News 24.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 28.04.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 24.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 24.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

If “Harriet” could hear, she might pick up the sound of ping-pong balls skittering across a table. If she could smell, she might detect a range of lunches being reheated in a nearby microwave. If her eyes could see, she might let them wander a busted Pac-Man machine, a TV, and a campus bookstore, decorated with a swooping, celebratory paper chain, like an elementary-school version of DNA’s double helix. She might even catch a glimpse of herself in a camera lens or an observer’s glassy eyeballs. People often stop to stare.

On a sweaty Saturday, before social distancing was the law of the land, a group of visitors gathered at Drexel University’s medical campus in Northwest Philadelphia to meet “Harriet.” The preamble to this encounter was a display case holding several unusual and meticulously prepared medical specimens, long used as teaching tools. Like “Harriet,” each had been created in the late 19th century by a star anatomist, Rufus Weaver. Now, behind glass, between the cadaver lab and a bookstore, a segment of intestine and a piece of a spinal cord sit in stillness. A dissected eyeball floats ethereally in century-old liquid, its separated parts looking like a tiny jellyfish, a bit of brittle plastic, a mushroom cap.

Read the rest of this article at: Atlas Obscura

News 24.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 24.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

As soon as they crossed into Serbia, the map on his phone went blank.

Damon Krukowski was driving with his wife, Naomi Yang. They were two-thirds of the late-’80s indie rock band Galaxie 500, touring through Eastern Europe as a dream-pop outfit called Damon & Naomi. After years of war in the former Yugoslavia, Belgrade was still under economic sanctions, and off the grid; tech firms had no access to street maps. “We entered the noncorporate world, out of the reach of the West for political reasons,” Krukowski told me.

He had to find a pay phone and write down directions on paper, a crude throwback to the early days of touring. The venue was behind a radio station that had resisted the Milošević regime. And when Damon & Naomi took the stage and started to play, in a city severed from every method for a band to reach an audience, Krukowski realized that everyone in the room knew their songs.

“It was so moving, but it was about piracy,” he said. The Serbian radio station had downloaded Damon & Naomi’s files and broadcast them, creating a fan base. And Krukowski didn’t really have a problem with that. “Who could complain that their music had been able to reach people who had no means of purchasing it?” he asked. “It was amazing and we could play a show.”

It was the kind of story sold to millions of music acts about the global reach of the internet. In a connected world, ideas, thoughts, and yes, songs could break across borders, building audiences where none before existed. It was a dream that appealed to the do-it-yourself ethos of independent artists. They could play the music they wanted, find their own niche, and thrive. It might even change the world.

Like so many sectors of our economy, government inaction has allowed the music business to consolidate, with devastating effects on musicians.

But that promise of success soon ran into the reality of the digital age. Krukowski doesn’t indulge in that fantasy anymore. “We’re funneling more of the money in the industry to fewer and fewer hands,” he said. “It’s not designed to democratize music or make a million people a living. It’s just a handful and it’s shrinking.”

Read the rest of this article at: The American Prospect

In October of last year, Mike Winkelmann, a digital artist who goes by the name Beeple, noticed increasing talk in his online circles about a technology called “non-fungible tokens,” or N.F.T.s. Broadly speaking, N.F.T.s are a tool for providing proof of ownership of a digital asset. Using the same blockchain technology as cryptocurrencies like bitcoin—strings of data made permanent and unalterable by a decentralized computer network—N.F.T.s can be attached to anything from an MP3 to a single JPEG image, a tweet, or a video clip of a basketball game. N.F.T.s have existed in various forms for the better part of a decade. In 2017, an early iteration called CryptoKitties offered a marketplace of cartoon cat images, some of which traded hands for upward of a hundred thousand dollars. Imagine digital Beanie Babies, but with only one existing copy of each. For art works, the N.F.T. format functions a little like a museum label noting the piece’s provenance—a proprietary stamp, attached to digital pieces that can still circulate freely across the Internet. In new online marketplaces such as Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, and Foundation, artists can upload, or “mint,” their works as unique N.F.T.s, then sell them.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 24.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 24.03.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When I first came to Hollywood, I was still striking out a lot. Almost getting cast and then not. I knew this fellow who we all thought was a funny guy, a smart guy—interesting but really, really cheap. We used to tease him about how cheap he was. One day he said to me, “Sharon, you get so close on every project you go up on, but you always come in second. You really need a great acting teacher. I know this man who is so amazing that if he doesn’t completely change your life, not just your acting, your life, I will pay for all of your lessons.”

Well, we all thought this was hilarious, this friend being so cheap, of course. So I said I would go to his guy.

And that guy changed my life.

That guy, Roy London, ended up teaching a lot of us. Not just me: Brad Pitt and Robert Downey Jr. and Forest Whitaker and Geena Davis and Garry Shandling, and oh, the list goes on. That amazing, lovely man was such a special, dear teacher in the truest sense of the word. He passed away way more than 25 years ago now, and it amazes me still how I continue to learn from him. I can be standing in a driveway waiting for someone and suddenly be struck with a deeper understanding of something from a class years ago. Good teachers are like that. They are few and far between. I am and will be eternally grateful that Roy was in my life.

The lesson that sticks with me the most was from the last class I took.

Roy had called me up and said, “You have graduated—you don’t have to come back.”

I panicked. “But I’m not done—I haven’t gotten it.”

He said, “You have played every woman’s part. There is nothing left to do.”

So I said, “Then I need to come back and play the men’s parts.”

He reluctantly agreed.

I came back and we started. Actually, he first had me do an Oscar Wilde piece for two women; he was still unsure that I hadn’t simply lost my mind and that I might not with some convincing go away. When it was clear I was there to stay, he assigned me David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. I came back with a ferocious determination. His notes to me after the first performance were to go home and not work on it for a week. For me, a near impossibility.

I did as I was told. Although I cried a lot that week.

I came back and, with great insouciance, did the scene. I ripped it up. The class stood still. I had found my place. Roy was simply stunned. I will never forget the look on his face as he slowly turned to the class, and then to me, and said, “Well, what have we learned?”

And I said, “That I am enough.”

He said, “You have graduated, class dismissed.”

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

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When I performed in the play The Iceman Cometh (1946) by Eugene O’Neill, I played a character who stands up near the end and pours his heart out on stageMy character was almost like a messenger in a Greek tragedy but, instead of describing some nightmarish battle, he had to recount the horror of his own failures and the regrets of his life. It was an intense, emotionally draining experience, and I had to do it night after night. Each night I wondered if I could do it again, but somehow the energy of the room, the other actors and the story itself helped me to dial in some deep emotional frequency from my own history. It feels like you’re a shaman because you kind of lose yourself and channel something. And that activates deep emotions in the audience, too. So there’s a weird connection – I’m losing myself, and the audience is losing themselves. Then we come down together, having shared something powerful.
– Paul Giamatti

Like other artists, the actor is a kind of shaman. If the audience is lucky, we go with this emotional magician to other worlds and other versions of ourselves. Our enchantment or immersion into another world is not just theoretical, but sensory and emotional. How do actor and audience achieve this shared mysterious transportation? This shared ritual draws upon a kind of sixth sense, the imagination. The actor’s imagination has gone into emotional territories of intense feeling before us. Now they guide us like a psychopomp into those emotional territories by recreating them in front of us.

Aristotle called this imaginative power phantasia. We might mistakenly think that phantasia is just for artists and entertainers, a rare and special talent, but it’s actually a cognitive faculty that functions in all human beings. The actor might guide us, but it’s our own imagination that enables us to immerse fully into the story. If we activate our power of phantasia, we voluntarily summon up the real emotions we see on stage: fear, anxiety, rage, love and more. In waking life, we see this voluntary phantasia at work but, for many of us, the richest experience of phantasia comes in sleep, when the involuntary imagination awakes in the form of dreams.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.