Following up on the censorship and removal of Ai Weiwei’s Gangnam Style parody video, sculptor Anish Kapoor along with colleagues, friends, artists, and museums have collaborated on this video, “Gangnam Style to Freedom” to demonstrate solidarity and create awareness for artists and expressionists who have been prosecuted for their work. Galleries and museums from around the world have contributed clips to the video, while the majority of it is shot in an unknown gallery space displaying the names of artists who have been prosecuted by law for expressing particular values, critiques, and criticisms in their work.
The significance of Gangnam Style here has little to do with the original video, and more to do with solidarity through replication. Ai Weiwei’s video was removed from the internet within 24 hours by the Chinese government, and Kapoor has used the cultural timeliness of Gangnam Style to replace Ai’s video, while commenting on the importance of human rights within the world of arts.
Reilly Hodgson is an analog photographer living in the Parkdale area of Toronto, Canada. He photographs his peers, landscapes, skateboarding culture, and the coming of age of youth that surround him. He is the co-founder of Blood Of The Young Zine, and the creative director at No Fun Press. He has been featured in many photo shows and publications, most notably he was featured in a fall issue of Color Magazine.
His work, along with his partner Dimitri Karakostas contributes largely to the zine community in Ontario, and abroad, having recently released Blood Of The Young #100. They work with contributors and friends to release zines and put on photo shows on a regular basis. BOTY has gained an international following that seems to remain overwhelming to Reilly. In an interview with Studio Beat, he says, “I’m a punk kid. I don’t know business worth hell. It’s all self-taught. I’m pretty good at branding because I grew up writing on stuff. Graffiti is a ridiculous work ethic and marketing teacher. Half the things I know about branding and marketing is just graffiti 101.”
**Photos from Studio Beat
Tanner atop 538 Johnson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. May, 2012.
Photos by me.
Untitled (wax strips and hair)
Part of Patricia Ann Alvarado’s Untitled (bodily sculptures) series
Alvarado works primarily by integrating pubic hair (often her own) with different types of media in an effort to challenge traditional notions of gender performance and beauty construction. Previously she has added her own pubic hair to images from Playboy magazine titling the series, “There!”. Another series of hers titled “Lol, Gurl Wut R U Hiding” is comprised of multiple self portraits that use everyday items to cover the artist’s facial birthmark. Her current series, “I thought you said you liked long hair…” uses close-up photography of unshaven or unwaxed body hair.
Her work shows consistency and innovation across each project, maintaining an explicit commentary on the regulation of women’s bodies through socially constructed ideologies.
Gypsy covering Archers of Loaf-Web In Front at the Title Fight record release show in Warrior Run, PA.
Title Fight-Head In The Ceiling Fan/Numb But I Still Feel It
Last month, some friends and I made the trip down to Wilkes-Barre, Pa and later, Philadelphia for some gigs. We left late Friday morning and drove straight through the Pennsylvanian hills (some of my favourite landscapes on east coast America) until we got to Warrior Run. This town is a tiny, blink-and-you-miss-it kind of place just outside of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Title Fight had recently put out their second LP titled “Floral Green” and decided to put on their own record release show at the community fire hall in Warrior Run.
"Floral Green" is without a doubt an evolution of the band’s sound. The first time I heard Title Fight, I wasn’t that into them. I thought they were a bit poppy and I was listening to either shoegaze, or east coast hardcore and west coast punk at the time. The band members are about my age and released their demo in 2003 when they were all between 13 and 15. In 2009 when I told my parents I was camping in Welland (sorry mom), I drove to Long Island for a gig that Title Fight was on. Their fan base was huge, and incredibly energetic, but I still wasn’t that into them. It took me until the 2011 release of "Shed", their first LP to really appreciate them. For me, "Shed" was something cohesive and consistent, and it finally worked it’s way into heavy rotation on my turntable. Since the 2011 release of "Shed", TF has seemed to focus on the sound that they have which is something that weaves between post-hardcore, early emo, and melodic punk. The duelling vocals of Ned Russin and Jamie Rhoden are merging more than ever on this release, while the tracks are a little less stand-outish and tend to blend across the album.
What is most significant about TF is what was present at their record release show. The scene around Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is something you don’t find too often in alternative music scenes. The record release was held on October 19th, in Warrior Run. Tickets sold out within minutes of the online sale, bringing in fans from multiple realms of alternative music. The locals and members of bands playing the gig helped out with renting the hall, setting up the stage, doing the sound, and organizing parking. It was pretty humbling to be in a venue with more people than the population of the town and hear announcements regarding respecting the neighbourhood and not parking near anyone’s home.
Grey Zine, Gypsy, Tigers Jaw, Foundation, and The Menzingers played the show. Gypsy covered Archers of Loaf, and Title Fight covered The Misfits for halloween. The lineup had a pretty good mix of bands allowing the audience to watch a few bands, and hangout intermittently picking who they wanted to watch. People always ask me why I drive so far for a concert that costs less than my hourly wages, or how I have friends in different cities. It’s hard and often impossible to explain to someone I might call a “normie” what alternative subculture is like. It’s a community that’s worth crossing borders for, and in the long run, much more affordable than heading to nearby Toronto for a $150 concert that looks more like cirque du soleil than musicianship.
Hopefully I can make it to Christian Marcklay’s “The Clock” exhibit before it closes in Toronto. I’ll leave you with this clip, and story from the New Yorker about the process and background of this project. Expect some form of response if I make it to the Powerplant.
Today’s class reminded me that not only are my peers generally uninformed as to what a zine is, but also that there is a possibility they may hold some interest in zine culture once informed.
A zine most often appears in print form and is an ephemeral piece of literature, photography, art, dialogue, or a combination of all. They are most prominent in alternative arts and music based scenes, and act as a source of information, review, and display. Zines essentially have no rules in regards to size, production, or content. They are most commonly printed on full, half, or quarter sized printer paper, assembled with DIY ethics. They are circulated by hand, or through small (often radical) book and info shops, as well as online shops such as Etsy or Bigcartel.
I wouldn’t suggest that zine makers are “rock critics” as the article suggested, but rather cultural arbiters to some degree. A zine-maker makes a conscious decision on how to write, layout, and distribute their material, which allows the audience to gain an authentic sense of the author’s interests, opinions, and values. The temporal quality of zines gives the writer an opportunity to grow within their authorial voice, and make shifts in the content.
You can find music fanzines, along with a collection of activist or political zines at the OPIRG library on campus. The library also has some material on zines, and zine making.