Monday, May 30, 2011

Jack Delano, Chicago Photographer

During the late 1930's and early 1940's Jack Delano worked for the Farm Security Administration Photography Program.  He made some amazing imagery mainly focused around the train scene in Chicago.  I'd love to write a bit more about what these photographs mean to this fine city but unfortunately I'm between air planes and road trips right now and the car isn't going to pack it's self!

I will do my best to come back and caption these photographs at a later time!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Phillis Wheatley School

The Phillis Wheatley School in New Orleans sustained minor damage in Hurricane Katrina, but it will be neglect and a bulldozer that will be its most dangerous disaster.  This short film is a plea to save the building before it is demolished this summer.  Check it out.  Looks about like the coolest elementary school I have ever seen.

"You mean to tell me the state of Louisiana can preserve plantations, and we can't preserve schools for children to go and learn in their own neighborhood?"

A Plea For Modernism from Evan Mather on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Chicago Street Art: ROA's Animal Murals

Photo: Tom Harris 
Photo: Tom Harris
This week my studio flew street artist ROA into Chicago to paint anything he wanted on our blank 22' high west wall. We had been having a problem with bad taggers and gang members tagging up our wall.  We appreciate a fine piece of street art as much as the next guy but between the poorly sprayed on names of taggers and the city battling them with coat after coat of brown paint... it was time for action.  ROA painted two rams on our wall and stopped by a little out of the way spot in Logan Square to make a beautiful mural incorporating some of the architecture of the street.

Make your way to the intersection of N. Morgan Street and W. Kinzie Street here in Chicago's West Loop to see these two giant rams by ROA.

The wall of our studio.  Photo: Tom Harris

Photo: Tom Harris

Pawn Works coordinated ROA's visit to the city with our studio here in Chicago.

Photo: Brock Brake

Lego Maniacs

This 1960 commercial has been floating around the blogs as of late. Besides the fact that it is absolutely awesome it is very telling of the times.

I find it interesting that Legos have always been perfect for building Modernist architecture. I swear that there is a Mies tower in the last shot of the commercial. Also look at the awesome bomber that the boy makes. Perfect for going Dr.Strangelove on some Commies. And of course the girl builds a house, not as cool as the boys, because girls can't be architects. haha

Priceless, or should I say worth every $1.95-$25.00

Friday, May 20, 2011

Blockhead - The Music Scene

I was pleasantly reminded of this fantastic animation last week by Anthony F. Schepperd


Friday, May 13, 2011

The "War on Terror"

Picture this. It is April 30th, 1945. You just overheard on the radio that Adolf Hitler was dead. What do you do? You go out and throw a kegger in front of the White House of course! Who cares that you have friends, family, and fellow citizens overseas, still fighting and dieing for you, he's dead!

I'm proud to say that on that actual day, their was no celebration, no rejoicing in the streets, just private relief. For our ancestors, the real celebration came six days later when it was announced that the war in Europe was over. That's what everyone wanted to hear, that's when the celebrating began. There was finally an end to all the killing. When America dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, people didn't go bounding through the streets celebrating, they waited until August 14th, 1945 when the Japanese surrendered, ending the war, ending the killing.

I've been trying to figure out why a large majority of American's felt the need to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden. Of course they had every right to be happy about this announcement, but why the difference in 'celebrations?' I've been told that our country is a different place than it once was, which is certainly true, but only to a point. Was there a celebration when Timothy McVeigh was executed? The DC snipers? (One was executed the other is in jail for life, and of course 9/11 was a much more severe attack than the aforementioned). But from what I recall, I don't think anyone was out partying in the streets for the deaths of these individuals. So why the difference?

We were told by the President himself that "The War on Terror must continue!" America will not get its victory day anytime soon. There will be no sailors kissing nurses in time square, no parades, no celebrations. Terrorists could still be afoot and we must "stay the course." So it makes sense for American's to celebrate this small, almost insignificant murder, because frankly, I think we all know we are not getting another chance to 'celebrate,' at least, not anytime soon. We still have ten's of thousands of troops in Afghanistan fighting a "few dozen al Qaeda" as the CIA puts it. When will it ever be determined that the war is over? The Taliban is virtually a collection of Afghan citizens, they have no means to actually invade a country, what real threat do they serve if we leave there country?

I understand that fighting the Taliban isn't something you can really do. I guess it is similar to Al Capone declaring war on another country. You know your figure heads, but the rest are just average citizens by day and then whatever you want to deem them by night. Wouldn't it make sense to capture the leaders instead of slaying them? What better of an intelligence source than the leader himself?

But instead, he was killed. There was no interrogation. No trial, just death. Some people may see it as "an eye for an eye," but we all know you can't really compare such crimes and equate them. For those who were thirsty for blood, why couldn't you wait for a trial to be held? We all know what the end outcome would have been, right?

The way I see it, storming into his home and killing him isn't far away from what the SS did before WWII. That method of 'justice' is exactly what the Taliban/ al Qaeda/ Nazi's would do and I don't particularly like that system, I prefer ours. Capturing bin Laden would show the world that America isn't a collection of brutes. We are supposed to be a free country that believes in justice and granting everyone a fair, free trial, or at least we used to be.

Not only that, a trial would serve as a permanent, public, documented record of all of his crimes he committed. That is why there were trials in Nuremberg for the Nazi's, why Hideki Tojo was stabilized after attempting to kill himself when troops went to arrest him. These were people who killed millions and millions of innocent human beings. They were all were forced to stand trial, and all were eventually executed, giving those seeking blood what they wanted in the end.

Now maybe it wasn't possible to take him alive. But after reading the white house's release of what happened, it seems highly unlikely that was the case.

I've heard stories of how the siege took place ranging from Osama using his wife and kids as meat shields as he shot back at navy seals to him being unarmed with his hands up when he was shot. Whatever actually happened, I find it hard to believe the most elite fighters the U.S. military has to offer couldn't maim and capture him. These guys had to be the absolute definition of professionals who follow orders to a 'T.' So why kill him? If you really want to fight the War on Terror, you don't just obliterate the mastermind behind it all without asking a few questions first, that's common knowledge.

But, here we are, in that exact predicament. Instead of more and more of my fellow citizens being outraged by this cluster-fuck, they decide to celebrate. The youth of any culture is what keeps countries progressive and moving forward, and I'm not seeing that with my generation. Not many people ask questions anymore, they blindly follow what they are told. They hear an address from Osama, hear him mention Islam and assume he's acting in what he see's as "God's will." What is never said though is how while he may be Islamic, nothing he is doing is actually preached in Islam. He could be compared to Hitler with respect to both using religion as a device to motivate a group of people to do radical things. But, no matter what, he was still called a Muslim by everyone in our government and in the media. If someone was parading around mass-killing while wearing a McDonalds smock, praising McDonalds, we wouldn't assume he was a leader of all McDonald's employees or that was the philosophy behind his killings. That's absurd.

But, at our airports, train stations, on the streets, we profile people who appear to be Muslim. Why not profile people who are multimillionaire's instead? Osama was indeed one, but labeling him in such a way didn't look right in the media I guess. "Millionaire Responsible for 9/11" sounds more like something you would see in the tabloids, but, ironically enough, they would be 100% correct in this respect. You can't keep any organized group of that caliber afloat without a lot of financial backing, Al Qaeda was no different.

And when I'm told by anyone that we are at war with Al Qaeda, (you can't go to war against a country-less group, the definition of war is "a formal declaration issued by a national government indicating that a state of war exists between that nation and another." but I guess that's aside the point) and that is the reason he wasn't captured, was because you don't do trials during war is an absurd position. Saddam Husain received a trial while we were still in Iraq, why was Osama so different?

But it is backwards logic like that, that makes me think, maybe Osama did win the bigger war here. He was one of the only people to stand up to both Russia and the United States (Oh the irony of giving massive amounts of funds and supplies to a man who then turns on his 'supporters')

Osama lured us to do exactly what he wanted us to do, whether he intended it or not. He brought a war of attrition against us by using fighters who have no way of being identified. Because of this war, we now have less freedoms (thank you patriot act, and I guess now you don't need to always stand trial so we'll stick an asterisk next to Habeas Corpus). We engaged our military in Muslim countries, promoting more hatred of ourselves throughout the Muslim world, and have completely crippled ourselves financially in these wars. Our country now is having to give up constitutional rights and is becoming more like the authoritarian state Osama himself wanted to see. We somehow managed to accumulate more debt in eight years than we have in the past 200 combined. And yet, we are still fighting this pointless 'War on Terror.'

No one can deny that this War on Terror has generated a multi-billion dollar industry through these wars and has virtually created "homeland security." The war profiteers behind these companies will not want to give up their new-found fortunes so quickly. They have all the reasons in the world to keep our country in fear so they can continue to benefit from it all.

But what do we actually have to fear anymore? I saw on the news recently how some of the intelligence taken from bin Laden's home indicated that he was targeting "small towns and cities." Really, small towns and cities? What actual damage can something like that do? If you really want to hurt a country, you don't attack farmers with no political and financial ties, you go after the leaders, the intelligence agencies, the economic infrastructures. But interestingly enough, this 'threat' is strongly effective in promoting more fear throughout America. Now you can't be safe in big cities or little cities, there is nowhere to run anymore. All this is doing is leading America down the path that bin Laden wanted us to march down, and we are doing it with incredible discipline and grace. A country in fear has no one to turn to but its government who are exploiting the situation by slashing our liberties. How will we know when there is no threat against us anymore? How can we tell the difference between a real threat and a fake one? What's stopping our world from turning into George Orwell's '1984?'

Something I can truly get behind to celebrate, that would actually defeat bin Laden, would be to reverse all this chaos, and to reverse it now. End the wars, bring those troops home. Make the rich pay for this debacle, and restore our constitutional rights, our privacy, our due process rights that used to be what distinguished us from the rest of the world. America is supposed to be the land of the free, let's go back to what we once were. Please?

I thank you for reading this. Feel free to respond in anyway. I'm very interested in other peoples opinions on this matter.

Dali ala Disney

Found this on at the Wooster Collective.

Started in 1945 as a collaboration between Disney and Salvidor Dali, Destino is a surreal look at the love between Chronos and his mortal interest.

Left unfinished until 2003, most of the animation is traditional with some digital work augmenting.