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Nobody Notices Artist Lays Dead In A Public Park To Protest Michael Brown’s Killing

protest11protest12protest2In the wake of the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by a policeman, and the subsequent protests of police brutality, tensions have been high among many communities. On Saturday August 16 in Philadelphia, artist activists draped yellow CAUTION ribbon around the iconic LOVE statue in Love Park and actor Keith Wallace positioned himself face-down in front of the statue, wearing a white t-shirt that appeared to be stained with blood, as if he were shot from behind. Standing near him, two people alternated the holding of a sign that read “Call Us By Our Names.” For an hour, Wallace lay in front of the emblematic, tourist-attracting statue – all the while, tourists continued to pose in front of the statue, usually while framing Wallace out of the photo, or blocking the view of his body in some way.

For Wallace, an idea like this had been brewing for quite some time. “I just tried to think about a way I could use my spirit of activism coupled with my artistic passion to make a statement about what’s going on. So I just decided that for me, I’m a very image-driven artist. I think images speak louder than words can, most times. And so there’s some value in forcing a society to look at the most ugly parts of itself and just putting it out there for them to examine and discussed, and to be disgusted by, in the hopes of provoking some sort of dialogue or provoking some social change in an effort to eradicate some social ill, whatever that is.”

The phrase “Call Us By Our Names” was born from the knowledge that though we know the names of victims like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, there are countless other victims of police brutality whose faces go unrecognized and unnamed. “I was tired,” Wallace says. “No, we’re NOT thugs, we’re not this, we’re not that. We’re unarmed citizens, so call us who we are. Call us by our names. Say ‘Michael Brown’ instead of ‘unarmed robbery suspect.’ When you give a face and a name to a victim, the public becomes socially responsible in a different way.”

According to Lee Edward Colston, a theater student who was helping with the protest, visitors to the statue expressed a variety of feelings and opinions. “There was an older white couple that wanted to take a picture in front of the LOVE statue,” recounts Colston. “The older white gentleman said, ‘Why do they have to shove their politics down our throats?’ The woman replied, ‘They’re black kids, honey. They don’t have anything better to do.’” In another account, Colston says, “There was one group of white guys who wanted to take a picture in front of the statue, but one of the guys in the group couldn’t take his eyes off of Keith’s body. His friends were trying to convince him to get in the picture. He told his friends, ‘Something about this doesn’t feel right, guys. I don’t think we should.’ One of his friends replied, ‘Dude, come on … he’s already dead.’ Then they all laughed.” Additionally, “There was a guy who yelled at us… ‘We need more dead like them. Yay for the white man!’

Colston did relate two more positive reactions to the performance. Recounting one, he says, “One young guy just cried and then gave me a hug and said ‘thank you. It’s nice to know SOMEBODY sees me.’” And in another, “There was a Latina woman with two young boys. She held her boys’ hands and said to them, ‘I want you to see this. This is important. Never be afraid to tell the truth.’”

Accompanying the silent protest, a sheet of paper was handed out that included information about rights and responsibilities, and a statement that partially reads, “I am racially charged not because I want to be, but because I have to be. I am racially charged because in certain instances, that hyper awareness may ensure that I make it home to my family at the end of the day. I am racially charged because I am not afforded the luxury to wander through life with my head in the (nonexistent) ‘post-racial America’ clouds. I see color because my color is seen, dismissed, devalued, and implicated as a threat everywhere I go. I am racially charged and if I make you uncomfortable by speaking out about it and calling attention to it, then I implore you to eradicate the ugliness I see every day in the world.” (via ra’s al ghul is dead, thinkprogress, philadelphia magazine)

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Ludicrous Images Of Porn Stars In between Sex Scenes

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Porn stars are faced with a conundrum. If they act well, can the audience believe that they’re enjoying the sex? That acting may be beside the point entirely is made clear by the found photographs in Issue #008 of Useful Photography magazine, published by KesselsKramer. Each image is taken from the introductory, non-intimate scenes from adult movies and magazines.

Pornographic films, websites and magazines all plough the same furrow – the repetition of the same act, in all its variations. Where they differ is their opening sequences, the patently fake and false scenarios, which are an afterthought to the main event. … Useful Photography celebrates these opening scenes, often cliche, sometimes bizarrely inventive, but always supremely fake.

These stills act like creative prompts: what’s happening and what’s going to happen next? Where did those weeping women find those netted hats? Why so many pigtails? Is that a dead man on that table and blood on the nurse’s apron? And, perhaps more to the point, is any of this a turn on?

Recontextualising found photographs and curating them into books and exhibitions is Kessels’ speciality. Useful Photography #008 is the eighth title in the popular series; previous subjects include missing persons’ photographs, amateur trophy winners and professional trade images of cows. (Source)

Frozen in time these images are a compilation of heavy make-up and leers, short skirts and creative facial hair. Clearly dated, it’s difficult to find their try hard sexiness titillating. It could be argued that one doesn’t watch porn for the acting… or the scenery, the wardrobe, the script, or the music. These ridiculous introductory scenes provide atmosphere, serving laughter as foreplay. (via Feature Shoot)

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Absurd But Genius Inventions By Dominic Wilcox

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Bed made from a template of Dominic Wilcox’s body.

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Tea cup with inbuilt cooling fan.

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Finger nose stylus.

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Finger nose stylus.

Dominic Wilcox is a British artist whose works balance on the margins of bizarre, yet somehow very logical and poignant at the same time. His cutting-edge inventions vary from unbelievable tech-wizardry (GPS shoes), to everyday objects that would actually find a place in our household (tea cup with a fan). Despite often humorist approach, Wilcox crafts his devices until they look and work like intended.

When asked, what is it that he does, Wilcox hesitates: “If I had to title myself, I would say I’m an artist/designer/thinker.” He says he loves innovation, creativity and finding conceptual surprises hidden in the banal, mundane things that surround us everyday. Thus, most of his concepts are light, direct and with a pinch of witty intention. Artist isn’t afraid to be the lab rat for his works. For example in the Switch project (below), he was wearing the metallic toggle for nearly a month, day and night.

Besides actually making these crazy inventions, Dominic starts each idea with a sketch. To pay tribute to all the unaccomplished ideas, he has published a book titled “Variations on Normal”. Full of insightful illustrations, this book may give you some inspiration on your next invention, say… a family poncho or a machine that strengthens handshakes.

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Brian Dettmer Uses Surgical Tools To Carve Intricate Drawings Into Old Books

brian-dettmer1 brian-dettmer2brian-dettmer11 brian-dettmer12New York-based artist Brian Dettmer’s sculptural, multi-layered books are so intricate that they require him to use surgeon tools in his process. He carefully carves illustrations and text out of old medical journals, dictionaries, maps books, encyclopedias, and more. Nothing inside of the books is implanted – pieces are only removed. The idea is that these subtractions will reveal new histories and memories now that the story and context has changed. Dettmer sees his work as a collaboration with the existing work’s past creators.

He writes about his creations, which are a comment on the changing landscape of technology. From Dettmer’s artist statement:

The age of information in physical form is waning. As intangible routes thrive with quicker fluidity, material and history are being lost, slipping and eroding into the ether. Newer media swiftly flips forms, unrestricted by the weight of material and the responsibility of history. In the tangible world we are left with a frozen material but in the intangible world we may be left with nothing. History is lost as formats change from physical stability to digital distress.

 

The richness and depth of the book is universally respected yet often undiscovered as the monopoly of the form and relevance of the information fades over time. The book’s intended function has decreased and the form remains linear in a non-linear world. By altering physical forms of information and shifting preconceived functions, new and unexpected roles emerge. (Via Demilked)

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The Strange World Of A Dwarf Theme Park In China

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After stumbling across a photograph on the internet depicting people posed in a dwarf theme park, Belgian photographer Sanne De Wilde conducted a little research and discovered that the Dwarf Empire, or Kingdom of the Little People, is a real theme park that operates in the Yunnan province of China. In this park, dwarfs provide entertainment – singing, dancing, and various other forms of amusement – for tourists who visit the park. De Wilde eventually contacted the park’s manager and was invited to take photographs of the park and its 77 little people for a project she calls “The Dwarf Empire.” As soon as she arrived, she immediately felt compelled to consider questions regarding the morality of the park’s existence, namely if the workers were happy there, or if they felt more like they were being put on display and exploited. Additionally, “For me, it’s about how this kind of place can exist,” De Wilde says. “What does it tell you about a person who starts this and creates it? What are his intentions?” Founded by a tall, rich man who wanted to “do something good” for the little people, this park is a “Chinese charity dressed in commercial attire.” Much of the park appears run-down, but seems to have a solid foundation.

While she partook in the project of documenting the park, De Wilde, a tall blonde woman, found that she stood out in the park – for the tourists, she became a character in the show created at the park, something she found exhausting. She would even hide with the little people “to be free of the claws of the tourists…they want to touch you and have a part of you.” After she got home, De Wilde spent about a year culling through her images; during this time, she even received letters from some of the people claiming they’re happy and thankful to be working at the park, something that De Wilde viewed as a bit suspect.

From her statement, De Wilde writes,

 

“I embarked on an adventure with a handful of ethical questions about commercializing social care. Every story has two sides but in this place every question and every answer seemed contradictory. My adventure ended up as a modern anti-fairytale, a collection of images of my making, and theirs. My own trick forced upon myself.” (via lens culture and slate)

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Rodrigo Arteaga Merges Science And Art With His Handsome Maps Created With Bacteria

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There are many kinds of maps to help find our way in this world. Political, road, and topographic maps may be familiar, but in Chilean artist Rodrigo Arteaga’s hands, maps are made by and of cultivated fungi. Meticulously grown and preserved, Arteaga’s maps are simultaneously science lesson and aesthetic object.

“Convergence” is a mapamundi (map of the world); an installation composed of filamentary fungi in glass containers. The propagation these fungi propagated represented the surface of the earth. The other components of the work were elements that evidence the research process: photocopies of mycology books, pencil drawings that imitate the growth of fungi, sketches, photographs, and Petri dishes with laboratory tests.

A second project, “Atlas de Chile Regionalizado,” consists of 15 glass containers in which different types of filamentary fungi represent each one of the 15 regions of Chile. The living organic matter of the fungi is delimited and cut in the shape of each region, then preserved under resin.

These interdisciplinary works involve people from interdisciplinary areas of thought. Their beauty is in the relationship between art and science; order and chaos.

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Extremes Of North Korea’s Developing Capital Recorded Beautifully In This Time-Lapse Video

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Videographer Rob Whitworth together with city-branding pioneer JT Singh create a stunning flow-motion panorama of the mysterious capital of People’s Democratic Republic Of Korea, commonly known as North Korea. “Enter Pyongyang” is their another collaboration combining the stunning effects of time-lapse photography, HD and digital animation, acceleration and slow motion.

According to the creators, North Korea, which is mostly imagined as a country “immune to change”, is rapidly developing. Besides the uplift in tourism, the whole infrastructure is rising with new railways being planned and special economic zones launched. Whitworth and Singh accurately capture this shift in their video filmed with the help of Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based travel agency who provided the team with exclusive access to the city.

“As is standard for all foreign visitors to the country, we were not allowed to shoot any construction sites, undeveloped locations or military personnel. Other than that we were given relatively free reign.”

North Korean society is highly enclosed and lifting the curtain, especially for a video, is a truly unprecedented behavior. However, “Enter Pyongyang” captures the controversial reality of this multimillion capital: from its high-end golden statues and modern glass skyscrapers, to the humble and earnest citizens. The fast-paced video conveys what is essentially Pyongyang’s biggest wealth – the dynamism and energy driving it to the new heights. (via The Awesomer)

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Pari Ehsan Thoughtfully Pairs Chic Outfits With Contemporary Art

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New York based interior designer Pari Ehsan marries high fashion and high art by posing in outfits that thoughtfully complement artworks, installations, and architecture, posting the results to Instagram and her website. Ehsan’s project began when she was taking a personal portrait in front of an art piece and noticed that her fur coat created an interesting juxtaposition. Ehsan then decided to begin this fashion-art project in order to explore a creative outlet outside of her job as an interior designer. Her background in architecture – she studied it at both USC and UCLA before moving to NYC – helps inform her approach to the project, with some of her fashion looks complementing building and interior designs. Every Saturday, Ehsan hops around New York City’s galleries, looking for inspiration. “It’s very intuitive when I see something I like and get a good feeling about,” Ehsan says. “At that point, if I’m really compelled to do an outfit pairing, I find the look and do the styling.”

Ehsan’s Instagram account was recently nominated by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for a Fashion Instagrammer of the Year Award, alongside other stand-out fashion-related accounts. Though she didn’t win, Ehsan’s account is still impressive, especially considering that fact that most of the other nominees – including the winner – work in fashion or media. Clearly, Ehsan’s lack of insider status has not hurt her project’s success.  (via blanton museum of art)

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