Month: January 2011

Short Blog #2: Analysis of a Prose-Based Blog

Foremost, I want to pose a question as to what categorizes a prose-based blog from a photo-journal. As with the post-modernist ideal of art, can we not claim that many visual artists are essentially creating prose within their visual projects? Can we not argue that Scott Schuman’s http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/ is a site full of prose-based sartorial criticism? Though short-winded in verbosity, I stand to argue that The Sartorialist is a website of vast depth and critique that analyzes a universal characteristic of mankind: personal expression through garment presentation. Schuman accompanies exquisite photos of ordinary international citizens with beautiful anecdotes of the way we, as humans, dress and express ourselves within our surroundings. Fashion design and presentation is considered a visual and tacit art which, by definition, aligns itself within the umbrella term of “Fine Arts” that is also inclusitory of poetry, prose, photography, painting, digital media, etc. If we are to look at these photos in a chronicalized order, do we not take something with us? A better understanding of self-representation and self-awareness over time or within the past five years of style? Though relatively recent in terms of origin, The Sartorialist, if continued over time, could visually teach us the evolution of stylistic trends as rooted from social and political happenings within our global culture. For example, how did we get from punk to grunge? What is the significance of veiling in the East (pre and post Reza Shah)  and how has that evolved through modernism, here in the West?

A friend recently showed me this absolutely amazing and wonderful website called cardboardgods.net. The writer of this blog, Josh Wilker, has a goldmine of baseball knowledge that is arguably competitive with the years and years of first-hand game viewing that your grandpa spent along the third-base line of Giants, Athletics, Rockies, Mets,or Yankees games. You get the point. Wilker chronicles his site by team name and those players who played for each team…like Ted Simmons . . . you have to love Ted Simmons and his unyeilding love for antique furniture. Not only did he have a batting average of .332 and catch for the Cardinals but in an interview after a tedious game that followed an 11th inning win, all he wanted to discuss was furniture and decor. (read this: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1093723/index.htm) Wilker accurately depicts each and every player in a way that ESPN can’t: his included anecdotes of everyday life, breaks down typical baseball discourse, and shows even a sports-resistant citizen that baseball is something that is part of the American spirit.

Finally, I want to spotlight a couple of music blogs that are similar to the structure of The Sartorialist but include more dialogue. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Pitchfork Media (http://pitchfork.com/), a music blog that your average hipster goes ga-ga over and tailors their entire iTunes library to their “Best New Tracks” list. Though a little trendy, Pitchfork has great commentary, comparisons to other artists and albums, and a surprisingly accurate grading scale of new releases. Similar to Pitchfork, yet really, its not, Funky16Corners (http://funky16corners.wordpress.com/) is a blog-based music compilation of soul and funk artists from vault of bygone eras. Started in June 2006, the blog offers playlists of hard-to-find artists whose records sound exquisite on vinyl.

I took a course on Grotesque fiction last year and some of the short stories that we read were absolutely amazing! Check out our collective prose-based blog to read story analysis and art critiques here: http://summergrotesque.wordpress.com/.

Some more literary-based and authorial blogs also worth checking out:

Margaret Atwood: http://marg09.wordpress.com/ (Such a goddess)

Jenny Boully: http://jennyboully.blogspot.com/ (Upcoming innovation)

Mark Frutkin: http://markfrutkin.blogspot.com/ (Canadian)

Neil Gaiman: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/ (Grotesque writer)

Short Blog: Digital Poet Caterina Davinio

In researching digital poetics for this assignment, I found some interesting work by Italian poet Caterina Davinio that shows the different approaches to digital poetry and media. Though Davinio’s style of art isn’t exactly my taste, the first video shows the multitude of layers that a piece of work can embody. Assuming that digital poetry is really a type of fiction (my apologies if that sounds ignorant but I’m still semi-unfamiliar with the medium!), one could compare her work (for example, the first video i’ve listed) to something like that of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness; each art piece contains a layering of perspective that starts with the artist (Davinio and Conrad) and trickles down to the viewer, and the middle portion between artist/author and viewer/reader is retold by either Marlow or Davinio’s avatar cyber character. The second video I’ve listed appears more along the lines of what I would categorize digital poetry to be. We see mixed mediums, symbols in the place of language, a myriad sounds that conflict or align, etc. etc. If you further research Davinio, a lot of her work is dedicated to luxury cars like Ferrari and Jaguar. Though these videos are in Italian, the language barrier actually helped me understand the many aspects to the poem, as words became noise and I was able to better identify all of her included sounds without getting lost in a poem of familiar language. If that makes sense?

Below are two other videos that I found rather innovative to the world of experimental film. The first is from theberrics.com and is a narrative of a skateboarder’s passion for his sport; though the narrative is rather consuming of the video as a whole, I thought that the way in which the editor includes the flames was pretty cool. As for the second video, Lily Donaldson’s father created a video of the model and her hair. Yes, it sounds absolutely absurd, however, his editing is brilliant as it is slowed down to a humanly impossible speed and each lock is separated in a really surreal way. Each video is interesting in that it takes something simple from daily life and magnifies the movement or friction from it in a really unique way. That’s all, hope you enjoy!

The Berrics: http://theberrics.com/dailyopspost.php?postid=2134 (there’s an ad at the beginning so hold out for the video!)

Lily Donaldson:

The Atlantic Monthly: Is Paris Still a Moveable Feast?


“What is more relevant to our times, though, is that the rich of today are also different from the rich of yesterday. Our light-speed, globally connected economy has led to the rise of a new super-elite that consists, to a notable degree, of first- and second-generation wealth. Its members are hardworking, highly educated, jet-setting meritocrats who feel they are the deserving winners of a tough, worldwide economic competition—and many of them, as a result, have an ambivalent attitude toward those of us who didn’t succeed so spectacularly. Perhaps most noteworthy, they are becoming a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home. Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today’s super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves.” -Christina Freeland

Business journalist Christina Freeland examines a most fascinating subject within the current Atlantic Monthly in her article entitled “The Rise of the New Global Elite”: the moguls of today and the individuals of tomorrow’s written history. All of these people are men and women that you and I probably have never heard of. Today, as we reside in the banks of the economic crash’s denouement, the bliss of life is rising from the dust of a depression; a stark mirror image of the Hemingway-esque beauty of youth pre-1929 is remembered fondly, however, we can’t help but wonder how we and our fellow American citizens will survive in the current era of technology and cyberspace communities of the Internet, as many can neither afford nor understand HTML coding. This elitist class, that any and everyone reads of and subconsciously wonders, “who? what? why? where? and HOW DO I JOIN THEM?” has tapped in to the cybersphere of the Internet’s plane of omnipresence and is effectively greeting, meeting, and colaborating with other cybergeniuses 6,000 miles away from them. The brilliance of these individuals doesn’t reside in finding the cure to AIDS, poverty, or political strife, but in the appropriation of self-marketing themselves in a way that is useful and conscious of looking to the future. So we ask ourselves one last question: “am I an idiot? . . . ’cause blogging doesn’t seem to be that trivial after all.” Freeland acknowledges this rapid rise in digital communities stating, “. . .thanks to globalization and technological innovation, people, money, and ideas travel more freely today than ever before.” And really, she’s right.

I believe it was Gertrude Stein who said that no man or woman is ahead of their time, they’re merely of their time. If you think about this statement, and the modernist that Stein was, are WE simply behind the time and failing to keep up with our wave in the technological race? In just starting Twitter and eReader accounts, are we fifty years behind those creating buildings in Dubai?

If you have time, read the article below! More than intriguing.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/01/the-rise-of-the-new-global-elite/8343/

Poet Spotlight: Matthew Dickman Reading “Slow Dance”

“[Matthew Dickman] knows something about the sorrow of this world, its call for a kind of toughness of spirit and a sensitivity that must go underground if one is to survive and, more importantly here, the violence that such poverty recreates and echoes in the lives of the dispossessed…But it is his artfulness and large spirit, telescoping without sentimentality the single outlook of a speaker who has escaped such conditions and now looks back, as bluesy as such projects go, that gives his poems a universality of feeling, an expressive lyricism of reflection, and heartrending allure.” -Major Jackson

Matthew Dickman (born 1975, Portland) is an American Poet. Dickman received his bachelors at the University of Oregon his first book, All American Poem received the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize in Poetry in 2008. His work, though seemingly simplistic, is comically relatable and beautifully heartfelt.

Other stuff including “Self-Portrait with Sadness, Wild Turkey, and Denis Johnson” can be found here: http://www.fishousepoems.org/archives/matthew_dickman/

Digital Art Forms: Charles Bukowski, Photography, Oliver Peoples, Black Cab Sessions

Goodness, there’s a lot out there to get lost in. For as much as I’d like to show, there is not enough space to post it all, so here are six sites/projects/artists/mediums that I found intriguing and share-worthy. Enjoy!

1. Charles Bukowski. I love, and will always love, Charles Bukowski. Yes, I understand that I am supposed to hate him, seeing that he’s so often regarded as a misogynistic drunk. I’ve tried so hard but can’t find that side of him–he’s a lover of women and of life.  I made the following short film “Spam On Rye” (my apologies for the crudeness, this is only the rough draft and is missing a couple of interviews) as a quest to find the softer side of Bukowski for a final in a documentary class last year. The poem being written is entitled “Dinosauria, We”, and though rather apocalyptic, the poem is just gorgeously drenched in simplistic style. Below the video is the text for the poem if interested.  In the project of making this video I really gained an appreciation for digital poetry, as every single medium used is playing off of each of the human senses as the viewer/reader experiences the piece. Music is key; scene-cuts are key; volume, brightness, etc. I didn’t realize how hard final cut was, and to all of you who have it mastered, I give you two high fives and a Vulcan Salute.

Dinosauria, We:
Born like this
Into this
As the chalk faces smile
As Mrs. Death laughs
As the elevators break
As political landscapes dissolve
As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree
As the oily fish spit out their oily prey
As the sun is masked
We are
Born like this
Into this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes
Born into this
Walking and living through this
Dying because of this
Muted because of this
Castrated
Debauched
Disinherited
Because of this
Fooled by this
Used by this
Pissed on by this
Made crazy and sick by this
Made violent
Made inhuman
By this
The heart is blackened
The fingers reach for the throat
The gun
The knife
The bomb
The fingers reach toward an unresponsive god
The fingers reach for the bottle
The pill
The powder
We are born into this sorrowful deadliness
We are born into a government 60 years in debt
That soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
And the banks will burn
Money will be useless
There will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
It will be guns and roving mobs
Land will be useless
Food will become a diminishing return
Nuclear power will be taken over by the many
Explosions will continually shake the earth
Radiated robot men will stalk each other
The rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms
Dante’s Inferno will be made to look like a children’s playground
The sun will not be seen and it will always be night
Trees will die
All vegetation will die
Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men
The sea will be poisoned
The lakes and rivers will vanish
Rain will be the new gold
The rotting bodies of men and animals will stink in the dark wind
The last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseases
And the space platforms will be destroyed by attrition
The petering out of supplies
The natural effect of general decay
And there will be the most beautiful silence never heard
Born out of that.
The sun still hidden there
Awaiting the next chapter. (source: http://able2know.org/topic/91839-1)

2. Polaroid. Thought this one was kind of cool, too. It really shows the evolution  of the polaroid over time, especially when you think about polaroid film being almost out of production today and how expensive it is when you do find it.

3. Oliver Peoples 2010 Ad Campaign. Love OP’s marketing… a lot. Had to share.

4. The Selby. So good. SO GOOD. Best interiors website!

Selby short film called ‘Rockaway Taco': Endearing goodness. Gives you a glimpse into an alternative lifestyle centered upon the art of giving.

5. Black Cab Sessions. Absolutely Brilliant, London.

http://www.blackcabsessions.com/about.php

6. Arcade Fire’s New Project: TheWildernessDowntown. One last incredibly awesome thing– entirely worth the download of Google Chrome, so do it, even if you hate Arcade Fire. Go to: thewildernessdowntown.com.

Check these out, too:

http://www.beonlineb.com/click_around.html

http://rorrimkcalb.com/arcadefire.html

Short Blog #1: Interacting With the Digital Community: An Internet Nihilist’s Nightmare

As much as I hate to admit it, I am a creature of extreme habituality and fear change like the apocalypse. I know that the Internet is a signifier of modernity and synonymous with “the future”; I know that smart-phones are our future, and that they predict that we will all carry some sort of hand-held hard-drive that can make/take calls and translate Dutch to Mandarin within the next fifty years of our lives. But, for some reason, I cannot cope with the concept of cyberspace and I think that it has something to do with the intangibility of it all. My day is an eternal return of routine and the thought of checking forms of Internet communication on top of ritual sounds horrifically distracting yet so tempting all at once. I can’t help but think of all of the fascinating people out there that are interested in the same things I am. Perhaps I am one of those material-modernists that Virginia Woolf complained of in A Sketch of the Past. Yet, today, is that not an oxymoron, as today’s “modern” is so closely aligned with sustainability or finding stability without consumption of materials? Perhaps I am merely a wistful romantic. I still check books out from the library because I like the way they smell, and the thought of all of the people who have had them on their nightstand, travel bag, on the bus/subway, or read them to children or lovers. I love hand-writing letters, cards, or notes to friends in the same city—what is more exciting than to receive something in the mail? I subscribe to the New Yorker and still get the NYTimes Sunday edition in the mail because there is something endearing about combing through five hundred pages of random articles every week. I’m sorry, trees, but I love the smell of newsprint.

This morning I woke up with 27 emails from Twitter on my beloved Blackberry that now feels tainted with commercial spam. All I could think upon opening them was,  “Well, that was smart. Pandora’s Box has been unearthed. Might as well get back on that god-for-saken Gilt website that sent you 12 emails a day about sales that nobody can afford. I’ve now given in to the concept of the “blog”. I now have a Twitter account, a Facebook account, and a Google reader. I now have two email accounts am getting an unnerving number of updates because I don’t exactly know how to turn them off and am too lazy to do so, because how often will I really be checking all of these? Who are you @thefashionwitch and @AltsoundsFeed1? Why are you following me? I’ve only “Tweeted” five times… about nothing at that. Are you a spy? Are you going to come to my house? Oh my god my phone line is probably tapped right now, can you see me right now?”

I always avoided digital communication because verbal discourse has always held a place in my heart. I’ve always preferred calling friends over texting, and detested email communication. For some reason it just didn’t feel real. I had a Facebook in high school but had deactivated it up until the first of this year, as friends wanted photos from the adventures of the year passed. Upon deleting it I instantly remembered why I didn’t have it in the first place–that unspoken competition and ability to make anyone feel insecure in the world of Facebook has an addicting quality, and who REALLY knows all of their 700 friends? I figured why not talk to those most important to you in person?

I guess my main apprehension with Internet communication is that it seems intangible and places a strong threat of extinction upon the old trades of tactile communication. Upon a recent vacation to the tropics, for every ten readers that I encountered, at least a good half of them were reading on either an iPad, iphone, or Kindle. Of the remaining five, two were reading John Grisham novels, two were reading magazines, and only 1/10 of the entire lot was reading classic, mind you, not commercial, fiction. I think I saw one book, out of two weeks amongst strangers, that could be considered pertinent to the literary canon.

Further, my fear rests upon the safety of the disclosure of information online– does such cyberspace involvement mean all of our privacy has been stripped, or is such involvement merely a means to survival in today’s post-modern (or are we post-post-modern?) society of internet lives? Because really, what private information is exposed, when everyone is offering up the same thing and your common web-surfer can’t trace an IP address to save his life.

Though digital communication is relatively intimidating, it has so many advantages of mixing media to create new art forms (ex. Digital poetry), co-branding communication, etc. Large sites like Cyanatrendland or style.com all have the ability to bring together different forms of the fine arts and open doors to combining them to bring ideas together. Pre-internet, the global population was uneducated in terms of cultural trends and political happenings in other countries. For example, the Japanese can learn about Spanish trends, the French about the Argentine, and Indians about Russians. There is so much to explore in this alternative world of communication and once we wade through the muck of getting started, it really is a brilliant way to unite individuals who are thousands of miles apart.

Worldview: French Vogue’s New Editor is Elegant Emmanuelle Alt

All hail Emmanuelle Alt, the new editor in chief at Vogue (Fr.) after ten years of dedication. Working beneath former editor of the magazine, Carine Roitfield (who states she is retiring to take on personal projects), Alt will hopefully maintain the poise of her previous position in applying it towards editing. In an interview with fashion.telegraph.co.uk, Alt states, “It is such an honour for me but also a great pleasure to land at the helm of Vogue Paris, a magazine which I know very well. By working with such talented teams, I can start to work on developing the incredible potential that Vogue Paris has.” She plunged swiftly into her career in fashion, holding the role of fashion director at Elle (Fr.) at the fresh age of twenty. Though the position may be one of controversy, it appears that much of the fashion world around Paris is largely excited for Alt’s promotion. Regarding her motivation, Karl Lagerfeld states the following: “Her style is her big shoulders, long legs, tight jeans, sleeves up to the elbow, one hip out. I personally like her. She’s a handsome French woman. She has a style, but is it enough to make a whole magazine? As editor-in-chief, she may blossom.”