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The Sad Truth: Nauseatingly profound illustrations of what the world is turning into


 
Everything that’s bleak about the modern world is wrapped-up like a perfect, little package with these illustrations by London-based artist and animator, Steve Cutts. Rampant consumerism. Shitty jobs. Environmental devastation. Disinformation. Nonsense. Billionaire psychopaths. Overcrowded cities—all present and accounted for. We’ve featured Cutts’ work here on DM before with his dark animation about the current lives of ‘80s cartoon characters.

If a picture paints a thousand words, these pieces are Molotov cocktails for the mind.


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Dark, foreboding figures made from VHS tapes
07.17.2015
08:21 am

Topics:
Art
Environment

Tags:
Iceland
Philip Ob Rey

The Lavas' Whisper
The Lavas’ Whisper
 
The “V” HS Project is a stunning series of photographs designed by French multimedia artist, Philip Ob Rey. The photos were shot in Ob Rey’s home of Iceland in collaboration with painter, Louie Otesanek, and photographer Mailie Viney.
 
Unknown Ashes - Unknown Voices
Unknown Ashes - Unknown Voices
 
Ob Rey’s eerie subjects were constructed using old VHS tapes in nearly their entirety (as well as other materials such as stone, shells, feathers, and seaweed), then shot in various locations around Iceland from the snow-covered mountains, to the icy, windblown ocean. The figures, while foreboding, also possess the classical elements of Haute-Couture, which makes sense as Ob Rey grew up surrounded by the dizzying world of Parisian high-fashion.

While reading Ob Rey’s striking mission statement, it appears that the artist may have been attempting to present his visual take on what will become of the world as we know it, and what will rise after it has all turned to ash. Some have even said the work is in part a social commentary on the “death” of the VHS tape, and that with their creation, Ob Rey has provided a way for VHS fans to finally say goodbye to their long-treasured physical media of choice. That seems a bit labored. Overthinking it.
 
Submarine Wings and Seeds
Submarine Wings and Seeds
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Climate change? No worries! We’ll escape deadly heat by becoming mole people like these Australians!


 
The town of Coober Pedy, Australia has been the opal capital of the world since 1915—that’s 100 years of one little town producing most of the gem-quality opals for the entire planet. You’d think by now they’d have turned the place into some kind of reasonably bustling little hamlet—maybe with a Starbucks franchise and a strip club at least? But Coober Pedy is unbearably hot and dry, with dust storms and 110 degree temperatures on the regular. So what’s a poor opal-miner to do? Go underground, of course!

Yes, the roughly 1,700 inhabitants of Coober Pedy live in the beautiful caverns left over from opal mining—there are nearly 1,500 houses connected by tunnels, with all the modern amenities and a glossy coating sealing the exposed rock walls to prevent constant dust accumulation. Not only that, the town has stores, a bar, a church, a museum, an art gallery and a hotel—it’s a legitimate town, not just a tourist attraction. The Coober Pedy name comes from a less-than-flattering aboriginal word meaning “white man’s hole,” but not only do the caverns provide safe, clean shelter and keep a comfortable temperature in blistering heat, there are actual bits of opal in the wall. It’s really quite a striking interior.

So when climate change bakes the surface of the earth, we’re all down to become modern mole-people, right?
 

In Coober Pedy, the dead are closer to the surface than the living.
 

Entryway to tunnels.
 

Coober Pedy home.
 

The town has an underground museum and art gallery.
 

Serbian Orthodox Church entrance and arch.
 
More Coober Pedy after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Crazy POV footage of daredevil base jump off Bolivia’s ‘Death Road’
07.06.2015
11:04 am

Topics:
Environment
Sports

Tags:
base jumping

Grim markers along the Death Road in Bolivia
Grim markers along “The Death Road” in Bolivia
 
More than 25,000 biking aficionados come from all over the world to ride the North Yungus Road in Bolivia, known by locals as “The Death Road” or in their native tongue, “El Camino de la Muerte.” “The Death Road” starts at a staggering 11,000 feet in the snowy Andes mountains, and takes riders on a 40+ mile, adrenaline-fueled trip through the Amazon Rainforest.
 
Bikers traveling the Death Road in Bolivia
Brave bikers traveling the Death Road
 
Bikes stop to admire the Death Road in Bolivia
 
While at times it may appear to be an idyllic trip full of waterfalls and mythical, untouched vistas, the road lives up to its name, claiming approximately 300 victims a year. The grim reminders of those who lost their lives on the Death Road are marked by crosses. And there are entirely too many of them along the treacherous route. Originally constructed by Paraguayan POW’s that were captured during the Chaco War (1932–1935), the road was formed using only picks and shovels. Some ravines along the one-lane route plunge more than 1,500 feet straight down. Naturally, as it is a road of death, there are precious few guardrails, if any at all, to protect those brave enough to ride the road.
 
the Death Road in Bolivia
 
Roadside markers on the Death Road in Bolivia
 
Base-jumper on the Death Road in Bolivia
Base-jumper on the Death Road
 
Some of the braver (if not brainless) bikers are also known to “base jump” off the road into whatever lies beneath.There are loads of tour companies that offer guided excursions of the road and people who run them have told stories of young tourists showing up to ride hungover (yikes), or of overzealous bikers armed with GoPro cameras on their helmets that only aid in distracting them from the very real dangers of the road.

Of course not every biker that tries their luck on the Death Road are foolhardy or unprepared for the intimidating trek. Many who take on the Death Road are legitimately skilled thrill-seekers in search of their next challenge. While base jumping into a blissful looking rainforest may be appealing those who live to die another day, I’d just rather watch people doing it. So if you just nodded your head in agreement to my last statement, please enjoy the following video of a guy base jumping off the Death Road. Viva la DEATH!
 

POV video of a base jumper on the Death Road

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Testicle-biting’ fish with human-like teeth found in New Jersey lake
06.25.2015
11:59 am

Topics:
Animals
Environment

Tags:
Pacu fish


 
This will be my second post about New Jersey in the past couple days. Hey New Jersey, you turnin’ into the new Florida?! Anyway, a South NJ resident and his son were fishing in a man-made lake called Swedes Lake in Burlington County and caught a Pacu fish which isn’t indigenous to the area. If you notice, the Pacu fish has human-like teeth.

Now you may have heard about this Pacu fish before which has a hilarious reputation for only attacking men’s balls. The truth is, the rumors about this Pacu fish feasting on male testicles is pretty much more of an urban legend than actual fact. The Pacu “folklore” started in Papua, New Guinea with the nickname for the fish they coined translating as “ball cutters.” Now I’m not saying the Pacu fish has never attacked a dude’s balls before—they’re not known to be the friendliest fish, either—it’s just not as common as most people would have you believe.

The real threat with this fish is that it’s not indigenous to the area and could mess with the whole ecosystem, i.e. spreading disease and spurring fiercer competition for food.

More than anything, the Pacu fish is in need of a good dentist. Lookit that tartar buildup. Daily flossing is a must!


 
via Death and Taxes and 6 ABC

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Wailing babies and children projected onto clouds of smog in horrifying message about air pollution


 
China’s air pollution is a serious issue, one that can be downright deadly, especially for small children. Predictably there is a lot of brutal Chinese environmental art out there, but this is one of the most legitimately creepy stunts I’ve ever seen—projections of wailing children and babies on columns of smog. My first impression of the spectacle was, “Oh, it must be a Chinese artist making an environmental message!” Nope, the installations and associated video are actually an advertisement for air purifiers. Yes, despite all those nifty overtures to communism, China is very much a country that runs on capitalism. The company’s statement on the ad:

Xiao Zhu wanted to stand out in a market that was almost as congested as the air. A market where half a million people, mostly children, have died due to air pollution related illnesses. So we decided to put a spotlight on air pollution’s biggest culprits—the factories—by using the actual pollution from the factories as a medium. People took notice, and the word spread.

Clear the air. Let the future breathe again.

Oh wow, I feel so hopeful about the future now that there’s a product to remedy this problem!

Remember kids, if capitalism caused the problem, you can certainly count on capitalism to solve the problem! (Right?)
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Fascinating photographs of an abandoned Chinese fishing village reclaimed by nature
06.10.2015
10:35 am

Topics:
Art
Environment

Tags:
Mother Nature


 
Nanning-based photographer Tang Yuhong takes us on a lovely photographic journey through an abandoned fishing village in China. We see Mother Nature claiming back what was once rightfully hers.

The village is located in the Shengsi Islands, near the mouth of the Yangtze River. What I wouldn’t give to take a boat trip on the Yangtze to visit these small islands. If these amazing photos are anything to go by, I wonder what other treasures the islands hold?


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Mysterious sleeping sickness leaves men sex-crazed in Kazakhstan’s ‘Village of the Damned’

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They call it “Sleepy Hollow,” the small village of Kalachi in Kazakhstan, where a strange sleeping sickness leaves inhabitants unconscious for days at a time. The mytsery illness first struck four years ago, and as of September last year, 126 people of the 600 inhabitants had succumbed to the disease. It is like a plague, some villagers say; others believe the illness is caused by radiation blown from the former uranium mines in the now deserted town of Krasnogorsk. Smoke can still be seen billowing from the abandoned mine shafts, where radiation levels at the entrance to the mines are “16 times higher than would be expected from background radiation.”

Yet, this mystery disease appears to have no consistent pathology, and affects people randomly. One might expect the ex-uranium mine workers to be the most likely to be infected, but the majority have no symptoms. Those that have suffered the sleeping sickness, like ex-miner Alexander Ratz, who collapsed after a day-out fishing, have no real explanation for it:

I cast out the fishing rod and felt shaky and dizzy. I caught a fish and started unhooking it. It felt as if I was being pulled into the river, as if evil spirits wanted to topple me. Then I caught another fish. The river started swinging in front of me. I realised something was wrong with me. I felt nauseous. I got in the car, but don’t remember driving at all. I woke up in a ward, surrounded by my mates. The five of us were taken to hospital on the same day. Three days in intensive care.

At first, doctors thought the men had suffered strokes, but as they could walk and talk, doctors were left baffled. Some doctors diagnosed the sufferers with encephalopathy, a disorder of the brain, of unclear origin. After taking scans it was revealed that many of the sufferers had an excessive accumulation of fluid in their brains—known as oedema. While others said it was narcolepsy. But this still did not answer a more troubling question about the men’s strange behavior.

After waking up, the men suffered debilitating cravings for sex.

‘The doctors laugh and the nurses blush when they see our men,’ explained one Kalachi woman.

‘Other women were saying the same. As soon as men were were recovering after waking, they needed sex right there and then, and this feeling lasted for at least a month.’

One man just out of hospital ‘still couldn’t eat properly let alone walk, but he was all over his wife,’ she revealed. ‘He really needed it.’

Some of the men swear, call women “whores” and “prostitutes,” and demand sex. Others rant and rave, shouting obscenities and call out “Heil Hitler.” And there are those who wander about as if “zombies”—in a daze, oblivious to everything around them.

Children afflicted with the disease suffer monstrous hallucinations—see demons or hideous growths sprouting from their mother’s faces. One mother was “dead scared” after being unable to rouse her ten-year-old son Almaz from sleep:

‘I thought at first that he was sick and it was better to let him rest, then I began shaking him, but he would not wake up. It’s really, really scary when your child is suddenly in a coma-like state. Also when they wake up, they behave like sickly babies, they cry without reason just bursting into tears.

‘Like my son, he wanted to get off the bed, but fell down because his legs were too weak. Another burst into tears. And another one when he needs to go to the loo, and he is too weak to make it to the toilet, so he needs to use a hospital potty - and he feels shy and embarrassed by it. How can a mother take it calmly and not be left brokenhearted over this anguish?’

Because of the terrifying after-effects of the illness, Kalachi is now called “Village of the Damned.”

Kazakhstan was once the testing ground for Soviet Russia’s nuclear weapons. Sixty-five years ago, the Soviets detonated its first nuclear weapon, nicknamed “First Lightning”, at a test site “Semipalatinsk Polygon” in northeast Kazakhstan. Over the following forty years 456 atomic explosions were detonated at the site. Many believe these weapons together with the radiation from the Krasnogorsk uranium mines are responsible for the current sickness—citing the generations of children born with defects, cancer and deformities since 1950.

Investigators from the National Nuclear Researching centre of Kazakhstan arrived in Kalachi in 2010 to test the ground and air for radiation. They claim levels are normal, and are at loss to explain what is happening. Carbon monoxide poisoning has been suggested as a factor.

However, some doctors do not believe radiation is the cause:

Kabdrashit Almagambetov, the district’s top doctor, seems genuinely puzzled about what caused this health hazard on his doorstep.

‘It all is very individual, depending on age, the patient’s health condition, what other chronic diseases they have suffered,’ he said. ‘For example, the reaction of children strongly differs from that of adults. Children’s brains have not yet formed fully. They find it harder to tolerate the disease, they have strong hallucinations. Elderly people, too, have hallucinations, because of their age. Frankly, the cause of the disease is still unknown despite the many institutions that have worked here.

‘The radioactive background is normal, all products people are eating have been checked, the water is tested, nothing is harmful there. All those who have been affected are in Kalachi village. True, several people who came from Krasnogorsk suffered from the illness - but only after they visited Kalachi. So the strange effect is noticed only in one village. I can assure you, it is not some mental disorder, it is not some hysterical epidemic, as it was supposed previously.’

He denied it was a psychological illness as some had claimed - ‘only physical’.

‘I cannot say for sure about the radon theory for now, because we need to obtain data from the scientists. I am not a specialist in this question, but I doubt this theory, because we have many closed mines and uranium mines and it is only in Kalachi we faced with such a disease. ‘

He stressed there was no evidence of artificial poisoning, as some villagers suspected.

‘I do not have any working theories, because I am a doctor. I must think how to treat these people, how to help them.’

The lack of information has led to claims that the village has been deliberately poisoned, while one resident told the Daily Mail:

‘It looks like some kind of beam went through the village. I do not know what it can be. Maybe some some special equipment, like emitter. But it all is my speculation. I just see that the location of the homes, where people fell asleep are in straight lines, as if some beam cut through them.’ He warned: ‘I’m not speaking about UFOs. I am simply trying to understand what is going on here.’

As investigations continue and crackpot theories abound, many women and children have left Kalachi to neighboring villages, fearing for their lives, and terrified of changes that have happened to their husbands and menfolk. It is reported that by January 2015, over half the villagers had left Kalachi.

As yet, no one has been able to explain the cause of this strange and terrifying illness.

After the jump, an RT report on Kazakhstan’s ‘village of the damned’

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Art installation pairs prog rockers Van der Graaf Generator with a 220-million-year-old fossil


 
A story at TeamRock alerted me to artist Vladislav Shabalin’s latest work, a collaboration with Peter Hammill’s mighty prog band Van der Graaf Generator. The Earlybird Project, now on display in Thailand’s Bantak Petrified Forest Park, combines a 220-million-year-old fossilized tree trunk (a specimen of Araucarioxylon arizonicum, the state fossil of Arizona) with birdhouses that play Van der Graaf’s song “Earlybird.”

Previously, Shabalin collaborated with Diamanda Galás on a 2011 sound installation called Aquarium. A dissident artist in the former Soviet Union, Shabalin’s work got him diagnosed schizophrenic and committed to a Soviet psychiatric hospital. He writes that he bought his freedom from the hospital and its regimen of electroshock therapy by bribing his doctor with his collection of forbidden Led Zeppelin LPs, procured at great expense on the black market. In 1988, after his “rehabilitation,” Shabalin founded a space called Avantgarde, which his bio says was “the first exhibition center in the USSR devoted to unofficial art.”

Shabalin has posted the following description of the Earlybird Project installation at his website

The EARLYBIRD PROJECT: a work in progress

For a long time I’ve worked as a restorer of fossils, which gives me the opportunity to use some fossils for my art. Several works of mine relate to environmental issues, pollution, exploitation of the land, climate changes, forced migration.

Some time ago, I restored a fossil tree trunk from Arizona dating back to the Triassic (220 million years ago approx.). It is 7 meters long and weighs 2,200 kilos. The petrified wood is a spectacle of colours.

The idea of a sound installation came to my mind when I remembered “Earlybird”, from Van Der Graaf Generator’s album Alt. On the inner cover of the cd there is a note on this particular track: “The earlybird you hear here is of course, not from rural Cornwall but the heart of Camden, the morning idyll shortly to be shattered not by frolicking swallows, but by groaning refuse trucks and the curses of itinerant blackheads.” I had met Peter Hammill before, so I decided to contact him and, through him, the other members of the band, Guy Evans and Hugh Banton. The three of them have willingly accepted to collaborate on the Earlybird Project.

The main element of the installation is the fossil tree, to which I have attached 3 birdhouses that I made using exclusively stone with traces of fossils. Small loudspeakers have been placed inside each of them to replay “Earlybird”.

The installation is a huge still life representing a natural world that no longer exists. Everything in it is “artificial”: the trunk is no longer wood but stone, the birdhouses are petrified, too, and could never be used as real birdhouses, and the birdsong is a recorded music track. The trunk is also a fetish to which we give a great economic value. We devote much labour and care to its restoration, in sharp contrast to the careless relationship that we have with the trees (flora) and the birds (fauna) that live here and now.

Some videos will be also included. I’m currently checking with the film archive La Cineteca del Friuli the possibility of using 3 particularly significant excerpts from Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Offret (The Sacrifice). Also, I have made 6 more birdhouses, some of which have already been shipped in different parts of the world. The plan is to complete the installation with 6 videos: 3 shot in big cities and 3 shot in important parks – in Asia, Europe and America – with remains of fossil trees in the open air.

A note about the recurrence of the number 3: I have chosen the “perfect number” (which is also the number of the members of the VdGG) for the high symbolic value it has in almost all civilizations, eras and religions: the cosmic totality of the Chinese (Heaven, Earth, Man), the divine triads in Christianity and Hinduism, and so on. Environmental destruction goes hand in hand with the contempt of our ancestors’ history and legacy.

The Earlybird Project should be first exhibited in Venice, a city built on stilts – houses “attached” to tree trunks – and which has a particularly delicate environmental balance.

 
The short video clip below, from Shabalin’s website, shows the artist arranging the fossilized trunk and the singing birdhouses.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Happy Mondays’ Bez, now a politician, forgets to register his ‘Reality Party’

022bezrevrealpart2.jpg
 
Bez the talismanic dancer from the Happy Mondays launched the Reality Party on Monday and announced his intention to stand as a representative for the party at the UK’s parliamentary elections in May. Bez is running on a platform of “free energy, free food and free anything.”

The perpetually bankrupt Celebrity Big Brother contestant (real name Mark Berry) is hoping to be elected to the Salford and Eccles constituency in Greater Manchester—the seat of former Labour cabinet minister Hazel Blears who is standing down.

The Reality Party is a new political party founded in 2014, and this is the first time it will take part in a general election.

On Monday, under a billboard bearing the slogan “It’s Real – It’s Your Reality,” Bez announced his candidature, standing on an anti-fracking ticket. Bez says he wants to “create a permaculture society,” and his election manifesto includes plans for a zero carbon economy, an end to tax breaks for big business, more nationalisation, bee hives in every school, glow-in-the-dark roads and hemp to be grown on Salford’s Chat Moss. Bez is one of three candidates representing the Reality Party in the election.
 
bezrealityparty.jpg
 
However, as the Independent newspaper reports, Bez has one major problem—the Reality Party is not registered with the Electoral Commission. In fact, the party was “deregistered” on the very day Bez launched his campaign.

According to the Independent, the regulator for the Electoral Commisison wrote Bez “several times” informing him that the Reality Party would be removed from the register as its name was too close to that of the Realist Party. Under the Commission’s rules there cannot be “two parties similarly named” as it may cause confusion with the electorate.

Bez was given until 12th January to register a different name for his party but failed to get back to the Commission:

The Independent has discovered that Bez, along with two other Reality Party members hoping to become MPs, will in fact never be able to stand in any election under that name.

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said: “Following a review conducted last year, we contacted ‘The Reality Party’ on two occasions to tell them the party name they had registered, if seen on a ballot paper at a General Election, could mislead voters.

“We recommended what they could do to address this and whilst the party indicated that it was looking at ways to alter its name with the Commission, it did not submit a revised name before our 12 January deadline and so was removed from the register of political parties.”

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for Bez and his fellow Reality Party candidates—Nigel Askew, a pub landlord is standing in South Thanet against Ukip leader Nigel Farage, and Jackie Anderson, “who is listed as the ‘west Salford and Eccles’ candidate, although the constituency does not exist anymore”—as a Commission spokesman said:

“There’s still time for the [Reality] party to submit a revised name to the Commission before candidates who want to stand for a party have to submit their nominations papers to Acting Returning Officers with the name of the registered party they are standing for.”

Which means Bez and co. could still stand for election but not under the name of the Reality Party.
 

 
Via the Independent.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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