Skip to main content

On Google's Art Project

Well, Google has gone and done it again: they've just unveiled their Art Project, which enables you to take virtual walkthroughs of museums from around the world, and zoom into individual works of art to get incredible levels of magnification and detail.

I decided to have a look around the Museum Kampa in Prague. I was last there in 2007, when Patty and I were teaching there for five weeks in the summer. It's in an old building right on the river, on the edge of a stretch of parkland just south of the Charles Bridge. It's just two floors, but it has a collection of good early twentieth century Czech artists, mixed with changing exhibitions of contemporary art. By clicking on photos of the rooms, you can 'walk' in, around, and between the galleries, go up to the art on the walls, look out the windows, get information about anything you see.

The technology is the same as you would see on any real estate website, of course, when you click on the 'Take Virtual Tour' link. But it's another example of the Google-isation of the world: apply existing technology in new contexts that alternately scares you with how far they've reached, and then impresses you with the new things they've done with it.
 Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Popular posts from this blog

How to etch a linoleum block

Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.

A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

A List of Every Drink in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"

I first read Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises" when I was a teenager, and immediately fell in love with it. For the last couple of years, I have had the incredible privilege of teaching a class based around Hemingway in Paris -- while living and teaching in Paris itself, close to the Boulevard du Montparnasse, where most of the action of the novel's first half takes place.

Of the many things that one notices about the book, the colossal amount of drinking is something that stands out. These people didn't just drink like fish: they drank like whales, as if the ocean they swam in was alcohol and they had set themselves the task of drinking the seas of the world dry of it. During my read-through of the book before class started last year, I tried to underline every mention of drink in the book. And now, purely in the interests of science, I am listing the entire menu of booze mentioned directly by name. Some preliminary observations:
Most of this is…