Anamorphic Illusions By Felice Varini

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Take a look at the pub­lic art of Paris-based Swiss artist Felice Varini. The paint­ings have one van­tage point where its form can be viewed. From any other angle, the illu­sion fades into abstract lines and frag­mented pieces. His anamor­phic illu­sions can be found on a vari­ety of urban set­tings both indoor and outdoors.

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Varini has been cre­at­ing illu­sions of flat graph­ics super­im­posed on three dimen­sional spaces since 1979 using the same eye-deceiving tech­nique called anamor­pho­sis. The com­plete shapes can only be seen when viewed at cer­tain angles, oth­er­wise the viewer will only see some ran­dom bro­ken pieces.

Over the course of 30+ years, Varini has cre­ated many great opti­cal illu­sions, how­ever the most remark­able work is prob­a­bly “Cer­cle et suite d’éclats” where the artist took on the chal­lenge of work­ing at the scale of the vil­lage, super­im­pos­ing per­fect cir­cles on the town of Ver­corin in the Swiss Alps.

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Aldous Huxley’s LSD Death Trip

Aldous Hux­ley put him­self for­ever on the intel­lec­tual map when he wrote the dystopian sci-fi novel Brave New World in 1931. (Lis­ten to Hux­ley nar­rat­ing a dra­ma­tized ver­sion here.) The British-born writer was liv­ing in Italy at the time, a con­ti­nen­tal intel­lec­tual par excellence.

Then, six years later, Hux­ley turned all of this upside down. He headed West, to Hol­ly­wood, the newest of the New World, where he took a stab at writ­ing screen­plays (with not much luck) and started exper­i­ment­ing with mys­ti­cism and psy­che­delics — first mesca­line in 1953, then LSD in 1955. This put Hux­ley at the fore­front of the counterculture’s exper­i­men­ta­tion with psy­che­delic drugs, some­thing he doc­u­mented in his 1954 book, The Doors of Per­cep­tion.

Huxley’s exper­i­men­ta­tion con­tin­ued right through his death in Novem­ber 1963. When can­cer brought him to his death bed, he asked his wife to inject him with ”LSD, 100 µg, intra­mus­cu­lar.” He died later that day, just hours after Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion. Three years later, LSD was offi­cially banned in California.

By way of foot­note, it’s worth men­tion­ing that the Amer­i­can med­ical estab­lish­ment is now giv­ing hal­lu­cino­gens a sec­ond look, con­duct­ing con­trolled stud­ies of how psilo­cy­bin and other psy­che­delics can help treat patients deal­ing with can­cer, obsessive-compulsive dis­or­der, post-traumatic stress dis­or­der, drug/alcohol addic­tion and end-of-life anx­i­ety. The New York Times has more on this story.


Austin Osman Spare — The Bones Go Last

In fact” says Spare, “I’m almost a ghost myself. How­ever, the bones go last.”

There is more truth in our erotic zones, than in the whole of reli­gions and mathematics.”

I Believe What I Will and Will What I Believe”

Spare Places” is a Psy­cho­geo­graph­i­cal film by Jamie Gre­gory. Made in 2006, “Spare Places” takes us to where Spare lived and breathed, explor­ing the his­tory of those areas and in doing so offer­ing glimpses into pos­si­ble inspi­ra­tions for Spare’s life and works. The film high­lights the cre­ativ­ity, diver­sity and ever chang­ing face of of South Lon­don. Lay­ers of fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory shud­der behind grey build­ings as Jamie’s jerky dig­i­tal lense probes for traces of Austin.

And remem­ber, you shall suf­fer all things and again suf­fer: until you have suf­fi­cient suf­fer­ance to accept all things.”

— Austin Osman Spare


New Animated GIFs Search In Google

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Find­ing that one par­tic­u­lar ani­mated GIF that made you crack up the other day isn’t always easy — but a new fea­ture in Google Image Search should make it a snap.

The new “ani­mated” fil­ter restricts your search to images that are ani­mated, most or all of which should be GIFs. Look­ing for cats chas­ing lasers? Go ahead and search for “cat chas­ing laser,” hit the “images” tab of the search results, then go to “Search tools,” and then under “Any type,” click “Animated.”

Keep in mind that the images won’t ani­mate unless you click on them (it saves band­width, and san­ity). Yes, it’s a few extra steps, but it should save a bit of time in the end. Google wrote about the new fea­ture in a blog post, along with some sug­gested searches.

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Sam Buttery Plays Leigh Bowery In Taboo

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In Jan­u­ary 1985 Leigh Bow­ery started the now infa­mous poly-sexual Thurs­day disco club night “Taboo”. Orig­i­nally an under­ground ven­ture, it quickly became London’s Stu­dio 54, only much wilder, extremely more fash­ion­able, and with­out the masses of celebri­ties – although these came flock­ing in later. For every­one step­ping through the doors it was a truly unfor­get­table experience.

Mark Davies wrote a book which later became a stage musi­cal with lyrics by Boy George, and music by George and Kevan Frost.

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Set in an aban­doned Lon­don ware­house, the partly imag­ined story takes place in the loca­tion of what was the city’s most fash­ion­able night­club, the now-legendary Taboo (1985–87) of the title. Boy George is fea­tured as one of the club’s reg­u­lars. The show also focuses on George’s life prior to and after achiev­ing fame.

The show pre­miered in London’s West End at the Venue The­atre on Jan­u­ary 29, 2002. Now in Sep­tem­ber 2012, Direc­tor Christo­pher Ren­shaw revived the show in a “site spe­cific” form in Brix­ton Club­house in South Lon­don. The pro­duc­tion was based on the orig­i­nal show with book by Mark Davies, but included sev­eral changes to the orig­i­nal soryline.

In this revival, Sam But­tery plays iconic 80s per­for­mance artist Leigh Bow­ery in Taboo, the story of bill-topping per­form­ers who defined a gen­er­a­tion, includ­ing Steve Strange from Vis­age, the inde­fin­able phe­nom­e­non that was Leigh Bow­ery, the one-man entre­pre­neur extra­or­di­naire Philip Sal­lon. And then of course, there’s Boy George, trav­el­ling from squat to super-stardom  from rock to rock bot­tom. The show inter­weaves some fan­tas­ti­cal facts of the 80s with a clas­sic love story of ambi­tion, pas­sion and betrayal.

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Watch below a doc­u­men­tary about the FABULOUS Leigh Bow­ery and the orig­i­nal Taboo for your enjoy­ment. Shown dur­ing the spring of 1986 while Leigh Bow­ery was run­ning his infa­mous night­club Taboo, this doc­u­men­tary put Leigh on the map. A witty, provoca­tive and inspir­ing film that includes a Bodymap fash­ion show, rare footage of Taboo, and inter­views with Michael Clark and Lana Pil­lay, this doc­u­men­tary also reminds us what Leigh was like before he met Lucian Freud.


Europe In 8 Bits

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A film about reusing out­dated tech­nol­ogy in cre­ative ways to revamp the music scene.

Europe in 8 bits is a doc­u­men­tary that explores the world of chip music, a  musi­cal trend that is grow­ing expo­nen­tially through­out Europe. The stars of this musi­cal move­ment reveal to us how to reuse old videogames hard­ware like Nintendo’s Game­Boy, NES, Atari ST, Amiga and the Com­modore 64 to turn them into a tool capa­ble of cre­at­ing a new sound, a mod­ern tempo and an inno­v­a­tive musi­cal style.

This is a new way of inter­pret­ing music per­formed by a great many artists who show their skills in turn­ing these “lim­ited” machines designed for leisure in the 80’s into sur­pris­ing musi­cal instru­ments and graph­i­cal tools.


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Robert Hughes’ The Mona Lisa Curse

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Robert Hughes died on 6 August last year, aged 74. He was one of the best known art crit­ics of his gen­er­a­tion. His crit­i­cism ranged from the sub­tle and sen­si­tive, as in his mono­graphs on Auer­bach and Lucian Freud, to the caus­ti­cally dismissive—“Jeff Koons is the baby to Andy Warhol’s Rose­mary” or “The pres­ence of a Hirst in a col­lec­tion is a true sign of dull­ness in taste”—for which he was best known.

With his trade­mark style, Hughes explores how muse­ums, the pro­duc­tion of art and the way we expe­ri­ence it have rad­i­cally changed in the last 50 years, telling the story of the rise of con­tem­po­rary art and look­ing back over a life spent talk­ing and writ­ing about the art he loves, and loathes.

In these post­mod­ern days it has been said that there is no more passé a voca­tion than that of the pro­fes­sional art critic. Per­ceived as the gate keeper for opin­ions regard­ing art and cul­ture, the art critic has sup­pos­edly been ren­dered obso­lete by an ever expand­ing plu­ral­ism in the art world, where all prac­tices and dis­ci­plines are pur­ported to be equal and valid.

Robert Hughes, how­ever, is one art critic who has deliv­ered a mes­sage that must not be ignored. “Mona Lisa Curse” is unlikely to be released in the United States any­time soon. It’s been pulled from YouTube sev­eral times already. Watch it while you can.


Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks

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Angelo Badala­mente and David Lynch found the per­fect syn­the­sis of Hol­ly­weird meets bohemian Euro-jazz set against an Amer­i­can North west­ern every town that could never exist out­side of a fever dream! With sickly cool blues-scapes dron­ing under snap­ping fin­gers and sleep­ily brushed snares, Badalem­nte and Lynch paint a dis­turb­ing por­trait of small town America.

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The Greatest Theremin Player, Clara Rockmore

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Clara Rock­more (March 9, 1911 – May 10, 1998) was a pio­neer in elec­tronic music. Her artistry and tech­nique on the theremin put her in the same league as some of the other leg­endary women instru­men­tal­ists of 20th cen­tury — musi­cians like pianist Dame Myra Hess, the great Pol­ish harp­si­chordist Wanda Landowska.

From a very early age, Clara was an accom­plished young vio­lin­ist but as it turned out, she even­tu­ally had to aban­don the instru­ment because of chronic phys­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties due to child­hood mal­nu­tri­tion and she took up the theremin. Later in her life she said that Leon Theremin saved her “musi­cal san­ity” by intro­duc­ing her to the theremin. She had extremely pre­cise, rapid con­trol of her move­ments, impor­tant in play­ing an instru­ment that depends on the performer’s motion and prox­im­ity rather than touch. She also had the advan­tage of work­ing directly with Léon Theremin from the early days of the instrument’s com­mer­cial devel­op­ment in the United States.

It is easy to under­stand why Leon Theremin, the inven­tor of the instru­ment that bears his name, was deeply in love with Clara. Apart from being bril­liantly tal­ented as a musi­cian and therem­i­nist, she was strik­ingly beautiful.

Clara Rock­more died in the spring of 1998 leav­ing a small but impor­tant legacy of her record­ings which include The Art of Theremin (pro­duced by Robert Moog in 1977) and a stun­ning, live, 1945 per­for­mance of the Con­certo for Theremin and Orches­tra by the Amer­i­can com­poser Anis Fulei­han (with the orches­tra under the direc­tion of the great Leopold Stokowski). Both these record­ings have been reis­sued on CD.

As a com­ment posted here says: Woah, a theremin sounds like a cross between a ghost woman hum­ming to her­self, and a vio­lin made out of jelly…