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Laura Welcher Speaks at Contemporary Jewish Museum This Sunday

Posted on Thursday, February 13th, 02014 by Charlotte Hajer
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How do public archives, as collections of cultural artifacts, shape our collective memory? And how is this changing as new digital tools make it ever easier for scholars and artists to access these repositories?

This Sunday, Long Now’s Laura Welcher joins a group of archivists and artists to discuss these questions and more at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Entitled Finders and Keepers: Archives in the Digital Age, the panel discussion accompanies an exhibit by Chicago-based photographer Jason Lazarus, who creates collaborative installations with pictures and texts submitted by others.

The panel discussion starts this Sunday, February 16th, at 3 PM; the event is free with museum admission.

 

Brian Eno and Danny Hillis Seminar Media

Posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 02014 by Austin Brown
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This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

The Long Now, now

Tuesday January 21, 02014 – San Francisco

 

Audio is up on the Eno and Hillis Seminar page, or you can subscribe to our podcast.

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Video is up on the Eno and Hillis Seminar page.

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Make the next legal U-turn – a summary by Stewart Brand

“Bitching Betty,” they call the robotic voice of the car’s GPS guidance system. Eno and Hillis, on their road trips, always become so engrossed in conversation that they get lost—one time, driving to Monterey they wound up in Sacramento, 200 miles wrong. So they turn on GPS, and Betty joins the conversation with helpful advice about U-turns.

Hillis observed, “The GPS is very good at giving you instructions to get someplace. But Brian and I have no idea where we’re going; we just want some time together. What usually happens for us after a couple days of frustratingly looking at the tiny GPS map is that we stop and buy a big paper map. And the moment we open a map of Nevada or Arizona, it feels like we’re in a much bigger world. The big maps are not that useful to navigate by, but there’s a sense of relief of seeing the bigger context and all the possibilities of where we might go. That’s exactly what The Long Now Foundation is for.”

Culture is a long conversation, Eno proposed. “When I talk about the practice of art I often use the word “conversation” because I think that you never see a piece of art on its own. You look at a painting in relation to the whole conversation of paintings. Some things are completely meaningless outside of that kind of context. if you think about Kazimir Malevich’s “White on White” painting, it’s hardly a picture actually, but it’s an important picture in the history of painting up to that point.”

Hillis replied, “My plan for painting is to have my bones removed and replaced with titanium, and then I grind up my bones to make white pigment.” Eno: “That’s very old-fashioned.”

Hillis talked about the long-term stories we live by and how our expectations of the future shape the future, such as our hopes about space travel. Eno said that Mars is too difficult to live on, so what’s the point, and Hillis said, “That’s short-term thinking. There are three big game-changers going on: globalization, computers, and synthetic biology. (If I were a grad student now, I wouldn’t study computer science, I’d study synthetic biology.) I probably wouldn’t want to live on Mars in this body, but I could imagine adapting myself so I would want to live on Mars. To me it’s pretty inevitable that Earth is just our starting point.”

Eno remarked, “Sex, drugs, art, and religion—those are all activities in which you deliberately lose yourself. You stop being you and you let yourself become part of something else. You surrender control. I think surrendering is a great gift that human beings have. One of the experiences of art is relearning and rehearsing surrender properly. And one of the values perhaps of immersing yourself in very long periods of time is losing the sense of yourself as a single focus of the universe and seeing yourself as one small dot on this long line reaching out to the edges of time in each direction.”

Hillis described some elements of surrender designed in to the visitor experience of the 10,000-year Clock being built in the mountains of west Texas. “You’ll be away from your usual environment for days to travel to the remote site. Because of where it is on the mountain, you have to wake up before dawn, and there’s the physical exertion of climbing up the mountain. As you climb, there’s some points of confusion, where you’re not sure if you’re in the right place.

“For example, in the total darkness inside the mountain, as you go up the spiral stairs surrounding the Clock mechanism for hundreds of feet, you think you know where you’re going because there’s light at the top of the shaft that you’re climbing toward, but as you get up there, the stairs keep becoming narrower, and you see they’re tapering off to smaller than you could possibly walk on. And you realize, ‘My plan isn’t going to work.’

“You have to get away from the idea of direct progress and surrender that kind of control in order to find your way.”

Subscribe to our Seminar email list for updates and summaries.

Colonel Matthew Bogdanos Seminar Tickets

Posted on Wednesday, January 29th, 02014 by Andrew Warner
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The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Colonel Matthew Bogdanos presents The Unlooting of Civilization’s Treasures in Wartime Iraq

Colonel Matthew Bogdanos on “The Unlooting of Civilization’s Treasures in Wartime Iraq”

TICKETS

Monday February 24, 02014 at 7:30pm SFJAZZ Center

Long Now Members can reserve 2 seats, join today! General Tickets $15

Please note that because this talk revolves around and discusses the specifics of what is still an on-going investigation, there will not be any recording of any kind–audio or visual, nor a live stream for members.

Thank you for your understanding.

About this Seminar:

Destruction is easy. Recovery is hard. Destruction is big news. Recovery is the real news.

In April 02003 when Baghdad fell to US forces, the renowned Iraq Museum was looted of thousands of civilization’s most ancient and unique treasures, and the international press reacted with outrage. Marine Colonel Bogdanos, who had advanced degrees in Classical Studies and Law, rushed to Baghdad with a team of special-forces volunteers to recover the lost artifacts. Two years later he could write in the American Journal of Archaeology, “Working closely with Iraqis and using a complex methodology that includes community outreach, international cooperation, raids, seizures, and amnesty, the task force and others around the world have recovered more than 5,000 of the missing antiquities.“ (That was out of some 15,000 items stolen. The total of recovered antiquities is now over 10,000, with more still turning up.)

Matthew Bogdanos is a homicide prosecutor with the district attorney’s office in New York City and a middleweight boxer. He continues to serve in the US Marine Corps Reserve, where his nickname is “Pit Bull.”

For members unable to attend in person, you can learn more about the investigation through Colonel Matthew Bogdanos’ book, Thieves of Baghdad. The book will be for sale at the Seminar.

Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 8 Seminar Media

Posted on Thursday, January 9th, 02014 by Andrew Warner
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This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 8

Tuesday December 17, 02013 – San Francisco

 

Video is up on the Prelinger Seminar page for Members.

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Unlost San Francisco Life – a summary by Stewart Brand

“You are the soundtrack,” Prelinger reminded the 1,400 assembled at the Castro to revel in his eighth mustering of wondrous archival film of San Francisco.

(Long Now people and San Franciscans do love to party, we notice every December at the Castro with Rick. All the more reason to have high expectations for the Long Now Bar (ahem, Salon) under construction at Fort Mason. It will be a non-stop thoughtful party, perhaps lasting centuries, opening in 02014. You can hasten its opening with a contribution.)

Rick’s film this time featured the China Clipper taking off from the water next to the World’s Fair on Treasure Island; another float plane hopping along the water from Oakland to San Francisco as a ferry; the now outlawed traditional downtown blizzard of calendar pages drifting down from highrise offices celebrating the last day of work every December; the dirt roads of Telegraph Hill leading to Julius’ Castle; one of the 80,000 Victory Gardens in the city during World War 2; the bay filled with war ships (no one was supposed to photograph them); a tourist promotion film lauding San Francisco’s “invigorating sea mists”; a drive down historic middle Market Street, with the audience crying out a landmark, “There’s the Twitter Building!”

Subscribe to our Seminar email list for updates and summaries.

Brian Eno and Danny Hillis Seminar Tickets

Posted on Wednesday, January 8th, 02014 by Andrew Warner
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The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Brian Eno and Danny Hillis present Long Now, now

Brian Eno and Danny Hillis present

“The Long Now, now”

TICKETS

Tuesday January 21, 02014 at 7:30pm Palace of Fine Arts

Long Now Members can reserve 1 seat, and a second seat at half-price.

Join today! General Tickets $30

 

About this Seminar:

Brian Eno delivered the first SALT talk exactly ten years ago. He gave The Long Now Foundation its name, contributed in no end of artistic and financial ways, and designed the chimes for the 10,000-year Clock. Danny Hillis instigated and co-founded Long Now and designed its series of Clocks, culminating currently in the 500-foot one being built inside a west Texas mountain. In the course of their collaboration, Eno and Hillis became fast friends.

Thousands of years pass a decade at a time. The idea and works of Long Now have been active for two decades (1/500th of 10,000 years). Between the conception and initial delivery of a deep idea, much transpires. If the idea resonates with people, it gains a life of its own. Allies assemble, and shape things. Public engagement shapes things. Funding or its absence shapes things. Refinements of the idea emerge, branch off, and thrive or don’t. Initial questions metastasize into potent new questions.

Over time, the promotion of “long-term thinking” begins to acquire a bit of its own long term to conjure with. Eno and Hillis have spent 20 years thinking about long-term thinking and building art for it, with ever increasing fascination. What gets them about it?

Members of Long Now will be able to reserve one complimentary ticket for this special evening, and purchase one additional ticket for a guest.

We anticipate a great deal of interest in this Seminar; please understand that we may not be able to accommodate everyone who would like to attend. There will be audio and video produced of this Seminar; check our blog for media availability.

Members can also tune in to a live audio stream of the Seminar; if you are considering membership, now is a great time to join and support Long Now and our mission to foster long-term thinking.

Long Now Seminar Videos for Everyone

Posted on Monday, January 6th, 02014 by Mikl Em
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We begin 02014 with some big news about online access to our Seminars About Long-term Thinking (SALT). Now for the first time on Longnow.org there is full, free public access to video of the twelve most recent Long Now Seminars. That’s a whole year’s worth, and as new Seminars are added we’ll keep the most recent dozen available. So you may want to watch the oldest ones first.

As we celebrate completing the first decade of our speaking series, we are thrilled to make these talks more available and easier to share. We hope that all of you who listen to Seminar audio podcasts each month will enjoy the ability to watch complete Seminars videos even more.

We’ve launched a redesigned experience for our Seminar pages which includes embeddable/sharable clips of most Seminars, new ways to search our archives or browse by subject, and access to the audio-only version right on the page. This update will help us reach an even wider audience and give everyone interested in Long Now more ways to explore and experience our decade of Seminars.

Long Now members have additional options just for them including HD versions of the videos and download access. Members have access to all Seminars videos, amongst many other benefits.

Our audio podcast remains free as always. Tens of thousands of people around the country and the world listen-in each month. We often hear from listeners who have heard the entire series and cherish the insight and information they’ve gained over the years. We hope the videos will add to everyone’s enjoyment of the series. Seminar recordings are amongst Long Now’s best forms of outreach, so making them more widely available helps us fulfill our mission to promote and encourage long-term thinking.

Long Now members will continue to have access to the complete ten years of Seminar videos, and exclusively have the option to view or download HD video versions of the talks. The support of our membership program, now more than 5,200 strong, enables us to provide this additional general public access to videos. Membership levels start at just $8/month and include many other benefits like tickets to see Seminars in-person and a real time online simulcast of most talks.

SALT speakers address diverse topics spanning the arts, science, policy, history, economics, and more–in all cases bringing a long-term mindset to the areas of their expertise.  Seminar speakers have included MacArthur Fellows, Nobel Laureates, Medal of Freedom recipients, and celebrated individuals from academia, business, government, and beyond.

The SALT series began in 02003 and is presented each month live in San Francisco at various venues for in-person audiences of up to 1,200 people. The series is curated and hosted by Long Now’s President Stewart Brand.

We are excited to provide more SALT access to our global online audience. Stay tuned to Long Now’s blog and our Twitter and Facebook page for updates on when new Seminars are available. We hope you will explore and enjoy the Seminars About Long-term Thinking in 02014.

“Climate Change and Us” Event Video Now Live

Posted on Monday, December 23rd, 02013 by Andrew Warner
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Rarely do we get to hear directly from the scientists who compile, analyze, and synthesize the most recent climate change data. On December 13th, swissnex San Francisco, in partnership with The Long Now Foundation, hosted an event that explained the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report, and what types of solutions would be needed to avoid pervasive climate shifts.

The evening started with a video highlighting the process of creating an IPCC report, and then a presentation from IPCC scientist Thomas Stocker on the conclusions of the report. The report divided the future into four possible scenarios, 2.0, 4.0, 6.0, and 8.0 degree shifts in mean global temperatures, allowing each country and policy maker to see the relative effects of each level of climate change. The news for even a 2.0 degree shift isn’t good, but the speakers did a great job of balancing the stark news with fruitful discussion of different avenues for addressing the causes.

The rest of the evening featured a diverse panel of experts on the report’s key takeaways for the scientist, the citizen, and the entrepreneur. Participants included former SALT speakers Saul Griffith and Paul Hawken, IPCC scientists Gian-Kasper Plattner and Thomas Stocker, and Susan Burns of the Global Footprint Network. After the event, swissnex hosted a reception in the venue to allow the audience to continue the conversation started on stage.

This embedded video is a 10 minute preview. The full video is available at Fora.TV

Richard Kurin Seminar Media

Posted on Thursday, December 5th, 02013 by Andrew Warner
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This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

American History in 101 Objects

Monday November 18, 02013 – San Francisco

 

Video is up on the Kurin Seminar page for Members in HD and non-Members in SD.

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Audio is up on the Kurin Seminar page, or you can subscribe to our podcast.

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American objects – a summary by Stewart Brand

Figuratively holding up one museum item after another, Kurin spun tales from them. (The Smithsonian has 137 million objects; he displayed just thirty or so.)

The Burgess Shale shows fossilized soft-tissue creatures (“very early North Americans”) from 500 million years ago. The Smithsonian’s Giant Magellan Telescope being built in Chile will, when it is completed in 2020, look farther into the universe, and thus farther into the past than any previous telescope—12.8 billion years.

Kurin showed two versions of a portrait of Pocahontas, one later than the other. “You’re always interrogating the objects,” he noted. In the early image Pocahontas looks dark and Indian; in the later one she looks white and English.

George Washington’s uniform is elegant and impressive. He designed it himself to give exactly that impression, so the British would know they were fighting equals.

Benjamin Franklin’s walking stick was given to him by the French, who adored his fur cap because it seemed to embody how Americans lived close to nature. The gold top of the stick depicted his fur cap as a “cap of liberty.” Kurin observed, “There you have the spirit of America coded in an object.”

In 1831 the first locomotive in America, the “John Bull,” was assembled from parts sent from England and took up service from New York to Philadelphia at 15 miles per hour. In 1981, the Smithsonian fired up the John Bull and ran it again along old Georgetown rails. It is viewed by 5 million visitors a year at the American History Museum on the Mall.

The Morse-Vail Telegraph from 1844 originally printed the Morse code messages on paper, but that was abandoned when operators realized they could decode the dots and dashes by ear. In the 1840s Secretary of the Smithsonian Joseph Henry collected weather data by telegraph from 600 “citizen scientists” to create: 1) the first weather maps, 2) the first storm warning system, 3) the first use of crowd-sourcing. The National Weather Service resulted.

Abraham Lincoln was 6 foot 4 inches. His stylish top hat made him a target on battlefields. It had a black band as a permanent sign of mourning for his son Willie, dead at 11. He wore the hat to Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865. When you hold the hat, Kurin said, “you feel the man.”

In 1886 the Smithsonian’s taxidermist William Temple Hornaday brought one of the few remaining American bison back from Montana to a lawn by the Mall and began a breeding program that eventually grew into The National Zoo. His book, The Extermination of the American Bison, is “considered today the first important book of the American conservation movement.”

Dorothy’s magic slippers in The Wizard of Oz are silver in the book but were ruby in the movie (and at the museum) to show off the brand-new Technicolor. The Smithsonian chronicles the advance of technology and also employs it. The next Smithsonian building to open in Washington, near the White House, will feature digital-projection walls, so that every few minutes it is a museum of something else.

Subscribe to our Seminar email list for updates and summaries.

Internet Archive Fundraiser – Lost Landscapes of San Francisco 8 – 2nd Showing

Posted on Tuesday, November 26th, 02013 by Austin Brown
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Now in its eighth year, Rick Prelinger’s Lost Landscapes of San Francisco is almost always the largest of our Seminars About Long-term Thinking. Pre-sale tickets have sold out again at the Castro Theater and a few tickets will be released to the walk up line on the day of the show.

Those who didn’t get tickets to the December 17th event, though, have another chance to catch this great show. Rick is screening it again at the Internet Archive the following night, Wednesday December 18th and this show is a fundraiser for the Internet Archive.

The Internet Archive recently lost a lot of equipment and many books to a fire. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the expenses incurred to replace and repair what was damaged will be significant. Rick Prelinger has generously offered this second screening of Lost Landscapes of San Francisco 8  and proceeds will go to the Internet Archive’s efforts to rebuild the scanning facility where the fire took place.

Lost Landscapes of San Francisco: Fundraiser Benefitting Internet Archive
December 18, 02013 at 6:30 PM
Detail and Tickets

Rick Prelinger Seminar Tickets

Posted on Tuesday, November 12th, 02013 by Andrew Warner
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The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

"Rick

Rick Prelinger presents “Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 8″

Tickets have sold out for this event

Unclaimed tickets will be released to the walk-up line the night of the event; please note that tickets are not guaranteed to those waiting in the walk-up line.

 

Tuesday December 17, 02013 at 7:30pm Castro Theater

 

About this Seminar:

For the eighth time, Rick Prelinger brings together familiar and unseen archival film clips showing San Francisco as it was and is no more. Blanketing the 20th-century city, from the Bay to Ocean Beach, this screening includes newly-discovered images of Playland and Sutro Baths; the waterfront; families living and playing in their neighborhoods; detail-rich streetscapes of the late 1960s; the 1968 San Francisco State strike; Army and family life in the Presidio; buses, planes, trolleys and trains; a selected reprise of greatest hits from years 1-7; and much, much more. As usual, you’ll be the star at the glorious Castro — audience members are asked to identify places and events, ask questions, share their thoughts, and create an unruly interactive symphony of speculation about the city we’ve lost and the city we’d like to live in.

Rick Prelinger, an archivist, writer, filmmaker and teacher, has made LOST LANDSCAPES OF SAN FRANCISCO for eight years; LOST LANDSCAPES OF DETROIT for three; and recently completed NO MORE ROAD TRIPS?, a feature-length dream ride across the U.S. made completely from home movies. He runs a large archives of amateur film and home movies in San Francisco and teaches at UC Santa Cruz. With Megan Prelinger, he co-founded Prelinger Library, an experimental library and workspace open to the public in downtown San Francisco.