Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Making Echos

"I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
by the false azure of the windowpane;
I was the smudge of ashen fluff -- and I
Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky.
And from the inside, too, I'd duplicate
Myself, my lamp, an apple on a plate:
Uncurtaining the night, I'd let dark glass
Hang all the furniture above the grass,
And how delightful when a fall of snow
Covered my glimpse of lawn and reached up so
As to make chair and bed exactly stand
Upon that snow, out in that crystal land!"
 ~ from Pale Fire

Here is the Fresh Air interview I mentioned on Monday in which Powers discusses among other things, creating the Echo Maker via computer aided voice recognition software and spending a one year self-imposed exile from speaking.

These are the links Theresa provided for the Richard Power interviews here and here, and the NY Times' review here.

Here are the links to the books Fabian recommended for those interested in neurology, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology.
  ~António Damásio, Descartes' Error
  ~Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Took His Wife for a Hat and A Leg to Stand On.

Also, the BBC has a fairly decent article on synaesthesia, “Why some see colours in numbers.”

This is a video segment from 60 Minutes about Daniel Tammet, known as the Brain Man, whose extraordinary memory is related to the way he “sees” numbers as colors, shapes, and textures. He says he “sees” landscapes. In this sense, we might say his brain creates a mental map using symbols much like the cranes map out their flight plans.

I seem to always search out multiple mediums as a means of adding texture to my own experiences in our literary discussions. Perhaps I myself am just a post-modern product like the characters in our stories. “Memento” is a sort of neo film noir psychological thriller in which the main character suffers from acute short-term memory loss. If film can be post-structural, this one surely is.

And finally, Jean Baudrillard, the philosopher and sociologist most famous for his theories on the hyper-reality(the simulated realm that is "more real than the real") of which we are all products, died on March 6th.

"How is this better than real Ping-Pong?" he asked tiny Jess. He genuinely wanted to know her answer. The same question haunted his work. What was it about the species that would save the symbol and discard the thing it stood for? His seven-year-old sighed. "Dad," she told him, with that first hint of contempt for adulthood and all its trouble with the obvious. "It's just cleaner." The Echo Maker
"What I am, I don't know. I am the simulacrum of myself." Jean Baudrillard