medailles-5-031I’m dying to find a Photochaining memory card:

“The Photochaining blog is a continuous project where people practice the art of leaving memory cards in public places to be picked up and used by others, who then do likewise.”

To participate:

1. Take funny/original/humoristic/creative photos with your own camera (use a cheap memory card) .

2. Write a note in which:

– you explain in few words the PhotoChaining concept to the “finder”.

– you provide a name* to the memory card (research on PhotoChaining to ensure that the designated memory card name has not already been allocated. If so, choose an other name).

3. Put the memory card and the note in a transparent plastic bag.

4. Leave the plastic bag in a public place.

*Only one word.

Have you found one? If I start a chain, what kind of pictures should I leave behind for the next person to take in? And God, isn’t it cool, these kinds of massive, distributed public art projects nurtured so well by the Internet?

spaceball

Loved the story about “Irrational Geographic,” a project by a group in New Orleans documenting Mardi Gras. Portraiture + a riff on one of publishing’s most recognizable cover designs? Wonderful. National Geographic’s blog parses the images, but I say it’s best to just enjoy the set unmediated at Flickr.

scissor_budaI’m loving this scupture of Buddha made out of scissors — it’s at Emporio in Delhi. The rest of the store is decorated with monochromatic scissors — what a cool way to revise such a mundane instrument of the everyday.

Among the “meant to do but didn’ts”of this weekend: the Renegade Craft Fair at the McCarren Park Pool and the Affordable Art Fair (which featured, among lots of other stuff, presumably, Lieu Nguyen’s <i>Spring Blossom</i>, above).

Anyone score good deals? Artists to keep an eye out for? 

The Internets are alive with reverence for Zhan Wang’s stainless steel re-creation of San Francisco (above; he’s now exhibiting at the Asian Art Museum), but when I saw it, I immediately thought of Subodh Gupta’s work (below). I’ve always admired Gupta’s use of commonplace utensils in a way that transcends their everyday purpose; would love to see more of what Wang has to offer (it’s particularly interesting, to me at least, that Wang forges his own stainless steel, thus situating his works in a very real place and time; the work above ultimately can be traced back to the Sierra Nevadas).

Loved these sheep sculptures made out of reused parts from old phones; such an unexpected and imaginative creation! I can’t figure out who the artist is, but I’m enamored. (Via Craft.)

Two cool projects: a pixellated gush of water from an old downspout and a plastic-bag Loch Ness Monster constructed over a subway vent so it “comes alive” every time a train rushes by underground.

The first, Gawker reports, was NYU student Kelly Goeller’s assignment for Intro to Sculpture. The other, which I found via Wooster Collective, is a piece by Joshua Allen Harris (who also did the plastic-bag polar bear) best understood by watching a YouTube clip:

These are the things that make me love NY….

Love me, love my home state: a T-shirt homage to the greatness of Oregon (via this).

Bonus props to Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, a band I like (in addition to its name-checking of everyone’s favorite former president of Russia) because they have a song called “Oregon Girl.” In my deluded little T-centric world, I like to think that my old non-Oregon boyfriends think of me fondly when they hear it, a small tear perhaps escaping as they reminisce.

(“Cozy Donkey,” Swati Kurana, 2007, via NY Arts.)

From NY Arts profile of Swati Kurana:

I see myself as very loose, disorganized, and cluttered with my artistic process. I’m a collector, so I have too much stuff, too much music, too many tear sheets, too many journals, too many plastic flowers, too many hard drives with too many images and movie files. But I keep it all, because I hold onto a piece of text, a source image, or song that I want to incorporate in a piece. It often gets shelved for a while, until another text or image or song comes up that complements the first one, and then I ferociously work to complete it.

Although I respect artists with a singular vision, artists that paint from life or doggedly pursue a discrete theme expressed in a wash of watercolors, variations on one idea, I’m much more an eclectic; I always love reading about other artists working across media, jumping from branch to branch as the wind blows through the trees …

Resist! … by knitting? Indeed: Yarnbombing, it’s totally hip. Or something. And if you’ve got a great idea for “handcrafted textile street art” (see example above), you could even get published. Woot. Knitta Please has lots of great ideas to get you started.

Incidentally, I find these sorts of cultural interventions much more interesting than the increasingly obnoxious national conversation on feminism vis-a-vis Hillary. Am I dragging down the cause because I prefer the power of reimagining an activity traditionally associated with female isolation in the domestic sphere to campaigning for a candidate merely because we share the same type of genitals? Is my resistance too passive, and thus, in the most pejorative sense of the term, too feminine?

(Above: Picture I took of a Coney Island storefront.)

Cool new book out — Paul Lacy catalogs entrances and handpainted signs around New York in Brooklyn Storefronts. Read about it on the Times’ City Room blog, which noted, “In the foreword to the book, Mr. Lacy admits that his visual record of Brooklyn’s storefronts might seem “a bit odd,” and indeed, some store owners would pop outside to ask why he was taking snapshots. Mr. Lacy writes:

“Granted, “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but a small, independently owned store is singular and so is a handpainted sign. When you see one, you have to wonder whether there will be something inside not found in the other stores, let alone the chains and franchises. Very often there is: a lovingly made dish made from a family recipe, a display of photographs or posters, a funny story, catchy tunes from another land: there are so many surprises.””

Supercool — and a real testament to the creativity and ingenuity of everyday people. What with the corporatization of public space, gems like those Lacy captured are already few and far between; thankfully, this old-fashioned art hasn’t disappeared completely.

Interpreting the descriptions of men and women in the media; that is, using the descriptions proffered in stories from the New York Times, the New Yorker, and other mainstream media purveyors to concoct sketches of the sources they cite.

Today’s image: the left-shin mole woman.

mole-left-shin.jpg

…but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming about tea-themed goodies, like this print from RansomStone on Etsy:

A sketch of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge done by my great-grandfather, Stephen Thomas Hennessy, some time in what I'm guess were the 1930s.

A view of the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge under construction, from either 1935 or 1936, courtesy the San Francisco Museum.

My mom just made a pilgrimmage to the grandparent’s abode in the Sierra Nevadas, where she took a series of photos of her grandfather’s sketches from the Bay Area in the early twentieth century. I don’t know much about Stephen, but I have culled a few facts and/or amassed some anecdotes that may be historical conjecture:
— He was born in Cincinnatti, had moved to St. Louis by 1920, and ended up in California in the 1930s (according to U.S. Census records)
— My mother claims he drove a motorcycle built by a Native American across the country
— He painted alongside S.C. Yuan and spent much of his time mimicking landscapes in Carmel-by-Sea
— Walt Disney approached him to work with him as a studio artist, but Stephen refused
— He sketched maniacally, on any material available to him (which included brown paper bags, tissue paper, and cardboard inserts discarded by dry cleaners)

I’ve created a set of photos of his work on my Flickr account. It’s got landscapes, a few fabulous figure studies, and, of course, those select sketches of the Golden Gate going up. My aunt, an artist herself, is rumored to have squirrelled away about 20 more.

The San Francisco Museum, from which I brazenly stole the above image for comparison, has a great repository of images of the Golden Gate Bridge being built.

America Hurrah’s Bill Roddy also offers pictures he took while the bridge was going up, which he later published as a set of postcards. Another comprehensive set was posted by history_eyes_05 on WebShots; numerous books on the subject have also been published.

A piece by Salman Rushdie, “The Shelter of the World,” ran in last week’s New Yorker, and while I didn’t find the story (a tale of Emperor Akbar and maybe-real, maybe-imaginary wife Jodha) as gripping as I have some of his work, one passage jumped out at me:

“The court was also full of foreigners, pomaded exotics, weather-beaten merchants, narrow-faced priests from the West, boasting in ugly, undesirable tongues about the majesty of their lands, their gods, their kings. When the Emperor showed her the pictures of their mountains and valleys they’d brought with them, she thought of the Himalayas and of Kashmir and laughed at the foreigners’ paltry approximations of natural beauty, their vaals and aalps, half-words to describe half-things. Their kings were savages, and they had nailed their god to a tree. What did she want with people as ridiculous as that?

They came in search of—what, exactly? Nothing of use. If they had possessed any wisdom, the inutility of their journeying would have been obvious to them. Travel was pointless. It removed you from the place in which you had a meaning, and to which you gave meaning in return by dedicating your life to it, and spirited you away into fairlylands where you were, and looked, frankly absurd.

Not sure whether it’s happenstance or by calculation, but Rushdie’s not the only person who’s got something to say about the erstwhile emperor. Jodhaa Akbar, a Bollywood flick billed as “a sixteenth-century love story about a marriage of alliance that gave birth to true love between a great Mughal emperor, Akbar, and a Rajput princess, Jodhaa,” debuted on February 15 and has been in the news ever since, not least because its historical accuracy has been called into question. The Times gave it a fairly good review, but people in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Sonepat, and Ambala will have to wait for pirated VCDs of Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Cecil B. DeMille-esque grasp of cinematic grandeur.

The Times of India offers a fairly good precis of recent controversies related to Bollywood releases; the Hindustan Times also chimes in with analysis of the phenomenon.

Mass hysteria, the making of a mountain out of a molehill? Or a microcosm of a deep sense of unrest about (historical and contemporary) identity in India? I can’t say that I have any answers, or even insight. But Bollywood — and artistic expression, disciplined studies or street-level outpourings — does, however, seem like an important vehicle for understanding the subcontinent; I certainly find it, and the way people in the middle class interact with it, more enlightening than figures from the World Bank about the economy’s growth.

Additional links:
Bollywood literacy for the 1990s and today, a Berkeley course coordinated by Leena Kamat and Katherine Good
Hindi cinema: making meaning of a popular culture
Desi critics
Queering Bollywood
Bollywood as India’s cultural ambassador
Bollywood for the skeptical
Upperstall: a better view of Indian cinema
Bollywood fashion police
BollySpace 2.0
Beth loves Bollywood

Profusion of art is connected to my recent procurement of a combination printer, scanner, and copier. Fervor will fade soon, I imagine.

Related:

“Indian Pink and Orange,” mixed media, Hermes spring 2008 advertisement and a 2005 photograph of a group of women pilgrims in Kovalam, Kerala.

mydarling.jpg

I can’t believe amazing artist Ryan let this linger at the bottom of a drawer. I wants. I wants!

By the way, his whole site is amazing, and I urge you to buy some of this dude’s artwork. It’s masterful.

Interesting write-up of a photographer’s work on explicit graffiti in Bombay’s commuter rail lines (an example of which I’ve posted above — taken about a year ago when the hub and I visited a friend in Mumbai) — Chirodeep exhibited some of his pieces at the city’s Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.

This was the tenth year of the Kala Ghoda event; a full listing of artists and workshops is here. A blog chronicling some of the work from the festival is still being maintained — and added to — which takes the fest to a new level; even though I’m no longer in India, I can get a feel for Kala Ghoda’s heady, artistic atmosphere. If that’s not enough, there are some great pictures at Fractal Enlightenment.

Man. Wish I could have gone.