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Video – Animated short film (by Shulamit Serfaty) based on Italo Calvino‘s story “The distance from the moon“, in Le Cosmicomiche (Cosmicomics), 1st edition, Einaudi, Italy, 1965.

[…] In reality, from the top of the ladder, standing erect on the last rung, you could just touch the Moon if you held your arms up. We had taken the measurements carefully (we didn’t yet suspect that she was moving away from us); the only thing you had to be very careful about was where you put your hands. I always chose a scale that seemed fast (we climbed up in groups of five or six at a time), then I would cling first with one hand, then with both, and immediately I would feel ladder and boat drifting away from below me, and the motion of the Moon would tear me from the Earth’s attraction. Yes, the Moon was so strong that she pulled you up; you realized this the moment you passed from one to the other: you had to swing up abruptly, with a kind of somersault, grabbing the scales, throwing your legs over your head, until your feet were on the Moon’s surface. Seen from the Earth, you looked as if you were hanging there with your head down, but for you, it was the normal position, and the only odd thing was that when you raised your eyes you saw the sea above you, glistening, with the boat and the others upside down, hanging like a bunch of grapes from the vine. […], in Italo Calvino, The distance from the moon“, Le Cosmicomiche (Cosmicomics), 1st edition, Einaudi, Italy, 1965.

Picture – (on the cover) “Calvino does what very few writers can do: he describes imaginary worlds with the most extraordinary precision and beauty…” – Gore Vidal, The New York Review of Books.

Finally one of the most recent Pixar animated short films, “La Luna” released last year. Directed by Enrico Casarosa, Pixar, June 2011:


Fig. – Complex Networks (examples): (a) the Internet, where nodes are routers and edges show physical network connections. (b) an ecosystem (c) professional collaboration networks between doctors; and (d) rail network of Barcelona, where nodes are subway stations and edges represent rail connections. (ANU E Press: Australian University Press)

[…] Social networks are either a) going to morph into storytelling media that provide tools to construct narrative on top of the update stream, or b) are going to stop growing as people seek out a different set of tools that are better for communication and storytelling than social networks, which do a mediocre job at both. Part of where I think social networks need to move is to give people the ability to author stories, and to recruit and notify others that they are part of that story. The best online games make this explicit – you participate precisely because you want to be part of a story. Joining a group isn’t a story. Stories have focal points – beginnings and ends. […], Anthony Townsend, “The Future of Social Networks is Storytelling” (part 2), Feb. 2010 [link].

[…] What about writing should be cherished? Calvino, in a wonderfully simple scheme, devotes one lecture (a memo for his reader) to each of five indispensable literary values. First there is “lightness” (leggerezza), and Calvino cites Lucretius, Ovid, Boccaccio, Cavalcanti, Leopardi, and Kundera–among others, as always–to show what he means: the gravity of existence has to be borne lightly if it is to be borne at all. There must be “quickness,” a deftness in combining action (Mercury) with contemplation (Saturn). Next is “exactitude,” precision and clarity of language. The fourth lecture is on “visibility,” the visual imagination as an instrument for knowing the world and oneself. Then there is a tour de force on “multiplicity,” where Calvino brilliantly describes the eccentrics of literature (Elaubert, Gadda, Musil, Perec, himself) and their attempt to convey the painful but exhilarating infinitude of possibilities open to humankind.

The sixth and final lecture – worked out but unwritten – was to be called “Consistency.” Perhaps surprised at first, we are left to ponder how Calvino would have made that statement, and, as always with him, the pondering leads to more. With this book Calvino gives us the most eloquent, least defensive “defense of literature” scripted in our century – a fitting gift for the next millennium. […], Harvard University Press on the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, (book) Italo Calvino “Six Memos for the next Millenium“. [link]

[...] People should learn how to play Lego with their minds. Concepts are building bricks [...] V. Ramos, 2002.

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