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better left unsaid?

walter benjamin wrote that before we had the capability to create copies en masse, that an original work of art maintained an aura because of its status as the unique and singular piece and that the ability to reproduce art and distribuute it eroded the status of the original.

i mention this because i went to see a book launch for canadian artist floria sigismondi and i'm convinced that you could develop a parallel theory about artists. sigismondi's work, even the pop music videos she's produced, has a dark and dusturbing quality to it, without being overt, that appeals to me. seeing her speak, however, seems to undermine this.

for starters, her speaking voice, both in tone and inflection, is almost a dead ringer for madonna's. it's a comparison i couldn't get out of my head the entire time i was listening to her. i kept thinking she was going to start plugging her new album...

secondly, her answers, while honest, are strikingly ordinary. which is probabaly the case with any artist, when asked about what inspires them or how they work. the fact is that there is probably no way of defining the mysterious quality that makes a piece of art appealing and anyone who attempts to do so is going to sound either a) pretentious or b) like they're talking about something that really isn't that special.

if i thought about it, i could probably produce a list of artists who are capable of speaking about their work while at the same time maintaining their aura of mystery, but they're few and far between.

i'm happy to go and see exhibitions by any number of artists, but i may think twice about hearing them speak about it. somehow, i'm happier thinking of people who produce this type of thing as being a little detached from the rest of us.


as long as you're here, why not read more?

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…