Friday, February 24, 2012

On the time of the Strandbeest

I attended a series of brilliant lectures today loosely corralled under the theme "Mediated Life". Of these, I want to talk briefly about Helmut Muller-Sievers' all too brief account of the nineteenth century and its relationship with forced motion; specifically the politics of the cylinder and those of the screw in relation to the limits and indeed the malleability and adaptability of the human body. And all of these in relation to virtuosity. And I won't say any more. If any of you need further elaboration, ask me.

However, this post is not about his lecture as much as the ways in which it reminded me of something I had espied in The New Yorker, Ian Frazier's article "The March of the Strandbeests". And whether this might help us think of machines, men, materiality, the body, cyborgs, and indeed, art in the twenty first century.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune -- without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

-- Emily Dickinson