Brave

So as Pixar fans (like me) know already, Brave will be released on the 22nd of June (which is also my birthday!), 2012. For those who haven’t seen them yet, here are the trailers, and a sneak-peek from “La Luna” (which has been nominated for animated short oscar) which will be shown right before Brave.

Additionally, the synopsis of Brave has also been released for those who want to know more:

“Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In “Brave,” a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts. Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Wise Woman (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.”

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Graphic Design Posters to help aid Japan

I guess we were all shocked because of the earthquake last week. I spent many hours worrying about relatives that live in places where the tsunami was possibly headed after the disaster in north-east Japan.

Here are some posters that were released after the earthquake to raise awareness or funds to help the people in their time of need.

Help Japan poster by James White (profits donated to help relief efforts in Japan. While the poster is currently sold out, James White is planning to release a second batch.)

 

Graphic designer Max Erdenberger of Wieden + Kennedy has designed this screen-printed poster to raise money for disaster relief following the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan at the end of last week. Purchase this poster here.

Fukushima Mon Amour designed by Yossi Lemel.

 

Daniel Freytag and Editions of 100 are offering this poster in memorial of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. “We will donate 100% of all proceeds to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal. For more information visit the British Red Cross website.

 

Help Japan poster designed by H-57 studio.

 

Lend a Hand to Japan poster designed by Ryan Hageman.

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Working at the Pera Museum, the Japan Media Arts Festival and Maywa Denki’s Otamatone

Remember my post about the Pera Museum? Well guess what, I have been working there under the Japan Media Arts Festival for two weeks now, therefore I haven’t had much free time to update here, but it has been wonderful. You should definitely drop by if you are in Istanbul because it will definitely be worth it. I work at the fifth floor, where all the interactive media art works are, to guide some people who have a hard time understanding what’s going on, and are reluctant to touch some of the works. I still have one week left (or three days, which makes today – oopsie, it’s already 2 A.M.!, wednesday and friday, I’m there from 3 P.M. to 7 P.M.) so drop by if you want to see me AND the exhibitions. I figured I would have seen more familiar faces, but so far, apart from the friends I dragged along, I only saw one of the assistants from college and some celebrities that I didn’t recognize but was told later on who they were (why am I so bad with faces? WHY?)

Ahem. So I’ll tell you my favorite work at the exhibition which is the Otamatone by the Maywa Denki corporation. Before I started working in the museum, I attended the seminars (because I wanted to, I hadn’t even seen the job posting at the time) where the artists introduced their works so that helped a lot while answering questions. I saw the guy who invented the otamatone and he was an adorable person. So basically the otamatone is a music-note shaped cute toy/musical instrument where the stem of the note is the handle of the instrument, the head of the note is actually… a head, and the flag of the note is a rotatable piece. This all sounds really confusing, but to sum it up:

Behold, the otamatone! To play this very cute instrument, you have to use two hands. While pressing on the touchpad on the handle, you have to squeeze the cheeks of the head so that the mouth will open and a high pitched or bass sound will be played through the small speaker inside the head. The notes start with Do from the top. You do have to press on the cheeks or there will  be no sound at all. I find this ingenious and adorable at the same time. And today for the first time, I have looked at the price through amazon.com, and the price of this black otamatone is *drumroll please* – only 35.95$! I was expecting it to be over 70$ so I guess this is pretty decent. There are a lot of different versions of the otamatone, the black one being my favorite. There is also a white version, and another version with a face consisting of teeth (the black one has a silver colored handle while the white one has a gold colored one). You could purchase one from this link.

Anyway, you could play with them for free (once you pay for the museum ticket) as long as you want on the fifth floor of the museum. The exhibition will continue until the 3rd of October, so be sure to pay a visit before it’s over.

More updates soon!

11th Istanbul Biennal – What Keeps Mankind Alive?

I visited two of the 11th Istanbul Biennal locations on Saturday; at the Feriköy Greek School in Şişli and the Tobacco Warehouse in Tophane. I didn’t go to the third and largest location, Antrepo No.3 yet, because I had some other exhibitions that I wanted to visit that day. Funny thing is, I had thought that all of these locations were odd, but according to the Biennal Guide, The Top 5 venues wish list went like this:

1. Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture

2. The ex-Istanbul U.S. Consulate General building

3. Ottoman Bank Archive and Research Center

4. Haydarpaşa Train Station

5. Park Hotel

These locations, unfortunately were not able to host the biennal due to bureaucratic, financial and security reasons, which is quite a shame because I really think that the Haydarpaşa Train Station would have been awesome.

I thought the most intruiging part of the Biennal within the Feriköy Greek School was Larissa Sansour’s short movie, “Soup Over Bethlehem” which according to the Biennal Guide, “depicts and ordinary Palestinian family, Sansour’s own, seated around a table on a rooftop overlooking Bethlehem. ‘Mloukhieh’, a national Palestinian dish is served, and what starts as a culinary discussion about the food soon evolves into a personal and engaging conversation about the politics and conditions of life under the restraints of occupation. Snatches of English occasionally interrupt the Arabic spoken around the table, indicating the ways in which fragmented identities are rebuilt through life in exile. The routine issues discusses amongst family members in the middle of the occupation counters clichés about victimhood and the stereotyped debates over identity.

‘I’m so occupied these days’, says one of the people at the table towards the end of the video. Someone replies, laughing: ‘Aren’t we all.’ Along with Sansour’s other projects, Soup Over Bethlehem breaks up ethnic stereotypes with a strategic dose of humour, and depicts Palestinian reality in a way that remains critical, yet steers clear of representational clichés”

I liked Sansour’s video because I think that might have been how conversations around my mother’s family table might have been when they first arrived at Istanbul. If you want to watch the video, it’s available here.

The other work I really liked – and found very amusing – was Siniša Labrović‘s Postgraduate Education. According to the Biennal Guide,

“Using different performative strategies Siniša Labrović challenges the limits of what is allowed, and the codependence between artist, audience and exhibition context. Postgraduate Education uses the rhetoric of self-help and ‘how to’ books, transferring it to the field of education. But this particular education teaches the ABC of typical criminal activities. The book is a continuation of Undergraduate Studies organized in 2008 in Zagreb as a series of workshops held by ‘experts’ from different fields of crime, with topics ranging from drug dealing and burglary, to ‘rules of conduct’ in criminal circles.

In the post-industrial context, Labrović challenges market and class demands for ‘life-long education’, which requires improvement in every aspect of the worker’s labour skills, and increasing ‘flexibility’. Commenting ironically on the increasingly blurred borders between business, politics and crime, the book offers an overview of different topics, ranging from debt collection and shoplifting to developing public-private partnerships, corruption and nepotism. The irony is taken to its extreme. The bold approach of Postgraduate Education follows the doctrine of the education system -preparing people for (more or less) successful servitude within the established systems, through opportunism, competition, deceitfulness, and highly structured rules of conduct. It suggests criminal behaviour as a prerequisite to both commercial and social success.”

I think you should see the text of Labrović’s work for yourself, it is really hilarious.

In the other Biennal venue I visited, the Tobacco Warehouse, I found the work of Vyacheslav Akhunov‘s work 1m2 very interesting. According to the Biennal guide,

1 m2 (2007) is an installation of one square metre of matchboxes, and is probably the largest retrospective exhibition displayed in such a small space. The matchboxes are filled with the artist’s small-scale reproductions, drawings and plans taken from his numerous journals and albums from 1976 to 1991. On a monitor available for detailed viewing there is an archive of Akhunov’s journals and artist’s books.
Akhunov’s works push the aesthetics of Soviet propaganda to the limits, and open up a number of questions that go beyond ironic subversion of the ideological apparatus. They form an archive that has a relationship to the past, beyond that of revisionism or nostalgia, and their relationship with communism remains open.”

1m2

1m2

Another work that I found interesting in the Tobacco Warehouse was Işıl Eğrikavuk‘s short documentary video,  Gül. The story of this young woman was truly interesting and captivating. According to the Biennal Guide,

“In Gül (2008), the main character, a woman, talks about her past and the arranged marriage she had to endure at the age of fourteen. As the young woman talks she is interrupted by scenes in which she takes on the role of an actor, commenting on the ‘character’ she is playing, and analysing the plausibility of her role. The almost voyeuristic interest in hearing the confessions of an abused woman is subverted as the story slides into fiction, questioning society’s reaction to violence.”

I really want to visit the third location of the Biennal soon, and I recommend everyone to go while the Biennal lasts (which is until the 8th of November).

The Biennal Guide I rant on about is only 2 YTL (which is not even a Euro) so it is very cheap and it’s not bad either if you want to have more information about the artists and their works. Here is the map for the Biennal venue locations, but I can say that the Feriköy Greek School is just at the top of the slope from the Osmanbey Metro station, and the Tobacco Warehouse is a short walk from the Galata tower (when you walk past it from the left, not the right), go down the slope, walk until the end of the road and it’s there.