October 2010 Archives

Permanent Error - a technology dump in Ghana

Pieter Hugo's Permanent Error documents a dump near a slum called Agbogbloshie in Ghana. This a trip to the heart of darkness of the digital age. A fire-hot analogue shiver down the consciousness of our techno-global times.

"For the past year Hugo has been photographing the people and landscape of an expansive dump of obsolete technology in Ghana. The area, on the outskirts of a slum known as Agbogbloshie, is referred to by local inhabitants as Sodom and Gomorrah, a vivid acknowledgment of the profound inhumanity of the place. When Hugo asked the inhabitants what they called the pit where the burning takes place, they repeatedly responded: ‘For this place, we have no name’.

Their response is a reminder of the alien circumstances that are imposed on marginal communities of the world by the West’s obsession with consumption and obsolesce. This wasteland, where people and cattle live on mountains of motherboards, monitors and discarded hard drives, is far removed from the benefits accorded by the unrelenting advances of technology.

The UN Environment Program has stated that Western countries produce around 50 million tons of digital waste every year. In Europe, only 25 percent of this type of waste is collected and effectively recycled. Much of the rest is piled in containers and shipped to developing countries, supposedly to reduce the digital divide, to create jobs and help people. In reality, the inhabitants of dumps like Agbogbloshie survive largely by burning the electronic devices to extract copper and other metals out of the plastic used in their manufacture. The electronic waste contaminates rivers and lagoons with consequences that are easily imaginable. In 2008 Green Peace took samples of the burnt soil in Agbogbloshie and found high concentrations of lead, mercury, thallium, hydrogen cyanide and PVC.

Notions of time and progress are collapsed in these photographs. There are elements in the images that fast-forward us to an apocalyptic end of the world as we know it, yet the alchemy on this site and the strolling cows recall a pastoral existence that rewinds our minds to a medieval setting. The cycles of history and the lifespan of our technology are both clearly apparent in this cemetery of artifacts from the industrialised world. We are also reminded of the fragility of the information and stories that were stored in the computers which are now just black smoke and melted plastic."


(via we make money not art)

October 31, 2010 | 07:54 PM | Permalink
Fashion, feminism & Tavi, a 21st Century teen intellectual aesthete

I am in awe of Tavi Gevinson and how, just in her teens, she builds on intelligence and style (take time to check out her deconstruction of sassy magazine, counterculture and co-opting here) and breaks down stereotypes by bringing erudition to fashion and a fresh take to feminism:

“I think you have to take the approach that feminism is ultimately about freedom.... Hanna, for instance, “wasn’t allowed to be like, hot, and a feminist. Maybe one could argue that there’s nothing very radical about wearing lipstick and shaving your legs and wearing more makeup. But feminism is not about an obligation to look like you’re above what some might call materialistic things, because none of us are, really…[if you dress down just to look smart,] you’re still compromising your own interests for the sake of what someone else finds suitable, when really the most subversive thing you can do as a girl is just do what you want.”

This halloween she references Joey Ramone and Ramona Quimby for her costume. Teen intellectual aesthete indeed.


And then there's this great line from her blog post: I spent half of one class staring creepily at the kid behind me and his friend was all, "Dude, she's casting spells on you!" - which reminds me of one of the battle cries of Italian feminists in the 70s: tremate, tremate le streghe son tornate (be afraid, the witches are back).


October 31, 2010 | 02:31 PM | Permalink

Conrad Bakker's Untitled Project: Librairie [Geneva] 

"is a simulated bookshop made of hundreds of hand carved and painted copies of used paperback books from the 1960’s and 1970’s whose subjects range from social issues and existential philosophies to DIY crafts and self improvement. These representations of vintage paperbacks reveal their status as public things in the gathering of persons/things around a specific issue or matter of concern. The very space of the constructed bookshop/librairie reiterates the objective of public things as it becomes a literal platform for considering the relationships between persons, things and ideas."


(via things magazine tumblr)

October 31, 2010 | 02:22 PM | Permalink
Don Letts on Punk: attitude

Don Letts talks about his great documentary Punk: attitude and Bob Marley in this interview.


October 31, 2010 | 02:12 PM | Permalink
Suzanne G & Art Nerd

Have followed Suzanne's blog - with her encyclopedic knowledge of art and taxidermic sense of humor - for aeons now. Great to see she is launching Art Nerd, her own space just off Brick Lane in London.


October 31, 2010 | 02:03 PM | Permalink


October 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM | Permalink
How to hide online

GL▲SS †33†H. ℑ⊇◊⊆ℜ. ///▲▲▲\\\

October 26, 2010 | 08:13 PM | Permalink
The art of iAmCxxx

Advertising, luxury brands, celebrity through the mash-up eyes of iAmCxxx. Strong stuff.


October 26, 2010 | 01:31 AM | Permalink
Techno-Punk & Terra-ism in 90s Australia

Making a Noise – Making a Difference: Techno-Punk and Terra-ism is an academic article charting "the convergence of post-punk/post-settler logics in the techno-punk development in Australia".


(via Bruce Sterling)

October 26, 2010 | 12:56 AM | Permalink

There's a clue to how the hubs of influence in the manufacturing of global pop culture could mutate in this video by Korean 2NE1.


October 24, 2010 | 01:36 PM | Permalink
Pieces of paloma

Some hours with Paz de la Huerta, by Marcus Gaab.

paz de la huerta.png

October 24, 2010 | 01:32 PM | Permalink
A luscious line

“Yesterday, I was considered soft porn, but today I am art.” - Pamela Anderson.

October 24, 2010 | 01:30 PM | Permalink
The photography of Lluis artus

There's a streetwise, globalista feel to Lluis Artus' photography. In particular, his Barcelona beach series is true contemporary cosmopolitan.


October 24, 2010 | 01:26 PM | Permalink
Brand as media: Diesel New Voices

It's not just about being stupid. Diesel & Dazed teamed up to offer a platform to young filmmakers, resulting in three short films that are well worth watching. In particular, the one which chronicles the work done & the kids involved with Skateistan in Kabul is unmissable.


October 18, 2010 | 11:53 PM | Permalink
Brand as media: the Standard hotel edit

Have been thinking of brands as media recently, so was intrigued to see that The Standard has launched its online magazine/blog The Standard Culture and has started publishing books too.


October 18, 2010 | 11:33 PM | Permalink
Chopped liver: the art of Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin


October 18, 2010 | 11:15 PM | Permalink
Yuko draws Momus

I used to be a fan of Click Opera when it was live, so was glad to stumble across Mrs Tsk * today. And lovely to see that Momus has been drawn by Yuko Shimizu, with whom I've had the pleasure of collaborating.


October 18, 2010 | 11:10 PM | Permalink
Kreuzberg (a short film)

Kreuzberg is a short film by Aaron Rose for Incase, shot on an iPhone 4.


October 14, 2010 | 10:42 PM | Permalink
Banksy does the Simpsons

The iconic opening sequence of the Simpsons is given a tremendous twist by Banksy with his Dantesque vision of Asian child workers and unicorns assembling the show and making merchandise.


More details here.

October 12, 2010 | 11:36 PM | Permalink
Vogue Hommes Japan & the animated GIF

The first digital issue of Vogue Hommes Japan is comprised entirely of animated GIFs.



October 12, 2010 | 11:24 PM | Permalink
Lagerfeld's books (travel edit)

One of the books I'm reading these days is about Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. And there's this paragraph about Lagerfeld and his books that adds to my previous posts:

"Karl's travelling persona was an ingenious hybrid of Madame de Pompadour meets Andy Warhol. He created an atmosphere of high culture, with novels by 18th century French writer Madame de Stael on his bedside table at the Plaza, trunks full of books strewn around the room, talks of the Vienna Secession period and endless careless quotes from Goethe and Voltaire, a habit that would keep journalists in life-long awe of Karl's learning."

(p.190 The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris, Alicia Drake, Bloomsbury, 2006)

October 11, 2010 | 11:46 PM | Permalink
Marc and Sara Schiller's art collection

A browse around a boring bookstore in Toronto the other day was made worthwhile by picking up the latest number of Theme magazine, dedicated to collectors and guest curated by Marc and Sara Schiller, the couple behind the seminal street art blog Wooster Collective. Here they talk about their art collection.


October 10, 2010 | 11:41 PM | Permalink
Samantha Casolari's first (little) book

A few days ago, there was a package from Brooklyn waiting to be opened when I got home. It stayed closed for a couple of days because it came in such lovely, hand-made packaging. Seal wax and all . Inside, "Ode to street hassle (the boys are keeping secrets) / untitled, nevada 2007" Samantha Casolari's first book, made up of two photo-stories which bring together images from a Milan fashion show and from Burning Man. The beautiful photography is enhanced by the attention given to the printed object. An ode in itself to independent publishing. Limited to 999 hand-numbered copies.


(I found this thanks to Photobooks, zines, reviewed, etc...)

October 10, 2010 | 12:01 AM | Permalink
How You Look At It (a short film by Poppy De Villeneuve)

liu wen.png

(from @mariannaxxx)

October 09, 2010 | 10:02 AM | Permalink
The art of Faile

I've been a fan of Faile for a quite some time, but leafing through the beautiful book that tells the story of their first decade of work I was struck by its utter fabulousness.


The unfailing eye of their pop culture appropriations, the dynamic discipline of their ongoing motifs, the streetwise elegance of their layered juxtapositions makes for great art.


October 09, 2010 | 09:42 AM | Permalink
INQ in Canada

I was in Toronto for 48 hours last week, catching up with the people at Sid Lee, and seeing of one of our fly posters on wall I was reminded that I hadn't shared any of the great creative that helped INQ launch in Canada earlier this summer. So here it is.


While here's a flavour of the French version in Montreal.


And here's a video of the urban projections we did in Toronto, with the photos taken at a pheromone party we threw with Vice.


October 08, 2010 | 07:13 PM | Permalink
Hells Angels 1965

Life digs out a never published photo-reportage of a Hells Angels gang from 1965.



October 05, 2010 | 12:15 AM | Permalink
Space balloon

Luke Geissbuhler and his kid set out to send a camera to space. They wanted "to film the blackness beyond our earth". The resulting 7 min. video is an awesome testament to the power of DIY and how a few technology gadgets, when coupled with curiosity and knowledge, can help you do stuff that would have been simply impossible just a few years ago.


October 03, 2010 | 08:43 PM | Permalink
David LaChapelle's American Jesus

David LaChapelle talks to Nowness about Michael Jackson and his latest show American Jesus.


October 03, 2010 | 07:16 PM | Permalink