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Episode 14

Livestream from Todessa

Camera: Tman
Cast: Totleb & Co.
Editor: Todito
Soundmix: Todonsky Junior
Directed by: T.L.


written by General Totleben
© Ivan Stanev, executor testamentarius

Read the full text of the poem  GRAPFÈMES  h e r e  (p.133 – 140)

Proto-Elamite, Capriccio

Proto-Elamite uses no word-dividers, and the entries are not arranged in boxes. In actuality, a proto-Elamite text is arranged sequentially and not in any visible order of hierarchies. This in-line representation of the entries is quite different from all other early writing systems, and it may carry certain elements of language coding (cf. Damerow 1999, 7). The entries can cover all surfaces, and can run from one line to the next and from one surface onto the next. Each entry consists of a string of graphemes and a numerical notation. Most of the strings of signs in the proto-Elamite corpus are of modest length (2 – 6 signs), but some longer strings exist.
The header and subscript are not followed by numerical notations. In conventioinal transliterations of proto-Elamite texts, each entry is given its own line-number, and its two constituent parts are separated by a comma. As a rule the right edge is considered part of the obverse, and only the first entry to start on the reverse is numbered as belonging to the reverse. When the text of the obverse runs onto the reverse, that segment of the reverse is called column 1, the segment holding the total (if present) is called column 2. If there is no spill-over from the obverse the total (if present) is coded reverse, column 1. Normally, the tablet is rotated 180 degrees on its horizontal axis to write the total (deviations occur), and 180 degrees around its vertical axis for a continuation of the text.
Complex Graphemes in Proto-Elamite / Jacob L. Dahl

In the plastic arts, Capriccio is generally an architectural fantasy, where buildings, archaeological remains, ruins and other architectural elements are composed of combinations of real and fantastic elements arranged according to the idiosyncratic criteria of the artist. Traditionally, caprice used to be a subgenre of landscape painting, but with the passage of time it was also used to designate other types of works in which fantasy prevails.

The whim or “veduta ideata” in Venetian painting between the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century is configured as a real genre, that is as the art of composing the landscape through the free combination of real or fantastic architectural elements, ruins of antiquity reworked, figures and figures, according to a variety of declinations ranging from the grotesque to the visionary, from the picturesque all’elegìaco.

In the Italian art historian Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), the term capriccio refers to the traits of puzzling fantasy testifying to the originality of a painter. Speaking of Filippino Lippi, he emphasizes the “strani capricci che egli espress nella pittura” (the “strange caprices that he expresses in his paintings”). Raffaello Borghini (Il Riposo, 15844) distinguishes between an inspiration drawn from others and that intrinsic to the artist: a suo capriccio.

As early as the 17th century, Viviano Codazzi, in Rome, produced architectural paintings, which represent imaginary ruins, as can be seen in his architectural Fantasies of the Pitti Palace.

Towards the end of the seventeenth century, Philip Baldinucci (Vocabolario dell’arte del disegno, 16815) finally defined capriccio as a work born from the spontaneous imagination of the painter (improvvisa). The meaning of caprice becomes metonymic by referring to the work itself, not to the whimsical idea that produced it.
Golden Age:
Early practitioners of the genre who made the genre popular in mid-17th century Rome included Alessandro Salucci and Viviano Codazzi. The artists represent two different approaches to the genre: Codazzi’s capricci were more realistic than those of Salucci who showed more creativity and liberty in his approach by rearranging Roman monuments to fit his compositional objectives. The ‘quadratture’ frescoes of Agostino Tassi and the urban views of Claude Lorrain and Herman van Swanevelt, which he saw in Rome, may have stimulated Viviano Codazzi to start painting capricci.

This genre was perfected[citation needed] by Marco Ricci (1676–1730) but its best-known proponent was the artist Giovanni Paolo Pannini (1691–1765). This style was extended in the 1740s by Canaletto in his etched vedute ideali, and works by Piranesi and his imitators.
In the eighteenth century, the term takes on the particular meaning of fictional landscape among vedute painters. In the 1720s, Marco Ricci (1676-1730) drew numerous paintings and prints depicting landscapes with ruins and staffing. In Rome, Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765) is a forerunner of the neo-classical movement with its views that depict the city and scenes of ancient ruins, in which are incorporated non-existent details but contributing to the atmosphere evoked. In Venice the genre of capricci is especially appreciated by the Venetians themselves, amused by the painter’s ingenious play with architecture. In the 1740s, Canaletto published a series of capricci prints, the Vedute Ideals.

Michele Marieschi (1710-1743) lends itself to the freedoms of capriccio with the representation of the staircase of an inner palace courtyard. It is based on at least thirteen versions of motifs inspired by Marco Ricci’s drawings of stage sets to give his composition a theatrical perspective. His Capriccio con edificio gotico ed obelisco (1741) shows a fantasized Venice, with a Gothic portico and an obelisk pointing to a pier, and in the background, reliefs of hills and mountains leaning against waterside houses.

The term can be used more broadly for other works with a strong element of fantasy. The Capricci, an influential series of etchings by Gianbattista Tiepolo (1730s?, published in 1743), reduced the architectural elements to chunks of classical statuary and ruins, among which small groups made up of a cast of exotic and elegant figures of soldiers, philosophers and beautiful young people go about their enigmatic business. No individual titles help to explain these works; mood and style are everything. A later series was called Scherzi di fantasia – “Fantastic Sketches”. His son Domenico Tiepolo was among those who imitated these prints, often using the term in titles.

Goya’s series of eighty prints Los Caprichos, and the last group of prints in his series The Disasters of War, which he called “caprichos enfáticos” (“emphatic caprices”), are far from the spirit of light-hearted fantasy the term usually suggests. They take Tiepolo’s format of a group of figures, now drawn from contemporary Spanish life, and are a series of savage satires and comments on its absurdity, only partly explicated by short titles.

Capricci, series of etchings by Giambattista Tiepolo (1743), reduce the architectural elements to pieces of classical statuary and ruins, among which small groups – soldiers, philosophers, young people – conduct their business. No individual titles explain these works. A later series is called Scherzi di Fantasia, “Fantastic Drawings”.

The series of 80 prints of Francisco de Goya, Los caprichos, and the last set of his Disasters of the war that names caprichos enfáticos (“emphatic whims”), take again the format of the groups of personages initiated by Tiepolo, placed in the Contemporary Spanish life, to produce a succession of satires and comments on his nonsense, only partially explained by their short title.

Later examples include A Tribute to Sir Christopher Wren (circa 1838) and A Professor’s Dream by Charles Robert Cockerell, and Joseph Gandy’s Public and Private Buildings Executed by Sir John Soane (1818).

In architecture, a whim is an extravagant, frivolous or funny building, designed more as an artistic expression than for practical purposes. However, very few whims were originally completely devoid of practical utility: usually, over time, they stopped being used, as in the case of hunting towers.

The whims are usually found in the parks and on the land surrounding large villas and castles. Some have been deliberately built to look in ruins. The whims were particularly in vogue between the late sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Nowadays theme parks and world fairs often contain buildings similar to whims (just to give an example, the gigantic fairytale castle at Disneyland); these structures, however, are built for the purpose of attracting and entertaining visitors.

Languages / scripts used: Proto-Elamite, English, French, German, Russian

Jacob L. Dahl