Month: November 2016

Pride Parade Taiwan Marriage Equality

Taiwan Set To Become First Asian Country to Legalize Same-sex Marriage

Taiwan looks set to become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Lawmakers of the country’s ruling political party, the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) have introduced a new bill that would make marriage equality legal by removing gender from the constitution’s definition of marriage.   Yu Mei-nu, a  lawmaker from the Democratic Progressive Party who is sponsoring the bill, says that “it’s a big step forward for the history of human rights. If Taiwan can get this passed… it will give other Asian countries a model.” Efforts to make marriage equality legal in Taiwan have been ongoing since 2003 when proposed legislation that would allow same-sex marriages (and adoption by same-sex couples) faced opposition from the DPP and the ruling coalition led by conservative political party Kuomintang. Since then, support for marriage equality has steadily grown, with a 2012 poll by Taiwanese publication United Daily News suggesting that 55% of people were in favour, and 37% against. The Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy group says that 80% of 20-29 year olds support marriage …

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Your Eye Must See, Sam Cannon’s Infinite Loop

New York based photographer and director Sam Cannon is part of a new generation of artists that feed from modern visual culture and use its tools as a medium. In a contemporary digital era that has proven to fancy short attention spans and extremely capacious images, the artist aims to mesmerize the viewer. “I want them to stop scrolling through their feed and sit with the image.” Most of Cannon’s work is based on the ideas of time and observation; in her looped videos and animated GIFs she immerses us in a timeless, never-ending dimension. Cannon produces multimedia pieces, cinemagraphs, digitally manipulated photos combining different themes and fields. Her work contemplates a wide range of topics, including femininity, mass media, anxiety struggles, social issues… all mixed into an infinite loop of grotesque shapes. Cannon uses the tools of our present time to bring us into this timeless, reflexive scenario. A kaleidoscope of hands and legs, eye-shaped breasts and eye-filled faces, spider-like creatures and anthropomorphic aliens. These surreal, a bit dark environment smoothly flows into Cannon’s personal and commercial works. No matter what the subjects is, whether it is a …

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Like Looking Through a Glory Hole—Inside “The Matter of Absence”, Florian Hetz’s First Photo Book

The Matter of Absence, Berlin photographer Florian Hetz’s debut book, released in early October, is a thorough exploration of the male form and gay sexuality. But you won’t find any people within its pages. The subjects are fragmented, dissected through careful framing and extreme close-ups. In this way, Hetz preserves his models’ anonymity. The closest we get to a face is the back of a head; a cheek, turned away; a mouth, half open, lips dripping with saliva and cum. Although he didn’t start shooting until a while later, Hetz’s journey as a photographer arguably began at fourteen, when, according to his publisher’s website, he stole his first Robert Mapplethorpe book. As an adult, he got his start taking photos by accident. In an interview with Out Magazine, he spoke about how he borrowed a camera from a friend in the drag scene and began taking pictures at their parties. Eventually he got his own camera, and continued to take photos to chronicle his experiences. Hetz had a Tumblr account around this time, frequently re-blogging …

Ex-machina (2015) by Alex Garland

The Advance and Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Humanity of the Future

As reported by Bloomberg, 2015 was a especially significant year in regards to artificial intelligence. Computers have been getting faster for decades already but we didn’t see such an exponential progress on AI until recent years, and a serious amount of investment from major tech players such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft. The latter have recently developed Skype Translator, an additional feature that can automatically translate from more than 50 languages. Amazon released Alexa an intelligent personal assistant capable of voice interaction, and Facebook has launched a variety of projects through its AI research lab, FAIR. Robots have become part of our daily life. Wherever we turn, we come across a robot in one form or another. The modern world couldn’t be imagined without their assistance. AI technologies are advancing at such a rapid pace that one day it can be more of an existential threat than progress. So the question is, wwhats will happen that day when robots become aware of their own existence? Shall they remain supportive to humans and strive towards a mutual goal, or will they turn their back on …

cliff a trip through vietnam

Broken and Saved in Rural Vietnam

After the chaotic rush of dodging semi-trucks and a million scooters, we’re finally out of Hanoi and in the northern mountains of Vietnam. I’m travelling with a Canadian and an Englishman I met in a hostel days earlier. We’re heading for the Chinese border, riding along roads that cut through limestone mountains and diverse ethnic minority villages. It’s getting dark and the road is turning steeper. Our recently purchased $200 motorcycles are rolling along nicely. The next guesthouse is a few kilometers away, but there’s still light and we have a long way to go in the next few weeks. Our map shows another place to sleep 40 kilometers up the road. “Let’s try for the second one,” Harrison says. Adam and I agree. Pulling the throttle, we continue up the mountain as the road turns to gravel and pavement disappears. Harry is leading the pack and while we’re riding along the rutted path, I hear a loud clunk and his bike skids to a stop. We discover his chain bounced off the gear and …

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LA-based Photographer Richard Ramirez Jr. An Intimate Diary of Ethereal Images

Richard Ramirez Jr.’s photographs are reminiscent of an intimate diary from which the poems it contains reveal people’s beauty and their most inner thoughts. The simplicity of the settings is disrupted by the lighting, the unfathomable stares, and the innocence emanating from the subject matter. There are no noisy elements of surprise in his series. Ramirez Jr. confers to each photography the effect of slow motion, as if time had stopped and each picture was telling its own story. He captures the essence of a moment: soul-searching, satisfaction, content, or doubt; and translates it in his soft and opaque tones, spread out through the surface of the image, making it hard for us to leave the world we have just delved in. The sequence of the photographs resonate with how the scenes of a movie would stream. Inspired by movies and the process behind it, the photographer envisions moods and settings and restores them in real life for his cinematic art. The renderings are effortless and ingenious. Richard Ramirez Jr. is a self-taught L.A. based photographer. …

Interesni Kazki Ukraine

Kiev’s Mural Fever, the Ukrainian City as the Future Street Art Capital

After the heartbreaking events of the past years during Ukraine’s crisis and revolution, Kiev needed a revival more than ever. The capital as well as its dwellers craved for the renovation not only in a social and political field, but also in a city landscape that still carries scars of the past. The solution local authorities came up with might not be the most obvious one. The decision was to turn Kiev into a street art capital, reconsidering urban spaces and inviting local and foreign  artists to partake. “This world is but a canvas to our imagination,” as said by American author Henry David Thoreau; for street art every wall is a canvas full of possibilities. The aim was to turn this crisis into a productive and relevant force reinventing the city, lightening it up with the power of art. It might seem an easy task, but there were some pitfalls, as usual. Being part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was isolated from all external influences and trends, just as many other countries of the USSR were. But during the Perestroika …

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The Surreal Eroticism of Greek artist Kostis Fokas

Kostis Fokas photographs are vividly realistic and sensual. They seem to be alive while still managing to stay surreal and depict more than just a human body; they convey a liberating feeling of freedom that motivates viewers to reveal their true essence without fear of being judged. Acceptance of our physical nature is one of Fokas’ recurring themes. Indeed, the artist’s work is very somatic and erotic, but with a dash of humor and a pinch of weirdness. We see real people exposing their desires, expressing themselves, trying to find inner balance among the beautiful surroundings of his native Crete —which adds to the composition some notes of Mediterranean sensuality—. Most of his work focus on the human physique and corporality. “Through my photos I wish to present a new take on the human body and explore its infinite capabilities. The use of quirky, and sometimes hidden faces communicates exactly that.” Just as the Surrealists were fascinated with mirrors, self-reflection is another high point for Fokas. They are a pathway to connect with different realities. He uses mirrors …