Read my lips: the rise and rise of photo-editing

For my generation, editing your own image has become as routine as using social media. We grew up with airbrushing and Photoshop and saw the exposés of flawless magazine cover stars who weren’t flawless at all. Instead of rejecting the falsehoods we’ve made it part of our daily lives, crafting idealised digital versions of ourselves that feel like an essential corollary to real life. Technology has set a new standard for beauty that quite literally doesn’t exist in real life. Rather than reject that, we’ve embraced it.

https://www.1843magazine.com/style/read-my-lips-the-rise-and-rise-of-photoediting

What is worth learning? Reading? What should a school’s curriculum include? “The Return of the Canon Wars”

f7b0d6b1-a764-49e8-9e86-64c4936e9396.png“The multiculturalist syllabus was shaped by a belief in relativism and its daughters. The multiculturalists hold that it is impossible to determine the very best works of literature humanity has produced, because there can be no objective standard of quality or merit. Thus, students should be guided to read texts from as diverse a field of authors as possible and to view texts as political artefacts and nothing else; they are to be understood as evidence of ‘identities,’ the prima facie reality of human life.”

“The timeless storytelling of Homer, the complex characters of Shakespeare, the unparalleled wit of Voltaire are all of enduring value. But in many ways these texts are also, in this context, tools for the sculpting of the human spirit. The multiculturalists were wrong to abandon this fundamental goal 30 years ago, and they are wrong to abandon it now. Education must be more than a mere scavenger hunt for instances of oppression, cruelty, and hatred. It must ask how each of us can live better. The multicultural canon offers the voices of more individuals, but fewer opportunities for the student to look beyond the polis and into his own being.”

http://quillette.com/2018/04/26/return-canon-wars/

N.Y. landlord obliterated dozens of graffiti murals. Now he owes the artists $6.75 million.

5POINTZ_HOME_BANNER_1Interesting local story that raises interesting questions about the nature of art and how society views different media. Though it has gained more widespread appreciation, graffiti is still not viewed as other art forms are. Also interesting to note that the law protects art of “recognized stature” and that term requires interpretation and depends greatly on what society in general defines as art.

The case marked the first time a court has been asked to determine whether graffiti — with its ephemeral nature — should be considered art protected under federal law, according to a court opinion. It weighed a property owner’s rights against the rights of visual artists — in a city where the powerful real estate and art worlds are constantly at odds.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/02/13/a-landlord-obliterated-dozens-of-graffiti-murals-now-he-owes-the-artists-6-7-million/?utm_term=.11404fc851f6

Decrying Real Estate Developer’s ‘Insolence,’ Judge Awards Street Artists $6.7 Million in Landmark 5Pointz Case

In the lawsuit, the artists alleged that their rights had been violated under the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA). The case was closely watched by artists, copyright experts, and property owners alike because it is extremely rare for VARA cases to come to trial. The law protects works of “recognized stature”—but even experts admit the term is vague and subject to broad interpretation. In this case, the judge seemed convinced that the now-erased graffiti mecca was of historic importance. Art expert Renee Vara, who testified in support of the artists, noted that the decision was significant because it recognized that “artists can be self-taught or academically trained.”

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/judge-awards-6-million-5pointz-lawsuit-1222394

Song Exploder Podcast: Weezer

In this episode, the lead singer and song writer of the band Weezer explains how one of their songs came together. What struck me about this episode was how this writer creates the lyrics to his songs. There is no overarching story he is trying to tell. He has a running list of ideas for lines on a spread sheet from various sources and then uses those random lines to create songs. He looks for words and lines with the proper inflection and sound quality to decide which lines to include in his song.

From the podcast:

“It sounds like something happened in my life, and then I observed it, and then I wrote a song about it. It’s coherent. There’s a beginning middle and an end. And that’s totally not the case at all. Each line is from a completely different place and I just reassembled them in some order that suggests a story that never happened. It’s a crazy way to write.”

This raises some interesting questions about the importance of the intent of an artist. If the artist himself says there is no meaningful story he is telling, does that mean that a listener cannot find meaning in them? Does revealing this story undermine the value of the artwork being created?

The Mapping of Massacres: In Australia, historians and artists have turned to cartography to record the widespread killing of Indigenous people.

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Really interesting article that gets into the importance of history and why we fight over it. In addition, how do we acquire knowledge of the past? In doing this project, the lead historian has to distinguish between the massacres based on the strength of evidence to support their happening. What is also interesting is what kind of evidence was used. Should indigenous oral histories be counted on? Or only traditionally western accounts such as newspapers? This argument plays out in the United States as well.

Lastly, rather than writing a book, the research was presented on a map. Why does the impact of this information feel different when presented visually rather than verbally? What does this tell us about the power of art when learning about history?

“In many Indigenous communities, art works have long had dual functions as historical sources, as repositories of cultural or spiritual knowledge, and as maps of territory. There is an established tradition of mapping massacre sites through art, as in the acclaimed paintings by the Aboriginal artists Rover Thomas, Queenie McKenzie, and Rusty Peters, among others. Watson wanted viewers of her video to be aware that any map is a slippery, contested artifact, and also to have a bodily response to the work. She told me the story of one of her relatives, who, after viewing the video, turned to her in anguish, saying, “Where wasn’t there a massacre?””

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/mapping-massacres