Marking time

Marking time in August 2005

Saturday 27 August 2005

Bitter fruit

That fine photographer Paul Fusco has recorded the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq. He has web-published 44 of his pictures, with his voice-over narrative, under the title Bitter fruit.

Fusco is passionate, and thoroughly engaged with his subject. He takes us along on his private and independent quest. He is the antithesis of the embedded reporter. The work is published by Magnum Photos, the agency owned by Fusco and other photographers.


Frame 42. …and Kira and her family heard the volley of gunfire…(sounds of rifle fire, then a bugle). [from the soundtrack]
I don’t expect to get published in the United States. I don’t expect the big magazines in the United States to publish it. I’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it for us. I’m doing it for the people. That loss, that pain. that suffering — we’ve got to understand that. We are responsible. We are committed.. We should be committed to understanding the loss in this awful war. [from Paul Fusco’s voice narration]
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Saturday 20 August 2005

Hundertwasser: the musical

Artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000) has inspired Hundertwasser: das Musical, staged in the German city of Uelzen.

How many architects have been cast as theatrical heroes? Could this be the start of a new genre? Perhaps Marquis-Kyle: the restoration comedy.

Opening night scenes

Scenes from the World premiere performance in the Stadttheatre Uelzen, 30 July 2004.
The Hundertwasser-Musical was thought up by librettist Rolf Rettberg and is staged as a drama in several stations drawing parallels to the artist’s life story. The “Regentag” (Rainy Day), Hundertwasser’s sailing ship, is the plot’s centre of action. A sea voyage across the oceans from Venice to New Zealand passing the continents serves as the metaphor of the cosmopolitain artist’s path of life. The respective stations of the plot are shown in rapid succession without marked transitions, finding their climaces in emotional dream sequences.

Dazzling drama in stations; sensuous and poetic

The plot alternates between different levels of action. It commences in Vienna, Hundertwasser’s place of birth, and corresponds to scenes that take place on his sailing ship “Regentag”. Venice as the journey’s starting point with all its colours and vivacity is set in contrast to the more “sophisticated” Vienna. In the course of the action, real motifs drawn from the artist’s biography meet fictitious moments. Thus, for example, the “Chior of museum directors”, who call Hundertwasser into question, is confronted with his cosmos in a pleasurable way.
[from the English flyer [no longer] available as a pdf on the website]

See also: My piece about the Hundertwasser weblog, with links to other websites.

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Tuesday 9 August 2005

Rejuvenating Seurat

Researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology have been studying Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte​—​1884. Their research paper describes their work​—​here’s the abstract:
George Seurat first employed his divisionist painting technique on A Sunday on La Grande Jatte​—​1884 beginning in October 1885. Painting with pigments representing colors seen in the visible spectrum that were minimally mixed on the palette and using divided brushstrokes, he aimed to impart luminosity to the surface and to explore 19th century ideas of color theory, such as simultaneous con­trast. Pigment analysis has disclosed that the brush­work containing zinc yellow has darkened significantly: Yellow, green-yellow, and orange brushstrokes have be­come brown, olive-green, and reddish brown, re­spec­tive­ly. Additionally, the painting has further darkened due to the natural aging of the oil medium. By performing spectral reflectance measurements in-situ on darkened areas of the painting and on paint-outs of comparable unaltered colors, using Kubelka-Munk turbid media theory, imaging the painting with colormanaged digital photography, and image editing with Adobe Photoshop, a digital version of the original, more luminous appearance of La Grande Jatte was simulated.
The painting

The painting digitally rejuvenated
Seurat’s painting as it looks now (upper) and as the authors suggest it would have looked when first painted (lower). I have extracted these from the compressed images in the PDF version of the paper, and I give no warranty as to the accuracy of the colours.

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