Split shots are made half over and half under the surface of the water. To get a nice split you need a so called "dome port" in front of the underwater housing. The shots are no collages. Photos: Tobias Friedrich.

Fab Serenity

What Being Sober Has Meant to Me
June 10th, 2019

Via Brené Brown: "This last one is a quote from Mary Karr. I read it in an interview she did for The Fix. I recommend you read the entire interview – it blew me away.
'That schoolmarm part of me — that hypercritical finger-wagging part of myself that I thought was gonna keep me sober — that was actually what helped me stay drunk. What keeps you sober is love and connection to something bigger than yourself.When I got sober, I thought giving up [alcohol] was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite. That’s when the sparkle started for me.' "

Via The Fix: "There’s this idea of the tortured artist, or of a link between depression and creativity—is that true and necessary? If so, how do you make meaningful art after recovery, if you’re no longer tortured?
Mary Karr: Well, I don’t know, maybe you don’t. I’ve been sober almost 25 years and anything anyone’s ever bought from me has been written when I was sober. If I hadn’t been, I would’ve been like David, swinging from a fucking noose. That really cuts down on your creativity. [Laughs]
When I was super depressed, I wasn’t working—I was always too depressed. Hemingway did his best work when he didn’t drink, then he drank himself to death and blew his head off with a shotgun. Someone asked John Cheever, “What’d you learn from Hemingway?” and he said “I learned not to blow my head off with a shotgun.” I remember going to the Michigan poetry festival, meeting Etheridge Knight there and Robert Creeley. Creeley was so drunk—he was reading and he only had one eye, of course, and had to hold his book like two inches from his face using his one good eye. But you look at somebody like George Saunders—I think he’s the best short story writer in English alive—that’s somebody who tries very hard to live a sane, alert life.
You’re present when you’re not drinking a fifth of Jack Daniel’s every day. It’s probably better for your writing career, you know? I think being tortured as a virtue is a kind of antiquated sense of what it is to be an artist. It comes out of that Symbolist idea, back to Rimbaud and all that disordering of the senses and all of that being some exalted state. When I’ve been that way, I’ve always been less exalted than I would have liked. [...]

Blake said, '...we are put on Earth a little space / That we might learn to bear the beams of love.' And I think, 'bearing the beams of love' is where the freedom is, actually. Every drunk is an outlaw, and certainly every artist is. Making amends, to me, is again about freedom. I do that to be free of the past, to not be haunted. That schoolmarm part of me—that hypercritical finger-wagging part of myself that I thought was gonna keep me sober—that was is actually what helped me stay drunk. What keeps you sober is love and connection to something bigger than yourself."

Grant me
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

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Diane Arbus photographed by Tod Papageorge, Central Park, New York, 1967.

A minute on the internet

Your internet data is rotting
June 1st, 2019

Via The Conversation: "The internet currently accesses about 15 zettabytes of data, and is growing at a rate of 70 terabytes per second. It is an admittedly leaky vessel, and content is constantly going offline to wind up lost forever.

Massive and desperate efforts are underway to preserve whatever is worth preserving, but even sorting out what is and what is not is itself a formidable undertaking. What will be of value in 10 years – or 50 years? And how to preserve it?

Acid-free paper can last 500 years; stone inscriptions even longer. But magnetic media like hard drives have a much shorter life, lasting only three to five years. They also need to be copied and verified on a very short life cycle to avoid data degradation at observed failure rates between 3% and 8% annually."

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The Prisoner (1967) Brit TV show, episode 1 "Arrival".

Negative feelings have been rising

2019 World Happiness Report
May 7th, 2019

Via Yes!: "According to the 2019 World Happiness Report, negative feelings are rising around the world—and the United States is particularly hard hit with an 'epidemic of addictions.' Tellingly, the report also shows a widening happiness gap, with some people reporting much more well-being and others showing much less within each country.
Released annually on the International Day of Happiness, the World Happiness Report ranks countries based on their life satisfaction in the Gallup World Poll. Residents rate how satisfied they are with their lives on a scale of zero to 10, from the worst possible life to the best possible life.
This year, the most satisfied country was Finland, followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Netherlands. [...]

One trend is very clear: Negative feelings—worry, sadness, and anger—have been rising around the world, up by 27 percent from 2010 to 2018. [...]

One thing is certain, says Sachs: 'The U.S. is suffering an epidemic of addictions.' This includes an addiction to technology, which researcher Jean Twenge largely blames for the worrying mental health trends among U.S. adolescents. In her chapter of the report, she argues that screen time is displacing activities that are key to our happiness, like in-person social contact. Forty-five percent of adolescents are online 'almost constantly,' and the average high school senior spends six hours a day texting, on social media or on the internet.
But we’re hooked on more than just technology. According to researcher Steve Sussman, around half of Americans suffer from at least one addiction. Some of the most prevalent are alcohol, food, and work—which each affect around 10 percent of adults—as well as drugs, gambling, exercise, shopping, and sex."

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rand

Cultural evolution of emotional expression in 50 years of song lyrics. Authors: Charlotte Brand, Alberto Acerbi, Alex Mesoudi.

Emotional expression in 50 years of song lyrics

Cultural evolution
April 25th, 2019

Via Center for Open Science: "The cultural dynamics of music has recently become a popular avenue of research in the field of cultural evolution, reflecting a growing interest in art and popular culture more generally. Just as biologists seek to explain population-level trends in genetic evolution in terms of micro-evolutionary processes such as selection, drift and migration, cultural evolutionists have sought to explain population-level cultural phenomena in terms of underlying social, psychological and demographic factors. Primary amongst these factors are learning biases, describing how cultural items are socially transmitted from person to person. As big datasets become more openly available and workable, and statistical modelling techniques become more powerful, efficient and user-friendly, describing population-level dynamics in terms of simple, individual-level learning biases is becoming more feasible. Here we test for the presence of learning biases in two large datasets of popular song lyrics dating from 1965-2015. We find some evidence of content bias, prestige bias and success bias in the proliferation of negative lyrics, and suggest that negative expression of emotions in music, and perhaps art generally, provides an avenue for people to not only process and express their own negative emotions, but also benefit from the knowledge that prestigious others experience similarly negative emotions as they do."

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Hilma af Klint Group X, No. 1, Altarpiece(Grupp X, nr 1, Altarbild), 1915, from Altarpieces (Altarbilder).

Hilma af Klint No. 2a, The Current Standpoint of the Mahatmas (Nr 2a, Mahatmernas nuvarande ståndpunkt), 1920, from Series II (Serie II).

About Hilma af Klint

Planetary objects
April 22nd, 2019

Via Hilma af Klint Foundation: "The collection “Paintings for the Temple” encompasses 193 paintings, subdivided into several series and sub-groups. It is one of the very first pieces of abstract art in the Western world, as it predates with several years the first non-figurative compositions of her contemporaries in Europe. [...]

Hilma af Klint understood the uniqueness of her works. Working intensively with herself, and with her personal development, she wanted to understand the process in which she was taking part.

This aspect became the main quest all through her life: “What is the message that the paintings convey?”. She would actively seek the answer through philosophical studies, by taking part in various religious movements and by researching in their respective archives – all in vain. [...]

Hilma af Klint had a vision that her work would contribute to influence not only the consciousness of people in general, but in its extension also society itself. However, she was convinced that her contemporaries were not ready to perceive them. She had received strict orders from the “High Ones”, her spiritual leaders, not to show the paintings to anyone. Not even Rudolf Steiner could interpret Hilma af Klint’s paintings. At their first meeting in 1908, Rudolf Steiner consequently advised her to wait fifty years before exhibiting them. This is one of the reasons why Hilma af Klint never aimed at exhibiting her esoteric and abstract works during her lifetime. The works of art belonged to the future and would only then be understood by the public.

When Hilma af Klint passed away in the autumn of 1944, she left behind around 1300 non-figurative paintings that had never been shown to outsiders, and more than 125 notebooks and sketchbooks. In her will, Hilma af Klint specified that her life’s work should be kept secret for at least 20 years after her death. Her last wish was also that the collection should never be split up."

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From an altitude of 255 miles, an Expedition 59 crewmember photographed the Richat Structure, or the "Eye of the Sahara," in northwestern Mauritania. The circular geologic feature is thought to be caused by an uplifted dome—geologists would classify it as a domed anticline—that has been eroded to expose the originally flat rock layers.

Paradoxical thinking

Inner Peace
April 14th, 2018

Via Quartz: "...a team of psychology researchers began to challenge his ideas using a technique called paradoxical thinking. The premise is simple: Instead of presenting evidence that contradicts someone’s deeply held views, a psychologist agrees with the participant, then takes their views further, stretching their arguments to absurdity. This causes the participant to pause, reconsider, and reframe their own beliefs."

Related: "Bazon Brock: Affirmation – Die stärkste Kraft des Widerstands ist das Ja-Sagen."

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Lambert Windges

Ich war die Wellen, doch dann sah ich sie an.
April 1st, 2019

The sound and light installation Ich war die Wellen, doch dann sah ich sie an. [I was the waves, but then I looked at her.] by Lambert Windges takes the emergence, presence and disappearance of varying circumstances in a polyrhythmic structure as its theme.

Inspired by the dualistic interpretation of various phenomena in our lives, in his work Lambert Windges describes a perspective that seeks to observe these phenomena and at the same time to uncouple them from their dualism through the neutral standpoint of observation. The audience is invited to embark on a hypnotic journey, where the boundaries between opposites subtly blur.

Ich war die Wellen, doch dann sah ich sie an. [I was the waves, but then I looked at her.] by Lambert Windges is his final project as a Visual Music major at the Institute For Music And Media of the Robert Schumann conservatory. Marcus Schmickler and I supervised the project.

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Values

My pyramid
March 30th, 2018

Presence [anwesend sein]
Honesty - Humor - Love
Humility - Openess - Intuition - Trust - Flexibility - Empathy.

Take another step toward what matters.

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"When the Organ Played 'O Promise Me' " (1943) by Cecil Stokes.

"When the Organ Played 'O Promise Me' " (1943)

Auroratone by British filmmaker Cecil Stokes
March 27th, 2019

Via YouTube: "This is an Auroratone produced and created by British filmmaker Cecil Stokes for use in the treatment of mental disorders - definitely a kinder, gentler alternative to the electric-shock treatments which were then in vogue! The soundtrack features Bing Crosby and organist Eddie Dunstedter. An online biography of Bing Crosby notes that he was a shareholder in Mr. Stokes' Auroratone Foundation. It also notes that Mr. Crosby made exclusive recordings of Ave Maria, Home on the Range, and When You Wish Upon a Star, for Auroratones, but there's no mention of this film's soundtrack When the Organ Played Oh Promise Me. It's possible that Mr. Stokes used a recording that Bing and Mr. Dunstedter had made several years earlier. [...]

Regarding the films themselves, I've found scant information other than a few mentions in psychiatric journals from the period. Several websites devoted to experimental film do mention Mr. Stokes and briefly describe his work and technique, but none of them offer any visual examples at all. One website promises to teach you how to create The Auroratone Effect for a fee - but its preview shows a modern re-creation only. It appears that my YouTube clip is currently the only example of an original Cecil Stokes Auroratone that exists on the internet anywhere."

Thanks to Jan Wagner !

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All About Love: New Visions

by bell hooks, PhD

Via Bell Hooks Books: "Author Bell Hooks gives us a non-academic, though personally profound look into this universal and ageless question in her book, ‘All About Love: New Visions.’ One can assimilate Hooks’ analysis to love to Scott M. Peck’s view of life from ‘A Road Less Traveled’: “Life is difficult” as Peck says… once one accepts that life is, in fact difficult, it’s easier to accept the natural course of life.

Venture with Hooks into her perspective on love in her value-filled chapters about what love is. This non-academic, though the intellectually written book, will allow you to consider your own thoughts and views on what love is while giving you cultural awareness on what society allows us to accept and what we are taught to believe love is."

Via Harper Collins Publishers: "As Bell Hooks uses her incisive mind and razor-sharp pen to explore the question “What is love?” her answers strike at both the mind and heart. In thirteen concise chapters, hooks examines her own search for emotional connection and society’s failure to provide a model for learning to love. Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with sex and desire, she provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for individuals and for a nation. The Utne Reader declared bell hooks one of the “100 Visionaries Who Can Change Your Life.” All About Love is a powerful affirmation of just how profoundly she can."

Related: bell hooks: "This ain't no pussy shit" I The New School

Thanks to Prof. Dr. Swantje Lichtenstein!

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