Archive for May, 2007

Projector clock

Posted: May 30, 2007 in creativity
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projector_clock

for some reason i love clocks, watches and other time pieces. here’s another
cool clock design from Japan’s I.D.E.A. International via technabob. the actual
clock is a projector projecting a functional analog clock face onto any wall. the
projection clock is housed in a see-through acrylic shell which shows off the
unique optics and mechanical components that generate the clock image.

proj_clock_2

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Masters of War

Posted: May 29, 2007 in creativity
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In 1963 Bob Dylan wrote what he later called a pacifist song, but which others, including myself, see as one of the greatest antiwar song ever written: Masters of war. He adapted the tune of an old English folk song (probably with medieval roots) called Nottamun Town and wrote the words to it during another time of tragedy, also inflicted on the world by America: the Vietnam War.

In those forty odd years since Dylan wrote this masterpiece, not much has changed. America is again at war, facing it’s second Vietnam in Iraq, but not before it has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people and laid the foundation for a civil war that will most likely last till long after its troops have left in defeat.

In terms of war though, America’s history is much older than forty years; in fact, America since its inception, has always been at war. Starting with the killing fields on its own soil against the original inhabitants of those lands, America followed up with expansionist wars against the Philippines and Mexico, its involvement in two World Wars, Wars against Korea and Vietnam, wars in Central America and the Pacific (this list does not include the proxy wars it has been fighting, or the skirmishes and military overthrows of democratically elected governments it organised, like in Chile, Cuba or Nicaragua, in Africa, Asia or the Middle and Far East).

masters-of-warAmerica is one of the worst militaristic nations in history. And its wars, like most wars, are driven by economic interests and the power and greed of the industrial military complex. Bob Dylan’s Masters of War is about these connections, about the brutality of the language of big money, translated into orders by politicians who serve their self-interests that happen to intersect with the interest of those who build the weapons and put them in the hands of the ignorant to kill the innocent. War is about blood and lies and deceit in the name of money, and Masters of War tells this story.

To underline this message, I have included two videos in this post, followed by the lyrics of the song. The first one is Pearl Jam performing Masters of War during the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert in 1992. But Masters of War is not about rock music, at least not alone, which is why I included the third YouTube clip (which is also available as a high resolution version at the Masters of War website). Made by J.J. Barney in 2006 as “an indictment of the Bush administration’s lies, war crimes, profiteering, religious hypocrisy and promotion of a New Fascism within the United States of America”, it is a collage of images to Dylan singing the song on his 1963 The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan album. The images are those of war, primarily the current Iraq war I guess, contrasted with the faces of those responsible for ordering it: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their fellow war criminals. But what makes the clip so shocking, stirring and highly disturbing are the images of the victims: the burned children, the crying mothers and soldiers, the crippled, dazed and desperate – especially when interspersed with the official faces of the American government and the lies, arrogance and cold indifference that is written all over them in their pretense to be rational, sincere and caring. It is the confrontational back and forth movement between those two worlds, the one of clinical remoteness and cold-hearted abuse of power and the one of suffering, despair, death and loss of hope, which brings the already unsettling Dylan lyrics to live. I found this clip deeply disturbing, but not in a negative way. To the contrary: in its passion against the Bush administration’s Iraq war it fosters a deep conviction against all wars and an inner contemptuous revolt against the brutality and violence inflicted by them on their innocent victims.

Masters of War

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand o’er your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead


Copyright © 1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

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Stunt artist Li Wei

Posted: May 27, 2007 in creativity
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Recently I found on my friend Harry’s site a picture described as a body sculpture by Li Wei and a link to more of his work on Fun Height. The pictures look indeed fascinating but it is blatantly obvious that some manipulation did happen (see images below). So, here is Snopes blurb on it:

Li Wei’s body appears to float from a window on the 29th floor of Beijing’s Jianwai SOHO office complex. In the image, his body is held in gravity-defying suspension. Arms outstretched, body rigidly horizontal, Li appears on the threshold of either soaring miraculously among the skyscrapers of Beijing’s Central Business District, or plummeting gloriously like a modern day Bellerophon to a horrifying denouement. The work, like many of Li’s performances, was achieved with the aid of invisible wires, mirrors, and scaffolding. The resulting photograph of the event has been retouched to efface any traces of the architecture in this staging. This effort has been made to demonstrate, as Li puts it, ‘the reality in the unreal or fantastic’. These photographs do not capture reality but, rather, suggest to us the constructed nature of what we assume to be real.” Wonderful metaphor of what I always try to tell my friends. 

Harley

Posted: May 26, 2007 in creativity
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Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

and for my beautiful daughter Gunda, who will be a wonderful mother …

Deine Kinder sind nicht deine Kinder,
sie sind die Soehne und Toechter
der Sehnsucht des Lebens nach sich selbst.
Sie kommen durch dich,
aber nicht von dir,
und obwohl sie bei dir sind,
gehoeren sie dir nicht.

Du kannst ihnen deine Liebe geben,
aber nicht deine Gedanken,
denn sie haben ihre eigenen Gedanke
Du kannst ihrem Koerper ein Heim geben,
aber nicht ihrer Seele,
denn ihre Seele wohnt im Haus von morgen,
das du nicht besuchen kannst,
nicht einmal in deinen Traeumen.
Du kannst versuchen,
ihnen gleich zu sein,
aber suche nicht,
sie dir gleich zu machen,
denn das Leben geht nicht rueckwaerts
und verweilt nicht beim Gestern.

Du bist der Bogen,
von dem deine Kinder
als lebende Pfeile ausgeschickt werden.
Der Schaetze sieht das Zeichen auf dem Pfade der Unendlichkeit,
und Er biegt dich mit Seiner Macht,
auf dass Seine Pfeile schnell und weit fliegen.
Moege das Biegen in des Schuetzen’s Hand dir zur Freude gereichen;
denn so wie Er den fliegenden Pfeil liebt,
so liebt Er auch den Bogen, der standhaft bleibt.

Daniel Edwards has done it again, although the sculpture sounds more exciting than it is in reality … but I like the idea. Edwards features a naked, provocatively posed Paris Hilton undergoing an autopsy. He promotes it as a warning message about underage drinking, with the sprawled-out Hilton clutching a cocktail glass in one hand and a cell phone in the other as her distressed dog, Tinkerbell, jumps across her bare chest. She and the animal wear matching tiaras; removable ‘innards’ are exhibited on a display stand placed in a sexually suggestive manner near the body. Mourning around this time of the year the loss of a couple of his friends in high school because of drinking and driving, Edwards says he uses currently jail-bound Hilton “as a vehicle for a public-service announcement, to educate teens.” Good on him! )

Edwards is no stranger to mainstream controversy. In August 2006 he flaunted a busty Hillary Clinton sculpture (as the first female US president) at Manhattan’s Museum of Sex after reading statements by actress Sharon Stone in Hollywood Life magazine in March. Asked about challenges Clinton might face if she attempted a presidential run, Stone proclaimed it “too soon” for Clinton to attempt a run for the U.S. presidency. “A woman should be past her sexuality when she runs. Hillary still has sexual power and I don’t think people will accept that. It’s too threatening,” Stone said. Edwards on the other hand wanted to contribute to a debate about gender, politics and sexuality by conveying the message that a female president is also a sexual being and that a woman need not squelch her sexuality in order to be a leader of a nation. I guess, generally that’s true; I haven’t seen too many female heads of state though that struck me as being very sexual, including Clinton. But then, I wouldn’t have thought that about her hubbie either ;).

Another of his earlier works was that of a naked Britney Spears giving birth – apparently created as a pro-life statement. It caused a storm not so much as a result of its political intention but because people, probably Britney Spears fans, didn’t like her being exploited as an ‘object’ – which poses the question in my mind: why don’t the same people ask the question whether she is exploiting them through her ‘art’?

Daniel Edwards also courted debate with his late baseball great Ted Williams’ sculpture in form of a severed head. Williams actually was decapitated in Arizona after his death in 2002 with his head being placed in cryogenic suspension at Scottsdale’s Alcor Life Extension Foundation in the hope that medical science might revive him in the future; the rest of Williams’ body is stored in a separate tank. Edwards called the whole process “atrocious”. I wonder how Williams will feel if he does come back … ;)

To get quite a different view of the sculpture, click on this video link – thanks buddy! 

Dan McCarthy

Posted: May 9, 2007 in creativity
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I don’t necessarily like the actual motif, but I like the design principle. Both images represent the same print, the right one though is only visible in the dark because 90% of the print is done with ‘glow in the dark’ ink. For more see Dan McCarthy’s website.