Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga

Structural Patterns

Reflections on Art, Technology and Society

Archive for April, 2019

The Joy of Punk Rock

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This past Saturday (20 April, 2019), I got to experience a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll history as Half Japanese celebrated a re-release of their 1988 “Charmed Life” album on blue vinyl. Long before the popularization of the genres Indie Rock or Alternative Rock, the brothers Jad and David Fair formed the punk rock band Half Japanese in 1975. But when one listens to Half Japanese now, it doesn’t identify with 70s punk as much as 80s and 90s alternative rock. Between the lyrics, distorted guitar and noise, the first band that comes to mind is Sonic Youth who have cited Half Japanese as an influence and Don Fleming who has worked with Sonic Youth was on stage.

I only had my iPhone and generally would not use it to record song after song, but I felt as if I was listening to something special as these white haired men in their 60s rocked out on the small stage of le poisson rouge. Between the darkness of the club and the fluctuating lights on stage, much of this footage is a blur, but you can still hear the art punk sounds of Half Japanese.

“Vietnam” and a couple other songs. Following Vietnam at the 1 min 50 sec mark, Don Fleming takes the lead on “Real Cool Time” and it’s pretty awesome.
The very short but hard driving “Face Rake”

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April 22nd, 2019 at 7:38 pm

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Reza Aramesh at Asia Society

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Iranian born artist Reza Aramesh (b 1970) has a powerful one room installation at the Asia Society in New York City. The power of the work is not so much in the sculptures, but rather at what they point to through their titles:

Action 131: Dying Iranian Soldier, 1987

Action 134: December 31, 1980, Ankara, Turkey

Action 133: Dying American Solder, Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, 9 November 2004

Action 132: Saigon, 5 August 1963

Decades of warfare, decades of death, the savagery of mankind as perpetrated by one empire upon a series of much weaker nation states – Vietnam, Turkey, Iran, Iraq… The sculptures are engaging and beautifully executed, but it was not until I read the titles that I realized what I was beholding; then the work resonated.

The male figures frozen in agony become individual victims of war. And just in case one does not read the titles, inspection of the wallpaper lining the entire room will make the subject of the installation abundantly clear. At the center of the wallpaper pattern is a hooded and bound figure – so called “enemy combatants” surrounded by four naked male figures depicted from behind. The naked figures leave one wondering – are they dead soldiers walking to the afterlife or soldiers stripped of their identity and beliefs for their country’s ideology? The only figure in the illustration that faces the viewer is the bound and hooded central figure. A close up of the wall paper is pictured below.

The installation is simple and powerful. I only question the brown velvet garment that drapes over the lower part of each torso. The garment itself is fine and effectively points to religious sculptures, however the awkward shape of the pedestals that lie hidden below the garment do not flow naturally to the torsos, so the pedestals stand out as unresolved presentation. That said, concept and craft come across powerfully in this room.

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Reza Aramesh, wallpaper

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Written by ricardo

April 16th, 2019 at 7:33 pm

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