Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Blue People of Troublesome, Kentucky

Less than an Appalachian fairy-tale,  the story of the Fugate family is a true account of blue-skinned hill people. Diagnosed with methemoglobinemia, a hereditary condition which causes blood to carry less oxygen resulting in a bluish discoloration of the skin, the family continued to pass on the trait through intermarriage and inbreeding due in large part to  their high level of isolation in the woods. As elusive as the blue people were, coal mining and railroads resulted in members of the family moving outside of their small community, thus stopping the spread of the gene which functions particularly well in a tight-knit blood line.

Buzz Aldrin

The transformation of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin into an appendage of pop culture serves as an example of one phenomena leading to another. After presumably walking on the moon close to his fortieth year, four decades later Aldrin can be found on national television doing the “cha cha” for a competitive dancing program. One might think he may be resting a little much on his laurels; however, Aldrin’s appearance on 30 Rock proved to be nothing short of amazing. As one of NASA’s finest, Aldrin yells at the moon in the daytime sky, “I see you! I see what you’re doing! Return to the night! You’ve no business here!” He proceeds to then invite Liz Lemon to “yell at the moon” with him, saying, “I own you! I walked on your face.” All sensationalism of space travel aside,  it’s very interesting to understand how media adopts and embraces a man who has left the earths atmosphere to return as a dancing, comedic guest star.

and if you don’t know…

Martha Rosler

Martha Rosler has become an artist of interest after recently viewing her collage series titled “Bringing The War Home”, a collection of works from the seventies which addressed the Vietnam war by juxtaposing images from two disparate media sources – Life Magazine and House Beautiful. The Aesthetics of Terror website appropriately described her collage work as “image sabotage”.

One of Rosler’s current projects is the “Martha Rosler Library”, a traveling-study hall filled with thousands of books from the artists personal collection. While creating a peculiarly intimate window into the intellectual development and inspiration of the artist, this work also communicates an earnest intent to share information in a manner non-subjugated by her own interpretations.

Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame

In a tremendously awful-looking Frank Gehry structure stationed in the tourist hub of Seattle, WA exists the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. Actually, it’s more of a smaller part of what is called the Experience Music Project, a sort of rock-n-roll hall of fame with the largest collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia.

The Science Fiction Museum, an addition to the EMP replacing “a motion platform ride featuring funk music”, showcases a few different sections focused around major themes in science fiction. While originally excited about a public museum of science fiction (one of only two in the world), all evidence thus far points to this place being pretty underwhelming, not to mention there is a fifteen-dollar admission fee. We could probably blame Paul Allen for that.

However, the online list of categorized science fiction work is totally worth checking out.

Maybe my dollars would be better spent getting weirded out at the new Scientology chruch on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Yes. This place is real.

A discussion of the work of Yves Klein

Elderly tour group at the Art Institute of Chicago discussing the work of Yves Klein on 5/13/10.

“this is postmodernism”

Zoltan from the Planetarium in Keskemet, Hungary describing one of the celestial bodies in his scale model of the solar system. Thank to Brandon Boan for the picture.

Do Android Hunters Dream of Custom Robotic Wildlife?

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“Of course, some of their animals consisted of electronic circuitry fakes, too; he had of course never nosed into the matter, any more than they, his neighbors, had pried into the real workings of his sheep. Nothing could be more impolite. To say, ‘Is your sheep genuine?’ would be a worse breach of manners than to inquire whether a citizen’s teeth, hair, or internal organs would test out authentic.”

 

Reading Philip K. Dicks “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep“, the novel “Bladerunner” is loosely based off of, I was brought back to an article I read in Wired about electronic animals being manufactured by Custom Robotic Wildlife. The electronic workings of these robotic, remote-controlled robots are covered in  the hide of various animals, the product line including bears, foxes, and deer, “combining technology, creativity and the art of taxidermy”. With multiple purposes ranging from decoys to catch illegal hunters to creepy mall displays, these android animals come across as strikingly life-like.

Probably the perfect wildlife accessory to go with your Real Doll.

Nick Rodrigues

Happened upon this guy’s work via Makezine while searching for images for a conference presentation I was giving on technology and mobile devices. While an interesting commentary on levels of privacy and public usage, this piece also points to the interesting disappearance of the phone booth from the urban landscape.

“Historically the iconic phone booth represented a place where one could go to be alone for a private conversation, transform into superman or travel through time. Today, it’s obsolete in most cities.”

More work from Nick Rodrigues here.

Tomas Del Balso

Tomas Del Balso (of Toronto’s dd/mm/yyyy and Romo Roto) just e-mailed about his blog and a new zine he recently finished. Tomas is a super good dude who I’ve had the chance to hang out with a few times. Check out his drawings and listen to his bands. If you happen to be in Hong Kong later this month, go see them play.

Dogtooth

Recently saw this film and left the theater slightly stunned, not quite knowing what to think. The story is a dark portrayal of family affairs. The three children of the household, too old to still be so innocent, are sheltered from the outside world by their parents, their father being particularly determined in this matter.  It was uncomfortable to watch. There is not really a soundtrack to this movie, other than the music produced by the characters, the silence working to make the whole viewing experience feel awkward and voyeuristic. Also, the cinematography is candid, making the scenes of sex and violence that much more graphic. Overall, a surreal portrayal of family affairs and the pervasiveness of popular culture.