Friday, April 30, 2010

The Butchart Gardens (Summer 2007)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Music, Video and Creative "Mixing"

I originally wrote this entry on October 3, 2004, and published it on

Professor Lawrence Lessig of Stanford Law School, whose weblog is always worth a diligent read, points to some recent mixes (including this video mix by DJ Spooky and some musical mixes) and reports from the Wired Magazine's Creative Commons Concert. In the meantime, it may be worthwhile to check out some other pieces of music, particularly these songs. I'm not sure if these songs are released under CC, but still they sound quite wild and full of mixing of the Brechtian style.

One of the main arguments of Lessig's most recent book, Free Culture, is that burdening creative mixing with prohibitively strict copyright laws will have seriously adverse effects on all kinds of ceativity, particularly of the artistic kind. Ultimately, such a burden will stifle "free" evolution of culture. (I've written a short and still unfinished critique of the "free" in "free culture" here. Elsewhere, I have written regarding Lessig's view on the operating taboo against political discourse.)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Cat Stevens, Terror Suspect

I originally wrote this entry on September 22, 2004, and published it on

My wife (my best source of news) informs me that Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) was denied entry to the U.S. today.

Photo from:

Reports of this incident appear on Reuters, The International Herald Tribune, the BBC, The Malaysia Star, CNN, Washington Post, San Jose Mercury News, Seattle Post Intelligencer, The Australian, Gulf Daily News, NBC, U.S. Newswire, The Independent, Guardian, Culcutta Telegraph, Billboard, Houston Chronicle, Cat-Stevens.DE. . .

You may find more on this incidence on Yusuf Islam's web site:

This should be about "Art," and I'm posting it under that category, but it belongs in its real unfolding to my "Society" category, a mismatch which simply demonstrates the limits of categorization.

When we deal with real-world events, they can only be understood in their totality and fail to fit into artificial digital divisions.

In the aftermath and in a wonderfully written essay for Asia Times Online, Maliha Masood, a graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University started with Yusuf Islam's story and moved onto Rumi's popularity in the U.S.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

To each sex its own door hammer!

I originally wrote this entry on August 25, 2004, and published it on

Proper greetings require prior identification of the person one greets before one opens the door for the purpose of greeting that person.

Electronics has solved this problem for apartment buildings. Curtains and little spying eye pieces on doors have done the same for detached homes. In some cases, when the detached home has a fence or a wall surrounding it, people may resort to electronics instead.

Matters stood differently when people lived quieter, more meditative lives.

To the left, you can see a picture of the Boroujerdis' Mansion.

It was built about 200 years ago by a famous merchant of Kashan, Iran, named Haj Seyed Jaefar Boroujerdi and bears great importance in view of its architectural style and paintings. The frescoes of this mansion were painted by Sani-ol-Molk Ghaffari Kashani (founder of a painting school in Iran) and the great Kamal-ol-Molk, the miniaturist.

There are scores of these mansions in Kashan, many of them under repair and maintenance work.

Women knocked on this door as they entered the Boroujerdis' mansion.

. . . and men on this one . . .

The two different door hammers make different sounds to inform the residents of the house so that appropriate welcome could be given and received.

I distinctly remember our ancestral home in Ardabil, where I visited during the summers until I was 12 or 13. It had exactly the same two-hammer door panels, one for the ladies and one for the gentlemen. That ancestral home was sold when I came to the U.S. I visited it last summer. On the land, where the old house once stood, a monsterous (to me, not the builder) modern building had been erected. It was the 3rd house on the same land since its sale 25 years ago.

One of the surviving side doors of the Boroujerdis' mansion has the same two-door, ladies' and gentlemen's sides.

Negin, my daughter, hammers on the ladies' side of yet another door in Kashan.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wheelchair Robots in Love

I originally wrote this entry on August 16, 2004 and published it on

Mari Velonaki--Embracement 2003 Light reactive installation [still image] in collaboration with Steve Scheding and David Rye image courtesy of the artist and Novamedia

Reuters television has posted a video report of some Wheelchair Robots in Love. The wheelchairs are designed by artist Mari Velonaki and developed by scientists from the Australian Centre of Field Robotics. (By the time you read this, the video may not be on the top of Reuters' video stack but you may be able to search and find it. If the links here don't get you to the video clips, look under the Life video series at Reuters Television.)