This documentary travelogue of New York City was made by a team of cameramen with the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern, who were sent around the world to make pictures of well-known places. (They also filmed at Niagara Falls and in Paris, Monte Carlo, and Venice, although New York 1911 is the only selection in the Museum’s collection.) Opening and closing with shots of the Statue of Liberty, the film also includes New York Harbor; Battery Park and the John Ericsson statue; the elevated railways at Bowery and Worth Streets; Broadway sights like Grace Church and Mark Cross; the Flatiron Building on Fifth Avenue; and Madison Avenue.
The film was only on the MoMA’s site for a brief time1 but lately some copies have popped up on YouTube, including the one embedded above. Note: this particular copy of the film has audio added and has been slowed down to a “natural rate”. I’d turn the sound off…the added foley effects are poorly done. If you want to see the original video, watch this one.
No idea why they took the video down. Are there licensing issues? Or are they just trying to force an artificial scarcity? Why not just leave it up as a permanent exhibit? If you’re an art museum, you should share the art you have access to as much and as widely as possible.↩
For his latest immersive installation, Oscar Oiwa (previously) created a 360-degree black and white drawing that fills the space of an inflatable vinyl balloon. The work, Oscar Oiwa in Paradise – Drawing the Ephemeral, took Oiwa and his five assistants two weeks and 120 marker pens to create. Visitors are invited to enter the encapsulating drawing to fully experience Oiwa’s imagined environment, which is composed of dark patches of forest, winding pathways, and a sky filled with high-contrast swirls.
“I’ve always enjoyed drawing, which I consider the most basic way of expressing myself visually,” said Oiwa in a press release regarding the large-scale work. “A pencil and a blank sheet— there is no simpler medium than that.”
The exhibition is presented at JAPAN HOUSE São Paulo, a venue that showcases traditional Japanese culture through a modern lens. Drawing the Ephemeral runs through June 3, 2018. You can watch the making of the massive drawing in the short video below.
In Japan, where 27.3% of the population is 65 or older, elderly women are committing petty crimes like shoplifting in order to go to jail to find care and community that is increasingly denied them elsewhere. Japan’s jails are becoming nursing homes.
Why have so many otherwise law-abiding elderly women resorted to petty theft? Caring for Japanese seniors once fell to families and communities, but that’s changing. From 1980 to 2015, the number of seniors living alone increased more than sixfold, to almost 6 million. And a 2017 survey by Tokyo’s government found that more than half of seniors caught shoplifting live alone; 40 percent either don’t have family or rarely speak with relatives. These people often say they have no one to turn to when they need help.
Even women with a place to go describe feeling invisible. “They may have a house. They may have a family. But that doesn’t mean they have a place they feel at home,” says Yumi Muranaka, head warden of Iwakuni Women’s Prison, 30 miles outside Hiroshima. “They feel they are not understood. They feel they are only recognized as someone who gets the house chores done.”
All photos by Shiho Fukada. The first photo is of Mrs. F, aged 89, who stole “rice, strawberries, cold medicine”. She says: “I was living alone on welfare. I used to live with my daughter’s family and used all my savings taking care of an abusive and violent son-in-law.” The woman in the second photo recounts:
The first time I shoplifted was about 13 years ago. I wandered into a bookstore in town and stole a paperback novel. I was caught, taken to a police station, and questioned by the sweetest police officer. He was so kind. He listened to everything I wanted to say. I felt I was being heard for the first time in my life. In the end, he gently tapped on my shoulder and said, ‘I understand you were lonely, but don’t do this again.’
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy working in the prison factory. The other day, when I was complimented on how efficient and meticulous I was, I grasped the joy of working. I regret that I never worked. My life would have been different.
I enjoy my life in prison more. There are always people around, and I don’t feel lonely here. When I got out the second time, I promised that I wouldn’t go back. But when I was out, I couldn’t help feeling nostalgic.
While many comic books involving tense political climates announce it clearly, or feature the political climate as the meaning for the book, Red Winter’s 1970’s Sweden, following the fall of the social-democratic party, isn’t so much important on its own, but in the way that it affects our protagonist, secondary to the romantic emotional tether of the book. Books like Art Spiegelman’s infamous Maus or Sarah Glidden’s How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less grapple with the way politics affect our lives in a very head-on way––the central tension of these books is parsing through a problematic history, and using politics as a lens on love, and other emotions. Furmark has strayed from that route, and uses love as a means to view politics, commenting on almost exclusively the ways that a political affiliation problematizes a relationship between two people.
It must be Drawn & Quarterly day here at TCJ, because that's not all-we've also got a visit from Robert "Bobbie" Sikoryak, who documented his most recent book tour for you, the Journal reader. As is his wont, said documentation comes in comic form, and features a loving tribute to the "other" Robert in comics--sweet Liefeld. Before agreeing to run the piece, I extensively confirmed with D&Q and Sikoryak that Liefeld's work would be treated with the utmost respect, and they assured me that was the case. It's not so much that I'm a super huge Liefeld fan, although I do have a lot of fondness for the way Matt wrote about him, but that I'm not a super huge fan of that thing where 80% of the comics internet started talking about the feet thing all the time. Same thing with the tv show 24--for the entire time it was running, every guy and their best guy friend had the same joke, asking about when Kiefer went to the bathroom, and everyone always asked it with the same gee-golly tone of voice that made it clear they believed they were the first person to ever make that observation. Liefeld was/is the same way--he's the guy that turns every pencildick into Manny Farber with the fucking feet comments. It doesn't matter that there's like 800 zillion super-hero artists who couldn't draw a flatscreen television set without lightboxing an IKEA catalog, all of whom have completely escaped criticism since the dawn of their miserable, dull-ass careers, Rob Liefeld is somehow the exemplification of the failing of modern illustration because of some affectation that had absolutely zero bearing on his job, which was to draw giant steroid cases with guns shooting at Spider-man rip-offs while women with the most insane hair you've ever seen screamed so big you could trace their gumline with a cricket bat. Until I started reading the comments section to Rob Liefeld articles, my opinion on the guy was that I had zero interest in reading any of his comics ever again, but ever since he became the target joke for people who call themselves intellectuals while also calling Saga an "indie" comic, I sort of fell in love with him. That being said, I've met him a few times and he always seemed deliriously happy with his station in life, so maybe I should just let it go, it's not a battle that needs fighting. I also did try to read some X-Force a few years ago and it was an impossible slog. I guess the whole point of this complaint is: sharpen your knives?
Tango is an experimental animated film made by Zbigniew Rybczyński in 1980. It takes place entirely in one room with an increasing number of characters cycling through it repeatedly. It’s the kind of thing you can’t stop watching once you start. (It’s also mildly NSFW.) Tango won The Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1983. (via @neilcic)
Other parts of the factory are eruptions of color. Red pencils wait, in orderly grids, to be dipped into bright blue paint. A worker named Maria matches the color of her shirt and nail polish to the shade of the pastel cores being manufactured each week. One of the company’s signature products, white pastels, have to be made in a dedicated machine, separated from every other color. At the tipping machine, a whirlpool of pink erasers twists, supervised patiently by a woman wearing a bindi.
You can see many more of Payne’s photos of General Pencil on his website. Here’s Maria, her shirt and nails red to match the color of the pastel cores. There are also a couple of videos of the General Pencil factory:
The #J20 trials are thus called because the defendants were arrested on January 20 during protests against Trump’s inauguration in Washington, DC, after police kettled 240 people on 12th and L streets. An astounding 194 people now face a litany of charges related to property damage and rioting that could result in 60-year sentences being handed down to the defendants (others have pleaded guilty to lesser offenses). The first batch of defendants—Jennifer Armento, Oliver Harris, Brittne Lawson, Michelle “Miel” Macchio, Christina Simmons, and independent journalist Alexei Wood—began their trial on November 15.
During the #J20 protests, a small group of demonstrators smashed the windows of Starbucks and Bank of America, spray-painted cars, and overturned several newspaper boxes. Importantly, the prosecution has made no attempt to claim that the defendants were among them. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff has instead argued that the defendants were “playing a role” in the violence. That’s right: The government is trying to set the precedent that if you’re at a protest and someone else smashes a window, it’s your fault.
The day I was in court, Kerkhoff called a series of arresting officers to the stand, who testified that they followed a group of indistinguishable black-clad, window-smashing “anarchists.” In the words of Officer Harrison Grubbs, “There were so many, and they all looked the same.” None of the witnesses claimed to have seen any of the defendants destroying any property, resisting arrest, or committing any other crimes.
Wearing rubber gloves, Kerkhoff contemptuously produced the defendants’ property that had been held as evidence. Some of this were merely pieces of clothing: black hats. Bandanas. Black gloves. Others were the basic tools that activists use to keep themselves and each other safe during protests: blank jail support forms. First aid supplies. Goggles, which they probably needed—body cam footage taken on the day of the arrests shows Officer Michael Howden saying that police had been “extremely wild” with the tear gas.
On the stand, Howden denied saying that before the video was shown to him. At one point, he vehemently denied that he had “herded” protesters, only to have the defense confront him with footage of him bragging about “herding” those same protesters and saying that he had gotten “plenty of practice herding people” in Barry Farm, a predominantly black housing project in DC. He also claimed protesters hit him with a pole and a spiked hammer, though he admitted he didn’t receive any medical treatment for injuries or file any forms reporting it. No footage of these alleged attacks exists, and Officer Howden’s body camera was conveniently off so it didn't record them.
The prosecution’s last witness of the day offered a glimpse at the resources the government has invested in hopes of imprisoning #J20 defendants. Detective Gregg Pemberton (a DC Police Union treasurer who has tweeted about the “false narrative” of Black Lives Matter) has been working exclusively on the #J20 case since January, reviewing 50-60 hours of footage a week culled from defendants’ phones, social media, and other sources. One of those sources was the alt-right activist Lauren Southern, who was livestreaming the protest before being caught in the Inauguration Day kettle, but allowed to leave. Independent journalist Alexei Wood, however, was charged, and the judge has criticized his lifestream as being “real time advertisement and recruitment measure.” (Another journalist, Aaron Cantú, who has contributed to VICE, is among those charged but not in the group of defendants currently on trial.)
The prosecution will rest its case on Monday. So far, the #J20 trial hasn’t garnered the round-the-clock media coverage of, say, one of Trump’s hallucinogenic tweets, but its principles are just as nauseatingly surreal. Apparently, being at a protest where a window is broken means you broke the window yourself, and breaking a window is a crime worthy of 60 years in a cage.
“A Utah parent has started a petition to change a new high school’s mascot because he thinks the plural version of phoenix sounds too much like the word penises. “I am starting this petition on behalf [of] many concerned students and parents in our community whose children will be attending the new Farmington High School,” Kyle Fraughton wrote in his change.org petition, which has amassed over 3,000 signatures. “We were horrified to hear that the phonetics of the word Phoenices are far too close to the word penises,” Fraughton wrote. “I don’t mean to be crass, but don’t want there to be confusion around the point I am trying to make.””
Ishihara Gōjin / 石原豪人 (1923 - 1998) did some illustrations depicting the youth of the Mario brothers for a special issue of Famitsu (November 23, 1990). He also made an illustration on the (not very accurate) genesis of Tetris as well as a retro version of Gunbuster.
I have had the honor to work on a special project that’s very close to my heart. #bloodnormal is a campaign effort to normalize periods, something that every girl goes through in our lives but somehow a taboo or something to be ridiculed in popular culture.
In the short graphic novel above, our badass heroine is going through her daily routines and carried on her duties of protecting while on her period, no big deal. The story is also an attempt to draw attention to how our society is ok with showing a large quantity of certain blood, war, fights, murders, etc, on TV and in cinemas but extremely uncomfortable with the slight drop of the other kind of blood, period, which gives lives and is a perfectly normal phenomenon.
I have also created assets for the #bloodnormal short film, a beautiful and emotional video which I encourage you to share. This is the first time real period blood is shown in an ad but it’s been banned from TV on the bases that “it’s likely to cause offense”. Periods are normal, so should talking about and showing them. #noshame.
Many thanks to the creative team at AMV BBDO and Libresse.
1) It’s kind of weird how there isn’t a (legal) digital edition of Akira in the Year of Our Lord 2017, and yet the paradoy version Bartkira is nearly complete, so the easiest way to post noteworthy scenes from the original version is to grab images from the Simpsonized version.
2) Speaking as a scientist, Katsuhiro Otomo is kind of hitting me where I live.
I’m going to blog about the final Bartkira show that just occurred in Paris pretty soon, but until then I just wanted to let you guys know you can read the whole of Army Man on armymans.tumblr.com.
Army Man was a comedy zine created in the 80′s by George Meyer, who led the group rewrite sessions on The Simpsons. He’s credited with having shaped the comedic sensibility of the show, and many of the contributors to Army Man went on to become Simpsons writers. You can see the genesis of many of the comedic tropes we came to associate with The Simpsons in this zine- it’s hard not to read these skits in the voice of Kent Brockman, or Homer, or whichever characters fit the bill. There’s even a proto-Kodos (or Kang) in the page I shared above. The true starting point for The Simpsons isn’t the Tracy Ullman shorts or even Life In Hell- it’s this. Take a look.