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ELECTION RESULTS: Complicated coalition talks ahead for Iceland – Iceland Monitor

31 Oct

Iceland’s Independence Party got the largest number of votes, 29% which is a better outcome than polls predicted. The Pirate Party despite the favourable polls seemed to lose supporters at the ballot box and ended up with 14.5% of votes.

Source: ELECTION RESULTS: Complicated coalition talks ahead for Iceland – Iceland Monitor

2012 in review

31 Dec

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

10 Oct

Andrew Graham-Dixon on Caravaggio

3 Feb

Moving into Unit Two

28 Nov

I’m thinking of:



Latex Sheets







And how they might  become sculpture

A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain

9 Nov

A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain


From Scientific American article:

Embodied cognition has a relatively short history. Its intellectual roots date back to early 20th century philosophers Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty andJohn Dewey and it has only been studied empirically in the last few decades. One of the key figures to empirically study embodiment is University of California at Berkeley professor George Lakoff.



As Lakoff points out, metaphors are more than mere language and literary devices, they are conceptual in nature and represented physically in the brain. As a result, such metaphorical brain circuitry can affect behavior. For example, in a study done by Yale psychologist John Bargh, participants holding warm as opposed to cold cups of coffee were more likely to judge a confederate as trustworthy after only a brief interaction. Similarly, at the University of Toronto, “subjects were asked to remember a time when they were either socially accepted or socially snubbed. Those with warm memories of acceptance judged the room to be 5 degrees warmer on the average than those who remembered being coldly snubbed. Another effect of Affection Is Warmth.” This means that we both physically and literary “warm up” to people.


• Thinking about the future caused participants to lean slightly forward whilethinking about the past caused participants to lean slightly backwards. Future is Ahead


• Squeezing a soft ball influenced subjects to perceive gender neutral faces as female while squeezing a hard ball influenced subjects to perceive gender neutral faces as male. Female is Soft


• Those who held heavier clipboards judged currencies to be more valuable and their opinions and leaders to be more important. Important is Heavy.


• Subjects asked to think about a moral transgression like adultery or cheating on a test were more likely to request an antiseptic cloth after the experiment than those who had thought about good deeds. Morality is Purity


Studies like these confirm Lakoff’s initial hunch – that our rationality is greatly influenced by our bodies in large part via an extensive system of metaphorical thought. How will the observation that ideas are shaped by the body help us to better understand the brain in the future?

What is the artistic implication of all this?  How does art influence cognitive function? And presumably dance and kinesthetic forms of expression affect the mind and its cognitive ability too.








Drawing & Mapping (2)

2 Nov

Drawing as a simple primal activity, an end in itself, or more normally a means of situating the self in the world; as an expressive and a communicative activity. The cognitive and political significance of mapping. Both mapping and drawing serve to establish the position of the reader/viewer in relation to space referenced. Maps and drawings may be essentially public or private either way these essential communicative systems are freighted with signficance.

 ‘Drawing never dies, it holds on by the skin of its teeth, because the hunger it satisfies. The desire for an active, investigative, manually vivid relation with the things we see and yearn to know about . . . is apparently immortal.’

Robert Hughes, critic

Mapas Mentais (Mental Maps), Desde A até M (From A to M), Anna Maria Maiolino (Brazilian, 1942-)

See Big Think Article:

The Matrix: The Political Dance of Modern Drawing at the MoMA

“The contemporary conception of drawing,” de Zegher continues, “emphatically stresses reciprocity and empowerment, acknowledging that a single line can challenge and change the understanding of the ground itself.” Works such as Anna Maria Maiolino’s Desde A até M (From A to M) From the series “Mapas Mentais” (Mental Maps) (shown above) rework the theoretical landscape of the “mental map” of drawing and allow for disenfranchised voices to be heard rather than drowned out by the din of the Picasso crowd. Women artists, de Zegher contents, lead a chorus of “compassionate witnessing” that the 21st century will need to negotiate the new global reality and to survive.