Thursday, June 11, 2009

Reading New Yorker magazine

I happened to pick up May 11, 2009 copy of the New Yorker. I keep finding articles that are really good. I may have to start reading it regularly!

In any event, two interesting article quotes:

From The Art Doctor: How do you restore works mad ewith latex, caviar, or elephant dung? (quote p. 60-61)
Scheidemann remembers receiving a call from a collector who had bought a Rachel Harrison sculpture made of gray packing blankets wrapped around a central core. The collector's assistants, apparently thinking that the packing blankets were actually packing blankets, had dismembered the piece. With the help of Harrison, Scheidemann reconstructed the work, and sent it off to a company to ship back to the owner. He subsequently received a phone call: someone had undone the sculpture a second time. Scheidemann and Harrison recomposed it once more, and this time, using thread and glue, fixed the blankets in place for good.

From Brain Games: The Marco Polo of neuroscience. (quote p. 82)
In his office in Mandler Hall, Ramachandran positioned a twenty-inch-by-twenty-inch drugstore mirror upright, and perpendicular to the man's body, and told him to place his intact right arm on one side of the mirror and his stump on the other. he told the man to arrange the mirror so that the reflection created the illusion that his intact arm was the continuation of the amputated one. Then Ramachandran asked the man to move his right and left arms simultaneously, in synchronous motions--like a conductor--while keeping his eyes on the reflection of his intact arm. "Oh, my God!" the man began to should. "Oh, my God, Doctor, this is unbelievable." For the first time in ten years, the patient could feel his phantom limb "moving" and the cramping pain was instantly relieved. ["the first example of a successful 'amputation' of a phantom limb"]

The first quote to me exemplifies the somewhat ridiculousness of modern art. I like modern art, don't get me wrong. But it's a crazy world.

The second quote is just part of a tremendously fascinating article about the nature of the brain and its abilities. Though, also, kinda scary as much of what we consider ourselves to be as 'higher beings' is potentially explained 'simply' by how the physical brain is wired. Even consciousness/self awareness. I could type out a whole big long quote again, but maybe you should just find the article.


laura b. said...

Ooohh, I am especially fascinated by ideas about consciousness and self awareness...wiring as the self. That article sounds well worth seeking out, thanks :-) Plus, I like to think of myself as a person who would read the New Yorker, even though I never have.

Squirrel said...

I saw something similar about phantom limbs on the Discovery Channel a few years ago - wild, wild stuff. The mind has an amazing ability to make things real.

Churlita said...

The second quote is really interesting. I used to get the New Yorker for the fiction, but then it seemed that they only published the same 4 authors over and over again, and I got bored with it.

Sebastien said...

Art can be so ridiculous, I LOVE IT! Lots of those Pollock paintings were painted with house paints (I think), and they are falling apart...

And that mirror story is amazing, the mind is so powerful, but sometimes it has to be tricked.

Mel said...

Easily enough fooled, easily enough convinced.
That explains a whole lot!