Ten years ago today saw the English launch of a quirky Japanese puzzler, a sleeper hit that would go down as one of the most endearing, original, and gleefully weird gaming stories of the 2000s: Katamari Damacy. Its fever-dream plot has the record-scratching, Freddie Mercury-esque King of All Cosmos destroy the stars in a drunken fugue, and you, the diminutive Prince, must restore them with the Katamari -- a magical sticky ball that snowballs through cluttered environments, rolling up paperclips, flowerpots, cows, buses, houses, skyscrapers, and continents into new constellations. It also boasts one of the most infectiously joyous soundtracks of all time -- an eccentric, richly produced, and incredibly catchy blend of funk, salsa, bossa nova, experimental electronica, J-Pop, swing, lounge, bamboo flute, hair metal, buoyant parade music, soaring children's choirs, Macintalk fanfares, and the finest theme song this side of Super Mario Bros. Called a consumerist critique by sculptor-turned-developer Keita Takahashi (who after one sequel moved on to Glitch, the supremely odd Noby Noby Boy, and playground design), the series has inspired much celebration and thought [2, 3] on its way from budget bin to MoMA exhibit. Look inside for essays, artwork, comics, lyrics, more music, hopes, dreams... my, the internet really is full of things. [more inside]
The 100 Greatest Painters in Western History (according to the editors of This Recording). [more inside]
Why Art? Australian ABC Arts critic, theatre blogger and author, Alison Croggon, looks at public funding of the arts - and argues for more of it. "In a survey that looked at participation in visual arts and crafts, music, dance, theatre and literature – that is, the key art forms supported by the Australia Council – 38 per cent of Australians describe themselves as art lovers, for whom the arts are an integral part of their lives. Only 17 per cent report estrangement, believing that the arts attract pretentious elites, and a tiny 7 per cent feel no connection at all. Overall, 93 per cent of Australians reported engaging with the arts in the previous year. In 2009, more people attended art galleries (11 million) than went to the football (10 million)."
"The internationalized art world relies on a unique language. Its purest articulation is found in the digital press release. This language has everything to do with English, but it is emphatically not English. It is largely an export of the Anglophone world and can thank the global dominance of English for its current reach. But what really matters for this language—what ultimately makes it a language—is the pointed distance from English that it has always cultivated. " - Triple Canopy magazine on why do artists' statments and press releases sound so utterly odd and confusing.
We might not get laughed out of the room, but the question is: would we want to be stuck in it with some guy who would ask: Since we already have Aristophanes, who needs Kurtzman? Since we have Erasmus of Rotterdam, why would we want Steve Martin? With Wagner still available, who cares about the Firehouse Five? Furthermore, would we let that guy organize the party music?Eddie Campbell on fallacies of comics criticism.
What appears at first to be taking a more stringent view is in fact applying irrelevant criteria. It dismantles the idea of a comic and leaves the parts hopelessly undone.
10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 (a collaborative book by Nick Montfort, Patsy Baudoin, John Bell, Ian Bogost (previously, previously, previously), Jeremy Douglass, Mark C. Marino, Michael Mateas (of Facade), Casey Reas, Mark Sample and Noah Vawter) uses a single line of code as a basis for pontificating on creative computing and the impact of software in popular culture. 10 PRINT's content is available as a PDF (50 MB). Pictures via Casey Reas' Flickr.
Julian Cope's "Album of the Month" series brims with personal, passionate, and often mind-expanding writing about records like James Brown's The Payback, Nico's The Marble Index, and a bunch of stuff you've never heard of. (previously) [more inside]
Loudly and with much smashing, FilmCritHulk has become a major presence in the world of online film criticism with his semiotical essays on storytelling, cinematic principles, and media theory. Starting first on his personal blog, Hulk now writes for Badass Digest [previously] (the lifestyle blog corner of the Alamo Drafthouse empire [previously, previously]) [more inside]
The poet and translator Kenneth Rexroth, one of the central figures in the San Francisco Renaissance, only wrote prose for money. But he did it very well. (way previously) [more inside]
it was street art until the preservation team showed up... banksy drops a piece in a derelict factory site in detroit. a local grass-roots gallery removes it to their hq for safe keeping. people go nuts.
Martha Nussbaum reviews three recent books on Shakespeare and philosophy. The essay offers an excellent analysis of love in Antony and Cleopatra and Othello, and an excellent discussion of the interaction between philosophy and literature. [more inside]
Where's Waldo? Reflections on Copies and Authenticity in a Digital Environment. Consider for a moment The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction (JSTOR PDF here) by Douglas Davis. Alternatively, of course there is The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction (alternative link) by Robert Luxemberg. Not to be outdone, Charles Alexander Moffat recently added to the discussion with The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction. I hope all of the authors mentioned were able to make it to the ATA's fundraiser last year called The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction. Some people are willing to admit that it's not just all about the Benjamin^.
What Good Are the Arts? asks John Carey’s recent book of the same name. The New Criterion think Carey’s thesis is informed by cynical political motives rather than earnest convictions, and accuses Carey of dabbling in the risky art of aesthetic relativism: Obviously, art is ultimately about “the search for truth” (a lesson we’d do well to remember before society falls apart). But as Carey and others point out to the contrary, the Third Reich was all about art—and yet, art under the Third Reich had precious little to do with “searching for truth.” So just what good are the arts? Here’s what a few others have to say on the subject.
MoMA Free Tomorrow for New York MeFi Readers! Well, everyone, actually. The Museum of Modern Art in New York reopens tomorrow and graciously offers a day of free entrance for all. Your chance to avoid the much-criticized $20 admission (views: con, pro-fessional, mayoral). Even good old free-admission Fridays bear the price tag of aggressive name-branding [paragraph 6] by an image-crazy donor (it's not charity anymore if it's advertising, folks, much less design-heady classiness-by-association). Some reports (scroll) from the press preview.
Real Cinephiles Prefer Reading "Cahiers du Cinema" to Going to the Movies: I stopped reading Cahiers du Cinema - the famously dogmatic French film journal where Godard, Truffaut, Resnais and Rohmer cut their teeth - a few years ago, when it got too arty-farty for its own good. Well, it's slowly becoming essential again. Their website is trés chic, intelectually challenging and a welcome antidote to the usual online movie-reviewing clowns. Or is it still a load of pretentious rubbish? (In French, but with a lovely intro, lots of cool stills and a Quicktime interview, in English, with underrated director Paul Verhoeven)