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150 Leonardo Reviews This brings me to a final question that disturbs me but to which I have no answer. The evidence from the writings among the Maya and Inca cultures reveals that, despite years of accurate predictions of celestial events, they continued the ritual of animal and human sacrifice to appease the gods—or in astronomical terms, to make sure that, say, the sun would return on its northerly journey after reaching the winter solstice. But why was not a hue and cry raised, say, among some ancient Mayan “Einstein,” pointing to the ever-faithful heavenly returns and the possibility that they might continue independent of the people’s actions, so that, in time, sacrificial rituals would be needless. Was it not worth a test, in order to save a child’s life? In a sense, is not this worldview one of the treasured gifts from the ancient Greeks? I ask this unanswerable question knowing full well that even asking such questions is not “correct” in this postmodern world. VI: EN DOKUMENTATION OM KULTURRÅDGIVERI (WE: A DOCUMENTATION OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS) by Staffan Mossenmark and Jörgen Svensson. National Swedish Radio, Stockholm, 1997. Book and three CDs, 65 pp., illus. Trade, $60. ISBN: 91-6305917 -7. Reviewed by Fred Andersson, Ulvsbygatan 29, 6 tr., 654 64 Karlstad, Sweden. E-mail: . In 1995 the Swedish artist Jörgen Svensson (b. 1958) was appointed to work 6 months as an advisor at the Swedish Department of Cultural Affairs. From the beginning, Svensson was skeptical with regard to the meaning and purpose of this work, and he declared that he wanted to document it and to use the material in an art-project. He wrote a diary and took some photographs . Some of the material is presented in the book Vi: En dokumentation om kulturrådgiveri (We: A Documentation of Cultural Affairs), which Svensson did in cooperation with the Swedish composer Staffan Mossenmark. In order to develop the theme of art versus politics and feeling versus logic, Svensson commissioned Mossenmark to convert his diary into music. In the printed text of the diary, every name of appearing individuals has been replaced by a golden dot. When composing the string-quartet, Mossenmark reproduced the 27 pages of the diary layout , only keeping the golden dots. On every page, he then projected the structure of an ordinary score, thus converting the golden dots into golden notes of certain pitches. The string-quartet was composed by “filling in the gaps” between these notes. The performance of the string-quartet by the Swedish group Flux is presented on one of the enclosed CDs. On the two other CDs the diary is recited by the actor Christer Fant. The project oscillates between the “ordinary gossip” of the diary and the refined, modernistic abstraction of the music. Visually, the golden dots and their random orientation on the pages is a picture of the random events within every well-defined and logical structure, be it the structures of life, art or society. The single individuals—“we”—are reduced to equal and anonymous parts of the social/textual/musical structure. In retrospect and with some distance, “our” trivial everyday life may seem more universal. The photographs, which are printed in a separate section in the end of the book, are taken with an ordinary pocket-camera in order to avoid the “artistic ” approach. But in the book, these photographs have been transformed. The bright colors of the cheap color print have been converted into black and white, and the edges of the photographs have been faded. The effect is highly un-naturalistic. Behind the surface of everyday life there appears to be “something else,” but this “something else” is, in fact, an artistic construction achieved through the technology of photography and printing. BRAIN, VISION, MEMORY: TALES IN THE HISTORY OF NEUROSCIENCE by Charles G. Gross. MIT Press, Cambridge , MA, U.S.A., 1998. 255 pp., illus. Trade, $32.50. ISBN: 0-262-07186-X. Reviewed by George K. Shortess, 3505 Hecktown, Road, Bethlehem, PA 18020, U.S.A. E-mail: . Brain, Vision, Memory is a scholarly book with many wonderful historical details and anecdotes about the development of neuroscience. There...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 150-151
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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