Banksy x Bristol Museum

12 Jun

-Andy

more pictures in the rest of the entry

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The Ugly Side of Chinese Modernism

2 Jun

KashgarChinese modernism in many cases has led to the complete destruction of ethnic enclaves within the Chinese borders. One such case right now is happening in the oasis “Silk Road” city of Kashgar, home of the Uighurs. Situated on the western most border of China, Kashgar is the best-preserved example of a traditional Islamic city to be found anywhere in central Asia. Yet, this will soon come to the end along with the culture of the Uighurs. Nearly 85% of the city is on the verge of complete demolition. As families are being kicked out of their homes that they have owned for close to 1000 years and moved into government project buildings, so is the way of life of these people.  Click here to see a presentation by the New York Times on this issue.

~Hummer

People and Power–Corporations on Trial

19 May

I stumbled across this five part-documentary, which explores the rapidly growing number of lawsuits being brought against multi-national corporations.  War crimes, conspiracy, corruption and payments to terrorists are just some of the serious charges that have forced some of the world’s largest companies to hire high-profile defence lawyers to defend their name in cases often brought by plaintiffs who are barely literate.  One of the lawsuits was the largest class action suit in British history, in which the world’s third largest independent oil trader Trafigura was accused by 30,000 people for the harmful affects of their toxic dumping.  Another case discussed in this documentary was brought against Chiquita for funding paramilitary terrorists in Columbia to protect their business interests there.  Corporations on Trial reveals a growing anxiety about the power and influence of big business and how to keep this power in check.  When considering some of these multi-national companies have greater revenues then some countries’ national budgets, it is no surprise that weaker governments are held ransom by these companies power.

~Hummer

Sir Ken Robinson Fights for Creativity

5 May

 “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original

We are educating people out of their creative capacities

I suggest everyone take a look at this entertaining, funny, and most importantly insightful and brilliant talk by Sir Ken Robinson.  In it he focuses on an issue that is, or certainly should be, important to all of us – education and its continuing propensity to undermine rather than nurture creativity.  We all view the creative spirit as an essentially good quality, yet the education system that has developed seems to stunt this part of the mind by “stigmatizing mistakes” and creating a hierarchy of the subjects that are taught.  By adhering to a set curriculum and encouraging teaching for standardized tests it seems that there simply isn’t enough time for creativity.  When children can’t sit still and have trouble learning in the classroom environment psychiatrists and education professionals today are too quick to chalk it up to ADD or ADHD and slap their parents with a prescription to be filled immediately lest the “learning disability” continues.  As Robinson highlights, such actions ignore that there are many forms of both intelligence and ways of learning.  The current practice of holding academic ability as the ideal of education, which Robinson attributes to the historical development of public education as a means to fuel industrialism, places little value on the arts, music, dancing, and drama.  The result, as Robinson warns, is a process of academic inflation where BAs and MAs become less and less valuable in the competition for achieving the intelligence valued by universities.  In order to halt this trend, academia must reevaluate their focus on one type of intelligence and embrace and foster creative capacity through the arts in our education system as much as it does the more traditional subjects.  Mr. Robinson explains all of these ideas much better so please watch:

Shaul Schwarz: Capturing Action

1 May

kenya18

I appreciate a wide variety of photography, from impressive landscapes to intense portraits, but what really strikes me are action shots.  Having the ability to capture a dramatic scene and present all the emotion and tension of the real event into one solitary image, makes for great photography.  These pictures tell a story while also sparking tons of questions that viewers are yearning to know.  Shaul Schwarz is one photographer who epitomizes this skill and was rewarded for his efforts this past week by being presented with the Overseas Press Club Robert Capa Gold Medal Award.  I’m no expert on photography, but Schwarzis one of the best photographers I’ve ever seen at capturing a moment of intense action.  His coverage of conflict situations such as the Israel-Lebanon War, violence in Haiti, and particularly the unrest following the Kenyan elections last January are breathtaking.  Not only does Schwarz dive right into dangerous environments but he is always able to capture the precise emotion of his subjects and the environment in which they are engulfed.

Check out Shaul Schwarz’s website which has all of his collections, here.

22TRACKS.com

28 Apr

I just discovered this site and its awesome. It’s like pandora.com, which is my favorite site of all time, but consists of 22 tracks in each of the genres featured. The site is in a “jukebox” format and highlights songs picked by specialized DJs from Amsterdam. If you listen to pandora as much as I do, the songs get repetitive after awhile. 22tracks refreshes songs from each category every couple days. The site is concise and to the point, the music. I don’t know whats going on in Amsterdam but the music scene is nice. This ones for you Hummer. Everyone check it out! Hope you enjoy!

http://22tracks.com/

-Andy

William Kentridge: A Different Kind of Modern Art

15 Apr
crying-felix

Felix Crying

I’ve never been much of a fan of modern art.  The paintings of Pollock and Kandinsky are vibrant and visually striking, but the most popular art of the last decade has lost much of the attraction (at least for me) of these abstract expressionist ideals.  To quote an article by Richard Lacayo from TIME Magazine, some of the most-talked-about art in the past few years has been “shiny, shrill, and brazen.”  These big, bright, over-the-top works might have a visual apeal – “Oh, that look’s pretty cool” – but they have never made me feel any deeper connection or introspection.  A diamond-crusted skull, a series of infinitely reflecting mirrors, and a thousand pieces of hanging wood evoke little emotion and, as Mr. Lacayo feels, seem to have imitated the bling of a boom time, which we have now fallen so far from. 

William Kentridge, a 54 year old white South African, provides a distinct change from this trend of modern art.  His drawings and animated films are not clean and shiny, but instead are rough and primitive.  As an animator, Kentridge adheres to the painstaking process of using charcoal to draw and then erase individual images, all on one sheet of paper rather than successive sheets, so that the smudges and faint lines survive from frame to frame.  This creates a morphing, fading affect rather than the smooth movement of normal animation.  Through this rough animation, which is often accompanied by classical music, Kentridge evokes serious emotion by dealing with political and social issues.  As a South African growing up during apartheid he’s not short on material.  Kentridge’s work often emphasizes the duality of man that was so obvious in this brutal society, as well as focusing on time and change as a major theme.  While not the most attractive works of art, Kentridge’s drawings are appealing for their ragged look and concentration on society, man, and emotions which elicits the viewers own feelings and opinions  – qualities that so much of today’s modern art lacks.

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