L’Univers Invisible

David Malin is one of the pre-eminent photographers of astronomical phenomenon. This book combines his photography with exquisite classical typography. I’ve somehow ended up with a version of this book in French (it was originally published in English) and I’m glad for it, even though I don’t read French. The text becomes further part of the image, and I can enjoy the thing as a purely visual experience rather than as a visual + literary one.

The book reminds me of the mythological origins of stargazing, of trying to read something from the stars. Malin himself is fascinated with the “interface between art and science” and that interface that they share is imagination. Science begins with speculation, it proceeds to answer a question. Questions are always a product of imagination, as the function of imagination is to make real a heretofore nonexistent thing – to fill in a lack. It took imagination for our antecedents to see images in the stars, as it took imagination to form a technique for creating photographic images of the stars.

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Training Film (highly NSFW)

A lot gets said about pornography these days. Is it addictive? Does it change your brain? Reliable sources say no, unreliable sources still say yes.

I don’t care to comment on it, per se, as much as I’d like to tell a short anecdote.

Several years ago, I was up in the woods of West Virginia with a few friends from film school making a horror film. West Virginia, if you’ve never been, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. West Virginians are also the targets of some rather unflattering stereotypes.

I don’t care to comment on the stereotypes. Per se.

It was deer season, and in the cabin (relatively) next to ours, a group of gentlemen were partaking of their God-and-gun given right to shoot some deer. And gut, skin, butcher, and eat them.

I don’t care to comment on this, per se, except to say it’s not for me.

We were, one evening, invited to the hunting cabin of these gentlemen, had a beer with them, and a very nice but otherwise unremarkable time. The only thing worth noting from the evening was a moment when I happened to look down into an open cardboard box in the living room, and found it filled with porno tapes. And one of the gentlemen (one of the older ones, if memory serves), on finding me finding the tapes, remarked:

“I see you found the training films.”

No comment.

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