James Gleick: Isaac Newton (2004)

30 November 2012, dusan

“Isaac Newton was born in a stone farmhouse in 1642, fatherless and unwanted by his mother. When he died in London in 1727 he was so renowned he was given a state funeral—an unheard-of honor for a subject whose achievements were in the realm of the intellect. During the years he was an irascible presence at Trinity College, Cambridge, Newton imagined properties of nature and gave them names—mass, gravity, velocity—things our science now takes for granted. Inspired by Aristotle, spurred on by Galileo’s discoveries and the philosophy of Descartes, Newton grasped the intangible and dared to take its measure, a leap of the mind unparalleled in his generation.

James Gleick, the author of Chaos and Genius, and one of the most acclaimed science writers of his generation, brings the reader into Newton’s reclusive life and provides startlingly clear explanations of the concepts that changed forever our perception of bodies, rest, and motion—ideas so basic to the twenty-first century, it can truly be said: We are all Newtonians.”

Publisher Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2004
Vintage Series
ISBN 1400032954, 9781400032952
288 pages

review (John Banville, The Guardian)



Kenneth FitzGerald: Volume: Writings on Graphic Design, Music, Art, and Culture (2010)

30 November 2012, dusan

Volume—a word that refers to sound, collections, and the measurement of space—is a crucial characteristic of both graphic design and popular music. While expressing different aspects of these two pervasive cultural mediums, the term also introduces a discussion on their many links. Volume: Writings on Graphic Design, Music, Art, and Culture is a collection of both new and classic writings by frequent Emigre contributor and educator Kenneth FitzGerald that survey the discipline of graphic design in context with the parallel creative fields of contemporary music and art. The topics of the writings are diverse: the roles of class in design, design education, Lester Bangs and Creem magazine, pornography, album cover art, independent record labels, anonymity and imaginary creative identities, and design as cultural chaos-maker.

With Linear Notes by Rudy VanderLans
Publisher Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2010
ISBN 1568989644, 9781568989648
256 pages

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Luciano Chessa: Luigi Russolo, Futurist: Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult (2012)

30 November 2012, dusan

“Luigi Russolo (1885–1947)—painter, composer, builder of musical instruments, and first-hour member of the Italian Futurist movement—was a crucial figure in the evolution of twentieth-century aesthetics. As creator of the first systematic poetics of noise and inventor of what has been considered the first mechanical sound synthesizer, Russolo looms large in the development of twentieth-century music. In the first English language study of Russolo, Luciano Chessa emphasizes the futurist’s interest in the occult, showing it to be a leitmotif for his life and a foundation for his art of noises. Chessa shows that Russolo’s aesthetics of noise, and the machines he called the intonarumori, were intended to boost practitioners into higher states of spiritual consciousness. His analysis reveals a multifaceted man in whom the drive to keep up with the latest scientific trends coexisted with an embrace of the irrational, and a critique of materialism and positivism.”

Publisher University of California Press, 2012
An Ahmanson Foundation Book in the Humanities
ISBN 0520270630, 9780520270633
284 pages


See also Luigi Russolo’s The Art of Noises (1987)

Asbjørn Wahl: The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State (2009/2011)

29 November 2012, dusan

In an age of government imposed austerity, and after 30 years of neo-liberal restructuring, the future of the welfare state looks increasingly uncertain. Asbjørn Wahl offers an accessible analysis of the situation across Europe, identifies the most important challenges and presents practical proposals for combating the assault on welfare.

Wahl argues that the welfare state should be seen as the result of a class compromise forged in the 20th century, which means that it cannot easily be exported internationally. He considers the enormous shifts in power relations and the profound internal changes to the welfare state which have occurred during the neo-liberal era, pointing to the paradigm shift that the welfare state is going through. This is illustrated by the shift from welfare to workfare and increased top-down control.

As well as being a fascinating study in its own right that will appeal to students of economics and politics, The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State also points to an alternative way forward for the trade union movement based on concrete examples of struggles and alliance-building.

First published in Norwegian as Velferdsstatens vekst – og fall?, Gyldendal Arbeidsliv, Oslo, 2009
Translated by John Irons
Publisher Pluto Press, 2011
ISBN 0745331408, 9780745331409
246 pages

review (Sophie Smith, Socialist Review)

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Horvat Branko: Politička ekonomija socijalizma (1982/84) [Croatian]

29 November 2012, dusan

In this important book Branko Horvat advances a type of Yugoslav Marxism referred to by many as Yugoslav ‘Praxis’ Marxism, a name adopted from the journal Praxis that promoted a humanist style of socialist thought from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. For years, Horvat has been directly associated with many of the authors who originally founded this journal, and his work illustrates his indebtedness to them.

Originally published as The Political Economy of Socialism, New York, 1982
Translated by Dubravko Mihaljek and Mia Miki
Publisher ČGP Delo, Globus, Izdavačka djelatnost, Zagreb
546 pages
via Ignorant Schoolmaster and His Committees


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