Sunday, December 4, 2011

We are all shoes

Mick Hartley, keen collector of curatorial curiosities, or what Paul Litterick at the Fundy Post calls “artwank”, reports from the show Gesamtkunstwetrk: New Art from Germany at London’s Saatchi Gallery. One piece by Josephine Meckseper, says, is “one of those display carousels you get in shoe shops”. It certainly has a lot of shoes on it. The catalogue says:
Josephine Meckseper makes collages and installations that reconstruct the worlds of contemporary advertising and fashion in the context of the gallery, as a way of critiquing the political implications of the iconography of consumer culture. [. . .]
Meckseper’s politically engaged works highlight ongoing problems of corporate corruption, status anxiety, social privilege and representations of women. They are also a chilling reminder of the excesses and distortions of capitalism, which has created a world in which, she would argue, there is no separation between materialism and political ideology: we are what we buy.

Hartley comments: “We are all shoes! Yes, of course, it’s obvious once it’s been pointed out.”

Speaking of Paul Litterick, here he leaps to the defence of Deborah Hill Cone whose recent piece in the Herald about the quality of New Zealand’s universities attracted the ire of one commenter called JD, who claimed, preposterously, “My Waikato Management School degree is on the world stage.”
Barely literate, under-informed and over-opinionated, JD is a shining example of the modern managerial class. Armed with a degree in Doing Things, trained but not educated, JD doubtless will go far – probably in a BMW. Whether JD will make any sense is another matter.

 Speaking of things preposterous, the Sunday Star-Times today reviewed Max Cryer’s new book Preposterous Proverbs and quoted approvingly Max’s comments on “all that glisters is not gold”. Funny, I thought, didn’t Shakespeare write that? I looked it up in my Project Gutenberg Word file of the complete Shakespeare: Ctrl-F, type in “glisters” and there it is in The Merchant of Venice, Act II Scene vii:
PRINCE OF MOROCCO. O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.
“All that glisters is not gold,
Often have you heard that told;
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms infold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll ’d.
Fare you well, your suit is cold.”
Cold indeed, and labour lost,
Then farewell, heat, and welcome, frost. 
Portia, adieu! I have too griev'd a heart
To take a tedious leave; thus losers part.
     Exit with his train. Flourish of cornets

I like the flourish of cornets. But I had thought that a proverb was anonymous folk wisdom. Can a phrase written by an identifiable individual really count? Maybe so. Does anyone know?

XKCD, which describes itself as “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language”, has some new items in its online store in time for Christmas. Among its offerings, “For the topology enthusiasts out there, an accurately labeled coffee mug”:

and this shirt (I can’t copy the images but this link shows it): 
The Self-Descriptive Shirt, loosely based on comic #688, has on it a set of charts and graphs precisely describing itself. On the front is a white pie chart showing what fraction of the shirt's area is white, and on the back are a series of black and white charts and figures describing in more detail the size and location of black and white areas of the shirt.
Since the graphs are describing their own content, it had to be designed to avoid any contradictions, and since a change to any one graph alters all the others, it took a lot of careful measurement and fine-tuning to precisely calibrate the size of each chart element, and the design was adjusted for each size of shirt to ensure accuracy. 

They say it took ages to get it accurate, and it will be. These guys are seriously mathy.

Speaking of seriously mathy, now we all know what to get BK Drinkwater for Christmas. (Can’t link to his blog which is defunct, but regulars will know who I mean. ) 
And speaking of topology, this from Abstruse Goose:

 Honestly, you wait ages for a topology joke and then along come two at once. 

No comments: