Sea Organ

“The device was made by the architect Nikola Bašić as part of the project to redesign the new city coast (Nova riva), and the site was opened to the public on 15 April 2005. The waves interact with the organ in order to create somewhat random but harmonic sounds.”

“Constructed in 2005, the acoustic jetty spans some 230 feet (70 meters) and incorporates 35 polyethylene tubes of varying diameter. As waves flood each tube underwater, displaced air is forced through large whistles tuned to play seven chords of five tones. Day in and day out, music seems to emanate from the ground, a playful interplay between nature and design. Listening to the video above, the sound is somewhat like random chords played by a huge calliope.”

The Hiddenness of Poems

Originally posted on Barnstorming:



footprint photo by Josh Scholten

I’ll tell you a secret: poems hide.
In the bottoms of our shoes, they are sleeping.
They are the shadows drifting across our ceilings the moment before we wake up.
What we have to do is live in a way that lets us find them.
Naomi Shihab Nye

Poems were hidden from me for decades.  I was oblivious a hundred times a day to their secrets: dripping right over me in the shower,  rising over hills bright pink, tucked under a toadstool, breathing deeply as I auscultated a chest,  unfolding with each blossom, settling heavily on my eyelids at night.

The day I awoke to them was the day thousands of innocents died in sudden cataclysm of airplanes and buildings and fire — people not knowing when they got up that day it would be their last.  And such taking of life happens again…

View original 66 more words

“Finding Beauty Amid the Wreckage of the Soul”

reblogged from BrainPickings:

Tchaikovsky on Depression and Finding Beauty Amid the Wreckage of the Soul

“Life is beautiful in spite of everything! … There are many thorns, but the roses are there too.”

“An artist needs a certain amount of turmoil and confusion,” Joni Mitchell once told an interviewer. Indeed, the history of the arts is the history of the complex relationship between creativity and mental illness. But while psychologists have found that a low dose of melancholy enhances creativity, its clinical extreme in depression can be creatively debilitating.

Few artists have walked that fine line with more tenacity and self-awareness than the great Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (May 7, 1840–November 6, 1893). Frequently throughout his correspondence with family and friends, collected in The Life and Letters of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (public library;public domain) — the source of his enduring ideas on work ethic vs. inspiration, the paradox of client work, and why you should never allow interruptions in your creative process — Tchaikovsky notes his cyclical lapses into depression, undergirded by a dogged dedication to looking for beauty and meaning amid the spiritual wreckage. This intimate tango of sadness and radiance is ultimately what gives his music its timeless edge in penetrating the soul.

In a letter from the spring of 1870, shortly after his thirtieth birthday, Tchaikovsky writes:

I am sitting at the open window (at four a.m.) and breathing the lovely air of a spring morning… Life is still good, [and] it is worth living on a May morning… I assert that life is beautiful in spite of everything! This “everything” includes the following items: 1. Illness; I am getting much too stout, and my nerves are all to pieces. 2. The Conservatoire oppresses me to extinction; I am more and more convinced that I am absolutely unfitted to teach the theory of music. 3. My pecuniary situation is very bad. 4. I am very doubtful if Undine will be performed. I have heard that they are likely to throw me over.

In a word, there are many thorns, but the roses are there too.

Even though Tchaikovsky frequently lamented his “wearing, maddening depression,” perhaps most remarkable yet quintessentially human about his disposition was the ability to assure his loved ones of the very things he was unable to internalize himself — for who among us hasn’t found that it is far easier to offer light to our dearest humans in situations that leave our own inner worlds shrouded in impenetrable darkness?

In the fall of 1876, Tchaikovsky consoles his beloved nephew through a period of dejection and melancholy:

Probably you were not quite well, my little dove, when you wrote to me, for a note of real melancholy pervaded your letter. I recognized in it a nature closely akin to my own. I know the feeling only too well. In my life, too, there are days, hours, weeks, aye, and months, in which everything looks black, when I am tormented by the thought that I am forsaken, that no one cares for me. Indeed, my life is of little worth to anyone. Were I to vanish from the face of the earth to-day, it would be no great loss to Russian music, and would certainly cause no one great unhappiness. In short, I live a selfish bachelor’s life. I work for myself alone, and care only for myself. This is certainly very comfortable, although dull, narrow, and lifeless. But that you, who are indispensable to so many whose happiness you make, that you can give way to depression, is more than I can believe. How can you doubt for a moment the love and esteem of those who surround you? How could it be possible not to love you? No, there is no one in the world more dearly loved than you are. As for me, it would be absurd to speak of my love for you. If I care for anyone, it is for you, for your family, for my brothers and our old Dad. I love you all, not because you are my relations, but because you are the best people in the world.

The Life and Letters of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky remains a wonderful and abidingly rewarding read in its entirety. Complement this particular fragment with Charles Dickens’s beautiful missive of consolation to his bereaved sister and E.B. White’sassuring letter to a man who had lost faith in life.

And all must love the human form,/ In heathen, turk or jew.

The Divine Image

To Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
All pray in their distress:
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
Is God our father dear:
And Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
Is Man his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart
Pity, a human face:
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine
Love Mercy Pity Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk or jew.
Where Mercy, Love & Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.

“The Divine Image” by William Blake. Public Domain.

A monk and a fish

From the folks at OpenCulture:

The London-based artist hand-painted each frame in ink and watercolor. Like the story, the visual style was inspired by the Far East. “The Japanese in particular, and also the Chinese and Koreans,” said Dudok de Wit, “have a way of using negative space, of not filling the picture, which is very typical of the Far East and very untypical of the West. We can be inspired by it, but it’s profoundly in their culture–in their genes maybe, and not so much in ours. It’s not just about the brush line, it’s also the space around the line that is inspiring.”

For the music, Dudok de Wit chose a classic from the Western canon, “La Folia,” a traditional theme that was often adapted or quoted by composers like Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli, Handel and Liszt. The filmmaker selected a few of his favorite variations–mainly from Corelli and Vivaldi–and asked composer Serge Besset to listen to them and create a new version to fit the film.

Attribution(s): All artwork, publicity images, and stills are the property of Michaël Dudok De Wit. This short is made available via aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) license.