Monday, September 30, 2013

Reality (the short and simple version)

However, many other things exist outside it, as well. Unfortunately, we don't know anything about them without the intermediary of our mind.

Thus, we have model-dependent realism as a candidate for understanding 'reality' models, rather than the Idealist-Materialist muddle of the 18th-early 20th centuries. 

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Drawings of Laurie Lipton now available

The Drawings of Laurie Lipton is a comprehensive survey of Lipton’s fantastical, meticulously detailed, hand-drawn images. 

Featuring more than 70 works, this is the most conclusive and ambitious publication about the artist to date. A conversation between Lipton and Begovich Gallery Director Mike McGee offers insights into her personal history, motivations and creative process. Lipton’s brief notes about several specific artworks offer further anecdotes and context.

Inspired by the religious paintings of the Flemish School, Laurie Lipton tried to teach herself how to paint in the style of the 16th century Dutch Masters and failed.

When traveling around Europe as a student, she began developing her very own peculiar drawing technique building up tone with thousands of fine cross-hatching lines like an egg tempera painting.

“It’s an insane way to draw,” she says, “but the resulting detail and luminosity is worth the amount of effort. My drawings take longer to create than a painting of equal size and detail.” “It was all abstract and conceptual art when I attended university. My teachers told me that figurative art went ‘out’ in the Middle Ages and that I should express myself using form and shapes, but splashes on canvas and rocks on the floor bored me. I knew what I wanted: to create something no one had ever seen before, something that was brewing in the back of my brain. What I wanted fell between ‘isms.’ It wasn’t ‘surreal,’ it wasn’t ‘real’... it was lurking between the two.”

“I used to sit for hours in the library copying Durer, Memling, Van Eyck, Goya and Rembrandt. The photographer, Diane Arbus, was another of my inspirations. Her use of black and white hit me at the core of my Being. Black and white is the color of ancient photographs and old TV shows... it is the color of ghosts, longing, time passing, memory, and madness. Black and white ached. I realized that it was perfect for the imagery in my work.”

Also catch some of Laurie Lipton's work in The Immanence of Myth and Words of Traitors: 7 Lives in Transition.

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Spies, Lies, and Cones of Shame - What Had Happened Was Ep. 29

What Had Happened Was Logo
by Susan M Omand, Omand Original, All Rights Reserved

GHCstitcher Subscribe via RSS, or download the episode directly.
What Had Happened Was is a grumpyhawk collective podcast co-hosted by grumpyhawk (that would be me) and Benjamin Combs. In this "week-in-review style" show, we cover and comment on stories with a tech, science, weird, or strange sort of angle. Visit to see and hear more from the collective. 

Grumpyhawk and Benjamin Combs discuss (mostly) new topics for their weekly podcast. In today's episode they discuss how Verizon wants to censor the internet by claiming free speech, Google encrypting data from data center to data center, contrary to the lies we're being told, Americans are going out of their way to encrypt their Web usage, California (among other states) is considering using Electronic License Plates, Senator McCain plays online poker on his phone while colleagues discuss going to war, and a Florida Teacher uses a cone of shame on students and tries to play it off as a joke. All on today's episode, "Spies, Lies, and Cones of Shame."

Show Notes:

  1. Verizon claims first amendment rights in a bid to kill network neutrality law 
  2. Google encrypts data amid backlash against NSA spying
  3. Americans Go to Great Lengths to Mask Web Travels, Survey Finds
  4. California poised to implement first electronic license plates
  5. Sen. John McCain played 'VIP Poker' on his iPhone as colleagues debate bombing Syria
  6. Florida teacher faces firing for placing ‘cone of shame’ on students

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bethany Shorb: Painting Machines: Klangfiguren (Sound Figures)

OPENING: Opens at Devotion Gallery, Friday September 13, 2013
LOCATION: 54 Maujer St at Lorimer. L to Lorimer, G to Metropolitan

(You can also see some of Bethany's visual work reproduced in Words of Traitors: 7 Lives In Transition.)
Viewers may be familiar with the seminal physics class demonstration in which square steel plates are sprinkled with salt or sand, an electronic musical tone is applied, and through the resultant flexural vibration, a visual representation of the plate's resonant frequency is depicted.
These, "Chladni Figures," are named for musician and physicist Ernst Chladni who in 1787, first ran a violin bow across a brass plate lightly covered in sand and pictorially recorded the waveforms that appeared.

These visual representations of sound are the foundation for Shorb's high-gloss perversion of the ephemeral impermanence that defines traditional sandpainting. In an unlikely crossing of sacred geometry and car culture, rather than brushed away and destroyed after the meditative act or scientific experiment, these granular patterns are instead baked into an impenetrable, industrial polymer on aluminum, kaleidoscopically tessellated and contradictorily blasted with both a diabetic shock of
candy colored hot-rod surface finish and cold, Detroit acerbity.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Syria Versus The God of Guns

    So on Wednesday, Congress decides whether to bomb Syria. Why, though? Is there just some rule
somewhere that says the US has to throw explosives every time shit gets crazy in the Middle East?

    Kind of, actually, yeah.

    The stated purpose of these proposed missile strikes is to enforce the UN's convention against chemical weapons. Chemical weapons aren't really good for winning wars. They're only really good for killing tons of civilians in horrifying ways. Nobody really likes them except for terrible, terrible people. But if your opponent might be using chemical weapons, you've got a lot of incentive to start using them too. So a while ago, the UN was like "hey guys, let's all agree not to shoot each other with toxic clouds of death. Sound cool?"

    And the world was like "Sure, UN. Whatever."

    Because the problem with the UN is that it's an earthly authority. Lightning doesn't strike you if you break the rules. That's where the US comes in. We HAVE orbital lightning in this country. We spend most of our money on the stuff. The interesting question to me is how we ended up cast as the Old Testament God.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Blood Oaths of the New Blues

Awhile back I interviewed James Jackson Toth from Wooden Wand, some 3 years now I suppose, when the Death Seat album came out. I was in a sort of journalistic Swans cycle, having talked with James Blackshaw regarding his album All is Falling, it may or may not have been before or after I spoke with Michael Gira regarding the release of My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky. Point being Gira as producer was a key in all the interviews, and further point being I was so turned around at the time that I couldn’t tell you where my notes are from the conversations or if I took any in the first place.

From what I remember of the conversation with Toth, and from what I know from his music, it really doesn’t matter where the notes are, or really what we talked about. I didn’t get a chance to publish the review or interview, and either one wouldn't really suit what he’s doing anyway. We get so used to consuming commercial crap, and as journalists, or whatever writing is these days, we get so used to following set formulas for presenting it, that the real meaning and humanity is thrown into the gutter.  Just take a look at this snarky bit of back-handed complimentary garbage that Pitchfork thinks is a fitting response to someone's creativity, the reviewer, Grayson Currin, even busts out the tired old "shaman" shtick: Bullshit Pitchfork Review.

This man is a musician in the classic sense, as Gira puts it, “you should be grateful. His songs are beautiful, indisputably, both musically and lyrically, and they’ll give you joy if you listen to them. In my view, he’s a great American songwriter in full bloom.”  With the way things are these days, you might have forgotten that America could make those anymore they’re so rare.

Great songwriters provide you with places to go, and color where you’re at. I remember a strange night in the hotel bar of the Millennium across the street from the Rhine Research Center. I’d been sitting with John Kruth, Director of the Rhine, and Russell Targ, the father of Remote Viewing, talking about politics and cats. When they headed out to dinner, I was left alone, realizing that the wonderful world of psychical research that I’d been swimming in for a few days was not as glossy now that I was sitting there alone with a drink in my hand.

As I looked around at all the strangers, I realized I was a weird, hack writer who could at best turn the experience into an anecdote, and at worst, and more honestly, was quite desperately alone in the crowd.  It was then that James Toth sang to me:
“A hotel bar in the sky, where even your honesties are full of white lies...side by side with strangers who barely blink, they reek of loneliness and umbrella drinks…” 
I wasn’t sure if I was next to strangers, or was that stranger, but in either case at that moment, as a raucous wedding party ran rampant in the upstairs ballroom, I deeply connected with “...a soul without friendship may as well die.” 

That bar has seen me sit with a few psychic spies, and every time that song plays out perfectly no matter what the occasion.  The ability to capture the strangeness of that sort of all American situation in an unrelated song is, in my opinion, the mark of a damn good songwriter.

With an outward ease, Toth's music sneaks in subtleties that reveal his mastery goes freak deep into an intentionally hypnotic atmosphere that seems so natural you might pass it over without a second thought. His voice lulls you with the same deceptive simplicity, but he's got a command of tone that puts him right in the room with you, where he could probably take your watch and wallet without much trouble.

The promo copy that Young God sent me has been burnt out, so I bought a new copy of Death Seat in order to burn it out again. His latest release, Blood Oaths of the New Blues, is no less resonant. He’s got a song on here that may be one of the most beautiful, subtle odes to that blackened English angel Jhonn Balance that anyone could possibly write. I do admit to shedding a tear when Balance passed away, and a coil on my stove exploded when Peter Christopherson left on his journey, some strange cthonic connections there, so anyone who can send those much missed lights a bit of love is alright with me.  I’ve had that song on repeat as I write this to remind me I’m writing about a real person who gives a shit about other real people.

To be honest, since I just bought the new album tonight, I can’t really comment on its lasting effect on my life. In my short time listening, however, it’s already soothing me back into reality after a very odd week, which included a meditative stint sleeping on a floor frequented by scorpions in the North Georgia woods, and meeting Elberton, Georgia's Chief of Police after locking my keys in the car during a visit to the Georgia Guidestones, where I also met two vacationing psychic mediums from Indianapolis who told me I had misused my power in a past life and had father issues that I needed to work on.  Again, if a songwriter can speak to that in some way, they’re damn good.


David Metcalfe is an independent researcher, writer and multimedia artist focusing on the interstices of art, culture, and consciousness. He is a contributing editor for Reality Sandwich, The Revealer, the online journal of NYU’s Center for Religion and Media, and The Daily Grail. He writes regularly for Evolutionary Landscapes, Alarm Magazine, Modern Mythology,, The Teeming Brain and his own blog The Eyeless Owl. His writing has been featured in The Immanence of Myth (Weaponized 2011), Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color & Music (Alarm Press, 2011) and Exploring the Edge Realms of Consciousness (North Atlantic/Evolver Editions 2012). Metcalfe is an Associate with Phoenix Rising Digital Academy, and is currently co-hosting The Art of Transformations study group with support from the International Alchemy Guild.

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Agree To Disagree - What Had Happened Was Ep. 28

What Had Happened Was Logo
by Susan M Omand, Omand Original, All Rights Reserved

GHCstitcher Subscribe via RSS, or download the episode directly.
What Had Happened Was is a grumpyhawk collective podcast co-hosted by grumpyhawk (that would be me) and Benjamin Combs. In this "week-in-review style" show, we cover and comment on stories with a tech, science, weird, or strange sort of angle. Visit to see and hear more from the collective. 
Today grumpyhawk and Benjamin Combs follow the CBS Time Warner Cable dispute to its resolution. Also in the episode we discuss a creepy/awesome brain to brain interface, someone thinking that DRM for 3d printing is a good idea, Google and Microsoft working together?, and Microsoft buying Nokias phone division. All on todays episode, the one where grumpyhawk and Benjamin agree to disagree.

Show Notes:

  1. CBS and Time Warner Cable reach deal, finally end month-long blackout
  2. First human brain-to-brain interface
  3. Authentise - Intellectual Property and Liability Management for Distributed Manufacturing
  4. Nissan to build self-driven cars
  5. When Google and Microsoft "Stand Together" against US spying, you know stuff just got real
  6. Microsoft buying Nokia's phone business in a $7.2 billion bid for its mobile future

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Disinfo Exclusive: DragonCon 2013 – The Transmedia of Tomorrow: The Art That Lies To Tell The Truth

DragonCon 2013 Exclusive: The Transmedia of Tomorrow
by James Curcio on September 2, 2013

Fiction and non-fiction, fact and myth, often aren’t opposites.

These lines blend a little more every day. When these things play such a crucial role in our news as well as entertainment media, and in a world where social media platforms are often at the front lines of cultural revolutions, it is increasingly necessary that these things are understood. Join us for a discussion on this topic, along with links to a variety of articles that expand upon and support the limited amount that can be discussed in a 45 minute panel.

This three person panel is a truncated transcript of the initial Dragon*Con discussion, moderated by David Metcalfe. The other two participants were transmedia artist James Curcio and Damien Williams, who you may have caught at one of many other panels at Dragon*Con this year including “How To Be a Comics Scholar,” “Devouring Selfhood: Zombies In Narrative,” “Gender, Race, and Identities in Comics,” and many others. Links have been added to provide further context. Full bios at the end.

David Metcalfe: The novel or fiction format provides a lot of developmental potential for ideas to foment, for authors and readers alike. Personal mythologies worked into a fictional format can take on a life of their own. How has your experience been with that?

Damien Williams: I don’t have much recent experience but in the heady days of mIRC, I built a number of storytelling personas as what Grant Morrison referred to as “Fiction Suits.” Narratives to live as, to wear to bring certain elements of my life. Recently, I’ve tried it out with a narrative of my life as a series of breaths, in The Immanence of Myth, and a future version of myself, on Twitter.

James Curcio: I think the very ideas of ‘fiction’ vs ‘nonfiction,’ or myth as untruth are major barriers in creating honest mythic work. Myths don’t begin as “myths”. They begin as something that genuinely speaks to us. Narratives directly affect our nervous system. I believe you talked about that in one of your pieces in Apocalyptic Imaginary. And “myth” isn’t a claim of truth or untruth. So let’s try to clear that up right away. (Note: Fiction vs non-fiction in literature | Myth vs. untruth)

There’s a larger issue here. There are many interesting cases where the lines were blurred, but… let’s see. For instance, Jenkem is a case where a complete fiction was picked up by the press. Soon every news station was reporting that kids are getting high huffing feces. Various real atrocities were collectively reported as ‘zombie attacks’ in 2012. Fact and fiction aren’t opposites but this raises certain questions in regard to journalism. Questions that I think Hunter S Thomas divined in a drug fueled stupor. What is the responsibility of the writer versus the journalist, right? And what about the fiction of a writer or artist’s persona? The documentary Kumare raises this issue in the context of religion. He lied to tell the truth. Some others just lie. There’s a difference though many can’t see it.

Read the full panel. 

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Conventions of Conventions

If you absolutely must wear a costume,
go with HST: it gives you a sound excuse
to be the freak that you are. 
You will soon be reading a transcript of the single panel I had the opportunity to be a part of this year, but first I wanted to share some thoughts on the larger picture.

Covering conventions like Dragon*Con takes many skills that typical journalists lack. You have to keep jujitsu-like reflexes and be able to wrestle an alligator into submission-- no that's a pile of shit but you do have to have the liver fortitude of an ox. More importantly, you need to learn how to keep one foot in the party and the other in a state detached enough to provide external commentary later.

I spent several years of my life essentially hopping from one convention and festival to the next, and often found myself one of the only "embedded journalists," which is to say gonzo journalists, in attendance. Everyone else is too busy getting obliterated, or on the opposite side, struggling up a hill with a mountain of video equipment, and reporting on the event from a state so alien that they may as well be a bunch of British anthropologists writing about the pack of savages they've been living with. You have to go native.

Not that I'm going to complain about Cosplay,
aside from the people that think it gives strangers
the right to grope: it does not. 

Unfortunately, my experience this year was so short lived that I didn't really have the opportunity to reach cruising altitude. I showed up, did my thing, and had to turn right around and vanish into the myths... er, mists... like Batman. (Aptly enough- I got MRI results about my back while in transit and they weren't that great. But Bane broke his back and he healed in a dank and rotten hole in the ground, so anything is possible, right?)

So my real missive is going to have to wait for the Transmedia panel transcript, which should be running over at Disinformation any day now. But this to other would-be reporters, looking to explore the strange alter-culture that exists in this world of festivals, a world that is so much more than cosplaying, a world where the actual social rules and standards that exist in the rest of this culture shift, subtly or in the extreme--that is to my mind the real story, and yet no one ever talks about it. Alternative sexuality, culture, and identity undergoes such a mainstreaming process at these events that some people get whiplash -- especially those that depend on their very difference for their sake of identity. Let it go and for once let yourself become a part of the crowd, if that's what's natural.

But maybe I am (metaphorically) more like my least favorite superhero, Superman, whose real identity is the one in the costume, and who hides in plain sight the rest of the time. The first time I set foot at events like Pennsic, Dragoncon, Gaian Mind, and the like, I had the strangest sense that I was home in a way that I haven't experienced elsewhere. Not completely, of course, but more so than I've encountered in other social spaces. I didn't need to hide in plain view--even if my de facto state has been to strut my difference, here there would be no stares or awkward whispers. The actual genre(s) represented by these event didn't matter. And to the many other "pretender" conventions of all sizes, all the way up to the monolithic San Diego Comic Con, which has more of the air to it of an alter-culture strip mall than the so-called "real deal." I once again had to partially slip into my disguise.

These are events that I don't have to cosplay at. Where I can be myself. And that is what I always look to report on, while at the same time looking for others that seem more in their element. I look forward to the next time I can be at my home away from home -- and next time it's Dragon*Con, I intend to stay the whole time, goddamnit.

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]


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