Myanmar military council arrests the artist Zarganar

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YANGON, Myanmar – The artist Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military council from his home in Tarmwe township, Yangon this morning.

Zarganar is not only a director but also a comedian famous for political jokes since the 1988 democratic revolution.

Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military many times before 2010.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Zarganar page

Paris at your fingertips: Louvre digitizes its collection, 500k items now available free for the world to see

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From the Mona Lisa to the least-known of the famous museum’s treasures are available to be viewed on computers and cell phones around the world on a revamped Louvre homepage designed for easy cellphone viewing, with translations in English, Spanish, and Chinese, announced the Louvre in a press release.

According to the museum, every image is accompanied by scientific data: “title, artist, inventory number, dimensions, materials and techniques, date and place of production, object history, current location, and bibliography. … These documentary entries, drawn up by museum curators and researchers, come from two museum collection databases, and are updated on a daily basis.”

“I am sure that this digital content is going to further inspire people to come to the Louvre to discover the collections in person,” said the museum’s director in the announcement.

By Milan Sime Martinic

Joe Rogan admits censorship by Spotify

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As part of the $100m deal to be a 100% Spotify guy, Rogan agreed to have the streaming platform not republish some early episodes, including interviews with Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnes, and Alex Jones.

Rogan later did a new interview with Jones on Spotify, but the old eps remain unavailable.

Rogan also gave a public apology in regards to correcting false information about left-wing anarchists setting fires in Oregon, which many believe was also part of the Spotify deal.

The JRE host said that when Spotify didn’t want a few episodes on their platform, he was like, “Okay, I don’t care,” and that there won’t be any further editorial control over what he does.

By Sid Douglas

HK actor to give away entire $714million fortune to charity

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Chow Yun-Fat, known to the West through the 2000 blockbuster “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” has been striving for a simple life, and now he’s going to give away his entire fortune, he recently told Hong Kong movie site Jayne Stars.

“My dream is to be a happy and normal person,” Yun-fat told Jayne.  “The hardest thing in life is not about how much money you earn, but how to keep a peaceful mindset and live the rest of your life in a simple and carefree manner.”

Yun-Fat reportedly lives on around $100 per month, taking public transit a lot of the time, doing charity work, using an inexpensive phones for decades, and wearing discount store clothing.

Yun-Fat also made news in 2014 when he met with pro-democracy students who were protesting China’s takeover of Hong Kong from the UK, and made statements in which he did not support the Chinese government or their police in using force against the students. When told he was blacklisted from making films in China, he replied, “I’ll just make less [films in China] then.”

Poetry Slam Madrid

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On the first Wednesday of every month, Poetry Slam Madrid invades Bar Intruso for a few hours and a poetry slam event takes place. This reporter met with one of the organizers to find out a little bit more about the emerging art form.

In a bar in the La Latina area of Madrid, Jonathan Teuma sits across me from with his eyes wide and full of ideas and his goatee tufting out like two fingers to the powers that be. He very much puts me in mind of Gustave Courbet’s “Desperate Man,” and Jonathan, much like the painter himself, lives his life under no regime save for the regime of liberty, and he comes from a socialist agitator stock. When I first met this affable Gibraltarian, he had tucked under his arm book called “My Grandmother was an Anarchist” and we had a discussion about the pointlessness of nationalism, with me for and him against. This man, literally and figuratively, from between two worlds has travelled extensively this big world we all share, from Angola to England, and now to Madrid. Jonathan Teuma, as one of the coordinators of the Poetry Slam movement in Madrid, shows himself as a passionate promoter of the group.

The tenor of the poetry slam is generally a leftie one, with artists shouting, acting, musing, and condemning through the performance art of poetry slam. Every month, a guest poet opens proceedings by doing a reading and this is followed by local poets vying to win that night’s competition, as voted for by the crowd. It’s like Eminem’s 8 Mile but less depressing, more political, and equally as socially conscious.

“My poetry is a look at what is around me, it is mental digestion of what is around me, and a comment on that.”

Any prop used by a poet automatically disqualifies the poet and so the poet must solely rely on their voice, their body, and their passion. In my time observing them, the economic recession, forced evictions, abortion, religion, and a whole host of hot-button issues have been adapted into the poetry slam format. It is quite an experience to witness a slam as many of the poems are poor enough when read but when spoken are animated through the vocalizations of the modern equivalent of ancient poets passing down myths.

Jonathan is the embodiment of all aspects of Poetry Slam. His actions are theatrical and his voice seems catapulted from center stage. His family, on both sides and from both sides of the Civil War divide, escaped the increasingly intense conflict for the refuge of Gibraltar. His Great-Grandfather evaded Franco’s troops and was smuggled over by a reluctant fisherman and, for the second leg of the journey, by an off-duty policeman. His Great-Grandmother was smuggled children over into Gibraltar on one occasion, and other members of his family distributed anti-Franco propaganda in the south of Spain or were strike leaders. This lineage has had an influence on his poetry, with Jonathan stating that, “I have been put squarely on the left by my family,” and that, “My poetry is a look at what is around me, it is mental digestion of what is around me, and a comment on that. It is impregnated with a Leftist ideology.”

The Poetry Slam movement is quite international and it is arguably at its strongest in Germany. The movements around Spain are interlinked and they share poets for workshops up and down the country while poetry slammers from around the globe are invited to perform or sometimes eve ask on their own volition to participate. Starting this month, there will be a monthly English poetry slam that hopes to widen the net of the slam over the heads of new and aspiring performers.

It is a growing movement and if you want to witness it or participate, then call in to Bar Intruso, C/ Augosto Figueroa, 3. Its biggest value for me, after absorbing as much as I can, is that in a country such as Spain, where free speech is limited and protests harder to implement, the Poetry Slam Madrid movement is one way to verbalize and debate, the two key parts of any healthy democracy that are now essential in this democratically sick country where there are those trying to stop people using their voice.

By Enda Kenneally

Is It a Fake? Art Forgery Expert Dr. Anheuser Explains

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Is It a Fake Dr. Anhauser Explains Art ForgeriesHave you ever wondered about fake art and the authenticators who can tell the difference between real and fake?

In this article, world-renowned art authenticator Dr Kilian Anheuser of Geneva’s Fine Arts Expert Institute (FAEI) explains the problem of art fakes in the $60bn yearly art market, what types of paintings are more often forged or faked, the fate of paintings that cannot be authenticated, the ongoing duel between art faker and art authenticator, and the means and methods by which authenticators discover whether a painting is real or not.

Some of this information may surprise you–the questions are not as simple as they might at first seem.

Fakes are certainly a major problem for the art market today, but the real issues cannot be reduced to a simple question like “Is it a fake or not?”

Most paintings have undergone considerable changes during successive cleaning and conservation campaigns which are perfectly normal even for late 19th/early 20th century “modern” art, now already more than a hundred years old.

Is It a Fake Dr. Anhauser Explains Art Forgeries (4)Any earlier paintings, such as the old masters with extremely high market values, you will never ever find in their original state. Some of these, discovered in very poor condition, would effectively be re-painted by a skilled conservator on their original support, with just traces of the original paint layer remaining.

Should this be called a fake or an example of outstanding restoration?

Anyway, we feel a potential buyer ought to know what exactly he will get for his money.

With the old masters there is also the issue of historic copies–often of high quality and by skilled period artists–or multiple workshop copies. Pre-modern workshops were enterprises with apprentices and employees, not studios where an inspired artist worked on his own. Art historians know about these issues, many investors in art do not.

There are of course outright fakes.

We get to see many of them, and we are certainly more aware of the situation than many others. Money always attracts shady characters, and there is plenty of money in the art market. It is difficult to set a starting point. Ten years ago or twenty, whatever, but the trend is clear and will continue for as long as there is money to be made. At present, only a small minority of collectors, art dealers and investors protect themselves through a proper scientific expertise before a purchase. All too often in the past, and often enough still at present, a painting on which doubts have been cast will simply be sold on to someone unaware or willing to take a gamble. Otherwise, if the authenticity of a work of art is never questioned because for all parties concerned it is convenient not to know, the painting will retain its market value, be it fake or genuine. Such are the economics of the art market.

Money is the incentive for most art forgeries.

Is It a Fake Dr. Anhauser Explains Art ForgeriesOther motivations such as personal revenge are relatively rare. This means that for a forger or an unscrupulous restorer the ratio between effort and prospective gain must remain interesting. Old masters with their sophisticated painting techniques and historic materials difficult to obtain are relatively rarely outright fakes. In this sector you’d rather find concealed restorations to “improve” the looks of a painting, or to get a prestigious attribution accepted.

Modern art is more likely to be faked outright.

Yes, forgers do know about scientific techniques and historic working practices. Never underestimate your opponents. Most (exept for those who simply cannot be bothered as someone is always likely to buy their painting eyes shut because they cannot resist a tempting bargain) do try to avoid beginner’s mistakes as far as pigments are concerned, and they would also focus for example on lesser known artists who still sell for good money but where a potential buyer is less likely to demand a sound scientific expertise than for a premium painting.

A serious scientific authentification laboratory does not simply carry out isolated tests.
What we and also our colleagues in museum laboratories and elsewhere do is to look for inconsistencies between materials, techniques and known workshop practices. Even if physico-chemical analysis brings up no anachronistic elements as such, meaning that in principle all the materials and techniques were available and in use at the time in question, the painting techniques and materals may still not match what is known about a painter’s working habits, known from historic sources or other technological studies. To make the most of the analytical results, these cannot therefore be interpreted in isolation but must always be discussed in their historic and art historical context.

Herein lies the difference between a typical university scientist competent in the use of his analytical methods who may come up with a correct analytical result but will be unable to tell you more, and a specialized paintings authentication laboratory who will know the crucial questions to be asked, and who will be able to interpret the results to work out the answers.

These laboratories bring together different competences such as conservation scientists, technical art historians and conservators, each of whom is able to contribute complementing observations from their own specialty background. At FAEI, for example, we are a scientific team of two chemists-cum-art historians, each with some 20 years experience in the scientific analysis of works of art, an imaging specialist and a qualified paintings conservator. Similar competences can be found in museum laboratories (most countries have at least one major museum equipped with a scientific laboratory, in the UK for paintings this would be for example the National Gallery in London, in the US there are several such as the Chicago Institute of Art, the National Gallery in Washington DC, or the Getty Conservation Institute in L.A.). However, these would not normally take on work for private clients, which is where laboratories like ours come in, providing services to collectors, art dealers, investors, and also to public institutions.

Guest article by Dr Kilian Anheuser

Photos: Dr Kilian Anheuser

YouTube TV Announced

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YouTube announced Tuesday the coming of YouTube TV, a way to watch the kind of programming people normally watch on television, but on YouTube.

“Finally, live TV made for you stream ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC & more,” the entertainment website announced.  “Never run out of DVR storage space. 6 accounts, 1 price. $35/month. Cancel anytime.”

The bulletin provided a signup for a mailing list for people to be contacted when the internet TV service was more ready — currently, the status of YouTube TV is “coming soon.”

New Walt Whitman Novel Found

Walt Whitman
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There’s a “golden age of discovery” going on in the scholarly world, and a whole generation of new scholars are unearthing literature and art from past ages using digital databases.

Hidden until now, and uncovered by a sleuth of a scholar, Zachary Turpin, a 33-year-old English doctoral student at the University of Houston, is a novel by America’s bard Walt Whitman, best known for his Leaves of Grass, a tome of poetry in free verse considered one of the most important parts of literature in the country.

Whitman published the first version of Leaves of Grass when he was in his 30’s and was already quite mature as a writer. He’d remarked that, although he’d written things in the past, he would rather that his early “crude and boyish pieces” be forgotten completely.

That’s not what has happened. Turpin was looking through one of Whitman’s journals and found an outline for a novel, which included several character names. Although past scholars had figured the outline was just that and never led to anything more, Turpin did his own search of digital databases.

The names turned up in a newspaper ad for an anonymously written serialized story called “Life and Adventures of Jack Engle.”

He obtained funding from the UH’s discretionary fund, and had the old, large pages printed from the Library of Congress.

The find is expected to change what we understand about the life, career and writing of Walt Whitman.

AuthaGraph: A More Authentic World Map View Wins Design Award

Authagraph world map
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Better than Mercator could do? And at a time when these problems are finally important?

The Mercator map is known to have major flaws, such as its distortion of the sizes of Antarctica and Greenland.

Tokyo-based architect and artist Hajime Narukawa wanted to fix the problem of distorted relative land mass sizes.

Narukawa has said that these longstanding problems may not have been very important in the past, when these regions were less traveled.

But now glaciers are melting and technology is making access to cold regions easier.

Hajime Narukawa
Hajime Narukawa

The Good Design award organization describes the map in the following terms:

“This original mapping method can transfer a spherical surface to a rectangular surface such as a map of the world while maintaining correctly proportions in areas*. AuthaGraph faithfully represents all oceans, continents including the neglected Antarctica. These fit within a rectangular frame with no interruptions. The map can be tessellated without visible seams. Thus the AuthaGraphic world map provides an advanced precise perspective of our planet. *The map need a further step to increase a number of subdivision for improving its accuracy to be officially called an area-equal map.”

Rape Comedy Picked for Oscars Race

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Too amoral for American actresses? The film, a hit at Cannes this year, is France’s submission for the foreign-language Oscar this year.

“Elle” was directed by Paul Verhoeven, famous in his native Holland as well as America where he made films between 1983 and 2000, including “Robocop,” “Total Recall,” “Basic Instinct,” and “Showgirls.” Violence and sex are common in his movies.

The female protagonist in “Elle” is played by Isabelle Huppart. The character is the head of a video game company that makes ultra-violent, sexualized games. She is raped at the onset of the story and proceeds to seek revenge.

The movie is based on Philippe Djian’s novel “Oh…”

Huppert said of the film: “The story shouldn’t be seen as a realistic story. It’s not a statement about women being raped. Philippe’s book and Paul’s film have to be taken like a tale or a fantasy, something inside yourself, you couldn’t confess in your inner thoughts. Paul projects it on screen. It doesn’t happen to all women. This is a particular story about this woman as an individual, not women in general.”

Verhoeven originally wanted to film “Elle” in the States, but found that “no American actress would take on such an amoral movie.”

“Isabelle made it French. Paris and France gave me Isabelle. She could only exist in France.”

Eddie Vedder Debuts New Song “Out of Sand” to Be Used on Upcoming Twin Peaks 2017 Series

eddie vedder out of sand
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At the Ohana festival in Dana Point, California this week, singer Eddie Vedder debuted a new song, called “Out of Sand.”

“This is a new one I haven’t played yet,” said vedder sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar on his lap.

The lyrics for the song were published Wednesday by PearlJamOnLine’s twitter account.

out of sand lyrics

Vedder has not only contributed the song “Out of Sand” to David Lynch’s 2017 return to the small screen, but he will appear in the series as well, as will several other musicians, including Trent Reznor, Eddie Vedder, Sky Ferreira, Ruth Radelet, and Sharon Van Etten.