Constellations are a kind of necessary pareidolia, concentrating infinity into a human-scale narrative. The Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese and Arabs all sought to make sense of the world by projecting their cultures onto the heavens and their narratives still permeate our culture.
Our recently born near-constellation of robots – Hubble, Spitzer, Fermi and Kepler – have furnished us with a hi-def and precise understanding of the cosmos. But the retreat of the night sky, driven by our 24-7 artificially-lit civilisation, has robbed us of the imagination to create a contemporary astral mythology and project our newly globalised culture onto the heavens.
Two years ago, Oscar Lhermitte's Urban Stargazing project, sought to create artificial constellations above urban London, observable only at night. Lhermitte's twelve new constellations were in reality lights strung from high cables, but at a glance provided Londoners with new mythologies – The Guitar, The Irish Giant and The V2.
Lhermitte's project requires significant construction and obstruction and is as much about zoning laws and planning permission as the creation of playful mythology. Perhaps the urban constellation is poised to become more commonplace…
Kati London was one of my favourite speakers at the ETel Fair in February 2007. Along with other ITP students, Kati saved our asses when a bunch of speakers fell ill and they were able to put together a replacement session showcasing projects such as Kati's Botanicalls to those who'd missed the Fair.
Kati's talk - delivered along with Regine Debatty - was oriented around the interesections between art and technology, highlighting a number of ecological, spatial, social, political, networked and even inter-species pieces; there are some great notes from Regine at We Make Money Not Art, to ride along with the slides below...
Cheeky. Today BBC News covered Banksy's alternative guerilla attack on Israel's 'security fence' (see Art prankster sprays Israeli wall). Along various sections of the fence, Banksy's trip to the 'ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers' has punctured the fence with:
An Alpine view from a lounge and Idyllic scenery showing through holes at Bethlehem
'A ladder, 'cut along' dotted lines and a girl held aloft by balloons in Abu Dis
At one point Banksy was threatened by Israeli soldiers as warning shots were fired into the air...Ali joked that 'imagine if i did that...they woulda defo shot me dead lol'.
Perhaps this is the form of non-violent Jihad we need in the Islamic world - combating the tyrranical stupidity of Israeli occupiers with the message that the souls of men cannot be crushed with tanks and bombs. Banksy's Balloon Girl image pictured here simultaneously expresses a poignant yearning for freedom coupled with a playful 'f*ck you - we're better than this' message to the occupiers. Art can lift the souls of the oppressed and motivate activism more than any suicide bomber.
Banksy's website relates a hilarious exchange with a Ramallah local - You paint the wall, you make it look beautiful - Thanks - We don't want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall, go home. Priceless.
Ali's work for Sony's UK launch of the PSP finally debuted at the Dray Walk Gallery as part of the PSP The Beautiful Script exhibition.
I was in London for a few meetings yesterday and decided to catch the show while it was still running...I've uploaded my photos of the event, and the area around Brick Lane, to my Flickr account.
Earlier today Ali and I were riffing on Sony's motivation to align the work of emerging British Islamic artists with the PSP launch...and we still couldn't figure it out! Either, the British Muslim demographic is hugely desirable to Sony or they see urban art such as Ali's being close the brand values for PSP?
In either case, seeing the artists work slideshow on a kiosk'd PSP I understood the themes of freedom, beauty and desire as embodied by the aesthetic of the PSP...and, as a Muslim, its simply flattering to know that someone somewhere in Sony drew a connecting line between those aesthetics and Islam :)