Thursday, 28 May 2009

Tony Conrad's substratum of interests

Tony Conrad is the maestro of "extended duration as a conceptual armature", a musician, filmmaker and media-theorist of pioneering stature. He established the monochrome flicker as one of the central tropes in moving image, and created entirely distinctive forms of drone music both within, and outside of, The Dream Syndicate. In later works, such as Slapping Pythagoras his theoretical positions on Western cultural discourse became more evident.

stimulating and rich discussion between Conrad and fellow musician, David Grubbs, explores Conrad's views on physics:

"modern physics [has] been generated as a branch of music",


"Something that intrigues me a lot – and which I still haven’t decided about – is the suggestion that music should not have audiences. Just to get the audience out of the picture entirely seems like an interesting challenge, because every time I tell myself that the audience is why I’m doing everything [....] Every time I find myself thinking that, I realize that I’m barking up the wrong tree, and that if I try to head in the opposite direction, there’s something like a multifarious void out there."

and the future:

"For me, there’s another project, and that is to begin to try to create a structure of laws that can address the needs of 2010. From Futurism to Dogme, manifesto-like conditions can be productive [...] There’s a kind of cultural convergence that’s taking place that brings all these things together. I don’t think that’s unproductive. It reflects the conceptual initiative that was apparent last century with Happenings and all kind of things, basically going back to the Futurists. The Futurists actually predicted the future."

A must-read.


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Frost ecologies

A gallery of the fern-like structures that bloom on sea ice form when it's cold, still and dry.

The gallery was published on the occasion of an article on frost flowers, which explores the research of the
OASIS project, which pursues key big-picture science issues regarding air-surface chemical interactions in the Arctic, and their evolution in future climates
Perhaps Constance Penhallow was right all along. As her grandson, Hunter recalled:

"When his grandmother was a girl, she told him once, the sisters announced in school one day that the topic of study would be Living Creatures. 'I suggested ice. They threw me out of class.' "


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The Long Shot

Two rival scientific teams are locked in a high-stakes race to discover other earth-like worlds—and forever change our own.

Seed met the teams.  

Debra Fischer, a professor at San Francisco State University, is co-discoverer of more than 150 planets. She is using a modest, neglected telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile to search for Earth-like planets in Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to our own. 

Michel Mayor  operates the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), at the European Southern Observatory’s facilities on the peak of La Silla, also in Chile.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

EU Approves further animal research

It'll be bitterly disputed about whether this is a scientific step forward or an ethical quantum leap back, but this week, research involving non-human primates was given the go-ahead in an initial vote by the European Parliament.

Whilst Seed opines that "it was beginning to seem that Europe was on the fast track to scientific irrelevance [...] the outlook brightened a bit Tuesday when the European Parliament announced the passage of animal research rules that permit research done on non-human primates", the contrary view is voiced by Animal Defenders International (ADI), who are shocked that the MEPs vote will "strip away protection from wild caught primates; remove prior authorisation requirements for over 4million experiments, and reduce significantly proposals to regulate animal experiments across Europe".

Two anti-vivisectionist views are provided here: 

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Trimpin: sound of invention

Take a look at the trailer for this documentary about German sound alchemist, Trimpin.

He designs, builds, programs, and composes outrageous ensembles of musical instruments from the periphery of reality. One of his more ambitious experiments is designing a 'perpetual motion' machine in a glass foundry.


Monday, 4 May 2009

What went wrong at the LHC

Everyone's favourite pop-star physicist, Brian Cox, tells TED, and us, what went wrong at the LHC supercollider.

He covers the repairs now underway and what the future holds for the largest science experiment ever attempted.