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4th March 2014

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Art as a foreign language

The history of art is almost three times longer than that of writing, and the relationship between the two types of expression can be seen in the earliest forms of writing, such as the Egyptian hieroglyphics. However, very few people treat art as a system of communication which is historically linked with language. If more people were to take this view they would find that their approach to art would change. Man is used to the fact that there are languages which he does not at first understand and which must be learned, but because art is primarily visual he expects that he should get the message immediately and is apt to be affronted if he doesn’t.

Edward T. Hall, The Hidden Dimension: An anthropologist examines man’s use of space in public and private (1966)

Tagged: artlanguageanthropologymediabookscommunicationcriticismEdward T Hall

20th December 2013

Post with 3 notes

We both lie the same way

My mother rang to tell me that I wasn’t at work.

'You're not at work,' she said. 'Are you all right?'

'It's Saturday,' I said. 'How are you?'

'I'm fine,' she said, because we both lie the same way. 'Any news?'

'Nothing much.' I said (there is an angel in the kitchen, breaking the toaster), 'and yourself?'

'Oh nothing new here.' (Your father is dying, but so are we all.) So we hung up.

Anne Enright, The Wig My Father Wore

Tagged: bookstelephonecommunicationliesfamilyAnne EnrightIrish literature

18th December 2013

Post with 3 notes

The most beautiful fist

'You mean it's still broadcasting?'

'Kay?'

'Yes, sir.' She had a rather melodious Welsh accent. 'Not so often now, sir, but he was awful busy last week.' She hesitated. 'I don't, like, try to listen, on purpose, sir, but he does have the most beautiful fist. Real old school. Not like some of the kids —’ she spat out the word ‘— they’re using nowadays. Nearly as bad as the Italians, they are.’

'A man's style of Morse,' said Heaviside pompously, 'is as distinctive as his signature.'

'And what is his style?'

'Very fast but very clear,' said Kay. 'Rippling, I'd say. Fist like a concert pianist, he has.'

Robert Harris, Enigma

Tagged: booksMorsecodecryptographyRobert Harriscommunication

2nd December 2013

Quote with 6 notes

Language has made us more than a group of pack-hunting monkeys – it’s made us a group of pack-hunting monkeys with a dream.
— Terence McKenna

Tagged: languageevolutioncommunicationprimatesTerence McKenna

2nd July 2013

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Gesture

Dave canted his chin in the way he had, to indicate he was conceding the point while still on some level dissenting from it.

Declan Hughes, All the Dead Voices (2009)

Tagged: booksreadinggesturecommunicationbody languageDeclan Hughes

29th December 2012

Quote with 2 notes

With electricity we extend our central nervous system globally, instantly interrelating every human experience.
— Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964

Tagged: Marshall McLuhanelectricityfuturismcommunicationmedia

26th September 2012

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The use of any kind of medium or extension of man alters the patterns of interdependence among people, as it alters the ratios among our senses.
— Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media

Tagged: mediacommunicationbooksMarshall McLuhan

18th July 2012

Post with 3 notes

The community of the wind

The community of the wind is worldwide and works best when it serves those species that are winged, light, and have some natural resistance to low temperatures and high radiation, and perhaps already live in open windy habitats where take-off is easy. But it touches all the rest of us all the time. We all depend to a greater or lesser extent on windblown water, soil, nutrient and seed, and none of us can ignore the constant flow of information.

The air is alive with news. Each breath of wind carries tales of fruit and flower, of moose and moth in search of mates, of old dust, new rain and the constant ebb and flow of busy genes.

Lyall Watson, Heaven’s Breath: A Natural History of the Wind

Tagged: windnaturebiologybooksLyall Watsoncommunicationzoologymeteorology