Monday, 29 February 2016

Illusions In Motion

Illusions In Motion
Illusions In Motion, by Erkki Huhtamo, is the first comprehensive history of the moving panorama, which, as the author demonstrates, was a significant departure from conventional static panoramas: "Instead of being surrounded by a stationary wrap-around painting, the spectators sat in an auditorium. A long roll painting was moved across... by means of a mechanical cranking system."

These events were early examples of multi-media spectacles: "The presentation was accompanied by a lecturer, music, and occasionally light and sound effects." In this respect, they were antecedents of Japanese kamishibai (performed by kamishibaiya), and silent film screenings in Japan and France (narrated by 'benshi' and 'bonimenteurs', respectively).

Moving panoramas were influenced by Chinese landscape scroll paintings (the most famous being 清明上河圖, reproduced in A World History Of Art) and Japanese 'emaki' narrative scrolls (discussed in Dietrich Seckel's book Emakimono). Illusions In Motion surveys a hundred years of moving panoramas, from their beginnings in the early nineteenth century (the hybrid 'peristrephic' panorama, with its concave display) to their demise: "After the First World War the moving panorama's era was over."

There have been previous studies of panoramas, notably Stephan Oettermann's The Panorama (1997) and Bernard Comment's The Panorama (2002; reprinted as The Painted Panorama), though they devote only a few pages to moving panoramas. (Huhtamo speculates that this is because Oettermann and Comment are both continental Europeans, while the moving panorama was primarily a British and American phenomenon.)

Huhtamo's book, like Oettermann's, contains only black-and-white illustrations. (Most of Huhtamo's photographs illustrate objects from his own collection.) Oettermann's book was the first English-language history of panoramas. Comment's work is less comprehensive, though it has colour illustrations and even fold-out panoramas.

Huhtamo discusses the moving panorama's relationship to other media and entertainment, such as theatrical performances (the mechanical Eidophusikon), magic lanterns, and dioramas. He also profiles the leading panorama artist of the Victorian era, Albert Smith: "Smith's Ascent of Mont Blanc (1852-1858) was arguably the most successful moving panorama show of all times, performed for seven years in a row at the Egyptian Hall in London."

Illusions In Motion is subtitled Media Archaeology Of The Moving Panorama & Related Spectacles, and Huhtamo uses his research into the moving panorama as a case-study of the 'media archaeology' methodology: "It will demonstrate a way of doing media studies I call media archaeology... the book is meant to be read as a kind of discours de la methode."

'Media archaeology' is derived from CW Ceram's book Archaeology Of The Cinema (1965), which was later used as the subtitle of Laurent Mannoni's comprehensive The Great Art Of Light & Shadow (2000). Ironically, Ceram was an influential archaeological historian, whereas later uses of the term are purely metaphorical. According to Huhtamo, media archaeology involves digging in archives and "excavating" artefacts, though isn't that what any good researcher has always done? I fail to see how media archaeology differs from conventional investigation of primary sources.

Huhtamo's wider intention, of challenging the conventional grand narrative of media history, is more interesting than his terminology, and he argues that media archaeology "reassesses existing media-historical narratives". His aim is to document the neglected media forms that fall outside the linear narrative of modern media development: "Media archaeology corrects our understanding of the past by excavating lacunas in shared knowledge."

Illusions In Motion

Illusions In Motion
Illusions In Motion, by Erkki Huhtamo, is the first comprehensive history of the moving panorama, which, as the author demonstrates, was a significant departure from conventional static panoramas: "Instead of being surrounded by a stationary wrap-around painting, the spectators sat in an auditorium. A long roll painting was moved across... by means of a mechanical cranking system."

These events were early examples of multi-media spectacles: "The presentation was accompanied by a lecturer, music, and occasionally light and sound effects." In this respect, they were antecedents of Japanese kamishibai (performed by kamishibaiya), and silent film screenings in Japan and France (narrated by 'benshi' and 'bonimenteurs', respectively).

Moving panoramas were influenced by Chinese landscape scroll paintings (the most famous being 清明上河圖, reproduced in A World History Of Art) and Japanese 'emaki' narrative scrolls (discussed in Dietrich Seckel's book Emakimono). Illusions In Motion surveys a hundred years of moving panoramas, from their beginnings in the early nineteenth century (the hybrid 'peristrephic' panorama, with its concave display) to their demise: "After the First World War the moving panorama's era was over."

There have been previous studies of panoramas, notably Stephan Oettermann's The Panorama (1997) and Bernard Comment's The Panorama (2002; reprinted as The Painted Panorama), though they devote only a few pages to moving panoramas. (Huhtamo speculates that this is because Oettermann and Comment are both continental Europeans, while the moving panorama was primarily a British and American phenomenon.)

Huhtamo's book, like Oettermann's, contains only black-and-white illustrations. (Most of Huhtamo's photographs illustrate objects from his own collection.) Oettermann's book was the first English-language history of panoramas. Comment's work is less comprehensive, though it has colour illustrations and even fold-out panoramas.

Huhtamo discusses the moving panorama's relationship to other media and entertainment, such as theatrical performances (the mechanical Eidophusikon), magic lanterns, and dioramas. He also profiles the leading panorama artist of the Victorian era, Albert Smith: "Smith's Ascent of Mont Blanc (1852-1858) was arguably the most successful moving panorama show of all times, performed for seven years in a row at the Egyptian Hall in London."

Illusions In Motion is subtitled Media Archaeology Of The Moving Panorama & Related Spectacles, and Huhtamo uses his research into the moving panorama as a case-study of the 'media archaeology' methodology: "It will demonstrate a way of doing media studies I call media archaeology... the book is meant to be read as a kind of discours de la methode."

'Media archaeology' is derived from CW Ceram's book Archaeology Of The Cinema (1965), which was later used as the subtitle of Laurent Mannoni's comprehensive The Great Art Of Light & Shadow (2000). Ironically, Ceram was an influential archaeological historian, whereas later uses of the term are purely metaphorical. According to Huhtamo, media archaeology involves digging in archives and "excavating" artefacts, though isn't that what any good researcher has always done? I fail to see how media archaeology differs from conventional investigation of primary sources.

Huhtamo's wider intention, of challenging the conventional grand narrative of media history, is more interesting than his terminology, and he argues that media archaeology "reassesses existing media-historical narratives". His aim is to document the neglected media forms that fall outside the linear narrative of modern media development: "Media archaeology corrects our understanding of the past by excavating lacunas in shared knowledge."

The New Day

Trinity Mirror (publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, and Sunday People) has launched a new newspaper: The New Day. After the free first issue, it will be sold at 25p for a trial period. This makes The New Day the UK's second-cheapest national newspaper, after the 20p Daily Star, though neither The New Day nor the Star could sustain such low cover prices on a permanent basis. (The Star, which previously cost 40p, has been selling at half price since last October, in an unsuccessful attempt to restart the price war of the early 1990s.)

The New Day sets out its agenda on page two: "We know this can't be just another newspaper. It has to be a new type of newspaper." This sounds familiar, because the i similarly claimed to be "not only a new paper, but a new kind of paper" when it was launched in 2010. The New Day's editor, Alison Philips, writes on page five: "We want to make sure you are aware of the important things going on in this frantic, modern world" and again this echoes the i, which described itself as "designed for people with busy, modern lives... it's your essential daily briefing."

The i has successfully positioned itself as a concise digest of news and comment, though The New Day - judging from the launch issue - is dominated by features and lifestyle articles rather than news. Children, shopping, relationships, and animals are the dominant topics, implying a female target demographic. (The editor, deputy editor, section editors, and most writers are also female.) There is very little political or international news coverage, and most news stories are single paragraphs. Only the features and columns have bylines; uncredited content is presumably from agencies or Mirror staff.

The New Day looks appealing, and has high production values: it has full colour throughout, and it boasts on page two that its paper is "top quality, snow white and stapled". Its content is quite confusingly organised, though. Pages two and three have "today's news essentials" but there are more top stories in a "three minute update" on page twenty-four. Similarly, sports coverage is split over two sections: one on pages sixteen and seventeen, and another on pages twenty-six and twenty-seven.

Also, the first lead story isn't very promising: a report "seen exclusively by The New Day" (page six) was actually published online a week ago. (The report, Invisible & In Distress, appeared on the Carer's Trust website on 23rd February.) This is more like churnalism than journalism, and I wonder why a real exclusive wasn't available for the launch issue.

The New Day

Trinity Mirror (publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, and Sunday People) has launched a new newspaper: The New Day. After the free first issue, it will be sold at 25p for a trial period. This makes The New Day the UK's second-cheapest national newspaper, after the 20p Daily Star, though neither The New Day nor the Star could sustain such low cover prices on a permanent basis. (The Star, which previously cost 40p, has been selling at half price since last October, in an unsuccessful attempt to restart the price war of the early 1990s.)

The New Day sets out its agenda on page two: "We know this can't be just another newspaper. It has to be a new type of newspaper." This sounds familiar, because the i similarly claimed to be "not only a new paper, but a new kind of paper" when it was launched in 2010. The New Day's editor, Alison Philips, writes on page five: "We want to make sure you are aware of the important things going on in this frantic, modern world" and again this echoes the i, which described itself as "designed for people with busy, modern lives... it's your essential daily briefing."

The i has successfully positioned itself as a concise digest of news and comment, though The New Day - judging from the launch issue - is dominated by features and lifestyle articles rather than news. Children, shopping, relationships, and animals are the dominant topics, implying a female target demographic. (The editor, deputy editor, section editors, and most writers are also female.) There is very little political or international news coverage, and most news stories are single paragraphs. Only the features and columns have bylines; uncredited content is presumably from agencies or Mirror staff.

The New Day looks appealing, and has high production values: it has full colour throughout, and it boasts on page two that its paper is "top quality, snow white and stapled". Its content is quite confusingly organised, though. Pages two and three have "today's news essentials" but there are more top stories in a "three minute update" on page twenty-four. Similarly, sports coverage is split over two sections: one on pages sixteen and seventeen, and another on pages twenty-six and twenty-seven.

Also, the first lead story isn't very promising: a report "seen exclusively by The New Day" (page six) was actually published online a week ago. (The report, Invisible & In Distress, appeared on the Carer's Trust website on 23rd February.) This is more like churnalism than journalism, and I wonder why a real exclusive wasn't available for the launch issue.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Manga Kamishibai

Manga Kamishibai: The Art Of Japanese Paper Theater, by Eric P Nash, is the first book about the history of kamishibai, the Japanese illustrated performances that were a popular street entertainment in the 1930s and 1940s. The book includes an introduction by Frederik L Schodt, author of the excellent Manga! Manga!, the first English-language study of Japanese comics.

Kamishibai involved a series of illustrated boards displayed consecutively in a 'butai' (wooden frame). Each board depicted the action of a particular scene, though there were no captions or speech bubbles: the story and dialogue were improvised by a 'kamishibaiya' (narrator, similar to the 'benshi' who narrated silent Japanese films).

Nash's fascinating book features many rare and evocative reproductions of kamishibai boards. The illustrations were sometimes inspired by Hollywood, such as an alien resembling those from This Island Earth (Demon Castle Of Outer Space). Kamishibai was also used as a propaganda tool during World War II, and after the American occupation it even dealt with taboo subjects such as the Hiroshima bomb (Genbaku No Ko).

Kamishibai's most famous character, Ogon Bat (Golden Bat), had a significant influence on subsequent American popular culture, as he was "one of the world's first illustrated super heroes". Golden Bat, created by Takeo Nagamatsu, wore a hero's cape, though he had a skull for a head. The book's jacket folds out into a poster of this caped hero fighting his arch enemy, an evil emperor: archetypes that have recurred throughout superhero comics and animation ever since.

Manga Kamishibai

Manga Kamishibai: The Art Of Japanese Paper Theater, by Eric P Nash, is the first book about the history of kamishibai, the Japanese illustrated performances that were a popular street entertainment in the 1930s and 1940s. The book includes an introduction by Frederik L Schodt, author of the excellent Manga! Manga!, the first English-language study of Japanese comics.

Kamishibai involved a series of illustrated boards displayed consecutively in a 'butai' (wooden frame). Each board depicted the action of a particular scene, though there were no captions or speech bubbles: the story and dialogue were improvised by a 'kamishibaiya' (narrator, similar to the 'benshi' who narrated silent Japanese films).

Nash's fascinating book features many rare and evocative reproductions of kamishibai boards. The illustrations were sometimes inspired by Hollywood, such as an alien resembling those from This Island Earth (Demon Castle Of Outer Space). Kamishibai was also used as a propaganda tool during World War II, and after the American occupation it even dealt with taboo subjects such as the Hiroshima bomb (Genbaku No Ko).

Kamishibai's most famous character, Ogon Bat (Golden Bat), had a significant influence on subsequent American popular culture, as he was "one of the world's first illustrated super heroes". Golden Bat, created by Takeo Nagamatsu, wore a hero's cape, though he had a skull for a head. The book's jacket folds out into a poster of this caped hero fighting his arch enemy, an evil emperor: archetypes that have recurred throughout superhero comics and animation ever since.

ตอบโจทย์ ประเทศไทย

ตอบโจทย์ ประเทศไทย
Police have reopened a lèse-majesté investigation into the Thai PBS television programme ตอบโจทย์ ประเทศไทย. Specifically, charges may be brought against one of the show's guests, former Thammasat University professor Somsak Jeamteerasakul, though he is currently living in France. (Sulak Sivaraksa, another participant, has been accused of lèse-majesté on several previous occasions.)

It was almost inevitable that lèse-majesté charges would be brought against the programme, though why the case is being reopened after three years is unclear. The controversy relates to five episodes broadcast in 2013, in which the issue of reform of the monarchy was explored as openly as is possible within the strict confines of Thailand's lèse-majesté law.

The first four episodes, shown from 11th to 14th March 2013, provoked considerable public debate, as this legally and culturally sensitive issue is rarely discussed in the media. Thai PBS initially withheld the final episode, though it was eventually broadcast on 18th March 2013, after which the entire series was cancelled.

ตอบโจทย์ ประเทศไทย

ตอบโจทย์ ประเทศไทย
Police have reopened a lèse-majesté investigation into the Thai PBS television programme ตอบโจทย์ ประเทศไทย. Specifically, charges may be brought against one of the show's guests, former Thammasat University professor Somsak Jeamteerasakul, though he is currently living in France. (Sulak Sivaraksa, another participant, has been accused of lèse-majesté on several previous occasions.)

It was almost inevitable that lèse-majesté charges would be brought against the programme, though why the case is being reopened after three years is unclear. The controversy relates to five episodes broadcast in 2013, in which the issue of reform of the monarchy was explored as openly as is possible within the strict confines of Thailand's lèse-majesté law.

The first four episodes, shown from 11th to 14th March 2013, provoked considerable public debate, as this legally and culturally sensitive issue is rarely discussed in the media. Thai PBS initially withheld the final episode, though it was eventually broadcast on 18th March 2013, after which the entire series was cancelled.

Star Wars IV

Star Wars IV
Bangkok Open Air Cinema Club's inaugural screening in 2014 was Star Wars IV, and they will be showing the film again tomorrow. The film, directed by George Lucas, will be shown on the roof of The Hive in Bangkok.

Star Wars IV

Star Wars IV
Bangkok Open Air Cinema Club's inaugural screening in 2014 was Star Wars IV, and they will be showing the film again tomorrow. The film, directed by George Lucas, will be shown on the roof of The Hive in Bangkok.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Thailand's Vicious Cycle

Thailand's Vicious Cycle before 22 May 2014
The Thai Young Turks
The NCPO has produced a wrap-around advertising supplement in today's Bangkok Post, setting out its plans for "the Hope, Happiness & Harmony of the people". The same supplement was included in The Nation on Tuesday.

Page one begins with an illustration of "Thailand's Vicious Cycle", claiming that the junta prevented Thailand from becoming a failed state. Chai-anan Samudavanija's book The Thai Young Turks (1982) included a very different model of Thailand's vicious cycle, which features a word entirely absent from the NCPO's supplement: 'coup'.

The supplement also includes a guide to the differences between "Pseudo-Democracy" and "Genuine Democracy", effectively a criticism of Thaksin Shinawatra and Pheu Thai's policies. To say the least, it's profoundly ironic that a military junta would presume to explain the concept of democracy.

Finally, a list of "11 Policies" features only three policies, ending with "access to gover" [sic] and two empty bullet points. The supplement folds out into a poster showing a hierarchical diagram of the NCPO's agenda, though it's so dense, and printed in such a tiny font size, that it's impenetrable.

The Bangkok Post's editor, Pichai Chuensuksawadi, has written a note in the newspaper about the NCPO supplement. He explains that its inclusion was a commercial decision: "The advertisement that wraps today's newspaper, placed by our advertising department, does not represent the Bangkok Post's editorial position."

Thailand's Vicious Cycle

Thailand's Vicious Cycle before 22 May 2014
The Thai Young Turks
The NCPO has produced a wrap-around advertising supplement in today's Bangkok Post, setting out its plans for "the Hope, Happiness & Harmony of the people". The same supplement was included in The Nation on Tuesday.

Page one begins with an illustration of "Thailand's Vicious Cycle", claiming that the junta prevented Thailand from becoming a failed state. Chai-anan Samudavanija's book The Thai Young Turks (1982) included a very different model of Thailand's vicious cycle, which features a word entirely absent from the NCPO's supplement: 'coup'.

The supplement also includes a guide to the differences between "Pseudo-Democracy" and "Genuine Democracy", effectively a criticism of Thaksin Shinawatra and Pheu Thai's policies. To say the least, it's profoundly ironic that a military junta would presume to explain the concept of democracy.

Finally, a list of "11 Policies" features only three policies, ending with "access to gover" [sic] and two empty bullet points. The supplement folds out into a poster showing a hierarchical diagram of the NCPO's agenda, though it's so dense, and printed in such a tiny font size, that it's impenetrable.

The Bangkok Post's editor, Pichai Chuensuksawadi, has written a note in the newspaper about the NCPO supplement. He explains that its inclusion was a commercial decision: "The advertisement that wraps today's newspaper, placed by our advertising department, does not represent the Bangkok Post's editorial position."

"PROVOCATIVE NEWAND COMPLICATED IDEAS..."

An exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York will include pre-production materials from Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey. To The Moon & Beyond - Graphic Films & The Inception Of 2001: A Space Odyssey opens on 4th March and closes on 14th August.

The exhibition features concept sketches and correspondence from the Museum's Lester Novros archive. (Novros founded Graphic Films, whose Cinerama film To The Moon & Beyond was one of the inspirations for 2001's 'stargate' sequence.) One of the documents on display is a telegram from Kubrick to Con Pederson, who created some of 2001's special effects.

"PROVOCATIVE NEW
AND COMPLICATED IDEAS..."

An exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York will include pre-production materials from Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey. To The Moon & Beyond - Graphic Films & The Inception Of 2001: A Space Odyssey opens on 4th March and closes on 14th August.

The exhibition features concept sketches and correspondence from the Museum's Lester Novros archive. (Novros founded Graphic Films, whose Cinerama film To The Moon & Beyond was one of the inspirations for 2001's 'stargate' sequence.) One of the documents on display is a telegram from Kubrick to Con Pederson, who created some of 2001's special effects.

"I've come up with a couple of ideas..."

The Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum has acquired the papers of Arthur C Clarke, who died in 2008. Last year, his correspondence, notes, and manuscripts were transferred from his home in Sri Lanka to the Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. The archive includes a three-page letter to Clarke written by Stanley Kubrick, discussing their work on the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

"I've come up with a couple of ideas..."

The Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum has acquired the papers of Arthur C Clarke, who died in 2008. Last year, his correspondence, notes, and manuscripts were transferred from his home in Sri Lanka to the Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. The archive includes a three-page letter to Clarke written by Stanley Kubrick, discussing their work on the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Monotype

The Monotype
Carla Esposito Hayter's book The Monotype: The History Of A Pictorial Art describes "the birth and evolution of the monotype and... the historical and artistic circumstances that led artists to adopt this medium for four centuries." The book was first published in Italian, as Il Monotipo.

Monotypes are "a technique midway between printing and painting", and indeed the first historical survey of monotypes was titled The Painterly Print (1980). Fritz Eichenberg's excellent The Art Of The Print (1976) also includes a chapter on monotypes.

The Monotype and The Painterly Print both examine the origins of the monotype in the 1640s, and its revival in the 1870s. As Hayter explains: "The birth of the monotype is generally dated from the time of... Benedetto Castiglione". Castiglione's experiments with the technique began in 1640, and he had perfected it by 1645.

The modern appreciation of the monotype dates from its adoption by Edgar Degas in 1874: "Degas produced... a corpus of extraordinary scale that is still unmatched for its importance and influence right up to the present. It was in fact Degas that inaugurated the modern use of the monotype".

The Painterly Print remains the most significant and influential study of monotypes, though The Monotype is also important for its more extensive treatment of the post-war and contemporary era. An obvious example is the Abstract Expressionist monotype (1946) by Jackson Pollock on its cover, though there is also coverage of the monotype's "extraordinarily accelerated development over the last thirty years".

The Monotype

The Monotype
Carla Esposito Hayter's book The Monotype: The History Of A Pictorial Art describes "the birth and evolution of the monotype and... the historical and artistic circumstances that led artists to adopt this medium for four centuries." The book was first published in Italian, as Il Monotipo.

Monotypes are "a technique midway between printing and painting", and indeed the first historical survey of monotypes was titled The Painterly Print (1980). Fritz Eichenberg's excellent The Art Of The Print (1976) also includes a chapter on monotypes.

The Monotype and The Painterly Print both examine the origins of the monotype in the 1640s, and its revival in the 1870s. As Hayter explains: "The birth of the monotype is generally dated from the time of... Benedetto Castiglione". Castiglione's experiments with the technique began in 1640, and he had perfected it by 1645.

The modern appreciation of the monotype dates from its adoption by Edgar Degas in 1874: "Degas produced... a corpus of extraordinary scale that is still unmatched for its importance and influence right up to the present. It was in fact Degas that inaugurated the modern use of the monotype".

The Painterly Print remains the most significant and influential study of monotypes, though The Monotype is also important for its more extensive treatment of the post-war and contemporary era. An obvious example is the Abstract Expressionist monotype (1946) by Jackson Pollock on its cover, though there is also coverage of the monotype's "extraordinarily accelerated development over the last thirty years".

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Telegraph

The Telegraph
This week's issue of The Telegraph is the final edition of the weekly version of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph. The conservative tabloid newspaper was established in 1998 as The Weekly Telegraph; its title dropped the definite article in 2005, and it became The Telegraph in 2011.

Of course, the closure of The Telegraph is another example of the recent decline in print journalism. Next month, two British national newspapers - The Independent and The Independent On Sunday - will also cease print publication. The Telegraph's liberal competitor The Guardian Weekly, founded in 1919, is now the only weekly British newspaper for an international audience.

The Telegraph

The Telegraph
This week's issue of The Telegraph is the final edition of the weekly version of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph. The conservative tabloid newspaper was established in 1998 as The Weekly Telegraph; its title dropped the definite article in 2005, and it became The Telegraph in 2011.

Of course, the closure of The Telegraph is another example of the recent decline in print journalism. Next month, two British national newspapers - The Independent and The Independent On Sunday - will also cease print publication. The Telegraph's liberal competitor The Guardian Weekly, founded in 1919, is now the only weekly British newspaper for an international audience.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

สวัสดีปีใหม่ 2559

สวัสดีปีใหม่ 2559
สวัสดีปีใหม่ 2559
สวัสดีปีใหม่ 2559
Calendars featuring photographs of Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck were banned last month by the governor of Roi Et, a province in northern Thailand. There have been similar reports in other areas of the country, and police prevented Yingluck herself from distributing ten of the calendars in Khon Kean, another northern province.

The calendars, available in two different versions, both feature the message "สวัสดีปีใหม่ 2559" ("happy new year"; 2559 is the Buddhist equivalent of 2016), above short handwritten notes from Thaksin and Yingluck. Former prime ministers Thaksin and Yingluck were both removed from power by military coups (in 2006 and 2014 respectively).

สวัสดีปีใหม่ 2559

สวัสดีปีใหม่ 2559
สวัสดีปีใหม่ 2559
สวัสดีปีใหม่ 2559
Calendars featuring photographs of Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck were banned last month by the governor of Roi Et, a province in northern Thailand. There have been similar reports in other areas of the country, and police prevented Yingluck herself from distributing ten of the calendars in Khon Kean, another northern province.

The calendars, available in two different versions, both feature the message "สวัสดีปีใหม่ 2559" ("happy new year"; 2559 is the Buddhist equivalent of 2016), above short handwritten notes from Thaksin and Yingluck. Former prime ministers Thaksin and Yingluck were both removed from power by military coups (in 2006 and 2014 respectively).

Sticker City

Sticker City
Sticker City: Paper Graffiti Art, by Claudia Walde, is the first book to examine the use of the sticker as an artistic medium. After a short history of "adhesive art, a subset of the booming street art scene", Walde profiles twenty-six sticker artists. As she acknowledges, sticker art is closely associated with other forms of urban art, and the book also features early examples of graffiti and 'pochoir' (stencilling). (The first book on street art was The Faith Of Graffiti, from 1974.)

Sticker City begins with a legal notice: "The publisher and the author in no way endorse vandalism or the use of graffiti for the defacement of private and state-owned property." Despite this over-cautious disclaimer, the publisher (Thames & Hudson) has released several other books on graffiti, including Subway Art (Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, 1984), Spraycan Art (Henry Chalfant and James Prigoff, 1987), and Stencil Graffiti (Tristan Manco, 2002).

Sticker City

Sticker City
Sticker City: Paper Graffiti Art, by Claudia Walde, is the first book to examine the use of the sticker as an artistic medium. After a short history of "adhesive art, a subset of the booming street art scene", Walde profiles twenty-six sticker artists. As she acknowledges, sticker art is closely associated with other forms of urban art, and the book also features early examples of graffiti and 'pochoir' (stencilling). (The first book on street art was The Faith Of Graffiti, from 1974.)

Sticker City begins with a legal notice: "The publisher and the author in no way endorse vandalism or the use of graffiti for the defacement of private and state-owned property." Despite this over-cautious disclaimer, the publisher (Thames & Hudson) has released several other books on graffiti, including Subway Art (Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, 1984), Spraycan Art (Henry Chalfant and James Prigoff, 1987), and Stencil Graffiti (Tristan Manco, 2002).

Istakhdem al-Haya

Istakhdem al-Haya
Akhbar al-Adab
Akhbar al-Adab
Egyptian author Ahmed Naji has been sentenced to two years in jail on a charge of public indecency, after an excerpt from his novel Istakhdem al-Haya (استخدام الحياة) was published in the state-owned literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab. The magazine's editor, Tarek al-Taher, was fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds (equivalent to over 1,000 US dollars).

The author and editor were charged in August 2014 after one of the magazine's readers complained to police that the extract (chapter five of the novel) was immoral. The charges were dropped last month, though that acquittal has now been reversed following an appeal by the prosecution.

In 2009, Magdy El Shafee's graphic novel Metro was banned under the same Egyptian law. It was published in America (translated by Chip Rossetti) in June 2012, and an Arabic edition was finally published in Egypt two months later.

PDF PDF

Istakhdem al-Haya

Istakhdem al-Haya
Akhbar al-Adab
Akhbar al-Adab
Egyptian author Ahmed Naji has been sentenced to two years in jail on a charge of public indecency, after an excerpt from his novel Istakhdem al-Haya (استخدام الحياة) was published in the state-owned literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab. The magazine's editor, Tarek al-Taher, was fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds (equivalent to over 1,000 US dollars).

The author and editor were charged in August 2014 after one of the magazine's readers complained to police that the extract (chapter five of the novel) was immoral. The charges were dropped last month, though that acquittal has now been reversed following an appeal by the prosecution.

In 2009, Magdy El Shafee's graphic novel Metro was banned under the same Egyptian law. It was published in America (translated by Chip Rossetti) in June 2012, and an Arabic edition was finally published in Egypt two months later.

PDF PDF

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Thailand Eye

thailandeye
Thailand Eye: Contemporary Thailand Art is (at least, according to its sponsor, Prudential) "the first and most comprehensive publication on the Thai contemporary art scene." Steven Pettifor might disagree: his Flavours (2003) was a turn-of-the-century guide to contemporary Thai art.

Thailand Eye may not be the first publication on contemporary Thai art, though it is the most comprehensive, at almost 400 pages. While Flavours profiled only twenty-three artists, Thailand Eye features seventy-five. Thailand Eye is primarily a visual resource, with little analysis or criticism, though it has a detailed appendix listing the previous exhibitions of each artist. In contrast, Flavours has no such lists, though it includes double-page essays on each artist.

The artists profiled in Thailand Eye include Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (images from her video The Class, which was shown at Crossover and Dialogues), Anupong Chantorn (his painting Perceptless and other works painted on saffron robes), Manit Sriwanichpoom (This Bloodless War, his consumerist parodies of Vietnam War photographs), Prasert Yodkaew (his installation Angel), Thunska Pansittivorakul (stills from his films Middle-Earth, KI SS, This Area Is Under Quarantine, Reincarnate, Supernatural, and The Terrorists), and Kosit Juntaratip.

Of the seventy-five artists, twenty-four were selected for a Thailand Eye exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London last year. (The exhibition will be shown at BACC in Bangkok from 18th March to 7th August.) The exhibition was curated by Serenella Ciclitira (editor of Thailand Eye and other books in the Eye series on Asian contemporary art), Nigel Hurst (director of the Saatchi Gallery) and Apinan Poshyananda (Permanent Secretary for Culture), though the twenty-four artists were ultimately approved by the Ministry of Culture as the exhibition is part of the Ministry's Totally Thai project.

As a result, some of the more provocative artists in Thailand Eye were not selected for the exhibition. Thunska Pansittivorakul's film This Area Is Under Quarantine, for example, is banned in Thailand, so it had little chance of being included. Likewise, Montri Toemsombat's granite carving Bangkok Art & Coup Centre (a pun on the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre) would presumably have irritated both BACC and the NCPO.

Kosit Juntaratip is the most interesting of the twenty-four selected artists, and the book is a rare opportunity to see photographs of his performances in which he painted with blood flowing from a vein in his arm. Sakarin Krue-On, whose installations were featured in Imply Reply, is also included. Apinan Poshyananda has curated many previous exhibitions, notably Traces Of Siamese Smile (whose 300-page catalogue acts as another broad survey of current Thai art).

Thailand Eye

thailandeye
Thailand Eye: Contemporary Thailand Art is (at least, according to its sponsor, Prudential) "the first and most comprehensive publication on the Thai contemporary art scene." Steven Pettifor might disagree: his Flavours (2003) was a turn-of-the-century guide to contemporary Thai art.

Thailand Eye may not be the first publication on contemporary Thai art, though it is the most comprehensive, at almost 400 pages. While Flavours profiled only twenty-three artists, Thailand Eye features seventy-five. Thailand Eye is primarily a visual resource, with little analysis or criticism, though it has a detailed appendix listing the previous exhibitions of each artist. In contrast, Flavours has no such lists, though it includes double-page essays on each artist.

The artists profiled in Thailand Eye include Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (images from her video The Class, which was shown at Crossover and Dialogues), Anupong Chantorn (his painting Perceptless and other works painted on saffron robes), Manit Sriwanichpoom (This Bloodless War, his consumerist parodies of Vietnam War photographs), Prasert Yodkaew (his installation Angel), Thunska Pansittivorakul (stills from his films Middle-Earth, KI SS, This Area Is Under Quarantine, Reincarnate, Supernatural, and The Terrorists), and Kosit Juntaratip.

Of the seventy-five artists, twenty-four were selected for a Thailand Eye exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London last year. (The exhibition will be shown at BACC in Bangkok from 18th March to 7th August.) The exhibition was curated by Serenella Ciclitira (editor of Thailand Eye and other books in the Eye series on Asian contemporary art), Nigel Hurst (director of the Saatchi Gallery) and Apinan Poshyananda (Permanent Secretary for Culture), though the twenty-four artists were ultimately approved by the Ministry of Culture as the exhibition is part of the Ministry's Totally Thai project.

As a result, some of the more provocative artists in Thailand Eye were not selected for the exhibition. Thunska Pansittivorakul's film This Area Is Under Quarantine, for example, is banned in Thailand, so it had little chance of being included. Likewise, Montri Toemsombat's granite carving Bangkok Art & Coup Centre (a pun on the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre) would presumably have irritated both BACC and the NCPO.

Kosit Juntaratip is the most interesting of the twenty-four selected artists, and the book is a rare opportunity to see photographs of his performances in which he painted with blood flowing from a vein in his arm. Sakarin Krue-On, whose installations were featured in Imply Reply, is also included. Apinan Poshyananda has curated many previous exhibitions, notably Traces Of Siamese Smile (whose 300-page catalogue acts as another broad survey of current Thai art).