Archive for the 'Biografías y Personajes' Category

Sergio Fajardo: A Conversation with Charlie Rose

febrero 25, 2009
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El Sistema

febrero 8, 2009

t1224170563-orquesta

José Antonio Abreu nació en Valera, Trujillo, Venezuela, el 7 de mayo de 1939. Posee un PhD en Economía Petrolera, y es compositor y organista.

Es considerado uno de los íconos culturales y musicales de Venezuela. Comenzó sus estudios musicales en Barquisimeto y luego continuó en Caracas, en donde recibió clases de Vicente Emilio Sojo, Moisés Moleiro y Evencio Castellanos. Tiene los títulos de Profesor Ejecutante, Maestro Compositor y Director Orquestal.

Fundó y dirigió la Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar (OSSB), así como también la Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional Juvenil (1975) y la Fundación del Estado para el Sistema Nacional de Orquestas Infantiles y Juveniles (FESNOJIV), que es una red de orquestas infantiles, juveniles y coros que involucra cerca de 250 mil jóvenes músicos. Estos utilizan la educación musical para el desarrollo comunitario, la integración social y la solidaridad, que tiene como su máxima expresión la Orquesta Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolívar.

Este sistema ha sido modelo para otros países de Latinoamérica y el Caribe y ha sido merecedor de reconocimientos nacionales e internacionales, entre los cuales destaca el Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes 2008. Se rige por el principio de que “la música es un instrumento irremplazable para unir a las personas”, por lo cual la actividad que realiza FESNOJIV forma parte del proyecto “Música para la acción social”.

Durante la década de 1960 impartió la cátedra de Economía en distintas universidades. Luego, fue Diputado en el Congreso Nacional, y durante la década de 1970 se desempeñó en los cargos de Ministro de la Cultura, Vicepresidente y Director del Consejo Nacional de la Cultura (Conac).
Actualmente es miembro del Consejo Asesor de la Orquesta Juvenil de las Américas (co-fundado por el Conservatorio de New England) y director del Movimiento Nacional de Orquestas Venezolanas.

orquesta

TED Prize winner José Abreu’s Wish:

“I wish you would help create and document a special training program for at least 50 gifted young musicians, passionate for their art and for social justice, and dedicated to developing El Sistema in the US and in other countries.”

Conversations with History: Manuel Castells

noviembre 27, 2008

El poder tiene miedo de Internet

MILAGROS PÉREZ OLIVA

S i alguien ha estudiado las interioridades de la sociedad de la información es el sociólogo Manuel Castells (Hellín, 1942). Su trilogía La era de la información: economía, sociedad y cultura ha sido traducida a 23 idiomas. Es uno de los primeros cerebros rescatados: volvió a España, a dirigir la investigación de la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, en 2001, después de haber investigado e impartido clases durante 24 años en la Universidad de California, en Berkeley. Una de sus investigaciones más reciente es el Proyecto Internet Cataluña, en el que durante seis años ha analizado, mediante 15.000 entrevistas personales y 40.000 a través de la Red, los cambios que Internet introduce en la cultura y la organización social, y acaba de publicar, con Marina Subirats, Mujeres y hombres, ¿un amor imposible? (Alianza Editorial), donde aborda las consecuencias de estos cambios.

Pregunta. Esta investigación muestra que Internet no favorece el aislamiento, como muchos creen, sino que las personas que más chatean son las más sociables.

Respuesta. Sí. Para nosotros no es ninguna sorpresa. La sorpresa es que ese resultado haya sido una sorpresa. Hay por lo menos 15 estudios importantes en el mundo que dan ese mismo resultado.

P. ¿Por qué cree que la idea contraria se ha extendido con éxito?

R. Los medios de comunicación tienen mucho que ver. Todos sabemos que las malas noticias son más noticia. Usted utiliza Internet, y sus hijos, también; pero resulta más interesante creer que está lleno de terroristas, de pornografía… Pensar que es un factor de alienación resulta más interesante que decir: Internet es la extensión de su vida. Si usted es sociable, será más sociable; si no lo es, Internet le ayudará un poquito, pero no mucho. Los medios son en cierto modo la expresión de lo que piensa la sociedad: la cuestión es por qué la sociedad piensa eso.

P. ¿Por miedo a lo nuevo?

R. Exacto. Pero miedo, ¿de quién? De la vieja sociedad a la nueva, de los padres a sus hijos, de las personas que tienen el poder anclado en un mundo tecnológica, social y culturalmente antiguo, respecto de lo que se les viene encima, que no entienden ni controlan y que perciben como un peligro, y en el fondo lo es. Porque Internet es un instrumento de libertad y de autonomía, cuando el poder siempre ha estado basado en el control de las personas, mediante el de información y comunicación. Pero esto se acaba. Porque Internet no se puede controlar.

P. Vivimos en una sociedad en la que la gestión de la visibilidad en la esfera pública mediática, como la define John J. Thompson, se ha convertido en la principal preocupación de cualquier institución, empresa u organismo. Pero el control de la imagen pública requiere medios que sean controlables, y si Internet no lo es…

R. No lo es, y eso explica por qué los poderes tienen miedo de Internet. Yo he estado en no sé cuántas comisiones asesoras de gobiernos e instituciones internacionales en los últimos 15 años, y la primera pregunta que los gobiernos hacen siempre es: ¿cómo podemos controlar Internet? La respuesta es siempre la misma: no se puede. Puede haber vigilancia, pero no control.

P. Si Internet es tan determinante de la vida social y económica, ¿su acceso puede ser el principal factor de exclusión?

R. No, el más importante seguirá siendo el acceso al trabajo y a la carrera profesional, y antes el nivel educativo, porque, sin educación, la tecnología no sirve para nada. En España, la llamada brecha digital es por cuestión de edad. Los datos están muy claros: entre los mayores de 55 años, sólo el 9% son usuarios de Internet, pero entre los menores de 25 años, son el 90%.

P. ¿Es, pues, sólo una cuestión de tiempo?

R. Cuando mi generación haya desaparecido, no habrá brecha digital en el acceso. Ahora bien, en la sociedad de Internet, lo complicado no es saber navegar, sino saber dónde ir, dónde buscar lo que se quiere encontrar y qué hacer con lo que se encuentra. Y esto requiere educación. En realidad, Internet amplifica la más vieja brecha social de la historia, que es el nivel de educación. Que un 55% de los adultos no haya completado en España la educación secundaria, ésa es la verdadera brecha digital.

P. En esta sociedad que tiende a ser tan líquida, en expresión de Zygmunt Bauman, en que todo cambia constantemente, y que cada vez está más globalizada, ¿puede aumentar la sensación de inseguridad, de que el mundo se mueve bajo nuestros pies?

R. Hay una nueva sociedad que yo he intentado definir teóricamente con el concepto de sociedad-red, y que no está muy lejos de la que define Bauman. Yo creo que, más que líquida, es una sociedad en que todo está articulado de forma transversal y hay menos control de las instituciones tradicionales.

P. ¿En qué sentido?

R. Se extiende la idea de que las instituciones centrales de la sociedad, el Estado y la familia tradicional, ya no funcionan. Entonces se nos mueve todo el suelo a la vez. Primero, la gente piensa que sus gobiernos no la representan y no son fiables. Empezamos, pues, mal. Segundo, piensan que el mercado les va bien a los que ganan y mal a los que pierden. Como la mayoría pierde, hay una desconfianza hacia lo que la lógica pura y dura del mercado le pueda proporcionar a la gente. Tercero, estamos globalizados; esto quiere decir que nuestro dinero está en algún flujo global que no controlamos, que la población se ve sometida a unas presiones migratorias muy fuertes, de modo que cada vez es más difícil encerrar a la gente en una cultura o en unas fronteras nacionales.

P. ¿Qué papel desempeña Internet en este proceso?

R. Por un lado, al permitirnos acceder a toda la información, aumenta la incertidumbre, pero al mismo tiempo es un instrumento clave para la autonomía de las personas, y esto es algo que hemos demostrado por primera vez en nuestra investigación. Cuanto más autónoma es una persona, más utiliza Internet. En nuestro trabajo hemos definido seis dimensiones de autonomía, y hemos comprobado que cuando una persona tiene un fuerte proyecto de autonomía, en cualquiera de esas dimensiones, utiliza Internet con mucha más frecuencia e intensidad. Y el uso de Internet refuerza a la vez su autonomía. Pero, claro, cuanto más controla una persona su vida, menos se fía de las instituciones.

P. Y mayor puede ser su frustración por la distancia que hay entre las posibilidades teóricas de participación y las que ejercen en la práctica, que se limitan a votar cada cuatro años, ¿no cree?

R. Sí, hay un desfase enorme entre la capacidad tecnológica y la cultura política. Muchos municipios han puesto puntos Wi-Fi de acceso, pero si al mismo tiempo no son capaces de articular un sistema de participación, sirven para que la gente organice mejor sus propias redes, pero no para participar en la vida pública. El problema es que el sistema político no está abierto a la participación, al diálogo constante con los ciudadanos, a la cultura de la autonomía, y, por tanto, estas tecnologías lo que hacen es distanciar todavía más la política de la ciudadanía.

ELPAIS.es

Barack Obama Art Exhibit in Dominican Republic

noviembre 21, 2008

Art as politics: phenomenon Obama.

A private collector art exhibit of Barack Obama posters in Dominican Republic. Location Barna Business School. November 18th until January 31st, 2009.

El arte como política—la política como

Fuente: BARNA BUSINESS SCHOOL

Yma Súmac

noviembre 9, 2008

yma

EFE
EL UNIVERSAL
WASHINGTON LUNES 03 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2008
10:43 Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo, soprano peruana conocida como Yma Súmac y que se decía princesa inca, falleció a los 86 años como consecuencia de un cáncer de colon, en Los Angeles (EU.), informaron hoy sus admiradores.
Un sitio en internet dedicado a la artista informó hoy de que su fallecimiento ocurrió el 1 de noviembre en una residencia para ancianos y que “fue una muerte en paz, con Yma Súmac rodeada por sus seres más queridos”.

“Su último año lo pasó cuidada por quienes la amaban”, añade el mensaje. “Que sirva de consuelo para quienes la han querido y admirado el saber que estuvo siempre rodeada de flores, de vuestras hermosas tarjetas, fotos de sus días de gloria. También la acompañaron dos pequeños chihuahas a los que ella adoraba”.

El alto registro de la voz de Súmac, de cinco octavas en tiempos en que las cantantes de ópera alcanzaban dos octavas y media, cautivó a millones de admiradores a mediados de la década de los años 50.

Casi todos los detalles biográficos de Yma Súmac -su versión de las palabras quechuas “ima sumaq”, qué linda- han sido motivo de controversia, desde la fecha y lugar de nacimiento, a su afirmación de que su madre era descendiente de Atahualpa, el último emperador inca.

Según su asistente personal, Damon Devine, que dice haber visto el certificado de nacimiento, Yma Súmac nació el 13 de septiembre de 1922 en la localidad andina de Ichocán.

Las crónicas dicen que la niña Zoila Augusta fue una autodidacta que, con gran disciplina, desarrolló una técnica admirable.

La joven cantante llamó la atención del musicólogo y compositor limeño Moisés Vivanco, con quien se casó en 1942, y poco después se integró a un conjunto de 46 cantantes y bailarines indígenas en una gira por América del Sur, durante la cual grabó temas con el nombre de Imma Sumack.

Yma Súmac alcanzó gran popularidad en el período posterior a la Segunda Guerra Mundial, cuando lo que en Estados Unidos se consideraba exótico se puso de moda.

Un crítico del diario Los Ángeles Times, Don Heckman, una vez describió a la cantante peruana como “una fantasía musical, en technicolor, viva, que respira, una ilusión caleidoscópica de lo exótico según Metro Goldwyn Mayer producida en tiempos de pragmatismo”.

Sus primeras grabaciones datan de 1944, y en su discografía se cuentan temas como A ti solita te quiero, El picaflor, La Benita, Amor, Amor indio, Waraka tusuy, Carnaval indio, Cholo traicionero, Wifalitay, Parihuan,Mashiringa, Punchauniquipy y Vírgenes del sol.

Los títulos de sus álbumes y las fechas dan un bosquejo de la extensión y amplitud de la carrera artística de Yma Súmac: Voz del Xtabay (1950); Leyenda de la virgen del Sol (1953); Inca Taqui (1953); ¡Mambo! (1955); Leyenda del jíbaro (1957); Fuego del Ande (1959), y en 1972 Milagros con música de rock.

En la cima de su carrera musical Yma Súmac también tuvo participación en las películas Secreto de los Incas (1954) y Omar Khayyam (1957).

Durante sus presentaciones en vivo Yma Súmac tomaba poses mayestáticas y sujetaba con broches hacia atrás su larga cabellera negra lo cual resaltaba sus pómulos.

Gustaba de un vestuario ampuloso, con abundancia de joyas en oro y plata, y solía decir que los animales de la jungla habían influido en su gusto musical.

Los recitales periódicos y el lanzamiento en 2005 de Queen of Exotica, una enorme antología de su trabajo, alimentaron el fervor de sus más ardientes admiradores, y, según algunos críticos musicales, Yma Súmac fue una inspiración para artistas punk y rock.

Yma Súmac deja un hijo Charlie, fruto de su matrimonio.

Yma Sumac: Farewell, Chosen Maiden
Posted Mon Nov 3, 2008 2:04pm PST by Billy Altman in Stop The Presses!

I know it’s something of a cliché to note someone’s passing by saying that “there’ll never be another [fill in the name].” But hearing the news today of a once-famous singer’s death this morning at age 86 in Los Angeles, I think we have one of those instances where you can safely say it: “There’ll never be another Yma Sumac.”

Just ask the B-52’s, or Yoko Ono, or Cyndi Lauper, or any of the many who over the years have been inspired and influenced by the music and image of the ever-mysterious “Nightingale Of The Andes.”

It was in 1950 that, without much fanfare, Capitol Records released Songs Of The Xtabay, an album of tunes “based on ancient Peruvian folk music” performed by Yma Sumac–an exotically named, exotically dressed beauty whose nearly five-octave vocal range made her sound much more than simply exotic; positively unearthly was more like it. So was her backstory: Supposedly a descendant of an Inca emperor, Sumac had come to the United States in 1946 after starring in a Lima-based Indian song-and-dance troupe, where she’d met her husband, musician Moises Vivanco. Settling in New York, she began appearing in a variety of venues (including the Catskills Borsch Belt circuit), where her often trancelike singing usually left audiences agog.

“Discovered” a few years later by West Coast-based Capitol, Sumac’s Xtabay album showcased a voice that, as one classical music critic would later note, “warbles like a bird in the uppermost regions, hoots like an owl in the lowest registers, produced bell-like coloratura passages one minute, and dusky contralto tones the next.” It quickly zoomed to the top of the charts, and made Yma Sumac a “overnight sensation.”

Throughout the early-to-mid ’50s, her career blossomed, with sold-out concert tours, Broadway and Vegas showcases, and even a few movie roles, including Secret Of The Incas (1954), an Indiana Jones-prefiguring action adventure film where she appeared alongside Charlton Heston:

Like many stars from this era, the rock ‘n’ roll revolution eclipsed Yma Sumac’s star, although thanks to artists like the aforementioned B-52’s and Lauper, interest in Sumac did generate a brief and memorable comeback in the 1980s.

Her career was not without controversy: During her heyday, there were nagging rumors that she wasn’t any Peruvian princess, but rather just a Brooklyn housewife named Amy Camus whose enterprising husband had concocted the entire attention-grabbing story. Of course, even if that were true–and outside of the lineage part, and her real name (Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo), it does appear that the rest of the biography is pretty accurate–nothing, and we mean nothing, can take away from the unimpeachable majesty, and mystery, that was Yma Sumac.

Farewell, chosen maiden.

LEYENDA PERUANA DEL MUNDO LÍRICO DE LOS AÑOS 50 Y 60
Falleció Yma Súmac

La muerte de la diva peruana Yma Súmac en Los Angeles provocó el lunes una reacción masiva de dolor en la prensa peruana, en la que se recordó que poseía un prodigioso registro de voz que podía mezclar los tonos más agudos con los más graves en una misma melodía. Desde tempranas horas las televisoras y radios dedicaron amplios espacios a la soprano, cuya muerte a los 86 años de edad, ocurrida el 1º de noviembre en un hogar de ancianos, recién se difundió este lunes vía su sitio oficial en internet.
Enrique Bernales, presidente de la Asociación Lírica del Perú, recordó que “Yma Súmac tenía una voz totalmente fuera de lo común. Las notas más graves y más agudas las hacía en una sola canción”. “De todos los registros que se tienen conocimiento desde el siglo XX, Yma Súmac tenía la única voz que era capaz de ese prodigio, pero además, lo hacía sin desafinar, con notas colocadas exactamente en su registro y en su tono musical”, declaró a la radio local RPP.
Su excepcional registro vocal poseía una enorme variedad de tonos que van desde las notas de un tenor hasta los sobreagudos más agudos de la soprano más aguda, resaltó el crítico musical José Quezada.
“Es la única peruana que tiene inscrito su nombre en el Paseo de la Fama en Hollywood”, señaló con orgullo un canal de televisión local.
En tanto, la Cámara de Comercio de Hollywood, que administra este boulevard turístico, anunció que colocará flores sobre la estrella de la “Peruvian Songbird” Yma Súmac, en el Paseo de la Fama, e invita a sus fanáticos a depositar flores en ese lugar.
Yma Súmac, cuyo verdadero nombre era Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo, vivía desde hace sesenta años en Los Angeles, donde se labró un nombre en Hollywood en la década de 1950 y 1960.
Su nombre artístico significa en español ‘qué hermosa’ y se popularizó del quechua (el idioma de los incas) para reforzar la leyenda de que se trataba de una descendiente del último inca Atahualpa, muerto en el siglo XVI. Durante el esplendor de su carrera artística, en las décadas de 1950 a 1960, actuó en Estados Unidos, Francia, la ex Unión Soviética, Japón, Italia, Gran Bretaña y países de Europa del Este que formaron parte del bloque soviético. Presentándose como una sacerdotisa inca, la diva triunfó en musicales de Broadway y Hollywood, y también protagonizó con Charlton Heston el filme “The secret of the Inca” (1953), a la vez que grabó numerosos discos. Vendió miles de discos interpretando música andina y latinoamericana, y en los años 90 la música pop estadounidense la redescubrió. Su disco más popular fue “Mambo”.
Yma Súmac fue una pionera en la música popular al mezclar géneros diversos como la música folclórica con el jazz, el mambo e incluso el rock, un estilo personal que la hizo famosa pero que al mismo tiempo le valió críticas de los puristas, señaló el diario El Comercio.
Reconocida como la artista peruana de mayor prestigio en la historia de la música, Yma Súmac fue condecorada con la orden del Sol por el gobierno peruano en 2006 con ocasión de su última visita a Lima.

Adiós Princesa!

YMA SUMAC official web

Julio Piña

septiembre 21, 2008

Dentro de los eventos de celebración del 150 aniversario de la fundación del Municipio de Jarabacoa, se presenta la muestra “Memoria Fotográfica“, una colección de fotografías del 1947 al 1977 provenientes del archivo del autor.

Julio Piña, Jarabacoa (1910-1997).

Por más de 50 años fue el fotógrafo del pueblo y del campo. Maestro de escuela, horticultor. Hombre de familia, de comunidad, conciliador y respetado.

Ocupó diferentes posiciones en el servicio público municipal, llegando a ser secretario, presidente y síndico del Ayuntamiento de Jarabacoa. También fue diputado ante el Congreso Nacional por la provincia de La Vega.

En 1946, junto a Gerard Loewe fundó el estudio Foto Paris en Santiago, en 1950 regresa a Jarabacoa para abrir al público Foto Olimpia, desde donde ofreció servicios hasta 1996.

Los archivos de Julio Piña contienen cerca de 80,000 negativos. Es un gran honor para sus sucesores mostrar una pequeña parte del legado que hoy compartimos.

A medida que avanzan los trabajos de restauración, conservación y digitalización, no dejan de sorprender los retratos, paisajes y documentos que contiene este patrimonio.

Encontramos un importante valor documental histórico en los archivos, pero igualmente un valioso aporte al arte fotográfico, donde se desvela una obra de oficio depurado y exquisito.

En lo personal, también recordamos al hombre ejemplar, de hablar pausado, formalísimo y cordial.

José Saramago estrena blog

septiembre 19, 2008

 

El Cuaderno de Saramago

DYMAXION MAN

junio 8, 2008

The visions of Buckminster Fuller.

The U.S. Pavilion for the 1967 World’s Fair, in Montreal. The inventions that Fuller (in 1959, flying in a helicopter over Ohio) designed had a hallucinatory appeal.

The U.S. Pavilion for the 1967 World’s Fair, in Montreal. The inventions that Fuller (in 1959, flying in a helicopter over Ohio) designed had a hallucinatory appeal.

by Elizabeth Kolbert

One of Buckminster Fuller’s earliest inventions was a car shaped like a blimp. The car had three wheels—two up front, one in the back—and a periscope instead of a rear window. Owing to its unusual design, it could be maneuvered into a parking space nose first and could execute a hundred-and-eighty-degree turn so tightly that it would end up practically where it had started, facing the opposite direction. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the car was introduced in the summer of 1933, it caused such a sensation that gridlock followed, and anxious drivers implored Fuller to keep it off the streets at rush hour.

Fuller called his invention the Dymaxion Vehicle. He believed that it would not just revolutionize automaking but help bring about a wholesale reordering of modern life. Soon, Fuller thought, people would be living in standardized, prefabricated dwellings, and this, in turn, would allow them to occupy regions previously considered uninhabitable—the Arctic, the Sahara, the tops of mountains. The Dymaxion Vehicle would carry them to their new homes; it would be capable of travelling on the roughest roads and—once the technology for the requisite engines had been worked out—it would also (somehow) be able to fly. Fuller envisioned the Dymaxion taking off almost vertically, like a duck.

Fuller’s schemes often had the hallucinatory quality associated with science fiction (or mental hospitals). It concerned him not in the least that things had always been done a certain way in the past. In addition to flying cars, he imagined mass-produced bathrooms that could be installed like refrigerators; underwater settlements that would be restocked by submarine; and floating communities that, along with all their inhabitants, would hover among the clouds. Most famously, he dreamed up the geodesic dome. “If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top . . . that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver,” Fuller once wrote. “But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings.” Fuller may have spent his life inventing things, but he claimed that he was not particularly interested in inventions. He called himself a “comprehensive, anticipatory design scientist”—a “comprehensivist,” for short—and believed that his task was to innovate in such a way as to benefit the greatest number of people using the least amount of resources. “My objective was humanity’s comprehensive success in the universe” is how he once put it. “I could have ended up with a pair of flying slippers.”

Fuller’s career is the subject of a new exhibition, “Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe,” which opens later this month at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The exhibition traces the long, loopy arc of his career from early doodlings to plans he drew up shortly before his death, twenty-five years ago this summer. It will feature studies for several of his geodesic domes and the only surviving Dymaxion Vehicle. By staging the retrospective, the Whitney raises—or, really, one should say, re-raises—the question of Fuller’s relevance. Was he an important cultural figure because he produced inventions of practical value or because he didn’t?

Richard Buckminster Fuller, Jr.—Bucky, to his friends—was born on July 12, 1895, into one of New England’s most venerable and, at the same time, most freethinking families. His great-great-grandfather, the Reverend Timothy Fuller, a Massachusetts delegate to the Federal Constitutional Assembly, was so outraged by the Constitution’s sanctioning of slavery that he came out against ratification. His great-aunt Margaret Fuller, a friend of Emerson and Thoreau, edited the transcendentalist journal The Dial and later became America’s first female foreign correspondent.

Growing up in Milton, Massachusetts, Bucky was a boisterous but hopelessly nearsighted child; until he was fitted with glasses, he refused to believe that the world was not blurry. Like all Fuller men, he was sent off to Harvard. Halfway through his freshman year, he withdrew his tuition money from the bank to entertain some chorus girls in Manhattan. He was expelled. The following fall, he was reinstated, only to be thrown out again. Fuller never did graduate from Harvard, or any other school. He took a job with a meatpacking firm, then joined the Navy, where he invented a winchlike device for rescuing pilots of the service’s primitive airplanes. (The pilots often ended up head down, under water.)

During the First World War, Fuller married Anne Hewlett, the daughter of a prominent architect, and when the war was over he started a business with his father-in-law, manufacturing bricks out of wood shavings. Despite the general prosperity of the period, the company struggled and, in 1927, nearly bankrupt, it was bought out. At just about the same time, Anne gave birth to a daughter. With no job and a new baby to support, Fuller became depressed. One day, he was walking by Lake Michigan, thinking about, in his words, “Buckminster Fuller—life or death,” when he found himself suspended several feet above the ground, surrounded by sparkling light. Time seemed to stand still, and a voice spoke to him. “You do not have the right to eliminate yourself,” it said. “You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe.” (In Fuller’s idiosyncratic English, “universe”—capitalized—is never preceded by the definite article.) It was at this point, according to Fuller, that he decided to embark on his “lifelong experiment.” The experiment’s aim was nothing less than determining “what, if anything,” an individual could do “on behalf of all humanity.” For this study, Fuller would serve both as the researcher and as the object of inquiry. (He referred to himself as Guinea Pig B, the “B” apparently being for Bucky.) Fuller moved his wife and daughter into a tiny studio in a Chicago slum and, instead of finding a job, took to spending his days in the library, reading Gandhi and Leonardo. He began to record his own ideas, which soon filled two thousand pages. In 1928, he edited the manuscript down to fifty pages, and had it published in a booklet called “4D Time Lock,” which he sent out to, among others, Vincent Astor, Bertrand Russell, and Henry Ford.

Like most of Fuller’s writings, “4D Time Lock” is nearly impossible to read; its sentences, Slinky-like, stretch on and on and on. (One of his biographers observed of “4D Time Lock” that “worse prose is barely conceivable.”) At its heart is a critique of the construction industry. Imagine, Fuller says, what would happen if a person, seeking to purchase an automobile, had to hire a designer, then send the plans out for bid, then show them to the bank, and then have them approved by the town council, all before work on the vehicle could begin. “Few would have the temerity to go through with it,” he notes, and those who did would have to pay something like fifty thousand dollars—half a million in today’s money—per car. Such a system, so obviously absurd for autos, persisted for houses, Fuller argued, because of retrograde thinking. (His own failure at peddling wood-composite bricks he cited as evidence of the construction industry’s recalcitrance.) What was needed was a “New Era Home,” which would be “erectable in one day, complete in every detail,” and, on top of that, “drudgery-proof,” with “every living appliance known to mankind, built-in.”

Not coincidentally, Fuller was working to design just such a home. One plan, which never made it beyond the sketching stage, called for ultra-lightweight towers to be assembled at a central location, then transported to any spot in the world, via zeppelin. (Fuller envisioned the zeppelin crew excavating the site by dropping a small bomb.) A second, only slightly less fabulous proposal was for what Fuller came to call the Dymaxion House. The hexagonal-shaped, single-family home was to be stamped out of metal and suspended from a central mast that would contain all its wiring and plumbing. When a family moved, the Dymaxion House could be disassembled and taken along, like a bed or a table. Fuller constructed a scale model of the house, which was exhibited in 1929 at Marshall Field’s as part of a display of modern furniture. But no full-size version could be produced, because many of the components, including what Fuller called a “radio-television receiver,” did not yet exist. Fuller estimated that it would take a billion dollars to develop the necessary technologies. Not surprisingly, the money wasn’t forthcoming.

uller was fond of neologisms. He coined the word “livingry,” as the opposite of “weaponry”—which he called “killingry”—and popularized the term “spaceship earth.” (He claimed to have invented “debunk,” but probably did not.) Another one of his coinages was “ephemeralization,” which meant, roughly speaking, “dematerialization.” Fuller was a strong believer in the notion that “less is more,” and not just in the aestheticized, Miesian sense of the phrase. He imagined that buildings would eventually be “ephemeralized” to such an extent that construction materials would be dispensed with altogether, and builders would instead rely on “electrical field and other utterly invisible environment controls.”

Fuller’s favorite neologism, “dymaxion,” was concocted purely for public relations. When Marshall Field’s displayed his model house, it wanted a catchy label, so it hired a consultant, who fashioned “dymaxion” out of bits of “dynamic,” “maximum,” and “ion.” Fuller was so taken with the word, which had no known meaning, that he adopted it as a sort of brand name. The Dymaxion House led to the Dymaxion Vehicle, which led, in turn, to the Dymaxion Bathroom and the Dymaxion Deployment Unit, essentially a grain bin with windows. As a child, Fuller had assembled scrapbooks of letters and newspaper articles on subjects that interested him; when, later, he decided to keep a more systematic record of his life, including everything from his correspondence to his dry-cleaning bills, it became the Dymaxion Chronofile.

All the Dymaxion projects generated a great deal of hype, and that was clearly Fuller’s desire. All of them also flopped. The first prototype of the Dymaxion Vehicle had been on the road for just three months when it crashed, near the entrance to the Chicago World’s Fair; the driver was killed, and one of the passengers—a British aviation expert—was seriously injured. Eventually, it was revealed that another car was responsible for the accident, but only two more Dymaxion Vehicles were produced before production was halted, in 1934. Only thirteen models of the Dymaxion Bathroom—a single unit that came with a built-in tub, toilet, and sink—were constructed before the manufacturer pulled the plug on that project, in 1936. The Dymaxion Deployment Unit, which Fuller imagined being used as a mobile shelter, failed because after the United States entered the Second World War he could no longer obtain any steel. In 1945, Fuller attempted to mass-produce the Dymaxion House, entering into a joint effort with Beech Aircraft, which was based in Wichita. Two examples of the house were built before that project, too, collapsed. (The only surviving prototype, known as the Wichita House, looks like a cross between an onion dome and a flying saucer; it is now on display at the Henry Ford Museum, in Dearborn, Michigan.)

Following this string of disappointments, Fuller might have decided that his “experiment” had run its course. Instead, he kept right on going. Turning his attention to mathematics, he concluded that the Cartesian coördinate system had got things all wrong and invented his own system, which he called Synergetic Geometry. Synergetic Geometry was based on sixty-degree (rather than ninety-degree) angles, took the tetrahedron to be the basic building block of the universe, and avoided the use of pi, a number that Fuller found deeply distasteful. By 1948, Fuller’s geometric investigations had led him to the idea of the geodesic dome—essentially, a series of struts that could support a covering skin. That summer, he was invited to teach at Black Mountain College, in North Carolina, where some of the other instructors included Josef Albers, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham. (“I remember thinking it’s Bucky Fuller and his magic show,” Cunningham would later recall of Fuller’s arrival.) Toward the end of his stay, Fuller and a team of students assembled a trial dome out of Venetian-blind slats. Immediately upon being completed, the dome sagged and fell in on itself. (Some of the observers referred to it as a “flopahedron.”) Fuller insisted that this outcome had been intentional—he was, he said, trying to determine the critical point at which the dome would collapse—but no one seems to have believed this. The following year, Anne Fuller sold thirty thousand dollars’ worth of I.B.M. stock to finance Bucky’s continuing research, and in 1950 he succeeded in erecting a dome fifty feet in diameter.

The geodesic dome is a prime example of “ephemeralization”; it can enclose more space with less material than virtually any other structure. The first commercial use of Fuller’s design came in 1953, when the Ford Motor Company decided to cover the central courtyard of its Rotunda building, in Dearborn. The walls of the building, which had been erected for a temporary exhibit, were not strong enough to support a conventional dome. Fuller designed a geodesic dome of aluminum struts fitted with fibreglass panes. The structure spanned ninety-three feet, yet weighed just eight and a half tons. It received a tremendous amount of press, almost all of it positive, with the result that geodesic domes soon became popular for all sorts of purposes. They seemed to spring up “like toadstools after a rain,” as one commentator put it.

he geodesic dome transformed Fuller from an eccentric outsider into an eccentric insider. He was hired by the Pentagon to design protective housing for radar equipment along the Distant Early Warning, orDEW, line; the structure became known as a radome. He also developed a system for erecting temporary domes at trade fairs all around the world. (Nikita Khrushchev supposedly became so enamored of one such dome, built for a fair in Moscow, that he insisted that “Buckingham Fuller” come to Russia “and teach our engineers.”) Fuller was offered an appointment at Southern Illinois University, in Carbondale, and he had a dome-home built near campus for himself and Anne. In 1965, he was commissioned by the United States Information Agency to design the U.S. Pavilion for the Montreal Expo. Though the exhibit inside was criticized as uninspiring, Fuller’s dome, which looked as if it were about to float free of the earth, was a hit.

As the fame of the dome—and domes themselves—spread, Fuller was in near-constant demand as a speaker. “I travel between Southern and Northern hemispheres and around the world so frequently that I no longer have any so-called normal winter and summer, nor normal night and day,” he wrote in “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth.” “I wear three watches to tell me what time it is.” Castro-like, Fuller could lecture for ten hours at a stretch. (A friend of mine who took an architecture course from Fuller at Yale recalls that classes lasted from nine o’clock in the morning until five in the evening, and that Fuller talked basically the entire time.) Audiences were enraptured and also, it seems, mystified. “It was great! What did he say?” became the standard joke. The first “Whole Earth Catalog,” which was dedicated to Fuller, noted that his language “makes demands on your head like suddenly discovering an extra engine in your car.”

In “Bucky,” a biography-cum-meditation, published in 1973, the critic Hugh Kenner observed, “One of the ways I could arrange this book would make Fuller’s talk seem systematic. I could also make it look like a string of platitudes, or like a set of notions never entertained before, or like a delirium.” On the one hand, Fuller insisted that all the world’s problems—from hunger and illiteracy to war—could be solved by technology. “You may . . . want to ask me how we are going to resolve the ever-accelerating dangerous impasse of world-opposed politicians and ideological dogmas,” he observed at one point. “I answer, it will be resolved by the computer.” On the other hand, he rejected fundamental tenets of modern science, most notably evolution. “We arrived from elsewhere in Universe as complete human beings,” he maintained. He further insisted that humans had spread not from Africa but from Polynesia, and that dolphins were descended from these early, seafaring earthlings.

Although he looked to nature as the exemplar of efficient design, he was not terribly interested in the natural world, and mocked those who warned about problems like resource depletion and overpopulation. “When world realization of its unlimited wealth has been established there as yet will be room for the whole of humanity to stand indoors in greater New York City, with more room for each human than at an average cocktail party,” he wrote. He envisioned cutting people off from the elements entirely by building domed cities, which, he claimed, would offer free climate control, winter and summer. “A two-mile-diameter dome has been calculated to cover Mid-Manhattan Island, spanning west to east at 42nd Street,” he observed. “The cost saving in ten years would pay for the dome. Domed cities are going to be essential to the occupation of the Arctic and the Antarctic.” As an alternative, he developed a plan for a tetrahedral city, which was intended to house a million people and float in Tokyo Bay.

He also envisioned what he called Cloud Nines, communities that would dwell in extremely lightweight spheres, covered in a polyethylene skin. As the sun warmed the air inside, Fuller claimed, the sphere and all the buildings within it would rise into the air, like a balloon. “Many thousands of passengers could be housed aboard one-mile-diameter and larger cloud structures,” he wrote. In the late seventies, Fuller took up with Werner Erhard, the controversial founder of the equally controversial est movement, and the pair set off on a speaking tour across America. Fuller championed, and for many years adhered to, a dietary regimen that consisted exclusively of prunes, tea, steak, and Jell-O.

he Dymaxion Vehicle, the Dymaxion House, “comprehensive, anticipatory design,” Synergetic Geometry, floating cities, Jell-O—what does it all add up to? In conjunction with the Whitney retrospective, the exhibition’s two curators, K. Michael Hays and Dana Miller, have put together a book of essays, articles, and photographs—“Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe.” Several of the authors in the volume gamely, if inconclusively, grapple with Fuller’s legacy. Antoine Picon, a professor of architecture at Harvard, notes that the detail with which Fuller’s life was recorded—the Dymaxion Chronofile eventually grew to more than two hundred thousand pages—has had the paradoxical effect of obscuring its significance. Elizabeth A. T. Smith, the chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, writes that Fuller’s influence on “creative practice” has been “more wide-ranging than previously thought,” but goes on to acknowledge that this influence is “difficult to pinpoint or define with certainty.” In their introduction, Hays and Miller maintain that Fuller helped “us see the perils and possibilities” of the twentieth century. They stress his “continuing relevance as an aid to history,” though exactly what they mean by this seems purposefully unclear.

The fact that so few of Fuller’s ideas were ever realized certainly makes it hard to argue for his importance as an inventor. Even his most successful creation, the geodesic dome, proved to be a dud. In 1994, Stewart Brand, the founding editor of the “Whole Earth Catalog” and an early, self-described dome “propagandist,” called geodesics a “massive, total failure”:


Domes leaked, always. The angles between the facets could never be sealed successfully. If you gave up and tried to shingle the whole damn thing—dangerous process, ugly result—the nearly horizontal shingles on top still took in water. The inside was basically one big room, impossible to subdivide, with too much space wasted up high. The shape made it a whispering gallery that broadcast private sounds to everyone.

Among the domes that leaked were Fuller’s own home, in Carbondale, and the structure atop the Ford Rotunda. (When workmen were sent to try to reseal the Rotunda’s dome, they ended up burning down the entire building.)

Fuller’s impact as a social theorist is equally ambiguous. He insisted that the future could be radically different from the past, that humanity was capable of finding solutions to the most intractable-seeming problems, and that the only thing standing in the way was the tendency to cling to old “piano tops.” But Fuller was also deeply pessimistic about people’s capacity for change, which was why, he said, he had become an inventor in the first place. “I made up my mind . . . that I would never try to reform man—that’s much too difficult,” he told an interviewer for this magazine in 1966. “What I would do was to try to modify the environment in such a way as to get man moving in preferred directions.” Fuller’s writings and speeches are filled with this sort of tension, or, if you prefer, contradiction. He was a material determinist who believed in radical autonomy, an individualist who extolled mass production, and an environmentalist who wanted to dome over the Arctic. In the end, Fuller’s greatest accomplishment may consist not in any particular idea or artifact but in the whole unlikely experiment that was Guinea Pig B. Instead of destroying himself, Fuller listened to Universe. He spent the next fifty years in a headlong, ceaseless act of self-assertion, one that took so many forms that, twenty-five years after his death, we are still trying to sort it all out.

THE NEW YORKER

Bob the Builder

mayo 17, 2008

Collage by Robert Rauschenberg; courtesy David Byrne

I APPROACHED Bob Rauschenberg in the mid-’80s to design a cover for the Talking Heads record “Speaking in Tongues.” I had recently seen some of his black-and-white photo collages at Leo Castelli’s gallery on West Broadway and thought they were amazing, and I wondered what he would do with an LP cover.

It was not unusual for a pop musician to approach a fine artist in those days; other contemporary artists had collaborated with pop bands in the late ’60s and early ’70s. I was pleasantly surprised, though, when Bob, who died this week, eschewed simply reproducing a work on the album jacket in favor of re-envisioning what the whole LP package could be.

His package consisted of a conceptual collage piece in which the color separation layers — the cyan, magenta and yellow images that combined to make one full-color image — were, well, deconstructed. Only by rotating the LP and the separate plastic disc could one see — and then only intermittently — the three-color images included in the collage. It was a transparent explication of how the three-color process works, yet in this case, one could never see all the full-color images at the same time, as Bob had perversely scrambled the separations.

Needless to say, the design posed some production problems for Warner Bros. Records, so it ended up a limited, but very large, 50,000-copy edition, released in addition to the regular, mass-produced version. Luckily, everyone shared in the crazy idea of making radical art that could also be popular. Nowadays there might be concerns about the return on investment, but at that time the label let these matters slide.

I later became friends with Bob and his collaborators, and it was an incredible world to enter. I sensed immediately that Bob had never become cynical about his work. Even after he found success, he continued to see the world as a work of art that simply hadn’t been framed yet.

Bob’s way of talking was a challenge to many — he spoke in constant puns and metaphors, like a stream-of-consciousness poet, and one had to suspend traditional forms of speech, understanding and discourse and go with the flow. It was liberating, if you could hang in there, and never mundane. Conversation was like one of his pieces: a crazy mishmash of images, multiple layers and references, and a spray of allusions that were simultaneously silly, profound and beautiful — he was the Neal Cassady of the art world. His life, and his relation to those around him, was just like his work; there was no separation and he never went out of character. The love of the world that was in the work was also in the man.

Bob drank heavily. In the ’80s, I discovered him once at his studio on Lafayette Street, in mid-afternoon, with a glass of Jack in his hand. I, rock ’n’ roll guy, was amazed to see an established artist living one aspect of the rock ’n’ roll life much more intensely than I ever dared. I did wonder if some of the beautiful jumps and leaps in his conversation were partly alcohol-related, but his output remained transcendent, so I figured he was managing it.

Being around Bob was often like being on some kind of ecstatic drug — he inspired those around him to not only think outside of the box, but to question the box’s very existence. He was driven to challenge himself. For his globe-spanning project, Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange, Bob collaborated with artisans and small factories in Chile, China, Cuba, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Soviet Union, Tibet and Venezuela over many years. In pre-“it is glorious to be rich” China, Bob worked with the oldest paper manufacturer in the world, while in India he worked with mud-manure straw clay. Suspicious of Bob’s motives, some countries forced him to wade through red tape, and his open attitude toward materials and creativity occasionally confounded his traditional artisan collaborators. The results, though, were sometimes wonderful, especially when he managed to break his own mold.

Bob was extraordinarily generous. I don’t mean he gave away art — though he did that, too — but he was generous with his time and with his ideas and spirit. He started Change Inc., a foundation that awards grants to emerging artists who can’t pay their rent, utility or medical bills. No questions asked.

He was, of course, famous for making art out of everyday junk he found on the street. One summer I went down to Captiva Island, Fla., where Bob had his main studio. I stayed across the road in one of the houses he had “saved,” and I spent a week or so writing a few songs. When I returned to New York, I left behind a pair of worn-out tennis shoes. A ghostly image of them showed up in a painting not long after.

Bob’s generosity of vision was, it seemed to me, more profound than the financial kind. His openness and way of seeing was contagious and inspired others in their own work — not to imitate and make pseudo-Rauschenbergs, but to see the whole world as a work of art. As corny as that may sound, that’s what he sometimes did.

David Byrne is a musician and visual artist.

Fuente: NYT

Dominicano pronuncia discurso de graduación en el Berklee College of Music

mayo 16, 2008

BOSTON, Mass. (Estados Unidos).-El joven dominicano Carlos Delgado Imbert obtuvo el honor de ser escogido entre 800 graduados como el Estudiante Orador en la Graduación 2008 del Berklee College of Music, de esta ciudad, por sus altas calificaciones, calidad y dedicación.

Delgado Imbert obtuvo el título de Music Business-Songwriting con los honores Summa Cum Laude, los más altos, y ahora optará por la maestría en Finanzas en  la Northeastern University.

Por el prestigio ganado por el dominicano en la comunidad educativa bostoniano, la Northeastern University le concedió el 40% del costo de sus nuevos estudios.

La graduación fue celebrada el pasado día 10, del presente mes de mayo, y el diario Boston Globe destacó en su reseña el discurso pronunciado por Carlos Delgado Imbert. A continuación el texto en español:

 

Carlos Delgado-Imbert

Estudiante Orador en Graduación 2008

Doble Major en Negocios Musicales/Composición de canciones, Piano

Santo Domingo, República Dominicana

En su autobiografía, Miles Davis inicia la historia de su carrera musical declarando lo siguiente: “Cuando llegué a la música, fui hasta el final en la música. No tuve tiempo después para nada más”.

Creo que si nosotros somos capaces de identificarnos con esta cita, sin duda alguna que seremos exitosos en la música. La clave es tener valor: valor para elevarnos sobre los riscos y crear nuestras propias alas al descender, valor para temer, valor para confiar en nuestros instintos, y valor para ser nosotros mismos.

Hoy  recibiremos nuestros respectivos grados y diplomas de Berklee Collage of Music. Les exhorto a todos –futuros graduandos, padres, familia, y amigos- a no mirar atrás el esfuerzo que significó concluir nuestros estudios, sino recordar los largos días entre clases, ensayos, proyectos, y mirar hacia adelante.  Mirar hacia adelante; listos para abrazarnos a la incertidumbre y los múltiples retos, alimentados por la motivación para utilizar el conocimiento y las experiencias que hemos acumulado. Hasta ahora, todos hemos sido extremadamente activos en  el modelaje de nuestras carreras. Al ingresar a Berklee y completar los programas que eligiéramos hemos avanzado unos pocos pasos. Ahora necesitamos saltar adelante combinando las habilidades que hemos aprendido con el deseo constante de continuar aprendiendo de cada experiencia y cada persona.

Cada uno de nosotros en Berklee ha escuchado, de sus profesores o de sus compañeros, que la industria musical se encuentra actualmente en un “mal momento”.

Estoy 100% en desacuerdo!

La industria musical de hoy promete más que nunca, y será cada vez mejor. Porqué? Muchas razones. Les daré mis dos favoritas:

-Primero, después de la ceremonia de hoy, la industria musical recibirá cerca de 800 graduados de Berklee. El pasado año, Berklee también presentó cerca de 800 graduados a la industria musical. Tan sólo en esta década, Berklee ha presentado más de 4,000 graduados a la industria musical. Berklee ha estado desarrollando talentos desde 1945. Yo confío en el talento de Berklee. Yo confío en que cada graduado de Berklee que se encuentra en este salón, y en que cada graduado de Berklee antes y después de nosotros, nunca será un producto de la conformidad y nunca se rendirá a las ideas de aquellos que dicen que nuestra industria está en un mal momento.

-Segundo, quiero que todos miran a los graduados de hoy y quiero decirles que cada uno de ellos puede ejecutar por lo menos un instrumento, componer y grabar una canción utilizando un computador, y ponerla disponible para todo el mundo gracias al Internet. Quiero saber algo de las personas que dicen que la industria musical está en un mal momento. Quiero saber, cuando hubieron tantas personas capaces de exhibir su música al mundo? La buena voluntad ha existido siempre y ahora está resaltada por la tecnología.

Estamos viviendo actualmente en la era digital de la música. No se trata de un movimiento popular, ni de una subcultura. No es exclusivo al verano de amor, o al “Festival Bonaroo”, o a un estilo de pelo, o a un país, o a un continente. Está por todas partes y ese es el real valor de la era digital. Tecnología, globalización y creatividad marchan juntas para hacer la producción y el consumo de la música más asequible y más posible que nunca.

Este es el momento de entrar en la industria de la música. Las estrellas están todas alineadas y siempre lo estarán para cada generación de instrumentistas, compositores, productores, administradores, agentes de reservaciones, y cualquier persona que quiera desarrollar una carrera en la música. Las posibilidades estarán siempre presentes en tanto podamos soñarlas, despertarnos y convertirlas en una realidad.

El mundo cada vez prescinde más del papel, es más eficiente en el uso de combustible, y los alimentos son libres de grasa y bajos en sodio. Sin embargo, la música nunca será sin-música, músico-eficiente, libre de música o baja de música. Me agrada ese hecho. El campo está abierto para la innovación y quiero innovar, crear, y compartir mis ideas con tantas personas como sea posible. La era digital es el tiempo perfecto para mostrar nuestra música y escuchar lo que otras personas en el todo el mundo tienen para ofrecer.

Su futuro no empieza maña; su futuro empieza ahora mismo. Luego de que reciban su grado o diploma, y lo celebren de la forma en que deseen hacerlo, no esperen que el éxito les llegue. Hagan que el éxito se produzca. Elijan ese camino y pueden contar con que tanto yo como todos los presentes en este acto estarán con ustedes durante su viaje.

De nuevo, la llave del éxito es el valor. Valor para saltar un risco y crear sus alas al descender, valor para temer, valor para confiar en sus instintos, y para valor para ser ustedes mismos.

Porque un original siempre tendrá más valor que una copia.