Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Alot of us tend to think of graffiti as the cool, cutting edge of art, but in actuality it has been around since man started scribbling on cave walls and chiseling his initials into the Colosseum walls. The question of graffiti's legitimacy as a form of art has been debated repeatedly, and is still open for discussion, as signified by the number of recent news articles on the topic.
In San Francisco, Where Art Lives: A Graffiti Education Project is a school program for grades 4-6 starting this fall at six public schools in hard-hit graffiti areas. The program will bring an urban artist into the classroom to introduce students to concepts of public and personal space, the difference between art and vandalism, the treatment of public property and the value of caring for public spaces.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Graffiti. Term applied to an arrangement of institutionally illicit marks in which there has been an attempt to establish some sort of coherent composition: such marks are made by an individual or individuals (not generally professional artists) upon a wall or other surface that is usually visually accessible to the public. The term "graffiti" derives from the Greek graphein ("to write"). Graffiti (s. graffito), meaning a drawing or scribbling on a flat surface, originally referred to those marks found on ancient Roman architecture. Although examples of graffiti have been found at such sites as Pompeii, the Domus Aurea of Emperor Nero (AD 54-68) in Rome, Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli and the Maya site of Tikal in Mesoamerica, they are usually associated with 20th-century urban environments. Graffiti range from simple marks to complex and colorful compositions. Motives for the production of such marks may include a desire for recognition that is public in nature, and/or the need to appropriate public space or someone else's private space for group or individual purposes. Illegitimate counterparts to the paid, legal advertisements on billboards or signs, graffiti utilize the wall of garages, public rest rooms, and jail cells for their clandestine messages. This illegal expression constitutes vandalism to the larger society.
Because of the illicit nature of graffiti, a can of paint and a brush are impractical while spatial considerations may make a pen or pencil ineffective. To accomodate the need for size, visibility, speed, and convenience, the ideal vehicle is the sray-can, which combines medium and applicator into one relatively small parcel that is easily concealed, transportable, easy to use; spray-paint may be applied to most surfaces. Different sized nozzles are used to achieve various effects, for example, a thin line as opposed to a wide band of paint. Where spray paint is not used or available, almost anything may serve as substitute: the aforementioned pen, pencil, paint and brush, as well as chisels, knives, felt-tip markers, blood, or even a finger on a dirty wall or window. Most media used for etching, sketching, painting, marking or writing can be adapted to such a purpose.
Because it is impossible to limit or regulate the resources that are available, graffiti as an art form and expressive medium is expandable, flexible, and difficult to control. The graffiti medium constitutes an open channel for its users to manipulate and mould to suit their needs. It represents a type of discontinuous communicative strategy through which people can engage in a visual dialogue which does not rely on face-to-face interaction or necessary knowledge of the writers' identities.
Individualized or popular graffiti include bathroom wall marking (latrinalia), signatures, proclamations of love, witty comments in response to advertisements, and any number of individual, political, or social commentary (folk epigraphy). In general these graffiti have no affiliation beyond the scope of the individual. It is close to impossible to locate their source.
Communities that produce graffiti (as opposed to the individual "scribbler") may target cryptic messages toward their own closed community, producing a seemingly confusing and unreadable product. The writers may not sign their real names; they instead employ the use of nicknames, codes, and symbols within stylized aesthetic systems. This type of graffiti is geared toward people who already understand the messages and may act to enhance group solidarity. Such graffiti can easily be elevated to the category of "art form" because the symbolic codes, generalized content, and aesthetic features of community-based graffiti usually outlast the duration of an individual's membership within the community. If a community's ideological focus is geared toward the larger society or the politics of the larger state, graffiti messages usually lack cryptic symbolism, make use of the national language, and retain a more straightforward aesthetic style.
An example of this cross-culturally prevalent genre of graffiti, political graffiti may combine with other artistic and expressive forms, such as poster and comic book production, mural painting, newspaper and pamphlet production, and political art exhibitions. The marks may represent the work of unrecognized or underground political groups, radical student movements, or simply dissatisfied individuals. Political graffiti may also arise from sudden emergency situations (e.g. riots) or in response to concurrent political legislation and party politics. Although concerned with state politics, the groups that produce this type of graffiti generally comprise some"subcultural" elements and may make wide use of symbols to further internally relevant quests for power and solidarity.
A second genre of graffiti, gang graffiti are used as markers by gangs usually active in urban areas. The content and form of their graffiti consist of cryptic codes and initials rigidly styled with specialized calligraphies. Gang members use graffiti to indicate group membership, to distinguish enemies and allies and, most generally, to mark boundaries which are both territorial and ideological. In this case, graffiti may merge with other art forms, like tattoo and clothing styles, to create a bounded system the concerns of which may incorporate illegitimate economic and social practices that branch far beyond the reaches of the actual graffiti.
A third genre of graffiti, graffiti art, is commonly called "hip-hop" or "New York style" graffiti and derives from a tradition of subway graffiti that originated in New York during the 1970's. This type of graffiti has spread to large urban centers around the USA and the rest of the world, especially in Europe. Where subway cars like those in New York are unavailable, walls, rocks, road signs, billboards, train carriages, and even motor vehicles are considered suitable canvases. Graffiti artists may or may not belong to "crews," which are groups of artists at differing levels of proficiency. Their work ranges from simple monochrome "tags" (the artist's "name tag," often represented in an exaggerated cursive style) to elaborate, multicoloured works called "pieces" (derived from the word "masterpiece") which are considered in some circles to be of museum quality (see fig.). As graffiti has begun to find its way from its original urban locations to the walls of galleries and museums, the question of vandalism and graffiti as an art form has provoked endless controversy, raising such questions as whether vandalism can be considered art or whether graffiti can be considered graffiti if they are made legally. The simplified imagery of graffiti has also become attractive to certain professional fine artists -- the work of the late Keith Haring in particular became "legitimized" as it moved from New York's subway walls to the walls of galleries and private collectors in the USA. It is in part the rapid movement hip-hop graffiti art and its concomitant controversies which has spurred the development of scholarly interest surrounding people's use of graffiti in all its aspects.
Graffiti are cross-cultural phenomena common to every literate society. Within the variable contexts of their production, graffiti personalize de-personalized space, construct landscapes of identity, make public space into private space, and act as promoters of ethnic unity as well as diversity. Graffiti can be understood as concrete manifestations of personal and communal ideologies which are visually striking, insistent, and provokative; as such, they are worthy of the continued attention of art historians, social scientists, and policy makers alike.
Monday, April 27, 2009
When she was just a child
The Great and Terrible Worm
Slithered its way past the veils
Of innocently dreamt nightmares,
Wrapping her in bitter coils
“Love me, Trust me – for you belong to me”
It hissed in a voice too dark
For a child to hear;
Then embraced her crushingly tight
Breaking all the tiny fragile things
That would rattle broken inside her
For the rest of her life.
When she was still a tender girl
The Great and Terrible Worm
Found her once again,
In a symphony of pitious screams
As it ran her to ground
“Love me, Trust me – For I’ll take what is mine”
It warned with eyes glittering
cold and unfeeling;
As it trapped her in the darkest shadows
Consumed what she refused to freely give
Ripping new holes inside her
That would forever bleed as tears.
When she was a young woman
The Great and Terrible Worm
Polished and painted its scales
Shining with unearthly beauty,
Then curled itself around and in her
“Love me, Trust me – give your heart to me”
It crooned in breathy whispers
Seducing away her fears;
As it drank and ate and feasted
Until fully sated,
Plucking out her heart
Before slithering on its way.
When she was a woman grown
The Great and Terrible Worm
Laid itself in worship at her feet
Worming its way past her shields
With pretty words and promises
“Love me, Trust me – share your soul with me”
It sang in a voice
Too sweet to be denied,
With a kiss full of poison
That she drank greedily with eyes nearly blind
Until the bones beneath them cut her
And she saw the truth between the lies.
When she was an old, old woman
The Great and Terrible Worm
Tried to catch her one last time
But lackluster scales slid from her
Unable to capture and keep her,
“Love me, Trust me – don’t leave me alone”
It cried in hollow echoes
Rising up for once to meet her eyes,
Eyes that reflected the sacred bones
That rattled around her deep inside,
Eyes that were filled with scornful pity
Before she closed him forever from her sight.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
- 69 percent of American voters believe that, when compared to other nations, America devotes less attention to developing the imagination and innovation.
- 86 percent of voters believe that encouraging children to be creative and develop their imagination is necessary to maintain our competitive edge and ensure we do not fall behind other countries.
- 83 percent of voters believe that a greater focus on the arts—alongside science, technology, and math—would better prepare students to address the demands of the 21st century.
The research has shown that youth 'at risk' benefit the most from arts-integrated programming. Young people living in challenging circumstances tend to be creatives because they need so much flexibility, creativity and improvisation to survive challenging circumstances. Their assets are typically enormous and under-recognized. The arts can be life-saving and life-affirming for young people who have been discarded by the culture.
Young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours on three days each week through at least one full year are:
• 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
• 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
• 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
• 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
• 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem
Young artists, as compared with their peers, are likely to:
• Attend music, art, and dance classes nearly three times as frequently
• Participate in youth groups nearly four times as frequently
• Read for pleasure nearly twice as often• Perform community service more than four times as often
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The world truly is a smaller place and when bad news hits, it travels faster than ever before due to instant cybernet of Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Sunday morning I saw a cry of outrage in the status of one of my favorite authors, Jaci Burton. In addition to being a best-selling mainstream romance author, she also has numerous erotic romances published. Her link led me to Mark Probst online commentary and a letter from Amazon explaining that they had a change in policy and that is why his YA novel with gay characters was no longer being ranked.
More than 57,000 books were affected, including gay- and lesbian-themed titles. Novels such as Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain" and Vidal's "The City and the Pillar" were unranked Tuesday morning. Countless romance and erotica authors saw their best seller ranking disappear and many couldn't find their books any longer using the Amazon search engines. However, Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds" by Chronicle Books, which features pictures of over 600 naked women, remains ranked. Even sexual self-help books were unranked.
Was it a glitch? A Hacker? A change in policy? It has been interesting to watch the evolution of "oh crap" responses from Amazon. From Policy change it became a glitch. From glitch it became an embarrassing ham-fisting. And from ham-fisting it became a cataloging error.
Bill Thompson a journalist with the BBC observed "...some sort of filtering seems to have been going on since at least early February when former gay stripper Craig Seymour saw the sales ranking on his memoir disappear. He complained at the time and the ranking reappeared. What this seems to show is that Amazon are trying to make search results more 'family-friendly'. There's nothing wrong with this, and Amazon aren't violating the First Amendment or even, I suspect, breaking the terms of their agreement with publishers by doing it. However they have clearly broken the bond of trust with a large number of their readers, and it will take a long time to recover."
The power of the pen (and keyboard) definitely came into play and showed that even a small, well connected group like the erotica and romance authors can call the Giant to task and refuse to quietly accept censorship.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
- Artists use economic woes as outlet for creativity
- More than words can say
- Prison officials bring down gavel on murderer's art auction
- 'The Truman Show' for Everyone
- Sexual expressionism
The controversy, glaringly obvious, is the appropriateness of a sexual act being displayed on a school campus. BGSU stated, “We have a responsibility to not expose the children and families we invite to our campus to inappropriate material.”
However, the National Coalition on Censorship feels the removal of the sculpture raises serious questions about free speech. Parlin says that the sculpture has been shown in other venues without complaint.
This is so much more than an “appropriate vs. inappropriate” issue. The definition of what is appropriate, and the levels of censorship that are acceptable while still within the boundaries of freedom of speech and expression, is not merely black and white. There are many gray areas.
College and university campuses across the United States are usually seen as a forum for an open exchange of ideas. They have become a symbol for freethinking and acceptance of what might be outside the norm.
Nonetheless, one must concede that college students are still human beings, with feelings and boundaries to what they take offense to “Thing X.” It is a mistake to assume that once a person enrolls in college, they are suddenly without inhibitions or beliefs that might conflict with another’s.
That said, one person can’t please them all. While I did not personally see this sculpture, I doubt that it was so ragingly graphic that it warranted being banned from the art exhibit. Not only that, but the sculpture was not on display on the front lawn—it was in an art gallery where people could choose whether or not to view it.
It also blows my mind that the act of sex is still taboo, but the results of a sex act are OK. For example, a sculpture depicting sexual intercourse is risqué, but graphic posters of an abortion are perfectly acceptable. This is a huge hypocrisy. Both examples bring up questions that should be discussed. Both provide information and both contribute to the education of those who encounter them.
If exhibits such as these are designed with respect to the diversity of beliefs and maturity levels of their audiences, then they should not only be allowed, but also encouraged. While I do not feel either side of the spectrum has a place out in public walkways and lawns, in full view of anyone (including small children) I do believe that in appropriate settings, such as art exhibits, informational gatherings and classrooms, these criteria are a good thing.
Typically, weddings take place in churches. I fiercely respect everyone's right to believe however they choose regarding matters of faith and spirituality. But face it. I'm not a christian, so I kinda stick out like a heathen thumb among the genuflecting, chorus singing masses. They really should have pagan pews set off to one side so all the nonconformists can huddle together. Or maybe not. Pew for one?
Usually, with camera in hand, I'm far too busy and focused on the task to reflect on the feelings of alienation and separation that bubble to the surface from being the lone silent voice in a room full of worshippers. Yesterday, as I watched and listened, and quite frankly enjoyed the ritualistic pageantry of the event, I had to reflect on how different I am from the majority of people I know, and wonder why that is. I'm quite lucky that I am welcomed with open arms by people whose beliefs are so different from mine. In another century I would probably be a social pariah.
I'm also quite lucky that I wasn't asked to be a bridesmaid. I've never had to endure the horror of being squeezed into pink taffeta. ~shuddering~ I know that the bride is supposed to be the most beautiful woman at her own wedding, but really... is it truly necessary to force your very plus sized bridesmaids into strapless, tight pink dresses? They weren't exactly...complimentary. The dress even looked awkward on the one, lone petite bridesmaid, buried in the overwhelming shadow of her counterparts. Is that like a diabolical weapon that brides consciously employ? I've never read the Bride Book of Helpful Hints, so I can only wonder at the evil genius of it.
The reception was quite a lot of fun. Even though there was no bar, which was a little startling. Hello. Wedding. Drinking. Drunk groomsmen chasing single women. Isn't that in the script somewhere? Beverages were sweet tea and water. Huh. Since I'm allergic to tea, I had water. That was different. No spiked punch even. The photo booth that was provided completely made up for the tragic oversight on the issue of liquor. It was amusing to see that, yes, you can fit six people into a tiny photo booth if you shove and push hard enough. Unless I'm in the booth. My hair took up two-thirds of the booth when I went in with one of my girlfriends. Ooops.
Since I left early (four hours later) I missed the wedding cake. It was somewhat liberating to be able to make my escape early. I've always been the last one to leave since my camera was required for the cake cutting, the bouquet tossing, the garter gnawing, the champagne...in this case was it sweet tea toasting?...and grand exit for the honeymoon in graffiti speckled chariot. Passing the table with the complimentary gifts for all the guests, I noted that the party favors were boxes of krispy creme donuts and a HUGE assortment of candies.
That explains the bridesmaids.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Sandra wench sent me this link. ROFLMAO. It's about shoes, bitch.
The first 60 seconds is boring and wtf, but give it a minute. It gets good and wacked.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Where The Girls Are: Women Artists, Science, Technology at UC Berkley will be a discussion on the way in which women artists engage the topic of science and technology through feminist critique.
More interesting than the feminist spin used to promote the exhibit are the artists themselves and the way they have utilized the sciences as inspiration and vehicle for their art. I think pretty much everyone agrees that women artists have gotten the short straw in history... when they got a straw at all. Science and technology are still perceived as predominantly male domains, fair or unfairly. Changes are ocurring though and they are fascinating changes.
As much as I hate gender-based classifications, there is undeniably a feminine feel to many of the science and technology inspired works of art. I found that both startling and somewhat gratifying. I consider myself a modern feminist, one who celebrates in being female but also will bitchslap silly any idiot foolish enough to try and deny me equal rights. The question of whether there are sexual differences in the approach to the sciences... I would say definitely, just as there are varied approaches dependent on the individual and what they bring to the study. The humor and vision of these artists is quite fascinating and worth examining under the artistic microscope.
RE: "While feminist examination of the phallocentric practices, trends, and biases in societal institutions go way back, for this lecture, Marcia Tanner concentrates on new media, more specifically the interactive and witty work of contemporary artists."
"They consider for example male-gendered terminology in descriptions of scientific processes and whether there are sexual differences in approaches to the study of living organisms and systems. Tanner focuses on contemporary female artists who employ digital technology to explore scientific themes and issues.
...morphing of traditional feminist concerns into often subtle yet powerful critiques of patriarchal structures, gender politics, and established assumptions in technology, science, and biology."
Featured Artists links:
This one is fascinating by Sabrina Raaf because while it is obviously technology focused, it also is very sexual in feel: