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 New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday


No matter how many times you may have been there, or not been there at all, everyone has a mental image of Notre Dame de Paris.

Normally this image is of the  front of the Cathedral, mostly shrouded in gray. Notre Dame de Paris is located on

“the eastern half of the Île de la Cité that Notre Dame lies. Roman catholic cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of Paris, Notre Dame is one of the first Gothic cathedrals, amongst the finest example of sacred gothic architecture, with outstanding stained glasses, stone carvings and the first flying buttress built during history. The cathedral was desecrated during the French revolution and was rendered famous with Victor Hugo’s the hunchback of Notre Dame, written to raise awareness in a building which was an heritage in state of despair. In the square in front of the Cathedral lies the Point Zero, from which the distances from Paris are measured.”

- Source – Arounder


However, few have been able to see the vibrant colors of the interior (and not just the windows) as well as shown by Arounder,  which “features thousands of attractions and places to see such as prestigious museums and historical cathedrals, unspoiled natural paradises and UNESCO sites.”

 Arounder uses the krpano Panorama Viewer,  ( http://krpano.com) a small and very flexible high-performance viewer for all kind of panoramic images and interactive virtual tours. The viewer is available as Flash and HTML5 application. The viewer is designed for the usage inside the Browser on Desktop (Windows, Mac, Linux) and on Mobiles/Tablets (iPhone, iPad, Android, …)

Arounder is a fine example of Fine Art in the New Media, using its resources and technical expertise to make art accessible to everyone, everywhere.


Click on the video segment, “Notre Dame Interior 02″  to see the magnificent interior.


Arounder is a division of VRWAY Communication, a media company in online, offline and mobile industry, with registered office in Luxemburg and operation’s headquarter in Switzerland.

Arounder features 100+ world’s top destinations including thousands of attractions and places to see such as prestigious museums and historical cathedrals, unspoiled natural paradises and UNESCO sites as well as the most luxurious hotel and the finest restaurants all over the world.

AROUNDERTOUCH Selected by Apple among “top 10 Apps” in 57 countries, ArounderTouch App brings Virtual Reality Panoramas from Arounder directly to smartphones and tablet.

AROUNDERMAG The virtual magazine available for iPad which allows readers to interactively visit the most beautiful destinations through a combination of panoramic images and exclusive reportages.



H/T Art Daily

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AMAZON: BOOK, PUBLISHER, SELLER, YOU. (Update below 11/13/14)*

Vanity Fair:” The war is really about the future of publishing—and maybe of culture.” Photo Illustration by Stephen Doyle

New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30 pm ET


Amazon v. Hachette. The December 2014 issue of Vanity Fair contains an article, “The War of the Words”, by By Keith Gessen.The  intro gives a good summary of the present state of affairs between Amazon and Hachette,

Amazon’s war with publishing giant Hachette over e-book pricing has earned it a black eye in the media, with the likes of Philip Roth, James Patterson, and Stephen Colbert demanding that the online mega-store stand down. How did Amazon—which was once seen as the book industry’s savior—end up as Literary Enemy Number One? And how much of this fight is even about money? Keith Gessen reports.


As Keith Gessen writes,

This past year has seen hostilities between Amazon and the publishers, which had been simmering for years, come out into the open, filling many column inches in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, not to mention numerous online forums. The focal point of the dispute has been a tough negotiation between Amazon and the publisher Hachette, with some public sniping between the companies’ executives (who have otherwise kept out of view). Hachette, it should be said, is no slouch: it is owned by the large French media conglomerate Lagardère. The other big publishers are similarly well backed. HarperCollins is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Simon & Schuster is a part of CBS. Macmillan and Penguin Random House are owned, or co-owned, by hefty German corporations. Nonetheless, all the publishers feel bullied by Amazon, and Amazon, in turn, feels misunderstood.


When the Kindle was introduced, Amazon announced that the price of new books would be $9.99. As Gessen writes,

The heart of the matter was that it was so much less than $28, the average price of a new hardcover book. Another problem with $9.99 was just how close it was to $7.99 or $6.99. Publishers believed that Amazon would eventually go even lower, putting intolerable price pressure on print books and the places that sold them. With print gone, what exactly would publishers be left with? They could still select and edit and market books, but their chief task, getting the books into stores across the land, would be eliminated.


A good explanation of the “So What?”, was written by Bob Kohn in an op-ed article appearing in the New York Times on May 30, 2014, “How Book Publishers Can Beat Amazon,”

 “If you wish to understand what’s really happening between Amazon and Hachette — and, indeed, all the major book publishers — you need to know the meaning of the word monopsony.

The Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, when sitting on a lower court, once described monopsony as the “mirror image” of monopoly. Unlike a monopoly, which occurs when a seller of goods has the power to unlawfully raise prices of what it sells, a monopsony occurs when a buyer of goods has the power to unlawfully lower the prices of what it buys. Each violates antitrust laws: As the Supreme Court has long recognized, they both result in a misallocation of resources that harms consumers and distorts markets.

Take the e-book market, dominated by Amazon, which buys what a federal court once found to be 90 percent of all e-books sold in the United States. The monopsony power of Amazon, which has a current market share of 65 percent of all online book units, digital and print, is not just theoretical; it’s real and formidable. When Macmillan, the fifth largest book publisher, displeased Amazon in 2010 by proposing certain changes in business terms, Amazon exercised what has been described as its “nuclear option”: It promptly deleted the “buy” buttons in the Amazon online store for all of Macmillan’s books. In an instant, Macmillan’s entire business was in jeopardy.”


 Credit Jennifer Heuer; Photograph by byllwill/Getty Images

“With a major publisher out of the market for new manuscripts, authors would receive less money. And less money would mean fewer authors, and fewer books. (Nor are self-published authors safe from the power of a monopsony: While a traditional publisher like Macmillan needs an author’s consent to change the terms of his or her publishing agreement, Amazon reserves the right to change any provision of its agreement with any author at any time for any reason.)

How did Amazon attain such monopsony power? By providing valuable services? Perhaps, to some extent. But consider that from the moment it introduced its Kindle product, Amazon sold e-books at prices far below what it was buying them for. If Amazon bought an e-book from Hachette for $13, it resold it to a consumer for $9.99, losing $3.01 per e-book. It should come as no surprise that under these circumstances, e-book buyers flocked to Amazon.

But there was a problem. When a company has dominant market power and sells goods for below marginal cost, it is engaging in predatory pricing, a violation of federal antitrust laws.”


Book, Publisher, Seller, You. The story is a long an continuing one. Just read the rest of the Vanity Fair Article. Stay tuned.


BREAKING NEWS Thursday, November 13, 2014 11:39 AM EST
Amazon and Hachette Resolve Bitter Publishing Dispute

Amazon and Hachette announced Thursday morning that they have resolved their differences and signed a new multiyear contract, bringing to an official end one of the most bitter publishing conflicts in recent years.
Neither side gave details of the deal, but both pronounced themselves happy with the terms. Hachette gets the ability to set the prices on its e-books, which was a major battleground in the dispute.
“This is great news for writers,” said Michael Pietsch, Hachette’s chief executive. “The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners.”
An Amazon executive, David Naggar, said Amazon was “pleased with this new agreement as it includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices, which we believe will be a great win for readers and authors alike.”
The agreement broadly follows a deal Amazon recently worked out with Simon & Schuster.



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New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday


A recent article in The Space,The Space A web site Set up by the BBC and the Arts Council of England, about robots on the lose at night in the Tate Britian, exemplifies a “giant leap” in the creative use of tools of the New Media to make art accessible to everyone.

Over five nights in August 2014, the public logged-on to the After Dark web app to take a space-age tour through 500 years of British art.


Equipped with cameras, the robots’ journeys were watched by thousands of people world-wide via the internet, alone in their adventure except for their robotic co-explorers.

A few lucky people, chosen at random, were given the opportunity to actually control a robot themselves, navigating their own journey round Tate Britain’s historic building and collection.

Designed specifically for this task, the robots were fitted with a camera and bespoke lights for eyes, with the ability to look up and down to view the full range of art on display.

Using on-screen buttons or the arrow keys on a keyboard, their operators could turn 360 degrees and move forward. The robots could sense obstacles around them with the use of ultrasound technology and they fed this information back to the operator, helping them to navigate the galleries.



The Robots were created in collaboration with RAL Space (who work alongside the UK Space Agency – UKSA), a world-leading centre for the research and development of space exploration technologies.
Art experts and After Dark robot watchers Grace Adam and Joshua White
Live commentary on 500 years of British art was provided by Tate’s own art experts:
Grace Adam, artist and lecturer
Kate Tiernan, artist, producer and educator
Frank Wasser, artist and educator
Joshua White, freelance lecturer, educator and critic.

The team monitored the live feed from all four robots, explaining what they encountered along the way, from Tudor portraits to modernist sculptures.

After Dark, the brainchild of London-based design studio The Workers, is the [Tate's] IK Prize 2014 winning project. The IK Prize celebrates digital creativity, supporting innovative ideas and turning them into new ways of enjoying and discovering art.


The Space Set up by the BBC and the Arts Council of England, The Space is a free public space, a not-for-profit public service for artists and audiences around the world.

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Alberto Giacometti’s “The Chariot” – How an Artist Creates

New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30pm ET


Looking at Giacometti’s sculpture, The Chariot, we ask, “Where did this idea come from, Wwat influenced its creation?”  The creative process of an artist remains a mysterious thing beyond normal comprehension. Even when described directly by the artist, the process defies “rational” comprehension.


When we think of Giacometti’s sculptures, we think of them as grand, as almost life sized. Indeed,  the “Walking Man” series is just that – large, elongated, and somewhat abstract. However there was a significant period in the sculptor’s life when all the sculptures he made were tiny, so tiny that Giacometti carried several of them them in a match box at the same time!

According to the biographer, James Lord, Giacometti’s quest or compulsion at that time was due, in part, to his need to diminish the human figure to

“the least common denominator of the visible. It also withstood [his] destructive impulse which reduced most of the others to dust. All the sculptures made by Giacometti during the wartime years in Switzerland were tiny save one.That one is almost sized … The Chariot is the name the sculptor gave to this work.”   – James Lord, Giacometti: A Biography, 227 – 228, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1983).


As described by  ArtNet,

Alberto Giacometti, Chariot. Inscribed with the signature A. Giacometti, with foundry mark Alexis Rudier Fondeur Paris and numbered 2/6. Conceived and cast in 1950. Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's.

Alberto Giacometti, Chariot. Inscribed with the signature A. Giacometti, with foundry mark Alexis Rudier Fondeur Paris and numbered 2/6. Conceived and cast in 1950.
Photo: Courtesy Sotheby’s.


“Giacometti’s Chariot (conceived and cast in 1950) is a unique painted cast depicting a goddess perched  atop a chariot with large wheels. According to Sotheby’s, it is one of only two examples that remain in private hands and has been in the same private collection for over four decades. It will be the first Chariot to appear at auction in more than 30 years. Though Sotheby’s has not released a firm estimate, Simon Shaw cited the $104.3 million price achieved for Homme qui marche I in 2010, and said: “we believe that Chariot could sell for in excess of $100 million.” Ibid.

“In 1947, Giacometti told his dealer Pierre Matisse: “I saw the sculpture before me as if already done.” In addition to Surrealism, the artist was also inspired by antiquity, including an Egyptian chariot he had seen at the Archeological Museum in Florence. Six casts of Chariot were made during the artist’s lifetime, according to Sotheby’s. Giacometti embellished the patina of certain bronzes by painting directly on the sculpture’s surface. The cast for sale is one of only two painted examples.”


After all this explanation, perhaps the best we can say is that The Chariot speaks for itself. There is one at MoMA

H/T ArtNet

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New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday

The Philadelphia Museum of Art   presents PAUL STRAND: MASTER OF MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY
October 21, 2014 – January 4, 2015

“This major retrospective presents the work of a critical figure in the history of modern art, American photographer and filmmaker Paul Strand (1890–1976), whose archive of nearly 4,000 prints stands as a cornerstone of the Museum’s collection. Emphasizing the influential artist’s most important projects from the 1910s through the 1960s, the exhibition surveys Strand’s entire life’s work, including his breakthrough trials in abstraction and candid street portraits, close-ups of natural and machine forms, and extended explorations of the American Southwest, Mexico, New England, France, Italy, Scotland, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, and Romania.”

Strand, Paul Wall_Street 1915
 Paul Strand Wall Street 1915
As described by Martha Chahroudi, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 230.
“Paul Strand’s 1915 photograph of Wall Street workers passing in front of the monolithic Morgan Trust Company can be seen as the quintessential representation of the uneasy relationship between early twentieth-century Americans and their new cities. Here the people are seen not as individuals but as abstract silhouettes trailing long shadows down the chasms of commerce.
The intuitive empathy that Strand demonstrates for these workers of New York’s financial district would be evident throughout the wide and varied career of this seminal American photographer and filmmaker, who increasingly became involved with the hardships of working people around the world. In this and his other early photographs of New York, Strand helped set a trend toward pure photography of subject and away from the pictorialist” imitation of painting. Wall Street is one of only two known vintage platinum prints of this image and one of the treasures of some five hundred photographs in the Museum’s Paul Strand Retrospective Collection.”


Rather than to keep on writing about Paul Strand’s work, it’s better to actually see it.
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“THE HAND OF THE DANCER” * – Cave Paintings in Indonesia Change Ideas about the Origin and Age of Oldest Art

New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30pm ET

* “THE HAND OF THE DANCER” title supplied by Jack Dziamba, author – whitherthebook.

Telegraph Video

Maxime Aubert looking at cave art

Cave paintings change ideas about the origin of art

The artworks are in a rural area on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi.

Until now, paintings this old had been confirmed in caves only in Western Europe.

Researchers tell the journal Nature that the Indonesian discovery transforms ideas about how humans first developed the ability to produce art.

Handprint 1

“Australian and Indonesian scientists have dated layers of stalactite-like growths that have formed over coloured outlines of human hands.

Early artists made them by carefully blowing paint around hands that were pressed tightly against the cave walls and ceilings. The oldest is at least 40,000 years old.”

Wild Pig
“This painting, from Bone, is of a variety a wild endemic dwarfed bovid found only in Sulawesi, which the inhabitants probably hunted

There are also human figures, and pictures of wild hoofed animals that are found only on the island. Dr Maxime Aubert, of Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, who dated the paintings found in Maros in Southern Sulawesi, explained that one of them (shown immediately below) was probably the earliest of its type.”

Oldest Art
“At the top of the worn painting is a faint outline of a human hand. Below it is possibly the earliest depiction of an animal

“The minimum age for (the outline of the hand) is 39,900 years old, which makes it the oldest hand stencil in the world,” said Dr Aubert.

“This find enables us to get away from this Euro-centric view of a creative explosion that was special to Europe.”Prof Chris Stringer Natural History Museum

“Next to it is a pig that has a minimum age of 35,400 years old, and this is one of the oldest figurative depictions in the world, if not the oldest one,” he told BBC News.

There are also paintings in the caves that are around 27,000 years old, which means that the inhabitants were painting for at least 13,000 years.

In addition, there are paintings in a cave in the regency of Bone, 100 km north of Maros. These cannot be dated because the stalactite-like growths used to determine the age of the art do not occur. But the researchers believe that they are probably the same age as the paintings in Maros because they are stylistically identical.

Truly human

Art and the ability to think of abstract concepts is what distinguishes our species from other animals – capabilities that also led us to use fire, develop the wheel and come up with the other technologies that have made our kind so successful.

Its emergence, therefore, marks one of the key moments when our species became truly human.

The dating of the art in Sulawesi will mean that ideas about when and where this pivotal moment in our evolution occurred will now have to be revised.”


“Compare the painting above from Bone with the one immediately below, which is from El Castillo cave in northern Spain, and dated to be 37,300 years old by researchers at Bristol University.”

Spanish Hands

“The Sulawesian and Spanish paintings look very similar, and they are both about the same age.

For decades, the only evidence of ancient cave art was in Spain and southern France. It led some to believe that the creative explosion that led to the art and science we know today began in Europe.

But the discovery of paintings of a similar age in Indonesia shatters this view, according to Prof Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.

“It is a really important find; it enables us to get away from this Euro-centric view of a creative explosion that was special to Europe and did not develop in other parts of the world until much later,” he said.

The discovery of 40,000-year-old cave paintings at opposite ends of the globe suggests that the ability to create representational art had its origins further back in time in Africa, before modern humans spread across the rest of the world.”
How can cave pantings, thousands of years, and thousands of miles apart, be so similar?”

H/T Mark Dziamba




New Post Goes up Every Wednesday

The Only Footage of Mark Twain: The Original & Digitally Restored Films Shot by Thomas Edison via Open Culture:

“We know what Mark Twain looked like, and we think we know what he sounded like. Just above see what he looked like in motion, strolling around Stormfield, his house in Redding, Connecticut—signature white suit draped loosely around his frame, signature cigar puffing white smoke between his fingers. After Twain’s leisurely walk along the house’s façade, we see him with his daughters, Clara and Jean, seated indoors. Shot by Thomas Edison in 1909, the short film is most likely the only moving image of Twain in existence.”


Mark Twain is subject of a new Library of Congress publication: via Art Daily:

Mark Twain's America

 “We know Mark Twain as the author of American classics such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and its sequel, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” But in his time, Twain was a controversial satirist and popular public figure who traveled the world and helped heal post-Civil War America with his pithy wisdom, tall tales and humor.

A new work published by Little, Brown and Company in association with the Library of Congress reveals why Twain remains as relevant today as he was in his own time. With a lively narrative and 300 visual gems discovered in the Library’s collections, “Mark Twain’s America: A Celebration in Words and Images” by Harry L. Katz reveals the lasting impact that the author made on American culture—and vice versa. Writing was just one facet of Twain’s rich life. He was also a Mississippi riverboat pilot, a California gold prospector and a public speaker extraordinaire.

Katz shows us the many sides of Twain through rare illustrations, vintage photographs, caricatures and more. The accompanying text, which is enriched with excerpts from Twain’s novels and travel-writing text, puts Twain in historical context. Through letters, political cartoons, photographs and two illustrated timelines, “Mark Twain’s America” offers a unique perspective on the life of one of America’s most beloved humorists and illuminates literary, social and political life in the nation during his time.

Katz will discuss “Mark Twain’s America” at the Library at noon on Oct. 22 in the Mumford Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

“Mark Twain’s America,” a 256-page hardcover book, with 300 color and black-and-white images, is available for $40 in bookstores nationwide and in the Library of Congress Shop, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., 20540-4985. Credit-card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557 or www.loc.gov/shop/. “


Hal Holbrook – Mark Twain Tonight

William Gillette – Mark Twain’s Voice



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