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Documentary

Ai Weiwei’s Film ‘Human Flow’ Documents the Staggering Scale of the Global Refugee Crisis

March 23, 2018

Christopher Jobson

To create his new documentary film Human Flow, Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei spent a full year traveling through 23 countries, following the journeys of some of the 65 million people forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change, and protracted wars. Crossing oceans and visiting refugee camps in precarious border cities in Afghanistan, Greece, Iraq, Kenya, Mexico, Turkey and beyond, Ai documented the stories of fellow humans of all ages and nationalities who currently have no place to call home.

The individual stories of several refugees and their journeys—or near perpetual state of limbo—are interwoven throughout the film, though Ai focuses mostly on a macro view that illustrates the unimaginable scope of the unfolding crisis that has enveloped entire nations. By its nature, Human Flow recognizes that there are no easy solutions to these monumental catastrophes that impacts all of us directly or indirectly, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. A healthy dose of compassion and a recognition of a shared humanity would be a good start.

On a personal note, I felt deeply impacted by the film and strongly urge you to watch it.

On Sunday, April 29, 2018, Human Flow will be screened simultaneously across the United States. Immediately following, Ai will participate in a livestream Q&A with audiences around the country. If you are interested in hosting a public screening in a school, library, community center or elsewhere, you can find out more from ro*co films.

 

 



Art

Banksy Emerges in New York and Calls Attention to Imprisoned Turkish Artist Zehra Doğan

March 15, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Banksy (previously) has emerged this week on the streets of New York, creating at least two new artworks, his first pieces in the city since his ‘residency’ five years ago. In one large work spanning the length of the famed mural space at the corner of Houston Street and Bowery in Manhattan, tally marks form prison bars, symbolically counting the days of imprisonment for artist Zehra Doğan. The Turkish painter is currently serving a nearly three year prison sentence for the creation of a single painting. The mural is a collaboration between Banksy and street artist Borf.

Doğan, who also worked as a reporter for the now defunct Dicle news agency, created the painting in 2016 which depicts operations carried out by Turkish security forces against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The artwork, derived from a photograph, shows buildings reduced to rubble, plumes of smoke, and gathered military trucks, all part of a multi-year effort in Turkey’s southeastern towns and cities to clear out PKK militants. 

The aspect that the Mardin 2nd High Criminal Court deemed a crime are the Turkish flags that Doğan included, draped over the facades of some of the standing buildings, elements that also appear in the original photo.

As a result of her artistic rendering of the destruction in Mardin province Doğan may the only person in the world imprisoned for the act of painting. In Instagram posts about his depiction of Doğan’s sentencing, Banksy is encouraging people to repost her work and tag Turkey’s president, who is also active on Instagram. 

Zehra Doğan’s painting

The photograph that Doğan’s painting is based on

Update: A previous version of this article did not attribute Borf as a collaborator.

 

 



Design History

Delicate Sketches of the Original Peace Symbol to be Exhibited in London

February 20, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Sketch of nuclear disarmament symbol, by Gerald Holtom. © Commonweal Collection.

Stretching back over a half century, one of the most iconic symbols adopted by the international community has been the peace symbol. Utilized by millions of activists, organizations, and artists across the globe, most people are probably unfamiliar with the design’s unique origins and the meaning behind the multi-pronged symbol.

Artist Gerald Holtom created the symbol for the first Aldermaston March in 1958, part of a series of anti-nuclear weapon demonstrations in the 1950s and 1960s. The symbol was next adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and soon peace groups around the world displayed it in a variety of configurations. But what exactly does it mean?

Holtom designed the peace symbol around the visual language of flag semaphores, a telegraphy method for communicating with flags at a distance, combining the letters “N” and “D” standing for “nuclear” and “disarmament.”

Flag semaphores for the letters “N” and “D” and an overlay. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Holtom’s original 1958 sketches are now in extremely fragile condition and are rarely seen in public. However, a few of them, along with 300 objects from a century of anti-war activist campaigns in the UK, will be on view as part of People Power: Fighting for Peace at the Imperial War Museum in London from March 23 through August 28, 2017. You can read more about the peace symbol’s history over on Hyperallergic.

Hey art and design teachers, here’s a fun project idea: have students create new symbols for ideas important to them using flag semaphores or some other symbolic alphabet as a starting point. Send the results to [email protected] by March 20, 2017 with the subject ‘Peace Project‘ and we’ll share our favorites here on Colossal.

 

 



Art

Floral Elements Embroidered Directly on Antique Soldiers’ Helmets

June 23, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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“Kill for Peace” (2016), soldier’s helmets, sweaters. Cross-stitch, drilling, Industrial needle punching. All images by Vidmantas Ilciukas.

Lithuanian artist Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė (previously here, here, and here) uses cross-stitch embroidery to soften metal objects that seem materially opposed to the craft, having previously worked with car doors, spoons, pots, pans, and shovels. In her latest exhibition “Kill for Peace,” Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė used helmets from armies of various countries, stitching roses, violets, and thorns onto their surfaces. These helmets were presented at the contemporary art fair Art Vilnius 2016 where she was awarded for best installation at the fair. You can see more embroidered works on her website.

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History Photography

The Rescued Film Project Discovers 31 Rolls of Undeveloped Film Shot by an Unknown WW2 Soldier

January 18, 2015

Christopher Jobson

Founded by photographer Levi Bettwieser, the Rescued Film Project obtains unclaimed film rolls from the 1930s to the 1990s and develops them for the first time, salvaging hidden memories than might have otherwise been completely lost to time. In late 2014 at an auction in Ohio, Bettwieser discovered a lot of 31 undeveloped film rolls dating back to WWII with labels including Boston Harbor, La Havre Harbor, and Lucky Strike Camp. After acquiring the rolls of film, he set to work and developed dozens of usable negatives that somehow survived the last 70 years. The process was captured in this 10-minute film by Tucker Debevec.

Bettwieser says that although many of the rolls were too damaged to develop, the majority of them resulted in usable prints, and he still has one larger format roll to develop that requires special supplies. Staring carefully at so many photos may have also resulted in an additional discovery. Bettwieser noticed a single unidentified soldier seems to appear in several different shots, and he suspects this may be the photographer who lent the camera to others in order to get shots of himself. You can scroll through dozens more photos over on the project’s website.

Part of the Rescued Film Project’s mission is to connect photos with relevant places and people, so if you recognize anything, or if you have rolls of old undeveloped film, be sure to get in touch. (via PetaPixel)

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Couresty the Rescued Film Project

 

 



Photography

Haunting Photos of the German Countryside Reveal Scars Left from WWII Bombs

July 22, 2014

Johnny Strategy

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Henning Rogge, “#45 (Bulau)” (2013), Analogue C-print, 24 x 29 1/8 inches (all photographs courtesy the artist and RH Contemporary Art)

Although WWII ended almost 70 years ago, its legacy lives on: in photographs, memories and on our landscape. Walk through the forests of Germany and you’ll see craters or, scars, as German photographer Henning Rogge calls them, that are the aftermath of bombs being dropped from planes. Rogge has been tracking down these craters and photographing them, capturing moments, after decades have elapsed, of earth slowly healing her wounds. An unknowing hiker might easily mistake them for small ponds and nothing more, which is perhaps why these masked scars are so haunting. Rogge’s photographs are part of a group show titled The Beautiful Changes, which is on display at RH Contemporary Art in New York City through September 13, 2014. (via Hyperallergic)

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Henning Rogge, “#41 (Rotterbach und Hacksiefen)” (2013), Analogue C-print, 18 3/16 x 22 inches

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Henning Rogge, “#1 (Stolpe-Süd)” (2013), Analogue C-print, 24 x 29 1/8 inches

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Henning Rogge, “#54 (Altwarmbüchener Moor)” (2013), Analogue C-print, 18 3/16 x 22 inches

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Henning Rogge, “#58 (Projensdorfer Gehölz)” (2013), Analogue C-print, 18 3/16 x 22 inches

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Henning Rogge, “#66 (Mascheroder Holz)” (2013), Analogue C-print, 18 3/16 x 22 inches

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Henning Rogge, “#79 (Münsterbusch)” (2013), Analogue C-print, 18 3/16 x 22 inches

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Henning Rogge, “#83 (Beerenbruch)” (2013), Analogue C-print, 18 3/16 x 22 inches

 

 



Art

9,000 Fallen Soldiers Etched into the Sand on Normandy Beach to Commemorate Peace Day

September 25, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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This past weekend British artists Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss accompanied by numerous volunteers, took to the beaches of Normandy with rakes and stencils in hand to etch 9,000 silhouettes representing fallen people into the sand. Titled The Fallen 9000, the piece is meant as a stark visual reminder of the civilians, Germans and allied forces who died during the D-Day beach landings at Arromanches on June 6th, 1944 during WWII. The original team consisted of 60 volunteers, but as word spread nearly 500 additional local residents arrived to help with the temporary installation that lasted only a few hours before being washed away by the tide. (via Lustik)

 

 

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