Art Idea: Instant Tableaux

April 26, 2011

1. Find a beautiful pile of rubbish that is in a public area (filthy lot or illegal dump).

2. Lifting an object…

3. …place a brightly colored cloth beneath it.

4. Return it to its origin.

5. Repeat until all objects have been re-based.

Voila. Instant tableaux.

Chicken hanging in the window


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On Transgression In Art

April 17, 2011

[I’d like to say all the things I’m going to point to here, but I didn’t. I thought them, but Mike Barthel wrote them.]

Reading The Awl today and came across this wonderful meditation on transgression in art by Mike Barthel.
In Defense of Offensive Art…

Why should, Mister Barthel questions, offensive art be judged on moral and not aesthetic values. I won’t waste any more time detailing his arguments as his writing is lively enough. Take a moment to check it out; it’s a quick read, but a clarifying one.

The Author's reflection in a cell door at Seattle's former immigration center.

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Beyond the Pyramids, the Square

March 14, 2011

Cairo-based artist and musician Ahmed Basiony died on January 28 from asphyxiation while participating in the successful Egyptian popular uprising. has been playing his music continuously ever since.

His Vimeo channel has only two documents of his live sound, but it’s interesting stuff (via Dangerous Minds). offers a small view of his life’s work and posts a remarkable audio memorial.

image courtesy of

Ahmed Bassiouni, right

A few more photographs and his CV at AfricanColours.

His unfinished website.

[Originally posted at metafilter…]

| More: Music, Writing

Review: Losing Control in Soweto

March 08, 2011

Spoek Mathambo

Remember that name. Spoek is a musician and designer in South Africa.
His cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control” came into my world last night via the ever perverse homolandia (NSFW).

It’s a beautiful take on an old anthem; both are dismal yet somehow joy inducing. They both make use of minor chords to get their message across. Spoek changes the lyrics to “he’s lost control…” and I haven’t attempted to parse why.

On vimeo I found an interview with him and perhaps some clues lie there; I’ll leave that up to you to decide. The changes are atmospherically delightful. The sound of steel drums. The downward pitch-shifting of the vocals.

The video brings nods to initiation ceremonies. The chanter in his white suit. The white dust blown into the faces of the young petitioners. These children being ridden by loas, spirit horses.

Skygazer over at Metafilter has an interesting reading on it that dovetails nicely into my own. He sees the movements of the young bodies as tributes to the epilepsy of Ian Curtis, the author of the song and it’s first vocalist. Actually, the chances that the director was looking at making connections between the epileptic’s movements during a seizure and the actions of the ridden/possessed are probably close to 100%.

It’s been written that epilepsy was viewed as both the hand of the devil and the pose of the shaman. Both versions of the song function as trance music; if only Spoek’s cover were longer. If there’s anything I can summon quickly to resonate with the imagery of the video it’s the popular take on Voodoo in Louisiana’s New Orleans. Every image I can imagine of the male practitioners involves white suits and top hats. The voice being the central power of this religion, and perhaps of all human endeavor, it is only fitting that our protagonist carries a megaphone instead of a magic wand or a whiskey bottle.

a little more info from blackdownsoundboy; be sure to snatch the ok zharp mix at the end of the interview.

| More: Music, Video, Writing

Art Idea: Contemplations

March 01, 2011

1. mount a bicycle to a piano to allow it to strike the wires and produce sound.

should look insane/crazy. and be awful sounding.

build a fleet of these.

2. how can you produce bright red fireball explosions?

the kind that they have at major exhibitions where it’s all points of light sparkling in the sky?

could you have a half hour or more of just that?

then the next day green?

then blue or purple?

everyday a different color so the sky is just one big solid glow of a certain hue for a brief moment???

3. videotape firecrackers exploding in honey.

4. lay a trail of gunpowder on honey and burn it. maybe it extends or ends in a large explosion.

5. make collages in public from materials found in public.

using detritus and trash construct collages on public surfaces. like on walls.

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