Quote for Today: Jim Morrison

pexels-photo-1148998

 

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.

Jim Morrison

Public Domain Image via pexels.com

Be a Part of our Third Web Project

© Dayna Bateman with CCLicense

© Dayna Bateman with CCLicense

Synkroniciti is proud to announce our third web based project. We invite you, our readers, to create new art based upon the themes Synkroniciti has explored in the past three weeks: city, shadow and mud. We encourage submissions in any discipline, including the realms of music, theatre, film, dance, visual art, and literature. We will edit the submissions to create a video to be featured here on the Synkroniciti site, on Youtube, Vimeo and Facebook. All artists will be credited in the video. You can view our previous videos here.

Please submit one of the following by 11:59 PM CST on Sunday, July 21st:

a video of your artwork

This may consist of  a video journal detailing the process of creating the artwork or a performance of the artwork or a combination of both. Any performance of the artwork should take no more than three minutes. You may send as much video journal material as you like.

an audio track of your artwork

Artists who work with sound may want to explore this option and should realize that audio tracks will be used to accompany the images of other artists. The audio track should be no more than three minutes long.

a file of images

Visual artists may want to explore this option and should realize that their images will be synced with an audio track of another artist. We will accept up to twelve images from each artist.

We regret that we do not accept written materials, but encourage artists such as authors and composers to submit their works in another format more suited to video. We encourage you to read, illustrate or animate your text.

Submissions can be shared with us via dropbox here.

There is no submission fee. Once the finished project is out please evaluate your experience. If the experience was beneficial for you we ask that you acknowledge that with a donation to Synkroniciti. You are free to set the amount of that donation and we are happy to accept any amount.

I will be writing a poem to be performed and included in the video as well. I look forward to taking this journey with you!

kat

Made for Flight: Alouette, the Femmebot

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna), from The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna), from The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Writers are encouraged to write about what they know. This has merit, but does it shortchange our imagination or compassion? When we take the time to tell the story of others, which requires empathy, interpretation, care and research, this can broaden our understanding and cross borders. The stories that inspired the following video poetry are not mine, but they are not unfamiliar. They float between us and around the corner from us, becoming part of the great cloud of our subconscious mind. When the unspeakable happens it makes ripples that resound through all of us.

Alouette is the French word for a family of birds English speakers know as larks. It is also the title of a French nursery song known all over the globe. The song is intended as a way to teach children the parts of the body, but, as with a great deal of children’s songs, there is a sadistic streak in it that cuts deep.

Lark, nice lark,
Lark, I will pluck you…

I will pluck your back. I will pluck your back.

And your tail!  
And your feet!  
And your wings!  
And your neck!  
And your eyes!
And your beak!  
And your head!  
Lark!

Alouette is also the name of the Femmebot, who identifies this song with unmentionable abuse that has rendered her damaged and changed her nature. But who is she and what is that nature?

Modifying Tradition: Tian-Ming Wu’s King of Masks

220px-KingofmasksWe all have traditions. Sometimes the reason traditions fail to thrive is because we don’t allow them to change.

Tian-Ming Wu’s film King of Masks takes us to the China of the 1930s, where we meet an aged street performer, Wang Bianlian. He is a master at the art of bian lian, mask changing, in which silk masks are removed at dazzling speeds to reveal changes in mood or character. The mechanism and techniques behind this art are secret, passed on only to male heirs. Much to his anguish, Wang has no son. After turning down a serious job offer from a star performer of the Sichuan Opera, Wang decides to buy a child. He finds a feisty young thing who takes to him immediately and proves to be a hard worker. At last his dreams are coming true and he will be able to pass his skills to the young boy. But fate plays one more trick: the boy, affectionately named Doggie (a term of endearment in China), is really a girl in disguise. Surely he cannot pass his skills on to a girl, considered a liability by society! How desperate will Wang need to become before he will consider doing so?

Video via sonico67 on Youtube. This is a beautiful film which asks some deep questions about tradition and reveals the paradoxical need for change in order to keep it alive. The portrayal of women, or perhaps the lack of it, is shocking. The Sichuan Opera of the 1930s doesn’t employ women. Wang’s friend at the opera is a famous female impersonator, a man playing women’s roles, sighed after by generals. The stigma against women and against them having any sort of work outside of the home is so great that Wang would almost let his art die before teaching Doggie. Almost.

Here is a stunning excerpt from a more recent Sichuan Opera performance featuring mask changing. Note that one of the performers is female.

Video via blur Wu on Youtube.

Where Sport and Art Collide: Hockey Mask Artist David Arrigo

© David Arrigo used in accordance with Fair Use Policy

© David Arrigo used in accordance with Fair Use Policy

We often separate artists and athletes by stereotyping them: the artist is withdrawn and effeminate while the athlete is aggressive and masculine. The truth is that both athletes and artists are a mixture of different types, just like anyone else. Sometimes society creates very uncomfortable molds, but Canadian David Arrigo has broken through to become a successful artist who just happens to make hockey masks. He failed art in high school and dropped out of a graphic design class in college, but these setbacks failed to kill his creative urge. His career is personally satisfying and lucrative, and has also brought him in contact with many important athletes. David is an inspiration for those whose talents might not fit in with a classical artistic sense, but are vibrant within the context of modern culture. You can take a good look at his work on his website and read about his interesting career and philosophy in this article from The Glendale Star. Sometimes we create our own creative niche and sometimes it finds us.

Dreaming to Be Clean: Aterciopelados Prayer for the River

Aterciopelados.  This image used in accordance with Fair Use Policy.

Aterciopelados.
This image used in accordance with Fair Use Policy.

Aterciopelados is a Colombian rock band founded and led by Andrea Echeverri and Héctor Buitrago. They are famous for their musical style, a fusion of Colombian and other Latin American traditions, and for their consciousness of social and environmental issues and willingness to make them the focus of their art.

Rio, River, is a prayer and a lament for the polluted Bogotá river. The images are beautiful and memorable: the river pictured as a snake, winding through the city and splashing everything with paint; guitarist Buitrago playing while wearing a gas mask; the ripples of smog gathering over the earth as the fish jump (to name just a few). It is a very moving video, intelligent and emotional. Please enjoy.

River

The river comes running, singing
going through the city, dreaming to be clean, to be clear.

You are thirsty, you have a cough, Bogotá river, be healthy, oh my River.

The waters fly from the river, they flood clouds,
and the sky falls in crystals that wash over us.
Oxygen, Let’s send the river, waves of prayer for the river,
prayers for the river.

We must save our blood that runs,
watch the vital water that flows,
bathe the sweet thread that weaves,
sing that the fish return.

Video via Nacionalrecords on Youtube.

Quote for Today: Fernando Pessoa

© Rafael Sato with CCLicense

© Rafael Sato with CCLicense

Masquerades disclose the reality of souls. As long as no one sees who we are, we can tell the most intimate details of our life. I sometimes muse over this sketch of a story about a man afflicted by one of those personal tragedies born of extreme shyness who one day, while wearing a mask I don’t know where, told another mask all the most personal, most secret, most unthinkable things that could be told about his tragic and serene life. And since no outward detail would give him away, he having disguised even his voice, and since he didn’t take careful note of whoever had listened to him, he could enjoy the ample sensation of knowing that somewhere in the world there was someone who knew him as not even his closest and finest friend did. When he walked down the street he would ask himself if this person, or that one, or that person over there might not be the one to whom he’d once, wearing a mask, told his most private life. Thus would be born in him a new interest in each person, since each person might be his only, unknown confidant.
― Fernando Pessoa

Monkey and Bush Buffalo: Mask Characters from Burkina Faso

Winiama Mask Dancer

© Tropenmuseum of the Royal Tropical Institute, this image used in accordance with Fair Use Policy.

The Winiama people live in central Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in western Africa. Like many neighboring west African tribes, they are famous for their mask making and performances. Masks are used to teach the values of the tribe. In the video below we see two characters: Monkey, who is filled with cunning but lacks discipline and so causes much trouble, and Bush Buffalo, who is strong and powerful but must wear a bell to warn others of his dangerous and unpredictable temper. Enjoy this fascinating video by Christopher Roy of the University of Iowa.

Video via Christopher Roy on Youtube.