Art

Category archives for Art

Peripheral Vision

I believe the world is a complex phenomenological experience that can be explained, rationalized, and lived in myriad different ways. The way I see it, we all begin with the same fundamental mystery — why are we here? what is life? — and we attack this problem with whatever tools we find work best; some…

In his seminal 1991 essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction,” the video artist Douglas Davis writes that digital bits “can be endlessly reproduced, without degradation, always the same, always perfect.” This is different, Davis argues, from analogue information. In the past, copying an audio signal — for example, dubbing a…

Scientific Icons

A couple of years ago, I was poking around in a European art museum and came across an exhibit of exquisitely beautiful Eastern Orthodox religious paintings, “icons.” Beyond being visually striking — they have an austere, hieratic, distant quality — they are also, I realized at the time, in a way, scientific. Alright, I know,…

The Evolution of Life in 60 Seconds

The Evolution of Life in 60 Seconds is an experiment in scale: by condensing 4.6 billion years of history into a minute, the video serves as a self-contained timepiece. Like a specialized clock, it gives a sense of perspective. Every event – from the formation of the Earth, to the Cambrian Explosion, to the evolution of mice…

Stepping Into Hyperspace

I made this compilation of so-called “hyperspace” scenes from science-fiction movies last year with my friend, the artist and businessman Mike Merrill. Although the film was initially meant to be a catalog of these scenes, the finished product has an ambient, meditative effect that speaks to the power of the very idea of the hyperspace.…

Beam Me Up

Recently, Rhizome.org invited me to contribute a long-form article to their Rhizome Writer’s Initiative, a new program designed to give emerging and established writers the opportunity to pontificate on the world of new media arts. I was glad to do it, especially when I realized that the exhibition I was to review is called “Beam…

Book Review: The Black Cloud

I once said that 2007 on Universe would include many new features, one being an occasional review of a work of science fiction. Hello! The Black Cloud is a 1957 science-fiction novel written by British astronomer Fred Hoyle. Like the novels of Carl Sagan, and, often, Arthur C. Clarke, it’s something of an extrapolation of…

Team Eames

I’ve been thinking a lot about über-couple Charles and Ray Eames recently; those of you who attended last week’s Urho Talks will know the territory I’m about to shlep into. If you don’t know, Charles and Ray were designers, architects and filmmakers who are responsible for many classic, iconic designs of the 20th century (Thanks,…

Interview: Thomas A. Day

Welcome to the second in an ongoing series of Interviews with authors of Science Fiction. I’m lucky to have had a chance, recently, to review Portland local Thomas A. Day’s A Grey Moon Over China, a totally postapocalyptic epic that takes the ongoing cultural fear of an energy crisis to a particularly dark and alienating…