The Real Paul Jones

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Date: 3/19/2005

Fetishizing the Original

Dropped in on the 75th Anniversary of the Southern Historical Collection this evening. Dropped in only on the last session of a day and a half long symposium. Sally had been to the whole conference. I did get to drop in on two great talks.
One by John Hope Franklin who talked about his experience as a young African-American historian coming to work in the archives of North Carolina, Louisiana and Alabama during the 1940s.
One by Ed Ayers who talked about digital projects including his famous and wonderful Valley of the Shadow project.
So far not obvious fetishizing or at least not as pertains to the title of this post.
In question time, one concerned audience member spoke of the feel of the paper, the scrawls on the back of a photograph (never mind that the photo had faded so far from the state in which it was seen in the past), the smell of the archive (this the smell of the archive rotting like a slow compost), etc.
This impassioned talk reminded me of Walter Benjamin’s Work of Art in the Age of MechanicalReproduction. An essay in which Benjamin worries that photography will completely replace painting and that the value of the original, the aura, will be lost as seamless reproductions are made generally available.
Of course, we now see that Benjamin was completely wrong. That we rush to see the Mona Lisa because we are familiar with that painting. Our desire to see the “real” Mona Lisa is increased at each viewing of a reproduction, a surrogate.
What painting would we go to see by Grant Wood? Most likely the one we know from surrogates, from parodies, from endless reproductionsAmerican Gothic (it’s at the Art Institute of Chicago).
The ultimate fetishizing of the original resulted in the daring and somewhat bizzare theft of Edvard Munch’s Scream. Desire may have led to destruction of the desired and we will have been left with its many many many surrogates.

IBM Emerging Technologies Tool Kit and Portal

The Emerging Technologies Tool Kit may have already existed, but the Portal seems to have been announced only yesterday (March 18) according to the IBM ET Blog/.

The ETTK Portal says of itself:

The Emerging Technologies Toolkit (ETTK) is a collection of technologies from IBM’s software development and research labs that have special relevance to IBM’s emerging software strategy. An ETTK technology indicates that IBM has attached importance to the emerging technology area, and is dedicated to giving it appropriate incubation and exposure.

These technologies are bundled to help technologists learn about a subject area by providing tools, example code, documentation and executable demos that illustrate IBM’s current approach on these topics.

The technology list below has links to the latest ETTK technologies. On-line demos or presentations are also available that show what each downloadable package has to offer. A Laszlo-powered technology navigator helps to get a quick sense of each ETTK technology (Macromedia Flash viewer required). Please be sure to subscribe to the ETTK RSS feed to receive notifications as new ETTK technologies are added and updated.

Carrboro Farmer’s Market Opens

Just like Carrboro to be in the lead; this time beating Spring by a few days.
The pickings are slim this time of year, remember it snowed here on Wednesday of this week. Lots of plant sets. Greenhouse tomattoes. Cut flowers are daffodils. Organic meats.

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