Three Kickstarter Projects Worth Supporting: Take This Book, Cakeland and Ethical Corsetry

2011 was an incredible year. With all the hope, uncertainty and weirdness that lies ahead in 2012 – election year, Alan Turing Year, the year of the Mayan Apocalypse, the year that 2011 seeds come to fruition – why not start on a good karmic note? Three incredible Kickstarter projects need your help. Here they are, in order of how soon they’re ending:

Take This Book: The People’s Library at Occupy Wall Street. A nonfiction book by Melissa Gira Grant that tells the story of the The People’s Library, as imparted by many of the librarians that maintained it in Zuccotti Park before the police raid on November 15th. Here is an excerpt from the book. To many people, the destruction of the library was a painful moment in Americna history; the image of police throwing carefully-curated, free books from the volunteer-run library into dump trucks felt like a symbol for the repression of free speech.

“Take This Book is an extended essay — just over 10,000 words — based on the stories of the librarians and the library’s patrons. (Maybe you were one of them.) It can’t be the whole story, because it’s still happening.” Donating $1 will get you a digital copy of the book, and donating $20 or more will get you a print edition. For $250 or more, you can get a signed and numbered “People’s Library” print from Molly Crabapple, seen above. There are only 18 hours left on this campaign at time of writing. Donate now!

Rachael Reichert’s Ethical Luxury Corset Collection. When you Google image search “eco clothing” and variations thereof, you get a lot of green and earth tones, lots of yoga pants, and more than a fair share of loose, flowy dresses. This is great, but it leaves many of us who care about ethical clothing of a more vintage/fetishy persuasion out in the cold. Designer Rachael Reichert wants to take on the challenge of crafting a collection of luxury corsets using nothing but ethical, fair-trade and (when possible) locally-sourced material.

Her fabrics will will include organic cotton that is grown, woven, and dyed according to Global Organic Trade Standards in India, as well as peace silk or wild silk, produced by a process in which “fibre is pulled out from the cocoon after the moth has emerged, and hand spun.” Reichert plans to use steels bones, vintage twill tape, aluminium grommets, and locally handmade bobbin lace as well as her own signature handmade thread lace. The goal is to make luxurious, elegant alternative clothes “with a clean conscience”.

Cakeland. A giant, cake-themed art installation built by Scott Hove. A magical wonderland of icing, joy and despair. See the beautiful high-res images over at Hi-Fructose. Cakeland will feature “60 full length mirrors, cake chandeliers, theatrical lighting, moving parts and sound to make the most stunningly beautiful and lush mirror maze and art installation you will ever see.”

The most incredible thing about this version of Cakeland (smaller ones have been built before) is that it’s entirely mobile! Cakeland will probably travel to your city, or a city near you. Help make Cakeland happen, and you will one day be able to walk its delicious halls.

A Rainbow Post Apocalypse

Take one part Hieronymous Bosch and sprinkle liberally with bright, rainbow colors and you’re about halfway to describing the work of Jonas Burgert. Here is a world in which people inhabit barren wastelands and nameless nowheres, outfitted in the vivid hues of their particular tribes. I really like the interplay of these two elements; the color trying, and failing, to act as a camouflage for the decidedly bleak subject matter. The colors splattered and scribbled all over, it’s like some child’s coloring book of Hell — both unsettling and beautiful.

Via Hi-Fructose

Tono Stano’s White Shadow

A bizarre series by Slovakian photographer Tono Stano, White Shadow is actually a series of printed black and white negatives. In this case, however, Stano has gone to the length of painting his models with the idea of printing the negatives so that they would appear to be positives. It’s an effect that is not entirely successful — you won’t mistake these for a regular black and white print — but Stano seems to understand the limitations of the trick and plays with them.

Using bits and pieces of other negatives he tapes eyes over the eyelids of his subjects, fills their mouths with photograph denture. The end results are surreal portraits of some of the more interesting denizens of the uncanny valley. Hit the jump for a (nsfw) video (as well as a few more, nsfw images) in which Stano gives a behind the scenes look at the process.

Via lens culture

“What would a modern wizard wear?” Mother of London 2012.

Clothing designer Mother of London (previously on Coilhouse here and here, and many times in the print magazine) is getting ready to release a ready-to-wear line of clothing and an online shop. The new collection consists of the designs seen here, as well as limited-edition leggings and t-shirts that have not yet been photographed. The inspiration for this line, says designer Mildred Von Hildegard, comes from wizards. “What would a modern wizard wear?”

Much of the collection is unisex. “Gender plays a little bit too much role in the outside world,” says Mildred, “so I’m kind of dismissive of it [in my own work].” Some of the pieces are specifically cut for men or women, “but the men’s stuff in particular can be pulled over by either gender.” Like much of Mother of London’s past work, much of the clothing has a past-meets-present, out-of-time quality about it. There are feathered jackets, bad-ass biker-babe dresses with sleeves that resemble medieval suits of armor, skirts that look like they’re made out of a dozen belts, and wide-brimmed sorcerer’s hats. And if that wasn’t enough, Mildred is also working on a more elaborate, couture collection for 2012. No photos have been released, but Mildred refers to it as “Mother of London… on crack” and alludes to the fact that it’s highly tailored and detailed.

After the jump, more final images, concept sketches, and “making-of” shots from the new Mother of London collection. It’s amazing how much the concept drawings match the final pieces.

“I’m not afraid of Cthulhu, because I know his dad’s phone number”

Via Lee Mason, thanks!

Rob & Ben Kimmel’s collaborative father-and-son “lunch comics” (recently blogged on io9), which they’ve been making together since Ben started kindergarten over three years ago, are basically the best thing since sliced Lunchables™ processed pressure-molded bologna product. Better, actually! By leaps and bounds! If you’ve got some time to kill today, head over to their website, Wandermonster, and get your warm (geeky) fuzzies on.

Rob and his 8-year-old son Ben share a tender moment.

The Oldest Piano Shop In Paris

La Mer de Pianos, a charming short film by Tom Wrigglesworth and Mathieu Cuvelier, focuses on one Marc Manceaux, the current owner of Fournitures Generales Pour le Piano, the oldest piano shop in Paris. Having been there as either employee or owner for almost 30 years, Mr. Manceaux gives us a glimpse into a cluttered, chaotic world of pianos and there parts, stacked to the ceiling and harvested for their “organs”, in a manner far less delicate than one might assume. It’s a great, claustrophobic mass of keys, pedals, hammers, and wire which the agile Manceaux navigates with the kind of confidence one would expect after nigh on three decades, scampering across piles of parts that a lesser man would cause to collapse. This is the kind of shop they would use as the setting for a heartwarming animated film about a family of anthropomorphized rodents, is what I’m trying to say. It’s that charming.

Via The Fox Is Black

Jeremy Enecio’s Painted Mythos

Societal Beauty | acrylic and oil on board | 20 x 30. “Part of a body of work focusing on human embodiments.”

Jeremy Enecio‘s work explores sexual and mythological themes. Enecio is one of those generous artists who shares the steps of his technique; his Vimeo channel feature a timelapse video of him creating a painting in painting of a tentacled girl (this is back from 2007, so his technique may have changed since then).

Enecio’s blog features many beautiful images that are not on his website, including Doll (a painting about a sexual the sexual tension between a couple), a work-in-progress that would eventually a painting titled Technology, an aging satyr, and a beautiful eyeless serpentine dragon. Enecio has a shop of very affordable prints as well.

[via skeletronix]

Fauna | acrylic and oil on paper | 13.5 x 20 “Part of a body of work focusing on human embodiments.” Here is a look at the painting in its drawing stage.

“Dead Poet Borne by Centaur” by Gustave Moreau

“Dead Poet Borne by Centaur” (1890) by Gustave Moreau

The French Symbolists were hella weird and wonderful. (Andre Breton was obsessed with Moreau in particular, cialis and considered him to be a kind of grandaddy to Surrealism.)

Sunflower, the Centaur Disney Wants to Forget

In 1940, Disney released Fantasia; an epic animated film consisting of several shorts set to classical pieces. If you haven’t seen it, it’s perfect for the holidays. There are fairies and unicorns and dancing mushrooms.

And, of course, Fantasia includes the Pastoral Symphony. As a child, I was happily unaware of the heteronormative, gender essentialist overtones of this piece. I was just excited to see all the centaur boobs and watch the fashion show unfold. Multicolored centaurettes wearing hats made from lotus flowers, birch bark and even live white doves. Exotic mythical creatures lazing around all day, spending the beautiful sunset hours eating grapes, swinging on giant swings, and bathing by the waterfall. It was just lovely. Looking back, it’s clear how ridiculous the whole thing was. A post at Nectarade provides a hilarious, pitch-perfect overview (click through to the site, it’s better with pictures):

There’s a centaur meetup and the ladies are “dressing up” so it’s not so obvious they’re all clones of each other in different colors. The males are also clonic, but they don’t give a shit about looking alike because they’re there for the mare pussy (well, that sounded funny). Also, there are some weird “little cherubs” playing as sassy gay friends of the girls, matchmakers, makeover artists, and creepy voyeurs. My first reaction: “Why are there cherubs in Olympus, anyway? I suppose they’re sort of little cupids without the bow and arrows, but it’s still fucking weird.” I did my homework, and those things are called putto (plural: putti) . Oh, okay, it makes sense artistically then. It’s still weird because they’re little creepers in this movie, but I’ve learned something new today!

…meanwhile, the clonic Ken doll centaurs get their own catwalk show from which they pick the girl they want to fuck senseless take to the prom. I don’t know if it’s racism or narcissism or fashion taken to the extreme, but I can’t help but notice that all the pairings have similar color palettes. Red/pink/brown/yellow goes with red/pink/brown/yellow, blue/purple goes with blue/purple. That’s very disappointing. You can also tell how much the couples want to have sex as soon as possible, but they can’t because there are little kids watching (and depraved putti stalking them).

Seriously, they have to settle with a lot of second-base touching and inane activities such as playing in swings and eating grapes and just hang out, sitting here consumed with lust for the rest of the evening. But OH NOES!! EMERGENCY!!! DISASTER!!! ONE OF THE CENTAURS IS ALONE! Don’t worry, guys! There’s a centauride who’s also alone! And in the same color scheme! We’re saved! How convenient that there was the same amount of boys and girls! So our team of putti, like fanbrats who feel compelled to pair every character up in the bad fanfiction they write, set them to a date by playing their phallic flute-trumpets. Thankfully, our two dorks liked each other and were actually the ones with less libido. Actually, they’re quite sweet and old-fashioned, and I’m glad for them. I mean, as happy as it can be since the putti are still stalking like Edward Cullen in Bella Swan’s period days, and even when they drop the curtain (literally) they’re still peeking over the centaurs. Eww, GTFO!

The above review of Pastoral Symphony was pretty complete… except, HELLO, WHAT’S THIS:

That’s right. Disney originally included a character named Sunflower – a half-donkey, half black girl servant figure who polished hoofs, brushed/decorated tails, and carried garlands for the centaurettes. It’s not surprising that Nectarade didn’t catch them; the scenes haven’t appeared on any release of Fantasia since the 1960s, and are hard to come by in high quality. Most versions on YouTube look like they were taped off a television. Here is the best-quality collection of all censored scenes. Sister Suffragette adds, “there’s also the possibility that there are more Sunflowers; the movie shows Sunflower with a couple different hair styles which could mean that they actually represent several servant/slave half-asses. It’s hard to tell, though, because the difference in hair style is the only distinguishing feature … of course she was happily shining the hoofs and fixing the tails of the non-black centaurs and there’s not even any thought or explanation given as to why she’s the only one that doesn’t meet a mate by the end of the segment. The others females are chosen by the males who picked them out of the lot after the females paraded and posed in front of the males.”

The real kicker is that, according to several sources, Disney adamantly denied that Sunflower even existed up until somebody finally dug up the footage and put it on the internet (despite the fact that you can find her chowin’ down on watermelon, in stereotypical fashion, in the Fantasia cut-out book. Perhaps Disney was counting on the fact that it’s solidly out of print).

Recently, artists have been reclaiming and re-imagining Sunflower, so perhaps there’s a silver lining to all of this (as an aside, people are also reimagining some of the other Fantasia nubile centaurettes in a very – how shall I put this – non-heteronormative, non-monogamous way. Thanks, Rule 34. Thanks, Internet). People are imagining Sunflower (or Sunflowers) as a strong, confident young girl. Or a self-aware, independent woman. Or even painting her as a servant, but with much more emotion and character. If Disney won’t make this right, the people will. More remixes of Sunflower, after the jump.

Sunflower by AtomicFireball: “This is not a fanart. It’s a little wishful thinking of my own. This is my Sunflower, who never served a mistress.”

GAFFTA’s Galvanize

Tomorrow (Thursday) evening in San Francisco, non-profit arts organization Gray Area Foundation for the Arts – GAFFTA for short – is hosting Galvanize: a concert, dinner and art auction to raise funds for its many endeavors. GAFFTA is a Bay Area organization devoted to hacking, creative coding, and interactive art. The organization carries out its mission through education, art curation and research.

GAFFTA offers a host of classes with an emphasis in audio, visuals, web and physical interaction. Each of these concentrations is explored thoroughly. For example, the physical interaction classes highlight topics such as “various forms of 3D art, prototyping, multitouch interfaces, electronics, conductive fabrics and physical computing.” The current course catalogue offers classes on augmented reality, Arduino, visualizing and mapping data, and more.

GAFFTA for Ghostly International 10 Year Anniversary

In addition to its focus on education, GAFFTA also champions new-media artists worldwide. Recently, GAFFTA curated Future/Canvas², and exhibit on the emerging medium of iPad art. Previously, GAFFTA presented exhibits exploring urban futures and sound, data and mechanics. Artists whose works have appeared at GAFFTA include Robert Hodgin, Nicole AptekarAaron Koblin and Zimoun. Additionally, GAFFTA partnered with art group Ardent Heavy Industries to produce Syzygryd– a collaborative electronic musical instrument / interactive art installation with a 2.5 ton sculptural visualizer made of metal, fire, and a kilowatt of RGB LEDs.

GAFFTA’s research department exists to explore “the increasingly gray areas between art, technology, and society.” GAFFTA regularly hosts hackathons, offers collaborative research residencies, and has several large-scale initiatives and projects going on right now. And they even find time to host the occasional Cinema Speakeasy in their beautiful space below the historic Warfield building in mid-Market San Francisco. Last week, month, there was an Evil Dead double-feature with zombie dress-up!

A performance at GAFFTA.

All these things cost money. And that’s why GAFFTA is throwing an epic bash in order to raise money for the new year. For $60, guests to the event become members of GAFFTA. This includes the snazzy membership card designed by artist Nicole Aptekar and gains entrants a 10% discount on workshops and ticketed special events in the future. Performing at the event wil be artists ELEW, Electric Method and Garibaldi. See more at the event page for GAFFTA Galvanize.

Membership card designed by Nicole.

In honor of centaur week (previously and continuing on Coilhouse), and in keeping with the tech-art feeling of this post, I present you with this beautiful bionic centaur, titled “Barbie Strogg,” created by artist Mario Caicedo Langer. You can see a larger version of this sculpture here, and more of Langer’s work here. [via BoingBoing]