robertogreco + biography   53

The Creative Independent: Jonas Mekas on documenting your life
"Were you ever interested in writing a straightforward memoir about your life?

I don’t have time for that. There are fragments of that in this book, but I think my films are my biography. There are bits and fragments of my personal life in all of my films, so maybe someday I’ll put them together and that will be my autobiography."



"People talk a lot about your films, but you have a poetry practice as well.

Occasionally I still write poems. It comes from a different part of me. When you write, of course it comes from your mind, into your fingers, and finally reaches the paper. With a camera, of course there is also the mind but it’s in front of the lens, what the lens can catch. It’s got nothing to do with the past, but only the image itself. It’s there right now. When you write, you could write about what you thought 30 years ago, where you went yesterday, or what you want for the future. Not so with the film. Film is now.

Are most of your decisions intuitive? Is it a question of just feeling when something is right or when it isn’t?

I don’t feel it necessarily, but it’s like I am forced—like I have to take my camera and film, though I don’t know why. It’s not me who decides. I feel that I have to take the camera and film. That is what’s happening. It’s not a calculated kind of thing. The same when I write. It’s not calculated. Not planned at all. It just happens. My filmmaking doesn’t cost money and doesn’t take time. Because one can always afford to film 10 seconds in one day or shoot one roll of film in a month. It’s not that complicated. I always had a job of one kind of other to support myself because I had to live, I had to eat, and I had to film.

How do you feel about art schools? Is being an artist something that can be taught?

I never wanted to make art. I would not listen to anybody telling me how to do it. No, nobody can teach you to do it your way. You have to discover by doing it. That’s the only way. It’s only by doing that you discover what you still need, what you don’t know, and what you still have to learn. Maybe some technical things you have to learn for what you really want to do, but you don’t know when you begin. You don’t know what you want to do. Only when you begin doing do you discover which direction you’re going and what you may need on the journey that you’re traveling. But you don’t know at the beginning.

That’s why I omitted film schools. Why learn everything? You may not need any of it. Or while you begin the travel of the filmmaker’s journey, maybe you discover that you need to know more about lighting, for instance. Maybe what you are doing needs lighting. You want to do something more artificial, kind of made up, so then you study lights, you study lenses, you study whatever you feel you don’t know and you need. When you make a narrative film, a big movie with actors and scripts, you need all that, but when you just try to sing, you don’t need anything. You just sing by yourself with your camera or with your voice or you dance. On one side it is being a part of the Balanchine, on the other side it is someone dancing in the street for money. I’m the one who dances in the street for money and nobody throws me pennies. Actually, I get a few pennies… but that’s about it.

You’ve made lots of different kinds of films over many years. Did you always feel like you were still learning, still figuring it out as your went along?

Not necessarily. I would act stupid sometimes when people used to see me with my Bolex recording some random moment. They’d say, “What is this?” I’d say, “Oh nothing, it’s not serious.” I would hide from Maya Deren. I never wanted her to see me filming because she would say, “But this is not serious. You need a script!” Then I’d say, “Oh, I’m just fooling. I’m just starting to learn,” but it was just an excuse that I was giving, that I’m trying to learn. I always knew that this was more or less the materials I’d always be using. I was actually filming. There is not much to learn in this kind of cinema, other than how to turn on a camera. What you learn, you discover as you go. What you are really learning is how to open yourself to all the possibilities. How to be very, very, very open to the moment and permitting the muse to come in and dictate. In other words, the real work you are doing is on yourself."



"You are a kind of master archivist. I’m looking around this space—which is packed with stuff, but it all appears to be pretty meticulously organized. How important is it to not only document your work, but to also be a steward of your own archives.

You have to. For me there is constantly somebody who wants to see something in the archives, so I have to deal with it. I cannot neglect them. These are my babies. I have to take care of them. I learned very early that it’s very important to keep careful indexes of everything so that it helps you to find things easily when it’s needed. For example, I have thousands of audio cassettes, in addition to all the visual materials. I have a very careful index of every cassette. I know what’s on it. You tell me the name of the person or the period and I will immediately, within two or three minutes, be able to retrieve it. People come here and look around and say, “Oh, how can you find anything in this place?” No, I find it very easily.

I always carry a camera with me in order to capture or record a couple images and sometimes conversations. Evenings, parties, dinners, meetings, friends. Now, it’s all on video, but back when I was using the Bolex camera, I always had a Sony tape recorder in my pocket—a tiny Sony and that picked up sounds. I have a lot of those from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s. Hundreds and hundreds. I have books which are numbered, each page has written down what’s on each numbered cassette. I don’t index everything, that would be impossible, but approximation is enough. I advise everyone to do this. Record things. Keep an index. It’s very important."



"Aside from all of those projects, do you still have a sort of day-to-day creative practice?

I never needed a creative practice. I don’t believe in creativity. I just do things. I grew up on a farm where we made things, grew things. They just grow and you plant the seeds and then they grow. I just keep making things, doing things. Has nothing to do with creativity. I don’t need creativity."



"And the last remaining company that still made VCRs recently went out of business.

So, all of this new technology, it’s okay for now… but it’s very temporary. You could almost look at it from a spiritual angle. All technology is temporary. Everything falls to dust anyway. And yet, you keep making things."
jonasmekas  2017  film  filmmaking  poetry  documentation  archives  collage  books  writing  creativity  howwewrite  biography  autobiography  art  work  labor  technology  video  vcrs  temporary  ephemeral  ephemerality  making  howwework  howwemake  journals  email  everyday 
january 2019 by robertogreco
The Goddesses of Venus
"Last year, Eleanor Lutz made a medieval-style map of Mars. As a follow-up, she’s made a topographical map of Venus. The features on Venus are named for female mythological figures & notable women and Lutz provides a small biography for each one on the map. Among those featured on the map are:

Anne Frank
Selu (Cherokee Corn Goddess)
Kali (Hindu Goddess, Mother of Death)
Virginia Woolf
Sedna (Eskimo Whose Fingers Became Seals and Whales)
Ubastet (Egyptian Cat Goddess)
Beatrix Potter
Edith Piaf

Here are the full lists of the craters, mountains, and coronae on Venus."
maps  mapping  women  eleanorlutz  mars  venus  myths  mythology  myth  history  biographies  biography  2017  infoviz  religion  science  space  astronomy 
january 2018 by robertogreco
The Art of Resistance | Commonweal Magazine
"Writing in the aftermath of the fall of communism, John Berger, the world’s preeminent Marxist (patience, dear readers) writer on art, faced the apparently decisive and irreversible victory of capitalism. Rather than concede defeat and join in the triumphal chorus heralding the end of history, Berger drew an unlikely lesson from the ostensible cessation of the old hostilities. In the conclusion of Keeping a Rendezvous (1991), he studied a photograph of people assembled in recently liberated Prague and discerned in their faces both elation and a dread that an even more primordial conflict was in the offing. The class struggle, he now suggested, partakes of a broader and deeper contest over ways of being in the world. “The soul and the operator have come out of hiding together.”

For two centuries, Berger explained, the soul’s longings had been perverted or marginalized in both capitalist and socialist societies, identified with or subordinated to the imperatives of material progress. Yet humanity “has great difficulty in living strictly within the confines of a materialist practice or philosophy. It dreams, like a dog in its basket, of hares in the open.” Heir, for many, to the hope once contained in religion, Marxism had been the secular abode for the soul; but with the dialectic of “historical materialism” now discredited by history, “the spiritual,” Berger observed, aimed “to reclaim its lost terrain,” surging through fundamentalist and nationalist movements. At the same time, the poor were being “written off as trash” by the soul’s implacable adversary, “the operator,” the forces of pecuniary and technological utility united under the aegis of capital. For Berger, art remained not only a potent weapon against injustice but also an enclave for the qualities of the soul. In a powerful letter to the miners who unsuccessfully resisted Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s attempt to close down mines in 1984, Berger wrote:
I can’t tell you what art does and how it does it, but I know that art has often judged the judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent and shown to the future what the past has suffered, so that it has never been forgotten. I know too that the powerful fear art, whatever its form, when it does this, and that amongst the people such art sometimes runs like a rumor or a legend because it makes sense of what life’s brutalities cannot, a sense that unites us, for it is inseparable from a justice at last. Art, when it functions like this, becomes a meeting-place of the invisible, the irreducible, the enduring, guts and honor.

Characterized by the lack of a credible alternative to the glittering imperium of capital, the ensuing twenty-five years have been the Age of the Operator: neoliberal economics, a hustling ethos, the divinization of markets and technology, the hegemony of a consumer society given over to spectacle and fueled by debt. As Berger writes in his latest book, Portraits (Verso, $44.95, 544 pp.), “the future has been downsized,” restricted to the mercenary parameters of finance capital and digital technocracy. Neoliberal capitalism fulfills the “strange prophecy” depicted in the hellish right-hand panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s Millennium Triptych: “no glimpse of an elsewhere or an otherwise.” The poor—and increasingly anyone outside the gilded circle of “the 1 percent”—are indeed “written off as trash,” detritus of the quest for efficiency, human refuse piling up not only in Calcutta, Mumbai, or Mexico City, but also in Palo Alto and San Francisco, where the technocrats of Silicon Valley dispossess workers from their homes to build mansions scaled to their colossal self-regard.

The Operator remains in the saddle, riding humankind; but with anger and dissent on the rise—Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter here at home—the Soul may be gathering strength to embark on another, more enduring reclamation of terrain, and, if it does, John Berger will deserve our attention as one of its greatest contemporary prophets. Renowned and even beloved as both novelist and art critic, Berger has also become an unlikely moral and metaphysical sage. “You can’t talk about aesthetics without talking about the principle of hope and the existence of evil,” he declared in The Sense of Sight (1985). Not that his revolutionary spirit has withered; that flame is lower but remains incandescent. But Portraits, a miscellany from his career as a writer, records the evolution of this “principle of hope”—a reference, no doubt, to Ernst Bloch, the closest thing to a theologian ever produced by the Marxist tradition. Like the other two panels of Bosch’s triptych—The Garden of Eden and The Garden of Earthly Delights—Portraits offers “a torchlight in the dark,” a glimpse of an elsewhere or an otherwise, a way of seeing the visible world that Berger might agree to call sacramental.



BERGER WAS BORN in 1926 in London, the son of a middle-class Hungarian immigrant from Trieste and an English working-class suffragette. As a youth growing up in Oxford, he drew and painted for relief from his “monstrous and brutal” education at a local private school. He also read anarchist literature and ardently embraced the radical left; yet unlike most anarchists, Berger felt no visceral hostility to religion. As he told the Guardian in 2011, since his teenage years two convictions have “coexisted” within him: “a kind of materialism,” as he put it, along with “a sense of the sacred, the religious if you like.” This coexistence has never felt anomalous to him, even when “most other people thought it was.” Indeed, the philosopher of whom Berger has been most fond is not Marx but Baruch Spinoza, whose monist ontology sought to overcome the Cartesian dualism of matter and spirit.

Conscripted at the age of eighteen, Berger spent World War II stationed in Belfast. After the war he enrolled in the Chelsea School of Art and exhibited in London galleries. While working as a teacher, he began writing reviews for the New Statesman, Britain’s flagship left periodical. In the early years of the Cold War, Berger embraced Marxism (despite his aversion to Joseph Stalin). He even maintained that, until the Soviet Union gained nuclear parity with the United States, left writers and artists should support Moscow. In the late 1940s, Berger made a deliberate decision to set aside his painting and embark on a career as a writer.

Although the New Statesman published his essays for more than a decade (some of which he collected in 1960 as Permanent Red), Berger was its most beleaguered contributor. Adamantly pro-Soviet, he wrote for a magazine that opposed Stalinism. (In his controversial 1958 novel A Painter of Our Time, Berger hinted his support for the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian Revolution.) Where the New Statesman reflected the broad sympathy toward literary and artistic modernism characteristic of liberal and social-democratic intellectuals, Berger championed realism and called for art that would “help or encourage men to know and claim their social rights.” His profoundly ambivalent view of abstract expressionism challenged its celebration by most Western intellectuals as a token of “free expression.” Although he marveled at Jackson Pollock’s formal skills, Berger argued that the drip paintings registered a collapse of “faith” in the visible world that heralded “the disintegration of our culture.” Berger asked strikingly traditionalist questions for an enfant terrible of Marxist criticism. “How far can talent exempt an artist,” he asked, who “does not think beyond or question the decadence of the cultural situation to which he belongs?”

With judgments and questions like these, Berger found himself “fighting for every sentence,” not only against his editors and skeptical readers but also against curators, gallery owners, and art critics. (One less-than-enthusiastic review of Henry Moore earned him the everlasting enmity of Sir Herbert Read, then Britain’s most respected critic.) Berger railed helplessly as the London cultural establishment—like that of New York—transformed modernism into an aesthetic for corporate suites and an emblem of Western individualism.

Weary of his travails among the London intelligentsia, Berger left England in 1962 and lived an itinerant but productive life on the continent for the next fifteen years. He published studies of Picasso and cubism as well as several other volumes of essays on painting, sculpture, photography, and politics; chronicled, in collaboration with the photographer Jean Mohr, the life of a country doctor in A Fortunate Man (1967); wrote several screenplays, including Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976), a wise and sympathetic story about disappointed radicals; and authored three novels, including G. (1972), a political and erotic bildungsroman that won him the Booker Prize. Berger promptly caused an uproar when he donated half of his prize money to the British Black Panthers (the Booker fortune having been amassed, he pointed out, through the exploitation of Caribbean slaves) and used the other half to fund a project on the condition of migrant workers that became A Seventh Man (1975). Whatever one thinks of his politics, there can be no denying that Berger is a writer who acts on his convictions.

But Berger’s most enduring achievement from this period was his landmark BBC television series Ways of Seeing (1972), notable if only because it disseminated a radical perspective to a mass audience. Published in book form in the same year, Ways of Seeing was a response to another television milestone, Civilisation (1969), hosted by Sir Kenneth Clark, doyen of the British art establishment. Loftily indifferent to social and political context, Clark’s parade-of-masterpieces approach to the history of Western art epitomized the patrician didacticism that Berger loathed. Focusing … [more]
johnberger  resistance  eugenemccarraher  2017  communism  capitalism  marxism  spirituality  anarchism  religion  materialism  sacredness  neoliberalism  mutualaid  craftsmanship  materiality  pleasure  convivilaity  soul  revolution  waysofseeing  art  artists  peasants  biography 
january 2017 by robertogreco
BBC Four - John Berger: The Art of Looking
[video currently available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3VhbsXk9Ds ]

"Art, politics and motorcycles - on the occasion of his 90th birthday John Berger or the Art of Looking is an intimate portrait of the writer and art critic whose ground-breaking work on seeing has shaped our understanding of the concept for over five decades. The film explores how paintings become narratives and stories turn into images, and rarely does anybody demonstrate this as poignantly as Berger.

Berger lived and worked for decades in a small mountain village in the French Alps, where the nearness to nature, the world of the peasants and his motorcycle, which for him deals so much with presence, inspired his drawing and writing.

The film introduces Berger's art of looking with theatre wizard Simon McBurney, film-director Michael Dibb, visual artist John Christie, cartoonist Selçuk Demiral, photographer Jean Mohr as well as two of his children, film-critic Katya Berger and the painter Yves Berger.

The prelude and starting point is Berger's mind-boggling experience of restored vision following a successful cataract removal surgery. There, in the cusp of his clouding eyesight, Berger re-discovers the irredeemable wonder of seeing.

Realised as a portrait in works and collaborations, this creative documentary takes a different approach to biography, with John Berger leading in his favourite role of the storyteller."
2016  johnberger  documentary  towatch  simonmcburney  michaeldibb  johnchristie  selçukdemiral  jeanmohr  katyaberger  yvesberger  waysofseeing  seeing  looking  noticing  biography  storytelling  skepticism  photography  rebellion  writing  howwewrite  collaboration  canon  conspirators  rebels  friendship  community  migration  motorcycles  presence  being  living  life  interestedness  interested  painting  art  history  france  belonging  place  labor  home  identity  work  peasants  craft  craftsmanship  aesthetics  design  vision  cataracts  sight  teaching  howweteach  attention  focus  agriculture  memory  memories  shit  pigs  humans  animals  childhood  perception  freedom  independence  storytellers  travelers  nomads  trickster  dead  death  meaning  meaningmaking  companionship  listening  discovery  understanding  sfsh  srg  books  publishing  television  tv  communication  engagement  certainly  uncertainty 
january 2017 by robertogreco
The fanatic, fraudulent Mother Teresa.
"I think it was Macaulay who said that the Roman Catholic Church deserved great credit for, and owed its longevity to, its ability to handle and contain fanaticism. This rather oblique compliment belongs to a more serious age. What is so striking about the "beatification" of the woman who styled herself "Mother" Teresa is the abject surrender, on the part of the church, to the forces of showbiz, superstition, and populism.

It's the sheer tawdriness that strikes the eye first of all. It used to be that a person could not even be nominated for "beatification," the first step to "sainthood," until five years after his or her death. This was to guard against local or popular enthusiasm in the promotion of dubious characters. The pope nominated MT a year after her death in 1997. It also used to be that an apparatus of inquiry was set in train, including the scrutiny of an advocatus diaboli or "devil's advocate," to test any extraordinary claims. The pope has abolished this office and has created more instant saints than all his predecessors combined as far back as the 16th century.

As for the "miracle" that had to be attested, what can one say? Surely any respectable Catholic cringes with shame at the obviousness of the fakery. A Bengali woman named Monica Besra claims that a beam of light emerged from a picture of MT, which she happened to have in her home, and relieved her of a cancerous tumor. Her physician, Dr. Ranjan Mustafi, says that she didn't have a cancerous tumor in the first place and that the tubercular cyst she did have was cured by a course of prescription medicine. Was he interviewed by the Vatican's investigators? No. (As it happens, I myself was interviewed by them but only in the most perfunctory way. The procedure still does demand a show of consultation with doubters, and a show of consultation was what, in this case, it got.)

According to an uncontradicted report in the Italian paper L'Eco di Bergamo, the Vatican's secretary of state sent a letter to senior cardinals in June, asking on behalf of the pope whether they favored making MT a saint right away. The pope's clear intention has been to speed the process up in order to perform the ceremony in his own lifetime. The response was in the negative, according to Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the Canadian priest who has acted as postulator or advocate for the "canonization." But the damage, to such integrity as the process possesses, has already been done.

During the deliberations over the Second Vatican Council, under the stewardship of Pope John XXIII, MT was to the fore in opposing all suggestions of reform. What was needed, she maintained, was more work and more faith, not doctrinal revision. Her position was ultra-reactionary and fundamentalist even in orthodox Catholic terms. Believers are indeed enjoined to abhor and eschew abortion, but they are not required to affirm that abortion is "the greatest destroyer of peace," as MT fantastically asserted to a dumbfounded audience when receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.* Believers are likewise enjoined to abhor and eschew divorce, but they are not required to insist that a ban on divorce and remarriage be a part of the state constitution, as MT demanded in a referendum in Ireland (which her side narrowly lost) in 1996. Later in that same year, she told Ladies’ Home Journal that she was pleased by the divorce of her friend Princess Diana, because the marriage had so obviously been an unhappy one …

This returns us to the medieval corruption of the church, which sold indulgences to the rich while preaching hellfire and continence to the poor. MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—and her order always refused to publish any audit. But we have her own claim that she opened 500 convents in more than a hundred countries, all bearing the name of her own order. Excuse me, but this is modesty and humility?

The rich world has a poor conscience, and many people liked to alleviate their own unease by sending money to a woman who seemed like an activist for "the poorest of the poor." People do not like to admit that they have been gulled or conned, so a vested interest in the myth was permitted to arise, and a lazy media never bothered to ask any follow-up questions. Many volunteers who went to Calcutta came back abruptly disillusioned by the stern ideology and poverty-loving practice of the "Missionaries of Charity," but they had no audience for their story. George Orwell's admonition in his essay on Gandhi—that saints should always be presumed guilty until proved innocent—was drowned in a Niagara of soft-hearted, soft-headed, and uninquiring propaganda.

One of the curses of India, as of other poor countries, is the quack medicine man, who fleeces the sufferer by promises of miraculous healing. Sunday was a great day for these parasites, who saw their crummy methods endorsed by his holiness and given a more or less free ride in the international press. Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. More than that, we witnessed the elevation and consecration of extreme dogmatism, blinkered faith, and the cult of a mediocre human personality. Many more people are poor and sick because of the life of MT: Even more will be poor and sick if her example is followed. She was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, and a church that officially protects those who violate the innocent has given us another clear sign of where it truly stands on moral and ethical questions."
2003  motherteresa  christopherhitchens  poverty  catholicism  cotholicchurch  religion  sainthood  popejohnpaullii  beatification  india  corruption  biography 
december 2015 by robertogreco
proyecto sur los ángeles
"quiénes somos:
Proyecto Sur Los Ángeles, surge con la intención de promover la escritura autobiográfica para que nosotros mismos documentemos nuestra historia y utilicemos la escritura como una herramienta social transformadora. Porque la escritura es un derecho y funciona para entender nuestra propia vida y nuestro entorno. Todos somos autores. Todos somos poderosos. cieloportatil@gmail.com.

449 Savoy Street, 90012, Chinatown. Los Angeles, California. .

nuestro poder:
El poder es la energía que mueve nuestro cuerpo, que nos impulsa. El poder es la energía en movimiento dentro de nosotros, de forma natural. Nacimos con ella, nadie puede quitárnosla y nadie puede otorgárnosla: es nuestra. Igual que la escritura."
jenhofer  writing  storytelling  biography  autobiography  proyectosur  losangeles  exile 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 69, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"When García Márquez speaks, his body often rocks back and forth. His hands too are often in motion making small but decisive gestures to emphasize a point, or to indicate a shift of direction in his thinking. He alternates between leaning forward towards his listener, and sitting far back with his legs crossed when speaking reflectively."



INTERVIEWER How do you feel about using the tape recorder?

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ The problem is that the moment you know the interview is being taped, your attitude changes. In my case I immediately take a defensive attitude. As a journalist, I feel that we still haven’t learned how to use a tape recorder to do an interview. The best way, I feel, is to have a long conversation without the journalist taking any notes. Then afterward he should reminisce about the conversation and write it down as an impression of what he felt, not necessarily using the exact words expressed. Another useful method is to take notes and then interpret them with a certain loyalty to the person interviewed. What ticks you off about the tape recording everything is that it is not loyal to the person who is being interviewed, because it even records and remembers when you make an ass of yourself. That’s why when there is a tape recorder, I am conscious that I’m being interviewed; when there isn’t a tape recorder, I talk in an unconscious and completely natural way.



GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ I’ve always been convinced that my true profession is that of a journalist. What I didn’t like about journalism before were the working conditions. Besides, I had to condition my thoughts and ideas to the interests of the newspaper. Now, after having worked as a novelist, and having achieved financial independence as a novelist, I can really choose the themes that interest me and correspond to my ideas. In any case, I always very much enjoy the chance of doing a great piece of journalism.



INTERVIEWER Do you think the novel can do certain things that journalism can’t?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ Nothing. I don’t think there is any difference. The sources are the same, the material is the same, the resources and the language are the same. The Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe is a great novel and Hiroshima is a great work of journalism.

INTERVIEWER Do the journalist and the novelist have different responsibilities in balancing truth versus the imagination?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That’s the only difference, and it lies in the commitment of the writer. A novelist can do anything he wants so long as he makes people believe in it.



INTERVIEWER How did you start writing?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ By drawing. By drawing cartoons. Before I could read or write I used to draw comics at school and at home. The funny thing is that I now realize that when I was in high school I had the reputation of being a writer, though I never in fact wrote anything. If there was a pamphlet to be written or a letter of petition, I was the one to do it because I was supposedly the writer. When I entered college I happened to have a very good literary background in general, considerably above the average of my friends. At the university in Bogotá, I started making new friends and acquaintances, who introduced me to contemporary writers. One night a friend lent me a book of short stories by Franz Kafka. I went back to the pension where I was staying and began to read The Metamorphosis. The first line almost knocked me off the bed. I was so surprised. The first line reads, “As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. . . .” When I read the line I thought to myself that I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago. So I immediately started writing short stories. They are totally intellectual short stories because I was writing them on the basis of my literary experience and had not yet found the link between literature and life. The stories were published in the literary supplement of the newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá and they did have a certain success at the time—probably because nobody in Colombia was writing intellectual short stories. What was being written then was mostly about life in the countryside and social life. When I wrote my first short stories I was told they had Joycean influences.



INTERVIEWER Can you name some of your early influences?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ The people who really helped me to get rid of my intellectual attitude towards the short story were the writers of the American Lost Generation. I realized that their literature had a relationship with life that my short stories didn’t. And then an event took place which was very important with respect to this attitude. It was the Bogotazo, on the ninth of April, 1948, when a political leader, Gaitan, was shot and the people of Bogotá went raving mad in the streets. I was in my pension ready to have lunch when I heard the news. I ran towards the place, but Gaitan had just been put into a taxi and was being taken to a hospital. On my way back to the pension, the people had already taken to the streets and they were demonstrating, looting stores and burning buildings. I joined them. That afternoon and evening, I became aware of the kind of country I was living in, and how little my short stories had to do with any of that. When I was later forced to go back to Barranquilla on the Caribbean, where I had spent my childhood, I realized that that was the type of life I had lived, knew, and wanted to write about.

Around 1950 or ’51 another event happened that influenced my literary tendencies. My mother asked me to accompany her to Aracataca, where I was born, and to sell the house where I spent my first years. When I got there it was at first quite shocking because I was now twenty-two and hadn’t been there since the age of eight. Nothing had really changed, but I felt that I wasn’t really looking at the village, but I was experiencing it as if I were reading it. It was as if everything I saw had already been written, and all I had to do was to sit down and copy what was already there and what I was just reading. For all practical purposes everything had evolved into literature: the houses, the people, and the memories. I’m not sure whether I had already read Faulkner or not, but I know now that only a technique like Faulkner’s could have enabled me to write down what I was seeing. The atmosphere, the decadence, the heat in the village were roughly the same as what I had felt in Faulkner. It was a banana-plantation region inhabited by a lot of Americans from the fruit companies which gave it the same sort of atmosphere I had found in the writers of the Deep South. Critics have spoken of the literary influence of Faulkner, but I see it as a coincidence: I had simply found material that had to be dealt with in the same way that Faulkner had treated similar material.

From that trip to the village I came back to write Leaf Storm, my first novel. What really happened to me in that trip to Aracataca was that I realized that everything that had occurred in my childhood had a literary value that I was only now appreciating. From the moment I wrote Leaf Storm I realized I wanted to be a writer and that nobody could stop me and that the only thing left for me to do was to try to be the best writer in the world. That was in 1953, but it wasn’t until 1967 that I got my first royalties after having written five of my eight books.



INTERVIEWER What about the banana fever in One Hundred Years of Solitude? How much of that is based on what the United Fruit Company did?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ The banana fever is modeled closely on reality. Of course, I’ve used literary tricks on things which have not been proved historically. For example, the massacre in the square is completely true, but while I wrote it on the basis of testimony and documents, it was never known exactly how many people were killed. I used the figure three thousand, which is obviously an exaggeration. But one of my childhood memories was watching a very, very long train leave the plantation supposedly full of bananas. There could have been three thousand dead on it, eventually to be dumped in the sea. What’s really surprising is that now they speak very naturally in the Congress and the newspapers about the “three thousand dead.” I suspect that half of all our history is made in this fashion. In The Autumn of the Patriarch, the dictator says it doesn’t matter if it’s not true now, because sometime in the future it will be true. Sooner or later people believe writers rather than the government.

INTERVIEWER That makes the writer pretty powerful, doesn’t it?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ Yes, and I can feel it too. It gives me a great sense of responsibility. What I would really like to do is a piece of journalism which is completely true and real, but which sounds as fantastic as One Hundred Years of Solitude. The more I live and remember things from the past, the more I think that literature and journalism are closely related.



INTERVIEWER Are dreams ever important as a source of inspiration?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ In the very beginning I paid a good deal of attention to them. But then I realized that life itself is the greatest source of inspiration and that dreams are only a very small part of that torrent that is life. What is very true about my writing is that I’m quite interested in different concepts of dreams and interpretations of them. I see dreams as part of life in general, but reality is much richer. But maybe I just have very poor dreams.

INTERVIEWER Can you distinguish between inspiration and intuition?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ Inspiration is when you find the right theme, one which you really like; that makes the work much easier. Intuition, which is … [more]
gabrielgarcíamárquez  1981  interviews  colombia  writing  journalism  truth  reality  fiction  literature  latinamerica  drawing  kafka  jamesjoyce  stories  storytelling  everyday  williamfaulkner  imagination  biography  autobiography  politics  childhood  fantasy  magicrealism  credibility  detail  details  belief  believability  responsibility  history  bricolage  collage  power  solitude  flow  dreams  dreaming  inspiration  intuition  intellectualism  translation  mexico  spanish  español  gregoryrabassa  borders  frontiers  miguelángelasturias  cuba  fame  friendship  film  filmmaking  relationships  consumption  language  languages  reading  howweread  howwewrite  routine  familiarity  habits 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Annals of Innovation: Dymaxion Man : The New Yorker
"Fuller’s schemes often had the hallucinatory quality associated with science fiction (or mental hospitals). It concerned him not in the least that things had always been done a certain way in the past. In addition to flying cars, he imagined mass-produced bathrooms that could be installed like refrigerators; underwater settlements that would be restocked by submarine; and floating communities that, along with all their inhabitants, would hover among the clouds. Most famously, he dreamed up the geodesic dome. “If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top . . . that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver,” Fuller once wrote. “But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings.” Fuller may have spent his life inventing things, but he claimed that he was not particularly interested in inventions. He called himself a “comprehensive, anticipatory design scientist”—a “comprehensivist,” for short—and believed that his task was to innovate in such a way as to benefit the greatest number of people using the least amount of resources. “My objective was humanity’s comprehensive success in the universe” is how he once put it. “I could have ended up with a pair of flying slippers.”"



"During the First World War, Fuller married Anne Hewlett, the daughter of a prominent architect, and when the war was over he started a business with his father-in-law, manufacturing bricks out of wood shavings. Despite the general prosperity of the period, the company struggled and, in 1927, nearly bankrupt, it was bought out. At just about the same time, Anne gave birth to a daughter. With no job and a new baby to support, Fuller became depressed. One day, he was walking by Lake Michigan, thinking about, in his words, “Buckminster Fuller—life or death,” when he found himself suspended several feet above the ground, surrounded by sparkling light. Time seemed to stand still, and a voice spoke to him. “You do not have the right to eliminate yourself,” it said. “You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe.” (In Fuller’s idiosyncratic English, “universe”—capitalized—is never preceded by the definite article.) It was at this point, according to Fuller, that he decided to embark on his “lifelong experiment.” The experiment’s aim was nothing less than determining “what, if anything,” an individual could do “on behalf of all humanity.” For this study, Fuller would serve both as the researcher and as the object of inquiry. (He referred to himself as Guinea Pig B, the “B” apparently being for Bucky.) Fuller moved his wife and daughter into a tiny studio in a Chicago slum and, instead of finding a job, took to spending his days in the library, reading Gandhi and Leonardo. He began to record his own ideas, which soon filled two thousand pages. In 1928, he edited the manuscript down to fifty pages, and had it published in a booklet called “4D Time Lock,” which he sent out to, among others, Vincent Astor, Bertrand Russell, and Henry Ford.

Like most of Fuller’s writings, “4D Time Lock” is nearly impossible to read; its sentences, Slinky-like, stretch on and on and on. (One of his biographers observed of “4D Time Lock” that “worse prose is barely conceivable.”) At its heart is a critique of the construction industry. Imagine, Fuller says, what would happen if a person, seeking to purchase an automobile, had to hire a designer, then send the plans out for bid, then show them to the bank, and then have them approved by the town council, all before work on the vehicle could begin. “Few would have the temerity to go through with it,” he notes, and those who did would have to pay something like fifty thousand dollars—half a million in today’s money—per car. Such a system, so obviously absurd for autos, persisted for houses, Fuller argued, because of retrograde thinking. (His own failure at peddling wood-composite bricks he cited as evidence of the construction industry’s recalcitrance.) What was needed was a “New Era Home,” which would be “erectable in one day, complete in every detail,” and, on top of that, “drudgery-proof,” with “every living appliance known to mankind, built-in.”"



"Like all Fuller men, he was sent off to Harvard. Halfway through his freshman year, he withdrew his tuition money from the bank to entertain some chorus girls in Manhattan. He was expelled. The following fall, he was reinstated, only to be thrown out again. Fuller never did graduate from Harvard, or any other school. He took a job with a meatpacking firm, then joined the Navy, where he invented a winchlike device for rescuing pilots of the service’s primitive airplanes. (The pilots often ended up head down, under water.)"



"Fuller was fond of neologisms. He coined the word “livingry,” as the opposite of “weaponry”—which he called “killingry”—and popularized the term “spaceship earth.” (He claimed to have invented “debunk,” but probably did not.) Another one of his coinages was “ephemeralization,” which meant, roughly speaking, “dematerialization.” Fuller was a strong believer in the notion that “less is more,” and not just in the aestheticized, Miesian sense of the phrase. He imagined that buildings would eventually be “ephemeralized” to such an extent that construction materials would be dispensed with altogether, and builders would instead rely on “electrical field and other utterly invisible environment controls.

Fuller’s favorite neologism, “dymaxion,” was concocted purely for public relations. When Marshall Field’s displayed his model house, it wanted a catchy label, so it hired a consultant, who fashioned “dymaxion” out of bits of “dynamic,” “maximum,” and “ion.” Fuller was so taken with the word, which had no known meaning, that he adopted it as a sort of brand name. The Dymaxion House led to the Dymaxion Vehicle, which led, in turn, to the Dymaxion Bathroom and the Dymaxion Deployment Unit, essentially a grain bin with windows. As a child, Fuller had assembled scrapbooks of letters and newspaper articles on subjects that interested him; when, later, he decided to keep a more systematic record of his life, including everything from his correspondence to his dry-cleaning bills, it became the Dymaxion Chronofile.

All the Dymaxion projects generated a great deal of hype, and that was clearly Fuller’s desire. All of them also flopped."



"In “Bucky,” a biography-cum-meditation, published in 1973, the critic Hugh Kenner observed, “One of the ways I could arrange this book would make Fuller’s talk seem systematic. I could also make it look like a string of platitudes, or like a set of notions never entertained before, or like a delirium.” On the one hand, Fuller insisted that all the world’s problems—from hunger and illiteracy to war—could be solved by technology. “You may . . . want to ask me how we are going to resolve the ever-accelerating dangerous impasse of world-opposed politicians and ideological dogmas,” he observed at one point. “I answer, it will be resolved by the computer.” On the other hand, he rejected fundamental tenets of modern science, most notably evolution. “We arrived from elsewhere in Universe as complete human beings,” he maintained. He further insisted that humans had spread not from Africa but from Polynesia, and that dolphins were descended from these early, seafaring earthlings."

[Slideshow: http://www.newyorker.com/online/2008/06/09/slideshow_080609_fuller# ]
buckminsterfuller  architecture  creativity  design  2008  history  biography  dropouts  bmc  blackmountaincollege  depression  spaceshipearth  writing  systems  systemsthinking  invention  technosolutionsism  comprehensivists  generalists  specialists  specialization  creativegeneralists 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Shoji Kawamori's Spring & Chaos - trailer - YouTube
"TOKYOPOP Presents the anime art film Spring & Chaos by esteemed anime director Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Escaflowne). This beautiful piece was created exclusively for Japanese television in Iwate Prefecture and is based on the life-story of Japan's most famous modern poet Kenji Miyazawa.

This is NOT a robot-battle, teen-schoolgirl, ninja or samurai anime (not that those aren't awesome) - so if you're looking for that type of anime, keep moving. Instead, this is a moving, dramatic look into early 20th century Japan and how Kenji Miyazawa, a teacher and poet, touched the lives of many students, challenging their view of the world."

[Film available on Hulu (for now): http://www.hulu.com/watch/162653 ]
cats  biography  mindchanges  mindchanging  howweteach  worldview  teaching  poets  kenjimiyazawa  shojikawamori  japan  animation  anime  via:robinsloan  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
Larry Smith's Six Word Project on Vimeo
"Larry Smith wants to know your story. Since 2006, Smith has undertaken the Six-Word Memoir Project inviting his Smith Magazine readers to tell their stories in just a handful of words. His project can now be found in classrooms, boardrooms, hospitals, churches, speed-dating sessions, and at live six-word “slams” across the world."
smithmagazine  sixwordproject  twitter  2006  via:cervus  classideas  larrysmith  simplicity  sixwords  storytelling  identity  biography  publishing  viral  books  efficiency  expression  writingprompts  hemingway  2010  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King :: Tips :: The 99 Percent
"If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative – you probably haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead, people Google you – and quickly assess your talents based on your website, portfolio, and social media profiles. Do they resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head around?"<br />
<br />
"the resume is on the out, and the bio is on the rise. People work with people they can relate to and identify with. Trust comes from personal disclosure. And that kind of sharing is hard to convey in a resume. Your bio needs to tell the bigger story. Especially, when you’re in business for yourself, or in the business of relationships. It’s your bio that’s read first."
design  writing  business  work  resumes  cv  biography  bios  howto  tutorials  jobsearch  jobs  creativity  entrepreneurship  via:carlasilver  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Buckminster Fuller - Wikipedia
"He attended Froebelian Kindergarten. Spending much of his youth on Bear Island, in Penobscot Bay off the coast of Maine, he had trouble with geometry, being unable to understand the abstraction necessary to imagine that a chalk dot on the blackboard represented a mathematical point, or that an imperfectly drawn line with an arrow on the end was meant to stretch off to infinity. He often made items from materials he brought home from the woods, and sometimes made his own tools. He experimented with designing a new apparatus for human propulsion of small boats.

Years later, he decided that this sort of experience had provided him with not only an interest in design, but also a habit of being familiar with and knowledgeable about the materials that his later projects would require. Fuller earned a machinist's certification, and knew how to use the press brake, stretch press, and other tools and equipment used in the sheet metal trade."
design  technology  art  architecture  future  buckminsterfuller  childhood  froebel  kindergarten  learning  materials  systemsthinking  biography  maine  bearisland  penobscotbay  geometry  math  mathematics  toolmaking  designthinking  friedrichfroebel  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
John Berger: a life in writing | Culture | The Guardian
"At 16 Berger left school and enrolled at the Central School of Art, where he encountered "older painters and teachers". Lucian Freud was there briefly at the same time. "I'm not saying we predicted what would happen with his career, but equally it is not that much of a surprise. He was an outstanding student, and it was clear that he was very gifted and also very confident.""

""The only rule in collaborations is that one should never strike deals and never compromise," he says. "If you disagree on something you shouldn't yield and you shouldn't insist on winning. Instead you should just accept that the solution is not right and carry on until it is right. The temptation to say 'you can have this one and I will have the next one' is fatal.""

[via: http://www.gyford.com/phil/writing/2011/05/03/easter-reading.php ]
johnberger  collaboration  compromise  marxism  karlmarx  waysofseeing  books  writing  spinoza  ruralcomp  kennethclark  2011  activism  biography  materialism  history  religion  christianity  socialism  managementtheory  lucianfreud  painting  renatogattuso  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Don DeLillo Biography
"This biography is largely an oral auto-biography, stitched together from the various interviews. All the passages below that are in quotes are from DeLillo himself, and the other text is from the interviewer noted below each entry."
dondelillo  biography  writing  writers  via:robinsloan  quotes  interviews  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Flavorwire » The First Real David Foster Wallace Documentary
"In the first big DFW documentary since his suicide…Geoff Ward discusses the author’s childhood, legacy, preoccupations and battles with the gentleness of a true fan but the exactitude of a scholar. On the radio missive, which first aired on the BBC on February 6, Ward interviews Wallace’s contemporaries, Don DeLillo, Michael Pietsch, editor of Infinite Jest, Wallace’s agent, Bonnie Nadell & his sister, Amy Wallace. He also mines archives of interviews w/ DFW — some of the most wonderful are with Wallace discussing irony —  & accents his ruminations & conversations w/ passages from Infinite Jest as well as the forthcoming The Pale King.<br />
<br />
If you’re a reader, a writer or even just a member of the television saturation generation, it’s worth a listen, & if you’re a fan of Wallace, the program may tug at your heartstrings, suggesting what might have been, but celebrating the man as he was…DeLillo: “I can’t think of anyone quite like him, at all…Wallace stands alone.”
davidfosterwallace  books  writing  biography  bbc  documentary  thepaleking  infinitejest  2011  markcostello  dondelillo  geoffward  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
The Danger of Cosmic Genius - Magazine - The Atlantic
"Einstein could not make change…bus drivers of Princeton had to pick out his nickels & quarters for him. We dimmer bulbs love to seize on tales like this…comforted by the notion of the educated fool. It seems only right that some leveling principle should deprive the geniuses among us of common sense, street smarts, mother wit…

Having myself grown up in Berkeley, where Nobel laureates are a dime a dozen, I certainly know the syndrome: mismatched socks, spectacles repaired with duct tape, forgotten anniversaries & missed appointments, valise left absentmindedly on park bench. Yet hometown experience did not prepare me completely for Dyson. In my interviews…he would sometimes depart the conversation mid-sentence, his face vacant for a minute or two while he followed some intricate thought or polished an equation, & then he would return to complete the sentence as if he had never been away. I have observed similar departures in other deep thinkers, but never for nearly so long."

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/1554470717/having-myself-grown-up-in-berkeley-where-nobel ]
climatechange  environment  physics  science  freemandyson  georgedyson  2010  genius  childhood  alberteinstein  concentration  thinking  parenting  biography  religion  faith  belief  sustainability  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Truman Capote - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"When he was 17, Capote's formal education ended when he was employed at The New Yorker magazine, which he held for two years. Years later, he reminisced, "Not a very grand job, for all it really involved was sorting cartoons and clipping newspapers. Still, I was fortunate to have it, especially since I was determined never to set a studious foot inside a college classroom. I felt that either one was or wasn't a writer, and no combination of professors could influence the outcome. I still think I was correct, at least in my own case."" [Summarized youth here: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2010/09/30]
trumancapote  dropouts  education  unschooling  deschooling  writers  biography  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Jack London's many sides emerge in James L. Haley's Wolf. - By Johann Hari - Slate Magazine
"The United States has a startling ability to take its most angry, edgy radicals and turn them into cuddly eunuchs. The process begins the moment they die. Mark Twain is remembered as a quipster forever floating down the Mississippi River at sunset, while his polemics against the violent birth of the American empire lie unread and unremembered. Martin Luther King is remembered for his prose-poetry about children holding hands on a hill in Alabama, but few recall that he said the U.S. government was "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

But perhaps the greatest act of historical castration is of Jack London. This man was the most-read revolutionary Socialist in American history, agitating for violent overthrow of the government and the assassination of political leaders—and he is remembered now for writing a cute story about a dog. It's as if the Black Panthers were remembered, a century from now, for adding a pink tint to their afros."
jacklondon  addiction  alcohol  socialism  alcoholism  literature  history  biography  authors  racism  us  marktwain  memory  via:lukneff  johannhari  via:lukeneff  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
about | consumptive.org [Just rediscovered James Luckett after what must be about five years. Always loved his about page chronology]
"2001: Live for two months in a base­ment in Port­land, Ore­gon enact­ing fan­tasy of being a mis­er­able artist that lives in a base­ment in Port­land, Ore­gon. Return to Chicago, the so-called “city of broad shoul­ders.” Work in a large uni­ver­sity library as a pro­fes­sional book mover. Relo­cate 12% of the col­lec­tion (800,000 vol­umes) from one place to another place. Develop a mighty grip and pow­er­ful fore­arms. Expe­ri­ence mys­ti­cal insight into the nature of time. For­get about art, move to Tokyo and refo­cus on housewifery."
jamesluckett  aboutpages  biography  autobiography  photography  selfdescription  writing 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The Saturday Profile - Icelander’s Campaign Is a Joke, Until He’s Elected - Biography - NYTimes.com
"A polar bear display for the zoo. Free towels at public swimming pools. A “drug-free Parliament by 2020.” Iceland’s Best Party, founded in December by comedian, Jon Gnarr, to satirize his country’s political system, ran a campaign that was one big joke. Or was it?... With his party having won 6 of City Council’s 15 seats, Mr. Gnarr needed a coalition partner, but ruled out any party whose members had not seen all five seasons of “The Wire.”... Mr. Gnarr, born in Reykjavik...to a policeman & a kitchen worker, was not a model child. At 11, he decided school was useless to his future as a circus clown or pirate & refused to learn any more. At 13, he stopped going to class & joined Reykjavik’s punk scene. At 14, he was sent to a boarding school for troubled teenagers and stayed until he was 16, when he left school for good. Back in Reykjavik, he worked odd jobs, rented rooms, joined activist groups like Greenpeace * considered himself an anarchist (he still does)."
bailout  iceland  elections  2010  government  via:cervus  biography  banks  economics  politics  unschooling  anarchism  deschooling  bestparty  jóngnarr  thewire  dropouts  reykjavík  punk 
june 2010 by robertogreco
PSCS Story Number 1: Andy Smallman [.pdf]
"A dozen years later, out of high school and having returned home from an adventure in Alaska, Andy realized what he needed to do: he was going to be an elementary school teacher. His childhood experience remains a vivid memory."
empathy  andysmallman  pscs  pugetsoundcommunityschool  teaching  learning  children  experience  tcsnmy  disabilities  education  dyslexia  culture  evergreenstatecollege  alternative  careers  cv  biography  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  filetype:pdf  media:document  disability 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Muybridge: The Man Who Made Pictures Move : NPR
"Muybridge traveled widely, at a time when travel itself was changing dramatically: from horsepower to iron and steam. As trains cut down the time it took for people to move through space, Muybridge ventured beyond even the new boundaries, rappelling into treacherous crevasses and hauling his equipment to remote Alaskan villages.
eadweardmuybridge  film  animation  animals  biography  photography  travel 
april 2010 by robertogreco
LRB · Steven Shapin · The Darwin Show
"Darwin insisted on his intellectual ordinariness. He wanted it publicly understood that his native endowments were no more than average, that he had to overcome a youthful tendency to sloth and self-indulgence, that he had wasted his time at university, that becoming a serious naturalist owed much to good luck, that he had achieved what he had mainly through close observation, discipline, hard work and a genuine passion for science. ... Newton is ascetically ‘wholly other’, bent on destroying intellectual competitors; Galileo is a manipulator of patronage...Einstein is a man who loved humanity in general but treated his wives and his daughter as disposable appendages; Pasteur is a Machiavellian politician of science...Feynman is a philistine, a sexual predator, an over-aged adolescent show-off. This is what has now become of towering genius, of those who discover nature’s secrets. First we make them into icons and then we see how iconoclastic we can be. Darwin alone escapes whipping."
darwin  evolution  science  history  biology  discipline  observation  work  workethic  cv  sloth  laziness  intellect  serendipity  luck  chance  life  biography  galileo  richardfeynman  newton  genius  louispasteur  alberteinstein  philosophy  culture  slavery  amateur  amateurism  money  influene  compromise  personality  charlesdarwin 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Misterioso
"Monk liked to wear a formidable ring bearing his name when he played, an encumbrance that no pianist in his right mind would want to burden a hand with. While he was flashing his ring for the world to see, from his own perspective he saw something else. "KNOW" said the ring, more or less, to the audience. "MONK" was the reply when he saw it himself."
theloniousmonk  biography  reviews  music  jazz  books  history 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Paul Erdős - Wikipedia
"In 1938, he accepted his first American position as a scholarship holder at Princeton University. At this time, he began to develop the habit of traveling from campus to campus. He would not stay long in one place and traveled back and forth among mathematical institutions until his death.

Possessions meant little to Erdős; most of his belongings would fit in a suitcase, as dictated by his itinerant lifestyle. Awards and other earnings were generally donated to people in need and various worthy causes. He spent most of his life as a vagabond, traveling between scientific conferences and the homes of colleagues all over the world. He would typically show up at a colleague's doorstep and announce "my brain is open," staying long enough to collaborate on a few papers before moving on a few days later. In many cases, he would ask the current collaborator about whom he (Erdős) should visit next. His working style has been humorously compared to traversing a linked list."
paulerdos  neo-nomads  nomads  science  history  academia  mathematics  math  annabelscheme  eccentricity  glvo  biography 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original | csmonitor.com
"Miles Davis made more money. Duke Ellington was more prolific. Charlie Parker was more revered. But no one had a more profound impact on modern jazz than Thelonious Monk...Who knew, for instance, that the godfather of bebop‚ was a devoted family man, loving husband, and diaper-changing, doting father who lived in the same modest Manhattan apartment for a half century? Or that the pianist whose playing style was ravaged by critics for being “dissonant‚ unschooled‚ and primitive‚“ was in fact well-schooled in classical music at a young age and could play many difficult pieces from memory? But his real passion was kindled by the kind of jazz he heard as a teen, wafting through the halls and open windows of his San Juan Hill neighborhood, a densely populated melting pot of black and Caribbean transplants...if there is a single word that would most aptly define Monk’s music, it’s freedom."
books  toread  jazz  biography  theloniousmonk  music  history  unschooling  glvo  edg  srg  bebop 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Revel in New York | A look at the city through its people
"Revel in New York is a city and culture guide for curious travelers and locals alike. Through our original videos we introduce you to interesting New Yorkers that range from established artists, chefs, and musicians to the equally charismatic characters operating outside the margins of popular culture.

All of our videos are presented with our subject's personal recommendations about their favorite things to do in New York City as well as their suggestions on books, music, films and the cultural interests that have shaped their tastes. It is true that our character selection is subjective based upon people we like, but we hope you'll like them too, or at least find them interesting."
nyc  video  digitalstorytelling  film  photography  documentary  travel  biography  entertainment  culture 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Input/Output | > jim rossignol
"Monk’s thought is, I think, an example of an anti-philosophy of the kind that Wittgenstein wrote about, and that interests me enormously. Monk says that biography is a model of “the kind of understanding that consists in seeing connections,” as opposed to theoretical understanding, which consists in explaining something via a fundamental theory, and the attended methods, frameworks, and jargon. I spend quite a lot of time reading various philosophy and critical theory blogs, and I’m often astounded by the impracticality and complexity of the writing produced for them. Finding philosophy that exhibits genuine clarity can be a difficult task in itself, but it’s often necessary for me to get a new and useful perspective of the things I want to write about."
jimrossignol  philosophy  thinking  theory  biography  connections 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Amazon.com: The Life and Times of Raul Prebisch, 1901-1986: Edgar J. Dosman: Books
""Mandatory reading for everybody interested in Latin America." Mariano Ben Plotkin, researcher at the Instituto de Desarrollo Economico y Social in Buenos Aires and professor at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero "A comprehensive and very readable account of a fascinating personality - this will, for some considerable period and perhaps forever, be the definitive source on Prebisch's personal life and career." Gerry Helleiner, Munk Institute for International Studies, University of Toronto" via: http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2008/11/the-life-and-times-of-raul-prebisch-19011986.html
books  biography  economics  argentina  history  raúlprebisch  latinamerica 
november 2008 by robertogreco
The Lost Years & Last Days of David Foster Wallace : Rolling Stone
"He also told his parents how he'd felt at school. "Having his life fall apart narrowed his sense of what his options were — and the possibilities that were left became more real to him....He would talk about just being very sad, and lonely," Sally says. "It didn't have anything to do with being loved. He just was very lonely inside himself.""..."Back at school junior year, he never talked much about his breakdown. "It was embarrassing and personal," Costello says. "A zone of no jokes." Wallace regarded it as a failure, something he should have been able to control. He routinized his life." via: http://www.kottke.org/08/10/as-close-to-a-biography-of-david-foster-wallace-as-youll-get
davidfosterwallace  suicide  depression  writing  biography  literature  rollingstone 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Make-Believe Maverick : Rolling Stone
"Throughout the campaign this year, McCain has tried to make the contest about honor and character. His own writing gives us the standard by which he should be judged. "Always telling the truth in a political campaign," he writes in Worth the Fighting For, "is a great test of character." He adds: "Patriotism that only serves and never risks one's self-interest isn't patriotism at all. It's selfishness. That's a lesson worth relearning from time to time." It's a lesson, it would appear, that the candidate himself could stand to relearn."
johnmccain  politics  us  elections  2008  rollingstone  government  history  corruption  republicans  biography  ethics 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Amazon.com: Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin: Lawrence Weschler: Books
"Whether you know Irwin's work or not, are an art afficionado or not, this is a great read for the curious and perceptually
robertirwin  lawrenceweschler  books  biography  art 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Art in America: Robert Irwin's Doors of Perception
""At the very best," Irwin says, talking about the experience he wants his work to engender, "a few people will walk in and it will change their lives." While this statement may sound a bit grandiose, I can say with certainty that seeing that triangular piece and hearing Irwin speak about his work so early in my life as an artist had a singular impact; I cannot recall being so affected by a work of art before or since. What struck me was not his method--although I'm always impressed when art is wrested from such basic materials--but rather the realization that all the art I'd seen till then seemed based on the same artistic concepts, while here was an approach to problem-solving that began not with the known but with the unknown."
robertirwin  dia:beacon  art  biography 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Beautiful Losers film trailer on Vimeo
"Beautiful Losers celebrates the spirit behind one of the most influential cultural movements of a generation. In the early 1990's a loose-knit group of likeminded outsiders found common ground at a little NYC storefront gallery. Rooted in the DIY (do-it-yourself) subcultures of skateboarding, surf, punk, hip hop & graffiti, they made art that reflected the lifestyles they led. Developing their craft with almost no influence from the "establishment" art world, this group, and the subcultures they sprang from, have now become a movement that has been transforming pop culture. Starring a selection of artists who are considered leaders within this culture, Beautiful Losers focuses on the telling of personal stories...speaking to themes of what happens when the outside becomes "in" as it explores the creative ethos connecting these artists and today's youth."
beautifullosers  film  documentary  skateboarding  art  illustration  graffiti  streetart  design  learning  diy  identity  glvo  creativity  youth  biography  mikemills  barrymcgee  margaretkillgallen  harmonykorine  aaronrose  edtempleton  jojackson  deannatempleton  stephenpowers  thomascampbell  cheryldunn  chrisjohanson  geoffmcfetridge  shepardfairey  skating  skateboards 
august 2008 by robertogreco
In search of a beautiful mind - The Boston Globe
"He was long a jewel of the MIT faculty. Now, after a devastating brain injury, mathematician Seymour Papert is struggling bravely to learn again how to think like, speak like, be like the man of genius he was."
genius  learning  neuroscience  mit  seymourpapert  biography  brain  health  science  autodidacts  autodidactism  lego  olpc  education  children  mind  mindstorms  constructivism  unschooling  deschooling  recovery  rehabilitation  autodidacticism 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Annenberg Media - A Biography of America
"A Biography of America is a telecourse and video series that presents American history as a living narrative. This series web site lets you delve further into the topics of the 26 video programs."
us  education  history  biography  socialstudies  ushistory  humanities  curriculum  lessons  video  tcsnmy  via:cburell 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Raising Obama: Politics & Power: vanityfair.com
"Is he tough enough? That’s the question being asked of Barack Obama. To those who have known the candidate since boyhood, it’s not just those “dreams from my father” that make Obama a contender, but also his mother’s daring, his grandmother’s
barackobama  politics  profile  youth  biography  elections  us  2008  history 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Smithsonian Magazine | Arts & Culture | Being Funny [Steve Martin]
"What if there were no punch lines? What if there were no indicators? What if I created tension and never released it? What if I headed for a climax, but all I delivered was an anticlimax? What would the audience do with all that tension?"
comedy  stevemartin  creativity  psychology  humor  performance  stories  writing  success  biography 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Ballardian: the World of J.G. Ballard » New Ballard video interview
"Anyone interested in Ballard must get used to the idea of repetition, after all, in all its guises and in every iteration; multiple personas are the key to Ballard’s fractured take on supermodernity."
jgballard  biography  interviews 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Ballardian: the World of J.G. Ballard » Miracles of Life extract & interview
"The Times is featuring an extract from J.G. Ballard’s forthcoming autobiography, Miracles of Life. There’s also an accompanying interview, in which it’s revealed that Ballard has been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer"
jgballard  autobiography  biography  scifi  sciencefiction 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Joybubbles, 58, Peter Pan of Phone Hackers, Dies - New York Times
"Joybubbles (the legal name of the former Joe Engressia since 1991), a blind genius with perfect pitch who accidentally found he could make free phone calls by whistling tones and went on to play a pivotal role in the 1970s subculture of “phone phreaks,
obituary  biography  computers  computing  history  intelligence  people  phone  hacking  phonephreaks 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Open Library (Open Library)
"Imagine a library that collected all the world's information about all the world's books and made it available for everyone to view and update. We're building that library. Search it:"
academia  archive  bibliography  biography  books  catalogs  free  collaboration  collections  commons  copyright  culture  digital  directory  ebooks  education  english  entertainment  freeware  reference  reading  portal  opensource  online  catalog  libraries  literature  sharing  onlinetoolkit 
july 2007 by robertogreco
Borges finds his Boswell - TLS Highlights - Times Online
"Daniel Martino, the editor of Borges, says that “Bioy’s diaries open up a vast universe where his notes on his conversations with Borges coexist with his writings on everyday life and his frequent examinations of matters of conduct”.
argentina  borges  literature  history  biography  bioycasares  books  writing 
june 2007 by robertogreco

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