Save Irish Rathlin island golden hares, petition


This video says about itself:

Rathlin’s Golden Hare, Ireland

22 June 2008

Join Wyllie O Hagan in an evening encounter with Ireland’s Award Winning Wildlife Photographer Tom Mc Donnell.

See Rathlin Island from a photographer’s viewpoint. You will have seen Rathlin Island‘s seals, puffins and bird sanctuary before. Here we share with Youtubers the first video recorded sighting of the Island’s famous “Golden Hare”. Wyllie O Hagan filmed this footage of the hare on Rathlin Island in May 2008.

It was an extraordinary event, and this is the inspiration for O Hagan’s next relief print which will accompany “The Wild Swans at Coole“.

See the artist make the print here.

From the 38 Degrees site, this petition:

Save Rathlin Island Hares

To: Minister Mark Durkan, DOE

Make Rathlin Island into a hare reserve and reintroduce special protection for hares in Northern Ireland.

Why is this important?

This is important because the hare is being hunted out of existence on Rathlin, with a shooter being brought in by local farmers – apparently hares eat too much grass and are considered a pest. This beautiful animal is an integral part of our wildlife and heritage. Rathlin used to be one of its strongholds in Northern Ireland and people still come from all over the world to see these animals, including the rare genetic variant – the Golden Hare. Surely these amazing animals have a right to survival on their island home, where we can enjoy them for years to come. Once they are gone, like in so many other places in Northern Ireland, they are gone. Please help us protect them before it’s too late.

Bird songs and visual arts


This August 2014 video says about itself:

Nightingale and Canary

Australian artist Andy Thomas specializes in creating ‘audio life forms’: beautiful abstract shapes that react to sounds. In this animated short, he visualizes two recorded bird sounds from the archives of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision [beeldengeluid.nl] in Hilversum.

This video, from Victoria, Australia, also by Andy Thomas, is called Whip Bird Sound Sculpture test 1.

British cartoonist Martin Rowson on cartoons


This video from Britain is called Martin Rowson – The Power of the Political Cartoon.

By Chris Bartter in Britain:

Rowson draws on weapons of mass political destruction

Saturday 16th august 2014

Martin Rowson: Hung, Drawn And Quartered

Assembly Rooms

4/5

AS ONE of the increasingly popular spoken-word events staged as part of the Assembly Rooms’ Fringe programme, Martin Rowson’s talk deals with the history of the cartoon and caricature from cave painting up to the present.

On the way Rowson — cartoonist to the Morning Star and Guardian among others — highlights the contributions made by his heroes through the ages, including Willima Hogarth, James Gillray, David Low and Ronald Searle.

He lets us in on some of the secrets of the cartoonist’s craft and it is fascinating to see the distinguishing aspect of a cave-painted rhinoceros — its horn — exaggerated to bring out its essential “rhinocerosness.”

Tony Blair cartoons by Martin Rowson

Rowson’s at pains to emphasise that the increasingly bland marketing of today’s politicians has led to cartoonists creating elements to undermine them — John Major’s underpants, Tony Blair’s staring eyeball and Nick Clegg as Pinocchio included. It seems that Labour PM Harold Wilson got it right in the 1970s when he adopted the public use of a pipe — privately he smoked cigars — because if you’re going to be lampooned at least give cartoonists an innocuous feature to concentrate on.

Intriguing too is the level of personal animosity a cartoonist has for his subject, or should that be victim?

Driven by Anne Widdecombe’s insistence that political cartooning is “just good fun” Rowson maintains: “No it isn’t. We really are out to destroy you.”

While that does go some way to explain the viciousness of some contemporary cartoons, Rowson’s included, one is left wondering if this is a general trait of cartoonists or, in this case, whether it’s the personal being rationalised into a generality.

Hung, Drawn… is a relatively short piece and there is much more, surely, to come on this topic from Rowson.

But it’s hugely informative — he tells us that the word “cartoon” only took on in its current meaning after its usage in Punch magazine in the 19th century, for example — and as one would expect from such a brilliant satirist it is certainly a thought-provoking exercise.

More please.

Photographer persecuted for photography in Bahrain


This 11 August 2014 video is about photographer Hussain Hubail from Bahrain, arrested by the regime for photography, and sentenced to five years in jail.

Business Interests Are More Valuable to Bahrain’s Western Allies Than Democracy and Human Rights: here.

Save animals of Ecuador


This video about Ecuador is called Give these amazing species an opportunity.

From PRWEB:

Company Seeks Funding to Protect Wildlife Through Photography

Ecuadorian image bank Ecuastock.com seeks crowdfunding to promote its efforts to save South American animal species

Amazonia, ECUADOR, August 15, 2014

Ecuador is home to thousands of animal species living in the jungle, mountains, coastal regions, and the Galápagos Islands, but many of these animal species are in danger of extinction. Ecuastock.com is a company hoping to raise awareness of the plight of these animals by selling professional photographs and using the proceeds to fund animal-saving programs. Ecuastock has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $150,000 by October 3, to help boost their sales and protect as many animals as possible.

Ecuador’s biodiversity is so extensive that just one portion of the country, the Yasuni National Park, has more native species than the whole of North America. Due to human behavior like petroleum exploitation, indiscriminate forest logging, trafficking of exotic animals, unauthorized fishing, and expansion of civilization, the multiplicity of animal species is in danger. “What we need in order to protect these animals is support from local communities and awareness around the globe of what is going on here in Ecuador,” said Ecuastock Co-Founder Daniel Silva. “We need to raise money to put an end to thoughtless practices that are eliminating entire species.”

Ecuastock’s business plan is simple. Professional photographers working together capture images of thousands of animal species in the wild and make them available for purchase. The proceeds from image sales help to improve resources, infrastructure, and equipment in the Amazon region and create a global awareness campaign through social media. Money from sales also helps document wildlife and share data worldwide as well as help support the acquisition of land for wildlife protection areas.

Supporters of the crowdfunding campaign will receive striking images of South American animal species, including printed postcards and souvenirs. Starting at the $5 contribution level, supporters will receive one full-color digital postcard. Those contributing $25 can download a high-resolution image of their choice, while those contributing $50 can download three images and those contributing $100 can download five images. Contributors giving $250 will receive a collection of images in a digital book, and those contributing $500 will receive that collection in a printed book.

Some of the larger giving level perks include a two-night visit to Ecuador, a guided tour to meet the native species. Contributors will also have the opportunity to plant a tree in the Amazon, and have a protected area where trees planted are named after them.

About Ecuastock:

Ecuastock is a part of a digital marketing business that has created and developed several brands and projects over the past four years based on social media, digital communication, and online publicity. For more information or to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, visit igg.me/at/buyamazingspecies/x.

Mural about bird evolution and diversity, you can help


This video from the USA says about itself:

From So Simple a Beginning: Celebrating the Evolution and Diversity of Birds

13 August 2014

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and fine artist Jane Kim of Ink Dwell Studio are collaborating to create a mural that depicts the evolution and diversity of birds. Jane will paint the history of birds spanning over 375 million years, featuring one representative bird from every bird family in the world, including several extinct species. You can contribute to this exciting new project here.

World War I start, don´t celebrate, interview


This video from England is called No Glory – Remembering World War One in Music and Poetry – St James’s Church London – 25.10.13.

From Red Wedge magazine in Britain:

Never Over the Top: War, Art and Modernism

The No Glory campaign seeks to highlight the art of the Great War to remind us of its madness.

Jan Woolf — August 5, 2014

Jan Woolf is the cultural coordinator of the No Glory In War campaign, a group that seeks to counter the celebratory narrative of the British government’s commemorations of World War One. She recently answered some questions for Red Wedge about the campaign’s use of art and media — both past and present — to communicate its message.

Red Wedge: Why was No Glory started?

Jan Woolf: The anti-war and peace movement would have commemorated the outbreak of World War One anyway in our various styles (I say our, as this is a diverse movement with ideological nuances) but our government’s style of national commemorations brought us together to form the No Glory campaign and our position that World War One was a “species crime” waged by rulers with imperial interests, and not the interests of those who did the suffering and fighting. No Glory is an alliance of Stop the War, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Quaker groups, Members of Parliament, writers, historians and artists. We are having extraordinary success in our population’s relationship with World War One as we are striking a chord of knowledge and sensibility that is there anyway, as recent attempts to justify it as a just war by Government and revisionist historians just “smell wrong.” We are also pointing up the link between then and now, and the similarities in war making propaganda.

RW: How does the British government’s narrative of the First World War differ so much from the actual reality of the conflict?

JW: I’m going to refer you to the open letter on the NoGlory.org site. Many prominent people signed it, and its gathered thousands more signatures, as they are disgusted with the way this particular government have appropriated the World War One commemorations, to celebrate the “British spirit” (whatever that may mean) and comparing it with the queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations. Of course, our government mourn the dead and recognize it as a horror — and I believe they feel and mean this — but the turn around from our mass national consciousness after World War Two (when, significantly we had a welfare state) that World War One should not have happened and would have spared us World War Two — to the current jingoistic celebrations of a “victory” is deliberate revisionism.

An example of the government’s work is the laying of over 400 paving stones (or hero stones) in the home towns and villages where Victoria Cross recipients were born. This may sound OK, but at the time, VCs did not want to stand out from their fallen comrades and we see this current “ripping yarns” version of history to be sacrilegious. We have to be careful here though, as many relatives of the VC are rightly proud and we do not want to upset anyone. Our careful response to this is outlined in my next answer — as care and emotional intelligence is an important principle in the No Glory campaign.

RW: Was there a conscious decision from the outset that there would be a strong cultural component to what No Glory should do? And if so, why?

JW: Yes. Cultural expression was and is very important and links us with those who brought back the stories of horror through their art. The British war poets were and are very important to us and to world literature as they made us understand what had happened physically and emotionally to millions of young men. Their artistic achievement was in showing us just enough without making us turn away. There is only so much the human psyche can tolerate without switching off — so their language was never gratuitous or (excuse the following pun, but we do have a sense of humor) “over the top.” There has been a recent attack on the war poets, with a revisionist historian referring to “Sassoon and his kind” wallowing in self pity and spreading doom and gloom. No Glory had a recent poetry event (also on the site) where we honored “Sassoon and his kind,” with readings of the war poets by contemporary poets, who also read their own poetry. It was magnificent and moving but also encouraged us to struggle against warmongering now, and to recognize it as on the same political trajectory as World War One and the disastrous Versailles settlement that carved up the world.

This is what good art does, it tells you like it is and was but is life affirming. I’ve concentrated on poetry as this is No Glory’s most recent event but there were and are paintings, novels and films. I might refer you to my recent review of the Great War in Portraits at the National Portrait gallery. Look under articles, and then reviews. Check out my thoughts on the “top down” aspects of that exhibition and the portraits of disfigured soldiers by Henry Tonks. Current art activity by No Glory includes a poster-leaflet download put together by our artists’ group. This will be used by local groups to put details in the communities of names and numbers of men who died, and is in response to the government’s Hero Stones.

RW: Art history generally sees World War One and the art that came out of it as a major leap for modernism. Could you describe the confluence of political and artistic developments that artists during World War One were operating with?

JW: A very interesting question and one fraught with contradictions. Part of the government’s commemoration are to celebrate modernism, i.e. it was all very terrible but at least it gave us modern art etc. (“I would rather have my son back than a Picasso on the wall,” a bereaved woman might have said). World War One also gave women the vote and led to various social change, but it shouldn’t take a major trauma to achieve this. But yes, trauma does lead to new ways of looking at the world — it has to, and artists’ sensibilities and vision was shaken up big time. The world would never be the same again.

Explosion, by George Grosz, oil on composition board, 1917

The marvelous German school of expressionist painting grew (in part — its complicated) out of the horrific images of George Grosz. While the Germans were painting it like it was, the British retreated to a form of nostalgic sentimentality, like a soothing balm (except Paul Nash of course).

We are Making a New World, by Paul Nash, 1918

But these are generalizations. Modernism challenged the way we looked at everything, yet art couldn’t really help nerve and body shattered soldiers returning from war who had been promised a “home fit for heroes.” Many came back to appalling poverty, watching the world build up to another war. Our brilliant writer Johnathan Meades said recently on TV “Necessity is the adoptive mother of invention, but war is its birth mother.” This is a true and desperate statement, and we would all wish that the marvelous art forms that sprang from modernism could have been achieved through peace and development.

RW: Per your last response, I’d like to try and parse out exactly how the war spurred on the aesthetic leaps in modernism. World War One is often referred to as the first industrial and technological war, and due to this was certainly the most brutal up to that moment in history. You referenced earlier how a great many of these artists and poets “showed us just enough,” but do you think there was a shift in how they showed it to us that was also spurred forth by the utter senselessness of what the artists were seeing?

JW: War as trauma shakes us up in art, science, social relationships — everything — and we have to look at life in a new way — hence modernism, we had to incorporate the new images of the machinery that made death as well as life in our aesthetic. An artist with good understanding of psychology and his or her art won’t show us too much. It’s “less is more” if you like, but neither must we turn away. The impact made through art is in the resonance between artist and viewer. To shock us into questioning? The need to make a better world? Honor the recent dead?

RW: Tell me a bit more about what these writers slamming “Sassoon and his kind.” How much do you think these writers are running cover for a deliberate political agenda? Do you think this reflects something about governments’ attempt to rehabilitate empire?

JW: “Sassoon and his kind” was referred to by Max Hastings, a right-wing historian who has a huge World War One tome out just now. He and others that we call the revisionist historians are toeing the Governments line that — despite the suffering — World War One was justified in that we had to stand up to a bully. That the British empire was also a bullying entity is not mentioned as part of this curious thing “Britishness” being touted by the establishment right now. It is nonsense.

RW: When most young people of a left bent think of art and war, there’s a good chance that the first thing coming to mind is the music and aesthetics around the Vietnam War. But I’d imagine that No Glory sees there being an evolutionary through-line of sorts between the art that came from the First World War and that which came in subsequent wars?

JW: Again, war is trauma, whether you are directly caught up in or just imagining how it is for others — this imagining, or empathy is what drives us to oppose war and is a part of our enduring humanity. But, if you have vested interest in war, i.e. you can profit from it or want to defend or expand empire then that humanity is overridden and something else takes over — maybe a hardening called “greed.” This is a gross generalization and of course it is more complex than that – and does not take into account the liberation struggle — we had to fight the Nazis in World War Two, etc. The artist steps back from all this and contributes by helping people see things outside the propaganda jingo that the war makers perpetuate.

RW: Any final thoughts?

JW: I would add that I have answered your questions primarily as an individual and campaigner with knowledge and an interest in art history. If I was a doctor my answers might have taken a different perspective — or a shop worker — or a cleaner. i could have any of these backgrounds — but as a working class woman who had the benefits of the post World War Two British welfare state — a state that was set up by an enlightened population that had to fight Hitler — I have a clear sense of what is a necessary and what is a wrong war. My sensibilities and the work I do with friends and comrades has been honed collectively. We know, and thanks to the impact that NoGlory.com has had on our population, that many many others know that World War One was an international atrocity that should not have happened. This is the predominant position in our country now, and, vitally, gives us the analysis and clarity to oppose war-mongering today as we can see the relationship between then and now.

Jan Woolf is a writer and artist in the UK. She is the author of Fugues on a Funny Bone, and is currently the cultural coordinator of the No Glory campaign. She can be reached through her website.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave a bellicose address last week on the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War—an address aimed at politically and ideologically conditioning the population for Canada’s participation in future imperialist wars: here.

Painter Kasimir Malevich, 1879-1935


This video is called Kazimir Malevich.

By Christine Lindey in Britain:

Exhibition Review: The epitome of radical art

Saturday 2nd August 2014

Malevich was an original thinker whose contribution to art theory more than compensates for a certain lack of intuitive flair and sensuous engagement with the act of painting, writes CHRISTINE LINDEY

In 20th-century Russia, rejection of the reactionary past by welcoming nascent modernity motivated both the artistic and political vanguards. Believing that the two were interdependent, Kasimir Malevich (1879-1935) embraced both with clear-minded passion.

Born in Kiev into a large Polish family, Malevich’s fragmentary art education lacked the lengthy academic discipline which formed most other pioneers of Modernism. Yet, like theirs, his early work looks like a crash-course in more recent “innovatory” styles.

The Tate Gallery’s Malevich exhibition duly begins with a succession of his Impressionist, post-Impressionist, folksy Symbolist and carelessly brushed Expressionist paintings, many being stronger in daring than accomplishment.

But he discovered his forte in 1912 once he arrived at the visual rigours of Cubism with its focus on form, line and space rather than colour and touch. Combining Cubism with Russian Futurism’s socially subversive subjects led to his first mature works. In them he faced the fundamental question: why should painting retain any contact with the visible world now that this was represented so accurately by the modern technologies of photography, film and photomontage?

In 1913 Malevich designed outlandishly “abstract” costumes and sets for the avant-garde opera Victory Over the Sun and a film of its recreation is screened in the exhibition.

Two years later he painted his first Black Square. So radical was this provocative statement about the absolute essence of painting that it has influenced generations of artists and remains contentious to this day.

“To reproduce beloved objects and little corners of nature is like a thief being enraptured by his leg irons,” Malevich declared. He called his new aesthetic Suprematism, wrote a manifesto and created arguably his best paintings in the following three years.

Flatly painted, simple geometric forms in black or bold colours are juxtaposed against an even white ground. Often composed diagonally, rectangles, triangles and circles speed across the surface with a dynamism echoing that of flying machines.

Uncompromisingly stark, these paintings defy and deny any connection with tradition.

Having arrived in Moscow in 1905, Malevich fought in the “battle of the brigades” in that year’s aborted revolution. He remained a lifelong socialist, joining the Federation of Leftist Artists in the February 1917 revolution.

It was no coincidence that by the period of war communism (1917-22) Malevich’s canvases became ever simpler, paling into white forms on white backgrounds. By 1919 they completely faded out. “Painting died like the old regime because it was a part of it,” Malevich said.

From the October 1917 revolution onwards Malevich’s career exemplifies the promotion of the avant garde to “high art” status by the young worker state, the first government in the world to do so.

Appointed Commissioner for the Preservation of Historic Buildings and Art in 1917 and head of the experimental Petrograd Free State Workshops (SVOMAS) by 1918, Malevich became an influential art establishment figure.

From 1919 he continued to develop new forms of art education based on Suprematism in his own department at Vitebsk Art School. He organised his students and himself into a collective under the acronym UNOVIS (Champions of the New Art) and together they set out to improve daily life by exploring the essence of form, colour and volume as prototypes for practical application by engineers, architects and designers.

Having inspired many contemporaries these principles, which Malevich published in 1927, still underpin much Modernist design today.

Malevich’s return to figurative painting in the late 1920s may come as a shock as these works were long marginalised. This exhibition devotes two rooms to them, presenting them as surprising, ambiguous and complex reinventions of figuration. Yet it interprets his themes of peasant life as conveying the “dislocation, alienation and despair” of collectivisation policies.

By privileging the individual, avant-garde artist, the curatorial stance undervalues the urgency of the international left’s 1930s debates about the social responsibility of artists.

Malevich’s late experiments of blending Modernism with various forms of realism was part of a wider quest by Soviet artists to create an accessible yet modern art.

At his premature death from cancer in 1935, the city of Leningrad honoured Malevich by paying for the grand Suprematist funeral which he’d designed himself.

Malevich was a true radical and original thinker. His major contribution to art theory and education more than compensates for a certain lack of intuitive flair and sensuous engagement with the act of painting.

The exhibition is overly large so that it is difficult to absorb the numerous drawings and UNOVIS projects displayed towards its end. Yet, apart from its predictable anti-Soviet bias, it provides a meticulously researched and comprehensive survey of Malevich’s work. It has an unpretentious chronological organisation and its reconstruction of Malevich’s 1915 Suprematist exhibition is impressive.

A must for those interested in Soviet and Modernist art.

Runs until October 26 at Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG. Box office: (020) 7887-8888.