Thursday, 14 August 2014

Juicy oranges & the primal drive; music, code cartoons and stinky landfills

During the summer I always tend to go for the juiciest fruit i can get my hands on. That's not a cleverly veiled euphemism, but an actual reflection of what I buy in the supermarket, in the name of keeping healthy whilst enjoying great tasting food.

Oranges are always near the top of my list as there's something very primal about biting into them and enjoying the juice and the fruit. I tend to keep them in the fridge and then leave them out first thing in the morning on the day im going to eat them. I'd like to say there's some sort of scientific reason behind this, such as I'm letting the natural ripening process carry on for a little while longer, but its more out of habit and the mindset that now i've left them out, I better eat them, or someone else will.

Keeping with the primordial theme, the first of the three articles that caught my eye recently, is all about using music to feel good in a more holistic sense :-

Cleveland Heights man uses music to promote wellbeing in the community

Clearly a man with an ear to the ground ( pun intended), Dr. Damir Janigro from Cleveland Ohio, is conducting research into how music can provide a theraputic effect for patients in hospital. What stuck out for me, was that he's come from a very musical family and although not a musician himself, by osmosis he has pursued this as part of his work as a doctor, in aid of treating patients. This in itself may not be considered groundbreaking or unusual as there are potentially many of us, myself included, who would happily support the arguement that music is the elixir of life, and is as essential as food and water to our wellbeing and connected mental and emotional states. 

But what is unusual, is that he also started a foundation named after his father Antonio (he was a world reknowned cellist), several years ago, just to promote the concept of music and wellbeing in the community, per se. His work as a doctor, is perhaps aiding a part of his natural quest to pursue this passion to a scientific, quantitative and qualitative set of results. It's akin to finding a way to get closer to bringing the left and right brain into harmony..literally.

As a musician myself, it's always encouraging to hear feedback on what kind of emotive reaction people get from hearing the finished results. In effect, music isn't something that's easily compartmentalised into rhetorical minutae, irrespective ironically of wether there is lyrical content.  That's why music reviewers and the concept of reviewing, is an artform in itself, because you can enter into what i call the ' how long is a piece of string?' scenario; i.e. how technical or not do you make the critique, where do your tastes and their boundaries lie to make an informed but rational point, and so on.

Th assimilation of artistic values and the reiteration of them, is a complex thing to do for the artist too, as the second article illustrates :-

The Guy Behind Garbage Pail Kids Has Been Cartooning With Code for 20 Years

John Pound has been a cartoonist all his life. But most people beyond a certain age ( I'd say mid 30's and beyond), may remember his works of art in drawing 'the garbage pail kids' , which was from 1984. I can just about remember the collector's cards series on these and doing 'playground swaps' with them. It was also around that time that I  discovered a roland jx3-p synthesizer in a music class, which you can read more about here

Soon after, Pound was excited by the prospect of using the then very new commodore Amiga ( i still own one and it works!), to see if he could find a way of implementing and integrating his workflow and  style with the technology . To that end, he taught himself to code,  and created his own programs designed to auto-generate pieces of visual works in a cartoon-esque style, which is a remarkable achievement in itself. 

More than 20 years later, and he has since had his works exhibited and published volumes of these works, which is up to number (or 'sketchbook') 29. Although there is still a decent sized amount of human interaction involved in setting parameters and so on within the software ( he does all this himself), the results are very eye catching and quite spectacular in some cases. In any event, you can have a look and make your mind up, if you follow the links in the article.

In the process of creating art works of any type and genre, you naturally end up with redundant and even immediately unusable ideas and products . Unless you're working with large amounts of clay and/or other large physical substances and items, then it's fair to say that you can file it all away for another day and a rethink, wether this is digitally on a backup drive or in some form of  tangible, manageable storage (e.g. if it's on paper, then  you can file it away).

However, if it's all kept unattended and unmanaged, you can end up with a landfill of ideas, which can be hard to entangle and sift through, unless you're then dedicated in the art of doing so. Unlike a real landfill, these can still be easily erased and possibly even reused and recycled.

Fortunately, not all landfills are destined  to end up as redundant mounds of foul smells and gases, if this final article is anything to go by :-

Stinky landfills might soon generate clean energy

It's the methane gas in landfills that creates that familiar yet fetid odour which keeps mankind at bay. Fortunately there is a solution in the works, which is covered in the link above. 

In the meantime, im off to devour those oranges. I might grab some nectarines later too. And strawberries.

Come to think of it, a fruit salad's not a bad idea.

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