Compendium Hermetica
And yet, it moves.


Working the Postal Grift as Art

Looking at the postal art of Michael Thompson and Michael Hernandez de Luna, I think of Thomas Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49. In that novel, a secret society communicated through and propogated itself via a parrallel and completely underground postal system. It also happened to feature one of the most extended references to Thomas Middleton's Revenger's Tragedy I've ever read.

Regardless, postal art enlists craft and audacity to perpetrate a fraud when carried to its ultimate end: using art to convey a message through a larger system - in this case, the USPS. While they must rely on the high level of dissatisfaction among postal workers, their art, in its intent and subject matter, is very subversive

posted by Brian | 6:40:00 AM link |



Beautiful panoramic photos panoramas of the Burning Man event. It strikes me as a medium that can help approximate, but never capture, the sense of space in places like the San Luis Valley, and Fair Play, Colorado.

posted by Brian | 9:41:00 PM link |


Summer Reading

While working on a longer piece about the insides of a ... well, you'll see... but until that's complete, something to take to the beach.

While reading Jason Goodwin's Lords of the Horizons, I found myself displeased with the book as a history. It jumped about far too much, provided footnotes either as either cryptic addenda, or completely tangential trivia, while never providing citations, or attributions (though a bibliography is included, as well as a piece overstated by being called a "gazetteer). I was on the verge of even putting the book down, as I realized that I had read a great deal and could recite only the most general conclusions and the most bizarre trivia from my time spent (perhaps more indicative of me than the book itself).

So I asked myself why I was having trouble holding this book as firmly in my mind as something much denser. I then reviewed the bits that I had rereading large chunks of the text. This allowed me to identify my mistake.

The prose is often quite good. But good prose doesn't necessarily make a good history. It can make a good history a great history. In this case, it can make a spotty history a charming summer read. It was a category mistake I made - it's not an informative history, but a well written set of anecdotes ladled over a timeline and given great narrative impulse by a good writer. It tends toward overview and ellision, but Mr. Goodwin's prose gallops along like the Gazis to whom he so frequently alludes. In fact, it's a great travelogue for an empire whose soil that no one has walked in 80 years. That's certainly worth picking up.

posted by Brian | 9:13:00 PM link |
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