[Tammam] Azzam achieved more fame than nearly any other Syrian artist since the start of the revolution this February, when he created a piece that overlaid Gustav Klimt’s seminal “The Kiss,” in which a couple shares an idealistic kiss, against a photo of a destructed street in Douma. It was part of a series featuring famous works by Van Gogh, Matisse, Dali and even Andy Warhol, set against destroyed locations in Syria.
As to why “The Kiss” went viral? “Maybe people need love more than war right now. But I preferred the Goya [the Spanish artist’s “Third of May, 1808” against a demolished city street]. I think it shows what’s happening in Syria more than the other one does.”
Images: “The Kiss” (top) and “Third of May, 1808” (bottom) by Tammam Azzam, via SyriaDeeply. Select to embiggen.
I’ve recently become obsessed with a food+writing blog called Pupcaked, created with a lot of love and patience by my good friend Zoe. She’s a fantastic cook, journalist, photographer and writer. In her own beautiful words about the project:
Currently, I am taking residence in my hometown, New York, and baking from a small kitchen with a city window… As both a writer and maker of food, I am led to understand that eating is made from both loud and quiet, in an utterance of everywhere and anywhere that life can be savoured — the “journalist” in me will do all that she can to avoid interrupting its serene gaze that’s greased gently with a kind of grace known only to those patient enough to taste it.
In short, “Pupcaked” is an experiment in food-making, food-loving and food culture. I hope that you will join me.
I share it here because I think it represents something worth thinking about: if you love creating, you should create. You should work hard at it, block off a little bit of time each day to dive deeply into it, and you should love it. Zoe cooks, photographs and writes.
We get a lot of questions from our readers about how to break into journalism, about the correct steps to take to secure a great internship, about how to become a writer or blogger. Our answer is always the same: do it. To quote Michael in his response to one such question:
So, you say you want to be a writer but there’s nothing available in your area. In that case, make something available to yourself.
There are stories everywhere. There are stories where there are lots of people. There are stories where they are no people. There are great stories about topics other than people.
So start writing them. Choose something that you’re passionate about. If it’s a character who lives down the street, approach him and ask if you can interview and write about him. If he asks why, and what for, say simply, “I like to write.”
Some people will say no but you’ll be surprised by how many people say yes. People are wonderful that way.
And if your passion is for a subject or topic that requires more discrete expertise, say science or medicine or art or local politics, start reading up and then start calling people up (eg, at local colleges, businesses, governmental agencies and what not) and ask questions.
Again, many will ask why and where will this appear and you simply say, “I like to write and its for a personal site I’m creating.”
And then some will say no but others will say yes but give it a couple months and you have yourself body of work. You’ve gotten started.
Summer has just begun and we suspect some free time comes with it. So, we encourage you to take a break from the internship hunt and get cracking on producing and documenting the little hobby you’ve been thinking about. —Jihii
Image: Coffeecake muffins with cinnamon-walnut streusel (via pupcaked)
Remember Operator, the game where you whisper a message to someone, they whisper the same to another who does the same to another until finally the message comes back to you full of distortions and embellishments? So too COLORS Magazine’s News Machine.
Created for last month’s International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, The News Machine is a commentary on how information systems work, and how discrete items within it get lost in translation — so to speak — as they pass from one medium to another.
Designed in collaboration with interactive designer Jonathan Chomko, the COLORS News Machine turns your tweets into headlines, but only after they’ve been passed through all the media filters and technological platforms that disseminate and distort the news today.
Twitter is the largest and least verifiable wire agency in the world. Tweet your story to @colorsmachine and watch the message change as it echoes through different media and into print.
A megaphone will read your tweet out loud. Its tape recorder listens, converting what it hears into text so that the television can show it onscreen. A camera watching the television converts what it sees into a signal to the radio antenna, which broadcasts the tweet. And the waiting microphone interprets this radio address as text again for printing.
Pick up your receipt. Compare the original tweet with the final report. Accuracy of reproduction varies according to the clarity of your writing and to chance.
As Fast Company’s Mark Wilson points out, The News Machine’s “tacit thesis is very difficult to reconcile: Even by stating the truth, you could be helping to spread misinformation.”
This piece is remarkably different from what you can normally find in TIME’s Lightbox series, mainly because most of these pictures would never qualify as “astounding” neither by art photography standards nor by traditional photojournalism criteria. What is meaningful though, is the significance they bear as an impromptu collection, something Camilo José explains in the original post (throwing the Latino imagery into the mix):
I didn’t set out to intentionally document murals and signs—rather, I found one and photographed it, then another, and soon I had a unique, well defined collection of images of Dr. King.
On the streets, Dr. King is represented in many ways—sometimes a statesman, other times a visionary, hero or martyr. The sign painters and amateur artists who create these portraits use iconic photographs of Dr. King to model their subject. However, they often fall short of producing a perfect likeness.
It is not uncommon for Dr. King to look Latino, Native American or Asian. In Los Angeles, after the riots in 1992, many Latino shopkeepers painted Dr. King’s portrait on the façades of their businesses in the hope of deterring rioters. Furthermore, in other Latino neighborhoods, figures such as Pancho Villa, Benito Juárez and the Virgin of Guadalupe appear with Dr. King.
FJP: Right below Benito Juárez’s depiction, the painter added the well-known quote attributed to that Mexican President: “Respect for the rights of others is peace.” That quote is perhaps the most famous saying ever recorded in passive voice (it’s legalese, after all).
A small group of Free Syrians offer their words…. This project takes on one of the Syrian Government’s most prominent symbols – The Ba’ath Newspaper – as part and parcel of the Baath Security State – and here turns it upside down to be a surface of new thoughts written by the Syrian people thus overturning the daily chronicle of government lies. We emphasize also that the comments are directed not particularly to the Ba’ath but rather to ‘The Regime’ itself. Each participant was invited to use the news paper or write some words to symbolize his or her thoughts within the general idea of the revolution. Those are Syrians; Here are their words. This project began from the earliest months of the revolution. It was a time when the camera was, and continues to be, one of the revolution’s most important weapons. It was also important to work in simple and easily accessible ways while remaining discreet and not attracting too much attention. Participating in this project gave birth to new friendships, as has the revolution itself, in bringing together diverse Syrian individuals and their talks of revolution and freedom with all the complex emotional mix they entail – ecstasy, sadness and determination – they proudly express their allegiance to the one homeland, Syria.
New York-based artist Thomas Allen's upcoming exhibition, Beautiful Evidence, is the product of many hours spent digging through the stacks of old bookstores and leaning over cheap purchases with his scissors. On display at Foley Gallery, the show displays old science books in new ways.
For her curatorial project Hotel Palenque, Elise Lammer invites artists to create just one piece of work that gets displayed for just one night in a certain location. There are two further criteria the guest artists must adhere to: the work has to take the form of a standard A0 print, and the artist has to destroy all the digital files that went into the piece’s production before it’s put on display.
The piece, Process Watch, was made and exhibited on June 27 in London. Novitskova’s poster is comprised entirely of mundane data from that day—stock quotes, exchange rates, weather updates and more, captured in screenshots and then reassembled piecemeal in Photoshop.
But the seemingly straightforward piece raises some interesting questions about experience and reality in the internet age. The largely black and white screenshots do give us exchange rates and weather forecasts for a particular moment in time, but do they really tell us what the world was like on June 27, 2012? Surely not in the same way a collage of candid snapshots would. The poster shows us that it was 30°C in Houston, TX, but wouldn’t a sun-kissed photograph of a Houston city block show us so much more? Sure. But then again, for all those people who spend their days staring at their computer displays, the screenshots in Novitskova’s piece are exactly what June 27 was like—boring, pixelated, and not sun-kissed in the least.
FJP: Interesting thought-piece. And noted: Mix some nature into your internet.
Her subjects are often friends or family, and she frequently captures or recreates life-altering events: pregnancies, marriages, death. Her work is often joyous, but it can be haunting, even schizophrenic. She plays with light and texture and draws on her Latin roots, taking the viewer on a journey to places as magical as the the fictional town of Macondo or as surreal as a Salvador Dalí painting…
…Ms. Soberats does not rely on capturing a decisive moment. Instead, her technique, called light painting, involves careful planning and imagination…
…Using various light sources, including flashlights and Christmas lights, she darts about the frame like Tinkerbell, illuminating details within the image. The shutter remains open anywhere from two minutes to an hour.
Oh, important note: Sonia Soberats is blind.
She’s a member of the Seeing With Photography Collective, a New York-based group that creates collaborations between the visually impaired and sighted photographers. Her first solo show was last February in Venezuela.
Homophobia, machismo and classism in the Mexican Tweetosphere
#Puto (fag), #Zorra (whore), #Prole (poor), #Naco (tacky –this is actually a very rough translation) and #Indio (indigenous) are some of the most common hashtags used in Mexico to insult others on Twitter, according to Tweetbalas, a new, artsy, and very innovative experimental platform sponsored by the Mexican National Commission to Prevent Discrimination (Conapred).
Tweetbalas, which also is co-sponsored by Ogilvy and the Museum of Tolerance in Mexico City, analyzed 31 of the most offensive hashtags used by Mexican Twitter users for two months and came up with its results two days ago.
Through Tweetbalas web-based platform, one can pinpoint who’s using some of these offensive, discriminatory hashtags. Here’s an example:
@pucho93: JJJ is another great example of a stupid teacher. He organizes many female soccer tournaments. #fag
Bullets: The name of the experiment, Tweetbalas (Tweetbullets), reflects the fact that words may hurt, said Ricardo Bucio, president of Conapred. To illustrate this, every 20 offensive tweets detected by the platform, a Gotcha rifle shoots a paintball into a wall with the word Mexico inside a special hall in the Museum of Tolerance.
FJP: What we found innovative here is the combination of web based platforms and social media to make evident the tension between the freedom of speech and discrimination.
When Adidas wanted to create a mural to illustrate the launch of its new football boot last year, it turned to “professional graffiti artist” Darren Cullen for help. Cullen, 38, runs a firm providing spraycan artwork and branding to major international companies, and says he has never painted illegally on a wall or train.
But despite having worked with one of the Games’s major sponsors, on Tuesday Cullen was arrested by British Transport Police (BTP) and barred from coming within a mile of any Olympic venue, as part of a pre-emptive sweep against a number of alleged graffiti artists before the Olympics.
BTP confirmed that four men from Kent, London and Surrey, aged between 18 and 38, had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage, two of whom were also further arrested on suspicion of incitement to commit criminal damage.
They were bailed until November under strict conditions restricting their access to rail, tube and tram transport, preventing them from owning spray paint or marker pens, and ordering them not to go near any Olympic venue in London or elsewhere. None has been charged.
The individual stories are connected through common fields of coverage, places, professions and many other aspects. Besides the text the typewriter creates also images e.g. flags which are heavier distorted the more journalists got killed in that particular country…
…The software creates information graphics about the statistics in the data-set (e.g. how many have been killed in which country, which professions etc.) to connect them to the individual stories of the journalists.
"When we look at digital news what we see is technology, not the journalists who provide the news," Koschwitz tells Journalism.co.uk. “This project is to remember the journalists who are the interfaces. It makes us aware of who is providing the news, who is risking their lives to give us a tweet.”