Breeder | John Horton Conway | Game of Life


God’s work revealed

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Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights | La planète sauvage (1973) | The Holy Mountain (1973)

The Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych

Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights, 1503-1515


Bosch Delights detail 1

Bosch Delights detail 4

Fantastic Planet (by René Laloux) is an animated film of an allegorical story about humans living on a strange planet dominated by giant humanoid aliens who consider them animals. It’s based on the 1957 novel Oms en série by French writer Stefan Wul. (wikipedia)

Image result for fantastic planet

(The mermaid in The Shape of Water (2017) seems to be a modern variation of the humanoid [the blue creature] in Fantastic Planet.)

It’s one of those films that creep its way from beginning to end. The images and plot seem very biblical but there’s evidently something more.

Continue reading “Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights | La planète sauvage (1973) | The Holy Mountain (1973)”

Clown School


by Nuar Alsadir

After my first day of clown school I tried to drop out. The instructor was provoking us in a way that made me uncomfortable – to the nervous smiley woman, ‘Don’t lead with your teeth;’ to the young hipster, ‘Go back to the meth clinic,’ and to me, ‘I don’t want to hear your witty repartee about Oscar Wilde.’

I was the only non-actor in the program and had made the mistake, as we went around the circle on the first day, of telling everyone that I was a psychoanalyst writing a book about laughter. As part of my research, I explained, I’d frequented comedy clubs and noticed how each performance, had it been delivered in a different tone of voice and context, could have been the text of a therapy session. Audience members, I told them, laughed less because a performer was funny than because they were honest. Of course that’s not how all laughter operates, but the kind of laughter I’m interested in (spontaneous outbursts) seems to function that way, and clown pushes that dynamic to its extreme – which is why I decided to enroll in clown school, and how I earned the grating nickname ‘smarty pants’.

But if I dropped out, I’d lose my tuition money. So I decided to stay, and, by staying, was provoked, unsettled, changed.




There’s a knee-jerk tendency to perceive provocation as negative – like how in writing workshops participants often call for the most striking part of a work to be cut. When we are struck, there’s a brief pause during which the internal dust is kicked up – we lose our habitual bearings, and an opening is created for something unexpected to slip in. Habit protects us from anything we don’t have a set way of handling. As it’s when we’re off-guard that we’re least automatous, it’s then that we’re most likely to come up with spontaneous, uncurated responses.

It turned out the perpetually-smiling woman was sad, the hipster (who didn’t even do drugs) acted high as a way of muting the parts of his personality he was afraid we would judge, and I found it easier to hide behind my intellect than expose myself as a flawed and flailing human being. Each role, in other words, offered a form of protection: by giving off recognizable signals to indicate a character type, we accessed a kind of invisibility. We cued people to look through us to the prototypes we were referencing. When the instructor satirized those roles, he defamiliarized them so that the habitual suddenly became visible. His provocations knocked the lids off the prototypes we were hiding inside of, in a similar way to how many psychoanalysts, in the attempt to understand a person’s conflicts, begin by analyzing their defenses – what is being used as cover – before moving on to what is being covered up and why.

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The Silent Child (2017) | shorts

The Oscar’s nominations for the shorts of this year are disappointing. Especially for live action, compared to how I felt in the cinema last year, this year is a total let-down. The Silent Child is the only one that I think attains to the level of quality that I was expecting. And it won. The heart and soul of the film (from people who made it) are very much palpable, so much so that the feelings easily reach you and it all becomes comprehensible.

Continue reading “The Silent Child (2017) | shorts”

Elegia podróżna (Travel elegy) | Wisława Szymborska

Wszystko moje, nic własnością,                   Everything’s mine though just on loan,
nie własnością dla pamięci,                           nothing for the memory to hold,
a moje dopóki patrzę.                                     though mine as long as I look.

Ledwie wspomniane, już niepewne,           Memories come to mind like excavated statues
Boginie swoich słów.                                      that have misplaced their heads.

Z miasta Samokow tylko deszcz                  From the town of Samokov, only rain
i nic prócz deszczu.                                        and more rain.

Paryż od Luwru do paznokcia                     Paris from Louvre to fingernail
bielmem zachodzi.                                         grows web-eyed by the moment.

Z bulwaru Saint-Martin zostały schodki    Boulevard Saint-Martin: some stairs
i wiodą do zaniku.                                          leading into a fadeout.

Nic więcej niż półtora mostu                        Only a bridge and a half
w Leningradzie mostowym.                         from Leningrad of the bridges.

Biedna Uppsala                                               Poor Uppsala, reduced to a splinter
z odrobiną wielkiej katedry                          of its mighty cathedral.

Nieszczęsny tancerz sofijski,                        Sofia’s hapless dancer,
ciało bez twarzy.                                             a form without a face.

Osobno jego twarz bez oczu,                        Then separately, his face without eyes;
osobno jego oczy bez źrenic,                        separately again, his eyes with no pupils,
osobno źrenice kota.                                      and, finally, the pupils of a cat.

Kaukaski orzeł szybuje                                  A Caucasian eagle soars
nad rekonstrukcją wąwozu,                          over the reproduction of a canyon,
złoto słońca nieszczere                                  the fool’s gold of the sun,
i fałszywe kamienie.                                       the phony stones.

Wszystko moje, nic własnością,                  Everything’s mine but just on loan,
nie własnością dla pamięci,                          nothing for the memory to hold,
a moje dopóki patrzę.                                    though mine as long as I look.

Nieprzebrane, nieobjęte,                              Inexhaustible, unembraceable,
a poszczególne aż do włókna,                      but particular to the smallest fiber,
ziarnka piasku, kropli wody                         grain of sand, drop of water—
– krajobrazy.                                                   landscapes.

Nie uchowam ani źdźbła                              I won’t retain one blade of grass
w jego pełnej widzialności.                          as it’s truly seen.

Powitanie z pożegnaniem                            Salutation and farewell
w jednym spojrzeniu.                                    in a single glance.

Dla nadmiaru i dla braku                              For surplus and absence alike,
jeden ruch szyi.                                               a single motion of the neck.