"The website of The Visual Telling of Stories aspires to being a Visual Lexicon, dedicated to the primacy of the Visual Proposition. Above all it tries to create an overall consistency of structure and environment, as if it was all taking place in one characteristic landscape through which you are allowed to wander. The main delight and challenge is the invention of non-linear means of navigation through spaces of knowledge with a created balance of reference and discovery."
Fig.1 Emile Allais, Roger Frison-Roche, et al. (1947). How to Ski by the French Method: Emile Allais, Technic. Preface by Frison-Roche. Photos and Layout by Pierre Boucher. Translated from the French by Agustin R. Edwards, Éditions Flèche [http://www.fulltable.com/vts/aoi/b/boucher/bc.htm].
"In 1924 Claude Friese-Greene (cinematographer and son of moving-image pioneer William) embarked on an intrepid road trip from Land's End to John O'Groats. He recorded his journey on film, using an experimental colour process. Entitled The Open Road, this remarkable travelogue was conceived as a series of 26 short episodes, to be shown weekly at the cinema."
(Independent Cinema Office, UK)
"Austin Kleon's talk 'Steal Like An Artist' is a creative manifesto based on 10 things he wish he'd heard when he was starting out. Austin is a writer and artist. He's the author of Newspaper Blackout, a best-selling book of poetry made by redacting newspaper articles with a permanent marker. Austin's talk was delivered as part of the TEDxKC presentation of TEDxChange. Austin's work (including his new book) 'Steal Like An Artist' has been featured on NPR's Morning Edition, PBS Newshour, and in The Wall Street Journal. He speaks about creativity, visual thinking, and being an artist online for organizations such as SXSW and The Economist."
(TEDx Talk, 2012, Kansas City)
"This week the minaret of one of Syria's most beautiful mosques was destroyed in the northern city of Aleppo. The Ummayad mosque established in 715 was rebuilt in 1159 after being damaged by a fire and then built again a century later after the Mongol invasion. The oldest surviving part was the minaret and both the State forces and the rebels accuse each other of its destruction. Lying in the Old City, the mosque is a Unesco world heritage site but has become part of the wider devastation of Syria's rich cultural heritage; a Crusader castle and Roman ruins in the ancient city of Palmyra have also been damaged.
However sad this physical destruction of history and art is, it should matter less to us than the recent reports that some 70,000 lives have been lost in this terrible civil war with hundreds of thousands more displaced. This is a war which is gradually ripping the country apart but about which the rest of the world doesn't seem to know what to do. Yet there is a different poignancy to the loss of a country's artistic and cultural past. It is these visual artifacts, building and ruins which speak to us of a country's history, its collective memory, the love and passion of the people who make a piece of land into a nation state. That so many Syrians are now killing each other and destroying ruins and religious sites poses the disturbing question, what exactly is still held sacred in so many part of the Muslim world?
A couple of weeks ago I returned from a short break to Istanbul. The area surrounding the majestic Hagia Sophia and the Blue mosque is also a Unesco world heritage site, tourists wander freely, the buildings stand sublime, the contested past of the place breathing its religious spirit into a refashioned, modern and vibrant city. But I wonder whether the preservation of history is only meaningful in countries where there is the preservation of peace, where people can enjoy the ordinariness of life, where there is order and purpose and we have the luxury of self reflection.
Earlier this week the former Met commissioner sir Ian Blair said societies choose what kind of violence they will tolerate. Looking across to so many part of the Islamic world where there is civil war, state violence and individual acts of terror, I wonder how and when Muslim societies will move away from seeing violence as a resolution to human conflict. When God is great is uttered as people and buildings are blown up what kind of God have so many created in their hearts and minds? The destruction of the minaret is not just a physical destruction but a tragic metaphor for a nation's soul."
(Mona Siddiqui, 26 April 2013, BBC Radio 4: Thought for the Day)
Fig.1 At left, the damaged Umayyad mosque in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria, on Wednesday 24 April 2013; at right, the view of the mosque with the minaret intact on 6 March 2013. (AP) [http://www.wbur.org/npr/178906558/minaret-of-iconic-syrian-mosque-destroyed-in-fighting].
"The history of Chinese bookbinding has always suffered owing to a lack of material evidence. The various book formats discovered among the Dunhuang document collection provide a wealth of information previously out of reach to scholars. However, this resource has remained relatively untapped, attention instead being focused on the textual content of the documents. Bookbinding is just one of many aspects to the study of the Dunhuang collection as physical artefacts. This site, by combining textual descriptions with diagrams illustrating binding techniques and photographs of the actual objects, aims to give a comprehensive introduction to the different kinds of Chinese bookbinding contained in the Dunhuang collection of the British Library."
(Colin Chinnery, 07 February 2007)
Fig.2 Stein's 1907 photograph of Tibetan pothi from the Dunhuang Library Cave. © 2007 The British Library, Photo 392/27(587) [http://idp.bl.uk/database/oo_scroll_h.a4d?uid=186402700912;bst=1;recnum=38614;index=1;img=1]