A New Collection of Official, Authorized Prince GIFs!

Tech entrepreneur Anil Dash, podcaster, music historian, and advisor to the Obama White House’s Office of Digital Strategy, knows his way around Prince’s catalogue.

Less than a year after the iconoclastic musician left the planet, Dash created a guide to help newbies and casual listeners become better acquainted with his oeuvre:

The nice thing about Prince’s work is that there are no bad starting points; if you don’t like what you hear at first, he almost certainly made a song in the complete opposite style as well.

He assembled playlists for the Prince-resistant, reeling ‘em in by catering to various tastes, from “riff-driven rock tracks” and electronica to “Prince for Redbone fans.”




(Those playlists are also a great service to those of us whose attention wandered in the decades following Prince’s 80’s heyday.)

Dash’s latest contribution to the Purple One’s enduring legacy is an official archive of high-quality Prince GIFs, taken from his music videos.

Prince was notoriously protective of his image, and wild as it is, the GIF archive, a collaboration with GIPHY, Paisley Park and Prince’s estate, colors within those lines by steering clear of unflattering reaction shots culled from interviews, live performances, or public appearances.

There’s still a broad range of attitudes on display, though best get out of line if you’re looking for an expression that conveys “lack of confidence” or “the opposite of sexy.”

The archive is arranged by album. Click on a song title and you’ll find a number of moments drawn from its official music video.

Any captions come straight from the horse’s mouth. No backseat caption jockeys can has cheezburger with Prince Rogers Nelson’s image, thank you very much.

Begin your explorations of the Prince GIF Archive here.

via Kottke

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Ayun Halliday always stood at the back of the line, a smile beneath her nose. Ayun is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  See her onstage in New York City in February as host of  Theater of the Apes book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Free: Download Thousands of Ottoman-Era Photographs That Have Been Digitized and Put Online

“Turkey is a geographical and cultural bridge between the east and the west,” writes Istanbul University’s Gönül Bakay. This was so long before Constantinople became Istanbul, but after the rise of the Ottoman Empire, the region took on a particular significance for Christian Europe. “The Turk” became a threatening and exotic figure in the European imagination, “shaped by a considerable body of literature, stretching from Christopher Marlowe to Thomas Carlyle.” Images of Ottoman Turkey were long drawn from a “mixture of fact, fantasy and fear.”

With the advent of photography in the mid-nineteenth century, those images were supplemented, illustrated, and countered by prints depicting Turkish people both in everyday life circumstances and in Orientalist poses.




In the final decades of the Ottoman Empire, as modernization took hold all over Europe, viewers might encounter photos of women in poses reminiscent of the Odalisque and street scenes of bustling, cosmopolitan Constantinople, with signs in Ottoman Turkish, English, French, Armenian, and Greek.

Photos of Enver Pashade facto ruler of the Ottoman Empire during World War I and “highest-ranking perpetrator of the Armenian genocide,” writes Isotta Poggi at the Getty’s blog—circulated alongside images like that below, a group of Turkish tourists posed near the Sphinx. These and thousands more such photographs of Ottoman Turkey at the turn of the century and into the first years of the Turkish Republic—3,750 digitized images in total—are now available to view and download at the Getty Research Institute.

The photos come from French collector Pierre de Gigord, who acquired them during his many travels through Turkey in the 1980s. They were taken by photographers, some of whose names are lost to history, from all over Europe and the Mediterranean, including Armenian photographers who played a “central role,” notes Poggi, “in shaping Turkey’s national cultural history and collective memory.” (Read artist Hande Sever’s Getty essay on this subject here.) The huge collection contains “landmark architecture, urban and natural landscape, archeological sites of millennia-old civilizations, and the bustling life of the diverse people who lived over 100 years ago.”

Despite the loss of materiality in the transfer to digital, a loss of “formatting, or sense of scale” that changes the way we experience these photos, they “enable us to learn about the past,” writes Poggi, “seeing Turkey’s diverse society” as photography’s early viewers did, and to better understand the present, "observing how certain sites and people, as well as social or political issues, have evolved yet still remain the same.” Enter the Pierre de Gigord collection at the Getty here.

via Hyperallergic/The Getty

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

11,000 Digitized Books From 1923 Are Now Available Online at the Internet Archive

Whether your interest is in winning arguments online or considerably deepening your knowledge of world cultural and intellectual history, you will be very well-served by at least one government agency from now into the foreseeable future. Thanks to the expiration of the so-called "Micky Mouse Protection Act," the U.S. Copyright Office will release a year’s worth of art, literature, scholarship, photography, film, etc. into the public domain, starting with 1923 this year then moving through the 20th century each subsequent year.

And thanks to the venerable online institution the Internet Archive, we already have almost 11,000 texts from 1923 in multiple digital formats, just a click or two away.




A cursory survey produced Wm. A. Haussmann’s translation of Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, Arthur Stanley Eddington’s The Mathematical Theory of Relativity, Waldo Lincoln’s History of the Lincoln Family, covering the President’s ancestors and descendants from 1637 to 1920...

...Lynn Thorndike’s A History of Magic and Experimental Science, Volume I, Chandra Chakraberty’s An Interpretation of Ancient Hindu Medicine, Edward McCurdy’s translations of Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebooks, Nandal Sinha’s translation of The Vaisesika Sutras of Kanada, Winston Churchill’s The World Crisis, Henry Adams Bellows’ translation of The Poetic Edda, a collection of Mussolini’s political speeches from 1914-1923, and Thom’s Irish Who’s Who, which catalogues “prominent men and women in Irish life at home and abroad,” but tellingly leaves out James Joyce, who had just published Ulysses, to some infamy, the previous year. (It does include William Butler Yeats.)

1923 turns out to have been a particularly rich literary year itself, with many of the 20th century’s finest writers publishing major and lesser-known works (see here and here, for example). Browsing and focused searching through the archive—by topic, collection, creator, and language—will net many a literary classic or overlooked gem by some famous author. But you’ll also find much in this enormous collection of digitized books that you would never think to look for, like browsing the shelves of a Borgesian university library with an entire wing devoted to the year 1923.

The Internet Archive homepage looks as modest as it does dedicated, listing all of its top collections rather than foregrounding the huge tranche of newly-available material (and counting) on the 1923 shelves. But founder Brewster Kahle does not mince words in describing its incredible importance. “We have shortchanged a generation,” he says, “The 20th century is largely missing from the internet” (in legally available form, that is). Now and in the coming years, thousands of its stories can be told by teachers, scholars, artists, and filmmakers with ever-broadening access to documentary history.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

New Digital Archive Will Feature the Complete Works of Egon Schiele: Start with 419 Paintings, Drawings & Sculptures

If you’ve ever mistaken an Egon Schiele for a Gustav Klimt, you can surely be forgiven—the Austrian modernist don served as a North Star for Schiele, who sought out Klimt, apprenticed himself, and received a great deal of encouragement from his elder. But he would soon strike out on his own, developing a grotesque, exaggerated, yet elegantly sensual style that shocked his contemporaries and made him a leading figure of Austrian Expressionism.

Now, a century after his death in 1918 at age 28, a number of exhibitions have highlighted the complexity of his brief career, during which he “created a formidable output that turned him into a real icon for new generations,” writes Elena Martinique.




Schiele achieved “a remarkable impact and permanency” and it’s easy to see why. Best known for his erotic, elongated portraits and self-portraits, “searing explorations of their sitter’s psyches,” as The Art Story describes them, his depictions of the human form are considered some of the “most remarkable of the 20th century.”

The details of Schiele’s short life paint the picture of a modernist rock star. He is as famous for his work as for his “licentious lifestyle… marked by scandal, notoriety, and a tragically early death… at a time when he was on the verge of the commercial success that had eluded him for much of his career.” In his short life, Martinique notes, Schiele produced “over 400 paintings; close to 3,000 watercolors and drawings; 21 sketchbooks; 17 graphics; and 4 sculptures.”

This incredible body of work will be made available in full online in a project spearheaded by Jane Kallir, co-director of New York’s Galerie St. Etienne, which mounted Schiele’s first American solo exhibition in 1941 and recently staged a “comprehensive survey of the artist’s artistic development.” Kallir authored the most recent catalogue raisonné of Schiele’s work, and rather than publish another print edition, she has decided to put the full catalogue online, under the auspices of her research institute.

The project currently “details 419 works and counting, with a particular emphasis on Schiele’s paintings,” reports Meilan Solly at Smithsonian. His drawings and watercolors will be added in 2019. Though it is a public resource, the online catalogue is designed for scholars, who can use it to “trace specific pieces’ provenance or debunk the existence of forgeries.” Kallir continues the work of her grandfather, Otto Kallir, who wrote the first complete catalogue of the artist’s work in 1930.

That early reference has proven invaluable “in the tangle courtroom drama surrounding the restitution of Nazi-looted art.” The centenary of Schiele’s death on October 31, 2018 has brought even more interest to his work, and a rise in fakes circulating in the art market. “It is very important to have a reliable and readily accessible means of identifying authentic works of art,” Kallir writes in a statement. There is no one better placed than her to create it.

But while the Kallir Research Institute’s Complete Works of Egon Schiele Online offers necessary information for curators, art dealers, and scholars, it is very accessible to the general public. If you’re new to Schiele, start with a short biography at the site. (Also read The Art Story’s overview and see several high-resolution scans of his most famous works at the Art History Project). Then click on “Works” to view photos and information about sketchbooks, graphics, sculptures, and paintings.

These latter works show a radical development: from the conservative, traditional style of his earliest painting, to the heavily Klimt-influenced work of 1908-9, to 1910-18, when he discovered and perfected his own peculiar vision.

via Art Net

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness.

An Archive of 800+ Imaginative Propaganda Maps Designed to Shape Opinions & Beliefs: Enter Cornell’s Persuasive Maps Collection

We tend to take a very special interest in archives and maps on this site—and especially in archives of maps. Yet it is rare, if not unheard of, to discover a map archive in which every single entry repays attention. The PJ Mode Persuasive Cartography Collection at Cornell University Library is such an archive. Each map in the collection, from the most simplified to the most elaborate, tells not only one story, but several, overlapping ones about its creators, their intended audience, their antagonists, the conscious and unconscious processes at work in their political psyches, the geo-political view from where they stood.

Maps drawn as propaganda must be broad and bold, casting aside precision for the pressing matter at hand. Even when finely detailed or laden with statistics, such maps press their meaning upon us with unsubtle force.




One especially resonant example of persuasive cartography, for example, at the top shows us an early version of a widely-used motif—the “Cartographic Land Octopus,” or CLO, as Frank Jacobs dubs it at Big Think. The CLO has never gone out of style since its likely origin in J.J. van Brederode’s "Humorous War Map" of 1870, which depicts Russia as a monstrous mollusk. Later, Caricaturist Fred W. Rose printed a reprise, the “Serio-Comic War Map for the Year 1877.”

A full twenty-seven years later, a Japanese student used the very same design for his satirical map of Russia-as-Octopus, the occasion this time the Russo-Japanese War. Titled “A Humorous Diplomatic Atlas of Europe and Asia,” the Japanese map cites Rose, or “a certain prominent Englishman,” as its inspiration. Its text reads, in part:

The black octopus is so avaricious, that he stretches out his eight arms in all directions, and seizes up every thing that comes within his reach. But as it sometimes happens he gets wounded seriously even by a small fish, owing to his too much covetousness.

No doubt Russian persuasive cartographers had a different view of who was or wasn’t an octopus. Many years after his octopus map, Fred Rose dropped sea creatures for fishing in another of his serio-comic maps, "Angling in Troubled Waters," above, this one from 1899, and showing Russia as a massive incarnation of the tsar, his boots posed to walk all over Europe. After the revolution, the Russian octopus returned, bearing different names but no less menacing a beast.

Many maps in the collection show contradictory views of Russia, or Great Britain, or whatever world power at the time threatened to overrun everyone else. It’s interesting to see the continuity of such depictions over decades, and centuries (Jacobs shows examples of Russian octopi from 1938 and 2008). The map above from 1938 reflects “Nazi expansionist goals,” notes Cornell’s digital collections, by showing the supposed "German" populations scattered all over Europe and the need, as Hitler argued in the quoted speech, to protect and liberate “national comrades” by means of annexation, bombing, and invasion.

Where the blood red of the German map represents the “blood” of the volk, in the map above, from 1917, it stands in for the blood of everyone else if the “leaders of German thought” get what they want. Where the Reich map took aim at Europe, the quoted “former generals,” notes Cornell, “and well-known Pangermanists” in the WWI-era map above wanted to colonize most of the world, a particular affront to the British, who were well on their way to doing so, and to a lesser degree, the French, who wanted to. These two world powers had been at it far longer, however, and not without fierce opposition at home as well as in the colonies.

The famous eighteenth century British caricaturist James Gillray’s most famous print, from 1805, shows William Pitt and Napoleon seated at table, carving up the world between them to consume it.

A steaming ‘plum-pudding’ globe, both intent on carving themselves a substantial portion…. Pitt appears calm, meticulous and confident, spearing the pudding with a trident indicative of British naval supremacy. He lays claim to the oceans and the West Indies. In contrast Napoleon Bonaparte reaches from this chair with covetous, twitching eyes fixed on the prize of Europe and cuts away France, Holland, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and the Mediterranean.

Gillray’s cartoon hardly counts as a “map” but it deserves inclusion in this fine collection. Other notable maps featured include the 1904 “Distribution of Crime & Drunkenness in England and Wales,”a study in the persuasive use of correlation; the 1856 “Reynold’s Political Map of the United States,” illustrating the “stakes involved in the potential spread of slavery to the Western States” in support of the Republican Presidential candidate John Fremont; and the French Communist Party’s 1951 “Who is the Aggressor?” which shows American military bases around the world, their guns—or big black arrows—pointed at China and the U.S.S.R.

There are hundreds more persuasive maps, illustrating views theological, political, social, mechanical, and otherwise, dating from the 15th century to the 2000s. You can browse the whole collection or by date, creator, subject, repository, and format. All of the maps are annotated with catalog information and collector’s notes explaining their context. And all of them, from the frivolous to the world-historical, tell us far more than they intended with their peculiar ways of spatializing prejudices, fears, desires, beliefs, obsessions, and overt biases.

“Every map has a Who, What, Where and When about it,” as collector PJ Mode writes on the Cornell site. “But these maps had another element: Why? Since they were primarily ‘about’ something other than geography, understanding the map required finding the reasoning behind it.” The most recent entry in the archive, Christopher Neiman’s 2011 “World Map of Useless Stereotypes” from The New York Times Magazine turns the persuasive map in on itself, using its satirical devices to poke fun at propaganda’s reductive effects.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

NASA Digitizes 20,000 Hours of Audio from the Historic Apollo 11 Mission: Stream Them Free Online

When we think of the Apollo missions, we tend to think of images, especially those broadcast on television during the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. And if we think of the sounds of Apollo, what comes more quickly to mind — indeed, what sound in human history could come more quickly to mind — than Neil Armstrong's "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" line spoken on that same mission? But that's just one small piece of the total amount of audio recordings made during the Apollo program, which ran from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. Now, with nearly 20,000 hours of them digitized, they've begun to be made available for listening and downloading at the Internet Archive.

"After the Apollo missions ended, most of the audio tapes eventually made their way to the National Archives and Records Administration building in College Park, Maryland," writes Astronomy's Catherine Meyers. But even after getting all the recordings in one place (easier said than done given the vast size of the archives in which they resided), a much larger challenge loomed.




"The existing tapes could be played only on a machine called a SoundScriber, a big beige and green contraption complete with vacuum tubes. NASA had two machines, but the first was cannibalized for parts to make the second one run."

Refurbishing the very last SoundScriber to play these 30-track tapes required the help of a retired technician, and then the research team needed to "play all 30 tracks at once to minimize the time required to digitize them, as well as to avoid damaging the almost 50-year-old tapes by playing them over and over." What with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing approaching next summer — and with First Man, Damien Chazelle's biopic of Neil Armstrong currently in theaters — NASA has cleared that mission's audio recordings for public release.

You can listen to the Apollo 11 tapes directly at the Internet Archive, or you can make your way through them at Explore Apollo, a site designed by students at the University of Texas at Dallas that highlights the most historically significant of the thousands of hours of audio recorded during Apollo 11: not just Armstrong's first step, but the launch from Kennedy Space Center, the lunar landing itself, and the astronauts' walk on the moon's surface. But space exploration is about much more than astronauts, as you'll soon find out if you spend much time at the Internet Archive's collection of Apollo 11 recordings, on which appear not just Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, but the hundreds and hundreds of other NASA personnel who made the moon landing possible. We may never have heard their names before, but now we can finally hear their voices.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The Library of Congress Makes Thousands of Fabulous Photos, Posters & Images Free to Use & Reuse

The history of the venerable Library of Congress demonstrates the vast importance that the founders of the U.S. accorded to reading and studying. It may be one of the country’s most durable institutions, “the oldest federal cultural institution in the nation,” it proclaims. While partisan rancor, war, and violence recur, the LoC has stolidly held an ever-increasingly diverse collection of artifacts sitting peacefully alongside each other on several hundred miles of shelves, a monument to the life of the mind that ought to get more attention.

Touting itself as “the largest library in the world,” its collections “are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages.”




Its first materials were, of course, books—including over six-thousand books purchased from Thomas Jefferson’s private collection after the British burned the original library down in 1814. Now, it “adds approximately 12,000 items to the collection daily,” in every possible format one can imagine.

And since its digital collections came online, anyone, anywhere in the world can call up these vast resources with an internet connection and a few clicks. Though we tend to take such things for granted in our fervidly distracted times, a little reflection should remind us of how incredible that is. But before we wax too rhapsodic, let’s remember there’s a business end to the LoC and it’s called the U.S. Copyright Office, that guardian of intellectual property that both ensures creators can profit from their labors and prevents the free and open use of so many enriching materials long after those creators have need of them.

But the Library has done its digital users a service in this regard as well, with its “Free to Use and Reuse Sets,” a sizable collection of images that the Library “believes… is either in the public domain, has no known copyright, or has been cleared by the copyright owner for public use.” (The use of the word “believes” seems to leave room for doubt, but if you got it with permission from the LoC, you’re probably safe.) Need photographs of Abraham Lincoln—and scans of his speeches, letters, and “dueling instructions”—for that book you’re writing? You’re covered with this gallery. Need a collection of classic children's books for your website (or your reading pleasure)? Here you go.

From the graphic genius of vintage WPA and travel posters to iconic jazz portraits by William Gottlieb to baseball cards to endlessly quaint and quirky American roadside attractions to pictures of dogs and their people… you never know when you might need such images, but when you do you now know where to find them. Want to know what’s in the set called “Not an Ostrich”? A valkyrie cat named Brunnhilde, for one thing, and much more here.

The Library currently highlights its “Poster Parade”—a set of posters from the 1890s to the 1960s featuring “travel, commercial products, war propaganda, entertainment, and more”—in collaboration with Poster House, a museum opening in New York next year. These range from delectable art nouveau ads to shouty broadsides telling you to drink your milk, brush your teeth, or have “More Courtesy.” Sensible prescriptions, but we also need more knowledge, study, and thought. Start at the LoC’s Digital Collections here and harvest your free to use and reuse images here.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness.

 

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