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Field Commanders in the Beauty Underground ...continued
The defenders and advocates of beauty, quoted in “Beauty makes a come-back”

 


Gerhard Richter
“One writer claimed that if I painted sex and violence, it would have been okay, but one isn’t allowed to paint anything beautiful.”

Gerhard Richter

One of the world’s most influential living artists, Gerhard Richter has helped re-define contemporary painting. His works of elusive beauty have an underlying conceptual rigour that re-invents traditional genres. Richter kept a "skeptical distance from vanguardists and conservatives alike regarding what painting should be"; he is "an image-struck poet of alertness and restraint, of doubt and daring"..

 


Ray Kurzweil
“Beauty is the ultimate in subtlety of human intelligence.”

Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil is an inventor, entrepreneur, author, and futurist. Called “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes, Kurzweil’s ideas on the future have been touted by his many fans, ranging from Bill Gates to Bill Clinton. Sun Microsystems Chief Scientist Bill Joy, “I can date the onset of my unease to the day I met Ray Kurzweil, the deservedly famous inventor of the first reading machine for the blind and many other amazing things.” Stevie Wonder writes “Ray’s technology and ideas have truly been among the sunshines of my life. Kurzweil’s writings are a wonderful riff on the next century from a keen seer, a great inventor, and a good friend.” Time Magazine compared him with Thomas Edison. Kurzweil was the developer of the first omni-font optical character recognition (OCR), the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed, large-vocabulary speech recognition. Kurzweil’s web site, KurzweilAI.net, is a leading resource on artificial intelligence, with more than 100,000 readers.

Kurzweil’s most recent book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, achieved the #1 status on Amazon in the categories of both science and artificial intelligence and has been published in nine languages. The New York Times writes, “Kurzweil’s latest book ranges widely over such juicy topics as entropy, chaos, the big bang, quantum theory, DNA computers, quantum computers, Godel’s theorem, neural nets, genetic algorithms, nanoengineering, the Turing test, brain scanning, the slowness of neurons, chess playing programs, the Internet—the whole world of information technology past, present, and future. Kurzweil’s writings are for anyone who wonders where human technology is going next.” His latest book, The Singularity is Near, When Humans Transcend Biology, predicts the dawning of a new civilization. How startling? Very startling. How soon? Very soon. Find out more at www.Singularity.com

Kurzweil and Artificial Intelligence

Kurzweil Technologies

 


Christopher Alexander
“To my surprise people started cheering. I was astonished…”

Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander is recognized as one of the most important architects of the twentieth century. At the same time, amazingly, he is having a greater impact on computer science than on architecture. He is the father of the Pattern Language movement in computer science. His book A Pattern Language, was the first complete book ever written in hypertext fashion. Visit: http://www.patternlanguage.com/ and also the remarkable Patterns Home Page.

He has designed and built more than two hundred buildings on five continents: many of these buildings lay the ground work of a new form of architecture, which looks far into the future, yet has roots in ancient traditions. Much of his work has been based on inventions in concrete, shell design, and contracting procedures needed to attain a living architecture. His approach is so different from the way architecture has been taught since the second world war that it causes conflicts with established architectural schools.

His most recent publication is a four-volume tome, The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe.

 


Edward O. Wilson
The arts evolved with our genes over thousands of years of evolution… “the most evocative words, images, and rhythms. . . . Their quality is measured by their humanness, by the precision of their adherence to human nature… that is what we mean when we speak of the true and beautiful in the arts.”

Edward O. Wilson

A Harvard professor for four decades, biologist Edward O. Wilson has written 20 books, won two Pulitzer prizes, and discovered hundreds of new species. Considered to be one of the world's greatest living scientists, Dr. Wilson is often called the father of biodiversity, the father of sociobiology and the grandfather of evolutionary psychology,a field that explores the links between genetic and cultural evolution that helps explain what makes us what we are.   He was named by Time magazine as one of America 's 25 most influential people of the 20th century. Wilson 's premise in his latest book, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge ,  is that a common body of inherent principles underlies the entire human endeavor, ranging from physics and chemistry to art to moral reasoning. "I believe that the Enlightenment thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries got it mostly right the first time," he says. They assumed a lawful, perfectible material world in which knowledge is unified across the sciences and the humanities.”

 


Todd Gitlin
“… there were New Left activists circa 1970 who earnestly debated the burning question of whether watching the sunset was counterrevolutionary.”

Todd Gitlin

Todd Gitlin has been engaged in American culture and politics as both an activist and critic since the 1960s. He is the author of ten published books, translated into seven languages, on issues ranging from student activism and community life to analyses of journalism, television, and our culture at large. His book The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left is recognized as a landmark work in media sociology. He has continued to write extensively on mass media and journalism in works including Inside Prime Time and Watching Television. His history, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage, is widely used in college classrooms. Of particular interest has been his examination of contemporary challenges facing American culture in The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America is Wracked by Culture Wars, an examination of how fundamental problems are often overlooked by activists of identity politics who would rather fight against perceived symbols of insult. He is professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University. He lectures on culture and politics in the United States, Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Greece, Turkey, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico and Morocco. His latest book, The Intellectuals and the Flag, is about the interface between politics and culture, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11.

His personal website is at http://www.toddgitlin.net and he is a frequent contributor to http://tpmcafe.com.

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