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The 'Future Book' Is Here, but It's Not What We Expected | WIRED
"THE FUTURE BOOK was meant to be interactive, moving, alive. Its pages were supposed to be lush with whirling doodads, responsive, hands-on. The old paperback Zork choose-your-own-adventures were just the start. The Future Book would change depending on where you were, how you were feeling. It would incorporate your very environment into its story—the name of the coffee shop you were sitting at, your best friend’s birthday. It would be sly, maybe a little creepy. Definitely programmable. Ulysses would extend indefinitely in any direction you wanted to explore; just tap and some unique, mega-mind-blowing sui generis path of Joycean machine-learned words would wend itself out before your very eyes.

Prognostications about how technology would affect the form of paper books have been with us for centuries. Each new medium was poised to deform or murder the book: newspapers, photography, radio, movies, television, videogames, the internet.

Some viewed the intersection of books and technology more positively: In 1945, Vannevar Bush wrote in The Atlantic: “Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.”

Researcher Alan Kay created a cardboard prototype of a tablet-like device in 1968. He called it the "Dynabook," saying, “We created a new kind of medium for boosting human thought, for amplifying human intellectual endeavor. We thought it could be as significant as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press 500 years ago.”

In the 1990s, Future Bookism hit a kind of beautiful fever pitch. We were so close. Brown University professor Robert Coover, in a 1992 New York Times op-ed titled “The End of Books,” wrote of the future of writing: “Fluidity, contingency, indeterminacy, plurality, discontinuity are the hypertext buzzwords of the day, and they seem to be fast becoming principles, in the same way that relativity not so long ago displaced the falling apple.” And then, more broadly: “The print medium is a doomed and outdated technology, a mere curiosity of bygone days destined soon to be consigned forever to those dusty unattended museums we now call libraries.”

Normal books? Bo-ring. Future Books? Awesome—indeterminate—and we were almost there! The Voyager Company built its "expanded books" platform on Hypercard, launching with three titles at MacWorld 1992. Microsoft launched Encarta on CD-ROM.

But … by the mid-2000s, there still were no real digital books. The Rocket eBook was too little, too early. Sony launched the eink-based Librie platform in 2004 to little uptake. Interactive CD-ROMs had dropped off the map. We had Wikipedia, blogs, and the internet, but the mythological Future Book—some electric slab that would somehow both be like and not like the quartos of yore—had yet to materialize. Peter Meirs, head of technology at Time, hedged his bets perfectly, proclaiming: “Ultimately, there will be some sort of device!”

And then there was. Several devices, actually. The iPhone launched in June 2007, the Kindle that November. Then, in 2010, the iPad arrived. High-resolution screens were suddenly in everyone’s hands and bags. And for a brief moment during the early 2010s, it seemed like it might finally be here: the glorious Future Book."



"Yet here’s the surprise: We were looking for the Future Book in the wrong place. It’s not the form, necessarily, that needed to evolve—I think we can agree that, in an age of infinite distraction, one of the strongest assets of a “book” as a book is its singular, sustained, distraction-free, blissfully immutable voice. Instead, technology changed everything that enables a book, fomenting a quiet revolution. Funding, printing, fulfillment, community-building—everything leading up to and supporting a book has shifted meaningfully, even if the containers haven’t. Perhaps the form and interactivity of what we consider a “standard book” will change in the future, as screens become as cheap and durable as paper. But the books made today, held in our hands, digital or print, are Future Books, unfuturistic and inert may they seem."

[sections on self-publishing, crowdfunding, email newsletters, social media, audiobooks and podcasts, etc.]



"It turns out smartphones aren’t the best digital book reading devices (too many seductions, real-time travesties, notifications just behind the words), but they make excellent audiobook players, stowed away in pockets while commuting. Top-tier podcasts like Serial, S-Town, and Homecoming have normalized listening to audio or (nonfiction) booklike productions on smartphones."



"Last August, a box arrived on my doorstep that seemed to embody the apotheosis of contemporary publishing. The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition was published via a crowdfunding campaign. The edition includes a book of images, three records, and a small poster packaged in an exquisite box set with supplementary online material. When I held it, I didn’t think about how futuristic it felt, nor did I lament the lack of digital paper or interactivity. I thought: What a strange miracle to be able to publish an object like this today. Something independently produced, complex and beautiful, with foil stamping and thick pages, full-color, in multiple volumes, made into a box set, with an accompanying record and other shimmering artifacts, for a weirdly niche audience, funded by geeks like me who are turned on by the romance of space.

We have arrived to the once imagined Future Book in piecemeal truths.

Moving images were often espoused to be a core part of our Future Book. While rarely found inside of an iBooks or Kindle book, they are here. If you want to learn the ukulele, you don’t search Amazon for a Kindle how-to book, you go to YouTube and binge on hours of lessons, stopping when you need to, rewinding as necessary, learning at your own pace.

Vannevar Bush's “Memex” essentially described Wikipedia built into a desk.

The "Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is an iPhone.

In The Book of Sand, Borges wrote of an infinite book: "It was then that the stranger told me: 'Study the page well. You will never see it again.'" Describing in many ways what it feels like to browse the internet or peek at Twitter.

Our Future Book is composed of email, tweets, YouTube videos, mailing lists, crowdfunding campaigns, PDF to .mobi converters, Amazon warehouses, and a surge of hyper-affordable offset printers in places like Hong Kong.

For a “book” is just the endpoint of a latticework of complex infrastructure, made increasingly accessible. Even if the endpoint stays stubbornly the same—either as an unchanging Kindle edition or simple paperback—the universe that produces, breathes life into, and supports books is changing in positive, inclusive ways, year by year. The Future Book is here and continues to evolve. You’re holding it. It’s exciting. It’s boring. It’s more important than it has ever been.

But temper some of those flight-of-fancy expectations. In many ways, it’s still a potato."
craigmod  ebooks  reading  howweread  2018  kindle  eink  print  publishing  selfpublishing  blurb  lulu  amazon  ibooks  apple  digital  bookfuturism  hypertext  hypercard  history  vannevarbush  borges  twitter  animation  video  newsletters  email  pdf  mobi  epub  infrastructure  systems  economics  goldenrecord  voyager  audio  audiobooks  smarthphones  connectivity  ereaders  podcasts  socialmedia  kevinkelly  benthompson  robinsloan  mailchimp  timbuktulabs  elenafavilli  francescacavallo  jackcheng  funding  kickstarter  crowdfunding  blogs  blogging  wikipedia  internet  web  online  writing  howwewrite  self-publishing  youtube 
january 2019 by robertogreco
A Dream - The New Yorker
"In a deserted place in Iran there is a not very tall stone tower that has neither door nor window. In the only room (with a dirt floor and shaped like a circle) there is a wooden table and a bench. In that circular cell, a man who looks like me is writing in letters I cannot understand a long poem about a man who in another circular cell is writing a poem about a man who in another circular cell . . . The process never ends and no one will be able to read what the prisoners write."
borges  poetry 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Jorge Luis Borges, "Borges and I"
"The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to. I walk through the streets of Buenos Aires and stop for a moment, perhaps mechanically now, to look at the arch of an entrance hall and the grillwork on the gate; I know of Borges from the mail and see his name on a list of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth-century typography, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; he shares these preferences, but in a vain way that turns them into the attributes of an actor. It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live, let myself go on living, so that Borges may contrive his literature, and this literature justifies me. It is no effort for me to confess that he has achieved some valid pages, but those pages cannot save me, perhaps because what is good belongs to no one, not even to him, but rather to the language and to tradition. Besides, I am destined to perish, definitively, and only some instant of myself can survive in him. Little by little, I am giving over everything to him, though I am quite aware of his perverse custom of falsifying and magnifying things.

Spinoza knew that all things long to persist in their being; the stone eternally wants to be a stone and the tiger a tiger. I shall remain in Borges, not in myself (if it is true that I am someone), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others or in the laborious strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him and went from the mythologies of the suburbs to the games with time and infinity, but those games belong to Borges now and I shall have to imagine other things. Thus my life is a flight and I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to him.

I do not know which of us has written this page."
borges  stories  buenosaires  identity  presentationofself  icontainmultitudes  spinoza  being  self 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Fiction or Standardized Test? ‘Multiple Choice’ Is Both - The New York Times
Zambra was born in Chile in 1975, and his entire primary education took place during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. His four works of fiction that have been translated into English before “Multiple Choice” have been lauded for exploring how the repressive forces of that era continue to haunt the country today. This new book, however, is the first to focus solely on the role that education and testing played in constricting the discussion of art and ideas during the dictatorship — and still plays, more than 25 years later in the different context of today. Just last week, my 16-year-old niece in Chile took a multiple-choice test in her literature class that asked her and her classmates to identify “the correct ­order” of events in a Borges story.

[Via
"I'ma leave this one right ... Here. [link to article]"
https://twitter.com/TheJLV/status/769588860787552256

"Read this as part of the struggle vs overtesting. Bars."
https://twitter.com/TheJLV/status/769590022534225920

See also:

"No coincidence that Milton Friedman's free market schooling ideology had its first outing in Chile."
https://twitter.com/clanghoff1/status/769591540247367680 ]
tests  testing  multiplechoice  chile  education  policy  politics  2016  books  borges  miltonfriedman  debate  conversation  control  authority  authoritarianism  standardization  standardizedtesting  idranovey  alejandrozambra 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Luigi Ghirri’s Brilliant Photographic Puzzles - The New York Times
"I look at Luigi Ghirri’s work daily: There’s a postcard reproduction of one of his photographs on my fridge. It depicts four women, turned away from us and toward a mountainous landscape. They could be taking in an actual vista — the perspective is correct — but the mountains and their intervening lakes have text superimposed on them, and so we realize the women are standing before an image of a landscape, either a poster or a mural. Ghirri took the photograph in Salz­burg, Austria, in 1977. I find it reassuring, amusing (that slight stutter in parsing it), simultaneously simple and complex in ways that are difficult to explain."



"The world, as Ghirri sees it, is full of images, and a picture of the world must also contain many images of images. The pictures he made, haunted by this notion of an all-encompassing view, often seem like fragments of something too complex to assemble into one coherent whole. He writes: “A key element in this work was perhaps the fondness I’ve always had for places and objects that seem to contain everything: encyclopedias, museums, maps.” There is the defamiliarization of scale that comes with such views. Ghirri compares his vision to that in “Gulliver’s Travels” or “Alice in Wonderland,” an imaginative space in which it’s hard to tell what’s very large, or what’s very small. Curiously, within the dreamlike logic of his pictures, the difference hardly matters. “The world might appear at first through a telescope, and then under a microscope, or perhaps through a set of binoculars that can be used to both to magnify and minimize. In some photo­graphs we can make out the building blocks of fables, the supporting framework and the scaffolding which props up this ‘land’; and yet, rather than exposing the tricks or taking away the magic, they contribute to the illusion.”

When we see, in a picture by Ghirri, a railing that spells out the word MARE (“sea”) overlooking the sea, the feeling of being in a fable is intensified, not lessened. The photo contains two islands, one closer to us and seen only in part, the other misty in the far distance. There’s a tiny ship, toylike, just under the R in MARE. The horizon line is indistinct, evanescent. And in the foreground, the railing, where it curves at the M, has been dinged. These little touches, these grace notes, testify to the intensity of Ghirri’s seeing and his love for the muted but multi­dimensional drama the world contains."



"Intriguing work naturally summons analogy. In describing the artists who have guided him, Ghirri mentions Evans, but also Louis Daguerre, Diane Arbus, Jorge Luis Borges, Fernando Pessoa, Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan, among many others. I find no mention of the American poet Elizabeth Bishop in Ghirri’s essays, but his work speaks to me in a way similar to hers. And if they have a shared language, it is a language Italo Calvino speaks, too. All three create a folkloric atmosphere; all have the gift of working in miniature without being trivial; all engage, very gently, the surreal comedy of the world looked at peculiarly.

Bishop was joyously obsessed with maps, and the four collections of poetry published in her lifetime, not counting “The Complete Poems” (1969), all made territorial allusions: “North and South” (1946), “A Cold Spring” (1955), “Questions of Travel” (1965) and “Geography III” (1976). These titles remind me of the abundance of globes, atlases, maps, monuments, tourist sites, road signs and postcards in Ghirri’s work. When I read Bishop’s “12 O’Clock News,” for instance, in which the objects arrayed on the writer’s desk — the gooseneck lamp, the typed sheet, the envelopes, the ink bottle — become stand-ins for a mythical landscape, I can’t help thinking of the still lifes of vases, jars and books that Ghirri photographed in the painter Giorgio Morandi’s studio. A section of Bishop’s poem, marked “typewriter,” reads in part as follows:

“The escarpment that rises abruptly from the central plain is in heavy shadow. ... What endless labor those small, peculiarly shaped terraces represent! And yet, on them the welfare of this tiny principality depends.”

What Bishop evokes here, and what Ghirri’s work confirms, is a sympathy with the lives of objects, the way the little things that surround us vibrate with accreted knowledge, as if they had been taking note of human behavior all along. In one essay, Ghirri writes about Daguerre’s ability to “awaken the inanimate world through light.” When an artist praises another artist, I pay attention: It often reveals what the one who praises would wish to be, or already is. Without question, Luigi Ghirri’s pictures awaken the inanimate world through light. This is why their magic never palls, and it is why I have kept “Salisburgo, 1977” on my fridge for going on two years now. To “get” Ghirri’s photographs, in the sense of untangling the initial confusion about what they depict, does not exhaust their poetry. His photographs play with scale, symmetry, tourism and travel; they betray a love of the land and a wish to care for it; they return us to the schoolroom, restoring the enchantment of knowledge without naïveté; and they somehow cut through the noise of our image-saturated environment to become, as he wrote, “passwords for the ineffable.”"
tejucole  photography  maps  mapping  luigighirri  2016  elizabethbishop  louisdaguerre  dianearbus  borges  fernandopessoa  rycooder  bobdylan  italocalvino  objects 
july 2016 by robertogreco
John Baldessari - Page - Interview Magazine
[via: http://austinkleon.com/2016/06/16/what-did-you-make-today-papa/ ]

"SALLE: You've been showing for a very long time in every conceivable context in the art world—on the page, on the gallery wall, in the movie theater. There's definitely times when it must have felt lonely. But it doesn't seem as though it ever kept you from doing it and doing more of it.

BALDESSARI: I still have that vestigial idea that all these other people are artists. I'm an artist wannabe.

SALLE: I guess that's what's kept you pure.

BALDESSARI: Well, maybe we never get rid of that.

SALLE: Do you think Richard Serra has his version of that feeling?

BALDESSARI: I have no idea. Although I remember a quote of his, when he first came into New York and was looking around at people doing sculpture. He said, "I can do this." I don't think I ever had that kind of self-assurance, but I admire it.

SALLE: Many artists have tried to embody a Borgesian sensibility—the "Library of Babel"—the roundabout, circuitous journey, that type of trope. It seems to me that your work does that better than most. You remind me of the Borges character who travels aimlessly around the globe without knowing why or without having any method or goal, only to discover at the end of his life that the map of his travels describes the outline of his face. Does that ring a bell?

BALDESSARI: Yeah. [laughs] That's true. I've always had this method of working: I think of following an idea to its logical trail—where would it take me—and instead of stopping there, I think, "What if I just kept pushing it a little bit further? Where would it go?"

SALLE: That seems to be one of the operating principles of your work. You can't account for how it got from this point to that point.

BALDESSARI: One of the games I play at night when I'm trying to go to sleep is that I start with a part of a word like E-A-S-T. Then I go through the alphabet. I start with A, okay, that doesn't work. B, okay, beast. I go to the end of the alphabet. You never realize so many words have E-A-S-T in them until you play that game.

SALLE: I've been playing word games with an 8-year-old girl. It's amazing what you can learn from a child.

BALDESSARI: I learned so much about art from watching a kid draw. I taught at the grade-school level. Kids don't call it art when they're throwing things around, drawing—they're just doing stuff. I think it's the first year of junior high school it ends, because the girls start drawing horses and the guys start doing fighter planes and tanks and that sort of thing.

SALLE: That marriage of word and image that we spoke of earlier—that simple binary operation of putting two things together and letting them stand, which I associate with your work from the early '70s—seems to be playing a bigger role in the work in the last four or five years.

BALDESSARI: For these fairly recent pieces, you've got high-end restaurant entrées and press clippings. People are thinking why, but in my mind, the more events escalate, the more we think about food.

SALLE: There's something very satisfying about the look of a flashcard—it speaks to the need for clarity. The aesthetic of the flashcard kind of sums up what was in the air during that time at CalArts as well. It was foundational.

BALDESSARI: That should be the goal for all art, to be as simple as a flashcard. There's that early videotape where I'm trying to teach a plant the alphabet with flashcards [Teaching a Plant the Alphabet, 1972].

SALLE: That's a crystalline presentation of it. Teaching a plant the alphabet takes on an almost Beckett-like, vaudevillian slapstick quality. Teaching a plant is so dumbly pedagogical—the sincerity of it.

BALDESSARI: Again, I'm just picking up on something in the culture. Back then, if you remember, there were people who thought one could communicate with plants.

SALLE: But do you agree with me on the Beckett-like, vaudeville-clown pathos on that work?

BALDESSARI: I think the idea of vaudeville clowns and court jesters is always to show the flaw, to point out what's not working and why it's not coherent. So I share a lot of that. I do think a lot of dumb humor is incredibly profound at the same time. An antisophistication can be kind of refreshing, I think."
johnbaldessari  2013  art  interviews  flashcards  children  borges  davidsalle  sfsh  play  worsplay  classideas 
june 2016 by robertogreco
The Human Fear of Total Knowledge - The Atlantic
"Why infinite libraries are treated skeptically in the annals of science fiction and fantasy"



"Humanity’s great affection for the printed word notwithstanding, it’s clear now that books have been surpassed, at least insofar as what’s possible in terms of accessing and connecting information. One wonders what Borges, who died in 1986, might have thought of the internet, which has revolutionized our expectations about how human knowledge is stored and retrieved.

Wikipedia, a vast encyclopedia that is updated continuously by tens of thousands of volunteers, is often described as impressive and ambitious, which of course it is. But it’s also important to remember that mere decades ago it was technologically impossible. A century ago, the most ambitious compendia of human knowledge in the Western world was arguably the encyclopedia. The 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, as Denis Boyle writes in his new book about its history, was at the time “an inventory of the universe” practically a library all its own. Today, anyone with an internet connection has access to a staggering amount of human knowledge, more information than the thickest encyclopedias could ever have contained. Smartphones, from which people can summon answers by speaking aloud, are modern-day oracles.

No longer are encyclopedias and libraries the most ambitious ideas humans have for the collection and stewardship of knowledge. The expectation, increasingly, is that information ought not be collected in one place, but kept everywhere, so that it is accessible at all times. If the concept of an infinite book gave way to ideas for knowledge machines that now exist, today’s imagined future—with all-knowledgeable machines evolving into sentient computer minds—is more ambitious still. Ashby, the science fiction writer, gives the example of a concept explored in the film Minority Report. “Minority Report got a lot of attention for its gestural computing interface, which is lovely and delightful, but hidden in there is the idea of literally being able to page through someone's uploaded memories,” she told me.

And though brain uploading as a kind of immortality remains a beloved subject among transhumanists, today’s digital scholars are mostly fixated on figuring out how to store the seemingly endless troves of knowledge already swirling about online. These aspirations are complicated by the relative newness of web technology, and by the fact that the internet is disintegrating all the time, even as it grows. Groups like the Internet Archive are working furiously to capture data before it disappears, without any long-term infrastructure to speak of. Meanwhile, institutions like the Library of Congress are trying to figure out how the information that’s preserved ultimately ought to be organized. The hope is to reinvent the card catalogue, a system that’s already gone from analog to digital, and is now being reimagined for the semantic web.

The great paradox for those who seek to reconfigure the world’s knowledge systems, is that the real threat of information loss is occurring at a time when there seems to be no way to stop huge troves of personal data from being collected—by governments and by corporations. Like its fictional counterparts, today’s information utopia has its own sinister side.

(It’s understandable why, the journalist James Bamford has described the National Security Agency, as “an avatar of Jorge Luis Borges’ ‘Library of Babel,’ a place where the collection of information is both infinite and monstrous, where all the world’s knowledge is stored, but every word is maddeningly scrambled in an unbreakable code.”)

But there is a check on all of this anxiety about information collection and Borgesian libraries. The threat that human knowledge will be lost—either through destruction, or by dilution due to sheer scale—is still the dominant cultural narrative about libraries, real and imagined. The Library of Alexandria, often described as a physical embodiment of the heart and mind of the ancient world, is so famous today in part because it was destroyed.

In The Book of Sand, Borges describes an infinite book that nearly drives the narrator mad before he resolves to get rid of it. “I thought of fire, but I feared that the burning of an infinite book might likewise prove infinite and suffocate the planet with smoke,” he writes. Instead, he opts to “hide a leaf in the forest” and sets off for the Argentine National Library with the bizarre volume.

“I went there and, slipping past a member of the staff and trying not to notice at what height or distance from the door, I lost the Book of Sand on one of the basement’s musty shelves.”"
libraries  borges  scifi  sciencefiction  2016  adriennelafrance  knowledge  fantasy  wikipedia  history  future  encycolpedias  nsa  jamesbamford 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Why Digital Maps Are Inaccurate in China | Travel + Leisure
"One of the most interesting, if unanticipated, side effects of modern copyright law is the practice by which cartographic companies will introduce a fake street—a road, lane, or throughway that does not, in fact, exist on the ground—into their maps. If that street later shows up on a rival company’s products, then they have all the proof they need for a case of copyright infringement. Known as trap streets, these imaginary roads exist purely as figments of an overactive legal imagination.

Trap streets are also compelling evidence that maps don’t always equal the territory. What if not just one random building or street, however, but an entire map is deliberately wrong? This is the strange fate of digital mapping products in China: there, every street, building, and freeway is just slightly off its mark, skewed for reasons of national and economic security.

The result is an almost ghostly slippage between digital maps and the landscapes they document. Lines of traffic snake through the centers of buildings; monuments migrate into the midst of rivers; one’s own position standing in a park or shopping mall appears to be nearly half a kilometer away, as if there is more than one version of you on the loose. Stranger yet, your morning running route didn’t quite go where you thought it did.

It is, in fact, illegal for foreign individuals or organizations to make maps in China without official permission. As stated in the “Surveying and Mapping Law of the People’s Republic of China,” for example, mapping—even casually documenting “the shapes, sizes, space positions, attributes, etc. of man-made surface installations”—is considered a protected activity for reasons of national defense and “progress of the society.” Those who do receive permission must introduce a geographic offset into their products, a kind of preordained cartographic drift. An entire world of spatial glitches is thus deliberately introduced into the resulting map.

The central problem is that most digital maps today rely upon a set of coordinates known as the World Geodetic System 1984, or WGS-84; the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency describes it as “the reference frame upon which all geospatial-intelligence is based.” However, as software engineer Dan Dascalescu writes in a Stack Exchange post, digital mapping products in China instead use something called “the GCJ-02 datum.” As he points out, an apparently random algorithmic offset “causes WGS-84 coordinates, such as those coming from a regular GPS chip, to be plotted incorrectly on GCJ-02 maps.” GCJ-02 data are also somewhat oddly known as “Mars Coordinates,” as if describing the geography of another planet. Translations back and forth between these coordinate systems—to bring China back to Earth, so to speak—are easy enough to find online, but they are also rather intimidating to non-specialists.

While algorithmic offsets introduced into digital maps might sound like nothing more than a matter of speculative concern—something more like a dinner conversation for fans of William Gibson novels—it is actually a very concrete issue for digital product designers. Releasing an app, for example, whose location functions do not work in China has immediate and painfully evident user-experience, not to mention financial, implications.

One such app designer posted on the website Stack Overflow to ask about Apple’s “embeddable map viewer.” To make a long story short, when used in China, Apple’s maps are subject to “a varying offset [of] 100-600m which makes annotations display incorrectly on the map.” In other words, everything there—roads, nightclubs, clothing stores—appears to be 100-600 meters away from its actual, terrestrial position. The effect of this is that, if you check the GPS coordinates of your friends, as blogger Jon Pasden writes, “you’ll likely see they’re standing in a river or some place 500 meters away even if they’re standing right next to you.”

The same thread on Stack Overflow goes on to explain that Google also has its own algorithmically derived offset, known as “_applyChinaLocationShift” (or more humorously as “eviltransform”). The key, of course, to offering an accurate app is to account for this Chinese location shift before it ever happens—to distort the distortions before they occur.

In addition to all this, Chinese geographic regulations demand that GPS functions must either be disabled on handheld devices or they must be made to display a similar offset. If a given device—such as a smartphone or camera—detects that it is in China, then its ability to geo-tag photos is either temporarily unavailable or strangely compromised. Once again, you would find that your hotel is not quite where your camera wants it to be, or that the restaurant you and your friends want to visit is not, in fact, where your smartphone thinks it has guided you. Your physical footsteps and your digital tracks no longer align.

It is worth pointing out that this raises interesting geopolitical questions. If a traveler finds herself in, say, Tibet or on a short trip to the artificial islands of the South China Sea—or perhaps simply in Taiwan—are she and her devices really “in China”? This seemingly abstract question might already be answered, without the traveler even knowing that it’s been asked, by circuits inside her phone or camera. Depending on the insistence of China’s territorial claims and the willingness of certain manufacturers to acknowledge those assertions, a device might no longer offer accurate GPS readings.

Put another way, you might not think you’ve crossed an international border—but your devices have. This is just one, relatively small example of how complex geopolitical questions can be embedded in the functionality of our handheld devices: cameras and smartphones are suddenly thrust to the front line of much larger conversations about national sovereignty.

These sorts of examples might sound like inconsequential travelers’ trivia, but for China, at least, cartographers are seen as a security threat: China’s Ministry of Land and Resources recently warned that “the number of foreigners conducting surveys in China is on the rise,” and, indeed, the government is increasingly cracking down on those who flout the mapping laws. Three British geology students discovered this the hard way while “collecting data” on a 2009 field trip through the desert state of Xinjiang, a politically sensitive area in northwest China. The students’ data sets were considered “illegal map-making activities,” and they were fined nearly $3,000.

What remains so oddly compelling here is the uncanny gulf between the world and its representations. In a well-known literary parable called “On Exactitude in Science," from Collected Fictions, Argentine fabulist Jorge Luis Borges describes a kingdom whose cartographic ambitions ultimately get the best of it. The imperial mapmakers, Borges writes, devised “a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it.” This 1:1 map, however, while no doubt artistically and conceptually wondrous, was seen as utterly useless by future generations. Rather than enlighten or educate, this sprawling and inescapable super-map merely smothered the very territory whose connections it sought to clarify.

Mars Coordinates, eviltransform, _applyChinaLocationShift, the “China GPS Offset Problem”—whatever name you want to describe this contemporary digital phenomenon of full-scale digital maps sliding precariously away from their referents, the gap between map and territory is suitably Borgesian.

Indeed, Borges ends his tiniest of parables with an image of animals and beggars living wild amidst the “tattered ruins” of an abandoned map, unaware of what its original purpose might have been—perhaps foreshadowing the possibility that travelers several decades from now will wander amidst remote Chinese landscapes with outdated GPS devices in hand, marveling at their apparent discovery of some parallel, dislocated version of the world that had been hiding in plain view."
via:tealtan  maps  mapping  gps  cartography  china  borges  gis  2016 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Sternberg Press - Benjamin H. Bratton
"e-flux journal
Benjamin H. Bratton
Dispute Plan to Prevent Future Luxury Constitution

With a foreword by Keller Easterling

Equal parts Borges, Burroughs, Baudrillard, and Black Ops, Dispute Plan to Prevent Future Luxury Constitution charts a treacherous landscape filled with paranoid master plans, failed schemes, and dubious histories.

Benjamin H. Bratton’s kaleidoscopic theory-fiction links the utopian fantasies of political violence with the equally utopian programs of security and control. Both rely on all manner of doubles, models, gimmicks, ruses, prototypes, and shock-and-awe campaigns to realize their propagandas of the deed, threat, and image. Blurring reality and delusion, they collaborate on a literally psychotic politics of architecture.

The cast of characters in this ensemble drama of righteous desperation and tactical trickery shuttle between fact and speculation, action and script, flesh and symbol, death and philosophy: insect urbanists, seditious masquerades, epistolary ideologues, distant dissimulations, carnivorous installations, forgotten footage, branded revolts, imploding skyscrapers, sentimental memorials, ad-hoc bunkers, sacred hijackings, vampire safe-houses, suburban enclaves, big-time proposals, ambient security protocols, disputed borders-of-convenience, empty research campuses, and robotic surgery.

In this mosaic we glimpse a future city built with designed violence and the violence of design. As one ratifies the other, the exception becomes the ruler."

[on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dispute-Prevent-Future-Constitution-journal-ebook/dp/B01ABCB8FM/ ]
benjaminbratton  kellereasterling  borges  baudrillard  blackops  williamsburroughs  fiction  toread  books  future  futures  utopia  politics  security  control  propaganda  sciencefiction  violence 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Will digital books ever replace print? – Craig Mod – Aeon
[See also: http://kottke.org/15/10/on-the-declining-ebook-reading-experience

"The Kindle is a book reading machine, but it's also a portable book store. 1 Which is of great benefit to Amazon but also of some small benefit to readers...if I want to read, say, To Kill A Mockingbird right now, the Kindle would have it to me in less than a minute. But what if, instead, the Kindle was more of a book club than a store? Or a reading buddy? I bet something like that done well would encourage reading even more than instantaneous book delivery.

To me, Amazon seems exactly the wrong sort of company to make an ebook reader 2 with a really great reading experience. They don't have the right culture and they don't have the design-oriented mindset. They're a low-margin business focused on products and customers, not books and readers. There's no one with any real influence at Amazon who is passionately advocating for the reader. Amazon is leaving an incredible opportunity on the table here, which is a real bummer for the millions of people who don't think of themselves as customers and turn to books for delight, escape, enrichment, transformation, and many other things. No wonder they're turning back to paper books, which have a 500-year track record for providing such experiences."]
amazon  kindle  ebooks  books  publishing  bookfuturism  craigmod  2015  print  paper  bretvictor  alankay  dynabook  materiality  marshallmcluhan  vannevarbush  borges 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Katherine Hayles - A Theory of the Total Archive - YouTube
"Katherine Hayles - A Theory of the Total Archive: Infinite Expansion, Infinite Compression, and Apparatuses of Control"
books  archives  borges  christianbök  shipoftheseus  longevity  lifelogging  2015  badrobotproductions  jjabrams  katherinehayles  libraries  communication  recovery  memory  expansion  compression  control  words  srg  s.  dougdorst 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Are You In A Jorge Luis Borges Story?
"You are in a library that may not exist. You are having a terrible time.

It is unclear whether you have been writing the story, or the story has been writing you.

You visit the south of Argentina, where something terrible happens to you.

You are standing inside a sphere. Its center is everywhere and its circumference is nowhere. You are terrified.

Everyone around you is being murdered in a perfect Kabbalistic pattern.

A Scottish man sells you a book that ruins your life.

A red-haired woman tells you that you have always been a dead man.

You are lost in the desert. Your map is the desert itself.

You may have committed a murder. You’re not sure.

Everywhere you look, you see a sinister equilateral triangle.

A train conductor is rude to you, who was once a king in Babylon.

You are dreaming. You have never existed. You are being born. You are a thinly veiled version of Borges himself, and you have been dying for a thousand years.

A gaucho with a knife is laughing at you. There is blood on your saddle, but you have been in a hospital for the last four days. There is no saddle. Now it is you who is holding the knife, and no one is laughing.

You are standing in the middle of an empty city that is also the corpse of a tiger. There is one company in the entire world, and it does not exist, but it is watching you.

You may be a man, but then again you may be a mathematical thought experiment; it’s difficult to tell.

You die in a labyrinth."
borges  books  maps  magicrealism  malloryortberg  2015  via:caseygollan  argentina  time  space  dreams  dreaming  cities  math  mathematics 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Evgeny Morozov: Author of the Quixote?
" With just 4,000 words at his disposal in the New Yorker Morozov was generous to spend two of them evaluating Medina’s work in passing as an “entertaining history.” Two words might not sound like much, but The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (revised edition) summed up Earth and everyone on it as “mostly harmless.” Heck, I’ve seen posters for really bad movies that blew up fainter and shorter praise in huge letters (“Energetic!” Some guy you’ve never heard of – Huffington Post). Despite this clear signposting in the tenth paragraph some dimwits did not grasp that the piece was a book review. With what little respect might be due to them, this is clear their fault, not his. He simply did not have enough space “to repeat what was already obvious.” Let me observe in passing that Morozov is wasting his new piece on Tumblr. With a little editing it too could be published in the New Yorker. I suggest the “Shouts & Murmurs” section.

I have particular sympathy for Morozov as a glance at his Twitter feed over the past month shows that he is beset with idiots on all sides. People with paralyzed brains in startups. Events “about bullshit.” The silliness of Marshal McLuhan. The “stupidity” of Checky. The dullards who retweet him without recognizing his sarcasm. Bravest of all, a tweet observing “Got nothing to say? Add the word ‘ontology’ to it – at least, it will get published.” Perhaps he had, at that very moment in his research, come across Peter Galison’s classic paper “The Ontology of the Enemy: Norbert Weiner and the Cybernetic Vision.” His books tell a similarly moving story. As the only person in the world who is both intelligent and principled he puts a succession of idiots, hacks, and corporate shills to shame. It’s the lot of the genius to be unappreciated in his own lifetime.

His plight is captured eloquently by his twitter tagline, “There are useful idiots. Look around.” Let’s do that right now. All of you line up. Look left. Look right. One of you is an idiot. Probably that guy on your left. I think he’s drooling, but it’s hard to tell with the light down here. The woman on the right doesn’t look too sharp either. Chances are that they’re both idiots. Hell, I wouldn’t be shocked if all three of you are idiots. Some of you don’t even go to Harvard.

So, implausible as this might seem, here’s why I think Morozov is being unduly modest about his own immense potential. Over the past six months I’ve been conducting my own unpublished, unwritten, research project on a little known figure of the early twentieth century: Pierre Menard. Menard is remembered a prolific yet minor scholar, author of five monographs and a number of articles on a range of topics. Like Morozov he spread his talent widely.

Yet Menard’s true, and little acknowledged, genius lay in an entirely separate project. He was attempting a supremely audacious literary feat: reproducing Don Quixote without, and here comes the hard part, having read it since early childhood. He did not want to compose another Quixote —which is easy— but the Quixote itself. Needless to say, he never contemplated a mechanical transcription of the original; he did not propose to copy it. His admirable intention was to produce a few pages which would coincide—word for word and line for line—with those of Miguel de Cervantes. By the time of his death years of meticulous research had allowed Menard to independently reproduce significant portions of the text. He was one of the forgotten greats of world literature.

Menard’s challenge was more formidable that Cervantes’, just as Morozov faced a more difficult task than Medina. As Menard wrote, “To compose the Quixote at the beginning of the seventeenth century was a reasonable undertaking, necessary and perhaps even unavoidable; at the beginning of the twentieth, it is almost impossible. It is not in vain that three hundred years have gone by, filled with exceedingly complex events. Amongst them, to mention only one, is the Quixote itself.”

Looking side by side at identical passages from Menard and Cervantes it is clear that Menard’s was the greater accomplishment. To write in an alien tongue, three centuries later and still produce the same words was a remarkable and subtle triumph. Since Menard’s death none have dared to take up this challenge, but given his remarkable talent as a replicator of research I think Morozov might be able to finish the job. There are other parallels. Menard was drawn to Don Quixote as “an entertaining book.” Morozov’s research began with Medina’s “entertaining history.” Both authors transcended their sources by reproducing them.

They also share working methods. Menard spent sleepless nights scribbling thousands of draft pages, which he meticulously destroyed. As he noted, “the philosophers publish the intermediary stages of their labor in pleasant volumes and I have resolved to do away with those stages.” Only the brilliant end product remains. Morozov tweeted to an admirer that his method was “old school: most of is (sic) in my head and occasional notes in Open Office. I am blessed with good memory.”

Morozov’s ability to repeat interviews with Medina’s oral history subjects to reproduce the same quotes she used in her book is the surest sign of his readiness for this awesome challenge. Morozov mentions interviewing Flores and Brian Eno, but again his modesty is deceptive. I’m sure that he also interviewed Ángel Parra (quote p. 133) and Tomas Kohn (quote p. 132) to independently reproduce the remarks from their 2008 interviews with Medina that appear both in her book and in his article. He showed particular ingenuity in discovering that a quote Medina incorrectly attributed to a 2006 interview she conducted with Raul Espejo (quote p. 186 fn. 53, p. 288) was actually something that “one of Cybersyn’s directors remarked at the time.” Contemporary remarks are more historically reliable that those given decades later, so this is another way in which Morozov’s is a more profound historical contribution than Medina’s.

As Jorge Luis Borges noted in “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” an entertaining history article, Menard believed that “Every man should be capable of all ideas and I understand that in the future this will be the case.” We live in that future, and Evgeny Morosov is our champion. It would be a crime for him to spend years working on a Ph.D. thesis with footnotes and the other accoutrements of mediocrity. Let him instead do what only he can do: take up the project of Menard and complete the Quixote.

There must be no more grumbling against this great and humble scholar. Cabal dismissed."
borges  evgenymorozov  satire  thomashaigh  2014  academia  writing  plagiarism  attribution  cybersyn  quixote  thenewyorker  research  footnotes  memory  pierremenard  edenmedina  donquixote  humor 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Bifurcan on the App Store on iTunes
"Named after a Borges short of the same name, similarly to Entaloneralie, this application is cryptic watchface for iOS. Every second, the labyrinth reorganize itself to display the time with its twists and turns. It takes a little practice to be able to see the patterns in the lines."
ios  iphone  applications  ios7  borges  watches  time  patterns 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Best Fabulist Books – Flavorwire
"Fabulism, it seems, is having a moment — although whether it’s truly a trend is up for debate. Some might say it’s been right there, purring along all this time, while others might blink and wonder what you’re talking about. Such is always the case with magic. But whether you’re a newbie or an old hat, there are always new corners of the fantastic to discover.

Before we begin, take note: I say fabulism, but there’s really no single term that works for all of these books, or even for more than a few of them. There’s Robert Scholes’s fabulation, Todorov’s fantastic, there’s plain old fairy tale or fantasy, there’s the much-discussed magical realism, but none of these really work as blanket terms, at least not for what we think of when we consider contemporary literary works with, er, unrealistic elements. And maybe that’s a good thing — maybe that’d tether these books too close to earth, keep them too cemented in our imaginations.

So, here you’ll find 50 excellent novels and short story collections by fabulists, fantasists, and fairy-tale-tellers, literary books that incorporate the irreal, the surreal, and the supernatural, which have no unironic dragons, very few (if any) self-serious necromancers, but lots of delightful, magical, humane, real-as-all-get-out storytelling. Better get started, and if any of your own favorites are missing here, add them to the list in the comments."
via:anne  books  booklists  toread  srg  harukimurakami  italocalvino  borges  isabelallende  gabrielgarcíamárquez  georgesaunders  kafka  aimeebender  alissanutting  ameliagray  angelacarter  benmarcus  chinamieville  césararia  donaldantrim  donaldbarthelme  eowynivey  etgarkeret  heidijulavits  helenoyeyemi  jeffvandermeer  johnbarth  joywilliams  karenjoyfowler  karenrussell  katebernheimer  kathryndavis  kellylink  kevinbrockmeier  koboabe  lauravandenberg  lucycorin  marie-helenebertino  mattbell  mikhailbulgakov  nalohopkinson  neilgaiman  normanlock  philiproth  porochistakhakpour  ramonaausubel  salmanrushdie  sarahsun-lienbynum  shanejones  stephenmillhauser  tobybarlow 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead? | e-flux
"Postproduction

But if images start pouring across screens and invading subject and object matter, the major and quite overlooked consequence is that reality now widely consists of images; or rather, of things, constellations, and processes formerly evident as images. This means one cannot understand reality without understanding cinema, photography, 3D modeling, animation, or other forms of moving or still image. The world is imbued with the shrapnel of former images, as well as images edited, photoshopped, cobbled together from spam and scrap. Reality itself is postproduced and scripted, affect rendered as after-effect. Far from being opposites across an unbridgeable chasm, image and world are in many cases just versions of each other.14They are not equivalents however, but deficient, excessive, and uneven in relation to each other. And the gap between them gives way to speculation and intense anxiety.

Under these conditions, production morphs into postproduction, meaning the world can be understood but also altered by its tools. The tools of postproduction: editing, color correction, filtering, cutting, and so on are not aimed at achieving representation. They have become means of creation, not only of images but also of the world in their wake. One possible reason: with digital proliferation of all sorts of imagery, suddenly too much world became available. The map, to use the well-known fable by Borges, has not only become equal to the world, but exceeds it by far.15 A vast quantity of images covers the surface of the world—very in the case of aerial imaging—in a confusing stack of layers. The map explodes on a material territory, which is increasingly fragmented and also gets entangled with it: in one instance, Google Maps cartography led to near military conflict.16

While Borges wagered that the map might wither away, Baudrillard speculated that on the contrary, reality was disintegrating.17 In fact, both proliferate and confuse one another: on handheld devices, at checkpoints, and in between edits. Map and territory reach into one another to realize strokes on trackpads as theme parks or apartheid architecture. Image layers get stuck as geological strata while SWAT teams patrol Amazon shopping carts. The point is that no one can deal with this. This extensive and exhausting mess needs to be edited down in real time: filtered, scanned, sorted, and selected—into so many Wikipedia versions, into layered, libidinal, logistical, lopsided geographies.

This assigns a new role to image production, and in consequence also to people who deal with it. Image workers now deal directly in a world made of images, and can do so much faster than previously possible. But production has also become mixed up with circulation to the point of being indistinguishable. The factory/studio/tumblr blur with online shopping, oligarch collections, realty branding, and surveillance architecture. Today’s workplace could turn out to be a rogue algorithm commandeering your hard drive, eyeballs, and dreams. And tomorrow you might have to disco all the way to insanity.

As the web spills over into a different dimension, image production moves way beyond the confines of specialized fields. It becomes mass postproduction in an age of crowd creativity. Today, almost everyone is an artist. We are pitching, phishing, spamming, chain-liking or mansplaining. We are twitching, tweeting, and toasting as some form of solo relational art, high on dual processing and a smartphone flat rate. Image circulation today works by pimping pixels in orbit via strategic sharing of wacky, neo-tribal, and mostly US-American content. Improbable objects, celebrity cat GIFs, and a jumble of unseen anonymous images proliferate and waft through human bodies via Wi-Fi. One could perhaps think of the results as a new and vital form of folk art, that is if one is prepared to completely overhaul one’s definition of folk as well as art. A new form of storytelling using emojis and tweeted rape threats is both creating and tearing apart communities loosely linked by shared attention deficit."

[via: http://finalbossform.com/post/88613954773/while-borges-wagered-that-the-map-might-wither ]
internet  technology  images  communication  newaesthetic  web  socialmedia  production  art  folkart  infrastructure  hitosteyerl  2014  borges  baudrillard  maps  mapping  territory  reality  tumblr  processing  online  algorithms 
june 2014 by robertogreco
The Moby-Dick variations — The Message — Medium
"That’s interesting, but here’s the one that blows my mind: If we were to burn all extant copies of Moby-Dick and then rewrite the story from memory… 33% of respondents told me that would be the same novel!

I just couldn’t square that response with the others. You’re telling me that if I change the adjectives, it’s not the same novel, but if I open a blank Word document and start typing from memory, it is?

Upon consideration, what I get from these responses is an intuition of faithfulness. Translation is assumed to be faithful, whereas the substitution of adjectives is clearly a game. Likewise, when we rewrite the book from memory, we are assumed to be doing so faithfully, to the best of our paltry ability (“I… can’t remember the whaling chapters. I never actually read them. I’m sorry. I’M SORRY!”), whereas if we change the ending, we are clearly inflicting something on the story.

Faithfulness to what, though?

I think Shaenon K. Garrity has the answer.

I think we, as readers, are able to sense the shape of a particular Branch Library of Babel built around a particular story, with its particular set of images and themes. Even though this Branch Library is an abstract thing, to say the least, I think we, as readers, can trace its perimeter with surprising accuracy. Collectively—and maybe only collectively—we can determine which elements a work of fiction depends on, and which it doesn’t.

It makes me think of that indirect sort of astronomy, in which we infer the existence of an exoplanet by looking closely at a wobbling star. I think we are seeing a little wobble when we learn that adding a sex scene is less of an injury to Moby-Dick’s Moby-Dick-ness than changing the ending. Moby-Dick’s ending obviously matters, a lot. There are other stories for which the ending might feel arbitrary, even superfluous, but for which an added sex scene would be transformative indeed. (Winnie the Pooh, perhaps?)

This isn’t just intellectual play. I mean, it’s mostly intellectual play. But, having written and revised and published a novel myself, this question of where it begins and ends has become more concrete, particularly now that the book has been translated into about twenty languages. Usually, foreign publishers send over two or three copies. I look at these other editions…

…and realize that, somehow, these two statements are simultaneously true:

1. This is the same novel.
2, Every single word has been changed.

Likewise: In the earliest draft of Penumbra, there was this whole weird thing about Matthias Corvinus, the Raven King, a real-life historical figure. He and his lost library (!) were at the core of that story, yet they are nowhere in the published novel. Was that variation, printed on cheap paper and shared with early readers, not actually Penumbra? Where is the Raven King now?

Writing a novel, it is possible to become aware of yourself as an explorer in a new Branch Library of Babel, one built not around Moby-Dick but instead some other story—the one you’re writing. In this awareness, you are not so much composing as spelunking: feeling your way toward the one particular incarnation of the story that you will carry back into the light, into the world, into bookstores and libraries.

The other variations remain behind, but—I really believe this, and I think my little survey backs it up—readers can still sense them. When we read a novel, we enjoy not only a particular text but somehow the suggestion of a whole Branch Library. Sometimes, if a novel is successful, that becomes a place where others want to go exploring: with translation and adaptation, by remixing and rebooting. All of these undertakings constitute a return journey, and there are always more variations waiting in the Branch Library.

To my translators, I ought to say: “Suit up. Bring a sandwich. Carry a taser. The Raven King is in there somewhere.”

Back in Garrity’s original Branch Library of Babel, though, the real question is this: If you search and search… will you ever find Emoji Dick?"
robinsloan  literature  philosophy  translation  language  books  shaenongarrity  borges  2014  mobydick  libraryofbabelspelunking  variations  bookstores  libraries  moby-dick 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Book of Lamentations – The New Inquiry
"If the novel has an overbearing literary influence, it’s undoubtedly Jorge Luis Borges. The American Psychiatric Association takes his technique of lifting quotes from or writing faux-serious reviews for entirely imagined books and pushes it to the limit: Here, we have an entire book, something that purports to be a kind of encyclopedia of madness, a Library of Babel for the mind, containing everything that can possibly be wrong with a human being. Perhaps as an attempt to ward off the uncommitted reader, the novel begins with a lengthy account of the system of classifications used – one with an obvious debt to the Borgesian Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, in which animals are exhaustively classified according to such sets as “those belonging to the Emperor,” “those that, at a distance, resemble flies,” and “those that are included in this classification.”

Just as Borges’s system groups animals by seemingly aleatory characteristics entirely divorced from their actual biological attributes, DSM-5 arranges its various strains of madness solely in terms of the behaviors exhibited. This is a recurring theme in the novel, while any consideration of the mind itself is entirely absent. In its place we’re given diagnoses such as “frotteurism,” “oppositional defiant disorder,” and “caffeine intoxication disorder.” That said, these classifications aren’t arranged at random; rather, they follow a stately progression comparable to that of Dante’s Divine Comedy, rising from the infernal pit of the body and its weaknesses (intellectual disabilities, motor tics) through our purgatorial interactions with the outside world (tobacco use, erectile dysfunction, kleptomania) and finally arriving in the limpid-blue heavens of our libidinal selves (delirium, personality disorders, sexual fetishism). It’s unusual, and at times frustrating in its postmodern knowingness, but what is being told is first and foremost a story."



"The idea emerges that every person’s illness is somehow their own fault, that it comes from nowhere but themselves: their genes, their addictions, and their inherent human insufficiency. We enter a strange shadow-world where for someone to engage in prostitution isn’t the result of intersecting environmental factors (gender relations, economic class, family and social relationships) but a symptom of “conduct disorder,” along with “lying, truancy, [and] running away.” A mad person is like a faulty machine. The pseudo-objective gaze only sees what they do, rather than what they think or how they feel. A person who shits on the kitchen floor because it gives them erotic pleasure and a person who shits on the kitchen floor to ward off the demons living in the cupboard are both shunted into the diagnostic category of encopresis. It’s not just that their thought-process don’t matter, it’s as if they don’t exist. The human being is a web of flesh spun over a void.



If there is a normality here, it’s a state of near-catatonia. DSM-5 seems to have no definition of happiness other than the absence of suffering. The normal individual in this book is tranquilized and bovine-eyed, mutely accepting everything in a sometimes painful world without ever feeling much in the way of anything about it. The vast absurd excesses of passion that form the raw matter of art, literature, love, and humanity are too distressing; it’s easier to stop being human altogether, to simply plod on as a heaped collection of diagnoses with a body vaguely attached."
books  literature  psychology  samkriss  borges  dsm-5  dsm  2013  disorders  dystopia  dystopianliterature  happiness  suffering  humans  via:ablerism 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Acts of Knowledge — edgar/Endress
"The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge is a Chinese Encyclopedia described by Jose Luis Borges, where an alternative taxonomy is listed:

1. those that belong to the Emperor,
2. embalmed ones,
3. those that are trained,
4. suckling pigs,
5. mermaids,
6. fabulous ones,
7. stray dogs,
8. those included in the present classification,
9. those that tremble as if they were mad,
10. innumerable ones,
11. those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush,
12. others,
13. those that have just broken a flower vase,
14. those that from a long way off look like flies.

This classification explore the arbitrariness (and cultural specificity) of any attempt to categorize the world and  demonstrates an "other" to our system of thought. In Foucault's book the "Order of Things", Foucault explicates an "archaeological" investigation of knowledge acquisition; he also comments on the fragility of our current means of understanding the world. For Foucault reasoning is the ultimate act of control, delivered through the power of representation to confirm an objective order. Acts of Knowledge begins with a text found in an old social studies text used in U.S. classrooms. This educational text delivers a structural form of knowledge and a series of narratives about the similar and the other. Acts of Knowledge uses the primary forms of knowledge -the encyclopedia- to question the structure imposed by the reasoning. In that context, the acts of estrangement and the visual structuring of the dictionary and the encyclopedias through collages questions the categorization, knowledge, and the arbitrariness of otherness. 

Acts of Knowledge is a collaborative project with: John Morgan, Bill Macmillan, Lori Lee, Aschoy Collective"
borges  taxonomy  classification  literature  art  illustration  via:thatstyping  encyclopedias  knowledge  johnmorgan  billmacmillan  lorilee  aschoycollective 
october 2013 by robertogreco
U B U W E B - Film & Video: Jorge Luis Borges
• Profile Of A Writer: Borges (1983)
• Jorge Luis Borges: The Mirror Man (1999)
borges  literature  argentina  video  themirrorman 
july 2013 by robertogreco
The Library of Babel
"Digital Access to the Books of the Library
Full Text Search in the Books"
thelibraryofbabel  borges  literature 
may 2013 by robertogreco
erasing.org: Stricken
"Borges, in Eliot Weinberger’s translation, on the then-new Finnegans Wake in 1939: I have examined it with some bewilderment, have unenthusiastically deciphered nine or ten calembours, and have read the terror-stricken praise in the N.R.F. and the T.L.S.

Mark Strand, describing the scene Edward Hopper depicts in Pennsylvania Coal Town: The air is stricken with purity."

[See also: http://erasing.org/2013/04/28/woollier/ ]
borges  terror  edwardhopper  praise  eliotweinberger  finneganswake 
may 2013 by robertogreco
ACM Web Science talk, as written | Quinn Said
"they are values of an incorporeal world, made corporeal, to the great disruption of accepted political structures."



"this talk is as much about describing new landmarks on the landscape of the semi-consensual hallucination that is our shared reality, as it is about the people doing strange things on the internet."



"For the purposes of this next bit, I dub myself Pope, so that I may canonize a saint for the internet, and that saint shall be Jorge Luis Borges. He gave us the Library of Babel, and we are endeavoring as hard and fast as we can to give it back to him."



"All this is to say that because I study and am part of something largely illegible to 20th century taxonomies, but born of them, I have to use the language of the wrong century to describe my life. My problem is I need a new literature to describe network culture in terms that are true to itself, your problem is you need a new science to do the same."



"People don’t go online to become someone else, they go online and the network makes them into many selves, all as true in the moment as any other, and all changing the world with their tiny ephemeral footprints, making a trillion memories none of us will ever remember to remember, all watched over by machines of loving grace.

Let us consider how all these lies are, in fact, more true than all of our statistics about them."



"There is an aesthetic crisis in writing, which is this: how do we write emotionally of scenes involving computers? How do we make concrete, or at least reconstructable in the minds of our readers, the terrible, true passions that cross telephony lines? Right now my field must tackle describing a world where falling in love, going to war and filling out tax forms looks the same; it looks like typing."

[See also: http://www.cbc.ca/spark/blog/2013/12/01/dramatizing-the-internet/ ]
language  2013  borges  taxonomies  timerifts  literature  internet  thelibraryofbabel  libraries  networks  web  webscience  digitalhumanities  networkculture  writing  storytelling  corporeal  politics  statistics  multiplicity  identity  online  ephemerality  ephemeral  canon  quinnnorton 
may 2013 by robertogreco
I’m just a working-class guy trying to take part in the conversation that all the smart people are having. What books should I read?
QUESTION (in part):

"I’m just a working-class guy trying to take part in the conversation that all the smart people are having. This brings me to my question: What books should I read? There are so many books out there worth reading, that I literally don’t know where to start."

ANSWER (in parts):

"We’re not on a ladder here. We’re on a web. Right now you’re experiencing a desire to become more aware of and sensitive to its other strands. That feeling you’re having is culture. Whatever feeds that, go with it. And never forget that well-educated people pretend to know on average at least two-thirds more books than they’ve actually read."

"Come up with a system of note-taking that you can use in your reading. It’s okay if it evolves. You can write in the margins, or keep a reading notebook (my preference) where you transcribe passages you like, with your own observations, and mark down the names of other, unfamiliar writers, books you’ve seen mentioned (Guy D. alone will give you a notebook full of these). Follow those notes to decide your next reading. That’s how you’ll create your own interior library. Now do that for the rest of your life and die knowing you’re still massively ignorant. (I wouldn’t trade it!)"

"Ignore all of this and read the next cool-looking book you see lying around. It’s not the where-you-start so much as the that-you-don’t-stop."

SEE ALSO: the books recommended

[Orginal is here: http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2012/08/31/dear-paris-review-john-jeremiah-sullivan-answers-your-questions/ ]
books  reading  literacy  2013  advice  learning  lifelonglearning  canon  wisdom  ignorance  readinglists  lists  recommendations  curiosity  booklists  notetaking  notes  observations  education  religion  libraries  truth  howilearnedtoread  readingnotebooks  notebooks  howwelearn  culturalliteracy  culture  hierarchy  hierarchies  snobbery  class  learningnetworks  oldtimelearningnetworks  webs  cv  howweread  borges  film  movies  guydavenport  huntergracchus  myántonia  willacather  isakdinesen  maximiliannovak  robertpennwarren  edithwharton  denisjohnson  alberterskine  karloveknausgaard  jamesjoyce  hughkenner  richardellmann  stephengreenblatt  harukimurakami  shakespeare  vladimirnabokov 
march 2013 by robertogreco
The Aleph: Infinite Wonder / Infinite Pity
"The Aleph is a short story by Jorge Luis Borges in which a man is suddenly able to see all things at once:
On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I'd seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam...


I wanted to present a version of what The Aleph might look like now, designed as an endless stream of descriptive passages pulled from the web. For source texts, I took the complete Project Gutenberg as well as current tweets. I searched for the phrase "I saw."
The title of the piece is a reference to the narrator's summing up of the vast whirring world he's seen, one of "infinite wonder and infinite pity".

A few notes: the piece defaults to only displaying text from Project Gutenberg. Clicking on the buttons in the upper right of the screen changes the output. The Twitter feed may include offensive language as the the only filtering done is to ensure that the phrase "I saw" is contained within.

- David Hirmes, March 2013"
aleph  thealeph  borges  projectgutenberg  via:kiostarck  2013  davidhirmes  internet  twitter 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Algorithmic Rape Jokes in the Library of Babel | Quiet Babylon
"Jorge Luis Borges’ Library of Babel twisted through the logic of SEO and commerce."

"Part of what tips the algorithmic rape joke t-shirts over from very offensive to shockingly offensive is that they are ostensibly physical products. Intuitions are not yet tuned for spambot clothes sellers."

"Amazon isn’t a store, not really. Not in any sense that we can regularly think about stores. It’s a strange pulsing network of potential goods, global supply chains, and alien associative algorithms with the skin of a store stretched over it, so we don’t lose our minds."
algorithms  amazon  culture  internet  borges  timmaly  2013  jamesbridle  apologies  non-apologies  brianeno  generative  crapjects  georginavoss  rape  peteashton  software  taste  poortaste  deniability  secondlife  solidgoldbomb  t-shirts  keepcalmand  spam  objects  objectspam  quinnnorton  masscustomization  rapidprototyping  shapersubcultures  scale  libraryofbabel  thelibraryofbabel  tshirts 
march 2013 by robertogreco
The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson - review | Books | The Guardian
"Henderson's project: a spellbinding book that seeks to astonish us with the sheer intricacy, diversity and multiplicity of life forms that share our planet. In what he modestly calls a "stab" at a 21st-century bestiary, he fuses zoology, literature, mythology, history, paleontology, anecdote and art through 27 brilliantly executed essays…"

"These are essays in the original, Montaignesque sense of the word, and range freely over whatever topic takes the author's fancy."

"In 1959 CP Snow delivered his famous Rede lecture on "The Two Cultures", in which he lamented the gulf between intellectual elites fluent either in the sciences or in the humanities, but all too rarely in both. Fifty years on, the landscape seems as divided as it was in Snow's day. It's a gulf of which the likes of Leonardo could not have conceived, and one that Henderson – an English graduate turned science writer – seeks to bridge. We have a great deal that we can learn from one another…"
gavinfrancis  anniedillard  toread  books  laurencesterne  sirthomasbrown  enlightenment  philosophy  art  anecdote  paleontology  history  mythology  literature  zoology  julesverne  darwin  italocalvino  robertburton  wgsebald  cv  essays  micheldemontaigne  writing  borges  multid  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  leonardodavinci  bestiary  casparhenderson  2012  cpsnow  animals  montaigne  charlesdarwin 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Unbuilding — Lined & Unlined
[now here: https://linedandunlined.com/archive/unbuilding ]

Here's another something that's too large to unpack in a quote or two or three or more, so just one, then read and view (many images) the rest.

"Unlike the thesis, Antithesis was an optional class. Instead of a constant, year-long process, it was interstitial, happening during a “down time” in the year. We didn’t really have class meetings — instead, I spent my time hanging out in the studio. Everyone loosened up. After thinking intensively about the thesis for 12 weeks, it was time to stop thinking about it — at least, consciously. The goal was not to keep pushing forward on the thesis but to get new projects started in parallel."

[video: https://vimeo.com/63008758 ]
completeness  sourcecode  viewsource  critique  susansontag  webdesign  aestheticpractice  criticalautonomy  canon  andrewblauvelt  billmoggridge  khoivinh  community  communities  livingdocuments  constitution  usconstitution  metaphors  metaphor  borges  telescopictext  joedavis  language  culturalsourcecode  cooper-hewitt  sebchan  github  johngnorman  recycling  interboropartners  kiva  pennandteller  jakedow-smith  pointerpointer  davidmacaulay  stevejobs  tednelson  humanconsciousness  consciousness  literacy  walterong  pipa  sopa  wikipedia  robertrauschenberg  willemdekooning  humor  garfieldminusgarfield  garfield  danwalsh  ruderripps  okfocus  bolognadeclaration  pedagogy  mariamontessori  freeuniversityofbozen-bolzano  openstudioproject  lcproject  tcsnmy  howweteach  cv  anti-hierarchy  hierarchy  autonomy  anti-autonomy  anti-isolation  anti-specialization  avant-garde  vanabbemuseum  charlesesche  understanding  knowing  socialsignaling  anyahindmarch  thinking  making  inquiry  random  informality  informal  interstitial  antithesis  action  non-action  anikaschwarzlose  jona 
november 2012 by robertogreco
The 2007 CBC Massey Lectures, "The City of Words" | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio
"The end of ethnic nationalism, building societies around sets of common values, seems like a good idea. But something is going wrong. In the 2007 Massey Lectures, writer Alberto Manguel takes a fresh look at some of the problems we face, and suggests we should look at what stories have to teach us about society.

"How do stories help us perceive ourselves and others?" he asks. "How can stories lend a whole society an identity...?"

From Gilgamesh to the Bible, from Don Quixote to The Fast Runner, Alberto Manguel explores how books and stories hold the secret keys to what binds us together."

Internationally acclaimed as an anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist, and editor, Alberto Manguel is the bestselling author of several award-winning books, including A Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading."
imaginarycities  cities  reading  ulysses  jamesjoyce  kafka  jung  carljung  apollo  cassandra  meaningmaking  meaning  sensemaking  understanding  perception  imagination  therealworld  mapping  maps  theself  self  literature  fiction  reality  margaretatwood  plato  names  naming  language  words  rubendarío  socrates  aristotle  symbolism  symbols  thecityofwords  worlds  writing  borges  themaker  poetry  commonvalues  donquixote  gilgamesh  bible  history  society  storytelling  stories  cbc  masseylectures  2007  albertomanguel 
august 2012 by robertogreco
China Miéville: the future of the novel | Books | guardian.co.uk
"With the internet has come proof that there are audiences way beyond the obvious."

"In fact what's becoming obvious - an intriguing counterpoint to the growth in experiment - is the tenacity of relatively traditional narrative-arc-shaped fiction. But you don't radically restructure how the novel's distributed and not have an impact on its form. Not only do we approach an era when absolutely no one who really doesn't want to pay for a book will have to, but one in which the digital availability of the text alters the relationship between reader, writer, and book. The text won't be closed."

"A collection of artists and activists advocating the neoliberalisation of children's minds. That is scandalous and stupid. The text is open. This should – could – be our chance to remember that it was never just us who made it, and it was never just ours."

"We piss and moan about the terrible quality of self-published books, as if slews of god-awful crap weren't professionally expensively published every year."

"There's a contingent relationship between book sales and literary merit, so we should totally break the pretence at a connection, because of our amplifying connection to everyone else, and orient future-ward with a demand.

What if novelists and poets were to get a salary, the wage of a skilled worker?"

"This would only be an exaggeration of the national stipends already offered by some countries for some writers. For the great majority of people who write, it would mean an improvement in their situation, an ability to write full-time. For a few it would mean an income cut, but you know what? It was a good run. And surely it's easily worth it to undermine the marketisation of literature for some kind of collectivity.

But who decides who qualifies as a writer? Does it take one sonnet? Of what quality? Ten novels? 50,000 readers? Ten, but the right readers? God knows we shouldn't trust the state to make that kind of decision. So we should democratise that boisterous debate, as widely and vigorously as possible. It needn't be the mere caprice of taste. Which changes. And people are perfectly capable of judging as relevant and important literature for which they don't personally care. Mistakes will be made, sure, but will they really be worse than the philistine thuggery of the market?

We couldn't bypass the state with this plan, though. So for the sake of literature, apart from any- and everything else, we'll have to take control of it, invert its priorities, democratise its structures, replace it with a system worth having.

So an unresentful sense of writers as people among people, and a fidelity to literature, require political and economic transformation. For futures for novels – and everything else. In the context of which futures, who knows what politics, what styles and which contents, what relationships to what reconceived communities, which struggles to express what inexpressibles, what stories and anti-stories we will all strive and honourably fail to write, and maybe even one day succeed?"
writers  writing  publishers  democratization  democracy  futures  politics  selfpublishing  self-publishing  neoliberalism  copyright  hypertextnovels  fiction  literature  weirdfictionreview  ubuweb  lyricalrealism  zadiesmith  jamesjoyce  poulocoelho  oulipo  modernism  brunoschulz  lawrencedurrell  borges  ebooks  hypertext  hypertextfiction  text  cv  economics  publishing  leisurearts  bookfuturism  futureofbooks  2012  chinamieville  collectivity  money  artleisure 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Life:size - Book no.1 - 431.8CM x 213.36CM - Representational Sculpture by Artist Roland Tiangco
"The first of a series of books that contain 1:1 scale representations of everything in the physical world. The pages are perforated near the spine allowing for the dismantling of the book-block to reassemble the content of the book as a 1:1 scale image. The foreword of the book is "On Exactitude in Science" by Jorge Luis Borges."
scale  sculpture  photography  borges  books  rolandtiangco 
august 2012 by robertogreco
The Interstitial Library
"The Interstitial Library's Circulating Collection is located at no fixed site. Its vast holdings are dispersed throughout private collections, used bookstores, other libraries, thrift stores, garbage dumps, attics, garages, hollow trees, sunken ships, the bottom desk-drawers of writers, the imaginations of non-writers, the pages of other books, the possible future, and the inaccessible past.

In a sense, this library has always existed. However, until now it has had no librarians, no catalog, and no name.

The Interstitial Library does not aspire to completeness. Indeed, we champion the incomplete, temporary, provisional, circulating and, of course, interstitial. Above all, we aim to acquire and catalogue those books that are themselves interstitial: that fall between obvious subject categories; that are notable for qualities seldom recognized by traditional institutions; that no longer exist, do not yet exist, or are entirely imaginary."
temporaryservices  temporary  provisional  unfinished  incomplete  taxonomy  ephemeral  shelleyjackson  christinehill  humor  art  collaboration  library  philosophy  borges  classification  cataloging  2004  libraries  books  interstitiallibrary  ephemerality 
august 2012 by robertogreco
A Poet’s Creed | Twentymiglia
“A Poet’s Creed” is a delight to listen to someone who is also possessed of a timeless and immortal memory. But listening to the final lecture, it occurred to me how aware Borges was of the feeling of being belated.

"And I think that perhaps you are lead astray by one of the studies you value most, the study of the history of literature. I wonder—and I hope that this is not a blasphemy—I wonder if you are not too aware of history.  Because being aware of the history of literature—or of any other art for that matter—is really a form of unbelieving, a form of skepticism."

For Borges, beauty is the one quality that is eternally present. To read a minor poet of the 19th century is to read that poet under equal conditions today. The fact that he is from the 19th century is irrelevant. It is the present reading that is relevant. The skepticism Borges speaks about is the disassociation of the past from the present, as if the former were the fact, and the latter the anomaly."

[more]
future  present  past  relevance  context  history  meaning  reading  2012  apoet'screed  thomasventimiglia  belatedness  borges 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community - Google Books
"Borges, perhaps the paradigmatic postmodernist, is a good case in point. His various authorial personae, his narrators, and his protagonists are usually inveterate readers. Borges himself seems to write little, and the things he writes tend to be glosses on his reading or stories about his or his avatars' reading. Borges is, however, famous for glorifying in his belatedness, in his derivativeness.

The great tradition of past writing puts the postmodern writer into the position of a reader, who may be thrilled by the riches of the past or feel overwhelmed by their authority. In the reader, the postmodern writer has found an ideal figure through which to explore the splendors and miseries of belatedness.

The real task of the postmodern writer is to transcend the readerly condition, to transform his or her belatedness into something original and interesting."
derivativeness  readers  reader  interestingness  originality  authority  postmodernism  magicrealism  jonthiem  borges  belatedness 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Start-ups and Slash Fiction | booktwo.org
"My talk from NEXT Berlin 2012, in which I talk about ways of making meaning and fiction online (Original video on the NEXT site).

The quote at the the end, that “the history of the Internet is a history of metaphors about the Internet”, which I mistakenly attribute to Sherry Turkle, is actually by Christine Smallwood, as quoted in Andrew Blum’s Tubes (below), and appears to originate in an article called “What does the Internet look like?” in The Baffler, no longer online but preserved by the Internet Archive."

[Video also here http://nextberlin.eu/2012/07/james-bridle-metaphors-considered-harmful/ and here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1Y_g8jOQus ]

[Phrases of note:

* post-geographical position (William Gibson)
* notional space (William Gibson)
* Borges wrote fanfiction
* Gibson was always a Beat writer

]
libraryofbabel  mapping  maps  metaphors  metaphor  allaboard  slashfic  writing  collaborativewriting  omegle  forourtimes  tlönuqbarorbistertius  fiftyshadesofgray  twilight  pierremenard  andreafrancke  storytelling  stories  steampunk  allenginsberg  jackkerouac  charliestross  belatedness  hplovecraft  fanfiction  change  memory  startups  fiction  slashfiction  books  imagination  jamesbridle  videogames  notionalspace  context  walkman  postgeography  internet  christinesmallwood  scifi  sciencefiction  nextberlin  nextberlin2012  2012  williamgibson  borges  thelibraryofbabel 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Personal Libraries Library
"The Personal Libraries Library is a specially-curated lending library located in Portland, Oregon. The Library is dedicated to recreating the personal libraries of artists, philosophers, scientists, writers and other thinkers & makers. The collection has commenced with the personal libraries of Maria Mitchell, the 19th-century astronomer, librarian, educator and suffragist and Robert Smithson (1938-1973), the influential artist, writer and thinker. Recent additions to the Library are the personal libraries of Italo Calvino & Jorge Luis Borges. Subsequent personal libraries of interest to collect belong to: Buckminster Fuller, Hannah Arendt, Lady Bird Johnson and Yoko Ono.

Members can check out books for an initial three-week period, with additional renewals possible. The Library resides in NE Portland, and has Reading Room Hours monthly. Please see Membership and Reading Room information below."
presonallibrarieslibrary  personallibraries  books  writers  lcproject  literature  philosophy  philosophers  yokoono  ladybirdjohnson  abraancliffe  mariamitchell  robertsmithson  italocalvino  borges  buckminsterfuller  hannaharendt  science  art  oregon  portland  library  libraries 
may 2012 by robertogreco
The Smart Set: Fifty-Thousand and Counting: The Aleph as metaphor in contemporary Mexico. - April 4, 2012
"And yet in the end what Borges does is worse than invalidate his friend’s testimony. He simply ignores it. He walks out into the street and lets himself succumb to the tides of forgetting. In Mexico we know of the corruption, the political criminality, and the surging numbers of the dead. The problem is not awareness, but what we do with the awareness. We can read and guffaw about the violence in our own homes, and nothing will continue to change. Especially if our minds are, as Borges describes, “porous for forgetting,” knowledge is not an end in itself. Careful record keeping and the murder meter will not enact change; we need to enact it ourselves."
metaphor  thealeph  aleph  borges  activism  action  awareness  memory  violence  mexico  johnwashington  2012 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Will Self: Walking is political | Books | The Guardian
"A century ago, 90% of Londoners' journeys under six miles were made on foot. Now we are alienated from the physical reality of our cities. Will Self on the importance of walking in the fight against corporate control"

"Borges's animals and beggars are those who still seek the disciplines of physical geography – we understand that to walk the city and its environs is, in a very powerful sense, to use it. The contemporary flâneur is by nature and inclination a democratising force who seeks equality of access, freedom of movement and the dissolution of corporate and state control."
humanconnection  humanconnectivity  connectivity  human  society  indifference  friedrichengels  gps  london  thomasdequincey  moritzretszch  edgarallanpoe  wandering  wanderlust  rebeccasolnit  epicurus  thecityishereforyoutouse  geography  democracy  freedomofmovement  freedom  access  movement  flaneur  borges  cities  place  space  limitedspace  psychogeography  urbanism  urban  transportation  control  corporatism  willself  2012  walking 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Searching The Library Of Babel - The Rumpus.net
"Esteemed as both a critic and author, Borges was as selective as he was well read. And, given all the accounts of his nearly superhuman erudition, he was probably one of the most well read men in history. The highly referential nature of his short stories and the disarming insight of his criticism both serve to underscore the range of his literary knowledge. He was a voracious reader, but also a good reader—and one of particular tastes."

"the problem of guessing which specific handful of stories Borges chose was daunting. And what was daunting became laughable when confronted by Volume 12: trying to guess which 16 of the 431 tales Borges chose from Pu Songling’s fantastic 17th century collection, Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, was like trying to find a copy of Borges’ “The Library Babel” in his own Library of Babel."
Borges  literature  2009  via:Preoccupations  readinglists  lists  reading  stories  books  thelibraryofbabel 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Fiction Writers Review » Magic and Music Steer this Vessel: On Jorge Luis Borges’s This Craft of Verse
"In this lecture, Borges famously declares that laziness kept him from writing novels. I wonder if this is the same “happy indolence” that Billy Collins has described as his modus operandi. Borges, like the ancients, defines the poet as “‘a maker’—not only as the utterer of those high lyric notes, but also as a teller of a tale."

"“Thought and Poetry” finds Borges asserting over and over again that metaphors should both resonate and unsettle."

"Borges’s humility should be admired but what must also be considered here is the incredible challenge—one may even describe it as a daunting, accusing mountain—that faces the writer. Those “tolerable” pages arrive from labored and conscientious output, through the uncertain process of trial and error, and through the making of, the awareness and recognition of, as well as the correction and ultimate learning from, mistakes."
cervantes  donquixote  bible  beowulf  wittgenstein  2009  books  writing  novels  johnmadera  music  odyssey  homer  poetry  classics  literature  borges 
january 2012 by robertogreco
A Cinematic Novel: ‘Historias extraordinarias’ | Hydra Magazine
"The pleasure of watching Historias extraordinarias derives in large part from the sheer magnitude of the multiple narratives that propel the film forward.

…One such episode recounts a brutal robbery and mass killing using only photographs for visualization, creating suspense and terror from a deft sequencing of photo stills, a technique reminiscent of Chris Marker’s canonical masterwork, La jetée (1962). Another memorable section ingeniously weaves the actual work and biography of obscure Argentine architect, Francisco Salamone, into one of the central plot threads. To Llinás, fiction and nonfiction are perpetually on level terms.

The graphic textuality of Historias extraordinarias owes much also to the comic book and graphic novel medium. In an interview with Argentine novelist Alan Pauls, Llinás explains that one of the chief inspirations for the scenario was Hergé’s classic comic-strip series, Les Aventures de Tintin…"
intertextuality  narrative  literature  alanpauls  franciscosalamone  narration  fiction  nonfiction  towatch  argentina  borges  2011  film  tintin  hergé  marianollinás  historiasextraordinarias  andrébazin  storytelling  comics  chrismarker  lajetée 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Les Petites Échos, Apple’s book failure and the Borgesian dilemma of...
"So in effect you have to handcraft your own “app”…basically reinventing the wheel every time. Almost all of these apps are artisanal, and most are clunky, as were probably the first wheels or codexes or horseless carriages."

"In a way, reading on the iPad reminds me of Jorge Luis Borges’s haunting story The Book of Sand, in which the narrator comes across an infinite book that contains the pages of all other books in the universe. At first intrigued, the idea of the book begins to terrify him. He considers burning it, but reasons that the smoke from the book would be infinite and thus suffocate the world, so he ends up abandoning it in the National Library, on some anonymous shelf. I feel some sense of this low-grade unease when reading on the iPad, as if the book I am reading at that particular moment in time might be part of a much larger book, and that I am actually reading all books at once. Then again, maybe this feeling is not such a bad feeling because maybe it is true."
reiflarsen  ipad  reading  books  ebooks  borges  newyorker  thebookofsand  bookofsand  appstore  apple  amazon  2011 
december 2011 by robertogreco
U B U W E B : Jorge Luis Borges
"Although honors came late in life to Jorge Luis Borges, his unique worldview had begun to emerge even as a child. This program examines the life and literary career of the charismatic Argentine writer, as well as the thematic, symbolic, and mythological underpinnings of his works. Archival interviews with Borges; his mother, Leonor Acevedo de Borges; his second wife, Maria Kodama; and collaborator Adolfo Bioy Casares provide insights into the private Borges, while readings from “The Mirrors,” “Dreamtigers,” “The Plot,” “The South,” “The Aleph,” and other landmarks of Latin American fiction demonstrate his virtuosity as a transformer of experiences."
borges  film  ubuweb  adolfobioycásares  maríakodama  documentary  towatch 
august 2011 by robertogreco
UbuWeb Sound :: Jorge Luis Borges
"These are the six Norton Lectures that Jorge Luis Borges delivered at Harvard University in the fall of 1967 and spring of 1968. The recordings, only lately discovered in the Harvard University Archives, uniquely capture the cadences, candor, wit, and remarkable erudition of one of the most extraordinary and enduring literary voices of our age. Through a twist of fate that the author of Labyrinths himself would have relished, the lost lectures return to us now in Borges' own voice."
literature  borges  lectures  1967  1968  via:robinsloan  poetry  metaphor  ubuweb  sound  tolisten 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Guernica / Forgotten but Not Gone
"There was at least one place, I would discover, where that “instant” of Borges persisted, a land where Borges lived on as both Borges and “I,” legend and life. That place is Texas. Starting in 1961, Borges made five visits to the state—first, to teach for a semester in Austin as a visiting professor; then to lecture on Cervantes and Whitman as a literary celebrity. When Borges died on June 14, 1986, the University of Texas’s main campus lowered its flags to half-mast, a rare tribute for a writer and a perplexing honor for one without deep Texas roots. Why had Texas so embraced Borges? And why had Borges continued to return there throughout the final twenty-five years of his life?

In early January, I began to investigate what seemed a long-forgotten romance."
borges  texas  history  ut  literature  childhood  reading  writing  aging  age  meaning  2011  kafka  kierkegaard  blindness  utaustin  carterwheelcock  ercibenson  argentina  waltwhitman  cervantes  ficciones 
july 2011 by robertogreco
“I just want to say one word to you….” « aronsolomon dot com
"When I graduated teacher’s college (most useless year in school EVER, by the way) I took a teaching job along with my closest friend from the programme. It’s over 20 years last & he’s still at that first teaching job. & while my place is not to judge, I would have jumped into the sea ages ago, wearing my Billabongs & an anchor.

In The Graduate, Benjamin’s post-adolescent angst was a product of a society’s expectation upon what he was expected to become…

Been there, done that. I left behind a cushy job for a risk, then I left behind a cushier one for a bigger risk then the cushiest for the biggest risk. My entire career has been this Sesame Street of risky, riskier, riskiest, cookie! Mmmm…coooooookie… And I wouldn’t change that for anything, not because I need to live on the knife edge (I don’t, actually, as I like reading Borges with a cup of green tea every once in a while) but because the omnipresence of change drives creativity."
teaching  education  aronsolomon  borges  2010  risk  risktaking  yearoff  creativity 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Los idiomas de Borges « Eterna Cadencia
Nos hemos acostumbrado a tal grado a afirmar que Jorge Luis Borges fue un “escritor universal” que esta expresión y el nombre de Borges han pasado a ser casi sinónimos. Famoso y reconocido por la amplitud y la profundidad de sus obras, Borges fue un escritor a la vez profundamente argentino y cosmopolita.  En sus poemas y cuentos aparecen  compadritos del viejo Buenos Aires, sacerdotes mayas, vikingos de las sagas nórdicas o reyes anglosajones largamente olvidados. El conocimiento que Borges tenía de las diversas literaturas del mundo era poco menos que enciclopédico y las múltiples y diversas fuentes  de su inspiración continúan siendo investigadas por la crítica. Sin embargo, un hecho que a menudo se pasa por alto es que Borges logró acercarse a muchas de estas obras gracias a las numerosas lenguas que estudió durante toda su vida."
borges  language  universality  universalism  cosmopolitanism  languages  english  german  french  italian  portuguese  icelandic  japanese 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 39, Jorge Luis Borges
Too much to choose, but here's one interesting bit: "Now as for the color yellow, there is a physical explanation of that. When I began to lose my sight, the last color I saw, or the last color, rather, that stood out, because of course now I know that your coat is not the same color as this table or of the woodwork behind you—the last color to stand out was yellow because it is the most vivid of colors. That's why you have the Yellow Cab Company in the United States. At first they thought of making the cars scarlet. Then somebody found out that at night or when there was a fog that yellow stood out in a more vivid way than scarlet. So you have yellow cabs because anybody can pick them out. Now when I began to lose my eyesight, when the world began to fade away from me, there was a time among my friends . . . well they made, they poked fun at me because I was always wearing yellow neckties. Then they thought I really liked yellow, although it really was too glaring."
borges  interview  literature  writing  fiction  parisreview  1966  film  language  books  numbers  religion  colors  words  languages  oldnorse  metaphor  georgeeliot  childhood  robertlouisstevenson  treasureisland  marktwain  tomsawyer  huckleberryfinn  milongas  adolfobioycásares  rudyardkipling  kafka  henryjames  waltwhitman  carlsandburg  poetry  josephconrad  argentina  buenosaires  tseliot 
february 2011 by robertogreco
How We Know by Freeman Dyson | The New York Review of Books
"The public has a distorted view of science, because children are taught in school that science is a collection of firmly established truths. In fact, science is not a collection of truths. It is a continuing exploration of mysteries. Wherever we go exploring in the world around us, we find mysteries. Our planet is covered by continents and oceans whose origin we cannot explain. Our atmosphere is constantly stirred by poorly understood disturbances that we call weather and climate. The visible matter in the universe is outweighed by a much larger quantity of dark invisible matter that we do not understand at all. The origin of life is a total mystery, and so is the existence of human consciousness. We have no clear idea how the electrical discharges occurring in nerve cells in our brains are connected with our feelings and desires and actions."

"The immense size of modern databases gives us a feeling of meaninglessness. Information in such quantities reminds us of Borges’s library extending infinitely in all directions. It is our task as humans to bring meaning back into this wasteland. As finite creatures who think and feel, we can create islands of meaning in the sea of information. Gleick ends his book with Borges’s image of the human condition: "We walk the corridors, searching the shelves and rearranging them, looking for lines of meaning amid leagues of cacophony and incoherence, reading the history of the past and of the future, collecting our thoughts and collecting the thoughts of others, and every so often glimpsing mirrors, in which we may recognize creatures of the information.""
freemandyson  books  language  meaning  science  information  history  theory  jamesgleick  wikipedia  borges  libraryofbabel  jimmywales  mooreslaw  claudeshannon  infinitelibrary  relationships  pupose  infooverload  thelibraryofbabel 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Stray Questions for: David Eagleman - NYTimes.com
"with Possibilianism I’m hoping to define a new position—one that emphasizes the exploration of new, unconsidered possibilities. Possibilianism is comfortable holding multiple ideas in mind; it is not interested in committing to any particular story."

"I’m always recommending my literary heroes: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Toni Morrison, William Faulkner. At the moment, I’m reading David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” and Olaf Stapledon’s “First and Last Men.” In the nonfiction realm I read a lot of neuroscience and physics, but in this past week I’ve been revisiting Carl Sagan, an early inspiration for my Possibilianism."
philosophy  davideagleman  possibilianism  tonimorrison  gabrielgarcíamárquez  italocalvino  borges  davidmitchell  agnosticism  athieism  belief  uncertainty  religion  atheism  science  ambiguity  certainty  curiosity  hubble  ultradeepfield  williamfaulkner 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Urinating on Jorge Luis Borges's grave was an artistic act, says Chilean writer | Books | The Guardian
"Book cover depicting Eduardo Labarca apparently urinating on author's grave provokes outrage in Argentina"

"Labarca told Argentina's perfil.com that Borges's talent as a writer had not been matched by his behaviour outside literature.

"Anyone who is offended by this is very short-sighted," he said. "Borges was a giant as a writer but I feel complete contempt for him as a citizen. As an old man, almost blind, he came to meet the dictator Pinochet in the days when he was busy killing."

Borges was delighted with Pinochet. "He is an excellent person," he said afterwards. "The fact is that here, and in my country and in Uruguay, liberty and order are being saved.""
chile  authors  argentina  politics  books  borges  pinochet  eduardolabarca 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Project Names and Borges Numbers
"Reporters do this sort of thing every day. It's neat, but not amazing. But when the consultant had finished his meeting, he said to himself, "Well, Walnut's a tree, it's something to eat ... and it's an exchange in the San Jose telephone directory." And he asked the first friend he encountered on his way out, "Say, what's the current status on BUtterfield?" And by the time he left the plant he knew all about Project Butterfield too, and how far over budget it was, and why it would never work either.

Now, I'm not saying this story is true.. but it's one of my favorites.

(I have often thought that it would be useful to create a list of names, chosen such that knowing one name on the list provided the least possible information about the rest of the list. We would, of course, call such an enumeration "Borges numbers," after the numbering scheme described in J. L. Borges' story "Funes the Memorious.")"
borges  naming  history  information  ibm  1995  via:migurski  funesthememorius  projectnames  secrecy  security  tomvanvleck  names 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Rogue Semiotics » Love’s lemmas [On the death of Stanislaw Lem]
"Lem…didn’t really see himself as doing science fiction.

Reading Lem in English was always a curious experience. Whole books are predicated on fecund streams of puns, portmanteau words & neologisms. He was fortunate in his translators, but the suspicion always lingered in the mind…that perhaps there was no Polish original, & that the translation was a free-flying construct boiling out from the mind of the biggest computer in the world.

But Lem was real, despite being denounced to the FBI by the increasingly paranoid Philip K. Dick as being a collective of communist writers aiming to subvert the USA.

Lem was also second only to Borges in his creation of imaginary books. I recall my surprise on finally reading Solaris & finding that much of it is a survey of various (invented) books. There ought to be a term for this tendency: bibliofantasism? What’s unarguable is that a list of books invented by Lem would be almost as interesting as his books themselves."
borges  stanislawlem  scifi  sciencefiction  writing  toread  portmanteau  neologisms  polish  poland  translation  obituaries  communism  bibliofantasism  imaginarybooks  books 
december 2010 by robertogreco
[VIVARIA.NET] ["The project asks: Why Look at Artificial Animals? (paying homage to John Berger's essay 'Why look at Animals?' published in 1980)."]
"Animals are both like and unlike humans. If this was partly reinforced by human isolation from the wider world of nature under the culture of capitalism, under late techno-capitalism, animals can be said to be increasingly both like and unlike machines — or to put it another way, machines are increasingly being classified according to the model of the animal. The inter-relationships are enduring ones, reactivated by changes in social and technological production, making the former distinction further complicated by the addition of artificial life-formds and biotechnologies — the merging of biological and computational forms. The task of classifying and differentiating between animals, humans and machines is one performed with increasing amounts of difficulty, born out of complexity, to use an adaptive term. Perhaps, under the conditions of bio-techno-capitalism, humans are both like and unlike artificial animals."
animals  art  literature  science  poetry  vivaria  borges  taxonomy  relationships  humans  complexity  shakespeare  darwin  sulawesicrestedmacaques  johnberger  via:chriswoebken  biotechnology  capitalism  bio-techno-capitalism  machines  classification  sorting  differentiation  hybrids  isolation  nature  techno-capitalism  technology  charlesdarwin 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 120, Mario Vargas Llosa ["I realized then that we [Latin Americans] have extremely interesting writers—the novelists perhaps less so than the essayists or poets.…]
"…Sarmiento, for example, who never wrote a novel, is in my opinion one of the greatest storytellers Latin America has produced; his Facundo is a masterwork. But if I were forced to choose one name, I would have to say Borges, because the world he creates seems to me to be absolutely original. Aside from his enormous originality, he is also endowed with a tremendous imagination and culture that are expressly his own. And then of course there is the language of Borges, which in a sense broke with our tradition and opened a new one. Spanish is a language that tends toward exuberance, proliferation, profusion. Our great writers have all been prolix, from Cervantes to Ortega y Gasset, Valle-Inclán, or Alfonso Reyes. Borges is the opposite—all concision, economy, and precision. He is the only writer in the Spanish language who has almost as many ideas as he has words. He’s one of the great writers of our time." [That's just a snip. There's lots more inside.]
mariovargasllosa  latinamerica  literature  borges  sarmiento  facundo  interviews  fscottfitzgerald  dospassos  writing  reading  perú  victorhugo  floratristan  guimarãesrosa  sartre  dostoyevsky  balzac  flaubert  tolstoy  nathanielhawthorne  charlesdickens  hermanmelville  gabrielgarcíamárquez  gabo  cervantes  spain  spanish  español  language  history  politics  ideology  happiness  unhappiness  parisreview  depression  josélezamalima  hemingway  joãoguimarãesrosa  españa  williamfaulkner  jean-paulsartre 
october 2010 by robertogreco
a m l - tres bibliotecas de borges
"en cierto sentido, claro, borges tuvo muchas bibliotecas—pero en este post me voy a limitar a tres."
borges  anamaríaleón  libraries  fiction  argentina  buenosaires  books 
september 2010 by robertogreco
List of fictional books - Wikipedia
"A fictional book is a non-existent book created specifically for (i.e. within) a work of fiction. This is not a list of works of fiction (i.e., actual novels, mysteries, etc), but rather imaginary books that do not actually exist.

Uses: Such a book may (1) provide the basis of the novel's plot, (2) add verisimilitude by supplying plausible background, or (3) act as a common thread in a series of books or the works of a particular writer or canon of work. A fictional book may also (4) be used as a conceit to illustrate a story within a story, or (5) be essentially a joke title, thus helping to establish the humorous or satirical tone of the work. (Fictional books used as hoaxes or as purported support for actual research are usually referred to as false documents.)"
borges  umbertoeco  michaelchabon  italocalvino  neilgaiman  philipkdick  aldoushuxley  johnirving  kafka  georgeorwell  orhanpamuk  thomaspynchon  vonnegut  wikipedia  writing  fiction  lists  literature  books  meta  invention  verisimilitude  kurtvonnegut 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Chris Moss on Psychoanalysing Argentina | FiveBooks
"all about Buenos Aires & feature duals, mythical figures, places w/ patios & grilled windows, & are full of a sense of his native Palermo. He sets ‘The Gospel According to St Mark’ out in the province, another region he loved to imagine. Borges’s fiction amounts to a metaphorical universe & he evokes a place I dream of visiting when I’m homesick for BA…Infinity beguiled him & the metaphor of the labyrinth expresses that. Of course, that comes from Greek classical literature but I think it might also be a simple way of articulating the grid-like layout of Buenos Aires, a city surrounded by the infinity of the Pampas, an urban labyrinth. He doesn’t write strictly topographically about BA but distils it into a metaphoric landscape."

"You have to remember that Argentina is one of the biggest meatpacking nations in the world & the sense of that goes beyond cows to the humans too. It’s a carnal nation with a history based on slaughter – that’s why the theme is so important."
argentina  chrismoss  borges  estebanecheverría  marianoplotkin  robertfarristhompson  tango  exequielmartínezestrada  history  culture  psychology  psychoanalysis  meat  palermo  violence  cities  buenosaires  fiction  music  nonfiction  elmatadero  literature  labyrinths  classics  urban  urbanism  landscapes 
august 2010 by robertogreco
What You Want: Flickr Creator Spins Addictive New Web Service | Magazine
"[Hunch] isn’t just helping people shop for cars—it is getting its users to volunteer a truly impressive amount of unique psychographic data...

Fake may not be the tunnel-visioned tyro found at most Internet startups. She doesn’t keep a schedule, & she works on projects only when they feel “intuitively right.”

But there are few people more skilled at building online communities. “If you think about Caterina, she is literally one of the creators of user-generated content on Web”...

For Fake, Hunch is just latest step in her mission to make Internet a forum for people to interact, to turn it into one big board-game night. “One of the overarching goals of my career has been to make technology more human. You should be able to feel the presence of other people on the Internet.”

...She fell in love with Net because it allowed her to discuss Jorge Luis Borges w/ people in Denmark. (“I’m an insomniac. Who else is around in middle of night but people in other countries?”)"
caterinafake  hunch  borges  internet  cv  insomnia  generalists  matchmakers  social  collaborative  collaboration  semanitc  web  collaborativefiltering  search  socialmedia  flickr  gne  entrepreneurship  wired  games  play  relationships  socialobjects  poetry 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Tibio sol « Eterna Cadencia
"Con las imágenes es más difícil: está lo que se ve y está el alma de lo que se ve. Las fotos tienen clima, tienen alrededor, tienen momento. Ese momento no se ve en la foto, sino que se siente en ella. Las partes, entonces, son menos que el todo. Estas fotos de Yako muestran el 83. Están Alfonsín y Bioy, y Borges, y Cortázar, y los carteles, y las siluetas de los desaparecidos, y el amor en los parques, pero todo eso es lo menos importante. Es tan solo lo que se ve. Lo importante, tal vez, es que en estas fotos se siente el 83: lo que iba a ser y no alcanzó, los sueños apareciendo tibiamente otra vez, la nerviosa expectativa del nacimiento, la tristeza antigua y el cosquilleo de las ilusiones. En estas fotos no hay cínicos ni muertos: hay desesperados e ilusos, enojados o torpes, pero en todos los casos hay también un tibio sol de futuro que parece llegar. Que pareció llegar. Que aún no llega. No sé cómo hizo Yako para meter todo eso en estas fotos, pero les juro que está ahí."
daniyako  photography  argentina  1983  borges  juliocortázar  alfonsín  books 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Julio Cortázar, el del jazz - lanacion.com
"Jorge Luis Borges es, en el contexto de estas líneas, el de las milongas. Y Julio Cortázar, el del jazz.

Mientras Borges echaba una mirada retrospectiva para salvar del olvido (en pleno auge del modernismo) al cuchillero de extramuros con el que construyó toda una mitología poética y ensayística plasmada, por ejemplo, en "Para la seis cuerdas" y en "Evaristo Carriego", Cortázar trasladaba su origen barrial, su asimilación europea, su cultura formal de clase media, y su mundo alternativo entre París y Plaza Once a lo largo de sus cuentos y novelas, mientras husmeaba en el mundo del jazz.

En sus obras, Cortázar desordenaba el arte en favor de la vida, al cuestionar el lenguaje establecido."
borges  juliocortázar  music  jazz  milongas  argentina  gabrielgarcíamárquez  theloniousmonk  charlieparker  carlosfuentes 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Jorge Luis Borges interview
"Encyclopedias have been, I’d say, my life’s chief reading...used to go to the Biblioteca Nacional in Buenos Aires — and since I was so shy, I felt I could not cope with asking for a book, or a librarian, so I looked on the shelves for the Encyclopædia Britannica...one night I was richly rewarded, because I read all about the Druses, Dryden, and the Druids — a treasure trove, no? — all in the same volume...I thought, well, I’d write a story of the fancy encyclopedia [previously described]. Then of course that would need many different people to write it, to get together and to discuss many things — the mathematicians, philosophers, men of letters, architects, engineers, then also novelists or historians....
borges  literature  interviews  writing  academia  philosophy  books  shyness  encyclopedias  libraries  bertrandrussell 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Borges' Encyclopedia
"In "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins," Borges describes 'a certain Chinese Encyclopedia,' the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, in which it is written that animals are divided into:
borges  johnwilkins  animals  folksonomy  taxonomy  libraries  literature  encyclopedia  culture 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Memory and forgetting in the digital age - opinion - 24 October 2009 - New Scientist
"Most importantly, though, the authors, consumed by their hunt for every last bit of information (and even offering practical advice on how to make an extra buck in the process), forget forgetting.
remembering  memory  brain  data  identity  brainscience  philosophy  information  psychology  neuroscience  perception  forgetting  borges 
october 2009 by robertogreco
‘Tokyo!,’ a Film by 3 Directors - Bong Joon-ho, Leos Carax and Michel Gondry - NYTimes.com
"The masterpiece of that interpretive mode remains “Sans Soleil,” the unclassifiable 1982 film by the French cine-essayist Chris Marker. This free-associative travelogue combines globe-trotting images (presented as the film shot by a peripatetic cinematographer) with wide-ranging philosophical ruminations on the nature of memory and the recorded image...The film roams from Iceland to Guinea-Bissau but mostly lingers in and around Tokyo, which inspires its richest reflections. Haunting the city’s animist shrines and underground malls, seeking out its hidden rhythms and connections, Mr. Marker undertakes an urban expedition worthy of a Borges or Calvino story. He imagines the trains that crisscross Tokyo acting as repositories for the dreams of its dozing passengers, the entire city taking shape as the projection of its citizens’ “giant collective dream.”
film  michelgondry  japan  tokyo  towatch  borges  italocalvino 
march 2009 by robertogreco
25 Famous Librarians Who Changed History | Best Online Colleges
"Have you ever wondered the past life or secret dreams of your local librarian as they helped you find research paper resources and swiped the bar code on your books? As it turns out, a lot of world leaders, famous authors and legendary philosophers and scholars had careers as librarians. Read below to find out who."
librarians  libraries  borges  bejaminfranklin  maozedong  marcelduchamp  lewiscarroll  marcelproust  education  learning  via:rodcorp  proust 
february 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Air Born
"The new year begins with an interesting example of sovereign geography as applied to movement through the atmosphere: a Ugandan baby girl was born aboard an airplane en route from Amsterdam to the United States – and so was given Canadian citizenship, because the plane was flying over eastern Canada at the time. Of course, one wonders what citizenship this baby would have been given if they had been flying over the middle of the ocean, for instance, or across the tangled borders of an enclave or exclave. A complicated mathematics of trajectory, speed, and height is unleashed by terrestrial scholars below in order to find the exact location of the plane at the moment of childbirth. Like something out of Borges, imperial trigonometricians are called in for consultation. Their calculations take days and arguments break out."
bldgblog  citizenship  land  air  geography  space  borges  identity 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Books-A-Million » American Scientist
"In William Goldbloom Bloch’s mathematical companion to “The Library of Babel,” the first task is to calculate the number of distinct books that can be created in this way. There’s not much to it. Borges tells us that the alphabet of the books is restricted to 25 symbols (22 letters, the comma, the period and the word space). He also mentions that each book has 410 pages, with 40 lines of 80 characters on each page. Thus a book consists of 410 × 40 × 80 = 1,312,000 symbols. There are 25 choices for each of these symbols, and so the library’s collection consists of 251,312,000 books."
borges  mathematics  math  fiction  literature  science  libraryofbabel  books  labibliotecadebabel  thelibraryofbabel 
december 2008 by robertogreco
The Science of Memory: An Infinite Loop in the Brain - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
"Wouldn't it be great to be able to remember everything? To see all our most important moments, all the priceless encounters, adventures and triumphs? What if memory never faded, but instead could be retrieved at any time, as reliably as films in a video store?" ... "She's constantly bombarded with fragments of memories, exposed to an automatic and uncontrollable process that behaves like an infinite loop in a computer. Sometimes there are external triggers, like a certain smell, song or word. But often her memories return by themselves. Beautiful, horrific, important or banal scenes rush across her wildly chaotic "internal monitor," sometimes displacing the present. "All of this is incredibly exhausting," says Price."
memory  neuroscience  mind  cognition  borges  intelligence  information  research  psychology  brain  philosophy  science  episodicmemory 
december 2008 by robertogreco
The Triumph of Roberto Bolaño - The New York Review of Books
"Like Borges—whom he loved and from whom he learned much—Bolaño was attracted to the idea of literature that could speak to the Americas.[2] He introduced a Spanish edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and elsewhere suggested that The Savage Detectives had been his stab at an adventure tale in the spirit of Twain. He hinted at another model worth thinking about: Melville, tackling the overwhelming subject of evil in Moby-Dick. Writing a brief note on a book by the Mexican reporter Sergio González Rodríguez, Bolaño sounded a similar theme. In 2002, González Rodríguez published his reportage on hundreds of unsolved murders of women and girls in Ciudad Juárez, just south of the Texas border. The murders had begun to accelerate in the early 1990s, in tandem with the drug trade and a proliferation of new assembly plants for exports."
robertobolaño  borges  2666  literature  chile  autodidacts  selfeducated  nomads  poetry  marktwain  hermanmelville  mobydick  reviews  books  moby-dick 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Book Review - '2666,' by Roberto Bolaño. Translated by Natasha Wimmer - Review - NYTimes.com
"A novel like “2666” is its own preserving machine, delivering itself into our hearts, sentence by questing, unassuming sentence; it also becomes a preserving machine for the lives its words fall upon like a forgiving rain, fictional characters and the secret selves hidden behind and enshrined within them: hapless academic critics and a hapless Mexican boxer, the unavenged bodies deposited in shallow graves. By writing across the grain of his doubts about what literature can do, how much it can discover or dare pronounce the names of our world’s disasters, Bolaño has proven it can do anything, and for an instant, at least, given a name to the unnamable. Now throw your hats in the air."
robertobolaño  2666  harukimurakami  borges  literature  chile 
november 2008 by robertogreco
'2666' by Roberto Bolaño, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer - Los Angeles Times
"There is an unwittingly funny passage in the Spanish edition of Ignacio Echevarría's introduction to "El Secreto del Mal," a still-untranslated collection of Roberto Bolaño's stories, a passage that could easily have been cribbed from one of Jorge Luis Borges' metafictions or, more to the point, from one of Bolaño's. Echevarría observes that Bolaño's work is "governed by a poetics of incompleteness." Bolaño tends to interrupt his stories with other stories, and those with other tales in turn. He spends page after page building tension, then mischievously buries the climax or neglects it altogether. This makes it difficult to determine, Echevarría laments, which "among the pieces that he did not end up publishing can be considered finished."
robertobolaño  2666  borges  chile  literature 
november 2008 by robertogreco
BBC SPORT | Football | Maradona, Mascherano and philosophy
"Sometimes nicknamed the Philosopher of Football, Argentine legend Jorge Valdano is probably best known for scoring the South American nation's second goal in their 3-2 win over West Germany in the 1986 World Cup final in Mexico. Here Valdano gives BBC Sport his views on Diego Maradona, who is taking over as Argentina coach, and his two compatriots Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez and Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano."
argentina  football  maradona  jorgevaldano  via:cityofsound  tevez  mascherano  messi  borges  genius  literature  sergioaguero  sports 
november 2008 by robertogreco
mirá! » ExpoManagement: Atletas mentales
"Hay muchas maneras de conocer gente inteligente para aprender de ellos. Una maneras es asistir a conferencias, que suceden -las conferencias- con mucho mayor frecuencia en las grandes ciudades que en los pueblos. Entre las conferencias asombrosas de la historia se pueden destacar, por ejemplo, las “Siete Noches” en las que Borges habló en 1977 desde el Teatro Coliseo, en Buenos Aires. Borges dedicó cada noche a un tema: “La Divina Comedia”, “La pesadilla”, “Las mil y una noches”, “El budismo”, La poesía”, “La cábala” y “La ceguera”. En Youtube -que rescata joyas del mundo- hay fragmentos de esas conferencias publicadas. La que sigue es sobre “La ceguera”.(Recuérdese todo el tiempo que se está viendo a un hombre que no lee y que no es asistido por ninguna otra cosa que no sea su propia mente):"
borges  blindness  conferences 
october 2008 by robertogreco
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