Council of Editors of Learned Journals

Visual Resources (the journal) was selected as a featured journal of the month on the website of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. Read all about it, Here.

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RIP Martin K. Tytell

Typewriter mechanical genius Martin Tytell has passed away. “Beyond an average repairman, Tytell was an artisan of the typewriter. He built a hieroglyphics typewriter for a curator, musical note machines for musicians and recreated Alger Hiss’ typewriter, flaws and all, thus killing the legal argument that each machine had a unique fingerprint.”

From a 1997 Atlantic Monthly article by Ian Frazier:

“At about that time he added a new service to his business — converting American-made typewriters to foreign alphabets for the stationery department at Macy’s department store. He did these jobs on short notice and fast. Macy’s would tell a customer that they could provide a typewriter in the customer’s language before he left town; then Martin would remove the type from an American typewriter, solder on new type for the alphabet desired, and put new lettering on the keyboard. Usually he converted to Spanish or French, not difficult jobs, but he did Russian, Greek, and German, too. He found that by adding an idle gear he bought for forty-five cents on Canal Street, he could make a typewriter go from right to left. That enabled him to do Arabic and other right-left languages such as Hebrew and Farsi.”

Via BoingBoing
The NYT Obit

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Secret Museum On The Moon’s Surface

From a NYT article from November of 1969 about the tiny museum smuggled to the srface of the moon on the landing of Apollo 12 (!)…
“…according to Frosty Myers, the artist who initiated the project, the Moon Museum was secretly installed on a hatch on a leg of the Intrepid landing module with the help of an unnamed engineer at the Grumman Corporation after attempts to move the project forward through NASA’s official channels were unsuccessful.
According to the Times, the artworks are, clockwise from the top center: Rauschenberg’s wavy line; Novros’ black square bisected by thin white lines [in 1969, Novros also created the incredibly rich, minimalist fresco on the second floor of Judd’s 101 Spring St]; a computer-generated drawing by Myers; a geometric mouse by Oldenburg, “the subject of a sculpture in his current show at the Museum of Modern Art” [a sculpture which is in MoMA’s permanent collection, btw]; and a template pattern by Chamberlain, “similar to one he used to produce paintings done with automobile lacquer.” Warhol’s contribution, which is obscured by the thumb above, is described as “a calligraphic squiggle made up of the initials of his signature.”

Via BoingBoing

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RIP Stockhausen

Karlheinz Stockhausen, the innovative composer died this week at home in Germany.


Hugely influential to everyone from the Beatles to Frank Zappa, he was also considered very controversial–for instance when he said that the September 11th attacks were “the greatest work of art one can imagine”. Yipes.

“In one of his lager-scale operas, ”Licht,” Stockhausen tried to capture all of the facets of the world with sound and noises and set them in relation to the human spirit, speech, smells and colors.

The piece, which took 25 years to compose, is an enormous sonic representation of the seven days of the week. So large is the work’s scope that multiple scenes needed to depict Thursday alone last four hours.” From the AP piece at

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Complaint Choir!

Some crazy Finns got together and started thinking about how to harness all the energy people spend complaining into something else..thus was born the Complaint Choir! Many new Complaint Choirs have been started since then, some in the US too, so go here to read more, or here to start one of your own!

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Worldscape Laptop Orchestra

The Musical Laptops of York

The concert hall is dark and hushed, as such venues tend to be. Then the orchestra begins to play. First there’s a whirring, then a beep, then a high-pitched squeak. The 50-piece Worldscape Laptop Orchestra has begun its performance at the University of York, in England.

By “piece” the orchestra means laptop computer. Fifty of them, made by Apple, have been gathered by the university’s music department to perform works composed by Ambrose Field, a senior lecturer in the department. They will be streamed live from the university’s Web site later this month, a local newspaper reports. Read more…

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The day the music died

From the BBC, November 2nd, 2007

Internet law professor Michael Geist examines a legal row which could have grave implications for anyone and everyone serving an online audience.

In February 2006, a part-time Canadian music student established a modest, non-commercial website that used collaborative wiki tools, such as those used by Wikipedia, to create an online library of public domain musical scores.

Within a matter of months, the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) featured more than 1,000 musical scores for which the copyright had expired in Canada.

Within two years – without any funding, sponsorship or promotion – the site had become the largest public domain music score library on the internet, generating a million hits per day, featuring over 15,000 scores by over 1,000 composers, and adding 2,000 new scores each month.

In mid-October this year the IMSLP disappeared from the internet. Read more…

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Smithsonian’s Research and Scholars Center newsletter

The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Research and Scholars Center invites you to read the inaugural issue of its online newsletter.

Read about the Center’s resources and programs, including the Inventories of American Painting & Sculpture, the Photograph Archives, and the fellowship program. This issue features the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Centenary Symposium, which was hosted by the Research and Scholars Center in September.

For suggestions, comments, or questions about the Research and Scholars Center newsletter, contact Nicole Semenchuk.

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Cabinet Magazine’s A Minor History of Giant Spheres

I love Cabinet Magazine, and this timeline of Giant Spheres through history is so excellent. The best one in my opinion is the entry from 1984 where an Austrian artist builds a giant spherical house, gets in trouble with the government for doing so and then declares himself and the house an independent nation named the Republic of Kugelmugel. Too good.

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Studying global warming through old masters’ paintings

Thanks Boing Boing!
Researchers are studying the painted sunsets by artists like Turner, Rembrandt, and Rubens to get a sense of how volcanic eruptions may have impacted global warming. The National Observatory of Athens scientists look at the colors the old masters used in their depictions to suss out the amount of volcanic ash was in the atmosphere. The historical data will then help populate computer simulations of global warming. From The Guardian:

The results will feed into the scientific study of a phenomenon called global dimming, which is caused by air pollution blocking sunlight. Some experts believe this has acted as a brake on global warming, and that climate change could accelerate as air pollution from industry is reduced.

Professor (Christos) Zerefos and his team looked at natural global dimming caused by volcanoes, the results of which can be severe. The eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815 threw out so much material that it triggered the notorious “year without a summer”, which caused widespread failure of harvests across Europe, resulting in famine and economic collapse.

The team found 181 artists who had painted sunsets between 1500 and 1900. Read more…

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