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July 01 2017

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San Francisco-Marin Crossing: alternatives considered (1967, via Eric Fisher)

“How we might best attune ourselves with others, how we might become more capable together?”

Alex Taylor. Researcher: Soda-Digital Systems (via Anab Jain)“

When it comes to judging the capacities of humans and nonhumans, we are drawn to two modes of existence. In one mode, we are compelled to see capability as residing within an actor, as an intrinsic quality of their being. A favourite determinant is the brain-weight to body-weight ratio; another is genetic predisposition. We have devised all manner of tests to isolate human and nonhuman capacities: IQ tests, rats mazes and Turing tests among them. Naturally, humans come out on top using most counts.

In the second mode, we observe actors excel in their achievements. We allow ourselves to be surprised and delighted by exhibitions of capacity that exceed our expectations (and that contravene the first mode in so many ways). To find evidence of this mode, one need only turn to that vast repository of record and observation, YouTube, and witness the viewing numbers for titles like “species [x] and species [y] playing together“, “species [x] and species [y] unlikely friends”, and so on. As these titles suggest, capability is often recognised here as accomplished with others—with other objects, other actors, other critters.

Speculating on human capacities—on what humans might be capable of and how they might work in the future—I find myself asking, as the animal studies scholar Vinciane Despret does, which of these modes is ‘more interesting’ and which ‘makes more interesting’. Which of these modes invites us to speculate on new tabulations of actors of all kinds, of actors becoming-with each other, of becoming other—than-humanly-capable‘ of becoming more capable?

I am taken by the mode that views capability as collectively achieved and that invites those conditions that enlarge capacities through on-going interminglings.

The future of work, through this mode, will be dictated not by the limits of being human, but by how we might best attune ourselves with others, how we might become more capable together.

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In response to some photos of sheep on and around the Sol LeWitt sculptures at Gibbs Farm, New Zealand, Kris Lane responded with this photo and the caption, “The Serra has a line where the sheep rub against it. Gibbs is magic.”

I was brought up to believe that there is no virtue in conforming meekly to the dominant opinion of the moment. I was encouraged to believe that simple conformity results in stagnation for a society, and that American progress has been largely owing to the opportunity for experimentation, the leeway given initiative, and to a gusto and a freedom for chewing over odd ideas.
Jane Jacobs - Wikiquote (via Alec Resnick)
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Detective Miller touches a necklace belonging to Juliette Mao while searching her apartment in Episode Two of Season One of The Expanse. This necklace appears to be some sort of worry beads and Miller kind of uses the a fidget device in future episodes.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.
— Herman Melville
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Windows, Eleanor Coppola, February 16 – March 17, 1973; take-away folded map for visitors; photos: Rita Mandelman (via “Receipt of Delivery: Windows by Eleanor Coppola,” by Tanya Zimbardo via “how to do nothing,” by Jenny Odell):

Eleanor Coppola has designated a number of windows in all parts of San Francisco as visual landmarks. Her purpose in this project is to bring to the attention of the whole community, art that exists in its own context, where it is found, without being altered or removed to a gallery situation. An exhibition of color slides of the windows will be shown in the Atholl McBean Gallery.

The Memoirs of Jesse James

by Richard Brautigan

I remember all those thousands of hours
that I spent in grade school watching the clock,
waiting for recess or lunch or to go home.
Waiting: for anything but school
My teachers could easily have ridden with Jesse James
for all the time they stole from me.

The rubric to end all rubrics: let’s talk about what we’re learning.
Jesse Stommel
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E. Alex Jung, “Did You Catch the Translation Joke in Okja?” (via Sophia):

It’s a flagrant mistranslation—but one that would only be apparent to those who can speak both languages. Moreover, the mistranslation is a clever subversion of the supremacy of English. The subtitle is a command to learn English—something that every Korean student has heard throughout her life—but to actually understand what K is saying, you would have to know Korean. There’s an added layer of comedy to the name itself, which has the whiff of the old country about it: “Koo Soon-bum” is sort of like a white man saying his name is “Buford Attaway.” As Yeun told me, “When he says ‘Koo Soon-bum,’ it’s funny to you if you’re Korean, because that’s a dumb name. There’s no way to translate that. That’s like, the comedy drop-off, the chasm between countries.”

Bong wrote the character of K specifically with Yeun in mind, because he’s a character that only a Korean-American could play. Yeun’s performance itself is a nod to that gap; it reads differently if you know Korean. While it’s obvious that he’s a bit of a dolt, if you have the ear for the language, his failures are more apparent, because he speaks with the stiltedness of a second-generation speaker (Yeun’s actual pronunciation is a lot better). He’s not quite sure of himself, and is trying to fit into both spaces, but can’t. (This is also why the other subtitle joke that I saw, “How’s my Korean?” works in a subtler way.) Yeun said the character “speaks to the island we live on”: He was a character written for Korean-Americans.

Throughout Okja, Bong plays with the idea of translation, both its necessities and inherent limitations, and the inevitable comedy that arises out of that space. When Jay learns that K deliberately lied, he starts to beat him up, telling him to “never mistranslate!” Toward the end of the movie, K pops back up with a fresh tattoo that reads, “Translations are sacred.”

Part of what makes Okja so remarkable is that Bong Joon-ho has found ways to make jokes that track across both cultural spheres. Unlike the wave of male Korean directors who crossed over into Hollywood around the same time, Park Chan-wook on Stoker or Kim Jee-woon with The Last Stand, Bong never let go of his roots. He cast Korean actors Song Kang-ho and Ko Ah-sung and had them speaking Korean dialogue alongside Hollywood stars Chris Evans and Octavia Spencer in his dystopian train ride thriller Snowpiercer. He furthers the Korean-American dynamic in Okja, centering on a young Korean girl and pitting her against the forces of an American corporation headed by Tilda Swinton’s knobby-kneed CEO. Just as the dialogue shifts seamlessly between both languages, Bong easily trots around the world, from the Korean countryside dotted with persimmon trees to the underground shopping malls of Seoul to the streets of New York City.

“Director Bong is probably one of the few, if not the only, people I’ve seen so far, that’s been able to bridge the two together,” said Yeun. “I don’t mean being able to do an American movie—a lot of directors could probably do that—but bridging the two cultures together in a cohesive way. That’s a tall order, and somehow, he accomplishes that.”

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Okja (2017) dir.Bong Joon-Ho

Always, everywhere, people have veined the earth with paths visible and invisible…
— Thomas A. Clark, “A Praise in Walking” via (Robert Macfarlane)

June 25 2017

Poetry written just for audiences who can’t or won’t understand it. Flowers made entirely of colors the bees cannot see.
Barrow Wheary (via a retweet by Sal Randolph)

June 24 2017

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Georgia O'Keeffe with the Cheese, Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, Michael A. Vaccaro, 1960 (via Tejal Rao)

June 21 2017

The immutable error of parenthood: we give our children what we wanted, whether they want it or not.
— Andrew Solomon (via Austin Kleon)
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Irving Penn 

June 17 2017

I have seen greatness and power, wealth, prosperity and incomparable development. I was never sad that we are a small and unfinished part of the world. To be small, unsettled and uncompleted is a good and courageous mission.
Karel Čapek (via Alec Resnick)
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ENGLAND. Manchester. Moss Side Estate., Stuart Franklin, 1986 (via Magnum)

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