Morocco

I have arrived home from Morocco and it has been a hectic past few weeks! Just before leaving for Fez and Marrakesh I was not only dealing with the stresses of starting a new job and completing uni assignments but the unexpected death of my grandfather from just a week before. Although, obviously, the passing of a family member is always a horrific experience, there was comfort in knowing I was to spend the next two weeks with the comfort of family.

To get to Fez took 26+ hours, and was an immediate culture shock even simply getting off the plane and getting to where we were staying. Firstly, it was boiling (35-45 degrees most days. Secondly, just seeing with my own eyes a place with such poverty was saddening but overwhelming. People were outside in the sweltering heat, doing anything from pretending to be taxi drivers, to selling fruit on the side of the road, in order to make money. Thirdly, the amount of satellite dishes EVERYWHERE was absolutely insane.

Over the next week we stayed in the middle of the Medina in Fez, where there is no cars and is extremely busy with restaurants, markets and shops. It is too easy to get lost within the small, winding streets, and even locals admit they’ll sometimes get lost within them. At first, I found walking through the souk markets intimidating, not only from how seriously congested they were, but from every effort every shop owner would take in order for you to buy something off them. From sweet talking about how “beautiful” you are, to dressing you up in their products, shop owners will try to coax you into buying anything. their specialties however are leather goods, rugs and metal, which were beautifully made and presented in the old shops.

We also went to the tannery, where the leather goods are made, dyed and sold and witnessed the grueling work put into making the products.

We spent most days exploring, and once arriving in Marrakesh did the same. In some areas, it is much more modern than Fez, but the Medina in which we were staying wasn’t. One night we spent on the outskirts of the Sahara desert, in a small camp, and it required a 2 hour camel ride to get there (never doing that again). n the way home we were introduced to a camel who refused to drink anything but coke, sprite and beer.

My favorite places in Marrakesh was the Casaba that only a few people still lived in and was virtually just used now as a film set, and the memorial gardens for designer Yves Saint-Laurent. They were both so tranquil and luscious escapes from the fast paced, busy, dusty and dirty environments you are surrounded by, and ultimately beautiful comparisons.

Overall the trip left me comparing my experiences and life at home, to what it would be like living in Morocco. Absolutely everything is different, to how people interact with one another, clothing and the requirement to be covered up, lack of money and funding, severe importance of religion etc. The subject I focused capturing however, was the life of the animals in Morocco – in particular the abundance of “stray” cats. How they are treated and their surrounding environments is what I aimed to capture and document, throughout my time in Morocco.

If I were a gif

It’d probably be something like a real life “Debbie”, played by actress Cara Hartmann, who became a youtube sensation. She received over 18 million views, in 2011, for her love of cats in an “eHarmony dating video”. How do I know this oh-so-valuable information? www.http://knowyourmeme.com/ – a huge database and hilarious website full of videos, memes, gifs etc. that have become sensations through the web.

“Trending” images and videos keep one up to date on what the latest popular videos/memes/images are, however the search is a useful tool to discretely find those jokes you’re seemingly missing out on (yes, I used it to search “nek minnit” after it constantly being used in everyone’s grand final statues/tweets).

The profile information of each video/meme/image is extensive, including sections; About, Origin, Spread, Notable Derivations, a graph of Search Interest, External References, Recent Videos and Recent Images, relating to the particular search interest.

The entire website is hilariously interesting, as is their discussion at the web 2.0 expo on web culture.

web 2.0: know your meme

About face

Image

Image

“What counts as human in this post human world? How do we rethink the unity of the human subject, without reference to humanistic beliefs, without dualistic oppositions, linking instead body and mind in a new flux of self? What is the view of the self that is operational in the world of the “informatics of domination”? 

What if we could choose what we looked like? Is this what living in a post human world would be like? What if changing our appearance was as simple as creating an avatar or a character for an online game? With the current use of photo shop to edit images of people, it is that simple. We can change the whole appearance of someone to create something completely unrealistic and are exposed to hundreds of these images on a daily basis.

Magazines, catalogues and advertisements are all forms of media in which photo shopped images of men and women with flawless skin, slim bodies with no imperfections and glossy, perfectly styled hair are continuously used, in order to sell products and convince us as a mass audience that what we are viewing is real. However these images are not real, we know they’re not real, but the continuous exposure to the images alters our sense of beauty and the ideals of perfection,

Retouching is becoming more extreme. They are no longer making perfect skin; they are making impossible human beings. They are moving us, slowly and surely, in the direction of an over-idealised notion of beauty. If you are exposed to these images all the time your notion of a baseline is gone. They move the line of reality. What is real becomes the published reality. (Farid 2011)

We are constantly drilled with what is “right” and what is “wrong” when it comes to our own appearances and sold the idea we can change our flaws using products and surgery, but what if we were able to completely choose how we looked? With avatars and online gaming this is a virtual reality and it is why I have chosen to photo shop the image of myself the way I have. Although it doesn’t fit with the “ideal” of what a “perfect” woman would look like in a magazine or advertisement, it demonstrates the creativity and freedom we can use to represent ourselves in a virtual world and use technology to alter our appearances to something completely unrealistic and to the extreme.

People viewing the photo shopped image of myself would instantly recognize it is not real, and that is my ultimate intention, to make evident how a photo shopped image of one’s self does not just merely have to be about removing unwanted blemishes and imperfections and creating a flawless “ideal of beauty”. Like creating an avatar, I have chosen my skin, eye, hair and lip colour and used technology as an escape of reality to my actual appearance. I believe it is only a matter of time until this is actually possible, “Living in a post human world is not going to be that much different than living in the human world except we’ll have perfect bodies, except we’ll be ageless. We will become the gods that we once feared” (Kaku 2011)

 

Farid H 2011, “Exposed: Software reveals how much photos have been retouched”, The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2011/nov/29/exposed-software-reveals-photos-retouched

Kaku M,2011, “Living in a Post Human World”, Big Think  http://bigthink.com/ideas/38580

Toffoletti, K 2007, “Cyborgs and Barbie dolls: feminism, popular culture and the posthuman body”

 

VIDEO: You Decide – Are Cats Better Than Dogs?

Brian Adams PR

The battle has been waged for centuries: dogs versus cats. For many years the canine side has possessed an obvious size advantage, except in Mexico, yet the felines flourish. Why?

In the fight for supremacy the two factions have manipulated the emotions of their owners, forcing humans to take sides and offer protection. The population has nurtured their favorites, providing them with refuge, sustenance, and in some cases even monthly grooming visits. In some cases cats and dogs even live together, having forgotten their oaths to battle each other until only one is invited to sleep on the bed of their owner.

The old wounds are reopening and we are headed to a confrontation for which few humans are prepared. The war has been renewed and as the video below proves, the first shot has been fired across the bow of those preferring their canine companions.

On which side will…

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Assignment: Inside Out

Dr Charles Rice can be quoted as saying that “one of the interesting things about interiors is that they are changeable and adaptable” (Rice By Design 2006), and this is exactly what my mother would want you to remember, as you view my image of my interior space. Although the interior could easily be changed with fresh new carpet, a few coats of paint and finished with matching décor and furniture, it simply hasn’t over the past two years, due to the current occupancy of a male. This image indicates the inhabitancy of the space, by a teenage boy, through the apparent essential technological and comfort requirements of an interior living space, and coincidentally reiterates the idea that “television has taken such a central role in domestic life” (Rice By Design 2006).  Although it has now transitioned into a male dominated private space, the interiors also demonstrate a history; the existence of occupancy before this.

The fake tanned and make up stained carpet, and paint scratched walls, are the remnants of my prior ownership to this interior space, but my brother has no concerns of these being present. As long as he has the functionality of space to play video games, and a place to “get away” with friends or alone, the interior serves its purpose. This male dominated room has the ability to become a private space in the house; it is generally closed off and hidden from guests, and windows drawn from the view of the neighbours.

When I lived in this interior space, my furniture, furnishings and personal belongings made it my ideal bedroom space due to personal preferences and ideals of what I find aesthetically pleasing, “the collector proves to be the true resident of the interior” (Rice 2004). However without these objects and décor, although a functional and comfortable space to someone else, to me, it has become a visually unappealing, bleak and empty, interior space, reiterating Rice’s point that an interior “is also not simply spatial, but is equally an image-based phenomenon” (Rice 2004).

 

By Design, radio program, ABC Radio National, 2006

Rice, C. 2004, ‘Rethinking histories of the interior’, The Journal of Architecture, Vol.9, No.3, pp.275-278

EDELSCOPE.COM

The surrealism of dreams with the array of whimsical fantasies, unexpected plot and a captivating palette of colors depicts a specific allegory of a journey. A journey to the depth of our souls and minds, sometimes tiring, sometimes restful. The “One Dream” is an idyllic fashion story captured by Bosung Kim for VogueKorea that unveils the parable of dreamy travelling through the fascinating world of fairy tales, books, idyllic weddings, exotic sites . The model Ji Hye Park  traverses the various areas of the daydreaming world on the small boat with the assist of excellent styling enriched with succulent coloration and patterns.

Credits:

Vogue Korea June 2012
Editorial: “One Dream”
Model: Ji Hye Park
Photography: Bosung Kim
Styling: Seo YoungHui

Images via

Check also “ONE DREAM” BY BOSUNG KIM FOR VOGUE KOREA JUNE 2012 gallery:

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inspiration art diary

Alban Grosdidier

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drowning is a project that talks about the feeling of submersion that you can have living in a big city. There are as many ways of dealing with it that there are people, and therefore there are as many portraits waiting to be done.

The first portrait was presented on the borders of the river Seine in January 2012 and the second part of the series was showcased for an afternoon along the canal Saint Martin in July 2012.

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