Monday, April 19, 2010

Business and Climate Change

I realize we're all supposed to wait for the market (whether art or financial) to reveal its wisdom and future plan for us all so it's good to read the following:

This article by Clive Thompson basically makes the case that such claims in support of climate change inaction are obsolete.
...there's one area where doubt hasn't grown—and where, indeed, people are more and more certain that climate change is not only real, but imminent: the world of industry and commerce.

Companies, of course, exist to make money. That's often what makes them seem so rapacious. But their primal greed also plants them inevitably in the "reality-based community." If a firm's bottom line is going to be affected by a changing climate—say, when its supply chains dry up because of drought, or its real estate gets swamped by sea-level rise—then it doesn't particularly matter whether or not the executives want to believe in climate change. Railing at scientists for massaging tree-ring statistics won't stop the globe from warming if the globe is actually, you know, warming. The same applies in reverse, as the folks at Beluga Shipping adroitly realized: If there are serious bucks to be made from the changing climate, then the free market is almost certainly going to jump at it.

This makes capitalism a curiously bracing mechanism for cutting through ideological haze and manufactured doubt. Politicians or pundits can distort or cherry-pick climate science any way they want to try and gain temporary influence with the public. But any serious industrialist who's facing "climate exposure"—as it's now called by money managers—cannot afford to engage in that sort of self-delusion. Spend a couple of hours wandering through the websites of various industrial associations—aluminum manufacturers, real estate agents, wineries, agribusinesses, take your pick—and you'll find straightforward statements about the grim reality of climate change that wouldn't seem out of place coming from Greenpeace. Last year Wall Street analysts issued 214 reports assessing the potential risks and opportunities that will come out of a warming world. One by McKinsey & Co. argued that climate change will shake up industries with the same force that mobile phones reshaped communications.

via: phronesisaical

more ash cloud

Some great images of the ever moving ash cloud can be found here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Record Store Day - Today!

Growing up, my local record store was a big part of my cultural education. Be sure to support your local today. You check on participating venues here.

The original idea for Record Store Day was conceived by Chris Brown, and was founded in 2007 by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally.

This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, djs spinning records and on and on. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Francisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday every April.

Record Store Day is currently managed by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Melanie Nipper, and Carrie Colliton. Folks wanting to contact Record Store Day are encouraged to email us at


A Record Store Day participating store is defined as a physical retailer whose product line consists of at least 50% music retail, whose company is not publicly traded and whose ownership is at least 70% located in the state of operation. (In other words, we’re dealing with real, live, physical, indie record stores—not online retailers or corporate behemoths).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Iceland's Ash Cloud

Here's a satellite view of the volcano eruption Iceland.

These images come from satellites which remain above a fixed point on the Earth (i.e. they are "geostationary"). The visible images record visible light from the sun reflected back to the satellite by cloud tops and land and sea surfaces. They are equivalent to a black and white photograph from space. They are better able to show low cloud than infrared images (low cloud is more reflective than the underlying land or sea surface). However, visible pictures can only be made during daylight hours.

Coast-lines and lines of latitude and longitude have been added to the images and they have been altered to polar stereographic projection.

The visible images are updated every hour. It usually takes about 20 minutes for these images to be processed and be updated on the web site. The time shown on the image is in UTC.

via: UK MET Office

New York City expands recycling

Great news for the Bad Apple.

New York City will soon move into modern times with an updated recycling program that will increase plastic recycling, place more recycling bins around the city and add drop off locations in the boroughs for household hazardous waste. The legislation has been written and that is left is for NYC Mayor Bloomberg to sign the law into effect, which is expected to take place on Earth Day, April 22nd. New Yorkers will finally be able to recycle many different types of plastic – even yogurt containers!

via: inhabitat

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Art and Money Again

A few weeks back some friends and I viewed and discussed a short doc. by Robert (2009)about the decline of art and the rise of the market. (see above). I'm nut-shelling it but that is the basic premise that Hughes argues. There are plenty of broad strokes and convenient omissions but its a generally sound argument and overall fun to watch, if for no other reason than to see old footage of the "glory days" of 1960's New York.

Anyway, Peter Plagens has apparently viewed the film parallel to our little round table and has some good observations at the National Arts Journal blog.

Hughes--for those of you who've been serving on the Texas School Board for the past forty years or who write exclusively for TMZ--is the former Time magazine star who a) probably seduced more average punters (as they say in Hughes's pre-New York-home of London) into reading about serious contemporary art than anybody, ever, and b) has famously fulminated against artists, styles, impenetrable artcrit argot, and various art-world practices. One of those in the last of the latter is what he roars against in "The Mona Lisa Curse." I disagree.

The shipping of Leonardo da Vinci's painting, the Mona Lisa, to New York for exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1963 was, according to Hughes, the beginning of the descent of the art world--particularly the contemporary art world--into today's big-money morass (as Hughes sees it) of collecting for profit, naked speculation, insincere or wrongheaded or diabolical reasons behind big-time collectors saying how they just love art, undeserved celebrity for mediocre-or-worse artists, and a general vulgarity and crassness among art-world players (especially those hand-holders to the rich connoisseur wannabes, art consultants). The downward slide was supposed to have worked something like this: Showing the Mona Lisa at the Met to long lines of people who could only glimpse it from a distance for a few seconds catered to unwashed pseuds who only wanted to "get it seen"; that led to a bunch of superficial, unsophisticated people flooding into an art world that consisted theretofore of a bunch of integrity-ridden bohemian artists, several dealers more interested in determining art history than making a profit, and a few enlightened, altruistic collectors; those ambitious vulgarians, who liked the parties and the "action" as much if not more than they actually liked art, started to take over; meanwhile, the advent of Pop Art and particularly Andy Warhol and his flaunted permissiveness, propelled the takeover to warp speed and near-total control.

continue reading here

Mona Lisa Curse parts 1 - 12

Friday, April 02, 2010

Authority, Beuys and the Public Image

Useful read for those trying to place Beuys. I also recommend Joseph Beuys: The Reader.

The Boss: On the Unresolved Question of Authority in Joseph Beuys’ Oeuvre and Public Image [Jan Verwoert]

An unconditional acceptance of Beuys’ interpretive authority over his own practice has caused the discourse surrounding the oeuvre to fail to touch on a central unresolved question within it: the question of authority itself. In order to understand the significance of Beuys’ work in the context of the artistic and political debates of the 1960s and 1970s, however, it is crucial to grasp the inner conflicts and unresolved contradictions that run through it, as well as the way Beuys publicly performed the role of the artist with regard to this question of authority. On the one hand he incessantly attacked traditional notions of the authority of the work, the artist, and the art professor, with his radical, liberating, and humorous opening up of the concept of art with regard to what a work, an artist, or a teacher could still be and do beyond the functions established by tradition, office, and title. On the other hand, however, it seems that in the presentation of his own interpretative discourse, Beuys regularly fell back on the very tradition of staging artistic authority with which he was trying to break.

While he abolished the common understanding of the artist’s role and demonstrated in his own practice that an artist could be not only a sculptor or painter but also a performer, politician, philosopher, historian, ethnologist, musician, and so on, he nonetheless had recourse to a traditionally established role model when projecting an image of himself to the public through the role of a visionary, spiritual authority or healer in full agreement with the modern myth of the artist as a messianic figure. While at one moment he provoked free and open debate through perplexing, if not deliberately absurd, actions that left himself open to attack as an artist, at the next moment he would bring a discussion on the meaning of these provocations back to orderly paths by seeking the seamlessly organized worldview of anthroposophy as an ideological justification for his art practice. On the one hand, he gambled on everything that traditionally secured the value, claim to validity, and hence authority of art and artists, while on the other hand he assumed the traditional patriarchal position of the messianic proclaimer of ultimate truths.


The crucial thing, however, is that Beuys did not simply produce an aura of authority but that he also exhibited the material conditions of its production in all their crudity, and exposed the contradictions inherent in this process in all their obvious absurdity. In this way, Beuys simultaneously constructed and dismantled an aura of authority. The performance constituted an event. Its eventful qualities were, however, simultaneously also reduced to a minimum—not much happened. A man lay wrapped in a blanket between two dead hares and made strange noises for hours. The scaling down of the performance to an activity that could scarcely be perceived as an activity at all, the stretching and expanding of time, the death rattles from under the blanket, and the overall gravity of the mise-en-scène in general creates a peculiar regressive atmosphere. Very much in line with the analysis of auratic authority that Werner Herzog developed in his films, Beuys here too foregrounds the peculiar regressive pull (Freudians would call it the “death drive”) inherent in the peculiar gravitas of auratic authority—a pull that equally also creates its limitation, in that its own weightiness sooner or later weights auratic authority down and brings it to the point of collapse. And indeed, in Der Chef Beuys staged the mechanisms producing this auratic authority together with the event of its slow collapse.

via eflux/wood s lot

image:I Like America and America Likes Me, 1974
Photo Copyright Caroline Tisdall / Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Mod spot

Sharon Tandy signing with the Fleur De Lys. Quite a heavy track for the time. Hold On indeed!