“The culture of irony is the culture of postmodernism, which I would furiously want to denounce. We have to act ethically and politically. Irony is a defensive position, against reality. It always knows what to think about reality. The idea of commitment and engagement is central to me, which is not ironic.”
Between 1887 and 1892, John C.H. Grabill sent 188 photographs to the Library of Congress for copyright protection. Grabill is known as a western photographer, documenting many aspects of frontier life — hunting, mining, western town landscapes and white settlers’ relationships with Native Americans. Most of his work is centered on Deadwood in the late 1880s and 1890s. He is most often cited for his photographs in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Half hour documentary from 1967 about the great Bluesman by Les Blank …NOTES “…A short film about the Texas blues singer Lightnin’ (Sam) Hopkins. Built around what I gather was the return of Hopkins to his home town for a visit sometime in 1967, as much a celebration of a mode of life as it is a study of a kind of music. It is also fairly conventional film making (the conventions of documentary poetic realism), but in Hopkins and his friends it has a quality of life rather than a fabricated group image for a subject. Almost everybody in “Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins” seems to be a performer. But Hopkins himself controls the film’s moods. Not so much in his exposition of the meaning of the blues as in what he makes of them when he sings and plays his guitar.” New York Times, 1967
In the dreamachine’s original form, a dreamachine is made from a cylinder with slits cut in the sides. The cylinder is placed on a record turntable and rotated at 78 or 45 revolutions per minute. A light bulb is suspended in the center of the cylinder and the rotation speed allows the light to come out from the holes at a constant frequency of between 8 and 13 pulses per second. This frequency range corresponds to alpha waves, electrical oscillations normally present in the human brain while relaxing.
A dreamachine is “viewed” with the eyes closed: the pulsating light stimulates the optical nerve and alters the brain’s electrical oscillations. The “viewer” experiences increasingly bright, complex patterns of color behind their closed eyelids. The patterns become shapes and symbols, swirling around, until the “viewer” feels surrounded by colors. It is claimed that viewing a dreamachine allows one to enter a hypnagogic state. This experience may sometimes be quite intense, but to escape from it, one needs only to open one’s eyes.
A dreamachine may be dangerous for people with photosensitive epilepsy or other nervous disorders. It is thought that one out of 10,000 adults will experience a seizure while viewing the device; about twice as many children will have a similar ill effect.