Heidegger, Martin: Identität und Differenz (1955–1957)


Last and First Men  (2020) by Jóhann Jóhannsson
February 22nd, 2024

Via Wikipedia: "Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson directed and scored a multimedia Last and First Men, 'combining a film narrated by actress Tilda Swinton and accompanying score played by the BBC Philharmonic' at the 2017 Manchester International Festival. The 16mm black-and-white film is predominantly of memorial sculptures erected in the former Republic of Yugoslavia. Jóhann collaborated with José Enrique Macián on writing the narration adapted from Stapledon's novel. [...] In 2020, a film of this work was released as Jóhann's debut and final directorial work, with composer and sound artist Yair Elazar Glotman completing the work after Jóhann's death in February 2018."

Outstanding cinematography by Sturla Brandth Grøvlen.

Via The New York Times: "Based on the 1930 science fiction novel by Olaf Stapledon, the film mainly consists of 16-millimeter black-and-white images of abandoned monuments, identified in the credits as being in the Balkans. No humans appear. While the camera surveys the asymmetries of the monolithic sculptures, often pondering the sky through negative space in the stonework, Tilda Swinton delivers a voice-over that begins with an epic poem-style invocation ('listen patiently') and is framed as a dispatch from two billion years from now, when our descendants, bracing for extinction, share a telepathic hive mind and have appearances that would look grotesque to us."

Via Variety: "To the accompaniment of Swinton’s measured voiceover and Jóhannsson’s alternately shiver-soft and stormy score, Grøvlen’s camera slowly and gradually explores these vast, eerie forms of stone and concrete as if they were natural wonders, sometimes opening on peculiar, unidentifiable architectural details before revealing their looming place in the landscape. That no historical or even geographical context is given for these harsh, magnificent tableaux of indestructible human folly is somehow apt: Their meaning will inevitably be as lost and open to interpretation by future generations (or, in our narrator’s wording, 'species') as they are here. The crisp, hard lines and contrasts of Grøvlen’s monochrome compositions allude to the Spomeniks’ stubborn permanence: Perhaps they’re all the eighteenth species has left of ours, after however many intervening apocalypses.
That underlying theme of what we leave, of endurance in the face of the ephemeral, is hard not to consider in the light of Jóhannsson’s own 2018 passing. Intended or otherwise, Last and First Men finally stands as a brutally beautiful memorial to his own life and artistry, ready to be reinterpreted and appropriated by any audiences who stumble upon it in years to come. That makes it a severe work, but not a bleak one:
As it prompts consideration of how and when our species will end — see it as a tactful climate change warning if you will — it also invites wonder at our capacity to evolve and invent, and a kind of zen respect for the universe that, as Swinton’s unnervingly unfazed messenger gently reminds us, will outlive us all, even when our mightiest monuments tumble."

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Do[o]mestic Bliss series by Cristina Rizzi Guelfi inspired by Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique.

End of 2023

My Gratitude List: 10 things
December 31st, 2023

Book Another role model on my path to become that dangerous, old women is larger-than-life artist Grace Jones. Her autobiography I'll Never Write My Memoirs, as told to Paul Morley, is breathtaking, surreal, and hilarious. A quote from Barbara Ellen's review for The Guardian, "Before she leaves, I ask her – what does she think helped her survive all those years in worlds that have chewed other people up? 'Again, it’s that thing of selling your soul – that would chew you up. I can’t be bought and people hate that. Everybody has their price – but not me.' "

Concert In September a friend took me to see Colombian multi-instrumentalist Lucrecia Dalt performing ¡Ay!’s contents, accompanied by the drummer/ percussionist Alex Lázaroin at Cologne's philharmonic as part of Tobias Thomas' wonderful Round series. I was blown away by the extroverted and humorous show.

Documentary Saw Saudi Runaway, directed and written by Susanne Regina Meures. The film shows a young woman in Saudi Arabia filming herself as she attempts to flee before her arranged wedding. A a suspenseful and courageous documentary. "Although the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is at the centre of world affairs, very few authentic images of life there exist. Muna’s story is of great urgency and relevance and essentially summarises a human rights drama at its core."

Exhibition The Ludwig Forum Aachen presented Ya Estamos Aquí [We’re Here Already], the first survey exhibition of the Cuban artist Belkis Ayón (Havana, 1967-1999) in the German-speaking world. Curated by Eva Birkenstock and Annette Lagler. Material, themes, craftsmanship, intensity, and the sublime presentation were jaw-droppingly exciting. Thank you, Sarah Sczcesny for making me go!

Film SUM is a transdisciplinary performance art project by Kelvin Kilonzo and Pablo Gīw. This year they worked with filmmaker Maurits Boettger on Dyschronia, a stunningly beautiful video questioning the notions of movement in a post-apocalyptic scenery. I had the great honour to work with Kelvin and Pablo as they prepared to premiere Dyschronia at Julia Stoschek Foundation in Berlin.

Health This year saw me reading quite some books on women's health pre, during, and post menopause. I could not believe that most of the information is not available to every women entering her forth decade. Ladies, it is ultra important to get yourself educated on this topic, and all the wonderful options you have. A good place to start is here and here [in German].

Record My favorite this year was without a doubt Róisín Murphy's album Hit Parade produced by DJ Koze. The track I still hear in a continuous loop is Free Will, and I wholeheartedly recommend to read some Alan Watts with it. Can't wait to see her perform in my hometown in March.

Talk Went to see Thomas Metzinger at phil.Cologne, was surprised about his unexpected handsomeness, and received a reminder on Immanuel Kant's Innere Redlichkeit [intellectual honesty]. Being honest with myself is necessary for me in order to stay sane and healthy. If interested you might also want to consider this 2017 essay by Thomas Metzinger.

TV Series Food might be the single most time-consuming subject of my life, in almost every way – good and bad. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to watch The Bear. But the reviews were all in favor of it, "Flawless performances, boundlessly beautiful direction and a spare, allusive script, all of which are as good in the quietest moments as the more plentiful loud ones, turn the story into something properly special." (The Guardian). I so loved both seasons.

VMD23 Colleague and friend Christian Schäfer invited Vicky Wehrmeister to perform at IMM's annual Visual Music Day. Her performance, her humble but powerful posture, singing with this incredible lightness, kindness, and inscrutability got really under my skin. We are so honored and pleased that she is now part of our fabulous faculty for the post-graduate Klang und Realität program at IMM.

So, here we are... And what is next?

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One of the first color images of Earth, a digital image mosaic taken in 1967 by the ATS-3 satellite, was used as the cover image of Whole Earth Catalog's first edition.

Whole Earth Index

A nearly-complete archive of Whole Earth publications
October 18th, 2023

Via Whole Earth Index: "Here lies a nearly-complete archive of Whole Earth publications, a series of journals and magazines descended from the Whole Earth Catalog, published by Stewart Brand and the POINT Foundation between 1970 and 2002. They are made available here for scholarship, education, and research purposes."

Thanks to the New Shelton wet/dry!

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Beverly Hills pink clown trespassers by Imp Kerr.

News is bad for you

We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be
Oktober 1st, 2023

Via The Guardian: "In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don't really concern our lives and don't require thinking. That's why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be.

News misleads.
News is irrelevant.
News has no explanatory power.
News is toxic to your body.
News increases cognitive errors.
News inhibits thinking.
News works like a drug.
News wastes time.
News makes us passive.
News kills creativity.

Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don't have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.

I have now gone without news for four years, so I can see, feel and report the effects of this freedom first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, more insights. It's not easy, but it's worth it."

TED Talk Four reasons you should stop watching the news by Rolf Dobelli.

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Scenes from the Quarantrain by Jim Merullo.

What the heck happened in 2012?

On the year the modern world was invented
August 25th, 2023

Via The Intrinsic Perspective: "The point to all this is just to make explicit what I think so many already know and feel: if we were forced to pinpoint a year, 2012 appears to be a good choice for when the modern world was invented, and we’ve been living in it now for a little over a decade.

And to go back to the decade theory: certainly it’s arguable that, ten years into existence, our world feels, at least in terms of vibes, very similar to the world at the end of the previous cultural revolution of the 1960s. Even just politically, while the cultural revolution of 2012 grained a great deal of ground in institutions, it has spent much of its initial momentum, and is being combated institutionally by, e.g., the Supreme Court’s recent decision to ban affirmative action. A fundamental detente has been reached. The cultural revolution that people now call “wokeness,” and the debates around it are still ever-present, but also feel somewhat spent.

The degree to which this is true can be judged by one cultural artifact in particular: Barbie. The movie. For yes, the biggest movie of the summer is about patriarchy, and its openly political plot and language and messaging would have contained a lot of academic gobbledegook for the average citizen in 2011. But, at the same time, the movie is a clear commercialization about a toy, and can be interpreted ambiguously, parodying itself; ripe for interpretation, it has been championed by liberals and conservatives alike. See how, for instance, that even within that most conservative institution, The Daily Wire, there is disagreement on whether Barbie is actually a left-leaning movie (as Ben Shapiro believes) or, secretly, a subversively right-leaning movie (as Michael Knowles believes). The confusion over the messaging of Barbie is a synecdoche for the confusion over our own post-revolution world, which now looks corrupt and run-down, much like the depressive “malaise” of the 1970s. [...]

Surely, things must be more complicated than these decade theories, no? Of course. Obviously so. As a level of analysis they are nearly mystical. But if you had used this model of [cultural revolution → inflationary period→ lasting economic and cultural malaise] back 2012 I think you’d have a claim to near-Nostradamus levels of precognition. And that third stage would predict, much like the post-1971 world, a coming permanent change in long-standing economic trends (followed, potentially, in the 2030s with the return of Big Hair, leg warmers, and cocaine).

If we are to spend the 2020s mirroring the 1970s, and therefore occupied with domestic turmoil as the post-revolution cultural tremors play out, I suppose we might as well begin to ape it as much as possible."

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From the Still Austin Seasonal Bottled in Bond Series by Marc Burckhardt.

3 ways

AI is transforming music
July 31st, 2023

Via The Conversation: "Here are three ways AI is changing the way music gets made – each of which could threaten human musicians in various ways:

1. Song composition
Many programs can already generate music with a simple prompt from the user, such as Electronic Dance with a Warehouse Groove.
Fully generative apps train AI models on extensive databases of existing music. This enables them to learn musical structures, harmonies, melodies, rhythms, dynamics, timbres and form, and generate new content that stylistically matches the material in the database.
There are many examples of these kinds of apps. But the most successful ones, like Boomy, allow nonmusicians to generate music and then post the AI-generated results on Spotify to earn money. Spotify recently removed many of these Boomy-generated tracks, claiming that this would protect human artists’ rights and royalties.
The two companies quickly came to an agreement that allowed Boomy to re-upload the tracks. But the algorithms powering these apps still have a troubling ability to infringe upon existing copyright, which might go unnoticed to most users. After all, basing new music on a data set of existing music is bound to cause noticeable similarities between the music in the data set and the generated content.
Furthermore, streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Music are naturally incentivized to develop their own AI music-generation technology. Spotify, for instance, pays 70% of the revenue of each stream to the artist who created it. If the company could generate that music with its own algorithms, it could cut human artists out of the equation altogether.
Over time, this could mean more money for giant streaming services, less money for musicians – and a less human approach to making music.

2. Mixing and mastering
Machine-learning-enabled apps that help musicians balance all of the instruments and clean up the audio in a song – what’s known as mixing and mastering – are valuable tools for those who lack the experience, skill or resources to pull off professional-sounding tracks.
Over the past decade, AI’s integration into music production has revolutionized how music is mixed and mastered. AI-driven apps like Landr, Cryo Mix and iZotope’s Neutron can automatically analyze tracks, balance audio levels and remove noise.
These technologies streamline the production process, allowing musicians and producers to focus on the creative aspects of their work and leave some of the technical drudgery to AI.
While these apps undoubtedly take some work away from professional mixers and producers, they also allow professionals to quickly complete less lucrative jobs, such as mixing or mastering for a local band, and focus on high-paying commissions that require more finesse. These apps also allow musicians to produce more professional-sounding work without involving an audio engineer they can’t afford.

3. Instrumental and vocal reproduction
Using tone transfer algorithms via apps like Mawf, musicians can transform the sound of one instrument into another.
Thai musician and engineer Yaboi Hanoi’s song Enter Demons & Gods, which won the third international AI Song Contest in 2022, was unique in that it was influenced not only by Thai mythology, but also by the sounds of native Thai musical instruments, which have a non-Western system of intonation. One of the most technically exciting aspects of Yaboi Hanoi’s entry was the reproduction of a traditional Thai woodwind instrument – the pi nai – which was resynthesized to perform the track.
A variant of this technology lies at the core of the Vocaloid voice synthesis software, which allows users to produce convincingly human vocal tracks with swappable voices.
Unsavory applications of this technique are popping up outside of the musical realm. For example, AI voice swapping has been used to scam people out of money.
But musicians and producers can already use it to realistically reproduce the sound of any instrument or voice imaginable. The downside, of course, is that this technology can rob instrumentalists of the opportunity to perform on a recorded track."

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E8 to H4 Folding Amplituhedron Surface Visualization by http://theoryofeverything.org


Convergence of Science and Spirituality?
April 15th, 2023

Via Pacific Standard: "New research, which turns out to not really be all that new, suggests that space and time do not exist. The research also suggests that a jewel (an amplituhedron) is the center of our universe and that from said jewel every feature of our known reality can be quantified."

Via Rupert Spira: "In the latest Rupert Spira Podcast episode Simon Mundie moderates a fascinating discussion on science and spirituality with Rupert and cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman. [...]

0:00 The Case Against Reality
3:00 The Hard Problem Of Consciousness
9:52 Why Are Most Scientists Materialists?
12:54 Who Is Qualified To Make Observations About The Nature Of Reality?
15:29 The Hard Problem Of Matter
20:33 No-One Has Ever Found Matter
25:10 Space-Time Is Doomed
32:48 Quantum Theory Is Not Fundamental Either
34:03 Why Is The Fact That Space-Time Is Doomed Not On The News?
40:57 The Real Meaning Of The Word Illusion
47:40 Exploring Other Dimensions
57:14 What Are Conscious Agents?
1:04:06 One Consciousness
1:07:32 Infinite Infinities
1:12:19 Why Does The One Localise?
1:15:46 Could There Be A ‘why’ On The Relative Level?
1:23:48 Interface Theory
1:36:05 A Theory Of Everything
1:41:06 A Convergence Of Science And Spirituality
1:49:46 The Implications Of The Perennial Philosophy
1:55:51 Let Go Of Thought
2:01:08 Seeing Through The Illusion Of The Separate Self
2:10:08 Thoughts, Fears And Beliefs
2:14:46 Walking The Talk"

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"Ja ja ja ja ja, nee nee nee nee nee" by Joseph Beuys. Printed cover with integrated booklet, 1970.

The Authentic Self is the Self-Enhancing Self

"The true self, though, is positive."
April 12th, 2023

Via SAGE Publishing: "Authenticity refers to behaving in a manner that aligns with one’s true self. The true self, though, is positive. From a self-enhancement standpoint, people exaggerate their strengths and overlook their shortcomings, forming positively-distorted views of themselves. We propose a self-enhancement framework of authenticity, advocating a reciprocal relation between the two constructs. Trait self-enhancement was associated with higher trait authenticity (Study 1), and day-to-day fluctuations in self-enhancement predicted corresponding variations in state authenticity (Study 2). Furthermore, manipulating self-enhancement elevated state authenticity (Studies 3–4), which was associated with meaning in life (Study 4), and manipulating authenticity augmented self-enhancement, which was associated with meaning in life and thriving (Study 5). The authentic self is largely the self-enhancing self. [...]

Although our research represents the first direct test of the relation between self-enhancement and authenticity, the results are consistent with several literature streams. For instance, authenticity is linked more with moral than immoral behavior (Newman et al., 2014) and socially desirable than undesirable behavior (Jongman-Sereno & Leary, 2016). In addition, people believe their authentic selves to be positive and morally good and to be more positive than the authentic selves of others (Zhang & Alicke, 2021). Despite popular belief and previous conceptualizations, self-enhancement is an essential ingredient for eliciting perceptions that one is living life authentically. [...]

Contrary to historical conceptualizations and lay intuition, veridical self-insight may not light the path toward living life authentically. Instead, authenticity and self-enhancement go hand-in-hand. Authentic people think highly of themselves, and people who think highly of themselves feel authentic."

Listen to 1968: Ja ja ja ja ja, nee nee nee nee nee, Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (14.12.) by Joseph Beuys!

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I see dead people.

Now you can relive memories in VR
February 25th, 2023

From Creative Bloq: "With the release of PSVR 2, virtual reality is back in the headlines and app developers are using the new hardware, including Meta Quest 2, to find creative ways to usher in new experiences. But in this rekindled experimentation some ideas are just, well, a little creepy.

The app in question is Wist: Immersive Memories, in development for iOS and Meta Quest 2, and soon on Meta Quest Pro. This app brings old video to life inside a virtual reality headset. There's a buzz around the app, largely because virtual reality is all the rage again in 2023 due to the launch of PSVR 2 – read my PSVR 2 review to find out why everyone loves this headset. Also, rumours continue around a new Apple VR headset, which could really be something special.

Developed by Wist Labs, Wist: Immersive Memories is pitched as a way to relive old 'memories' inside VR and AR. This is the kind of thing we've seen in movies for decades, including the scene in Minority Report were Tom Cruise remembers is deceased wife and child, and now you can actually experience it for yourself. But is it unsettling?"

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Levon Biss: "I had the pleasure of shooting this image at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History recently, one of my favourite museums by far. My thanks goes to Robert Douglas for his assistance in creating this picture.⁠"


My pyramid
January 6th, 2023

Optimism – Honesty – Intuition
Emotionality – Serenity – Music – Love – Freedom – Faith.

Take another step toward what matters.

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