Not so long ago a video of a flock of starlings swooping and swirling as one body in the sky went viral. Only two minutes long, the video shows thousands of birds over the River Shannon in Ireland, pouring themselves across the clouds, each bird following the one next to it. The birds flew not… Continue reading From a Murmur to a Drone
The same thought trajectory that brought me to Le Bon's work on crowds has led me to something I should've read a long time ago: Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism. The Origins of Totalitarianism is Arendt's thoughtful and relentlessly critical dissection of totalitarian movements and nations. In a later chapter called "Totalitarianism in Power,"… Continue reading The Origins of Totalitarianism
I discovered a gem tonight in Gustave Le Bon's classic 1895 study of crowds, La Psychologie des foules. "Civilisations as yet," Le Bon writes, "have only been created and directed by a small intellectual aristocracy, never by crowds. Crowds are only powerful for destruction." I like the tone of this. All fire and brimstone and… Continue reading The Crowd
This street performer on Calle Postas (Larger Image) is another attraction on our leisurely strolls through the crowds in Madrid. Impossibly tall, frozen until a child drops change in her vase, the "statue" reminded me of the haunting interactive fiction piece Galatea.
The holiday season in Madrid is still full swing and doesn't wind down until after Kings' Day, January 6th. Spanish streets are always teeming with people, and even more so in Christmastime. And I don't mean simply crowded. I mean crowded in the fullest sense of the word: packed with crowds. From Puerta del Sol… Continue reading Christmastime Crowds in Madrid