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10 Hyperallergic Posts From 2012 That Deserve Another Look

by Hrag Vartanian on December 28, 2012

hyper-best-2012-HOMEWhile some posts get all the attention, links, comments, and shares, there are always others that I’d wish would get more attention. These are often some of the most thought-provoking posts that fall under the radar of most readers for whatever reason.

Here are my picks (in no particular order) for posts I think are worth a second look.

“GIF Typologies and the Heritage of the Moving Image” by Jane Hu

gif-typologies-and-the-heritage-of-the-moving-image“Over the past century, color films have hit the big time. These days, no one makes a black-and-white movie, unless it’s on purpose, as was the case with Michel Hazanavicius’s recent film The Artist. Hazanavicius reversed Turner and Smith’s innovations, but did so in a way that made viewers more, not less, aware of what they were watching. Maybe it’s the shock of the old.” (link)

“Culture Hoarders” by Olympia Lambert

culture-hoarders“In 2012, hoarding is a great equalizer that crosses economic and lines of social standing. From Honey Boo Boo’s mother, Coupon Queen June, to former teen queen Amanda Bynes’s refuse-strewn BMW, class has no standing when it comes to the accumulation of stuff. Hoarding has been said to be a psychological phenomenon of the post-industrial age, made more prominent after World War II. Many point to a commonality amongst its sufferers of overconsumption — a capitalist society spinning out of control. But truthfully, that’s only one part of hoarding — a collector must obtain more, and is therefore unable to throw anything away.” (link)

“Planned Obsolescence or Our Smartphone Leashes” by Robert Cicetti

planned-obsolescence-or-our-smartphone-leashes“Technology is becoming as essential to our survival as the building block elements, our fragility almost heightened by our dependence on a fabricated reality. Using foam, hot glue and paper to replicate computer parts made of silicon, epoxy and plastic, Bunch imagines these objects with a life-like accuracy and then subverts them with a home-spun whimsy, highlighting the handmade as absurd in the digital age. The days of DIY are dead, an individual with the right knowledge and materials could once create a modern marvel in their garage: a clock, a car or even a machine gun can be fashioned from scratch, but no matter how skilled or resourceful, almost all humans are incapable of building their own Android or iPad®.” (link)

“Without Mercy: The Bitter Comix of Anton Kannemeyer” by Jillian Steinhauer

the-bitter-comix-of-anton-kannemeyer“While Kannemeyer’s identity as an Afrikaner necessarily gave the work political ramifications, his critique stemmed from the anxieties and trauma he experienced growing up as a member of an exploitative and racist minority ruling caste. In a place like South Africa, or Israel or Bosnia — countries scarred by ethnic conflicts — the personal necessarily becomes political. One is entrenched in a group, an identity, from birth, so that even remaining passive or neutral constitutes a stance: an Afrikaner who failed to fight apartheid implicitly endorsed it, by virtue of his skin color and privileges. At this point, questions of complicity and guilt creep into the picture — questions that have always haunted Kannemeyer’s work.” (link)

“What Divide? A Personal Meditation on the Online vs. IRL Debate” by Ben Valentine

what-divide-a-personal-meditation-on-the-online-vs-irl-debate“I like both online and real life, which is to say I like life, and experience it on many platforms. I want to gather as much as I can from both arenas. I don’t want to be that sad World of Warcraft player, peeing into empty Monster Energy bottles. I feel my best while walking or hiking. There is nothing greater than being physically close to someone you love or having a great conversation in person, but the internet has different interactions, different opportunities, and great potentials. I love it for its weirdness and its new horizons. I love that I saw Obama’s grammar get corrected and upvoted on Reddit. I love that there isn’t a line, and that it hasn’t been there in a long time. Living in the in-between is fun.” (link)

“After Sandy: A New Orleans Artist Reflects on Katrina, Disasters, and Recovery” by Muffin Bernstein

muffin-bernstein-after-sandy“Watching images of Sandy being released brings out so many emotions for me. Reading that people had artworks damaged in the basements and first floors of Manhattan and Brooklyn is heart wrenching.

I can say that you have no idea what you can survive until you are standing in front of a life already broken into pieces. After finishing graduate school, I moved to New Orleans in November of 2002. Moments after I sent away the movers and locked up to grab some dinner, an apartment fire started. When I returned, everything I had made in undergraduate and graduate school along with all my belongings were charred and burned. Miraculously, my cookbooks and art books were still in storage. My camera was still in my car. I was shocked and stunned.” (link)

China Report: Censorship and Self-Censorship in Beijing’s Gallery District by Alessandro Rolandi

manmade-and-natural-disasters-ccd300“At the opening, a large number of video pieces were turned off. This included Ai Weiwei’s ‘4851’ (made up of the list of names of the Sichuan children killed in the 2008 earthquake), Li Jie’s ‘Passby’ (a snapshot collection of trainwrecks, collapsing bridges, and other malfunctions of the system that cost human lives), and Li Dazhi’s ‘Red Book’ (a captivating video of Chinese schools’ physical exercise routines projected on a small ceramic plate filled with several red peppers), as well as Japanese artist Megumi Shimizu’s video. We were told that the videos would remain off until after 7pm, because that was the working schedule of the few plain-clothes policemen in the area, and after that time they would go home or out to dinner and get drunk.” (link)

“What You Might Be Missing at MoMA” by Thomas Micchelli

what-you-might-be-missing-at-moma“That is to say, the paintings in the corridors (and they are almost always paintings) stare down into one of the few places in the museum where looking at art is the last thing on people’s minds, and where art is at its least advantage to be looked at.

But I have always been strongly attracted to what has hung in MoMA’s down-rent alleys. Perhaps because the artworks tend to be fractious and complex, not fitting well into any user-friendly templates. In the story of modern art, they are the plot points that seem to lead nowhere. But that means they are accountable only to themselves.” (link)

“Murder is Weegee’s Business” by Allison Meier

weegee-murder-is-my-business-icp“Beyond the secret thrill of looking at the crime photographs, what I liked most about the exhibit was getting a chance to peer back to a more feral New York. Murder isn’t eradicated from the city, but probably no photographer in New York today would claim, like Weegee, to have witnessed 5,000 murders. Yet even if the city is different, much is still the same. The remaining tabloids and online news blogs still relish a horrific crime, publishing photos when they can that stretch to the edges of decency. New York’s buildings tend not to change much from the waist up, at least in the tenement areas, and it’s possible to see the ghost of the city of the 1930s and 40s with a twist of the head upward. And even if on-the-spot crime photography has been almost completely relinquished to the cellphone-carrying masses, the crowds still gather at wrecks and carnage. And we find ourselves drawn to join them.” (link)

NOTE: I should mention that there is another fantastic essay on Weegee from this year by Albert Mobilio, “Single Point Perspective: Weegee’s Balancing Act,” that is also very worthwhile.

“Deep Inside a Billionaire’s Limo” by Brendan S. Carroll and Marisa Carroll

deep-inside-a-billionaires-limo“Given the economic crisis of the last few years, DeLillo’s book, which was written in 2003, seems especially prescient. I buy your argument that by evoking the work of these particular artists, Cronenberg is using art history (or artistic vocabulary?) as a uniquely visual way to point to an empire in decline.

I also wonder if Pollock and Rothko were selected for foreshadowing purposes. Pollock was killed in a car crash; Rothko died by his own hand. Eric seems poised between these two ends — riding around in his limo under threat of attack, while engaging in increasingly self-harming behaviors as the day rolls on.” (link)

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Top image (in its original state) via everythingrandom.net

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