Archive for November, 2008

Claude Lévi-Strauss at 100

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Claude Lévi-Straussclaude_levi-strauss
Happy Birthday Claude! He is 100 years old today.

Claude Lévi-Strauss did not see the West as superior (via)

“Every effort to understand,” he says, “destroys the object studied in favor of another object of a different nature.” Or: “Anthropology could with advantage be changed into ‘entropology’, as the name of the discipline concerned with the study of the highest manifestations of [a] process of disintegration.” (Tristes Tropiques)

The Antinomies of Tolerant Reason by Slavoj Zizek

To many a Western historian of religion, Islam is a problem – how could it have emerged after Christianity, the religion to end all religions? Its very geographic place belies the cliché on Orientalism: much more than belonging to the Orient, the location of Islam makes it a fatal obstacle to the true union of the East and the West – the point made exemplarily by Claude Levi-Strauss:
“Today, it is behind Islam that I contemplate India; the India of Buddha, prior to Muhammad who – for me as a European and because I am European – arises between our reflection and the teachings which are closest to it /…/ the hands of the East and the West, predestined to be joined, were kept apart by it. /…/
The West should return to the sources of its torn condition: by way of interposing itself between Buddhism and Christianity, Islam islamized us when, in the course of the Crusades, the West let itself be caught in the opposition to it and thus started to resemble it, instead of delivering itself – in the case of the inexistence of Islam – to the slow osmosis with Buddhism which would christianize us even more, in a sense which would have been all the more Christian insofar as we were to mount beyond Christianity itself. It is then that the West has lost its chance to remain woman. [1]”
This passage from the last pages of Tristes tropiques articulates the dream of a direct communication and reconciliation between West and East, Christianity and Buddhism, male and female principles.

Saudades do Brasil: A Photographic Memoir

The Savage Mind – included here are some quotes from this work

Bourdieu about Lévi-Strauss

Re: Trickster

Lévi-Strauss thinks the trickster of many Native American mythologies acts as a “mediator”. Lévi-Strauss’s argument hinges on two facts about the Native American trickster: (1) the trickster has a contradictory and unpredictable personality; (2) the trickster is almost always a raven or a coyote. Lévi-Strauss argues that the raven and coyote “mediate” the opposition between life and death. The relationship between agriculture and hunting is analogous to the opposition between life and death: agriculture is solely concerned with producing life (at least up until harvest time); hunting is concerned with producing death. (Wiki on Claude Lévi-Strauss)

Claude of the Jungle: The other Lévi-Strauss turns 100 By Benjamin Ivry

More links here, including this from the

Previous birthday post on Claude Levi-Strauss

Happy Shichimencho Day

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

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The Crane and the turkey by Kokei Kobayashi 1928.

Turkey in Japanese is called Shichimencho(七面鳥) meaning seven faced.
Seven faced turkey is chilmyeonjo(칠면조) in Korea.
“In german it’s Truthan for male and Pute for female turkey.” (Jtwine)
See the list here for wild turkey in different languages.

In Turkish, the bird is called hindi which means “from & related to India”.
In Vietnamese, it is called gà tây, meaning “Western chicken”.
In Urdu, it is called feel murgh, meaning “elephant chicken”.

Hear these vegetables play the music on youtube.

Where is the Turkey Alan Sondheim saved?

We save, not eat, a turkey on Thanksgiving! – Alan

(via email)

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Dotdude Brick Installation

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Dotdude mtremove1
Dotdude from San Francisco is removing Fung Lin’s brick installation piece by piece.

Classy Teutonic line up of bricks mtsarc1

Mostly done, Dotdude surveying the bricks to get a perspective.

Three or four days later I received this email from Jurgen from San Francisco.

the Hohokam renga installation figure in the center reminds of dotdude, i didn’t think of it while doing it. i guess the spirits of the south mountain park indians were speaking to me. was fun to play.

Magritte Owl rengamagritte

Renga A Renga (れんが – renga – 煉瓦 – a brick )
Renga has two meanings in Japanese. One is brick and another with different characters but the same sound means collaborative poetry.

Memory – Souvenir

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Happy Birthday to Fung Ching! She shares a birthday with Magritte.

it’s 110 years since Magritte was born. – Google tells me by Mark Young

It’s also 110 years plus a few months since my father was born. He used to wear hats—they were de rigeur for his times. I have a memory of seeing a photo of him in a bowler. I could be wrong. It might just be wishful thinking, an attempt to find a point of commonality.

Magritte and My father (Read the Liberator – from Series Magritte #35)

  • magritte2
    Memroy – Souvenir by Mark Young from Series Magritte.

  • Souvenir from Jurgen Trautwein complete

    See also his memory paintings – 5 am rising.

  • Magritte Owl in the Desert rengamagritte1 Renga Magritte – Collaborative installation by Jtwine and Fung Lin Hall More yard installation with mountains in the background here.
    More “Renga a Renga” a brick installation by Jtwine coming soon.

    Wild Combination – Arthur Russell

    Thursday, November 20th, 2008

    Wild Combination – A Portrait of Arthur Russell –
    A film by Matt Wolf.

    His bio on youtube, part I, Part II.

    Arthur Russell (Wiki)

    A Celestial voice, in Life and Death (/Hammer to Nail)

    Matt Wolf’s Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell isn’t your typical documentary experience. For Wolf doesn’t just tell the life story of the immensely gifted Russell. He resurrects him.

    Let’s go swimming (Arthur Russell’s gentle revolutions by Sasha Frere-Jones from the New Yorker)

    R.I.P Grace Hartigan

    Monday, November 17th, 2008

    gracehartigan Sweden by Grace Hartigan
    (Image via)

    Grace Hartigan and Frank O’Hara (One Poet’s Notes)

    Grace Hartigan, one of the New York painters associated with poets John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and Frank O’Hara in the 1950s during the early days of their careers, died last Saturday, November 15, at the age of 86.

    NYtimes obit

    “Or perhaps the subject of my art is like the definition of humor — emotional pain remembered in tranquillity.”

    Imagine! Painters and Poets of the New York School

    Questions of identity in “Oranges” by Frank O’Hara and Grace Hartigan

    Grace Hartigan interview, 1979 May 10, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

    I remember this painting of mine in the Whitney Museum called “Sweden,” and that’s dedicated to Franz Kline because Franz and I were very good friends and he used to tease me in various ways. I’m Irish but he says I look like a Swedish skier. And he came into the studio one time and I had this painting, and I was worried because I thought maybe the lower right hand corner wasn’t up to the upper left hand corner, and I was complaining to Franz. He looked at me with disbelief and he said, “You mean you want to make it better?” I thought, “Oh, God, that is humiliating. I’m supposed to be some little shopper who’s trying to get the best bargain in a grocery store.” And I’ve never forgotten that, that once the impulse, once the emotion is over, that to fix it up is a rather humiliating plan because then it’s just a patch-over and you’re a shoemaker or something, not an artist.(See her painting “Sweden” above.)

    More links and a photo of Frank and Grace at R. Silliman

    Frank O’Hara 1, 2
    See Frank’s grave here.

    The Colors and Sound of the Night

    Friday, November 14th, 2008

    Big Heads bigheadsin Asheville, North Carolina
    Robert Gardner via email

    Here’s an image of me and the boys spreading the joy of anarchy on
    election night. My shoulders are still recovering. I built Uncle Sam, the
    others were a bit less politically obvious.

    * * * * *


    Jürgen Trautwein via email

    4 nature and three noise layers, i like it
    the most with noise layer 4 and 5 off. happy cricketfrog at night,

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    Washington SQ. by André Kertész

    And lastly visit Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night at MoMa ( The exhibition continues to Jan 5, 2009)
    Update: Beauty and Justice, Van Gogh at MoMa by Nicolaus Mills (Dissent)

    The Men, the Poet and the Machine

    Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

    Today is Veteran’s Day veteransday2008

    “I am a bad patient’ a clip from The Men (youtube)

    To prepare for the role of a paralyzed war veteran in “The Men,” Mr. Kanfer tells us, Brando checked into the Birmingham Veterans Hospital near Los Angeles, “learned how to live in a wheelchair, wear heavy leg braces, rely only on his arms for movement,” and he picked up from the patients there “a tough, ironic humor drained of lament and self pity.” (via)

    See another clip “I am a bad patient”

    Fred Zinnemann who directed “the Men” also made the “The Search” and “From Here to Eternity”.
    Fred introduced Marlon Brando and Monty Clift to the world via Hollywood movies. The two great pioneer actors were both trained stage actors.
    (Both Marlon and Monty were born in Omaha, Nebraska – M & M from Omaha.)
    Home video of Marlon Brando, Monty Clift and Kevin McCarthy

    (Kevin McCarthy narrated this video. Kevin was a brother of Mary McCarthy).

    Frank O’Hara was a Veteran.

    O’Hara served in the South Pacific and Japan as a sonarman on the destroyer USS Nicholas during World War II.
    With the funding made available to veterans he attended Harvard University. (Wiki)

    Grace to be born and live
    as variously as possible
    O’Hara’s Grave

    (Click to animate) (Mars ice beats like a heart)

    Phoenix Mars Lander is presumed dead.
    Previous post Nasa Digi Day here.

    Polar Bears and a Cowboy

    Saturday, November 8th, 2008

    Yesterday I took this photo – a storyteller cowboy riding backward.

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    Not long ago in a park I spotted a duck with a strange haircut.

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    Does Alaska need saving along with Polar bears?

    The questions Obama has been thinking about all his life are the very ones that dominate the world today. And the mounting economic crisis only makes the construction of a wider identity – and conversing across the waters – more urgent, not less so. I happened to be in Alaska the week Sarah Palin was introduced to the world, and around me I saw the America I had grown up on: full of open space and possibility, blessed with great oil reserves and immigrants from everywhere, scenically gorgeous – but tied to the go-it-alone spirit of a “last frontier.”

    It’s more than possible to make your fortune in Alaska – but I’d much rather find the future in Hawaii. (My Chance Encounter with Obama in Hawaii – Pico Iyer)

    Tears of Joy, Not

    Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

    (Digital image by Fung Lin Hall)

    Update: Tears Joy.. Not.. (Victory for the rich)
    Further update: Senor Blues 2012 – V for Obama again..(Obama demolished Rom(balo)ney)

    Blue Kaipoi

    Monday, November 3rd, 2008

    Trisha Brown
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    R.I.P Madelyn Dunham (Obama’s Grandmother) – To the Mountaintop – Joe Klein

    “She was a quiet hero” Obama on youtube.

    Byodo (Digital image by
    Fung Ching

    Byodo image is dedicated to Madelyn Dunham. Fung Ching lives in Honolulu, not too far from Obama’s grandmother’s apartment. (See Byodo Inn in Haiku village).


    (Digital image by Fung Ching Kelling)