Posts Tagged ‘Art’

Trois Disques

Detail of Alexander Calder’s 21 meter-high sculpture ‘Trois Disques’. Taken in Montreal’s Parc Jean Drapeau.

Book: Dilla Time

Don’t sweat it if you don’t know who hip hop producer J Dilla is. I only had a rough understanding of who he was, and what his impacts on music were, before I read Dan Charnas’ amazing biography.

Dilla was a hip hop producer in the 90’s whose programming of drum machines brought in a style of drumming which nobody had ever really heard before. His beats were erratic and off time, which on those early drum machines took some effort to achieve. They weren’t quite straight time, and they weren’t swing time. They were in Dilla Time. He used this technique to give his music a slightly off, slightly drunk, even slightly unsettling feeling.

A great read, especially for those who love 90’s hip hop and sampling. Buy it at your small local independent book store.

Parliament of Ghosts

From this New York Times profile of art in Ghana comes this photo of a beautiful space created by Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama, titled Parliament of Ghosts. What an incredible space.

Photographs of Robert Cumming

The New Yorker has a nice little profile on Robert Cumming, an absurdist photographer I had never heard about. His pieces are whimsical and silly, like the above piece entitled “Watermelon/Bread”.

As an artist, he was an inveterate tinkerer who, for a period, taught himself a new fabrication skill every year, which would later come in handy when making the props that he used in his photographs. He was stubbornly inquisitive, often following his ideas wherever they led him, even—or especially—if it was impractical or absurd.

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Via Rafa

Birch Bark Biting

Photo by Hilary McDonald via Washington Post

During precontact days, birch bark biting was practiced mainly by women in tribes “wherever the birch tree grows,” Church says. That area is vast; it includes British Columbia, northwest Alaska, Washington state, the northern Great Plains, the Appalachian Mountains, the Great Lakes and New England. Tribes that have practiced the art form include some Algonquin peoples of the Great Lakes parts of Canada and the United States, Ojibwe, Pottawatomi, Abenaki, Odawa, Chippewa and some groups of Cree.

To create an image — a dragonfly, a flower, a hummingbird — artists use their eyeteeth (the sharp teeth also known as canines) to pierce the delicate, onion-thin skin just enough to make indentations. They move the piece around in their mouth, creating symmetrical shapes. They can’t see the results of their work until they unfold the bark and hold it to the light.

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Labanotation: a Written Language for Dance

To oversimplify, written words, like these I’m writing, are humanity’s way of recording spoken words. Musical notation are how we record a song. But what if we want to record a dance or other movements? Enter Labanotation, a written language for recording human movements developed in the 1920’s.

In Labanotation, movements of different parts of the body are mapped to symbols:

The result is a language that, read from bottom to top, tracks a series of simultaneous motions into one synchronized flow of symbols:

Found via artist Eija Loponen-Stephenson.

Nick Ryan at Produit Rien

The local art gallery near my house has a wonderful little exhibit this week with a variety of musical works by an artist named Nick Ryan, whose other work and biographical information I’ve failed to find.

The works consist of simple household object arranged in such a way as to play music when electricity is applied (which is accomplished by random timers). It’s simple, and playful, and can be completely explored in about 10 minutes.

On from January 24 to 28th or so at Produit Rien in Mile Ex.

Prescience of Environmental Posters

The New York Times has a review of an exhibition of vintage environmental posters. The article has a nice gallery of some wonderfully designed and often poignant examples of graphic design with a message.

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Via Rafa

Said the Gramophone's Best Songs of 2023

My favourite blog post of every year is the best songs of the year by friend of Elsewhat’s Sean Michaels. I always discover a whole trove of new songs and artists.

Read 2023’s List Here →

Why 'Random Access Memories' is a Masterpiece

YouTube channel Digging the Greats has a very good breakdown of how Daft Punk’s farewell album was made. See also his recent breakdown of the creation of their previous album Discovery.