Performances

Stack of Old Newspapers

Posted in Performances

Stack of Old Newspapers

The newspaper arose – not coincidentally – with the coffeehouse of the 17th century. As we follow the rise of those disappearing periodicals from the 17th through the 20th centuries we are able to spy more than the news on their yellowing pages. A way of life reveals itself in ads and opinions. The strong language in this edition of the New Observator would have gone very well with a strong cup of Joseph as it features a rant against the French King and his “dastardly and pusillanimous inviters and abettors.” Mercurius Reformatus or the New Observator Vol. 3 Numb. 6 7 ¾” x 12 ¾” Friday August 15, 1690 From: Theatre of Memory program: A Stack of Old...

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Shadow and Light

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Shadow and Light

It must have been the glass “ambrotype” of the early 19th century that caused photographs to be referred to the “mirror with a memory”. Even today they strike the viewer as a mysterious capture of someone’s essence echoing from long ago. The 19th was a century of photography’s promise and peril as some emulsions were downright dangerous. View almost a hundred years of photography, still available to hold in your hand, and all absolutely safe. The couple in this tintype wanted it known that they were both literate and refined. That a lock of baby’s (?) hair was framed with it is telling in the light of the fact that their faces do not have the careworn expressions of...

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Sea Shells of “Earth”

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Sea Shells of “Earth”

Though 70 percent of our planet is covered in water, we terrestrials still insist on calling it Earth. So much of the planet is under water that 4/5 of the life here is said to be aquatic. Much of it, as on dry land, is microscopic and unimaginably abundant, but of those life forms we can see, a whole group has evolved with an exoskeleton that has been collected and treasured for millennia. The Precious Wentletrap is a species of predatory sea snail whose greatest distinction may be that it was counterfeited in porcelain and rice paste by the Chinese traders when such shells were worth a literal king’s ransom to collectors in Europe. Today, the more fragile counterfeits...

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Script & Print – Lines Across Time

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Script & Print – Lines Across Time

Dried marks on a smooth surface wait silently until someone comes along to make them live again. Offering a first-hand discovery of manuscripts, documents and letters in this tour of script and printing, we court an overview that winds from ancient times through the Middle Ages, into the “Modern” era, 1870-1890 (during the peak usage of the term). This cuneiform tablet and its envelope were recovered from the archaeological layer of the Old Babylonian Period, 1900 – 1700 BCE. It is a record of a transaction dealing with textiles. The envelope is in pieces and retains faint impressions of seal stones as well as writing. Cuneiform Tablet Clay 2″ x 2″ Iraq 1900...

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Pre-Columbian Pieces

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Pre-Columbian Pieces

Before Columbus discovered the civilizations of the New World, people lived and moved and had their daily lives. Though their cultures have been mostly subsumed by those of the Old-World invaders, it is still possible to get a peek at their world before contact by examining cloth, ceramics and the tools that they created and used every day. This Moche woman from Peru (200 – 500 CE) with her necklace, ear ornaments and long dress very much resembles someone I chatted with in the supermarket recently. Here in agricultural Florida, you can run into migrant Mayan men at the convenience store on a Saturday nights and wonder at their perfect profiles. Terracotta Moche Woman ...

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Other People’s Mail

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Other People’s Mail

This is a view of postal history through the appreciation of covers. To stamp collectors, covers are the envelopes whose stamps have already done their jobs and whose faces hold their history. Together, these covers tell the history of the mails. This crash cover shows damage from both the fire and the water that were used to extinguish the flames. It also illustrates the peril of flying the mails in the early days of air mail when “crash and burn” connoted finality. Even with the tragedy of the crash,, the letter was on its way again after only a day. Crash Cover Airgram Letter  March 11, 1929  Spokane, WA to New York City.  Forwarded in PO penalty envelope (not shown)...

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