PRIMORDIAL DREAM 1 (THE ANIMAL), CHINA

Region/Concept: East Asia, Myth
Sub-Concepts: Movement, Play, Abandonment, Flight
Description: Secretive graffiti artist DALeast leaves massive spray-painted images (mostly of animals) across the walls of global cities.

The Dream of Animality: one of the most ancient obsessions of human consciousness (the first gods were beasts). Myths of flight, of synchronous movement, muscular symmetry, the mastery of horizontal and vertical surfaces, predatory instinct, playfulness and lethal ability. And yet this perfect unity (of intention, design, action, and desire) is attained through an ability to become fragmented (to abandon, shatter, molecularize, decompose, and leave oneself). This is why every child’s tale of entrance into the liberated territories of animality (the forest, the jungle, wonderland) first requires a self-forgetting that breaks apart identity. Only then are the gifts of untamed beings seen in totems and cave paintings—realms of consumption, sensation, roaming, sleep, violence, and endless motion—made available to the human mind/touch. This art-form of postmodern vandalism thus ironically serves to resuscitate a primordial tradition of image-making: visions of flight, curvature, aeriality, and the unbound.

Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2392721/DALeast-Breathtaking-work-secretive-Chinese-graffiti-artist-world.html

Posted by: Jason Mohaghegh

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SORCERER’S CLOTH, BOLIVIA

Region/Concept: South America, Body (Costume)
Sub-concepts: Poverty, Healing, Excitation
Description: The popular and the religious collide in the diverse fashion of local healers.

Some days, when the circumstance calls for it, the human being stops being just a human being. The marvelous takes over. Invoking the marvelous simply means being able to astonish (but astonishing the other is not a simple matter). In the hills of Altiplano, colorful figures appear: the color of their garments differentiates them from the surrounding world of nature. For example: the bright red against the light grey of the fog. We see the opulence of masks and dresses in juxtaposition against the bleakness of rooms, the everyday poverty. But it is only here that the word luxury attains proper value, of excess in austerity, a distinctive splendor, and thus brightness, or light. Do not forget: the witch-doctors that wear them and transform into zoomorphic beings are still “doctors”. They heal by opening up the borders, physical and moral, taking one by the hand into the underground tunnels (the mines carved inside the hills). The world becomes paradoxically less differentiated (even though the garments and masks are over-pronounced) and thus horror and excitement ensue. The forbidden is formidable; the deceivers seductive. These basic formulas are so powerful that even after the objects and the garments are fully removed their humming presence remains.

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/23/waska-tatay_n_5611515.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Posted by: Dejan Lukic

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DEATH SIMULATION 2, JAPAN

Region/Concept: East Asia, Myth
Sub-Concepts: The Collector, Summoning, Abuse, Penalty, Infinitesimal Perishing
Description: Samurai stuntman Seizo Fukumoto has acted out approximately 50,000 deaths on screen.

The ultimate process; the undefeated process. One cannot pretend to die so many times without eventually incurring a mortal debt. Death is a ruthless collector; it would not allow its name to be called over and again in false offering. And so it is that this abusive summoning does not go unpunished (the hook remains). Rather, someone must pay the fair price for these playful cinematic depictions of the last breath. This actor knows better than to believe himself unscathed; he realizes (however distant the intuition) that some buried chamber of his being endures the penalty for each terminal scene before the camera. A field within him is burned; a voice within him is strangled; a man within him (a foreigner, stranger, or other, though still most intimate) is executed. No, the theater is not immune to consequence; he was never quite safe there, among the plastic weapons, nor did he make it out uncut or intact. The forces of radical negativity always ensure a certain taxation: each facial grimace, each feigned writhing or manufactured blood-spray, each final groan or pang or exhale, comes with its proper cost. The result: that our stuntman is overtaken by a kind of invisible leprosy—entire regions of Being, housed beneath the organs and the limbs, have been sold into decay and obliteration without notice (fallen away quietly). For his craft demanded that he perish in some silent, infinitesimal place every time he lost his life on screen. Something always weeps, grieves, cries out, goes under (though we never speak of it). The condemned sliver; the harmed particle; the unforgiven actor.

Link: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/aug/12/japan-most-killed-samurai-stuntman-seizo-fukumoto-prize

Posted by: Jason Mohaghegh

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DEATH AS WORKSHOP, MEXICO

Region/Concept: Latin America, Violence (Death)
Sub-concepts: Borders, Permeability, Necropolitics
Description: Artist Teresa Margolles employs traces of violent death to create artifacts and immersive environments.

Theory: Our lives are permeable to flows of capital and violence. Borders are militarized but porous. Life is disciplined but flexible. Mexico is an exemplary site of these contradictions. An art made of remnants becoming minor monuments. Quiet, subtle expressions of rage. Dispersion of fluids around and into the visitor as a mirror of the immersive nature of neoliberal capitalism. The remains of violence become cloudlike, ubiquitous.

Link: http://archiv2.fridericianum-kassel.de/margolles.html?&L=1

Posted by: Craig Epplin

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LINES OF FLIGHT, CARIBBEAN

Region/Concept: Caribbean, Movement (Flight)
Sub-concepts: Citation, Exile, Transport
Description: Novelist and performer Rita Indiana Hernández records lines of flight in the 2010 album El Juidero.

Many ways to flee—from one island to another, from merengue to rock, from Spanish to English. Flight from one Caribbean rhythm to another and from any musical source—Bob Marley, the Eurythmics, Patti Smith—to the songs on this album by Rita Indiana y los Misterios. The title track’s video, reminiscent of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” focuses on dark deeds carried out in seventies-era clothing. Everything in motion, the lyrics tell us about a real-life move from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, a border-crossing with no shared border. The circumstances of exile are translated into constant movement, translation, and borrowing (that seems more like stealing).

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBVLvIjBFko

Posted by: Craig Epplin

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LIVE SOUNDTRACK, CANADIAN ARCTIC

Region/Concept: North America, Body (Dubbing)
Sub-concepts: Exhaustion, Resonance, History
Description: Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq creates a live soundtrack for the 1922 silent film Nanook of the North.

A famous scene in Nanook stages an encounter with a phonograph—a scene deliberately rehearsed to make the protagonist seem naïve when faced with the stored sounds on the disk. Funny, since that was the same technology that Edison had failed to fully integrate with moving pictures. We watch the phonograph instead of hearing it, while the man on screen feigns wonder as he listens. Until another sort of stored sound emerges, this time Tagaq’s live soundtrack, which both dramatizes the physical heroism of this early documentary and reveals the singer’s own effort and extenuation. The film ends up being dubbed in some way–not just by the voice and other instruments, but also by the physicality of the singer on stage.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV-YQSQ1_FE

Posted by: Craig Epplin

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THE POWER OF A CURSE, ITALY/CONGO

Region/Concept: West Europe, Myth (Curse)
Sub-Concepts: Fairytale, Racism, Politics
Description: Italian right-wing politician and former minister claims he has been cursed (as revenge for his vulgar racist statement) by a sorcerer in Congo.

Who is to say that the snake did not materialize from the interiority of the minister? That it did not curl out as the very modality of his ethnocentric delirium, affirming the world that favors transmutations in which there are no solid forms and where strange animals can transpire out of certain emotions? A world not separated into distinct objects that have nothing in common, but where things are seething, churning, and swelling into inexplicable occurrences; where every negative utterance is therefore an informal curse, a metabolic principle that eats away the unprotected interiority of the person who receives it, no less than, albeit more imperceptibly, it eats the curser himself. This is an ancient problem of health, where sentiments of the society fold into sentiments of the individual, just as the outside folds into the inside, thoroughly following the logic of the fairytale, the power of which is only seemingly enclosed inside children’s books. In reality, the more it is dismissed the stronger it becomes, because it lives not outside our world, but rather, it is our world (the world as a spell that needs to be broken). Hence a fable at the heart of contemporary politics of the crudest kind.

Link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/italys-deputy-senate-speaker-who-compared-countrys-first-black-minister-to-an-orangutan-claims-he-is-cursed-by-african-spirits-after-spell-of-bad-luck-9695231.html

Posted by: Dejan Lukic

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