Ten Most Popular Articles of 2016

These are the ten most viewed articles written in 2016. I am excited that many of them involve experiences and works from our synkroniciti Open Mics, which were happening once a month until our house flooded in April. I am looking forward to starting them up again sometime in 2017. I miss my tribe!

10. Floating on Water: The Medieval Art of Ebru

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9. Burying the Beloved: Love and Loss in Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles

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8. Owning Aggression: Sonya Tayeh’s Baggage

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7. Underwater Visions: Water and the Human Form

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6. Digging Together: Synkroniciti’s Building Bridges

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5. Buried Memories: The Other Immigrants by Saba Husain

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4. Bruce Mozert: Pioneer of Underwater American Glamour

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3. Connecting Broken Pieces: Synkroniciti’s Open Mic

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2. Imitating Nature: Green Cacti of Lina Cofán

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1.Water and Light: This is how I get to you by Tuba Sozadogru

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Quote for Today: Austin Grossman

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Some days I spent up to three hours in the arcade after school, dimly aware that we were the first people, ever, to be doing these things. We were feeling something they never had – a physical link into the world of the fictional – through the skeletal muscles of the arm to the joystick to the tiny person on the screen, a person in an imagined world. It was crude but real. We’d fashioned an outpost in the hostile, inaccessible world of the imagination, like dangling a bathysphere into the crushing dark of the deep ocean, a realm hitherto inaccessible to humankind. This is what games had become. Computers had their origin in military cryptography – in a sense, every computer game represents the commandeering of a military code-breaking apparatus for purposes of human expression. We’d done that, taken that idea and turned it into a thing its creators never imagined, our own incandescent mythology.
Public Domain Image via Pexels.com

Living Dots and Glorious Dust: The Human Form Revealed in Unnamed Soundscape by Daniel Franke

© Ars Electronica with CCLicense

© Ars Electronica with CCLicense

Daniel Franke is an artist, designer and music video director who seeks to combine digital art with reality and thus extend our understanding of the world in which we live. In fusing the digital with the tactile, he creates stunning images, like this video, Unnamed Soundscape, which recreates the motion of the human body as a field of dots, or pixels. A dancer created with her body a representation of Kreukeltape, an ambient musical composition by Machinenfabrik. This dance was recorded by three cameras and reconstituted into a three dimensional cloud. The cameras themselves responded to the music by shifting their perspectives, further enhancing the multidimensionality already present.

Unnamed Soundscape is reminiscent of sand art and also reminds me of the computer generated images in The Mummy, which I have always found fascinating, although this is much more complex and haunting. The elegance, fluidity and transitory nature of the human form and movement are clearly illustrated. “From dust you came, and to dust you shall return,” it seems to say. What gloriously beautiful dust we are!

Nature’s Music: Rocky Mountain Elk in Autumn

© Giant Gingko with CCLicense

© Giant Gingko with CCLicense

In the early autumn, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado reverberates with the haunting calls of elk. Since the elk population in the park was restored by transplanting animals from Yellowstone National Park, the herd there has grown to a healthy size and has become quite a draw for tourism. The current government shut down, which has closed National Parks in the United States, and flooding in and around Estes Park have both put a damper on “Elktober” in 2013. There is a great article on that subject here. This may be inconvenient for humans, but the elk surely appreciate the privacy during mating season. People are often careless around these powerful animals, invading their space and putting themselves in unnecessary danger.

Elk cries, like the ululations and yips of coyotes, are musical, eerie sounds. Elk are among the most vocal species of cervids, or deer. The high-pitched vocalizing of the male, known as bugling, seems incongruous with his large size. This high quality wildlife video from Colorado Parks and Wildlife contains beautiful footage of Rocky Mountain National Park and the elk herd at sunrise. What a magical experience– definitely one to be enjoyed from a distance with great reverence. Stunning work by Dennis McKinney and Nick Clement.

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

Of Children and Dragons: Patrick Boivin’s Dragon Baby

“Since I didn’t go to film school, nobody told me I wasn’t supposed to do everything.”

Patrick Boivin began his creative career drawing comic books, but found his true love in telling stories via video. The filmmaker from Montreal, Canada, not only directs, but gets intimately involved in all aspects of making video: lighting, editing, animation, special effects and sometimes even music. A pioneer of YouTube and Vimeo, his films have also been featured at the Montreal Film Festival, the Commonwealth Festival in the UK and the Festival de Namur in Belgium. He’s an artist Synkroniciti really admires.

© Shopping Diva with CCLicense

© Shopping Diva with CCLicense

Should the little girl above require saving, the charming video below, Dragon Baby, features Boivin’s son in a battle against a pernicious stuffed dragon. If you have time, check out the older sister in Iron Baby. What a completely awesome dad!

How’d they do that? Look at the video below to see behind the magic.

A Fable Timeless and Timely: Su Yang’s Phoenix

Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Do fables have something to contribute to the modern world? What do they show us about our society and ourselves?

The Cultural Revolution took place in China from 1966 through 1976 with the goal of removing capitalist, traditional and cultural elements from Chinese society. Educated men and women were removed from their homes and taken to rural locations to be “re-educated”. They were subjected to backbreaking work and could be beaten or killed for any action, any creation that did not build up the “modern” ideals of the Party. The view was that mankind needed absolute realism and absolute equality to make progress. The goal of the Cultural Revolution proved impossible, but the process left a deep mark.

Video via sinoprod on Youtube.

This Chinese video from Su Yang takes a traditional courtship song and turns it into a warning. The original song, written before the Cultural Revolution, tells of an ill-fated couple who dare to love across class lines. In this version, we see Phoenix and Peony, who have a bright and happy future taken away by dark forces that awaken from under their home. A relentless drive for production destroys dreaming and the simple life and ends by destroying the family, but Phoenix remains. Like his namesake, Phoenix is made from fire; he cannot be destroyed by it.

The Mongolian Matoquin CC Licensed Image by Eric Pouhier via Wikipedia

The Mongolian Matouquin
© Eric Pouhier with CCLicense

There are three elements of this video which evoke a sense of timelessness and elevate Phoenix to the status of a cultural fable. First there is Su Yang’s vocal: throaty, raw and modern, vaguely reminiscent of Adam Durwitz of Counting Crows, and wedded to a repetitive, old-fashioned chorus style melody. Add to this the use of the matouqin, known in the Mongol tongue as the morin khuur, an extremely traditional Mongolian stringed instrument and you have a disorienting recording that has one foot in the past and one in the present. This might be interesting enough for some listeners, but it is the stellar animation by Hu Zhong Qiang that steals the show. Echoing the musical elements, it is stunningly modern even as it uses traditional Chinese images: beautiful peonies and birds, stylized people, and the phoenix itself. We experience a sense of loss as the dragon, an ancient symbol of China, is converted into a train. We experience horror as the sleeping animals below the Peony tree become mechanized agents of destruction. We identify with the sadness, hope, and burning defiance of Phoenix, which recall a legend more familiar to the Western mind than the dragon or the Peony. The visuals tell the story in a childlike way, yet the subject matter is hardly that of childhood. Or is it?

The genius of the video is that it is quintessentially Chinese, but retains a universal humanity that dissolves barriers. We can all appreciate and mourn the loss of culture, home, and family. Art at its best reminds us not only that we are precious individuals, but that we are connected by shared experience. This is a fable for all of us.

Are there fables that have stuck with you from childhood that appear in your dreams or in your art?