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September 2009

Photography Without Borders

Just like renegade street art that places art beyond the usual boundaries, I find the concept of forbidden photography compelling.

Check out strictly no photography which is a photo-sharing site for photographs taken where you are not allowed to take them. From the inside of the Kremlin to Kensington palace, from art galleries to war zones. Here you can see everything you've ever wanted to see that you're not supposed to. There are pictures that range from the ordinary to the profound. Whatever the content or the quality though we think that each one stands as a little piece of art in itself, as a little expression of personal liberty.

I remember once taking a photograph (complete with the flash) of a friend in the Houses of Parliment in London. There is a sign in the photo itself that says "No Photos" but what was even better, I captured the face of the guard peering at me from behind the wall as I took the photo. He threatened to expose the film but I was able to cry my way out of that.

One example from Stictly No Photography is a photo of the hanging monks of Oria. An order of monks that took care of the dead in the area. When they died, their bodies were boiled in oil (cloths and all) then hung in a nitch, in the basement of the local church next to the castle, in Oria Italy.


Philadelphia's Murals

I like Philadelphia and I like it even more now that I have discovered that they have a Mural Arts program that creates neighborhood murals throughout the city. Here it is, right from their site:

The Mural Arts Program works with more than 100 communities each year to create murals that reflect the culture of Philadelphia's neighborhoods. Mural projects often include stabilization of abandoned lots and revitalization of open spaces. Our community partners include block captains, neighborhood associations, public schools, community development corporations, local nonprofits, and city agencies. We strive to coordinate mural projects with existing strategies for community development, thereby leveraging grassroots social capital to build positive momentum and stronger results.

What a great idea! I wish we had something like this in NYC.....

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Paralyzed Graffitist Able to Tag Using Eye Movement

Just read a great post on a blogger Tony Quan who suffers from ALS. His friends found a way for him to tag using his eye movements.

Here are the details:
The EyeWriter project is on ongoing collaborative research effort to empower people, who are suffering from ALS, with creative technologies. The project began in Los Angeles, Caifornia in 2009, when members of the GRL, FAT, OF and TEG communities teamed-up with a legendary LA graffiti writer, publisher and activist, named Tony Quan, aka TEMPTONE. Tony was diagnosed with ALS in 2003. The disease has left him almost completely physically paralyzed… except for his eyes. But, the ALS hasn’t touched Tony’s sharp mind, creative energy or his desire to write graffiti. In August of 2009, artist from around the world: London, Hong Kong, Madrid, Amsterdam and New York City, converged for 10 days in southern California, converted Mick and Caskey Ebeling’s Venice Beach house into a laboratory and began to work with Tony on a low-cost, open source eye-tracking system that would allow ALS patients to draw using just their eyes.

Tag On, Tony!

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Digital Art

David Hockney is creating art ("small paintings") on his iphone. Other artists are using computers and other high tech techniques. Is digital art the next wave? The New York Times says yes, well sort of. There may be some pioneers - collectors, galleries and artists - who are working and collecting in the digital space but how is the art delivered? Currently through DVD's that need to be loaded onto a computer. Questions of authentication, protection, copyright etc all then come into play.

What is true though is that just like photography in the prior century and street art on walls today, digital is a new platform for art. And as such, still needs the creative eye to make it "a work of art". And that transcends platform.

Here is an example of Shane Hope's digital work currently at the Winkleman Gallery in NYC: