Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal.

Aidan O’Shea, Regina Strayhorn, Ayun Halliday, and Ben Watts in Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal (all photos by Jonathan Slaff).

We do not live in a time of subtlety. If you need evidence, take a look at the news. Shaded, nuanced criticism of President Donald Trump would sound like a whisper next to a tornado. It was refreshing, then, to see a play that dispenses with elegant critique of the president in favor of a gloves-off battery. Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal combats Trump’s logorrhea of vulgarities with its own. Trump is never actually named in the script, but the title alone tells you who it’s about, and the text gives plenty of indications. It is replete with scatological jokes; the story tells of a society that makes a Faustian pact to choose a king who will supposedly better their lives, but then shits on all of his subjects. Having made this deal, the citizens are forced not only to live under the shitty reign (and rain) of this despot, but also to pretend they love it, even as the king ends the world in nuclear war. To describe this play as a scathing satire of Trump would be putting it mildly.

[…]

In addition to adopting the rhetorical position of Biblical prophecy, it also plays with Biblical material in clever ways. Jesus’s lines from the Gospels are articulated as ironically inverted versions that resemble Trump’s likely misinterpretations of them, such as: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall save it, and whosoever shall lose his life is a loser and deserves it.”

[…]

The piece is not subtle, and that’s probably fitting. When the president of the United States of America has condoned sexual assault, has publicly said that he would date his own daughter were they not related, has boasted about the size of his penis during a debate, and has both said and tweet-spewed other horrors too numerous to name here (I won’t even go into policy), comparing him to Caligula and Nero doesn’t seem so far-fetched. A play like this would have been too heavy-handed if it were directed at any other recent president, but these days, the rules of public discourse seem to have been thrown out. Now is not the time for art to play nice.

Performances of Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal continue through June 26 at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, Greenwich Village, Manhattan).

John Sherer’s full review is at Hyperallergic, and well worth reading.

Changing of the Thread.

Having gotten thoroughly confused over just which green I had been using, it called for a changing of the thread. Down with the tree thread, up with the foliage thread. Some of the greens, I’m down to 3 skeins, and it doesn’t take much to go through a skein. Others I have a great deal of, so I need to do larger blocks with those particular colours.

© C. Ford.

Bad Taste.

Oh, the vintage pistachio Perles (light and medium, 320 and 368), holy fuck, do they ever taste nasty. If you’re wondering why I know what they taste like, it’s because I stick one end in my mouth to get it nice and wet, so it can be easily flattened for threading. I won’t be doing anymore of that with these particular threads. I don’t think these are nearly old enough to have employed arsenic, but who the fuck knows? Even cinnamon mouth wash isn’t getting rid of it. Yikes.

© C. Ford.

Nina Röder: A Little Deeper Than You Thought.

Nina Röder.

This is a wonderful series, from Nina Röder:

Berlin-based artist Nina Röder’s series “A little deeper than you thought” explores the meaning of existence through a series that captures the relationship between humans and the natural environment.

Inspired by Jean Paul Sartre’s exploration of existentialism as propounded in “Nausea”, the series explores the nuances of human existence, focussing on the chasm between presence and absence, being and nothingness. Shot across the rugged landscapes of Iceland, Ireland, Spain and the Harz Mountains, the images evoke a sense of mystery, inviting contemplation on the nature of our existence. “Ancestry, gender, education, religion – all are factors with an invisible influence on our existence,” explains the artist in a statement. To make such factors visible, we need images to expose what determines our fate and creates a distance between ourselves and our personae.”

Have a wander through a bit of Nina Röder’s world. Via iGNANT.

Driftwood People.

Installation at Mount Fuji, November 2008.

 

“Gathering bits of wood from here and there, like an insect building a nest, I create sculptures”.

Artist Nagato Iwasaki‘s lifelike driftwood sculptures are perfect examples of the uncanny valley — the feelings of revulsion and uneasiness one experiences from non-human objects that appear a bit too similar to real human beings. Japan seems to excel at this in areas like robotics technology, and indeed, the term “uncanny valley” itself was coined in 1970 by a Japanese roboticist, Masahiro Mori. Iwasaki takes this concept out into nature, blurring the line between flesh and wood.

Over the past 25 years, Iwasaki has been crafting these sculptures as part of a collection he simply calls “torso.” The sculptures themselves are life-sized at around 180 centimeters tall, or 5 feet 9 inches and made entirely of driftwood the artist collects in various locations in Japan. No one sculpture is exactly like another which makes them all seem like individuals with their own quirks and personalities. Descriptions of Iwasaki’s sculptures by viewers run the gamut from scary, unsettling, and imposing, to profound, intriguing, and otherworldly.

I love these sculptures, perhaps because I’ve always seen wood as flesh. You can read and see much more at Spoon & Tamago.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Bamboo coral. Credit: Rob Zugaro.


Gorgeous red spiny crab. Credit: Rob Zugaro.

Last month, a team of 58 scientists from around the world embarked on 31 day oceanic voyage to research the ethereal life forms living at the bottom of the ocean off the Eastern coast of Australia. On May 15, the Sampling The Abyss team set out from Bell Bay in Launceston, Tasmania. During their month aboard the Marine National Facility research vessel, appropriately named Investigator, the crew visited seven different Commonwealth Marine Reserves, which are essentially National Parks for sea creatures, before returning to port in Brisbane mid-June.

The expedition was initiated by Museums Victoria in partnership with the NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub, and a government research organization called the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). The goal of the trip was not only to document undiscovered sea life, but to research how they have adapted to harsh living conditions two-and-a-half miles below the ocean surface.

Check out a daily blog about the voyage here, and check out more videos on the Marine Biodiversity Hub’s YouTube Channel.

You can read and see more at The Creators Project.

For years Westerners have experimented with wearing traditional Japanese clothing like the kimono and jinbei. The results have, at best, been mixed. Let’s just say that it takes a certain type of non-Japanese man or women to wear a kimono without looking out of place. I for one, have never even felt the urge to try, that is until my recent encounter with the T-Kimono.

Check out the T-Kimono, a truly great alternative to the uptight Western suit.

Anyone who questions baking as an art form should look no further than the cookies made by Okashi no Kobito. Professional cookie artist Nobuyo Toyono began this enterprise creating edible masterpieces out of Osaka after graduating from confectionery vocational school (yes, there is such a thing). Using all-natural ingredients, Toyono designs, bakes, and ices each and every cookie by hand.

According to her website, Toyono pledges to “put her heart and soul into making colorful iced cookies that will make you smile.” Most incredibly, the eye-catching colors she uses in the icing are made from natural pigments: beets (red), spirulina algae (blue), beni imo potatoes (purple), gardenia (yellow & green), and cocoa (brown). Her creations are intricate and whimsical and so beautifully made that it’s almost a shame to eat them.

Check out her Instagram for even more examples of her confectionery handiwork.

Via Spoon & Tamago.

Ribbonesia.

Absolutely check out all the amazing work of Ribbonesia! You can see and read much more at Spoon & Tamago.

Aficionados of Microsoft’s Clippy can now have an enamel pin. The Creators Project has all the info.

Succumbing To The Unpickening.

Until now, I’ve avoided unpicking on the tree quilt, which has been so very nice. In my early haste to start the foliage, however, I fucked up. I hadn’t picked up the flow yet, and now that I have it, that first section jars, badly. I’ve left it be, telling myself to give it a chance. It keeps drawing my eye, and leaving a bad taste in the brain, so it must go. Every needlesmith on the planet knows the feelings when you meet up with the unavoidable unpickening. Unpicking knots is not as bad as unpicking, say, a raised satin stitch, but it’s not fun, either. Eh, that wasn’t so bad. At least I didn’t rip the fabric!

© C. Ford, all rights reserved.