Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe was born on this date in 1749.
Speak not to me of yonder motley masses,
Whom but to see, puts out the fire of Song!
Hide from my view the surging crowd that passes,
And in its whirlpool forces us along!
No, lead me where some heavenly silence glasses
The purer joys that round the Poet throng,—
Where Love and Friendship still divinely fashion
The bonds that bless, the wreaths that crown his passion!
Ah, every utterance from the depths of feeling
The timid lips have stammeringly expressed,—
Now failing, now, perchance, success revealing,—
Gulps the wild Moment in its greedy breast;
Or oft, reluctant years its warrant sealing,
Its perfect stature stands at last confessed!
What dazzles, for the Moment spends its spirit:
What's genuine, shall Posterity inherit.
The moon shone in the rocking horse’s eye, and in the
mouse’s eye too, when Tolly fetched it out from under his pillow to see. The
clock went tick-tock, and in the stillness he thought he heard little bare feet
running across the floor, then laughter and whispering, and a sound like the
pages of a big book being turned over.
was not confining and the delight he took in this observation could not be
explained by its suggestion of escape. He seemed to see, with a cartographer’s
eye, that string of swimming pools, that quasi-subterranean stream that curved
across the county. He had made a discovery, a contribution to modern geography;
he would name the stream Lucinda after his wife. He was not a practical joker
nor was he a fool but he was determinedly original and had a vague and modest
idea of himself as a legendary figure. The day was beautiful and it seemed to
him that a long swim might enlarge and celebrate its beauty.
There’s a little known fact about Kevin Kelly, co-founder of
the magazine WIRED: he hangs out with the Amish a lot. If you think a
tech industry leader socializing with folks who prefer the horse to a car and
don’t have the internet is a little different, you’re right… but Kevin Kelly
actually looks at the Amish as innovators and even calls them “hackers." Today we explore three smart ways the Amish use technology and
how to apply their
Suddenly, black was everywhere. It caked the flesh of miners
and ironworkers; it streaked the walls and windows of industrial towns; it
thickened the smoky air above. Proprietors donned black clothing to indicate
their status and respectability. New black dyes and pigments created in
factories and chemical laboratories entered painters’ studios, enabling a new
expression for the new themes of the industrial age: factory work and revolt,
technology and warfare, urbanity and pollution, and a rejection of the old
status quo. A new class of citizen, later to be dubbed the “proletariat,” began
to appear in illustrations under darkened smokestacks. The industrial
revolution had found its color. Black is technically an absence: the visual experience of a
lack of light. A perfect black dye absorbs all of the light that impinges on
it, leaving nothing behind. This ideal is remarkably difficult to manufacture.
The industrialization of the 18th and 19th centuries made it easier, providing
chemists and paint-makers with a growing palette of black—and altering the
subjects that the color would come to represent. “These things are intimately
connected,” says science writer Philip Ball, author of Bright Earth: The
Invention of Color. The reinvention of black, in other words, went far beyond
The artist is by necessity a collector; he accumulates
things with the same ardor and curiosity [with which] a boy stuffs his pockets.
He borrows from the sea and from the scrap heap; he takes snapshots, makes
mental notes, and records impressions on tablecloths and newspapers—why one
particular thing and not another, he may not know at the time, but he is
omnivorous. He has a taste for children’s wall scrawling as appreciative as
that for prehistoric cave painting. Paul Rand
For the past 20 years, Dutch artist Theo Jansen has been perfecting a new form of life—the “Strandbeest.” Like a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci, Jansen has applied both artistic and engineering skills to create the giant mechanical creatures that can walk on their own, powered only by the wind. CONNECT The Strandbeest evolution ...
The Peabody Essex Museum site for the 2015 exhibition of Strandbeest. Theo Jansen's site.
Cultivate an ever-continuous power of observation. Wherever
you are, be always ready to make slight notes of postures, groups and
incidents. Store up in the mind ... a continuous stream of observations from
which to make selections later. Above all things get abroad; see the sunlight
and everything that is to be seen.
Long live the weeds that overwhelm
My narrow vegetable realm! –
The bitter rock, the barren soil
That force the son of man to toil;
All things unholy, marked by curse,
The ugly of the universe.
The rough, the wicked and the wild
That keep the spirit undefiled.
With these I match my little wit
And earn the right to stand or sit,
Hope, look, create, or drink and die:
These shape the creature that is I.
For most people, Doug Peacock is best known as the
character, or caricature, that the writer Edward Abbey created out of the raw
materials of the man’s life. Peacock grew up in Alma, Michigan, but during his
three tours as a Green Beret medic in Vietnam he dreamed of the American West,
clinging to a map of Montana like a secret and a promise. When he finally got
home, he headed out into the western backcountry to try to make something out
of the remains of his life. Shaken by all he had seen, numb but at the same
time full of unnamed rage, he turned to a new hobby, to monkey-wrenching, or
environmental sabotage, cutting down billboards, putting sugar in the tanks of
bulldozers, and using more explosive means to disarm the machines that were
despoiling the land he loved. It was a hobby that he shared with a new friend
named Ed Abbey, who would eventually transform Peacock into a fictional
character, the heroic but primitive George Washington Hayduke, the central
figure and driving force in Abbey’s novel “The Monkey Wrench Gang." But Peacock’s own life would take a turn that Hayduke’s did
not. He would come to spend time deep in the Wyoming and Montana wildernesses,
passing months living with grizzly bears. A gun-lover, he refused to carry
firearms when among the bears. At first he didn’t study the animals so much as
get to know them, learning their ways. Meanwhile, his fictional alter ego was
growing into a legend around the West. That legend still grows. Earlier in our
trip, looking out at Monument Valley from the Muley Point overlook in Utah, I
had seen, painted in big black letters on the concrete barrier, the words
“Hayduke Lives!" I was nervous about meeting Peacock. All I had to go on at
that point was a curt email that read: “If you’re around come on by.” Well, I
would be around, I’d make sure of it, even if it required driving 800 miles out
of my way. That morning he had given me directions to his house in Emigrant,
along the Yellowstone River about an hour north of the park, and we had agreed
to meet at 5. I looked at the map and figured the mileage, but what I hadn’t
counted on was winding our way through Yellowstone and stopping every mile or
two for an elk or buffalo. There was an irony, of course, in bombing through
one of America’s most beautiful parks to go and meet a wild man. CONNECT
In these modern times, writing by hand is fast becoming a
dying art form. People are communicating more and more electronically, whether
it’s by email, cell phone, messenger apps, and so on, rather than by taking a
pen to paper. Schools in America are even phasing out teaching cursive to
students, national standards do not require such instruction, and it’s viewed
as an unnecessary waste of time that will soon be obsolete.
One simple fact highlights how much the art form has died;
there are now only 12 people left in the entire world who currently hold the
title of ‘Master Penman.’ Jake Weidmann, from Colorado, is one of them and the
youngest by far. From early on he was consumed by handwriting and would often
choose to work on it rather than play outside or go to recess with all the
other children. His whole life has revolved around working at, and perfecting,
his penmanship. All of his time, energy, practice, and dedication to the art
has paid off because he has since earned the title of Master Penman. Everything
he does in his work, down to the pens and tools he uses, is in the old school
way of writing and drawing. Oftentimes a piece he is working on will take well
over a year to completely finish. If it’s not to his exact standards, he scraps
it and starts over. All of this preciseness and the need for perfection is what
earned him recognition and has helped make him a master at the art of penmanship. CONNECT
The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody
who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for
amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for
the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are
not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the
process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re
sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long
time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur
to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject
will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and
somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get
down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.
The San Diego Studies is a series of short videos that
manipulate time to reveal otherwise unobservable rhythms and movement in the
city. There are no CG elements, these are all real kites that have been
separated from their original shots and compiled together.
If you trust in Nature, in what is simple in Nature, in the
small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge,
immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as
someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything
will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in
your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your
innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge. You are so young, so much before
all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have
patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the
questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very
foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you
now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live
everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
To Imagination When weary with the long day's care,
And earthly change from pain to pain,
And lost, and ready to despair,
Thy kind voice calls me back again:
Oh, my true friend! I am not lone,
While then canst speak with such a tone!
So hopeless is the world without;
The world within I doubly prize;
Thy world, where guile, and hate, and doubt,
And cold suspicion never rise;
Where thou, and I, and Liberty,
Have undisputed sovereignty.
What matters it, that all around
Danger, and guilt, and darkness lie,
If but within our bosom's bound
We hold a bright, untroubled sky,
Warm with ten thousand mingled rays
Of suns that know no winter days?
Reason, indeed, may oft complain
For Nature's sad reality,
And tell the suffering heart how vain
Its cherished dreams must always be;
And Truth may rudely trample down
The flowers of Fancy, newly-blown:
But thou art ever there, to bring
The hovering vision back, and breathe
New glories o'er the blighted spring,
And call a lovelier Life from Death.
And whisper, with a voice divine,
Of real worlds, as bright as thine.
I trust not to thy phantom bliss,
Yet, still, in evening's quiet hour,
With never-failing thankfulness,
I welcome thee, Benignant Power;
Sure solacer of human cares,
And sweeter hope, when hope despairs!
A successful day … often I go to a place and I have no idea
what to make. And I just start picking things up and then I see something, and
it leads to something else, and then it leads and it’s like this little journey
the work goes on and then the work appears ...
It may be a balance work or ice work and I make it, and it’s
finished, and I photograph, and it falls down. And that I really enjoy.
The wonderful title evokes the rural hinterland of New
England, away from the Boston society and economy. It is a region of isolated
farms and lonely roads, and it is in writing about that landscape that Frost
merges the traditional with the modern to become a writer who is simultaneously
terrifying and comfortable. Frost’s technique is to take a familiar, even homey
scene – describing a wall, birch trees, two roads – and then undermine or
fracture the sense of comfort that those scenes evoke by exposing the
capriciousness of modern life. Frost always draws you in, and then reveals that
where you are isn’t at all what you expected.
When properly conceived and taught, the liberal arts do not
by themselves make us “better people” or (God knows) more “human.” They don’t
exist to make us more “liberal,” at least in the contemporary political sense.
But the liberal arts can do something no less wonderful: They can open our
eyes. They show us how to look at the world and the works of
civilization in serious and important and even delightful ways. They hold out
the possibility that we will know better the truth about many of the most
important things. They are the vehicle that carries the amazing things that
mankind has made—and the memory of the horrors that mankind has
perpetrated—from one age to the next. They teach us how to marvel.
The artist is the person who makes life more interesting or
beautiful, more understandable or mysterious, or probably, in the best sense,
more wonderful. The ideal artist is he who knows everything, feels
everything, experiences everything, and retains his experience in a spirit of
wonder and feeds upon it with creative lust.
His table is draped in a white cloth and topped with
countless books and papers, a water cup, an ashtray, a lamp with a yellowed shade. Light
pours from the windows and tumbles over potted cactuses and family ephemera —
everything in the house belongs to the Bergiers, with the exception of
Harrison’s supplies. Though the author doesn’t “want to think about how much
time” he’s spent in that room, he does acknowledge its effect on his craft.
“This feels like the right place,” he says. “Writers worry
that they’re not in the right space, but I don’t. Not here. There’s so much wild country,
and I have my ideal neighbors. No one.” So he writes and he smokes — American Spirits, one right
after another. They’ve turned his voice to silt and his skin the color of an
old catcher’s mitt, yet he lights them with the longing of a man consumed.