American Reflexxx: Mob Violence And Gender Confusion
Jan02

American Reflexxx: Mob Violence And Gender Confusion

You know what it’s like. You’re following some random links on random Tumblr sites looking for 1980s-style neon gorgeousness (don’t ask me why) when you find yourself somewhere called Sleazeburger and during the scrolling you notice a comment from someone asking about a film. And then you follow the link in the answer. And then you spend a little over 14 minutes gawping at something mesmerising and distressing, captivating, and mind-reeling. American Reflexxx is a movie featuring that Tumblr site’s owner, performance artist Signe Pierce, and filmed by Alli Coates in 2013. It was supposed to be a short film featuring Signe in stripper gear, neon shoes, and a reflective mask strolling along Myrtle Beach in South Carolina; something pretty, something futuristic cyborg-like, in a tourist destination in the heart of conservative America; it was probably expected there’d be stares, maybe some comments, photos from phones; it was probably not expected that a crowd would form and that both verbal and physical assault would take place. Oh, so naive. There’s some interesting time-dilation editing in the movie which helps to make Signe Pierce’s cyborg seem that much more alien amongst the humans. And, interestingly, it’s very difficult to come away from this video with anything other than bad feelings towards those humans as their behaviour to the alien is distressingly… well, human. The initial interest in the sexy giant very quickly gives way to uncertainty over gender. Unable to truly know whether Signe is male or female or something else entirely the instinct becomes to assume she is wrong, and therefore bad, and therefore a threat, and therefore scary. Adrenalin’s a hell of a drug and it will either trigger a fight or flight instinct but when you’ve got the safety of the herd around you and the threat has no obvious weapons a fight with the protection of numbers in the mob is probably the result you’re going to get. I mean, you’d like to think people could think rationally, perhaps think it’s a model doing a photoshoot or even the art piece it is, show some interest maybe, then go about whatever it was they were doing before, but forming into a mass of bullies is certainly an option too. The video features Signe getting sprayed with water, someone trying to trip her, and someone cowardly pushing her from behind to the floor where she suffers a cut. In each case the person assaulting the alien is a woman. A raised reaction to a perceived raised threat from a potential rival perhaps? Or women are just naturally violent in South Carolina? I’ve not been so I don’t...

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Reykjavik Street Art
Nov19

Reykjavik Street Art

I recently visited Iceland for a few days and there are any number of articles I could write about the experience but thought I’d just slap up some photos I took of the various bits of street art in and around Reykjavik. Why’s that, Mark? you ask. Because I’m lazy and this is an easy way to add some content without giving it too much thought, I reply. Reykjavik is not the prettiest of cities in the world, architecturally-speaking – Iceland’s remote location probably has something to do with this, and there’s probably an element of practicality over beauty too – which might explain the abundance of colourful and intricate artwork along many of the streets we walked through. These pictures (and more) all come from my Reykjavik photo album on...

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Photography By David Stewart
Aug25

Photography By David Stewart

There’s a very distinctive style to David Stewart‘s photography – especially the pictures of his that really caught my eye, anyway – and that’s one of very staged, very clean, very coordinated, very well lit, often very static shots, with occasional touches of humour or absurdity. Click on the photos below to view the images in their full glory on David’s site, along with a great many others. Four beautiful books of his photos are also available to...

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Vintage Japanese Travel Posters
Aug22

Vintage Japanese Travel Posters

Is there anything the Japanese can’t do and somehow make a little bit weird? That’s a rhetorical question, of course. Boosting travel to a country whilst standing out from the crowd of other countries also trying to boost travel is a tricky business but Japan certainly seemed to have a flair for it with this series of posters from the early-to-mid twentieth century promoting their nation as the destination of choice for travellers looking for something a little bit different. There’s a wonderful stylishness in the artwork and they’re certain to have stopped would-be vacationers in their tracks whilst perusing the local travel agent...

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Architectural Photography By Weronika Dudka
Mar15

Architectural Photography By Weronika Dudka

Weronika Dudka is a Leicester-based design student who has discovered a fondness for photographing brutalist and modernist buildings. Understandably so, as I’ve got a similar love for those particular architectural styles which more often than not meets with much shaking of the head when I express it. There’s a beauty in the geometry, symmetry, and repetition that’s hard to get across to people who can’t see past the typical colour scheme of the buildings that features more shades of grey than an E. L. James novel and very little else. There’s also a mystique to brutalism that some people don’t get as the architect’s vision is usually transformed wildly and often darkly by the social structure in which the building is located; far more so in my opinion than any other type of architecture. Enough of my waffling about the glorious gorgeousness that is brutalist architecture and onto the reason for this post, which is to showcase some of Weronika’s photos, all of which were sourced from her Tumblr page: Veronicadelica. Brutalist photography is most often dark, oppressive, and impressive, but here’s a great example of injecting colour into the shot thanks to some great reflections from the Manchester sky. And colour looks good on less brutal, more modernist architecture too as seen in this photo from Birmingham. The more familiar black and white shot now most associated with brutalist architecture photography but you can hopefully see in this photo from Sheffield how the block design resembles a monochromatic Mondrian work of art. A great example of a typical brutalist external staircase, this from a building in Sheffield. You often see these simple rectangular blocks and parallelograms forming stairwells but the curved backside is great to spot too. What’s also really nice here is the paint job which shows off the potential for just how attractive this type of architecture can look in the right setting and with the right light. A nicely-framed photo from Manchester showcasing the geometry and the contrast of angles prevalent in brutalism. Spirals, zig-zags, and long, vertical lines come together in this photo from Birmingham. A colour version of the same shot can be seen here. To finish with, Carradale House in London shot by Weronika. The building is one of Goldfinger‘s listed modernist designs. Sky bridges and narrow windows reminiscent of medieval arrowslits merge to form another wonderful piece of architecture. Check out all of Weronika’s photos as well as the things she finds inspiring here. Iain Baker liked this...

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Architecture For Children
Feb14

Architecture For Children

A lovely little Swiss website here that curates photos of architectural constructs built specifically for children around the world: Architektur für Kinder The side navigation bar provides great categorised links to scans of books, designers, and projects. A sample of some of the images is...

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