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chernobyl

Haunting photo essay on the horrific, tragic effects of Chernobyl, 20 years later. By Magnum photographer Paul Fusco.

Chernobyl - Paul Fusco

Via Kottke.

wealth of networks

Interesting new book by Yochai Benkler, 'The Wealth of Networks'. Like Kelly, Barlow ('The Economy of Mind') and Lessig ('The Future of Ideas'), Benkler describes the move from industrial information production (of mass media, patents, copyrights and lawsuits) towards a networked information economy (of wikis, blogs, p2p, open source, etc.).

...it would be silly to think that music, a cultural form without which no human society has existed, will cease to be in our world if we abandon the industrial form it took for the blink of a historical eye that was the twentieth century. Music was not born with the phonograph, nor will it die with the peer-to-peer network.

So yes, this is another internet optimist - though concerned as much with socio-economics as with arguing the revolution.

Considering the subject, it's only natural there's a free PDF version of the book, under a Creative Commons license.

untitled big man

Artist and former model maker Ron Mueck makes hyper-realistic, gargantuan, unsettling sculptures of human beings.

Ron Mueck - Untitled Big Man

Great series of photos here. Some more here.

Via P.

capote

Most reviews of 'Capote' focus on Philip Seymour Hoffman's role as Truman Capote. And yes, Hoffman is just excellent as the effeminate, egocentric, annoying, genius writer of 'In Cold Blood'.

Capote - 1

That said, here are some other, less highlighted reasons why 'Capote' is an interesting film:

First, Catherine Keener's role as Harper Lee, Capote's childhood friend who accompanies him to Kansas. It's really her quiet, introverted presence which provides the necessary counterbalance for Hoffman's extravagant Capote. One look from her and we know we shouldn't take Capote entirely serious. And what's more, he knows it too. (The scene on the train, which i won't spoil here, is a good example.)

Capote - 2

Second, it is such a quiet film - i didn't think they made those anymore. Quiet as in: subtle, subdued, avoiding effects, taking its time to build up, creating suspense with looks and silences. A brave strategy by director Bennett Miller, especially for a debut feature film. There's a nice contrast too between the hectic New York parties (reminding, of course, of 'Breakfast at Tiffany's') and the silent Kansas plains and prison where most of the story takes place.

Capote - 3

Third, this is a film based on a biography about a writer working on a 'non-fiction novel' about a real murder case. Notice the multiple layers of fiction / interpretation - which is exactly what the film is about. This is my interpretation (yet another layer), but i think Capote's crisis comes from his realisation that pure non-fiction doesn't exist, that his idea of a factual narrative was essentially flawed. On the one hand because he was manipulating the facts (he was creating them instead of letting them happen), and on the other hand because he never really succeeded in understanding the murderer's motives (the original facts). At the same time, his attempt was enormously influential.

Fourth, it's a good reason to read the book. Perhaps peeling off a couple of layers of interpretation will change my view on Capote's non-fiction ideal...

yes and no

As translator Judith Wilkinson remarks, the poetry of Toon Tellegen lends itself well to translation, "not only because of its linguistic simplicity - one might almost call it prose-poetry - but also because of a certain timeless, 'placeless' quality. His concise poems sometimes read like parables..."

Yes has a task:
it protects people.
It kisses them and tucks them in,
tidies up the love left lying around
and sends prying eyes packing:
the people are asleep, they've been playing, they're tired.

(From 'Yes and No'.)

No was a small word,
an insignificant word.

It listened to the large words:
Yes and We and Always.

It studied the crumbs of their thoughts
that they dropped from their table.

It was not a stupid word.

One day it crept into the kitchen,
climbed onto the sink,
grabbed a knife
and ate it.
(Words can eat things.)

It was still a small word,
but no longer an insignificant word - that never again -

and it returned to the room,
sat under the table
and listened.

(From 'No'; and there is also 'Yes'.)