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robertogreco : lawrenceweschler   16

Los Angeles vs. New York City - The Atlantic
"For millions, New York is undeniably the best city.

And L.A. is the best city for millions, too. I'll happily share some of the comparative advantages that it offers for the sake of the would-be transplants who value such things. We've already remarked upon weather, though winters without frozen water falling from the sky by the metric ton are just the beginning. In L.A., no one yearns for a place "to summer," a subject that seems near and dear to the perennially-aspirational Style section set, because soaking humidity doesn't pervade the city in June, July, and August. Rich and poor happily "summer" at their regular house or apartment (though come autumn, transplants miss watching the leaves die).

And it isn't just the weather that's better here. So is the light. Long after Lawrence Weschler had moved to New York he found himself entranced by a shot of his former city on TV. "That's the light I keep telling you girls about!" he exclaimed to his wife and daughter. "That light: the late-afternoon light of Los Angeles–golden pink off the bay through the smog and onto the palm fronds. A light I've found myself pining for every day of the nearly two decades since I left Southern California."

Then there's what locals here call "the beach," stretching miles and miles down the western edge of our city. If you're the sort that best comprehends Los Angeles through questionable analogies to New York City you might think of this gorgeous seascape as a bigger, partly aquatic High Line. Of course, not everyone likes to surf or scuba dive or kayak or standup paddle or lounge on sand reading US Weekly. But we've also got mountains, canyons, and deserts. Hiking in nature here is more convenient by about the same factor as traveling by subway is less convenient.

Angelenos care very little where you went to college and not at all where you went to prep school. In fact, if an East Coaster tries to name-drop a prep school Angelenos will assume that they're talking about an obscure college; the notion of anyone name-dropping a high school is beyond our Southern California comprehension.

Octogenarian movie stars are our idea of "old money."

As for the food, if your favorite standby is pizza, Puerto Rican, or Italian, stay put. But if you cook at home, or salivate over Mexican, Thai, Korean, sushi, ramen, burgers, or anything that's better with avocado, come hither. You'll eat better than in NYC for far less.

For the flip-flop wearer, Los Angeles is a city where practically no restaurant or bar will turn you away, an approach that strikes most of us as a feature.

Then there's our perspective on the good life.

"When I describe my West Coast existence (sunshine! avocados! etc.) to some New Yorkers," Ann Friedman once wrote in New York, "they acknowledge that they really like California, too, but could never move there because they’d get too 'soft.' At first this confused me, but after hearing it a few times, I’ve come to believe that a lot of people equate comfort with complacency, calmness with laziness. If you’re happy, you’re not working hard enough. You’ve stopped striving."

Los Angeles is a place where one can strive while happy. One doesn't trade away ambition so much as a unit or two of invigoration: On that metric, the pace isn't frenetic enough to match New York; much seems less urgent in L.A., for better and worse. In Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, a biography of the artist Robert Irwin, the subject's youth in World War II-era Los Angeles is covered. One passage captures a particular relationship that many in this city have to events outside it. Irwin is showing his interviewer spots where he cruised around L.A. as a teen:


In my experience there are two kinds of people who thrive in Los Angeles. The first tend to have the same disposition as did Bob Irwin: "Look. Look at it here. Look at how it is: calm, sunny, the palm trees. What is there to get all fucking upset about?" Then there are the people (as likely to be New Yorkers as anyone) who aren't themselves chill in that way but are happiest in proximity to people who are. If you're neither type Los Angeles isn't for you. If you come anyway, please bring bagels."

[See also this response to the NYTimes LA article:
“Leaving New York and Also Technology: Why I left New York and also technology” ]
losangeles  nyc  socal  colinfriedersdorf  california  lawrenceweschler  robertirwin  qualityoflife  annfriedman  2015 
may 2015 by robertogreco
▶ Ideas at the House: Tavi Gevinson - Tavi's Big Big World (At 17) - YouTube
"She's been called the voice of her generation. The future of journalism. A style icon. A muse. Oh, and she's still in high school.

Tavi Gevinson has gone from bedroom blogger to founder and editor-in-chief of website and print series, Rookie, in just a few years. Rookie attracted over one million views within a week of launching, and has featured contributors such as Lena Dunham, Thom Yorke, Joss Whedon, Malcolm Gladwell, and Sarah Silverman.

Watch this inspiring talk as Tavi discusses adversity, the creative process, her outlook on life, what inspires her, and the value of being a 'fangirl.'"
tavigevinson  2013  teens  adolescence  rookie  writing  creativity  life  living  depression  frannyandzooey  books  reading  howwework  patternrecognition  procrastination  howwelive  teenagers  gender  feminism  authenticity  writer'sblock  making  fangirls  fanboys  wonder  relationships  art  originality  internet  web  fangirling  identity  happiness  fanart  theideaofthethingisbetterthanthethingitself  culture  fanfiction  davidattenborough  passion  success  fame  love  fans  disaffection  museumofjurassictechnology  collections  words  shimmer  confusion  davidwilson  davidhildebrandwilson  fanaticism  connection  noticing  angst  adolescents  feelings  emotions  chriskraus  jdsalinger  literature  meaning  meaningmaking  sensemaking  jean-paulsartre  sincerity  earnestness  howtolove  thevirginsuicides  purity  loving  innocence  naïvité  journaling  journals  notetaking  sketching  notebooks  sketchbooks  virginiawoolf  openness  beauty  observation  observing  interestedness  daydreaming  self  uniqueness  belatedness  inspiration  imagination  obsessions  fandom  lawrenceweschler  so 
december 2013 by robertogreco
To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees | Grand Strategy: The View from Oregon
"“To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees.” This is a quote frequently attributed to Paul Valéry, and the line has a quality that is at once both searching and poetic, making the attribution reasonable. I don’t know if Valéry actually said it (I can’t find the source of the quote), but I think of this line every once in a while: my mind returns to it as to an object of fascination. A good aphorism is perennially pregnant with meaning, and always repays further meditation.

If seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees, and mutatis mutandis for the aesthetic experiences that follow from the other senses — e.g., to taste is to forget the name of thing one tastes, and so forth — we may take the idea further and insist that it is the forgetting of not only the name but of all the linguistic (i.e., formal) accretions, all categorizations, and all predications, that enables us to experience the thing in itself (to employ a Kantian locution). What we are describing is the pursuit of prepredicative experience after the fact (to employ a Husserlian locution).

This is nothing other than the familiar theme of seeking a pure aesthetic experience unmediated by the intellect, undistracted by conceptualization, unmarred by thought — seeing without thinking the seen. In view of this, can we take the further step, beyond the generalization of naming, extending the conceit to all linguistic formalizations, so that we arrive at a pure aesthesis of thought? Can we say that to think is to forget the name of the thing one thinks?

The pure aesthesis of thought, to feel a thought as one feels an experience of the senses, would be thought unmediated by the conventions of naming, categories, predication, and all the familiar machinery of the intellect, i.e., thought unmediated by the accretions of consciousness. It would be thought without all that we usually think of as being thought. Is such thought even possible? Is this, perhaps, unconscious thought? Is Freud the proper model for a pure aesthesis of thought? Possible or not, conscious or not, Freudian or not, the pursuit of such thought would constitute an effort of thought that must enlarge our intellectual imagination, and the enlargement of our imagination is ultimately the enlargement of our world.

Wittgenstein famously wrote that the limits of my language are the limits of my world (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 5.6 — this is another wonderful aphorism that always repays further meditation). But the limits of language can be extended; we can systematically seek to transcend the limits of our language and thus the limits of our world, or we can augment our language and thus augment our world. Russell, Wittgenstein’s mentor and one-time collaborator, rather than focusing on limits of the self, developed an ethic of impersonal self-enlargement, i.e., the transgression of limits. In the last chapter of his The Problems of Philosophy Russell wrote:
All acquisition of knowledge is an enlargement of the Self, but this enlargement is best attained when it is not directly sought. It is obtained when the desire for knowledge is alone operative, by a study which does not wish in advance that its objects should have this or that character, but adapts the Self to the characters which it finds in its objects. This enlargement of Self is not obtained when, taking the Self as it is, we try to show that the world is so similar to this Self that knowledge of it is possible without any admission of what seems alien. The desire to prove this is a form of self-assertion and, like all self-assertion, it is an obstacle to the growth of Self which it desires, and of which the Self knows that it is capable. Self-assertion, in philosophic speculation as elsewhere, views the world as a means to its own ends; thus it makes the world of less account than Self, and the Self sets bounds to the greatness of its goods. In contemplation, on the contrary, we start from the not-Self, and through its greatness the boundaries of Self are enlarged; through the infinity of the universe the mind which contemplates it achieves some share in infinity.

The obvious extension of this conception of impersonal self-enlargement to an ethics of thought enjoins the self-enlargement of the intellect, the transgression of the limits of the intellect. It is the exercise of imagination that enlarges the intellect, and a great many human failures that we put to failures of understanding and cognition are in fact failures of imagination.

The moral obligation of self-enlargement is a duty of intellectual self-transgression. As Nietzsche put it: “A very popular error: having the courage of one’s convictions; rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one’s convictions!”"

[Came here today because + +
thus the tagging with Robert Irwin, Lawrence Weschler, and Clarice Lispector]
paulvaléry  wittgenstein  thought  language  aphorism  mind  memory  senses  familiarization  robertirwin  lawrenceweschler  naming  categorization  predication  freud  bertrandrussell  self  philosophy  claricelispector  knowledge  knowledgeacquisition  self-enlargement  nietzsche  brasil  brazil  literature 
november 2013 by robertogreco
The Writer as Meme Machine: How Has the Internet Altered Poetry? : The New Yorker
"It’s not uncommon to see blogs that recount someone’s every sneeze since 2007, or of a man who shoots exactly one second of video every day and strings the clips together in time-lapsed mashups. There is guy who secretly taped all of his conversations for three years and a woman who documents every morsel of food that she puts into her mouth. While some of these people aren’t consciously framing their activities as works of art, Wershler argues that what they’re doing is so close to the practices of sixties conceptualism that the connection between the two can’t be ignored."
kennethgoldsmith  2013  internet  web  memes  conceptualism  conceptualart  lawrenceweschler  writing  computers  interenet  art 
october 2013 by robertogreco
David Byrne's Journal: 10.22.2011: The Subjectivity of Perception
"Our brain’s ability to patch together a coherent visual field and construct a seamless looking image that we know is imaginary (there are noses and trees and thumbs blocking parts of our eyesight) is similar to the propensity to construct a narrative—to imagine a chain of cause and effect out of almost random events. What we see and what we experience of the world is largely a lie, made up by us to satisfy some deeply evolved needs and tendencies. We might know it’s a lie but, still, we are helplessly drawn into these perceptual tricks."
davidbyrne  evesussman  christianmarclay  ryanoakes  trevoroakes  ryanandtrevoroakes  oakestwins  2011  perception  illusion  huans  huamn  vision  fieldofvision  brain  subjectivity  art  sculpture  lawrenceweschler 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Between the By-Road and the Main Road: Being in the Middle: Learning Walks
"So imagine a commitment to learning that involved making regular learning walks with high school students as a normal part of the "school" day. Now, these learning walks should not be confused with walking tours, which are designed based on planned outcomes. One walks to point X in order to see object or artifact Y. The points are predetermined, hierarchical in design.

Instead, learning walks are rhizomatic. They are inherently about being in the middle of things and coming to learn what could not been predetermined. Learning walks are part of the "curriculum" for instructional seminar (which I described here)."

[My comments cross-posted here: ]
maryannreilly  comments  walking  walkshops  adamgreenfield  flaneur  psychogeography  derive  dérive  education  learning  schools  teaching  unschooling  deschooling  noticing  observation  seeing  2011  rhizomaticlearning  johnseelybrown  douglasthomas  unguided  self-directedlearning  serendipity  johnberger  willself  rebeccasolnit  sistercorita  maps  mapping  photography  alanfletcher  lawrenceweschler  kerismith  exploration  exploring  johnstilgoe  noticings  rjdj  ios  situationist  situatedlearning  situated  hototoki  serendipitor  flow  mihalycsikszentmihalyi  experience  control  ego  cv  coritakent 
july 2011 by robertogreco
"Visual convergences that amuse and surprise" by Volumes and Visions
"Lawrence Weschler -- formerly a New Yorker staff writer, biographer of San Diego based artist Robert Irwin and current head of the New York Institute for Humanities at New York University -- is spending some time at the Getty Research Institute these days. And while he is in Southern California, he is giving some talks, including one at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla on March 11 at 7:30 p.m.

The title of his talk could be more forthright: "A Defense of Loose-Synapsed Moments: Towards a Typology of Convergences." But his topic is a good one: how images in the world, most often by chance, look a lot like other images. A photograph might look like a painting without even trying to."
lawrenceweschler  sandiego  athenaeum  events  todo  2010  lajolla  art  photography  images 
february 2010 by robertogreco
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: A Convergence of Convergences: A Contest.
"To celebrate the release of Lawrence Weschler's Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences, we are launching an extravagant new contest: A Convergence of Convergences. Submit your own convergence −an unlikely, striking pair of images, along with a paragraph or three exploring the deeper resonances. The best contributions will be posted on the site, along with responding commentary from Weschler. (For those of you who still aren't quite clear on this "convergence" concept, it's kind of like Celebrity Look-Alikes, except instead of Nick Nolte and Gary Busey, it's a cuneiform tablet and the Chicago city jail, followed by a series of brilliant, spiraling ruminations. Or, for a more intelligent analysis, read this sneak preview of the book, written by a genuine graduate student.) Please send your submissions to − if your images are attachments (rather than links), please keep them under 1 megabyte."
art  photography  images  humor  books  convergence  lawrenceweschler 
february 2010 by robertogreco
The Believer - The Paralyzed Cyclops
"I should perhaps myself note, however, the way that curiously, while the two artists have been engaged in entirely different artistic enterprises—undergirded, they would argue, by entirely opposite readings of history—many of Hockney’s and Irwin’s core concerns have come to seem, to me at any rate, almost entirely identical: the emphasis, for instance, on the critique of photography, the countervailing celebration of the human quality of looking and experience, the focus on the centrality of the observer, the vitality of the periphery, the interpenetrations of art and science, the dialogue of immanence. "
lawrenceweschler  robertirwin  davidhockney  art  photography  artists  criticism  california  painting  contemporary  believer 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees By Lawrence Weschler - Google Book Search
"'On its more radical fringes, modern art merges with modern philosophy, and this excellent, provocative profile...points up the extent to which the act of percepton, rather than any specific objects, has become the subject of the avant-garde California artist's work....Weschler has a knack for clarifying avstruse artistic and philosophical concepts."
robertirwin  lawrenceweschler  art  books 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Robert Irwin: Still at play with the powers of perception - International Herald Tribune
[also at: ]

"Almost 30 years...Lawrence inspired by their ongoing, open-ended conversation about meaning of life & art that he wrote huge chunks of it into a 25,000-word manuscript. "He was showing the piece around, but we knew there was no chance it would ever get published...showed it to writer Calvin Tomkins, who showed it to New Yorker editor William Shawn...ended up running it in two parts." The article, published shortly afterward..."Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees," also had ripple effects for Irwin...introduced his work to many who could not see it in person...Michael Govan, said the book "has convinced more young people to become artists than the Velvet Underground has created rockers." The book is a primer of sorts on how to open yourself up to aesthetic experience. It's about "trying to get people to perceive how they perceive," Weschler offered in a telephone interview."
robertirwin  lawrenceweschler  books  art  michaelgovan 
september 2008 by robertogreco Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin: Lawrence Weschler: Books
"Whether you know Irwin's work or not, are an art afficionado or not, this is a great read for the curious and perceptually
robertirwin  lawrenceweschler  books  biography  art 
september 2008 by robertogreco
VQR » Embeddedness: Robert Irwin in His Seventies
"He paused. “Now,” he resumed, “one thing that has entered in lately, which is something that I had never at all used to consider—in fact I am for the first time being made aware of it and I find it awkward, I’m not quite sure what to do about it and haven’t had time enough to sort it out in my own head—and that’s this whole issue of history. I mean, I’ve never had any interest in history, certainly not my own, and I have almost no record of anything. Suddenly people are saying, you know, So-and-So kept all this and that—for instance, you look at what Don Judd did in Marfa—whereas me, I didn’t keep anything. My whole life I was as if stripped clean so as to be able to keep going, you know what I mean? And now Hugh starts talking about this permanent wing and this archive at the museum: it can spin your head a bit.”"
robertirwin  art  life  lawrenceweschler  history  lajolla 
september 2008 by robertogreco

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