28th September 2014 Hipster Life Written by Hannah Chapman

Beards 4eva

Trawling through online beard forums is an enjoyable if slightly baffling way to spend a few hours. Users weave fanciful descriptions of their face hair, from “bear-like face blankets” to “flaxen face-locks denoting dignity and wisdom.” Those accused of being obsessed with their beards prefer to think of their face-hair love as a healthy passion. These are all very romantic ways to discuss what are essentially tufts of groomed pubic hair sprouting from faces. It’s no secret that beard incidence has risen like the mercury of thermometers in weird global warming winters. A recent Guardian article even worryingly asks if the trend has reached saturation point, and questions whether men will go clean-shaven to distinguish themselves from the shaggy-faced masses (perish the thought!)

22nd September 2014 Arts Written by Jasmine S.

Paintings That Make You Question Everything

If you hate politics, the 1%, and humanity in general, then listen up because Pawel Kuczynski has thought-provoking paintings that will make you hate them even more! 

Born in 1976 in Szczecin, Poland, this cartoonist graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in Poznan with a specialisation in graphics. But since 2004, he has focused more on satirical illustrations. He has been awarded with more than 100 prizes and distinctions. 

His works speak for itself, but usually touches upon social, political and economic issues plaguing the world today like extravagance of first-world citizens juxtaposed against the third-world people. 

16th September 2014 Health & Science Written by Jasmine S.

Do Wide-Hipped Women Get More Action?

Researchers recently published a new study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior that suggests women with wider hips tend to have more sexual partners. 

By measuring the iliac crests (the bones that protrude on your pelvis) of 148 women between the ages of 18 and 26, they have concluded that women with hips wider than 36cm had more sexual partners and one night stands than those whose hips measure less than 31cm. Yes, go on, measure your iliac crests, I know you want to. 

The researches summarised this finding by pointing out that women with wider hips will have an easier time during childbirth, hence they are more likely to engage in casual sex because they subconsciously believe that the consequences will not be as unpleasant. Pushing a watermelon-sized baby out of our vaginas? No big deal. 

If you just measured your hips and yelled, “this is bullshit!” then you have jumped into the critical along with many other anthropologists. They claim that not only do the iliac crests not determine the width of the birth canal, but the sample size of the research was too small to represent all women. Hips also spread with age, so it might be simply a factor of experience. 

The study has stirred some controversy, but head researcher Colin A. Hendrie is adamant that the research has some ground and that it provides further insight to today’s hookup culture.

9th September 2014 Health & Science Written by warholst

The Science of Selfies AND Celebrating the most Awkward/Awesome Selfies of all time – A Gallery

Yes we’ve all seen the selfie from the Oscars that became a record-breaking tweet shortly after being taken.  The Oxford dictionary also crowned selfie it’s word of the year for 2013, but what is the science behind the cultural phenomenon of the selfie?

Selfies aren’t anything new, we may be in the midst of a golden age for selfies, but throughout history the phenomenon has raised its head every time a new pictorial form rises up. Check out the first ever recorded selfie below.

A new book by science writer Jennifer Ouellette "Me, Myself and Why: Searching for the Science of Self" puts forward that selfies could feed a psychological need to extend a claim of personal identity into new territory, in real life or cyberspace.

Talking about the Selfie, Ouellette stated "Your Facebook page, for instance, is one gigantic identity claim. It's how you wish to be perceived. If you want to get artsy-fartsy, you could say it's a form of performance. ... I think the selfie phenomenon is a different version of that. It is definitely a way of saying, 'Here I am. This is me.' It's a mirror kind of thing, particularly since people often turn the camera on themselves.'"

The motivation behind the selfie can be strange, we know that women consistently post more selfies than men do, and that Bangkok's selfies were significantly happier-looking than Moscow's (yes there are studies on this - Ed). Essentially though, Ouellette claims that selfies are just an effort to claim an identity and this is natural to being human.

Ouellette claims this is why we also collect totems that can do one of two things, they can serve as external connections to our internal lives — items that can range from posters on the walls and pictures on our desks to trophy cases and custom-made bobbleheads. Or, they can be as an identity claim, a way of signifying who you are to the outside word.

Take this example, if you happen to work in an office (let’s hope you don’t), which way are the pictures on your office desk facing? If they're facing toward you, they're feeling regulators - they are an extension of yourself. If they're facing toward your visitors, they're identity claims. Either way, they serve an important role in defining the self.

One thing is certain, selfies are here to stay, so why not celebrate them, so we bring you, the 20 worst selfies ever, yes, EVER!   Feel free to out-do us!

 

The Awesome Angry Old Dude Selfie

 

The Dinosaur Pose Selfie

 

The Fat Kid From the Sandlot Kids Look-A-Like Selfie

 

The Actual Guy from the Sandlot Kids

 

The I Fucking Heart Cats Selfie

 

The I'm Jesus Christ, Bitch! Selfie

 

The Mischievous Monkey Selfie

 

The Pug Shirt Selfie

 

The Squirrel Selfie

 

The Dad Schools Son Selfie

 

The El Creepo

 

The So Wonewy Selfie

 

Just a Guy and His Lawnmower Selfie

 

The Thumb Selfie

 

 

5th September 2014 Arts Written by Ophelia Overton

Finding Mr Lister

I  saw some paint-splattered shoes weave in and out of skateboards and spray cans as they paced along an oriental rug. I knocked tentatively on a half-raised garaged door in Bondi not quite knowing what was on the other side. A voice called out—“Yes, come in.” I crawled under and saw a long profile of a man that had to be him. 

Turning around with spacey eyes, he extended a friendly hand and said “Hi, I’m Anthony.” I had found him…the one and only Anthony Lister. 

I wondered how long I would have before he’d grow restless and move on, but he assured me, “No, of course not, I’m here.” And we settled in. 

“So who is Anthony Lister?”

“Anthony Lister is kind of like a busy brained nobody. He kind of prefers to be sitting in a back alley by himself, or with bums if they’re not talking shit, than in any sort of club drinking any sort of fancy whatevers… usually.”

You probably know him better as the artist that’s been bridging the divide between low brow and fine art though. Or maybe you’ve seen him on the list of the top 50 most collectible Australian artists? Or maybe you know him as the 2nd best muralist of 2013 world wide? 

“I have a problem with the word artist though so let’s just say painter or freedom fighter.”

Fighting for what exactly? 

“The freedom of visual speech.” 

In a world where we don’t want to read but see messages, he is preaching the answer to the 21st century. It’s all the same to him though because “Pictures are just shapes that haven’t become letters yet and letters are just shapes that haven’t become pictures yet.”

His pictures are often praised in the tight-knit circles of curators and friends, but he doesn’t see them as anything of the sort. 

“I would never be as bold as to assume I’m original. I don’t want anything to do with being unoriginal…but I don’t know…it’s a tricky one. [We live in a] reincarnation society where originality is just going to be a product of how recent a reincarnation of someone else’s creativity was conceived.”

His work is a reincarnation of all the rules fine art has to offer juxtaposed against all the affordances of a fuck you kind of graffiti. 

He is an immaculate mediation of contradictions. He is Gen X’s perfect love child-parented by the will to set the world on fire and the optimism to recreate it again from the ashes.

“I’d rather just pretend to break shit but really be making shit.”

The world wasn’t made for guys like Anthony Lister, so he made his own out of paint after he carved himself out of a two-week Datura trip. 

“I remember sitting there thinking, ‘Who am I and what do I do and how am I gonna live life?’ And I looked at my drawings that I had on the wall I thought, ‘I do art, oh of course I do.’ And I pretty much put together who I was gonna be and from that point on that’s who I've been. At 17 I was living the dream.”

And from that point on, he entered into the world of ‘formal thugness.’

We continued to talk on that balcony for a long while when he said, “Hey I want to show you something.”

He opened his lap top and began flipping through files. He opened video after video after video, offering a few fragmented words on each before another idea would strike and another window would open. Not bothering to close any of them, they played simultaneously—everything from edits of interviews to songs with Charles Manson to accidentally spray painting brides. I could only assume that this cacophony of chaos was analogous to the inside of his head. 

He shifted restlessly in his seat—it was happening. He shot up. His eyes darted frantically around the room as he collected things in a bright pink pouch. “I uh…I have to paint. Do you want to come?” and we headed back down to the garage.

As he prepared to take that frenzied energy to canvas, he gave me a history lesson in fine art interspersed with G-Unit lyrics. 

He continued with this as he arranged his desk, unearthing something glossy from the grunge.

“Have you seen this? Yeah I did they did this story on me last month.”

He threw over this month’s ‘Fashion Meets Art’ edition of Vogue (laughs). 

And then he began. Inspiration had seized him and he was forced to ‘surrender to the adventure painting gods’ as manic waves washed over him and spilled out onto the canvas. He tackled three at once, sprinting between them as the ideas flooded in.

Then, after some time, the feverish spell broke—he was finished and something occurred that even he could not fully comprehend. 

“I can’t know everything about how or why I do what I do.”

And that was it, he slipped back into the human realm.

“You want to head down for a swim?” 

So he rolled a spliff, skipped across the road and dove into the ocean. 

When he emerged, we sat there on the sand looking over at the end of the beach where the waves kissed his imposing Bondi mural.  

“I almost feel like I would like to leave this game and then just take on one of my other dialects and just let all the thinking go on. This whole thing has cost me everything. My freedom, my time, my health…all sorts of things.”

In the end, it’s all worth it he conceded. His only regret? “I would have done more things that people said I shouldn’t.”

He’s been able to play it risky enough though by not fixating on “success” as the end game. 

“Who needs to win? I’ll lose just so everyone gets over it and we move forward. It’s about the party afterwards.” 

Ironic coming from a man that played the game better than any of us and won—and god damn did he win big.   

You can get more of him here.  

8th August 2014 Dangerous Ideas Written by Otto Reitano

Cybernetic Immortality by 2045

The concept of immortality dates back to one of the earliest surviving works of literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh.

For the Russian-born media tycoon and multimillionaire Dmitry Itskov, making immortality a reality has become his primary life objective. He is leading the charge of the transhumanist crusade, an intellectual and cultural movement based on the assertion that the human species is still in a comparatively early phase of development. Partially derived from the humanist movement, transhumanists hope to use technology to eliminate aging and augment our psychological, physical, and intellectual capacities. In the same way that we employ rational means of technology to shape the external world, we can also use said means to shape what it means to be human and essentially transpose consciousness into a new, human-based singularity.

As this chapter of exploring the possibility of becoming post-human begins to unfold, so too have many criticisms of the movement. Many opponents believe redefining what it means to be human may pose threats to human values and may be detrimental to our existence. This is where Itskov and his 2045 initiative come into play.

Itskov puts high spirituality, culture, ethics, science, and high technologies at the tip of his iceberg of ideologies. It is not as though he wants to achieve immortality just for the sake of doing so—he wants to do it because he thinks we have no other choice given the multitude of challenges facing global civilisation. What it really boils down to is Itskov’s love for humanity, his love for our ability to make decisions as individuals, and his love for creating a satisfying future of cybernetic immortality.

Keeping our core principles of humanity in place and placing a high value on autonomy is essential as we begin engineering the software of biology. We have decommissioned natural selection and have started to become the chief agents of evolution—if we do this properly, immortality may be just around the corner.

7th August 2014 Education Written by Jasmine S.

Girls Are Smarter Than Boys, It’s Science

The childhood rhyme of ‘boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider, girls go to college to get more knowledge’ actually has some substance to it. According to a recent study by Daniel and Susan D. Voyer, girls score better on school marks from elementary to high school. The familiar chant ‘girls rule, boys drool’ now makes so much sense.

The study is based on research from 1914 through 2011 from over 30 different countries, reflecting grades from 538,710 boys and 595,332 girls. For 97 years, girls have persistently trumped boys in every school subject. This study focuses on teacher-assigned grades, which provides a larger social context and requires persistence with studying as opposed to standardised tests that only assess academic abilities at one point in time.

So why do girls score better than boys overall? Well, Voyer suggests that because of the false assumption that boys are better in math and science, parents might encourage their daughters to put more effort into their studies. Another reason might be because boys focus on the final grades while girls study to understand the material. “Mastery of the subject matter generally produces better marks than performance emphasis, so this could account in part for males’ lower marks than females,” said the authors.  

Ladies, I suggest you print out this sheet and bring it everywhere. So next time someone says girls are dumber than boys, whip out this study and read it aloud to them. Word for word. Until they apologise. 

6th August 2014 Trending Fun Written by Erin Cook

Girl gets Wisdom Teeth Taken Out, Confesses a Whole Bunch of Stuff

Anaesthesia is a wonderful thing. It has been a catalyst for some of the greatest medical achievements of our time. It has enabled patients to remain unconscious while life-saving operations are carried out. It has given dentists the opportunity to correct teeth without pain. And recently, anaesthesia allowed one young girl to reveal a few explicit confessions after getting her wisdom teeth removed. 

Fortunately for us, the poor girl’s mum decided it would be hilarious to film her daughter while she made the journey from anaesthesia-induced bliss to reality. The confessions flew thick and fast. Ryan Gosling was mentioned. So was her ‘hot doctor’. References to male genitalia in general were also thrown in there and so were the Kardashians.

Eventually, the mother feelt sorry enough to stop filming. However, she knew that the video was too good to keep to herself and uploaded it to the world wide web, where it subsequently went viral

On that faithful day, one young girl lost a little dignity. But she also got her teeth fixed. Even stevens?  

Photo sourced here

5th August 2014 Arts Written by Erin Cook

Archibald Prize: Skill v Subject

If all of Australia’s art awards were back in high school, the Archibald Prize for portraiture would receive an A+ for popularity. Chances are that you’ve heard about it, you’ve seen it on the news or you’ve even had a look at the finalist’s exhibition. While some people revel in the prize’s popularity, others think that the Archibald prize attracts attention for all the wrong reasons. 

The prize was founded on the wishes of JF Archibald in 1921. Archibald’s will from 1916 asks that the prize be awarded to the best portrait “preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics.” This particular criterion sets the Archibald prize apart from other Australian awards. As a result, many celebrities have made their way onto the walls of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In recent years, actress Cate Blanchett and Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes have had their faces splashed onto a canvas in the name of the Archibald prize. Half of the attention attracted by the prize is thanks to the art and the other half is thanks to our fascination with celebrity.

As we surge past the halfway mark of another year, another Archibald Prize winner has been announced. After entering the competition three times and being announced as the runner-up of last year’s prize, Fiona Lowry took out the gong for 2014. There’s no doubt that Lowry has got the goods when it comes to skill. She used a limited pastel palette to capture the reflective gaze of her subject, Penelope Seidler. However, she also increased her odds of winning by painting Seidler, a beloved Sydneysider, architect, arts patron and wife of fellow ‘starchitect’ Harry Steidler. In the eyes of the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW, Penelope certainly fits the bill for a suitable subject.

Lowry won the prize with her portrait of arts patron Penelope Seidler, while Mitch Cairns was awarded runner up for his portrait of Reg Richardson, a well-known supporter of local arts initiatives. In contrast, 2013 was the year of the celebrity. Del Kathryn Barton gained first place for her portrait of the acclaimed actor Hugo Weaving. The people also weighed into the debate by voting Vincent Fantauzzo winner of the People’s Choice award for his depiction of actress Asher Keddie. Throughout the years, the subject of each entry has become just as important as the artwork itself. 

Whether you buy into the bias or not, Lowry’s entry to this years Archibald art prize is a sight for sore eyes. 

Photo sourced here

4th August 2014 Arts Written by Erin Cook

Artwork Rises from the Ashes of the Glasgow School of Art

Incase you missed it, the Glasgow School of Art was recently ravaged by fire. As the Glasgow skyline glowed from the embers of the school’s west wing, many locals were physically moved to tears. None were more upset than Melissa Maloco, whose whole portfolio went up in flames while the Mackintosh Building burned. 

Rather than wallowing in self-pity and the unfairness of disaster, Maloco took the fire in stride. She could have begun the painstaking process of recreating the destroyed portfolio, but instead, she used ashes from the building to imagine a new artwork. "The original series of drawings were a lot more graphic and crisp," she said. "The thought of making work again so soon can seem really alien and so being asked to exhibit new work a few weeks after the fire made me overcome that block sooner rather than later which was very freeing. As artists I think we’re all very visual people and so being granted access to the Mack post-fire really helped me deal with and process the events."

The reinvented pieces were created by pouring ashes onto paper, placing the sheets under a doorway and opening and closing the door above. The process resulted in black and white works, with ashes gradually fading into the bottom corners. 

Maloco’s artworks show that disaster can be a means to a new beginning, rather than an end. Cue comparisons between the artwork rising from the ashes of the Glasgow School of Art and a phoenix rising from the ashes of its predecessor. 

Photo sourced here. 

1st August 2014 Arts Written by Erin Cook

‘Pussy Boat’ Saga Underway in Japan

Move over Pussy Riot, there’s a new pussy scandal in town. The ‘pussy boat’ saga has taken hold of Japan after police arrested one local artist for creating a kayak modeled on her very own vagina. 

Earlier this month, Megumi Igarashi, who goes under the pseudonym Rokudenashiko, made waves by using 3D scans of her own vulva to create a ‘pussy boat’. She raised $10 000 for the project through a crowdfunding appeal and later distributed the boat designs to the 40 people who answered her call. 

So why did Igarashi go to all the trouble of making a ‘pussy boat’? She’d never seen her own vagina before and wanted to know if everything was normal south of the border. Rather than whipping down to her local supermarket and investing in a mirror, she decided to make a 3D model of her vulva instead. “I did not know what a pussy should look like at the same time I thought mine is just abnormal,” she said.Pussy has been thought to be obscene because it’s overly hidden although it is just a part of woman’s body.”

Japanese cops caught wind of Igarashi’s ‘pussy boat’ project, tracked her down and came knocking on her door. However, it wasn’t the kayak itself that landed Igarashi in hot water. They were more concerned about the distribution of the designs rather than the design itself.  In the eyes of the Japanese police, Igarashi’s actions violate obscenity laws that state it is illegal to sell or distribute obscene objects or images.

Initially, Igarashi had mixed feelings about the whole ordeal. "I did not expect to get arrested at all. Even as they were confiscating my works, I thought to myself, 'This will be a good story.' Then they handcuffed and arrested me. Now, I just feel outraged," she said. 

If convicted, Igarashi faces two years in prison and a fine of up to $25 000. No wonder she feels outraged. 

If you’re feeling outraged, or maybe just a little bit charitable, you can support Igarashi by signing a Change.org petition for her immediate release. 

Photo sourced here.

31st July 2014 Arts Written by Hannah Greethead

An Interview with Sam Shennan

A little while ago we introduced you to the whacked out world of illustrator Sam Shennan. We met up with Sam a little while ago and got him talking all about it.

Check out our interview with him right here, right now. Exciting!

You can find more Sam Shennan here and see his work in the flesh here.

31st July 2014 Health & Science Written by Erin Cook

Getting Stoned Does Bad Things to Sperm

Smoking weed could be bad for your sperm. Or, if you’re the proud owner of a vagina, smoking weed could be bad for your boyfriend’s sperm. 

According to a recent study by lab-coat-wearing scientists at the University of Sheffield, smoking marijuana can lead to sperm abnormalities that hinder male fertility. 

So what does abnormal sperm actually look like? They’ve got oddly shaped heads and poorly developed tails. These guys find it hard to swim upstream, which reduces the odds of making a baby.

Doctor Allan Pacey, the guy in charge, reckons that they didn’t begin the study with a cannabis focus, but the results stood out from the rest. “We were interested in trying to best define the risks of sperm quality. We recruited guys, who gave us a sperm sample and allowed us to investigate aspects of their lives,” he said. “It was just one of the things we asked if they did; it was no more detailed than that.” 

The study found that men who were under 30 and fell into the abnormal sperm category were more likely to have smoked pot than their friends with normal sperm. “We found that cannabis doubled the risk of men under 30 having poor sperm," said Pacey. "Statistically it jumped out of the analysis. I think it’s a real effect, and it’s not been shown before in such a robust way.” There is no doubt that marijuana use has an effect on sperm, however the study was unable to pinpoint exactly why. 

Photo sourced  here

31st July 2014 In Conversation Written by Tara Watson

The Criminalization of Homelessness in America

Apart from the daily despairs and struggles of living on the streets, it's becoming even harder to be homeless in America. According to a recent study'No Safe Place: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S Cities', laws that criminalize homelessness are being more readily enforced in cities throughout the United States. The study found since 2009 that laws placing restrictions on loitering, begging, sitting and lying down in public have increased nationwide across 187 cities.

The study undertaken by the National Law Centre on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) found that 18 percent of cities now ban sleeping in public and 42 percent of cities ban sleeping in vehicles. While citywide bans on loitering, loafing, and vagrancy have increased by 35 percent and laws against sitting or lying down in particular public places have increased by 43 percent.

 “Instead of wasting limited public resources on strategies that do nothing to address the underlying causes of homelessness, and are often illegal, cities would be much better served by pursuing sensible, cost-effective, and humane constructive alternatives to criminalization,” said Tristia Bauman, Senior Attorney at NLCHP.

There are concerns these bans that target a number of public behaviors will limit the homeless’ population capacity for daily survival. 

Photo source here

30th July 2014 Film & Photography Written by John Ma

Travelling the Strangerlands as Part of Corona's "Someplace Else" Campaign: The Worlds-A Travel Essay

Four hours south from Sydney was our campsite. But nine hours later and with no GPS, we were searching in complete darkness for a new camping ground since a fallen tree had blocked the dirt road to our planned destination. Arriving on a patch of grass next to a long stretch of sand at an unknown beach we were finally able to pitch our tent.

My newbie travel companion made house and warmed herself while I grabbed my headlamp and ventured out into the darkness to find firewood and build a fire for the night.

Weariness really kicked in as I dug in the soft sand with my hands for the fire pit. Carrying logs the size of goal posts from fifty yards away didn’t help either. But the disorientating part wasn’t my burning lungs or the fatiguing muscles, it was trying to get bearings amongst the howling wind and pitch black surrounds.

Relief came over me as the fire took on its own life. Sweating from the labour and yet still cold from the wind, I ignored my hunger and sat by the flames to catch my breath. 

I ate dinner like a viking though the menu was a bit different: Sweet potatoes wrapped in foil and buried in the hot sand of the fire pit slowly cooked while the single malt washed down the lamb steaks and sausages. Once the food had settled and the liquor warmed the chest, the constant wind became much more bearable.

It wasn’t until our immediate needs were met that I noticed bright flashes appearing where the stars and the ocean joined cheek to cheek. As if in chorus with the lightning storm that was doing a tap dance along the horizon, a solitary lighthouse far off on the edge of the landscape spun its beam and kept the tempo. Frozen in awe at the display before us, we sat under the visible milky way and watched as the distant storm flashed its brilliant sparks. A swell of gratitude washed over my fatigue, I was tired but I was even more thankful for stumbling upon this scene. 

Maybe it was the booze or fatigue that finally got us, but we both fell asleep in our camping chairs and eventually woke up just before the fire flickered out. It was still dark as we sleepily made for the tent, with euphoria still stirring inside of me. It was then that I heard noises besides the wind and saw shapes moving about not too far from us. My headlamp, once turned on, lit up pairs of neon brightness the size of ten cent coins which shone back at us. A great big mob of kangaroos was grazing and roaming about the place - They looked up at us like locals would at strangers walking into their watering hole. Only one feller cared enough to hop on over. Joe Black (as I named him) was treated to all of our leftover bread. As he sat on his tail eating out of my happily weary hand, I hazily wondered what else was next. 

Photos by John Ma

30th July 2014 Health & Science Written by Tara Watson

UK Supermarket Powered by Rotting Food

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's announced last week they will be setting a precedent in sustainability by transforming its own food waste into energy, with one of their stores in Cannock set to be run entirely on electricity generated from its own recycled food waste. 

The energy system works by the food waste being converted into biomethane gas at a anaerobic digestion (AD) plant, the electricity is generated by bacteria feasting on the rotten food and sent back to the store via a 1.5-kilometer cable.

"There are now 60 AD [Anaerobic Digestion] plants recycling food waste, which can process up to 2.5 million tons of food waste per year and generate enough renewable electricity to power a city three times the size of Cannock," said Richard Swannell, a director at Wrap told the BBC.

The system provides an encouraging alternative to electricity from the U.K.'s national power grid, which is generally fed by a combination of coal, natural gas, nuclear power plants and other sources. Along with providing a more ecological sustainable power source it will be utilising unsold and rotting produce that can often go to waste. 

Similar mechanisms have been put in place with the U.S. grocery-store chain Kroger which also has an anaerobic digester that provides more than 20 percent of the electricity to its Compton distribution center. 

Photo source here

30th July 2014 Arts Written by Erin Cook

Art History in a Nutshell

The history of art is a complicated thing. Unfortunately for us, artists didn’t feel compelled to follow a linear timeline. Entirely unrelated movements were underway simultaneously, either in different parts of the world or just next door to each other. If only they had the common decency to wait for one movement to be over before they went ahead and started another one. Why didn’t artists just wait their turn for the sake of simplicity?

One ambitious man, Loren Munk has decided to tackle the multi-faceted history of art and lay out its story on a set of canvases. In particular, Munk zoned in on Modernism for this project. Modernism is an umbrella term for various other ‘isms’ including cubism, surrealism and abstract expressionism. Munk managed to weave its various contributors, styles, trends, philosophies, politics and connections are weaved into a web of charts, maps, diagrams and flowcharts.

Take a look at the pictures for yourself and try to decide if you feel more enlightened or more confused about the history of art. Whether you can decode them or not, Munk’s canvases sure do look good. 

Photos sourced here.

29th July 2014 Film & Photography Written by Bushra Khalid

Rosalind Solomon: Beautifully Strange Photography That Captures the Human Spirit

Rosalind Solomon, an American artist, began photographing beautiful and confronting pictures in the late 1960’s. She captures the beauty of being human in her startling black and white images, confronting the raw reality of human struggle and survival. Her comprehensive work spans not only decades but also countries, encompassing the nature of the human experience. 

Solomon’s images resonate within the viewer due to their mysterious and unfathomable nature. Open to interpretation, Solomon’s photography is  controversial in nature, yet devoid of cliché that entraps most nostalgic black and white photography.  

Residing in New York, Rosalind Solomon continues to photograph and dabbles in film. She vividly articulates her version of the world with a sense of immediacy sustained across a broad range of subject matter. 

You can view more of her work here.

29th July 2014 Arts Written by Aimee Tracton

Tall Tales of Depravity: The Art of Andy Kehoe, Iguana Boy

When pirates attacked his sea merchant father’s boat, three-year-old Andy Kehoe was tossed overboard. The cargo ship carrying pickles, kittens and everyone Kehoe knew fell tragically to the bottom of the sea. Saved by a favourably flowing current, the toddler was washed ashore on the island of Galapagos where he was raised by iguanas who taught him much of what he knows. This is just the beginning of painter Andy Kehoe’s life.

The child-iguana adapted to his environment and even learnt to hold his breath for 15 minutes to reach the most delicious algae on the seafloor. Then things went pear shaped and Kehoe somehow found himself living in a Romanian forest subsisting on a diet of goat and children’s blood. His assimilation back into polite society thereafter was a lengthy and painstaking process.

 

Kehoe’s tumultuous history of environmental conflict and adjustment can be observed in his paintings. There’s a sense of tranquillity when character and nature are in balance. When this happens, flowers fall from branches to hug the antlers of a horned beast. 

Other times, character and environment are not yet adjusted. In this case, the head of a giant burnt-tree-haired creature rises from a glowing orange forest. The result is a little foreboding and very mysterious. 

In terms of technique, once Kehoe began using his hands for drawing pictures instead of choking children, he found power in the spatial relationship between subject and surrounding. He works with depth and layering, painting backgrounds in their entirety even though he’ll end up painting over much of it later. Working with multiple layers of resin pushes the spatial relationship until the characters are actually residing within their worlds.

For Kehoe, the vengeful families of eaten children are now a continent away and his adopted lizard parents but a fading memory — though his work is prone to implanting false memories of nights spent deep in the forest, drinking a full-bodied wine from an animal skull goblet with a strange beast. 

The portal to Kehoe’s world is here

29th July 2014 Arts Written by Otto Reitano

Painting the Crisis: Art by Molly Crabapple

A somewhat puzzling aspect of humanity is our inability to care about things that don’t pose any direct threat to us, or those around us.

Suppose you receive an email asking you to donate money to starving children in Africa — chances are you’ll either ignore it or perhaps you’ll feed it to your ever-so-hungry junk mail folder. If, however, the starving children are lying outside your doorstep and you’re forced to step over them on your way to work each day, perhaps then you’ll consider donating a little money to the cause. 

Artist and journalist Molly Crabapple is a little different to the rest of us. She’s not only one of the few artists to depict the torturous environment of Guantanamo Bay, but has also dedicated a great deal of her professional career to raising awareness about important issues such as the Occupy Wall Street movement and the economic crisis in Greece. Most recently, however, she decided to sketch portraits of some of the victims of the crisis in Syria.

The above picture is a portrait of Fatima Meghlaj, age 2. She was killed in Syria on Sept 16, 2012. By simply putting a face to some of the victims, Crabapple humanises the devastation. When the war isn’t going on in our city, let alone our country, it’s quite easy to forget how difficult it must be living in a war-torn country.

Whilst Crabapple’s primary means of expression is through visual art, she has also written for The New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, and various other left-wing publications. Molly Crabapple is not only an exemplar human, but also an excellent example of the possibility of political commentary through creative expression. 

28th July 2014 Arts Written by Tara Watson

Noah's End: Sailing Installation by Cai Guo-Qiang

If Noah's ark attempted to set sail today in a world of pollution and environmental crisis, would the animal kingdom have had survived? Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang asks this question, in his latest project the 'Ninth Wave', a neo-Noah's ark that will set sail for four days along eastern China’s polluted waterways and settle at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai on the 8 August 2014.  

The boat is filled with stuffed bodies of collapsed and dying synthetic animals, including pandas, tigers and elephants, with the artist assumedly choosing the biblical reference of the Noah’s Ark to represent the ecological damage caused by humans over the last thousand years.

In the installation, the boatload of animals appear seasick from not just the journey but their surroundings environment, drawing attention to China’s pollution problems. Guo-Qiang has already floated his piece toward Shanghai’s iconic Bund, a course the artist chose in reference to an disturbing spectacle last year of 16,000 pig corpses clogging up a river supplying water to Shanghai. 

China's waterways continues to be found to have dangerous levels of sewerage and toxins, with recent statistics from 2014 finding that almost 60% of China's underground water is polluted. 

In the 'Ninth Wave' the animals appear on the brink of mortality, heaving over the boat’s side, “Their not being dead leaves possibilities and space for imagination," said Guo-Qiang. Alluding that there is room for improvement and potential for humans to reverse or at least reduce their ecological footprint.

Photo source here.

28th July 2014 Technology Written by Tara Watson

Remote Control Contraception

The longest-lasting and most flexible contraceptive ever invented is currently being developed by a Massachusetts Biotech Company: an implantable contraceptive that can be activated and deactivated by the user.

The real draw card for the prototype is that women can 'deactivate' their birth control without having to go to a doctor. The device is currently being tested for safety, efficacy and security, MicroCHIPS hopes to introduce the product to be used in the United States in 2018.

In contrast to current contraceptive implants that last about three years and are the size of a matchstick, this new idea by MicroCHIPS Inc. will be only 20 millimeters long and delivers birth control hormones automatically into the person's blood stream every day for as long as 16 years. 

The chip would lie under the skin in the buttocks, upper arm or abdomen and slowly release levonorgestrel, a hormone used in some types of the Pill, in some types of hormonal IUDs.

Backed by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates is sponsoring the business venture in accordance with the foundations family planning strategy and sees the contraceptive chip as not an innovation just intended for the Western world but also for developing countries, where women would benefit from having a choice and further rights in their own reproduction.

Photo source here.

28th July 2014 Health & Science Written by Tara Watson

What Do Women Want? Period Panties

For any woman that had grown accustomed to throwing away the odd pair of underwear because of an unexpected period or experienced heightened anxiety of leakage during their time of the month, a smart and thoughtful product is finally addressing this common but often taboo dilemma. 

A new brand THINX has emerged with a specific make of underwear to be worn by women during their period. The underwear that is already available on their website contains anti-microbial, stain-resistant, moisture wicking fabric, and is able to absorb up to six teaspoons of liquid. 

The underwear has been introduced due to a gap in the market for an undergarment that targets a major concern often silently suffered by women during menstruation. More specifically how pads and tampons are often prone to leakage. According to THINX, 11-15 pairs of underwear are thrown out by one woman per year and 80% of American women have expresses anxiety over accidents during their time of the month.  

The idea was inspired by Agrawal experiences growing up, being forced to hide period stains and growing frustrated with the disruption caused by periods to everyday life. It wasn't until she visited South Africa and learnt of school girls’ actually missing school because of menstruation that she felt the urge to try to alleviate stress and discomfort experienced from periods.

“Ultimately, it’s a huge, important thing that every woman in the world faces all the time and no one’s talking about it or fixing it,” said marketing director Veronica del Rosario to Art In Fact. “Our goal is to break that taboo, so that all women and girls around the world can handle their health properly.”

Photo source here

24th July 2014 Arts Written by Worthwhile Jones

Looking Into The Abyss

Anyone who has made the pilgrimage to our Nations Capital could be forgiven for thinking that it is neither deserving of the title or the effort and, as a former resident of almost a decade, I say fair enough. Canberra is in many ways a lacklustre and buttoned down city. It’s like your annoying younger cousin who talks too loud but hasn’t really done anything, or that uncle you have that the whole family secretly thinks could be gay because he’s just “so clean”.

Canberra, as a city, is renowned for its galleries and museums (of which there are relatively few), Questacon, parliament house, public servants (pubes for short & of which there are many) and roundabouts (again, many). As an ex-local though I often feel compelled to defend “The Can” from such shallow summation. Not only did I spend my formative years there, pissing my dignity and pay up the wall, smoking weed in peoples loungerooms and eating pills, but I did it with some interesting, nihilistic creatives to a soundtrack of good bands and a montage of both “fine” and “street” art that was both rich and always changing.

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In my last 2 years in Canberra, street art took off in a massive way. In a matter of months the city went from being home to a few hard working taggers and uni student paste ups to being a literal gallery of art work on almost every block. At the forefront of this explosion was the artist known as Abyss .607.

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The first thing people noticed was the eyes. Suddenly they were on rooftops, bus stops, street signs and shop fronts. One black, occult looking eye, daubed like a symbol of pagan worship on surfaces from the Northside to the South. Whoever this guy was he was literally everywhere. Sometimes you’d see the trail he’d left on a mission across town, black eyes and tags like a trail of breadcrumbs. A week later it was criss-crossed by seven more. Abyss was Canberra’s underground equivalent of Batman and we all slept soundly knowing that he was out there, night after night, and that he had a plan.

When the paste-ups and murals started appearing, Abyss really hit his stride, and any doubt about his artistic talents or plans were laid firmly to rest. Giant otherworldly creatures made up of geometric patterns, brightly coloured and immaculately detailed, began appearing in some of the most open and brazen places holding torches or balls of light. He called them Seers.

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They were the watchers in the darkness, from alley walls, supermarket carparks and bus interchanges. Figures of mythology and power who still seem somehow benevolent.  Wise and frightening guardians of our society a bold statement of our need for such figures made in public almost daily by an artist on a rampage.

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For a squizz at a massive back catalogue of Abyss.607’s work and the crazy things he’s up to now, check out his Facebook.

All images taken from the above facebook profile. All photo’s and artwork by Abyss.607

Article originally appears on our partner site, The Dangerlands.

24th July 2014 Design Written by Steffi Ame

Less Is Indeed More: Minimal Erotic Posters

When I hear the word “minimal”, I often think of blank t-shirts, the minimal amount of beer left in a glass, the term “minimalist” in art, and the term “minimal clothing”. Well, the latter brings us to the attention of graphic designer Sebastian Campo’s subtle yet erotic artworks compiled in a series entitled, Twenty One Sextury.

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Twenty One Sextury is almost like a documentary of ordinary individuals of diverse races and sexuality, only in abstract form. Campo says that the idea for this particular series comes down to his pursuit to “unleash colors, shapes and messages into geometric forms, creating portions of sexual positions”.

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Photo credit here.

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