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THE ADVENTURES OF SAM VIMES
(Aka: see, look, I had the badge on for a while… then lost it. ::sadface.jpg::)

THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED:

Thorin Oakenshield: Sir Samuel! We’d like to sing for you the original lyrics to the Lonely Mountain!

Dwarves, in unison: Gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold… 

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Feminist Art Friday Feature: Sarah Bilotta

Sarah Bilotta is a photographer living and working out of New England. Check out more of her work on her website and keep in touch through her Tumblr and Facebook pages.  

Artist Statement for the Goddesses series:

This series entitled “Goddesses” features images of young women, photographed to evoke the flat feeling of an iconographic painting. The blood red halo around their heads symbolizes my interpretation of the “anti-goddess.” In art history the “icon” has often been used as an artist’s representation of flawlessness and sanctity. But, here the subjects are diverse young models, identically dressed and posed to emphasize physical distinctions and juxtapose the conventional concept of “beauty” with the reality that beauty comes in many forms. In an attempt to render my subjects as realistic as possible, they are unfettered by skin and body retouching, professional makeup, or airbrushing.

In a static medium such as photography it is difficult to avoid placing flawless models on a pedestal. The Goddesses series is an ongoing attempt to represent diversity, individuality, independence, spirit, and that which drives us away from manipulated perfection while promoting awareness of media representations of beauty.

The Goddesses series began as an experimentation with icons and symbolism in art and expanded into a project about the representation of beauty. Both commercial photography and fine art photography tend towards the representation of beauty being one of a graceful, thin, young, white woman. In the past, western culture’s definition of beauty was likely very different, yet still tended to fall into one rather strict definition of physical appearance. In creating this series of images, I want to become part of a dialogue in contemporary art that is exploring the value of seeking out alternate definitions of beauty and challenging the archetype that beauty is homogenous.

It is very important to me to make the images I want to make – not those that I think someone else will want to buy. However, working on this series has opened me up to a constant struggle of ideals. Some artists are critical of those who use Photoshop because it masks “true” representations, but others are critical of those who don’t use Photoshop because contemporary fine art photography is not typically thought of as a literal representation of a person or thing, but rather a creative representation. I am attempting to create a balance of these two philosophies, while keeping in mind the notion that perpetuating awareness of Photoshop and how it is used to manipulate art can be helpful for developing a more literate approach to analyzing our personal connections to contemporary art.

thewomanofscandal said:

I love reading your metas for Hannibal! When I saw your latest, I couldn't resist asking you a question (particularly given your interest in Classics). Recently, in my Greek class, my professor brought up the etymology of the word 'Anthology' which originally meant a bouquet of flowers. Which makes sense- picking the best of a variety to make a superior whole. So my question is: Do you think that this is what Hannibal was doing in Futamono? Essentially creating a poisonous 'Greatest Hits' list?

[bear with me my ancient greek is creaky & lapsing]

yes—ἄνθος [anthos], “flower” + λέγειν [legein], “to say/speak” or “to choose/gather/collect/pick together” [complicated verb, heidegger has a field-day with those two senses of it in his lecture “geschichte”] = anthologia, ἀνθολογία, “a flower-gathering/collection”

we’ve seen hannibal at his most derivative [the antler-impaled corpse of cassie boyle, the glasgow smile of dr. sutcliffe] and at his most creative [the “blind”, “mindless and heartless” judge]. this tableau, of a human corpse intertwined with and systemically penetrated by a tree, feels like the latter: the idea of “blooming” isn’t simply hannibal’s burgeoning affair with alana; it’s hannibal himself, growing more daring and ambitious and egotistic. 

i think it is a sort of “greatest hits”. the ripper removes organs from bodies which he already considers empty vessels, wasted flesh, and transforms them into things of beauty—exquisite morsels of food. but, beautiful as hannibal’s food appears, the meat is defiled, polluted with murder, it’s taboo, it’s toxic, it breeds corruption. 

jack names three flowers specifically; hannibal has three victims he’s presently “poisoning”: will, alana, jack. and the flowers correspond to the way that he poisoned them: “belladonna for the heart” is jack, and his love for bella; the “chain of white oleander for the intestines” is will, and the ear he was forced to ingest; “ragwort for the liver” is alana, and the poisoned wine [ragwort was once used as an aphrodisiac]. all three of these victims have eaten human flesh at hannibal’s table. 

this is hannibal’s power: to invade his victim, slice out with precise scalpel-cuts those raw parts which are most vital and human, and fill that void with his own baneful beauty. furthermore, every work of art hannibal creates is a seduction, a token of affection for will; and hannibal’s love is the love that kills.

Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, Lazar Lissitzky, 1920

Due to the fact that revolutionary Russia was 80% peasants, many of whom were illiterate, the propaganda published by Bolsheviks during the civil war was carefully chosen as to be iconographic, displaying the proletariats saviour as the Red Army. Lissitzkys piece displays an amazing combination of supermatist art and Communistic opinion, showing the ‘red wedge’ of communism destroying the attempted overthrow of the white armies. The piece, although virtually unknown in Russia, is a summarising icon of the revolutions battle against imperialistic ideals, infusing both art and ideological propaganda.

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