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Friday, April 28, 2006

I read about this on OMNI's blog and found it, as ever, quite interesting. You should go read.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Here are a list of 26 slogans (down from 82) that may eventually be put onto a band t-shirt. Which are your favourites?

1-Doppelganger Effekt significantly changed my life
2-DE ruined my life
3-DE killed Kurt Cobain
4-DE killed my inner child
5-DE destroyed the ring of power
6-DE is the 4th Noble Truth leading to enlightenment
7-DE beat the devil in a fiddle competition
8-DE laughs at gravity
9-DE can cure cancer but won't
10-DE knows the 5-point exploding heart technique
11-DE defeated Gamera and Mothra
12-DE rested on the 7th day
13-DE uses sex as a weapon
14-DE supports the idea of tofu
15-DE eats meat
16-DE composes with a +2 broadsword
17-DE is all afterpants
18-DE is the Danish cartoonist
19-DE is the difference between right and wrong
20-DE doesn't believe in shameless self promotion
21-DE may contain traces of peanuts
22-DE is the other white meat
23-DE wears short shorts
24-DE survived Soddom and Gomorrah
25-DE made genocide a weight loss technique
26-DE is better than the sum of its slogans

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Inspired by Dr. Awesome posting his essay up for the internet to peruse at their leisure, I decided to do exactly the same thing. I wrote my essay in a veritable stupor of questioned consciousness from which I have not yet fully recovered, though I was quite chatty yesterday for some reason. Anyways, here is my essay followed by the pictures/paintings mentioned.

Identity and Globalization in Art: The birth of email art

One of the main issues that plagues and inspires contemporary artists is that of globalization and the creation of one global community with all the cultural, ethnic, linguistic, aesthetic, and, consequently, identity loss that comes with it. In response to these trends, artists, humanists and concerned citizens alike have banded together to protest the entities, legislation and corporations that are making these things accessible, acceptable, and ultimately inevitable. Artists in particular reacted not only as the others, but also by creating a new medium for art, that is email art.

In order to fully understand the motives and actions of the soon to be mentioned artists, we first must understand the context in which these actions were made, in this case, the climate of globalization. First of all, what is globalization? Globalization is a very broad term that is defined differently in every field of study or thought. Essentially what it is, is the free flow of information on a global scale. This in turn results in the mobilization of people, technology and consequently language, religion and culture. These days you can go to any major metropolitan center and find not only people from all over the world speaking their own languages but also designated areas of the city devoted to a particular foreign region (e.g. China town or Little Italy) where the culture is of the home country and not of the host. Anywhere in the world you can eat French Fries, what is considered American food and see people dressed in American style clothing. For this reason, Globalization is sometimes referred to as Americanization or even more specifically, McDonaldization (Rothenberg 2003).

This transplanting and intermingling of culture and language has created much confusion in people. Where personal identity used to be defined by geographic location, language, religion, culture etc, it was now being all jumbled up into one big mass. This led people to wonder how they were to define themselves, what was their real identity and how were they different from everyone else.

Then there was the way in which large corporations and organizations had gained so much power and influence in global affairs that they started being able to impose their way of doing things onto the rest of the world. The most well known protest to this became known as the Battle of Seattle in November of 1999 when thousands of activists flooded the streets to protest the WTO's (World Trade Organization) immoral control over third world debt (Smith 2001). In this protest, many activists (often peaceful) were beaten by riot police, shot with rubber bullets or tear-gassed. The event was highly publicized on all forms of media, most often portraying the protestors as violent insurgents.

An artist by the name of Mark Vallen produced a work entitled Globalization (2000, Oil on masonite, 20" x 26") in which he depicts just such a scene (appendix 1). You can see that all the figures in the painting are completely faceless with no facial features at all visible and in the case of the victim, not even a head present in the work. This shows the artists struggle with the identity of the individual. More than that, this painting’s subject matter is one of violence by corporate powers towards those who disagree with them such as that which happened in the Battle of Seattle. The artist says about his painting, "My painting addresses the excesses of state power and tyranny seen all over the world."” (Vallen 2006) As can clearly be seen, there are four authoritarian figures with clubs for the one defenceless civilian. The civilian has been beaten with the clubs and kicked to death (evidenced by the blood on the leftmost figure’s boot) with a graphic depiction of the bloodiness of the crime in the river of blood which the figures seem to dance around in a symbolic denial of the deed, not wanting to get their feet dirty so to speak. This could be depicted anywhere around the world. The background has been obscured by fog, perhaps teargas, thus eliminating any features by which to identify location. This is another way the artist conveys the increasingly undifferentiated nature of our world. Every place has the same concrete streets and the authoritarian figures all wear the same shade of dark blue. This work shows the negative aspects of globalization, that violence toward opposing powerful corporate dealings is universal, excessive and faceless.

Where the last work was made in a more traditional style (with oil paint on a surface), many artists have decided to go beyond the physical world of representation and into the digital one as a more appropriate means to get their point across (use of the internet, a major tool of globalization). The next artists all express themselves through something called email art, which is art shown through email. These works don’t leave the digital realm and reach their audience through either websites or email and when exhibited, it is via a computer screen. There is some debate as to whether or not this form of art is a valid one since any scan of art can be emailed. Email art can include digital scans, animations, computer graphics etc (Unknown 2006). Also, email artists come from all over the world, yet they are able to view each other's works nearly instantaneously with a few clicks of the mouse via the internet. The global connectivity that makes the art possible, yet speaks so blatantly against it, is very ironic.

In Jean Claude Gagnon'’s piece (appendix 2) entitled Identidad-Globalizacion (2002, digital scan), we see a table and chair with a question mark superimposed. This table and chair could be from anywhere. The design is not unique, it has no identity. The same chair can be found all over the world and it would look just as at home in any place. The chair is missing a leg, making it unstable. If anyone were to sit on the chair they would fall over and hurt themselves. This is trying to say that the erasure of identity caused by globalization is a disaster waiting to happen and that all may look fine at first glance, but eventually it will collapse and many will be hurt. In the background we see a map of the world with things on top of it. One of these things is what appears to be a blown up newspaper clipping of a man’s head with a hat, though his facial features can not be recognized. We don’t know who this man is; he could be any man in any corner of the world which stretches out behind him. Perhaps the one who will try to use the chair and hurt himself or as the title suggests, he is the artist’s father.

R.F. Cote'’s piece (appendix 3) called Shredded World (2001, digital scan) shows a satellite image of the world at night with all the lights shining, cut into strips and mixed around on a background. The world has been shredded and mashed back together in an incoherent and unrecognizable form. In the same way that globalization has displaced people and cultures etc, so has the artist displaced pieces of the world in a chaotic manner.

Fianally, Varney's piece (appendix 4), Globalization (2002, digital scan), deals with the concept of the globalization of commodities. It is references mail art which uses regular mail for its basis as opposed to email with the stamp. On the top of each of the attached 12 stamps is written "Mondo Post"” with the last "o" in mondo being the copyright symbol (©) and the "“o"” in post as a smiley face. The © is mocking the copyright laws as per the extent to which they are abused and generally ignored on the internet. The smiley face is a common symbol used in instant messaging via the internet, but it also is a well known reference to the American corporate giant Walmart. Mondo is a website (found at www.cloud9.net/~drs/) that displays articles and opinion pieces on government corruption, deterioration in post-industrial cities, fraud, scams etc. It brings to light things that people in high places probably wouldn'’t like anyone to see. The most noticeable thing in this work is the cows with the spots shaped like the world. Note that the USA and Canada are positioned in the spot where are all the best cuts of meat are including prime rib, T-Bone, porterhouse and tenderloin steaks, denoting that they are the richest and the ones who will reap all the benefits of globalization.

In conclusion, globalization has had a large impact on many artists from around the world and has led to the creation of new art in traditional forms and to that of email art which remains at all times in the digital realm. The main issue it has raised is that of how identity, or loss of it, affects the artist as a person.

References

Rothenberg, Lawrence E. 2003. “Globalization 101: The Three Tensions of
Globalization.” The American Forum for Global Education. No. 176

Smith, Jackie. 2001. “Globalizing Resistance: The Battle of Seattle and the Future of
Social Movements.” Department of Sociology State University of New York at Stony Brook. < http://depts.washington.edu/pcls/Smith.pdf> (April 17, 2006)

Unknown. 2006. “Email Art.” Wikipedia. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-mail_art>
(April 17, 2006)

Vallen, Mark. 2006. Mark Vallen’s Site. Art For a Change. < http://www.art-for-a-
change.com/Vallen/vdraw25.htm> (April 17, 2006).

Appendices

1

2


3


4

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I am in shock over some news I've just found about one of the blogs on my blogroll. I only linked it because he had lots of interesting finds in terms of articles, but I never read any of his actual posts. Anyways it turns out this guy murdered a little girl. I'm completely disturbed. It is harder when you came into contact with that person at some point.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

For the past few days I've been completely incapacitated with some unknown illness which seemed to incorporate nearly every symptom known to man. Don't get me wrong, I still feel like crap, but it is a slightly more tolerable sort of crap. I now only have an incessant cough, a recovering sore throat that left a bruise on my neck and a mind in a state of mild delirium. Anyways, the reason for this post was to report 2 things that I found were pretty cool:

1) OK Soda. Why didn't it catch on? This stuff looks awesome.

2) Spy vs. Pie. These guys formed a band where they just sit and talk about anything and everything. It reminded me of the chatter on Bazooka Radio but with words not fit for radio use. Each one is about half an hour, so if you have nothing to do or have earphones and are tied to the computer, give them a listen. Oh, and one of them is Canadian. I think that makes it better.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Come see Doppelganger Effekt play tomorrow at Rock for Recycling. We'll be hitting the stage at around 12:30 during this 12-5 event to rock the campus for anyone who decides that its a good idea to be within listening distance that early. If it gets all afterpants by the end, I'll consider it a smashing success. This will be a nice warm up show before our big one on the 21st at Le Magog ironically situated in Sherbrooke.

I had a job interview yesterday. It turns out my French sucks. I blame the the English school system and the Cubans for this one. I now highly suspect that Bishop's doesn't have very many happy customers during the summer based on the questions I Was asked during this interview. Judging by these, they over or double bookall of their spaces and have people yelling at them all the time. Complete hackdiggery if you ask me They also told me that they keep their employees on "an elastic leash". Upon revision, I'm glad I didn't get this job.

I have a final exam tomorrow that I really should start studying for. See you all tomorrow.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I'm not sure I would.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

What do you think of my new word?
Or Dr. Awesome's?

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Friday, April 07, 2006

God bless america. My friend Wang Da told me today that in china they refer to america as "Uncle Sam".

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

So, I was just minding my own business, about to leave campus when I ran into Fort Club and this other guy playing hackey sack. He asked me to play and just as I was about to decline because of my rising hunger, they kicked it at me, so I decided to stay for a few minutes and then leave. The first thing out of the other guy's mouth was this:

"So, if you eat someone else, do you think that you become like a superman?"

This was instant captivation for me. Hunger forgotten, I went into a detailed explanation of why this was not so for about ten minutes while playing hackey sack. I/we came to the conclusion after a while that the only way you could gain someone's strength by eating them was to do so and then work out a whole lot to put that protein to good use. If this wasn't interesting/weird enough, we spent the next half an hour discussion the same thing for crabs and reasons why they might become cannibals themselves. In the end, I think I may have started them on the track for a film festival submission. I hope it is realized.

Also...

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