The Fix: Strike Magazine’s Weekly Round Up 10/31/13

Al JolsonFollow the links to see for yourself!

 

Beatriz: I got a kick out of this, the first audio digital recording synced with a movie. It was a Warner Bros experiment that spearheaded the new, expensive movement and bumped silent movie stars into depression and drug dependencies. Its amusing to imagine people’s reaction to the deceiving introduction to the movie, setting it up as just another silent film. This movie faces controversy to this day because the main character performs in blackface regularly throughout. One of the original posters featured him wearing the blackface, even. Along with The Birth of a Nation, two of the US’ biggest contributions to the art of cinema also serve as treatments to its incredibly racist past.

SituationistsRaul:  I’ve only a vague conception of who the Situationists were and what they were about, so when libcom.org posted this anthology the other day for folks to download I immediately went for it. I’ve only made a little headway so far but already some of the ideas I’ve read range from the utterly, and effectively, subversive to almost tongue-in-cheek in their blunt surmises of how to overturn prevailing notions of culture and the status quo. With a legacy that influenced punk music, culture jamming and the May 1968 student movement in France that almost resulted in a full scale revolution, I can say that I think I will enjoy tackling this tome. Give it a download and join me.

Night-of-the-Living-DeadMike:  Ever wonder how socialists view the horror film genre? I couldn’t sum it up any better than this from www.socialistworker.org “As it so happens, there are plenty of horror movies that eschew the sexist and racist detritus that has given the genre much of its bad reputation. In fact, there are even a small number of these films that prominently feature an anti-capitalist monologue or build upon an unmistakably subversive political subtext. The fact that the decapitated head rolls left on occasion should be enough to allow socialists to bury our guilt about indulging the desire to scare ourselves silly this Halloween season–but to leave it at that would be to forget our Trotsky.”

 

alternative-movie-postersBetty:  Check out this collection of recreated movie art posters. Love the fact that they aren’t just actor screen shots. The “art” in movie poster design today has lost the ability of painting what the feeling of the film should deliver to its audience. This has triggered American writer Matthew Chojnacki to bring back the idea of how the film art posters before use to look like – breathing with pure art and creative concept.

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The Fix 10/03/2013

Another (late) edition of The Fix is bringing you another round of nuggets from the world wide web.

culturestrikeElyveth:  Some of us forget how big a role technology and social media play in organizing and getting information to the people. This article looks specifically at CultureStrike and how designers use technology strategically to get their messages out quickly and virally all over the world. They conduct silkscreening workshops to teach young people how to cheaply produce a run of posters for a rally or demonstration. Using social media, they allow downloading of their posters for quick distribution, and that’s just scrapping the surface.

turtle giantRaul:  This ain’t exactly cutting edge, but I came across this radio station, KEXP, out of Seattle that regularly holds these short in-studio performances with a wide array of alternative and indie artists. The setting is nice and intimate, the interviews are informative and some of the artists seem to really get into it. Favorites include performances from Grimes, Neon Indian and Beach Fossils. I picked this mostly because we’re getting our own radio show (woo!) and I would love to see us get to this point one day.

TarekMike:  Street art has played a continuous role in the development of the revolutions of the Arab Spring that began a couple of years ago. As people took to the streets in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and other places to demonstrate against repressive regimes, street artists amplified the voices of those struggles. In Syria, revolutionaries have been engaged in one of the most protracted, bloodiest fights in the region. And, artists in Syria have participated in that battle from the beginning.

In this piece Vice talks with Syrian street artist, Tarek Algorhani, about the role his work plays, facing down the Assad regime with art, and the costs of the Syrian revolution for the people and for artists.

Beatriz:  Blam! “Knowing Where Youre Gadgets Come From” –Hyperallergic

“So much of the electronics we use are built on the backs of child soldiers and millions of dead, a war the world ignores but has killed more people so far than World War II.”

Hypoallergic

The Fix 9/19/2013

The Fix is in! The Strike editors bring you another weekly roundup of interesting little tid- bits from the world wide web: an extensive history resource site, an little known, odd artist/poet/madman from Illinois, an early Peruvian punk band and some unsettling sculptural work by a South Korean artist. Enjoy!

History is a weapon

Beatriz:  This site has an incredible load of papers, books and other stuff available for free. If only I had found this site sooner.

Cohokia

Mike:  I came across this story in Red Wedge Magazine and it just too crazy to ignore. Was Calvin Williams insane? A Satanist? or what? You be the judge.

The poems in this anthology, though derived from earlier work by another author, are remarkably good….

“The following poems by Calvin Williams are the first in a series based on Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, published in 1915. Master’s poetic anthology consisted of epitaphs of the dead citizens of a small town in Central Illinois. His poems undermined idyllic notions of small town American life. Calvin Williams’ anthology takes the style and structure of Master’s Spoon River Anthology and applies them to a series of fictional characters in Southern Illinois in the wake of an  unspecified disaster.”

Red Wedge Magazine

‘Directly in front of Tucker’s exhibit, Adam Turl of Carbondale and Husni Ashiku of Polo had a table with a mound of dirt on it, little envelopes with quotations from The Church of the Morning Star and a willingness to talk about what they want to do, including a documentary on artist Calvin Williams from Solomon, who Turl described as a faith healer, painter and sculptor.

Turl and Ashiku met Williams recently at PK’s pub and learned of the artist’s personal philosophy that revolves around “everything is upside down” Turl said.

‘“He’s a character. We need access to him. He’s been standoffish,” Turl said about the desire to do a documentary about Williams.’

Excerpted from The Southern Illinoisian

Who is Calvin Williams? Well, it’s complicated but this is what’s known:

“Calvin Williams was born in 1976 in Solomon, Il. to the Rev. Charles Montgomery Williams. Calvin’s mother died in childbirth. Rev. Williams was both a strict and corrupt man–according to Calvin. After the death of Calvin’s three sisters his relationship with his father turned bitter and acrimonious.

In a strange incident–again, according to Calvin, his father attempted to drown him in the Mississippi River. Calvin described this as a key element in his life. He survived, he claimed, by embracing the darkness of the waters. After this traumatic event, Calvin left home and went into the woods near Fountain Bluff, Illinois, a site he selected because of its association with Native American rock art. It was there that Calvin began to develop his own theology in opposition to the conservative Christianity of his father.

Allegedly Calvin acquired healing powers and those that he healed came to follow him as a messianic figure. Some years later his followers formed the “Church of the Morning Star.” The church was named for the star that appeared the morning and represented Lucifer’s fall from heaven after leading a rebellion against God.”

Los Saicos

Raul:  Los Saicos were a short-lived proto-punk band active in Peru between 1965-66 that only released six singles before they stopped making music. Though they experienced a surge in popularity within Peru at the time, it has only been in recent years that they have garnered a wider following as many music publications have come to dub them the forefathers of punk rock. Their stripped down, raw, surf and garage-rock influenced style, complete with harshly screamed lyrics dealing with themes of destruction, certainly put them in the realm of other proto-punk originators like the Stooges and MC5, as well as directly link them to modern bands carrying on the same tradition, like the Black Lips. Here, Noisey produced a short, 13-minute, documentary on the band chronicling their short-lived career and their new-found fame.

Choi-Xoo-Ang_web3

Elyveth:  Choi Xoo Ang is an emerging mixed media artist based out of Seoul, South Korea who creates figurative sculptures out of clay and resin that examines human rights, society’s pathological state, and sex and gender politics among other themes.

 

The Fix 9/12/2013

Another edition of The Fix is coming at you right here, right now. You may run, but you cant hide. Just sit back and enjoy it…OR ELSE!

paul_tomkowicz_street_railway_switchman beatriz

Beatriz:

My video production professor asked us a very simple question: is this a documentary film? The life of Paul Tomkowics is revealed through a sophisticated lens and the staged production left me in limbo about the response. Some scenes lack ambiguity but the story is real. So is it?

Hush Painting

 

 

Mike:

Inspired by graffiti art, ideas about culture, class and beauty clash in paintings by UK artist, Hush.
destino-disney-dali Raul

 

 

Raul:

I was going to pick this last week, but I knew Betty was going with “Miosis” and I didn’t want to have two animated shorts. “Destino” is a collaboration between two innovators of the visual artistic medium: Salvador Dali and Walt Disney (though the personal input of Disney seems to be negligible and more credit probably should go to studio artist John Hench). Originally story-boarded in 1945, the project wasn’t unearthed and brought to life until 1999. The finished short features the surreal images of Dali accentuated by the vivid and dreamlike animation as the story of the romance between Chronos and a mortal unnamed woman unravels. Enjoy.

Antichrist Betty

Betty:

In the spirit of the holidays coming up, I wanted to give the less spirited of us a list of the most fucked up and disturbing films out there. Enjoy!

The Fix: Sept. 7, 2013

Summer break is officially over and while students and teachers are preparing for classes, everybody else could care less and is awaiting this week’s edition of the Fix. This week we explore a grassroots organization’s effort to create educational graphic campaigns, a beautifully composed short digital animation, a grandmother that produces Lo-Fi music, and probably the best known weird fiction writer.

 

FrontPage_Sepia1_575pxBeatriz: I heard about this collective from a former roommate, their work is pretty amazing. They make large graphics that explain global issues visually. They only draw animals and tell the story of issues like mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, colonialism in the Andean Region, Project Mesoamerica, formerly known as the PPP (Plan Puebla Panama) which paved the way for free trade in Mexico, etc. I luckily found this video that has one of the organizers go through an entire poster, chapter by chapter.

myosis-dstq-640x290Elyveth: Myosis is a neat short animation. No dialogue, but the synopsis: Myosis is the constriction of the iris which decreases the diameter of the pupil. It is an unconscious phenomenon which can be triggered by an intense light, fear, or the effect of epiphany. Despite the lack of verbal dialogue and the shortness of the animation, it can be interpreted many different ways.

Sigríður_Níelsdóttir_Grandma_Lo_FiRaul: I like nice old folks. I love Lo-Fi music. And somewhere in Iceland must be a spring fed by streams of Elvish holy water that allows them to produce artists capable of producing some of the most beautifully ethereal music in the last century. So when I learned of Sigríður Níelsdóttir, known as Grandma Lo-Fi, I wasn’t too surprised to learn that she hailed from Iceland’s mystic shores and claimed a fan base including the likes of Bjork, Sigur Ros and Mum. Using a cassette recorder, a keyboard and an odd array of home-based sounds, Grandma Lo-Fi managed to put together a fairly prolific catalog of some 600 songs and 59 CDs after delving into making music at the ripe age of 70. Her music, while certainly odd to many, has a distinct sort of charm when applied to her back story which I find inspiring. You certainly are never too old to try new things.

portraitMike: Many of H.P. Lovecraft’s early works appeared in “amateur journalism” zines published by groups of writers that came together to create their own independent mediums of expression. His stories, building on the legacy of Poe, created the backbone for what would become modern horror fiction. On this site you can read one of Lovecraft’s last major works, “At the Mountains of Madness”, in which he tackles Antarctica and ancient aliens. It is one of my favorite pieces in modern American literature. So turn off the lights and read it. You might not ever come back.

The Fix: August 29, 2013

It is literally almost Friday in this late edition of the Fix. This week we have two artists who shift their unique vision on the lens of a camera, graphic designers who are naive at best, and a documentary about the capitalist vultures around Coney Island. Something to mull over during Labor Day weekend.

Image via fastcodesign.com
Image via fastcodesign.com

Elyveth: Guess what people? Graphic designers, Kenji Nakayama and Christopher Hope have finally figured out the solution to homelessness, and it isn’t food, water, shelter or even healthcare. No, it’s snazzy typographic signs – obviously that was sarcasm. While I believe that art plays a huge role in bringing awareness to social injustices, this is just plain ignorant and exploitative. Instead, how about they do some actual research and bring awareness to the class system that causes homelessness in the first place?

Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 11.24.44 PMMike: Pete Eckert captures ghostly images and physical resonances that seem to spring from his mind’s eye alone. Pete Eckert is blind. Twenty-seven years ago he was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease that would strip him of his eyesight. At the same time he discovered his mother’s old camera and developed a love of photography. Now “profoundly” blind, Pete’s work continues, taking on an ethereal qualities that might only exist in the shadows behind one’s own mind.

Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 11.29.55 PMRaul: Edward Burtynsky is a photographer specializing in capturing large-scale images of industrialism and the, sometimes frightening, effect it has on the land. Despite the sense of urgency it might inspire in some who view his work, there is still a sort of beauty to be found in the wonderment of humankind’s technological domination over nature, and Burtynsky captures this perfectly. Nevertheless, while this awe might arise out of the sort of initial disbelief one might have when looking at his work, the reality is that these are not images of some fictional civilization, but our own grand-scale efforts at engineering our own demise through mass consumption and overproduction.

Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 11.38.06 PMBeatriz: The process of gentrification is interesting. The owner of the Zipper ride in this documentary is of the poor and working class that is usually displaced by developers looking to profit from the luxurious fantasies the upper-middle class buys into. The carnival feel is most aesthetically appealing; it humanizes the displacement with funky combos of colorful scenery and grim dialogue. Also while searching on their site, I found this video explaining how developers can buy their way out of having to provide affordable housing in the purchased land and alternatively build expensive condominiums for the upper middle class. It’s also very interesting.

The Fix: Aug. 22, 2013

Our summer is almost up, but don’t fret. Another set of cool things on the internet is here! This week on the Fix we examine the various facets and subject matter of graffiti, futuristic-inspired statues from the past, a documentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a tribute song to the rape victims of Juarez, and another essay about Buffy and our feelings.

Screen shot 2013-08-22 at 7.45.24 PMElyveth: Graffiti has been stereotyped as an act of rebellion, often associated with youth in gangs tagging their territory. In reality, graffiti artists all have different motives and use the medium to gain a better understanding of what’s going on in their lives: their hopes, fears, weaknesses and dreams. There is rawness to graffiti art that showcases the artist’s soul onto a wall, but there is a fine line between self-expression and vandalism. This article goes into great detail about how graffiti has played a huge role in giving lower class citizens a voice, and how to discourage negative views on graffiti by promoting a better understanding of where if comes from, as well as allocating spaces for this form of self-expression to exist without legal penalties. I think it’s awesome that graffiti is finally getting recognized and appreciated as a true art form with positive outcomes.

Screen shot 2013-08-22 at 7.56.49 PMRaul: In the Non-Aligned Movement era of Yugoslavia, President Tito commissioned monuments to be erected throughout the countryside in remembrance of WWII and those lost in concentration camps. Photographer Jan Kempenaers recently toured the countryside capturing images of these abstract and futurist-influenced monuments, now abandoned to the elements – imaginative structures now wanting in meaning and symbolism. I was reminded of Turl’s piece from Issue #4 and how these structures now stand “lost in the ongoing dialectic of creation and entropy.” They also happen to look really fucking cool.

“If you apply Israeli law you imply certain things you may not want. One of them, for instance, is that you intend to annex the region. Secondly, you are automatically obligate yourself to grant citizenship to the entire population.”– Dov Shefi, Brigadier General (Ret.)Legal Advisor,West Bank Military Command 1967-1968

Screen shot 2013-08-22 at 8.04.20 PMMike: In “The Law In These Parts” Israeli filmmaker Ra’anan Alexandrowicz looks at the architecture and implementation of the oppressive legal system at use in the occupied territories of Palestine since 1967. Through interviews with members of the Military Legal Corp of the IDF, Alexandrowicz deconstructs the origins of the “legal” military rule imposed by Israel in Gaza and the West Bank and turns a critical eye on the modern implications of Israeli “legal” positioning in opposition to international law.

Screen shot 2013-08-22 at 8.25.05 PMBeatriz: I was feeling nostalgic today so thought I would share this video. This song pays tribute to the rapes and murders of the women of Juarez that were, for many years, ignored by authorities. Bad publicity put Juarez on the map in regards to the narco drug-wars but to this day, most of these cases remain open and straight out ignored; over 400 of them. Government inaction to prevent violence against females and bring perpetrators to justice is still existent today.

Screen shot 2013-08-22 at 8.44.13 PMErika: I spent a good amount of my time as a child missing the boat on a lot of things. One of these was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which, at ten years off the air has held up pretty well. While the fashion has aged a bit, the fact of the matter is that the humor and subject matter are as relevant today as it can get on a show about a woman who kills vampires. Buffy as a genre was odd, and as a queer identified person, I can relate. So when this long form essay about Buffy and the lessons that the queer author learned about her identity and fluidity was published, it struck a nerve. The point is is that I only discovered Buffy this year, and already I have too many feelings for it. Which is okay, because so do a lot of people.