Monday, March 29, 2010

slices of the perverse

My new job editing children's workbooks has actually begun to inspire some artistic ideas in me. Is it wrong if I steal ideas from a grade 1-2 workbook? There's just something so eerily poetic about puppets cutting their own strings. Also the bizarre image of a flower growing down into the soil while its roots grow upwards into the world as we know it. Lovely. Until I make those ideas my own, here's something from Montreal based artist Payam Montazami (congrats Payam, you're FB advertising worked). 

This stuff is so creepy. Rarely does anything in the horror genre deserve to be taken seriously, but I do really like this. It's a simple idea but something I haven't really seen before - opening the canvas up into the third dimension to reveal something underneath, which in this case is very alien. 

But who is watching us? A painted on eye? Or just ourselves and our own fears. Anything "perverse" is necessarily human and we always watch ourselves. That's what art is anyways - representations of ourselves. I also like the following piece from his Facebook photos, probably because it doesn't creep me out as much as the others.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I got a job! Yay! Where did the last 7 months go?

To be eaten Busan shrimp

Thursday, March 18, 2010

asia architecture

I love this kind of design. You know when you're stuck in rush hour and you just wish there could be another highway? We have plenty of sky. Why not build up?

Fukuoka, Japan (highways)

Bangkok, Thailand (walkways)

Busan, South Korea (public transit line)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Beijing details

Great Wall

Forbidden City

Temple of Heaven
Tiananmen Square

Friday, March 12, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Are the suburbs on life support?

I had to attend a lecture at the "Mourning the Suburb" Symposium at Prefix Institute for Contemporary Art yesterday. I hoped it might be thought provoking (it's wasn't exceedingly), since where to live (suburbs, city, or even country) has been a contested subject for me for the last 3 years or so. Personally, I love the quiet of the suburbs. The suburb is the land of leisure. I love being able to take a stroll through my neighbourhood and to know that no one is conducting important business or getting riled up at a night club or any other sort of debaucherous establishment nearby. On the other hand, when we do want to partake in business or debauchery, those establishments are just too far away. The convenience of being able to stumble to one's doorstep from fatigue or intoxication is a great feeling. 

The startling absence of museums, galleries, and theatres in the suburbs is also problematic for me. What I got out of the lecture was that the biggest problem with the suburbs is the lack of community and culture. Suburbs don't really have public spaces for people to express themselves creatively. That's why we see things like yard sales. Regardless, this is not un-remediable. A more accessible public space might help to engage suburban residents with their communities. I often receive notices about community issues (political, environmental) being discussed at some public forum unknown to me. I've thought about but never actually attended one of these. If I thought my friends and neighbours were attending, that people not directly involved in politics actually cared, I wouldn't feel so out of place going to one.

The suburbs often receive a lot of hate from both city-dwellers and suburbanites, not to mention environmentalists, but so many people choose to live in the suburbs because there are a lot of positives to them. An OCAD student last semester did a photography project on the bleakness of Brampton. From his photos, Brampton looked like a construction site for building the same house, over and over again. But despite the aesthetic sameness, it's important to acknowledge that suburban residents are as varied as city dwellers, especially in Toronto. I love how American artist Laura Migliorino's photos demonstrate this in a positive light.

It's seems that people are not mourning the suburbs at all. The suburbs have their problems, just like the city and the country, but they aren't dead. Migliorino wrote in her artist statement that "the notion of the American dream as a house in the suburbs is alive and well."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yay Canada

So I hear that Canada won the most gold medals, like, ever. I'm not a big sports fan but there is a certain amount of pleasure in seeing the US come second to us. We should also be proud that we created the most innovative medal design I've ever seen, however ugly it may be. Who would've thought to create an "undulating" surface but British Columbians. I'm torn between appreciation of the unique design and the undeniable reality that they look like a manufacturing error. Maybe the varied plane could have been a little more subtle, or just plain flat like most of the great Canadian landscape. What I love is the imagery on the front of the medals. It comes from an orca image drawn by aboriginal West coast artist Corrine Hunt. The image on each medal was "hand-cropped" from the greater image so that each medal is different and unique. I guess that's what you might call a modern (they were drawn onto the medals using a laser) form of handicraft.