Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Art of being an Environmentalist

At the cost of reiterating a rhetoric let me say that our environment is in shambles. The 2 headed snake of commercialization and capitalism has clawed its fangs upon the ecological system. Industrial pollution has created a havoc in the last decade, much has been said in this regard but very little has been done. At this juncture, it is surprising to come across an eco friendly organization which flips the situation. I am talking about N-Viro International which focuses on conversion of waste to energy.

Oblivious to many of us, this company has been working for the past 2 decades in the field of alternate energy. It licenses its patented technology to municipalities and private companies to treat bio-organic waste. Recording a sales figure of over $40 million dollars, this company has a lot to offer in terms of expertise and technical knowledge. Dealing with issues of renewable energy, this company uses lime and mineral rich combustible products to treat waste water sludge into soil enrichment products with real market value. This company has been managed by Robert Stephens, Raymond James, Oppenheimer and Co., and Paine Webber.

Using state of the art technology the processing operations include physical, chemical and biological reactions to treat biological waste. In many cases, calcium carbonate is obtained as a byproduct which has useful applications. Example: N-Viro recently performed an experiment in Michigan State University in which 2 different fuels were combined and blended with Eastern Ohio coal. The resultant compound was successfully tested to have low air emissions and the boiler (in which the experiment was done) performed efficiently. This company is definitely worth checking.

Information Link



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Army of the Pharaohs - The Unholy Terror (2010)




01. Agony Fires ft. Vinnie Paz, Planetary, Celph Titled & Apathy
02. Ripped To Shreds ft. Vinnie Paz, Celph Titled & Demoz
03. Bust 'em In ft. Reef The Lost Cauze, Apathy & Celph Titled
04. Prisoner ft. Vinnie Paz, Planetary, Doap Nixon & Demoz
05. Godzilla ft. Vinnie Paz, Jus Allah, Celph Titled, Apathy, Planetary & King Magnetic
06. Suplex ft. Des Devious, Demoz, King Syze & Vinnie Paz
07. Contra Mantra ft. Crypt Da Warchild, King Syze & Vinnie Paz
08. Drenched In Blood ft. Planetary, Demoz, Crypt Da Warchild, King Syze & Vinnie Paz
09. Spaz Out ft. Apathy, King Magnetic, Esoteric & Celph Titled
10. 44 Magnum ft. Crypt Da Warchild, Des Devious, Vinnie Paz & Demoz
11. Dead Shal Rise ft. Demoz, Celph Titled, Planetary, Reef The Lost Cauze, Vinnie Paz & Apathy
12. Cookin' Keys ft. Doap Nixon, Des Devious, Crypt Da Warchild, Demoz, Planetary & Reef The Lost Cauze
13. Burn You Alive ft. Block McCloud, Doap Nixon, Vinnie Paz & Planetary
14. Hollow Points ft. Planetary, Demoz, Vinnie Paz & Doap Nixon
15. Suicide Girl ft. Planetary, Doap Nixon & Apathy
16. The Ultimatum ft. King Magnetic, Des Devious, Reef The Lost Cauze, King Syze, Vinnie Paz, Celph Titled, Planetary, Apathy, Crypt Da Warchild & Journalist

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

TIME AND CHANCE HAPPENETH TO THEM ALL (part three)

The brilliant young Mathematician Evariste Galois was killed in a duel when he was only 20. His biographer, E.T. Bell, described the last night of Galois' life this way:
All night long he had spent the fleeting hours feverishly dashing off his scientific last will and testament, writing against time to glean a few of the great things in his teeming mind before the death he saw could overtake him. Time after time he broke off to scribble in the margin "I have not time; I have not time," and passed on to the next frantically scrawled outline. What he wrote in those last desperate hours before the dawn will keep generations of mathematicians busy for hundreds of years.
Later biographers believe Bell's account to be a little overheated; for example, Galois did not invent his famous theorem that very night, he had been working on it for some time. Still, it is clear that when faced with almost certain death the next morning, Galois' defense was to keep doing what he did best, and to do as much of it as possible before his time ran out. His parting words were:
There are a few things left to be completed in this proof. I have not the time....I hope some men will find it profitable to sort out this mess. I embrace you with effusion.
Which brings us to Virginia Frances Sterrett (1900-1931). As a child growing up in Missouri, all Sterrett wanted to do was draw. There weren't many opportunities for artists in Missouri back then, but as a young teenager Sterrett audaciously entered the Kansas State Fair art competition and won three first prizes. Encouraged, Sterrett went to Chicago at age 15 to attend high school and study art. The Art Institute was so impressed with her that it gave her a full scholarship.

When Sterrett reached 19, two things happened: first, she received a commission to illustrate her very first book (Old French Fairy Tales by Comtesse de Segur). Second, she came down with tuberculosis which soon began to sap her strength. The race was on.



For the rest of her short life, Sterrett worked as hard as her failing strength would allow, illustrating Tanglewood Tales, the Arabian Nights and Myths and Legends.









By the time she turned 22, she had to enter a sanatorium where she could only work for short periods of time before resting. Yet, Sterrett's exhaustion doesn't show up in her pictures. You don't see her taking shortcuts or compromising the quality of her work. She seemed intent on making her pictures as perfect as she could, to isolate them from the limitations and frustrations of her life.

She knew the game was fixed against her; she wouldn't have a lifetime to improve her skills or compile a major body of work, the way other artists did. Working under those restrictions it might have made more sense to give up or resort to drink, but still she persisted. Such time as she had, that time was going to be devoted to making pictures. She was almost done illustrating Myths and Legends when she died.







The local newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an obituary that remarked upon the disparity between her life and the exotic world she drew:
Her life spent in prosaic places of the West and Middle West, she made pictures of haunting loveliness, suggesting Oriental lands she never saw and magical realms no one ever knew except in the dreams of childhood....Perhaps it was the hardships of her own life that gave the young girl's work its fanciful quality. In the imaginative scenes she set down on paper she must have escaped from the harsh actualities of existence.



I view each of Sterrett's pictures, like I view Galois' journal, as a little pearl of resistance against the fact that life is unfair and death comes too soon. Not much of a consolation, you say? It seems to be all we've got, which is why it might make sense to pay attention to her achievement.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mac Lethal – Blood In The Water (2010)




1.Contaminants
2.Exhibit DEAD
3.October on the Beach Freestyle
4.Fast Paces (featuring Ces Cru)
5.Pocket Change Freestyle (Sku Plays the Airhorn)
6.Kinda Like a Big Wheel Freestyle
7.maclethalvoicegeneratorfreestyle
8.The Swamp
9.Evil In It
10.Chub in the Water
11.Delicate Touch
12.Bird Feeder
13.Two Bottles Clacking
14.Punk Bitch Clown Freestyle
15.Upbeat

Sadat X - Wild Cowboys II (2010)




01. Return Of The Bang Bang (Produced By Will Tell)
02. Turn It Up (ft & Produced By Pete Rock)
03. In Da Jungle (ft A.G. & Twan) (Produced By Diamond D)
04. Nuclear Bomb (Produced By Will Tell)
05. Still On Deck (ft Twan) (Produced By DJ Spinna)
06. Roll That (ft Rhymefest) (Produced By Grant Parks)
07. Wherever (ft Shabaam Sahdeeq) (Produced By Nick Wiz)
08. Swerv (ft Swerv) (Produced By Will Tell)
09. Pray (ft Umi, M-1, Kurupt & Sir Jinx) (Produced By Sir Jinx)
10. We Kewl (ft Twan & Shawn Black) (Produced By Will Tell)
11. Knock Me Down (Feat. Kim) (Produced By Dub Sonata)
12. Long Years (ft Lord Jamar & Grand Puba) (Produced By Buckwild)
13. Bargain With The Devil (ft Vast Aire) (Produced By Thanos)
14. Everybody Know (ft Money Boss Playas) (Produced By Minnesota)
15. X & Bill (ft ILL Bill) (Produced By 9th Wonder)
16. Last Time Out (ft Twan & Shawn Black) (Produced By Yuani)

Media Art -

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Donwill - Don Cusack In High Fidelity (2010)




01 The Monologue
02 Lauras Song
03 Top 5 Breakups
04 Championship Vinyl
05 Ians Song
06 Shake It Easy
07 Love Junkie
08 December 27th
09 Breathe
10 I See You
11 Good
12 Leading Lady
13 Pussy Rules The World
14 Maybe You and I
15 Girl Girl
16 Hey Baby

LMNO - fOnk Garden 2010




01-LMNO - Fonk Garden
02-LMNO - Plant Seeds
03-LMNO - Twisted
04-LMNO - Us Against Us
05-LMNO - Pinkyupw / Theindex
06-LMNO - Get Gone
07-LMNO - Psychomicrocosmic
08-LMNO - It's True
09-LMNO - Allinall
10-LMNO - Fonk

Marco Polo And Ruste Juxx - The eXXecution (2010)




01 The Exxecution ft DJ Revolution
02 Death Penalty ft DJ Revolution
03 Rearview
04 Take Money
05 I Am On It
06 Lets Take A Sec ft Black Moon
07 Bread On Ya Head
08 Wings On Your Back
09 Nobody
10 Fuckin Wit A Gangsta ft Sean Price
11 Watch Yo Step
12 You Cant Stop Me

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

JOHN CUNEO: AIMING FOR AN INVISIBLE TARGET

Compare Saul Steinberg's observation on the obstacles to creation...



...with John Cuneo's treatment of the same theme:



Cuneo's hapless artist is not constrained the same way Steinberg's is. You'll rarely find a theme-- or a line-- in Cuneo's offbeat world as straight as Steinberg's leash.

Cuneo's artist is bedeviled by his diminutive artistic size, by the huge, languid planet of muliebrity between him and his art, by that disconcerting rump which could easily distract him from his artistic mission, by that wobbly little easel perched on top of his subject... here is a valiant artist clearly outmatched by his subject matter, whose vast limbs drape beyond the artist's field of vision. Like much of Cuneo's work, this picture is laced with subtle visual touches; without the impassive face on the woman, this picture wouldn't be nearly as smart. The message of Cuneo's picture is transformed by the fact that the woman is utterly indifferent to the artist's presence, both artistically and amatorily.

I find Cuneo to be one of the most psychologically insightful illustrators working today, and his observations about the artistic process and about life in general make me laugh out loud. Check out Cuneo's drawing for the Society of Illustrators:



I've never seen a more hilarious or pointed rendition of what artists secretly hope to achieve by their work, contrasted with the actual response of their audience.

Ever since the days of Robert Blechman, it is not uncommon for illustrators to draw with stray, wispy lines, blobby colors and lopsided, distorted figures. On this blog, I have criticized artists who try to mimic children's drawings in superficial ways, or who are willfully sloppy but fail to achieve the raw, disturbing potential of that kind of art. I find that sometimes artists who adopt a childlike approach are merely milking the contradiction between a naive drawing style and a mature subject matter.

But Cuneo's pictures use this approach to achieve piercing, authentic results. For me, they are achingly genuine and psychologically astute, not to mention rich and funny and weird. But that leaves the question, if Cuneo is able to hit the target better than most of his peers, exactly what target is he hitting? This week I would like to explore what makes such drawing successful (or not).

Picasso put it arrogantly (of course), but accurately:
In the old days, pictures went forward toward completion by stages.... A picture used to be the sum of additions. In my case, a picture is the sum of destructions.
When art was subject to the formal rules of a powerful Academy, artists used agreed-upon techniques to progress toward comparatively measurable goals. Viewers were able to ask, "Is that hand correct? Is that flower accurate? Does the artist know how to mix color? Does that pose seem stiff and awkward?" Later, when Picasso and his successors obliterated such standards, abstraction and conceptual art operated under their own criteria for success.

Today the criteria for a successful picture seem pretty clear at either extreme on the spectrum, but artists working in Cuneo's genre seem to occupy a kind of netherworld in between. Their work is representational, but deliberately "off" or "wrong." If an artist aspires to ungainly and awkward pictures, how do you distinguish between "good" awkward and "bad" awkward? What makes this type of distortion effective in some cases and ineffective in others? In other words, what the hell is the target you are aiming for?

Look at Cuneo's choices in the following drawing. You can tell from his treatment of the man's hands or the swivel of his hips that Cuneo knows how to draw in the traditional sense. Yet, look at the weird way he distorts the girl's arms and legs, or how her head is too small for her own body, let alone in comparison to the man's oversized cranium.



When you know how to draw, you have to unlearn what you know to draw this way. You have to conquer muscle memory and uproot hardened patterns of perception. When you start making wrong lines, your muscles rebel. Alarms in the synapses between your hand and eye start to shriek: "Stop! Too far! Out of proportion! Go back!"



The artist has to resist the urge, described by Picasso, to complete the picture by going back and fixing the apparent flaws. The eye and the hand battle with the brain for control, and it is a contest that must be fought inch by inch.

Despite the deliberate crudeness of Cuneo's lines, they come together for some highly sophisticated results. The expressions on the people in many of Cuneo's pictures-- wan, jaded, dissolute, indulgent-- aren't the basic expressions you'd typically learn in art school.


Note the glee of the drunk urinating on a street person.


More subtle touches-- the surgeon who throws his hands in the air like a magician proud of his newest miracle. This hilarious picture, which seems to be drawn so casually, was the product of intense labor.

Here is a detail from Cuneo's treatment of Adam and Eve. I find this picture of Eve quite beautiful and erotic.


If you want to see the full drawing you'll have to hunt it down in Cuneo's book, nEuROTIC. If I posted the full version here, some reader would turn me in to the blogger police.

Cuneo's drawings are tiny-- never more than a few inches tall.


I love the way Cuneo uses just a few gentle skritches around the perimeter of a circle to suggest this face



Once we've jettisoned the relatively objective criteria that accompanied representational art, it's difficult to articulate a coherent standard for when "awkward" and "wrong" will turn out to be "honest" and "beautiful." How much distortion is enough? With each picture Cuneo has to decide where to pitch his tent on the road between all and nothing at all. The quality of his pictures are proof that the target, even if invisible, is not an illusion.

Friday, March 5, 2010

THRUST



In my opinion, illustration art has a brand of potency unrivalled by any other school or genre of art.


Peak


Frazetta


Hale


N.C. Wyeth

I defy you to find images with greater vigor and assertiveness in any art museum.

The difference in visual impact between illustration art and traditional painting is not simply a question of subject matter. Plenty of fine art depicts military battles, murders, rapes and other lurid or violent subjects. Yet, the difference in vitality is apparent:


Ucello


Gentileschi


Rubens

Nor can the difference between illustration and gallery painting be attributed to vigorous brushwork. Twentieth century action painters such as de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline used violent brush strokes to convey raw emotion, yet even their most extreme work lacks the particular force and thrust that can be found in some illustration.


Kline


de Kooning

Abstraction somehow just doesn't seem to produce the same "pop." Perhaps part of the secret lies in the fact that illustrators capture motion as wild as a ballet leap or a spear thrust, yet contain it in a form that is sufficiently controlled to be representational. That tension adds a coiled strength.


Hale (detail)

Phil Hale-- in my view, one of the most powerful and talented painters in this genre today-- talked about the importance of a contrast between two elements:

"I like the (almost stupid) blunt immediacy crushed up against some good painting." Hale says he respects both sides, even the blunt, "stupid" part: "that slightly ridiculous side is actually quite genuine and human and worth including."

I suspect another reason for the distinctive character of illustration stems from its heritage. For more than a century, illustrators have refined the characteristics that make pictures stand out on a crowded magazine rack or book shelf. Through a long incubation period on the covers of lurid pulp magazines in the 1930s, comic books and women's magazines in the 1950s, illustrators learned what makes an image jump out and grab a casual reader by the lapels, and what aspects of traditional pictures were superfluous.

This peculiar flavor to illustration does not make it better or worse than gallery painting, but for those who enjoy the virility of art, illustration is the place to start.

Some pictures may whisper to you, while other pictures may sing. These are the pictures that gasp through clenched teeth, on the final downstroke.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Tribe Called Quest - Rare And Unreleased Instrumentals Vol. 1 (2010)




01 Push It Along
02 The Infamous Date Rape
03 Clap Your Hands
04 Luck Of Lucien
05 Butter
06 Ham N Eggs
07 Sucka Nigga
08 Rhythm (Devoted To The Art Of Moving Butts)
09 Jam
10 Show Business
11 Everything Is Fair
12 Steve Biko (Stir It Up)
13 1nce Again

Fresh Vetz - Vet Status (2010)





The Way Things Go and Pass



Fischli and Weiss, Der Lauf Der Dinge (The Way Things Go), video, 30', 1987


Honda Ad, 2003



OK Go - This Too Shall Pass, 2009


I remember the choreographer João Fiadeiro once showing Fischli & Weiss's work during some seminar or workshop and talking about what in his mind made it so impressive: necessity. Although it might seem like anything can happen, what happens is exactly what needs to happen. A tautology that evolves in time? But isn't any proof precisely that - a dynamic tautology?
So is it because it's a proof that it's so appealing?
A proof of what?
Of how things go, we are tempted to say.
Which, of course, is just silly talk. It's precisely because things don't go this way that we enjoy it so much. It's because the unexpected becomes necessary.

What about this "evolution"? The work of art turned into a commercial turned into a music video. Don't expect any moral judgement on that. Actually, I enjoyed all three videos.
We could discuss the question of authorship. But we won't. (Fischli & Weiss threatened to sue Honda).
Here's what I've been pondering on: what exactly are the differences?
Because, once you've accepted that they're all in the same category (actually, this type of inventions is called either Heath Robinson contraptions (UK), or (more commonly) Rube Goldberg Machines (US) and have been in popular culture at least since the beginning of the 20th century), you can see into how very different they are.
So what makes it an art project, a commercial, a music video?
If we turn the volume off, what changes?
If we put music, or switch it from one video to another?
The timing, the materials, the way things go and pass.
What sort of universe appears in each of them?
Yes, that's precious: they each have their own universe. They are entities. You can easily find yourself around them, with their texture, their dynamics, their smell...
One more thing: aren't they each hiding in their specific ways this very basic urge for things to make sense?
If that is so, it's beyond necessity or discovery. It's the comfort of order. The sense that somewhere beyond the frame, things are just waiting to come into action, to move into view. And their potential is already in perfect harmony with the moment when they will become what they are meant to be. The best of possible worlds.
It shouldn't come as a surprize that these delicately balancing certainties remind us of childhood.

The Way Things Go and Pass



Fischli and Weiss, Der Lauf Der Dinge (The Way Things Go), video, 30', 1987


Honda Ad, 2003



OK Go - This Too Shall Pass, 2009


I remember the choreographer João Fiadeiro once showing Fischli & Weiss's work during some seminar or workshop and talking about what in his mind made it so impressive: necessity. Although it might seem like anything can happen, what happens is exactly what needs to happen. A tautology that evolves in time? But isn't any proof precisely that - a dynamic tautology?
So is it because it's a proof that it's so appealing?
A proof of what?
Of how things go, we are tempted to say.
Which, of course, is just silly talk. It's precisely because things don't go this way that we enjoy it so much. It's because the unexpected becomes necessary.

What about this "evolution"? The work of art turned into a commercial turned into a music video. Don't expect any moral judgement on that. Actually, I enjoyed all three videos.
We could discuss the question of authorship. But we won't. (Fischli & Weiss threatened to sue Honda).
Here's what I've been pondering on: what exactly are the differences?
Because, once you've accepted that they're all in the same category (actually, this type of inventions is called either Heath Robinson contraptions (UK), or (more commonly) Rube Goldberg Machines (US) and have been in popular culture at least since the beginning of the 20th century), you can see into how very different they are.
So what makes it an art project, a commercial, a music video?
If we turn the volume off, what changes?
If we put music, or switch it from one video to another?
The timing, the materials, the way things go and pass.
What sort of universe appears in each of them?
Yes, that's precious: they each have their own universe. They are entities. You can easily find yourself around them, with their texture, their dynamics, their smell...
One more thing: aren't they each hiding in their specific ways this very basic urge for things to make sense?
If that is so, it's beyond necessity or discovery. It's the comfort of order. The sense that somewhere beyond the frame, things are just waiting to come into action, to move into view. And their potential is already in perfect harmony with the moment when they will become what they are meant to be. The best of possible worlds.
It shouldn't come as a surprize that these delicately balancing certainties remind us of childhood.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Alys and Nujabes - Modal Source(2009)




01. I Miss You (Nujabes / Reflection Eternal)
02. Living Inside Your Love (Substantial / Lyrical Terrorists)
03. The Shade of the Mango Tree (Nujabes / Lady Brown)
04. Affirmation (Nujabes / Counting Stars)
05. Make Love 2 (Nujabes / Beat Laments the World)
06. Ordinary Joe (Nujabes / Ordinary Joe)
07. Tens (Nujabes feat. Shing02 / Luv(Sic.) Pt.3)
08. Qualquer Dia (Shing02 / Luv (Sic) Pt. 2)
09. Long Ago and Far Away (Funky DL / Day by Day)
10. Julia (Nujabes / Hikari)
11. Die Dinge Des Lebens (Nujabes / Latitude Remix)
12. It's in Our Hands
13. Dream of Return (Uyama Hiroto / Stratus)
14. September Fifteen (Nujabes / A Day by Atmosphere Supreme)
15. After the Morning (Nujabes / Flowers)
16. Steadfast (Nujabes / Steadfast)
17. Love Theme from 'The Robe' (Nujabes / Feather)
18. Love Theme from 'Spartacus' (Nujabes / The Final View)
19. Save Our Children (Nujabes / Blessing It Remix)
20. When a Little Love Began to Die (Funky DL / Don't Even Try It)
21. Lament (Nujabes / Kujaku)
22. Fiesta (Five Deez / Latitude)
23. Dexia (Nujabes / F.I.L.O)

Dashah - Rap Burglar 2.5(2009)




Ill Insanity Intro
Return Of The Rap Burglar
Thought Yall Knew
Inkaholik Pt. 3
The Promoter
Giving Up (It's Hard To Do)
Tell Me (Please Don't Go)
360
Fly Away
My Notebook
Karma
Reflection "Remix"
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda
Sittin On The Train
Last Exit
Above The Clouds Feat. Total Eclipse
Growing Pains
Can't Go Back
Hollywood (All I Can Say)

Bodega Man - The Jazz Album: Recession Thinking (2010)




01. Recession Thinking
02. Suckas Are Not Recession Proof
03. Sing For You
04. Change In My Pocket
05. Paycheck
06. Stress feat. Saren
07. Lucy
08. Drinking
09. Teeth
10. Tuition
11. Dear Peons
12. Spanish
13. Go On And Cry feat. Mikel Write
14. Mr. Elegance
15. Revolt
16. U And Me
17. Q The Tape feat. A.T
18. Be Happy That You Are Living
19. Outro

Blak Madeen - Sacred Defense (2009)



01 Do or Die
02 Make It Right ft Reks
03 Cut U Slow
04 Engage The Enemy (Remix) ft Lord Jamar
05 Sacred Defense
06 Level of A Devil ft Reef The Lost Cauze and Good Brother
07 Time After Time
08 The Sacrifice ft Hasan Salaam
09 Come Correct ft Good Brother
10 Mental State
11 See The Light ft Hell Razah
12 Only You ft Ray Diamonds
13 Soul To Keep ft Good Brother
14 The Path
15 Hold On ft Stucat
16 Psychological Warfare ft Amadeus the Stampede
17 To The End