Category Archives: philosophy

Chronophobia: On Time in the Art of the 1960s

By Pamela Lee (2004)
Despite its pervasiveness, the subject of time and 1960s art has gone largely unexamined in historical accounts of the period. Chronophobia is the first critical attempt to define this obsession and analyze it in relation to art and technology.Lee discusses the chronophobia of art relative to the emergence of the Information Age in postwar culture. The accompanying rapid technological transformations, including the advent of computers and automation processes, produced for many an acute sense of historical unknowing; the seemingly accelerated pace of life began to outstrip any attempts to make sense of the present. Lee sees the attitude of 1960s art to time as a historical prelude to our current fixation on time and speed within digital culture.

Posted in art, culture, history, media, philosophy, technology, theory

Critical Vehicles: Writings, Projects, Interviews

Critical Vehicles: Writings, Projects, InterviewsBy Krzysztof Wodiczko (1999)
Krzysztof Wodiczko, one of the most original avant-garde artists of our time, is perhaps best known for the politically charged images he has projected onto buildings and monuments from New York to Warsaw–images of rockets projected onto triumphal arches, the image of handcuffed wrists projected onto a courthouse facade, images of homeless people in bandages and wheelchairs projected onto statues in a park from which they had been evicted. Critical Vehicles is the first book in English to collect Wodiczko’s own writings on his projects. Wodiczko has stated that his principal artistic concern is the displacement of traditional notions of community and identity in the face of rapidly expanding technologies and cultural miscommunication. In these writings he addresses such issues as urbanism, homelessness, immigration, alienation, and the plight of refugees. Fusing wit and sophisticated political insight, he offers the artistic means to help heal the damages of uprootedness and other contemporary troubles.

Posted in architecture, art, culture, design, interview, media, philosophy, politics, technology

Joseph Beuys in America: Energy Plan for the Western Man

Joseph Beuys in America: Energy Plan for the Western ManBy Joseph Beuys (1993)
Joseph Beuys, artist and scholar, was the most influential thinker among artists of the postwar generation. He inspired the avant-garde with his impassioned appeals for democratic anarchy, and actually founded a string of ‘free universities’ across Europe. His credo was “Every man is an artist.” In 1974, he accepted an invitation to visit the U.S. His travels too him to New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis, and he called the trip – fact an extended performance piece – “Energy Plan for the Western Man.” Beuys’ writings have never before been collected in any language, and most of the interviews and speeches in Joseph Beuys in America have never before appeared in book form.

Posted in art, counterculture, education, history, interview, myth, philosophy, politics, science

The Poetics of Space

The Poetics of SpaceBy Gaston Bachelard (1964)
The classic book on how we experience intimate spaces. A magical book. A prism through which all worlds from literary creation to housework to aesthetics to carpentry take on enhanced—and enchanted-significances. Every reader of it will never see ordinary spaces in ordinary ways. Instead the reader will see with the soul of the eye, the glint of Gaston Bachelard.

Posted in architecture, art, consciousness, language, phenomenology, philosophy

A Natural History of the Senses

A Natural History of the Senses (Vintage)By Diane Ackerman (1990)
An exciting multidiscipline book that crosses the lines of literature, history, anthropology, music, psychology, sociology, and philosophy and that flows with grace and reason. The theme is expressed in such a way as to draw readers into experiential thought and, therefore, impacts heavily upon the way one looks at the issue of sensing and its role for humanity. It is sure to raise readers’ consciousness level while providing researched and analyzed information on this topic. In addition, the language is clear and concise, which makes the book valuable to a large cross section of readers. The generous use of cultural and historical examples adds to the readability.

Posted in consciousness, history, language, music, philosophy, science

Illuminations

IlluminationsBy Walter Benjamin (1969)
Studies on contemporary art and culture by one of the most original, critical and analytical minds of this century. Illuminations includes Benjamin’s views on Kafka, with whom he felt the closest personal affinity, his studies on Baudelaire and Proust (both of whom he translated), his essays on Leskov and on Brecht’s Epic Theater. Also included are his penetrating study on “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” an illuminating discussion of translation as a literary mode, and his thesis on the philosophy of history. Hannah Arendt selected the essays for this volume and prefaces them with a substantial, admirably informed introduction that presents Benjamin’s personality and intellectual development, as well as his work and his life in dark times.

Posted in art, culture, history, language, media, philosophy, photography

Digital Mantras: The Language of Abstract and Virtual Worlds

Digital Mantras: The Language of Abstract and Virtual WorldsBy Steven Holtzman (1995)
Holtzman, who holds a doctorate in computer science, provides a highly stimulating discussion of the integration of music, art, and language with recent trends in computer technology. He traces the evolution of formal abstract structures as they exist in the music of Schoenberg and Boulez, the art of Kandinsky, and the language grammars of Chomsky. Since computers have the capability to manipulate structures, the author contends that we have reached new frontiers of unexplored artistic creativity; he foresees new worlds of creative expression-that is, “virtual worlds.” This text wisely addresses the issues of dissonance in electronic music and human emotion and understanding in the creative process. Holtzman’s journey into “virtual reality,” sprinkled with a touch of Indian mysticism, is a totally intelligible, enjoyable venture.

Posted in art, history, language, media, music, philosophy, science, technology

Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet Of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology

Mr. Wilson's Cabinet Of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology (Vintage)By Lawrence Weschler (1995)
In the non-Aristotelian, non-Euclidean, non-Newtonian space between the walls of the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles exist bats that can fly through lead barriers, spore-ingesting pronged ants, elaborate theories of memory, and a host of other off-kilter scientific oddities that challenge the traditional notions of truth and fiction. Lawrence Weschler’s book, expanded from an article for Harper’s, is, at turns, a tour of the museum, a profile of its founder and curator, David Wilson, and a meditation on the role of imagination and authority in all museums, in science and in life. Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder is an exquisite piece of “magic realist nonfiction” that will prove utterly captivating.

Posted in art, biography, consciousness, exhibition, philosophy, science

Martin Heidegger: Basic Writings

Basic Writings: Second Edition, Revised and Expanded (1964)By Martin Heidegger
Heidegger’s most popular collection of essential writings, now revised and expanded — includes the 10 key essays plus the introduction to Being and Time.

Posted in art, consciousness, language, philosophy

Apocalypse Culture

Apocalypse CultureEdited by Adam Parfrey (1987)
“Apocalypse Culture is compulsory reading for all those concerned with the crisis of our times. An extraordinary collection unlike anything I have ever encountered. These are the terminal documents of the twentieth century.” -J.G. Ballard

Posted in counterculture, culture, myth, philosophy