Banksy takes his art to Bethlehem

Promotional art by Banksy

Banksy opened up The Walled Off Hotel earlier this year along the wall of the occupied West Bank with the “with the worst view in the world.” More recently, he teamed up with producer Danny Boyl to put together a film called ‘The Alternativity’ which features local children and their families singing Christmas carols ‘Jingle Bells‘ and ‘Silent Night’ in Arabic and English.

The film drops just in time with Trump’s controversial move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, which he also proclaimed Israel’s capital. The intermixing of art and politics is intrinsic to Banksy’s street art, but he’s hoping this event will have a real-life impact:

“There aren’t many situations where a street artist is much use. Most of my politics is for display purposes only. But in Palestine there’s a slim chance the art could have something useful to add — anything that appeals to young people, specifically young Israelis, can only help.”

Banksy

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

$1.00

Advertisements

10 Products That’ll Make Interesting Holiday gifts

Below is a list of ten items I think you might be interested in, including products that’ll help improve your mind, creativity, productivity, your inner-spirt, and maybe your wallet too. Note that if you do buy anything from the below, I may receive a tip of sorts.

1. Get yourself and others some Bitcoin.
giphy (10)

Who knows if it’s gambling or investing, both? It’s not too late to get into Bitcoin — remember you can buy a mere fraction — or any of the “cheaper” alternative currencies. If you sign up at Coinbase with this link, both of us get $10 worth of bitcoin!

2. Study the genius mind of Leonardo Da Vinci.

51PHThzD-2L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_

“To truly be creative, you have to work across disciplines,” said author Walter Isaacson earlier this year on Leonardo da Vinci’s creative genius. After five years of writing and research (‘gathering string’) comes the eponymous book Leonardo da Vinci, an excellent gift for art lovers and creative types.

3. Field Notes“I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.”

This is my favorite notebook because it’s small and sturdy enough to fit in your side pocket so you never have to miss a good idea. If you’re looking for a good pen to go along with it, I can’t recommend the smooth writing of Pilot 35334 Precise V5 enough.  

4. Give your fellow traveler or athlete good feet massage with Foot Rubz.

5. Start standing now with Spark desk by Ergodriven.

They say sitting is the new smoking. When I was looking for a standing desk this year, I didn’t want to spend more than $100. Luckily, I stumbled upon the $25 Spark desk from Ergodriven. It’s sturdy and easy to put together, highly recommended.

6. Stand on something comfortable with this anti-fatigue mat.

If you’re going to stand and work, please also consider the Topo by Ergodriven. It’s not your typical standing mat; it encourages various stances that will sustain your work energy.

7. Doodle your heart out with 140 color gel pens.

“Children learn through play, but adults play through art,” said Brian Eno. Doodle your heart out with your kids or in your own adult coloring books with these 140 color gel pens.

8. The PureRelief XL help relieves back pain.

The best part about the PureRelief XL King Size Heating Pad is that it heats up immediately and goes after 2 hours so you don’t have to remember to unplug it.

9. Start the new year in the right mood

After reading Spontaneous Happiness: A New Path to Emotional Well-Being by Dr. Andrew Weil this year I immediately stocked up on some of the essential fish oil, Vitamin D, B-6, and a good multivitamin he prescribes to sustain a healthy mood.

10. Keep your phone charged 24/7 with this portable charger.

Until Apple develops solar-powered rechargeable phones, we’re stuck with external phone batteries. Still, this portable power bank gets the job done. I took one with me on a recent trip overseas and stayed charged the entire time so I’d never miss a good photo opportunity.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out Amazon’s Gift Guide for even more gifting ideas.

Newsletter: Blind spots

Happy Friday! Below are some links and recent discoveries I think you’ll find interesting. As always, listen to a new tune and old gem after the jump.

DP864605.jpg
Joseph J. Gould, Jr. (1896) via The Met

Finding My Way into a New Form: An Interview with Teju Cole. “I always have a notebook, a pen and a camera. These are my tools because the world is always giving you various phenomena.” Teju Cole’s new book Blind Spot sees the photographer and acclaimed writer synthesize images and words. The work is yet another form of Cole’s combinatorial exploration — he was once an innovative Tweeter — into new media spaces. “That’s exactly what I do with each of these genres. I try to find out what I can do in that space. I try to do good work there, and then without any compunction or regret I move on. And I try to find the next place to continue my exploration.”

Changing one simple habit can improve your entire life. One slight tweak to your daily habits can lead to other beneficial changes. For instance, exercise is what Charles Duhigg calls ‘keystone habit.’ In his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Duhigg describes how “people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work.”

The undivided mind. Wonder sits at the intersection of science and art. Combining the two disciplines is what fueled Leonard Da Vinci’s creative genius. The imagination needs time to daydream and gather string, letting the unconscious connect the dots between disparate things.


Book I’m reading

My Inventions: Nikola Tesla. “My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get a new idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination, and make improvements and operate the device in my mind. When I have gone so far as to embody everything in my invention, every possible improvement I can think of, and when I see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form the final product of my brain.”

Video I’m watching

Army Of Spider Crabs Shed Their Shells. Watch thousands of spider crabs rally around the family to regrow their shells. Mind the hangry stingray!

Thought of the week

“The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.” — Neale Donald Walsch

New track on loop

Lanark Artefax – Touch Absence (2017)

Digging in the crates

Jah Stitch – Cool Down Youthman (1995)

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!
Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

$1.00

 

Art requires the long look

Photo by Wells Baum

Good art requires the long look, not for a lack of comprehension but for the growing realization of what the viewer fails to see.

Art is more about the space inside rather than the form of the envelope itself.

Artists put their life’s context into their craft. A poem, painting, a sculpture all contain intricacies of the mind that is profoundly personal but meant to be shared and understood by others.

Whether radical, nuanced and complex: the intriguing work passes onto trustful eyes an extended gaze.

The artist never graduates

giphy (27)
via giphy

Years elapse with no apparent intention of an end.

They want you to finish it to find closure, but they don’t understand that moving on to the next ‘big’ thing curbs the appetite of the maker.

Creators are slow cookers and even slower chewers, interspersed with periods gorging. They expect as many mistakes and regrets as discoveries– overall, full acceptance the unpredictable. It takes time to go forward and ship things, to hurry slowly unless you’re Picasso’s Guernica.

The artist never graduates, trying to be clever without being pretentious. In a cycle of learning, the beginner wades like water over rocks and tweaks days on end.

Hidden by what we see

Processed with VSCO with tech preset
Photo by Wells Baum

The combination of perception and imagination can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. But we strive to go deeper into the details, beyond what is manifest. Said René Magritte:

“Everything we see hides another thing; we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”

The more we look, the more realize what we can’t see. Such ignorance drives our curiosity to identify new blind spots.

What’s unknown remains a haunting beauty.

ABD9D1DE-A925-4C0F-80EE-06F0F4DB4B49.jpg
Photo by Wells Baum

The Illusion of Christmas

ho-ho-ho-11-holiday-gifts-for-art-lovers-900x450-c
The Illusion of Christmas by Signe Emma and Theodoulos Polyviou

Hypnotic, dizzying, and trippy. ‘Tis the season:

We have developed our design through the use of 3d modelling software. In doing this, we were given the advantage to view our compositions through mobility and constant change of viewing points aiming to achieve the most effective result possible. This process extends our understanding regarding these mediums available at the moment as “setting the stage” for creativity to be enacted. The final result is an interplay between the “physical” and the virtual.”

The Illusion of Christmas by Signe Emma and Theodoulos Polyviou

 

Newsletter: Wandering mind not a happy mind

Below are five links I think you’ll find interesting. As always, listen to a new tune and old gem after the jump.

DP864409
Lafayette Maynard Dixon (1895), via The MET

Philippe Starck on the infinity symbol. Some people are better thinking in symbols rather than words. For French inventor Philipe Starck, that symbol was “∞” for infinity, designed by English mathematician John Wallis in 1655. Says Starck: “For me, it is the most intelligent piece of graphic design in the world. To say something in a complicated way is very easy. But to find a way to say it simply – that takes a lot of work.”

Podcast: Picasso’s Guernica. ‘All finished paintings are dead paintings.’ Picasso’s Guernica took 7 weeks to paint, but it could have taken a lifetime. But done is better than perfect, especially in times of strife. The work appeared in a Paris exhibition in 1937 and became an essential piece of political art, warning against the destruction of war.

Modern Media Is a DoS Attack on Your Free Will. Tech is the ‘cigarette of this century’ said game designer and author Ian Bogost. Just like the surfeit of digital photos, there’s too much information and not enough time to go through it all. Observes James Williams of Oxford’s Internet Institute Ethics Lab: “The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it doesn’t necessarily protect freedom of attention. There wasn’t really anything obstructing people’s attention at the time it was written. Back in an information-scarce environment, the role of a newspaper was to bring you information—your problem was lacking it. Now it’s the opposite. We have too much.”

Is the economy suffering from the crisis of attention? Statistics already show that we’re scatterbrained 47% of the time. We’re there, but not there noticing the present; we’re just scrolling. This is on top of smartphone addiction which kills productivity. Beware that rectangular magnetic glow!

How to unthink. One of the ways you can stem the tide of over-thinking is to act “calculatedly stupid” and instead try to enjoy what we’re doing.

Thought of the week

“All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.”

Ernest Hemingway

New track on loop

Smerz – No Harm (2017)

Digging in the crates

Ultramagnetic MC’s – Poppa Large (1992)

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!
Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

$1.00

The infinity symbol “∞”

201612_DE_INF_90-HEADER-V2.jpg

Some people are better thinking in symbols rather than words. For French inventor Philipe Starck, that symbol was “∞” for infinity, designed by English mathematician John Wallis in 1655:

For me, it is the most intelligent piece of graphic design in the world. To say something in a complicated way is very easy. But to find a way to say it simply – that takes a lot of work.

The infinity symbol is a paradox: it solidifies a number in absolute terms to illustrate something that never ends. As Starch puts it, infinity “is about the fight we have with ourselves to try to understand more and more.”

Infinity is too impossible to count. The simple representation provides both a temporary relief and impetus for a more in-depth understanding of something that goes beyond comprehension.

Making precedes meaning

200w_d (2).gif
gif by Wells Baum

We can only construct with the tools at our disposal. Before cameras, artists painted pictures of the world. However, it wasn’t necessary to paint with exactitude; like writing, images were fabricated in the mind’s eye before putting color to the canvas, ink to the paper.

We never know what we’ll get until we put it down first: making precedes meaning. First, we do something and then we interpret its significance.

Conversely, the digital world is all about identifying objects for us. SnapChat, Google, and Apple use artificial intelligence to tell you what’s in our pictures, providing a shortcut to meaning. They are our third and fourth eye. Vision exceeds a one-way street.

But there are no absolutes. Consciousness manufactures data. It is our responsibility to convert the external world through our various lenses, reality and irreality. We make what you see. To quote Hemingway, “All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.”

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

WaPCqsDhNkcv3aEtD“Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life. I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in. The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows. Waiting rooms were made for books—of course! But so are theater lobbies before the show, long and boring checkout lines, and everyone’s favorite, the john. You can even read while you’re driving, thanks to the audiobook revolution. Of the books I read each year, anywhere from six to a dozen are on tape. As for all the wonderful radio you will be missing, come on—how many times can you listen to Deep Purple sing “Highway Star”?

Reading at meals is considered rude in polite society, but if you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Newsletter: When computers looked like refrigerators

Below are five links I think you’ll find interesting. As always, listen to a new tune and old gem after the jump.

DP824527
Louis John Rhead, 1894 (via The Met)

The Female Supercomputer Designer Who Inspired Steve Jobs. Product designer and mechanical engineer Tamiko Thiel turned computers into sculptures in the early 1980s before the Macintosh came out. Said Thiel: “The general image of computers was IBM computers, racks of electronics. They looked like refrigerators or heating units. They didn’t have any identity.” Steve Jobs wanted to hire her, but Thiel had already gone on to Germany to be an artist.

The beginning of silent reading changed Westerners’ interior life. Reading alone didn’t really take off until the 1800s. Before that, all pages were read aloud in groups. “Text technologies, like moveable type, and the rise of vernacular writing helped usher in the practice we cherish today: taking in words without saying them aloud, letting them build a world in our heads.”

Related: Before Amazon, we had bookmobiles.

The pioneer of Dadaism who made collage cool. The only way for painter Max Ernst to make sense of a fractured postwar world was to start collaging, taking pieces of disparate items from fashion magazines and other miscellaneous materials and incorporating them into his work.

Video: Different types of chopsticks, explained. People have been eating with chopsticks since the 4th century BC. Historian Edward Wang describes why the chopsticks in China, Japan, and Korea are all unique.

Video: Art+Film /// David Hockney IN THE NOW. David Hockney is a British artist who’s become known as the ‘the painter of Southern California.’ Says Hockney on the perpetual need to notice:, “Our eyes never stay still. If your eyes are still, you’re dead.”

Thought of the week

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” ― Sigmund Freud

New track on loop

Beat Spacek – Ring Di Alarm (2017)

Digging in the crates

Mal Waldron – All Alone (1966)

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!
Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Bending meaning with Max Ernst

Twists and turns, intended distortions, randomness and the irrational stitched into a collage.

Getting weird makes it more interesting. Becoming interested makes it less strange.

To protest reason is human. Thinking different frees one from the cage.

Max Ernst flirted beyond painting, incorporating bits of catalogs and photos to take them in ‘wonderful directions.’