While reading the interview with Bruno Latour consider listening to Ellen Arkbro. Fabulous and mind blowing composer from Sweden.

The Gaia principle

Bruno Latour explains
June 7th, 2002

Via The Guardian: "This seems to add a political edge to James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, which explains how Life acts to maintain habitable conditions for itself. You have long been a champion of this theory…

Lovelock locked us in! While Galileo used a telescope to reveal that the Earth is part of an infinite universe, Lovelock used his electron capture detector to reveal that the Earth is completely different from any other planet because it has life. He and [Lynn] Margulis spotted Gaia. Lovelock from space, taking the question as globally as possible; Margulis from bacteria, taking the question from the other end, both realising that Life, capital L, has managed to engineer its own conditions of existence. For me that is the greatest discovery of this period, though it is still not very much accepted by mainstream science. This may be because we do not yet have the tools to receive it.

Why do you think scientists are still wary?

That such an important concept is still so marginal in the history of science is extraordinary. I have done everything I can to make it accepted. But scientists are reflexively cautious. The cosmological shift from Aristotle to Galileo is the same as that from Galileo to Gaia. With Galileo, our understanding moved outwards to an infinite universe. Grasping that took a century and a half and faced resistance. Gaia is not just one more concept. It is not just about physics and energy. It is Life.

Your work has often challenged the objective, God’s-eye view of science. You argue convincingly that humanity cannot be so detached. But the political right have twisted this approach to undermine all expert knowledge on the climate and nature crises. Any regrets?

A critique of how science is produced is very different from the post-truth argument that there are alternative truths that you can choose from. Post-truth is a defensive posture. If you have to defend yourself against climate change, economic change, coronavirus change, then you grab at any alternative. If those alternatives are fed to you by thousands of fake news farms in Siberia, they are hard to resist, especially if they look vaguely empirical. If you have enough of them and they are contradictory enough, they allow you to stick to your old beliefs. But this should not be confused with rational scepticism.

Has the Covid-19 crisis affected our belief in science?

The virus has revealed the number of things you need to know to decide what is factual and what’s not. The public are learning a great deal about the difficulty of statistics, about experiment, about epidemiology. In everyday life, people are talking about degrees of confidence and margin of error. I think that’s good. If you want people to have some grasp of science, you must show how it is produced."

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#blackouttuesday ✊

“Trust me, nobody is mad at you for being white. Nobody.”

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson
June 2nd, 2020

Via Yes Magazine: "9. On my very first date with my now husband, I climbed into his car and saw baby wipes on the passenger-side floor. He said he didn’t have kids, they were just there to clean up messes in the car. I twisted to secure my seatbelt and saw a stuffed animal in the rear window. I gave him a look. He said, “I promise, I don’t have kids. That’s only there so I don’t get stopped by the police.” He then told me that when he drove home from work late at night, he was getting stopped by cops constantly because he was a black man in a luxury car and they assumed that either it was stolen or he was a drug dealer. When he told a cop friend about this, Warren was told to put a stuffed animal in the rear window because it would change “his profile” to that of a family man and he was much less likely to be stopped. The point here is, if you’ve never had to mask the fruits of your success with a floppy-eared, stuffed bunny rabbit so you won’t get harassed by the cops on the way home from your gainful employment (or never had a first date start this way), you have white privilege.

10. Six years ago, I started a Facebook page that has grown into a website called Good Black News because I was shocked to find there were no sites dedicated solely to publishing the positive things black people do. (And let me explain here how biased the coverage of mainstream media is in case you don’t already have a clue—as I curate, I can’t tell you how often I have to swap out a story’s photo to make it as positive as the content. Photos published of black folks in mainstream media are very often sullen- or angry-looking. Even when it’s a positive story! I also have to alter headlines constantly to 1) include a person’s name and not have it just be “Black Man Wins Settlement” or “Carnegie Hall Gets 1st Black Board Member,” or 2) rephrase it from a subtle subjugator like “ABC taps Viola Davis as Series Lead” to “Viola Davis Lands Lead on ABC Show” as is done for, say, Jennifer Aniston or Steven Spielberg. I also receive a fair amount of highly offensive racist trolling. I don’t even respond. I block and delete ASAP. The point here is, if you’ve never had to rewrite stories and headlines or swap photos while being trolled by racists when all you’re trying to do on a daily basis is promote positivity and share stories of hope and achievement and justice, you have white privilege."

Thanks to Zoë Irvine!

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Aretha Franklin in the concert movie Amazing Grace.

Aretha Franklin

Watch Amazing Grace on Whitsun
May 31st, 2020

Via The Hollywood Reporter: "In 1972, the director spent two days in a Watts church filming Franklin recording her historic gospel album. But he forgot to sync the sound. Now, after 43 years, the film is finally ready to be seen — if Franklin's lawsuit doesnt stop it."

Via The Guardian: "So, after nearly five decades, does the film stand the test of time? Hallelujah, yes! Despite being both unforgivingly overlit and tantalisingly truncated (this trim 88-minute cut abridges or omits some classic tracks), Elliott’s Lazarus-like resurrection of Pollack’s movie captures both the hive of musical activity and fervour or religious ecstasy that thronged through that church all those years ago."

Via Wikipedia: "Odie Henderson of RogerEbert.com enthused, 'Whether you're religious or not, you owe it to yourself to see this movie if the chance arises. You'll see how much love and feeling went into the construction of the resulting album.' Variety's Owen Gleiberman noted, 'The movie reveals how the fundamental distinction between rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues was not only racist at its core, but a way for the consumer culture to slice the God out of music that was invented as a way to talk to God.' Jordan Hoffman of The Guardian wrote, 'The film is almost wall-to-wall music, with Franklin barely acknowledging the audience between songs.' The Los Angeles Times' Justin Chang wrote: 'Aretha Franklin didn't transcend the gospel or gospel music; as first her album and now this marvelous documentary remind us, she did more than most to fulfill its potential for truth and beauty, devotion and art.'"

Thanks to Sarah Szczesny!

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Alice Coltrane

A translinear light
May 30th, 2020

Via Wikipedia: "Alice Coltrane (née McLeod, August 27, 1937 – January 12, 2007), also known by her adopted Sanskrit name Turiyasangitananda or Turiya Alice Coltrane, was an American jazz musician and composer, and in her later years a swamini. One of the few harpists in the history of jazz, she recorded many albums as a bandleader, beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s for Impulse! and other major record labels."

Via National Museum of African American History & Culture: "16mm film. This film opens with a collage of photos of jazz musician John Coltrane with a voice-over of a male narrator communicating the musical genius and personal demeanor of the renowned music artist. The voice-over ends with an open-ended statement on John Coltrane's family; leading into an interview with his wife, Alice Coltrane. Alice Coltrane discusses the influence her late husband has had on her life, both musically and spiritually. She speaks of him being a spiritual person, although not tied to one organized religion, his vegetarian diet, and the how he carved time out of his days to meditate. There is footage of their children playing in the yard and walking with their mother. Alice plays the harp and talks about how her music is a manifestation of her spirituality. She discusses her musical career and how she balances that with being a mother and paying tribute to her late husband, but also not wanting to be defined as an extension of John Coltrane's music. Instead, when she finds herself playing some of the music he wrote, she sees herself as sharing in what he produced throughout his career. Footage of her playing the piano at a small jazz concert with a few other musicians plays for two minutes. In the final minutes of the segment, Alice Coltrane explains her relationship with a higher power and the personal enlightenment she has felt and gained through meditation. The film ends with a dolly-out/zoom-out long shot of Alice Coltrane and her children waving from their home."

Thanks to Sarah Szczesny!

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Have been watching "Ride Upon the Storm" by Adam Price recently. This image is from it's title sequence by Benny Box.

In my backyard

Rotkelchen – European Robin
May 24rd, 2020

"Little bird up in a tree
Looked down and sang a song to me
Of how it began"

Via Wikipedia: "Little Bird is a song written by Dennis Wilson and Stephen Kalinich with uncredited contributions from Brian Wilson. It was first recorded by American rock band the Beach Boys and released on their 1968 album Friends. It was also placed as the B-side of the album's Friends single. The single peaked at number 47 in the US and number 25 in the UK.
Brian once said; 'Dennis gave us Little Bird which blew my mind because it was so full of spiritualness. He was a late bloomer as a music maker. He lived hard and rough but his music was as sensitive as anyone's.'
The outro of Little Bird features a musical quotation of the unfinished 1966 composition Child Is Father of the Man composed by Brian Wilson for the Smile album. His contribution remains uncredited."

Via Wikipedia: "The avian magnetic compass of the robin has been extensively researched and uses vision-based magnetoreception, in which the robin's ability to sense the magnetic field of the earth for navigation is affected by the light entering the bird's eye. The physical mechanism of the robin's magnetic sense is not fully understood, but may involve quantum entanglement of electron spins."

Via Project Gutenberg's Birds in Legend, Fable and Folklore, by Ernest Ingersoll:
"Bearing his cross, while Christ passed by forlorn,
His Godlike forehead by the mock crown torn,
A little bird took from that crown one thorn,
To soothe the dear Redeemer’s throbbing head.
That bird did what she could; His blood, ’t is said,
Down-dropping dyed her tender bosom red.
Since then no wanton boy disturbs her nest;
Weasel nor wildcat will her young molest—
All sacred deem that bird of ruddy breast."

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Photo by Swantje Lichtenstein. Taken in March 2020 on a bike ride through Berlin during Corona crisis related lock-down.

Alvin Lucier

I am sitting in a room, 1969/1970
March 26th, 2020

Via Wikipedia: "The first performance of the work was in 1970 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. In collaboration with his partner Mary Lucier, the performance featured projections of Polaroid images that had been degraded like the voice. [...]

The text spoken by Lucier describes the process of the work, concluding with a reference to his own stuttering:

I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have."

Every year since 2005 I play this piece to my students and ask them to not leave the room for its duration. Every year I experience something new. Every year I come out of the experience really happy.

Thanks for introducing me to the piece, and for reminding me of its birthday today, Marcus Schmickler!
Thanks to introducing me to Alvin Lucier, Phillip Schulze!


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Issue No 2 of "grapefruits", a fanzine about female* composers and sound artists by Elisa Metz, Nathalie Brum, Elisa Kühnl, and Theresa Nink.


Fanzine about female* composers and sound artists.
February 22nd, 2020

As an assignment in one of my seminars Elisa Metz, student at the Klang und Realität master program, developed the fanzine grapefruits on female [*non-binary] composers and sound artists from scratch.

Her idea for a fanzine emerged after reading the list of female composers which I compiled for a seminar at Institute for Music and Media. Elisa Metz was inspired to learn more about the work of all those composers and sound artists mentioned in the list, and after listening and researching many of them it became important to her to spread their names through a fanzine as a pop-cultural format.

The fanzine’s name refers to the 1964 artist's book Grapefruit by composer and artist Yoko Ono. Ono saw grapefruits as a hybrid of lemons and oranges, a metaphor for her own identity – always being in-between.

Elisa  Metz invited her friend Theresa Nink as well as fellow students Nathalie Brum, Elisa Kühnl, and Anna Schütten to collaborate. During the summer 2019 they released the first issue called Imaginary Sound.
The second issue Performance was released this month at the Palastrauschen event at Kunstpalast Düsseldorf. The fresh issue features AMET, Laurie Anderson, Junko, Annea Lockwood, Julia Mihály und Phew.

In 2019 and 2020 grapefruits was presented during different events, exhibitions, and festivals, such as Brückenmusik 25, Currents – Festival für aktuelle Tiefkultur, Electronic Music Home, Giftshop at Bruch & Dallas and MEKASUBA in Cologne as well as Sparda’s Palastrauschen at Museum Kunstpalast in Duesseldorf.

If you would like to receive a copy of grapefruits, if you have any questions or suggestions, if you would like to write for grapefruits or invite the editors/writers, do not hesitate to contact them at hello@remove-this.grapefruits.online

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Tobias Frei

Social Sincerity
February 19th, 2020

One of the milestones of digital technologies is the possibilty to constantly exchange data between more than half of the world‘s population. But there is an invisible problem for our societies. The platforms, which use the technology to connect people, are not neutral. What began as a race to monetize our attention now bursts important pillars of our society, e.g. mental health and social relationships. The motion design short Social Sincerity by Tobias Frei addresses those issues and wants to raise awareness especially with a young audience.

Social Sincerity is the final year project of Tobias Frei in the Motion Design post-graduate program at the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy, and was supervised by my co-chair Alexander Hanowski and me.

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Henning Himmelreich

After Silence
January 28th, 2020

The motion design short After Silence by Henning Himmelreich addresses the inner process of mental and emotional regeneration of human psyche. To visually represent this process the film uses the imaginary from Egyptian mythology and its concept of the journey into the afterlife in an abstract manner.

The process of self-purification is visualized through both abstract and direct representations of deities and other mythological images, combined with modern graphical elements.
The protagonist is trapped in an uninhabitable world reigned by chaos, which is a visual representation of her own state of mind. As she enters subconsciousness, a mixture of self-reflection and external judgement makes her undergo self-purification. By passing all stages successfully and facing her demons she reaches a state of perfect harmony that purifies the soul. The world around her changes correspondingly and darkness becomes light.

After Silence is the final year project of Henning Himmelreich in the Motion Design post-graduate program at the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy, and was supervised by my co-chair Alexander Hanowski and me.

After Silence won at several international festivals e.g. "Best Sound Design" at 2nd GLOBAL INDIA INT'L FILM FESTIVAL (Pune, India); "Best Experimental Short Film" at 3rd Maracay InternationalFilm & Video Festival (Maracay, Venezuela); "Best Experimental Film" at 1st baltic independent film Festival (Mechelinki, Poland); "Best Experimental Film" at 3rd Canadian Diversity Film Festival (Toronto, Canada); "Best Experimental Short Film" at 4th Canal de Panama International Film Festival (Panamá, Panama).

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"At a high level, it is important to understand that mostnew relationships in 2019 begin online. Traditional methods such as introductions by friends and family, meeting at work, etc. have been outmoded and are increasingly outlier outcomes." from The Dating Market: Thesis Overview.


My pyramid
January 20th, 2020

Kindness – Intuition – Integrity
Presence – Openess – Humor – Love – Trust – Sobriety.

Take another step toward what matters.

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