U2's thirteenth studio album Songs Of Innocence was released for free download via iTunes this week (with surprisingly good reviews and some naysayers). And of course, some controversy about how it was distributed... But it's been 5 1/2 years since the release of their last album. What on earth have they been up in the meantime? [more inside]
Daylight Firework Compilation from around the world, a very different display. If rain or hurricanes are putting a damper on your Independence Day pyrotechnics, check out Sergio Paolelli, Festival San Trifone - Adelfia 2013 for a spectacular 25 minute daylight show with a breathtaking finale. Also from Adelfia 2013, a grounds-eye view of the wild Batteria Sanseverese.
Fifty years on, we're still coming to terms with Guy Debord's 1967 situationist text, The Society of the Spectacle. Debord presented an eerily-accurate portrait of our image-saturated, mediated times. You can find all kinds of insights into the spectacle of 2014, from Instagram and viral marketing to hipster culture and personal brands. Fittingly, he also did it with a series of short, aphoristic sections that could almost be described as proto-tweets. Leveraging the Tumblr aesthetic, Ryan Oakley has created an Illustrated Society of the Spectacle (start there, then click "Newer Post" to progress.) The images aim to resonate with Debord's text, rather than provide on-the-nose illustrations. NSFW. [more inside]
Perhaps you watched the documentary Room 237 and were intrigued by the version screened by Brooklyn's Spectacle Theater simultaneously superimposing The Shining played forwards and backwards. Here's a 13-minute excerpt from the middle and a tumblr with numerous screenshots throughout the film. [more inside]
"the idea of viral videos, and the huge audiences they generate, have forever changed the values and potential impact of video online."
35 full-length Viennese Actionist films 1957-1969. *NSFW* (Extreme graphic & scatological situations.) "The term Viennese Actionism describes a short and violent movement in 20th century art that can be regarded as part of the many independent efforts of the 1960s to develop 'action art' (Fluxus, Happening, Performance, Body Art, etc.)." Previously: 1, 2. [more inside]
What you see here is a prime example of what happens to film that is neglected and improperly stored. This is an original reel from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World that is now untouchable. The film has turned acidic, sporting the strongest and most foul vinegar-like odor I have ever smelled. In fact, Robert Harris told me a story of how his contact lenses were singed by the fumes the film produced, causing temporary retinal damage to his eye. [more inside]
"One might be tempted to say that the LFL is a startling critique of the homoerotic undertones that are rife within men’s American Football. Indeed American Football’s hyper-masculine qualities, its predilection for tight trousers, bottom patting and suggestive positional names (‘tight end’) have long made it an easy target for artists, theorists, critics, or anyone who is not American. Yet while to claim such satirical depths for the LFL would be disingenuous, what the LFL does achieve is equally subversive." Highbrow British art magazine Frieze discovers the Lingerie Football League. Warning: pictures on both links are NSFW.
In the early days of the occupation of Iraq, a "gathering of antagonists to capital and empire" known as the Retort Collective published Afflicted Powers, a contentious analysis of September 11th and its aftermath grounded in the Situationist concepts developed by Guy Debord in The Society of the Spectacle. Two lengthy excerpts can be read online: an introduction to the war as a "struggle for mastery in the realm of the image", and a critique of the "Blood for Oil" argument. [more inside]
Feeling nostalgic for those old school Soviet shindigs? Westerners are welcome to North Korea's Arirang Mass Games. Tickets are on sale now. Will tourist dollars/euros be the undoing of North Korea?
The Sultan's Elephant. A 42-ton wooden elephant materialises on the streets of London, thanks to Royal de Luxe (previously). The BBC has lots of background, including video (obligatory YouTube link). More from TimeOut and The Guardian.
Not Ready for Their Close-Up. Quote: "On the brighter side, TV will lose a certain amount of its power over us - I can promise you that. HD won't do advertisements quite the same way. Ask any Catholic priest, or Jung, or Scott McLoud about the power of icons, and they'll explain it the same way. Too much detail, and they lose their ability to induce our identification."