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.

The Museum of Failure.

Oh, this is absolutely grand, and you can read all about it, and see more at The Creators Project, or just head over to The Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden. On July 13th, the museum will be having a failed beer tasting:

July 13 / 19:00 – 21:00

Explore the world of good, bad and experimental beer with Brygghuset Finn  www.brygghusetfinn.se

The Museum is also on tour, and will be doing pop ups in Gothenburg, Sweden, Istanbul, Turkey, Miami Fl, USA, New York City, USA, and Stockholm.

For Shame!

Have you no shame?

Shame on you for suggesting that!

Take the walk of shame down the hall of shame.

I can’t, I am beyond shame.

What a shame — you’re naked;

cover your shame!

But, I have no shame.

Well, it is a bit small, but nothing to be ashamed of.

Adam and Eve left the garden, ashamed.

Ain’t that a shame?

A low-down dirty shame!

Odgraphix has an excellent post up about shame and embarrassment, very powerful tools. I had a solid eight years of that, courtesy of catholic school, and we probably don’t think about the mechanics of shame and embarrassment often enough, or their effects on our lives. Go have a read, highly recommended.

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.

Pollution Popsicles.

All images © Hung I-chen of Polluted Water Popsicles.

Initially appearing to be a new artisanal food trend, these popsicles are actually a creative approach to spreading awareness of Taiwan’s issue of water pollution. The project, entitled ‘Polluted Water Popsicles’, was initiated by Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui and Cheng Yu-ti–a group of art students from the National Taiwan University of the Arts. To create the popsicles, the young artists collected water samples from 100 locations in Taiwan, with each sewage specimen then frozen and set in polyester resin for preservation. The project is successful in its innovative and deceptive conceptual approach–each counterfeit ice treat contains waste and domestic refuse extracted from the samples, 90% of which was plastic. The students also designed wrappers for the popsicles, and their work has been recognised by the Young Pin Design Award, as well as being exhibited at Taipei World Trade Center’s Young Designers Exhibition 2017.

All images © Hung I-chen of Polluted Water Popsicles.

Polluted Water Popsicles.  Via iGNANT.

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.

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.