Tag Archives: media

Revolution is a Process – Book and Show Pictures

A while back, for my birthday actually, I participated in a Master Class held by MAMA Gallery with Emory Douglas, former lead graphic designer and ‘Minister of Culture’ of the Black Panthers and produced the above ‘Twitter Revolution’ two-colour screen print.  The course was fantastic affording the opportunity to work with an inspiring collection of talented Dutch artists and, of course learn from Emory Douglas himself about art, politics and the history of the Black Panthers.

The output for the class was initially seen as each participant, myself included, creating a screen print. However, given the ambitious nature of those in the project, and particularly those at MAMA and the Mesh Print Club, the project expanded into not only individual screen prints made by participants, but a show and a publication.

The show, which closed on December 18th, was held at the Kunstplatform de Kapsalon, Rotterdam who did an amazing job putting the space together.  Below are a couple pictures from the show including a picture of the ‘Twitter Revolution’ piece I did for the class with the invaluable help of Sander @ Mesh.

The idea behind the ‘Twitter Revolution’ piece was to offer a visual polemic alongside Malcom Gladwell’s piece, ‘Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted’ which was published that same weekend in the New Yorker.

The output from the Master Class was also made into a publication called, ‘Revolution is a process’ which can be previewed via the MAMA website. The poster I did for the class, along with the work of all the other participants is there. As an added bonus, there are two pull-out posters one of which is my ‘Twitter Revolution’ image. I also wrote a small piece ‘Beyond Tshirt Thinking’ which is a critique of sorts of the posters, such as mine and slacktivism more generally, which argues that while it may be easy to think up a catchy image or witty slogan, this sort of action must be a means towards change and not simply an end. I may, at some point, post the short essay but, for now, you will have to buy the book! If interested get in touch or follow the above MAMA link for more information.

The official blurb is as follows:

Revolution is a process

All events of the (I Can) Feel the Pulse project come together in this publication, which includes documentation of the exhibition, of the debate and the master class. The design and its production are based on the techniques utilized by Emory Douglas in the graphic design of the Black Panther Party’s print-matters. The publication is made in a combination of techniques: stencil print, silk-screen prints and full color prints. Revolution is a process also contains two removable silk-screened and numbered posters, designed by Patrick McCurdy and Kiki Peeters and co-created with Ose Cornelisse.

Publication date: November 20th, 2010
Contributions by: Ariadne Urlus, Charlie Dronkers, Patrick McCurdy, Katayoun Arian, Kiki Peeters & Ose Cornelisse
Editor: Margriet Brouwer
Print run: 100, including 15 special editions
Language: English
Pages: 38
Design: OONA http://www.oona.nu
Co-publisher: Mesh Print Club www.meshprintclub.com
Thanks to: Abner Preis, Amira Gad, Emory Douglas, Hasna El Maroudi, HipHopHuis, Jefferson Pinder, Lloyd Marengo, Mesh Print Club, Kunstplatform De Kapsalon, YourSpace.
ISBN: 978-90-816473-1-1

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Media Events 2.0 – The royal wedding of William and Kate

The idea of media events has long been something that I have been interested in and that my work has focused on. The seminal work in the field is, of course, Dayan and Katz’s 1992 book ‘Media Events’. One of the case studies in the book is the royal wedding of Charles and Diana which took place on July 29, 1981 to a television audience of 750 million people.

Twenty-nine years later the son of Charles and Diana, Prince William has today announced – via Clarence House – that the he will marry Kate Middleton in 2011 on a date that is to be confirmed which will no doubt unfold to a similar, if not more intense, fair tail narrative.

Like his father’s wedding, the wedding of William and Kate will also be a (fairy tail)  ‘media event’ but will take place in a fundamentally different media environment. Consequently, it will be interesting to see how the event will be both managed and broadcast in an age when media is environmental. I would expect that the use of social media by fans will be similar to that of the death of Michael Jackson, where fans were able to use sites such as Facebook while watching the event to feel as if they are taking part in it (and in fact, take part in the event through interacting with other fans).

Given the environmental role of media, we can also expect the event to be hyper-mediated by millions of fans on the street, at the event – inside the media event and active in the media cloud – uploading their videos to YouTube, pictures on Twitter and Facebook. What is interesting is how does the immediately availability of multiple narratives change the media event story and the experience of the media event for those at the event and watching the event. Daniel Dayan has already commented about this and there are some other remarks in Couldry, Hepp and Kortz’s excellent edited collection on Media Events. Something the book is missing however is much discussion as to the role and impact of social media on media events. The royal wedding will offer a fascinating case study to study this.

Lastly, the royal wedding is also important as it occurs at a time when the royal family really needs a myth to latch on to, to reinforce their legitimacy.  Monarchies, even if only symbolic, are useless. Yet, in the UK, they are undoubtedly an excellent source of tourism dollars. It is obviously in the monarchy’s own interests to generate a narrative which will justify tax dollars subsiding their privileged lifestyle and the larger system they stand for.  Thus a romantic love marriage – which will no doubt be eaten up by the media – comes at an opportune time when there also exists the potential of the coronation of an unpopular king (Prince Charles) which would no doubt be bad press for the royals. So, today’s announcement marks not only the start of what will surely big one of the biggest media events the UK has seen in recent memory and a media event that will undoubtedly spillover into global proportions, but it also the start of what will likely be a new image campaign to rejuvenate, and thus attempt to reinforce the legitimacy, of having a monarchy in this day and age.

 

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Free Scratch and Sniff Pot Stickers Courtesy of the Rotterdam Police

I’m sure that somewhere in the heart of the Red Light district of Amsterdam there are a number of ‘coffee shops’ that sell scratch and sniff stickers that smell like marijuana. However, today a letter came in the post sponsored by Rotterdam City Hall and the Rotterdam Police that contained my very own pot-scented scratch and sniff card along with a letter (in Dutch) and  some pictures of illegal pot growing operations (see below pictures).

While one may grow up to 5 marijuana plants domestically in the Netherlands without interference from the police, the scratch card  – which measures 20cm x 10cm and smells quite authentic – is part of a campaign to sniff and snuff out illegal pot growing operations in the Netherlands of which police estimate there are 40,000.

The campaign as also seemed to get Rotterdam a fair amount of media attention as well.


The green scratch card, measuring 20cm by 10cm (8in by 4in) read

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Racism isnt really funny – Paul Henry on NWTZ

Yesterday, the racist remarks of Kiwi TV host Paul Henry on NZTV was the most read story on BBC News.  Today, Kiwi  media and even government are full of apologetic comments  attempting to repair the damage for racial slurs masqueraded as school-boy locker room humor.While Mr. Henry was suspended from work, one can only hope he does not return. Being in the the media spotlight he has a responsibility, at the very least, not to make such racist remarks. To me however, what is almost as shameful is although his co-presenters did try and correct is pronunciation – an indirect form of confrontation – they effectively let his comments slip.

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Ohhh we like Joaquin Phoenix now? Brilliant.

Context changes everything and while many people thought the joke was on Joaquin Phoenix, the tables have been turned with Phoenix and Affleck hoodwinking many in the media, film reviewers and audiences too.

Nowhere is this clearer than in Youtube comments posted around Phoenix’s appearance last year on David Letterman. Whereas some comments were fairly adamant that this was a stunt, especially given the extra information that a ‘documentary’ was being made, many comments viewed Phoenix’s performance as genuine and thus in need of a serious reality check. The following remark captures the spirit of comments posted

‘This interview was disturbing to watch. Looks like the old boy is strung out on drugs or he’s having mental problems. I hope he’s just putting on an act. He’s one of the best actors out there and I’d to lose him like his brother’.

However a fresh wave of posts on the Youtube video of Phoenix’s Letterman interview are now appearing in the wake of the news that Phoenix’s interview was what Casey Affleck called in the New York Times, “a terrific performance, it’s the performance of his career”. So now the news is out, people are reassessing the interview as ‘A classic performance’. However, the joke seemed to be lost on many film reviewers where Dana Steven from Slate for example wrote (in a review I imagine she will be eventually embarrassed about), “The worst thing about I’m Still Here (Magnolia Pictures) is the fact that it exists.” In writing this review, and there are others like it (see Metacritic) Stevens is, though perhaps unintentionally, part of the story. Sucked into scheme created by Phoenix and Affleck and good on them for being able to do that. Without having seen the movie (though I really would like to), it is difficult to comment on its purpose though it seems pretty clear that one of its goals is to actively subvert  the media and our preoccupation with celebrity.

Of course, this has been done before and on David Letterman no less. One only needs to watch the master Andy Kaufman on the David Letterman show to see where Joaquin Phoenix obviously got some inspiration.

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