Minimalist Star Wars (Original Trilogy)
I’m very happy with how this series turned out. The hardest one for me this time (by far) was the green one on the far right of the second row.
Can you figure out who all of the characters are?
Heart, “Barracuda,” 1977
In 1977, Heart released its first album, Dreamboat Annie to wild success. However, in a publicity stunt, their record label, Mushroom, began implying in an advertisement in Rolling Stone magazine that the lead singer and the guitarist Ann and Nancy Wilson were not actually sisters, but were lovers.
When Ann was confronted about the rumor by a reporter, she stormed back to her hotel room, where she wrote these lyrics likening herself to a porpoise being chased by a merciless barracuda. For example:
You lying so low in the weeds
I bet you gonna ambush me
You’d have me down down down down on my knees
Now, wouldn’t you, barracuda?
When the 2008 Republican National Convention used the song as a musical introduction to Sarah Palin, the Wilson sisters clarified why they were so against the use of their song in this context:
The song “Barracuda” was written in the late 70’s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The “barracuda” represented the business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there’s irony in Republican strategists’ choice to make use of it there.
Cassidy Bingham, “Speculums,” 2014
For artist Cassidy Bingham, gender has never been an easy subject. She was born with Uterus didelphys, which means that she was born with two small vaginas and two small uteri. This makes penetrative sex difficult and has made Bingham feel uncomfortable with her own identity.
Brilliantly, she chose altered speculums here to represent her identity. They are used ironically here, a tool which opens being used to represent how different and closed-off she feels from the world.
I have wanted to let lovers into my body and heart, but have lacked the ability to let them in. I have contained myself from dreaming of making a family, since I have yet to know if my body can bear a child. This condition has contained me from fully embodying the female being I feel that I am.
The first is a typical speculum, designed for a typical vagina. The second symbolizes the artist herself, with two small beaks for her vaginas. The third has had its beak removed and is therefore non-functional, one which cannot be used to open one up, representing her own struggles with intimacy and feelings of inadequacy.
I’m so impressed not only with the degree of technical skill such alterations would take, but also for the incredible bravery this piece took to create and display.
Esther Honig, “Before and After,” 2014
This fascinating look at cross-cultural standards of beauty is brilliant in its simplicity. Honig simply asked freelance Photoshop artists from 25 different countries to use Photoshop to “make me beautiful.” These are the results.
Above are (by row):
The original, untouched photo
Bangladesh and Bulgaria
Two from the Philippines
Two from the USA
Morocco and India
For me, this is a fascinating project, not just because it’s so interesting to compare standards of beauty across cultures, but also because this project is such a simple, powerful idea, beautifully executed.
In the U.S. Photoshop has become a symbol of our society’s unobtainable standards for beauty. My project, Before & After, examines how these standards vary across cultures on a global level…Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more elusive.
View the rest on her website here.
I like this video a lot. It’s like an angrier, funnier version of my “Take a Five Minute Break" from 2010.
Meg Dattoria, “Fidget,” 2014
My Kid Could Paint That (2007)
Andrew Fishman, “Figures,” 2008-2010
London Black Revolutionaries, “Homes Not Spikes,” 2014
I was really hoping that someone would do something like this. In response to the recent wave of "anti-homeless" devices being installed in London, the London Black Revolutionaries, a “black and Asian revolutionary socialist group,” decided to destroy some of the more visible ones.
They poured concrete onto the spikes and left them intentionally ugly so that the store owners couldn’t just pretend it hadn’t happened.
I’m excited to see what else this group has in store; they’re also working on “campaigns against police brutality and institutional racism, the bedroom tax, anti-eviction resistance…”
Shortly after they did this, stores all over London removed the spikes. It’s likely this was due to the overwhelming backlash online, but I’d like to believe that much of it was a result of this brilliant campaign as well.
Like them on Facebook here.