Tuesday, February 28, 2012

iamamiwhoami: "drops"

The mystery of the newest iamamiwhoami series continues with today's release of the enigmatic video and song "drops." It picks up at the exact moment the previous video, "sever," ended.

While dancing alone in an empty apartment, we see that the hairy creature has expired before our heroine begins to sink through its body, and through each lower floor of the apartment building. She ends up in the basement parking garage, covered in pieces of dry wall and sheetrock, in what certainly appears to be armor and a sword (St. George? Archangel Michael?)! A hairy creature is waiting for her, perched atop a Volvo station wagon (the kind we have seen in previous iamamiwhoami videos). The creature splits into five (including the corpse of the hairy creature, we reach six, the magic number in any iamamiwhoami video!) and they surround her and charge. She seems to be resigned to her fate but as they are about to slam in to her, we mysteriously cut away to the station wagon.

There are two more singles/ videos to be released in the next few weeks. One assumes the story will be continued... and that the mystery will deepen. Are we even still watching the Mandragora saga unfold or have we embarked on a totally new journey?
The next single, "good worker" will be released March 14, 2012. The single after that, "play," will be released March 28, 2012.
It also bears noting that iamamiwhoami will be releasing an actual physical album, described as an "audio-visual" album, on June 22, 2012. But what could the date in the teaser "20120611 kin" refer to???
(UPDATE: A kind anonymnous commenter has pointed out that the album will be released on the 11th of June after all... apparently Wiki simply has the wrong date listed. Wiki can be wrong? *gasp* Who knew? Thanks for the tip, anonymous commenter!)

As I have said in previous postings, if you are unfamiliar with iamamiwhoami, do yourself a favor: go to their YouTube channel and watch all of the videos in sequence... and watch this mythical, abstract story of the Mandrake root unfold.

Wiki has a good overview of what they have created, but without any editorializing or information about the Mandragora root.

The more the layered, complex, and symbolic iamamiwhoami/ Jonna Lee project continues, the more I am reminded of Matthew Barney's epic, mesmerizing, complex, and highly symbolic "Cremaster Cycle" consisting of five films of varying lengths accompanied by sculptures and props from the films. If you are unfamiliar with the "Cremaster Cycle," visit:
And to learn more about Matthew Barney, visit:

Monday, February 27, 2012

BEAUTY: Painting--Luke Hillestad

Luke Hillestad is based in Minnesota but paints like an old Dutch or Italian master. He admits to having books of works by Caravaggio and Rembrandt open in the studio while he is painting yet his imagery is touched by a vague kind of post-modernism in its spare, haunting presentation. He says the narrative of his work focuses on "birth, kinship, ritual, and healing."

Top to bottom: Crowning; Dead Is Dead; Recognition; Shelter From the Storm; The Alchemist


BEAUTY: Man--Max Rogers

Model Max Rogers and his hair...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Future Landscape of London

Filmmaker Jonathan Gales calls his short film "Megalomania" a "response to the state of infrastructure and capital." Why call it "Megalomania?" That word means a mental illness marked by delusions of greatness, wealth, power, and grandeur.

London has, over the last 20 years or so, experienced, and still is experiencing a boom in its skyline. Witness the construction of monuments like the Millennium Dome and 30 St. Mary Axe (also referred to as "The Gherkin"). And nearing completion in Southwark near London Bridge is The Shard (seen below), a Renzo Piano-designed 95-story, mixed-use building that, even in its present unfinished state, is currently the tallest building in the EU. It is scheduled to open to the public this year, in June, 2012.

But the London of this film seems to be far off in the future...a cautionary tale indeed. This is a future where the money has run out, there is no more room, half-completed structures are torn down to make way for other, newer buildings, and people have to create make-shift habitats out of old buildings. It reminds me of current day Hong Kong or even Dubai, a city possessed by a true architectural megalomania, over-reaching and delusional. Just look at the disaster that is the Burj Dubai, or the Burj Khalifa as it is now known.

Your Fascinating Life

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Congratulations, Maryland!

Maryland today became the EIGHTH state in the United States of America to legally allow same-sex marriages. Congratulations Maryland! Be proud.

Only 42 to go...

Dolphins Are People

Dolphins are 'people' say scientists
By John von Radowitz in Vancouver
Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Dolphins deserve to be treated as non-human "persons" whose rights to life and liberty should be respected, scientists meeting in Canada have been told.

A small group of experts in philosophy, conservation and dolphin behaviour were canvassing support for a "Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans".

They believe dolphins - and their whale cousins - are sufficiently intelligent and self-aware to justify the same ethical considerations given to humans.

Recognising cetaceans' rights would mean an end to whaling and the captivity of dolphins and whales, or their use in entertainment.

The move is based on years of research that has shown dolphins and whales to have large, complex brains and a human-like level of self-awareness.

This has led the experts to conclude that although non-human, dolphins and whales are "people" in a philosophical sense, which has far-reaching implications.

Ethics expert Professor Tom White, from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, author of In Defence of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier, said: "Dolphins are non-human persons. A person needs to be an individual. If individuals count, then the deliberate killing of individuals of this sort is ethically the equivalent of deliberately killing a human being.

"The captivity of beings of this sort, particularly in conditions that would not allow for a decent life, is ethically unacceptable; commercial whaling is ethically unacceptable.

"We're saying the science has shown that individuality, consciousness, self awareness, is no longer a unique human property. That poses all kinds of challenges."

The declaration, originally agreed in May 2010, contains the statements "every individual cetacean has the right to life", "no cetacean should be held in captivity or servitude, be subject to cruel treatment, or be removed from their natural environment", and "no cetacean is the property of any state, corporation, human group or individual".

It adds: "The rights, freedoms and norms set forth in this declaration should be protected under international and domestic law."

The US authors brought their message to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, Canada, the world's biggest science conference.

Psychologist Dr Lori Marino, from Emory University in Atlanta, told how scientific advances had changed the view of the cetacean brain.

She said: "We went from seeing the dolphin/whale brain as being a giant amorphous blob that doesn't carry a lot of intelligence and complexity to not only being an enormous brain but an enormous brain with an enormous amount of complexity, and a complexity that rivals our own. Its different in the way it's put together but in terms of the level of complexity its very similar to the human brain."

Dolphins had a sense of self which could be tested by the way they recognise themselves in mirrors, she added.

"When you get up in the morning and look in the mirror and know that's you, you have a sense of 'you'," said Dr Marino. "They have a similar sense. They can look in a mirror and say, 'Hey, that's me'."

She argued that whaling was an example of mass murder rather than a commercial operation.

"Once you shift from seeing a being as a property, a commodity, a resource, to a person, an autonomous entity that has a right to life on his or her own terms, the whole framework shifts.. this is not about harvesting resources, this is about murder," said Dr Marino.

The experts cited unusual examples of dolphin and whale behaviour both in the wild and in captivity.

* A member of a group of orcas, or killer whales, in Patagonia had a damaged jaw and could not feed. The elderly whale was fed and kept alive by its companions.
* Dolphins taking part in an experiment had to press one of two levers to distinguish between sounds, some of which were very similar. By pressing a third lever, they were able to tell the researchers they wanted to "pass" on a particular test because it was too hard. "When you place dolphins in a situation like that they respond in exactly the same way humans do," said Dr Lori. "They are accessing their own minds and thinking their own thoughts."
* A number of captive dolphins were rewarded with fish in return for tidying up their tank. One of them ripped up a large paper bag, hid away the pieces, and presented them one at a time to get multiple rewards.
* In Iceland, killer whales and fishermen have been known to work together. The whales show the fishermen where to lay their nets, and in return are allowed to feed on part of the catch. Then they lead the fleet to the next fishing ground.

From the Belfast Telegraph:

BEAUTY: Drawing--Hope Gangloff

The mesmerizing pen, ink, and marker drawings of Hope Gangloff show a real obsession with and a dedication to pattern! In each piece below (without titles, since her website does not list any), a fantastical pattern (or patterns) takes the focus, sometimes even at the cost of the person depicted. But who cares when Gangloff can notice and record such precise detail!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

BEAUTY: Painting--Alexandra Pacula

I have become more and more fond of cityscapes in art lately and the work of Brooklyn-based Alexandra Pacula is marvelous. These stunning, large scale oil paintings are reminiscent of blurry photographs where neon signs and tail lights and street lights make zig-zags across the lens. They capture the rain-soaked gloss of sidewalks, the smell of the city, and the honking of horns...

Top to bottom: Diverse Rhythm (Tryptych); Diverse Rhythm 1; Diverse Rhythm 2; Diverse Rhythm 3; Momentary Sighting; Vital Momentum; Sinuous Illumination


Monday, February 20, 2012


“I keep thinking about the extraordinary conservatism of the people running the world economy, running the governments of the largest nations of the world. Let’s compare it to ages past: let’s think about the people who fought World War II, let’s think about the ’50s, the giant structures like the United Nations, Bretton Woods, the space program— those people were capable of thinking big. We don’t do that anymore. The instinct of the people now in power is to figure out how to change things as little as possible. The world political culture has turned into this knee-jerk defensive conservatism of trying desperately to maintain things exactly as they are, for as long a period as possible.”
--David Graeber, “anti-leader of Occupy Wall Street” and author of DEBT: THE FIRST 5,000 YEARS in a Boston Review interview

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."
--Thomas Jefferson, author of the United States Declaration of Independence and co-author of the United States Constitution

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Eider Falls at Lake Tahoe" by Kate Bush

This new shadow puppet video from Kate Bush is a section from her much longer track "Lake Tahoe," off of her recent "50 Words For Snow" release.

I wrote a review of the entire release here, and in it I said that “Lake Tahoe” is a tale of a legendary ghost in the frigid waters of this Sierran feature. We discover that the ghost is a woman in Victorian dress who rises up from the waters to call her dog, Snowflake. With this, we understand this is how she died: out in the snow, looking for her dog… but then accidentally plunging into the half frozen water of the lake. Kate tells us that the dog is old and frail now, but drifts off to sleep to dream of running on a long beach. This is clearly the dog’s death as we are now present for the reunion of woman and dog. This section of the song, and what the video is based on, is absolutely heartbreakingly, agonizingly beautiful to me.

Like every song on "50 Words," this song speaks of enduring unconditional love (and especially in this case, the miraculous unconditional love between pets and humans), of pining, of trying to connect, of saving someone in peril. The woman is trying to save her dog but ends up being the one in peril. The music, which features male sopranos in tight, operatic harmony along with Kate’s now-slightly lower voice, shifts and swells within this piece: ghost story, love story--and the woman does end up saving her dog. I weep nearly every time I hear this song, particularly the part where she shows her dog around the new house.

"Her old dog is sleeping
His legs are frail now
But when he dreams,
He runs...
Along long beaches and sticky fields
Through the Spooky Wood looking for her
The beds are made. The table is laid
The door is open - someone is calling: It's a woman
'Here boy, here boy! You've come home!
I've got an old bone and a biscuit and so much love
Miss me? Did you miss me?
Here's the kitchen - There's your basket
Here's the hall - That's where you wait for me
Here's the bedroom - You're not allowed in there
Here's my lap - That's where you rest your head
Here boy, oh you're a good boy
You've come home
You've come home.'"

Kate Bush is magic. Kate Bush taught me how to fly.


BEAUTY: Illustration--Steven Rhodes

Australian artist Steven Rhodes creates beautiful, often humorous, sometimes haunting illustrations. He also does original tee shirt design. Any one of the following cryptic, dreamy images would look great on a tee!

Top to bottom: Duck In Training; First Light; Great Expectations; Immaculate Deception; Insomnia; Locust Song; Nocturnal; The Escalator From My Dream; Winter Fox


BEAUTY: Art--Alan McGowan

The following stunning suite of untitled figurative sketches is by Scottish artist Alan McGowan. His extremely loose style seems to be propelled by the materials and medium he works in... one gets the impression that simply pushing the oil pastels around, giving free reign to the charcoal, and feeling it all gliding or scribing onto the paper is immensely satisfying. Creating them must be as exciting as it is to behold the results. I love the meandering, squiggly lines that seem to orbit these figures, or to spill out of the solid bodies themselves. These forms border on the sublimely abstract.