The human mind has a staggering capacity for pattern recognition. We see familiar patterns wherever we look, even when they are not present. The most familiar pattern is the human face, or any face, it could be an animal. Some little part of our brain is dedicated to constantly scanning our visual field looking for two eyes, a nose and a mouth, or anything even close to that.
In complex systems, we can’t help it, we perceive pattern matches that arise from sheer randomness. In billowing smoke and flame, we can see devilish faces flash in and out of existence. If we stare at the ground in leafy shade, we see mysterious visages and hear them creaking in the wind. In the textures of nature, we always see ourselves, our best friends, our worst fears. We all see Mustafa in the clouds.
There are plenty of other places on the internet where people have compiled whole libraries of exactly this… things that look like faces. It’s a human obsession. I like to snap the faces I see, or rather the things that look like faces. It’s an infrequent habit. So I’m going to share some of my own on this website. This is what catches my eye when I’m out and about.
Showing them to people is oddly banal, like telling someone your dream. We all think our dreams are interesting, no one else does. But Things That Look Like Faces is at least a lot quicker than dreamsplaining. It only takes a sideways glance. I get giddy little thrills from seeing things that look like faces, from realising that I am seeing things differently, engaging in an unconscious leap of imagination. So I reach for my smartphone… my cameraphone… I think it’s safe to just call it a phone now.
Tweet or gram me @TDNTav with your own best #TTLLF
This has been the first exciting episode of what will probably be a recurring series. I’ll be back next week or next month or whenever with another blog post (this one was so boring!) and some more of my very own… Things That Look Like Faces. I may change the format. The new format will be… a new format every week. Look, it’s a blog post. No, it’s a podcast. Nope, it’s a video. Whoosh, it’s a vertical video. Anything is possible because things look like faces.
…since I released GIVE ME A SINE. Here’s three videos from that album. And three links to places you can buy or stream the album.
Bandcamp / iTunes / Spotify
There could be nothing more Ireland in the eighties than the incident at Ballinspittle, County Cork, where a statue of the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, was said to have moved of its own accord. Nobody had multi-channel in those days, so there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation. My parents bundled up the five kids and we drove for more than an hour. We all sat on a hill waiting to see a holy vision, like hundreds of other pilgrims replete with hang sangwidges, bockles of orange and picnic blankets.
Let me tell you, if you’re five years old and you stare at anything for a whole minute (let alone several hours) you will think it’s waving at you. You will hallucinate out of sheer boredom and suggestibility. The Wikipedia page says Many visitors claimed to have observed the spontaneous movements. The Catholic Clergy in Ireland maintained a neutral stance in regard to the authenticity of the claims. I don’t know anything about the original claims, but I think when I was there the only witnesses were young children (myself included). The statue was a cheap babysitter and a cheap day out. The rumour was probably started by a local shopkeeper to sell more bockles of orange and rosary beads. It was like something from an episode of Father Ted.
It’s amazing I turned out so well adjusted, when you consider I believed such silly nonsense. You see, I was raised in a country where a fanatical cult run by hypocritical monsters shielded and facilitated paedophilia and other abuse for decades. That kind of dawned on me (and everyone) in the nineties. That was the last real decade of the rosary bead (though the old folks still carry on the old ways). I’m not nostalgic for a time when Catholicism had such a hold on people’s minds in Ireland. But I could murder a bockle of orange.
Preceded by a short rant about remixing and copyright…
I have a few strongly-held opinions on copyright. I support the idea of some kind of mechanism to provide artists with monetary compensation for their labours. We all need money to live. But as a creator, I also want to be free to remix and explore the work of others through my own work. It all hinges on ‘fair use’, a concept whose interpretation has been stretched on both sides of the debate.
Continue reading A Remix Credit
Repeal the 8th Edition
I usually don’t do the soapbox thing. Try to find an explicitly political statement elsewhere on this website. You probably won’t be able to. I don’t want to virtue signal. I don’t want to exacerbate the already-septic tribal wounds. But I very often recommend podcasts, and I don’t see any reason not to recommend what I’ve been listening to this week. Some of it relates to the propaganda I’ve been seeing all around me for months, dead babies on lamp posts and whatnot. For those of you outside Ireland, I’ll explain.
Continue reading Podcast Round-Up IV
The album GIVE ME A SINE came out in 2015, but I’ve only just got around to making a video for the song Bang Goes The TV. It’s a video mashup. I hope you like it. Please subscribe to my new YouTube channel (you may be the very first) and share the video on social media. Maybe then I won’t die in abject poverty. Buy the album while you’re at it.
Continue reading BANG goes the TV
Conan O’Brien was filming a special in Israel when he encountered a group of activists. In this video, they are trying to convince him to use his show to get the Palestinian plight across. With Conan having such a large audience, the activists think he can make a real difference to educate Americans on this issue, and to counter the pro-Israeli (anti-Palestinian) propaganda in the American media. The activists are assertive, even forceful, the video title on YouTube is Conan O’Brien confronted by pro-Palestine activists *full video*. I don’t know if I would characterise it as a confrontation, or even a Conanfrontation (see what I did there?), but it certainly seemed like a tense encounter. I found it very interesting to watch, I think Conan handled it with grace.
I admired the people speaking to him, particularly the American woman who said… We can’t have free people anywhere in the world if anybody is oppressed. It’s going to take the liberation of all people, so it is my responsibility as a human to now educate myself about all oppressed people everywhere… I’m not Palestinian. I’m not here to save Palestine or to resolve the problems or to even speak for my Palestinian brothers and sisters. All I can do is do my part by saying Palestine, Palestine, Palestine, something’s happening, something is happening and tell them the truth about what I’ve seen with my own eyes.
After watching this video, I looked for the official version uploaded by Team Coco. I was unable to find it. Maybe it’s not available in my region. If I find it later I’ll replace the freebooted version. But I think this is worth watching.