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Updated: 59 min 52 sec ago

Download 100,000 Art Images in High-Resolution from The Getty

3 hours 59 min ago

When I want to get a good look at the city of Los Angeles, I go up to the Getty Center in the Santa Monica Mountains. I can also, of course, get a pretty good look at some art at the museum there. But if I don’t feel like making that trek up the hill — and if you don’t feel like making the trek from wherever you live — The Getty can give you, in some ways, an even better way to look at art online. Just visit the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Seeing as this sort of free cultural resource fits right into our wheelhouse here at Open Culture, we’ve tried to keep you posted on the archive’s development over the past few years. Last time we passed the word along, the Getty’s digital public-domain archive of high-resolution images had grown to 87,000, and now it has nearly hit the 100,000 mark (99,989, to be exact)— which sounds to us like just the time to keep you posted on what you can find therein.

In its current state (which promises further expansion still), the Getty’s Open Content Program offers images like Abandoned Dust Bowl Home (top image), Dorothea Lange’s vividly stark evocation of Depression-era American desolation, as well as other photographic time (and place) capsules, such as Kusakabe Kimbei’s hand-colored prints of life in late 19th- and early 20th-century Japan (Japanese Ladies pictured here); impressionist canvases like Édouard Manet’s 1878 The Rue Mosnier with Flagsand even views of Los Angeles itself, like Carleton Watkins’ shot of the city’s plaza circa 1880.

To download an image for which you’ve searched, you first need to click on that image’s title. That link takes you to the image’s own page (like those we linked to in the paragraph just above), where you’ll find a download link. Look for the word “download” beneath the image, and then click that link. It’s just that simple — far simpler, in any case, than visual access to such a range of artwork has ever been before. Though if you do make it to Los Angeles, don’t hesitate to make the effort to visit the Getty Center; the tram that takes you up to it makes for a pretty fascinating cultural experience and view of the city in and of itself.

Related Content:

The Getty Adds Another 77,000 Images to its Open Content Archive

Download 35,000 Works of Art from the National Gallery, Including Masterpieces by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Rembrandt & More

Download Over 250 Free Art Books From the Getty Museum

40,000 Artworks from 250 Museums, Now Viewable for Free at the Redesigned Google Art Project

LA County Museum Makes 20,000 Artistic Images Available for Free Download

The Rijksmuseum Puts 125,000 Dutch Masterpieces Online, and Lets You Remix Its Art

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture as well as the video series The City in Cinema and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Download 100,000 Art Images in High-Resolution from The Getty is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Download 100,000 Art Images in High-Resolution from The Getty appeared first on Open Culture.

Hysterical Literature: Art & Sexuality Collide in Readings of Whitman, Emerson & Other Greats (NSFW)

7 hours 49 min ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHt4IEyYuyQ

Without shame the man I like knows and avows the deliciousness of his sex, 

Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.

Thus spaketh Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass. 160 years after that poem’s publication, how might that most American of American Romantics react to the spectacle of an attractive young woman pleasuring herself with his work, as an unseen hand beneath the table surreptitiously pleasures her with the Cadillac of vibrators?

The peephole is much larger than it would’ve been in 1855. Hysterical Literature was conceived as an online project in which each session’s featured female participant chooses a resonant text, then reads it aloud until a Hitachi Magic Wand puts an end to her ability to form coherent sentences.

Creator Clayton Cubitt has complained that the orgasmic element and the status of certain celebrity participants like comedian Margaret Cho  have preoccupied the press. His preference is for viewers to take a more holistic approach, viewing the experience with some “mystery and magic and ‘WTF.’”

Accordingly, let us focus upon some of the selected works:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oNptc-IKeI

Beloved by Toni Morrison

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRC2UH9X27Y

Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQuT-Xfyk3o

The Necrophilia Variations by Supervert

Really, no Anaïs Nin? I would’ve thought…

The most recent contributor to the series is also its oldest, 60-year-old Janet, below, who had to take leave of Whitman’s pal, Ralph Waldo Emerson, not once but twice in eight minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGsLDioGx9A

Cumulatively, these sessions make a marvelously frank primer for actors or directors charged with creating realistic sex scenes. The dichotomy of Hysterical Lit’s staging ensures that things are fairly respectable above the waist, thus satisfying YouTube’s Community Guidelines.

Daring female lovers of literature should be advised that Cubitt seeks to include more women of color, older participants, and non-English texts. No word on who exactly is under that table. Drain your pent-up rivers by applying here.

via Kottke

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Hysterical Literature: Art & Sexuality Collide in Readings of Whitman, Emerson & Other Greats (NSFW) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Hysterical Literature: Art & Sexuality Collide in Readings of Whitman, Emerson & Other Greats (NSFW) appeared first on Open Culture.

William Faulkner Resigns From His Post Office Job With a Spectacular Letter (1924)

Thu, 26 Mar 2015 - 5:00 pm

Working a dull civil service job ill-suited to your talents does not make you a writer, but plenty of famous writers have worked such jobs. Nathaniel Hawthorne worked at a Boston customhouse for a year. His friend Herman Melville put in considerably more time—19 years—as a customs inspector in New York, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Both Walt Disney and Charles Bukowski worked at the post office, though not together (can you imagine?), and so, for two years, did William Faulkner.

After dropping out of the University of Mississippi in 1920, Faulkner became its postmaster two years later, a job he found “tedious, boring, and uninspiring,” writes Mental Floss: “Most of his time as a postmaster was spent playing cards, writing poems, or drinking.” Eudora Welty characterized Faulkner’s tenure as postmaster with the following vignette:

Let us imagine that here and now, we’re all in the old university post office and living in the ’20’s. We’ve come up to the stamp window to buy a 2-cent stamp, but we see nobody there. We knock and then we pound, and then we pound again and there’s not a sound back there. So we holler his name, and at last here he is. William Faulkner. We interrupted him. . . . When he should have been putting up the mail and selling stamps at the window up front, he was out of sight in the back writing lyric poems.

By all accounts, she hardly overstates the case. As author and editor Bill Peschel puts it, Faulkner “opened the post office on days when it suited him, and closed it when it didn’t, usually when he wanted to go hunting or over to the golf course. He would throw away the advertising circulars, university bulletins and other mail he deemed junk.” A student publication from the time proposed a motto for his service: “Never put the mail up on time.”

Unsurprisingly, the powers that be eventually decided they’d had enough. In 1924, Faulkner sensed the end coming. But rather than bow out quietly, as perhaps most people would, the future Nobel laureate composed a dramatic and uncharacteristically succinct resignation letter to his superiors:

As long as I live under the capitalistic system, I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp.

This, sir, is my resignation.

The defiant self-aggrandizement, wounded pride, blame-shifting… maybe it’s these qualities, as well as a notorious tendency to exaggerate and outright lie (about his military service for example) that so qualified him for his late-life career as—in the words of Ole Miss—“Statesman to the World.” Faulkner’s gift for self-fashioning might have suited him well for a career in politics, had he been so inclined. He did, after all, receive a commemorative stamp in 1987 (above) from the very institution he served so poorly.

But like Hawthorne, Bukowski, or any number of other writers who’ve held down tedious day jobs, he was compelled to give his life to fiction. In a later retelling of the resignation, Peschel claims, Faulkner would revise his letter “into a more pungent quotation,” unable to resist the urge to invent: “I reckon I’ll be at the beck and call of folks with money all my life, but thank God I won’t ever again have to be at the beck and call of every son of a bitch who’s got two cents to buy a stamp.”

via Letters of Note

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Guidelines for Handling William Faulkner’s Drinking During Foreign Trips From the US State Department (1955)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

William Faulkner Resigns From His Post Office Job With a Spectacular Letter (1924) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post William Faulkner Resigns From His Post Office Job With a Spectacular Letter (1924) appeared first on Open Culture.

Talking Heads’ First TV Appearance Was on American Bandstand, and It Was Pretty Awkward (1979)

Thu, 26 Mar 2015 - 2:00 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2PblNCo1Ok

“I guess he’s…organically shy.”–Tina Weymouth

As Talking Heads went from CBGBs (see some vintage video) to college radio to a European tour opening for The Ramones in 1977, the band was slowly making its way out of New York City poverty while their art school rock was seeping into American culture at large. When “Take Me To the River,” their airy, nervous but still funky Eno-produced cover of the Al Green song became their first Billboard Top 30 hit, the band took a step towards national recognition.

And that leads us to this awkward March 17, 1979 appearance of the band on ABC’s American Bandstand, their first on American TV. Longtime host Dick Clark was pretty square–rock critic Nik Cohn described him as “a disc jockey who looked like an all-American choirboy”–but American Bandstand was a prime opportunity. In 1979, the New Wave and Post-Punk scenes were raging at the show’s doors. Talking Heads were one of the few acts that year from NYC’s creative cauldron of a music scene, apart from Blondie and Grace Jones, to make it onto Bandstand.

In the above clip, Clark apologizes for getting Tina Weymouth’s name wrong, then jumps in to interview David Byrne, who responds to Clark’s questions by shutting them down with embarrassed looks and matter-of-fact answers. Clark then turns back to Tina for some psychoanalytic help. “Is he always this enthusiastic?” he asks. It crumbles from there.
Weymouth remembered it slightly differently in this recent (2014) interview in New York Magazine:

I couldn’t explain to the record-label people why David’s behavior could be so incredibly odd. He had a freak-out on our first television appearance, on Dick Clark, on American Bandstand. David sort of froze, and Dick Clark sort of whirled around, and hands the microphone to me. And there were other things going on, too. I don’t think any person is one thing, or defined by a condition that they might have.

It’s not exactly freezing, but it is odd…for rock frontmen. And asking Byrne “Do you flog yourself into this?” tells you a bit more about Clark’s state of mind than anything else.

You can see the mimed performance of their hit here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78gZSRWLRaM

The other song they performed on the broadcast “Thank You for Sending Me an Angel” has not popped up on YouTube…yet.

Parting note: The other guest that night on Bandstand was twee, blue-eyed disco act Brooklyn Dreams with their single Make It Last.

Related content:

Hear the Earliest Known Talking Heads Recordings (1975)

Talking Heads Live in Rome, 1980: The Concert Film You Haven’t Seen

Jim Jarmusch’s Anti-MTV Music Videos for Talking Heads, Neil Young, Tom Waits & Big Audio Dynamite

The Talking Heads Play CBGB, the New York Club that Shaped Their Sound (1975)

Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills and/or watch his films here.

Talking Heads’ First TV Appearance Was on American Bandstand, and It Was Pretty Awkward (1979) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Talking Heads’ First TV Appearance Was on American Bandstand, and It Was Pretty Awkward (1979) appeared first on Open Culture.

Quentin Tarantino Lists His 20 Favorite Spaghetti Westerns, Starting with The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Thu, 26 Mar 2015 - 12:30 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxWlpeI9KRk

Like many film fans, I grew up familiar with the term “Spaghetti western,” but I’d nearly reached adulthood before figuring out what, exactly, America’s most popular Italian dish had to do with America’s once-most popular movie genre. But even if they don’t know the specific definition of a Spaghetti western, those who enjoy them know a Spaghetti western when they see one. Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of DollarsFor a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; Sergio Corbucci’s Minnesota Clay and Django; Enzo Barboni’s They Call Me Trinity and Trinity Is Still My Name — if a picture belongs in that company, nobody doubts it.

You’ll notice that all those directors have Italian names, and indeed, western all’italiana, the Italian equivalent of “Spaghetti western,” simply means “Italian-style western.” These Italian-produced tales of the lawless 19th-century American west, sometimes featuring fading or rising Hollywood stars (as with the young Clint Eastwood, who would become identified with Leone’s “Man with No Name”), and often shot in the Spanish desert, rode high from the mid-1960s to the early 70s, bringing a fresh sensibility and visceral impact which had for the most part drained out of the homegrown variety.

Trust a genre-loving auteur like Quentin Tarantino (and one who made his very own Django a few years back) to know Spaghetti westerns inside and out. While even those of us who never turn down the chance to enjoy a good Spaghetti western might struggle to name ten of them, Tarantino can easily run down his personal top twenty:

  1. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1966)
  2. For a Few Dollars More (Sergio Leone, 1965)
  3. Django (Sergio Corbucci, 1966)
  4. The Mercenary (Sergio Corbucci, 1966)
  5. Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)
  6. A Fistful of Dollars (Sergio Leone, 1964)
  7. Day of Anger (Tonino Valerii, 1967)
  8. Death Rides a Horse (Giulio Petroni, 1967)
  9. Navajo Joe (Sergio Corbucci,1966)
  10. The Return of Ringo (Duccio Tessar, 1965)
  11. The Big Gundown (Sergio Sollima, 1966)
  12. A Pistol for Ringo (Duccio Tessari, 1965)
  13. The Dirty Outlaws (Franco Rossetti, 1967)
  14. The Great Silence (Sergio Corbucci, 1968)
  15. The Grand Duel (Giancarlo Santi, 1972)
  16. Shoot the Living, Pray for the Dead (Giuseppe Vari, 1971)
  17. Tepepa (Giulio Petroni, 1968)
  18. The Ugly Ones (Eugenio Martin, 1966)
  19. Viva Django! (Ferdinando Baldi, 1967)
  20. Machine Gun Killers (Paolo Bianchini, 1968)

You can watch all the trailers of these Spaghetti western masterpieces in the playlist above, created by The Spaghetti Western Database. Some may now strike you as disarmingly straightforward about ballyhooing the excitement promised by the feature they advertise, and you may find others surprisingly funny and more self-aware. While I defy anyone to watch the entire playlist of trailers without wanting to dive into this surprisingly little-explored tradition, nothing gets me quite as excited about watching a movie — old or new, subtle or schlocky, genre or otherwise — as Tarantino’s contagious cinephilia.

via The Spaghetti Western Database

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Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture as well as the video series The City in Cinema and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Quentin Tarantino Lists His 20 Favorite Spaghetti Westerns, Starting with The Good, the Bad, the Ugly is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Quentin Tarantino Lists His 20 Favorite Spaghetti Westerns, Starting with The Good, the Bad, the Ugly appeared first on Open Culture.

Animated: The Inspirational Story of Jane Goodall, and Why She Believes in Bigfoot

Thu, 26 Mar 2015 - 11:36 am

Now out. The second video in The Experimenters, a short series of animations highlighting three “icons of science” and “what spurred their creativity.” Episode 1 brought us into “the Geodesic Life” of Buckminster Fuller. This new installment gives us an animated look at Jane Goodall, the primatologist who has done such inspirational work with chimpanzees. (Don’t miss last week’s feature on her in The Times.) Drawing on a 2002 interview that aired on NPR’s Science Friday, this clip features Goodall recounting her life story — including how she got a PhD at Cambridge before getting an undergraduate degree — and it also veers into some fun terrain. Does Goodall believe in Bigfoot? You bet she does.

The next video in The Experimenters series will focus on Richard Feynman. Stay tuned.

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Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and  share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

 

Animated: The Inspirational Story of Jane Goodall, and Why She Believes in Bigfoot is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Wed, 25 Mar 2015 - 2:00 pm

You could pay $118 on Amazon for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s catalog The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry. Or you could pay $0 to download it at MetPublications, the site offering “five decades of Met Museum publications on art history available to read, download, and/or search for free.” If that strikes you as an obvious choice, prepare to spend some serious time browsing MetPublications’ collection of free art books and catalogs.

You may remember that we featured the site a few years ago, back when it offered 397 whole books free for the reading, including American Impressionism and Realism: The Painting of Modern Life, 1885–1915; Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomical Drawings from the Royal Library; and Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of ArtBut the Met has kept adding to their digital trove since then, and, as a result, you can now find there no fewer than 422 art catalogs and other books besides. Those sit alongside the 400,000 free art images the museum put online last year.

So have a look at MetPublications’ current collection and you’ll find you now have unlimited access to such lush as well as artistically, culturally, and historically varied volumes as African IvoriesChess: East and West, Past and PresentModern Design in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1890–1990; Vincent Van Gogh: The Drawings; French Art Deco; or even a guide to the museum itself (vintage 1972).

Since I haven’t yet turned to art collection — I suppose you need money for that — these books don’t necessarily make me covet the vast sweep of artworks they depict and contextualize. But they do make me wish for something even less probable: a time machine so I could go back and see all these exhibits firsthand.

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700 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture as well as the video series The City in Cinema and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art appeared first on Open Culture.

Puppets of Dostoevsky, Dickens & Poe Star in 1950s Frank Capra Educational Film

Wed, 25 Mar 2015 - 11:09 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_wt5AFjRQo

Produced between 1956 and 1964 by AT&T, the Bell Telephone Science Hour TV specials anticipate the literary zaniness of The Muppet Show and the scientific enthusiasm of Cosmos. The “ship of the imagination” in Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos reboot may in fact owe something to the episode above, one of nine, directed by none other than It’s A Wonderful Life’s Frank Capra. “Strap on your wits and hop on your magic carpet,” begins the special, “You’ve got one, you know: Your imagination.” As a guide for our imagination, The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays enlists the humanities—specifically three puppets representing Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and, somewhat incongruously for its detective theme, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who plays the foil as an incurious spoilsport. The show’s host, Frank Baxter (“Dr. Research”) was actually a professor of English at UCLA and appears here with Richard Carlson, explaining scientific concepts with confidence.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqClSPWVnNE

The one-hour films became very popular as tools of science education, but there are good reasons—other than their datedness or Dr. Baxter’s expertise—to approach them critically. At times, the degree of speculation indulged by Baxter and the writers strains credulity. For example, writes Geoff Alexander in Academic Films for the Classroom: A History, 1958’s The Unchained Goddess (above) “introduces the viewer to bizarre concepts such as the possibility of ‘steering’ hurricanes away from land by creating bio-hazards such as ocean borne oil-slicks and introducing oil-based ocean fires.” These grim, fossil fuel industry-friendly scenarios nonetheless openly acknowledged the possibility of man-made climate change and looked forward to solar energy.

Along with some dystopian weirdness, the series also contains a good deal of explicit Christian proselytizing, thanks to Capra. As a condition for taking the job, “the renowned director would be allowed to embed religious messages in the films.” As Capra himself said to AT&T president Cleo F. Craig:

If I make a science film, I will have to say that scientific research is just another expression of the Holy Spirit… I will say that science, in essence, is just another facet of man’s quest for God.

At times, writes Alexander, “the religious perspective is taken to extremes,” as in the first episode, Our Mr. Sun, which begins with a quotation from Psalms and admonishes “viewers who would dare to question the causal relationship between solar energy and the divinity.” The Unchained Goddess, above, is the fourth in the series, and Capra’s last.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q01QxUeO00

Afterward, a director named Owen Crump took over duties on the next four episodes. His films, writes Alexander, “did not overtly proselytize” and “relied less on animated characters interacting with Dr. Baxter.” (Watch the Crump-directed Gateways to the Mind above, a more sober-minded, yet still strangely off-kilter, inquiry into the five senses.) The last film, The Restless Sea (unavailable online) was produced by Walt Disney and directed by Les Clark, and starred Disney himself and Baxter’s replacement, Sterling Holloway.  The Capra productions will be added to our collection, 700 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Puppets of Dostoevsky, Dickens & Poe Star in 1950s Frank Capra Educational Film is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Puppets of Dostoevsky, Dickens & Poe Star in 1950s Frank Capra Educational Film appeared first on Open Culture.

Play the Twin Peaks Video Game: Retro Fun for David Lynch Fans

Wed, 25 Mar 2015 - 8:30 am

They made a video game out of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, so why not Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks is, of course, a seminal cult TV series, a surrealist soap opera spun out of the mind of David Lynch. When it came out in the late 80s, America was seized with the show’s central mystery – who killed Laura Palmer? A tortured blonde beauty queen who wound up dead, wrapped in plastic. Its first season (US viewers can watch it on Hulu) was easily one of the best ever on television with great characters, inside jokes and just enough Lynchian weirdness to unnerve a mainstream audience without totally freaking them out. Too bad, then, that the quality of the show’s second season went off a cliff.

You would expect a video game about the series to be about the search for Laura Palmer’s killer, but no. Instead, the game, an Atari 2600-style work called Black Lodge 2600, is a riff on the show’s final angry episode. In that episode, FBI agent Dale Cooper delves into the otherworldly Black Lodge, which, in spite of its name, is decorated primarily in red curtains. There, Cooper is confronted by his doppelganger. Lynch’s Jungian obsessions have never been as bald as in that episode.

Basically, if you felt like your well-worn copy of Pitfall was strangely lacking in busts of Venus De Milo and a pervading sense of the Unheimliche, then this video game might be for you. The game’s manual, which has way too many exclamation points, sets the stage:

A day in the FBI was never like this before! You are Special Agent Dale Cooper and you’ve found yourself trapped inside the Black Lodge, a surreal and dangerous place between worlds. Try as you might, you can’t seem to find anything but the same room and hallway no matter which way you turn. Worse yet, your doppelganger is in hot pursuit! You have no choice but to keep running through the room and hallway (or is it more than one?) and above all else, don’t let your doppelganger touch you!

[…]

You’ll find quickly that you’re not alone in the Black Lodge, though your friends are few and far between. Not only that, the Lodge itself seems to be actively trying to trip you up at all times! You’ll be dodging chairs and crazed Lodge residents all while trying to keep your own sanity. How long can this go on?

Based on this description, I can’t tell if this game is compelling or if it will merely evoke the same feeling of existential futility I feel every time I call Time Warner Cable. Watch a video of the game below and judge for yourself. Or start downloading the game and the manual here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtPgZLB0RZs

Note: If you have problems getting the game going on a Mac, then follow these Black Lodge troubleshooting instructions: Go to “System Preferences”, open “Security & Privacy”, click the padlock to allow changes, then click the “Anywhere” option under “Allow applications downloaded from.”

via Welcome to Twin Peaks

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Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring lots of pictures of badgers and even more pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

Play the Twin Peaks Video Game: Retro Fun for David Lynch Fans is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Play the Twin Peaks Video Game: Retro Fun for David Lynch Fans appeared first on Open Culture.

Watch a New Star Wars Animation, Drawn in a Classic 80s Japanese Anime Style

Wed, 25 Mar 2015 - 1:00 am

It didn’t take long for Star Wars (1977) to start spinning off fan films. Just a year after the space opera hit American cinemas, Jonathan Crow tells us, “San Francisco filmmaker Ernie Fosselius had the brainwave to make a spoof.” And, as it turns out, the 13-minute film, made for $8,000, “became a pre-internet viral hit and a staple on the festival circuit, ultimately earning over $1,000,000 – an unheard of haul for a short film.” It’s called Hardware Wars, and you can find it in our archive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN_CP4SuoTU

Star Wars fan films have kept coming ever since. Right through today. The latest is TIE Fighter (above). Drawn by Paul Johnson over a four-year period, the video adopts an anime style, made famous by the Japanese during the 1980s, and it tells the Star Wars story (or at least part of it), from the perspective of the Empire. A PDF of the story can be read online here. Find the official poster here.

via Boing Boing

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Watch a New Star Wars Animation, Drawn in a Classic 80s Japanese Anime Style is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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How Akira Kurosawa Used Movement to Tell His Stories: A Video Essay

Tue, 24 Mar 2015 - 2:00 pm

The history books say that there were three Japanese filmmakers to emerge in the 1950s – Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa. Never mind that Mizoguchi and Ozu made many of their best movies in the 1930s. Never mind that masterful, innovative directors like Mikio Naruse and Keisuke Kinoshita have been unfairly overshadowed by the brilliance of these three greats.

Mizoguchi was an early modernist who by the end of his career made meditative movies about how women suffer at the hands of men. His masterpieces like Ugetsu and Sansho Dayu feel like Buddhist scroll paintings come to life. Ozu, “the most Japanese” of all filmmakers, made quietly moving dramas about families, like Tokyo Story, but did so in a way that discarded such Hollywood principles as continuity editing and the 180 degree rule. Ozu was a quiet radical.

Compared to Ozu and Mizoguchi, Kurosawa’s movies are noisy, masculine and vital. Unlike Ozu, he didn’t challenge Hollywood film form but improved on it. Born roughly a decade after the other two filmmakers, Kurosawa spent his youth watching Western movies, absorbing the lessons of his cinematic heroes like John Ford, Howard Hawks and Frank Capra. At his creative height, in the 1950s and 60s, Kurosawa produced masterpiece after masterpiece. Hollywood would remake or reference Kurosawa constantly in the years that followed but few of those films had Kurosawa’s inventiveness.

Tony Zhou, who has made a career of dissecting movies in his excellent video series Every Frame a Picture, argues that the key to Kurosawa is movement. “A Kurosawa movie moves like no one else’s,” Zhou notes in his video. “Each one is a master class in different types of motion and also ways to combine them.”

Kurosawa had an innate understanding that there is inherent drama in the wind blowing in the trees. Like Andrei Tarkovsky and later Terrence Malick, he liked to place human drama squarely in the realm of nature. The rain falls, a fire rages and that movement makes an image compelling. He understood that graphic considerations outweighed psychological ones – he simplified and exaggerated a character’s movement with the frame to make character traits and emotions easy to register for the audience. His camera movements were clear, motivated and fluid. Zhou compares Seven Samurai with The Avengers. You might have thought that The Avengers was uninspired and soulless but after watching Zhou’s video, you’ll understand why – aside from the silly plot and characters – the movie was uninspired and soulless. The piece should be required viewing for filmmakers everywhere. You can watch it above.

And below you can see another video Zhou did on Kurosawa, focusing on his 1960 movie The Bad Sleep Well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGc-K7giqKM

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Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring lots of pictures of badgers and even more pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

How Akira Kurosawa Used Movement to Tell His Stories: A Video Essay is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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The Psychology of Blame: Another Animated Lesson That Can Make You a Better Person

Tue, 24 Mar 2015 - 12:01 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZWf2_2L2v8

The last time we checked in with Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, we learned all about the difference between sympathy and empathy, and why empathy is much more meaningful in the end. Now, in a sequel to that first video, we discover an important barrier to empathy — blame. Can you relate? Both videos come from RSA (the Royal Society of the Arts), the same cultural organization that brought us those whiteboard animations illustrating lectures by Slavoj Zizek, Steven PinkerBarbara Ehrenreich, and others. You can watch Brown’s complete (unanimated) lecture here.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and  share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

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The Psychology of Blame: Another Animated Lesson That Can Make You a Better Person is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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The History & Legacy of Magna Carta Explained in Animated Videos by Monty Python’s Terry Jones

Tue, 24 Mar 2015 - 8:30 am

Even those who paid next to no attention to their history teachers know about Magna Carta — or at least they know it first came about in 1215. To deliver all the other relevant details, we now have a new teacher in the form of Monty Python‘s Terry Jones, who, on the occasion of this great charter’s 800th anniversary, provides the narration for these two short animations, “Magna Carta: Medieval” and “Magna Carta: Legacy,” that tell the rest of its story.

These videos come as part of a whole web site put together by the British Library meant to help us all “discover the history and legacy of one of the world’s most celebrated documents.” To this end, they’ve put up an introduction to Magna Carta by Claire Breay and Julian Harrison, which summarizes both its origins and its relevance today:

Originally issued by King John of England (r.1199-1216) as a practical solution to the political crisis he faced in 1215, Magna Carta established for the first time the principle that everybody, including the king, was subject to the law.

[ … ]

Three clauses of the 1225 Magna Carta remain on the statute book today. Although most of the clauses of Magna Carta have now been repealed, the many divergent uses that have been made of it since the Middle Ages have shaped its meaning in the modern era, and it has become a potent, international rallying cry against the arbitrary use of power.

These animations, of course, add a great deal of visual, narrative, and comedic vividness to this important piece of Western political history, following it from the reign of King John (“one of the worst kings in history”), through civil war, the creation of the United States of America, struggles for voting rights and the freedom of the press, right up to the writing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in a sense Magna Carta’s modern descendant. “Although very few of Magna Carta’s original clauses remain valid in English law,” says Jones, “it continues to inspire people worldwide. Not a bad legacy for an 800-year-old document.”

via Devour

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Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture as well as the video series The City in Cinema and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The History & Legacy of Magna Carta Explained in Animated Videos by Monty Python’s Terry Jones is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post The History & Legacy of Magna Carta Explained in Animated Videos by Monty Python’s Terry Jones appeared first on Open Culture.

The (Urban) Legend of Ernest Hemingway’s Six-Word Story: “For sale, Baby shoes, Never worn.”

Tue, 24 Mar 2015 - 4:50 am

A piercingly dark piece of writing, taking the heart of a Dickens or Dostoevsky novel and carving away all the rest, Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story—fabled forerunner of flash- and twitter-fiction—is shorter than many a story’s title:

For sale, Baby shoes, Never worn.

The extreme terseness in this elliptical tragedy has made it a favorite example of writing teachers over the past several decades, a display of the power of literary compression in which, writes a querent to the site Quote Investigator, “the reader must cooperate in the construction of the larger narrative that is obliquely limned by these words.” Supposedly composed sometime in the ’20s at The Algonquin (or perhaps Luchow’s, depending on whom you ask), the six-word story, it’s said, came from a ten-dollar bet Hemingway made at a lunch with some other writers that he could write a novel in six words. After penning the famous line on a napkin, he passed it around the table, and collected his winnings. That’s the popular lore, anyway. But the truth is much less colorful.

In fact, it seems that versions of the six-word story appeared long before Hemingway even began to write, at least as early as 1906, when he was only 7, in a newspaper classified section called “Terse Tales of the Town,” which published an item that read, “For sale, baby carriage, never been used. Apply at this office.” Another, very similar, version appeared in 1910, then another, suggested as the title for a story about “a wife who has lost her baby,” in a 1917 essay by William R. Kane, who thought up “Little Shoes, Never Worn.” Then again in 1920, writes David Haglund in Slate, the supposed Hemingway line appears in a “1921 newspaper column by Roy K. Moulton, who ‘printed a brief note that he attributed to someone named Jerry,'”:

There was an ad in the Brooklyn “Home Talk” which read, “Baby carriage for sale, never used.” Would that make a wonderful plot for the movies?

Many more examples of the narrative device abound, including a 1927 comic strip describing a seven-word version—“For Sale, A Baby Carriage; Never Used!”—as “the greatest short story in the world.” The more that Haglund and Quote Investigator’s Garson O’Toole looked into the matter, the harder they found it to “believe that Hemingway had anything to do with the tale.”

It is possible Hemingway, wittingly or not, stole the story from the classifieds or elsewhere. He was a newspaperman after all, perhaps guaranteed to have come into contact with some version of it. But there’s no evidence that he wrote or talked about the six-word story, or that the lunch bet at The Algonquin ever took place. Instead, it appears that a literary agent, Peter Miller, made up the story whole cloth in 1974 and later published it in his 1991 book, Get Published! Get Produced!: A Literary Agent’s Tips on How to Sell Your Writing.

The legend of the bet and the six-word story grew: Arthur C. Clarke repeated it in a 1998 Reader’s Digest essay, and Miller mentioned it again in a 2006 book. Meanwhile, suspicions arose, and the final debunking occurred in a 2012 scholarly article in The Journal of Popular Culture by Frederick A. Wright, who concluded that no evidence links the six-word story to Hemingway.

So should we blame Miller for ostensibly creating an urban legend, or thank him for giving competitive minimalists something to beat, and inspiring the entire genre of the “six-word memoir”? That depends, I suppose, on what you think of competitive minimalists and six-word memoirs. Perhaps the moral of the story, fitting in the Twitter age, is that the great man theory of authorship so often gets it wrong; the most memorable stories and ideas can arise spontaneously, anonymously, from anywhere.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

The (Urban) Legend of Ernest Hemingway’s Six-Word Story: “For sale, Baby shoes, Never worn.” is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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Umberto Eco’s How To Write a Thesis: A Witty, Irreverent & Highly Practical Guide Now Out in English

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 - 5:00 pm

Image by Università Reggio Calabria, released under a C BY-SA 3.0 license.

In general, the how-to book—whether on beekeeping, piano-playing, or wilderness survival—is a dubious object, always running the risk of boring readers into despairing apathy or hopelessly perplexing them with complexity. Instructional books abound, but few succeed in their mission of imparting theoretical wisdom or keen, practical skill. The best few I’ve encountered in my various roles have mostly done the former. In my days as an educator, I found abstract, discursive books like Robert Scholes’ Textual Power or poet and teacher Marie Ponsot’s lyrical Beat Not the Poor Desk infinitely more salutary than more down-to-earth books on the art of teaching. As a sometime writer of fiction, I’ve found Milan Kundera’s idiosyncratic The Art of the Novel—a book that might have been titled The Art of Kundera—a great deal more inspiring than any number of other well-meaning MFA-lite publications. And as a self-taught audio engineer, I’ve found a book called Zen and the Art of Mixing—a classic of the genre, even shorter on technical specifications than its namesake is on motorcycle maintenance—better than any other dense, diagram-filled manual.

How I wish, then, that as a onetime (longtime) grad student, I had had access to the English translation, just published this month, of Umberto Eco’s How to Write a Thesis, a guide to the production of scholarly work worth the name by the highly celebrated Italian novelist and intellectual. Written originally in Italian in 1977, before Eco’s name was well-known for such works of fiction as The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum, How to Write Thesis is appropriately described by MIT Press as reading: “like a novel”: “opinionated… frequently irreverent, sometimes polemical, and often hilarious.” For example, in the second part of his introduction, after a rather dry definition of the academic “thesis,” Eco dissuades a certain type of possible reader from his book, those students “who are forced to write a thesis so that they may graduate quickly and obtain the career advancement that originally motivated their university enrollment.” These students, he writes, some of whom “may be as old as 40” (gasp), “will ask for instructions on how to write a thesis in a month.” To them, he recommends two pieces of advice, in full knowledge that both are clearly “illegal”:

(a) Invest a reasonable amount of money in having a thesis written by a second party. (b) Copy a thesis that was written a few years prior for another institution. (It is better not to copy a book currently in print, even if it was written in a foreign language. If the professor is even minimally informed on the topic, he will be aware of the book’s existence.

Eco goes on to say that “even plagiarizing a thesis requires an intelligent research effort,” a caveat, I suppose, for those too thoughtless or lazy even to put the required effort into academic dishonesty.

Instead, he writes for “students who want to do rigorous work” and “want to write a thesis that will provide a certain intellectual satisfaction.” Eco doesn’t allow for the fact that these groups may not be mutually exclusive, but no matter. His style is loose and conversational, and the unseriousness of his dogmatic assertions belies the liberating tenor of his advice. For all of the fun Eco has discussing the whys and wherefores of academic writing, he also dispenses a wealth of practical hows, making his book a rarity among the small pool of readable How-tos. For example, Eco offers us “Four Obvious Rules for Choosing a Thesis Topic,” the very bedrock of a doctoral (or masters) project, on which said project truly stands or falls:

1. The topic should reflect your previous studies and experience. It should be related to your completed courses; your other research; and your political, cultural, or religious experience.

2. The necessary sources should be materially accessible. You should be near enough to the sources for convenient access, and you should have the permission you need to access them.

3. The necessary sources should be manageable. In other words, you should have the ability, experience, and background knowledge needed to understand the sources.

4. You should have some experience with the methodological framework that you will use in the thesis. For example, if your thesis topic requires you to analyze a Bach violin sonata, you should be versed in music theory and analysis.

Having suffered the throes of proposing, then actually writing, an academic thesis, I can say without reservation that, unlike Eco’s encouragement to plagiarism, these four rules are not only helpful, but necessary, and not nearly as obvious as they appear. Eco goes on in the following chapter, “Choosing the Topic,” to present many examples, general and specific, of how this is so.

Much of the remainder of Eco’s book—though written in as lively a style and shot through with witticisms and profundity—is gravely outdated in its minute descriptions of research methods and formatting and style guides. This is pre-internet, and technology has—sadly in many cases—made redundant much of the footwork he discusses. That said, his startling takes on such topics as “Must You Read Books?,” “Academic Humility,” “The Audience,” and “How to Write” again offer indispensable ways of thinking about scholarly work that one generally arrives at only, if at all, at the completion of a long, painful, and mostly bewildering course of writing and research.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Umberto Eco’s How To Write a Thesis: A Witty, Irreverent & Highly Practical Guide Now Out in English is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Umberto Eco’s How To Write a Thesis: A Witty, Irreverent & Highly Practical Guide Now Out in English appeared first on Open Culture.

Hear a “DNA-Based Prediction of Nietzsche’s Voice:” First Attempt at Simulating Voice of a Dead Person

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 - 8:30 am

Whether they submit to his mighty philosophical influence, resist it with all their own might, or fall somewhere in between, everyone who’s read the pronouncements of Friedrich Nietzsche (find his ebooks here) recognizes his voice — well, his textual voice, that is. Having died in 1900 after spending the last decade of his life in a mental breakdown, the author of Thus Spake Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil has an excuse for not leaving behind much in the way of audio material. But love Nietzsche or hate him, a reader has to wonder: what did the guy actually sound like?

Here to satiate our curiosity come Flavia Montaggio, Patricia Montaggio, and Imp Kerr, authors of the Investigative Genetics paper “DNA-based prediction of Nietzsche’s voice,” which supposedly offers a scientific means of doing just that. “We collected trace amounts of cellular material (Touch DNA) from books that belonged to the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche,” reads the abstract, which goes on to describe the gathering of Nietzsche-related data eventually “converted into bio-measures that were used to 3D-print a vocal tract and larynx through which phonation was organically generated.” The result, after running everything through a series of text-to-speech simulations: “the first attempt at simulating the voice of a deceased person“:

jQuery(document).ready(function($) { $('#wp_mep_1').mediaelementplayer({ m:1 ,features: ['playpause','current','progress','duration','volume','tracks','fullscreen'] ,audioWidth:100%,audioHeight:27 }); });

It all seems legit, right? Or maybe you German-speakers out there will suspect something fishy, starting with the unlikely name of Imp Kerr. It actually belongs to “a Swedish-French artist living in New York City, mostly known for her fake American Apparel advertisement campaign,” or so reads the Wikipedia page quoted by a Language Log post on the project. “I have no idea whether anything in the Wikipedia article about Imp Kerr is true,” writes author Mark Liberman, “but it’s clear from internal evidence that the alleged Investigative Genetics article is a piece of performance art.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fzp7iCaWNvE

Liberman breaks down the paper’s humorous elements, from its “many segments that display quasi-scientific terminology in meaningless or contradictory ways” to its simple inability to “restrain a certain telltale playfulness” (as when it deals with a resonance “lower than expected in regards of Nietzsche’s robust mandibles”). All this may remind you of the famous hoax wherein physicist Alan Sokal published a paperful of sheer nonsense in a respected cultural-studies journal. Or you may think of the film above, which purports, questionably, to show Nietzsche’s last days. It just goes to show that, if your ideas live on, you live on — or your readers will try to make you do so.

via The New Inquiry/Leiter Reports

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Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture as well as the video series The City in Cinema and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Hear a “DNA-Based Prediction of Nietzsche’s Voice:” First Attempt at Simulating Voice of a Dead Person is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Hear a “DNA-Based Prediction of Nietzsche’s Voice:” First Attempt at Simulating Voice of a Dead Person appeared first on Open Culture.

What Happens When a Cheap Ikea Print Gets Presented as Fine Art in a Museum

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 - 5:00 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BlLX03OJRU

The entity to whom Dutch group, Lifehunters, attributes the museum quality artwork in the video prank above doesn’t exist. The “famous” Swedish artist’s handle –IKE Andrews –is but a puckish reference to IKEA, the purveyor of the 10€ print (oh snap, it’s not even an original!) various unnamed “art experts” are asked to evaluate, having been led to believe it’s something rare and wonderful. IKE Andrews’ fellow fictional entity, Borat, would be gratified by how readily these experts accept presenter Boris Lange’s suggestions as to the value of this work.

So how bad is this “painting”? Walter Keane bad? Margaret Keane bad? Is it a Velvis? A sad clown? The sort of crummy landscape artist Wayne White might snap up in a thrift store?

Only if you think IKEA achieved global dominance by choosing designs, patterns, and images in order for snotty hipsters to buy them ironically…

As several YouTube, Twitter, and blog commenters have mentioned, the print itself is pretty cool.

It’s a media frenzy, but interestingly, the artist is not coming forward to herald his or her role in the hoax.

Make that artists. Turns out IKE Andrews is a pair of Swiss street artists, Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni, who collaborate as NEVERCREW.

They have a fascination with cross sections. As their website somewhat murkily explains [all sic]:

These models, as such, from time to time actually contain more or less extensive realities, represented as autonomous systems of which the reality of the viewer becomes a part. This then the rapport becomes the very subject, mainly highlighted as the relationship between man and nature (between human being and its nature), but automatically extended to a vision of total and inevitable relationship between everything, between every part, where it is only the point of view, the position within a system, to define a selection.

IKEA streamlines the artists’ philosophy for the masses thusly:

We call the theme “living structures” and we like to see them as models of living systems. We would like our art to generate interest and curiosity, and the viewer to become a part of the mechanism with his or her thoughts, perspective and emotions.

 

Philosophy’s all well and good, but what’s it actually look like, this “Message in a Bottle”?

Well, it seems to me to be a bottle, implausibly halved lengthwise to reveal a bunch of steampunk stuff balanced atop robot spider legs, forming a cage around an ancient-looking whale. Also, a cloud raining yellow liquid, or possibly light. (Hopefully the latter). Oh! And it appears to have been painted on a brown paper bag.

I can think of plenty of people who’d not only like it, but find meaning in it, as the experts do. The only difference is the experts do so on camera, a fact not all of them are willing to laugh at, when host Lange informs them they’ve been punked.

The artists aren’t the only ones playing it cool. The internet may be exploding, but so far, neither IKEA, nor the Netherlands’ Arnhem Museum, where the prank was staged, have made mention of this business.

via Hyperallergic

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and mother of a teen filmmaker whose best known work was shot guerrilla style in a Red Hook, Brooklyn Ikea. Follow her @AyunHalliday

What Happens When a Cheap Ikea Print Gets Presented as Fine Art in a Museum is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post What Happens When a Cheap Ikea Print Gets Presented as Fine Art in a Museum appeared first on Open Culture.

The Touching Story Behind Paraguay’s Landfill Orchestra: Now Told in Film, and Soon a Book

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 - 12:32 am

Back in 2012, I first told you about the amazing youth chamber orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay. The families from this small impoverished town, located alongside a vast landfill, can’t afford many luxuries — like buying instruments for their kids. But what they lack in money, they make up for in ingenuity and good spirit. The short documentary above gives you a glimpse of their touching story, showing how creative leaders in the community fashioned instruments with their own hands, turning oil cans into cellos, and aluminum bowls into violins. Watch them in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkTQQ0m8Ys8

But why stop with the short story, when you can get the longer story. Last week, a full blown film called Landfill Harmonic premiered at the SXSW Film Festival 2015. And now the film (see a short trailer here) will be screened at selected film festivals while the producers try to find a distributor who can bring the production to a wider audience. And, in another piece of good news, Simon & Schuster announced that it plans to publish a picture book about the Recycled Orchestra. Look for Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay in March 2016.

You can watch Landfill Harmonic at the festivals mentioned below. To keep tabs on future showings, follow this Facebook page.

  • New York Children’s Film Festival March 21, 2015
  • Environmental Film Festival DC March 25, 2015
  • TIFF Kid’s Film Festival April 10 – 17, 2015

Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and  share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

The Touching Story Behind Paraguay’s Landfill Orchestra: Now Told in Film, and Soon a Book is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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Google Puts Online 10,000 Works of Street Art from Across the Globe

Sun, 22 Mar 2015 - 11:00 pm

Circling Birdies by Cheko, Granada Spain

Since last we wrote, Google Street Art has doubled its online archive by adding some 5,000 images, bringing the tally to 10,000, with coordinates pinpointing exact locations on all five continents (though as of this writing, things are a bit thin on the ground in Africa). Given the temporal realities of outdoor, guerrilla art, pilgrims may arrive to find a blank canvas where graffiti once flourished. (RIP New York City’s 5 Pointz, the “Institute of Higher Burning.”)

A major aim of the project is virtual preservation. As with performance art, documentation is key. Not all of the work can be attributed, but click on an image to see what is known. Guided tours to neighborhoods rich with street art allow armchair travelers to experience the work, and interviews with the artists dispel any number of stereotypes.

Cultural institutions like Turkey’s Pera Museum and Hong Kong’s Art Research Institute, and street art projects based in such hubs as Rome, Paris, Sydney, and Bangkok, have pulled together official collections of photos and videos, but you can play curator too.

It’s easy to add images to a collection of your own making that can be shared with the public at large or saved for private inspiration. Careful, you could lose hours…it’s like Pinterest for people who gravitate toward spray paint and rubbish strewn vacant lots over gingham wrapped Mason jars.

It’s been a long and brutal winter here on the east coast, so for my first foray, I prowled for Signs of Spring. One of my first hits was “Circling Birdies” by Cheko, above. Located in Granada, Spain, it’s one of the existing works Google has turned into a GIF with some light, logical animation.

Behold a bit of what typing “flower,” “baby animals,” “plants,” and “trees” into a search box can yield! You can enter Google Street Art here.

Artist: Walter Kershaw
London UK

Artists: Thrashbird and Renee Gagnon
Los Angeles, California.

Artist: unknown
Rochester, NY

Icy and Sot
Rochester NY

Artist: Kristy Sandoval
Los Angeles, CA

Artists: Regg and Violant
Alfragide Portugal

Artist: Klit
Alfragide, Portugal
A giant colorful beetle tries to fly between the ceiling and the floor of this parking lot. His wings seem filled with flower petals. So, the “Living Nature” project brought a set of huge insects that carry a note of living spirit to the space.

Artist: Rai Cruz
Manila, Philippines


Artist: Christiaan Nagel
London, England


Artist: Lady Aiko
Rome, Italy

Artist: Andrew Kentish
Nepal

Related Content:

Tour the World’s Street Art with Google Street Art

Obey the Giant: Short Film Presents the True Story of Shepard Fairey’s First Act of Street Art

Big Bang Big Boom: Graffiti Stop-Motion Animation Creatively Depicts the Evolution of Life

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Google Puts Online 10,000 Works of Street Art from Across the Globe is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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Cookie Monster, Life Coach, Shows Why Cookies Are the Key to Happiness

Sun, 22 Mar 2015 - 2:46 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDxgn-LS520

You can look for answers to life’s big questions in the Zen teachings of Alan Watts, in the existentialist musings of Hunter S. Thompson, or somewhere in our collection of 130 Free Online Philosophy Courses. But maybe that’s over-thinking things — providing complicated answers when the key to life is really quite simple. Eating cookies. Ladies and gentleman, your favorite life coach and mine, Cookie Monster.

Related Content:

The Zen Teachings of Alan Watts: A Free Audio Archive of His Enlightening Lectures

Download 100 Free Philosophy Courses and Start Living the Examined Life

Hunter S. Thompson, Existentialist Life Coach, Gives Tips for Finding Meaning in Life

Cookie Monster, Life Coach, Shows Why Cookies Are the Key to Happiness is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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