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Reassembled, Slightly Askew (RSA) is an audio theatre work which takes the audience through the visceral and embodied experience of Shannon Yee (Sickels) as she lives through a catastrophic brain infection and surgery, and eventually (as the title indicates) reassembles herself, and familiarizes herself with her acquired brain injury. Audience members experience RSA lying in hospital beds, wearing eyemasks and headphones. Sonically you, as audience member, are situated within the body of Shannon. Your focus is directed to the corporeal experience as told through sound and spoken text, providing a first-person perspective on the experience of acquiring an invisible disability. The project broke new methodological ground for the interdisciplinary artistic team, requiring a high level of collaboration and interweaving of the artists’ respective expertise: writing, directing, choreography, sound design and dramaturgy. Throughout the process of exploration and making, a seamless relay happened naturally as to which art form was leading in the discoveries and decisions. In this dossier, the artists replicate this relay to share insights from their own perspective in the creation of the project and its particular challenges in developing a highly visceral and corporeal experience through sound.
This article documents the processes behind our distributed musical instrument, Ambiguous Devices. The project is motivated by our mutual desire to explore disruptive forms of networked musical interactions in an attempt to challenge and extend our practices as improvisers and instrument makers. We begin by describing the early design stage of our performance ecosystem, followed by a technical description of how the system functions with examples from our public performances and installations. We then situate our work within a genealogy of human–machine improvisation, while highlighting specific values that continue to motivate our artistic approach. These practical accounts inform our discussion of tactility, proximity, effort, friction and other attributes that have shaped our strategies for designing musical interactions. The positive role of ambiguity is elaborated in relation to distributed agency. Finally, we employ the concept of ‘feedthrough’ as a way of understanding the co-constitutive behaviour of communication networks, assemblages and performers.
In Thomas Stapleton’s The History of the Church of Englande (1565), the first modern English translation of Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, the cross cult is promoted as a definitive element of English religious and national identity, via the legend of the Saxon king Oswald. The version of the legend in Stapleton’s narrative, which includes textual supplements like illustrations, appears to be intended as a corrective in light of attacks upon the cross cult made in works of religious controversy by the reformists William Turner, John Jewel, and James Calfhill, but also in works of historiography such as the 1559 edition of Robert Fabyan’s Chronicle. In response to Stapleton’s expanded presentation of the Oswald legend, John Foxe reconfigures the narrative in the 1570 Acts and Monuments or Book of Martyrs, but in a bifurcated manner, perhaps to appease members of Matthew Parker’s circle of Saxon scholars. Surprisingly, in Book Three of The Faerie Queene (1590), Edmund Spenser carries on Stapleton’s iconodule understanding of Oswald’s cross in contrast to his reformist Protestant precursors.1
By the time he began to write The History of Britain (1671) in the late 1640s, John Milton had come to view the historical reality of the legendary exploits of King Arthur as dubious at best. As he says in The History, “But who Arthur was, and whether ever any such reign’d in Britain, hath bin doubted heertofore, and may again with good reason.” Milton was not alone in this assessment. Polydore Vergil, the sixteenth-century Italian humanist commissioned by Henry VII to write the history of England, was the first “humanist” historiographer to call into question the veracity of the Arthurian legends. By the seventeenth century, eminent English antiquarians such as William Camden, John Selden, and John Speed had also joined the ranks of Arthurian skeptics. However, unlike the antiquarians who went beyond written sources to investigate even material artifacts, Milton bases his skepticism on a methodology rooted in the comparison of written sources, though his comparisons in no way results in a simple conflation of narratives in the fashion of sixteenth-century chroniclers like Raphael Holinshed. Instead, Milton applies rational criteria to test, and even exclude, sources that do not measure up to his standards. I would like to delineate some of these criteria by examining Milton’s presentation of the episode known as the Battle of Badon Hill. Furthermore, I would like to argue that Milton’s methodology is tantamount to a form of iconoclasm, what I will identify as “historiographical iconoclasm,” a term I derive from the “iconoclasm” discussed by critics with regard to Milton’s Eikonoklastes, but, to date, not The History of Britain.
In the third book of The History of Britain, Milton takes up a thread of narrative from the end of book 2 which tells how the Romans relinquished jurisdiction over Britain after 462 years of imperial rule because of circumstances surrounding the collapse of Rome (127). The year was 409. Book 3 then relates how the Britons attempted to fill the void left by the Romans and to establish sovereignty for themselves over the various foreign peoples who subsequently invaded Britain during the fifth and sixth centuries, peoples such as the Picts, the Scots, and, most importantly, the Saxons.
In recent years scholars have called attention to the seeming discrepancy between John Milton's memorable arguments against licensing in Areopagitica and the fact that he was himself employed as a censor. “That in 1649 the newly formed Council of State enlisted Milton's aid in regulating the book trade has troubled modern readers,” observes Stephen Dobranski; “we presume that the author of the Areopagitica would have refused on principle to work as a government censor.” Nevertheless, most of us would agree that the principles set down in the Areopagitica, and the contributions they have made to the development of modern civil liberties, cannot be ignored. Here I would like to make a similar claim about the writings of another early-modern censor, the Italian Jesuit Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621).
Perhaps because of his involvement in the censuring of Galileo in 1616, the portrait of Bellarmine passed down often depicts him as a villain, an opponent of free thinking, a Counter-Reformation zealot eager to destroy anyone who veered from the beliefs of the Roman church. However, in the wake of the 1998 decision of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) to give scholars free access to the archives of both the Congregation of the Inquisition and the Congregation of the Index, a new understanding of Bellarmine, at least with respect to his involvement with Galileo, has begun to emerge.
IN the year 1565 the Roman Catholic priest and scholar Thomas Stapleton (1535–1598) published the History of the Church of Englande, the first translation into modern English of the Venerable Bede's eighth-century work the Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum. Stapleton's History is by no means a sheer translation but is buttressed by an interpretive apparatus that makes a pronounced argument for the Roman Catholic origins of the English Church and its filial relationship to the bishop of Rome. For example, in the preface to the History, Stapleton singles out a legend told by Bede in which the future Pope Gregory encounters pagan English slaves for sale in a market in Rome and then decides at once that a Christian mission must be sent to England. Similarly, in his massive supplement published concurrently with the History and entitled A Fortresse of the Faith First planted amonge us englishmen (1565), Stapleton again calls attention to the legend of Gregory and the English slaves: “S. Gregory as it appeareth in the history, before he was avaunced to the high dignite of Christes vicar on earthe, by occasion of certain english young men brought then to Rome to be solde for slaves, uttered his great desire and most godly zele to have the ghospell preached unto us.” The legend holds great significance for Stapleton and is practically the linchpin of his thesis that the Church of England traced its origins to Rome.
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is an association of agricultural research centres which together represent an important force in genetic conservation of crops and their wild relatives. Under the CGIAR umbrella, the centres are collectively custodians of international genetic resource collections for crops that provide 75 per cent of the world's food energy. This volume considers the status of the key collections, in each case providing details of the botany, distribution and agronomy of the species concerned, in addition to extensive information on germplasm conservation and use. The book presents a unique synthesis of knowledge drawn from the CGIAR centres, providing an invaluable source of reference for all those concerned with monitoring, maintaining and utilizing the biodiversity of our staple crop species.
The Earth's natural resources are finite and vulnerable. Realization of this fact underlay the drafting of the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. The signature of the Convention by countries, both developed and developing, formalized their pledge to stem the rapid loss of biodiversity and sustain this vital resource for present and future generations.
Arguably, the most important component of biodiversity is the genetic diversity of plant species involved in food and agriculture - crops and forage species for livestock feed. This diversity created in farmers' fields over the millennia and by scientific research institutions over the last century is complemented by diversity present in wild relatives of the crop and forage species. Together, these genetic resources provide the raw material for further selection and improvement to meet the food security needs of the world's rapidly rising population.
Although technological advances in plant breeding and agricultural methods have led to dramatic increases in the amount and quality of food available today, it is estimated that more than 800 million people throughout the world do not have enough food to meet basic nutritional needs. The majority live in regions of the developing world where environmental and economic constraints impede their benefiting from technological advances.
To achieve global food security will require efforts on many fronts. The 16 Centres of the CGIAR share a mission to make their contribution through research on sustainable agriculture in developing countries.
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