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Edward Burtynsky, “The 10,000-year Gallery”, Long Now Foundation, 2008/07/28 January 19, 2009

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While planning for the 10,000 year clock, the challenge of durable art takes on new meaning.

Photographer Edward Burtynsky made a formal proposal for a permanent art gallery in the chamber that encloses the 10,000-year Clock in its Nevada mountain. The gallery would consist of art in materials as durable as the alloy steel and jade of the Clock itself, and it would be curated slowly over the centuries to reflect changing interests in the rolling present and the accumulating past.

Photographs in particular should be in the 10,000-year Gallery, Burtynsky said, “because they tell us more than any previous medium. When we think of our own past, we tend to think in terms of family photos.”But photographic prints, especially color prints, degrade badly over time. Burtynsky went on a quest for a technical solution. He thought that automobile paint, which holds up to harsh sunlight, might work if it could be run through an inkjet printer, but that didn’t work out. Then he came across a process first discovered in 1855, called “carbon transfer print.” It uses magenta, cyan, and yellow inks made of ground stone—the magenta stone can only be found in one mine in Germany—and the black ink is carbon.

The Long Now Blog » Blog Archive » Edward Burtynsky, “The 10,000-year Gallery”

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Juan Enriquez, “Mapping the Frontier of Knowledge”, Long Now Foundation, 2007/10/12 March 10, 2008

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I think Joe had seen Juan Enriquez speak in Toronto, as he gave me a copy of As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces are Changing Your Life, Work, Health & Wealth.

Enriquez noted that some nations are charging ahead with such technology and the education that drives it while others cripple themselves by holding back. Portugal had colonies throughout the world, he said, but they never respected the natives enough to help educate them, and so left intellectual blight behind them and at home. London and Paris are full of Indian and Chinese restaurants,but there are none in Portugal. He showed a photo of a billboard that read: “Portugal— We were a world power for about 15 minutes.

”The new maps of life, he said, will profoundly affect countries,business, religion and ethics. Being alive in the midst a scientific renaissance like this is Christmas every day.

During Q&A Enriquez lamented that the pharmacology industry has retreated to doing just marketing now instead of discovery, …

–Stewart Brand

Long Now, Seminars about Long Term Thinking

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Steven Johnson, “The Long Zoom”, Long Now, 2007/05/11 February 1, 2008

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One in the series of Seminars About Long Term Thinking, from the Long Now Foundation:

Steven Johnson began his long zoom survey with the “prior art” of Joyce’s Stephen Daedalus locating himself in himself, his neighborhood, Dublin, on out to the universe. The value of a long zoom is in identifying and employing every scale between the very large and very small, noticing how they change each other when held in the mind at the same time.

Johnson’s core story (and current book) concerned London in 1854, when it was the largest city in the world and in history with 2.5 million people. London famously stank. [....] The authorities decided that the way to cure the frequent cholera epidemics in London was to get rid of the bad odor— pump the sewage into the Thames, which people drank. The cholera got worse.

Johnson’s goal with his book, THE GHOST MAP, was to figure out why the wrong theory of disease lingered so long, and what it took to correct it. The answer, he proposes, is in the perspective of the long zoom.

[...]

Johnson proposed that another word for the long zoom perspective is “consilience”— a fine old word, revived by Edward O. Wilson, that links multiple disciplines and multiple levels into a whole body of knowledge with extra benefits the separate disciplines lack. Science and culture can blend rigorously. What is discovered in consilience is not just scales of distance or time but nested systems.

Long Views » Blog Archive » Steven Johnson, Consilience defeats miasma

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DVD at Whole Earth Films

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