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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Telescope purchased – now being assembled.


Went out in the garden to look for planets Saturn and Jupiter last night. Bright waxing gibbous moon provided a lot of ambient light. With the aid of a tablet computer and suitable softwear we were able to locate Saturn and the star Arcturus in the constellation Bootes plus Castor and Pollux? in the constellation Gemini. Binoculars are not powerful enough to make out Saturn’s rings but the moon was very clear. Saturn was obscured by trees.

I have just finished reading Quentin Meillassoux Philosophy in the making by Graham Harman. Apart from going over After Finitude, this book analyses and includes some of Meillassoux’s other writings including excerpts from his unpublished L’Inexistence divine. Meillassoux proposes three intra-world events that have already occurred: first the coming into being of matter, second the coming into being of life and third the coming into being of human consciousness. Meillassoux then proposes that the next thing to come into being would be Justice and that all the dead people would be re-born (how many people have lived and died or are living in the world if you added them all up? Population Reference Bureau estimate 107,602,707,791 plus another 7 billion people living in 2011 ). Meillassoux also proposes believing in God because he does not exist but at some point in the future he may be born!

Went to the Courtauld Gallery to see their Becoming Picasso exhibition. I find it amazing to think that these paintings were produced when Picasso was only nineteen years old, at the very beginning of his career. Nice little exhibition and the Courtauld’s permanent collection is always well worth a visit.

Also paid a visit to the National Gallery to Barocci: Brilliance and Grace. Barocci is surely one of the greatest draftsmen that ever lived. His preparatory drawings are superb. His working method was clearly revealed by the works in the exhibition. He is also a great colourist and his pictorial compositions are superb. How come this brilliant artist is so little known?

Residenzgalerie Salzburg Residenzplatz 1 A-5010 Salzburg

Barocci self-portrait courtesy of WebMuseum, Paris.

I tried Jim Elkins art viewing method but I only managed to sit in front of Barocci’s ‘Entombment of Christ’ painting for about 20 minutes. I found myself observing every part of the canvas in greater detail than I normally would. Noticing things that I would not normally notice. Analysing the composition and colour palate took up a lot of this time. Imagining how Barocci felt when he was painting this picture.

See Hickey’s critique of the modern art world HERE.

Bought some stretchers and canvas in Russell and Chappel. I’ve given up making my own stretchers because I was having difficulty in cutting good mitres!

Reading Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making by Graham Harman. Was getting on okay with this book until I got to the Chapter on Divine Inexistence and now I’m completely lost. One bad review HERE. So I’ve started to read Has Modernism Failed? by Suzi Gablik. Much easier for me to understand. Some reviews of this book HERE.

Brilliant visit to Herstmonceux Observatory open evening, yesterday. Waited 18 months for a clear sky coinciding with an open evening! Crystal clear skys last night. Saw planets Saturn and Jupiter and even two of Jupiter’s moons, Io and probably Europa but the great red spot was not visible although a grey streak was discernible across the planet. Saturn was a uniform off white colour and looked like a luminous sticker! Also saw a galactic cluster M37 and globular cluster M3 plus nebula in Orion, M42. All these objects are in our own solar system or galaxy.

No luck with an attempt to contact the space station, as it was over New Zealand and Argentina at 21.00 on Saturday. We didn’t see comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS. This comet is now only visible through a telescope or binoculars but was hidden behind one of the adjacent domes.

Installed Stellarium softwear on my computer. Now need to find out how to use it.

Listened to a broadcast lecture by Graham Harman, title Object-Oriented Aesthetics. ‘OOP aesthetics means the study the tension between an object and its qualities’, about one hour and four minutes into lecture.

cosmic insects

Strange artifacts in image of Castor A. Image taken from the Strasbourg astronomical Data Center (CDS). This is a data center dedicated to the collection and worldwide distribution of astronomical data. This image was produced by The Second Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS II). This is an ultraviolet wavelength image.