Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Occasionally i avert my gaze from the laptop and wonder what the hell did i do before the Internet came along? I glean a huge amount of information about music, art, places, people and the world in general from it and mainly rely on email/social networking sites for contact with friends who are abroad. I guess what i really love about it is the fact that i am exposed to things that would have been hidden or esoteric otherwise.
Case in point is the site Kidd of Speed/Ghost town. It is a site set up by a biker called 'Elena' and feature photographs from her journeys around the Chernobyl area. The Chernobyl incident was a nuclear reactor accident in the nuclear power plant based near Pripyat in the USSR. It occurred in April 1986 and was the worst nuclear plant accident in history. It remains the only incident to reach a 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
As a result of this many people died directly (such as plant employees and firefighters) and countless others have died from the effects of radiation.There are no concrete numbers as to how many died. There is now a zone of exclusion which spans 30km around the site of the disaster.
Elena rode her bike through abandoned towns and houses in the area.Parts of the area remain untouched, frozen in time. Her photographs show houses, an old Ferris wheel, the power plant itself, Toys strewn on a playground and personal belongings abandoned in the panic that followed the accident. Cars and Trucks used by clean up workers sit rusting in the streets.
The Kidd of speed site is a prime example of why i love the Internet. Elena has since gone on to document her travels through some historical battle sites in the Ukraine. She and friends visited sites with detectors, cameras and shovels and the results are fascinating
Monday, September 29, 2008
I was lucky enough to receive a double dose of Ms Amanda Palmer over the weekend. She was kind enough to take some of her younger fans into consideration; due to the fact that the show in the Academy was 18's and over they wouldn't have been allowed in. She and the Danger Ensemble appeared in Meeting house square, Temple Bar on Friday night to sign Cd's, play a few songs on a ukulele, cut hair and startle passers by.
She sang a few covers on the ukulele,from Radiohead to Rihanna's 'Umbrella' and then one new song that was written in the past few weeks about her parents deciding to sell her family home. I usually prefer to not meet musicians i admire, due to some disappointing past experiences. But she was friendly, warm and approachable.
Supported in the Academy by Zoe Keating and Jason Webley, cellist Keating wove intricate layers by using live sampling. Accordion player Webley instigated a few hundred people to stick their right index finger in the air and spin around 12 times. The drunk people were especially fun to watch!
Palmer was lifted on stage by the Danger Ensemble, clad in a veil (which i think was a nod to her days as the '8 foot bride', a living statue) and proceeded to blast into a 13 song set with the song 'Astronaut. Her experience in theatre, as a street statue,her ease of interaction with the crowd really shone through on stage.
Her set consisted of a mixture of songs from her new album, a Neil Gaiman original 'I Google You', 2 Dresden Dolls songs: Half Jack and Coin Operated Boy. She finished on the Bon Jovi song Livin' On a Prayer (which would make my teeth grind at the best of times but somehow sounded ok). It was easily one of the top three gigs i've been at in the past year or so; i'm envious of anyone heading to see her on the remainder of the tour!
Friday, September 26, 2008
I've been a mooching Minnie with uploading photos from the Bloggers Vs Hip Hop night. So without any further ado:
These ladies know their stuff: The Glamorous BlueBirds
Mr Mulley may shoot lasers from his eyes but Rick has his own personal lighting team
The Delightful Mr Doyle
Victory went to the bloggers as Snoop Dogg played a lack lustre set to a 50% full RDS Simmons court. Actually we kicked Snoops ass....I heard reports that he ran crying to his ma after the show.
The lovely Lottie ponders the plan
Strangest sight of the evening had to be the ' i lv sheep' t-shirt i spotted on some young wan! She made it herself apparently. Nuff said
Certain photos have had to be excluded to protect the identities of those involved!
Green Ink who produced the most amazing pair of underpants!
Slyscribe who has the most amazing shoes.Wantsies
Great to meet some new partners in crimes yet uncommited :P Hopefully we'll do it again soon.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Love him or hate him, you have to hand it to Kanye West. He's got his finger in many business pies and the latest venture is “Alligator Boots”.
He has joined forces with Comedy Central (responsible for bringing us South Park, Futurama, The Sarah Silverman programme, Trigger Happy TV and more) to create a show. Tentatively called “Alligator Boots”, one 30 minute pilot has already been produced and if the show is commissioned it would be broadcasting sometime in 2009.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I watched the documentary 'Zeitgeist' last night and as a result my brain spent the rest of the night in overdrive. The word zeitgeist is originally a German expression that translates as 'spirit of the age'. It was written and produced by Peter Joseph; and released in 2007.
It consists of 3 main topics: The Jesus myth theory, the WTC attacks on 9/11 and The Federal Reserve. It was an interesting watch and raises some theories that may be labelled by some as a conspiracy. I'm not really sure if i blindly follow the information given to us by the media, nor do i fully subscribe to all of the topics covered in the film. It's something that may provoke people to think outside of the box and think twice before digesting information relayed on tv and in print. It's well edited and certainly gave me something to ponder over other than what to wear today!
If you want to watch it and make your own mind up, feel free to click play below. An upcoming sequel has been announced. "Zeitgeist Addendum" will premiere on October 2, 2008 in Hollywood, California. The film will be released for free online on October 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I'll hold my hands up and admit that although I'm a music snob, i still have a soft spot for a decent pop tune! Currently gnawing it's way through my brain is the music of Lady GaGa especially the song 'Just Dance'.
“I was always an entertainer. I was a ham as a little girl and I’m a ham today". At age of 4 she learnt to play piano by ear, was performing at open mike nights by the age of 14 and at 17 she became was one of 20 kids in the world to get early admission to Tisch School of the Arts at NY. Methinks the lady otherwise known as Stefania Gabriella Germanotta will hit the big time!!
Below is a sampler from her new album The Fame.
I seem to be going through a phase of being fascinated by art made from everyday items eg:Jennifer Maestre
I was introduced to the work of American artist Tara Donovan over the weekend by a sculptor friend and was struck by the sheer volume of material that she uses in her pieces. Donovan lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Her sculptures comprise everyday materials such as scotch tape, drinking straws, paper plates, and Styrofoam cups. Her work has an organic, tactile quality to it and she has stated that "It is not like I'm trying to simulate nature. It's more of a mimicking of the way of nature, the way things actually grow. My work might appear ‘organic’ or ‘alive’ specifically because my process mimics, in the most elementary sense, basic systems of growth found in nature.”" The materials are used in huge quantities and the piece “grows” through accumulation.They are reminiscent of landscapes, clouds and cellular structures
The shapes and facades that Donovan constructs conceal the identity of the material and it's only when you get closer to her pieces that they reveal themselves.My favourite sculpture of hers is called Haze (below). It exhibited in the Ace Gallery in New York in 2003. Haze was made from over 2 million stacked clear plastic drinking straws and measured a huge 42 foot in length and over 12 foot in height. Depending on where Haze was viewed from it had various visual effects; with parts of the walls receding and undulating.The further away one got from the piece the appearance became almost fluid, upon walking closer it became almost pixillated.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Due to reading up on the election it was the picture above that drew my attention to New York artist Zina Saunders.
Saunders has been a writer and illustrator for more than a decade. She has a project called Overlooked New York which is a collection of interviews, profiles and portraits of diverse New York subcultures and hobbyists. She started Overlooked in 2004 in response to a long time curiosity about Puerto Rican men cycling decorated bikes. Overlooked features a diverse bunch of people such as street performers, park anglers, bike messengers, mushroom hunters, pigeon breeders and kite flyers
Saunders was born, lives and works in Manhattan.She attended Music and Art High School and The Cooper Union.She worked with a travelling circus in upstate New York as a levitating lady but eventually returned to the city where she was born. She is the daughter of well known illustrator Norman Sunders.
Overlooked offers a glimpse into New York city life that many people never see or never take the time to see. Such as Tone, a 30 year bike messenger who revealed:
"The worst thing, of course, is getting doored. One time there was a taxi, that was stopped at a light, and the woman inside opened the door wide open on the traffic side. I yelled out, and she tried to close it, but there wasn't time at all. And I went over the door, and I hit my throat on the top of the glass window, and I went over it and rolled twice, and I got up. As I was flopping, rolling through the air, I heard people yell, “Oh my God!” I mean no one really sees that kind of thing. So they see me just roll out and get right up.
Right when I get up, I pull out my Leatherman, my toolkit, because I know there's got to be something wrong with my bike. But the Leatherman opens up like a butterfly knife. So when the cab driver got out of his door, and he came towards me to see if I was OK, and I went to open my Leatherman, he totally flipped out, like I was going to stab him.
But I think the best thing about it all is just riding around and seeing people on the street. Seeing New York's face—like a kid being pushed along in a carriage, who sees me on the bike and smiles, and I get to ring my bell and he goes, "Yay!". Or a couple walking down the street and then suddenly they try to sneak in a kiss. Just little things about people."
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I've lived in Dublin for a number of years and have made an effort to visit galleries and museums when i have the chance. However there are still a huge number of places in Dublin i have yet to visit and I'll be taking full advantage of Culture Night this coming Friday, September 19th.
Culture night has been running in Dublin since 2006 as an initiative led by Temple Bar Cultural Trust in association with the Council of National Cultural Institutions. It's also supported by the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. It was started in a bid to provide an awareness of the many cultural treasures that we have in the city.This year the night will also happen in Cork, Limerick and Galway. It amazes me when i speak with people who have lived in Dublin for a number of years, or even their entire lives; and yet they have never set foot in places such as the Chester Beatty library,The Hugh Lane gallery,the GAA museum, Collins Barracks or the National Gallery.
I have spent hours in the Chester Beatty library gawping slack jawed at the amazing works of art: Egyptian papyrus texts, beautifully illuminated copies of the Qur'an,Chinese dragon robes and Japanese woodblock prints, the Bible, Buddhist paintings , European medieval and renaissance manuscripts are just some of the highlights of this gift to the Irish people from Mr Beatty.
Culture night has grown to include over 100 of Dublin's arts and cultural organisations with the vast majority opening until 11pm.It is expected to attract in excess of 100,000 people this year.
The Temple Bar Cultural Information Centre at 12 East Essex Street, Temple Bar will be open from 9am until 11pm on Culture Night providing as much information as you need to help you plan your evening.There are a number of ways to get around the city,by foot, bicycle and there are also free buses being provided to get people around.
I'm still working through it but i'm impressed with what i've heard thus far from her new album 'Who Killed Amanda Palmer'.
Anyone else going to check her out in The Academy September 27th?
Monday, September 15, 2008
I sit on the fence when it comes to her art, alternating between liking it and not being sure what to make of it. I have a definite opinion on her writing on the other hand and highly recommend it. This is my second time reading Strangeland and I'm giving it my full attention-the first was done on a noisy train journey.
Upon reading Strangeland Jeanette Winterson said "Her latest writings are painfully honest, and certainly some of it should have been edited out by someone who loves her". Sections of the book are like a car crash in written form, disturbing but yet difficult to avert your eyes from. One thing Emin seems unafraid of is being frank and her writing at times is surprisingly tender and sweet.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Thích Quảng Đức
I can only imagine some of the topics that may arise if you were to gather this bunch in one room but methinks it would make for an splendid evening of entertainment!
Friday, September 12, 2008
I am completely smitten with the work of Irish artist Eleanor McCaughey. I've been keeping an eye on her output over the past few years and her work has evolved incredibly in this time. Her portraits display intricate detail and have a luminous quality. She has a knack of being able to capture the essence or likeness of her subjects. She works mainly with oil, acrylic and watercolour paint.
Eleanor graduated with a certificate in Classical Animation and a Higher National Diploma in Graphic Design from Ballyfermot College in 2001. Having worked in the field of Computer Graphics for four years she wanted to learn more traditional skills. Hence she joined the Academy of Figurative art, Dublin in 2005 and took classes in traditional oil painting.
In 2006 Eleanor moved to Vancouver BC, Canada where she exhibited in a number of group shows. She is currently living in Dublin.
I recently asked her a few questions about her art, and influences.
"So many artists have influenced me; my all time favourite artists are Mark Ryden and Jonathan Viner. Their work is quite surreal but really nicely painted...I receive a monthly mag called Juxtapoz which keeps me inspired, it’s usually packed full of really great stuff."
Are there any particular spaces that you find inspiring?
I guess I draw inspiration from everything and everywhere really!
What inspires you to make art and what keeps you motivated when things are difficult?
I get such a great feeling when I see amazing art and listen to a great album....it just makes me want to paint. When things get tough I usually read lots of interviews with artists I admire, i realise its pretty tough for everyone. If it's something you really want to do you've got to hang in there and just give it your best shot. I also moan to my boyfriend a lot; he's usually amazing at encouraging me!
Describe your art in 4 words.
All over the place!
What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
My ultimate goal would be to make a living out of my art without having to have a part time job and to exhibit in NYC.