Jansen’s kinetic creatures have evolved quite a bit since then, and as of this month, the wonderful 3D printing company Shapeways has made a small version of Animaris Geneticus Parvus, available for purchase through their site.
These wee baby Beests, born from one of Jansen’s original behemoth windwalker designs, are “printed already assembled and [work] right after birth from the machine! No other production method can do this!” (Is 3D printing technology trippy, or what?) Apparently there are more Beests in development as well.
Hell yeah, muthafuckas, it’s Friday, time to get drunk and break shit, amiright? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Huh? No? Well…I mean…ok. Fine. I was just joking anyway. Whatever. It is Friday, though, so at the very least it is time for the FAM, your weekly stop (Editor’s Note: Semi-weekly, really. Lazy jerk.) for afternoon entertainment in film form (Editor’s Note: That was the worst thing. You are literally the worst.)
Today the FAM presents King Corn, Aaron Woolf’s 2007 documentary about two friends, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, who move to Iowa to farm an acre of land and investigate where America’s food comes from; specifically addressing the question: How and why do we eat some much damn corn?
I liked King Corn for two reasons, really. The first being, of course, that I found it informative. The second reason was a feeling of level-headed objectivity. The alarmist, Michael Moore style documentary, is certainly popular and while, perhaps, effective, they are a bit off-putting when it comes to presenting an actual argument, busy as they are in trying to drive home the point that the WORLD IS GOING TO END AND THESE PEOPLE ARE EVIL AND GET MAD! It’s exhausting. So I appreciated King Corn calmly laying out the facts for me and presenting a history of America’s obsession with corn as well as a snapshot of a Midwestern town. It was a pleasant experience to watch the credits roll on a documentary and not feel like I should flip over a cop car or just kill myself.
All art lovers have had those revelatory moments when visual art just blows our minds. It’s surprising, beautiful, provocative, painful, confusing and every kind of emotion at once. I think that’s what the small child in this video is feeling when he wanders into one of Yayoi Kusama‘s infinite dot rooms, installed in Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory. Also, it’s SO CUTE.
For many of us who have been following the story of Chrissy Lee Polis, the 22-year-old transgender woman who was brutally attacked in a suburban McDonald’s near Baltimore ten days ago, it’s been a difficult week. Watching the story go viral provided a sobering look at the amount of phobia and ignorance that still surrounds many people’s concepts of both gender and race.
The attack occurred on April 18th, when Polis stopped at the restaurant to use the ladies’ room. Polis told the Baltimore Sun that she heard her assailants saying “that’s a dude, that’s a dude – and he’s in the female bathroom.” Immediately afterwards, she was beaten, dragged across the floor by her hair, and kicked by two teenagers as a McDonald’s employee recorded the attack on his camera phone and other workers stood by idly. The cell phone recording of the attack (TRIGGER WARNING: extremely violent) shows several employees gawking and laughing as the attack progresses. A sole employee makes an attempt to break up the fight, but retreats almost immediately. A grandmotherly woman attempts to come to Polis’ aid; a police report revealed that she was punched in the face by one of the assailants when she tried to intervene. After two minutes, Polis collapses into a seizure on the floor. The McDonald’s worker who is taping the scene warns the attackers that they need to flee because the police are coming.
A crowd rallies outside the McDonald’s where the crime took place
Coverage of the story on the web has been as painful to watch as the footage itself. It was awful to witness the first wave of discussion, which appeared almost exclusively on white supremacist blogs, with transphobia piling on top of racism as details about Polis’ identity emerged. It was painful to watch mainstream, high-traffic blogs use the word “tranny” in their coverage (the best example of this being, if memory serves correctly, Time-Warner-owned blog Smoking Gun, though their posts appear to have now been scrubbed of the slur). And it was painful to watch Polis’ own twin brother continually refer to her as “my brother” and pointedly use male gender pronouns at her support rally (here, at 1:15). All around, a damning look at the country’s state of gender awareness, or lack thereof.
Polis has been released from the hospital, and spoke to the Baltimore Sun about her experience living as a transwoman in her neighborhood. The McDonald’s employee who filmed the attack has been fired. Both attackers have been apprehended and charged with assault. Hate crime charges may or may not be applied to the case; we’ll likely know in about a week.
In the face of the ugly, seething hatred that surrounds this story, the most encouraging element has been the turnout of support. Over 135,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the McDonald’s Corporation holds its employees accountable for the assault. More inspiring than anything have been images of the rally held at the scene of the crime this past Monday. Hundreds of people showed up outside McDonald’s to voice their solidarity with Chrissy Lee Polis. One of the right-wing hate sites covering the assault early on asked the question, “what happens when sanctified leftwing grievance groups collide over black homophobia?” In their small imagination, people can only choose one side: black vs. white, gay vs. straight, trans vs. cis. There are no gradations or complexities in their world.
Except, that’s not what the images and footage of this rally show us. There are people from all across the race, gender and class spectrum standing up for Chrissy Lee Polis. Trans activist Dayna Beyer, who helped organize the rally, recounts the event:
What was initially intended to be a vigil as the victim appeared severely injured… evolved into an upbeat rally of a united community demanding an end to violence and discrimination.
Having been involved in far too many vigils for murdered trans women over the years, and accepting the general apathy in both the trans and LGBT communities, I expected 30 people to ultimately show up. Instead, 300 did.
…when the program ended and the crowd would have normally dispersed, a funny thing happened. No one left.
People mingled for another 75 minutes until the lights were turned out in the parking lot. There had been no trouble, no counter-demonstration, no hate speech – just love and sisterhood and camaraderie. Locals and activists, gay and straight, cis and trans.
Maryland still has a long way to go. Earlier this month, the Maryland Senate voted down a bill that would have provided protection for trans people against discrimination in housing and employment. Before the bill even hit the Senate, language pertaining to use of public accommodations was stripped from it. Blogger Amanda Hess writes, “opposition to the bill largely focused on the toilet issue—a hysterical concern over gender non-conforming people sharing public restrooms.” Perhaps the tragedy of this event will push lawmakers to rethink their position.
Designed and built by the architecture team of Tonkin Liu and completed in 2006, this award-winning sound sculpture called The Singing Ringing Tree stands atop a plateau in the Pennine mountain range overlooking Burnley in Lancashire, England. It’s one of a series from the Panopticons arts and regeneration project.
Galvanized steel pipes of various sizes are bound together in a nine-foot-tall, spiraling configuration. Depending on where and how the wind strikes it, The Singing Ringing Tree creates discordant choral sounds over a range of several octaves. Tonkin Liu tuned the pipes “according to their length by adding holes to the underside of each.” The eerie music created as a result is capable of ringing out across great distances.
What happens when dialog taken from MTV’s “Jersey Shore”, the nadir of current American culture, is filtered through the lens of Oscar Wilde, one of the greatest wits the world has ever seen? Magic, that’s what. Playbill — with the help of Santino Fontana and David Furr, current cast members of Wilde’s most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest — presents a grand experiment: “Jersey Shore” Gone Wilde. This is, perhaps, the best thing I have seen this year.
“You remember that old song ‘Que Sera Sera, Whatever will be, will be, the future’s not ours to see’? I’ve always felt that. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but I wouldn’t change a thing.” –Poly Styrene
Marianne Joan Elliott-Said, best known as Poly Styrene, legendary singer for the short-lived, seminal punk band, X-Ray Spex, has died at the age of 53.
This sad news comes to us mere weeks after Styrene officially released her final solo album, Generation Indigo, shortly after revealing to the press that she was fighting for her life. (Oh, cancer, up yours.)
Young Poly Styrene wore braces and bright Technicolor dream coats. She looked and sounded nothing like Crystal Gayle or Karen Carpenter. Instead, she hollered jagged lyrics from the bottom of her heart with all of the raw strength and fire of her male contemporaries in the ’77 UK punk school, plus a bit of something extra: full on, straight-up, unapologetic female outsider outrage, and a ferocious personal philosophy of anti-consumer culture environmentalism the likes of which punk would not see again until the Dead Kennedys.
In fact, Billboard would one day call her the “archetype for the modern-day feminist punk”. She certainly was, to put a point on it, “one of the least conventional front-persons in rock history, male or female”. [via]
NME writer James McMahon:
We live in an age where Jarvis Cocker and Beth Ditto are long established alternative icons, where Lady Gaga dressing head to toe in offal barely raises a shrug. Within the reign of Olivia Newton-John, like all the best popstars of their time, Poly Styrene must have seemed like she’d fallen to earth from another – most likely day glo daubed – world. She was to the spirit of individuality what Christopher Columbus was to having a wander.
Before finding these illustrations I had never heard of the Slovak illustrator, Albín Brunovský. It was unsuprising to learn that he was quite well-known, and well-regarded, in his own country. This series of women with fantastical heads pieces, some of them growing out of their owners’s heads, features a perfectly surreal juxtaposition of the absurd and macabre.