CAUSA CONNECTIVITY

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Posted April 23, 2018

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Confucius text

 

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McLuhan text

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Anselmo Tutto

Giovanni Anselmo, TUTTO [EVERYTHING], 1973. Self-adhesive letters, paper, acrylic. Installation view:
Museo Medelin, Colombia (6 September - 3 November 2013.)

"Which is worse, gain or loss?"

-- Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE) 

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Coleridge text

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a walk during one week 

[ length = distance ] 

stanley brouwn 

1962

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McLuhan 21

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a walk from a to b

[ length = distance ] 

stanley brouwn

1962
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Ovenden cosmic text

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a walk through a grass field 

[ length = distance ] 

stanley brouwn 

1962

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Chou Tun-I (1017-1073):

Perfect sincerity leads to activity.
Activity leads to change.
And change leads to transformation.

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stanley brouwn

Brussels 

1971 

[ The artist's exhibition-related project at MTL Gallery entailed counting the exact number of his steps during one week of walking in Brussels. ]

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Robbe-Grillet text

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Finial

Finial for a Buddhist Staff --China, early 15th century. Ivory. H. 3-1/2 in..(8.5 cm); W. 1-5/16 in. (3.3 cm); D. 11/16 in.(2.7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Curatorial Record:

Used in Tibetan Buddhism, which was practised at the Chinese Court throughout the fifteenth century, this finial would have capped a long staff used in rituals to quell demons that are symbolic of obstacles that must be overcome to reach enlightenment. Depicted on this implement are an overflowing vase --an Indic symbol of abundance-- and three heads-- one decaying, and one skeletal-- representing the inevitabity of change and death.

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

It is by the combination of words (with their charge of sedimented significations, which are in principle capable of entering into other relations than the relations that have served to form them) that I FORM the transcendental attitude, that I CONSTITUTE the constititive consciousness.

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75th Patriarch of Korean Seon Buddhism, Gyeongheo (d. 1912):

There never was any want of function or principle
In the embracing of the universe;
The only problem is the ignorance of the people
Still dreaming the dream of delusion.

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Potted plant

" ... 'Margin of Presence'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

"In a man devoted to knowledge, pity seems almost ridiculous, like delicate hands on a cyclops."

-- Friedrich Nietzche (1886)
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THE KOREA TIMES, May 25.2017:

[According to the 2017 statistics  published by the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION] ... North Korea mortality due to air pollution is the world's highest, with 238 per 100,000 population dying of poor air quality. 

The North's rate is 2.6 times higher than the world average and more than 10 times higher than South Korea's 23.2 per 100,000. 

The rate is also higher than that of other  neighbouring countries --China (161) and Japan (24).

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Emerging from a perfect sphere;
Yet how long it is:
A spring day.

-- Sokan (1465-1553)

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Loch

Joseph Beuys, DAS SCHWARZE LOCH/'THE BLACK HOLE' --stovepipe protruding from the facade of the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (and creating a black hole 'viewing point' on the outside of the building) --1981. Collection of Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany (gift of the artist).

"Art is the only power to free humankind from all repression."

-- Joseph Beuys (1974)

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Wang Yang-ming (1472-1529):

To extend innate knowledge is the task of always doing something. Not only should that principle not be departed from, in reality it cannot be. The way is everywhere, and so is our task.

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Beuys text

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Posted April 16, 2018

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Chengyi text

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Lewis text

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Jonathan Jones, THE GUARDIAN, 17 July 2013:

A museum in China has a problem. It seems to have a few fakes in its vast collection. Well, as many as 40,000. Everything it owns may be nothing more than a mass of crude forgeries.

Wei Yingjun, a consultant to the Jibaozhai Museum Jizhou, about 150 miles south of Beijing, insists the situation is not that bad. He is "quite positive" that 80 or even more pieces out tens of thousands in the museum are authentic.

In spite of this sterling defence, regional authorities in Hebei province have closed the museum amid a national scandal driven by some very free speech on China's internet. One online satirist suggested it should reopen as a museum of fakes --"If you can't be the best, why not be the worst?"

Jibaozhai cost 60 million yuen (about £6m) to build, opening its doors in 2010 during a culture boom that is seeing about 100 museums open every year across China. Unfortunately, its hard to fill that many museums, and China also has a prolific faking industry. Art  factories export low-cost false Rembrandt and Van Goghs, while antique shops are full of eye-fooling replicas of classical Chinese art.

This is a land with a continuous art tradition going back to prehistoric times --yet this creative past was severed from the present by the [Chinese Communist] revolution of the 20th cenrury. Surely the demand for museums across China reflects a desire to reconnect with a great heritage. The museum of fakes may be an absurd side-effect. But the angry and precise criticism that exposed it is a triumph of citizenship.

"The Chinese government, which already oversees one of the strictest online censorship regimes in the world, limited the provision of censorship circumvention tools and strengthened ideological control over education and mass media in 2017."

-- Human Rights Watch, WORLD REPORT 2018

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Nova detecting forgery

Gary Lee-Nova, DETECTING THE FORGERY --serigraph (after a collage by the artist, circa 1967)-- printed on National Security Paper, 1968. 

Edmund Carpenter (1970):

Point of view = 1°; through the vanishing point = 360°."

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Gasset text

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Hsüan-tsang (596-664):

Because of a variety of vast imagination,
Various things [like the hair of a tortoise]
     are vastly imagined. 
What is conceived by the vast 
     imagination
Has no nature of its own whatever.

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Marshall McLuhan (1960):

Today, when all of the senses have been externalized, the human sensorium is  itself a globe envelope, it is not only the mix of sense components which is altered, but the total environment of sense has become potentially integral but actually alien and disruptive.

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James text

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Kashyapa


KASHYAPA --wood with polychrome paint --Korea, Joseon dynasty (1392-1910)-- dated 1700. H: 22 in./55.8 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Curatorial Record:

This standing figure in a monk's robe is the eldest of the two principle disciples of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. His smiling face and relaxed posture convey benevolence and wisdom.

Soyoung Lee, Department of Asian Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art:

One of the central tenets of the Joseon dynasty was the strict authority of Neo-Confucian ideology coupled with the agressive rejection of Buddhism. Nonetheless, the exceptionally high quality of Buddhist art demonstrates that Buddhism remained an enduring part of the culture. In private, many monarchs either followed Buddhist practices themselves or tolerated them among their family and court advisors.

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Gyeongho text

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Valery text

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Carpenter text

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Marshall McLuhan (1960):

One peculiarity of centre-margin relationships is that when freedom breaks down in any kind of structure, the tendency is for the centre to impose itself upon the margin. In the field of attention, which we call perception, when the centre enlarges and the margin diminishes beyond a certain point, we are in that induced state called hypnosis. The dialogue has ended.

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Jacques Ellul (1985):

No longer are we surrounded by fields, woods, and rivers, but by signs, symbols, billboards, screens, labels, and trademarks: this is our universe. And when the screen shows us a living reality, such as people's faces or other countries, this is still a fiction: it is a constructed and recombined reality.

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Century Sam

" ... Cup & Saucer ... 1858 B. C.1958...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.) 

Zisi (d. 402 BCE):

The Way of Heaven and Earth may be completely described in one sentence: they are without doubleness and so they produce things in an unfathomable way.

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LORD OF THE PLANET?

M.K. Morton

As dyed silk road smuggler;
Quite irregular.
More of the order of a Key West snuggler,
Over-time regulatory agency smoother;
Behind-rent boarder, carbon-print bungler,

PR damage-control smuggler.
Thought I was a mover, shaker and improver
Turned out I I'd too much room to manoeuvre.
Don't concentrate my energetic:
Was left with no core, only the etceteric.

The playing field turned downright endless plain;
spare the rhetoric:
Who's to complain?
Folly not fate did ordain
Nothing much to harvest,

Too much to digest.
Gone from free-fall to stall
In an alternating series of dredge, tread and trawl.
Neither a difficult nor a close call;
It was a hammock too far --no tuck-in, all sprawl.

When for those two trees I can't see the forest
Why can't I twig my compass that far west 
Doesn't point? Alors! Gathering wintry wood, could 
Should, so far so good:
I play my cards from inside my vest.

Working up a ghost of a jest, 
Still acting the genial host
Raising a perpetual toast.
Who'd 've guessed 
I'm not even a guest?

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Posted April 10, 2018

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New West Chinatown

" ... 'Chinatown' ... In Motion...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

We have to pass from the thing (spatial or temporal) as identity, to the thing (spatial or temporal) as difference, i.e., as transcendence, i.e. as always "behind," beyond, far-off.

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964)

"Let people achieve enlightenment through their own effort."

-- 5th Chan Patriarch, Hung-jen (601-674)

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Boll text

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Wen Zhengming

Wen Zhengming, GARDEN OF THE INEPT ADMINISTRATOR, 1551. Ink on paper. One of eight leaves comprising an album of paintings (with accompanying poems). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Curatorial Record:

The Garden of the Inept Administrator (Zhuozheng Yuan) was built on the site of an ancient temple in Suzhou by censor Wang Xiachen (active c. 1500-1535). In 1527, after an unhappy stay in Beijing, the artist Wen Zhengming returned to Suzhou, where he was given a studio in the garden.

The garden still exists in Suzhou, but centuries of renovations make it difficult to identify Wen's scenes.

Shen Fu (1877):

There are several ways of creating an illusion amidst reality: make a gateway into a closed yard, and then cover it over with bamboo and stones; the yard beyond, while real, will then look like an illusion. Or, on top of a wall build a low railing; it will look like an upper balcony, creating an illusion of reality.

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Cheng Yi text

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REUTERS, Beijing/Shanghai (2018):

The number of pollution sources in China has increased by more than half in eight years, the environment ministry said on Thursday [28 March 2018] as it embarks on a nationwide survey to determine the damage done by more than 30 years of untrammeled growth. 

The announcement from the newly minted Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) underlines the challenges facing China, in its fifth year of a WAR ON AIR, WATER AND SOIL POLLUTION. 

The first census conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics, from 2007 to 2009, uncovered 5.9 million sources of pollution nationwide. 

The survey also identified 209.8 billion  tonnes of waste water, 63.7 trillion cubic metres of waste gas emissions and 3,852 billion tonnes of industrial solid waste nationwide.

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Seven Sages pot

Porcelain brushpot (with the SEVEN SAGES in underglaze blue) --Jingdezhen kilns-- China Transitional period, circa 1635-1650. Diameter: 27 cm. Ashfield Collection, London.

Mary Redfern, Curator, East Asian Collections, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (2016):

The downfall of the Ming dynasty and accession of the Qing in the mid-17th century had a far-reaching impact both within and beyond China. During this so-called Transitional period, the imperial patronage waned as the porcelain kilns, and the most skilled potters at Jingdezhen sought alternative patrons for their work.

Depicted on walls of the brush pot [above] are China's SEVEN SAGES, a group of scholars and poets who turned their backs on the courtly corruptions and political intrigues of the 3rd Century CE. Relaxing in the shade of a bamboo grove with wine, incense, books and music, the Seven Sages suggested an appealing alternative for a literati elite caught in a time of upheaval.

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Stevens text

 

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Carole M. Granahan, University of Colorado (2012):

In the backroom of an antique store in Kathmandu [Nepal], I heard an unusual story on a summer day in 1994. Narrated by Sherap [pseudonym], the Tibetan man in his fifties who owned the store, it was it was about when Mao Zedong came to Tibet as part of the commununist Long March through China in the 1950s in retreat from advancing Kuomintang (KMT) troops.

"Mao and Zhu [De]", he said, "were together on the Long March ... the Chinese had destroyed lots of Tibetan monasteries. These soldiers had no uniforms, and they tore Thangkas [Buddhist scroll paintings] out of their brocade frames and wore them as pants. The Tibetans did not know that they were communists. My elder brother was a monk and an attendant to the head of the monastery called Beri Gonpa [between Dombasta and Kanze]. The monastery had great stores of barley, which they kept in wooden boxes in which it would stay fresh for years. Getag Tulku [head of the monastery] offered eighteen boxes of barley to Mao's men. He said, 'Don't harm our country. I offer you this barley. Then you leave.' At that time Mao believed in religion. He and Zhu tried to teach communism but they were Buddhists. They went to Getag Tulku for advice, and he did a MO, a divination for them. He told them not to continue on with the army, but to return to China. They should send the rest of the troops north towards Amdo, but they should return to China wearing Tibetan clothing, disguised as traders. So they followed his advice, returning to China in Tibetan dress, while the rest of the army went north where most of them were killed." Here Sherap paused and then said, "When I was young, many people would tell the story. Without wearing Tibetan clothing, Mao and Zhu would not have been able to get through Eastern Tibet back to China. In the north, [the Muslim warlord] Ma Bufang killed so many people; Mao and his companion would have been killed easily [by Ma]."

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Offerings

OFFERINGS TO WRATHFUL DEITIES --Tibetan thangka, distemper and ink on cloth. Late 16th-17th century. The Metropolitan Museum.of Art, New York City.

Curatorial Record:

This black-ground (Tibetan: nag thang) painting was installed in the chapel (gonkhang) dedicated to the wrathful protective deities (dharmapalas), a room reserved for tantric initiation rites within a Tibetan monastery.

Two wrathful tantric deities are represented with flames emanating from their beings, standing on a male corpse, atop a lotus pedestal. They are draped in flayed skins and garlands of severed human heads. Offerings of flayed skins, ritual utensils and objects, and a vast assortment of weapons fill the interior. Framing the scene above is a curtain of flayed skins and organ entrails.

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Pound text

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McLuhan text

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"Perfect is the Mean. For a long time few people have been able to follow it."

-- Confucius

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       DON'T MISTAKE THE LOCUS OF THE SCRUTINY

                                 M.K.Morton

     "These tycoons", you exclaim, "can turn everything
      into gold!" But what, Henry, can they turn gold into?
                    Edith Wharton to Henry James.


For God, or Whatever Means the Good,
Our individual lives can't hold much interest:
How impressed could the Scheme of Things be
By our tramping well-worn incorrigibly doubling-back paths through the leafy wood

Could or might, somnambulistically keeping our focus self-centrist?
If even our prized recording of Shostakovich's Fifth
And postcards of Monet's lilies tend to drift
Past curious doze-susceptible divinity,

Since the Omniscient's gaze much more impressive items has seen regularly,
In those Ears and Eyes the Louvre's contents slip less than feather,
Just another snowflake. Our own achievements figure pretty small beer.
So why your soul to your scrawny self must you constantly tether?

Counting on seraphic kudos for the results of a human's restricted puny efforts?
Our peak experiences flukes and seven-day-wonder stunts.
What is great about them?  Or that we rattled off some Ravel fit for others to hear?
Once.

Similarly much special about our sealed off home-life, work, hobbies. sports?
But hold it:
What may hold our creator's attention is how we combine, how we hit
On putting it together--the ease with which our inventories interknit,

Intriguingly ingeniously among pals, peers, contacts stray
Into congenially responsive interplay.
The Oversoul applauds an inclusive,
Wide-ranging, astonishingly close fit.

By oneself each has little claim to sit in the lap of the gods.
Without the world's coy timing grabbing you punctually, so what if you grow wit?
Not what we bring to activities utilitarian and ingrown festive,
But how, quite companionably convivial in congenial Eisteddefods,

Our product's integrated with the input/outlay 
Of other movers, shakers, abyebaby paleocenic rockers and mods.
Ensuring our contemporaries we can always, in a good sense, complement restive;
Delighting how each, in the conversation of mankind, if not conspicuously much

They can add, has occasionally some gobbet of gab they relay in a telling way--
Fare on murmuring no lone minstrel lay.
Quit clutching self; lean out: atmospheres, ambience integrally to touch,
Touch every way. The soundscape entire seize upon as philharmonic clay.

Why longer the world deflect? Over a single isolated note
What composer fusses? It's worth minus attention until, orchestrated,
Smoothly it slides and sips. Ditto each blob enhancing a canvas depends for its effect
On other blobs next it; counts for nothing unless they superbly interconnect.

No man is his own moat.
What boots it stuck fast behind that rut, If only round and round you can float
Its diameter undeviatingly? You haven't been conceived, let alone created
Filamentfulfillingly, until--no falsifying boundaries left untranscended--

Prompting your context's sweep of elements, you've gratifyingly blended
With time's concourse's dappled mix. Dust away all trivial, fond acclaim.
It's not whether you won or lost, or even maybe how you played the game.
It's the measure of the abound

With which you seasoned choicely the mix in your surround;
What you added to the lives of fellow wanderers who near you came.
The muchness of a much hovering you mutually apprehended.
The geometry-surpassing horizon-clad glad quality

Of figured hammock-steadied, outspread pavilion's frame
You ranged. Animatedly engaging friovolity,
Propounding the bright idyllics of your carte-blanche gestalted ground
This mosaicvore portico--balancing, linking its neighbouring realms,

Introducing trombones to cymbaloms--
That full of purpose to augment god's astound
You alertly receptively suspended,
Distinctively profusely tended.
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MEMO 

from: Robert McNealy 

to: CAUSA Research Curators 

re: Ezra Pound 

About ten years ago I received an  invitation to participate in a public arts commission from Hailey, Idaho (birthplace of Ezra Pound). The commission referred to a couple of historically significant trees in Hailey.

My proposal was to carve a heart and arrow with "I Love Ezra" into one of the trees. 

I never heard back from the town of Hailey. 

Rbt

05.04.18.

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Baxter photo

IAIN BAXTER&, FAHRENHEIT 450 (HOMAGE TO BRADBURY AND ORWELL), 2000-2010. Shoes and books arranged in an infinity symbol on a floor. Each shoe, holding a book upright, is filled with cement.

IAIN BAXTER& (2010):

Shoes ground us and our soles/souls to the earth. They are the vessels that we travel in our journey through life. Books cemented in our shoes symbolize the diverse knowledge we carry with us ... as we walk forward in our global village. 

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"Have no depraved thoughts."

-- Excerpt from THE BOOK OF ODES, the oldest existing collection of Chinese poetry, traditionally believed to have been compiled by Confucius (551-499 BCE)

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McLuhan text

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"The being society of a society: that whole that reassembles all the views and all the clear or blind wills at grips within it ... which nobody sees, and is not a group-soul either."

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964)

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Posted April 3, 2018

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New West dogpark


" ... GESTALT ... 'New Westminster Chinatown Off-Leash Dog Park ... 1907 ...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.) 

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

An indirect and muted necessity weighs upon my vision. It is not the necessity of an objective frontier forever impassable, for the contours of my field are not lines. It is not cut out against an expanse of blackness; rather, when I approach them, the things dissociate, my look loses its differentiation, and the vision ceases for lack of seer and of articulated things.

"In words all that matters is to express the meaning."

-- Confucius (551-479 BCE)

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Priestley Text


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THERE IS NO DOG 

Sinteri/Synthesis
(of Night) 

Francesco Cangiullo 
1915

                     CHARACTER 

       He Who Is Not There

Road at night, cold, deserted.

A dog crosses the street.

                     CURTAIN

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Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):

Of old those that obtained the One:
Heaven obtained the One and became clear.
Earth obtained the one and became tranquil. 

[ ... ]

If heaven had not thus become clear,
It would soon crack.
If the earth had not thus become tranquil, 
It would soon be shaken.

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Beuys text

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Jacques Ellul (1948):

The will of the world is always a will to death, a will to suicide. We must not accept this suicide, and we must so act that it cannot take place.

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Patrick Frater, VARIETY (March 2018):

Movie and TV regulation in China has been moved under the direct control of the propaganda department of the Communist Party, in a further centralization of power under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The move, announced on Thursday [20 March 2018] follows last week's news that the State Administrstion for Film Radio Press and Television (SAPPRFT) would be scrapped and replaced with a new body reporting to the State Council, or cabinet of ministers.The new shift to propaganda department control was approved by China's National People's Congress and goes into immediate effect.

"One-sidedness means thinking in terms of absolutes, that is, taking a metaphysical approach to problems."

-- Mao Tse-tung (1957):

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Bodhidharma (flourished 6th century CE):

Whoever knows that nothing depends on anything has found the Way. And whoever knows that the mind depends on nothing is always at the place of enlightenment.

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Lamelas film script

David Lamelas, FILM SCRIPT (Manipulation of Memory), 1972. 
Installation with 16mm film and 3 slide carousels, 65 slides each. Dimensions variable. 

Commentary regarding FILM SCRIPT --excerpted from an interview with the artist (2017):

I wanted to make a piece of fiction, so I filmed a piece of fiction but without a conclusion because it's only about a few  minutes long, and in that length you cannot tell a story. You can hint the possibility of a narrative, you can show the syntax of cinema, so I tried to pretend that something was happening to this character. She got this phone call she was strtessed about; she breaks a glass; she ran out of the house to meet somebody presumably and that's it. There you have the possibility of a story. That story then is split up in three different versions, one being shown on each projection. I was interested in how information is delivered and manipulated. 

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Poulet text

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"Given sincerity, there will be enlightenment."

-- Zisi (d. c. 402 BCE)

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Posted March 26, 2018

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Randeng Buddha

BUDDHA DIPANKARA (RANDENG FO) --China, dated 489-95. Sandstone with traces of pigment. H. 127 in. (322.6 cm); W. 75 in. (190.5 cm); D. 28 in. (71.1 cm); H. with base 137 in. (348 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Curatorial Record:

The inscription on the back of this stele indicates the Buddha depicted on the front as Dipankara, who was thought to have lived before the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. He is shown here attended by a small group of figures wearing the clothing of the Xianbei, the non-Han Chinese peoples who ruled the Northern Wei dynasty. The smaller standing figure to the Buddha's right may represent a youth named Sumedha, who was destined to become the historical Buddha in another lifetime. The imagery of this large sculpture is therefore intended to illuminate the promise or possibility of enlightenment in a future life. In Buddhism, the achievement of this advanced spiritual state is the goal of all practitioners.

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Buddha found that his disciples, good average disciples, required a severe discipline of expansion; he made them practice every day, torpedoing East and West, to inhabit other men, and become wise and gentle.

-- Wyndham Lewis (1914)

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Bicycles

" ... 'Degrees of Possibility'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

"A brown horse and a dark ox make three."

-- Hui Shih (380-305 BCE?)

Paul Ehrlich (2012):

The debate regarding which individual factor, among the three key factors producing the environmental crisis, causes more damage --the size of the human population on the planet, excessive consumption of resources or unequal/unjust distribution of resources among countries-- is like a debate about which contributes more to a triangle, the base or the ribs of the triangle. You can not separate these three factors. If we analyze the numbers over a relatively longer time interval, we will conclude that the size of the population has a bigger impact than consumption. On the other hand, consumption and unequal  distribution are also important aspects. If we do not change these factors all at the same time, the quality of our life will change dramatically. Today humanity is delivering a serious blow to nature, but it is clear that nature will deliver the final blow.

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To say that you know when you do know and say that you do not know when you do not know --that is [the way to acquire] knowledge. 

-- Confucius (d. 479 BCE)

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Old Gags

Gary Lee-Nova, UNCANNY OLD GAGS #3. Silkscreen print in 'yardstick' frame (2000) --from artist's collage (1983). 

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McLuhan text 17

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"Dehumanization is the chief diagnostic of the Modern World."

-- Wyndham Lewis (1914)

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Jason Lee, REUTERS (8 March 2018):

Speaking on Wednesday [7 March] on the sidelines of China's annual meeting of parliament, the party boss of the remote northwestern province of Qinghai, birthplace of the Dalai Lama, said Tibetans who lived there had been saying they view Xi Jinping [President of China, head of its Communist Party, and the Commander in Chief of the military] as a deity.

"The ordinary people in the herder areas say General Secretary Xi is a living Bodhisattva," Wang Guosheng said.

Bodhisattvas are individuals who carry out compassionate acts to achieve enlightenment. Tibetan Buddhists consider their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to be an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara [bodhisattva --"buddha of infinite compassion"].  

Wang's comnents were reported by the state-run Beijing News.

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Mandala

THOUSAND-ARMED CHENREZIG, A COSMIC FORM OF THE BODHISATTVA AVALOKITESHVARA --14th century,  Tibet. Distemper and gold on cloth. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. 

Curatorial Record:

The inscription on the painting's reverse summarizes the achievements of Sakyamuni Buddha. This is followed by a brief inscription composed in Tibetan: "Patience, the most holy ascetic practice, is the best means of attaining nirvana (lit. going beyond suffering), thus the Buddha has said."

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President Xi Jinping (2016):

As one saying goes, "success comes to those who share in one purpose." As long as our 1.3 billion-plus people are pulled together for a common cause, as long as the [Chinese Communist] Party stands together with the people and we all roll up our sleeves to work harder, we will surely succeed in a Long March of our generation.

Mao Zedong (1958):

[Ch'in Shih-huang, the first Ch'in Dynasty emperor --d. 210 BCE] only buried 460 scholars, while we [during a  fifteen-year period that immediately followed the Long March] buried 46,000. In our supression of the counter-revolutionaries, did we not kill some counter-revolutionary intellectuals? I once debated with the democratic people: "You accuse me of acting like Ch'in, but you are wrong --we surpass him 100 times."

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H G Wells

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Hong Liangji (1793):

Speaking of households, the number of which there are 20 times more than a hundred years ago, some people may propose that there would be wild land to cultivate and spare space for housing. But they can only be doubled or tripled, or at most increased five times, whereas the population at the same time could be ten to twenty times larger. Therefore housing and crop fields tend to be in scarcity, while the population tends to be excessive at all time. Given the fact that some households become monopolists, there is no wonder that so many have suffered cold and hunger and even died here and there. 

[...] 

How does Heaven deal with the tension? Flood, drought, pestilence are the means of Heaven to temper the problem.

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Newman Abraham


Barnett Newman, ABRAHAM, 1949. Oil on canvas. 2.1 m x 88 cm. Museum of Modern Art, New York City.

"The purpose of man's first speech was an address to the unknowable."

--Barnett Newman (1947)

Lao Tzu, TAO TE CHING (sixth century BCE):

The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth; 
The Named is the mother of all things.
Therefore let there always be non-being so we may see their subtlety,
And let there always be being so we may see their outcome.

SEPHER YETZIRAH/BOOK OF FORMATION --the earliest extant book of Jewish esotericism (c. 3000 BCE):

There were formed seven double letters ... each has two voices, either aspirated or softened. ... These are double because their opposites take part in life. Opposed to Life is Death ... to Wisdom, Ignorance ... to Fruitfulness, Sterility. 

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José Ortega y Gasset (1962):

To be free means to be lacking in constitutive identity, not to have subscribed to a determined being, to be able to be other than one was, to be unable to install oneself once and for all in any given being. The only attribute of the freed, stable being in the free being is this constititive instability.

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"When the physical form embodies and preserves the spirit so that all activities follow their own specific principles, that is nature."

-- Chuang Tzu (d. 295 BCE)
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"History flows neither from the past nor to the future alone: it reverses its course and, when you get right down to it, flows from all the presents."

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1960)

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Chan master Hongzhi Zhengjue (1095-1157):

The self divides into ten billion distinct illuminating spirits. Distinguish these without falling into names and classifications.

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Posted March 20, 2018

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SYS garden iced

" ... 'Amplitude'..."..(Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

An 'envisagement' --by Joe Wai, the architect who saved VANCOUVER CHINATOWN from urban planners who  had sought to 'knock it down' for a freeway-- the DR. SUN YAT-SEN CLASICAL CHINESE GARDEN precincts are emblematic of Wai's aesthetic conviction that an 'urban designer' must "look to other places ... to different cultures to gain better insight." As an unwavering activist, Wai has further clarified his practical/radical commitment and resolve, remarking (in 2006): "You study not just your own community; you study many different communities."

-- CAUSA Research Curators ] 

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"Wherever there is a relation of knowing without intermediaries, the term is called a 'percept'.

-- Bertrand Russell (1956)

A theory of cultural change is impossible without knowledge of the changing sense ratios effected by various externalizations of our senses. 

-- Marshall McLuhan (1962)

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Ezra Pound text

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

To say that perception is and always has been an "inspection of the mind" is to define it not by what it gives us, but by what in it WITHSTANDS the hypothesis of NON-EXISTENCE; it is to identify from the first the positive with a negation of negation; it is to require of the innocent the proof of their non-culpability, and to reduce in advance our contact with Being to the discursive operations with which we defend ourselves against illusion, to reduce the true to the credible, the real to the probable.

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Priestley text

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Ch'eng I (1033-1107):

When knowledge is profound, action will be thorough. No one ever knows without being able to act. If one knows without being able to act, the knowledge is superficial.

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Ecco text

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"The real is coherent and probable because it is real, and not real because it is coherent."

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964)

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    ANYBODY WHO ISN'T WHAT THEY EAT?
                             M.K.Morton

Climate servile, not a warble gloaming,
Curfew closing in. The weary landless ploughman roaming?
Unbecoming bald clear-cut landscapes he'll be combing,
Residue of oil-spill too slick for foaming,
The latest carbon-footprint spats stats plod to toming.

A lone computer commuter pigeon homing.
Dark unfathomable caves of ocean--
Impact-assessment slouched, never getting sedimental overdue,
With The World Bank's intensively cost-effective bien-entendu
Back-deck barbeque micro-chop potion,

Mac the knife's offshore beard-wax and Polly's lotion
Silt up. Now it's over to you.
Unable to attain abstainability,
Determined to meet our growth targets,
We argue, despite our insatiable appetite for markets,

For mirage-proof sustainabilty,
But take heart: there's plenty space apace still for asphalt.
Guess who are--with destiny a rendezvous
A franchise-niche Intent to pursue--
Spread-sheets headed to misconstrue.

Take: a fake yet so tiding-overably plausible environmentalist,
Demanding of nothing  big-time in particular a halt,
Who figures as one of nature's climate-stalled phoneys
(Never met a cooked-books technology-solution he didn't exalt);
While an average, hedging data-averaging meteorologist-- 

Juggling ranges, never met a mist he dismissed,
Indefinitely incorrigibly, a four seasonable probability-theorist--
Can, without that much of an actual-aerial twist,
Be numbered among Runyon's pari-mutuel cronies;
And surely, always ready to exalt the largest vault

(He never met an upscale time-tease he didn't extend you)
Any economist worth his no-fault gestalt
Has a deniability system when he plays the ponies.
When if, careful Zurich not to be out-gastro-gnoming,
Revenue far from neutral. those three open (their retinue

Eking out lives not even worth metronoming--
Call them microwaving macaronis)
A fast-food venue guaranteeing your lazy bones ease,
Pride of place on the menu
's certainly ice-cap-thawed baloney's.

When not sheer astrological, astronomical their cuisine.
In the yellow pages: Chez Spratt, their palates lick their planets clean,
Leave mainly space-station cast-offs, rocket debris to glean.
For damage control on stardust fat they lean,
Proclaim the market's shooting stars serene.

Although not too certain about their pies and fries,
The Food and Drug Admin certifiably denies
That whatever these guys offer as cheap buys
For global hangover, their offshore outsize tangerine
Gives off a loose change whiff of plasticine.

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Chou Tun-I (1017-1073):

Without sincerity ... all activities will be wrong. They will be depraved and obstructed.

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

When faced with a perceptual appearance we not only know that it can subsequently "break up," we know also that it will do so only for having been so well replaced by another that there remains no trace of it, and that we seek in vain in this chalky rock what a moment ago WAS a piece of wood polished by the sea. Each perception is mutable and only probable --it is, if one likes, only an OPINION; but what is not opinion, what each perception, even if false, verifies, is the belongingness of each experience to the same world, their equal power to manifest it, as POSSIBILITIES OF THE SAME WORLD.

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Li Chishou painting

Li Chi-shou (active second half of 19th century), PLUM BLOSSOMS after Chin  Nung (1687-1764). Hanging scroll --ink on paper. University of Michigan Museum of Art. Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Artist's inscription (upper left corner):

Standing alone elegantly, [the plum blossom] 
     is not of this dusty world.
At the forefront of all other spring flowers, it
     blooms first.
Uniquely distinguished, its bones and face are 
     made of ice and frost.
From its indifference to fame and profit, one 
     witnesses its ingenuousness.
This celebrated blossom has many 
     manifestations, yet there is no trace of its 
     origins.
Its present form is actually the reincarnation 
     of the bright moon. 
A tree with flowers like coral, its fragrance
     trails off endlessly,
Its pure demeanor overawes the heaven and 
     earth.

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Hawking text

Friedrich Nietzsche (1883):

Remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworly hopes. Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so let them go.

Edmund O. Wilson (1986): 

No one knows the diversity of the world, not even to the nearest order of magnitude. [...] We don't know for sure how many species there are, where they can be found or how fast they are disappearing. It's like having astronomy without knowing where the stars are.

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Canetti text

"Only with a sense of shame can one be educated."

-- Chou Tun-I (1017-1073)

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Posted March 12, 2018

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Confucius text

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Wyndham Lewis (1922): 

Art ... the greatest art, even, has it in its power to influence everybody. 

A man might be unacquainted with the very existence of a certain movement in art, and yet his life would be modified directly if the street he walked down took a certain shape, at the dictates of an architect under the spell of that movement, whatever it were. Its forms and colours would have a tonic or a debilitating effect on him, an emotional value. Just as he is affected by the changes of the atmosphere, without taking the least interest in the cyclonic machinery that controls it, would he be affected by any change in his physical milieu. 

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"Every visible involves a ground which is not visible in the sense the figure is."

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964)

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Xunzi text

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Friedrich Nietzsche (1874):

As long as the soul of history is found in the great impulse that it gives to a powerful spirit, as long as the past is principally used as a model for imitation, it is always in danger of being a little altered and touched up, and brought nearer to fiction.

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Kew Pagoda

William Marlow, VIEW OF THE WILDERNESS AT KEW, 1763. Watercolour. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 

Curatorial Record:

The Chinese Pagoda of Kew Gardens, designed in 1757 by William Chambers, has always attracted much attention. In the mid-eighteenth century, the pagoda fueled a rage for such buildings throughout Europe. 

At a time when a general vogue for CHINOISERIE was based on imaginative visions of the Orient rather than accurate information, Chambers, who visited China in the 1740s, was able to create stylistically accurate, authentic designs. His findings were published in DESIGNS FOR CHINESE BUILDINGS (1757) and in DISSERTATION ON ORIENTAL GARDENING (1772).

Herbert Read (1922):

Reason is the relevant association of images. So is, if we like to use the word, Imagination. But I think we should erase the word "imagination" from our critical vocabulary. It is only a confusing synonym. It should be noted that Reason, being a catenation of images, which in their turn are the sensory perceptions of objects and events, is a structure of reality: so much steel and concrete of actuality. That is, I think, the only sense in which we need use the word "reality" in criticism. Conversely, of course, we can argue that reality is the essence of reason, and therefore of art. 

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Chinoiserie plate

'Pekin Pattern' ironstone plate --produced by Beech and Hancock Co.,  England, between 1857 and 1876.  (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

The PEKIN pattern was first produced with the image of two men in a garden  (passing an opium pipe from one to the other). The second version --documented here-- shows a seated  figure in a garden (attended by servants).

A product of Stoke-on-Trent, this example of nineteenth century CHINOISERIE was brought to New Westminster --in the era when that frontier 'outpost' (personally named by Queen Victoria) had become the first capitol (1858-1866) of the new colony of British Columbia.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

MEMO

From: Terence Russell, University of Manitoba Asian Studies Centre

To: CAUSA Research Curators

Re: Chinoiserie Plate [New Westminster]

The seated figure seems to be a Qing dynasty scholar-official. This is indicated by his hat and the pattern on the front of his robe. Neither of these are especially accurate representations, but that seems to be the intention. The robe itself is difficult to identify as specifically Qing/Manchu style, but collar is characteristically Manchu. The shoes with the curled-up toes are more Middle-Eastern (or Indian) than they are Chinese. The servant standing before the scholar-official seems to be wearing European costume, although he has a queue, which indicates he is ethnically Manchurian or Chinese. The figure in the middle appears to be a European woman. The costume, including the hat, is not Chinese or Manchu, and she doesn't have bound feet. 

The vegetation reflects a southern locale.

This ends up being a very "international" scene. 

March 2, 2018 

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Cheng Yi text

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Wanyee Li, Metro News (Vancouver), March 1, 2018:

Mary Yan walks past a gravel dog park everyday on her way to the bus stop in New Westminster. Yan, a genealogist at UBC library, had no idea the sloping downtown site, surrounded by a chain-linked fence, used to be a central meeting point for the Chinese-Canadian community in the early 1900s.

She was shocked when she found out.

"I was very upset. They could have chosen anything except a dog park," she told Metro.

Built in 1905, the Chinese Benevolent Association building, called the 'Old Man's House' at 842 Agnes Street, served New Westminster's Chinatown as a school, hospital, and residential care facility for the elderly. Back then, the neighborhood was British Columbia's largest Chinatown, after Victoria.

But by 1979, most in the Chinese community had moved ... and the Benevolent Society donated the building to the city.

The city demolished it one year later. The lot sat empty until 2009, when the city turned it into an off-leash dog park as part of a nuisance abatement strategy.

But a 2016 consultation report found some people did not pick up after their dogs at the park and that some dog owners did not feel safe due to agressive dogs or people of "questionable character" using the lot.

In 2010, the City of New Westminster made a commitment to commemorate Chinese pioneers at the old Chinese Benevolent Association building site. It is now destined to become a public park.

[ Note:

Motivated by 'public health' and 'moral corruption' propaganda, comprehensive clearance/demolition of the core New Westminter Chinatown precincts was completed, under local government authority, between 1917 and 1920.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ] 

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McLuhan Depth text

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"As soon as there is consciousness, there is nature."

-- Ch'eng I (1033-1107)

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Melly Shum billboard

Ken Lum, SCULPTURE/BILLBOARD --on long-term loan to the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (since 1990). 

Wyndham Lewis (1922):

The art impulse reposes upon a conviction that the state of limitation of the human being is more desirable than the state of the automaton; or a feeling of the gain and significance residing in this human fallability for us. To feel that our consciousness is bound up with this non-mechanical phenomenon of life; that, although helpless in face of the material world, we are in some way superior to and independent of it; and that our mechanical imperfection is the symbol of that. In art we are in a sense playing at what we designate as matter. We are entering the forms of the mighty phenomena around us, and seeing how near we can get to being a river or a star, without actually BECOMING that.

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Sun Yatsen Frozen

" ... 'Intercorporeity'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

DR. SUN YAT-SEN CLASSICAL CHINESE GARDEN --the first "scholars" garden built outside China-- was first  envisaged by the Vancouver-based architect Joe Wai. The scheme was completed (under his supervision) in 1986.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

Chuang Tzu (399-295 BCE):

The three, COMPLETE, ENTIRE, and ALL, differ in name but are the same in actuality. They designate the One. 

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Posted March 6, 2018

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McLuhan Global Village

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Seng-chao (334-413 BCE):

Since things [appear to be] nonexistent but are really not nonexistent, the nonexistence is not absolutely vacuous, and since things [appear to be] existent but are really not existent, the existence is not true (absolute) existence. Since the existent as it is is not true and the nonexistent is not entirely obliterated without any trace, although they are called differently, their ultimate meaning is the same.

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Uncanny old gags

Gary Lee-Nova, UNCANNY OLD GAGS #2 --silkscreen print (2000) from a collage by the artist (1983). 

Hui Shih (380-305BCE?):

A great similarity is different from a small similarity; this is called the lesser similarity-and-difference. All things are similar to one another and different from one another; this is called the great similarity-and-difference. 

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"It is demoralizing to remind oneself that there is no dictionary in the mind, that lexicographical apparatus is a very late accretion to language."

-- Walter Ong (1982)

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Carr Forest painting

Emily Carr, A RUSHING SEA OF UNDERGROWTH, 1931. Vancouver Art Gallery --Emily Carr Trust.

Emily Carr (1934):

A picture by a satisfied artist hangs lifeless on the wall, but if the artist is pulled with longing and striving to get on further --see beyond, keep moving-- there will be a carrying on. Also for the beholder who himself will feel the need for pressing on further to something bigger, longing is greater than satisfaction.

Sun Bu'er ... Daoist poet/priestess ... (1119-1182):

The great forge produces mountains and waters,
Containing there the potential of creation.
In the morning, greet the energy of the sun; 
At night, inhale the vitality of the moon.
In time the elixir can be called;
With the years, the body naturally lightens. 
Where the original spirit comes and goes,
Myriad apertures emit radiant light.

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  THE MAP OF WHERE IT ISN'T AT
            RESISTS REFOLDING?
                      M.K.Morton

Finding the spirits unbiddable?
Impatient with the illimitable?
No luck training phantom riders correctly inflect "Giddy-up"?
Just because a mite deaf to the inaudible

All the more reason give up
Trying stare down unrecognizables.
Better keep in touch with the intangible.
Amazing what the mills of the gods accept as grist.

Awareness reality richly involves
The existence of things that don't exist
Is the beginning of wisdom.
Life's prime imponderables

Prize: without them who ever solves,
Let alone constructs, even the least rhapsodic conundrum.
Any good a theory be without loose ends or inexplicable twist?
Than rare truth or, its second cousin, fiction,

Consummately riper our imaginings.
Especially  liberally splashed with fantasy's trickiest, friskiest mist:
The implausible. Take imaginative heart from the mage who shoves
Comfortably aside reductionist inhibition.

With the contrapuntal duets of dolphins and doves
Give--if gist, when you overhear what the violin says to the strings,
You get. But no matter how adept at immersing in their idiom,
Even if working up to their lingo a healthy addiction,

Don't expect (responsively eavesdropping
On life's score's loosest spooked
Leaves balladeically, seasonably dropping)
You'll transcribe trombones kibitzing with fife and drum

Limber. Until, primed to be uncannily fluked,
Listening close to catch a chime out of Niffleheim,
Dulcet-sprung. relish-wise, past Xanadu your way to bribe
You learn: by spilling in three-quarter time

The unlabelled nectar redundant catch-as-catch-can gods imbibe.
That music of the spheres 'ssure got rhythm.
Who knows when the numinous
May next half-way illumine us?

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Wang Yang-ming (1472-1529):

If one seeks the principles of things outside the mind, there will not be any to be found. And if one neglects the principles of things and only seeks his mind, what sort of a thing would the mind be? The substance of the mind is nature, and nature is identical with principle.

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THE HUMAN ABSTRACT
     William Blake  (1794)


Pity would be no more
If we did not make somebody poor;
And mercy no more could be
If all were as happy as we.
And mutual fear brings peace,
Till the selfish love increase;
Then cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care.
He sits down with holy fears,
And waters the ground with tears;
Then humility takes its root
Underneath his foot.
Soon spreads the dismal shade
Of mystery over his head;
And the caterpillar and fly
Feed on the mystery.
And it bears the fruit of deceit,
Ruddy and sweet to eat;
And the raven his nest has made
In its thickest shade.
The Gods of the earth and sea
Sought through nature to find this tree;
But their search was all in vain:
There grows one in the human brain.
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Hardedge


" ... 'Hard-Edge'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

"Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course."

-- Union of Concerned Scientists (1992)

"Heaven is not to be trusted."

-- Duke of Zhou ... also known as the 'God of Dreams' ... (d. 1094 BCE)

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Kropotkin overflow text

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"Not all sounds can be produced."

-- Guo Xiang (d. 312 CE)

NATIVE (sonic meditation by Pauline Oliveros), 1974: 

'Take a walk at night. Walk so silently that the bottoms of your feet become ears.'

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"The good New is never that completely new."

-- Ernst Bloch (1954)

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McLuhan Centers text

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Alfred North Whitehead (1925):

In a sense, everything is everywhere at all times. For every location involves an aspect of itself in every other location. Thus every spatio-temporal standpoint mirrors the world.

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Chuang Tzu (bet. 391-295 BCE):

All species have originative or moving power. [ ... ] All things come from the originative process of Nature and return to the originative process of Nature.

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Posted February 27, 2018

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Beuys text

Document dispatched to augment a CAUSA curatorial research initiative at University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections ... ROBERT R. REID: DESIGN IN DEPTH ... Winnipeg ... February 2018. 

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Intro booklet 1

Intro booklet 2

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"Earth does not give up its expanse because people dislike distance."

-- Hsün Tzu (fl..258-238 BCE)

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On Kawara

On Kawara, OCTOBER 26, 1971 --from the TODAY series. Liquitex on canvas.

[ Note:

Like all other works in this peripatetic artist's TODAY series, this 'date painting' was completed in one day (prior to midnight). Realized in New York City --a 'matter of fact' identified by the newspaper clipping that is affixed to the interior lid of the artist-made storage box-- the painted canvas and its archival accompaniments identify On Kawara's ever-expanding program of continuous CONCATENATION, discontinuously disclosed.

                    -- CAUSA Research Curators ]

G.K. Chesterton (1931):

The press is a machine for destroying the public memory. When it is called the daily press, it means that it exists entirely to wash out the popular recollection of yesterday.

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Hsün Tzu (fl. 298-238 BCE):

There are things which have the same appearance but are in different places, and there are things which have different appearances but are in the same place (as a person when he is young and when he is old). When two things have the same appearance but are in two different places, although they may be grouped together, they are to be called two actualities. When the appearance changes but the actuality is not different, it is called transformation. When there is transformation but no difference in actuality, this is called one actuality.

Alfred North Whitehead (1920):

An object is an ingredient in the character of some event. In fact the character of an event is nothing but the objects which are ingredient in it and the ways in which those objects make their ingression into the event. Thus the theory of objects is the throry of the comparison of events. Events are only comparable because they body forth permanences. We are comparing objects in events whenever we can say 'There it is again.' Objects are the events in nature which can 'be again'. 

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Pound text

Document dispatched to augment a CAUSA curatorial research initiative at University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections ... ROBERT R. REID: DESIGN IN DEPTH ... Winnipeg ... February 2018. 

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"When one is united with the sound and breath of things, one is then united with the universe."

-- Chuang Tzu (bet. 399 and 295 BCE)

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Posted February 25, 2018

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Bloch text

Document dispatched to augment a CAUSA curatorial research initiative at University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections ... ROBERT R. REID: DESIGN IN DEPTH ... Winnipeg ... February 2018.

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"Literature is news that stays news."

-- Ezra Pound (1934)

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Chinese Graphics text1

Chinese graphics 2

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"The body may be allowed to be like dry wood but should the mind be allowed to be like dead ashes?"

-- Chuang Tzu (bet. 399 and 295 BCE)

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Posted February 24, 2018

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Ovenden text

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Bertrand Russell ( 1956):

I think the perceptual world is part of the physical world. I do not think that the physical world consists of bits of matter. I think that a bit of matter is a logical construction which Physicists used to find convenient and it is a construction of made-up events. The world is full of all sorts of events and sometimes two events have their relation to each other which is 'one of them knowing the other'. Sometimes this relation is a direct one, and sometimes it proceeds by intermediaries. These cases differ in the same way in which PARENT differs from ANCESTOR.

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Nyoitsu Poem

Sokuhi Nyoitsu (1616-1671), READING A SUTRA BY MOONLIGHT. Hanging scroll --ink on paper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Curatorial Record:

The Chinese monk Yinyuan Longqi (1592-1673), known in Japan as Ingen Ryuki, came to Japan in 1654. He  introduced a style of Chan, or Zen,  Buddhism and spread Ming-dynasty culture. He built a temple [near Kyoto] called Manpukuji, and his school was known as the Obaku sect after a mountain near the original temple site in China.

Sokuhi Nyoichi (Chinese: Jofei Ruyi) was among the group of monks who accompanied Ingen Ryuki. Together, his painting and calligraphy express the profundity found in the quotidian rhythms of Zen monastic life. The poem reads:

Moon and white paper are of
one colour. 
The pupil of the eye and the ink 
are both black.
The marvelous meaning, lodged 
in the circle,
is beyond comprehension.

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Luxton 1

Luxton 2

Luxton 3

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Grant Hurley (Digital Preservation Librarian, University of Toronto): Alcuin Society dispatch (October 17, 2017):

The works of Robert R. Reid are featured in a wonderful exhibition at the Robertson Davies Library at Massey College, the University of Toronto. 

ROBERT R. REID: GRAPHIC DESIGN IN THE DIGITAL ERA features 42 aphorisms and quotations [selected by the research curators of CAUSA/COLLECTIVE FOR ADVANCED AND UNIFIED STUDIES IN THE VISUAL ARTS] printed in poster format. The posters are mounted on the walls of the library space as well as in several exhibit cases, and viewers are encouraged to ramble around the room and consider them in turn. Each takes as subject the conversation between the quotations, its design and typography, and the reader's response as they make their way around, finding connections and correlations between the quotations and the diverse ways in which they are represented. Indeed, the whole exhibition is a real study in the influence that design and typography have over interpretation --the meaning of which is left to the reader. 

It is noted [in a curation statement by CAUSA] that "components of the present exhibition will be intermittently replaced (and/or rearranged), in order to maximize the scope of an exploratory curatorial initiative."

_________________________________________

Wang Wei, author and visual artist (701-761):

Sometimes I'd walk,
walk far from home,
the things I've seen,
and I alone

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"The problem of forgetting: lies essentially in the fact that it is discontinuous."

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964)

_________________________________________

Small Boy Test

"Small Boy" --part of OPERATION SUNBEAM, a series of four "tactical" nuclear warhead experiments at the Nevada Test site-- 14 July 1962. US National Nuclear Security Administration.

Chris Turney (University of New South Wales), et al (2018):

On Campbell Island in the Southern Ocean, some 400 miles south of New Zealand, is a single Sitka Spruce. More than 170 miles away from any other tree, it is often credited as the "world's loneliest tree." Planted in the early 20th century by Lord Ranfurly, governor of New Zealand, the tree's wood has recorded the radiocarbon produced by above ground atomic bomb tests --and its annual layers show a peak in 1965, just after the tests were banned. The tree therefore gives us a potential marker for the start of the Anthropocene.

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McLuhan Private

_________________________________________

Rainer Maria Rilke (1922):

We have overheard fountains all our days.
They sound to us almost like time.
But much more clearly do they keep pace
with eternity's rhythm.

The water is strange and the water is yours,
from here and from far below.
You are the fountain stone, unawares, 
and all Things are mirrored in you.

How distant this is, yet deeply akin,
long unriddled and never known,
senseless, then perfectly clear. 

Your task is to love what you don't understand.
It grips your most secret emotion, and
rushes away with it. Where?

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CUTTING BRAMBLES

by Sun Bu'er, Taoist master/poet/teacher (1119-1182)

Cut brambles long enough,
Sprout after sprout,
And the lotus will bloom
Of its own accord:
Already waiting in the clearing,
The single image of light.
The day you see this,
That day you will become it.

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_________________________________________

Posted February 19, 2018

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Confucius says

The New, my friends, is not a matter of 
letting machines force out our handiwork.
Don't be confused by change; soon those who have 
praised the "New" will realize their mistake.

For look, the Whole is infinitely newer 
than a cable or a high apartment house.
The stars keep blazing with an ancient fire,
and all more recent fires will fade out.

Not even the longest, strongest of transmissions
can turn the wheels of what will be.
Across the moment, aeons speak with aeons.

MORE than we experienced has gone by,
And the future holds the most remote event
in union with what we most deeply want.

-- Rainer Maria Rilke (1922)

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Highrise in puddle

" ... 'Reassembled'...". Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

There is vision, touch, when a certain visible, a certain tangible, turns back upon the whole of the visible, the whole of the tangible, of which it is a part, or when suddenly it finds itself SURROUNDED by them, or when between it and them, and through their commerce, is formed a Visibility, a Tangible in itself, which belong properly neither to the body qua fact nor to the world qua fact --as upon two mirrors facing one another where two indefinite series of images set in one another arise which belong really to neither of the two surfaces, since each is only the rejoinder of the other, and which therefore form a couple, a couple more real than either of them. 

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Mcluhan text

"Empirical laws [...] have only slight or even no value beyond the limits within which they have been observed to be true."

-- Vilfredo Pareto (1960) 

Wang Yangming text

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CAUSA DOCUMENTARY RECORD 
(2018) 

    BEFORE TIME BURNS OUT
                   M.K. Morton

Among to-day's most pressing questions
Range (don't bother sending in your suggestions):
Who says the Schloch Ness mantras watchers have nothing to report?
Is not having a brand-new image a sacrilege?

Would de-icers fed by non-binary computers aid the planet's digestion?
Are alternate-universe suburbanites really our sort?
Is on-line dating-traffic in danger of congestion?
Is there enough video to record global bread-and-circuses spillage?

What good will it do if giant corporations we exhort?
Could legalization make exports cheaper per snort?
Can an outsource deal be as quick
As an offshore-transfer? Fattening chance the internet--

Throwing a flavour-fit--
Along with the recipe can, even half-baked
Download your favourite
Terrine and strawberry torte still slick enough to lick?

Should Gatsby's caterers be given their day in court?
Can carbon-tax on global warming lead climate-change to waiver it?
Are photo-ops inevitably opaqued?
Now when all is indefatigably trick

Or tweet, media well-flaked,
Swishing, significant coverage minimal,
Will the Olympics be farmed out? (Exempt from IOC export
Officials' scrutiny: media-wide endorsements of apparel,

Beverage, other country-club equipment, tin birdbath, gated-gazebo brick,
Mother-of pearl, lending institutions, upscale resort,
Automotive-fair and tele-communication services, perfume by the quart,
Guides to self-dramatization,

With champion podium rug-testing alembic retort.)
How much longer before, lock, stock and barrel,
Our under-the-radar civilization
Is taken off hype-support, old sport?

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

Everything is obscure when one has not thought out the negative; everything is clear when one has thought it as negative. For then what is called negation and what is called position appear as accomplices and even in a sort of equivalence. 

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Lee-Nova Old Gags

Gary Lee-Nova, UNCANNY OLD GAGS #1. Silkscreen print in 'yardstick' frame (2000) --from artist's collage (1983). 

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Tung Chungshu

IAIN BAXTER&

VSI [Visual Sensitivity Information] 

DARK Pyeongchang 3:38 a.m. KST (Korean Central Time) and same time LIGHT Winnipeg 3:38 p.m. CST (Central Standard Time) 

Friedrich Nietzsche (1888):

The criteria which have been bestowed on the "true being" of things are the criteria of not being, of NAUGHT; the "true world" has been constructed out of contradiction to the actual world: indeed an apparent world, insofar as it is merely a moral-optical illusion. 

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Posted February 1, 2018

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McLuhan Text 8

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CAUSA DOCUMENTARY RECORD
(2018)

    THE EMPEROR'S NEW WASHING MACHINE

                                M.K.Morton

I met a PR front-man from a frantic northern antic land,

Whose job had been for years to obfuscate with sand.

(Who could afford smoke and mirrors?)

He told me he'd, at the abrupt edge of the graveyard of careers,

Avoiding the judgment of a jury of his appears,

Kept fed frenzy-feeding his leader's sneers of cold command.

This head of state--revenue shortfall colossal, no funds to launder--

Calls now for his make-up crew. While his pipe his bowl implodes,

To his damage-control gang, slow as molasses, rum oaths

Swears: "I'll be satisfied if you can make my every blunder blonder."

When they were leaked a copy of "The Emperor's New Clothes"

Came on so excited

They did, they didn't, the press corps, ever bother the end of the story

Read. Focussed more on the glory

Of the sartorial than satori,

Rushed off everywhere they got invited.

Hadn't suspected they got by because the guests weren't far-sighted.

Meanwhile the lilies of the field yawn, a stretch far away from decay.

Has ever monument's inscription been known to say

Who it was, the toff on top set to topple or at least betray,

Whispered in his ear: "Calculated, display's a stuff that will not stay."?

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McLuhan Text 10

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CAUSA DOCUMENTARY RECORD
(2017)

"Only eight years after WWII, nuclear weapons had become hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

-- Rachel Johnson, executive director of the BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS. 

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Hell calligraphy

Seigan Soi (Japanese, 1588-1661), HELL. Hanging scroll --ink on paper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 

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CAUSA Documentary Record 
(2018)

"To call the world nuclear situation dire is to underestimate the danger --and its immediacy."

-- Lawrence Kraus and Robert Rosner, BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS 

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Two (Marshall McLuhan) texts (1964) dispatched to augment a CAUSA conference ... WINNNIPEG/WORLD: GLOBAL VILLAGE/COUNTER-ENVIRONMENT ... Elizabeth Dafoe Library ... University of Manitoba ... 18 January 2018 ...

1.

This is the Age of Anxiety for the reason of the electric implosion that compels commitment and participation, quite regardless of our "point of view." The partial and specialized character of the viewpoint, however noble, will not serve at all in the electric age. At the information level the same upset has occured with the substitution of the inclusive image for the mere viewpoint.

2.

As we begin to react in depth to the social life and problems of our global village, we become reactionaries.

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Zen master Dogen (1240 CE):

The reason you do not clearly understand the time-being is that you think of time as passing. In essence, all things in the entire world are linked with one another as moments. Because all moments are the time-being, they are your time-being.

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McLuhan text 6

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Posted January 29, 2018

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Robert Reid Poster

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McLuhan Poster

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CAUSA DOCUMENTARY RECORD 
(2018)

   MAKING SHIFT

     M.K. Morton

 

 

The sky was at an all-time high

The day the goldfish started studying water.

The horizon was still running shy,

 

But cyber-space could almost figure out 

How to read a blotter.

From the sundials was that an over-eager shout?

 

Might the sky play piggy-back 

With the horizon's flirty length and flighty breadth?

Can a tug-o'-war be staged on a teeter-totter?

 

Will the goldfish become like tribes of scholars

Who study their subject in depth

But never notice anything about it.

 

Could the sun-dials, sporting a crack, cut time some slack?

Meanwhile, getting hot under the economy's bingo callers

The texting masses listen to muzak's ghost-half's strip Mahlers.

 

Their own moss and lichen enthrallers

In perpetuity, the sun-dials curl up. Even before dawns sprout lit,

Monumentally devout,

 

On no bit of doubt having bit,

Though not out and about, 

Confident they can still outwit

 

Cinderella's masquerade foot-ballers,

These heavenly-contrapuntal rocks never quit.

Their every nook and cranny will outlive--having outfit--

 

The ambitious moonlighters and the tomb-touting,

Tome-toting, theme-tooting, 

Time-tattoing academic night-crawlers.


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Russell text

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Zhuangzi text

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Posted January 24, 2018

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Michael Snow, PROPHECY [40-minute glissando] for orchestra. Commissioned by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. 

World Premiere: January 27, 2018. Winnipeg New Music Festival.

"At different stages you'll appreciate that it has come from somewhere, which is the past, and the present because it is moving in time, involves a prophecy as to where it's going."

-- Michael Snow 

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Zen master Dogen (1200-1253):

Studying the Buddha way is studying oneself. Studying oneself is forgetting oneself. Forgetting oneself is being enlightened by all things. Being enlightened by all things is to shed the body-mind of oneself, and those of others. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this traceless enlightenment continues endlessly.

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Marshall McLuhan (1954):

Many people have noted how ours is an 'eye-minded' culture. But we do not have educated eyes. Similary our ears are assailed by messages as no ears have ever been assailed, but we do not have educated ears.

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Posted January 23, 2018

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Robert Reid UM

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Two texts dispatched to augment a CAUSA conference at Elizabeth Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba ...  MARSHALL McLUHAN: WINNIPEG/WORLD: GLOBAL VILLAGE/COUNTERENVIRONMENT ... 18 January 2018 ...

1.

The new overkill is simply an extension of our nervous system into a total ecological service environment. Such a service environment can liquidate or terminate its beneficiaries as naturally as it sustains them. 

-- Marshall McLuhan (1972)

2. 

People think nuclear weapons are like a natural disaster or an asteroid hitting earth, because the consequences are so awful. But we need to see them as just weapons; we can control them. They're just really giant, expensive, dirty bombs that could end us all. We built them; we can take them apart.

-- Beatrice Fihn (2017)

Douglas Coupland ... two-part  'prophesy' presented at the VERBIER ART SUMMIT (Switzerland), January 19-20, 2018:

i. "Virtual Reality [VR] is this asteroid that's going to hit the planet in 2023."

ii. "The post-millenial generation, around one and a half generations from now, is going to have people who have no connection to the real world."

Two 'counterenvironment' probes ... dispatched by CAUSA research curators  as 'complements' to the 2018 Verbier Art Summit theme ... ART IN THE DIGITAL AGE ...

1.

Marshall McLuhan (1964):

Anything that is approached in depth acquires as much interest as the greatest matters. Because "depth" means "interrelation," not isolation. Depth means insight, not point of view; and insight is a kind of mental involvement in process that makes the content of the item seem quite secondary. Consciousness itself is an inclusive process not at all dependent on content. Consciousness does not postulate consciousness of anything in particular.

2.

"The future is theoretically impossible over a whole narrative; it occurs only in a mini-narrative such as a prophecy or a marching order."

-- Christine Brooke-Rose (1989)

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Reflected Buddha

Iain Baxter/Iain Baxter&, REFLECTED SAN FRANCISCO BEAUTY SPOT (BUDDHA IN GOLDEN GATE PARK), 1979. Photo-etching with colour aquatint. 

[ Note:

This 'interrelation' document is being dispatched by CAUSA research curators as an 'extension' to the 2018 VERBIER ART SUMMIT ... and its ART IN THE DIGITAL AGE theme.] 

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Winnipeg Conference Poster


Three texts dispatched to augment a CAUSA conference at Elizabeth Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba ... MARSHALL McLUHAN: WINNIPEG/WORLD: GLOBAL VILLAGE/COUNTERENVIRONMENT ... 18.01.18 ... 

1.

Consciousness has increasingly become the environment of the unconscious until we begin to dream awake, as it were, losing the boundaries between corporate and private.

-- Marshall McLuhan (1970)

2.

The breathless impulse to obtain and possess in the political, social and intellectual fields, which is rummaging the apparent, unappeasable passion in the soul of the Westerner, is also spreading continuously to the East and threatens to bear consequences not yet to be overlooked. 

-- Carl Jung (1944)

3.

Disarmament is illogical and futile unless one is prepared to regard the available means of production and social organization as affording unique social ends. To divert electrical energy and circuitry into atomic bombs shows the same imaginative power as wiring the dining-room chairs to enable one to electrocute the sitter in the event that he might prove hostile. It is part of the age-old habit of using new means for old purposes instead of discovering what are the new goals contained in the new means.

-- Marshall McLuhan (1970)

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IAIN BAXTER&: INFORMATION / LOCATION. [Documentary video linking North Vancouver Museum and (Japanese-Canadian) CHIBA GARDEN, City of North Vancouver.] CAUSA, 2012. 

https://player.vimeo.com/video/53372269

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Peter Zhang McLuhan and the I Ching: An Interological Inquiry Canadian Journal of Communication Vol 39.3 (2014) 449–468

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Why Translations of Premodern Chinese Poetry are Having a Moment Right Now

Posted July 19, 2016

A review article by Lucas Klein.

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The Chinagate Scandal

http://www.thecityreview.com/chinapro.htm

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