An Xiao

Post image for Behind the Scenes with a Beloved Children’s Book Illustrator

SAN FRANCISCO — Anyone who’s read Arnold Lobel’s iconic Frog and Toad series may wonder: why pick a frog and a toad? And what’s the difference between a frog and a toad anyway?

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Post image for Surreal Puppets Retell the Jabberwocky

SAN FRANCISCO — At San Francisco’s annual Dickens Fair, I learned about the work of Darren Way, whose Dangerous Puppets creations feature fanciful characters and bizarre imagery bordering on the fantastical and grotesque.

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Museums

Remembering the West Coast Mail Art Scene

by An Xiao on February 26, 2014

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SAN FRANCISCO — While we tumble, tweet, and post our remixes of media online in a daily creative dialogue, it helps to remember that the history of creative correspondence extends to well before the internet.

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Reactor

Why Do Short Messaging Platforms Matter?

by An Xiao on February 25, 2014

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SAN FRANCISCO — The day before the WhatsApp acquisition was announced, I was just using the app. It’s one of many mobile messaging platforms I use, along with Viber, Line, and WeChat. I used WhatsApp to chat with friends as far away and diverse as Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Western Europe, and with all the other short-messaging apps, I’m regularly chatting with a good chunk of the world.

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Film

Capturing Slow Portraits of People and Landscapes

by An Xiao on February 14, 2014

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Koyanisqaatsi, a debut collaboration between filmmaker Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass, broke ground in so many ways in the 1980′s for exploring film as a poetic, rather than narrative or theatrical expression. Over ten years later, Reggio and Glass have come together to produce Visitors, another moving poem, at once visual and musical, without words or a clear narrative.

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Articles

An Online Community for Young Poets

by An Xiao on February 12, 2014

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“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry,” Emily Dickinson once wrote.

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News

An Anthem For Uganda’s Oppressed Queer Community

by An Xiao on February 11, 2014

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This past December, Uganda’s Parliament passed an Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would extend criminalization of homosexuality to life in prison and up to seven years for advocacy work. Nkoyooyo Brian decided to respond with an anthem for the country’s LGBTQ community.

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Post image for From Mapping Solar Potential to Mapping the American Empire

SAN FRANCISCO — According to Cliff Chen, a senior energy analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists, if a solar power system were built in the American Southwest it would apparently only need to be 100 miles by 100 miles to provide enough energy to power the entire United States.

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Post image for Using New Media to Shed Light on Old Art Narratives

The internet is a visual space, where virality comes most frequently to media rich in images, whether videos, animated GIFs or simple memes. Connecting these new forms of media with all the classic ways that human beings have told visual stories is a powerful way to reanimate them, sometimes literally, for the digital age.

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Post image for A Coming-of-Age Graphic Novel Explores Gender and Identity

Flutter, Massachusetts-based writer Jennie Wood’s latest comic series, explores themes of gender and sexuality through science fiction.

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