Monday, August 24, 2015

Salvador Dali and Scientific American and some sad sad-puppies.

I'd love to know know more about why Dali loved duplicity and illusion but Sci Am only offers a teaser.  Maybe my university library has a copy of the magazine.  I did learn though that Dali read Sci Am and one of his paintings has an homage to an article from the magazine.  The article described how little information is needed for our brains to interpret faces. A portrait of Abraham Lincoln was used; it was divided into 16 X 16 squares and each square was 'color averaged' so as to be a block of solid color. The result is not as flowing as a Dali painting but similarly surreal.

Ah, what do I know about Dali?  He painted 'persistence of memory' and lots of spider-legged elephants and lots of weirdly placed boobs.  These works adorned many university students' dorm wall - including my own.  He had an aardvark or anteater as a pet.  He had a cool mustache. Yeah, I know more about his style than his work - and not that much about his style.

I do like butterflies and sailboats though (from):

The Khan academy is here to teach me about some of Dali's work (6:27 for Persistence Of Memory).
"He was the first person to essentially do dreamscapes and, as you mentioned, attack on the rational."
"I think this is that moment when all those safe ideas about objectivity are being blown out of the water."
 Metamorphosis of Narcissus (4:08)
Dr Zucker:"Paranoiac-critical activity...they loved the fact that it was scary and dangerous"
Dr Harris"Something more authentic, that lacked the control of the conscious mind. Dr Zucker: "For them, that was the engine of creativity."
Zucker: "He [Dali] wants the perfection of the academic style to render the inspiration of the unconscious"

And now for something completely different. The Hugo awards.  The politics of this years nominees is a mess with different groups trying to vote as blocs on various slates of contestants.  Below is a tiny taste of an explainer.  Hunt around if you want more.

The leader of one such group, the Sad Puppies, is Brad Torgerson.  Here is what he is concerned about:
“A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women.
[Now,] the book has a spaceship on the cover, but is it really going to be a story about space exploration and pioneering derring-do? Or is the story merely about racial prejudice and exploitation?... A planet, framed by a galactic backdrop: Could it be an actual bona fide space opera? Heroes and princesses and laser blasters? No, wait. It’s about sexism and the oppression of women. Finally, a book with a painting of a person wearing a mechanized suit of armor! Holding a rifle! War story ahoy! Nope, wait. It’s actually about gay and transgender issues.”
 Yes, he is concerned that he will not be able to judge a book by its cover. He is also the lesser jerk in the story.  The awards have been given out and the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies didn't do well.  Boingboing and Nielson Hayden have details with the latter offering this pdf of the winners.

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