No matter where you live, the commute to work can be a drag. With queues and cramped seating, maybe even being forced to stand, the scope for annoyance can get pretty intense. That's where initiative comes in, and the city of Beijing has taken a great step in the right direction by installing train carriages crammed with audiobooks.
Rather than waiting for the right stop in near silence, or even listening to the heated complaints of a young child, now Chinese commuters can scan a QR code, conveniently placed in key positions around the train, and listen to a whole library of Chinese literature for free.
Not only will this cut the amount of bored time people have to undergo while on the way to and from work, it will open people's eyes as to the rich and diverse literary well spring that is now even more available than before.
This initiative hasn't been taken by an art council, or the government, but a new app which can be downloaded by anyone. The company really pushed the boat or should I say train out with this promotion, and with the gift of the free books, and even a magician in one of the carriages, the message ought to get out there.
If you don't speak Chinese, like me, then you may prefer English audiobooks. If you don't know already, there has been an English language audiobook library on my website for over a year now, and it's continually being added to as I listen to them myself.
On the 30th of October this year, Catalonia sees the opening of its first installation of modern art as a new nation. Spanish artist Juan Munoz put together the “Double Bind” exhibit in 2001, and since died. However, the art itself is alive and well, being the main centrepiece in an array of pavilions and installations making up the entire park.
A 2000 sq. m factory space has been regenerated in order to house the phenomenal composition, care has been taken to liken it to the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall building, where the work was originally exhibited. Catalonian construction experts Sorigue have been responsible to the production of the art space. Alongside the world famous Munoz piece and several smaller buildings will be a giant complex housing over 450 works of art and a labyrinth of research facilities to really make it count.
This larger section isn't planned to be ready until late 2020, when the rest of the art space will be truly established and hopefully thriving with spectators and culture junkies from all over Europe and beyond. Other works included will be a Spanish civil war bunker with a video work by Bill Viola, large works by Anselm Kiefer, and dedicated spaces are intended for works by South African William Kentridge, Chiharu Shiota from Japan, and Germany's Wim Wenders.
The art space is called Planta and is situated in an old open cast mine in Lleida, Catalonia. The Munoz opens on the 30th October, and other works following there after. The project is expected to be complete by 2021.
Coming to terms with tragedy is difficult for anybody. When we encounter an ordeal, sadness, and difficult times, the emotions we feel can be intense and complicated. At the time, because we are needed and required to remain focussed, we can find ways of suppressing what we feel. This is survival, and in the short term is very well and good. We stand a much better chance if we can put our emotions to one side during hardship. However, there comes a point when it becomes unhealthy to not recognise how we feel. The memories of an event are attached to these feelings, that if we do not acknowledge and work through, can manifest in uncharacteristic behaviours.
The recent wildfires in California are an example of such hardships. People have lost everything, some have lost their lives. Many have been forced to relocate and leave all they know and love behind. Staying on the ball and remaining focussed and calm during the evacuations and rescue situations is of course the best way to conduct oneself, however, finding the space to express it is also essential. Art allows us to do this, and it also allows us to communicate and document the human perspective of serious events.
A blogger and artist has taken the time to express their story of the North California wildfires in the form of a comic strip. With humble yet exceptionally well drawn frames, the story of the unfolding night and aftermath is portrayed in easy to understand and empathetical sections. Brian, the author of the Fire Story, admits that his utensils were not of the highest standard, and due to the circumstances, the work took much less time than could usually be expected. This doesn't put a dint on the value of the work, however, and in fact allows the unprocessed and raw experience to be communicated with as few filters as possible.
Read the Fire Story on BrianFiles here
The worlds of fantasy and realism join forces in the explorative artworks of Patricia Piccinini, Australian sculptor and artistic inventor. She aims to indulge in imaginative and often disturbing conceptual pieces that look at mutation in humans, and telling shape-shifting that portrays elements of our deeper personalities.
Although using real human hair in many items, the objects themselves are not actually flesh and blood. However, this doesn't stop Piccinini from making use of a spectacular array of prosthetic design know-how to form undeniably real looking things, almost human but clearly not.
Due to be showcasing a wide variety of her artworks at Brisbane's QAGOMA and in Canberra's National Gallery of Australia Hyper Real event, this October, is the world ready for the stylised and obscure tangents on offer from Piccinini? I think so, and with previous absorption in the hyper-real fantasy worlds of artists like Geiger and Jim Henson, this collection of creatures adds another layer to the richly populated realm of imagined and thought-up things that are alive
The artist likens her work to “The opposite of realism”.(Guardian). This would explain how although made to look as if it could be real, it certainly is not something we see at all. The unique but believable models give rise to the photographic negative image of realism, from the perspective of truth and fiction.
Piccinini takes inspiration from scientific and emotional wisdom in order to 'mutate' her exhibits in ways that represent the way we behave and feel but from warped and post-human perspectives. There is an element of shock and awe with what we're presented with, but also a sense of calm knowing, understanding, and silent appreciation.
There is another universe online, and I don't mean the twittersphere. An incredible amalgamation of written work comes together within the pages of a blog called Titania, Realms of Neo-Immortals. It takes a moment to sink in, but when scanning the front page, it becomes clear that the author, WindWhisperer, has taken great care and a significant amount of time to think through and bring forth a deeply enriched and multifaceted fantasy destination.
Based around a solar system similar to our own, but with unique and alien worlds, the aspects of this alternative reality are scribed in mind-boggling detail. We as readers can take our time on every page and admire the level of dedication and thought that sits there to be read. WindWhisperer takes a tone that sets her aside from many writers, adopting an almost archaic dialect, the passages sit neatly in little portions that are ordered by date.
Titania, Realms of Neo-Immortals spans back to 2011, with multiple posts each year until now. With every addition, new characters, places, and concepts are brought into scene for our imagination to play with. For people who love science fiction and fantasy, this is a treat much in the way as a good cult film or video game. But this time it's a blog, which makes it slightly more modern, but still relevant and full of potential to fascinate and engross.
Take a look at this fantasy fiction blog - Titania, Relams of Neo-Immortals.
And pay a visit to the Facebook page.
A vibrant and colourful display is up in London at the moment, with an intention to brighten everyone's mood amid troubling times. As London has experienced terror, fire, austerity, and a vote for brexit, the mood of the capital has been rightfully morose. So, Londoners taking matters into their own hands - in the most positive way possible of course, seems like an ideal solution. A project called mile long popups is attempting to tackle this issue.
Morag Myerscough, a self professed polymath, has a substantial following on Instagram. Thanks to her increasingly famous design works, the coloursmith is leaping from height to height. Luke Morgan is a visual artist with rock n roll connections. Trying his hand at many aspects of visual display, being part of this project is a big step forward.
The pair of creatives have collaborated together to create Joy and Peace, two installations which hope to raise the local vibrations by displaying splendid and striking colours. The brutalist architecture that surrounds the art is a stark contrast to the sensations of flurry and flamboyancy.
The display can be seen from now until the 20th of October on Silk Street, London.
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