“More likely than not, most people – women in particular – do it to make sure their message reads as friendly and not too … insert-negative-quality-here: corrective, cold, aggressive. Perhaps the irony is that the punctuation itself is too much. And if conversations taking place recently on social media are any indication, there may be a revolt brewing that could pry those exclamation points from our prose, particularly in work-related communications, in favor of more nuanced language on the internet.”
Can we have knowledge of the past? Does science progress toward a more truthful apperception of the physical world? Or is it all a matter of opinion, a sociological phenomenon that reflects consensus, not truth? Unfettered emission of greenhouse gases promotes global warming. Species evolve through natural selection. Can we meaningfully assess the truth of these assertions?
These days, Amazon can practically anticipate when you might need toilet paper and Netflix can predict your next binge, so it only seems natural that Hollywood will start using AI to predict the next big blockbuster, or at least improve its chances of becoming one. In fact, several companies are already working on algorithmic ways to predict box office results.
It’s easy to say what a bad translation is. The ones that are accidentally jagged like the person wielding the scissors was drunk. The ones where someone has misunderstood the original, or perhaps misinterpreted it. The ones where all individuality has been smoothed out. But how do we identify a successful translation? When have we done our job well? What is it we want to achieve, beyond mere fluidity?
It was know as the Laff Box, and it was mocked up – jerry-rigged, almost – by mechancial engineer Charlie Douglass. You’ve heard it on everything from The Munsters and Gilligan’s Island to Cheers and MAS*H, and “[it] could chuckle. It could guffaw. It could laugh with sighed relief. It even had a reel, controlled by the foot pedal, that was only titters, one person lightly laughing at a time. At its most sophisticated, the box had 320 laughs” – and Douglass deployed them with surprising cleverness and subtlety.
At some point in the future, could an A.I. company manufacture something akin to a neural bridge, allowing ordinary people to occasionally share their experiences? Maybe. Elon Musk recently announced the founding of Neuralink, a company that aims to put A.I. inside the head, merging humans and machines. Neural lace, the artificial hippocampus, brain chips to treat mood and memory disorders—these are just some of the mind-altering A.I. technologies already under development. While it may not be around the corner, a device akin to a temporary neural bridge—something that users can occasionally insert when they wish to share experiences—isn’t that far-fetched.
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe a standing ovation should be a precious thing saved only for that rare occasion where something is so extraordinary and superlative that you can’t help but want to salute it in a special way. I’m obviously in the minority.
“As Poland celebrates the centenary of its independence this year, the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in collaboration with Polish Television and Polish Radio has organised [the International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments] not only to celebrate the country’s most beloved composer but to recapture Chopin’s sound world by using Érards, Broadwoods and Pleyels – period pianos with which Chopin was intimately familiar.” Reporter Andrew Larkin meets the competition’s founder, Stanisław Leszczyński.
MoviePass has taken the sector by storm, attracting nearly 2 million new subscribers over the past year. But as its executives claim to be sending droves of new customers to theaters, MoviePass has prompted worries in the industry about a devaluation of the movie ticket and a monopoly on customer data.
Dancer Benedict Nguyen: “We make contributions to creative processes all the time. Some of these are obvious: We often improvise material or generate entire phrases to be incorporated into a work. Others are more innocuous: Dancers are sometimes asked to give feedback that ends up shaping the composition of a work. This is choreography. As working relationships between dancers and choreographers evolve, the dialogue on crediting authorship needs to reflect the collaboration at the heart of so many works.”
The MFA in visual arts program at Columbia is by reputation one of the best in the country, and it’s almost certainly the most expensive, with annual tuition of $63,961. Yet the art studio building suffers from burst pipes, flood damage on the floors, crumbling ceilings and walls, and poor heat, and the star faculty members that lure students turn out not to be there. 51 of the current 54 students in the program have demanded their tuition fees back – and the university provost agrees that the program is a “disgrace” (though he won’t refund the money).
“The Menil Drawing Institute, which has looked so enticingly ready for months from Richmond Avenue, will open Nov. 3 with an exhibition of works on paper by Jasper Johns that has been almost as highly anticipated. The now-official date falls more than a year after the Menil Collection initially planned to open the world’s first building dedicated to modern and contemporary works on paper.”
“During [his] tenure as art director, Playboy won hundreds of awards for illustration and graphic design and influenced the visual appearance of scores of other magazines and newspapers. … In addition to designing the look of the magazine” – including the bunny logo, one of the most recognized corporate logos on earth – “Mr. Paul hired artists to create original paintings and illustrations. He commissioned work from Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, LeRoy Neiman, James Rosenquist and Shel Silverstein, telling them their work should reflect the spirit of the article and should stand alone, without need of a caption.”
Director Quentin Tarantino, whose relationship with the Weinstein brothers goes back more than 20 years, claims that he’s owed well over $4 million in royalties for his four most recent movies; numerous major film actors say they were never paid promised back-end profits from their Weinstein-produced titles. All are objecting to the bankruptcy sale of the company, fearing that the transaction will leave them unpaid.
Popular YouTubers, some as young as 12, are being paid to personally endorse the service. In some of the videos YouTubers say if you cannot be bothered to do the work, EduBirdie has a “super smart nerd” who will do it for you. The adverts appear in videos on YouTube channels covering a range of subjects, including pranks, dating, gaming, music and fashion.
Faced with the prospect of paying off $500 million in debt—while tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon enter the speaker market—Gibson was forced to file for Chapter 11. Luckily, this doesn’t mean rockers won’t be able to replace the Gibson Les Pauls they smash on stage. The company reached a deal with its debtors that will let it continue to make its iconic guitars, as well as the other musical instruments it sells under brands including Baldwin pianos, Wurlitzer, Dobro, Epiphone, KRK, and Cerwin Vega.
“Volunteer adjuncts” — it is a term so absurdly reprehensible it sounds like the stuff of parody. Despite what graduate students may gain over the course of their studies, they owe nothing whatsoever to their university. After all, there’s no reciprocity to be found when health insurance is still, for many in academia, considered a plush amenity.
I don’t want to sound like an old stodgy codger (even though I am an old stodgy codger) but it seems to me that this lack of narrative finality really hampers the genre. Like video games they can be stimulating and exciting, but only at the expense of denying the emotional engagement other forms of art offer.
In early 2018, We Have Voice began painstakingly crafting the Code of Conduct via meetings, email and Google Hangout sessions, with members collaborating from the far-flung locations where they live and work. The code’s “SAFE(R) spaces” is a term that espouses intersectionality, an acknowledgment that the definition of “safe” shifts according to race, class, and gender and their interdependent systems. If this sounds grimly pietistic, the We Have Voice Collective itself practices intersectionality as joyful action. Encompassing a range of ages, ethnicities (Caucasians are a distinct minority), cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations and career trajectories, the group has fostered a distinct esprit de corps.
“It is the determination of this audit that the taxpayer operates as a personal endeavour (a hobby), not a business,” Canadian Revenue Agency said in its Jan. 26, 2018, reassessment letter to Steve Higgins. “Most of the income generated is from grants, honorariums and awards, and not the sales of artwork. Therefore, all income and expenses related to the business has been removed.”
“On my way up to the Paris Opéra studios I was so nervous! Literally shaking. But within about eight minutes, I was reminded, ‘Oh, yeah: This is the same old thing. It’s just dancers in a studio, dancing.'”
“His breakthrough was [the 1955 film] The Dam Busters, about the 1943 British raid against the Ruhr dams in Germany’s industrial heartland. … He was [subsequently] recruited to showman Mike Todd’s big-budget adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days (1986), starring David Niven.” Best known among his later films were Conduct Unbecoming and Logan’s Run, both starring Michael York.
“Opposition politicians accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of leasing out’ monuments under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ plan that will see 95 historic sites taken over by private entities. India’s tourism ministry on Saturday announced a five-year contract worth 250 million rupees ($3.7 million) with the Dalmia Bharat conglomerate for the iconic 17th-century Red Fort in Delhi and another fort in the southern Andhra Pradesh state. Other monuments on the list include the Taj Mahal – which two conglomerates are competing for – and the 12th-century UNESCO-listed Qutb Minar complex in Delhi.”
“Over a career that spanned seven decades Shay pointed his lens at Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Martin Luther King, John. F. Kennedy and Ernest Hemingway – to name a few – for Life, Time, Sports Illustrated and other publications. … He was maced outside the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968. And he flew to Memphis as soon as he heard the Rev. Martin Luther King had been killed. He photographed Hugh Hefner surrounded by Playboy bunnies and captured images of intimidating mobsters who, on at least one occasion, grabbed his camera and removed the film.”
Matthew Loden, currently one of the two temporary co-presidents of the Philadelphia Orchestra (and before that, VP for institutional advancement), takes over in Toronto in July. He succeeds Gary Hanson, the former Cleveland Orchestra chief who stepped in after Jeff Melanson was forced to resign in 2016.
“The aim of the new rules, first proposed in 2016 in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, is to increase transparency around financial transactions and require banks and vendors to verify clients’ identities and to report any suspicious behaviour. The regulations, which come into force in 2019, will cover all businesses selling works of art with transactions of €10,000 or more, irrespective of the payment method.”
On artistic leadership and aesthetic values in a changed cultural context: A new keynote address
Last week I had the privilege, pleasure, and honor to give the keynote address at the Canadian Arts Summit – an annual gathering of the board chairs, executive leaders, and artistic leaders of Canada’s major cultural institutions. … read more
AJBlog: Jumper Published 2018-04-29
Egypt: Breaking New Ground – Underwater
Like Gold, Picasso and Impressionism, Egypt has generally been a sure-fire subject for art museums. But, you may think, you know the story – basically. An exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum will make you think again. … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2018-04-29
Civics is How We Take Care of the Space Between People
The most important thing I learned in a glorious Humana Festival weekend of theater – six new American plays and a lot of theater geeks – was not in a play at all. … read more
AJBlog: The Bright Ride Published 2018-04-30
From Cuba with Fervor and Vigor
Some of us may remember Carlos Acosta, when he was appearing with England’s Royal Ballet or, more briefly, as a guest artist with American Ballet Theatre. Princely. Virtuosic. … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2018-04-29
How Many People in a One-Woman Show?
I love going to shows at Joe’s Pub for Dance Now’s Dance-mopolitan’s Commissioned Artist Series. But doing so takes a kind of expertise that I may lack. … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2018-04-30
The Vatican Secret Archive isn’t much use to modern scholars, because it’s so inaccessible. Of those 53 miles, just a few millimeters’ worth of pages have been scanned and made available online. Even fewer pages have been transcribed into computer text and made searchable. If you want to peruse anything else, you have to apply for special access, schlep all the way to Rome, and go through every page by hand. But a new project could change all that. Known as In Codice Ratio, it uses a combination of artificial intelligence and optical-character-recognition (OCR) software to scour these neglected texts and make their transcripts available for the very first time.
Walker State Prison, home to about 400 inmates, is unique among Georgia prisons. In 2011, the facility became the testing ground for the Georgia Department of Corrections’ new Faith and Character Based program, which focuses on accountability, responsibility, integrity and faith. Inmates in the Faith and Character Based curriculum have all requested to be there and have gone through a vetting process before being allowed to participate in the two-year program.
At the beginning of the 21st century, a new world is emerging. Not since Marx identified the manufacturing plants of Manchester as the blueprint for the new capitalist society has there been a deeper transformation of the fundamentals of our socioeconomic life. A new commons-based mode of production, enabled by information and communication technology (ICT), what we now call digitisation, redefines how we (can) produce, consume and distribute. This pathway is exemplified by interconnected collaborative initiatives that produce a wide range of artifacts, from encyclopaedias and software to agricultural machines, wind turbines, satellites and prosthetics. And much of this relates to the little pipe-seller’s attitude.