Happy New Year!!!

January 1, 2007

Happy 2007 everybody!!!

And let’s hope for the best…

prag6.jpg

Go and Ski in Pragelato

December 26, 2006

prag7.jpg

This year also we will spend the week around New Year’s at the go workshop that AGI organises every year in Pragelato (North-West Alps, close to Sestriere, Piemonte).

prag5.jpgSki, skating or treks during the day, and go lessons the afternoon and evening. This year the teacher will be Li Jingrui, 6 Dan.

As it has always been the previous years, we expect the usual feast of beautiful snow, landscapes, physical exercise, excellent food, wines and grappa. lot of partying, and go, go, go, and more go!

I will keep you posted, meanwhile here are some pictures taken two years ago.

prag1.jpg

prag3.jpg

prag2.jpg

prag4.jpg

Digg This Story

Merry X…omething!

December 25, 2006

Merry X… what??

Season Greetings, Merry Christmas, Merry Hannukkah, Merry Winter Solstice, Merry Yuletide, Merry Saturnalia, Merry Anything!
Just be merry, and of good will. Anything is a good occasion to celebrate and to do good.

xmas1.jpg

Personally, I am an atheist, but I do not particularly resent the above religious celebrations, on the contrary.

What I resent is the wild commercialisation that runs along what used to be a spiritual event.

xmas2.jpg

xmas3.jpg

That may be easy or trivial to say, but I am trying to resist the rush to buy expensive presents and gluttony.

I will stick to simplicity, and try to speak with open heart to whom I love.
In fact I have just put in the earth some small daffodil bulbs that I saved at the end of last spring. In a couple of months my balconies will be alighted with a lot of yellow and green.
Everything dies and come to life again, over and over.

xmas4.jpg

Merry merriness!

P.S.
Cartoons are courtesy of my beloved DJ Peedie (aka Emily Little)

Digg This Story

pfoh.jpg

Last Wednesday 20 December Il Bisbigliatore held a Pataphysical Freak-Out Happening dedicated to the Winter Solstice. The event has been kindly hosted by the Rockodile, a pub and wine-bar in via delle Tre Cannelle 9 in Rome, Italy. The Rockodile is quite nice and perfectly equipped from the audio point of view.

Music for the event has been selected and mixed by Stefano Carbutti, Fulvio Savagnone e Aldo Semunuk (the latter two are dj podcaster of Radio Rock TO). There was the exhibition of the strong, matter-made and highly fauve paintings of Alberto Antonucci and of Stefano Carbutti’s pictures of suburban landscapes, plus selected video and all the rest.

There should have been a reading of poetry and prose with Michele de Vitis, but a sudden flu caught his one-year old child so Michele couldn’t be with us. Best wishes for a prompt recovery!

Below I’ve put some photos of the evening. You cannot hear the music, but rest assured of its high quality: we went from psychedelic rock of the ’60 to German cosmic rock of the ’70, from the ’80 dark forth to the contemporary avant-garde.

sol2.jpg

Aldo Semenuk. The bat seems to rest on his shoulder with the greatest ease.

sol1.jpg

Myself proposing the darkest music, contrary to my usual style…

sol3.jpg

Alberto Antonucci (the green checkered shirt distinguishes the contemporary artist) turns his back to his portrait of Gregory Corso, painted in occasion of the event that celebrated the poet’s death.

sol4.jpg

Stefano Carbutti (il Bisbigliatore himself) entertains the audience.

sol6.jpg

Another work of Alberto.

sol5.jpg

The evening was closed by the Bisbigliatore himself at the console.

Digg This Story

pfoh.jpg

On Wednesday 20 December 2006 Il Bisbigliatore will organise a Pataphysical Freak-Out Happening dedicated to the Winter Solstice, @ the Rockodile, a pub and wine-bar in via delle Tre Cannelle 9, right in the centre of Rome.

star1a.gifThe event will consist of poetry and prose readings with Michele de Vitis, music selected and mixed by Stefano Carbutti and yours truly (and maybe by some other podcaster of Radio Rock TO…), improvised painting with Alberto Antonucci, video projections and all the rest.star2a.gif

Winter solstice is a very strong symbol in the whole ancient world, from Celts to Scandinavians, from Germans to Romans. Celebrated under many names (Yuletide in the north of the world, Saturnalia among the Romans) it has been swallowed up by Christians, that have put their celebration for Jesus’ birth on top of it.

sun3.gifBe it as it may, the shortest day of the year is therefore also a symbol of rebirth: we have reached the bottom, it will still be cold for a couple of months, but the sun will shine a little longer every day that passes… Such will be our theme. Music, as in every PFOH, will be rather on the psychedelic side…

Come, all ye of good will!!!

newgrange_carve.jpg

UPDATE
Aldo Semenuk, dj podcaster of Radio Rock TO as myself, will be part of the event with his musical selections

Digg This Story

Where is Go going?

December 11, 2006

beauty-in-go.jpg I started to play go in the early eighties, giving up chess in the meanwhile: the more I played go, the more it looked to me as if chess was becoming too cramped, almost claustrophobic.

There were two aspects of go that I loved most (and still do): first, its subtlety, its deepness and its stress on flexibility and on keeping open the largest number of options as much and as long as possible.
It really fascinates me how professionals use so-called “probes” in order to force their opponent to choose a strategy, making him consequently lose some degrees of freedom, so to speak.

In the eighties, if I remember correctly, very few professionals played long, complicated and drawn-out joseki: Cho Chikun once said that he didn’t like them because they simplified the game too much, taking away subtlety. Kobayashi Koichi was criticised very often by his fellow professionals (especially Takemiya Masaki…) for settling the shape as much as he could.

Second, I really enjoy the great role played by intuition and “feeling” (something that I couldn’t find in chess). I’m not saying that brute force reading and calculation are not important, especially so when you go from the fights in the chuban (middle game) to the score calculation in the yose (endgame), but in fuseki (the opening) and early chuban, intuition has wide scope for action: no fuseki is (or at least used to be) like another one. Not so in chess.
Not for nothing my heroes are Shuko, Otake and Takemiya!

Yes, one should define “intuition”, and it is certainly true that intuition and feeling can be seen as skills that one acquires with experience, playing and studying literally thousands of games.

Mind you, I am a sort of post-hippie, my generation is the one that looked toward India and the “Orient” at large to find something that we couldn’t find in our western, rational mind. So it is quite obvious that I would cherish these aspects of the game of go, maybe missing or misunderstanding some others.

Then I stopped playing for ten years, and when I resumed playing some years ago, what kind of situation did I find?

In the East, the arrival of strong, very strong Korean and Chinese players: this is really great, as otherwise the game could have ended up as something for a few pros and for a bunch of aged people in Japan… But this meant also, as I perceive it, the affirmation of a very aggressive style right from the beginning, and the appearance of almost established fuseki sequences where long, complicated, drawn-out joseki are instrumentally played in order to settle the shape quickly and go directly to a sort of oyose (large endgame) stage, where it is easier to calculate the value of each move.
Is go evolving towards chess? What happened to subtlety and flexibility?

In the West, there are a number of attempts to formalise the game using game theory and other mathematical and logic tools. One of the reasons for this is of course the possibility to arrive at writing a software that would be able to play at a reasonable level, but we have seen few results so far. Luckily, I say.
I think the real reason for this is the very western passion for rational and formal thinking, for putting everything in the right box identified with its proper label.
It almost looks as if people are trying to find the perfect move in the fuseki by applying some suitable theorem instead of relying on experience and “feeling”, as described above.
Is the western, rational mind taking over? What happened to intuition?
Are there professionals who use such approach?

Another aspect that seems weird to me is the hugely large discussion going on on how to devise a perfect and logically coherent set of rules and definitions for the game, able to take into account even the remotest and weirdest of the possibilities. (Ah, Gödel, where art thou?)

It seems to me that all that mathematical, logical and theoretical arguing on rules would scare any beginner (not to mention myself), making him/her believe that without a PhD in mathematics you cannot play go: not a good advertisement indeed! I have always taught go saying that it has 5 rules that you can learn in 15 seconds…

I’m not saying that those approaches to the game have no validity (and after all I’m still short of becoming shodan and shouldn’t talk much…).
Koreans and Chinese players seem to win more international tournaments than the Japanese do.
Intellectual formalisation is surely fun for those who practise it.
But I have the sensation that such approaches somehow diminish and simplify the game, an attitude that is only natural when one is afraid of empty spaces (agoraphobia) and wants to grasp a sure way around…

I, of course, have no answers, and perhaps I just like to grope in wild darkness…
But I promise: while still liking better to develop the left side of my brain, I will practise reading and counting as well, otherwise I’m afraid I’ll never reach shodan…


Digg This Story

77 Million Paintings

December 1, 2006

gallery3.jpgBrian Eno has just released a DVD by the title of 77 Million Paintings. It is the first release of a large-scope project: in Eno’s own words, it is “Two things in one – it’s firstly a software engine that allows things to be configured and shuffled, and secondly it’s a stack of images that I have made that are then manipulated by that engine”.

In this first release there are 300 images, scanned at high resolution from Eno’s paintings, that the software fades randomly in succession, layering four of them at the same time. The visual effect is stunning: colours, drawings, modified pictures and images that slowly morph one into the other, all this on top of a beautiful soundtrack obviously produced by Eno himself. The artist states that the projection of the result of such manipulation is something between TV, painting and cinema. Personally I would think it is something far beyond…

gallery5.jpg77 million is the number of all the possible combinations: the software allows the morphing speed to be changed, but such number is so large that even at the fastest speed it would take 9000 years to visualise them all…

This piece of art is already very much enjoyable – one could spend hours being lulled by sounds and lights (veeeery psychedelich… 😉 ) but the next steps of the project would foresee the distribution of the morphing software, which would allow users to manipulate their own images.

But the nicest thing is that buying the DVD allows you the free use for non-commercial purposes of Eno’s compound images, as long as the artist and the title of the work are given credit. In practice the copyright is on the DVD and on the single images. Eno is on the path of saintliness…
Below is the copyright note of 77 Million Paintings:

COPYRIGHT© 2006 All Saints Records / Wordsalad, under license to Rykodisc.
All rights reserved.
Please do not copy this software.
However, you are welcome to use the compound images 77 Million Paintings generates for any non-commercial purposes you wish BUT PLEASE CREDIT THE ARTIST AND 77 MILLION PAINTINGS.
All compound images © Brian Eno


Digg This Story