…denn aller Schmuck versteckt das Geschmückte.
Because all adornment conceals the adorned.
A History of Media Technology Scares
A respected Swiss scientist, Conrad Gessner, might have been the first to raise the alarm about the effects of information overload. In a landmark book, he described how the modern world overwhelmed people with data and that this overabundance was both “confusing and harmful” to the mind. The media now echo his concerns with reports on the unprecedented risks of living in an “always on” digital environment. It’s worth noting that Gessner, for his part, never once used e-mail and was completely ignorant about computers. That’s not because he was a technophobe but because he died in 1565. His warnings referred to the seemingly unmanageable flood of information unleashed by the printing press.
(Via Pop Wuping)
William Gibson on uniforms:
Q Have you ever wanted to wear a uniform?
A When was I last out of one? The extent to which we are are all of us usually in uniform brings to mind Eno’s definition of culture: everything we do that we don’t really need to. Pajama bottoms beneath a raincoat? Out of uniform. Jeans with one leg cut off? Out of uniform. Contracultural apparel disturbs us. Countercultures are intensely cultural. Bohemias have dress codes as rigid as those of merchant banks. We all read uniforms, constantly, whether we’re aware of it or not.
My favorite science fiction film wardrobe is worn by David Bowie’s alien, in The Man Who Fell To Earth. He turns up for his first terrestrial business meeting wearing a brand new $1.99 Chinese flannel workshirt, buttoned at the neck, its printed plaid fabric about half an inch thick, under a shiny, sleazy, striped business suit. The sense of the character’s inability to read or articulate our cultural codes is perfect, and heartbreaking.
(Via Gibson Blog)
I remember seeing that movie for the first time in 1979. Watched it several times. Died my hair the same shade of red, too. When I moved to Santa Fe I learned that the opening scenes were shot in this area, near Madrid, New Mexico.
…and comparing influence to weather:
But that’s material. “Influence” is something else. Influence is more like weather, when you’ve been writing for a while. It blows in from somewhere. You can’t say exactly where weather *is*, but you can say that it’s present.
(Via Gibson Blog)
This, I feel makes a good music critic: the ability to put his/her nose in the air, take a few good sniffs, and guess where the weather came from, where it had been before it blew around and through the artist in question. This requires more than an ear for music, or a way with words, it requires a certain amount of experience, an understanding of history. And by history I mean the many movements, or to stay with the metaphore, the many winds that have blown in the valley before. Saying I like it, although perfectly sufficient for mere mortals, is not enough, coming from a critic. S/he has to tell us what direction the weather blew in from, what the shift in barometric pressure means and so on.