And by a prudent flight and cunning save A life which valour could not, from the grave. A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again? Archilochus

Friday, March 1, 2024

An Early Experiment in Profilicity

Fernando Pessoa - The Flaneur


The poet is a man who feigns
And feigns so thoroughly, at last
He manages to feign as pain
The pain he really feels,

And those who read what once he wrote
Feel clearly, in the pain they read,
Neither of the pains he felt,
Only a pain they cannot sense.

And thus, around its jolting track
There runs, to keep our reason busy,
The circling clockwork train of ours
That men agree to call a heart.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Paul Delvaux, "The Anxious City" (1940-41)

from Wiki:

The Anxious City (French: La ville inquiète) is a painting made by Paul Delvaux in 1940–1941. It depicts a large number of upset people, most of whom are nude or partially nude, in front of a lake and classical structures. Among the characters who stand out are a naked self-portrait of Delvaux, a man in a bowler hat and a group of bare-breasted women. The man with the bowler hat made his debut in The Anxious City and would appear in several other Delvaux paintings.[1]

Critics have focused on The Anxious City's complex composition, disquiet atmosphere and possible origin as a reaction to the German invasion of Belgium. It has been compared to works by Antoine Caron, Nicolas Poussin and René Magritte. The Anxious City was first exhibited in Brussels in 1944 and was part of the 1954 Venice Biennale. It was last sold at auction in 1998.

Rene Magritte, "Homesickness" (1940)

This is clearly one of Magritte's most emotionally honest paintings and instead of giving the painting one of his whimsical surreal titles like "Waiting for the Pea-Souper" (a title proposed by one of his friends that Rene considered but rejected), he chose the title that reflected how he felt...how he was lost...how he wished he could go home.

In May 1940 his home was invaded by the Nazi during World War II and Magritte fled with his close friends Paul Eluard and Scutenaire. It would be easy to assume then that this painting was about the German occupation of Belgium and Magritte's homesickness about having to flee the country he loved. Certainly this is an emotional component of the painting but there's much more.

The yearning for home is one of the strongest human desires. Home for many people represents safety or freedom from concern, of being a child again- protected by your parents. Home is a place you belong and with every fiber of your being you wish you could return. By returning to your earliest thoughts, to the womb, you could escape the fears and torments of life. Magritte, as we all do had this powerful yearning for home. His home life was not easy- in fact he didn't want to talk about it. He moved frequently with his two brothers when he was very young. Then when he was just 13 his mother committed suicide, drowning herself in the Sambre River. As a child becoming a young man, this was not easy.

Magritte's father died in 1928 of diabetes leaving Rene without parents. He was alone except for his loving wife, Georgette. They were living in the suburbs of Paris at the time. Soon they too would become homesick and and after a three year sojourn to Paris, the Magritte's came home to Brussels where they could be near their remaining family members.

Six or seven years later Rene Magritte's life started to change. Leaving his happy home in Brussels, he went on his trips to London to visit Edward James and ELT Mesens to prepare for his exhibitions. During that time Rene became involved with the young surrealist model known as the "Surrealist Phantom" of 1936, the artist Sheila Legg, who posed for surrealist events with Salvador Dali and others and was one of the most photographed surrealist woman at the time. According to one source: "Magritte, in fact, fell in love with her." Magritte did not want to hurt Georgette or arouse her suspicions, so he arranged for his friend, Paul Colinet (1898-1957) a Belgian surrealist poet, to spend time with Georgette so she would be safe... a little too safe as it turned out. While Magritte was away Georgette and Paul Colinet became romantically involved. Georgette at one point asked Rene for a divorce.

So Rene Magritte fled Brussels and his marital problems for France in May 1940, five days after German troops invaded Belgium and Holland. Georgette did not go with him. Rene spent three months in Carcassonne, France, with Paul Eluard and Scutenaire.

The painting Homesickness features a forlorn Magritte as an angel leaning over a bridge contemplating the river, perhaps thinking of suicide. Magritte had the courage and honesty to paint himself, on the edge... on the brink of catastrophe. He was losing the two things he most valued in his life...his wife Georgette and his home.

The lion is hard to overlook. Curiously the "king of the jungle" is not threatening or menacing and looks away disinterested. Clearly the lion represents Georgette, and perhaps Magritte never understood this himself. The two are separated, not interested in each other, while Magritte contemplates his sorrow and pain.

Time Belongs to the Observer, Not the Observed

"Time is not an absolute reality but an aspect of our consciousness."
- Robert Lanza

The faster you go, the less information detail you can capture and retain in a memory limited by exposure time (GHz)? Evolution represents the amount of information captured by the first observing subject up until the present time which gets transferred to the next observer at the moment of biological "conception". It's an information "relay-race". Most observers tranfer their information genetically and bio-electrically. Other commit it to external media (books/ images/ symbolic productions stored in electronic storage devices) in order to Speed up" and make "accessible" information transfer to future observers. Evolution describes this information transfer process. Communities represent shared information data sets (Collections of Mutual knowledge). Individual knowledge shared or experienced together with others become bubbles of Mutual Knowledge

Tuesday, February 27, 2024