About Atani

Favorite Quote: “Go not to the elves for council for they will say both no and yes.” ~ Gildor Inglorion

A Very Important Question Answered-The unabridged and authoritative answer to the question, Who was Tom Bombadil?


You really cannot discuss Tom Bombadil [©Anke-Katrin Eiszmann]

You really cannot discuss Tom Bombadil without Goldberry.             [©Anke-Katrin Eiszmann]

Who is Tom Bombadil really, you my ask?

I had a close friend of mine ask me that question recently, apparently the email the question was encoded in became buried under two or three months of Facebook notifications – Facebook is going to be the end of us all I’m sure – at that time my friend was listening to the Lord of the Rings with his school age son.  Listening to???  I had thoroughly parsed the Silmarillion in print by age 12, mom’s Book of the Month Club selection for September 1977 – mine!

I suppose that was why my friend asked me the question, because he thought I probably knew the answer.  So, in case you haven’t managed to find the unabridged and authoritative answer to the question yourself – here it is.

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Les Vents qui Ventent [the winds that whirl] – A new experience of soul externalized in Time-Le Bruit Court Dans La Ville-the new wave old timey Québécois music and two odd ideas


Le Bruit Court dans la Ville Québécois power-trio [© 2015]

Le Bruit Court Dans la Ville  –   Québécois power-trio                      [© DepositPhotos.com 2014]

The Meme Merchant Culture Society went out the other night to a house hoot, for the first time in many ages, as a possible encouragement to use our French with people who actually speak French for a living, even if they are from the tail end of the Francophone world and tend to get a lot of grief from the Parisian epicenter of the Francophone world about their pronunciation and grammar.  C’est la vie.  This particular evening’s experience was a musical encounter with Québécois folk music trio Le Bruit Court Dans La Ville, “The buzz around town” more or less, le bruit court [literally ‘the noise short’] may also be rendered  as “rumor has it,” though we are not sure if there is a Québécois vs Parisien distinction here – possible.

This is not another music blog, this is a blog mostly about odd ideas; in the course of the evening we encountered enough unusual ideas to be worthy of promotion of the evening’s experience to a blog post.  The first odd idea was not that three Québécoises should be trying to make a living reviving a declining folk music tradition by giving concerts in people’s living rooms aux Etats Unis – a worthy idea – but not that odd.  The first odd idea was that in the Québécois folk music scene, les pieds [the feet] are an instrument you are likely to find credited in an album’s liner notes – extraordinaire.  The second odd idea is that in addition to the usual stories of marital infidelity by wife, or husband you may also find reference a theme of the now largely defunct Social Credit movement.

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A Fragment of Aix


Raku tea bowl [chris 73 CC BY-SA 3.0]

Raku tea bowl                                                                                                       [chris 73 CC BY-SA 3.0]

I am the Artist that Plato warned you of, the one who knows nothing of the True. I know nothing of Generals though I know something of being a soldier. I know nothing of the Politician, though I know something of the citizen. I know nothing nothing of being a Father, though I know something of being a son. I know nothing of Rikyû and Chôjirô, though I know something of being a potter. I know nothing of Rodin, but I know something of carving stone.
By what right? what truth? then, do I pull these essays of mine out of Imagination? Can genius, imagination, and hard work suffice to do justice to Truth? What authority does inspiration alone permit, by what mandate does method and technique warrant such license?
With patience, and diligence, I pursue my practice. From master to student, and master to student again, and so by commodious vicus of recirculation, as every Artist since Eve and Adam, I betoken the dissemination of an unbroken lineage leading to the Ur-Source. Is what I am benefit of key to a path as candid as philosophy?
God knows. I know not.
Can the pearl thief stealing the luster off the pearl from within its unopened shell, capture the very truth of its iridescence? Does the divine something that whispered into Sorceresses’ ear whisper also into mine?  What can I make of that?
I bend imagination to my sway, not holy convinced I do not err.
The beautiful. The good. The true.
If I hit one of these marks, does my work suffice?
ϕ

The Banality of Art? – a conversation with the late Arthur C. Danto on the proper orientation of Aesthetics- or Why beauty cannot be reduced out of Art

Video


Aesthetics Philosophy of the Arts, Films for the Humanities and Sciences © 2004

I discovered the above video the other day on YouTube:  Aesthetics, Philosophy of the Arts, it seemed interesting and with high production values so I gave it a viddy.

This video turned out to be a very well produced and presented hour long survey of the theories of Aesthetics in Western Art since Socrates.  A narrator takes us through a well worded and satisfactory tour of the arguments, and a couple of talking head philosophers, in the persons of Alexander Nehamas of Princeton and the late Arthur C. Danto who was emereri at Princeton, add commentary and fill in some of the details.

I enjoyed what Prof. Nehamas had to add very much, he had an avuncular manner that was easy to follow, but found I was having some trouble with Prof. Danto both with his manner generally, and later with what he had to say when he moved into his own era and work as a philosopher in the 1960’s.  I found myself developing a somewhat testy dialogue with the Dead Prof. hoping to point out that even though one may push a particular theoretical or philosophical paradigm to the limit where is breaks, or is somehow formally completed, doesn’t mean that the paradigm and its various developmental modes suddenly loses utility or there aren’t other perfectly valid paradigms to pursue.

DECONSTRUCTION
There is a difference between stretching the boundaries of a definition of a word to their logical limit, and breaking the boundaries of that definition so that there is no longer a logical use for it.

~ ϕ

I found the video presentation informative and I highly recommend it if you have about an hour for art’s sake.  I invite you to take a look now.

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Joseph Campbell taking questions about Parzival, the Graal, and God – Grail Legends at the Ojai Foundation


How Sir Galahad, Sir Bors and Sir Percival were Fed with the Sanc Grael; But Sir Percival's Sister Died by the Way  Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1864

Sir Galahad, Sir Bors and Sir Percival Fed with the Sanc Grael – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1864

God is a function, God experienced is a function of your manner of experience. The elementary idea of God is transcendent of all forms, of all names, the tongue has never soiled it, it never got there.  So, any idea of God is historically conditioned, it’s a local idea no matter how much noise people make about it, it’s just a local notion.  And so, as man transforms, so are the laws of God transformed.  The laws of God are functions of the human psyche in its historic expression and development.  That’s what we get here, and this if Wolfram.

~Joseph Campbell, Grail Legends at the Ojai Foundation

The following is a verbatim transcription of the Q&A portion of a talk entitled Grail Legends, given by Joseph Campbell at the Ojai Foundation before his death in 1987.   We Meme Merchants quote this material frequently, so I thought I would present it to the public since this material is otherwise hard to obtain in digital form since it was originally on audio tape.  So far as I know, no one has ever produced a complete transcript of the presentation.

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All is Lost – Too Long for Netflix – The editors ordeal


After the Storm, 1844, Eugène Louis Gabriel Isabey 1803-1886

After the Storm, 1844,                                                  [Eugène Louis Gabriel Isabey 1803-1886]

This blog isn’t supposed to be yet another movie review blog, we go to other blogs ourselves for that kind of thing, but sometimes we feel so stymied by the length restrictions imposed by some of the new social media websites, in this case Netfix and their 2000 character limit, that we feel compelled to publish here what we wish we were able to say over there in the first place.  Two thousand characters isn’t much [if you are counting spaces as well], that’s less than about 400 words.  It’s difficult to express one decent idea  in that few words and two ideas starts to become a parody of editorial excess.

Today’s essay started as a reaction, maybe a negative one, to the Meme Merchants Cinema Society’s recent viewing of the otherwise critically acclaimed 2013 film All is Lost by American screenwriter and director J.C. Chandor [Jeffery McDonald]  staring Robert Redford in a tour de force solo performance, which is usually described with some emphasis as being without any dialogue – as if that’s supposed to be an intrinsically good thing.

The elves at Netflix had this to say:

In this harrowing drama — which has no dialogue — a man stranded alone at sea courageously battles a ferocious storm as he struggles to survive.

Pardon me if I disagree with that assessment.  Rotten Tomatoes  gives the film a 93% Fresh, which is very good, so I’m wondering where the divergence lies.

What follows is what I wrote and wanted to publish, with some expansion;  what I actually managed to publish at Netflix is right at the bottom.

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Lourdes – Day Three – Cinema Interuptus: The Albedo, Miracle Emergent and all about Cécile and the Fisher King


The annunciation of a miracle.                                                                           [© Coop 99 Films-2009]

Welcome to part four of this series or articles, which is a deep, though hopefully not exhausting, exploration of Austrian director/writer Jessica Hausner’s excellent 2009 film Lourdes.  Part One of the series:  Prologue to a Posy, lays out in some detail the genesis of the project and outlines its basic method, which is an attempt at a one-man version of film critic Roger Ebert,’s Cinema Interruptus.  Part Two of this series:  Day One: The Wheelchair is No Barrier to Desire, takes us through approximately the first twenty five minutes of the film, to the end of the first full day in in-movie time.  Part Three of this series:  Day Two, The Nigredo – Eating an Elephant, or Too Big a Rat, takes us though to the end of the difficult second day or their pilgrimage for our characters, and several important developments in: plot, character, and theme.

If you haven’t done so I suggest that you back track and start this series from the beginning – or – just plunge ahead and pick up our story mid stream.

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Lourdes – Day Two – Cinema Interuptus: The Nigredo, Eating an Elephant, or Too Big a Rat


An interesting pair, or an odd couple?  What are they thinking?                  [©Coop 99 Films-2009]

Welcome to Part Three of this series, which is a certain kind of critical analysis of Austrian director/writer Jessica Hausner’s 2009 film Lourdes.  Part one of the series Prologue to a Posy, lays out in some detail the genesis of the project and outlines its basic method, which is a kind of one-man version of film critic Roger Ebert,’s Cinema Interruptus.  Part Two of this series Day One: The Wheelchair is No Barrier to Desire, takes us through approximately the first twenty five minutes of the film, to the end of the first full day in in-movie time.  If you haven’t done so I suggest that you back track and start this series from the beginning.

What you will be seeing, reading, will be something that looks a bit like the full screenplay of the movie, transcribed from the screen by me, with commentary, informal micro-essays, and observations interspersed between the dialogue and description.  The biggest problem I foresee with this format is a breakdown in the narrative flow of the movie, or a basic incoherence, which seems hard to get around, especially when working within the constraints of this blogging platform.  I’ll do my best to make improvements if readers are having difficulty in the comprehension department.  For typos and other grammar specific errors we at the Meme Merchants Consortium prefer you to use the Comment Form on our Contact Page, this prevents the Comments section from getting cluttered up.

So far, I’ve logged one comment and it is worthy of repeating.  From WondersInTheDark:

This is really audacious, wow! I will need to look at this and get back with a better response. But I certainly do like what you are doing here, ww. This as my favorite film of 2010:

I appreciate the compliment.  Audacious is of course a word that can cut in two directions.  This project, because of the unique and demanding nature of the process, has a high potential for failure, for many reasons, mental exhaustion being one of them.

Eating an Elephant

This project is becoming a sort of elephant.  An old boss of mine once said of large projects, “There’s only one way to eat an elephant, one bite at a time.”  True maybe, but at the same time, if you know snakes, or have ever kept one as a pet you will also know that for a snake the act of eating is a race between digestion and putrefaction.  If you are a snake and eat too large of a rat you die from sepsis [coincidentally, or ironically, according to Chinese astrology I am a snake].  We’ll have to see how much of the pressure to complete the project in its entirety I can stand – or if anyone really cares enough to read it all.

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Lourdes – Day One – Cinema Interuptus: The wheelchair is no barrier to desire


Breaking the ‘fourth wall’ – Introducing our protagonist.                             [© Coop 99 Films-2009]

In the prologue to this series: Lourdes – Prologue to a Posy, I laid out the premise that I was going to be conducting a detailed, though maybe not microscopic, analysis of Austrian director/writer Jessica Hausner’s 2009 film Lourdes as a kind of didactic exercise to see if what a relative nobody like me, if he applied himself to the subject, could come up with.  The particular didactic method I have chosen to use is a kind of one-man version of the Cinema Interruptus format developed by film critic Roger Ebert, which I elaborated upon in the previous article.

So, what you are going to be seeing is something resembling a screenplay of the movie, which I am currently transcribing in stages from the screen word by word, scene by scene, with my comments and observations interlaced between.  I really don’t know how well this is going to work, I’ve never tried anything like it.  As I said in the Prologue, this may very well turn into a mad, mad quest.  Nothing, hazarded nothing gained.  At the very least its good practice for me.  Let’s hope you are able to gain something from it as well.

The WordPress blogging platform and this particular theme, impose some very strict limits on what it is possible to do in terms of formatting a structure this complex, but I’ve devised something out that seems to work reasonably well.  My aim is is first readability and comprehensibility, only then ‘correctness’ in terms of format.  So, if neither aim is satisfied to your satisfaction, my apologies in advance.

Now we begin the task in earnest.

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Lourdes – Prologue to a Posy – Playing Cinema Interruptus with Jessica Hausner – or a Mad, Mad Quest


Les malades:  the halt, the sick, the blind.  Welcome to Lourdes                      [Coop 99 Films-2009]

Every once in a while I come across a movie review where I wonder if the reviewer and I have actually watched the same movie.  I know that there are often substantially different ‘cuts’ of a movie presented to different audiences floating around out there.  One of the classic examples of this is the 142 minute nominally nihilistic Euro-centric theatrical cut of director Terry Gilliam’s classic 1985 film Brazil, and the ofttimes disparaged 95 minute American, ‘love conquerors all’,cut of the film.  Even so, sometimes it seems there exists out there a tin-pot doppelganger to a movie I really enjoyed, which I find perplexing – or maybe it’s just that I’m odd in some way.

But, I digress.

I actually don’t actually watch a whole lot of movies; however, since the coming of Netflix to Middle Earth I have been watching many more than I used to, but I think I could hardly match the performance of most serious film buffs.  In exception to the general trend, in the last week or two I have seen several very worth while ones that have been turning into fodder for the Meme Merchants Consortium think tank.

This week it has been Austrian director/writer Jessica Hausner’s 2009 film Lourdes that has got the groups attention at the Meme Merchant’s Film Society.  On the whole we  really liked the film, we each tend to find some fault with certain aspects, but the discussion has been whether we should give it four or five Netflix stars.

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New Artwork by Atani – towards a new mythology of dispute resolution


Upaya gives Phi a good talking-to as Pee looks on                                              [©Atani Studios-2012]

Wygart is having some kind of a dispute with a friend elsewhere in the digisphere that is revolving around the extreme difficulty there is in talking about the authenticity of knowledge gained from non-ordinary experiences.    Hopefully, with the able assistance of our senior editor Upaya, some type of gainful resolution will be brought to the matter.

I’ve decided to be helpful by illustrating how things actually work around here.  Usually trouble starts with something Phi does or says, [as ironically happens to be the case between Wygart and his friend ] –  it’s simply amazing the amount of trouble that fool character causes!  Next the Meme Merchant team gets together to start to work on the problem.  The method that is used around here is to use characters to represent mythologically various endogenous and archetypal psychological functions.  These characters are then worked up in the form of some kind of art:  a picture, a story, poetry, epigram & etc to attack the problem at the archetypal and mythological level.  Once this is done it is easier to interpret down into the more mundane psychological levels without the human people’s hurt feelings getting in the way – or – being limited by discussing higher level psychological functions in a lower level mind-space.

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Stop Knolling!! – too long for U Tube, an open letter to Tom Sachs on the fetishism of arranging objects


Donald Judd’s perfectly Knolled studio in NYC. Looks pretty cool doesn’t it? But what else is enCoded in the pattern?
[Donald Judd GNU FDL v1.2]

I was visiting a reader’s blog yesterday who tipped me off to a video, 10 Bullets, by sculptor Tom Sachs.  The video is apparently part employee training film for Tom’s studio assistants and part manifesto on the ethos of a working studio, and maybe organizing your life in general.  The video takes the form of elaborating upon The Code that all Tom Sachs Studios employees are expected to work to.

I invite you to take the twenty or so minutes it takes to watch the video before I deconstruct it. [art/design pun intended]

You’re back.  Good.

The video itself is cleverly well done and rather humorous, not your typical HR Department training film [though it does lean a little heavily on the kitty litter].  If your life or organization is surrounded by chaos, Sachs’ 10 Bullets may be just the ticket to help you keep entropy at bay.  The video has received generally very favorable comments from viewers, about a 37:1 thumbs up to thumbs down ratio.  My reaction seems to be among the minority view who’s reactions was something like, “Yes, yes, yes, but….”  I just couldn’t follow The Code to its natural conclusions without an increasingly insistent voice inside saying to me that somewhere along the line a significant and serious boundary had been crossed.

The rest of this post will take the form of an open letter to Tom Sachs.  To be fair, Tom of course is invited to respond in comments or in his own post at this blog.

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