This episode provides an in-depth look at the creation of Kara Walker’s monumental public project, “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” (2014), at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, NY. Seated in her Manhattan studio, Walker explains how the molasses-covered space, along with her extensive research into the history of sugar, inspired her to create a colossal sugar-coated sphinx, as well as a series of life-sized, sugar and resin boy figurines. A team of artists and fabricators are shown constructing and coating the sphinx, which, as Walker says, gains its power by “upsetting expectations, one after the other.” Commissioned by Creative Time, “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” is the first large-scale public project by Walker who is best known for her cut paper silhouette installations, drawings, and watercolors. “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” is on view until July 6, 2014. Thereafter, the factory will be demolished to make way for condominiums. Read More
FULL STORY AT OKAYAFRICA
If you have just clicked this to hear more about the Jay Z and Solange rift that recently exploded all over the Internet, then you have come to the right place but for reasons that may differ from your expectations (but keep reading). Before we begin, ask yourself, “Why did I click this and what drew me to it?” This is exactly the point RapRehab’s Sebastien Elkoubymakes with his recent excellent piece analyzing “gossip and celebrity worship,”what draws us to these subjects, and how the behavior has grafted our society as a whole.
Our days are filled with obligation–work, school, family, friends–and our rapid shift to a world filled with instant gratification is a product of our increasingly limited pockets of time for ourselves. When we come across stolen moments of pleasure, how do we fill them? Streaming videos, memes, apps, the latest in celebrity discourse and, of course, the hot new song of the minute.
As Elkouby states in his article, “[w]e crave distractions. Stories about people like Donald Sterling, Mimi Faust, Chris Brown, Cliven Bundy, and the Carters/Knowles give us a temporary escape from our own boring lives. Many of us spend 8 or more hours a day at a job we hate, working with people we can’t stand, making less than what we need, to start all over again the following day. And out of nowhere comes a story that instantaneously takes us away from endless spreadsheets, bossy supervisors, and grueling staff meetings. Our cell phones and computers are patiently waiting, a magical portal to an exciting world of superstars, fame, drama, and anything else to make us forget our tedious daily routine.”
We invest into this perpetually refreshing “feed.” We share, comment, re-tweet and open dialogue with others looking to escape. And then with a click, we are back in the Matrix of real life. Our phones and iPads shimmer with a blank stare. The fantasy world we visited sits still like a well-behaved hound on the other side of the darkness, ready to deliver the next story with the next slide of our fingers. But is there something bigger that we are missing? How long have we been living in this virtual world and how is it affecting us in reality?
Elkouby suggests that we channel our energies toward loftier objectives. “Rather than posting countless Facebook comments about Donald Sterling’s racist rants, can that same fire be used to advocate for racial justice…even if only within our own circles? Instead of tweeting how outraged we are about Mimi Faust’s sex tape, can we do a better job of monitoring the sexually degrading entertainment our kids are exposed to? Can we spend more time developing healthier relationships with our loved ones than we do trying to figure out why Jay Z and Solange don’t get along?”
If we are regularly using the limited amount of time we have everyday to engage with the latest celebrity gossip, it’s a safe bet that critical societal problems will go unresolved amidst all this seemingly useless discourse. Elkouby’s ultimate concern is that our “quality of life is rapidly decreasing” amidst the endless distractions. This premise is worthy of more than just a few clicks of consideration…but it does not allow for the totality of our needs as people.
It’s okay to click on celebrity news. It’s okay to eat junk food. It’s okay to escape the rigamarole of every day life. Sometimes. Like any good nutrition plan, the keys to good health (physical and mental) are balance and moderation. We all need moments where we indulge ourselves. By contrast, there also are times where we need to strive for greatness, in ourselves and others. Sometimes, the best way to move past life’s ennuis is to face them full on and change the life circumstance that is causing them in the first place. Build that business you’ve been considering. Lose that weight you’ve wanted to shed. Make that song that makes people’s lives better. Follow that dream…
Maybe next time you see another Jay Z and Solange-related post, you won’t click it. Or maybe you will. If you do, just remember to balance the scale when the opportunity arises.
Spotted at Ambrosia for heads
Apparently after having such a good time this week @ SXSW, someone suggested to Jay that he release this track…and he did. So can someone suggest dropping the album to him or nah?
Lupita’s speech is something that every little girl/woman needs to hear. Words that sadly, so many can relate to. So many dark skinned girls grow up thinking they are not beautiful because dark skin is not the standard of beauty they are subjected to every day. In the media, in the “history” that we learn in school, in our very own culture, it is everywhere. No matter how much the people that love us tell us we are beautiful we still don’t accept it. In worse cases, the loved ones are the ones that do the most damage to the self esteem of a dark skinned girl.
Personally, I am of a “lighter” complexion and I always am trying to get darker, haha. I think dark skin is beautiful and I wish so many more would embrace it. Especially those that have it! Be You. Be Beautfiful. Feel Worthy. Embrace Diversity. Love The Skin You’re In.
Kiev’s Euromaidan protesters began 2014 the same way they ended 2013: by rioting in the streets in an attempt to bring down their government. Key victories have already been won, with Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his cabinet resigning. The demonstrators also forced the annulment of a new anti-protest law that was, ironically, the cause of much of their protesting.
The protesters haven’t been contented by this, however, and are still out in the streets, demanding the head of President Viktor Yanukovych and the staging of fresh elections. What began as a protest against the Ukrainian government’s close ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin has become a focus for wider discontent. However, Yanukovych seems in no mood to relinquish his power. As the social unrest spreads across the country, its first post-Soviet President, Leonid Kravchuk, has gone as far as to warn that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war. Dozens of people have lost their lives in just the last two days of violence.
At the end of January, VICE flew to Kiev as rioters hurled Molotov cocktails at police and the city turned into a battlefield.
Sign up for the Beta at http://vicenews.com
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of their debut album (3 Feet High & Rising) this year, De La is re-releasing their “entire” catalog on line for free. Now the reason I keep putting entire in quotes is because, while they’re claiming it’s their “entire” catalog. Nothing that was released past 2001 is included in the downloads, Like 2004′s “The Grind Date” (a personal fav of mine). Or the 2009 Nike and iTunes exclusive “Are You In?” None the less, if you’d like to brush up on the group’s work, you can do so here wearedelasoul.com The downloads will only be available for 25 hours, they started today @ 11AM and will end tomorrow @ noon. If you want to get in on this you need to hurry because at their website they’re saying it may be hours until the downloads are available for you after you enter your email address. Peace.
By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
Sleep crops up in unexpected places medically, as in the recent finding that for people suffering from bouts of depression, irregular sleep is often the first sign of an attack, and conversely, getting a good night’s sleep can help prevent the onset of depression. But the importance of sleep has become more global in recent years, involving it in obesity, for example, where bad sleep throws off the hormonal balance that tells the body when it’s hungry.
Even as sleep becomes more critical for all manner of bodily functions, this only highlights the mystery that is sleep. Sleep is certainly a physiological necessity, but neuroscience can hardly improve on Shakespeare’s observation after the guilty Macbeth cannot fall asleep.
Macbeth: Innocent sleep. Sleep that soothes away all our worries. Sleep that puts each day to rest. Sleep that relieves the weary laborer and heals hurt minds. Sleep, the main course in life’s feast, and the most nourishing.
Even in our advanced scientific age sleep rules its own domain, remaining essential without telling us why. Babies spend most of their days sleeping, but why? Why do creative solutions sometimes arrive in our sleep or soon after waking? (“A problem difficult at night is often solved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” –John Steinbeck) Do plants go through rest cycles that are the equivalent of sleep? (Science’s inability to explain either the mechanisms or the purpose of sleep has been reduced to a geeky punchline: “The only well-established function of sleep is to cure sleeplessness.”)
Such puzzles have been made even more topical by a recent study in mice which showed that one of the roles of sleep may be to clear out the accumulated garbage from the brain. If this was the only explanation, however, then why do we need to spend one-third of our day unconscious – could evolution not have developed a system to clear out trash while we are awake (much like urination or defecation)?
Nor can we assume that being awake and conscious is simply the reverse of being asleep – a switch that’s turned on and off in some tiny alertness center deep in the brain. So-called lucid dreams appear even more real than everyday events, but when we wake up we realize that they are neurological illusions. What if the same is true of the reality we accept when wide awake?
Let’s take a look at some facts that may help us grapple with sleep’s mystery and its insights.
Sleep is a state where the organism’s consciousness is reduced or absent, and it loses the ability to use all nonessential muscles (in deep sleep you are essentially paralyzed and cannot move your limbs). Sleep follows a circadian (24 hour) clock regulated partly by sensors in the body, partly by will, and partly by the environment. Sleep on any given night cycles through different phases/stages such as deep sleep (non-REM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM) – these are differentiated through EEG tracings.
From birth to old age there are dramatic changes in the amount of time humans spend in various sleep stages as well as overall sleep. Babies sleep for 15 or more hours, which then steadily decreases to 10-11 hours for children and adolescents, 8 hours for adults, and 6 hours for the elderly.
The amount of time spent in REM versus non-REM sleep also decreases through life. Premature babies spend almost all their sleep (some 75%) in REM sleep, whereas full-term babies typically spend about 8 hours nightly in REM, which drops to about 1-2 hours nightly in adults. During REM sleep the brain shows high activity (gamma waves) and high blood flow, sometimes even more than while awake, and scientists believe this is when the brain rehearses and consolidates actions and memories. On the other hand, non-REM sleep is associated with reduced blood flow as well as slow waves called delta waves.
Dreams mainly occur in REM sleep but may also occur in other sleep phases. One can only wonder what a newborn baby, who spends 8 hours in REM sleep, is dreaming about since it has had so little waking experience.
Most animal species studied appear to sleep. Many primates, such as monkeys, sleep as much as we do, about 10 hours. Dolphins and some other marine creatures can sleep with half their brain awake (unihemispherical sleep) to protect them from predators – total sleep of both brains may lead to drowning. There is still debate about whether or not migrating birds may be able to sleep even while flying (with one eye open, much the way humans can take a cat nap while standing up). For whatever reason, at least in captivity, carnivores (such as lions) need more sleep than herbivores (such as elephants and cows) – we don’t know if the same applies also to meat-eating versus vegan humans!
All of this interesting stuff illustrates how sleep is programmed into our genes and behaviors. In the next post we will look into how sleep fits into our evolution as well as the role of dreams.