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Posts Tagged ‘Apollinaire

“The soul never thinks without a mental picture”*…

 

While popularised by Guillaume Apollinaire’s wonderful Calligrammes from 1918, the art of making images through the novel arrangement of words upon the page can be traced back many centuries. Some of the earliest examples of these “calligrams” are to be found in a marvellous 9th-century manuscript known as the Aratea.

Each page of the Aratea has a poem on the bottom half — written by the 3rd-century BC Greek poet Aratus and translated into Latin by a young Cicero — describing an astronomical constellation. This constellation is then beautifully drawn above the poetry; the drawings however are themselves made up of words taken from HyginusAstronomica. The passages used to form the images describe the constellation which they create on the page, and in this way they become tied to one another: neither the words or images would make full sense without the other there to complete the scene. Also, note the red dots on each picture: these show where the stars appear in the sky.

This remarkable object brings together nearly 2000 years of cultural history. Making use of two Roman texts on astronomy written in the 1st century BC, the manuscript was created in Northern France in about 820. It then found its way into the library of the Harley family in England, before being sold to the nation in 1752 under the same Act of Parliament which created the British Museum.

More– and larger– examples of this extraordinary art at “Aratea: Making Pictures with Words in the 9th Century.”

* Aristotle

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As we “just doodle it,” we might send speculative birthday greetings to Roger Joseph Zelazny; he was born on this date in 1937.  While (justly) remembered as an important science fiction author— he won the Hugo Award six times; the Nebula, three– he was also an accomplished poet.

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Written by LW

May 13, 2017 at 1:01 am

Communities of Interest…

 

From the World Taxidermy & Fish Carving Championships

Arthur Drooker goes to meetings…

From the annual meeting of the Association of Lincoln Presenters

From the 37th Vent Haven Convention, which bills itself as “the oldest and largest annual gathering of ventriloquists”

From BronyCon, the annual convention for fans of Hasbro’s animated television series “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”

Conventional Wisdom
The U.S. meetings industry, according to a Convention Industry Council study, directly supports 1.7 million jobs, $263 billion in spending, and $14.3 billion in federal tax revenue.  As impressive as these figures are, they don’t interest me as a photographer. I see conventions not as revenue sources but as visual treasures. To me, they’re unique expressions of community, culture and connection. That’s why over the next year I plan to attend about twenty conventions—the more unusual and photogenic the better—and document them for a proposed book, Conventional Wisdom.  I will update this portfolio as the project progresses. At the same time, I will preview the work on coolhunting.com in a series of reports. To view these reports, please click on the list below.

So far, the wisdom I’ve gained from this project has shown me that regardless of what they’re about, where they’re held or who attends them, all conventions satisfy a basic human urge: a longing for belonging. At conventions, people who share similar interests, even obsessions, come together to bond and to be themselves. The outside world doesn’t matter. In fact, for the weekend duration of most conventions, the outside world doesn’t even exist. The conventioneers have each other and that’s all they need. An attendee I met at the taxidermist convention put it best. “This isn’t a convention,” he said. “It’s a family reunion.”

Coolhunting Report #1 (Lincolns)

Coolhunting Report #2 (Taxidermists)

Coolhunting Report #3 (Ventriloquists)

Coolhunting Report #4 (Bronies)

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As we expedite our registrations, we might recall that it was on this date in 1911 that poet, playwright, and novelist Guillaume Apollinaire was arrested and jailed for complicity in the theft of the Mona Lisa (and a number of Egyptian statuettes) from the Louvre.  Apollinaire had been working as an art critic, in which capacity he’d once called for the Louvre to be burned to the ground.  And he’d sheltered the actual thief, Vincenzo Peruggia, after the heist…  but he claimed ignorance of the crime and returned the few statuettes that Peruggia had left behind at his place.  He was ultimately exonerated, but not before he implicated his his friend Pablo Picasso (who was also brought in for questioning, then also released).

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Written by LW

September 7, 2013 at 1:01 am

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