“It turns out that self-control, and all the benefits from it, may not be related to inhibiting impulses at all. And once we cast aside the idea of willpower, we can better understand what actually works to accomplish goals, and hit those New Year’s resolutions.”
“The delusion isn’t that criticism is important; it is important, the more so as discourse increasingly takes the form of people screaming at each other on the internet. The delusion is that critics can ever transcend the subjectivity that makes good criticism so interesting in the first place. And if a certain negativity, even a certain schadenfreude, attaches to that subjectivity, well, would you rather have a pretended objectivity that observes all the proprieties and never risks giving offense?”
And you can guess why. Dorian Lynskey, author of 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, talks with Spencer Kornhaber about the current revival of political pop and its pitfalls.
The Museum of Fine Arts in the Belgian city of Ghent is hosting an exhibition of 20th-century Russian avant-garde works – attributed to Popova, Rodchenko, Goncharova, Malevich, Kandinsky, and others – from the private foundation of a Russian businessman and collector. A group of scholars and professionals argue in an open letter that these works “have no exhibition history, have never before been reproduced in serious scholarly publications, and have no traceable sales records.”
“It’s hard to control a cough or a cranky kid’s wails. Tough to tame the artistic ambitions of bats or squirrels. And sometimes, I guess the rain gods want in on the festivities too. But most philosophers and legal scholars would agree that even the most strung-out phone addicts possess free will. Force majeure has nothing to do with Facebook.”
Legal questions about ownership of virtual public spaces were thrown into sharp relief in October when Snapchat partnered with Koons to allow users to project his balloon sculptures in specific sites around the world using augmented reality (AR). In protest against an “augmented reality corporate invasion”, the artist Sebastian Errazuriz “graffiti-bombed” one of the works and placed it in the same geotagged location in Central Park as the Snapchat version.
“When I’m pinned to the back of my seat by the mind-warping rhythms of a drummer, or the harmonic ingenuity of an improvising guitarist, I often have the feeling that my body ‘gets’ things in a way my brain can’t. I find myself physically responding to nuances in the musical texture that have been and gone before I have time to formulate thoughts about them. I can speculate to some extent about what I’ve heard after the fact – that snare hit was perhaps a shade early; that cadence resolved just a fraction too late – but in the moment, I can’t quite articulate what it is that I’m reacting to. My grasp on what I’m hearing doesn’t seem cognitive. It seems visceral.”
“It’s not a good time to be trying to sell a UK High Street retailer in light of higher [business] rates, Brexit, and some tough leases. That worries me. It’s important that it’s bought by a good owner, but who? It could even be Amazon, which would be disastrous and one would hope for Competition Authority intervention in that case, although they sometimes look the other way.”
The signatories of the letter expressed concern that recent decisions made by Documenta’s supervisory board “have considerably damaged one of Germany’s internationally active and influential cultural institutions, and thus also the image of Germany abroad.” They said the city is debating changes that will lead to the “restructuring of Documenta in the direction of a pure commercialisation and marketing of the Documenta brand.”
“Advances in word recognition and comprehension can only make AI better at handling those kinds of requests. Machines that can better understand our questions will give us better answers. That could mean a doctor getting more accurate and actionable information with which to base a diagnosis, or a teacher more clearly representing a concept to a student.”
“The AI algorithm, developed by Chinese retail giant Alibaba, outscored humans in the Stanford Question Answering Dataset—a global reading test consisting of more than 100,000 questions. Using natural-language processing, the machine-learning model developed by Alibaba’s Institute of Data Science of Technologies beat rival humans with a score of 82.44 versus 82.305, the company said.”
“The study, released Monday, examined the 2015-16 season and found it to be the most diverse the group has reviewed so far, with 35 percent of all roles going to minority actors, up from 30 percent the previous season and 24 percent the year before that. The coalition has now compiled 10 years of data on diversity on New York stages.”
“Reflecting on the aftermath of war over three generations, 29-year-old Vuong’s first collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, has already landed the Forward prize for best first collection, as well as the Whiting and the Thom Gunn awards.”
Museum Admissions, Deaccessions: Let’s Get Real
I have not waded into either of the debates that are raging across the art museum world at the moment. So far, I’ve avoided commenting on … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2018-01-15
Michael Gordon’s Acquanetta: Backstage carnage amid on-screen horror
Mystery is the canny substitute for substance. The less that is known, the more implication can spin grandeur out of the mundane. And that explains Acquanetta, the single-named Hollywood star of 1940s B-movies like Captive Wild Woman … read more
AJBlog: Condemned to Music Published 2018-01-15
“It was amazing, yet also absurd; strangely captivating, yet also campy and ridiculous. And in a way, it made the most sense of any of the musical holograms produced so far. More than rock or hip-hop fans — and even more, you could say, than fans of instrumental classical music — opera lovers dwell in the past. We are known for our obsessive devotion to dead divas and old recordings; it can sometimes seem like an element of necrophilia, even, drives the most fanatical buffs.”
“Not so long ago, it was commonly believed that the right hemisphere is the exclusive generator of creative thought. Later on, researchers’ focus shifted to connectivity between the two hemispheres. That model has been refined in recent years, as scientists have begun mapping not just regions of the brain, but the neural networks that spring into action as needed. Now, researchers have identified a brain network that is strongly associated with creativity.”
The soundtrack “is No. 1 on the Billboard album chart for a second week, with the equivalent of 104,000 sales in the United States, according to Nielsen. The album, released by Atlantic, was helped by the Golden Globes on Jan. 7, where it won best original song for “This Is Me.” It’s the first time a soundtrack has been No. 1 for two weeks in a year and a half, since “Suicide Squad” reached the top in August 2016.
“People who see themselves as poor make different decisions, and, generally, worse ones. … One explanation for this is that poor people engage in riskier behavior, which is why they are poor in the first place. By [research psychologist Keith] Payne’s account, this way of thinking gets things backward.”
“In our current era of non-stop technological innovation, fuzzy wishful thinking has yielded to the hard doctrine of personal optimization. Self-help gurus need not be charlatans peddling snake oil. Many are psychologists with impressive academic pedigrees and a commitment to scientific methodologies, or tech entrepreneurs with enviable records of success in life and business. What they’re selling is metrics. It’s no longer enough to imagine our way to a better state of body or mind. We must now chart our progress, count our steps, log our sleep rhythms, tweak our diets, record our negative thoughts—then analyze the data, recalibrate, and repeat.”