Aaron here today with the INK BRICK Submission Deadline Reminder; Public Health Comics; EMISSARIES; How the petroleum and natural gas industries are reshaping the Colorado landscape; TEACHING STAFF FOR A SCHOOL OF MURDERERS
Submissions Deadline for Ink Brick no. 7
Hey friends! Submissions for INK BRICK no. 7 are due Sunday, April 16, 2017.
More details at inkbrick.com/submission
An interview with editors Alexander Rothman and Alexey Sokolin was conducted back in February by Alex Dueben over at the Beat blog:
Dueben: Alex, you wrote a manifesto of sorts in 2015 and there was a line in it that really jumped out at me: “art is an empathy engine.” I wonder if you could talk a little about that.
Sokolin: I’ll jump in on the concept. Famously, the filmmaker Chris Milk has called virtual reality “an empathy engine” as well. I think it boils down to the fact that humans are a tribal, social animal. One of the things that separates from the apes is technology, and in particular the technology of language. Scientists think that the invention of language helped humans build mental models that they could then share with others, and then record those models on different media for connection more broadly. Today, we have many languages — from analytical ones (Excel), to engineering ones (Python), to informal spoken ones (English), to emotional languages (Art). Art, whether in music, virtual reality, or poetry, helps us transfer emotional content to others, to infect them with feeling. Comics poetry is special in this regard because it can focus on this space in between, the space of not looking at something directly, but feeling its hum and mystery. How else can you describe nostalgia, or memory, or regret. Comics poetry allows us to see from the corner of our eye something that may be too embarrassing or crude to put into any other language. Elsewhere, it would shatter and break. But here, it can be universally translated.
Rothman: I mentioned above that I use broad definitions of “comics” and “poetry”—there are of course plenty of others. And one of my favorite ones is that a poem serves as a map to the poet’s thinking. It doesn’t just impart information to the reader; the act of reading actually recreates or walks one through another person’s thought process.
There’s obviously a lot of distance between individuals. We naturally have little sense of what other people are thinking, how they experience the world. And expressing ourselves is one of the few opportunities we have to try bridging that. For me, art’s most important function is helping us to inhabit other subjectivities—or really to translate them into our own.
Not to agree with or like others, necessarily, but to try to understand them. A lot of people hear a word like “empathy” and they think it means capitulation or weakness. That’s not the case at all. I think the election throws this into stark relief: our political system requires contestation of ideas, and it requires certain approaches to win out over others. But for argument to even be possible, we need some shared context, some agreement to basic terms. And we can see how things like cultural divides and confirmation bias are severely eroding that. Now, false equivalency is a real problem, too, and I’m not saying “both sides are wrong!” here. Just that when people inhabit fundamentally different realities, they have no productive options to resolve their differences.
has a strip about epidemiology and immunization over at the Public Health Insider blog.
EMISSARIES is presented as a large-scale installation that transforms the gallery into a portal-like environment for Cheng’s simulations to build, generate, regress, and progress. The 10-foot-tall projections allow each simulation to unfold at life-size, positioning viewers as observers who can follow the lives of specific characters as they interact within the simulated worlds and each other in an ever-changing environment.
The exhibition is extended into the digital space through a collaboration with Twitch, a social video platform and community for gamers. Over the course of the exhibition, all three works in the Emissary trilogy will be available for viewing on Twitch in unique versions that exist online only. The Twitch live stream of these works will also be on view in the gallery space, highlighting the iterative nature of these works across platforms both physical and virtual. Available for viewing continuously at www.twitch.tv/moma, Emissary In the Squat of Gods will stream from April 9 to May 22, Emissary Forks At Perfection from June 6 to July 24, and Emissary Sunsets the Self from August 8 to September 25.
Describing Cheng’s simulations can be a challenge. The characters in them look like computerized versions of real-life animals and humans, but, because Cheng is working with a video-game engine that keeps creating new combinations, the figures can smash into each other and break into overlapping geometric planes. Though what the work will do is left up to chance, Cheng has a narrative in mind before he starts working, and his works loosely follow it.
When I met him, Cheng had just returned from Zurich, where he had opened a solo show at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, and he was still jetlagged. Cheng had also recently overseen the installation of his simulation at the Hirshhorn, and another work of his had just gone on display in MOCA Cleveland’s “Stranger,” which surveys artists who depict humans in odd, new ways. All three shows opened in the past three months, and all speak to the way Cheng creates scenarios in which humans have to rethink their relationship to technology. What if software updates and new models aren’t the only way technology is evolving? What if technology is evolving us, rather than the other way around?
There’s Never Enough Oil
Over at the Nib, T. Edward Bak takes a long look at oil production in Colorado over time.
The dadaist conceived the pieces (price on request) in 1967, a time in his life when he became fullycommitted to sculpture, having dabbled in it throughout his career. Typically Ernstian–he was alwaysamaster of provocation–there’s a biting sense of humour here, from the wordplay to the overturning ofartistic convention. There is also an unsettling, anxious commentary on postwar European society,embodying fears about authority and corrupt political surveillance that are perhaps as relevant now asthey were then.
A Cosmic Journey – 4-11-2017 – by Cameron Arthur
Suzy and Cecil – 4-11-2017 – by Gabriella Tito
Joanie and Jordie – 4-11-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio