Archive for February 2011
In “Activating Prayers: Textual landscapes of the Tibetan Buddhist diaspora,” an essay on Tibetan culture that we believe serves as a much-needed counterperspective to Groupon’s Super Bowl gauche, GLIMPSE contributor Christine McCarthy Madsen explores the importance of the written word in Tibetan Buddhism. For ages, their prayers have been communicated through prayer wheels, flags, books, and their methods don’t shy away from the digital age:
Early forms of digital media share the same spinning quality of prayer wheels, even the same clockwise direction. Taking this to the next step, rumours abound on the Internet that the Dalai Lama himself has said that having a digital prayer wheel—or even just the text of the mantra om mani padme hum on your spinning hard drive—is the same as using a traditional prayer wheel. From this idea, copious animated GIF files, computer applets, gadgets, and widgets have appeared to fulfill the practice of setting text into motion with the greatest ease.
Madsen’s article appears in GLIMPSE issue #7, Text. To read more of the article, and to see more stunning photographs of the region taken by photographer Robert Correia Jr., visit glimpsejournal.com.
The Voynich Manuscript has baffled and intrigued scholars since its rediscovery in 1912. The manuscript is a collection of writings and complex drawings in an unknown language by an unknown author. Its origins and meaning have been the source of much debate over the years and some have wondered if it is some kind of ‘alien language.’ Yet among the speculations, researchers at the University of Arizona have determined one concrete fact about the manuscript: its age.
Through radiocarbon dating, the researchers were able to confirm that the Voynich dates back to sometime between 1408 and 1438, making it older than the Gutenberg Bible. While it’s much more fun to believe that instead of landing on Earth and making us their human-slaves, aliens just wanted to write down their thoughts and draw some pictures before heading back into space, some think the secrecy of the language aligns with medieval practices of alchemy—that may be less far-fetched.
Most of us rarely think about what goes into creating a typeface. They are simply letters on a page or a computer screen, that you find visually appealing or not. But the process can be incredibly well-thought-out and poetic, as evidenced in GLIMPSE contributor Juliet Shen‘s article, “Aesthetic Innovation in Indigenous Typefaces: Designing a Lushootseed Font“:
Lushootseed is indigenous to the place where it once thrived, spoken by peoples who revered the natural world that sustained them. The sound of it blends into the natural sounds of the Pacific northwest: water lapping on the shore, wind rustling through cedar trees, the consonantal clicking of creatures in the wild. At our very first meeting, a master teacher pointed out to me that the written script did not do justice to the spoken language. I went home and listened to recordings of elders telling traditional stories, and made it my design brief to produce a typeface that looked as graceful on the page as the language sounded.
Shen’s article appears in GLIMPSE issue #7, Text. To read more of the article, visit
Happy Valentine’s Day! Whatever your feelings about February 14th may be—the most romantic day of the year, a holiday created because of corporate greed, or you don’t care; it’s just another Monday—we think this article about love and the brain is worth sharing. In a study done by the University College London, researchers found that the area of your brain associated with determining someone’s character and personality is suppressed when a person experiences either romantic or maternal love.
Why do our brains impair our negative judgment of people when we’re in love? Well, it’s important for us to see the love for a child or a potential mate as positive experience in order for our species to survive. This helps explain why we continue to love the kids who throw tantrums in grocery stores and the significant others who keep doing that one thing you have told them over and over not to do. And thanks to the study we can now, with confidence, say that love really is blind.
With the release of GLIMPSE‘s new TEXT issue, we thought it would be appropriate to share with you some of our favorite text-related images. We’ll kick things off with ‘love & hate’ by Flickr.com member Abhi. We think it does a fantastic job of showcasing the text’s ability to be so much more than just marks on a page — ‘love & hate,’ creates a striking image packed with meaning using only two words and visual metaphor.
With the recent release of GLIMPSE‘s new “Text” issue, we think it’s more than appropriate to share this with you. What it is: the CitID Project. What they do: “CitID is an ambitious project aiming to gain global consciousness by giving a (type)face to every city worldwide.” Artists set out to create textual interpretations of the places they, and so many others, call home; it’s a noble, quirky, and beautiful cause. Looking through the pieces for cities like Coyhaique, Chile; Meat Camp (!), North Carolina; or Sebenik, Croatia is incredibly addicting and does wonders for those of us looking to brush up on some geography. CitID also reminds us that the physical letters on the page can be just as expressive as the words and meanings they form.
But the best part of the project is seeing what was created for your hometown. A few of us at GLIMPSE who hail from the great state of Colorado found the two typefaces for Denver spot-on, especially this one. It perfectly captures the unique relationship between city and nature that makes Denver one of the best places to live in the U.S. of A (and we’re only a little biased). So what do you think, dear readers? Does CitID do your hometown justice? Did you discover any new and exciting cities around the world?