Monday, March 15, 2010

Speaking of writing ...

Here's a link to a Tech Nation interview with Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squid, an account of the neurological processes involved in writing and reading, and, more finely, the different systems involved in handling alphabetic versus pictographic scripts, like those used by Chinese, Japanese, and some other Asian languages.

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Writing at the beginning

Given the time I've spent on the road the past several weeks, I didn't at the time find occasion to take note of it, but last month NewScientist ran an intriguing article about the work of Genevieve von Petzinger. While working on her masters degree at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, she set about to collect in a database all the glyphic signs found in the caves which served early humans as habitations and sanctuaries. She found that while the spectacular paintings in the caves had received considerable attention, of course, these early signs, perhaps the initial instance of writing as such, had not.

When faced with such spectacular beauty [as the paintings], who could blame the visiting anthropologists for largely ignoring the modest semicircles, lines and zigzags also marked on the walls? Yet dismissing them has proved to be something of a mistake. The latest research has shown that, far from being doodles, the marks are in fact highly symbolic, forming a written "code" that was familiar to all of the prehistoric tribes around France and possibly beyond. Indeed, these unprepossessing shapes may be just as remarkable as the paintings of trotting horses and tussling rhinos, providing a snapshot into humankind's first steps towards symbolism and writing.

For anyone involved with the complex process of writing - and to some degree, in this literate age, we all are - it's an important recognition. Give the article a look.

Photo: Dozier Marc/Photolibrary, via the NewScientist. The article also includes some images of the signs themselves, and on one of them they're mapped to the countries (or continents, in some cases) where they were used; those locations include North America.

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{Re}Happening #1

Kelly Gold sends along information about the {Re}Happening event coming up this Saturday at Camp Rockmont, the old Black Mountain College campus. Sounds like it'll be great fun:

{Re}HAPPENING: a feast for the senses
Celebrates Innovation & Collaboration in the Arts
Media Arts Project and Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center Collaborate on Joint Fundraiser / Event Series

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) & the Media Arts Project (MAP) invite the WNC community to participate in an evening of art, performance, music & dinner on Saturday, March 20th in the original dining hall of the former Black Mountain College (now Camp Rockmont). The remarkable creative community that existed at BMC from 1933 to 1957 inspires this unique fundraising event. Their Saturday night festivities usually included art, music, dance and performance, creating the foundation that we hope to build upon. In Partnership with the MAP and its community of artistic innovators, this BMCM +AC event pays tribute to Black Mountain College by bringing its dynamic energy into the present day.

Members of the Media Arts Project and the greater arts community are lining up to participate. New media work from Scott Furr, Mark Koven, Megan McKissack, Gene Felice, Mark Hanf, Marnie Muller, Lorraine Walsh, Lei Han & Wray Bowling will be on display. Dancers Julie Becton Gillum, Sara Baird & Cilla Vee Life Arts will perform. Sculpture and ceramics will be shown from Sean Pace aka “Jinx” & Mellissa Terrezza. Performance artists such as Poetix Vanguard, Eve Warnock & Tina Matthews, Elisa Faires and puppeteer Madison J. Cripps will be part of the evening. Sound installation and performance will be created by Wayne Kirby, Greg Olson, Chandra Shukla, Dave Hamilton, Kima Moore, Salvatore D’Angio, Ross Gentry & Chris Ballard. Guest chef Mark Rosenstein will represent the culinary arts. With over thirty artists in attendance, it promises to be a unique evening of collaboration and invention.

{Re}HAPPENING: a feast for the senses launches a new event series that will draw from the wide range of artistic talents that make WNC an extraordinary community. At the March 20 event, the evening will consist of two halves. The first half begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail social, leading into a seated “family style” dinner served at 7 p.m. Various forms of art and performance will be take place throughout the cocktail hour and dinner. The second half begins at 9 p.m. and includes drinks (beer, wine & non-alchoholic), light appetizers and an extended evening of art, performance & dancing. Tickets for the entire evening including dinner are $40 ($35 for BMCM+AC and MAP members). For the second half (art, drinks & snacks) only, the ticket price is $15 ($10 for members). The LaZoom Bus will be running a shuttle service throughout the evening from downtown Asheville to the BMC campus and back for an additional $5. Reservations are suggested since seating is limited.

Sponsors for the event include Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian, Pisgah Brewing, Filo Bakery, Divine Wine, Chai Pani, French Broad Chocolates, Ultimate Ice Cream Co., Early Girl Eatery, Short Street Cakes, Nona Mia, Izzy's Coffee and Mountain Valley Spring Water.

Contact us or stop by for more info or to purchase tickets for the event:

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
56 Broadway
Asheville, NC 28801


Monday, March 01, 2010

"The juggling life" - Another notice for the Laureate

The juggling life -

Nice story by Michael Chitwood.

Given my involvement with the station, I'm grateful that it gives mention to AshevilleFM, home of the new "Laureate's Radio Hour."

An earlier story in the Observer repeated the error of the Raleigh News & Observer in reporting that the laureate position is an "unpaid two year appointment." Perhaps it was, at one time. Thankfully, though, it's now not. Anyone not independently wealthy who would accept it as an unpaid position would likely be too deranged to fulfill its duties.

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