Elsa Schiaparelli and the Surrealists

Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dalí
Elsa Schiaparelli (center) with Salvador Dalí (right), 1949. COLLECTION OF MERYLE SECREST

Long before visitors lined up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Alexander McQueen retrospective, the worlds of fashion and art collided in the Surrealist designs of Elsa Schiaparelli. The Italian-born couturier—as famed in her heyday as Coco Chanel—is the subject of Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography (Knopf). Author Meryle Secrest investigates the designer’s ties with Salvador Dalí, Francis Picabia, Jean Cocteau, and other members of the Parisian avant-garde in the 1920s and ’30s.

Schiaparelli was particularly close with Dalí, with whom she made the memorable “Lobster Dress,” “Shoe Hat,” and “Tears Dress.” The last is a slender gown and veil patterned with Dalí’s trompe l’oeil rips and tears to give the illusion of lacerated flesh. “Dalí had some pretty crazy ideas,” Secrest tells ARTnews. “One of them revolved around the necrophiliac fantasy of the corpse who comes back to life with all the skin torn off,” as seen in his 1936 painting Necrophiliac Springtime. Yet the fabric Schiaparelli concocted “isn’t macabre at all,” Secrest adds. “In her hands, the concept becomes something unusual and strange, but not sadistic.”

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Visualizing Our Tech Worship With Giant Webs of Circuitry

rp_ut_mandala11_f.jpgFor Italian artist Leonardo Ulian, this is our universe. At its center: a microchip. Beyond: resistors, capacitors, inductors, transistors.Ulian’s “technological mandalas”—webs of circuitry in the form of the Hindu or Buddhist symbolic diagrams of the cosmos—are icons for an electronic age, and he’ll be exhibiting them this fall in Milan.

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Charting the Geo-History of Culture

vh720Bigger data gets the bigger picture . . . in this case, the big picture in the form of an amazing visualization of global cultural evolution. In Europe. Things move slowly at the beginning, when the only stars and centers of cultural gravity are Athens and Rome. Watch Europe flicker through the “dark” ages until the Renaissance lights up the map. Of course,  things really get going in the nineteen hundreds with the industrial revolution.

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Reincarnation 2014

cropped-SB_DS_6089a1.jpgWelcome to the latest virtual reincarnation of digitalsouls.com — as a WordPress site.

Reincarnations of digitalsouls.com include its first online appearance as a collection of simple html pages (1997-2000). In 2001, the site saw a new reincarnation as a PHP reactor (2001-3). This virtual reincarnation was followed by a very successful life as a PHP Nuke. During its life as a PHP nuke, digitalsouls.com evolved and grew through multiple versions of that publishing platform (2004-2013). Today, after a rather brief incarnation as a Joomla site (2013-14), digitalsouls.com emerges once more in its latest virtual reincarnation, this time as a WordPress site.

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Dr. Hugo: Body Language Sequences

Dr. Hugo Heyrman’s online selection of short video loops offers a glimpse on the complexities of human behaviour and interactions. An intriguing mixture of urban anthropscrn18seq1ology and behavioral psychology, Heyrman’s work combines the elements of a virtual siteseeing tour exploring the streets of Antwerp, Netherlands, with the aesthetics of choppy motion loops – micro shorts, as Dr. Hugo calls them. The online work is part of Dr. Hugo’s Museums of the Mind.

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Brian Eno: The Big Here and The Long Now

The Big Here

It was 1978. I was new to New York. A rich acquaintance had invited me to a housewarming party, and, as my cabdriver wound his way down increasingly potholed and dingy streets, I began wondering whether he’d got the address right. Finally he stopped at the doorway of a gloomy, unwelcoming industrial building. Two winos were crumpled on the steps, oblivious. There was no other sign of life in the whole street.

“I think you may have made a mistake”, I ventured.

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