Log24

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Hustvedt Array

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:58 PM

For Harlan Kane

"This time-defying preservation of selves,
this dream of plenitude without loss,
is like a snow globe from heaven,
a vision of Eden before the expulsion."

— Judith Shulevitz on Siri Hustvedt in
The New York Times  Sunday Book Review
of March 31, 2019, under the headline
"The Time of Her Life."

Edenic-plenitude-related material —

"Self-Blazon… of Edenic Plenitude"

(The Issuu text is taken from Speaking about Godard , by Kaja Silverman
and Harun Farocki, New York University Press, 1998, page 34.)

Preservation-of-selves-related material —

Other Latin squares (from October 2018) —

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Crystalline Complexity

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:08 PM

Burroway on Hustvedt in The New York Times ,
Sunday, March 9, 2003 —

See as well "Putting the Structure  in Structuralism."

Saturday, July 27, 2019

“Design Is How It Works.” — Steve Jobs

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:59 PM

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bauble

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 AM

"This time-defying preservation of selves,
this dream of plenitude without loss,
is like a snow globe from heaven,
a vision of Eden before the expulsion.
Mathematically demonstrable
but emotionally impossible,
it’s dangled just in front of us
like a bauble we can’t have
but can’t stop reaching for." 

— Judith Shulevitz on Siri Hustvedt in
The New York Times  Sunday Book Review
of March 31, 2019, under the headline
"The Time of Her Life."

A different self-symbolizing bauble appeared in this  journal on that Sunday.

A line for Letterman — "Bauble, Babel.  Babel, Bauble."

'The Tower of Babel,' a 1963 play by Arthur J. Morey with music by Robert A. Paul

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Shulevitz Sabbath

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:19 PM

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Marginalia

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:03 PM

For Harlan Kane . . .

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

The Aloha Grid

Some less demanding reading Mysteries of the Rectangle .

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Overlay Art

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:14 AM

"SH lays an array of selves, fictive and autobiographical,
over each other like transparencies, to reveal deeper patterns."

Benjamin Evans in The Guardian , Sunday, March 10, 2019,
in a review of the new Siri Hustvedt novel Memories of the Future.

See also Self-Blazon and . . .

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Blazon World*

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:59 PM

“At that instant he saw, in one blaze of light,
an image of unutterable conviction,
the reason why the artist works and lives
and has his being — the reward he seeks —
the only reward he really cares about,
without which there is nothing. It is to snare
the spirits of mankind in nets of magic,
to make his life prevail through his creation,
to wreak the vision of his life, the rude and painful
substance of his own experience, into the congruence
of blazing and enchanted images that are themselves
the core of life, the essential pattern whence
all other things proceed, the kernel of eternity.”

— Thomas Wolfe, Of Time and the River

* Title suggested by that of a Siri Hustvedt novel.
   See also Blazon in this journal.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Dream of Plenitude

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:26 AM

"This time-defying preservation of selves,
this dream of plenitude without loss, is like
a snow globe from heaven, a vision of Eden
before the expulsion."

Judith Shulevitz on Siri Hustvedt in
The New York Times  online, March 26.

See also, in this  journal, the dream of Edenic plenitude 
in the March 20 post "Secret Characters."

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Preparatory Cartoons

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:03 PM

The online New York Times  this afternoon has an article on "the
preparatory cartoon for Raphael’s fresco 'The School of Athens.'" 

Other preparatory cartoons:

The first New Yorker  cover above is from a search for Hustvedt
in this  journal. See the 2003 post "Art at the Vanishing Point."

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Husserl for Beginners

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:31 PM

http://www.log24.com/log/pix18/180916-Hustvedt-Auster-covers.jpg

See also Trivial + Affine and Eidetic Reduction.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Norwegian Identity

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:30 AM

"Siri Hustvedt is an award-winning and versatile American
writer and essayist. She earned her PhD in Literature at
Columbia University in 1986. She often points to her
Norwegian family background in her works, and she is
known as one of the foremost interpreters of Norwegian-
American identity in English literature."

— University of Oslo,
     "Siri Hustvedt: Honorary doctor 2014"

IMAGE- 'Siri Hustvedt Interview: Fakes and Fiction'

See also Hustvedt in this journal.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Tummelplatz of Jerusalem

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:45 PM

A check of recent tweets by Alexander Bogomolny, who was
mentioned in the previous post, yields a remark of Oct. 26, 2015

This is not unrelated to a word from Freud:

See as well "Digging Out the Truth?" (Jerusalem Post  2/25/2010)
and Michener's The Source  in this  journal.

Assistance in Vienna

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

The Vienna Review

Beyond Freud’s Playground

In the 38th annual Freud Lecture, Siri Hustvedt
pursues the roots of imaginative exchange from
infancy to the therapist’s couch.

by Stephen Doyle on June 14, 2011

It’s May 6, the 155th anniversary of the birth of
Sigmund Freud. I arrive at the Austrian National Bank
just before 17:30 to attend the 38th annual
Sigmund Freud Lecture, given this year by
American novelist Siri Hustvedt. ….

From this  journal on the date of the above Freud lecture —

Friday, May 2, 2014

From Rune

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 PM

” ‘Harriet Burden has been really great to me,’
Rune says in an interview, ‘not only as a collector
of my work but as a true supporter. And I think of her
as a muse for the project … ‘ “

— In The Blazing World , the artist known as Rune
(See also Rune + Muse in this journal.)

Lily Collins in a Log24 post of Jan. 15, 2014— “Entertainment Theory

Related material from Trish Mayo—

The tulips are from today,
the gate is from April 27.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Story of Noam

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

On The Blazing World , a new novel —

Hustvedt uses fragment-stories, frame narratives, and unreliable
narrators to talk about the ways in which brilliant women across
history have been silenced, forgotten, and appropriated by men.
This is a narrative suspicious of narratives, a story that
demonstrates how damaging stories can be.”

— Review by Amal El-Mohtar

The protagonist of Hustvedt’s novel is named Harriet Burden.

A midrash for Darren Aronofsky, director of The Fountain*  and Noah

Part I: The Burden of Proof —

Part II: The Story of Noam

* See The Fountain  in “The Story Theory of Truth,” Columbus Day, 2013

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Josefine’s Sunday School

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:30 AM

Two timely images for Oslo artist Josefine Lyche —

Backstory:  Searches for “Blazing World” and for “Josefine + Lyche + Pink
in this journal.

The image above is by a man, Brian Stauffer. Related material:

An image from today’s NY Times Sunday Book Review —

This  image is by a non-man, Kelsey Dake.

The first image above, since it combines Lyche’s enthusiasm for the color
pink and (apparently) for fishnet stockings, seems to me the better picture,
despite its prurient nature.

(Updated through 10 AM ET)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Chinese Rune

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"The Geometry of the I Ching introduces something called the Cullinane sequence
for the hexagrams, and uses a notation based on the four sides and two diagonals
in a square to indicate the yin and yang lines. The resulting rune-like symbols
are intriguing…."

— Andreas Schöter's  I Ching  home page

Actually, the geometry is a bit deeper than the rune-like symbols.

" 'Harriet Burden has been really great to me,'
Rune says in an interview, 'not only as a collector
of my work but as a true supporter. And I think of her
as a muse for the project … ' "

— In The Blazing World , the artist known as Rune

Nabokovian

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:16 AM

"Constructed as a Nabokovian cat’s cradle, the novel
purports to be the work of a professor of aesthetics…."

— Fernanda Eberstadt in a book review now online

Blazing Thule

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:20 AM

The title is suggested by a new novel (see cover below),
and by an unwritten book by Nabokov —

Siri Hustvedt, 'The Blazing World'.

Related material:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Her

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:48 PM

(Continued)

The front page of The New York Times Book Review 
for next Sunday (March 30, 2014) is devoted to a
review of Siri Hustvedt’s new novel  The Blazing World .
See two posts from St. Patrick’s day:  Her and Narratives.

The review’s author is Fernanda Eberstadt.

The review is titled “Outsider Art.”
See also that phrase in this journal.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Narratives

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Or: The Confessions of Nat Tate

“A convincing lie is, in its own way, a tiny, perfect narrative.”
— William Boyd, “A Short History of the Short Story” (2006)

“A novel written in the first-person singular has certain powerful
narrative advantages, especially when it takes the form of a ‘confession.'”
— William Boyd, “Memoir of a Plagiarist” (1994)

IMAGE- 'Siri Hustvedt Interview: Fakes and Fiction'

IMAGE- 'Siri Hustvedt Interview: Fakes and Fiction'

From a Log24 post yesterday —

For Little Man Tate —

IMAGE- Wechsler block-design cubes and related WAIS-R manual

Related material — Wechsler in this journal and an earlier Siri Hustvedt
art novel, from 2003 —

Mark and Lucille, Bill and Violet, Al and Regina, etc., etc., etc. —

IMAGE- Siri Hustvedt on the name 'Wechsler' in 'What I Loved'

Her

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

IMAGE- Siri, the Apple personal assistant, as defined at Wikipedia

The name Siri is Norwegian, meaning
‘beautiful woman who leads you to victory.'”

I prefer Josefine.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Good Question

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:00 PM

Amy Adams in the new film “Her” —

“You’re dating an OS?  What is that like?”

— Question quoted in a Hollywood Reporter
story on the film’s second trailer

From the same story, by Philiana Ng —

” The trailer is set to Arcade Fire’s
mid-tempo ballad ‘Supersymmetry.’ “

Parts of an answer for Amy —

Nov. 26, 2012, as well as

July 19, 2008,

Dec. 18, 2013,

Dec. 24, 2013, and

Dec. 27, 2013.

The Hollywood Reporter  story is from Dec. 3, 2013.
See also that date in this  journal.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Intelligence Test

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 6:00 PM

This journal on June 18, 2008

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110724-Hustvedt-WechslerCubes.jpg

The Wechsler Cubes story continues with a paper from December 2009…

"Learning effects were assessed for the block design (BD) task,
on the basis of variation in 2 stimulus parameters:
perceptual cohesiveness (PC) and set size uncertainty (U)." —

(Click image for some background.)

The real intelligence test is, of course, the one Wechsler flunked—
investigating the properties of designs made with sixteen
of his cubes instead of nine.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Venus at St. Anne’s

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:20 PM

The title is that of a chapter in the C.S. Lewis classic  That Hideous Strength .

A search suggested by this afternoon's NY Lottery four-digit number,
8002, yields a forum post at WebOfNarcissism.com—

"a book that changed my life"—

"Here is the book:

http://www.amazon.com/What-Loved-Novel-Siri-Hustvedt/dp/0312421192

Warning.  It is dark.  But it is also lovely."

Whether it is deep as well, the reader may judge.

The quoted review is from a discussion by an anonymous user
of her relationship with someone called N. See also, in this journal,
The Story of N.

Happy St. Anne's Day.

The Case of the Missing Smile

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

In today's online New York Times , Roger Cohen quotes a manifesto—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110726-CohenNYT.jpg

A more complete excerpt—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110726-Excerpt.jpg

Note that Cohen omits the concluding punctuation—
three exclamation points and a smile emoticon

!!!:-)

(Compare and contrast with the smile of Hannibal Lecter.)

Related material from this  journal on the following day, Flag Day, June 14

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11A/110612-SquareOfOpposition.jpg

Note that the structure of the central flag above
is not unlike that of the skull and crossbones flag.

See also the remark of author Siri Hustvedt (of Norwegian-American
                      background) that was quoted here Sunday.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lottery Royale

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:30 PM

Continuing this afternoon's meditation on Hollywood
endings, recall the ending of the 1966 David Niven
version of Casino Royale

"Eventually, Jimmy's atomic pill explodes, destroying Casino Royale
along with everyone inside…. Sir James and all of his agents then
appear in heaven, with angel wings and harps and Jimmy Bond is
shown descending into the fires of hell." — Wikipedia

This evening's NY Lottery numbers are 169 and 1243.

An occurence of 169 in this journal on June 18, 2008

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110724-Hustvedt-WechslerCubes.jpg

  As for 1243, see Post  1243 and a recent obituary.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Annals of Rhetoric

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:45 AM

Tangled Up In Red

CHANGE
 FEW CAN BELIEVE IN

See Siri Hustvedt on the name "Wechsler"
and see the tag "permutahedron" in this journal.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday June 18, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 3:00 PM
CHANGE
 FEW CAN BELIEVE IN

What I Loved, a novel by Siri Hustvedt (New York, Macmillan, 2003), contains a paragraph on the marriage of a fictional artist named Wechsler–

Page 67 —

“… Bill and Violet were married. The wedding was held in the Bowery loft on June 16th, the same day Joyce’s Jewish Ulysses had wandered around Dublin. A few minutes before the exchange of vows, I noted that Violet’s last name, Blom, was only an o away from Bloom, and that meaningless link led me to reflect on Bill’s name, Wechsler, which carries the German root for change, changing, and making change. Blooming and changing, I thought.”

For Hustvedt’s discussion of Wechsler’s art– sculptured cubes, which she calls “tightly orchestrated semantic bombs” (p. 169)– see Log24, May 25, 2008.

Related material:

Wechsler cubes

(after David Wechsler,
1896-1981, chief
psychologist at Bellevue)

Wechsler blocks for psychological testing

These cubes are used to
make 3×3 patterns for
psychological testing.

Related 3×3 patterns appear
in “nine-patch” quilt blocks
and in the following–

Don Park at docuverse.com, Jan. 19, 2007:

“How to draw an Identicon

Designs from a web page on Identicons

A 9-block is a small quilt using only 3 types of patches, out of 16 available, in 9 positions. Using the identicon code, 3 patches are selected: one for center position, one for 4 sides, and one for 4 corners.

Positions and Rotations

For center position, only a symmetric patch is selected (patch 1, 5, 9, and 16). For corner and side positions, patch is rotated by 90 degree moving clock-wise starting from top-left position and top position respectively.”

    

From a weblog by Scott Sherrill-Mix:

“… Don Park came up with the original idea for representing users with geometric shapes….”

Claire | 20-Dec-07 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

“This reminds me of a flash demo by Jarred Tarbell
http://www.levitated.net/daily/lev9block.html

ScottS-M | 21-Dec-07 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    

Jared Tarbell at levitated.net, May 15, 2002:

“The nine block is a common design pattern among quilters. Its construction methods and primitive building shapes are simple, yet produce millions of interesting variations.

Designs from a web page by Jared Tarbell
Figure A. Four 9 block patterns,
arbitrarily assembled, show the
grid composition of the block.

Each block is composed of 9 squares, arranged in a 3 x 3 grid. Each square is composed of one of 16 primitive shapes. Shapes are arranged such that the block is radially symmetric. Color is modified and assigned arbitrarily to each new block.

The basic building blocks of the nine block are limited to 16 unique geometric shapes. Each shape is allowed to rotate in 90 degree increments. Only 4 shapes are allowed in the center position to maintain radial symmetry.

Designs from a web page by Jared Tarbell

Figure B. The 16 possible shapes allowed
for each grid space. The 4 shapes allowed
in the center have bold numbers.”

   
Such designs become of mathematical interest when their size is increased slightly, from square arrays of nine blocks to square arrays of sixteen.  See Block Designs in Art and Mathematics.

(This entry was suggested by examples of 4×4 Identicons in use at Secret Blogging Seminar.)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday May 26, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:07 AM
Crystal Vision

Stevie Nicks
 is 60 today.

Poster for the film 'The Craft'

On the author discussed
here yesterday,
Siri Hustvedt:

“… she explores
the nature of identity
in a structure* of
crystalline complexity.”

Janet Burroway,   
quoted in  
ART WARS  

Olivier as Dr. Christian Szell

The icosahedron (a source of duads and synthemes)

“Is it safe?”

Annals of Art Education:
 Geometry and Death

* Related material:
the life and work of
Felix Christian Klein
and
Report to the Joint
Mathematics Meetings

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday May 25, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:30 PM
Today’s Sermon

continued from 9 AM

Pennsylvania Lottery today:
Mid-day 105,
Evening 304

Related material:
1/05, 2003,
3/04, 2004

Bill laid bare the arbitrary
roots of meaning itself….”
— Siri Hustvedt,
quoted here
this morning

“A poem should not mean
But be”

Archibald MacLeish,
  quoted here May 23

Sunday May 25, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 6:30 PM
Hall of Mirrors

Epigraph to
Deploying the Glass Bead Game, Part II,”
by Robert de Marrais:

“For a complete logical argument,”
Arthur began
with admirable solemnity,
“we need two prim Misses –”
“Of course!” she interrupted.
“I remember that word now.
And they produce — ?”
“A Delusion,” said Arthur.

— Lewis Carroll,
Sylvie and Bruno

Prim Miss 1:

Erin O’Connor’s weblog
“Critical Mass” on May 24:

Roger Rosenblatt’s Beet [Ecco hardcover, Jan. 29, 2008] is the latest addition to the noble sub-genre of campus fiction….

Curricular questions and the behavior of committees are at once dry as dust subjects and areas ripe for sarcastic send-up– not least because, as dull as they are, they are really both quite vital to the credibility and viability of higher education.

Here’s an excerpt from the first meeting, in which committee members propose their personal plans for a new, improved curriculum:

“… Once the students really got into playing with toy soldiers, they would understand history with hands-on excitement.”

To demonstrate his idea, he’d brought along a shoe box full of toy doughboys and grenadiers, and was about to reenact the Battle of Verdun on the committee table when Heilbrun stayed his hand. “We get it,” he said.

“That’s quite interesting, Molton,” said Booth [a chemist]. “But is it rigorous enough?”

At the mention of the word, everyone, save Peace, sat up straight.

“Rigor is so important,” said Kettlegorf.

“We must have rigor,” said Booth.

“You may be sure,” said the offended Kramer. “I never would propose anything lacking rigor.”

Smythe inhaled and looked at the ceiling. “I think I may have something of interest,” he said, as if he were at a poker game and was about to disclose a royal flush. “My proposal is called ‘Icons of Taste.’ It would consist of a galaxy of courses affixed to several departments consisting of lectures on examples of music, art, architecture, literature, and other cultural areas a student needed to indicate that he or she was sophisticated.”

“Why would a student want to do that?” asked Booth.

“Perhaps sophistication is not a problem for chemists,” said Smythe. Lipman tittered.

“What’s the subject matter?” asked Heilbrun. “Would it have rigor?”

“Of course it would have rigor. Yet it would also attract those additional students Bollovate is talking about.” Smythe inhaled again. “The material would be carefully selected,” he said. “One would need to pick out cultural icons the students were likely to bring up in conversation for the rest of their lives, so that when they spoke, others would recognize their taste as being exquisite yet eclectic and unpredictable.”

“You mean Rembrandt?” said Kramer.

Smythe smiled with weary contempt. “No, I do not mean Rembrandt. I don’t mean Beethoven or Shakespeare, either, unless something iconic has emerged about them to justify their more general appeal.”

“You mean, if they appeared on posters,” said Lipman.

“That’s it, precisely.”

Lipman blushed with pride.

“The subject matter would be fairly easy to amass,” Smythe said. “We could all make up a list off the top of our heads. Einstein–who does have a poster.” He nodded to the ecstatic Lipman. “Auden, for the same reason. Students would need to be able to quote ‘September 1939[ or at least the last lines. And it would be good to teach ‘Musee des Beaux Arts’ as well, which is off the beaten path, but not garishly. Mahler certainly. But Cole Porter too. And Sondheim, I think. Goya. Warhol, it goes without saying, Stephen Hawking, Kurosawa, Bergman, Bette Davis. They’d have to come up with some lines from Dark Victory, or better still, Jezebel. La Dolce Vita. Casablanca. King of Hearts. And Orson, naturally. Citizen Kane, I suppose, though personally I prefer F for Fake.”

“Judy!” cried Heilbrun.

“Yes, Judy too. But not ‘Over the Rainbow.’ It would be more impressive for them to do ‘The Trolley Song,’ don’t you think?” Kettlegorf hummed the intro.

Guernica,” said Kramer. “Robert Capa.” Eight-limbed asterisk

“Edward R. Murrow,” said Lipman.

“No! Don’t be ridiculous!” said Smythe, ending Lipman’s brief foray into the world of respectable thought.

“Marilyn Monroe!” said Kettlegorf.

“Absolutely!” said Smythe, clapping to indicate his approval.

“And the Brooklyn Bridge,” said Booth, catching on. “And the Chrysler Building.”

“Maybe,” said Smythe. “But I wonder if the Chrysler Building isn’t becoming something of a cliche.”

Peace had had enough. “And you want students to nail this stuff so they’ll do well at cocktail parties?”

Smythe sniffed criticism, always a tetchy moment for him. “You make it sound so superficial,” he said.

Prim Miss 2:

Siri Hustvedt speaks at Adelaide Writers’ Week– a story dated March 24, 2008

“I have come to think of my books as echo chambers or halls of mirrors in which themes, ideas, associations continually reflect and reverberate inside a text. There is always point and counterpoint, to use a musical illustration. There is always repetition with difference.”

A Delusion:

Exercise — Identify in the following article the sentence that one might (by unfairly taking it out of context) argue is a delusion.

(Hint: See Reflection Groups in Finite Geometry.)

A. V. Borovik, 'Maroids and Coxeter Groups'

Why Borovik’s Figure 4
is included above:

Euclid, Peirce, L’Engle:
No Royal Roads.

For more on Prim Miss 2
and deploying
the Glass Bead Game,
see the previous entry.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/images/asterisk8.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. And now, perhaps, his brother Cornell Capa, who died Friday.

 Related material: Log24 on March 24– Death and the Apple Tree— with an excerpt from
George MacDonald, and an essay by David L. Neuhouser mentioning the influence of MacDonald on Lewis Carroll– Lewis Carroll: Author, Mathematician, and Christian (pdf).

Sunday May 25, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 AM
Wechsler Cubes

 "Confusion is nothing new."
— Song lyric, Cyndi Lauper  

Part I:
Magister Ludi

Hermann Hesse's 1943 The Glass Bead Game (Picador paperback, Dec. 6, 2002, pp. 139-140)–

"For the present, the Master showed him a bulky memorandum, a proposal he had received from an organist– one of the innumerable proposals which the directorate of the Game regularly had to examine. Usually these were suggestions for the admission of new material to the Archives. One man, for example, had made a meticulous study of the history of the madrigal and discovered in the development of the style a curved that he had expressed both musically and mathematically, so that it could be included in the vocabulary of the Game. Another had examined the rhythmic structure of Julius Caesar's Latin and discovered the most striking congruences with the results of well-known studies of the intervals in Byzantine hymns. Or again some fanatic had once more unearthed some new cabala hidden in the musical notation of the fifteenth century. Then there were the tempestuous letters from abstruse experimenters who could arrive at the most astounding conclusions from, say, a comparison of the horoscopes of Goethe and Spinoza; such letters often included pretty and seemingly enlightening geometric drawings in several colors."

Part II:
A Bulky Memorandum

From Siri Hustvedt, author of Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting (Princeton Architectural Press, 2005)– What I Loved: A Novel (Picador paperback, March 1, 2004, page 168)–

A description of the work of Bill Wechsler, a fictional artist:

"Bill worked long hours on a series of autonomous pieces about numbers. Like O's Journey, the works took place inside glass cubes, but these were twice as large– about two feet square. He drew his inspiration from sources as varied as the Cabbala, physics, baseball box scores, and stock market reports. He painted, cut, sculpted, distorted, and broke the numerical signs in each work until they became unrecognizable. He included figures, objects, books, windows, and always the written word for the number. It was rambunctious art, thick with allusion– to voids, blanks, holes, to monotheism and the individual, the the dialectic and yin-yang, to the Trinity, the three fates, and three wishes, to the golden rectangle, to seven heavens, the seven lower orders of the sephiroth, the nine Muses, the nine circles of Hell, the nine worlds of Norse mythology, but also to popular references like A Better Marriage in Five Easy Lessons and Thinner Thighs in Seven Days. Twelve-step programs were referred to in both cube one and cube two. A miniature copy of a book called The Six Mistakes Parents Make Most Often lay at the bottom of cube six. Puns appeared, usually well disguised– one, won; two, too, and Tuesday; four, for, forth; ate, eight. Bill was partial to rhymes as well, both in images and words. In cube nine, the geometric figure for a line had been painted on one glass wall. In cube three, a tiny man wearing the black-and-white prison garb of cartoons and dragging a leg iron has

— End of page 168 —

opened the door to his cell. The hidden rhyme is "free." Looking closely through the walls of the cube, one can see the parallel rhyme in another language: the German word drei is scratched into one glass wall. Lying at the bottom of the same box is a tiny black-and-white photograph cut from a book that shows the entrance to Auschwitz: ARBEIT MACHT FREI. With every number, the arbitrary dance of associations worked togethere to create a tiny mental landscape that ranged in tone from wish-fulfillment dream to nightmare. Although dense, the effect of the cubes wasn't visually disorienting. Each object, painting, drawing, bit of text, or sculpted figure found its rightful place under the glass according to the necessary, if mad, logic of numerical, pictorial, and verbal connection– and the colors of each were startling. Every number had been given a thematic hue. Bill had been interested in Goethe's color wheel and in Alfred Jensen's use of it in his thick, hallucinatory paintings of numbers. He had assigned each number a color. Like Goethe, he included black and white, although he didn't bother with the poet's meanings. Zero and one were white. Two was blue. Three was red, four was yellow, and he mixed colors: pale blue for five, purples in six, oranges in seven, greens in eight, and blacks and grays in nine. Although other colors and omnipresent newsprint always intruded on the basic scheme, the myriad shades of a single color dominated each cube.

The number pieces were the work of a man at the top of his form. An organic extension of everything Bill had done before, these knots of symbols had an explosive effect. The longer I looked at them, the more the miniature constructions seemed on the brink of bursting from internal pressure. They were tightly orchestrated semantic bombs through which Bill laid bare the arbitrary roots of meaning itself– that peculiar social contract generated by little squiggles, dashes, lines, and loops on a page."

Part III:
Wechsler Cubes

(named not for
Bill Wechsler, the
fictional artist above,
but for the non-fictional
   David Wechsler) —

From 2002:

Above: Dr. Harrison Pope, Harvard professor of psychiatry, demonstrates the use of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale "block design" subtest.


Part IV:
A Magic Gallery
 
Log24, March 4, 2004
 

ZZ
WW

Figures from the
Kaleidoscope Puzzle
of Steven H. Cullinane:


Poem by Eugen Jost:
Zahlen und Zeichen,
Wörter und Worte

Mit Zeichen und Zahlen
vermessen wir Himmel und Erde
schwarz
auf weiss
schaffen wir neue Welten
oder gar Universen


 Numbers and Names,
Wording and Words


With numbers and names
we measure heaven and earth
black
on white
we create new worlds
and universes


English translation
by Catherine Schelbert



A related poem:

Alphabets
by Hermann Hesse

From time to time
we take our pen in hand
and scribble symbols
on a blank white sheet
Their meaning is
at everyone's command;
it is a game whose rules
are nice and neat.

But if a savage
or a moon-man came
and found a page,
a furrowed runic field,
and curiously studied
lines and frame:
How strange would be
the world that they revealed.
a magic gallery of oddities.
He would see A and B
as man and beast,
as moving tongues or
arms or legs or eyes,
now slow, now rushing,
all constraint released,
like prints of ravens'
feet upon the snow.
He'd hop about with them,
fly to and fro,
and see a thousand worlds
of might-have-been
hidden within the black
and frozen symbols,
beneath the ornate strokes,
the thick and thin.
He'd see the way love burns
and anguish trembles,
He'd wonder, laugh,
shake with fear and weep
because beyond this cipher's
cross-barred keep
he'd see the world
in all its aimless passion,
diminished, dwarfed, and
spellbound in the symbols,
and rigorously marching
prisoner-fashion.
He'd think: each sign
all others so resembles
that love of life and death,
or lust and anguish,
are simply twins whom
no one can distinguish…
until at last the savage
with a sound
of mortal terror
lights and stirs a fire,
chants and beats his brow
against the ground
and consecrates the writing
to his pyre.
Perhaps before his
consciousness is drowned
in slumber there will come
to him some sense
of how this world
of magic fraudulence,
this horror utterly
behind endurance,
has vanished as if
it had never been.
He'll sigh, and smile,
and feel all right again.

— Hermann Hesse (1943),
"Buchstaben," from
Das Glasperlenspiel,
translated by
Richard and Clara Winston

Monday, March 10, 2003

Monday March 10, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:45 AM

ART WARS:

Art at the Vanishing Point

Two readings from The New York Times Book Review of Sunday,

March 9,

2003 are relevant to our recurring "art wars" theme.  The essay on Dante by Judith Shulevitz on page 31 recalls his "point at which all times are present."  (See my March 7 entry.)  On page 12 there is a review of a novel about the alleged "high culture" of the New York art world.  The novel is centered on Leo Hertzberg, a fictional Columbia University art historian.  From Janet Burroway's review of What I Loved, by Siri Hustvedt:

"…the 'zeros' who inhabit the book… dramatize its speculations about the self…. the spectator who is 'the true vanishing point, the pinprick in the canvas.'''

Here is a canvas by Richard McGuire for April Fools' Day 1995, illustrating such a spectator.

For more on the "vanishing point," or "point at infinity," see

"Midsummer Eve's Dream."

Connoisseurs of ArtSpeak may appreciate Burroway's summary of Hustvedt's prose: "…her real canvas is philosophical, and here she explores the nature of identity in a structure of crystalline complexity."

For another "structure of crystalline
complexity," see my March 6 entry,

"Geometry for Jews."

For a more honest account of the
New York art scene, see Tom Wolfe's
 
The Painted Word.
 

Powered by WordPress