Los Angeles Launches City-Wide Exhibits on Water.

Geentanjal Khanna/Unsplash.

Geentanjal Khanna/Unsplash.

Los Angeles (and greater California) has a complicated relationship with water. Diminishing sources, droughts, and overuse have troubled the city since its inception. “Current: LA Water” seeks to address these issues through public art installations.

The project was born from a $1 million dollar grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, which, in June 2015, challenged cities across the country to create temporary public art projects that celebrated creativity, enhanced urban identity, encouraged public-private partnerships, and drove economic development. “Current LA: Water” was one of the projects selected.

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“Los Angeles is the creative capital of the world, a place where we appreciate how art inspires us to see the world through new eyes,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “’Current: LA’ will make Angelenos rethink our relationship with water, and better understand how the L.A. River connects the diverse communities and cultures that make our city great.”

No. No, LA is not the creative capital of the world. American exceptionalism, it’s everywhere. And inside that exceptionalism, there’s state and city exceptionalism. Stop that.

Work will be available to view for one-month at 14 different sites throughout the city. “A narrative about our relationship to water and its allied systems will be demonstrated through the voice and visions of the ‘Current: LA’ artists, an exciting group of internationally recognized and emerging talents that are as culturally diverse as the inhabitants of Los Angeles themselves,” said Felicia Filer, DCA’s Public Art Division Director.

If you happen to be in this particular area of the world at the pertinent time, have a look. Via Out.

Bilyk Nazar.

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Rain. 2010 h-187см. bronze, glass.

Bilyk Nazar has an absolutely stunning body of work. This sculpture is called Rain.

The bronze sculpture features a nondescript man looking upward, a giant glass raindrop positioned over his face. This orb of translucent glass seems to balance perfectly, a sort of calm communing happening between the droplet and the solitary figure.

“The raindrop is a symbol of the dialogue which connects a man with a whole diversity of life forms,” Bilyk told My Modern Met. “The figure has a loose and porous structure and relates to dry land, which absorbs water. In this work I play with scale, making a raindrop large enough to compare a man with an insect, considering that man is a part of nature. Moreover, this work concerns the question of interaction and difficulties in coexistence of man with environment.”

There’s much more to explore at Nazar’s site, and Nazar at Behance.

Via Colossal Art.

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When Grover Cleveland, an assimilation supporter, started his first term, an estimated 260,000 American Indians lived on 171 reservations comprising 134 million acres of land in 21 states. Whitehouse.gov

When Grover Cleveland, an assimilation supporter, started his first term, an estimated 260,000 American Indians lived on 171 reservations comprising 134 million acres of land in 21 states. Whitehouse.gov

Grover Cleveland opened his second term as president of the United States with a call for “humanity and consistency” toward Indians as efforts continued to assimilate them into mainstream American culture.

“Our relations with the Indians located within our border impose upon us responsibilities we cannot escape,” he said in his second inaugural address, in March 1893. “Every effort should be made to lead them, through the paths of civilization and education, to self-supporting and independent citizenship. In the meantime, as the nation’s wards, they should be promptly defended against the cupidity of designing men and shielded from every influence or temptation that retards their advancement.”

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The day before Cleveland took office a second time, in March 1893, Congress authorized the Dawes Commission, which extended the allotment policy to the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole). The commission, headed by Henry Dawes, also introduced citizenship records called the Dawes Rolls, which required individuals to enroll by claiming only one line of ancestry—even if they had mixed heritage from several different tribes.

[…]

The Dawes Rolls, which ultimately stripped some individuals of their ancestry, are still used to determine citizenship or as a requirement for tribal membership. The federal government uses the Dawes Rolls to determine blood-quantum status when issuing Certificates of Indian Blood.

Cleveland’s second term, which came on the heels of the Wounded Knee Massacre and was the first administration free of Indian wars, was marked by a distinct change in federal relationships with Indians. Four months after Cleveland took office, Frederick Jackson Turner delivered his “Frontier Thesis” to a gathering of historians at the World’s Fair in Chicago, an enormous event celebrating the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage.

Turner, a professional historian, declared that the American frontier was gone, a statement that came three years after the U.S. Census Bureau announced the disappearance of a contiguous frontier line.

Calling the frontier “the meeting point between savagery and civilization,” Turner argued that America’s unique character was defined by “the influence of the frontier.” He pointed to “the disintegration of savagery” as one of several developmental stages America endured on its path to industrialization.

[…]

The end of the frontier also marked a new era for Indians. In his first message to Congress, in December 1893, Cleveland said the government had a “sacred duty” to improve the condition of the Indians.

“I am sure that secular education and moral and religious teaching must be important factors in any effort to save the Indian and lead him to civilization,” Cleveland said. “I believe, too, that the relinquishment of tribal relations and the holding of land in severalty may in favorable conditions aid this consummation.”

During his second term, Cleveland opened to white settlers “surplus” lands purchased from the Yankton Sioux in South Dakota, the Alsea in Oregon, the Kickapoo in Oklahoma and the Nez Perce in Idaho. The allotment program, which opened surplus land to settlers, diminished Indian land holdings from more than 155 million acres in 1881 to about 78 million in 1900.

In his final message to Congress, in December 1896, Cleveland announced the discovery of “a very valuable deposit of gilsonite or asphaltum” on the Uncompahgre Ute reservation in Utah. Calling the find an “important source of public revenue,” Cleveland assured Congress that the government would secure a “fair share” of its value, while a “nominal sum” would be extended to “interested individuals.”

[…]

In the same speech, Cleveland called himself a “sincere friend of the Indian,” and reported that the Indian population topped 177,000. More than 110,000 individuals had accepted allotments, and 23,000 of the 38,000 total school-age children were enrolled in nearly 200 government-operated Indian schools.

“It may be said in general terms that in every particular the improvement of the Indians under Government care has been most marked and encouraging,” he said.

Alysa Landry’s full article here.

Tiny Street Interventions.

Slinkachu © 2015.

Slinkachu © 2015.

Slinkachu © 2015.

 

Slinkachu © 2015.

Slinkachu © 2015.

 

Slinkachu © 2015.

Slinkachu © 2015.

These are so absolutely delightful!

Blink, and you’ll miss it. Secreted amongst weeds growing in the cracks of sidewalks or hidden in a tiny pile of trash, street artist Slinkachu creates site-specific interventions of miniature people living just under our feet. More than just hiding tiny figurines in public places, each of his artworks are carefully considered, crafted, and installed before the artist takes a photo to document it. While clearly humorous in nature, Slinkachu’s pieces touch on much larger ideas of environment, globalization, and a culture of isolation often found in large cities. Via Andipa Gallery:

These figures embody the estrangement spurred by the over-whelming nature of the modern metropolis, and incite a renewed perspective of the everyday urban experience to those who find them. This sense of isolation and melancholy, however, is accompanied by sense of irony and humour that makes Slinkachu’s commentary all the more poignant.

Via Colossal Art. Slinkachu’s Official Instagram. Slinkachu at Andipa Gallery, London. Oh, go have a look, you’ll definitely have a smile on your face.

Cool Stuff Friday

Image via Adidas

Image via Adidas

Stitched with thread produced from discarded fishing nets, Adidas‘ newest shoes are a collaboration with the ocean activist collective and company Parley for the Oceans. The idea for the shoe was hatched last year, but was more of a idealistic prototype than a ready-to-wear option for the masses. Today however, Adidas is releasing fifty pairs of the sneaker, a shoe composed of more than 16 old plastic bottles and 13 grams of gill nets.

This limited number of pairs is due to the difficult task of taking the collected trash and spinning it into fiber suitable for high performance shoes. Plastic bottles are relatively easy to transform into a useable material, but when it comes to the gill nets (which emit the smell of rotting fish) the task is a bit more difficult. Not only is the smell difficult to scrub from the nets, but the nylon is extra tough and requires being ground into a powder before it can be reformed into a material fit for the Adidas sneaker.

To collect these environmentally damaging materials, Parley partners with small countries that have large ties to marine pollution—locations like the Maldives, Grenada, and Jamaica. After partnering, Parley team members help clean up fisheries and other oceanside spots while teaching locals alternatives to using plastic in their businesses. The materials collected by Parley are then distributed not only to Adidas, but also institutions such as Parsons School of Design, which might help change the way new generations of designers think about incorporating these materials into future designs.

An announcement will be made soon on how to win one of the 50 released pairs of the collaborative shoe on Adidas’ Instagram.

Via Colossal Art.

American Apparel.

American Apparel.

Help to make America Gay Again!

American Apparel is taking a jab at the presumptive Republican presidential nominee with a new clothing line that promises to “make American gay again.”

The Pride 2016 collection includes T-shirts, tanks, and hats printed with the play on words of Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.

Created in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign and The Ally Coalition, the clothing line supports the fight for LGBT equality across the country.

30 percent of sales and 100 percent of sales from American Apparel and the HRC stores, respectively, will go to supporting the Equality Act. The bill would protect sexual orientation and gender identity under federal civil rights law.

The clothing line comes with a social media campaign, #MakeAmericaGayAgain, and videos from supporters—including recording artist and Glee alum Alex Newell (below).

I’m getting the tank top. Via Out.

Best Wedding Photos. Ever.

Even though much of the work here is wedding photography, it reads much more simply as love photography. Maybe Happy! Happy! Happy! photography, too. Whatever it some photographers have, Viet Duc Nguyen has it in abundance. The absolutely stunning locations get to feature as well, and it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place for a wedding. Click on over and have a look, you won’t be disappointed. You will be busy for a while.

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© Viet Duc Nguyen.

 

© Viet Duc Nguyen.

© Viet Duc Nguyen.

Viet Duc Nguyen.

Helen Chavez has walked on.

Helen and Cesar Chavez with six of their eight children in 1969 at the United Farm Workers’ “Forty Acres” property outside Delano. Standing from left are Anna, Eloise and Sylvia. Seated from left are Paul, Elizabeth and Anthony. (United Farm Workers)

Helen and Cesar Chavez with six of their eight children in 1969 at the United Farm Workers’ “Forty Acres” property outside Delano. Standing from left are Anna, Eloise and Sylvia. Seated from left are Paul, Elizabeth and Anthony. (United Farm Workers)

Helen Chavez, the widow of Cesar Chavez, who aided the farmworkers union her husband founded by keeping the books, walking the picket line and being arrested — all while raising their eight children — died Monday at a Bakersfield, Calif., hospital. She was 88.

A statement from the Cesar Chavez Foundation said she died of natural causes and was surrounded by family members.

Though notoriously reticent and uncomfortable with media attention, Chavez sometimes found herself in the spotlight alongside her husband, who led the United Farm Workers of America for 31 years. In 1978 she was arrested and convicted with her husband for picketing a cantaloupe field where workers were represented by the Teamsters Union.

Yet at the height of the movement, she remained in her husband’s shadow. She seemed to push past nervousness whenever she spoke publicly. “I want to see justice for the farmworkers,” she told a reporter for the Los Angeles Times in 1976. “I was a farmworker and I know what it is like to work in the fields.”

The Chavez’s were another major window for me, in early life. They helped me to see past my own privilege, and I was honoured to help work with and for their causes when I was a teenager. Goodbye, Helen, and thank you.

Full Story Here.

Arachnid Nursery

While waiting for birds to show this morning, I noticed a web on a dead plant, and shot it to check the light. After a while, I got to wondering, what was that? So, I did the time-honoured ape thing, and poked, very gently, with a stick. Baby spiders! They are incredibly tiny, much smaller than they look in the photos. All photos are 1500 x 996, click for full size.

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© C. Ford. All rights reserved.

Cool Stuff Friday

I Am His Hands. He Is My Eyes.” The Friendship That Built a Forest​. Get your tissues out for this one, folks.

 

This image released by Electronic Arts shows the new diverse characters that will be available on "The Sims 4" the latest edition of "The Sims" video game. (Electronic Arts via AP)

This image released by Electronic Arts shows the new diverse characters that will be available on “The Sims 4” the latest edition of “The Sims” video game. (Electronic Arts via AP)

You can now create transgender Sims in popular video game.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The creators of “The Sims” are opening up gender customization options for the first time in the long-running history of the popular life simulation video game.

“The Sims” publisher Electronic Arts and developer Maxis said a free update available Thursday for “The Sims 4” will remove gender boundaries and allow players to create virtual townsfolk — or Sims, as they’re known — with any type of physique, walk style or voice they choose.

LGBTQ Nation has the full story.

I’m not very good at paying attention to time. I have an alarm clock, but no other clocks in the house. I do have watches, but none of them work, and I don’t like to wear them. I don’t much like the idea of having a clock hanging overhead, either, but have come across a clock which may change my mind…

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The Colour O’Clock by Duncan Shotton. Fabulous! I also quite like his plate-plate collection:

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He has a number of delightful things, go have a look: http://dshott.co.uk/

Ash Dome

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In 1977, sculptor David Nash cleared an area of land near his home in Wales where he trained a circle of 22 ash trees to grow in a vortex-like shape for an artwork titled Ash Dome. Almost 40 years later, the trees still grow today. The artist has long worked with wood and natural elements in his art practice, often incorporating live trees or even animals into pieces. The exact site of Ash Dome in the Snowdonia region of northwest Wales is a closely guarded secret, and film crews or photographers who are permitted to see it are reportedly taken on a circuitous route to guard its location. Nash shares in an interview with the International Sculpture Center:

When I first planted the ring of trees for Ash Dome, the Cold War was still a threat. There was serious economic gloom, very high unemployment in our country, and nuclear war was a real possibility. We were killing the planet, which we still are because of greed. In Britain, our governments were changing quickly, so we had very short-term political and economic policies. To make a gesture by planting something for the 21st century, which was what Ash Dome was about, was a long-term commitment, an act of faith. I did not know what I was letting myself in for.

Via Colossal Art.

A Floating Food Forest

Food-Barge-NYC-released-Swale-800x430

Swale, a collaborative floating food project, is dedicated to rethinking and challenging New York City’s connection to our environment. Built on an 80-foot by 30-foot floating platform, Swale contains an edible forest garden. Functioning as both a sculpture and a tool, Swale provides free healthy food at the intersection of public art and service. With Swale, we want to reinforce water as a commons, and work towards fresh food as a commons too.

Swale is an artwork. Art is integral to imagining new worlds. By continuing to create and explore new ways of living, we hope that Swale will strengthen our ways of collaborating, of cooperating, and of supporting one another. At its heart, Swale is a call to action. It asks us to reconsider our food systems, to confirm our belief in food as a human right, and to pave pathways to create public food in public space.

This is a great way to get fresh, healthy food to known food deserts. Have a look around Swale’s space, and donate if you can.

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National Parks Going Corporate

'North Rim Grand Canyon Cape Royal' [Shutterstock]

‘North Rim Grand Canyon Cape Royal’ [Shutterstock]

The National Park Service is opening the door to corporate sponsorship by expanding the definition of philanthropy.

Corporate sponsors won’t be able to place advertising or marketing slogans at the 411 national parks, but they will be allowed to prominently display their logos and gain naming rights for some features in return for their gifts, reported the Washington Post.

Proposed new rules — which are set to go into effect later this year — will allow corporations to design and build park buildings and operate them over the long term, and some donors will be granted naming rights to park programs, positions and endowments.

[…]

The new rules for park managers include a shift away from protecting environmental resources toward fundraising.

“Does that become a major part of the job?” said John Garder, budget and appropriations director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “Can the park service say, ‘This person’s doing an awesome job protecting bison, but they’re not raising enough money?’”

Full Story Here. Every day, I get the feeling that a huge sign has been put out, ‘AmericaLand Park! A fine example of how to fuck up a country.’