March 09, 2006
Convergences — Synchronicities separated by [what we call — for want of a better word] time
Matt Haber wrote in last Sunday's New York Times about what writer Lawrence Wechsler calls "convergences."
Here's the most interesting article.
- Finding Historical Loops, and Opening Them
For nearly 25 years, Lawrence Weschler has been collecting what he calls convergences, tearing out images from magazines, advertising and newspapers that recall works of art or nature or even science.
What differentiates his juxtapositions from the "A Looks Like B" school of cultural criticism (see Birth, Separated at), is that rather than close a loop, in his new book, "Everything That Rises" (McSweeney’s), a collection of dozens of these pairings, Mr. Weschler seeks to open it.
"The convergence is like the rhyme," he said recently in his art and ephemera-crammed office in the New York Institute for the Humanities, which he directs.
"But then you’ve got to write the poem about it. The thing that makes it sing is the cascading of possible meanings."
He first saw the photograph [top] of firefighters at ground zero in a gallery show of Joel Meyerowitz’s work.
It might not have put the average viewer in mind of a Civil War-era image, but nearly imperceptible cues — the placement of the flag, the position of the photographer — reminded Mr. Wechsler of a Civil War image, below, from 1861 of Union Army engineers (the photographer is unknown).
Two photos speaking across generations.
A rhyme — and a convergence — were born.
Bob Minzesheimer raved about Wechsler's book in his review in today's USA Today.
Here's his piece.
- Images juxtapose in eerie ‘Everything'
Imagine a multimedia art history class taught by a witty professor who seems to have read everything, been everywhere, forgotten nothing and remains thrilled by the joy of intellectual adventures.
That's what it's like to read "Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences."
The author is Lawrence Weschler, an art historian, journalist and cultural observer.
The handsomely illustrated book collects 30 essays Weschler wrote during the past 20 years for magazines, including The New Yorker and McSweeney's.
All deal with connections between seemingly disparate photographs and works of art.
Weschler describes them as "uncanny moments of convergence, bizarre associations, eerie rhymes, whispered recollections — sometimes in the weirdest places."
A nighttime photograph of rescue workers in the smoking bowels of the ruins of the World Trade Center is juxtaposed with Rembrandt's similarly lit 1642 painting of soldiers, "The Night Watch."
The photographer, Joel Meyerowitz, says of the scene: "The quality of the glowing light in the center, the assembled men, the kind of smoky background, all the hardware of destruction of it gave me the feeling of those lances and curtains and all that heraldry (painted by Rembrandt). It was a gut reaction. Although I couldn't call up the painting exactly, I just knew this grand assemblage was a powerful image."
Weschler offers fresh ways to look at images, from Vermeer to Jackson Pollock, from a Mona Lisa-like Monica Lewinsky to the graphic logo of Solidarity, the Polish workers' movement.
He deals with the art of politics and the politics of art.
Some connections seem like coincidences, seized on to make political points, such as the resemblance between Newt Gingrich, the former Republican congressional leader, and Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian dictator, two "Pillsbury Doughboy Messiahs."
At his best, Weschler provokes readers with questions.
He's erudite yet readable.
He credits John Berger's essay "The Look of Things."
It linked a 1967 photograph of the half-naked body of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara on public display, surrounded by his captors, with Rembrandt's "The Anatomy Lesson."
Weschler concluded "that's undoubtedly the image (hot-wired, as it were, into all of their brains) that taught all of the strutting officers how to pose in relation to their prize, and taught the photographer where to plant his camera."
Weschler was wowed by Berger: "This guy doesn't read his morning newspaper the way I or anybody else I know reads the morning newspaper."
You may not either after reading "Everything That Rises."
I've always really liked Wechsler's work, which I've been reading in the New Yorker since forever.
I happened to read John Berger's "The Look of Things" a few years ago and was dazzled just like Wechsler and, no doubt, many others, by Berger's originality and insights.
It's well worth your time and the focus, effort and major concentration required to follow its arguments.
I happened to wander over to Amazon just now and saw that there's a decent reading copy of the 1975 hardcover (251 pages) for $4.86 along with several others priced under $5.
Cheap at 100 times the price.
Please don't tell me you're still using an ordinary fork to mash up your guacamole–bound avocados.
I look up to you; I respect you, both in the morning and for the rest of the day.
To find that you're just like me makes me sad — I want to think you're better.
From the website:
- Make quick work of mashing avocados to the ideal consistency for guacamole with this efficient tool.
Sized to fit inside even small bowls, its 2"-diameter rounded head has specially designed tines that cut swiftly through an avocado’s flesh.
The tool is also handy for mashing canned tuna, hard-boiled eggs and flavored butters.
Constructed of hardened stainless–steel riveted to a durable resin handle, the masher will provide a lifetime of service.
Yet another in a continuing series of job performance enhancements brought to you by the helpful folks at Bizarro World.
[via Rob Kamphausen]
Exclusive* Footage of Yesterday's Glamour Stiletto Run in Downtown Amsterdam, The Netherlands
From a joehead in The Netherlands comes this link to a video of yesterday's race, which awarded a sweet €10,000 to the winner (above) who, in the video, may be seen flashing by the camera (look quick 'cause she's motoring) at the finish line.
The screen capture below
shows other top finishers who were right on the heels — literally, as it were — of the pacesetter.
*Brought to you by the wizards at iFilm.
gumshoo.com — 'eBay auction risk analyzer and misspelling search'
This website says it will help you "Spot online auction fraud."
Ingo Maurer Lucellino Designer Emulation Kit — Now everyone can afford to own a lighting classic
They're ingeniously constructed like old–fashioned model airplane kits, with the individual parts being attached to a frame via twist–and–break struts.
Each little light has an LED and is powered by a standard 9V battery which will illuminate the fixture for up to 160 hours.
Many questions you might have and others that won't occur to you are answered here.
First to market is DEK 1 (above and below), emulating Maurer's Lucellino;
the Designer Emulation Kit website notes, "DEK 1 was inspired by Ingo Maurer's Lucellino [just below].
Why make it the first in the series? The originator of DEK's, Mark McKenna, took his first professional job as a member of the Ingo Maurer team. It is only fitting to give props to the master."
Three more emulations — Achille Castiglioni's Arco (DEK 2 – below);
Richard Sapper's Tizio (DEK 3 – below);
and Achille Castiglioni's Toio (DEK 4 – below)
[via Surface magazine #57
Tyra Banks goes bald
Yes, that's her pictured above as she appeared on the premier episode of the new season of "America's Next Top Models" on UPN last night.
I saw the picture in black and white in yesterday's Washington Post but you deserve better.
It took the crack research team nearly 24 hours of burning up the internet to come up with the color photo above.
How it went down on the show was, after the 32 aspiring models met up with Tyra and the field was quickly pruned to 13 finalists they were told that they'd be bald, just like Tyra, for their first photo shoot.
Bet there were some very unhappy campers when Jay Manuel made that announcement, what?
Guess we didn't need all that hair care stuff after all, huh?
Hey — it hurts to be beautiful, isn't that how the saying goes?