A magnitude 8.0 earthquake shook through Wenchuan County in Sichuan province of the People’s Republic of China on May 12, 2008. Official figures listed 69,197 dead, including 5,335 children, mostly killed as a result of shoddy school construction — a horrible tragedy, particularly due to China’s one-child policy, that caught the attention of a couple of artists, including the now infamous Ai Weiwei.
Ai had courted controversy before by being publicly outspoken about the Beijing Olympics, but his response to the Sichuan earthquake brought him into the sharp focus of the Chinese government. Working with a number of locals (Read more…)
Owing in large part to Hollywood’s discovery of its infinite star vehicle potential, the “intersecting lives” narrative has become, in recent years, something of a cop out. When the A-story isn’t strong enough, simply prop it up with parallel stories B through F and have them all fatefully (and conveniently) collide about a third of the way through the final act. It’s a trite and often tiresome trick that, with few exceptions, sacrifices meaningful narrative at the altar of novelty.
In riffing on this form with his debut novel London Triptych (Arsenal Pulp, 2013), Jonathan Kemp is playing with fire. (Read more…)
Are you curious what goes on in the mind of a queer Islamaphobe? Or perhaps you’d rather pick the brain of a polyamorous lover?
No, I’m not suggesting you call up your cable provider and subscribe to TLC. Rather, you should step away from the screen and hit up the Human Library, which provides an unscripted opportunity to learn more about real people who may not share the same values or culture as you.
Designed to promote dialogue and reduce prejudice, the Human Library hands visitors a library card, which allows them to check out a human book and (Read more…)
The Anti-Capitalist Resistance Comic Book is the second graphic novel from activist Gord Hill. It is a chronicle of several anti-capitalist and anti-globalization movements over the last two decades, from the WTO protests in Seattle to the recent Occupy movements. Hill also places a great deal of emphasis on the violence that has accompanied these movements, regardless of whether that violence was perpetrated by police or protestors.
As a documentary account of these events, The Anti-Capitalist Resistance Comic Book does a passable job. Hill was clearly involved in many of the movements chronicled in the book and is able to (Read more…)
Penguin Books is releasing new editions of George Orwell’s best known books on January 21 to commemorate the inaugural “Orwell Day” — an annual event to celebrate the author and his influence on media and modern discourse.
Designed by David Pearson, each book has a unique, typography-focused layout. It is the cover of 1984, however, that really stands out. Using matt black foil over debossed type, Pearson symbolically censored the title and author, leaving just enough of a faint hint for a reader to identify the book.
Check out the designs for the rest of the series (Read more…)
Qatar is home to the international news network Al Jazeera, including Al Jazeera English whose coverage of the middle-east and international news in general has garnered increasing respect from Western audiences. It is a cruel irony indeed that the government that funds such journalistic integrity also restricts freedom of speech in such a violent and reactionary manner. . . . → Read More: Art Threat: Qatari poet jailed for life for poem celebrating Arab Spring
In a delirious, hallucinogenic voice, author Barry Webster turns directly toward the place and experience of femininity in a queer life dominated by masculine desires. . . . → Read More: Art Threat: Femininity, fantasy, and fever dreams – Book review: The Lava in My Bones by Barry Webster
“Factories By the River” by Aaron Henry Gorson, Pittsburgh, PA
“Allegheny, BC” is Rodney DeCroo’s first published book of poetry. It follows a body of musical work that has received international acclaim. His albums—there have been six so far—have earned considerable respect from reviewers on several continents for the power of his lyrics and the haunting quality of his music.
The river that both his book and his poem “The Allegheny” are named for runs through DeCroo’s hometown of Pittsburgh. Though he has lived in Vancouver, BC, for most of his adult life, his mind has been swimming in that
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Growing up in the muck-stream of America – The poetics of defiance in Rodney DeCroo’s "Allegheny, BC"
Adrian Glynn and Brendan McLeod aren’t known for writing music with a political slant. When he’s not writing gorgeous western-tinged melodic songs, Adrian joins Brendan in the Vancouver band, The Fugitives, a four-piece composed of musicians who double as slam poets, writers, actors and hilarious accordion players (ok, there’s only one of those). But Bill C-31 was just the right issue to ruffle their feathers and inspire a divergence.
“Brendan and I often lament how difficult it is to write songs about political issues,” Adrian told me when I started asking questions about this particular song. “If it was
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Everyone Needs Their Heart – Vancouver’s Fugitives sing against Bill C-31
The Endangered Languages Project is a new initiative run by Google to catalog languages that are threatened because of globalization. As nice as it is that the people on the planet are finding more languages in common, we still need to encourage people to embrace languages that aren’t as popular.
“We have so many languages which are in danger of dying, and though there has been work done by linguists to document these languages, there are nowhere near enough linguists to do that,” said Anthony Aristar, professor of linguistics and co-director of the Institute for Language Information and Technology at
. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Google to Catalog Languages
When you go to the website for Berlin’s 7th Binennale, you encounter a stream of changing photographs from occupy and protest movements from around the world — Venezia, Toronto, Florence, Malacky, Athens and on and on. It is emblematic of curator Artur Zmijewski’s approach the largest art exhibition in Germany, which opened on April 27. In the forward to Forget Fear, the accompanying publication of the Berlin’s 7th Binennale, Zmijewski explains that “Art needs to be reinvented, but not as some crafty option to aesthecize human problems of the impoverished majority. What we need is more art that offers
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: 7th Berlin Binennale highlights political art – Curator Artus Zmijewski creates exhibition of activist art
Al Jazeera’s Artscape presents a wonderful short documentary on Abeer Soliman, an Egyptian storyteller and performance artist whose work changed after the uprising.
Nairobi graffiti by artists Uhuru B, Swift, Smokilah and Bankslave
Kenyan graffiti artists are painting the walls of Nairobi with reminders of government corruption. Executions are up in the Middle East – in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Yemen – as governments there continue their efforts to quell political turmoil. Malaysia is introducing a minimum wage for the first time, and experts warn that the fight against antibiotic resistant strains of tuberculosis has been lost.
Thousands of indigenous farmers marched in Guatemala City demanding land reform. Cambodian filmmaker Thet Sambath is being harassed and intimidated for claims made in his
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: News Remix: Mar 23 – April1, 2012 – A bricolage of (some of) last weeks news stories
This is the first in a new (ir)regular installment summing up last week’s news headlines using a ‘remix’ style — a quirky restless glance into the wreckless feckless immediate past. (Inspired by Harpers Magazine’s ‘Scientific Summary’.)
Aerial photo of tsunami debris from Japan
US peacekeeping forces joined with Congolese army troops to attack rebel militants hiding in the northern Congo, including remnant’s of Joseph Kony’s Lords Resistance Army. Ethiopia has sent troops into Eritrea. A Goldman Sachs insider says his former employer refers to its clients as “muppets”. The European court of human rights has declared ‘kettling’
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: News Remix: March 15-22, 2012 – Bricolage of (some of) last week’s headlines
This chart shows how the editors ‘understand how each writer's article functionalizes distrust/trust of institutionality in relationship to how much mediation they understand is useful in reflecting on the complexity of culture.’
The eighth issue of the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest has just been released in print. While the contents have been available online for a while, it’s definitely worth your while to drop a few bucks on the paper portrayal of this political periodical.
As Occupy Wall Street enters a new phase, this issue of JOAAP reflects the utility of a multiplicity of approaches to political issues.
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Advocating for a diversity of tactics – Journal of Aesthetics and Protest #8 now available in print
Bryant Park, Manhattan. Photo by Eric Walton
Montreal artists are invited to join the growing collaboration of the Occupy Arts Committee, a gathering of artists from all disciplines who want to support Occupy Montreal with creative practice.
According to organizers, this meeting will be a creation workshop to start imagining, painting & drawing … Artists are encouraged to bring material, art supplies, paint & brushes, etc…. and to think YELLOW.
March 17, 2012 Café l’Artère, 7000 ave. Du Parc (métro Parc). 14h / 2pm
In the two previous meetings, participants engaged in wide-ranging discussions about:
* how creative actions can
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Artists invited to join Occupy Arts Committee – 3rd gathering in Montreal set for March 17
This is an excerpt from Groucho Marx and Other Short Stories and Tall Tales: Selected Writings of Groucho Marx, edited by Robert S. Bader.
During the 1940s Groucho would often write about topics related to World War II while remaining, for the most part, non-political. At home, however, most discussions with his friends involved world events and politics. Groucho teased Morrie Ryskind about his incessant campaigning for Wendell Willkie in the 1940 presidential race, but he did vote for Willkie, stating that electing Franklin Roosevelt to a third term would set an unhealthy precedent. Four years later Groucho would
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Groucho Marx: What this country needs
Project Lowlives is seeking artists for a global online live presentation of artistic work in support the Occupy movement. Lowlives: Occupy! will take place on March 3, 2012.
From the website:
The Occupy protests, and the myriad of perspectives and experiences related to this unique moment, will be amplified, explored, and experimented with, through Low Lives’ internet-based creative platform. Low Lives: Occupy! recognizes the powerful opportunity that is the presentation of performances from around the world, and invites artists to open eyes and minds by presenting a radical re-imagining of possible ways of existing and relating.
Deadline for proposals: 6
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Call for artists in support of ‘Occupy’ movement – Online, international platform for performances, installations, actions in real time
The optimism in David Gauntlett’s Making is Connecting (published by the fantastic polity) is difficult to escape. Much like the plethora of networks, groups, clubs and civil society manifestations he describes, the book is largely held together with positive attitudes about culture and communication combined with a philosophy that triumphs creativity over consumption.
By forming a very accessible and very sound argument centered on creating and sharing as the cornerstones to individual happiness and healthy community in a society saturated with messages imploring and coercing us to do the exact opposite, Gauntlett’s work is deeply political.
That’s not to
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Let’s do this – Book review of Making is Connecting
Washed Up by Alejandro Durán
The New Year is officially upon us, but we want to take one last opportunity to look in the rear view mirror. Here are 23 of our favourite stories and projects that took place in the world of political art in 2011.
Do you have any personal picks that we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments below.
• Litter made lovely: Washed Up by Alejandro Durán • The deserted but beautiful homes of Detroit: Kevin Bauman’s 100 Abandoned Houses • Michael Caines’ depictions of US leaders are sincere yet ridiculous •
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: 23 political art stories from 2011
On a recent visit home I stopped to visit my Aunt. Her partner of 23 years, my other aunt, had passed away suddenly in January and it was the first time since I received the heart breaking news that I had been able to make it home. While commiserating together I learned that my aunts [...] . . . → Read More: Art Threat: Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme
Graphic novel Understanding the Crash features stories of struggles against speculative economics are skillfully outlined. From the Miami housing market bubble burst that ignited housing rights struggles, to community struggles for affordable housing in Cleveland, the book etches a detailed picture of a corrupt economic system and stories on grassroots organizing for change. . . . → Read More: Art Threat: Understanding the Crash illustrates resistance to capitalism
“The Face of the Dictatorship: the Third Reich in 3D” contains roughly 100 images of the dictator shot in 3D, originally used as Nazi propaganda beginning in 1936. . . . → Read More: Art Threat: 3D Hitler photo album launched in Germany
A new comics-memoir from the author who brought us Louis Riel looks at the benefits of paying for sex. . . . → Read More: Art Threat: Paying for It – prostitution minus gender – A review of the new comics memoir by Chester Brown
A new book about reconciliation and cultural diversity in Canada is FREE for your summer reading list. . . . → Read More: Art Threat: Cultivating Canada – New book looks at reconciliation by way of cultural diversity