Thursday, 9 April 2020

Connecting the singularity

A bird flower

I have argued before that drawing is a great way to problem solve, so what sort of problem are these posts designed to solve? What sort of problem in fact are my own drawings trying to solve? (The slight shift in sentence structure is useful, 'what is it my drawings are trying to solve ?', being a better way of putting it than, "what is it I'm trying to solve through making drawings?" It gives more agency to the process or the event.)
I'm someone that uses drawing to think, a person very interested in aesthetics and how to think about them. I have also been posting quite a few thoughts about my worry over words and objects and that I am beginning to think that all we really experience are events and sometimes we play a big part in them and at other times we are very much a bit part player. Therefore I'm less interested in aesthetic objects and more interested in a capacity that aesthetic situations might have to bring ways of living into being or to transform themselves in order to be more inclusive or entangled into the events that occur. Politically I'm worried that a rigidity of thought may be developing that leads to a fascist future and in opposition to that I'm trying to develop ideas that celebrate flexibility and the possibilities of new futures that come from the mixing and recombining of peoples and their cultures with the world itself. 
If you think of the world as constantly 'problem generating' then humans, like all the other things that exist, use experience of it to try to respond to the problems it sets. For instance the problems associated with basic physical forces. Our bone structure, our size and physical makeup are all answers to the problem of gravity, as a mammal we have found a pretty unique answer in standing up on two legs and learning to walk on them. We can also climb trees. However the dinosaurs evolved a very different answer; feathers, hollow bones and wings became much more useful than large sizes and sheer bulk. Theropods surviving eventually as sparrows and hawks and leaving behind their giant cousin the tyrannosaurus. By being sensitive to their entanglement into the possibilities of changing events, birds escaped the extinction moment that ended the time of dinosaurs. But how do bodies know they can do things like this, how has all that previous experience been passed on, and how do cells know how to put a body together to be able to do these things? There has to be some form of memory of these events, and how they shaped reality, to enable the experience to be passed on. Memory begins for both birds and human beings in their bodies, or more precisely their bodies are the product of memories. Could it be that the bird or the human is in fact an idea that can be passed on? If so, this is about formal principles and if that is right, it’s about ‘aesthetics’.  If it is though, we will need to approach the old chestnut of aesthetics from a different perspective, one of inbuilt necessity, patterns or the forward planning that is found in the structure of basic elements.  I'm suggesting a way of thinking about aesthetics that explores capacity for possible change in relation to given forms; rather than looking for sets of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty, I'm looking for aesthetic principles of connection. The 'beauty' of any one situation being its processes of attraction for other forces and the 'rightness' of its relationships. It is in the joints between things, and in an awareness of how connections are made that this aesthetic domain lies. 
This situation or situatedness (a theoretical position that posits that the mind is ontologically and functionally intertwined with environmental, social, and cultural factors), also means that ideas themselves have to be aligned with material forces not just by being sensitive to the possibilities that any material offers, but in a sense that ideas are ‘driven’ by their material nature and their use value is dependent upon how they can reveal a possibility or understanding of relationship within any identified complex of interrelatedness. This is why a human or a bird can be seen as an idea, they are both responses to formal principles passed on by physical memories and forms that allow for future possibilities. I’m suggesting that memory is actually rather like an empty cast, a shape from which things have come in the past and will come from in the future, but as with all memories things are never exactly clear, there is never quite a one to one correspondence between a memory and what is remembered, just as there is never a one to one correspondence between you and your father or mother.




Pen and ink forming images on paper

It has been impossible for me to escape thoughts relating to the corona virus, especially because of the imposed social isolation. The situation has heightened my awareness of what you could call 'the aesthetics of existence', or “what the heck’s going on?” Why things are the shapes and forms they are is a question written about extensively by Raymond Ruyer, and I can feel his concept of embryogenesis seeping through my recent images. Elizabeth Grosz uses a quote from Ruyer to open the chapter, 'Ruyer and an embryogenesis of the world' in her book, 'The Incorporeal'. 

He stated, 'Memory is not the property of bodies. Bodies, or what appear as "bodies", are the property of memory'. 
From: 'There is no Subconscious: Embryogenesis and Memory'

Ruyer's text is a strange read and I found the religious aspects very suspect, but there was an idea in there that rang bells. Consciousness begins with the very first material idea. A forming principle is at work, right from the beginning and this 
principle or set of principles directs all actions. That's why he points out that "bodies", are the property of memory. Every cell forms itself out of the 'memory' of the principles adhered to by sub-atomic forces. What we think of as consciousness, is no more and no less than the movement of relationships between atomic forces. How they can move and in what possible variations is dependent both on the structural principles inherited from all the previous generations of electrons and protons, neutrons and / or electromagnetic or other forces that underpin everything and the way these rules determine the possibilities of events coming together in different arrangements.
A virus, is no less conscious in its formation than a tree, they both follow a certain set of organising principles and both are in constant interaction with all the other constantly changing sets of circumstances that we call reality. For a few moments in time a certain set of material circumstances combine to form what we call a virus, circumstances that have been many other events before and which will become part of many more in the future. But in this local time frame, the events associated with societal responses to a viral pandemic have caused the ink that I use to draw with to be moved about on paper to form images of things that reflect an instability of scale and image identity and at the same time follow the implications of a memory; a memory of what the virus looks like, images of which are all around me on various media outlets, but also images of plants and flowers I have looked at and drawn previously and all the other things that for one reason or another have stayed in my memory. We shouldn't blame the virus for what it clarifies for us, but be thankful for the complex of interrelatedness that exposure to the virus reveals. We as humans are not separate from the world, we are deeply embedded into it and as such our actions need to take this fact into account. The images that I am producing being the product of the coming together of a series of different forces, from the cellulose structures of plant life, via the metal amalgam of a gold tipped drawing tool, combined with arthritic fingers linked to an ageing brain in a mash up with news footage, invisible microbes and viruses, social networks and quantum mechanics and yes a memory of a reading of 'Ruyer and an embryogenesis of the world'. There is a framework within and out of which which these images emerge, a framework that gives shape to them before they are thought, but which is directing possibilities, in just the same way that my originating cells directed the possibilities for my growth.
Try to think of a memory as a chemical change and a chemical change as a product of elemental particles interacting according to the fundamental laws of physics. In this way you can begin to sense ‘originality’ or where something comes from; its roots.
Originality is often misconstrued as ‘newness’ or ‘novelty’, which as far as I am concerned has nothing to do with art, simply to do with fashion or titillation. But an awareness of the deep structures which impel form, that give shape to possibilities is a different order of thinking and of aesthetic value. Memory in this instance being the passing on or inheritance of a sort of code or template on which can be built different possibilities. So my suggestion is that your memory is no different from your arm or your hand. The idea of ‘memory’ is encoded in your genes, just as the idea of a hand is. You don’t have to invent memory as a youngster, it just gets used, just as you don’t have to develop a hand it just gets used, and as you use it you get better and better at working out what to do with it.
So where do what I might call short term ‘human’ or ‘local’ memory and long term ‘elemental’ or ‘universal’ memory come together at their optimum? I would argue in the act of perception, itself. Let’s say you are looking at some marks in soft ground, experience tells you from the shadow cast around them both something about the time of day it is and what might have taken place to leave the marks. The sun is shining low in the sky in that moment and you have also seen it shine at different angles to the ground and memories of these things fuse in your awareness that its morning rather than midday. Your fusing of a memory of deer passing and leaving hoof prints in soft ground, allows you to conjecture that it was deer that left the marks in the ground in front of you. But there is room to move. What sort of deer, black or red coated, young or old? A more experienced observer might be able to tell you from the shape of the hoof prints whether or not the deer were old or young, but there is always ‘wriggle room’ for invention. It is in this wriggle room that I draw.
The space for invention is about possibilities, but and this is where the two sorts of memory conjoin, only certain possibilities are possible. However the more connections that the ‘consciousness’ has become aware of, the more possibilities become available. In this way we can avoid thinking about humans as being special. We have as much right to claim consciousness for ourselves as anything else, we are not special, we are interconnected and as I have pointed out before, one of our roles as artists is to help others see this.

Lifelines of humans, plants and viruses


This is also about the flow, the sense of a way through things, the invisible forms that you discover as you move your body through them are all possible connections. This is why every drawing is also a performance, every moment that you exist within being a sort of ‘swimming in a sea of the possible’. Our propensity for rigid structures and systems within which to operate is a mistake, a mistake that has misunderstood structural possibility for a cage. We like to think that photographs tell us something about the world, but because they are always taken from one point of view they cut us off from the possibility of interconnectedness by framing things. Drawing on the other hand can deal with emerging possibility as well as awareness of perception at the same time.

So, what sort of problem are my own drawings trying to solve? It is a problem of ontogenesis, or where does it all come from? What lies behind the evolution of life? What shapes do possibilities form and how is everything interconnected? Above all what is existence and how do I engage with it? Questions that have been asked over and over again, but life’s like that, we are all born, we all grow and we all die.

The pattern of our lives is something like a game. In response to these things I have now finished designing a game based on the votives I have been making in ceramics. There are 52 different cards, the virus cards, positive and negative, being played like trumps. But that's another story. 
Two cards from the votive pack



See also:

Faraday's lines of force

When the past overhauls the present Includes link to 360 degree view of exhibition
Drawing it all together



Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Faraday's lines of force


In my post on cross contour drawing I tried to explain how by making marks that moved over a form, you could create a much more powerful expression of the underlying mass that you perceived an object to have. However contour mapping is also used in another area of visualisation, that of electromagnetic fields and space/time diagrams. This type of drawing goes back to Faraday's idea of 'lines of force'. Faraday was an experimenter rather than a mathematician, therefore for someone like myself it is easier to see how his mind was working. He was trying to visualise what happens when two magnets are pushed together. If you have ever tried to do this, you will feel a very powerful push back when you bring like poles together. If you imagine thin hoops of springy metal connecting the two magnets at their north and south poles and then think of how they might bend as you try and push the two magnets together, you get the beginning of an idea of what I think Maxwell was thinking about, especially if the springy metal became more resistant the further you bent it. More recent analogies have used elastic nets to show how gravity creates curves in space, but Maxwell was initially thinking about magnets and the electromagnetic force.

Visualisation of electromagnetic lines of force

Faraday believed that reality was made up of force itself and by using model-based reasoning he was able to come up with a way of showing others what this could possibly be.   Maxwell, a mathematician, was then able to work with Faraday's ideas and put them into equations, but without Faraday's insight, we would not have a series of images to allow us to grasp what was being intimated. Faraday used a way of drawing that an artist such as Uccello used back in the 15th century, an approach that in the 19th century was now being used to illustrate some of the most difficult concepts in physics, a method that was to be vital to the way space/time diagrams would be drawn once the concept of relativity was understood. It feels to me as if this was very much an idea waiting for its time. A structural principle of this sort had been visualised several times before, but it never quite found the neat relationship that Faraday's idea of 'lines of force' carried in relation to the way it could be visualised. Instead of using these principles to visualise objects, forces and the way they interconnect things could be visualised. Perhaps Raymond Ruyer's idea that memory is not the property of bodies but that bodies are the property of memory, is more powerful than I thought, and that it drives how we develop ideas about how to visualise the world, as well as how the world itself is structured at a sub-atomic level. (See the next post, which is dedicated to Ruyer's ideas). 
 
Uccello vase


Representation of a cosmic black hole


Lines of force illustrating electromagnetic action

In magnetism the lines of force proceeding from like poles will be turned aside and if the poles are of equal strength, a plane bisecting, at right angles the line joining the poles, will separate the lines of force emerging one from the other, so that no line will cut the plane (Fig. 10). The pressure exerted by the molecular vortices in every direction at right angles to the lines of force will cause an apparent repulsion between the poles.


Once Maxwell had begun to turn these ideas into equations, it was evident that both electricity and magnetism were part of the same force, Einstein then at the beginning of the 20th century realises the same equations could help him think about space/time and eventually these what were separate concepts, also become unified. 

As an artist what interested me was how Maxwell began to visualise his ideas. He began with thinking about how water flows in a river. Then his ideas of how lines of water might flow were thought of as being analogous to lines of electric force, the velocity of the water being analogous to the intensity of that force. He then thought of dividing the volume of river water into tubes, these could then be seen as lines of flow. The advantage of putting the water into tubes is that you can then measure an amount of flow during any specific time. I.e. so many gallons per second. The idea was that where the river bed widens the cross section of each tube increases, Such a system of tubes, therefore, represent both the direction of motion and velocity of the water at every point, and could correspond, with a system of unit tubes of electric force. In my mind I began to think of a combination between the way iron filings can be used to reveal magnetic forces and how an artist like Leonardo began to visualise flowing water. 


Iron filings follow the lines of force between the poles of a magnet


Leonardo: water in motion
This type of visual thinking continued to evolve. Minkowski visualised Maxwell's mathematics and came up with a series of diagrams that would allow people to visualise events happening within fields. It was these diagrams that were then seen as applicable to space/time as well, thus the idea of fields were seen to be the things that lay behind both gravity and electromagnetism. Einstein's father was an electrical engineer, so he was uniquely positioned to recognise the importance of the electromagnetic field diagrams his father had worked with, when visualising other types of energy fields. 
Minkowski diagrams are two-dimensional graphs that depict events as happening in a universe consisting of one space dimension and one time dimension. The distance is displayed on the horizontal axis and time on the vertical axis. Additionally, the time and space units of measurement are chosen in such a way that an object moving at the speed of light is depicted as following a 45° angle to the diagram's axes.
Each point in the diagram represents a certain position in space and time, and is called an event.
The world line (yellow path) of a photon, which is at location x = 0 at time ct = 0.


Spacetime diagram of an accelerating observer in special relativity 

In the moving diagram above, the vertical direction indicates time, while the horizontal indicates distance, the dashed line is the spacetime trajectory ("world line") of the observer. The small dots are specific events in spacetime. 
If we then return to diagrams of black holes we can see both how they relate closely to Uccello's vase drawing and to Maxwell's idea of the way a river widens and narrows to constrict a flow. Even theories about the beginning of the universe can be illustrated by using similar curved nets. 

So when drawing mass, perhaps we are also drawing time, both could also be read as a material capturing of energy, the movements of arm and hand, traced in the left over deposits of graphite or ink or charcoal, an intuition of mass, realised via the capture of photons in a brain consisting of electro chemical exchanges that may or may not be subject to sub-atomic interference. 

Victor Newsome
In Victor Newsome's drawing of a woman in a bath, perhaps we can see an intimation of where these lines of force might take us, the bun of a woman's hair could also be a diagram of a galactic singularity engine, a ripple of water could become a doorway into the way we think about wave/particle duality in quantum mechanics.



I am of course looking at these issues with the mind of an artist not a scientist, but I can intuitively grasp the importance of trying to visualise these concepts and as visualising ideas is what both scientists and artists do, I would like to suggest that we are not people of different worlds but of different words. Take out the nouns and replace them with verbs and we have a series of events.


'A'

'B'

Victor Vasarely

Occasionally Victor Vasarely touches upon these issues, I often find his work too pedestrian,  too much like an art of filling in perspectival shapes in colour but at its best he transcends the process and creates images that are verbs rather than nouns. 

A long time ago I wrote about how we used to use what was then called 'giron and fess point' drawing in order to explore how the perception of a situation could be recorded through drawing. Those old posts have been returned to by Mike Croft in south east Asia, who has seen in them a way to open out an understanding of spatial perception in time. See his recent guest drawing blog posts. Now when I come to think about fess points I can see them as nodes, around which different movements oscillate due to certain attractors and this pattern I see as similar to spin networks within quantum space. This could be what has been called 'granularity'. The 'girons' perhaps being more like the lines linking moving nodes in image 'A', the lines of which at one point would have been seen as a way to visualise curved space. Scientists have long sought to bring together parcel/wave theories and it would seem that the idea of nodes and events is helping to do this. In the meantime we have also to respond to the need to engage more with the destruction of the natural world and once again I would hope that the more we understand that we are totally entangled with everything else the more we might be inclined to be sensitive to our own actions and thoughts in relation to events, and be less inclined to measure our worth in terms of objects and possessions. 

Several of my recent posts have pointed towards a rethinking of the way we view objects and things. Instead of viewing the world as consisting of lots of individual things, I am beginning to see that reality could be simply a series of events. What I have been used to thinking about as discrete things actually being moments of encounter between one thing and another. I shall no doubt be returning to these issues again. 

See also:




Friday, 3 April 2020

Drawing mutations: Megan Needham

Guest drawing blogger: Megan Needham

Megan Needham is today’s guest blogger. Megan was a Fine Art student at Leeds College of Art from 2012 to 2015, her practice at the time being concerned with repetition, seriality and order found within everyday objects. The visual qualities of these ubiquitous structures would become the starting point for heavily repetitive and time-intensive drawings which often centred around the formation of a grid. 



Since leaving, she has exhibited in various group shows across Leeds, Manchester and York. In 2016 she completed a PGCE in secondary Art & Design at Manchester Metropolitan University and continues to teach. In 2018 she was awarded a sketchbook prize at Manchester School of Art and more recently won the People’s Choice Award in MADE IT --Short Supply’s (an artist-led initiative and curatorial collective operating in Salford) graduate show. She has recently completed her MA in 2019 at Manchester School of Art.

She is currently working at Rishworth School and continues to develop her art practice, a practice that has become much more sculptural and organic. Recent work has seen her responding to a series of forms that mutate and evolve as if they were embryos, each ‘mutation’ having anthropomorphic qualities reminiscent of the human body. 

Megan’s blog post describes what drawing means for her and it explains how her approach to drawing has changed as her practice has evolved.

Drawing mutations: Megan Needham

I was always encouraged to keep a sketchbook whilst a student at Leeds College of Art. Working in a sketchbook format became an important part of how I developed my practice and it was a way of collecting my thoughts together. It became habitual and comfortable to work at an A6 sketchbook size and consequently lots of my work produced around this time was of a small scale. It taught me how valuable drawing was and how drawing could operate as an overlap between disciplines, as I started to consider more three dimensional possibilities, such as objects with linear qualities existing in space or coming out of the paper.   

Various Sketchbooks 2012-2015

Typical sketchbook pages from my time at LCA



Examples of LCA student work

Whilst studying for an MA at Manchester School of Art I was encouraged to leave the safe confines of the sketchbook and I started to realise some of the forms I had been obsessively drawing, as sculpture. As my sculptural work was developing, I found myself returning to a sketchbook to plan, to think, to visualise and record my ideas of how to resolve the sculpture in progress or develop ideas for new works. As I progressed some of these works on paper stayed as drawings and others became information from which I was to develop sculptural forms. For me there is a symbiotic relationship between drawing and sculpture; each informs and generates momentum from the other. 

Contained Form. Mixed Media on Fabriano 100x200cm approx. (in progress)

Contained Form. Pencil Crayon on paper 7x15cm

Slob (right) 2019. Paper mache, tissue, paint, wood. 120x70x90cm
Baby (Left) 2019. Paper mache, tissue, paint. 35x30x22cm

Untitled. Paper mache, tissue, paint, wood (in progress) 90x50x120cm

Untitled. Paper mache, tissue, paint, Sellotape, varnish, wood (in progress)


Pupa. 2019. Paper mache, tissue, paint, Sellotape, varnish, wood. 20x32x130cm



Chewing Gum Study. 2019. Gum, Fabriano paper. 15x15cm

As I was thinking about how and what materials to use when making sculptures, the thought processes also emerged in my works on paper. In particular I began using chewing gum as a way to ‘sculpt’ forms and shapes within the space of the paper. For the materials I am now working with I look for softer qualities that can easily be manipulated. 

Contained Forms is a series of works on paper where the resulting outcomes are abnormal, organic, mutated forms that are repetitive, obsessive and that continue to evolve throughout the series of work. They have anthropomorphic qualities, are reminiscent of embryonic limbs, folds of flesh, wrinkles of skin and curls of hair. I am interested in allowing the forms to develop intuitively but I also want them to share a quality of being restricted and contained within the confines and edges of the paper. 



Contained Forms. 2019. Hardground Etchings on Steel. Printed on Fabriano Rosapina. 15x30cm

These works range in size, which changes the way I physically make the work. On a smaller
scale, marks are made using the flick of my wrist and are limited to the range at which it can flex back and forth. When working on a larger scale the drawing becomes much more rhythmical and relies on the whole movement from my shoulder and the range of movement from my elbow. The forms in these larger drawings are of a similar size to my sculptures and are also related to human proportions, creating an uneasy relationship with the viewer that can at times be almost confrontational. 
Henry Moore: Shelter Drawing: Underground Study: 1940 
Gouache, brush and grey wash, coloured wax crayons, pen and black ink over pencil on paper12.3 x 17.7 cm.

To reveal mass and the three dimensional nature of form, I make use of a network of fine, curved, cross contour lines. This was a style adopted by Henry Moore who used these types of marks in combination with wax crayon, ink and wash to produce his series of Blitz drawings. Mixing and layering materials is something I do both when making drawings and sculpture, to create tactile and visceral surfaces. It is also a tool sculptors use to indicate weight as well as form in a preliminary sketch
During this period of social distancing, I have downsized my studio quite significantly to the space of a desk. This is changing the nature of my work but I am working with what I have to hand and embracing new ideas. I have started a sketchbook; a continuation of the contained forms series, exploring drawing and being experimental with combinations of materials and approaches to mark making. I’ll be sharing on my Instagram how these drawings develop: @megan__needham


Recently, with so much advice on how to wash your hands properly to reduce the spread of coronavirus, I have been thinking about how the virus is passed on from person to person by physical contact. This is a very sculptural concept, touch being central to our idea of form. When something is touched traces are left behind from the natural oils in your fingertips. You can see the layer upon layer of greasy prints if your phone is left on lock and you hold it up to the light. These invisible latent fingerprints are made of water, fatty acids, amino acids and triglycerides—in other words, they result from the oil and sweat that your skin produces naturally. The reoccurring messages from PHE about handwashing make you more aware of how many surfaces each day we touch. I have been thinking of mapping these traces as drawings.

See this link for the exercise. 

These images of traces reminded me of some of the work made by the artist Jack Brown, who would collect the grease marks left by passengers’ hair rubbing against the glass windows on public transport. 

Jack Brown: Traces from a bus window

Some traces are invisible and others are much easier to see, whether or not the trace is something left at a microscopic level or is something that exists in our macro universe, it will be the result of things coming together and as they do a change is made. The police when recording a crime scene are very aware of Locard's exchange principle, "Every contact leaves a trace". As an artist when you begin to research these traces, you could be thought of as a type of crime scene investigator, something that feels very appropriate when thinking about how the corona virus spreads. 


Earlier this month I took this photo of the back of a lorry which interested me because of the mark making qualities and how the stained cloth resembles a prepared ground on which you might make a drawing. This is a found drawing, like Jack Brown’s work, it can be thought of as a residue of an event or series of events involving someone and something. Which is giving me some food for thought…

Scientific imagery of the internal human body has in the past acted as a reference and starting point for new drawings. The formations in my earlier etchings were inspired by the microscopic structures within our bodies. For example in our digestive system we have villi on the surface of the colon; small finger like projections that increase the surface area to uptake nutrients from digested food. Although invisible to us, they are an essential aspect of our lives and without them we could not function. The forms that villi take were seen by myself as electron microscope photographs and as images made by specialist scientific and medical illustrators. My own drawings then extended these ideas, trying to lend mass and weight to them, in order to give the concept of their invisibility and yet purposefulness, a certain gravity as well as mystique. 



Contained Form 2019. Hardground Etching on Steel. Printed on Fabriano Rosapina. 15x30cm

The corona virus

During this last month, many images were being shared in news articles of the visual structure of the coronavirus. These images have shown how the spiked projections on the surface of the virus binds on to the host cell and infects it. They adhere to various surfaces because of their pairing with the receptor site and can be loosened by the application of soap. The images of the virus differ between a 2D or 3D image depending on what sort of microscope has been used.  From these microscope derived photographs, 3D illustrations have been digitally rendered, each one designed to pick out certain ideas about the virus. These illustrations will have been produced in response to a dialogue between scientists and illustrators.  I have been looking a lot at these kinds of images and drawing from them to generate new work, whilst I do this I am thinking about how I might take a flat image into a sculptural form. This has been something I have struggled with recently – because the drawings have been produced from my imagination as well as from 2D imagery derived from secondary sources, and not from direct observation. This means that when trying to realise them as objects they don’t quite work in the same way I envisaged them in my mind. 
It is always interesting to have a dilemma to solve. Do I make models to work from? Do I insert x, y and z axis into and through existing drawings so that I can rotate them in my mind and on paper? Do I make drawings that I then cut up and reassemble? Do I gradually extend my drawings by adding more and more 3D materials to them? Do I create drawings on the surface of 3D forms and then re-draw them? Do I develop a process of working with materials that reflects the way a virus is transmitted or how it is broken down by lipids? 

See also:

These are a few posts that touch upon some of the issues raised.