Author Archives: Patty @ Scratch

Photography in the Digital Age

[image courtesy of Daniel Arnold]

With the rise of ubiquitous technology, it is no surprise that mobile photography is more popular than ever.

For most people, carrying an SLR is not particularly ideal for the everyday – you can’t exactly slide it in your pocket and dash out the door. But a hybrid device like a smart phone can be carried with ease, letting you capture moments that happen in real time with a quick click and a snap. What’s more, your friends don’t have to come over to look at your scrapbooks or photo books, you can now share with a larger audience and instantly.

Mobile photography as an art form has been debated until exhaustion, but it’s important to recognize its impact at least culturally and socially.

Interest groups are emerging for mobile photography, and the content is strong:

Mobile Photo Group – an international collective of mobile photographers who share stories and a view of their world through their mobile devices.

Tiny Collective – an international collective of mobile photographers developing new work through its mission to propel and explore the new mobile era of digital arts.

Peruse these sites, and there’s something that’s really authentic, maybe even “punk rock,” captured in these moments shared. It almost feels like what a lot of artists were (and still are) doing with film – experimenting, capturing, and sharing their worlds and their stories.

(See Steven Seigel, then Daniel Arnold)

Our world continues to grow more digital and as it does, many of our traditional notions about the experience and quality of art are being challenged. We’re living in a time where digital art is being exposed to just as many, if not more culture-seekers in online galleries  as physical ones – and where creative genius can take an infinite number of forms.

It’s so exciting to watch and see what will emerge. Maybe it will be an over saturation. Or maybe an interesting mutation.

Born Out of Frustration: Igor Dewe

Igor Dewe is a 22-year-old Parisian performance artist that is all sorts of amazing.

Dewe’s art is avant-garde, eccentric, and a little NSFW - while his personal style is a hybrid of cultural references, gender binaries, and high & low fashion.

From his Tumblr, he describes himself as a “creature born out of pure frustration of too much hotness and beauty”. Like many Millennials, Dewe is mashing up and remixing culture in a way that challenges the notion of a static identity – and opening the doors to dynamic style and evolving culture.

His Tumblr headline says: “Behold this is the crack in the world wide web’s spider net of casualties. Prepare. Be afraid. Get Ready. And yes, be very afraid”.

We’re not afraid Igor, we’re not afraid at all.

(h/t Claudia Cukrov)

Teenage: Living Collage

Teenage is based on punk author Jon Savage’s groundbreaking novel of the same name chronicling through first-hand accounts the origin of “teenagers”. Using excerpts from the diaries of real teens from the early 20th century as both inspiration and narrative, the film reveals the struggle between adults and adolescents to define youth.

“From party-crazed Flappers and hipster Swing Kids to brainwashed Nazi Youth and frenzied Sub-Deb”, Teenage examines the formation of youth culture and the influence wartime-born American teenagers had on the model and ideal of youth that still exists today.

Jon Savage’s unique entry point to this material was through his experience with the London punk rock scene. As a young journalist in the 1970s, he saw young punks buying thrift clothes from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. He saw them using safety pins to reassemble relics from previous youth cultures into something startlingly new. He termed this impulse “living collage”.

Through collecting these vibrant stories and imagery of historic teenagers, and examining the earliest roots of youth culture, Teenage reveals some of what we can learn about our youth-obsessed society today.

(via Teenage Film)

Caine’s DIY Arcade

9-year-old Caine Monroy spent most of his summer vacation building an elaborate DIY cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto parts store in East LA. Caine, an arcade enthusiast, meticulously designed each game with various systems in place ranging from security to fun passes to prizes.

Unfortunately, most of the business for Caine’s father takes place online, so Caine’s Arcade rarely had any activity. But Caine didn’t give up, and waited outside for customers each day.

By chance, Nirvan Mullick stumbled upon Caine’s Arcade while he was looking for a part for his car. Caine approached him to play, and Nirvan was impressed with the set up. He accepted Caine’s offer.

I asked Caine how it worked and he told me that for $1 I could get two turns, or for $2 I could get a Fun Pass with 500 turns. I got the Fun Pass.

After some time, Nirvan returned to the shop and asked Caine’s father if he could make a short film about Caine’s Arcade. Caine’s father told Nirvan that he had been Caine’s only customer, if Nirvan was able to even bring one more customer it would make Caine’s day.

Nirvan decided to take things to the Internet. He created an event on Facebook and invited as many people he could to check out Caine’s Arcade. The news about Caine’s Arcade spread like wildfire and soon enough Caine’s Arcade had dozens of new patrons and a hit viral video to follow.

Caine’s Arcade is a heartfelt story of a child’s commitment to his work and passions, our increasing connectivity due to technology, and the powerful effect of some simple life affirmations.

Learn more about Caine’s Arcade here >

(via Boing Boing)

Life, Interrupted: Suleika Jaouad

[image via Getty Images]

23-year-old Suleika Jaouad’s story starts off at an exciting, significant moment in her life: graduation from Princeton, first job offer, and a one way ticket to Paris. A dream come true and a huge milestone in the lives of most young people.

While Suleika was in Europe, something happens. She starts to feel ill and after numerous visits to doctors, they struggle to diagnose her. Seven months later, she returns to her childhood home in New York – wheelchair bound and too weak to walk. A week following her return, her worst fears are confirmed. She is diagnosed with leukemia.

Youth and good health are often things that are thought of synonymously. How does a young person cope with such a sudden, seemingly illogical and dissonant reality?

“In these many months of sitting in bed I’ve discovered that I really love to write. But before I got sick, I never felt brave enough to put myself out there,” says Suleika in this New York Times video, Life Interrupted: A Video Portrait of Young Adulthood. “So I started a blog and all the thoughts I’d been having for the past year and all of these experiences came flooding out.”

Suleika’s story is compelling, and she’s decided to share her journey as a writer in the Health and Wellness section for the New York Times. Her strength and her personality shine through in her writing and video logs. She’s extremely candid with her feelings of fear, hope, and happiness.

Living with a life-threatening disease can make you feel like a second-class citizen in the land of time. Disease infects not only your body but your relationship to the past, present and future. Thinking about the past used to stir nostalgia, but now it mostly magnifies all that is no longer. When mortality hangs in the balance, daydreaming about the future, one of life’s most delicious activities when you are young, can be a frightening exercise.

Suleika does not believe cancer is a gift, but she has learned a tremendous amount through her experience. Her priorities and future goals are different, her view of the world has changed, and the way she feels about herself – both mentally and physically – has grown tougher and stronger.

Suleika’s story is inspiring. Her strength, honesty, and openness has a truly gripping effect – just read the comments.

Follow Suleika’s story here or here >

Attribution and the Curator’s Code


[image via Getty Images]

In some respect, the Internet is kind of like the Wild West – rugged, unruly, and filled with cowboys. And like the Wild West, a “code of the West” exists on the Internet, a code of behavior that isn’t written law, but centered around loose guidelines. This code of behavior is that of attribution – the courtesy hat tip or via that gives a nod to where you discovered or first learned of something.

Some argue that it’s a service to bring to the public’s attention content that is “interesting, meaningful, important, and otherwise worthy of our time and thought”. This cultivation is a form of creative and intellectual labor – a form of authorship. Maria Popovafrom Brainpickings, aims to standardize this behavior with the Curator’s Code – a system that she and a group of others are hoping will make sourcing content across the web the norm and universal.

via Curator’s Code:

One of the most magical things about the Internet is that it’s a whimsical rabbit hole of discovery – we start somewhere familiar and click our way to a wonderland of curiosity and fascination we never knew existed. What makes this contagion of semi-serendipity possible is an intricate ecosystem of “link love” – a via-chain of attribution that allows us to discover new sources through those we already know and trust.

While we have systems in place for literary citation, image attribution, and scientific reference, we don’t yet have a system that codifies the attribution of discovery in curation as a currency of the information economy, a system that treats discovery as the creative labor that it is.

This is what The Curator’s Code is – a suggested system for honoring the creative and intellectual labor of information discovery by making attribution consistent and codified, celebrating authors and creators, and also respecting those who discover and amplify their work. It’s an effort to make the rabbit hole open, fair, and ever-alluring. This not about policing the Internet from a place of top-down authority, it’s about encouraging respect and kindness among the community.

The unicode symbols ᔥ and ↬ are simply shorthand for the familiar “via” and “HT,” respectively. While you may still choose to use “via” and “HT” the old-fashioned way – the goal here is to attribute ethically, regardless of how you do it – there are two reasons we are proposing the unicode characters: One, they are a cleaner, more standardized way to attribute. Two, since the characters are wrapped in a hotlink to the Curator’s Code site, they serve as messengers for the ethos of the code itself, as people encounter them across the web and click to find out what they represent.

Some find the idea of calling content aggregators “curators” as preposterous:

Call it sifting, call it filtering, call it editing even, but it sure as hell isn’t curating. – Matt Langer, Gizmodo

Some think the symbols themselves present a problem:

If I can’t reach those symbols with some simple keystrokes, I won’t use them. – Daniel Howells, founder of Siteinspire

Some believe that the main issue is not with attribution, but a systematic problem with online publishing:

The problems with online attribution aren’t due to a lack of syntax: they’re due to the economics and realities of online publishing. Aggregation, over-quoting, and rewriting. – Marco Arment, founder of Instapaper

Wherever your line in the sand may be, the Curator’s Code brings to light an interesting conversation about ownership, discovery, attribution, and processing everything that is out there on the wild, wild web.

(h/t or should I say ↬ @annehubert)

Curator’s Code

Rafael Rozendaal: The Internet As Your Playground

Rafaël Rozendaal is a 31-year-old artist that uses the internet as his playground.

Rozendaal creates digital art and sells the buyer the exclusive rights to the piece – the custom domain name.

The internet is not only Rozendaal’s canvas, but also his gallery. His various domains attract an online audience of over 15 million visits per year.

Rozendaal’s art is offbeat, humorous, and raises the interesting question of how the definition of art (and its ownership and patronage) is changing in the new digital age.

Check out a few of his pieces here:

http://www.mirrormouse.com/, http://www.annoyingcursor.com/, http://www.likethisforever.com/, http://www.pleaselike.com/, http://www.papertoilet.com/, http://www.burningcigarette.com/

He also has a Twitter account of everything he eats.

Rock Diary by Hedi Slimane

[image via Hedi Slimane]

Arguably the most influential fashion designer of the 21st century, Hedi Slimane left his position as the artistic director at Dior Homme five years ago to reinvent himself as a photographer.

Slimane’s black and white portraits capture striking, intimate moments of some of the most famous faces in contemporary culture. Jeffrey Deitch, the head of the Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art, said of Slimane, “I’ve always, from the beginning, thought that he was one of the most original artistic voices of his generation.”

via New York Times:

His photo work often portrays musicians at the fringes of fame or notoriety: up-and-coming artists whose bona fides lie primarily in the independent music scene. Others, perhaps, achieved widespread renown (or infamy), like Amy Winehouse or Pete Doherty, but seemed somehow to remain at the frayed, tragic edges of rock culture.

Slimane captures what seems like quiet moments. However, these moments create a powerful effect and exude the rock and roll spirit of this generation.

Check out more of Hedi Slimane’s work here >

I Am Not A Hipster

I Am Not A Hipster is writer and director Destin Daniel Cretton‘s reflection on the San Diego indie scene through the eyes of a young musician, Brooke, desperately trying to cope with his mother’s passing.

“People usually assume that a hipster is really pretentious about art and clothes and creativity, but that’s not the people that I know in the indie music and art scene,” Cretton continued. “They’re honestly some of the most genuine, childlike, creative people that I’ve ever met.”

Ion Cinema sums up the film pretty perfectly:

The film stands upon Bogart’s (Brooke) incredibly invidious, but commanding performance, and the on screen realization of West’s memorable score. There are a variety of devout live performances sprinkled throughout the film that induce hair raising goosebumps due to their heartfelt authenticity. Multiple scenes even depicts the home recording process with astute realism, showing both the magic of what can be done with a personal computer, and the utter absurdity of recording alone in a room with headphones on.

Although it’s fun to explore the stereotypical aspects of the indie scene and bash on hipster culture, I Am Not A Hipster is an attempt to move away from the negative connotations of “hipsterism” by offering a different, authentic perspective that focuses on our shared human experience.

The film features original songs and live performances by Canines that you can check out here.

Take a look for yourself and see what you think.

John Waters on Rookie Magazine


[image via Rookie Magazine]

Rookie is a web magazine for teenage girls started by blogger Tavi Gevinson.

Tavi first hit the scene with her blog, Style Rookie, which has earned her praise from even the most elite of the fashion world. Since launching Style Rookie nearly four years ago, Tavi has served as a muse for Rodarte’s Target line, been profiled in The New Yorker, and was called out by Lady Gaga as “the future of journalism.”

Oh, and by the way – Tavi is only 15 years old.

Beyond fashion, Tavi has also shown insight into her generation as a whole. New York Magazine interviewed her late last year and asked her opinion about young people and technology:

I think there’s this scrambling — that for people to feel like they’re a relevant or interesting person they have to be spouting out one-liners on Twitter every couple of hours. It’s really interesting how people, how the world, is trying to figure out what it means to have an extension of our identity, or a whole new identity, online. And it’s a really unique situation where, for once, it’s something that young people understand better than adults in a lot of ways, or are more used to it. But it’s such this scary powerful thing.

After her success with Style Rookie, Tavi started Rookie Mag. Focusing a little less on fashion and more on teenage culture, the blog has contributors of all ages covering a wide range of topics from music to comics to advice for young people.

And since this blog is sort of Scratch’s inspiration board, here is a look at another: Rookie recently visited cult artist and filmmaker John Waters’s house and did a photo tour. Above is a photo of John Waters’s inspiration board with the caption, “This is my bulletin board where I put things that inspire me. I think it’s just such a good idea and everybody should have one in their house, just a place where you can put images.”

A perfect addition to this blog and a little meta-fodder: inspiration within inspiration – a photograph of a physical collage, on a blog, on the internet. Pre-pinterest.

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