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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:

photo – Aleister Crowley (left) and Fernando Pessoa (right) playing chess in Lisbon, September 1930 (from Wikipedia).

I have to choose what I detest – either dreaming, which my intelligence hates, or action, which my sensibility loathes; either action, for which I wasn’t born, or dreaming, for which no one was born. Detesting both, I choose neither; but since I must on occasion either dream or act, I mix the two things together.” ~ Fernando Pessoa, O Livro do Desassossego, 1920-1930.

[…] The fragmentary, the incomplete is of the essence of Pessoa‘s spirit. The very kaleidoscope of voices within him, the breadth of his culture, the catholicity of his ironic sympathies – wonderfully echoed in Saramago‘s great novel about Ricardo Reis – inhibited the monumentalities, the self-satisfaction of completion. Hence the vast torso of Pessoa’s Faust on which he laboured much of his life. Hence the fragmentary condition of The Book of Disquiet which contains material that predates 1913 and which Pessoa left open-ended at his death. As Adorno famously said, the finished work is, in our times and climate of anguish, a lie. It was to Bernardo Soares that Pessoa ascribed his Book of Disquiet, first made available in English in a briefer version by Richard Zenith in 1991. The translation is at once penetrating and delicately observant of Pessoa‘s astute melancholy. What is this Livro do Desassossego? Neither ‘commonplace book’, nor ‘sketchbook’, nor ‘florilegium’ will do. Imagine a fusion of Coleridge‘s notebooks and marginalia, of Valery‘s philosophic diary and of Robert Musil‘s voluminous journal. Yet even such a hybrid does not correspond to the singularity of Pessoa‘s chronicle. Nor do we know what parts thereof, if any, he ever intended for publication in some revised format. What we have is a haunting mosaic of dreams, psychological notations, autobiographical vignettes, shards of literary theory and criticism and maxims. ‘A Letter not to Post‘, an ‘Aesthetics of Indifference‘, ‘A Factless Autobiography‘ and manual of welcomed failure (only a writer wholly innocent of success and public acclaim invites serious examination).

If there is a common thread, it is that of unsparing introspection. Over and over, Pessoa asks of himself and of the living mirrors which he has created, ‘Who am I?‘, ‘What makes me write?‘, ‘To whom shall I turn?‘ The metaphysical sharpness, the wealth of self-scrutiny are, in modern literature, matched only by Valery or Musil or, in a register often uncannily similar, by Wittgenstein. ‘Solitude devastates me; company oppresses me. The presence of another person derails my thoughts; I dream of the other’s presence with a strange absent-mindedness that no amount of my analytical scrutiny can define.’ This very scrutiny, moreover, is fraught with danger: ‘To understand, I destroyed myself. To understand is to forget about loving.’ These findings arise out of a uniquely spectral yet memorable landscape: ‘A firefly flashes forward at regular intervals. Around me the dark countryside is a huge lack of sound that almost smells pleasant.'[…], in George Steiner, “A man of many parts“, The Guardian, 3 June 2001, UK.

Book – Carlo and Luigi Usai, “Stigmergy – The ultimate fantasy tale“, UniBook, Italy, 2011.

(in Italian from UniBook) […] Un libro destinato a lasciare un segno nelle Saghe Fantasy: il piccolo Curado si trova, suo malgrado, immerso in una serie di avventurose vicende attraverso il regno della Magia di un mondo Fantasy che richiama i migliori dei racconti della serie. Questo è il primo di una serie di volumi. Dal genio degli scrittori Fantasy Carlo Usai e Luigi Usai. Stigmergy è il primo episodio di una saga che è destinata a non lasciare indifferenti gli appassionati del genere. Stigmergy è stato già tradotto in lingua inglese, francese, spagnola e portoghese. Sono in corso le traduzioni in lingua cinese mandarino, arabo, tedesco, albanese, persiano e rumeno.
Luigi Usai è nato a Cagliari e vive a Verona, dove attualmente sta conseguendo la laurea Magistralis in Scienze Filosofiche. Ha già pubblicato “Riflessioni sul metodo cartesiano e la pratica musicale” col Gruppo Albatros. Stigmergy è il suo secondo lavoro. Carlo Usai è nato a Cagliari e vive a Verona, dove attualmente, dopo un lungo periodo di studi sul mondo Fantasy, decide di dare il suo contributo a questo filone narrativo. […]

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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