Friday, January 29, 2016

interview with a toddler

Cogitations on Beuys'Rhine Water Polluted (1981)


Joseph Beuys' famous Rhine Water Polluted (1981) could be taken as a paradigm in the ongoing discussion of what is and is not, art.

I'd like to present a brief questionnaire in order to bring forth notions of taste, economy, biography, authority, consensus, to our reception of art:

1. Do you consider Rhine Water Polluted art? If not, why not?

2. Could Rhine Water Polluted be called "beautiful"?

3. Does it matter if you knew the actual bottle contains?
a- Beuys' own piss,
b- Gau Jal, 
c- lead-tainted water, 
d- flat Kellerbier?

4. Is it viscerally liking -or disliking- the piece what prompts your aesthetic judgment?

5. If you initially dislike the piece, could it grow on you? Say, in the event you know more about Beuys' weird life, work, etc.?

6. Would you change your mind if you knew that the artwork commands a high price?

7. Do you find Rhine Water Polluted humorous, trite, dramatic?

8. Would it make a difference if (instead of a ready-made) the piece (bottle and cap in this case) was made-from-scratch by the artist?

9. If people come to a consensus about Rhine Water Polluted being definitely art, would it make it art?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

the irresistible appeal of jazz

where else do you find, (after hundreds of hours of practice building a vocabulary),

1- randomly-chosen, patiently developed (internalized) phrases, 
2- operating within local constraints, such as changing chord sequences and musical form,
3- being played [in the now], 
4- as a music discourse that supervenes the player(s)?

Friday, January 22, 2016

some thoughts on parmenides, time and the bounded-universe-paradox


I made a point in my last Honors 11am class:

For the Pythagoreans: time is the devil

absence of time in mathematics (for artistic minds)

then Parmenides, advises (in Pythagorean):
"what is is" "what is not is not." 
he adds an important point:
χ ρ ε ώ δέ σε πάντα ήμέν Άληΰείης εϋκυκλέος ατρεμές ήδέ βροτών δόξας, ταϊς οϋκ 'ένι πίστις πυύέαϋαι ητορ αληύής is necessary that you will learn both the unmoving heart of well-circled truth and the false notions of mortals, in which there is no true faith. 

what's that?

truth has guises. do not confuse the spokes for the wheel.

see the wheel as a sort of topological manifold:

I propose the apophatic via negativa of Hindu philosophy. The challenge is to try to formulate such concept mathematically (topology?)

Posit your universe U, just don't represent it.* (If you do, you fall back in the limited/universe paradox).

Let's imagine Parmenides in 4 dimensions: time now doesn't flow, just IS.

so, the is not an event in space/time.

events {ë} are ordered by "earlier than" or "later than," but no event is singled out as "present," except by convention.  think about it, what makes {ë} simultaneous across the universe? cannot be an intrinsic property of {ë} because you presuppose an observer, i.e., a consciousness.

The aim of physics (not that of math) is to be inherent to phenomena.

Why is this important?

because causation is a form of event-generation, i.e., it's event-dependant. 

Come back to Parmenides: we live in a time-cage. 

there's no escape.  

dS/dt ≥ 0 **

yeap: time is irreversible.


* If we posit the universe as U, there will be always [U]º outside it. ** Boltzman's formula for 2nd law of thermodynamics.

Friday, January 15, 2016

sublime abuse

Rosenkranz Our Product

I open artlog and find this blurb from curator Maureen Sullivan, covering the 2015 Venice Biennale:
Supernatural forces and serenity combine in several projects including the Switzerland, Korean, and USA pavilions as well as offsite projects. In Switzerland’s pavilion, Pamela Rosenkranz’s Our Product creates a sublime and radiant environment using the elements of color, light, sound, smell – and stated but undetected components such as hormones and bacteria. Green light and paint create a glowing environment in the first rooms that lead to a pink bubbling pool of water (the average color of northern European skin), hues the artist says were inspired by Venetian painting and the light in Venice; synchronized pumps generated by a real time algorithm create the subtle sound of a beating heart or running water; and according to the artist, we should be noting the smell of fresh baby skin (undetected by me, perhaps more conceptual or more likely drowned out by the musky sweat of the many doing the run around to see 180 projects.) 
Sullivan presents "supernatural forces" as a thing along with "serenity," a disposition.

She describes Pamela Rosenkranz's environment as a "sublime and radiant environment."

Isn't "sublime" good enough?

On a different note: is Sullivan on salvinorin?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

contrane I? coltrane II? coltrane III?

coltrane's original handwritten music sheet for a love supreme

down beat magazine publishes an interesting 1962 article addressing the controversy of whether coltrane and dolphy are playing "anti-jazz," 
"I heard a good rhythm section ... go to waste behind the nihilistic exercises of the two horns. ... Coltrane and Dolphy seem intent on deliberately destroying [swing]. ... They seem bent on pursuing an anarchistic course in their music that can but be termed anti-jazz."-- John Tynan, Down Beat, November 23, 1961.
the article entertains the received consensus of three coltranes:

coltrane I 
coltrane II
coltrane III

only the first coltrane was really accepted by the mainstream swing/straight-ahead critical establishment.

"destroying swing?" tynan definitely missed the boat for posterity.

is physics permanently ((incomplete((?

aLfRedO tRifF

you've heard about the theory of everything. 

which brings me to this question: is there an end to the development of physical theories to explain the universe?

in other words, is physics ((permanently(( incomplete?

 I'd say yes.

we have different theories to explain different aspects of physical phenomena: newtonian mechanics explains macro phenomena in general; einstein (general) relativity represents a definite refinement to newton's classical mechanics. quantum mechanics better explains subatomic particles. then, various string theories reconcile einstein's theories with quantum mechanics, etc.

let's suppose in some future we had T, the set of all theories (T1, T2, ...Ti, ...) to explain physical all phenomena.

T would become the mother of all theories, that is to say, there would be nothing new to explain. nothing deeper or different.
and yet, how would we know that? it is a platitude that theories explain phenomena, but T makes an extraordinary claim not made by previous theories: it contains and explains all theories.

and yet, if T explains all preceding theories (and consequently all phenomena) it would not be explaining theories or phenomena --as much as explaining itself!

T cannot present itself as the bound of all theories unless we dispose of Tk, making that provision. Moreover Tk would need to, sort of pull the rug from underneath it by claiming a condition of possibility that now it denies any further possible theory.*

someone may counter that Tk is just a meta theory on T & not on phenomena, but that ignores the Duhem/Quine thesis, i.e., T can not be tested in isolation (nor would Tk).

so, physics must remain ((permanently(( incomplete.

____________________ __________
* I am referring to Popper's falsifiability principle.

Friday, January 8, 2016

are there infinitely more primes numbers than composites numbers?

this is a cool question, presented in my 11am honors class by A & B (physics & computer science majors).

are you an idealist or intuitionist in mathematics?* the idealist relies on aprioristic deduction results, the realist goes empirical, she counts ("she" is a computer algorithm). so, i took a realist short cut and then made my best inference. something very interesting happens to primes --between 106 and 108, which allows for siding in favor of composite numbers' greater infinite-density.

yes, my hunch is that Q> P.

*the intuitionist claims that p is true means that there is a proof of p.  from the idealist (platonist) perspective, whether or not we have a proof, we know that p must be either true or false: mathematical reality guarantees that it has one of these two truth-values. the intuitionist dithers.