Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling 2011

I understand the mad compulsion to chase a cheese down a dangerously steep hill, but why does the injured bloke at the end get rugby tackled by the 'helpers' ?

Friday, May 27, 2011

War, Terribly Great, Great as Terror

Rubbish? Michaelangelo Pistoletto's newspaper ...Image by ianduffy via Flickr“Born in 1933, I live in the heart of this century, in this gigantic century...and at ten years of age I find myself in the middle of the ‘World War’, that last ‘Great War', terribly great, great as terror. The mountains are mountains of death, the factories are factories of death, the chimneys smoke bodies, the chimneys smoke cannons. Oceanic rows of boys dressed in black on their way, rows of the wretched in tatters, the hungry and the dying coming back.

My problem is therefore great.

What is God : Great problem.

What is Art : An equally great problem.

My problem is so great that I look at myself in the mirror and search within myself, in my image, for the answer, the solution, in my own image. And I work on the mirror.” – Michaelangelo Pistoletto, catalogue of Italian Art in the Twentieth Century, 1962

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Picture - Newspaper Sphere by Pistoletto.

Advertising vs. Fine Art

 “Advertising has caused a revolution in the popular art field. Advertising has become respectable in its own right and is beating the fine arts at their old game. We cannot ignore the fact that one of the traditional functions of fine art, the definition of what is fine and desirable for the ruling class and therefore ultimately that which is desired by society, has now been taken over by the ad man.

The fine artist is often unaware that his patron, or more often his patron’s wife who leafs through the magazines, is living in a different world to his own. The pop-art of today, the equivalent of the Dutch fruit and flower arrangements, the pictures of second rank of all Renaissance schools, and the plates that first presented to the public the Wonder of the Machine Age and the New Territories, is to be found in today’s glossies – bound up with the throw-away object” – Alison and Peter Smithson, catalogue of Pop Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1991.

The Hunt

Yesterday while I was stood gazing aimlessly out of the front windows, it being a far quieter day than we had been expecting, I saw a crow trying to kill a baby squirrel. The squirrel had come out of its tree and was running and jumping as fast as it could, the crow flew low behind banking and swerving to try and cut off the squirrel's escape route.

I was cheering for the crow, Adam couldn't see the fun as he hasn't sorted himself any glasses out yet, and Sadie just kept saying "Oh no" every time time I indicated that the squirrel's end was nigh. The entertainment was curtailed though when the squirrel made the safety of a tree trunk, the crow took a last look at its retreating prey and then began to poke around in the grass in a nonchalent fashion as if to indicate that worms were what he had been after all along.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Great Cthulu Is Come

Behold his awful carroty majesty.

This Rapture Malarkey

Harold Camping in 2008
So the Rapture turned into an internet meme, an American church wasted a lot of money on posters and one old man is left looking very silly indeed.  On the whole it seems that almost nobody, traditional Christians included, thought that the world would at teatime yesterday. Personally, I feel that the Rapture might rather take place with the coming of the dawn or the setting of the sun, it seems more fitting that way.

According to Christian blogger Rick Hawbaker, Harold Camping's prophecy of the Rapture was clearly wrong because it states in the Bible in Matthew 24:36  “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" and Jesus also makes the point in Acts 1:7, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”

Pic - Harold Camping.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

£35m Hepworth Wakefield Gallery Opens

Lose Yourself In The Art

Mark RothkoImage by kamikazecactus via Flickr

 “I paint very large pictures. I realise that historically the function of painting large pictures is something very grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them however – I think it applies to other painters I know – is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass. However, you paint the larger picture you are in it. It isn’t something you command.” – Mark Rothko, Tate Gallery catalogue, 1987.
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House – Rachel Whiteread

Whiteread's House, the controversial sculpture...Image via WikipediaWhiteread reverses our conceptions of space and form. House shows the boundaries, the physical markings that formerly described the living space within, but that space is filled and has become solid and inaccessible. The inner space itself has become its own boundary and defines its own physical limits.

This piece also speaks to me of denial, denial of the traditional house values of being a home, a refuge from the world and a place of safety. Whiteread has denied all access to House, rendering the viewer effectively homeless. - Yorkshire Soul.

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Spain's Youth Protests Ahead Of Elections

EuropeYouths defiant at 'Spanish revolution' camp in Madrid

Call for protest ban in Spain for elections

Youth unemployment in Spain is currently 43%.  This situation is still part of the seemingly endless repercussions from the global banking crisis, and yet while hundreds of thousands of jobs are being lost across Europe month on month and essential public services are being cut, the people running the banking institutions that got us all into this mess are back claiming huge salaries and obscene bonus payments.

Rapture Flowchart

From Peas & Cougars via Eleanor.

I must have been a bit of a hermit this week and didn't know why everyone was talking about the Rapture until I read this story on the BBC. I do feel a bit sorry for this man, he has obviously got the wrong end of the stick and is going to make a complete fool of himself.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Adrian Mitchell - Tell Me Lies about Iraq

John Agard: 'Listen Mr Oxford don'

On That Day

On that day,
I fell in love, and in a well,
I fell in love first and the well second,
Love was tempting, but the well beckoned.

- Yorkshire Soul

"Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen (poetry reading)

Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin Lighthouse Gala Auction in aid of ...Image via WikipediaTracey Emin’s work has a parallel in popular culture, as her work is almost excruciatingly autobiographical, so we have seen the rise of the reality television show in which a wider part of the community seek to bare their innermost secrets in exchange for their brief moment in the spotlight. Emin’s art has altered the public perception of what is acceptable as art with the various deeply personal strands of information she has chosen to display. Her soul baring art, and the media hype it has generated has made her one of the most widely publicly recognizable British artists.
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Werner Hertzog on Watching Films

Talking about 3D on R3 Arts Show 28/03/11 “It takes away the possibility of the viewer forming their own parallel story.” 

“A film forms and shapes itself inside the collective spirit of its specific audience” – Hertzog says that his films are differently received and perceived depending on who is watching them.

Guggenheim Reflections

Museo Guggenheim BilbaoImage via WikipediaAll art is about reflecting various aspects of life, and in the physical construction of the Guggenheim we see that the museum itself reflects everything - Yorkshire Soul.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

KJV Bible

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? — 1 John 3:17

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Boccioni's Technical Manifesto

WLA moma Umberto Boccioni Dynamism of a Soccer...Image via Wikipedia“The gesture which we would reproduce on canvas shall no longer be a fixed moment in universal dynamism. It shall simply be the dynamic sensation itself (made eternal).

Indeed, all things move, all things run, all things are rapidly changing.

A profile is never motionless before our eyes, but it constantly appears and disappears. On account of the persistency of an image upon the retina, moving objects constantly multiply themselves; their form changes like rapid vibrations in their mad career. Thus a running horse has not four legs, but twenty, and thei movements are triangular.” – Umberto Boccioni, in Chipp (Ed), Theories of Modern Art.

The painting is Boccioni's Dynamism of a Soccer Player.

The Art of Carlos Schwabe

Cloches du soir

Femme lyre

Fils etoile

La vierge aux lys

La mort du fossoyuer

Carlos Schwabe (July 21, 1866 – 1926) was a German Symbolist painter and printmaker.

Cubism - Seeing The Whole Picture

Violin and Candlestick Paris, (spring 1910) Ro...Image via Wikipedia“I felt dissatisfied with traditional perspective. Merely a mechanical  process, the perspective never conveys things in full. It starts from one viewpoint and never gets away from it. But the viewpoint is quite unimportant. It is as though someone were to draw profiles all his life, leading people to think a man only had one eye.” – Georges Braque, in Friedenthal, Letters Of Great Artists
The painting is Braque’s Violin And Candlestick.

What Is Cubism ?

Oil on Canvas (70 x 70 cm) - A Cubist experien...Image via Wikipedia
“ The new painters do not propose, any more than did their predecessors, to be geometers. But it may be said that geometry is to the plastic arts what grammar is to the art of a writer. Today, scientists no longer limit themselves to the three dimensions of Euclid. The painters have been led quite naturally, one might say by intuition, to preoccupy themselves with the new possibilities of spatial measurement which, in the language of modern studios are designated by the term: the fourth dimension.” – Guillaume Appolinaire, The Cubist Painters.
The painting is The Girl In A Pink Cap by Xesco, you can see more of his work here at his website.

Monday, May 16, 2011

10 Websites You Can Download Free Books From

Full list on this link from Media Bistro

Postmodern Architecture

The "Art Ladder", the main staircase...Image via Wikipedia[Postmodern characteristics] “elements that are hybrid rather than ‘pure’, compromising rather than ‘clear’, distorted rather than ‘straightforward’, ambiguous rather than ‘articulated’, perverse as well as ‘impersonal’, conventional rather than ‘designed’, accommodating rather than ‘excluding’, redundant rather than simple, vestigial as well as innovating, inconsistent and equivocal rather than direct and clear” – Robert Venturi.

Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture.

The photograph shows "The "Art Ladder", the main staircase of the original Robert Venturi portion of the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington. The visible statues are Chinese funerary statues: two rams and a civilian guardian" - from Wikipedia.


guggenheimImage by Fran Simó via Flickr“The ideas behind post-modernism are probably most clearly expressed through architectural theory” – Mary Acton
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The photo shows a view of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao designed by the architect Frank Gehry.


“Realistic, illusionist art had dissembled the medium, using art to conceal art. Modernism used art to call attention to art. The limitations that constitute the medium of the painting – the flat surface, the shape of the support, the properties of pigment – were treated by the Old Masters as negative factors that could be acknowledged only implicitly or indirectly. Modernist painting has come to regard these same limitations as positive factors that are to be acknowledged openly.” – Clement Greenberg.

Clement Greenberg, in Harrison and Wood, (eds), Art in Theory, 1960-1990, 755-6.

What a fabulous quote, it gets right to the heart of what Modernist art and painting is and explains it simply by comparing it with the art that has gone before.

Strange Fruit

The photograph that was cited by the songwrite...Image via Wikipedia

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

- Abel Meeropol

The photograph shows the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith on August 7th 1930 in Marion, Indiana, Meeropol is reported to have written the poem after seeing this photograph. Although the photograph has shown up on the Zementa content widget, there appears to be some controversy over its copyright status as Wikipedia offers this explanation for fair use "Fair use rationale for Strange Fruit: This exact image inspired the poem Strange Fruit and is used in the article to illustrate this inspiration. The image is irreplaceable for this purpose."
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Dulce Et Decorum Est

Pro PatriaImage by Parksy1964 via Flickr

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!---An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,---
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

- Wilfred Owen

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

What We Remember

Memory collectionImage by teclasorg via FlickrFlanagan argues that we remember:

• 20% of what we read

• 30% of what we hear

• 40% of what we see

• 50% of what we say

• 60% of what we do

• 90% of what we read, hear, see, say and do

K Flanagan (1997), Maximum Points, Minimum Panic: The Essential Guide To Surviving Exams, 2nd edn. Dublin: Marino.

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Art As Revolution

Shlosberg dva angelaImage via Wikipedia"The first stirrings of dissatisfaction and the first intimations of a better future are always found in works of art" - John Dewey.

Dewey, John, John Dewey : the Later Works 1925-1953, Vol.10:1934.
The picture is Shlosberg dva angela, I cannot tell you any more about it because all the information seems to be in Cyrillic script.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit

Y 180 - And We're Off

bob dylanImage via WikipediaMy course materials for Y180 - Making Sense Of The Arts, the introductory course I have chosen to begin my degree, arrived yesterday, so I am all excited and a quiver this morning.

From reading the very short course notes that the OU posted online a couple of months ago I started pre-study right away, trying to make myself more aware of the various forms of art, poetry, literature and theory. So, has this been any use ?

Yes! Absolutely, and especially in the poetry section.  Two months ago I knew I liked a bit of poetry, but did not know very much about it, and now I recognise most of the poets we are going to study, on the list are Wilfred Owen, Bob Dylan, William Blake, Benjamin Zephaniah, Adrian Mitchel and Linton Kwesi Johnson amongst others.  It is the same story with the art section, I am already somewhat familiar with Damien Hirst, Anich Kapoor, Grayson Perry, Rachel Whiteread, Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin and a few others on the art list.

The course has 87 learning modules to be studied mostly by myself, then two assessments, Dulce et Decorum Est and a history piece on a news story Great Meeting at York for the Charter, a multi choice online mini exam, and a longer essay in which I can choose from contrasting poems by Grace Nichols and John Agard, public support and the community of Chartism, or, an interpretation of Chris Ofili's Afrodizzia.

It all looks to be hugely varied and interesting and a I don't see much point now in waiting for the official start date of June 28th to begin work.

First question then, Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin', Do you like this song (yes or no answers are allowed), write a few lines on the two or three aspects of the song that influenced your answer.  Wonderful, this sounds like the best degree course ever!

Stacie Collins - Tied To You

Black Rook in Rainy Weather

Sylvia Plath
On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To set the sight on fire
In my eye, not seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Leap incandescent

Out of the kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then ---
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent

By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love. At any rate, I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); sceptical,
Yet politic; ignorant

Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's begun again,
The long wait for the angel.
For that rare, random descent.

Sylvia Plath

A Wind of Such Violence - Plath Poetry Website

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Friday: Wendy CopeImage by Diamond Geyser via FlickrThe day he moved out was terrible –
That evening she went through hell.
His absence wasn’t a problem
But the corkscrew had gone as well.

- Wendy Cope
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Ode To Wine

Pablo Neruda (1904–1973)Image via WikipediaDay-colored wine,
night-colored wine,
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
starry child
of earth,
wine, smooth
as a golden sword,
as lascivious velvet,
wine, spiral-seashelled
and full of wonder,
never has one goblet contained you,
one song, one man,
you are choral, gregarious,
at the least, you must be shared.
At times
you feed on mortal
your wave carries us
from tomb to tomb,
stonecutter of icy sepulchers,
and we weep
transitory tears;
spring dress
is different,
blood rises through the shoots,
wind incites the day,
nothing is left
of your immutable soul.
stirs the spring, happiness
bursts through the earth like a plant,
walls crumble,
and rocky cliffs,
chasms close,
as song is born.
A jug of wine, and thou beside me
in the wilderness,
sang the ancient poet.
Let the wine pitcher
add to the kiss of love its own.

My darling, suddenly
the line of your hip
becomes the brimming curve
of the wine goblet,
your breast is the grape cluster,
your nipples are the grapes,
the gleam of spirits lights your hair,
and your navel is a chaste seal
stamped on the vessel of your belly,
your love an inexhaustible
cascade of wine,
light that illuminates my senses,
the earthly splendor of life.

But you are more than love,
the fiery kiss,
the heat of fire,
more than the wine of life;
you are
the community of man,
chorus of discipline,
abundance of flowers.
I like on the table,
when we're speaking,
the light of a bottle
of intelligent wine.
Drink it,
and remember in every
drop of gold,
in every topaz glass,
in every purple ladle,
that autumn labored
to fill the vessel with wine;
and in the ritual of his office,
let the simple man remember
to think of the soil and of his duty,
to propagate the canticle of the wine.

- Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda at PoemHunter

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If I should sleep with a lady called death

e. e. cummings

if I should sleep with a lady called death
get another man with firmer lips
to take your new mouth in his teeth
(hips pumping pleasure into hips).

Seeing how the limp huddling string
of your smile over his body squirms
kissingly, I will bring you every spring
handfuls of little normal worms.

Dress deftly your flesh in stupid stuffs,
phrase the immense weapon of your hair.
Understanding why his eye laughs,
I will bring you every year

something which is worth the whole,
an inch of nothing for your soul.

- E E Cummings