Monday, April 19, 2010

The amazing thing

1) From “Solar,” by Ian McEwan (2010)

“The silence in the room was not so much stunned as embarrassed. Meredith stared helplessly as Beard brought his fist down hard on the table. ‘So come on. Tell me. Let’s hear you apply Heisenberg to ethics. Right plus wrong over the square roots of two. What the hell does it mean? Nothing!'

“Barry Pickett intervened to move the discussion on.

“That was an isolated discordant note. What was memorable and surprising came every evening, usually late on, in the bright tones of a marching brass band or the sound of massed voices in unison, elated in common purpose and obliterating for a while all disappointment, all bitterness. Beard would not have believed it possible that he would be in a room drinking with so many seized by the same particular assumption, that is was art in its highest forms — poetry, sculpture, dance, abstract music, conceptual art — that would lift climate change as a subject, glid it, palpate it, reveal all the horror and lost beauty and awesome threat and inspire the public to take thought, take action of deamd it of others. He sat in silent wonder. Idealism was so alien to his nature that he could raise an objection.”

2) From “Art Made at the Speed of the Internet: Don’t Say ‘Geek’; Say ‘Collaborator’” by Randy Kennedy in the New York Times (April 18, 2010)

“When Robert Rauschenberg and a buttoned-down Bell Labs engineer named Billy Kluver began thinking, in the mid-1960s, about ways that people from the world of technology could help artists make art, Mr. Kluver surveyed the mighty gulf between the two groups and almost thought better of the idea. ‘I was scared,’ he said once in an interview. ‘The amazing thing was that it’s possible for artists and scientists to talk together at all.’”

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