Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tom Waits For No Man

Tom Waits For No Man // Bandcamp // Soundcloud // Instagram // Twitter

Influences: My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Velvet Underground, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Electric Wizard, Slowdive

Magic Eye Tube Productions // Audio Portfolio // Facebook

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse 2017

"In ancient times, every culture had a sun god, and it was usually one of the chief gods of their whole pantheon," explains Bradley Schaefer, astronomy professor at Louisiana State University. "Humans couldn't touch what's in the sky, so they believed it must be where the gods are. When you have a total solar eclipse, it looks like the death of a god, and to them, that couldn't be a good thing."

In many cultures throughout human history, the sun was seen as an entity of supreme importance, crucial to their very existence. It was regularly worshipped as a god – Amun-Ra to the Egyptians and Helios to the Greeks – or as a goddess, such as Amaterasu for the Japanese and Saule for many Baltic cultures.

One reason the sun served as a god or goddess in so many cultures was its awesome power: Looking directly at it would severely damages the eyes, a sign of the sun deity’s wrath.

For thousands of years people learned about the sun through careful observation. Understanding the sun and seasons was critical to survival. As early as 4,000 years ago, ancient astronomers tried to predict solar eclipses in China and Greece.
Ancients texts from China, Mesopotamia and Greece that mention solar eclipses all suggest the phenomena “were just trouble,” says Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. “They represented a serious disturbance in the natural order of things.

"The eclipse always seems to coincide with some sort of panic,” adds astronomy historian Steve Ruskin, author of the book America's First Great Eclipse.

Different cultures have different ways of explaining why eclipses happen, but the stories generally share a theme of the sun being “devoured.” The Chinese word for eclipse, rishi, is composed to the characters for “sun/day” and “eat.” The word eclipse itself derives from the the Ancient Greek root for "abandonment," √©kleipsis, which makes sense since the Greeks viewed the eclipse as the sun “abandoning” the earth, Krupp explains.

Several East Asian cultures believed the eclipse was caused by a giant frog eating the sun, and in China, myths tell of a dragon doing the devouring, Ruskin says. In Norse mythology, the eclipse was the result of two sky wolves, Sköll and Hati, chasing and finally eating the sun, leading to its temporary disappearance, Krupp adds. (Some scholars doubt the veracity of that interpretation, however.)

Many cultures thought that such a disastrous event required their immediate action to help restore order. Ancient Chinese and Mesopotamians made loud noises to scare away the spirits or creatures doing the devouring. Hugh Lenox Scott, who at the time was a member of the U.S. Cavalry and later a superintendent of West Point, recorded his observations of the Cheyenne tribe during the solar eclipse of 1878. “They became very much excited when the eclipse began, shooting off guns and making every sort of noise they could to frighten away the evil medicine which they thought was destroying the sun,” he wrote.

The eclipse was a bad omen for many ancient civilizations, but how the omen was interpreted varied greatly by culture. “An eclipse of either the sun or moon is looked upon as a terribly calamity, being sure to be the forerunner of disease or death,” wrote J.G. Wood on the beliefs of Australian Aborigines in his 1870 tome The Natural History of Man. In Ancient China, solar eclipses were a sign that the emperor, considered partially divine, had done something wrong. In Mesoamerican cultures, they were occasions for human sacrifice to ward off evil, Krupp explains.

Sometimes, however, the event was explained away. In several references from China and Mesopotamia, royal astronomers interpreted the eclipse “as bad news for somebody else... some other king or country,” says Krupp.

The Conversation:
Eskimos thought an eclipse meant that the sun and moon had become temporarily diseased. In response, they’d cover up everything of importance – themselves included – lest they be infected by the “diseased” rays of the eclipsed sun.

For the Ojibwe tribe of the Great Lakes, the onset of total eclipse represented an extinguished sun. To prevent permanent darkness, they proceeded to fire flaming arrows at the darkened sun in an attempt to rekindkle it.

Amidst the plethora of the myths and legends and interpretations of this strange event, there are seeds of understanding about their true nature.

For example, the famed total solar eclipse of May 28, 585 B.C., occurred in the middle of a battle between the Medes and the Lydians in what is now the northeast region of modern-day Turkey. The eclipse actually ended the conflict on the spot, with both sides interpreting the event as a sign of the displeasure from the gods. But based on the writings of the ancient Greek historian Heroditus, it’s thought that the great Greek philosopher-mathematician Thales of Miletus had, coincidentally, predicted its occurrence.

Chinese, Alexandrian and Babylonian astronomers were also said to be sophisticated enough to not only understand the true nature of solar eclipses, but also to roughly predict when the “dragon” would come to devour the sun. (As with much knowledge back then, however, astronomical and astrological findings were relayed only to the ruling elites, while myths and legends continued to percolate among the general population.)

A Hindu myth tells the story of the demon Rahu's disembodied head attempting to swallow the sun whole... but because he was lacking in a throat, it would fall out through the hole in his neck shortly thereafter.

In other branches of Hindu culture, the “sun eater” took the more traditional form of a dragon. To fight this beast, certain Hindu sects in India immersed themselves up to the neck in water in an act of worship, believing that the adulation would aid the sun in fighting off the dragon.

More recently, scientists planned experiments during eclipses to test theories and equipment. With the sun blocked, other atmospheric features become visible. Scientists proved Einstein’s theory of relativity, and they searched for a theoretical planet Vulcan but it was proven not to exist.

Albert Einstein wrote a paper on special relativity in 1905 and formed his theory of general relativity, or the relationship between gravity and the curvature of space and time, just before World War I. He believed that an event like an eclipse would showcase this idea of light bending as it nears a massive object.

Arthur Eddington, an English astronomer, read his paper on relativity and set out to test it during the May 1919 eclipse. Eddington's photographs of the eclipse verified the theory by capturing the bending of starlight passing near the sun. Both Eddington's achievement and Einstein's brilliance were trumpeted in the media.

More information:
» Why eclipses have inspired terror and awe
» Conspiracy theorist claims this month's solar eclipse will signal the end

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Tribe Called Quest - "We The People"

A Tribe Called Quest returned from their hiatus with their 16-track album We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. The well-known conscious group of lyricist are back waking people up with their newest visual, “We The People…”

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrors

#infinitekusama #yayoikusama
Following its debut at the organizing institution—Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden—on February 23, 2017, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors will travel to four major museums in the United States and Canada, including the Seattle Art Museum (June 30–September 10, 2017), The Broad in Los Angeles (October 21, 2017–January 1, 2018), the Art Gallery of Ontario (March 3–May 27, 2018), the Cleveland Museum of Art (July 9–September 30, 2018), and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta (November 18, 2018–February 17, 2019).
Washington is the first stop of a North American tour for a new exhibit by legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Her “Infinity Mirrors” exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is a collection of psychedelic art that appears to go on forever.

The first 9,000 tickets were reserved in just six minutes. The museum’s website crashed from demand. There is almost no end to the number of people wanting to enter Kusama’s infinite world, reports CBS News correspondent Errol Barnett.

One step into the space, and the experience is quite literally limitless.

From her quirky latest work titled “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” to her earliest mirror display, never before have so many of the 88-year-old artist’s captivating “Infinity Mirrors” rooms been shown in the same place at the same time.

Rarely seen outside of Japan, Kusama, who identifies herself as an avant-garde artist, established herself in the American art world after her move to New York in 1957.

“In the late ‘50s, it’s the post-World War II period in Japan, and I think it was also very much a period where if you wanted to become an artist you really had to go to a place like New York,” Hirshhorn Museum director Melissa Chiu said. “I would say that it started with her arrival in New York … She became kind of enamored with performance art, which was developing at that time,” Chiu added.

As an anti-war activist, Kusama staged what she called “Happenings” against violence at the height of the Vietnam War.

“She wanted recognition. She wanted to be known as an artist,” said Mika Yoshitake, who has studied Kusama’s work for decades. “The young people who were in her studio also frequented Warhol’s studio, and so she had her-- she was very kind of competitive,” Yoshitake said.

As one of the few women in an art world dominated by men, Kusama saw male artists like Andy Warhol as rivals, but the pace of her life in New York was unsustainable.

“She came back to Japan in 1973 and went through quite a dark period,” Yoshitake said. She worked herself mad in “40 to 50 hours at a stretch.”

Kusama has lived in a Tokyo mental institution for 40 years, checking herself out to work at a nearby studio every morning and returning to the psychiatric hospital each evening.

In a video made for the exhibit, the media-shy artist shared her philosophy.

“The effect of infinite, constant repetition leads us to finding our ever-expanding hope,” Kusama said in Japanese. 

“She’s developed a method or a rhythm to stabilize her condition and art really is a way for her, it’s a healing process,” Yoshitake said.

“Is she happy?” Barnett asked.

“That’s a hard question I think. There’s a lot of kind of, dualities in her work,” Yoshitake said. “Some of her work is very dark. She barely smiles when I see her. I think the only time she smiles is when she finishes one of her paintings.”

Kusama has described her art as therapy and her appeal has been profound.

“This is the most visited exhibition in the museum’s history,” Yoshitake said.

Kusama’s “Obliteration Room” started out with no color at all. Museum-goers, who are given sheets of stickers, are encouraged to cover the room in polka dots in every size and color.

More information:
» The Hirshhorn Museum: Infinity Mirror Rooms

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Moby & The Void Pacific Choir - "In This Cold Place"

Moby & The Void Pacific Choir - In This Cold Place Official video by Steve Cutts.

The new album, More Fast Songs About The Apocalypse, by Moby & The void Pacific Choir is available now as a free download in partnership with wetransfer: http://moby.la/mfsataYo

Get all the official gifs from the video here: http://moby.la/giphyYo

Moby says, “working on ‘In This Cold Place’ and ‘Are You Lost In the World Like Me?’ with Steve Cutts has been a creative highlight for me. He's such a great animator and activist, and I'm so happy he agreed to make these two videos.”

Cutts said that these two videos are meant to represent “consumerism, greed, corruption and ultimately our self-destructiveness.”

Last week, Moby & The Void Pacific Choir released More Fast Songs About The Apocalypse, the follow-up to 2016’s These Systems Are Failing. The album is available now on all digital and streaming platforms as well as on WeTransfer via a name-your-own-price model with all proceeds going to a charity of the fan’s choosing.