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Unto This Last

20 May to 25 July 2010
With work by Thomas Bayrle, Sarah Browne, Andrea Büttner, Alice Channer, Isabelle Cornaro, Dewar & Gicquel, Pernille Kapper Williams and Běla Kolářová

‘Unto This Last’ takes its cue from John Ruskin’s eponymous book to consider the complicated relationships between contemporary art and craft.

Written in 1860 as a manifesto against the prevailing economic theories of the mid-19th century, Unto This Last summons a series of moral arguments to denounce what its author perceived as the devastating social consequences of capitalism. Ruskin’s writings on economy and art inspired the Arts and Crafts movement, which advocated the primacy of handcraft and opposed the division of labour that lay at the heart of the capitalist model. A few decades later the very notion of craft would be widely seen as adverse to the imperatives of modernity and its definition of art, a misconception which has to some extent subsisted to this day.

The exhibition suggests that a number of contemporary artists simultaneously abide by the codes of conceptual practice – autonomy, dematerialisation, abstraction and lack of skills, among others – and to various degrees draw on the critical potential of craft. By introducing supposedly anti-conceptual notions such as artisanship, skill, or emotion, craft effectively provides them with an opportunity to take an unconventional and enlightening look at a variety of personal and collective concerns.

An essay by Glenn Adamson, author of Thinking Through Craft and Head of Graduate Studies at the Victoria and Albert Museum will accompany the exhibition, which has been curated by Alice Motard in collaboration with Alex Sainsbury.

Under the term ‘skill’ I mean to include the united force of experience, intellect, and passion, in their operation on manual labour: and under the term ‘passion’ to include the entire range and agency of the moral feelings; from the simple patience and gentleness of mind […] up to the qualities of character which renders science possible […] and to the incommunicable emotion and imagination which are the first and mightiest sources of all value in art.
John Ruskin, Unto This Last, 1860

Image: Pernille Kapper Williams, Matter upon Matter, 2008. Porcelain, 10.5 x 16 cm (Ø 12.5 cm) Photo: François Doury. Courtesy the artist.


See here
(Thanks to Andrew)


The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh 
computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the 
opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. 
Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by 
the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, 
conciliatory; it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step 
to reach -- if not the kingdom of Heaven -- the moment in which their 
document is printed. It is catechistic: The essence of revelation is 
dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. 

Everyone has a right to salvation.
Umberto Eco
Mac History
Image held here 

“So thin and light it’s a revolution!”

I'm split about this new iPad thing, or to be more accurate, it's naming 
and the attendant fuss. 

Yes, it sounds really like the name of a femine hygiene product 
(Mac's iPad, Mac's iPad, Mac's iPad, Maxipad, Maxipad, Maxipad). I think 
all the period jokes are hilarious, and it's pretty rare that period 
jokes are so widespread in media and everyday conversation. 
Hurrah for subversive women's humour! (They do seem to throw up 
certain confusion and disgust/ squeamishness in male commenters, for 
example in this CNN news item). 

There are other problems with the name too, like the fact it will surely 
be difficult to distinguish between 'iPad' and 'iPod' in certain accents; 
they sound so similar it's bound to cause confusion. But I can see why 
it wasn't called iTablet or whatever as you can't actually draw on it 
(or run one than one app at a time but that's a whole other story).
So, is it really true that no women work in Macintosh? That no one would 
have seen all this coming? It's really difficult to believe this couldn't 
have been foreseen by someone. Or does Macintosh think of women as outside 
their target market?

In the promotional video, all of the developers, marketers, and managers 
are male. The hands that type, tap, and generally caress the beautiful 
screen, and the lap that the iPad rests on are male too. In the frankly 
fantastic series of TV adverts by TWBA in the Get a Mac campaign, PC and 
Mac were both male characters (the whole campaign is viewable on Adfreak). 
Women do occasionally appear: as a marketer for PC; as a Japanese digital 
camera; a psychoanalyst; a squad of cheerleaders; a yoga instructor. 
In October 2006, Gisele Bunchen appears as a home movie created on 
Mac's iMovie, in comparison to PC's 'work in progress' - a man dressed in 
a similar dress and a poor blonde wig. (This is the kind of hyper 
stylishness and body fascism that I, maybe unfairly, associate with the 
Mac cult. The undertone of gender discrimination was new to me). 
Above is an image from the original 1984 Macintosh instruction manual 
that featured no women at all, or anyone other than white men for that 
matter.

So, I am undecided. Mac has either been extremely stupid, or extremely 
clever. As one commenter on Jezebel put it, "I think Apple is fucking 
with us to get more women engaged in the launch of its new product. 
It worked."

Exhibit A: held here
If I order this, will my boyfriend and I have to worry if it comes late? 
If me and my friends all buy one, will they sync up? Jezebel
Exhibit B: Apple instruction manual for the original 128k Macintosh, 
released in 1984, held here
"with the exception of Chapter 5, every photo shows a preppy white male 
using the computer. Women and people of color need not apply! (The dude 
in Chapter 4 even has a *sweater* around his shoulders!!!)..." 
blogged here

Exhibit C: How to Dress Like a Mac - Justin Long in the PC/ Mac TV 
adverts, 2006-9 - held here 
(the blogger notes that he 'doesn't know anything about women's 
clothes... but it seems Macintosh don't either').

And just to provide an alternative image of women and technology, 
below is Exhibit D: Part of the cowling for one of the motors for a 
B-25 bomber is assembled in California, 1942. 
Photo by Alfred T. Palmer for the FSA, held by the Library of Congress.

istanbul translators box

Translator's Box (in the arch) at ex-Platform Garanti building, 
Istanbul. 
A good few months ago now, my laptop went to sleep and never woke up
again. My reliable, pre-Vista Vaio was no longer with me, and I thought
with some dread and fascination about crossing over to the white side,
Edenic commodity fetishism and all.

However I've been lucky enough to do this by baby steps, effectively
putting off the decision indefinitely by borrowing a friend's old,
discarded Mac. No need to make definitive decisions involving what
feels like learning another language, and paying through the
(shiny white/ matt aluminium) nose for it to boot.
I can procrastinate with a free trial first.

What's been so surprising about this is how pleasant it has been to
borrow a friend's discarded mental environment. I don't mean the
nosey impulse to comb through her hard drive: there is nothing there
and I don't want there to be. But it's oddly comforting to inherit
a screensaver image (which I haven't changed, even though I find it
hard on the eyes), a search history, a few oddments of music and an
eclectic set of favourite weblinks, organised into intriguing
subheadings (Public Space/ rainbow/ Speech/ paris/ difference engine).
It reminds me of swapping shoes with my best friend for the day when
I was a kid.

This week's featured website is Home Distiller!
Generous, informative, and slightly illicit - the best of Amateur Hour.

Java55_WhiskeyStill_18-May-08.preview

Amateur Hour is a showcase for exciting new learning, skills,
entertainment and public actions.
Submissions in any form welcome to
selfinterestandsympathy@ gmail.com.

smellofbooks

Who Is the Authors Guild and Why Don’t They Want You to Smell Your Electronic Books?

Earlier today I was very excited to tell all of you about our new Smell of Books product, but now it seems that we have a small problem. An organization calling itself “The Authors Guild” has just sent DuroSport a very threatening letter. I am not sure, but I believe that this so-called guild is the government department that oversees the bohemians who write the stories. I am checking with our lawyers right now to see if we must respond to this nonsense, or if I can give the letter to Vladimir to shred. In the meantime, I would like to let you, the customer, know that we are doing everything we can to protect your right to smell your electronic books. Here is the full text of the letter from “The Authors Guild”:

To whom it may concern:

The Authors Guild has recently been made aware of a new e-book related product called “Smell of Books”. This product has allegedly been designed to improve the e-book reading experience by simulating the smell of a real book. While the Authors Guild supports efforts to improve the digital reading experience, we believe this product represents a significant threat to the development of aroma rights, and as such, will adversely impact the rights of our members.

It is important to note that in the digital era, books, and the smell of books, have been decoupled. In the future we expect authors to participate in the development of custom aromas for their books. These olfactory rights constitute a derivative right to be licensed separately. The preservation of these rights is essential as authors explore new markets and distribution channels. Allowing unauthorized third parties to provide the “scent” for a book substantially changes the underlying work to a degree that infringes upon the author’s copyright, not to mention artistic vision.

Today the Authors Guild is calling on the DuroSport Corporation to remove the Smell of Books product line from the market. Furthermore, we are advising our members to refrain from licensing aroma rights until we have more clarity on this issue.

via SmellofBooks.com:

Does your Kindle leave you feeling like there’s something missing from your reading experience?

Have you been avoiding e-books because they just don’t smell right?

If you’ve been hesitant to jump on the e-book bandwagon, you’re not alone. Book lovers everywhere have resisted digital books because they still don’t compare to the experience of reading a good old fashioned paper book. But all of that is changing thanks to Smell of Books™, a revolutionary new aerosol e-book enhancer.

Now you can finally enjoy reading e-books without giving up the smell you love so much. With Smell of Books™ you can have the best of both worlds, the convenience of an e-book and the smell of your favorite paper book. Smell of Books™ is compatible with a wide range of e-reading devices and e-book formats and is 100% DRM-compatible. Whether you read your e-books on a Kindle or an iPhone using Stanza, Smell of Books™ will bring back that real book smell you miss so much.

via Newsgrist

Image held here

They say all good things in life come to an end. Today we announced that Kodak will retire KODACHROME Film, concluding its 74-year run.

It was a difficult decision, given its rich history. At the end of the day, photographers have told us and showed us they’ve moved on to newer other Kodak films and/or digital. KODACHROME Film currently represents a fraction of one percent of our film sales. We at Kodak want to celebrate with you the rich history of this storied film. Feel free to share with us your fondest memories of Kodachrome.

from the comments:

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From http://www.petermiller.info:  ‘Bolex Baby is a love song for my 16mm film camera.’

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Amateur Hour is a showcase for exciting new learning, skills, entertainment and public actions. Submissions in any form welcome to selfinterestandsympathy [at] gmail [dot] com

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