Tag Archives: art

Self Defense of the Artistic Kind

I try to focus on positive stuff here, and while this story has an aspect of negative, ultimately the end result is positive. PetaPixel has the story, “Band Responds in the Worst Way Possible After Stealing Photographer’s Work

Photographer Rohan Anderson had one of his photos “stolen” (used without credit, permission or payment) by the band the photo was of. When confronted, the band initially scoffed at him and told him to get lost and that he had no case.

I’m not an intellectual property lawyer, but even I know better than to do what this band tried to.

Rohan fought back, and after continuing to be mocked by the band, the tables began to turn. They attempted to contact a magazine that he worked for but the magazine sided with Rohan. Then they had the ill-conceived idea to try and rally their twitter followers around the theft, which quickly backfired on them, and someone from legal/PR on the band’s side must have stepped in, as the band was forced to put their tail between their legs and concede.

Apparently, the final word from the band is that “all forms of digital art should be free”. That, I think, is a choice to be made by each artist about their own work. I happen to offer most of the art I create, for free, but that’s mostly because I’m not try to make a living from it.

The original blog post is good, and features several screenshots of the exchange, so I encourage you to go check that out, as this has only been a brief run-down.

You may also want to read a blog post I did about Fair Use.

Spray on Clothing: Technology of the Future, Today!

A friend of mine just told me about this, and I didn’t believe her at first, because it sounded like a joke. I know there is spray-on hair, but the quality and believability of it is laughable.

Enter Dr. Manel Torres, who has improved upon the idea. From Mashable “Spray-On Clothing Opens Door For Next-Level Tech”:

The company behind this technology is called Fabrican. Developed by clothing-designer-turned-chemist Dr. Manel Torres, who was originally looking for a faster way to produce clothes, the idea came to the self-proclaimed fashion doctor when he went to a friend’s wedding and saw someone getting sprayed by silly string, the popular 90s-era toy.

That’s when Torres got his “aha” moment and decided to pursue an instant, nonstick fabric. The result was the creation of instant garments you can remove and even wash. But the real value goes far beyond fashion. Commercial applications stretch to household products, factories and industry, healthcare, transportation and art.

Los Angeles based artist Aaron Axelrod calls the cans a mobile studio. Axelrod, who’s done installations for The Tonight Show, Coachella and Disney, says he wished he had a tool like this years ago. Instead, he’s had to use less malleable products such as tile, plastic, paint and cotton, often heavy to carry and time consuming to apply.

Beyond art, it’s possible this substance will soon be in hospitals and emergency service vehicles. That’s because the cans are sealed and sterilized, and could work as bandages or as a spray-on cast for broken bones. Welcome to the first-aid kit of the future.

With the addition of nanotechnology, the spray could also become an instant nicotine patch, an oral inoculation or vaccine. Carrying other elements in the fabric is also an option, meaning UV protection, mosquito repellent, vitamin supplements, medication, all could be in the cards. With additives, the fabric could even be fire-proof.

Pretty cool, and promising idea. I would also say if the purchase price can be reduced enough, this would also be a great solution for helping make clothes for people in need (such as in shelters, refugees of natural disasters, etc).

The Noise in my Head Podcast Returns with Theatre Technician Karen

Last year, I started a podcast, because I was having yet another mid-life crisis and thinking I wanted to change careers yet again (before discovering what a scanner/polymath was).

Rather than go back to school again for something I might get bored with before even graduating (and thus waste a lot of time and money), I thought I should try to find a way to get a sense of these careers of interest to see if I still felt drawn to them once I knew the pros and cons and the barriers to entry.

Since I had been wanting to do a podcast anyway, I started interviewing people, and the project became half informational interview and half amateur journalism. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, I stopped doing the podcast late last year, but the itch didn’t go away. Turns out I really like interviewing people and producing a podcast!

I decided back in January that I wanted to do it again, and have finally gotten the ball rolling for a Season 2. The first episode is now available (and on iTunes) – I interviewed my friend Karen, who is a theatre technician. Continue reading

Inspiring ways to cope with loss

We often praise artists for finding creative and inspiring ways to look at and deal with loss and tragedy, to take a bit of the sting out of the sadness of death, war and other dark aspects of life and humanity, and replace it with at least a little bit more hopeful, forgiving, acceptance.

Here is another such project which is really beautiful so I wanted to share it.

“A Celebration Of A Mom’s Love, This Father-Daughter Photo Series Will Rip Your Heart Apart”

In 2009, newlyweds Ben and Ali Nunery — dressed in their finest wedding regalia — posed in their new, as-yet unfurnished home in Cincinnati, Ohio, for wedding album photos. Ben’s new sister-in-law, Melanie Pace, a professional photographer, snapped a series of gorgeous pictures of the young couple. “Those images represent some of the happiest moments in my life,” Ben wrote on his blog. “It was the beginning of what we planned on being a long and happy life together.”

Sadly, however, this wasn’t to be. The couple was soon informed that Ali had a rare form of lung cancer. In 2011, just a year after their daughter, Olivia, was born, the young mom — then just 31 — passed away.

But this year, Ben says he is finally ready to say goodbye to that house, one so full of memories — both sad and sweet. He knew, however, that he and Olivia couldn’t just move out without marking the occasion in some way. So he called his sister-in-law again, in the hopes that she would help him recreate the photographs he once took with Ali. This time, he would pose with 3-year-old Olivia, the other love of his life.

Get a tissue ready, this is a real tear-jerker.

(EDIT – forgot to actually link to the article originally, I have fixed this)

Toronto area science, philosophy, art and curiosity related groups and events

Despite being a Toronto resident, I am trying to avoid focusing too much on local things for this site. However, since this site is meant to be a curated source – a singular location people can come to find lots of useful information, links and resources – that it wouldn’t hurt to throw up a post about local events for local readers.

Recently I’ve been turned onto several groups that run events in the city that I have attended and very much enjoyed.

The Center for Inquiry (Toronto Chapter) is one. They run a monthly event called “Cafe Skeptique” (I reviewed it last month after attending for the first time), which is a discussion about a particular topic or idea.

They also do a monthly pub crawl, where anyone can come and talk about anything. I’ve attended two of these, the first one I ended up in a discussion about libertarian ideals and “true freedom”. The more recent one we talked about religion and education.

Additionally, they run a Science and Philosophy Book Club, which I just discovered and am hoping to attend the next occurrence.

The other group I’ve recently started attending events of, is CASA (The Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence Students Association), a University of Toronto based group.

Like Cafe Skeptique, CASA hosts a monthly event called “Cognitive Séance”. If you got to www.cogsci.ca, you can join the group’s mailing list and get regular updates about upcoming events, and also student projects. According to their event page, they also have a book club, and several other events. You can also sync their calendar to your google account, which I find very helpful.

Some other groups or venues I have found related to these topics and ideas:

DIY Bio group on meetup.com. Their bio:

Do-it-yourself biological innovation! We’re inspired by the California group “biocurious”, like them, we believe in the power of open source, open access, and learning in community. We believe this philosophy should be applied to biology! Wouldn’t it be great to have a biology-based maker space here in Toronto? Join us and help make that a reality!

They organized the DNA sequencing talk that I went to earlier this week. I also attended another event organized by them the week before that. The event was called “Art Sci Salon”, which – like Action Potential Labs, mixes art and science together. The last Art Sci Salon was about something called the “OncoMap”.

Action Potential Labs:

Action Potential Lab is Toronto’s first laboratory dedicated to merging science and art. It is here where the teachings of both fields interact and exchange by way of classes, workshops, birthday parties, lecture series and various community outreach programs.

Also, Site 3 Laboratory (I have not been yet). Self described: “We are an awesome, eclectic and diverse group of artists, makers, engineers, creators, techies; people who collaborate to make cool things.”

Nerd Nite Toronto: Monthly mini-TED Talk-esque presentations by smart and humble folk, plus a casual social component, and trivia!

And lastly, on a slightly more casual, fun, geeky note, there is “Geekalicious”, a social group for geeks to hang out, talk, play board of video games, do karaoke and other fun activities. The organizer, Mike, is a very friendly, nice guy and is all about running fun events for geeky folks.

Added Feb 11, 2014University of Toronto’s monthly Public Astronomy Tour.

On the first Thursday of most months, free tours are offered by the graduate students in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto.

And of course, there is always the Ontario Science Center, where I personally made a visit to last year, but I would say that they are largely aimed at educating children about science and so if you are an adult without children, you might not find you get as much out of a visit there.

If you know of any more groups or spaces that fit in with this bunch, please do send them in to me (adam@curiositycrossroads.com), I’d be happy to include them!

Artist Focus (Oct 25, 2013)

From time to time on this site I will do a spotlight on artists, whether visual, written or musical.

Today I have 3 visual and 1 auditory.

Tang Yau Hoong – I found this artist by accident last week, and in browsing through their works, there are several that I really like. They’re both very nice to look at, but in many cases also make you think! Here is one of my favourites.

Elija Montgomery “I Am a Monster” – I found this one on a random blog a little while ago and really liked the concept. It’s an interesting take on body dysmorphia as well as transgender issues through a photo series. My favourite image in the series (which is really the one that grabbed and held my mind) has a caption that read “I like my body until I put clothes on it”. While this isn’t necessarily the case for myself, I know many who can relate and I wanted to share.

Angelo Merendino Photo Journal of his wife’s battle with cancer – I found this one thanks to the Stuff You Should Know Facebook Page. While it is obviously very sad, it is also beautiful and can be said to have at least a sliver of goodness at the end. I recommend picking the right time to check this out, but the comments on the post on facebook were largely “very sad but glad you posted it”.

Cloudkicker is a (one-man) band I discovered several years ago, and that one man (Ben Sharp) has been a huge inspiration to me, for the complexity, diversity but also beauty he creates in his music. He does everything himself, and what’s even cooler is that he gives his music away for free (technically “pay what you want”, but you can choose $0). The project is fully instrumental and ranges in style from stuff in the vein of Coldplay or Arcade fire all the way to “progressive metal”. There’s a little something for everyone, and it’s really great productivity music. I do tend to be a fan of the heavier stuff moreso than the lighter stuff, but a good place to start is with “LA After Rain” from “Fade” as a middle ground and go from there. If you’re into the softer side of things, check out “Let yourself be huge”.

A small loss, a larger observation

Last night I went out to a social event. I rode my bike because transit is slow and kind of expensive. I locked my bike up just outside of the pub where the event was happening. 3 hours later I came back out to find the headlight from my bike had been stolen.

I got it as a gift a couple years ago, no huge loss, but it was a Monday night and kinda chilly/windy out, I can only wonder what sort of people would be wandering around (in admittedly a pretty affluent area of the city) and decide that stealing essentially a beat up old flashlight, was a good or productive idea.

Nuit Blanche (an overnight arts festival) was over the weekend, and many people complained that the festival has been taken over by “drunk suburban kids” who treat it as yet another excuse to get hammered and go cause trouble and engage in vandalism, essentially ruining it for everyone else. Apparently this year, kids were even damaging displays that had been built by the participants of the festival, and even heckling people engaged in action artistic performance pieces. Continue reading