Rebel Matters 232 – Série Pandémique – Living in the Upside Down

Marvin the Robot saying,"I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed."
Marvin the Robot

In this episode I talk with long-time friend and pod-colleague Madge Weinstein, of Yeast Radio, who happens to be my cousin about 30 times removed.   After all,  we are both descended from the same 350 people that may have originated from the middle east and settled in eastern Europe around the fourteenth century.   

Hotfrm 232  (64mb 1h09m27s)   Listen here:

Topics discussed: 

Keeping roses in cold water.   Trump.  Biden.  Pence.  Harris.   Authoritarianism.  Ancestry.   Eudaimonia.  The end of democracy.  Lack of critical thinking skills.   Yuval Noah Harari.  Global Warming.  Marvin the Depressed Android23 and Me.  Being kicked out of the middle east because we ate with our mouths open.   Shtetls.   Audio tech. Genderqueerness.   Stonewall.   The fly on Pence’s head.   Political theatrics.   The narrative is what it is.   Nonbinary should extend beyond gender.  Don’t stay in your ideological bubble.  Health Care Terrorism.   Canadian Health Care that we pay for with our taxes which I completely omitted to say – so sorry to mislead. ObamaCare.   Money talks.  Activism. Direct action.   The end of democracy.   The Green New Deal.    Did I say, the end of democracy?

Other Related links and cultural references: 

America is Dying

Free to be You and Me

Madge is soaking in it

Snopes

Orange Pill Podcast

Joan Rivers

Stranger Things

Ninja Cyborg that has my mind downloaded into it.
Ninja’s Mind Dowloaded Into A Cyborg

Rebel Matters Encore – Episode142 – Balalaika Breakfast

A balalaika

A balalaika

 

Special K and Ninja meet Charlie at the St. Lawrence Market.  Ninja waits for the balalaika player to begin and it seems like it will never happen. Special K and Charlie entreat Ninja to spare you this visit but Ninja maintains that every moment is a podcast moment.  They help Charlie choose hors d’oeurves for an evening soiree. Ninja concludes that the world is full of Eleanor Rigbys.

 

Eleanor Rigby by Mary Ann Farley

Eleanor Rigby by Mary Ann Farley

Listen below to Balalaika Breakfast   (35mb 15m19s)

Rebel Matters 229 – A Last Halloween Hurrah

Mummy Over Portico with a sign that says Beware! Enter At Your Own Risk.

Did I Say “street” in the Podcast? I Meant Avenue.

This week Special K and I, by chance, happened upon an apartment building that was top to bottom inside and out done up with colourful and original Halloween decorations.   Debbie Andrews and Gary Smith have been doing up the building at 88 Bernard Avenue in Toronto for thirty-five years. This year was the last time they would be doing it.    Every year they have had hundreds of children and adults visit their haunted building.   They bring home buckets and pillowcases full of candy after being scared in all manner of ghastly goulish ghostly ways.

Now they are on to smaller but no doubt better things.   They are leaving the building and moving out to a smaller town in the province.   Debbie says they won’t be doing this ever again but I say never say never.    Have a listen to the interview I did with her about the joys the last thirty-five have given her and the neighbourhood.

Listen here (17m44s 42mb)

Things mentioned you may not be familiar with:

Union Station: Toronto’s main train Station

Community Service Hours: High School Students in Ontario have to accumulate a minimum of 40 community service hours of approved types in order to graduate.

Also there is no such movie I can find that is called What a Wonderful Nightmare.

 

A Fake Deceased Tenant

A Deceased Tenant

 

Climbing Skeletons with L E D Lights

Climbing Skeletons

 

Scarecrow with Pumpkin Head

Nightmare before Christmas

Rebel Matters 227 – A Century of Remembrance

 

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Old City Hall Toronto – Nov 11 2018

 

 

November 11, 2018 was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the war dubbed as the war to end all wars.   In honour of the Armistice, Special K and I went down to what we, in Toronto, call the old city hall, where the Cenotaph, one of our war memorials, was erected in 1925.  In this country, more than two generations have lived in a time of peace and have no first hand knowledge of the realities and horrors of war.  What would another world war look like?  In the face of some 14, 000 nuclear weapons spread over nine countries, one deployed bomb would almost certainly result in the deployment of many others, decimating the world population and ending civilization as we know it today.  Sobering.   So I think it is important to reflect on the sacrifices made by others and past generations to mitgate the ravages of military confrontation.

 

During breakast at a local cafe, Special K and I had a chance meeting with a woman who was from Sweden.  We struck up a conversation with her and found out she had never experienced a Remembrance day event.   We invited her to join us and I think we may have overwhelmed her with our non-stop anecdotes of Canadian history and military efforts.

This Sunday November 11, at the Cenotaph, we observed the customary two minutes of silence at 11:00am followed by poem recited in English, Oji-Cree, and French,  a thought provoking address by our Mayor,  and a reading of the poem In Flanders Fields, written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae in 1915.  

Have a listen to my sound scene audio of an historic remembrance day.

Part of the program is reproduced here:

Committment to Remember (read in English, Obi-Cree, and French)

They were young, as we were young,
They served, giving freely of themselves.
To them we pledge, amid the winds of time,
To carry their torch and never forget.
We will remember them.

Address by Mayor John Tory

Hymn to Freedom

When every heart joins every heart and
Together years for liberty,
That’s when we’ll all be free.
When every hand joins every hand and
Together moulds our destiny,
That’s when we’ll all be free.
Any hour any day, the time soon will come
When men will live in dignity,
That’s when we’ll all be free.
When every man joins in our song and
Together singing harmony,
That’s when we’ll all be free.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Here’s the audio

 

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War courtesy of: Jamison491
Barking, crying and other sounds of human suffering courtesy of: http://soundbible.com
Photos:  Mine

Rebel Matters 226 – The Thoughtful and Disturbing Artwork of Rebecca Belmore

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Fringe 2008 – Rebecca Belmore

 

In 2008 Rebecca Belmore created piece of art called Fringe.    It’s a photograph of a woman, reclining, her back to us.   Sown into her back are fringes, hanging down, some red, some white.  You might see these on the bottom of a skirt for instance.  The scar running the length of her back is obvious and disturbing.    She says of this work:

As an Indigenous woman, my female body speaks for itself. Some people interpret the image of this reclining figure as a cadaver. However, to me it is a wound that is on the mend. It wasn’t self-inflicted, but nonetheless, it is bearable. She can sustain it. So it is a very simple scenario: she will get up and go on, but she will carry that mark with her. She will turn her back on the atrocities inflicted upon her body and find resilience in the future. The Indigenous female body is the politicized body, the historical body. It’s the body that doesn’t disappear.

The Canadian Encylopedia says this about her:

Increasingly recognized as one of the most important artists of her generation, Rebecca Belmore’s performances, videos, sculptures, and photographs starkly confront the ongoing history of oppression of Indigenous peoples in Canada…

Rebecca Belmore was raised in a large Anishinabe family in Upsala, Ontario. She left her small hometown to attend high school in neighbouring Thunder Bay. During the summer, Belmore migrated northwest to spend time with her maternal grandmother — who maintained a traditional lifestyle of trapping and fishing and spoke only her native Ojibwa — in the Anishinabe district of Sioux Lookout.

Ostracized as an Indigenous woman in a largely white high school, Belmore dropped out in her midteens to work a number of odd jobs before deciding to complete her secondary education. Upon returning for her final year, she befriended the high school art teacher who encouraged her to submit a drawing to a local competition where she won first prize. Buoyed by the positive response, the following year Belmore enrolled at the Ontario College of Art (OCA) to pursue a degree in Experimental Arts; she remained in the program from 1984 to 1987…

In 2005, Belmore was chosen as the first Indigenous woman to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale. The piece she produced for the show — a two-and-a-half-minute video loop back-projected on a curtain of flowing water in the darkened room of the Canada pavilion [called Fountain] — took her over a year and half to complete. The video depicts the artist frantically filling buckets of water from the Strait of Georgia and throwing its contents…at the screen.

 

And she said this about her art in 2008:

Part of my interest in making art is to provoke a viewer to think about certain issues. And I do that through creating images that may, on first sight appear to be – hopefully!- beautiful. But when you look closer you may see something that’s a little out of sync with that beauty. That’s where I hope to get people to think about the image they’re looking at.

 

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At Pelican Falls  2017 – Rebecca Belmore

I saw Facing the Monumental, which featured these and more pieces by Rebecca Belmore on Aug 5, 2018 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.    Here is the audio of my experience with her works.

 

 

Find out more about Belmore at:

http://www.rebeccabelmore.com/home.html

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/rebeccabelmore/

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/rebecca-belmore

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebecca_Belmore

http://www.gallerieswest.ca/magazine/stories/facing-the-monumental/

https://ago.ca/exhibitions/rebecca-belmore-facing-monumental

 

 

Rebel Matters 225 – Don’t Trust Steve Lazarides

 

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Don’t Fall For It

Rebel Matters 225 (47mb 25:42)

 

I am an avid and passionate art appreciator.  If there is a genre or artist I like that’s being shown in my city (or anywhere I’m visiting), I’m in.   But I should have known better in this case.   I should have realized and read the fine print. I should have paid attention when posters read “unauthorized”.  As soon as I stepped into the Banksy Exhibit in Toronto, I saw it right away.   The so called 80 original pieces, were mostly photographs of Banksy attributed works taken in various cities.  At worst they were photographs of other people’s photographs.   There were very few original pieces.   I dutifully went through the spaces in the warehouse wondering whether anyone else was feeling the way I was.  Special K was feeling the same way.  So was Drag-On.   I asked Drag-On.  She didn’t want to talk about it in public.  I wanted to spread the word that we were all being ripped off.    Forty-four hard-earned dollars to see how an opportunist exploits someone else’s art for profit.   Well maybe it was partly my experience at the Yayoi Kusama exhibit. That was massively well attended and disappointing for many who wanted more time in her infinity rooms.  Now there’s someone who got the last laugh.  But that’s for an entirely different podcast.   Then there is the question of the theft of a piece of the art just three days before the opening.  Some are reporting that it was a hoax.  A publicity stunt to entice people into the show.  Well I don’t know. All I know is that I wasn’t expecting mounted photographs out of context.

I wonder if he is just using Toronto to see if it’s viable to take it elsewhere.  I guess we’ll find out at the end of the summer. This is just a money grab by Steve Lazarides,  So, please don’t waste your money if this hits your town.  Stay away.   Here is my sound scene audio of our visit to the event and how we reacted to it.   Enjoy or rather buyer beware.

People’s Names I forgot:  Samuel L. Jackson

Details I left out:   Everything I saw at the Banksy exhibit you can easily find, for just the price of your data provider, on the internet.

Titles of this show that ended up in the Bit Bucket

  • Human Beings are Radically Flawed.
  • The Gorillas are Already in Charge.
  • I’ve been owned

 

Here’s the link again:

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 222 – Photos of HAL. Not Permitted.

Star Child (Taken at the Kubrick Retrospective at TIFF Lightbox November 2014)

Star Child (Taken at the Kubrick Retrospective at TIFF Lightbox November 2014)

I am not an expert on these matters.   I merely know what I like and what I don’t like.   And though there were movies of his that I absolutely did not like, I cannot ignore the profound impact his movies have had on me.   I don’t know anyone who will deny, if they have seen the movie, that when they hear Also Sprach Zarathrustra or The Blue Danube they can think only of 2001 – A Space Odyssey.   There are those of us who saw A Clockwork Orange who will never be able to see it again because of its assault on our morality, senses, and emotions.   I have a friend who can’t listen to Beethoven’s 9th, Ode to Joy, or the William Tell Overture anymore after seeing the movie without seeing the most vicious and disturbing scenes in her mind’s eye. We don’t understand what some of these movies were about but we simply cannot forget them. He arguably redefined the relationship of music to American film, camera work with American film, and even redefined how to tell a tale.   He turned the ghost story on its head with The Shining and confused us about war and violence with Full Metal Jacket. I am speaking of course about Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time. He made only sixteen movies in forty-eight years, three of which were documentary shorts made very early in his career. Fans waited eagerly for years between movies. Disappointed or not by what I saw, I know that there was great depth and thought into every inch of film he shot. There is so much to say about him as a filmmaker, that I could probably research the subject for years and still not understand his films or his process.   But I cannot stop being compelled and drawn to his work.   In November 2014, the Toronto International Film Festival, mounted a retrospective of his work at the TIFF Lightbox location in Toronto. I eagerly attended and was surprised by the mashup curation of the main exhibit.   I got a new perspective on the man and his movies and learned about some I had yet to see.   My show today is separated into two parts. The first takes place in the main exhibit. I sometimes compete with the cacophony of music that surrounds me, and try to provide a sense of how the exhibit takes you through his body of work.   The second takes place in a quieter section of the exhibit where various people share their opinion on select works by this master.

The Twins Costume from The Shining (Taken at TIFF Lightbox - Kubrick Retrospective)

The Twins Costume from The Shining (Taken at TIFF Lightbox – Kubrick Retrospective)

Listen here (53m24s) :

Download HotFRM222

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The subtlely distrubing statements on war and violence in Full Metal Jacket (taken at TIFF Kubrick Retrospective Nov 2014)

Our Precarious Lives – A Review of Frames of War by Judith Butler

Im in war by uda dennie

I’m In War by Uda Dennie

It took me more than two years to get through this book. I put it down after page 42 in 2012 because of its dense content and academic language. I am a fan of Judith Butler because she has some unique and thoughtful ways of looking at difficult questions. In this book of essays, (some of which she gave as lectures), she is looking at how we frame war and violence to justify it and give it meaning. She touches on how the media manipulates our emotions to reinforce or create our sentiments. This is not a new idea. Of course we all know the power of propaganda. But she has more to say about how we frame the idea of war so that we can bear its negative affects.

According to Judith Butler, each of our lives is “…always is some sense in the hands of others”.  She points out that we are nothing but social creatures that depend completely on each other for everything in our lives. And she means everything. From the survival of each infant born to the food on our plates to the infrastructure that provides the food on our plates including the plates. Each of our lives is necessarily dependent on others.  She makes a case that our global social entanglement shapes how we view each other as human beings. Or not. Consider that she makes this observation:

“…war [divides] populations into those who are grievable and those who are not. An ungrievable life is one that cannot be mourned because it has never lived…it has never counted as a life at all.”

In a war where the one side (say Hamas) stores armaments in schools, community centres, and houses of worship, the destruction of those armaments means that the people in those places, be they children, women, holy men or teachers do not have grievable lives. Their lives have and had no meaning because they were already dead before they were born. They are not alive and never were. We may believe that the people in those places are being used by the enemy as human shields. Therefore if the enemy does not give their own people the status of living beings worthy of being mourned, missed or valued, why should anyone else? So the bombing of these places becomes justifiable. Butler makes the entire idea of killing ludicrous when seen from this point of view. She is coming from the position that all human life, all interconnected on this planet, is grievable. Yet,we divide the world into those who are worthy of being grieved and those who are not. Otherwise we cannot justify war and violence. In one of her many brilliant statements she writes,

“…war seeks to deny the ongoing and irrefutable ways in which we are all subject to one another, vulnerable to destruction by the other, and in need of protection…[via]agreements based on the recognition of shared precariousness.”

She goes on to assert that “[w]ar is precisely an effort to minimize precariousness for some and maximize it for others.”

Apart from these ideas and some interesting discussion of the impact of media and photography, the essays for the most part left me cold and wanting. I was distressed by her use of language. For example, she uses the word alterity at one point when otherness would have made her point much more accessible. There are also statements and ideas that I found completely incomprehensible. For example, I could not make sense of this:

“The point is not to celebrate a full deregulation of affect, but to query the conditions of responsiveness by offering interpretive matrices for the understanding of war that question and oppose the dominant interpretations — interpretations that not only act upon affect, but take form and become effective as affect itself.”

If you can decipher this, I’d love to know what it means.

I was also shocked that she actually used the (non)-word irregardless (page 178 for anyone that cares). I will give her the benefit of the doubt and consider that an incompetent editor or grad student made the slip-up.

In matters of our global attitudes to war, violence, hatred, and non-tolerance, accessibility of her ideas is important for real change in my opinion. I am not sure she is interested in changing the world so much as she just wants to explore it philosophically and for the fun of it.

frames of war cover

 

(note: this review, slightly edited, was cross-posted to Goodreads on Aug 31 2014)

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 221 – We’re Tall and We Play Music

 

Matthew (frolick.ca) straps up.

Matthew (frolick.ca) straps in.

This week I caught up with a Brazilian drumming troupe practicing in the park for their summer season.   They call themselves MaracaTall. This is a play on the word maractu, a type of drumming, song and performance genre popular in Brazil. The twist on this Toronto troupe is that they perform on stilts. Their next gig is in Toronto at Harbourfront Centre near the Redpath stage 1:30pm on Canada Day Tuesday July 1 2014.

Listen here for my conversation with several members of the troupe:

Or Download HotFRM 221 (60Mb 31m:37s)

Here are some links to find out more:

http://www.maracatall.com/  – more pictures here

https://halacircusarts.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/maracatall/ – Hala’s site

http://www.frolick.ca/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJseNr10_ck- practice preview video

 

 

Hala warms up (halacircusarts.wordpress.com)

Hala warms up (halacircusarts.wordpress.com)

 

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 219 – Artists Interpret Climate Change

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Still from “Beekeeping for All” by Myfanwy MacLeod and Janna Levitt at the Royal Ontario Museum January 26 2014

On January 26, Special K and I were scheduled to participate in an event at the Royal Ontario Museum called Carbon 14 – A Day of Dialogue – The Changing Arctic Landscape.  The Arctic government and policy makers are very concerned about the changes they anticpate in the arctic latitudes and have seen over the last several generations.  As a prelude to this, I visited the exhibit Climate is Culture at the museum where I viewed installations inspired by climate change.  My podcast today is a soundscape of my visit to that exhibit.

0-1:09 – Intro

1:09-5:01 –  What is the Polar Vortex?  Andrew Freedman on PBS Newshour from Climate Central

5:01 – 23:54 – Soundscene at the Climate is Culture exhibit

23:54 – 29:30 – Heidi Cullen’s Senate Testimony on Climate Science

29:30 – 31:32 – Outro

Download at:  Hotfrm 219 (59 mb 31:32)

Listen here directly:

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Still from “Beekeeping for All” by Myfanwy MacLeod and Janna Levitt at the Royal Ontario Museum January 26 2014

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 218 – The Warship that Wasn’t

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I’ve been away now for quite a few months, and I am sorry for that.  Life has been busy.  But today I am back with some more soundscene audio, this time from our travels in Scandinavia last spring.

As Molly Oldfield says in her new book The Secret Museum, “As a work of art, it is a masterpiece, but as a warship it was a disaster.  You can see the entire distance it ever sailed from the roof of the museum.”

She is talking about the 17th century Swedish warship, the Vasa.  In 1628 it sank  just 1300 meters into it’s maiden voyage.    The king at the time, Gustavus Adolphus, effectively overrode his designers, engineers and expert shipbuilders to have them construct a battleship that was dangerously unseaworthy.   The cannons put in the gun ports may have been too heavy than was usual for that type of ship.  The ship was ultimately weighted with insufficient ballast.  Ballast is used to ensure that a ship can stay steady, counteract the wind and momentum of the ship and otherwise keep it upright.  Sometimes ballast can be the weight of the crew and passengers. Sometimes it is objects. Sometimes it is a characteristic of the way a ship is constructed.   In the case of the Vasa, it was built top heavy with no counteracting design.  Or perhaps the boat was simply too big to support the king’s intent against the Polish that his men were sailing to fight.   With all this, it is a magnificent construction.  Here’s  Vasa by the numbers:  It is estimated to be about 69 metres long.   That’s 226 feet or 75 yards.  The width of the ship is 11.7 metres or 38 feet.   The height is roughly 52.5 metres or 57 yards.  It originally had ten sails of which six, in various states of disrepair, survive.   It held 64 bronze cannon.   Well over 26,000 artifacts of all kinds were also found.   It is adorned with over 500 sculptures, designs and enormously detailed reliefs that must have been spectacular in their original colors.   Those colors have been washed away by centuries in the clay bottom and currents of the harbour waters.

The technology that made it possible for the Vasa to be raised did not exist until the 20th century.   It was confirmed to be 32 meters down in August 1956.    In the words published on the Vasa Museum website, we know that:

“The [Swedish] navy’s heavy divers were able to cut six tunnels through the clay under the ship with special water jets. Steel cables were drawn through the tunnels and taken to two lifting pontoons on the surface, which would pull the ship free of the harbour bottom’s grip. In August 1959, it was time for the first lift. There was great uncertainty – would the old wooden ship hold together?  Yes! Vasa held. She was lifted in 18 stages to shallower water, where she could be patched and reinforced in preparation for the final lift, to the surface…At 9:03 AM on the 24th of April, 1961, Vasa returned to the surface.”

In order to preserve the wood, the Vasa was sprayed with polyethylene glycol, a chemical compound that replaces the water in the wood.  This was to prevent shrinkage and cracking.   This process took an astounding 17 years.  The ship had to be kept purposely wet in order that it not dry out and crack.   More than 90% of the ship was recovered intact.

Archaeologists think that 150 people were on board, mostly mariners, and no soldiers, (300 were to board the ship eventually).   When the ship sank, about 30 died.   The skeletons of about 16 persons were found in and around the ship.   The skeleton exhibit seemed to be the busiest with dozens of children gathered around the glass cases containing them.  The museum curators have given names to the skeletons, tried to reconstruct what they may have looked like, and created stories about what their lives may have been like aboard the boat and off.

Now that you have the background, sit back and enjoy this soundscene of our visit to this amazing one of a kind museum:

Download instead HotFRM 218 (36mb 18m47s)

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 217 – Tales from the 1960’s and Back

Peril Cover

“Why can’t we just do everything we can while we’re here for one another?” – Pearl Goodman, 2013

On today’s show I interview Pearl Goodman who has written Peril: From Jack Boots to Jack Benny.  In 300 pages, Pearl gives us portraits and vignettes of what it was like growing up in the nineteen-sixties and seventies.   This was a time when many holocaust survivors had ended up in cities like Toronto putting geographical if not psychic distance between them and the horrors of World War II.  Everything about her childhood is coated, clouded and influenced by her parents’ experience during the war and after.

Her parents were survivors of the Nazi’s attempt to exterminate the European Jews.  The remainder of their lives was infused with this terrible knowledge, the death, the suffering of entire family members, friends, neighbors and many others left behind.    As we roll ever closer to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the numbers of survivors who can still remember and tell us anything of those times are dwindling to a precious few.   All the stories we can find, first-hand, must be sought out, recorded and shared.  And those who can relay much of those untold stories and insights, as the survivors of World War II pass on,  do so as translators, interpreters and paraphrasers of the original tellings.   Ms. Goodman and other children of survivors must speak for them because they no longer can.

It is said often that we are doomed to repeat history if we do not learn from it.    Indeed, genocide has been attempted and succeeded many times to greater and lesser degrees before that war and after.    And Jews throughout history have been no stranger to attempts to being eradicated and removed from everywhere we have ever called home.   We see the story of the holocaust repeated over and over again in small and big ways in the modern era in such places as:  Cambodia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, The Congo, and Pakistan.

In that sense, Ms. Goodman is not just telling her parents story and her own, but the story of all survivors and immigrants trying to overcome the persecution and oppression of their birth country.  Join me in my conversation with the author, on a pleasant spring evening in a local restaurant on the very street that Pearl grew up on.

Listen up:

Or download media:  Hotfrm 217 (33mb 36mins)

Links:

http://www.bridgeross.com/peril.html

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/peril-from-jackboots-to-jack/9780987824462-item.html

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/peril-pearl-goodman/1113066890?ean=9780987824462

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 216 – Frida’s Pain and Penny’s Portraits

Frida and Diego by Shadowland

Frida and Diego by Shadowland

Listen up:

Or Download HotFRM 216 (43:20 80mb)

In today’s show we once again visit the Art Gallery of Ontario.  First to see the art and life of the famous artistic pair Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.  Among the things we discuss are Frida Kahlo’s cause of death.  Drag-on and I speculate that Frida died of cancer, but the truth, I’ve discovered,  is that no one actually knows.  She had so many health problems in her life.   I get a new perspective on her art and how her pain informed it.  Next we stop by to see the restoration and preparation of the a soft sculpture called Floor Burger.  It’s being readied for its trip to the MOMA in New York where it will be on display this month.  Other soft sculptures by the same artist Claes Oldenburg will be exhibited as well. The highlight of our visit is Evan Penny’s odd fantastical, mildly horrific hyper realism.  Or is it hyper artificialism?    Even with all of the works that we see and as hard as we studied the exhibit descriptions, labels, and explanations, we still walked away perplexed, off balance and unsettled –  a little like leaving a funhouse where the mirrors distorted us and our world and the tilted floors left us rather dizzy.     Have a listen and see what you think – then go see all the Evan Penny you can.

Links:

Frida and Diego at the AGO

Evan Penny at WarmPhotos.net

Pridesource Article on Evan Penny

Evan Penny at the AGO

Claes Oldenburg at the MOMA

More Evan Penny

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Evan Penny – Detail

The Floor Burger by Claes Oldenburg

The Floor Burger by Claes Oldenburg

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 215 – Art from Sunrise to Sunset All Over the City

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Created with LED filled Ping Pong Balls in Bickford Park Toronto Nuit Blanche 2012

If you don’t know what Nuit Blanche is, it’s a sunset to sunrise festival of art held in cities across the globe.  In Toronto,  it is normally held the last weekend of September.  Originally conceived in Paris in 2002, the name has come to mean “Sleepless Night”.  There are far too many art events and installations for any one person to see in a twelve hour period and Special K and I are no exception  to that limitation.   In my show today I focus on sharing soundscene audio from a mere five out of dozens of events.   Glow in the Dark is the first.   L.E.D.s inserted into hundreds of ping-pong balls light up the ground in Bickford Park.  The result is unexpected.   Highwater 2012 is a floating display of objects in the Roy Thompson Hall pond.   Objects, somewhat ghostly in their whiteness,  float by below us, evoking an odd sense of loneliness and discomfort.  Who do or did these objects belong to?  Where are their owners now?  What were their lives like?   Lifecycles, 2012 is a video installation with original soundtrack that shows the time-lapse growth cycle of what we think is kale, that grew in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the artist.     We also stop by transparent sealed booths to listen to three masters solving the Rubick’s cube.   Each solver has a microphone attached to their sleeve and the sound captured is amplified through speakers.   Finally I share the surreal experience we had at the installation Caverne St-Clair 20012.   Fragments of culture, writing, and musical scores found in 2012 are re-interpreted by the artist in the year 20012 with some strange and hypnotic results.

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Inside: Archaeological Findings From 2012

Enjoy these snippets of Nuit Blanche 2012. By the way, if I haven’t said this before, my shows in recent years are best listened to with headphones for a feeling of actually being there, noise cancelling headphones if you have them.

Listen up:

Or download HotFRM 214 (62mbs 32m59s)

Links to things talked about in this show:

http://2012.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1154  Glow in the Dark

http://www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1073  Highwater 2012

http://www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1077  Lifecycles, 2012

http://2012.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1002  Re-

http://www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/project.html?project_id=1016  Caverne St-Clair 20012

http://johnshipman.ca/

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 214 – Life is Performance Art

Roy Lichtenstein's Most Well Known Period

Roy Lichtenstein’s Most Well Known Period

Late spring in Chicago.  It’s hot.  It’s humid.  Though we did quite a lot of walking around and hanging out in the warm downtown core, the highlight of our trip were the exhibits we saw at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Centre.  I share those highlights with you in today’s podcast.  Roy Lichtenstein was born in Manhattan is 1923 and died in 1997 of complications from pneumonia.   During his life, his art went through many stages and though I never paid much attention to his work, the exhibit at the Art Institute gave me a new appreciation of it.   I especially love his last works which were landscapes done in his signature half-tone dot style.  They have a lovely Asian flavor.     I also wandered through the permanent collection and spent some time admiring Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Dali, Chagall and Magritte.  Then, we spent an afternoon at the Chicago Cultural Center where we saw an exhibit called Morbid Curiosity – a compendium of items related to death and dying collected by Richard Harris.

You can find links to information about the exhibits and artists I talk about below.  And in fact, the information at the art institute site is much more extensive than I normally find on most art gallery sites. I was quite impressed with the detail provided.

Listen up:

  (66.5 mb 48 mins 24 secs)

or right-click to download Hotfrm 214

Links:

Roy Lichtenstein at the Art Institute of Chicago

I’d Rather Sink  Than Call Brad for Help

American Gothic – Grant Wood

White Crucifixion – Marc Chagall

Time Transfixed – Rene Magritte

Invention of the Monsters – Dali

Do They Sell Magritte at Target?

Morbid Curiosity.  – “Life’s a dream. Then you wake up.”

The Me-Mo Organization Cabinet by Jessica Charlesworth

me-mo.co

Roy Lichtenstein's Later Period

Roy Lichtenstein’s Later Period

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 213 – Ed Champion’s Got Ninja Listening

Bat Segundo Flies No More

Ed Champion is the creator and producer and correspondent for the Bat Segundo Show, a cultural and literary podcast that in no way intentionally tries to imitate the conventional interview format.   He has been podcasting for over 6 years and has produced an impressive 500 shows.  On the occasion of editing his last show I interrupt his work to interview him about this prolific podcasting run.  Over Skype, he tells me, among other things, that in post-production he will sometimes edit his questions which can go on in what he calls a rambling fashion.   He does this because the listeners are there to hear who he is interviewing,  not him.   But in my show today,  Ed gets the entire floor to himself.  He’s on the other side this go around.

Listen up:

Or right-click to Download : HotFRM 213 (64mb 1:07.47)

Names, places, end-links,  and other podcasts mentioned:

Occupy Sandy,   Rockaways,    Hurricane Sandy,    Powerhouse ArenaDavid Mitchell, Cloud Atlas,   Jynne Martin (Random House),     T.C. Boyle,   Brett Easton Ellis (American Psycho)Marisha Pessl, Andrea Peyser New York PostStuds TerkelPeter Davidson – Doctor WhoMarc Maron : WTF,   A.M.Holmes (The End of Alice)John UpdikeThe Nerdists, This American LifeMichael Sliverblatt :The Bookworm,  Robert Bierenbaum,   Tim Poole – TimcastJoe WisenthalCooks Source Scandal  Jonah LehrerQ.R. Markham,  David Rakoff.

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 211 – I End With the Bees

The Black Solitary Bee that Sarah Found

In my fourth and final installment of sound and visual art and artists I recorded at the Toronto Electro-Acoustic Symposium this summer, I end with the bees.   After-all  I started the series with bees for Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters number 208.  In this show I learn a lot.  For example – that there are at least 800 varieties of bees in Canada.  Bees evolved from wasps.   And so did ants.  Many of these are solitary bees.  There are many varieties of solitary bees.  These are bees that do not live in hives, but instead burrow into discarded dead stalks and wood. They are not the least bit interested in us, just collecting pollen and nurturing their young to maturity.  I catch up with Sarah Peebles and learn all about one of her prototype  Audio Bee Booths – a habitat she created for solitary bees.   (In the background of this soundscene/interview you can also hear the sound of children playing and airplanes flying overhead.)

One Side of the Audio Bee Booth 2010 Prototype

Listen up:

Or right-click to download:  HotFRM 211 (75mb 40:00)

Equipment used:  Apex 415 for intro.  Zoom H2 and Roland – CS-10EM – Binaural Microphones/Earphones for soundscape and interview.

Another View of Sarah’s Solitary Black Bee

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 210 – The Pink and The Purple

Pink and Purple with Hector Centeno

From her website we read that:

Alexandra Gelis is a Colombian-Venezuelan visual artist based in Toronto, Canada. She holds an MFA degree from York University, Toronto, Canada.  Her work incorporates photography, video, electronics and digital processes…Gelis’ work addresses the use of image relation to topics of displacement, landscape, and politics. One of the prevalent concerns in her work is to unveil the relationship between landscape, history, people, geopolitics and the diverse techniques for achieving subjugation of bodies and population… As an educator/facilitator in video and photography she has led workshops with youth in disadvantaged communities in Canada, Colombia, and Panama. Her work has been shown internationally in several venues and galleries in Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Argentina and the United States. She has developed curatorial projects, video screenings, and programs for festivals in Latin America and Canada.

On August 15, this summer, Alexandra unveiled her installation called Raspao/Snow Cones. This installation in her own words is

…a moving sound sculpture vehicle that makes Snow Cones to sell them. It is also equipped with electronic components that capture, reproduce, mix and record sounds and video in real time. Customers and bystanders create sound compositions by mixing sounds in real time from the surrounding environment and the sound made by the internal components of the cart.  The Snow Cone vehicle is a food cart, a hybrid vehicle, a mixture of a Raspao cart used in Colombia to sell snow cones and the food carts that Portuguese and Greek Canadians use for selling roasted nuts and other sweet goods in Toronto. Snow Cones is also a sound piece that aims to open a space for social interaction, a place of meeting and conversation.

Of her relationship with the experience of snow cone machines she writes:

When it was very hot in Cartagena, Colombia, as a child I will buy an ice cone and I will eat it lying down on the beautiful decorated and cold tile floor in my house. The installation is a product of a private performance in the back of my house in Toronto, dealing with childhood memories. I paint on the snow using fuchsia ink (reminiscences of Ice Cone or “Raspaos”) tiles with arabesques as in the floor in my house in Cartagena. At the end I laid down naked on the snow trying to recuperate these impossible memories. Hot – Cold, Fuchsia – Childhood – Moments.

Raspao/Snow Cone Machine by Alexandra Gelis

In my third episode of four shows featuring artists at the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, 2012 join me now during the opening of this installation and interview with the artist:

or Download HotFRM 210 (45mb 24m11s)

Equipment used:  Apex 415 for intro.  Zoom H2 and Roland – CS-10EM – Binaural Microphones/Earphones for soundscape and interview.

You can find the links to Alexandra Gelis’ sites @

http://www.alexandragelis.com/i_raspao.php

http://www.alexandragelis.com/i_tosuperpose.php

http://raspao.net/

The Audio Processor Up Close

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 209 – Ghost Haunting, Brown Notes, and Vibrations Cubed

PluseCubes by Ryo Ikeshiro

In this second of a four part series of soundscapes and interviews I did at the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium this August, I share two sound exhibits.   PluseCubes by Ryo Ikeshiro.   From the program:   “is an interactive sound where visitors are invited to become part of an implicit feedback loop whose other components include a set of small cubes on a flat surface, computer vision and digital signal processing.  The cubes are tracked by a web camera positioned overhead and processed by a programming environment known as Max/MSP/Jitter.  The audience interaction is created through the placement and movements of these cubes acting as  a control device which in turn results in the production of audio and physical vibrations.    Ryo is a London, England  based electronics and acoustic musician working in the fields of audiovisual composition, improvisation, interactive installations, soundtrack and therapy.   He is currently studying for a PhD in studio composition.”   The next  exhibit I explore is Ghostwood a/v by Michael Trommer who did the audios, and Brent Bostwick who did the visual part of the exhibit.   From the same program:  “It is an audio-visual installation which investigates the psycho-geography of Ontario’s northern wilderness.  It is primarily focused on the use of infrasound provided by specially constructed tactile transducers and is supported by a video component of the Georgian Bay landscape.  The project title is is a reference to those suburban neighbourhoods in which the sole memory of what has been displaced or eradicated as a result of their construction survives in the now prosaic  street names (‘Valleyview’, ‘Forest Hill’, etc).”

In our discussion of infrasound, Michael mentions a phenomenon called the brown note and wonders if it is a myth.  As it turns out, it looks like it is a myth, and is only hypothetical according to my sources.  But you’ll hear more about that during the interview.

For more information on Ryo visit http://www.ryoikeshiro.com/.    For more information on Michael Trommer visit http://michaeltrommer.blogspot.ca/ and Brent Bostwick at http://vimeo.com/user5083021.

Enjoy the show.

Or right click to Download:  HotFRM 209 (63mb 33m39s)

Ghostwood a/v with speakers and transducers by Michael Trommer and Brent Bostwick

Delights of the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium Aug 16 Concert

It’s hard to decide which piece I loved most on the evening of August 16.  It was the second concert night of the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium hosted by New Adventures in Sound Art.  The theatre at the Wychwood Barns on Christie Street, where the concert was held, holds a maximum of about a hundred audience members.   So with some seventy-five of us seated, it was a respectable showing even when you include the artists and their friends and family.  I looked around the concert venue and heavy black media space curtains surrounded the walls.   Such curtains contain the sound within the room and keep noises out as well.  The concert-goers faced the stage and some of us were along the curtained wall. Placed around the seating were no less than eight speakers.  This placement of speakers guaranteed a surround-sound experience.  Perhaps it would have been more immersive for me if I had sat somewhere in the middle facing the stage, but instead I sat on the periphery against one of the walls of curtain and directly to the right of one of these speakers.  Keeping my eyes open during the performances sometimes put me at a distinct disadvantage.  It was often better to listen to the nuances of the sounds without the benefit of any visual cues.

This concert had six pieces.  The most breathtaking of these for me was the last piece : MiND Live:  Live Coding Audiovisual Performance. The group performing consisted of five collaborators, a screen on which live-coding was projected in real time, laptops, and performers in various parts of the room including on the stage.    Beautiful vocalizations by Meaghan Niewland were manipulated as were additional sounds and visuals by the other performance artists.  There was a lovely hypnotic but controlled flavour to this performance.   Another interesting piece was Michael Pound’s Opening.   Through the use of sensors,  pre-recorded sounds and music, (an accordion was prominently featured),  Michael beautifully mutated the sounds of the accordion with the palms of his hands.  With his hands above the sensors, waving and dipping up and down and across, it looked like he was making music out of thin air.   It was a lovely irony since that’s what sound is – vibrations moving through the air.   Dracnoids, Joshua Keeling’s interpretation of a meteor shower he experienced, features a soprano saxophone and a bassoon.  I’ve never heard a sax that sounded like a guitar nor a bassoon that boomed like a foghorn, but those were some of the impressions I had of the sonic transformations that Keeling and the musicians left me with.   It would be fair to say that I was also mesmerized by the other three pieces: A Trace of Finches, with it’s field recordings of Nova Scotian woods, First Life, a mixed media performance of string quartet, live audio processing, narration and animation of organic compounds, and finally Windows Left Open, with its sound experimentation using electric guitar, acoustic guitar, cello and contrabass.

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 206 – “Youth Has No Age” – Pablo Picasso

Picasso’s Boy with a Pipe sold for $104 Million in 2004

Listen to the show  

or Download :  HotFRM 206 (70mb)

“Art is a lie that makes us realize truth” – Pablo Picasso.

So, here we are four avid art gallery goers, who don’t really like Picasso’s work and never have.  Wait.  Make that 3 1/2 because, to be fair, Special K, though not a huge fan, appreciates his work.   From my point of view he was simply an accident of really good promotion and the sheer volume of work he produced meant that he had to have some hits in contrast to misses.  He reminds of Madonna.  Less on art side but great business sense.  Like Madonna, he had a knack for making money.  These are what these kinds of celebrities should be known for in history:  knowing how to bring in the cash.  In case my opinion isn’t clear,   I consider Picasso quite overrated.

Now many would completely disagree with me, especially given the history of his career.  Sure.  Go ahead. You can.  In June, Special K and I went to see an Art Gallery of Ontario lecture specifically on Picasso and the art market.  Elizabeth Gorayeb and Molly Ott Ambler , vice-presidents from the art auction house Sotheby’s in New York, had some great information to share with us. You can listen to the  entire  lecture at :

http://www.ago.net/picasso-and-the-art-market

Mentioned:  Cecil Beaton, Francoise GilotBoy with a Pipe, Edvard Munch, Kandinsky, Stendhal Syndrome, Rothko,  Antiques Road Show.

Man with a Guitar – Picasso

“Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” – Robert Francis Kennedy

Listen to the show  

or Download :  HotFRM 206 (70mb)

And in case you wondered:  This episode is my 7th year anniversary show.

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 205 – RadioActivity

Artscape at Wychwood Barns Where NAISA’s home is

Listen to the show:

 

205HotFRM (60Mb)

For the last eleven years New Adventures in Sound Art has conducted what has been known as a Radio Without Boundaries art symposium.   This year the name was advertised as the Trans X Transmission Art Symposium.  This symposium was part of the Deep Wireless festival of radio and transmission art that was held throughout May this year.   I have for the last several years wanted to attend and this year I was able to.  I wasn’t sure what to expect – but I found that it increased my interest and appetite for sound experimentation.

From the program here is the abstract from Darren Copeland’s opening remarks:

“Rooted in the earliest experiments with radio, Transmission Art has continued to flourish with experiments with wireless communications technology over the past 100 years. The 21st Century is not excluded from this experimentation as artists have ventured into exploring a variety of mobile based platforms and more lesser known forms of transmission such as VLF (very low frequency transmitters). The terrain of transmission art is dynamic and fluid, always open to redefinition.   With NAISA being a sound art organization, we ask the question: What new sound art experiences are possible in the transmission and mobile media platforms?“

Darren Copeland is the founding Artistic Director of New Adventures in Sound Art and a Canadian sound artist.

For today’s show I recorded one of the last sessions of the weekend, this one led by Victoria Fenner.  It was  broadcast live during the symposium, but this is my version of it from my Zoom H2 and binaural mics tightly secured in my ears;  complete with rustling, coughs,  laughter, and one or two minor factual errors – and by that I mean to let you know up front that It wasn’t Hector that screamed twice during his performance,  it was  James just in case that’s not clear.   So here is  what ended up being the spur of the moment panel discussion led by Victoria, with the ad-hoc studio shared with Ninja, Galen, Jim, Tom and Hethre.  Also mentioned:  Twitter, Soundcloud, iTunes, FM, Community Radio, Citizen Journalism – Other Links:

http://www.naisa.ca/deepwireless/

http://free103point9.org/about

http://nplusonemag.com/

http://islandsofresistance.ca/

Listen to the show:

205HotFRM (60Mb)

Victoria Fenner at Work

“life don’t clickety clack down a straight line track It come together and it come apart” – Ferron (Ain’t Life a Brook)

Just because I give it three stars out of five does not mean I didn’t love it. It was the concepts I loved, not the writing. Because it’s an academic book, it was slow going and plodding. Like all works written by some academics, the sentences can be dense and full of meaning that require multiple reads of the same sentence or paragraph. I hate having to look up words like liminal, preliminal, hegemony, deconstructionism, and postmodernism. It makes my head hurt. But look them up I did, if only to try to get inside the mind of Judith Halberstam, the author.

Here is what I think she is saying and it’s wonderfully trailblazing and original. In no particular order: First, she suggests that the queer way of life establishes an entirely unique, reasonable and freeing alternative to the tyranny of the heteronormative (look that one up) timeline of the mandatory passages that the heterosexual lifestyle requires: birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, marriage, career, children, grandchildren, old age, and finally death with all the attendant obligations, constraints, and rituals. An alter-normative life imposes no such constraints. Adolescence can last as long as you want. The ushering in of the age of child rearing doesn’t have to happen until you are good and ready or never. That’s the queer time part.

Next, (well not quite next but I am going to talk about it next), she shows how the queer subculture, the ways we define ourselves in terms of music, dress, film, all forms of art and style, including the way we express ourselves in general, define the particular way that we construct the space and place, psychically and physically, around us. They are as real as the heteronormative popular culture that no one of us can escape. But the success of our art is not defined by conventional fame, celebrity, and money. She uses the world of transgenderism, genderqueerism, drag king shows, dyke slam poetry, and dyke rock to prove that point. These types of expression and lives could serve to represent an undefined and full of possibility midpoint between a threshold and the establishment of new rituals in our culture. A state where definition and space is undefined and being redefined.

Lastly she pays homage to the queers of the mid 20th century and lesbian folk artists of the 70s who paved the way for the freedoms of expressions and rights (at least in some states and Canada) that queers enjoy today. Using the musicians Cris Williamson and Ferron as examples, she engendered in me a new appreciation for their music that I already love so much.

The clod that I am,  I’m sure I have missed the finer subtleties of her arguments. But what I did get out of the book completely captivated and fascinated me.

Here are some choice quotes from the book that I particularly enjoyed:

“…we create longevity as the most desirable future, applaud the pursuit of long life (under any circumstances), and pathologize modes of living that show little or no concern for longevity.”

“…formulaic responses to time and temporal logics produce emotional and even physical responses to different kinds of time…people feel guilty about leisure, frustrated by waiting, satisfied by punctuality, and so on.”

“…time has become a perpetual present, and space has flattened out in the face of creeping globalization.”

“…the transgender body has emerged as futurity itself, a kind of heroic fulfillment of postmodern promises of gender flexibility.”

“…Brandon [Teena]’s death…[is]…evidence of a continuing campaign of violence against queers despite the increasing respectability of some portions of the gay and lesbian community.”

“…the brutality that visited Brandon [Teena]…[was]…also a violence linked to a bourgeois investment in the economy of authenticity.”

“Entertainment…is the name we give to the fantasies of difference that erupt on the screen only to give way to the reproduction of sameness.”

“…gender functions as a ‘copy with no original’.”

“…queer subcultures offer us an opportunity to redefine the binary of adolescence and adulthood…”

“Queer youth sets up younger gays and lesbians not as the inheritors and benefactors of several decades of queer activism but rather as victims of homophobia who need ‘outreach’ programs and support groups…[There is] an emphasis that arises out of an overreliance on the youth/adulthood binary…[that]…encourages young queers to think about the present and future while ignoring the past.”

“The radical styles crafted in queer punk bands, slam poetry events, and drag king boy bands…model other modes of being and becoming that scramble our understandings of place, time, development, action and transformation.”

“Ferron…understands herself to be engaged in a collective project that is rewarded not by capital or visibility…but by an affective connection with those people who will eventually be the vessels of memory for all she now forgets.”

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 203 – The Hunter Gatherer Caveman Diet Rules

Copyright : http://www.flickr.com/photos/photopia/with/6796758098/ Some rights reserved by HiMY SYeD / photopia

Listen :

Or Download HotFRM 203 (46mb)

Podcamp is more than a way for podcast hobbyists to get together once a year and talk about how we are podfading. Although, we did that too. It was also about social media, networking, how to use social media and other internet community tools to make a difference be it artistically or politically. That’s what podcamp is for me. All the different ways people are using the internet and social media to make a point, or make money. I must admit, the monetizing bit somewhat escapes me. Maybe because I am not making any money doing it.

To set the stage, for this show, it’s Saturday, podcamp toronto at Ryerson University, late February. We’re at the end of a full day of half hour sessions. A group of us are sitting off to the side after the last session, just chatting about the caveman diet, running, meditation and one woman’s father’s book called Dancing in the Mirror, self described inspirations of peace and joy. Oh yes did I mention the caveman diet?

People in the podcast community in attendance:  Bill DeysScarborough Dude, Bob Goyetche, Valerie,  Diets mentioned:  The Paleo, Caveman, Hunter Gatherer.   Podcasts mentioned: Dancing in the Mirror  Surround Sound Sites Mentioned: Holophonics

Listen :

Or Download HotFRM 203 (46mb)

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 201 – Snow Globe Musical Mashup

An Anne Keenan Higgins Stocking Hook – (Photo by Ninja)

Listen to the show

Today I give you a Ninja original Snow Globe Christmas Mashup with ambient household white noise including the refrigerator.

Reindeer in Tutu with Santa (Photo by Ninja)

Listen to the show

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 200 – A Trip to the Museum of Gender Archaeology

Listen to the show:

Every year, Toronto participates in an all night festival of art known as Nuit Blanche, so named because it colloquilally means “all-nighter” in French,  but literally means “white night”. It’s a sunset to sunrise event on the first Saturday of October. There is so much to see all over the city, and it is by design impossible to see everything. The most popular events seem to be the ones that use lots of light shows and sound. For example, many exhibits feature projections against walls and buildings. One exhibit that was a hit was the tennis point played over and over all night long called The Tie-break. It was a re-enactment of the legendary fourth set tie-break from the 1980 Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles Finals between Björn Borg and John McEnroe. That would have been something to watch. But we limited ourselves to one area of only a few of many possible events that night.

First we dropped by the Museum of Gender Archaeology that eventually led us into the GendRPhone booths. I’ll admit, apart from the gender changer, commonly used for electronic connections, and the display of so-called ancient bathroom signs for male and female, most of the meaning of the items in the small collection were lost on me. And Ninja is all about exploring the nuances of gender. I get that it was meant to represent a future bygone world of gender dualilty and it was a great start, but it simply wasn’t enough for me. I love shock factor in art (I just revelled in the outrage caused by the kissing of the pope and the imam), and I wasn’t shocked, merely amused. If that is what the artist was after, then it that sense, it did succeed. The installation invites us however to re-imagine our gender. On the gendRphone, you can select the sex and gender of a potential lover and hear their words of love. In the words of Marshall McLuhan, “When you are on the phone, you have no body”.  Just a disembodied voice. I love that concept. It’s full of possibility. Not sure that the installation piqued my imagination though. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood.

My favourite installation was the sound and poetry presented by a local group called New Adventures in Sound Art.  Go figure. I loved the beat and words that went with it. You’ll hear some of that. The last two installations we went to were light and sound shows. The first was called Night Light Travels and the second was another installation by the NAISA (New Adventures in Sound Art), called Sonic Spaces (The Kinetics of Sound). Both used feedback mechanisms and other triggers to change sound and in some cases light in real time. A Markov chain is a mathematical system that undergoes transitions from one state to another, between a finite or countable number of possible states. The next state depends only on the current state and not on the sequence of events that preceded it. This kind of “memorylessness” is called the Markov property. Markov chains have many applications as statistical models of real-world processes and Shawn Pinchbeck uses them to evolve the sound in Sonic Spaces. He also used Vocoder (Voice encoder) technology and theory to change what we hear in the installation.

Have a listen and see if any of this art is your cup of tea.   

Listen to the show:

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 199 – I Want My Therapeutic Seal

This past summer,  Special K, Dragon, Fly and I went to Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Civilization.  The highlight of the visit was the exhibit called Japan: Tradition.  Innovation.  The exhibit showcased Japan’s achievements in design.   I wanted to take home everything I saw, including a robotic seal intended for elder care.

Links:  Japan: Tradition and Innovation at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Therapeutic Seal, Museum of Civilization


Listen to the show :

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 197 – Water is the Only Thing That Matters or Watermageddon

That’s How Much Water We Have to Use for 7 Billion People

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On Canada Day this year, July 1st, Special K and I went to Royal Ontario Museum, the ROM to view three separate exhibits. The first is on water, what it is, what it means to us, what it means to everything on the planet and how little of it there actually is. The second was an exhibit of Edward Burtynsky’s photography. A well known local and international photographer, the exhibit showcased some of his more stunning and beautiful pieces. I try to describe his photography as I move through the display. See what you think. The last exhibit is a display of Bollywood showcards and I try to get you interested in the delights and promise of the most popular cinema art form in the world.  Important Links:

The Big Picture Science Podcast

http://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/default.asp?lang=en&n=300688DC-1

How Much Usable Water? Really?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_distribution_on_Earth

http://www.allaboutwater.org/water-facts.html

Listen to the show:

Hotfrm 197 (35mb)


Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 195 – Savage Beauty and a Bit of Gershwin

A Typical McQueen Creation

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Special K follows the fashion world, so it made sense that she didn’t want to miss the late designer Alexander McQueen’s retrospective Savage Beauty. It was showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art during our New York trip. I’m normally not so keen on fashion, so I didn’t expect to be blown away by the exhibit. On Feb 11 2010, McQueen tragically killed himself in his London flat at the age of 40, just days after his mother’s death. He was known for his runway spectacles, outrageous edgy performance art meant to compliment his fashion creations and make a statement. I didn’t even know any of this about him when I followed Special K and Dragon into the first gallery. Despite the crushing crowd, straining to get a glimpse of his works adorning mannequins and on display platforms, I lingered over what I realized were oddly compelling works of art. I couldn’t believe that anyone would collect razor clam shells, strip them, varnish them and then drape them over a woman’s body or make a leather suit with bleached denim attached and taxidermy crocodile heads. I think the pieces that intrigued me the most were his monstrous lobster claw shoes and the endless variety of masks, some playful, some nightmarish, adorning the mannequins’ heads. To me, it is brilliant, ironic, and a little mischievous that these pieces are even called fashion. Instead, each garment tells a story and makes a point, sometimes terrible as illustrated by his collection called Highland Rape. 

Besides seeing this exhibit, we also took Dragon and Fly through Central Park and through an photographic exhibit by the Korean artist Ahae. Walking through the Vanderbilt Hall in the Grand Central Terminal, we saw but a small sample of the many photographs he took over the course of two years from one window where he lives and works in Korea.

And what trip to New York would be complete without a pianist in Washington Square Park playing Gershwin’s iconic Gotham tune Rhapsody in Blue?

Washing Square Park Rhapsody

Playing Gershwin in Washington Square Park (Photo by Ninja)

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 191 – Moving Objects With Only My Mind

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Last fall, Special K and I took a short trip to Chicago.   We covered a lot of ground during our five day stay there.   We visited our usual museums and restaurants.  Special K took me on a tour of the Gold Coast, one of the more interesting architectural areas of the city.

Former Playboy Mansion in Chicago (circa 1960)

I was duly impressed by the city. I also took some time out on Sunday to visit Madge Weinstein of Yeast Radio and Eat This Hot Show fame.   But the most delightful moment for me was when I watched and then played a game of Mindball at the Chicago Museum of Science and Technology where I moved an object with only my mind.  It was thrilling.

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