KC Gandhi squeak a win

Churchy just tweeted this:

He doesn’t say where he found it.

Having got to a thousand, Dhanawade then wanted to dig in and make it a big thousand. But he was cruelly cut short, just as he was getting into his stride.

Well, no. Proper report here. Happened way back in January 2016. I vaguely heard about this, or read about it and forgot, or something. Nice to nail it down.

The artistic retreat from beauty

Like many people, I like photos like this:

Not photoed by me. I wish it had been photoed by me. But, not.

It makes me think of David Hockney, who also likes leafless trees.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (ISIBAISIA): Artistic fashion often goes where it goes not because it is leading us all into some new and exciting artistic domain, but because it is retreating from an area where it can no longer make any sort of living. Example: beauty. Of the sort you see in the above photo.

Googling is good for things describable with a single word. But something like the idea that artists now hate doing beauty is a bit harder to track down. Google tends to fixate on one of the words you use and ignore all the others until it has told you everything it has on, you know, “artists”. Then, keep scrolling, and soon you will be learning of everything there is that you can read about “hate”. The closest I could get to what I wanted was a piece at the Tate Gallery website, entitled JJ CHARLESWORTH FINDS BEAUTY, ALONG WITH A SUNNY VIEW OF THE FUTURE, TO BE SOMETHING OF THE PAST.

I agree with JJ CHARLESWORTH that artists who reject beauty do this partly because they have a gloomy view of the future. But, ISIBAISIA, there’s surely also the fact that all of us now have machines on our persons which can crank out beauty on a daily basis, immortalising everything beautiful that we encounter that we wish to immortalise. Click. And if we can’t even be bothered to do that, plenty can be so bothered, and now pile their efforts into the great global photo-gallery that is the internet, that of course being where I got the photo that adorns this posting. What chance does the average artist have when up against all that? No wonder they prefer ugliness, ugliness so ugly that the Daily Mail will supply free publicity for it, “conceptual” art, painting with shit and piss, and such like. Oh, an artist can add beauty of the sort that a regular photo won’t add, but they can’t add enough extra beauty to justify all the extra bother. And especially not in the age of photo-processing software, which can add beauty. Now, picture-making software can enable you to create beauty.

Hockney, of course, is not an average artist. He is exceptional. He is in the top one per cent. He can paint whatever he likes, and people will still pay him lavishly for it. He can even sell his photos. But for his pains, all the official art people now agree that he is very passé for still doing beauty.

So, the artists have retreated out of beauty. They call it an advance, but they’re not fooling me. And now that I’ve explained this to you, they aren’t fooling you either.

ISIBAISIA

ISIBAISIA stands for “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. As I get older, I find myself wanting to use this phrase more and more, hence my need for an acronym. Which, I note, other persons are already using also.

Anyway, the latest thing that I’ve said before and now find myself in the process of saying again (while linking back to the first version) is something which you will encounter if you scroll down in among this, at Samizdata, namely this:

Recently there was a comment thread here about modern art, about how ghastly it is, how badly it bodes for Western Civilisation, etc. etc. But I believe that to be as pessimistic about the future of the West as some of those pessimistic commenters were, merely because of a lot of stupid abstract paintings, is to fall into the trap of regarding artists in the way they like to regard themselves, as a vanguard of civilisation (an “avant guarde”), rather than as mostly a rearguard. You simply cannot understand Modern Art without appreciating that it takes place in a technological space first developed by, and then abandoned by, the industry of making pictorial likenesses. Abstract art is, in many ways, a rationalisation of the fact that likenesses are now no longer demanded, on the scale of former times, from “artists”. It is primitive picture making, done in a part of town that used to be very grand but is now either stuck in genteel poverty, or in the other kind of poverty: a slum.

Old school art was a business as well as an “art”. …

Painting used to do likenesses. And the new point I am in the middle of making, in the next posting here, is that painting used to do beauty. But photography is now doing beauty also. (Expect a beautiful photo-illustration.) So painting has retreated out of that too. Art doesn’t “advance”. It merely ducks, weaves and accumulates, piggy-backing on technologies developed by more business-like businesses.

Male seahorse delivering babies

Here. Amazing. I never knew this. At all.

Far too good to wait until next Friday. (Friday being my usual day for cats and other creatures stuff.)

I Twitter-follow Steve Stewart-Williams, and strongly recommend him as a followee. (Provided only that you agree with him (and me) that evolution is real and that doubting it is foolish, in which case he might make you angry.)

Or, to put the more general point the other way, if all you get from your Twitter feed is political bile and general nastiness, you’re not doing it right.

FaceID

Back in my Alternative Bookshop days, I and my libertarian pals used to joke about things that were both compulsory and illegal. It would appear that face masks in China are pretty close to being that, because of the conflicting demands of plague protection and facial recognition.

But at least, according to this report (at the top of which appears the above photo), I have (when displaying photos like these ones here) been getting how “FaceID” does and does not work approximately right:

Most complaints are about unlocking mobile devices. Apple confirmed to Quartz that an unobstructed view of a user’s eyes, nose, and mouth is needed for FaceID to work properly. Similarly, Huawei says that its efforts to develop a feature that recognizes partially-covered faces has fallen short. “There are too few feature points for the eyes and the head so it’s impossible to ensure security,” explains Huawei vice president Bruce Lee, in a Jan 21 post on Weibo.”We gave up on facial unlock for mask or scarf wearing [users].”

Or have I? The software used by mere people, for unlocking their mobile phones, may not now work if you are wearing a face mask. But what if the governments of the world have graciously permitted themselves to use far better software, which can easily see past a face mask?

Big Things in alignment

Are you fed up with photos I photoed years ago? Well, to make a change, here’s a photo someone else photoed years ago:

That’s the dramatic photo at the top of a piece in The Independent entitled, in appropriately dramatic capital letters, SUPERMOON 2020: HOW TO SEE SNOW MOON THIS WEEKEND.

Getty Images says, about this photo of theirs

A full moon passes behind The Shard skyscraper on 9 September, 2014 in London, England

Anyway, the point is, something similar might well, weather permitting, be happening this coming Sunday.

The first supermoon of the decade will rise over the skies of the UK on Sunday, offering the brightest and biggest view of the moon in almost a year.

It will be the first of four supermoons set to take place in 2020, and the first to occur since 20 March last year. They happen when the full moon is at its closest point in its orbit of Earth, making it seem bigger and brighter than usual.

Weather permitting, people around the world will witness the spectacle on 9 February, with the exact moment where the effect appears strongest happening at 7.34am GMT. The moon will appear full for around three days, spanning from Saturday to Monday.

The time of year means this full moon has traditionally been known as the Full Snow Moon or the Full Hunger Moon, as it often coincided with heavy snowfall and difficult hunting conditions.

Personally, I’m in favour of “difficult hunting conditions”, because I’m a townie and I hate hunting, of any animals not capable of turning around and attacking and devouring their pursuers. But I digress. I am in favour of good photoing weather.

The weather today, like the weather yesterday, was perfect. Here’s to that lasting. Which our forecasters now say it won’t. Shame.

How mobile phones and headphones looked in Feb 2010

Today I went on a photo-walk in perfect weather and photoed over three hundred photos. But how to choose which ones to show? And how to choose when I just want to go to bed? I know, I’ll fob you off with some photos I photoed ten years ago, in February 2010.

All of them illustrate change. Photo 1 shows how mobile phones used to look, but not any more. Photo 4 shows how video cameras used to look, but not any more. Now they look like mobile phones, which would be because they now are mobile phones. Photo 3 shows a guy photoing, but that’s not the point, not least because we can’t even see his camera. The point is, what’s directly behind him. Nothing. Now, there is a hurricane of building in the blank bit on the horizon there.

Photo 2 shows something you seldom see now, or at any rate not out of doors, which is big old cover-your-ears headphones like that. Now, that guy probably puts tiny bobbles in his ears, with wires hanging down. You only wear something like that now if you want your ears to be a lot warmer than they’d otherwise be.

A Happy New Year of sport

The weekend just concluded is one of my favourites of the entire year, every year, because of sport. The Six Nations rugby gets started, which this time involved Italy getting slaughtered by Wales 42-0, and Scotland and England getting beaten by Ireland in Ireland and and by France in France. Then on Sunday evening the Super Bowl got started, and went on into the not-that-small hours. The Flyover Country MAGA Chiefs defeated the Coastal Elite 49ers with a great come-back at the end, so I was very happy about that.

Plus there was lots of regular sporting stuff that just happened to be happening. On Saturday morning there was a Big Bash League cricket game in Australia. In the BBL, I care only about how well the English players do, and in this game the Alex Hales Thunder defeated the Phil Salt Strikers.

I even took a look at the Australian Open tennis, in which Djokovich beat somebody. Everyone hates Djokovich, apparently, but he seemed okay to me.

There was also women’s rugby, snooker, and much else besides of a sporting nature, but women’s rugby, snooker, and much else besides of a sporting nature are none of them of great interest to me. What am I, a sporting obsessive?

Then on Sunday afternoon, Spurs beat Man City at English football, which tends not to happen these days. Spurs took both of their two chances, while ManC missed all of their eighteen chances, including a penalty that the Spurs goalie saved. That definitely softened the blow of England losing at the Rugby version of football to France.

What with all this excitement, it feels to me like now is the real beginning of the new year, a feeling intensified this year by Brexit, which caused January 31st to feel exactly like December 31st.

Happy New Year everyone.

The things you learn from lurking on Twitter …

Here:

The most interesting thing about Apsley House, former home of the Duke of Wellington, is that there’s a massive naked statue of Napoleon at the bottom of the stairs.

It’s huge apparently, over eleven feet tall. Official Apsley House website here.

And no, he does not look like Danny de Vito at all. All that hooey about Napoleon being small, “Napoleon complex”, etc. is indeed hooey. (Can’t remember where or when I read this, but I did.)