David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

15 July 2015

TAR : De Revolutionibus : De-Centred : re. knowing & not knowing where to look

Dear wonderful Nadar, 

In 1858, you were the first to photograph our world from space.

Nadar élevant la Photographie à la hauteur de l'Art
Nadar elevating Photography to the level of Art
Lithograph by Honoré Daumier, in Le Boulevard, May 25, 1863

And, in your studio, the first to fake it too.
 Nadar, Self-Portrait in a Balloon Gondola, c1865

Félix Nadar was the pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (1 April 1820, Paris – 23 March 1910), a French photographer, caricaturist, journalist, novelist and balloonist. He took his first photographs in 1853 and pioneered the use of artificial lighting in photography, working in the catacombs of Paris. In 1858, he took a camera up in a tethered hot air balloon and became the first aerial photographer. Around 1863, Nadar built a huge (6000 m³) balloon named Le Géant (“The Giant”), thereby inspiring Jules Verne’s Five Weeks in a Balloon. Although the “Géant” project was initially unsuccessful Nadar was still convinced that the future belonged to heavier-than-air machines. Later, “The Society for the Encouragement of Aerial Locomotion by Means of Heavier than Air Machines” was established, with Nadar as president and Verne as secretary. Nadar was also the inspiration for the character of Michael Ardan in Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon. In April 1874, he lent his photo studio to a group of painters, thus making the first exhibition of the Impressionists possible. (Wikipedia
Today, we think of you again, as a vehicle from Earth, New Horizons, after almost ten years travelling through space, passes by and photographs our Sun's outermost mini-planet Pluto and its moon Charon. Here's the screen photo we made for you at the moment of closest approach. 
Of course, dear Nadar, there were many others involved in this projection : Copernicus & Co..

Aristarchus of Samos, Martianus Capella, Nicole Oresme, Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, and Bhaskara II. Nilakantha Somayaji, Nilakantha, Abu Sa'id al-Sijzi, Alhazen, Abu Rayhan Biruni, al-Battani, Thabit ibn Qurra, al-Zarqali, Ibn Rushd, and al-Bitruji. Tycho Brahe, Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, William Herschel, Friedrich Bessel... 

Nicholas of Cusa in his Learned Ignorance asked whether there was any reason to assert that the Sun (or any other point) was the centre of the universe. In parallel to a mystical definition of God, Cusa wrote that "Thus the fabric of the world (machina mundi) will quasi have its centre everywhere and circumference nowhere." 

Modern thinking is that there is no specific location that is the centre of the universe, per Albert Einstein's principle of relativity(Wikipedia
...but it is still giddy YOU who have us in the best of spins!

Yours at large

Nadar,  revolving self-portrait,  c.1865