Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Simulactive Office Space

.Gif Source: Z. Scott via We Invent You.

Some online reports this week discuss the work of .gif artist, Zach Scott, who has created an artistic online conference call simulation. Scott sampled 15 voices with 75 lines of corporate office meeting dialogue which he randomized. If you visit this site, you will experience a Webinar as surreal Millennial art. Scott cites director David Lynch as a big influence, especially with regard to the use of ambient sound to contribute to an jarring atmosphere, and also in relation to a collage of normal details which, together, add up to something unsettling. From The Creators Project interview with Scott:
Lynch--he's my very favorite director and a huge influence. The intent of the ambient soundtrack was to create an unsettling atmosphere. I included quiet supermarket sounds at the beginning and end of the loop because I want people to subliminally feel the influence of money and transactions.
In many conference calls, time really is money, and every distraction and interruption begins to add up monetarily. The participants' inefficiencies are tangibly costing someone money, and it becomes stressful.
I had a few alternate backing tracks that dramatically changed the whole experience. One of them was a loop of a few cheesy hold music smooth jazz clips. I didn't use it because I thought it made the website too funny. I wanted to make people feel a little uncomfortable, and smooth jazz is just too funny. The backing track is really important in setting the tone--if the backing track was the sound of chatter and work and keyboards then the resulting vibe would be more industrious. But I wanted people to think about the absurdity of the conference call and feel a little despair.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Evolutionary Babylon

"A rainbow-colored beast from the margins of a fifteenth-century text." Image Source: Public Domain Review via Paris Review.

The Justin Bieber mugshot is already an Internet meme (do not click here or here and don't don't don't click here (told you not to)). Fortunately, there are other things to think about, like the origins of life. Jeremy England, a 31-year-old physicist at MIT, thinks that he has identified the physics that underlies the difference between inanimate and animate matter. The thermodynamic theory, which complements Darwin's theory of evolution, is outlined in Quanta Magazine, and summarized below the jump.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, with the Tower of Babel in the background ("probably 19th century after the first excavations in the Assyrian capitals"). Image Source: Wiki.

Already, critics are queueing to attack England's ideas. But is this simply because his concept has appeared in many guises, to researchers working in various fields, each of which has a field-specific language and set of research precedents? Is the theory of the origin of life a modern Tower of Babel?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Interlude: Birds in the Receding Storm

Gif Source: Lân Phạm Hoàng.

For today, here is a beautiful clip of animation from the Japanese 2013 film, Kotonoha no Niwa (言の葉の庭The Garden of Words), with birds flying across a city sky through clearing skies after a rain storm. The film is directed by Gen Xer Makoto Shinkai.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Farewell to Komla Dumor

Image Source: BBC via Nollywood Nice.

A bright light at the BBC, reporter and broadcaster, Komla Dumor, died suddenly on Saturday 18 January 2014 at age 41. I was so very sad to hear this today. He always projected a larger-than-life, wonderful and genuine personality as he brought the stories of Africa to the world, and brought the world to Africa:
Between 2009 and 2012 Komla was the anchor of the groundbreaking Africa Business Report on BBC World News. This program (a first for the BBC) took Komla to close to 20 African countries covering hundreds of thousands of miles interviewing the continents top entrepreneurs, politicians and policy makers. In addition to the European mornings Komla [wa]s the face and main anchor for the first BBC's programme dedicated daily African news and current affairs show; Focus on Africa.
Mr. Dumor reportedly died of a heart attack. According to Nollywood Nice and many others online, there is speculation that Dumor overworked himself and this struggle similarly reflects stresses suffered by other immigrant workers. I have not confirmed this, but a Facebook message purportedly from Dumor shortly before he died noted how hard it is to change the way people think, to bring new ideas to the world, to break new ground and conquer prejudice while succeeding in a career:
“God has been v good to me.,last year I experienced a lot of illness ..my B[lood] P[ressure] nearly gave me a stroke but I trod on..waking up at 2am and heading to work..exhausted sometimes..aching in my body a soul..mentally and emotionally drained ..but I kept going ..I smiled for the camera..I volunteered for extra shifts ..I showed respect to my colleagues from directors to the security guards..I took a lot of jealousy driven vicious insults and backstabbing  from petty people without reply..I remain silent in my personal strife and misery..I kept smiling and pushing on to present better and to engage w my audience and increase my following.,long days and frustrating times..but I kept going..through the west gate mall coverage through the Mandela funeral..even when illness had me collapsing I delivered..today my boss the head of television called me for a 1 minute meeting..he said Komla we have decided to make you the anchor presenter for our coverage of the World Cup in Brazil ..we shook hands and I left..I looked to the sky and said thank you Lord for reminding me that you are on my side ..the enemy will be scattered..Selah!Selah! Praise Him..tomorrow is another day.”
I cannot find that quotation on Dumor's Facebook wall here, nor would such a public statement chime with his polished professionalism. If it is genuine, it was likely a private comment.

Dumor spent many years working at Joy 99.7 FM based in Accra, Ghana. On 20 January 2014, Joy is honouring Mr. Dumor by playing his favourite playlists on the station's Multi Track Show. You can listen at 9 p.m. (local?), here, here or here.

Image Source: Facebook.