The novel The Dervish House by Ian McDonald features a hunt for a mellified man.

Mellified man – Wikipedia

I finished Hopeland a while ago and enjoyed it very much. So I started reading an older novel by McDonald, from 2010, called The Dervish House. I am digging this one, too, and learned about the Mellified Man. The book describes the process at length, but the above linked entry in Wikipedia will tell you enough. What a wild and crazy idea? Did anyone actually do this? 

Staying with the honey theme, here is something I saw on Colossal: Honeycomb Swells Across Ava Roth’s Embroidered Works Made in Collaboration with Bees

And I remember seeing this vase at the MoMA years ago:

The Honeycomb Vase “Made by Bees”:

Libertíny constructed vase-shaped beehive scaffolds (removed at the end of the process) and then let nature take its course: a group of bees went to work building a hive, layer by layer, in the same shape as the scaffold. The work took from two to ten days, depending on the weather, the season, the size of the colony, and its need to expand. It took one week and approximately forty thousand bees to complete this particular Honeycomb Vase. The process, which the designer calls “slow prototyping” in an ironic counterpoint to today’s rapid manufacturing technologies, poetically brings a natural phenomenon full circle, starting with flowers, which nourish bees and enabled them to produce the vase, and ending with a vessel that is meant to contain flowers.


In the following months, during trips he sought to undertake as consecutively as possible, the same experience played out in the jungles of Brazil, the forests of Alaska and at a polar station a long way south of Patagonia, leading him to the conclusion that silence does not in fat exist in nature; rather it’s a fantasy fabricated by our culture, a concept we’ve simply dreamed up. And this was something my friend couldn’t understand. Or, he understood it, but he refused to accept it. The last I heard, his search for a piece of silence on Earth was still ongoing.

The Things We’ve Seen – Agustin Fernández Mallo

Books + ebooks

It slightly boggles me that there’s no option in the software to redefine two, three, or ten typefaces rather than just one; it’s not as if that’s a massive drain on processing power even for an e-reader. My ongoing conviction is that we’re still dealing with the first and least interesting iteration of the ebook technology, which is surprisingly inflexible and constrained given that real books are the opposite – constantly overflowing their conceptual borders and doing cheeky things with fold-outs, pop-ups, turning into art canvases, and other experimental orthogonalities – and I believe there’s a minor world-changer in the background for whoever can do the second wave of ebooks properly.

Type – by Nick Harkaway – Fragmentary

We are in the first and least interesting phase of ebooks–I agree 100% with that. What is holding everyone back? Publishers? Book designers who haven’t opened their minds to new opportunities? Or perhaps not enough authors who push the envelope? Clearly, ebooks have advantages, like creating notes, looking up words, using different color highlights, copying phrases. That can all happen seamlessly and very quickly, and without carrying different color highlighters around. But so far I haven’t seen a lot of cool things done with type, or actually anything that can’t be done with a regular paper book. 

Right off the bat I thought how wonderfully infuriating it would be if a who-done-it had a last paragraph where a word changed from dead to alive, and back, depending on the time of day. Or words flickered in and out, leaving doubt as to which was true. Photos can be printed in a book as well, but what about short video scenes or GIFs?

I am looking forward to ebook, phase two.

Trigger of Light

In Los Angeles, browsing Chinatown one summer, I discovered — in a dim sandalwood-scented shop full of painted vases and antique scrolls — a book by D. T. Suzuki: Zen and Japanese Culture. It was a substantial hardback, printed on milky paper with a hefty scattering of illustrations: insects on withered leafs, brush-painted tigers, peach blossoms in snow, monkeys peering from bamboo, cloud-hidden huts of meditation masters. In the shop, a few joss sticks burned in a ray of light. A cat napped under a red and gold altar with antique photos over it. Tangerines glowed in their porcelain bowl on a carved mahogany table. The world seemed suddenly very old — and very new. In awe of the book’s content and illustrations, I purchased it (probably the most I’d ever spent on the printed word) and eagerly devoured every page.

Trigger of Light | Kyoto Journal

Article by John Brandi in Kyoto Journal.

Also this:

Among the grasses
an unknown flower
blooming white

—Masaoka Shiki (1869—1902)