Why museums are worth visiting

On 21 August 2014, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article in its Traveller section: ‘Boring, pricey and crowded: 17 reasons why I hate museums’. (It was based on a slightly longer article from the Telegraph, London.) This response is in the form of an open letter to its author, Oliver Smith: Dear Mr Smith, […]

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Space: a virtual exhibition

I just remembered an exhibition I created on the My Gallery section of the Christchurch Art Gallery website a few years back: Space Here’s the introduction: Artists use various techniques to describe, or give the illusion of, three-dimensional space. Artists also sometimes deliberately try to deny the illusion of space. This set of artworks gives […]

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The importance of “emptiness” in art (and music)

I just listened to Lang Lang playing Robert Schumann, Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), Op. 15: No. 7, Träumerei (Daydream) (listen to an excerpt, below) and I was amazed of the expressive power of the pauses in the score, extended beautifully and sensitively by Lang Lang. It made me think of the art of Vermeer. Why […]

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Constructed languages (not just Esperanto)

If you have heard of Esperanto (and there are many who haven’t) you might be surprised to learn that it is only the most successful of literally hundreds of constructed languages (“conlangs”), going back to the 17th century (or even the 12th century, if you include the private language of Saint Hildegard of Bingen). A […]

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Modern art lecture video (in Esperanto)

My lecture presented at the Universal Congress of Esperanto, Hanoi, Vietnam, June 2012 Part 1 Part 2 There is another, better lit version, viewable on Esperanto-TV. Read the lecture notes as an essay (in English) • (in Esperanto)

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Art and the voodoo paradox

Someone looks at an abstract painting. What does he or she ask? Probably “What is it?” or “What does it mean?”. The answer, “It’s only a picture, only a surface covered with paint,” will in no way satisfy. It is impossible to eliminate the belief, even a hundred years after the birth of abstract art, […]

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China’s first Esperanto museum opens

Originally published on English.news.cn 2013-11-18 17:55:49 JINAN, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) – China’s first Esperanto museum has officially opened after more than two years of construction to promote the “universal language.” Read the full article Legu Esperantan tradukon

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All art has purpose. Good art transcends its purpose.

In an article, How Christianity can help us recover the usefulness of art, Alain De Botton laments the ‘veneration of ambiguity’ in art today. According to him, the art world doesn’t like the idea that art could have a purpose outside of itself. ‘Christianity, by contrast,’ he claims, ‘never leaves us in any doubt about what art […]

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Making web menu labels more effective

Look at the main menu of your website & test the menu labels against these 5 criteria: Accurate: Are they true to the content? Concise: Do they contain just enough words and no more? Familiar: Do they use meaningful words to describe options, not requiring users to already know what’s available? Comprehensive: Do they adequately […]

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