Those I’ve met in my mind

 Good night Mr. Spock

Live long and prosper

Live long and prosper

Born in 2230, in the city of Shi’Kahr on the planet Vulcan.

His father is Vulcan ambassador Sarek and his mother is Amanda Grayson, a human teacher.

Teased by other children for being “not fully-Vulcan“. He sought his mother’s care and advise. He had a pet called I’Chaya.

At the age of seven, Spock took the Kash’Wah ordeal in the desert. During this test of survival, his life was saved by a mysterious cousin of his named Selek (who was, in fact, his future self from 2269).

Spock got into an argument with his father when he chose the career of Starfleet service instead of the Vulcan Science Academy. The two did not speak with each other for eighteen years afterward.

He was promoted to first officer when Captain James T. Kirk took command of the vessel in 2265. He was eventually promoted to Captain. Spock and the Enterprise crew had plenty of adventures.

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In an alternative universe, he was born in Boston in 1931.

His parents were Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. His father owned a barbershop.

He served two years in the United States Army. His part as Narab, a Martian finally friendly to Earth, in Zombies of the Stratosphere, foreshadowed the role of his life.

But after that, he had a succesful career as an actor, director, writer and musician, as well as a long and prosperous life.

Died today, February 27, 2014.

“If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

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The Sounds of Numbers

Iannis Xenakis

‘Music is the tip of the iceberg. We only see the 1/8 on the surface of the sea. The rest lies underneath.’

Photo of U. Andersen/Getty images

Photo of U. Andersen/Getty images

He was born in Romania on May 29, 1922. His parents were Greek and both loved music. His mother gave him his first music lessons. She died when he was five years old.

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“Her death as a dreadful experience that deeply scared me.”

When he was 10, he was sent to Korgialenion boys’ boarding school (famous at the time) on the Greek island of Spetses. There he studied music, sang at the boys’ choir and particularly loved Greek ecclesiastic music. I

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I loved Mozart’s Requiem, which I memorized all by heart.

In 1938 he started his studies in architecture and engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, while he continued his music lessons. Two years later WWII cut his studies short. He joined the resistance and participated in demonstrations against Nazis.

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“The periodicity of the sounds of the demonstration slogans, then interrupted by the chaos of violence, was very strong.”

At the end of the war, during the civil war, a bombshell hit Iannis’ face. The left part of his face was seriously damaged and lost sight in his left eye. From then on, he had two faces: Like the Roman God Janus. He did not want to ‘improve it’ with plastic surgery.

face

“My surviving was a miracle.”

In 1947, he completed his studies with a degree in civil engineering. Fearing arrest by the right-wing government, he escaped with the help of his father and went to Paris. In Greece Iannis was condemned to death – a sentence commuted to 10 years’ imprisonment and lifted after the fall of the dictatorship in 1974.

“For years I was tormented by guilt at leaving the country for which I’d fought. I left my friends… I felt I was in debt to them and that I had to repay that debt. And I felt I had a mission. I had to do something important to regain the right to live. It wasn’t just a question of music—it was something much more significant.”

Iannis worked at Le Corbusier’s architectural studio and gradually collaborated on major projects in France and abroad, such as the Expo 1958 Philipps pavillion.

Expo 1958 paviljoen van Philips

“Paris was the only place in Europe where I could put together mathematics and music.”

At the same time, he was also studying music and composing. The experience at Le Corbusier played a major role in his music, and vice-versa.

“The best way to produced cultured people is to have several jobs, not just one. For example, I hate to be just a musician, I would like to be also an architect and a mathematician, although it’s too late for that. Because it’s very important, one domain is reflecting on the other one.”

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“The ideas in my composition Metastaseis gave me the ideas to find the solution in architecture.”

He worked hard in late nights, and sought many teachers who rejected him. Even his studies with Darius Milhaud were in vain. Iannis was furious. When he approached Olivier Messiaen for composition lessons, Messiaen turned him down, because:

“I think one should study harmony and counterpoint. But this was a man so much out of the ordinary that I said… ‘No, you are almost 30, you have the good fortune of being Greek, of being an architect and having studied special mathematics. Take advantage of these things. Do them in your music’.”

In 1959, he left Le Corbusier and focused on music. He was quickly recognized as one of the most important European composers of his time. Iannis’ early compositions were inspired by Greek folk melodies, Bartók and Ravel. Messiaen’s modal serialism was an influence on his first major work, Anastenaria, a triptych based on an ancient Dionysian ritual.

Anastenaria

Part of Anastenaria, Metastaseis is considered the beginning of the official Xenakis oeuvre.

He became famous for his musical research in computer-assisted composition, for which in 1966 he founded the Equipe de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales (EMAMu), aka CEMAMu. He taught and lectured at universities in Europe and the US.

Iannis was an atheist. “Man is one, indivisible, and total. He thinks with his belly and feels with his mind. I would like to propose what, to my mind, covers the term ‘music’: It is a mystical (but atheistic) asceticism.”

In 1999, Iannis was awarded the Polar Music Prize

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Olivier Messiaen gave him the award.

On 4 February 2001, at the age of 78, he died in his Paris home, after falling into a roman for four days. He was survived by his wife Françoise and their daughter. Click on the pictures for info on them.

“The music that I’m composing is a result of life and thoughts… Plato said that sounds are symbols of things and facts… It’s a continuous course, like a railway that has different vehicles, and many more who suddenly enter its course. They’re all interconnected… Periodicity is everywhere. It’s on the universe.”

Sources

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Nadia Comaneci: A medal of steel

Summer 1976: We are in our country home. Mum’s friend wants to watch gymnastics in the Montreal Olympics. «I can’t miss Olga Korbut» she says. We sit near our black and white TV. Here is Olga, she’s graceful but she falls off the balance beam… And then, there’s a new Romanian girl, 14 years old. The Russians give her the dirty look. We watch her uneven bars routine, then the balance beam, stunned. A perfect 10. That’s it.

Moscow, summer 1980. Everybody has written Nadia off. She won’t make it. New stars are rising, Russian, Chinese, East Germans. She’ll fall off the balance beam. She doesn’t seem to listen what’s going on around her. She’s tall now. Her hair is short. Her coach is standing by her. She looks serious. Determined. She proves them wrong and gets a sliver by a small margin in the individual all-around, successfully defends her Olympic title on the balance beam and floor.

US 1989. «The doll cracked». That’s a newspaper headline. Nadia has escaped  Ceaușescu’s hell. His son has been continuously raping and torturing her. Ruined her life? Well, not all of it. Nadia decides to move on. Escapes from Romania, on foot, passing through dark forests, crawling in the mad. She arrives in the US, requesting political asylum. The press is haunting her, wants to know all the juicy details of her private life. The doll cracked. But is not broken.

Nadia-Life

US 2014. Nadia is married to American gymnast Brad Conner (the best gymnast and lowest profile, open mind in the 1984 US Olympic team). She gave birth to their son after she was 40 years old. She is a top gymnastics coach in the US but also a strong supporter of Romanian gymnasts. She never forgets where she came from.

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Happy birthday Nadia. A life with ups and downs like a roller coaster. A competitor who knows that the true value is to get back on your feet and fight for what your worth of.

A life that’s not a perfect 10. So hard to live for most people. But a life worthy of a true champion.

Taller than the crowd

Standing taller than the crowd.
Grey sadness into her eyes.

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Luisa: A story I’ve created, inspired by a villa in Stressa

Photo & edit by V.T.

Photo & edit by V.T.

I remember Luisa strolling in the boardwalk of lake Maggiore. Her slim silhouette moving like a white shadow in the blue scenery of water and sky. That’s how I’ll always remember her. White in a light blue.

My name is Antonio. I’m a wealthy businessman, living in the villa near the expensive hotels in Stresa. My wealth comes mostly from my wife’s fortune. Maria-Teresa is the daughter of the richest man in the area. (That’s the only good thing about her.) We have two daughters, twins. (I don’t love them, they are miniatures of their mother, fat, dark and lazy.)

Luisa’s son is the opposite. (The boy I dreamed to have.) He has her blue eyes and curly light brown hair.

She cried her heart out when I told her that our relationship was over. I’m a married man. Not that I should not have a mistress  (I have many) but I should not have One. We had strong feelings for each other. (And that was too much to bare.) She said that she would never speak to me again. I did not believe her. After all, she truly loved me. But she kept her word.

I was shocked to see her marrying a young man (not a well established old guy as expected). Things went well for them in the beginning. Pietro (with a little luck) became a successful lawyer. Luisa had their first son. (It pained me to see them walk by the lake.)

Luisa became pregnant again. There were complications and her second son was born prematurely but nevertheless, he lived. His mother died in child birth. People say that Pietro is devastated that’s why he never remarried and devoted himself to his work and bringing up his sons.

I don’t believe them. No one ever had such feelings for Luisa as myself.

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