A new themed arts event is taking place at the Gibraltar Exhibition of Modern Art. This unique island community off the coast of Spain is actually a British territory. Since becoming British in the 1700s, the island has evolved to express a culture rich in British heritage yet with specific locale related quirks. A striking selection of works can be found at the GEMA, which represent input from people originating in all aspects of this diverse and rich culture. With nearby Spain, France, Portugal, and many other neighbouring nations to each of those, the flow of ideas and design into the Gibraltar artistic vocabulary are far reaching. From the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in the Netherlands during 1713, until the present day, British culture has dominated in this isolated yet well connected geographical location.
Every Wednesday, GEMA showcases works by unknown artists of equal calibre to the well-known icons. Perhaps already showing promise in their local field, and reaching more than average commendation from various sources, the works on display will represent a wide selection of Gibraltar based talent. The President of The Fine Arts Association gets the first date with this new initiative. Paul Cosquieri shows off his latest project, “Paintings To Dance To”. Local Culture Minister Steven Linares was present at the opening, stating:
“We want to open it up and bring in the artists”. Gibraltar Chronicle.
It's planned that opening up the GEMA schedule to fresh works will help continue the story of the island for the new generation and tourists who already make the exhibition centre a place to see (browse flight deals!). Even local schools have been included, where a treasure hunt was made to get the children familiar with the entire building. By walking around and following the clues, viewing the art on display would have been part of the process.
With the Paintings To Dance To exhibit, artist Paul Cosquieri has unified his love for painting and music. By expressing vivid movement and vibrant energy in the works, describing the sensation of hearing music through visual art is a wonderful cross-genre communication. Cosquieri has said that he's not looking to sell the works primarily, as he simply wants to attract visitors and encourage more artists to stand up and be counted.
The postage stamps from Gibraltar are really interesting, check them out!
Back in 1994, Rhode Island assemblage artist Thomas Deininger began looking at perception and illusion. Starting with found objects, allowing natural chance to be the artist's assistant, Deininger discovered that he could manipulate appearances to form clearly visible objects which disappear when the angle is shifted. By using an ingenious method of layering textures of material with colour and image, the assemblages take on an almost magical ability to become fantastic life-like sculptures. With the use of 3D and 2D work, Deininger recreates famous images and well known items for us from all manner of non-related media. Maybe he's asking us whether the reality we know and have become engrossed within is not truly as it seems? Watch this video and also hook up with Thomas Deininger on Instagram.
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When nations with strong ties to their cultural heritage are offered modernisation, there is a balance between conserving values and inheriting new ones. With Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, huge investments have gone in to build the infrastructure and update this historical city. In the world there can be a divide between the old colonisers and the old colonies. Although no longer part of the imperial structure, when a nation has ties to being colonised, what can be seen as honest help can be interpreted as imperial meddling. When we ask a culture to modernise, we need to remember that it doesn't mean to let go of the past. Certain elements of society and culture need to be allowed to remain in order to prevent international standardisation of peoples. It's important for identity as well as for attracting visitors, people want their own story and others want to learn about it. Art and design are ways of preserving culture and tradition when lifestyles and expectations on society change with each generation. By maintaining strong connections to traditional art and design, a culture can progress without losing touch with its past.
The population of Addis Ababa is set to double over the next decade, with over 4 million residents at this time. Much work has been done to upgrade the city, especially with Chinese investment, and this has brought living standards and city living to new twenty-first century standards. Because the technology involved in progressing the city has all come from abroad, it felt like the city was losing part of its soul. Important for visitors and residents alike, keeping the historical and cultural sense of the city alive meant telling a new chapter in the story. A chapter that follows on naturally from the last. Where herders and farmers mingle with business people and academics, what can we provide to meet both sets of needs?
The Zoma Contemporary Art Centre has been involved in the modernisation of Addis Ababa. This time though, it's been given a dose of cultural and artistic magic. This iconic building is built with daub and wattle, much like the buildings of antiquity, and its walls are designed with traditional symbols and line patterns. Artist Elias Sime was given free run over the project to bring out a clear and defined Ethiopian feel. It's taken twenty years of hard work to get to this point, with minimal resources and often only passion to keep things going, the Zoma Museum is beginning to get the attention it deserves. By using sustainable plumbing that makes use of natural rainwater and with walls built from traditional materials, the modern art found inside will have the perfect African setting. The Zoma Museum is due to open its doors to visitors in March this year.
Want to see Ethiopian art now? There's loads on eBay. Have a browse. (Support link)
Via Metropolis Magazine
Many of us enjoy podcasts, they give us something to listen to, something to think about, and a way to pass the time. Enriching our understanding of humanity and the universe is always a pleasure, only it depends on what avenues we prefer as to what we like to do with this pleasure. There is something for everybody in this wide world, so much so that it can sometimes be difficult to find the value in the labyrinth. I prefer podcasts that have a certain degree of maturity about them. I'm not a fan of shouty people or people who think they're somehow better than others. Some of us enjoy listening to these sorts just so they can laugh at this ridiculous ego on the airwaves. I know I've done it. I feel though that these kind of things can do more harm than good. Some of us are vulnerable and if left to the big wide world, can become polluted with all kinds of negativity.
When I listen to a podcast it's because there's an element of thinking involved. There's a sense of proper media about it, and a calmness in the delivery that doesn't put me off. We want passion to a point, of course, unemotional and non-involved reporting can fail to deliver vital non-verbal information however when too much energy is put into ideas it can be difficult for an audience to be discerning about them. We have a bigger footprint when we go heavy on a subject. Is open and reaching better than heavy and deep, most of the time, I think it is.
Here is a list of podcasts that I enjoy and would recommend anyone to try.
1. Dharmic Evolution
Featuring artists and enlightened thinking, Dharmic Evolution offers half an hour slots of high quality independent media. It's presented with enthusiasm and with a catchy professional tone. The subjects cover many areas, there are freedom of thought style bulletins plus artist, author, and musician spotlights. These inspirational characters stand to encourage us to feel good about our own creativity.
2. Mysterious Universe
Tongue-in-cheek or deadly serious? You decide. These guys research deep into the world of unexplained and paranormal phenomena. By taking a look at recently published books and articles, Mysterious Universe explores an X-Files array of creepy and crazy stories told by well meaning and totally convinced individuals. It's really fun and a wonderful source of imaginative ideas.
3. BBC Radio 3 Documentary
Taking a look at art and culture from a large spectrum of international perspectives, professionals and celebrity thinkers alike muse and peruse on various matters of humanitarian interest. Rich with unique lines of thought and alternating perspectives, and a thoroughly non-judgemental attitude towards the majority of subject matter, the podcast completes full and clear investigations into popular and intellectual matters.
4. The Classic Tales Podcast
The Classic Tales Podcast is a wealth of older literature reread for us all by a professional narrator. Each week a generous flurry of pages are read to us, and full books one by one are put into action. If you don't like the one currently being read? That's okay, just visit the archive and check out the rest. It's a high quality service that can't be ignored.
5. BBC 5 Live Science
Another BBC podcast, this time we get a mixture of Australian nearly-know-it-all Dr Karl and The Naked Scientists from another well-worth-it podcast. In both instances, popular and new science are talked about in public and in a language style that fits the majority of us. When they have big words and big concepts, extra care is taken to explain it. I would say that even a child could enjoy this quite easily. There's nothing wrong with trying them.
6. History Extra
If you enjoy history then History Extra is for you. Each week new books and uncovered ideas are brought to us in well read articles. The subjects are nearly always interesting and they're covered well for the time given. We're given not just a run-down of dates and facts, but the journalists are really able to paint a human picture of the times in question, allowing us to imagine being involved somehow even if a fly on the wall.
That is enough for now! Hopefully you'll get hours of listening pleasure from these podcasts, there's more than enough out there to last a lifetime and this is just a mere fraction. Only by drawing attention to the quality can we sift through the uninspiring and red-herring other options that hide. Alternative Fruit would love to hear about your favourites so please do write in or comment with your podcast recommendations. And of course, when a free web service that you enjoy asks for your support, it's part of the social contract to do so if you can.
If you want to support Alternative Fruit you can help by purchasing an ebook from here
Known for her elaborate rivers of direction, line artist linn meyers insists on planning ahead with her pieces. However, she also allows for the natural and organic manoeuvres she may willingly or unwillingly take during her production. We all wobble, the walls and canvasses all naturally grab a-hold with their surface friction. By permitting the distraction from the initial plan and the diversion of ideas within the moment of art creation, linn meyers builds on these phenomena and anomalies to work them into the final piece.
Her recent work named “Let's Get Lost” shows how the individual lines make up a wider image, and with clear moments of shift within the piece, one wonders how much of it was planned and how much intuitive creativity. This method of art creation is much like how many musicians create their pieces. We all have a set piece that we do to warm up, a scale perhaps or a favourite easy tune, and once we begin warming up, we begin to expand on our composition. This is when we break from the norm and produce something different. Often it's improvised changes that end up written down as parts of a song, trial and error can work as well if we have the time!
So when linn meyers met up with Rebecca Bray, Jimmy Bigbee Garver, and Josh Knowles, this key element of their work formed a shared idea. Rebecca Bray designs experiences, and has been involved in several major projects. Jimmy Bigbee Garver is a sound technician and composer, and Josh Knowles designs apps. Their combined skills turned the once brilliant Let's Get Lost into a completely new creation.
Listening Glass lets you play the artwork like an instrument, using your phone. All the bits go to make individual sounds which have been designed to compliment background music being played in the room. It's also designed to work with many people, so several phones can play simultaneously and it will still create something decent. The best bit is that if a group of people do a synchronised move the program will unlock a special audio effect! Wow.
Have a look at the artwork in action in this YouTube video.
Mechoopda Tribe member Jacob Meders proudly exhibits his two installations that explore his feelings around cultural assimilation. As a genetic descendant of an authentic Indian Tribe from Chico Rancheria, and an American citizen in the modern age, his unique binocular vision is helping those around him to understand the appropriation of the Native American story by Western colonists and the eventual overthrow of authority throughout the country.
The first exhibit of Mǝǝmento can be found at the Janet Turner Print Museum in Chico. Hand-in-hand with fellow artist Aksum Belle, Jacob Meders combined printmaking, installation structures and interventions on social conformity. Highlighting not only the issues but the solutions to them, from the perspectives of several distinct artists, the pair establish a tangible and thought provoking array of experiences.
Split into Before and Afterwards, Mǝǝmento explains the story of appropriation and assimilation of culture through the medium of art. Before is made up of 34 individual pieces from the museum's archive. Gathering an array of perspective by drawing on Native American and Western artists, the dualistic perspective on the ancient cultures can be fully appreciated. Perhaps by comparing the two idea sets we can understand what led one thing to lead to another. Then head on over to the Jacki Headley University Art Gallery for the second half.
The exhibition named Afterwards is the second half of this double sided page. Meders has his own installation on site, which boasts a responsive element. With social engagement activities involving handing out various newspaper headlines, a huge hanging print, a woven basket made of old computer cables, and a far reaching graphic vinyl, visitors will be completely immersed in the feel of what the artist wants to portray.
With honesty and the over-sized nature of the items, Meders perhaps really wants to drive home what many people simply don't want to look at. Could it be though, that only when we actually look at the things that make us uncomfortable can we learn to move on and up?
via Red Bluff Daily News
If you wanted to see black culture in a dedicated space, you would usually make plans to head for Washington, USA. There, a large museum dedicated to black culture stands and has been offering intrigue and historical information for many years. With the western standpoint, and a history of slavery, the perspectives offered by the Washington site perhaps take these emotional relevancies into account when portraying the information. Extra care is bound to be taken to spell out the lessons learned and the progress that has been made when considering relations between black and white culture.
Putting another museum of substantial depth in Senegal is a genius move. Because of the opposite side of the story, which is based in Africa after-all, and the effects of colonisation, slavery, and oppression will have had far reaching and varied effects which can best be described from the other side. The emotional relevancies found within Senegal will have different polarities to those in Washington. Offering a stereoscope of culture meaning and progress will no-doubt enrich the world's understanding of this cultural bridge.
It has been 52 years since the first plans were laid out for this monumental architectural project. The building has room for 18,000 exhibits spread out over 14,000 square meters of floorspace. I am certain that when laid out, the works will tell a grand and epic story of the black civilisation, how it has branched, grown, and spread out all over the world. As well as historical masterpieces and iconic artefacts, the museum will boast an entire section named Africa Now. This smart addition to black culture highlights everything modern and contemporary coming out of the talent scene.
Senegal was once a French colony. After much political turmoil, which was violent at times, Senegal achieved independence from France in 1960. Since this time, a lot of work has been done to locate and return many cultural items such as works of art. Some of these have indeed been returned and will take pride of place in the national museum of their birth. British and French museums would find many items that originated in black culture and had dubious transferral of ownership. Every item that was stolen, smuggled, pillaged, or otherwise taken without consent eventually must end up in the hands of those who made them. Although no-one alive is responsible for the oppression of black culture, we are responsible for putting wrongs to right. Needless to say, obtaining Senegalese art in the proper way, such as buying from sellers on eBay, is everything right about loving black culture.
Read about D'bey, a Senegalese musician featured on Alternative Fruit
Images and info : Shoppe Black
Building sociological purpose into our buildings has been going on for decades. When we first started to build blocks of flats, it was perhaps a simple solution to a housing problem. We maybe didn't think so deeply about what the effects of these places could be, for better and for worse. There are plenty of great books on Amazon about it, which are worth looking into. Putting it simply, we had a problem to fix. The technology arrived at the time we needed it and it was quickly realised that building communities in close-knit living spaces had its own set of dynamic cultural patterns and trends. Where as slum living maintained a tight community, they only extended one storey and were predominantly occupied by members of the same social class and colour. New build estates in the 1950s and onwards filled a role for people of all colours and background. If you needed a home, and many did, one was there for you. Bringing people from everywhere into one place like this has been termed "Social Condensing"
Now, in the twenty first century, buildings are built with consideration for the effects of condensed social situations. The benefits of bringing people together are well known, and when the environment is set for growth and tension-free society, the outcome is generally positive. These things can be engineered into architecture. One such building designer is Steven Holl. With his iconic buildings work, Steven Holl takes into consideration the genuine effects on society of bringing people together in one common space. There's a wonderful hardback available which outlines his previous best achievements.
His stunning recent building for the American city of Richmond, Virginia, has a primary function as an Institute for Contemporary Arts. This public university building will provide another function of integrating society. Bringing people together under one purpose which has nothing to do with the differences between them actually serves to provide a cultural bridge in which all sides can meet in the middle. It's much like the concept that went into Culture World, a Facebook group run by Alternative Fruit. We'd love you to join.
Richmond is a famously conservative city, with many building styles having shown little change since the early days. This iconic new concept building challenges all these ingrained ideals that many residents will feel attached to. With a design that invites a naturally lit environment full of corridors and corners which inspire curiosity, the museum/exhibition centre will no-doubt encourage a lot of free thinking. From the days of brutalist housing to cosy and intriguing exhibition centres, big picture social purpose has become something that no building can be designed without.
Via Inspiring Good Living
Readers who are interested in philosophy may already be aware of the work done by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Their exploration of Rhizomatic Concept touched on the necessity for one to exist in order to permit the other. Clearly we focus on the good and bad moral contrast in most cases however we can apply this thinking tool to any concept we choose to explore. Is the opposite of a chair a non present chair, a floor, or perhaps a sitting person? Art and philosophy can and will choose these grey areas of human thought in order to establish something of a general consensus.
Rhizomes in nature are root bundles or fleshy growths on the roots of living plants. These biological expressions often contain high concentrations of nutrients on which the plant can feed. Within the Rhizomatic Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, the rhizome represents a set of non-related entry and exit points for information taken from data. This may sound fairly abstract, however it basically means that instead of reading huge data sets (lots of numbers and information) in start to finish linear ways, plotting it all and finding the outcome, this alternative method looks at the whole and cross references sections within data to find specific patterns. It's a more holistic method of analysis which can be applied to complex relationships like those found in society.
Because of this abstract nature, looking for opposites and relationships between them in large-scale observations, this has inspired a lot of well thought art in response. Playing on rhizome theory of philosophy and statistical analysis has helped British artist Gheorghe Virtosu to establish a trend within abstract colour and form. Showing how dependency and contrast play together in the role of expressing striking imagery helps to highlight how opposites in life do the same for us. By showing that contrast and comparison can become beautiful and eye-catching, we can perhaps see how deeper understanding of our own situations can be found.
Of course, Gheorghe Virtosu has a continual theme which can be spotted in his work, however what does it allude to? There appears to be a great deal of tension within the joining of opposites, the colours and shapes each stretch to breaking point in order to remain static in their fixed places. We're drawn to the drama of flow and the energy that clings like gravity in visual magnetism. Clear definition of movement can be felt in the flowing and sudden works, although a stable image, the opposites and their relationships to one another spark intuitive appreciation for their personalities.
Want to have a go? Learn the basics of abstract painting online in your own time.
When I hear the word Brutalist, I'm instantly transported to my days on Park Hill in Sheffield, where I lived for over a decade. It's a famously brutalist building with a thousand self-similar maisonettes all squished up in a wiggly concrete labyrinth. It truly is a labyrinth, as upon moving in to my first place, it wasn't for many years before I had memorised the entire layout. Every nook and cranny had its own community living there, in which people knew each other's name and we all did our best to look out for each other. That is if you made an effort to blend in, if you kept yourself to yourself, that's exactly what you got. I was so enchanted by the place that I wrote a book, which some of you may already know.
However, this 1960s concrete behemoth was part of a culture of building brash and unapologetically unaesthetic structures which fulfilled a defined purpose. Car parks, factories, office blocks, and housing estates all got their fair share of the style. We've all likely seen a brutalist building, it's made of concrete, it's got huge fascias, and it's blocky. Little or no effort was taken to make it look appealing, when creating functional and affordable solutions to everyday problems like housing, competition was not an issue. It wasn't important to appeal to those who could be choosy, these were buildings with a social purpose.
It's way out of date now, and we likely won't be seeing any brutalism soon when it comes to new builds. We associate it with the time, and often with dilapidated states. However the concept has carried on. It may have had a rest period, through the 1980s, but simple, effective, and non-swish design has resurfaced. Where? Online. Even this website could likely be considered brutalist, it's got everything it needs. For Alternative Fruit, it's the content which makes the experience. There's even a website dedicated to brutalist design.
Web-design likes simple and effective lay-out. Often websites include funky graphics and CSS wizardry that makes everything flow like icy water. That's cool, I love playing with flashy websites, but often I just want the information, the data, the pictures etc. When it comes to that, simple and non-distracting is best. Often websites become extremely large. As you may see from the archive sections, it is easy to create years of material if we just keep writing it. This also resembles the brutalist ethic, just make it how people want it and keep doing the same thing until you run out of time, space, cash or resources.
Effective, simple, and well-planned concrete architecture had its heyday and it could have been much longer than it was. The thing that let it down was a culture of disrepair. It was during the 80s and 90s when many council estates and publicly owned buildings were not looked after as well as they ought to have been. This created the run-down and dilapidated look that we know now. If we can learn anything from this, it's that we can keep things at their best by taking care and paying attention, not letting things slowly turn to rot. Websites have much less entropy than a concrete building, provided the server remains stable, but keeping things up-to-date and refreshed is also part of the formula.
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