As a generation in Palestine confronts misery, violence, and rejection, the hip hop scene is an outlet to express themselves. Photographer Pierre Mérimée and journalist Jacques Denis capture the young people involved in this scene in their new book, Intifada Rap. In it, we meet MWR’s Mahmoud Shalabi, the girls of Arapyot, and the “veterans” on the scene, including Said Mourad, the voice of the first Intifada.
The book’s press release describes it as:
A dive into the heart of the Palestinian hip hop scene, Intifada Rap bears witness to the incredible strength of the musical movement, from the suburbs of Tel Aviv through to Ramallah. Pierre Mérimée and Jacques Denis’ work shines a glaring light on the reality of Palestinian rap while offering an unprecedented view into the daily lives of a generation confronted with misery, violence and rejection, fighting back against it all to escape their imposed fates. Far from the shocking image of television news and the continual discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the two journalists have documented the day to day lives of youth facing a dark future, for whom hip hope is more than just an escape. Armed only with their words, these men and women on the cusp of their twenties express their need for freedom, hope and equality through lucid texts and heavy beats.
Brent Birnbaum is an artist with one hell of a sense of humor. To commemorate the 2o year anniversary of Vanilla Ice’sIce Ice Baby single (the first hip-hop single to top the Billboard charts) Brent created the alter ego Ice Ice Maybe. Find a recap of the performance and his recreation after the jump.
How To Dress Well performing at the Echoplex, December 4, 2012
It’s late Tuesday night… VERY late, well it’s actually almost 1am on Wednesday morning when Whitney Houston sings out from the speakers and Tom Krell aka How To Dress Well makes his way onto the Echoplex stage. Ten candles burn at his feet and beautiful video projections illuminate him and his backing band when his voice, a beautiful haunting falsetto hits my ears and my head starts thumping to the beat.
Playing songs from Total Loss, his newish record out now on Acéphale and a few from his debut album Love Remains, the heartbreaking, but beautiful set highlighted not only his voice, but his talent as a songwriter. When he sang the song Set It Right, it rang out like an R&B version of the late Jim Carroll‘s, People Who Died with the names of friends and family who have passed or not in his life anymore.
Chinese artist Ye Hongxing tries to bridge the gap between the ideas of East and West; traditional and contemporary; spirituality and commercialization. She plays these different ideas off of each other in her new work called Prajñāpāramitā. This new piece is a reinterpretation of the traditional art form of a Mandala, but made from mass-produced plastic toys, beads and stickers. The title Prajñāpāramitā actually means the Buddhist concept of Perfection of (Transcendent) Wisdom, and is a fitting cynical commentary on just how bizarre our worlds have become, filled with shopping and consuming commodities and objects.
Hongxing’s stickers are otherwise seen as disposable and ephemeral objects—a comment on the disposable nature of contemporary culture. The sheer volume of the stickers echoes the overload of information that we are presented with on a daily basis. (Source)
Based in Beijing, Hongxing is frequently reacting to the ever-changing culture surrounding her, and the pace of which it happens. Using opposing traditions and systems to comment on each other, she draws our attention to our own actions. By methodically placing thousands of plastic, secular, pop-cultural, commercial objects down in a systemic fashion to build a spiritual motif, she brings two very different practices together in a head on collision. We are reminded of the Buddist traditions of meditation and repetition, but instead of being geared toward serenity and peace, this time it is in the name of glitz, glamor and garishness.
Hongxing’s other projects include fusing Chinese and Western artistic practices together – creating luscious oil paintings filled with decorative Chinese porcelain patterns; making marble sculptures of kitschy blow up animal balloons; and layering hundreds of glittery stickers on each other to form surreal, OTT interpretations of modern day life. (Via The Creator’s Project)
Super talented Melissa Cooke draws so realistically that you would think her renderings are photographs. Instead of using pencil lines to outline her subjects and draft her compositions, she achieves incredible depth by dusting layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush. Flirting between different mediums (photography, drawing and painting), she is an expert of achieving highly detailed, strongly contrasting, striking images.
For her series The Between Spaces, she blends two different angles together in one drawing, achieving an impressive effect of superimposed snapshots. Thanks to her unique graphite technique, her highlights seem to glow and radiate off the page. Hair turns from being a series of fine white lines dusted over a darker layer to being a delicate web of strands. Eyes have detailed reflections; the skin Cooke draws have pores; the faces have a complex structure of wrinkles and lines. Cooke says of her series:
The drawings ride the line between what is physical and emotional, inner and outer, real and fantasy. Elements that are innately indescribable. There is a richness in those spaces that I can explore visually. (Source)
Moving on from portraiture, Cooke has also tried her hand at still lifes – objects that she finds in her daily life. Inspired by an abandoned wig she found in the dandelions, she started her series of objects.
These still lives evoke the figure while hinting at a larger narrative. There is both an attraction and repulsion to these discarded objects, like evidence left at a crime scene. That tension is something that has always inspired me, and will continue to propel me forward with the new body of work. (Source)
Garrett Pruter constructs architecutral wonders with collage and drawing techniques. He combines graphite and acrylic on top of collage to create mini villages on the page. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were mini civilizations occupying his turn-of-the-century cityscapes. He is currently studying Illustration at Parsons School of Design.
Given his eclectic background in computing, painting, drawing, and sculpture, the work of French artist and scientist Patrick Tresset is anything but traditional.
With scientific experience and a narrowed focus on robotics, Tresset “investigates human artistic activity, computational creativity, and our relation to machines.” Although his artistic experience dates back to his childhood, Tresset unfortunately lost his ability to paint and draw in 2003. Unable to produce works by hand and forced to adapt to such a major lifestyle change, Tresset sought a new way to create.
That’s where Paul comes in.
Created in 2011, this seemingly artistically-inclined robot used a motorized eye and a mechanical arm to sketch what Tresset could not. While Paul proved to be a successful portrait artist and an effective prototype of the artist’s vision of a “computational system capable of autonomously producing artifacts that stand as artworks,” Tresset has since made improvements to his creation, resulting in Paul-IX, his newest automated bot.
Unlike portraitist Paul, Paul-IX dabbles in still life. Furthermore, in contrast to Paul,Paul-IX was not imagined merely as a helpful assistant. Instead, the newer model was created as an autonomous entity with an ability to decipher its surroundings through art.
While Paul-IX’s drawings are accurately rendered and undeniably evocative, Tresset emphatically notes that “the aim is not to invent systems that are capable of drawing precisely like a human, but for the drawing to have a certain aesthetic effect on the observer”—and, given the robot’s exciting appearance in Creative Machines, an exhibition at Goldsmiths University that “explores the twilight world of human/machine creativity in contemporary art” now through November 14, Paul-IX has made quite the impression. (Via The Creators Project)