After the triumph of OK Computer, Radiohead fell into a creative tailspin -- and frontman Thom Yorke into a nervous breakdown. Exhausted from touring, hounded by press, and jaded by copycats, he escaped into the electronica scene pioneered by Kraftwerk and Warp Records -- fertile ground, the band discovered. Trading spacey rock for apocalyptic brooding, they teased their new sound not with singles or music videos but with innovative web streaming and cryptic, dreamlike "blips" -- winterlands, flocks of cubes, eyeballs, bears. After nearly breaking up over tracklist angst, they cut the kid in half. Thus fifteen years ago today, Kid A and (later) Amnesiac debuted, a confounding mix of electronic fugue, whalesong, pulsing IDM, drunken piano, and epic jazz funeral whose insights into anxiety, political dysfunction, and climate crisis would make it one of the most revered albums of the twenty-first century. See the documentary Reflections on Kid A for interviews and live cuts, or look inside for much more. [more inside]
'I'm a White Girl': Why 'Girls' Won't Ever Overcome Its Racial Problem-an article from The Atlantic with several interesting links on the larger issue of including (or not) black characters into American television.
Manning Marrable is dead. Author of a controversial biography of Malcolm X, he was a Marxist professor who wrote regular columns such as this one. Unfortunately, manningmarable.net, a collection of his columns, is no longer up, but he was an influential scholar (Mandatory Wikipedia Link). [more inside]
Dan Tague is an artist who takes pictures of dollar bills after folding them to spell out political messages and social commentary. Additional galleries linked on the left of his page. Some of his work is in NYC this week as part of the VOLTA Art Fair.
Microaggressions. This blog seeks to provide a visual representation of the everyday of “microaggressions.” Each event, observation and experience posted is not necessarily particularly striking in and of themselves. Often, they are never meant to hurt - acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects. Instead, their slow accumulation during a childhood and over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult. Social others are microaggressed hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.
What Matters (Flash based) is a book published in 2008 combining imagery and essays to tell stories highlighting contemporary issues benefiting from both images and text. The book was edited and curated by David Elliot Cohen (Wikipedia) including 17 essays (TOC, pdf) covering such issues as the Price of Oil Addiction (pdf) and Shop till You Drop (pdf). The complete book is available for free as a series of PDF documents. [more inside]
James Patten creates interactive works in diverse media with themes including performance and social commentary. Projects include Tactile Photography and, most impressive to me, The Audio Pad.
The City of God (#29 IMDB top 250) is a film about life in Brazilian "favelas" (shantytowns) where poverty, drugs, violence and crime rule the streets. At murder rates of more than 40 per 100,000, one person shot every 30 minutes in the city, Rio ranks as the world's most dangerous places along with Cali, Colombia and Johannesburg, South Africa. Rio has over 600 favelas and the crime and violence is becoming so bad corporations are fleeing the city while the military is under direct assault and the prison system is breaking down. Favela guided tours available or see the movie available now on DVD.