The world is burning with fear, and the best thing we can do is the burn the fear with arts – and that’s the central appeal of Burning Man.Burning Man is a ten-day long arts festival in the desert, in Black Rock City, NV (a 4 hours drive from San Fransisco) and usually held at the end of August, where people come for the peculiar experience, littered with real life arts. This event is among the only in the world where people do art for the sake of art, without galleries or commissioning needed, thanks to its sheer scale and captive audience (70,000 people over a week.) There are many groups of artists preparing arts year long, in the hope to touch the heart of others; some even get commissioned and get to build real big stuff. Some of them may be ephemeral, but their legacy lives on.
The influence of Burning man runs deep, especially in the Bay Area. For example, the lights blinking on the Bay Bridge (Bay lights) where partly an offshoot of a Burning Man project by Leo Villareal, whereas the “Day For Night” built on Jim Campbell’s experience. The latter recently had an exhibition at the Hosfelt gallery in San Francisco which was… illuminating.The sculptor Marco Cochrane is also famous for the Bliss series, his large sculptures of iron mesh of dancing characters, found on Treasure Island and at festival in California.
There was recently a very tiny retrospective of Burning Man arts at the Oakland Museum of California, No Spectator: The Art of Burning Man. It didn’t render the scale of the event, but it allowed people to get a sense of what’s happening there, and tell the history of the event. Continue reading
Last year I’ve discovered Paddy McAloon’s re-edition of “I Trawl the Megahertz” (published as Prefab Sprout) in happenstance. I was listening to Spotify, and this beautiful instrumental piece showed up, with hesitating strings and a cold voice, which was not too dissimilar to Woodkid’s On Then and Now which I had been drawn to earlier in the season.This gradually became my favorite album of the year (other great songs are in there, such as I’m 49.) Now that the virus is crawling and the internet functions at the Terahertz speeds, we’ve gone full circle. Continue reading
Over the last two years, I had a chance to visit a few synchrotron around the world!Here’s my fav list:
Now I need to visit:
SOLEIL synchrotron (near Paris, France)Swiss Light Source (Paul Scherrer Institute, near Zurich)Taiwan Photon Source (Hsinchu, Taiwan)Elettra sincotrone (Trieste, Italy) – with Luca GregorattiAdvanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory (near Chicago, IL) – with Gautam Gunjala (UC Berkeley)Advanced Light Source Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (near San Francisco, CA) – with Claudi Mazzoli (from NSLS-II, Brookhaven)
Somehow my art piece has been accepted! A delightful play on the wavelike behavior of light, and the particle0like behavior of silicon atoms, in a tribute to Malevich. Instant Classic!
You can now see it at the Vision+Light exhibition on Berkeley Campus, from February 20th to March 14th, 2019
I was much impressed by a remark of Aldous Huxley, that we owe our civilization largely to the fact that vision is an objective sense. An animal with an olfactory sense or with hearing, however well developed, could never have created science. A smell is either good or bad, and even hearing is never entirely neutral; music can convey emotions with an immediateness of which the sober visual arts are inca pable. No wonder that the very word “objective” has been appropriated by optics.
Dennis Gabor – Light and Information
Self-reference is cornerstone in Hofstadter’s Godel-Escher-Bach, a must read book for anyone interested in logic (and we shall rely logic in these days to stay sane.)Here’s a bunch of examples of self-reference that I found interesting, curated just for you!Barber’s paradox:
The barber is the “one who shaves all those, and those only, who do not shave themselves.” The question is, does the barber shave himself?
Self-referential figure (via xkcd):Tupper’s formula that prints itself on a screen (via Brett Richardson) Continue reading