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harvest
  • 31030.1716

  • 31026.1913

    This scant black and white masterpiece photo book, like another black and white photobook Wisconsin Death Trip, is composed of entirely found negatives, culled from historical, industrial and governmental archives (the defense industry is well in evidence). Evidence, made of some of the greatest late 20th century images of American photography, is precisely how future anthropologists will assess our near past. Specifically it will act as an introductory map to our various archives of visual data which will acompany very complex factual data, from a time/era without very much filming/taping ability. Each image the tip of an iceberg of thousands upon thousands of negatives. Services might even rebuild motion events from a series or even a single still of an experiment, and discover what really went wrong. Documentary movies will probably be made from stills in the future, tracking algorithms can spot each speed of a street in motion's objects, render them for seven seconds. The blur has micro blurs in the negative. Evidence will come to life. First published in 1977 (the equally great Wisconsin Death Trip was published 1974). Reprinted recently.

     

  • 31025.1030

    An excellent tech-piece in Gawker.

  • 31011.1053

    The challenge for Mayan scholarly studies is simple: what's left to study after thousands of years, continual looting, a gripping moisture the jungle provides and the wars of collapse and then conquests. Many of these polities of Central America were abandoned for centuries, or trafficked rarely. What's survived in written form from the Americas' (it is poorly yet logically claimed) only literate civilization?  Not much, few codices (books of recorded data) and mostly what has survived the jungle in these forms of glyphically rendered stone and baked clay - a predominance of dates and what appears at first simplified deity or lordship worship verses, hymnals. As in most dominant indigenous cultures carefully studied by the explosion of graduate studies in the last century, the language is recorded in somewhat complete dictionaries per 'dialect' through spoken word translation. Although narrative myths exist in spoken Maya, some scattered in ethnographies, only a few complete narratives were recorded at the Spanish conquest, none are in their original written or carved glyphic transmission, and unfortunately thousands upon thousands of Mayan books are lost, a few hundred even burned by a fearful Jesuit as retribution for locals continuing to practice their local religions while also attending mass. Now Dennis Tedlock has achieved what might have seemed impossible only decades ago, he's brought the first study of Mayan literature to a masterful book form.  Although a blight of evidence might have hindered research, it also may have been a proverbial blessing in disguise. Scholars have had to work with pottery and monumental stela, and both have coded, expressive manners of storytelling; since stela, lintels etc. were integrated into sky viewing structures, they offer more complete understandings of the language's use of time and math, even interrelations between phases, and even some unusual keys: differing perceptions in meaning but not gesture, violating, or perhaps liberating them from the closed structure of western languages.  Using available data, some of which he's translated himself (a crucial one - an expansive take on the Popol Vuh), Tedlock incorporates his knowledge by impersonating unconscious strategies of Mayan and pools a vast array of master thinkers like Coe, Marcus, Taube, Marcus, Schele, Stuart, Aveni, B. Tedlock, Rice, Houston, and Kerr and assembles, in piles almost - into their spheres of specialty, translations of key artifacts and styles of writing, utilizing leaps with data they've already hinted at, but Tedlock makes certain overarching leaps: he states naming conventions across boundaries (a use of 'hereafter' that results in several 'eureka's). He shows the Maya possesed powerful storytelling strategies that any culture would could and should explore, both in literate and non-literate ways, and he extols visual specifities exclusive of translation.  He takes an open risk visual evolutions he's spotting are values that travel along a logical route, thus building skeletons of ideas from orchestrated proof. He includes astronomical data to many entries and it boosts his arguments since these chosen stories' shapes clearly expand into the night sky, some are cleverly illustrated with sky views and gradient milky ways including discussions of decaying orbits, spans of sky appearance, the goals of which are astounding once the language's overarching methods seep in (a spoiler that shouldn't be ruined here). A chapter about Mayan graffiti is pivotal, you can sense the literacy of non-royals, non-astronomers, thus the Maya convincingly hint that their language was suffusive, beyond any ideas (or ideals!) of literacy we cling desperately to in the west. This slight chapter even questions Western visual literacy by comparison. Accompanying the juicy textual discoveries are some exquisite visual strategies possible only in book form - the venn between anthropology, archeology and linguistics - connective starscapes, visually-based translations of both layout and deciphered mirroring. Sometimes these illustrations are maybe a bit asutere, but the gravity of shapes and forms in play and the historical correlations are proven (look below for only a hint): and above too, the cover's bare-bones stela-ish design is a preview of things to come inside. And the number he chooses as a timeframe, 2000, shows how unsensual our millenial epochal stopwatches are, how constrictingly dull our calendrical bookends can seem. Tedlock's book should be read by all slightly interested in the past and future of languages, and he's carefully prepared it for anyone without knowledge of the Maya with a run-through introductory chapter of conventional practice in Mayan dating and grammar. Tedlock's book is a time-extended lingual guide and much, much more. A must read.

    2000 Years of Mayan Literature, Dennis Tedlock, University of California Press, 2010

    A must-read 43 page transcript of Dennis and Barbara Tedlock's unedited interview for the Nova documentary Breaking the Maya Code.

  • 3109.0619

    Made as the radical underground began organizing into violent factions, Peter Watkins's Punishment Park is a window into late 60's extremism. Portrayed as a documentary, this fictional window into law-enforcement and justice showcases a brilliantly realized manhunt through desert terrain, with convicted extremists forced to run literally for their lives towards a 58 mile distant flag to escape sentences of up to 21 years for sedition. The deal is quite simple, make it to the flag and your sentence will be vacated. Told explicitly, with some threads well developed, others staccato (as if the crews lost their subjects), the film begins with the convicts' arrival at a makeshift court clearly outside the bounds of constitutional law, with a council of judges made up hastily from the locale status quo (California). A lone civil rights lawyer tries to add balance to the proceedings but is little more than a gnat in the face of a slowly moving elephant. It bears some resemblance to our current fears, the desert locale has an eerie nuance and the procedures seem to predict Guantanamo. Unknown actors provide pivotal performances. A cold satire of both sides. An early demonstration of hunting techniques by a policeman must be seen.

  • 311345.0800

    As the Indian Wars dialed down in the late 1800's, eastern institutions sent ethnographers to study the fallen first Americans. Alfred Kroeber, one of the early pioneers was sent to study the Southern Arapaho in the then Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), then visited the Northern Arapaho in Wyoming finally the similar Gros Ventre in Montana. His studies were published first, like most academics then, in four separate volumes of the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. Kroeber's study is a masterwork and is copiously illustrated.

    These two groupings at bottom: 1) Game pieces for a memory game similar to Concentration. 2) Paint pouches.

  • 311330.2117

    In August 2011, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the IMF, potential challenger in the next French elections, was at JFK airport, en route to Germany for a key meeting regarding Greek debt and the saving of the Euro. After his plane was sealed and taxiing for departure, Port Authority Police were requested to stop and detain him by the NYPD. Believing the police had found his missing IMF Blackberry, he was instead accused of rape and returned to NY to face a grand jury. Quickly the case fell apart and now it appears the accuser and the Manhattan D.A.'s office were used in an elaborate trap set by Accor, the French corporation owning the site of the crime, The Sofitel, whose security is managed by one of Nicholas Sarkozy's best friends.

    DSK thought that by staying in a French-run establishment it'd be culturally apt to get a blow job from the staff. Now it seems he was the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time. Read the hidden time-frame and the strange surveillance decrypt what happened between housekeeper Diallo (5' 10") and Strauss-Kahn (5' 7"). Who was in room 2820? Where is DSK's IMF Blackberry? The beginning of the unravelling...

    Edward Jay Epstein's brilliant forensic work in the NYRB.

  • 311330.1544

  • 311322.1021

  • 311309.2258

    A multi-front conflict: The Cartel Wars of the Americas vs. Anonymous.

    www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/anonymous-cancels-operations-against-drug-cartel-say-kidnapped-member-has-been-found/2011/11/04/gIQA11SzmM_blog.html