The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend


In Search of Lost Time — Jimmy Stamp on Chris Ware’s Building Stories, at Design Decoded:

If there’s a central theme to Building Stories, it is the passing of time – and our futile struggle against it. The comic book is the perfect medium to explore this idea. After all, what is a comic but sequential, narrative art? Unlike a photograph, a comic panel does not typically show a single moment in time but is, rather, a visual representation of duration. That duration might be the time it takes Superman to punch out a giant robot, the seconds that pass while a failed artist chops a carrot, or the years it takes for a single seed to travel around the world. In every comic book, time passes within the panel. More noticeably though, time passes between the panels. This is where the art of storytelling comes in. There are no rules in comics that standardize the duration of a panel or a sequence of panels. In Building Stories, sometimes milliseconds pass between panels, sometimes entire seasons, and sometimes even centuries can expire with the turn of the page.

See also: Mike Doherty interviews Chris Ware for the National Post.

Nuts — Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test, interviewed at The Awl:

the stuff I was gravitating towards at the beginning was people who lived on the fringes of society and funny, absurd stories about the kind of crazy things that see us through. You know, belief systems that seemed kind of completely irrational to me. And I’ve got to admit, at the time, in my early 20s, I probably thought I was better than them. They were kind of nuts and I was, you know, sane and rational. But the older I get, the less I feel that. Now I feel completely on a par of irrationality with them.

And finally…

Cents — Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi on musicians and streaming music services, at Pitchfork:

the sale of recorded music has become irrelevant to the dominant business models I have to contend with as a working musician. Indeed, music itself seems to be irrelevant to these businesses– it is just another form of information, the same as any other that might entice us to click a link or a buy button on a stock exchange.

As businesses, Pandora and Spotify are divorced from music. To me, it’s a short logical step to observe that they are doing nothing for the business of music — except undermining the simple cottage industry of pressing ideas onto vinyl, and selling them for more than they cost to manufacture.

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