Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lost Weekend

I'm starting to get hyper thinking about all the musical goodness that i'm going to get to sample this weekend. Electric Picnic here i come! Santogold,Terry Callier, Tinariwen, George Clinton & the P-Funk AllStars, Underworld, Lou Rhodes, Wilco...the list is long. These could be the highlights of the weekend for me:

1: Crystal Castles

2: Sigur Ros

3: The Roots

4: My Bloody Valentine

5: Grace Jones

Hopefully i'll make it back from Stradbally with my eardrums, limbs and sanity intact:)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Martha Cooper

On a Graffiti kick today!

Nice piece on Martha Cooper-I bought a book of hers a few years ago and fell in love with some of the images she captured. A New York city long since gone.She is best known for documenting the New York graffiti scene of the 1970s and '80s. She also captured the emergence of hip hop as a genre in the late 70s.

Streets Ahead

There are two Dublin based graffiti artists whose work i really like at the moment: Maser and Fink

According to his website Maser has been painting for over ten years in the Irish/International Graffiti scene, painting in such places as New York, Copenhagen, London, Holland, Belgium, Spain and Sweden.

He began studying fine art and continued on to Graduate with distinction in a BA in Design Communication (graphic design). From that he was Awarded Membership of the International Society of Typographic Designers (MISTD). Within the last 2 years Maser has focused more on his painting/street art and has high ambitions to promote the positive aspects of the graffiti culture to the Irish society.

Fink is a Graffiti/Mural/Stencil Custom Artist, Photographer and Graphic Designer.

FiNK studied Visual Communication in England for which he received an Honours Degree with Distinction. He also holds a Certificate in Art, Graphics and Printmaking. He has exhibited and painted in both England and Ireland. He also Dj's

Monday, August 25, 2008

Respect, or lack thereof

I'm a tad late finding this one. I've read it a number of times in sheer disbelief that a person would address his colleagues in the fashion Times writer Giles Coren did.

Coren should have had a cooling off period and then let someone do some editing before he sent this- I've yet to read a more ignorant or patronising letter.

The response? Read here

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lope Like A Buzzard

All Is Well by Sam Amidon has become a staple of my musical intake since i was given a copy in May. He was born in Brattleboro, Vermont and currently lives in New York. Amidon divides his time between his solo work(Sam Amidon) and also with various bands including Doveman, Stars Like Fleas and Samamidon, which is a collaborative effort with Thomas Bartlett.

He hails from a rich musical background, his brother is a drummer(who also played on All is Well) and both of his parents are musicians and teachers of music. Sams first instrument was not the guitar but the fiddle, which he started to learn around the age of three.

All is Well is a collaboration with composer Nico Muhly and producer-engineer Valgeir Sigurðsson, and was recorded in Iceland throughout 2007. Amidon has followed in footsteps of musical archaeologists Alan Lomax and Harry Smith in terms of unearthing music that some may not be familiar with. The ten traditional folk songs emerge but with a modern interpretation. They are not straight covers nor are they completely reconstructed. He managed to maintain the essence of the songs whilst lovingly putting his own slant on them. He dedicated the album to Dock Boggs mainly because "from his recording i learned many of the melodies and words found in this music"

The amalgamation of guitar, banjo, viola, piano, trombone and subtle hints of electronics work beautifully as backdrops to Amidons Voice. It gives a warm, comforting feel to the album.
The Milk Factory describe it as "a precious gem of a record, all in nuances and shades, with delicate overtones and airy harmonies. Sigurðsson’s production is light and subtle yet it gives these songs fantastic depth and contrast without ever overshadowing Amidon’s delivery".

For more information on Sam Amidon check out the following:

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The art of Theo Jansen really is incredible. Jansen is a dutch artist and kinetic sculptor; he creates large sculptures which resemble skeletons of animals. These harness the power of wind on the beaches which enables them to move. It is when you actually see them move that you realise that his work is a complex mixture of art and engineering. He creates them through the use of genetic algorithm.

Jansen states "Since 1990 I have been occupied creating new forms of life. Not pollen or seeds but plastic yellow tubes are used as the basic material of this new nature. I make skeletons that are able to walk on the wind, so they don’t have to eat. Over time, these skeletons have become increasingly better at surviving the elements such as storms and water and eventually I want to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives."

"Self-propelling beach animals like Animaris Percipiere (see above) have a stomach . This consists of recycled plastic bottles containing air that can be pumped up to a high pressure by the wind. This is done using a variety of bicycle pump, needless to say of plastic tubing. Several of these little pumps are driven by wings up at the front of the animal that flap in the breeze. It takes a few hours, but then the bottles are full. They contain a supply of potential wind. Take off the cap and the wind will emerge from the bottle at high speed. The trick is to get that untamed wind under control and use it to move the animal"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


This week i've been mostly listening to: Battles


“Fire is the sun unwinding itself from the wood”.

Richard Buckminster Fuller

Sunday, August 17, 2008


William Blake The Ghost of a Flea, 1819-1820

In a letter to Thomas Butts, dated April 25, 1803, Blake writes:

"Now I may say to you, what perhaps I should not dare to say to anyone else: That I can alone carry on my visionary studies in London unannoy'd, and that I may converse with my friends in Eternity, See visions, Dream dreams and prophecy and speak parables unobserv'd and at liberty from the Doubts of other Mortals; perhaps Doubts proceeding from Kindness, but doubts are always pernicious, Especially when we doubt our friends."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Does Not Compute

Robots are not a new idea.The human race has been dabbling with the notion for thousands of years. One of the earliest recorded accounts of automata is found in the Lie Zi text, written in the 3rd century BC. Within it there is a description of a much earlier encounter between a King Mu(1023 BC-957 BC) and a mechanical engineer known as Yan Shi, an 'artificer'. The latter proudly presented the king with a life-size, human-shaped figure of his mechanical handiwork.

Robots have fascinated and horrified me in equal measure since i was a kid. Yes i know that R2D2 and Asimo are generally viewed as being cute; I'll admit that i don't exactly get shivers when i seem them. I think i can definitely subscribe to the notion of The Uncanny Valley. The Uncanny Valley is a hypothesis that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. The "valley" in question is a dip in a proposed graph of the positivity of human reaction as a function of a robot's life likeness.

Japan appears to be at the forefront of developing actroids which are robots with strong visual human-likeness.They are mainly developed by Osaka University and manufactured by Kokoro Company Ltd which is the animatronics division of Sanrio.They can mimic such lifelike functions as blinking, moving, speaking, and breathing. The "Repliee" models are interactive robots with the ability to recognise and process speech and then respond.

An example of an actroid below:

Now to something not quite as lifelike but still unnerving. You can only imagine my reaction upon seeing Boston Dynamics latest offering. BD is an engineering company launched in 1992 that specializes in robotics and human simulation. Their robot known as BigDog gives me the FEAR...y'know the one...that creeps into your dreams, turns them into nightmares, chases you and is generally unstoppable. The noise it makes *shudders*

According to the BD website BigDog "is a quadruped robot that walks, runs, and climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads. BigDog is powered by a gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. BigDog's legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring 1 meter long, 0.7 meters tall and 75 kg weight."

You don't believe me?Check out the video

BigDog is being developed by Boston Dynamics with the goal of creating robots that have rough-terrain mobility that can take them anywhere on Earth that people and animals can go.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Steve Wolfhard

I'm currently obsessing over the work of Steve Wolfhard which i stumbled upon over the past few weeks. What drew me to his work was a regular character of his: Cat Rackam (Possibly the cutest cartoon kitty I've seen in eons). Wolfhard is based in Vancouver, Canada.

For more of his work check here and here

Friday, August 08, 2008


Have you ever procrastinated on spending time with a particular friend, family member or loved one? I'm too busy, she's working etc. You think to yourself that you'll do it tomorrow or next week? Do it today. Take one second to think about just one person that means so much to you, and then let them know about it.

I've a Sinead shaped hole my heart this morning as i get ready for her funeral and i won't ever get a chance again to talk, have a laugh or just act like an idiot with her. She's the only person i've met that managed to spark something wonderful in every person she encountered, a complete free spirit. I'll miss you doll.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Inflatable Art

New York based artist Joshua Allen Harris creates quirky pieces of street art using plastic or refuse bags. His inflatable sculptures are harnessed to street grids and take form when inflated with air from the subway. The beauty of his work is that the plastic lies dormant and just looks like trash on the street until a blast of air from a passing train brings it to life.

For videos of more of his work check out his youtube profile:

96 Pigeon House Road

The photographer Don McNeill Healy spent over a year documenting a traveller family in Dublin, Ireland. Travellers are a social/ethnic group of itinerant people of Irish origin living in Ireland, U.K and U.S.A. Travellers may refer to themselves as "Pavees". In the Irish language they are called an Lucht siúil (literally "the people of walking").

At one point I lived in a large Irish town where at least 10% of the population consisted of the traveller community.I have always been fascinated by many aspects of their culture such as the strong bonds that exist between family members with an emphasis on loyalty. Travellers tend to have their own language and customs. Religion also plays an important role in the lives of some families and occasions such as christenings,weddings and deaths are pointedly celebrated/marked.Issues such as alcoholism,lack of support and discrimination from settled people are common.

The historical origins of Travellers as a group has been a subject of dispute. One theory is that Irish Travellers are descended from a nomadic people called the Tarish. It was once widely believed that travellers were descended from landowners who were made homeless by Oliver Cromwell circa 1650 or by the Irish Potato Famine. However the facts may be difficult if not impossible to clarify as throughout their history the Travellers have left no written records of their own.

McNeill Healy is a graduate ofSpacerIADT Dún Laoghaire and doesn't hesitate to show a side of society that a lot of people shy away from. He is extremely passionate about the subjects that he captures on camera. He said of the Pigeon House photos "This project is about the humanity that exists amongst Rosie Maughan, her family and the traveling community in general. I have spent over a year and half photographing the lives of the Maughan family living on Pigeon House Road. My aim was to develop a close intimate relationship in order to capture the loving, caring nature of the family as well as the chaos that exists in their lives. This family live in difficult circumstances, however my intention was to create a new vision, a new way of seeing the obvious chaos, that is the humanity in Rosie and her family. In everyone and everything, there exists a new vision."

Email: donhealy AT
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