Wednesday, 29 December 2010

you start to think it’s normal

From The Time I Heard the Private Donald J. Rankin String Concerto with One Discordant Violin, by the American Composer John Morton by Yann Martel:
I hate this place. I hate it because whenever I come here during the day I like it and nearly fall for it. It’s comfortable and warm, the people are nice, and you know what’s expected of you. I say to myself, You should get a daytime job here. The pay’s good, better than what you make now anyway, you work with people, the hours are sane — hey, why not?

The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios
Then I catch myself. This place is dangerous it’s so cunning. It crawls up on you stealthily. You get used to it, the routine, you know. You start to think it’s normal. Finally you think there’s nothing else. Then you blink, forty years have gone by, and your life’s over. Sometimes I come here during the day and I look in from the outside and I ask myself, Why don’t these people ask for more?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

scientists and bureaucrats

From the book A Journey of the Imagination: The Art of James Christensen; captions by the author.

A Journey of the Imagination: The Art of James Christensen

Three Scientists Debating the Aerodynamic Capabilities of the Dynastes Beetle

The beetle flies for two miles at a stretch, but these self-important egos are debating it “scientifically”. You may notice that their feet don’t match up and it’s very hard to tell where one leaves off and another begins. They have, in effect, lost their personal identities in their quest for self-importance.

The Old Scholar

Every university has an old scholar or two, professors whose learning stopped years ago, here symbolized by the wormy apple and the snuffed-out candle. The tatty, stuffed owl on wheels, the Ptolemaic (earth-centered) solar system, and the Leonardian sketch that’s all out of kilter symbolize wisdom that has become outdated or obsolete.

Life-Size Portrait of a Very Minor Official

I have an ongoing battle with the rigidity of bureaucracy. This is an officious little minor dignitary. If we use hieratic scaling — that is, the most important person in an image is the largest — then this tiny little portrait is life-sized.