Whoosh

No, these aren’t portraits showing the extraordinary beauty of Grackles,  this is what happens when you put butter cookies out for them. Butter cookies, a leading cause of temporary grackle insanity. All images 1500 x 996, click for full size. I rather like the disembodied talon in the last shot.

Whoosh1

Whoosh

Whoosh2

Whoosh3

© C. Ford.

Odd Things

Cope Ceramic, acrylics, mix media 10" x 15" x 8" 2016

Cope
Ceramic, acrylics, mix media
10″ x 15″ x 8″
2016

Erika Sanada does absolutely stunning sculptures, which are born of anxiety and trauma:

My work reflects the weird and the creepy; I am fascinated with the dark side. “Odd Things” is my current body of work and I use ceramic for making bizarre creatures. They have extra body parts such as multiple arms, legs, teeth and ears.  These are how I express my sensitive mind. There are two reasons I create misshapen and abnormal work. One is my bitter childhood and the second is my constant anxieties.

When I was young, my friends ignored and bullied me. As a result, I stayed indoors and watched supernatural movies and animations. They helped me escape from reality and gave me power. These movies showed main characters using magic to turn others into freakish animals and insects. This transformation inspired me to make work that reflected the images that I saw in those movies and animations.

I have had an anxious personality since I was a child. I worry about everything, even tiny things. Anxiety drags my mind to the dark side, which is more powerful and intense than my bright side. Sometimes I can’t move forward because I am emotionally paralyzed. I decided to go face-to-face with my anxieties by creating irregular and eerie creatures representing my dark side. As a result, these creatures show my twisted mind as I try to overcome anxiety through my creation.

Influence Ceramic, glaze 10.5" x 9" x 10" 2015

Influence
Ceramic, glaze
10.5″ x 9″ x 10″
2015

Have a look at Odd Things, wonderfully beautiful and thought provoking.

INKS

For their latest video game INKS, London-based State of Play Games have created a new spin on classic pinball by turning the background of a pinball game into a piece of interactive art. As the ball traverses the course, the bright lights and clanking sounds of traditional pinball are replaced with pockets of watercolor paint that explode into flourishes. The ball in turn leaves trails of color as you solve each level. […] It’s a visually stunning game with some pretty innovative ideas, even if you don’t particularly enjoy pinball. You can download INKS for iOS here.

Via Colossal Art.

And, if you prefer a longer version:

I always sucked at pinball, but this looks fun.

Kidnapped, Gagged, Surgically Altered Jesus.

(REUTERS/Anton Meres (SPAIN))

(REUTERS/Anton Meres (SPAIN))

There have been a number of articles written recently [by Christians], making the case for Jesus being transgender, what with taking flesh from Mary, missing a chromosome, all that. I can’t say I find any of it particularly interesting, because there’s no Jesus. It is upsetting a whole lot of other Christians.

When Christian ministers in the Civil Rights Movement appealed to the character of Jesus Christ for the wisdom and strength to pursue equality, they did so knowing that they were following His lead. They were advocating for His will and supported by the Christ of Scripture. Jesus, you might say, was a willing participant in the push for equality.

Now, however, as the push to redefine humanity in the sexual revolution is underway and the effort to seek “equal rights” for transgenders is the cause célèbre, Jesus has to be bound with chains, gagged with duct tape, kidnapped and surgically altered to serve as the champion of that movement’s ideal for equality. He has to be dragged kicking and screaming to a place His creation was never intended to go.

Emphasis mine. There sure are a whole lot of people bullying God these days. I do find it interesting that Christians manage to cry “Persecution, you are bullying God!” while at the same time, able to wax poetic about the all powerfulness of said god.

[…]

This is, of course, utter nonsense and not akin to any interpretive paradigm for the incarnation ever offered by any theologian, at any time, in any era, on any continent, for any purpose. It is a fabrication of minds clouded by the scars of sexual rebellion.

[…]

Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day, preached in a synagogue (which only males could do), was referred to as the “son” of Mary (and Joseph, though erroneously so), referred to exclusively by the Greek pronouns “his” and “him,” and was referred to as “King of the Jews” – not “Queen of the Jews.” Nowhere is it recorded that Mary dressed poor female Jesus in male clothes to ease his transition into patriarchal society. Nowhere is Jesus said to be screaming internally for his inner female self to break the chains of restrictive, theocratic society to have a coming out party.

These patently obvious cues in Scripture, however, will likely not dissuade armchair theologians on the Left from validating Hall’s thesis.

I, therefore, turn to church history. In the entire corpus of writings on the church fathers, there is not a single writer who claims Jesus was anything other than anatomically and psychologically male in his humanity. The church does not depict him as schizophrenic, bi-polar, bi-sexual, homosexual, questioning, or transgender.

[…]

He is a new creation, indeed – just not one to be used to bolster a new, tired old argument about Jesus’s sexuality to make transgenders feel better about their gender dysphoria or the fact that they are prohibited from using the opposite sex’s restrooms.

I’d rather they just admit that they’re looking for a different Savior than the one given to us in the Christ of the Bible.

The full rant is here.

Egyptian Artists Work Around State Oppression And Censorship.

Ollah - installation by Hossam Dirar (2015)

Ollah – installation by Hossam Dirar (2015)

 

 Division (2013) installation by Hossam Dirar (Photo via Hossam Dirar)


Division (2013) installation by Hossam Dirar (Photo via Hossam Dirar)

In times of chaos, artistic expression can be cathartic. But artist expression in a place like Egypt can be insalubrious while working under an oppressive political regime.

“In recent years, the Egyptian arts and culture sector has faced debilitating repression,” the Arterial Network, a non-profit network of artists and activists building democratic arts practices in Africa, noted in December. “Prohibitive restrictions affecting the freedom of artists and journalists are ongoing.”

The Egyptian government passed a law that debilitated certain art-funding NGOs in 2014, and in December of last year, police raided and closed a gallery and a theater in downtown Cairo without giving an official reason. Some artists have also been banned from traveling abroad to receive awards for their work.

Crackdowns on the arts have led many Egyptian artists to avoid addressing politics altogether. “Most of the art since 2011 has avoided talking about political points, aside from a handful of artists,” Dirar told ThinkProgress.

“The current system is perhaps the worst in terms of attacking [or] not accepting people’s voices, whether artistic, political or social,” he said. “There can be no opposition; the state rejects opinions and ideas that differ from their own. The artist finds himself in a tight spot. If you like the system and choose to defend it, you’re fine, but if not, if you vocalize dissatisfaction, if your commentary does not match theirs, you could end up in jail for life.”

Politics may be taboo or risky, but artists throughout history have found ways to be subversive or rebellious to oppression. But for some artists, avoiding politics is impossible. Their impact casts a shadow over society and affects the calculated behavior of every individual Egyptian. To avoid repression, Egyptian artists create social and political commentary using Aesopian methods.

Justin Salhani has the Full Story at Think Progress. It’s a great read. What can I say? Artists must create, it’s not a matter of what we do, it’s what we are. These are artists working in highly dangerous circumstances, going ahead with making a statement and sharing that expression with others at personal risk.

Ollah Project.

Republicans: Who cares if your baby is brain damaged?

The Zika virus is a flu-like disease that is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito (AFP Photo/Luis Robayo)

The Zika virus is a flu-like disease that is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito (AFP Photo/Luis Robayo)

As the Zika outbreak grows in the US, President Obama is blasting Republicans for planning to go on Memorial Day vacation before passing needed funding to combat this potential public health crisis.

President Obama spoke to the press after being briefed about the Zika outbreak by public health officials.

The President said:

So we’ve got to get moving. And what essentially NIH and CDC have been doing is taking pots of money from other things — universal flu funds or Ebola funds or other funds — just to get the thing rolling. But we have to reimburse those pots of money that have already been depleted and we have to be able to sustain the work that’s going to need to be done to finish the job.

So bottom line is Congress needs to get me a bill. It needs to get me a bill that has sufficient funds to do the job. They should not be going off on recess before this is done. And certainly this has to get done over the course of the next several weeks in order for us to be able to provide confidence to the American people that we’re handling this piece of business.

If I’m a young family right now, or somebody who’s thinking about starting a family, this is just a piece of insurance that I want to purchase. And I think that’s true for most Americans. And understand that this is not something where we can build a wall to prevent — mosquitoes don’t go through Customs. To the extent that we’re not handling this thing on the front end, we’re going to have bigger problems on the back end.

Obama also urged the American people to tell Congress to do their jobs.

[…]

Republicans would rather go vacation than pass the needed funding to combat the outbreak of a virus that causes brain damage in infants. The Republican Congress is once again placing the priorities of the American people last.

Look what has happened to that mighty republican value of saving the unborn children – they don’t seem to care at all if there is no ungodly woman to punish. They don’t seem to be the least bit disturbed to use this as a way to punish the president, acting like temperamental toddlers, running off to vacation land while people are left to deal with the potential fallout from the Zika virus. Thanks, Republicans.

Via Politicususa.

Stay #BraveEnough!

@YouTube

@YouTube

South Africa’s gay population numbers close to 5 million people, and the Anova Health Institute along with the Elton John Aids Foundation have released a video to educate around and destigmatize homosexual relationships as part of their initiative We The Brave.

In the clip, two men of differing races stand up at the dinner table and kiss in slow motion, while an older man, presumably one of their fathers, looks on in shock. The next shot is a closeup of a condom wrapper being ripped open, with a slogan declaring “We’re definitely brave enough to cover up.”

While the video might seem just a bit heavy-handed, it is under fire from various South African sources, including a number of broadcasters who have refused to air the spot. Twitter users have targeted the commercial, calling it “inappropriate” and even “disgusting.” It marks the first time a gay kiss has aired locally in South Africa.

[…]

We say, let the haters tweet. The message behind the commercial is obviously too important to let that rhetoric win out. Stay #BraveEnough!

Via Out.

X-Men: Apocalypse

If you haven’t developed a nerd boner brainer for X-Men: Apocalypse and all its ‘80s glory yet, this new promo might just do the trick. It’s cleverly shot as an old school promotional film for Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, starring Jubilee and some of her mutant buddies. It’s Marvel meets Degrassi Junior High. Via Out.

Here’s the promo for X-Men: Apocalypse, in theaters May 27:

Star Trek Beyond

I skipped the second reboot flick, I just couldn’t cope with a pasty white Khan, but I might have to see this one because…Idris Elba.

Star Trek Beyond, starring Idris Elba, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and Karl Urban, dropped late yesterday at a fan event and features the Enterprise being torn to shreds by a terrifying shroud of alien creatures.

The alien leader even dares to sit in Captain Kirk’s chair.

The film is premiering in IMAX at Comic-Con on July 20 and hits theatres two days later.

Via Towleroad. More about the movie: http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2015/12/15/its-a-clash-of-philosophies-in-star-trek-beyond and http://screenrant.com/star-trek-beyond-alien-races/.

Kinetic Artwork Jller.

Jller (Ignorance, with Benjamin Maus), 2015.
 
rocks-1

Jller is part of an ongoing research project in the fields of industrial automation and historical geology. It is an apparatus, that sorts pebbles from a specific river by their geologic age. The stones were taken from the stream bed of the German river Jller, shortly before it merges with the Danube, close to the city of Ulm. The machine and its performance is the first manifestation of this research.
A set of pebbles from the Jller are placed on the 2×4 meter platform of the machine, which automatically analyzes the stones in order to then sort them. The sorting process happens in two steps: Intermediate, pre-sorted patterns are formed first, to make space for the final, ordered alignment of stones, defined by type and age. Starting from an arbitrary set of stones, this process renders the inherent history of the river visible.
The history, origin and path from each stone found in a river is specific to the location, as every river has a different composition of rock types.

Via Colossal Art.