Create With Antiquity Using The British Museum's 1.9M Strong Creative Commons Image Collection | Alternative Fruit
We've seen a truly phenomenal effort from all kinds of arts and entertainment providers in recent days. The lockdown that is affecting the majority of the world has meant many of us are looking for alternative things to get stuck into. Museums are usually a sure bet when looking for a way to spend the day but since they've been forced to close thanks to COVID-19 the corridors are almost silent. Only the essential staff are still wandering the empty lanes. Someone at the British Museum has been busy recently, as they've just put their biggest digital collection to date online.
The image collection boasts 300,000 brand new uploads as well as the entire library of previous digital examples. Their collection spans centuries and it has an easy to use search bar to dig deep in the filing system. Any term you can think of will likely pull something out of the ether, after-all, with nearly two million examples, it's hard to think what they won't have.
This image of some 18th Century tarot cards can show us all the familiar icons in an ink-plate style print that's been coloured much like the work of William Blake. This image of a bat flying with a fairy on its back is reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings. Are you a fan of antiques? They have plenty to examine. This stunning Italian calendar clock is a miracle of engineering. If you want to get a closer look, the resolution is so good that the zoom function does a brilliant job.
People who use images for their own purposes are completely free to do so as they've all been listed as creative commons 4.0. This means we can print them out, put them on art, use them in things, and adapt them for our own purposes. Taking the time to have a look at what they have will help to relieve the boredom, elevate your culture, and maybe get the family excited about world history and art. If you find anything cool then send a link in the comments! Visit now.
Complex Emotions Unravelled In Expressive Digital Collage – DaDa Art Therapy by Stan Reed | Alternative Fruit
Digital and analogue collage involves taking images from one media and mixing them into a new media. We combine various things with differing artists and design objectives to combine their stories. This can leave us with a deep and interesting picture that, with a little help from designers and artists, we can create for the first time. This juxtaposition of thoughts, ideas, and feelings in novel ways is a concept used in DaDa. This form of comedy takes random statements and re-enactments that have a humorous jump between them. It's the linking of the two elements which creates the form, and the skill of the art is in how well this is done. Collage of action to collage of image, the link formed by artist, professional dog walker, and music wizard Stan Reed is DaDa too.
Stan Reed isn't just any image creator. His life has involved some unusual and harrowing circumstances which ultimately make his work even more potent. Since being given up for adoption as a new-born, Stan struggled to find a place of belonging. When adopted, his new family treated him poorly. They would beat him, and Stan ended up being placed in mental health care as a teenager. One particular institution that hasn't been named had some disturbing practices. Apart from humiliation and deprivation of necessities such as food and sleep, a form of therapy put in place was attack therapy. This involved sudden and unexpected assaults on the mind and body.
Clearly this would leave anyone battered and bruised with a serious need to escape from life as we know it. For Stan, and like many others who suffer with CPTSD, he turned to drugs. Those who know the on-going Our Nexus Of Sorrows poetry series by Scott Free will be familiar with CPTSD. This happens when traumatic events occur during development for prolonged periods of time with no reasonable means of escaping them. For children this is especially common as they are mostly powerless throughout this period.
Now at the tender age of 50 and over two decades clean, Stan Reed takes art to the next level. His digital collages use literature, pamphlets, illustrations, and magazine clippings among many other things. Stan even goes hunting for skulls of wild animals to add to his macabre collection. Is Stan Reed using art and collage to explore the landscape of memories and feelings that exist within his soul? Are these images a reflection of the inward chapters that flicker from page to page? To us, as viewers, the symbology and emotivations have a personal language to ourselves. Our own subconscious can draw on each image and its constituent parts to form likenesses with our own stories and situations. This open ended strategy helps the work to be accessible and full of extra dimensions perhaps the artist did not even contemplate.
You can catch up with and see more of Stan Reed Art online
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Mapping the brain is an ongoing adventure. What bits do what for our conscious experience and where our awareness comes from are hotly debated subjects. When we peel open the conscious, we find yet more layers of brain activity that we are not aware of. Is this still us? When ideas and similarities pop into our head, are we the one who thinks them or the one who agrees to accept them? When creativity comes into play, the process of filtering is reduced. We allow the spontaneous to become part of the process. How does this happen in the brain? A group of scientists decided to find out.
Music is perhaps one of the most creative industries in the world. The use of frequency and timing has an almost unlimited scope. We have an amazing array of instruments on hand that can produce any frequency and wave-shape that we like. With computers it's possible to use evermore tiny and ever longer increments of timing to exact precision. How can music be studied in a way that explains the neurological process of creativity? We must scan the brains of people while they are being creative.
A group of 32 guitar players were hand-picked for their ability to play along with jazz music. How can their creativity be quantified though? Another group of judges were employed. Professional jazz musicians were needed. Four luminaries in their field were given the job of scoring each guitarist on their creative ability. It was hoped that by reading the brain activity of the guitarists while they jammed along with the music would shed some light on how they come up with their unique music.
It was theorised that the right hand side of the brain is responsible for most of our artistic and abstract thought. On the other side of our brain, the left hemisphere, the linear and logical thought processes were more common. It was found that the guitar players did indeed demonstrate strong right hemisphere thinking while being creative. The most creative of the batch showed the most activity in this area. The least creative improvisations resulted in more left-brain activity. This result fitted with the left-right brain theory. This isn't enough though, the brain is not an organ of two sides but an organ of many dimensions.
Clearly there is more happening than just two sides of the brain competing for conscious thought. The experience of the guitar player became a matter of interest. When guitar players had a lot of automatic actions from years of practice their creativity was more easily accessed. Those who had to think about what they were playing tended to demonstrate lower creativity. When experience was filtered out of the equation the results showed that all the musicians used their right hemisphere to compose music with.
This doesn't necessarily mean that creativity is best. Often when a song becomes a hit it's because it follows a guideline that other hits have proven. The real skill in writing music comes not from being unique and original but by doing what people want in a way that sounds new. This unique blending of the two hemispheres and the two opposing virtues of mind is what makes a truly great piece of creativity.
Read the study here.
During the Paraguayan – Triple Alliance war of 1864-70, an Argentinian low ranking officer made a name for himself. Not in the battlefield but just of outside it, with a paint-brush. Yes, being an active soldier, Cándido López no-doubt saw many battles in person yet because of his literacy, he made Second Lieutenant. Perhaps this gave him more free time, a wage to buy materials, or perhaps he just got lucky.
Cándido López began his career sketching for a photographer. In those days the shots were immaculately prepared and preliminary sketches were commonplace. Discovering a talent for likeness artistry, Cándido López took up painting too. When war broke out he applied his talent to the battlefield, often painting images that would be sent home for news.
Rather than showing the brutal reality of fighting, Cándido López depicted war in a detached and still-life manner. There were bodies and a bit of imagination will reveal the suffering behind the image, however the whole scene was the image and not a particular figure writhing in agony like other artists may have depicted. It's not a modern invention to show anguish in art, the decision to occult the pain of war seems to have been a deliberate one.
Why did Lopez do this? Some may say that his work served as a useful tool in recruitment. If the horror and tragedy of war was hidden from the casual viewer of the artwork, they may be more willing to join the fight. Brutal psychology tactics in a marketing scheme? Or a serious matter when the lives of so many and the way of life of so many more were being fought for?
Maybe it was a way for Cándido López to cope with his own war. Perhaps the confrontation of fear and death on a daily basis led him to seek out places where he could snicket away and paint. The avoiding of the nasty side to war perhaps was his own way of distancing himself from the terrible moments that he'd endured.
However the images came into being, perhaps the most important job they did at the time was to give the people at home a sense of hope and a diluted version so they felt more content. After-all it was their sons and fathers who were out there, in their brilliantly coloured uniforms. Wouldn't you rather think of them politely duelling among greenery and birdsong?
It was perhaps ironic that Cándido López's original trade of photography was to ultimately smash the illusion that he'd gracefully portrayed. The true reality of fighting was brought home to everyone during the next hundred years as several wars showed us all again and again how horrific and inhumane armed conflict is.
Regardless of how we feel about fighting, those in the fight have to be cool and clear headed. For the ones in battle, if they want to be a suitable candidate for the work they must be able to ignore the emotional reactions they may have in the face of pain and suffering. Any soldier has to do questionable acts yet they don't question them. They follow their training. We can only do this if our training is properly applied and we stay mentally focussed. Maybe works like that of Cándido López are exactly what soldiers need when learning their role.
Yorkshire has a rich history in the art world. With luminaries such as Ruskin, Turner, Hockney, and Jarvis Cocker, we're inundated with the middle-north's creative talent. A classically industrial region, with many mines and factories in its past, Yorkshire has evolved from farming communities to manufacturing in a short period of time. Now though, as the world continues spinning, industry has been in decline for many years. With automation, cheaper labour abroad, and less demand, Yorkshire like the rest of Britain has been forced to move on once again.
What is there today for Yorkshire? What does the brand say to the world? Thankfully with several world-class universities the influx of talent and innovation is continuing. Because of the local area's natural beauty and the over-all friendliness of it's people, many students decide to make their home here once they've graduated. The people who are born here are equally as talented and ready to make an impression on the world.
This year sees another burst of growth in this creative orchard nestled away across Yorkshire. Coming up in March is an exhibition of water-colour and sculpture from Dusseldorf artist Paloma Varga Weisz. She will be found at the Henry Moore Foundation in Much Hadham. This June, the Hepworth Wakefield will host an exhibit from textile artist Sheila Hicks. The David Chipperfield designed, award-winning gallery is an ideal venue to show off this cutting edge fabric sculptor.
And once more, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is making all the right moves with it's half a million annual visitors. Women take centre stage on this year's event calendar, with works demonstrating the true power of women in the world of sculpture. Particularly notable this year is the work of Joana Vasconcelos. This Portuguese textile and fabric sculptor has 25 works of art on display right now at the park. Another worthwhile visit is to the Breaking The Mould exhibition. This Arts Council Collection survey exhibit holds over 45 pieces each made by women since 1945. Perhaps the ladies at the time felt a new sense of empowerment after the suffrage during the war.
A lot of the co-ordination of this collectivity of feminine energy is thanks to 2020 Holberg Prize in Humanities winner Griselda Pollock. Her hard-work and innovation has brought so many golden threads together in this year of women's art. The social and critical histories professor at Leeds University also has 22 books to her name. As this is her final year in post before moving on to be professor emeritus at the same institution, it's an excellent culmination of contacts, guidance, and craftswomanship.
Via The Guardian
Visitors to the Marina Bay Sands ArtScience Museum in Singapore this season can experience an intense and spectacular display of digital art. Each visitor to the showing will provide input for the continually running software which creates the ambiently interactive display. The Way Of Birds exhibit demonstrates with moving lights how a flock of birds can navigate a complex geography without a defined leader. The flock of lights moves around the room in acrobatic patterns while avoiding the people among them.
The 19 individual exhibits express questions about life and death, climate change, and various other wonders of the universe. The theme of the entire array of technology is impermanence, offering a transient and user generated display that will depend on who is where and what they are doing. The Future World experience at the ArtScience Museum has been designed by several luminaries including teamLab. This international digital art collective have a large back-catalogue of science and art blends which inspire new generations of thinkers.
100 Years Sea is an exhibit designed to push home the effects of sea-level rising. By showing interactive graphics, the level of the water on bodies of land will change over time. By the end of the program, the idea is that 100 years of predicted sea-level rise based on current rising will be shown to drastically alter the way land-masses appear. Other less dramatic displays include a demonstration of cherry blossom forming and then falling like confetti. This cycle of birth, death, and change is what inspires many great works of art.
For people with mental health concerns, the mind is not a safe place. With continual input from the sub-conscious sea and the world at large, the learned thinking patterns continue to plague us. The travel from notion to notion, emotion to emotion, is seemingly random. Finding the strength to put up a resistance to the mental processes of depression, despair, and panic is not easy. We have to be super-human in order to be the black knight of our own thoughts. Often it takes two or more to really help a person begin thinking in more healthy ways.
Photographer and visionary artist Kate Miller-Wilson recently published a selection of self-portraits which show all of us how manic thoughts travel. Her series is titled Static and consists of double exposure photography. The thing which makes these stand out is that the second image is made by exposing the film to static electricity. The random flow of charge through the air as a spark catches is very similar to the striking anguish that mental-health issues can deliver. A sudden flash of multiple edged tension rips through the image of self in a metaphorical rush of anxiety.
Insulating the mind from this emotional pain is often a matter for a doctor, varying drugs can alleviate the symptoms. Learning new patterns of thought and finding the strength to stand up to and disagree with the painful offerings your mind produces is much easier when the noise is turned down. Perhaps these images can show those of us who have not experienced poor mental-health that it's not something we are able to control on our own. We need insulation, wires, and all kinds of components to get the voltage flowing in a way that helps.
You can see more images and read about how Kate Miller-Wilson achieved this in her article on PetaPixel.
Among Emptiness – Poignant Photography Depicting Classical Art With One Dark Commonality | Alternative Fruit
In a sparsely decorated viewing room in a museum is an exhibit named “A Strange New Beauty”. The display by Troy Brauntuch is simple, a selection of 32 prints are in plain and non-invasive frames. When looking at the images in the photos, viewers will see that the colours are inverted. The prints are done on beautiful gloss which seems to glow with luminosity. The images are of neoclassical nudes and stunning landscape paintings. When looking deeper into the images of academic interest, we can see that there is hardly anything there. Almost as if the displays were incomplete or thrown together without cultural thought, we wonder what the exhibition is trying to say. Strange indeed.
It's when we realise that these images are taken from Nazi Germany that things start to make sense. Images of the Fuehrer and his ominous logo have been avoided and in some cases scrubbed out of the photo. What is the artist trying to say? Perhaps it's a bit like astronomy. When we want to explore a star, we have to block out some of the light. It's too bright to see properly and only with filters can we get to know what we're looking at.
Astronomers use disks to cover the body of a star or the sun in order to view its atmosphere, and surrounding objects. When we block out the evil of the Nazi regime that we associate with its leaders and symbols, we're left with the human side of it. How helpless do you feel when your government does something you don't like? How many of us know how to oppose the actions of our leaders in a way that works? What if the opposition to leadership has been executed in your country? You'd not want that to happen to you.
The works in the photographs make us look at this period in time in the negative through a filter and it helps to dilute our feelings about it. When we can swallow the object, it makes it easier to digest and embody its truth. What is the truth in the Nazi period? What moral to the story is there? Is there anything positive we can learn from National Socialism once we filter out the bad things? Did the trains run on time?
These photos are of the so-called “Great German Art Exhibitions”, which showcased art made by commission from the Third Reich. Knowing that the aesthetic of each piece was due to a racist ideology perhaps changes the way we view them. If an evil person finds a beautiful woman beautiful, are we to deny her beauty? No, surely that's not fair. We have to transcend the initial desire to repel and allow ourselves to move beyond reactionary judgements.
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour”
Opening lines of Auguries of Innocence by William Blake
Prolific artist, photographer, writer, and all round creative maven Persephone Winter recently unleashed a selection of images called The Below Series. A stunning array of altered photographs depicts the floor we walk on in fantastic and artistically enriched detail. The same way a musician will add effects to their instruments to bring out unique timbre and quality, artists like Persephone Winter do the same thing to their captures. The addition of variant tones and adjustments of visual contrast gives rise to abstract and unique landscapes from almost alien worlds. They began as images taken of cement on the ground, the textures and gradients within the floor are almost always over-looked. These superb images help us to see that even our own door-step contains a universe of imaginative exploration.
Virtual Witness To Oppression – Online Canadian Blanket Depicts Tragedy Of Residential School System | Alternative Fruit
Pretty much every nation has a few stories in the history book that many would like to forget. Unfortunately, forgetting about things that make us uncomfortable only allows the circumstances to be repeated. No, we have to accept and learn then set a better example. How can we do the right thing in these cases? Honesty and openness seem to be the order of the day.
During Canadian history, between the years 1870 and 1996, young indigenous people from the area were forced to attend what was called Residential School. Here they were taken from the family and culture and subjected to a Western and White Canadian indoctrination. No-one was allowed to speak their mother tongue and their heritage was made to look irrelevant. How can we not take it personally when the essence of who we are is blatantly ignored?
Around 150,000 individuals were taken from their roots and forced to grow in a completely different soil. The way in which everything learned so far was shamed then replaced with new ideas that belittled the old had long lasting trauma and effected the self-esteem and self-worth of so many. Something that has been done by the Canadian people is to provide space for what's called The Witness Blanket.
This 12 meter long wooden structure holds many items from the Residential School Period. With letters, photos, bits of building, and other related items, an holistic picture of life in these times can be built in the mind. Originally toured around the country, Canadians from all over the nation have had the opportunity to see the artwork for themselves and pay respect to those it remembers. The piece was assembled by visual artist and university professor Carey Newman. Carey has Kwakwaka'wakw heritage.
Canada is huge. It also contains many areas that are a long way from modernity. In wilderness areas, people gladly make their home. It sounds lovely, we've all seen the viral posts about who wants to leave society and live in this cabin with me. For some the dream is real, and yes the hard work surely follows. It's a dream for a reason.
This fact of Canadian life means that so many people are simply unable to get to see valuable and important cultural artefacts like The Witness Blanket. In order to make sure it's truly for everyone, a version has been created in virtual reality. Sections were individually scanned and uploaded into a 3D display which allows people to visit online. With the use of VR goggles, we can even walk around and really study it.
Putting the 800 plus artefacts into one huge image took a lot of skill sets. Artists of course do not always know about building virtual reality space. Camosun Innovates is a VR college project based on Vancouver Island. These technicians have taken on the job of putting the blanket into digital. The mixture of donated and reclaimed possessions and objects is usually set behind see-through plastic but in the virtual reality version the items are available to reach out and touch.
We all deserve to experience art in multiple ways, and material that speaks directly to our own difficult past can be the most enlightening. By proudly showing off the piece, new generations can really get a sense of what responsibility feels like and how to handle the mistakes we inherit. When it's finished, people of the Canadian First Nations will be the first on the list to get involved.