(Sally McKay is on blog-sabbatical, writing her PhD.)
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Alpha Beta Data
Stephen Andrews, Robert Bean, Michelle Gay,
Vid Ingelevics, Carol Laing, Yam Lau,
Michael Maranda, Lorna Mills, Cheryl Sourkes
akau inc. 1186 Queen Street West, Toronto
August 5, 2006 – September 2, 2006
Opening event: August 11, 7:00 PM
Alpha Beta Data is an exhibition of work that contains written language, a contemporary update of an eternal practice. As a form of mark making, writing as such has always existed in the realm of the visual. The modern alphabet routes back through Greek, Hebrew and Phoenician to iconographic Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Letters began as pictures: A derives from the head of the ox, N from the shape of the snake, O from an open eye, etc. Artists and artisans have always integrated pictures and letters into scrolls, tablets, monuments, wall decoration, etc.As you can see from my video still image on the right side of the graphic, you can take me anywhere, sort of, including this very elegant exhibition that Cheryl Sourkes has organized.
Each artist in Alpha Beta Data uses script in their work, but each engages with it differently. Some deal with meaning, others with the symbolic or pictorial nature of the letters and numerals themselves.
To make the drawings in Body Count, Stephen Andrews isolated numbers of casualties from front-page headlines in the watershed year that followed 9/11. Robert Bean’s Études are scans of found typewriter exercises. His Folds are photographs of Études, which have been crumpled. Michelle Gay’s Experiments with a Reader uses original code to drive computer animation, interactivity and audio components. LoopLoop (from this series) is an interactive poem. Vid Ingelevics’s short video piece, Common Birds of Southern Ontario brings the ‘sound poetry’ of transcribed birdsong to the screen. Carol Laing’s drawings of the Claudian Letters present symbols invented during the reign of the emperor Claudius, which were then discarded for two millennia, and now have been adopted for use in Unicode. To make In the River, North of the Future, Yam Lau had Paul Celan’s last poem, Rebleute Graben engraved on a hand-blown, glass bottle. Michael Maranda used his formalist eye to rearrange the contents of the philosophical texts of Immanuel Kant. Lorna Mills’s DVD English is an on-going digital documentation of the cover of every book she can remember reading, in her life … so far. To make the digital photographs Homecammer-Messages, Cheryl Sourkes immersed herself in streaming webcams and retrieved written communication that reaches out for love and sex.
I even represent well in austere grey-scale promotional material, so in keeping with my new rigorous image, my usual Google Earth! mapping of the event location has been desaturated. (but remains, like all my previous maps, quite unhelpful)
My piece, English - 2006 edition contains 2,480 images, each one on-screen for 2 seconds.
I am also available for dinner party conversation.
Mars, God of War - Velázquez
Reuter's well-publicized problem with a Photoshopping photographer, analysed here in detail and continuing conflicting reports on casualty numbers provide a good argument for multiple sourcing for information and in all fairness very few sane people have time for that.
And there is little shortage of opinion based on all this unreliable info. One article I read today was a scathing criticism of Lebanese leadership by Michael Béhé, The most hypocritical people on earth. It's not unreasonable for Béhé to demand an accounting from his government as to how Hezbollah managed to create its own state within Lebanon, but when his self-assured diatribe extends further on to statements like this, I am really appalled.
"All those who have not sided with terrorism know they have strictly nothing to fear from the Israeli planes, on the contrary! One example: Last night the restaurant where I went to eat was jammed full and I had to wait until 9:30 p.m. to get a table. Everyone was smiling, relaxed, but no one filmed them: a strange destruction of Beirut, is it not?All is right with the world when your fave restaurant is busy and nothing helps your argument as much as trivializing other people's suffering.
Of course, there are some 500,000 refugees from the south who are experiencing a veritable tragedy and who are not smiling. But Jean Tsadik, who has his eyes fixed on Kfar Kileh, and from whom I have learned to believe each word he says, assures me that practically all the houses of the aforesaid refugees are intact. So they will be able to come back as soon as Hezbollah is vanquished."
A different article, and an opposing POV, A Foolhardy Wars, Unleased by Fools by Eric Margolis contains this statement:
"A number of respected press agencies have reported the skirmish that triggered this war didn’t occur in Israel, as Israel claims, but just inside Lebanon."I read this same assertion several days ago, and at that time it was only attributed to one French blogger. Since then I have read multiple references to it always prefaced with: "some say...", "it has been reported in Europe that ...", etc. it's downright viral, but if it was slightly verifiable, you'd think that Al Jazeera would have led with it as a headline on day 1 of this war.
Those complaints aside, I did read Retaliation’s Mutual Injustice by Pierre Tristam posted on his site Candide's Notebooks.
Elsewhere on his site, he wrote this intro to two responses on a previous essay of his:
"The focus on Lebanon in the last three weeks has generated what no discussion about the Levant has managed to avoid since the third day of creation (did God create oranges first that day, or lemons? Citrus groves have been waging their own intifadas over that one ever since). Namely: disagreement. I post here two of the more compelling recent comments, one by an American married to a Lebanese Christian, disagreeing with my characterization of Hezbollah as, among other things, a Shiite Taliban. The other, by one of our friends at Jewlicious, disagreeing with my take on Israeli designs as described in yesterday’s piece. I don’t think anything said in these letters in invalid, which reinforces a point essential to an eventual peace, if we’re ever to have it in Lebanon and the rest of the place still embarrassingly called Holy: differences of opinion and interpretation are not barriers to co-existence. They’re only proof that pluralism needn’t be lovey dovey to be civil, and even—as in a Pirandello play, but with real lives at stake—to find a common stage.
Pierre Tristam just won me over and I haven't even read the original essay yet.
Recent Ontario news.
Yup, I got nothing. (though I should ask my brothers to buy me a chainsaw next Christmas)
I spent hours going through multiple pages of very sweet tourist photos from Lebanon posted on a Lebanese-American Baklava company's web site. Almost unbearable, for their obvious love of the place.
On this page, they are continuing to update the images of past reconstruction and current destruction.
Mars Disarmed by Venus and the Three Graces - David
War in the Blathersphere - What is to be Said?
by Michael Neuman, a professor of philosophy at Trent University
Courtesy of Sandra Rechico. (who I mention by full name, because she sent me a bunch of puppy flower images figuring I'd like this sort of crap, and I secretly resent her for being right)
CHECHNYA–GIRL WITH BALLOONS Grozny, February 2002
Photo: Thomas Dworzak
CROSSING THE BRIDGE Bursa Turkey, 2005 video still
Performance by Vessna Perunovich
photo: Boja Vasic
I've been making a lot of helpful packing suggestions to Sally & GVB in regards to the wilderness of Northern B.C. Actually none were helpful really. Unless Edith Wharton was going to be there, and her servants forgot to pack something in one of her 4 trunks, and Sally wanted to suck up to her by offering to share a bunch of back issues of the New Yorker ...that she would have missed reading since she's dead and all.
And then after I finished asking some really unhelpful questions about natural disasters, water purity and suitable flatware, she assured me that there was a satellite phone at the site and if any natural disaster takes place, they'll phone me, so I can google it, AND WAS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I THOUGHT THEY SHOULD WORRY ABOUT?????.
At that point I voiced some concerns about the SUPERNATURAL, but then I decided it would be quite advantageous if they were to befriend a magic talking crow that could forage for snack food.