Some links: 99

Willing suspension of disbelief

Ben Davis’s rejoinder to Devon Rodriguez.

… we should think of his social media posts as part of his practice, to be reviewed in and of themselves. These are, after all, not just how he got famous; in some sense they are what he is really famous for. And they are in many cases clearly staged….

Artists’ personal stories have long been part of how art is marketed, from Vincent van Gogh to Frida Kahlo, but in those cases, the artists’ paintings attracted interest first, and the biography became part of its legend as its fame grew. Today, personal biography and narrative are more important than ever in the gallery—most art comes equipped with some kind of story. But social media gives an added twist: Hordes of people can feel as if they have a relationship with a painter like Devon Rodriguez without ever having had any direct experience of his painting at all.

(via Kottke.org)

IMO, for empathetic, unguarded, photo-realistic images of passengers on the subway, look to Walker Evans’s photographs.

Some links: 91

  • Mr. and Mrs. Pickles have three baby tortoises! Cuter than cute.
  • They were gone before I knew what to call them: David W. Dunlap of The New York Times remembers reader ads.
  • “I can’t define it, but I’m against it.” Also from the Times, Nate Cohn attempts a definition of woke and what it portends.

    … much of what woke is grasping toward: a word to describe a new brand of righteous, identity-conscious, new left activists eager to tackle oppression, including in everyday life and even at the expense of some liberal values.

    * * *

    In the most extreme case for Democrats, the backlash against the new left could end in a repeat of how New Left politics in the 1960s facilitated the marriage of neoconservatives and the religious right in the 1970s. Back then, opposition to the counterculture helped unify Republicans against a new class of highly educated liberals, allowing Southern opponents of civil rights to join old-school liberal intellectuals who opposed Communism and grew skeptical of the Great Society. The parallels are imperfect, but striking.

  • Isobel Novick stans webbing clothes moths (Tineola bisselliella).

    These moths, unfortunately for those with infestations, have other behaviors that contribute to their indestructibility. They can metabolize their own water as a byproduct of keratin digestion, so access to water is not a dealbreaker for survival. What kind of organism can create its own water? This moth has evolved to be an efficient, dynamic, super-survival machine. They are incredibly temperature tolerant, with the ability to survive as eggs or larvae for several days at broiling temperatures as high as 95 degrees F and as far below freezing as 5 degrees F. They are attracted to the smell of woolens, and once established, send pheromonal signals to nearby moths to invite them to party. To add to their tank-like nature, webbing clothes moths can digest toxic metals like arsenic, mercury, and lead. They have no problem metabolizing synthetic materials or chewing through soft plastics. They have even been found on mummified human remains and have been around long enough to be mentioned in the Bible.

  • 17th-18th century tomfoolery: dummy boards.

Awesome!

What Will Art Look Like in the Metaverse?, by Dean Kissick.

In late-19th and early-20th century Paris, Rousseau and his contemporaries (Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso, etc.) were busy inventing bohemian modernity, creating new ways of living and of seeing the world. In our century, that visionary role appears to have passed from the artists to the engineers, to Zuckerberg and his ilk. Who else tries to invent new universes? Who dares spin grand utopian fantasies? Artists don’t anymore. It’s Silicon Valley’s Promethean founders who try — and routinely fall short.

Some links: 87

Trees and the three-lettered insects that munch on them:

  • To protect Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga candensis) from the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) (HWA), researchers are exploring natural genetic resistance, biological controls, and forestry techniques: Gabriel Popkin.
  • Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) (EAB) is clobbering native ashes (Fraxinus spp.) in the eastern U.S. Could doomed trees be turned into commercially useful building materials? Yes, say Sasa Zivkovic and Leslie Lok.

Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival 2020: 3

departingA couple of snaps from the road. I rode the Auto Train south to Florida and drove my car back, swinging wide to Charlotte to visit a colleague for dinner. As an added bonus, I got to ride Charlotte’s LYNX Blue Line in to Uptown for dinner.

MOTELBack in Titusville, I circled back to get a shot of this lovely MOTEL sign, calling out for Wade’s Motor Inn on Washington Ave. The M and the L have lost a few lights from their enclosing diamonds, but it’s still a cool sign.