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.

The Ghost of the Fortress.

The Ghost of the Fortress has become a permanent fixture at the Mark Rothko Art Center and Gallery. Per rq: a sort of monument to warhorses (who quickly became obsolete with the advent of more modern technologies), and thus is wrapped in gauze as a symbol of the uneasy life and death these horses (and, by extension, soldiers who served with them) experienced. As the sculpture concept declares (and I translate loosely from the article): “Usually what remains after war is not medals or grand victories, but crippled and ruined lives.” And for this reason they shied away from a heroic depiction of the warhorse (no bared teeth, flailing hooves, free manes flying in the wind). The authors of the piece drew inspiration from photographs of the wounded from WWI, and as it’s probably the last war that saw active-duty warhorses on the premises, they produced this restless ghost.

Via Delfi Kultura.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Images courtesy the artists.

Take a few moments from your day to get acquainted with Botanica, a blend of music, art, and science.

In 2012, Italian music group Deproducers launched a project of science-related albums, with the first, Planetario, exploring the topic of astrophysics. For their second musical science project, Botanica, Deproducers brought back the design studio Super Symmetry to create a multimedia live performance that highlights the beauty and artistic wonder of plants by merging music and scientific data. All told, there are 30 videos for Botanica, exploring things like plant roots, psychoactivity, and deforestation, amongst other topics, by way of grids, video footage, graphics, information, generative animation, and other visuals. Like Data Garden’s bio-reactive installation, Quartet, Botanica elevates the natural wonder of plants to a plane equal with human creativity.

While Planetario featured a collaboration with astrophysicist Fabio Peri, Botanica includes a collaboration with botanist Stefano Mancuso. During the live show, before the band begins to play, Mancuso gives a brief “science lesson” about the songs, and how each of the topics are interlinked. For each live show, Super Symmetry is tasked with visually integrating the musical and scientific aspects of the project.

There is much, much more at The Creators Project.

We could all use more Mr. Rogers.

Install shot of Topophilia. Image courtesy Wyoming Art Party.

Check out the Wild Wombs of the West!

Martha Wilson performing as Donald Trump in “Art Rising” at Trump Tower.

And don’t miss the art protest performance which took place at Trump Tower.

Lakin Ogunbanwo.

© Lakin Ogunbanwo.

© Lakin Ogunbanwo.

Nigerian-born and based photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo was commissioned by Galeries Lafayette to create a photo- and video– based window installation for the Parisian department store’s ‘Africa Now‘ season. Ogunbanwo’s concept centres around highlighting the multifaceted nature of his experience of Africa, which he realised with a cast of collaborators such as models Toyin Oyeneye and Uju Marshall and the stylist Oyinye Fafi Obi. Certain shots also depict a selection of objects that represent the spirit of his home city, Lagos. “Drawing from the colors and vibrancy of my city serves as a metaphor for the continent, where many people, cultures and realities all mix and interweave to make one beautiful whole,” he explains. The resulting series is cleanly composed, and at once energetic and peaceful, and notable for the sense of joy and exuberance they convey.”

Lakin Ogunbanwo x Galeries Lafayette from Nataal Media on Vimeo.

Via iGNANTLakin Ogunbanwo.

DAPL Approval Illegal, Judge Finds.

Trump on DAPL. © Marty Two Bulls.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law in its fast-tracked approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington D.C. has ruled. Judge James Boasberg said the Corps did not consider key components of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in granting the Lake Oahe easement under the Missouri River when directed to do so by President Donald Trump shortly after his swearing-in.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, with the Cheyenne River Sioux as interveners, had challenged the approval on the grounds that adequate environmental study had not been conducted. Boasberg agreed on many points, though he did not rule on whether the pipeline should remain operational. It has been carrying oil since June 1.

“Although the Corps substantially complied with NEPA in many areas, the Court agrees that it did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial,” Boasberg said in his 91-page decision. “To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court. Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations during that remand presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing.”

A status conference will be held next week, according to the environmental law firm EarthJustice, which is representing the tribes in this case. Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s builders, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

“This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests. We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence, and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately. ”

Indian Country Today has the full story.

Where there’s the smallest good news, there’s always bad news, and in this case, it comes in the form of Zinke:

“I think, talking to tribes, they’re very happy,” Zinke said of his proposal, adding that he “talked to all parties, and they’re pretty happy and willing to work with us.”

But this is not so, according to tribal representatives. In a June 12 press call hosted by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), the vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch said the tribe’s leaders have “maintained a consistent position that they support the monument designation.

“If there is any happiness,” Branch said,” it’s probably that the monument remains intact as of now.

“I think [the ‘happy’ characterization] is probably just a characterization coming from Trump,” Branch added.

Natalie Landreth, a lawyer with the Native American Rights Fund who represents the Hopi, Zuni and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes on Bears Ears issues, said during the Udall call that the proclamation that set up Bears Ears as a national monument had already formed a structure in which five tribes, known as the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, work together to co-manage the monument.

“It’s unclear exactly what the secretary is suggesting, so until we know more details about what he’s talking about, it’s difficult to have a view on it,” Landreth said. “Our initial reaction on behalf of the three tribes we represent is that this was really a cynical effort to distract Indian country from the devastating blow of reducing the size of the monument.”

Landreth said that some of her impacted tribal clients told her as of June 12 that Zinke had not been in touch with them on this matter.

“We don’t know who he’s talking to and what they may have said,” Landreth said.

Full story here.

Samurai Age.

Samurai Age.

Have a craving to put Samurai armor on your cat? Dog? Child? Partner? That big bottle of Saké? Samurai Age has you covered.

While it’s been over 150 years since the heyday of the samurai class, the fascination with them lives on. The talented craftsmen at SAMURAI AGE are doing their part to honor samurai tradition with handmade, high-quality samurai armor for you and your pets.

One of the selling points of this Fukuoka-based brand’s armor is how lightweight it is. Unlike traditional samurai armor, which could sometimes weigh over 60 pounds, SAMURAI AGE’s pet armor is constructed from light plastic that they claim can be worn for long stretches of time without tiring out its wearer. So although your pet will probably not be protected from any katana strikes, they will at the very least feel both badass and comfortable.

Samurai Age.

Human-sized armor for adults and children is also available for purchase, as well as helmets and bottle covers. All items are made of the same materials as the pet armor. The website suggests wearing the armor for birthdays or special occasions, but given the stylish, lightweight material there’s no reason not to wear it on a regular basis, too.

For those interested in a more “casual” look, SAMURAI AGE offers samurai helmets fashioned from polyester baseball caps. Customers can choose helmet designs based on those worn by famous Japanese historical figures such as Tokugawa Ieyasu, Oda Nobunaga, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

A cap based on Fukuoka daimyo Kuroda Nagamasa’s helmet. Mustache included. Samurai Age.

You can see and read more at Spoon & Tamago.

My Kind of Study.

It’s long been associated with anger and coarseness but profanity can have another, more positive connotation. Psychologists have learned that people who frequently curse are being more honest. Writing in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science a team of researchers from the Netherlands, the UK, the USA and Hong Kong report that people who use profanity are less likely to be associated with lying and deception.

Anyone who has been reading me for any length of time knows I tend to cuss. A lot. Can’t say I’ve ever considered it to be a possible mark of honesty though.

The international team of researchers set out to gauge people’s views about this sort of language in a series of questionnaires which included interactions with social media users.

In the first questionnaire 276 participants were asked to list their most commonly used and favourite swear words. They were also asked to rate their reasons for using these words and then took part in a lie test to determine whether they were being truthful or simply responding in the way they thought was socially acceptable. Those who wrote down a higher number of curse words were less likely to be lying.

This is interesting, but I have to wonder if the ability to lie was taken into account. Many children in abusive situations learn to lie extremely well. I was one of those, and while I can rarely be arsed to lie in adulthood, I am very good at it. Someone who is a good liar wouldn’t neglect a good intensifier. There’s an obvious tendency for those listening to take someone at their word, too. That would answer for people assuming someone who was cussing to be truthful, because we still have that ‘in polite company’ thing in our heads. We are, well most of us, taught that cussing isn’t polite from a very early age. Our languages are littered with euphemisms in place of cussing, which are considered to be acceptable, golly, darn, geez, etc. A lot of that has to do with so much cussing being religiously based.

A second survey involved collecting data from 75,000 Facebook users to measure their use of swear words in their online social interactions. The research found that those who used more profanity were also more likely to use language patterns that have been shown in previous research to be related to honesty, such as using pronouns like “I” and “me”. The Facebook users were recruited from across the United States and their responses highlight the differing views to profanity that exist between different geographical areas. For example, those in the north-eastern states (such as Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and New York) were more likely to swear whereas people were less likely to in the southern states (South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi).

As a native Californian, cussing was often heard, and often a part of any conversation. Especially if you were in the surfing crowd. Here in nDakota, cussing is not heard much at all, and it’s frowned upon for the most part. That’s changed a bit over the past 20 years, but not a great deal. The more rural you go, the more frowning it gets.

The full story is here.

As Hate and Bigotry Rise, Time to Slash…

Shoes confiscated from prisoners at Majdanek, on loan from the State Museum of Majdanek, Lublin, Poland. –US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

$3 Million Dollars from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Yep. Whose fucking idiotic idea was this, you ask? The Tiny Tyrant’s, of course. Why?

According to the budget proposal, the cut “will assist in meeting the President’s budget objectives, while still providing adequate funds to cover pay increases and rising costs for current services for the Museum’s facilities and collections. The decrease is achieved by reductions in staff and selected non-pay areas.”

There has been, for once, a united backlash against this incredibly stupid move. That said, I have to wonder why it entered Donny’s little pea brain to cut funding from this specific museum. There are many museums to pick on, certainly there are many in Washington D.C., but Trump chose to single out the Holocaust Museum. With his history of refusing to speak out against domestic terrorism, and the sharp spike in hate crimes, along with his not-so-subtle embrace of white supremacists, I’m sure everyone has been shocked right out of their socks over this move. Apparently, having a Jewish daughter and son-in-law don’t count this time around, or they don’t much care, either. Personally, I think if the Fucking Idiot is so damn determined to fuel yet more monies into the military machine, he can start scooping out of his own capacious pockets.

The Hill has the full story.

A list of 100 things liberals hate about America.

I mentioned this list of stupid by Michael Snyder the other day, and it does leave people with an itch to respond thoroughly, so, the big list of stupid. Feel free to expand or leave your own answers or peeves about any or all of it. As noted previously, the list is obviously, desperately padded, because Michael really couldn’t think of much more than 5 things, but “A list of 5 things liberals hate about America” isn’t terribly catchy. A good portion of this is going below the fold, because this is going to get long. Very long.

1.  The U.S. Constitution

I don’t hate the constitution. I don’t worship the damn thing, either. I do think it is superannuated, and in dire need of rewriting. A good deal of it was written with the interests of the ruling classes and slave owners in mind, and that shit needs to go. The nonsense about militias needs to go, as well, as it was to protect slave owners.

2. Liberty

Uh … I’m fine with liberty. No problem at all.

3. Freedom

Yeah, you know, don’t you, that liberty and freedom mean the same thing? Maybe I was wrong about that ‘five things’ business.

4. Success

No problem here, I court the fickle lady of success. I don’t want success at any cost, however, and my personal principles and ethics keep me on track. Sometimes, that’s a shame, because in so many cases, it would be so eeeeaaasy to take advantage of gullible right wingers.

5. Big Trucks

What are we talking here? Semis? They’re needed for transport, and while I wish there were better methods of transport, eh, not something I get all frothy about. Now, if we’re talking monster trucks and SUVs, yeah, I have a problem with them, as in most of them are not fucking needed by the jackasses driving them, they pollute and increase dependence on fossil fuels. Smart cars and bicycles for everyone!

6. Capitalism

I don’t like capitalism gone amok, like it has here in uStates. Most everything is more important than money. Don’t get me wrong, I like money, I keep chasing it, trying to convince I would give it a very good home. That said, the pursuit of money to the exclusion of all else is a formula for a rotting society, and that’s what we are seeing right now.

7. Free Markets

Oh, aarrggh, blecch. People who parrot ‘free market’ generally don’t have the slightest fucking idea of what they are talking about, witness all the witless libertarians tossing this about as if they were erudite. Tell you what, Michael, when you can prove, to my satisfaction, that you understand what free market means in the wider context of economics, we can talk.

8. Wealthy People

Okay, you almost have something here. I don’t hate any of them, but I’ll cop to despising and loathing. Filthy rich people tend to be plain filthy, in respect to ethics or principles. They freely indulge in their hatred of the masses, and they will fuck any and all over in the name of another thin dime to add to their pockets. Yes, there is the occasional filthy rich person who manages to hang onto things like sense and empathy, but they are a rare breed. Filthy rich people tend to all come to one end: their money leads them to an addiction to power.

9. Economic Prosperity

Oh, FFS, how many of these are we going to have? I’m pretty sure most people, including myself, enjoy economic prosperity. That said, you don’t get that when you’re busy funneling all available monies into the pockets of filthy rich people and corporations.

10. The Rule of Law

Oh, do I sense a lover of technicality here? Laws are fine. Well, most of them. Many of them are in dire need of revisiting and rewriting. Laws might be important, but justice is more important, every time.

[Read more…]

Trump Toilet Paper.

Mock-up of Trump toilet paper packaging.

Now, this is a good idea. A shame it won’t be marketed in uStates, I imagine it would be a bestseller.

A Mexican businessman says he is introducing “Trump” toilet paper because he’s “really bothered” by President Trump’s past remarks about his nation.

“My thinking was: We can’t keep quiet, right?” corporate lawyer Antonio Battaglia said Wednesday in a phone call with The Associated Press. “So with this insult that was made, [I figured] I’m going to add my grain of sand in response.”

Battaglia said he has signed a contract for a small initial run worth about $21,400, enough toilet paper to fill two cargo trucks. He added that he hopes to create enough demand to expand production.

The AP reported that the product will be marketed under the slogans “Softness without borders” and “This is the wall that, yes, we will pay for.”

Packages are expected to start rolling off production lines later this year, the AP reported, with 30 percent of the profits pledged to programs supporting migrants.

Battaglia gave the AP a mock-up package that says it contains four “puros rollos” — a double entendre that literally means “pure rolls” but can also be interpreted as “pure nonsense.”

The packaging also includes a cartoon roll of toilet paper with Trump’s iconic blond hair, smiling and flashing a thumbs up.

Battaglia’s trademark for Trump toilet paper was approved in October 2015, according to records from Mexico’s Institute of Industrial Property.

The AP reported that the Trump Organization failed to obtain a trademark on what is called “hygienic paper” in Spanish.

It seems that the branding company that is the Trump family forgot to trademark Trump in the hygiene products sector. Hmmm, someone, quick, trademark Trump Ass Wash™, and get some cheap soap in a bottle on the shelves.

Via The Hill and The Guardian.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Sharif Hamza.

Sharif Hamza.

London-born, New York-based image maker Sharif Hamza collaborated with make up artist Georgina Graham and video artist Tony Oursler to create the photography project “Purple. Oursler”.

You can see and read more at iGNANT.

 

無料欲望/yoshi47 from GOOKUDA on Vimeo.

Mural for “Forest For the Trees” in Portland.

The art of Yoshi47 is a must see, vibrant, engaged, happily psychedelic, and mindful. You can see much more, and read more at Spoon & Tamago.

 

And last, but not least, TOIO!

Toio, at first glance, is stunningly simple: the core of the toy is just 2 white cubes with wheels. But don’t be fooled by their appearance. The tiny cubes pack a whole lot of tech. They respond to motion, are able to detect the exact location of the other, and can be programmed but also remote controlled.

It would seem that the possibilities for toio are endless, which is why the developers teamed up with various creatives and designers to come up with various craft sets that help kids explore what robots can do. You can create your own robotic beast and battle others, you can play board games with them and you can make obstacle courses for them to go through. Sony has even teamed up with Lego for this project, allowing kids to build Lego structures on top of their robots.

But one of the most attractive features is a craft set designed by the folks behind the lovable PythagoraSwitch TV segment. It’s a simple paper set that encourages kids to join the two white cubes using paper. The cubes then interact with each other and come alive, resulting in different movements.

Check out the videos to get a better sense of what toio can do. Sony has released a limited quantity of toio sets that start at 21,557 yen (about $200 USD) and go up to 33,415 (about $300 USD) depending on how many craft sets you want to add on.

Via Spoon & Tamago.