Harry Smith was in this photograph - My friend Stinky had a copy of an Allen Ginsberg photography book, we were teenagers - He was totally precocious and had tons of shit we didn't understand - The caption is great - “Harry Smith, painter, architect, anthropologist, ﬁlmmaker & hermetic alchemist, his last week at Breslin Hotel Manhattan January 12 1985, transforming milk into milk" - I had to know - who the hell was this guy?
when he was younger - It was pretty hard for me to ﬁnd stuff out about him at that point, but I did eventually - He was all of the things Ginsberg wrote and more - a trained anthropologist, a linguist, a translator, a painter, and perhaps most of all, a collector - An obsessive collector
patterns that shape our cultures and the hidden realms of the human unconscious.” Saturday, May 17, 14 - This quote and many of the images in this presentation come from the work of the Getty Research Institute, a part of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles
rhythms of jazz; the patterns in Seminole patchwork with those on Ukrainian Easter eggs; the intricate diagrams of master occultists with the ambient rhythms of the sounds of New York street life...” Saturday, May 17, 14
the Anadarko, Oklahoma, jail on suspicion of stealing guns, and there he met several Kiowa Indians who introduced him to peyote rituals and songs of the Native American Church.” Saturday, May 17, 14 - From the notes of another major release I’d like to point out - Just to show what an amazing life Smith had
to set up his equipment in singers’ homes or his hotel room, rather than at an actual ceremony, because the Kiowa often sang the songs in casual settings; he also would be able to record commentary.” Saturday, May 17, 14
one of Smith’s many obsessions - He had a huge collection of found Paper Airplanes - Each was annotated with the location and time he found it - The collection was donated to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum - They hold fascinating cultural meaning
17, 14 - He found satisfaction in knowledge in the intersection between his interests - Artifacts were a means to an end - Paper airplanes were interesting because of the stories they told as a whole, their shapes formed a language - Paintings, songs, things that looked like other things - they all could communicate ideas
term that I liked the best from that description - We can master the art of obsession by “looking for keys to the universal patterns” - Universal patterns are composed of connections - And I have a connection I’d like to share
some of Smith’s favorite things - He believed they held some secrets to universal human understanding - Knot tying could be found in many cultures but not others - Smith believed they worked similarly to how the human brain understood written letters and numbers
also interested in knots - This is a ﬁgure from a book about term rewriting - This complex un-knotting operation, composed of various prescribed “moves” has parallels to program execution and term rewriting - Imagine a complex term that can be normalized to a value - This connection is deep and interesting - They make me think that..
signal at what is interesting about computation - Computation is more than “how computers work” - Inﬂuences how we understand nature - Inﬂuences how we live and communicate - One of the deepest human achievements - Which leads me to believe that
harry-smith-and-patterns-in-the-wind/ • Getty Archives “Collections” http://archives2.getty.edu:8082/xtf/view?docId=ead/2013.M. 4/2013.M.4.xml;chunk.id=ref8;brand=default • Andrew Perchuk, Rani Singh, editors “Harry Smith: The Avant-garde in the American Vernacular” • Perloﬀ, Nancy “Harry Smith’s Archives and Collections Now at the Getty Research Institute” http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/harry-smiths-archives-and-collections-now-at-the-getty-research- institute/ • Notes for the Kiowa Peyote Ritual Release, Smithsonian Folkways http:// www.folkways.si.edu/kiowa-peyote-meeting/american-indian/music/album/smithsonian • Exhibition Press Release for “Harry Smith: String Figures” http://cabinetmagazine.org/events/ smith_string_ﬁgures.php • Terese, "Terese Lite," Excerpts from the book TERM REWRITING SYSTEMS. From the Course Term Rewriting Systems at the Vrije Universiteit, fall 2006. Saturday, May 17, 14