The Conversation: Science needs myths to thrive. “What helped me develop as a researcher was reading stories about those who came before me. For scientific research to be successful in the long term, I think researchers need a strong set of values, including an unwavering commitment to the truth, and a drive to test any idea to destruction. Though they may seem opposed to the ideals of the rigorous scientific method, the best way of instilling these values is, as ever, through the stories and myths that we tell ourselves.”
Mashable: The hidden, magical, inclusive world of Fairytale Instagram . “A sprawling and slowly growing niche of different fantastical subcommunities, Fairytale Instagram fully embraces the fact that social media is a platform for illusions. Yet unlike regular Instagram, its content creators, artists, photographers, and performers don’t care about tricking you into thinking it’s real.”
New York Review of Books: ‘Oceania,’ Art of the Islands. “‘Oceania’ is not the historical, ethnographic show that Western museum-goers might expect. At the entrance a shimmering wave of blue material cascades from the ceiling. Titled Kiko Moana, this flowing wave uses ancient techniques of weaving, embroidery, layering, and cutting, but it’s a contemporary work in polyethylene and cotton, created by four Maori women from the Mata Aho Collective in New Zealand who have also compiled an online archive of stories about the supernatural spirits of the waters. Old and new technologies meet.”
Arizona State University: Zombie narratives can chew through complex topics. “Four-day conference bridging science and the arts explores zombification to engage in potentially frightening aspects of the future.” Weird headline, fascinating article.
This is from last month but I missed it and I must include it here because it’s AMAZING. From the Irish Times: Ireland’s darkest, oddest and weirdest secrets uncovered. “A worldwide crowdsourcing movement is currently unearthing Ireland’s deepest fairy secrets and darkest myths. A voluntary collective online is working its way through transcribing 700,000 pages of folklore that were collected throughout Ireland between 1937 and 1939. This mass of previously inaccessible material was gathered by more than 100,000 children who were sent to seek out the oldest person in their community just before second World War to root out the darkest, oddest and weirdest traditional beliefs, secrets and customs, which were then logged into 1,128 volumes, titled the Schools’ Manuscripts Collection.”
Well, *I* thought it was funny. From the New Yorker: Social-Media Creation Myths. “Twitter is a beautiful, magical bird trapped in the body of a Web site by a jealous underworld demigod. The billion billionth time that Twitter is refreshed, the bird will return to her original form and ascend to the sky, borne aloft by a billion billion joules of subtweets.”
Not new, but certainly new-to-me: an online database of Japanese ghosts and monsters!. “Within these pages you’ll find an ever-growing collection of yokai and yokai legends from all parts of Japan and all periods of Japanese history. Some of them have never appeared in English before, while others will be intimately familiar to fans of Japanese folklore. They have been collected from books, from the internet, and by word of mouth from yokai lovers who remember the tales from their childhoods. The illustrations accompanying each yokai are based on written descriptions or on Edo-period illustrations painted on scrolls hundreds of years ago.” In English. I looked up the first Japanese mythical creature I could think of (Kirin) and it was there with a thorough description and a few illustrations.