for “Kill a Queer for Christ” stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where nobody’s allowed to mind the own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the memories– all right let’s see your arms!

You always were a headache and you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.

Carl Jung and the Holy Grail of the Unconscious

“Man and His Symbols” (Carl Gustav Jung)

Fascinating, long piece on the Carl Jung book known as Liber Novus, or The Red Book. There are a couple of sample pages in this promotional piece (PDF)

This is a story about a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. The book is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say “Liber Novus,” which is Latin for “New Book.” Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. If you didn’t know the book’s vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome.

And yet between the book’s heavy covers, a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure — taking place entirely in his head — he finds it again.

Some people feel that nobody should read the book, and some feel that everybody should read it. The truth is, nobody really knows. Most of what has been said about the book — what it is, what it means — is the product of guesswork, because from the time it was begun in 1914 in a smallish town in Switzerland, it seems that only about two dozen people have managed to read or even have much of a look at it.

Of those who did see it, at least one person, an educated Englishwoman who was allowed to read some of the book in the 1920s, thought it held infinite wisdom — “There are people in my country who would read it from cover to cover without stopping to breathe scarcely,” she wrote — while another, a well-known literary type who glimpsed it shortly after, deemed it both fascinating and worrisome, concluding that it was the work of a psychotic.

So for the better part of the past century, despite the fact that it is thought to be the pivotal work of one of the era’s great thinkers, the book has existed mostly just as a rumor, cosseted behind the skeins of its own legend — revered and puzzled over only from a great distance.

Which is why one rainy November night in 2007, I boarded a flight in Boston and rode the clouds until I woke up in Zurich, pulling up to the airport gate at about the same hour that the main branch of the United Bank of Switzerland, located on the city’s swanky Banhofstrasse, across from Tommy Hilfiger and close to Cartier, was opening its doors for the day. A change was under way: the book, which had spent the past 23 years locked inside a safe deposit box in one of the bank’s underground vaults, was just then being wrapped in black cloth and loaded into a discreet-looking padded suitcase on wheels. It was then rolled past the guards, out into the sunlight and clear, cold air, where it was loaded into a waiting car and whisked away.

THIS COULD SOUND, I realize, like the start of a spy novel or a Hollywood bank caper, but it is rather a story about genius and madness, as well as possession and obsession, with one object — this old, unusual book — skating among those things. Also, there are a lot of Jungians involved, a species of thinkers who subscribe to the theories of Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and author of the big red leather book. And Jungians, almost by definition, tend to get enthused anytime something previously hidden reveals itself, when whatever’s been underground finally makes it to the surface.

[Click to continue reading Carl Jung and the Holy Grail of the Unconscious – NYTimes.com]

So for me, the important question is, when is the thing going to be published? And how do I get a copy of my own? Looks like the book is scheduled to be released in October of this year.

ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH the Red Book — after he has traversed a desert, scrambled up mountains, carried God on his back, committed murder, visited hell; and after he has had long and inconclusive talks with his guru, Philemon, a man with bullhorns and a long beard who flaps around on kingfisher wings — Jung is feeling understandably tired and insane. This is when his soul, a female figure who surfaces periodically throughout the book, shows up again. She tells him not to fear madness but to accept it, even to tap into it as a source of creativity. “If you want to find paths, you should also not spurn madness, since it makes up such a great part of your nature.”

The Red Book is not an easy journey — it wasn’t for Jung, it wasn’t for his family, nor for Shamdasani, and neither will it be for readers. The book is bombastic, baroque and like so much else about Carl Jung, a willful oddity, synched with an antediluvian and mystical reality. The text is dense, often poetic, always strange. The art is arresting and also strange. Even today, its publication feels risky, like an exposure. But then again, it is possible Jung intended it as such. In 1959, after having left the book more or less untouched for 30 or so years, he penned a brief epilogue, acknowledging the central dilemma in considering the book’s fate. “To the superficial observer,” he wrote, “it will appear like madness.” Yet the very fact he wrote an epilogue seems to indicate that he trusted his words would someday find the right audience.

more information as I find it, but in the meantime, do click through and read the tale

Amazon has it available for pre-order:

Reading Around on September 15th through September 18th

A few interesting links collected September 15th through September 18th:

  • Author of Time ‘s Beck profile digs a deeper hole | Media Matters for America – Pretty embarrassing admission for a so-called journalist: “David Von Drehle doesn’t watch Olbermann or Maddow, you see, because he already knows their opinions are “based on nothing.” The hypocrisy is jaw-dropping”

  • t.tex’s hexes: Creative Thievery – “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.” – Jim Jarmusch
  • RealityStudio » Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs, and the Computer – On Christmas Day, 1990, Charles Bukowski received a Macintosh IIsi computer and a laser printer from his wife, Linda. The computer utilized the 6.0.7 operating system and was installed with the MacWrite II word processing program. By January 18 of the next year, the computer was up and running and so, after a brief period of fumbling and stumbling, was Bukowski. His output of poems doubled in 1991.

Pearl Jam: The Backspacer – artwork by Tom Tomorrow

“Backspacer” (Pearl Jam)

To be honest, probably the only reason I’d impulse-buy a Pearl Jam record would be because of Tom Tomorrow’s1 artwork. I’m not much of a fan of the band otherwise even though I have 43 of their songs currently in my iTunes library. The cartoonist, Tom Tomorrow, on the other hand, has long been a favorite. I even donated to his server bandwidth over-run sometime early on during the Bush years.2. Anyway, Billboard interviewed Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder about their new album:

Tell me about the artwork that Tom Tomorrow made for “Backspacer.”

I’ve followed his work for years. I read “This Modern World” way back in the early ’90s and thought we should and could collaborate. The night at Madison Square Garden when Ralph Nader spoke, in 2000, I was quite thrilled to meet Tom. He came to a couple of gigs here and there and we stayed in touch. Previous to meeting him, I wasn’t sure that even our politics were up to par for his biting take on things. I wasn’t sure that as a popular band if we were underground enough for him. We just happened to be talking at the time this came around, and we thought, “We’ll give it a shot and we’ll remain friends if it doesn’t work.” What he did was phenomenal. He put so much thought into it, to the point where we had so many conversations about each drawing, that I said, “Look, I just need a week to write lyrics” (laughs). At the same time, it was invigorating. Certain ideas came from him as far as the overall scope: the randomness, but also the detail. It’s really a cool piece of art.

[Click to continue reading Pearl Jam: The ‘Backspacer’ Audio Q&As | Billboard.com -page 1 starts here btw ]

Ben Sisario of New York Times wrote:

Dan Perkins, who writes and draws the political cartoon “This Modern World” under the name Tom Tomorrow, got some bad news in January.

Village Voice Media, the chain of alternative weekly newspapers, was dropping all syndicated cartoons as a cost-cutting measure, and Mr. Perkins lost 12 papers at once, a major blow to his income. He called his friend Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, whom he had met at a Ralph Nader campaign rally at Madison Square Garden in 2000. Maybe, Mr. Perkins said he hoped, he might get a gig designing a Pearl Jam concert poster.

“He said, ‘Maybe we could help out a little bit,’ ” Mr. Perkins, 48, remembered Mr. Vedder telling him. “ ‘Maybe we could put something up on our Web site. Maybe you could do a couple posters for concerts coming up. And maybe you could have a shot at designing our next album cover.’ That’s about when my jaw hit the floor.”

Within weeks he was working on the cover for Pearl Jam’s latest album, “Backspacer,” which will be released on Sept. 20. It is Mr. Perkins’s first album cover, and the first time that Pearl Jam has gone outside its circle to find a cover artist. Both parties also realized that they had been brought together partly as a result of the transformations of their fields by new media, since the Internet has wreaked the same havoc on newspapers as it has on the music industry.

[Click to continue reading With Dan Perkins and Pearl Jam, Bad Luck Turns Good – That’s Rock ’n’ Roll – NYTimes.com]

“The Future’s So Bright I Can’t Bear to Look” (Tom Tomorrow)

Via Tom Tomorrow’s blog and/or Twitter feed, I forget.

  1. aka Dan Perkins []
  2. and got an autographed calendar in compensation []

Yes We Cannabis

Remember that photo of Obama that looked like he was maybe smoking a joint? You know, this photo

of a jaunty, young Barack Obama? (Published as part of a Time Magazine photo essay after the 2008 election)

Well the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has appropriated the photo, without permission of the photographer, and made an amusing poster.

The folks at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws got there first. For their annual conference poster, they took an old photo of cool-dude college freshman Obama puffing away — on a regular cigarette, mind you — and tweaked it just ever so slightly to fit their message: “Yes We Cannabis.”

Think it might be a problem for the president (who opposes legalization)? It’s really a problem for the photographer. Lisa Jack, an Obama classmate at Occidental College, snapped the image in 1980, one in a series of photos that never saw the light of day until she debuted them in Time’s 2008 Person of the Year issue. She had no idea her photo had been appropriated by NORML until we told her Tuesday.

“They do not have my permission,” said Jack, a psychology professor in Minnesota. These photos “are absolutely not to be used in this way. … I really made a grand effort to do this properly, and I’m very irritated. If I’d wanted these to be used for political purposes, I’d have sold them to Hillary years ago.”

NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre cheerfully acknowledged the lift by artist Sonia Sanchez, who summoned the psychedelic aesthetic of ’60s rock posters. “With very little adulteration, she placed what appears to be a cannabis cigarette” in the president’s hand, St. Pierre said. But she made few other changes: Obama “almost made the photograph for us.”

Everyone who attends the September conference in San Francisco will get a poster; NORML is also selling them on the Web ($25 for an 18-by-24-inch with St. Pierre’s autograph, $15 without). Can they do that? St. Pierre admits they didn’t get permission, but “our lawyers thought it was adulterated enough to comply with the fair use laws.”

[Click to continue reading Reliable Source – Furor Over an Obama Puff Piece ]

So is this kind of parody of a public figure that US copyright law allows? It isn’t quite as clear cut at the famous Larry Flynt -Hustler Magazine lawsuit with Jerry Falwell, but seeing as President Obama is on record as being against cannabis legalization, perhaps it is.

Nancy Reagan - Just Say Yo

The Wall Street Journal Law blog wonders:

But is it “adulterated enough to comply with the fair use laws?” The standard, a copyright lawyer tells us, is whether there was a “transformative use.” And that doesn’t necessarily mean the image has to be transformed — an image can remain exactly the same and satisfy fair use if the picture is framed in a way that sends a message. In other words, its “use” is transformed. “For example, a Nancy Reagan picture on the poster would send a parodic message,” he says. “This one is a closer call.”

[Click to continue reading The Best Fair-Use Controversy Ever? – Law Blog – WSJ]

Via Disarranging Mine1

Fist Bumps

  1. well, via Marie’s twitter feed, actually, but twitter is down at the moment []



words at the Seattle Public Library
[words at the Seattle Public Library]

I’ve been meaning to work this word into conversation for a while now, ever since I encountered it on the Word-of-the-Day email list. It seems like a fun, obscure thing to accuse someone of1

Similar to idolatry and iconodulism, epeolatry literally means the worship of words. It derives from epos, which unlike logos more specifically means word in Greek, and was apparently coined in 1860 by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.[1]. You may be hard-pressed to find an admitted epolatrist because the term connotes a sort of blind devotion, sanctimony, or hypocrisy; or more specifically, an advanced form of reification. Figuratively speaking, the word can be playfully applied to philologists, linguists, or lexicographers.
The term is of significant satirical value and may be used in the denigration of popular religions or belief systems. For example, one could call Christianity an epeolatric religion because the majority of its teachings hinge on the words of the Hebrew Bible. However, you are unlikely to encounter the word in any form because it remains obscure.

[From Epeolatry – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

This particular Oliver Wendell Holmes book2 is available at Project Gutenberg as well as Google Books

Suggested entry at the new word-centric site, Wordnik.

  1. being an epeolatrist presumedly []
  2. that I’ve never heard of before today []

10 Big Myths about copyright explained

It has been a long time since I read these ten myths of copyright by Brad Templeton. Here’s what he says about Fair Use (seems relevant to the Sonia Zjawinski kerfluffle, and follow-up)

My posting was just fair use!”
See EFF notes on fair use and links from it for a detailed answer, but bear the following in mind:
The “fair use” exemption to (U.S.) copyright law was created to allow things such as commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education about copyrighted works without the permission of the author. That’s vital so that copyright law doesn’t block your freedom to express your own works — only the ability to appropriate other people’s. Intent, and damage to the commercial value of the work are important considerations. Are you reproducing an article from the New York Times because you needed to in order to criticise the quality of the New York Times, or because you couldn’t find time to write your own story, or didn’t want your readers to have to register at the New York Times web site? The first is probably fair use, the others probably aren’t.

These rules apply to content you pull from the internet as well. If you wanted to criticise the poker strategy advice on pokerlistings.com, you could reproduce sections of that advice in your criticism as fair use. Just copying it to make your own poker site would probably be plain old copyright infringement.

Fair use is generally a short excerpt and almost always attributed. (One should not use much more of the work than is needed to make the commentary.) It should not harm the commercial value of the work — in the sense of people no longer needing to buy it (which is another reason why reproduction of the entire work is a problem.) Famously, copying just 300 words from Gerald Ford’s 200,000 word memoir for a magazine article was ruled as not fair use, in spite of it being very newsworthy, because it was the most important 300 words — why he pardoned Nixon.

Note that most inclusion of text in followups and replies is for commentary, and it doesn’t damage the commercial value of the original posting (if it has any) and as such it is almost surely fair use. Fair use isn’t an exact doctrine, though. The court decides if the right to comment overrides the copyright on an individual basis in each case. There have been cases that go beyond the bounds of what I say above, but in general they don’t apply to the typical net misclaim of fair use.

The “fair use” concept varies from country to country, and has different names (such as “fair dealing” in Canada) and other limitations outside the USA.

Facts and ideas can’t be copyrighted, but their expression and structure can. You can always write the facts in your own words though

See the DMCA alert for recent changes in the law.

[From 10 Big Myths about copyright explained]

I still think Fair Use doctrine is woefully fuzzy in re: photography. Marie Carnes posits a very interesting scenario in a comment, namely what happens when an artist is separated from income from their work by someone using Fair Use to separate the artist from the work? The original artist would still seem to have copyright over their original image, but might never know about it. She says it much clearer, check it out.

Take Your Stand

Most of the Fair Use examples I have seen deal with text, a few with music, but I haven’t seen a clear, cogent argument about photography reproduction, despite reading many interesting comments, such as the one one this Flickr post. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough – are there any examples of Fair Use of a photograph you are familiar with?

Are Flickr Photos Fair Game

The New York Times intellectual property dust-up continues (my response here). Ms.Zjawinski’s original article received about 9 pages of comments before they were closed, I’d estimate about 9-1 criticizing her for a lack of respect of copyright, and lack of respect for photographers.

Her response to her critics boils down to claiming Fair Use.

In order to get the legal perspective on this I talked to Anthony Falzone, a law professor at Stanford and the executive director of the Fair Use Project there. He said that an “All rights reserved” label on a photo did not necessarily give the photographer total control.

“When you say ‘All rights reserved,’ that simply means you’re reserving all the rights the law gives you,” Mr. Falzone said. “But that begs the question: What are the limits on the rights the law gives you?”

That is where the doctrine of fair use comes into play. Mr. Falzone pointed to the 1984 Supreme Court decision in Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, which said that it was legal to use a VCR to record copyrighted content from broadcast television for personal viewing.

“There are a lot of parallels with what’s going on with Flickr,” Mr. Falzone said. “People are posting photographs and know very well that they are going to be viewed by people on a computer, and if someone wants to print a photo out that they see on Flickr to enjoy some other time and in some other place, that seems fairly analogous to what people did with the VCR.”

From that legal angle, if someone decides to download an “All rights reserved” image from Flickr and put it on their PC desktop or print it at home, they should be covered under fair use. But the law has not fully caught up with the digital era, leaving lots of gray areas.

“The real core question is, is this a fair use or not?” said Corynne McSherry, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group. “Frankly the answer is, we don’t know.” Ms. McSherry suggests playing it safe and always asking.

[Click to continue reading  Are Flickr Photos Fair Game for Home Printing? – Gadgetwise Blog – NYTimes.com]

Fair Use is different for an image than, say for example, text. For text, you can copy three paragraphs from an article, or pull ten sentences to Fisk them. Film, capture a scene or two to make a point (Ebert, for instance), music, a few bars, a chorus1.

An image is not divisible – either you take it in its entirety, or you don’t. Much harder to refer to an image in the abstract, or as I understand Fair Use doctrine, it depends upon the amount of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.

Wikipedia defines Fair Use:

Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author’s work under a four-factor balancing test.

The doctrine only existed in the U.S. as common law until it was incorporated into the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107, reprinted here:

“ Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 17 U.S.C. § 106 and 17 U.S.C. § 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

the nature of the copyrighted work;

the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;

and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

[Click to continue reading Fair use – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

Thomas Hawk, never one to avoid controversial topics, sarcastically2 celebrates The New York Times for advocating theft of intellectual property, thereby acknowledging there is a new model of copyright for a new digital century.

Posted on June 26, 2009, 12:26 pm, by Thomas Hawk, under Copyright, Flickr.
Sonia Zjawinski has an interesting article out over at the NY Times’ Gadgetwise blog entitled “Flickr as an Interior Decorating Tool,” where she basically advocates stealing other people’s photographs off of Flickr

[Click to continue reading w00t! The New York Times Finally Advocates Stealing Intellectual Property | Thomas Hawk Digital Connection]

Thomas Hawk claims that because most photographers probably have stolen music on their computers, they shouldn’t complain when others steal from them. I’m not sure how Thomas Hawk knows that photographers have stolen MP3s, or use a TiVo, but maybe he has access to some TIA database that we don’t.

The Metafilter community reacted by laughing at photographers who upload images to the web and expect courtesy and copyright law to be adhered to.

Getting smart about personal technology. NYTimes publishes Sonia Zjawinski’s assertion that other peoples’ images on Flickr are probably OK to download, blow up and use to decorate her house: And if you’re wondering about copyright issues (after all, these aren’t my photos), the photos are being used by me for my own, private, noncommercial use. I’m not selling these things and not charging admission to my apartment, so I think I’m in the clear.

Other people think it’s more complicated, and some are just pissed.

[Click to read for yourself Confidential to NY Times: Free as in speech | MetaFilter]

I’d say the majority of the comments at Metafilter are strongly in favor of Ms. Zjawinski’s technique, most using a variation of the same argument: hey, the photo is there, why wouldn’t I take it? These same folk probably steal a lot of other digital media, bittorrents, MP3s, etc. and consider nothing of it.

Personally, I usually release my Flickr photos under a Creative Commons Attributuion/share-alike license, downsample them to 90 pixels and somewhere around 15″x10″ before uploading to Flickr, and have started to use a small watermark of my name3. I haven’t tried, but I assume they would look ok printed at 3″x5″, or even 4″x7″, but any larger size would look increasingly pixelated. I would hope that if some anonymous person wished to print out my photo, they would have the courtesy to ask me first. For instance, recently, an artist based in LA asked me if she could have a copy of a photo I took of her mural. Instead, I gave her the much higher resolution Photoshop file, uploaded it to Drop.io, and gave her the link. She sent me a check for $5, but I never cashed it. All in all, I have gotten close to $2,000 selling prints of my work, not quite enough to purchase an island next to Johnny Depp’s island in the Caribbean Ocean, but more than nothing. In other words, I am simply a hobbyist photographer, so bear that in mind.

  1. sampling is a little bit of a grey area too, actually []
  2. at least that’s how I read it []
  3. written in my own handwriting []

Homage to Robert Rauschenberg Redux

didn’t really to make these photos emulate Rauschenberg’s white canvas period (encountered a room devoted to them in the new modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago), but since it happened…

Homage to Robert Rauschenberg

Homage to Robert Rauschenberg
Homage to Robert Rauschenberg, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

Modern Wing, Art Institute of Chicago

From the Rauschenberg wikipedia page:

“In 1951 Rauschenberg created his “White Paintings,” in the tradition of monochromatic painting, whose purpose was to reduce painting to its most essential nature, and to subsequently lead to the possibility of pure experience.[22] The “White Paintings” were shown at Eleanor Ward’s Stable Gallery in New York during October of 1953. They appear at first to be essentially blank, white canvas. However, one commentator said that “…rather than thinking of them as destructive reductions, it might be more productive to see them, as John Cage did, as hypersensitive screens – what Cage suggestively described as ‘airports of the lights, shadows and particles.’ In front of them, the smallest adjustments in lighting and atmosphere might be registered on their surface. Rauschenberg himself said that they were affected by ambient conditions, “so you could almost tell how many people are in the room.”

Reading Around on June 15th

Some additional reading June 15th from 08:19 to 13:13:

  • Et Tu Google – Pay the artist, simple as that. “So, one of the things I hear constantly from my wife is her…annoyance at people who think they can get weeks of work out of her, but in lieu of cash, they’ll give her “exposure”.”Exposure” is a barely nicer way of saying “I’m not paying shit for your work, but maybe someone who isn’t a cheap douchebag will see your art and throw you a bone. Besides, aren’t artists against money?
  • Oklahoma Highway Patrol finally releases video of trooper attack on paramedicBefore the encounter is over, [Officer ] Martin has assaulted the paramedic, frightened the patient, and created a neighborhood scene that is so unprofessional that it’s just about unbelievable. Enraged, he calls for backup, repeatedly threatens the unit’s operators, curses, chokes and slams White up against the ambulance several times–an action the patient later said rocked the unit, frightening her. He also keeps screaming “you insulted me.” The trooper later says that Franks made an obscene hand gesture as Martin passed the ambulance, a charge Franks denies. Martin plans a press conference on Monday, according to Fox 23. Martin, who had his wife in the patrol car with him for an as-yet unknown reason, later declared that he’d recently come back from service in Iraq
  • Troubleshoot your Internet connection – some good tips
  • Q and A: eMusic CEO Explains Controversial Price Increase, Sony Deal | Epicenter | Wired.com – “artists with albums soon to be sold on eMusic as part of the deal include Captain Beefheart, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Kate Bush, Miles Davis, The Clash, Miles Davis, Franz Ferdinand, Robert Johnson, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, Psychedelic Furs, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Spiritualized and the Stone Roses”

The Wire Season 2

“The Wire – The Complete Second Season” (Ernest Dickerson)

As if you need any more prodding from me to watch The Wire in its convoluted, messy, beautiful entirety…

what David Simon, Ed Burns and company are doing here is revealing that “The Wire” is going to be far more than a cops vs. drug dealers saga. It’s not a crime show. There’s a lot of crime in it, yes, but it’s a story about the death of an American city (really, the death of the American city), and little by little the show is going to take us into every corner of that city. Last year, it was the projects and the drug war raging within them. This season, our focus turns to the ports, and to the state of blue-collar, industrial America, which has been phased out in favor of a service economy that many of these guys just aren’t equipped for. As Simon referred to it in a few interviews, it’s “a meditation on the death of work and the betrayal of the American working class.

As has been said many times before, the opening scene of each “Wire” premiere is like a mission statement for that season. We open with McNulty riding forlornly on the boat, staring out at the many abandoned factories ringing Baltimore’s harbor. Once upon a time, these places were thriving concerns that provided jobs for any man willing to put in the work, no matter his background or skill level; now they’re rotting husks, relics of a time that barely exists anymore. Jimmy looks at those factories and thinks wistfully about the way things used to be, the lifestyle his father and his father’s friends had. Then he and his partner Claude answer a distress call from a party boat filled with yuppies who couldn’t care less about Bethlehem Steel or Domino Sugar; they just look at the harbor as a place to get their drink on while dancing to “Blue Skies.” Jimmy notes that they have to tow the boat out of the shipping channel, but at the same time, the harbor seems so dead that it hardly seems worth the bother; it’s been a long time since cargo ships were constantly coming and going from this port.

Recognizing all of this, Jimmy takes a bribe to tow the boat to an out of the way location where the party can keep going, and there you have your season in a nutshell: the port workers are dinosaurs, being replaced by wealthy people looking to party (or buy condos with waterfront views), and the only real money to be made around here is through bribery.

[Click to continue reading The Wire, Season 2, Episode 1: “Ebb Tide” (Veterans edition) – NJ.com ]

I recently re-watched the entire series, but was too lazy to tap out my thoughts on it. Suffice it to say, I will probably watch the entire series again for a third time next year. Such a nuanced television novel rewards multiple viewings.

Artists Should Get Paid

I know I’ve linked to this Harlan Ellison rant before, but repetition is strength. Right?

And, finally, to artists of all genres – Harlan Ellison is a loud, irascible and vehement voice for respect and payment. He is the rare combination of a well-developed artistic mind combined with exquisite business smarts and an innate sense of unwavering justice. Ellison dares, in one of his rants, to speak out against a major film studio who wanted to re-release material involving him on DVD. When asked to be paid for his participation, the young assistant seemed shocked. A highly unfortunate reaction on her part – as she then became the target for a giant Harlan Ellison emotional whipping. Did she expect her gas station attendant to give her free gasoline? Her doctor to perform surgery for free…and did SHE, in fact work for free?

Artists are sick to death of trying to pay their bills off of jobs that “offer great exposure.” Harlan Ellison laments the fact that professional writers are constantly being undercut by amateurs these days… and he’s right. It might behoove all of us to listen to Harlan’s rants in DREAMS WITH SHARP TEETH and re-inspire ourselves as a nation to “get what we pay for” and maybe bump up our standards a little.

[From SUNfiltered : Fresh culture daily. » Blog Archive » Harlan Ellison: Who is He and Why Should We Care?]

Anyway Mr. Ellison’s amusing rant re: the Warners Brothers release of a DVD of Babylon 5


Pay the artists!


Why is Harlan Ellison’s name on the end credits of THE TERMINATOR? Find out the truth in this video.