Rad Radar: The Sympathetic Imagination

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It’s no surprise technology has influenced everything around us. Machines have most certainly affected art: we can design graphics, alter photos, record works on video, and edit visuals to look even more magnificent. We have evolved into a society that preserves the physical into digital.Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MCA) newest installation, The Sympathetic Imagination by Diana Thater, merges tech with the most organic physical of all, nature.

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“…continuous disruptions of the American landscape document my refusal to see the land as backdrop for man’s heroic conquering of the wild; instead I see it as a foreground, a subject to be contemplated for itself and for which wilderness is a state of grace.” Abyss of Light (1993)

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“…when viewers walking into the projections, they penetrate the bee space; the one picture breaks into five, and the surrounding bees become and vision of chaos.” Knots + Surfaces (2001)

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“Framed by the moon and the sun, this work makes reference to the Egyptian falcon god, Horus, whose eyes were said to represent the two celestial bodies… Here we see beings who cannot look back at us – that is, until the final subject of the film appears… evoking the unanswered questions: ‘ What do I see when I look at the other, and what does it see when it looks back at me?'” A Cast of Falcons (2000)

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“…there are three kinds of bodies in space: dolphins moving through volumetric space; the sun spinning in a vacuum of black space; and then the  viewer, moving through ‘real’ space made volumetric by the artificial magenta light” Delphine (1999)

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“…the forests of Michoacan, Mexico, become the overwinter home for tens of millions of monarch butterflies… This broken video wall focuses on one butterfly slowly flapping its wings” Untitled Videowall (Butterflies) (2008)

“At the heart of Thater’s work is the tension between the natural environment and mediated reality and, by extension, between the domesticated and wild, the scientific and the fantastical or magical… Thater layers imagery onto architectural surroundings to create complex relationships between time and space.”

The accompanying pamphlet sets the concept as an intimate experience with scenes of the wild we wouldn’t normally experience if it weren’t for technology. The set up of projectors reflecting on the blank walls of the gallery create a situation where, no matter what, you are bound to cast your shadow on the film. This is a nod to Thater’s want to have the viewer interact with the outdoors. Monitors displaying parts of a butterfly are arranged in a floral way, while others show tinted versions of our planet Earth. Creamy lights of neon and pastel mingle with the projections to be a reminder that though you are connecting with nature, it is all but a virtual encounter.

If you want to get immersed in an ambient wilderness or just love magnificent visuals, take a trip to Thater’s exhibit. The Sympathetic Imagination is stationed in the MCA till January 8, 2017.

Work Cited:

Thater, D. (2016). The Sympathetic Imagination [Brochure].

Chicago, IL: Museum of Contemporary Art.

Rad Radar: Clara Tang

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My friend, Clara Tang, is a musically talented chick who hails from Connecticut. She samples pop vocals and mixes dreamy beats to create chill electronic music you can cruise late nights to. Under the moniker SleepyHaze, her tunes have been making waves.

When did you start making tracks?

I started making music midway through junior year of high school – so two years ago. My brother made music, so he had me download software awhile ago. Basically, I got super depressed and I couldn’t play violin anymore. So then I started making electronic music to fill the void – the creative void – that I had. So at that point I didn’t really listen to electronic music. I was in a huge indie phase, but I had just started listening to Tokimonsta and Flume. They are kind of younger. Especially Tokimonsta; she’s a Korean female producer and I thought that was really cool. You don’t see many female producers lately. It made me realize that I could do that too. Those were the first two that kicked off everything else, and then I started to get into more electronic stuff.

Who or what do you sample from the most?

Honestly, I just have a folder on my computer of random vocal stems that I find on the internet. Most of them are pop songs. I’ll just kind of shove it into a song until one of them works, and then usually I’ll put a bunch of effects and then make it seem like – you usually can’t tell what I’m sampling. I like that about it. I try to blur the words a little bit so you can’t really tell what they are saying. I’ve sampled One Direction, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and stuff like that.

What is the best set that you have experienced that you want to pay yourself?

Favorite set that I’ve ever seen was my first show here, in Chicago! It was the Soulection show. I saw AbJo, Stefan, and Joe Kay. The sets were really – they start off a little bit more chill and vibey and they got really – not hype but more trappy and future-bass. I really like that and it kept you dancing for a full four hours. I think that if I ever were to play a live show it would be – I don’t know. My music is too slow, I think, for a live show. I’d probably do more of a DJ set and I’d want it to be that kind of vibe.

How did you come about with the name SleepyHaze?

It’s so lame! SleepyHaze… I was tired as hell, so I took a shower at 5 p.m. and was feeling all groggy. Then, mid-shower, I thought of the name and realized it was totally my sound.

What is the ideal scenario you would want your songs to be played during?

Well a lot of it is inspired by night driving, so that would probably be a good situation. Or like a montagey, lo-fi indie film type thing – I could see my music being played on top of that. Teen angst type, I guess.

If you are, like most of us, feeling that teen angst because of recent political events, take a good hour to relax with SleepyHaze’s recent release, WeakNights, on blast. A chill, downtempo feel is what you will get from this electronic piece. Inspired by thinking too much late into those dead nights that you just drift, the album’s ambient soothing is what SleepyHaze stands for.

That New New

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November: a period of time when all sun-toned leaves end up on the ground, we start packing on the layers, some people stop shaving, and we start to see turkeys and cornucopias every where. It also is the last month of Autumn.

As this cozy season is ending, I wanted to start my opening month as a official blogger with a focus on the concept of new. My weekly posts for November will be interviews with fresh faced creatives or first time events. From internet-aesthetic art shows to learning about a cosmetic craft, I’ll be coming at you with alternative, current posts.

But since this month has just begun, I’m currently setting those interviews and sorting out plans. For now,here are three new things that I have discovered in the past week.

1. Ridin Round- Kali Uchis FT. Tory Lanez (Oshi Remix)

Thanks to my friend Clara, I started getting into Kali Uchis over the summer. After a hearing a quick snippet of Uchi’s “Loner,” I showed her the song and, being a music producer, she already knew about her album. She introduced me to the soulful, poppy R&B “Ridin Round” and it got a place on my summer sixteen playlist. Fast forward to fall, I had Kali’s Soundcloud on a endless run when this gem comes on. Oshi’s remix churns the single into a super cute flavor with hard trap undertones. This beat would’ve been more appropriate in the eighty degrees with a slight breeze, but I’m still blasting this as I chill in the fifties.

2. Joan Cornellà

(Warning: Slight blood)

Until Joan Cornellà, I haven’t seen an illustrator as impactful and unlike any other since Banksy. Last Thursday night I had the satisfaction of turning in my last midterm on Blackboard. It was 2AM, I had no school the next day, so naturally I turned on Solange’s magnificent album, A Seat at The Table, and started scrolling through an art blog on Tumblr. There I found  Cornellà’s Gangsta Grandma, which highlights police brutality and racism. The illustrator’s theme is definitely bright in visuals, yet definitely dark in topics and philosophies. His absurdist, surrealist comics and animations are a reflection of today’s societal norms, pressures, and issues. His work is certainly becoming iconic.

3. bopNgrill

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Last Friday night I ventured to The New 400 Theater’s annual Scarefest to view Takashi Shimizu’s The Grudge. Sweating while you scream your head off can burn calories – not that I did any of those things – and my group were hungry for munchies. It was my second time attending the event, but it was only this year that I noticed bopNgrill a block away. The Korean and pub-food place features “Bop Plates,” meal sets where the customer can choose a main dish that will be accompanied by rice, salad, and kimchi, and signature or customizable burgers. Being a progressing vegan, I ordered a tofu and kimchi Bop Plate with a request to use vegetable oil to sauté the kimchi. The serving was huge and the flavor had a great impact as well. The tofu was a savory umami, kimchi provided a crisp tang, and the sides were great pallet mellowers. If you are around Loyola campus or off the CTA Belmont stop, I would highly recommend giving this fusion restaurant a try!

Next Wednesday look out for the first of five in my November New series!

Halloween Horror Fest

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Halloween is just around the corner. For the average Joe it’s just a spooky holiday where you dress up in funky garbs and pass out on candy or drinks. But for all of my fellow Halloweenies, we have been prepared for the pumpkin carving, house decorating, and most importantly, the horror movie marathons.

Here are five films that are on different spectrums of spooky, but are all great in their own right!

1. Scream (1996)

“What’s your favorite scary movie?” sneers Ghostface, the franchise’s murderer. Wes Craven’s classic slasher, Scream, happens to be one of mine. The film revolves around the town of Woodsboro, California, when it suddenly becomes the hunting grounds for a serial killer who targets 90’s teen archetypes. Craven satires horror cliches in a perfectly comedic, bloody mess – but nothing is predictable about the ending.

2. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

You may know Joss Whedon of Firefly or The Avengers fame, but the comic nerd of a director has a twisted dark side too. The Cabin in the Woods also plays on horror tropes and takes a critical eye on the torture porn branch. Five college students, who all fit the bill of jock, slut, nerd, stoner, and virgin, plan a weekend getaway at a deserted cabin in the woods. That introduction alone should already set up that things don’t turn out well. It doesn’t, and how it gets that bad is what makes this film a cult favorite.

3. The Exorcist (1973)

A Halloween list cannot be complete without William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. Centered on two priests exorcising a possessed 12 year old, this movie’s simple premise is iconic. Forty years ago this terrorized people so much that some movie critics said they couldn’t understand who would see this movie for pleasure. People left the premiere in either pure anxiety or extreme fear. Take caution: you probably will end up the same way if you are not a seasoned horror watcher.

4. The Babadook (2014)

Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook is another jarring fright fest. After the death of her husband, Amelia struggles to maintain her life with Sam, her son. When Sam preoccupies himself with an imaginary friend from a book called Mister Babadook, the titular creature starts to take a sinister form. Touching on a common youth experience and combining it with psychological troubles of adulthood, the film pokes a nerve at growing up. This Australian psychological horror has since become a cult favorite and the target of many fan theories.

5. Hocus Pocus (1993)

If you braved the previous scarring scare and need something light, a signature Disney film can do the trick. Being a 90’s kid, I was lucky to have Disney original movies that gave me the heebie-jeebies as I learned a lesson. Hocus Pocus follows the Sanderson Sisters’ quest to gain absolute youth by stealing children’s souls, and Max Dennison trying to prevent his sister from being the next target. The eight year old me learned about stranger danger and to never wander in creepy abandoned houses, but the twenty one year old me plays it for the nostalgia.

Now build your pillow fort, grab your sweets, turn off the lights, and get ready for those jump scares!

(Photo illustration credit: Valashard)