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Darkness Visible: These sculptures explore our darkest experiences
01.26.2017
10:30 am
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‘In Front’ (2103).
 
Growing up can be difficult. Being an adult can be just as hard. We can often find our lives cluttered with soul-destroying experiences that we don’t really need but somehow managed to have collected along the way. All those bad feelings and dreadful memories that cling to us like shadows. They can shape us and make us into someone other than the person we thought we were going to be.

Take one look at these sculptures by Turkish artist Yasam Sasmazer and I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to at least one of them.

Yasam Sasmazer’s sculptures tap right into those negative emotions we all experience at some point in our life—whether we want to or not, whether we can ever admit it or not.

Sasmazer carves her powerful totems out of wood. She uses them as a means to examine our notions of identity, our relationship to self and other and our deepest darkest fears.

Born in Istanbul in 1980, Yasam’s work has been successfully exhibited in London, Berlin, New York and China. When exhibiting her work she uses the gallery to create a liminal space where light and shadow play an integral part in creating moods and giving new meaning to her work.

The shadows represent the darkness in our souls’ hidden side and the most frightening part of our personality. The shadow is everything you are but do not want to be.

Here is a selection of Yasam’s work from her exhibitions Metanoia, Doppelgänger and Dark Twin. See more of Yasam Sasmazer’s work here.
 
From ‘Metanoia’
 
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‘Fear of Reason’ (2013).
 
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‘Taming the Darkness’ (2013).
 
More of Yasam’s work, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.26.2017
10:30 am
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These photographs absolutely nail depression
09.22.2015
12:23 pm
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Two years ago, San Diego photographer Edward Honaker was diagnosed with depression—that moment represented the beginning of an arduous process of coming to grips with his own self-defeating tendencies and representing them in his art.

As he told the Huffington Post, “All I knew is that I became bad at the things I used to be good at, and I didn’t know why. ... Your mind is who you are, and when it doesn’t work properly, it’s scary.” His self-portraits have a pleasingly elemental quality reminiscent of Magritte or Escher, but with more piercing emotional content than either of those masters.

“It’s kind of hard to feel any kind of emotion when you’re depressed, and I think good art can definitely move people,” he said. Honaker, who also has done fashion work for Doc Martens and Armani Exchange, hopes that his project will goad viewers into accepting those who struggle with mental illness. “When I was making the portfolio, I asked myself if I was the kind of person whom others would feel comfortable coming to if they were going through a difficult time and needed someone to talk to,” said Honaker. “Truthfully, at the time, I don’t think I was. I’ve still got quite a ways to go, but the whole experience made me a lot more patient and empathetic towards others.”

Click on any of the images below to see a larger version.
 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.22.2015
12:23 pm
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‘Chillstep hour of sadness’ has the most heartbreaking comments section we’ve ever seen
04.10.2015
09:57 am
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Today we’re going to talk about discovering new things outside our sphere of existence and rediscovering old, dark things deep within. Chillstep and sadness.

Even with a house full of music on nearly every physical consumer format produced in the past 100 years, I still sometimes opt to do my listening online, through a pair of shitty little computer speakers, because the Internet makes it too easy to stumble effortlessly into new sounds.  Earlier this week, I was on a late-night tear through YouTube, following links, uncovering new music, and rediscovering lost tracks from my youth, when a link on the right side of the screen grabbed my attention: “Sad chillstep hour of sadness.”

Chillstep? Something I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older: It’s not just that I don’t recognize the names of the new bands that “the kids are into” anymore, I don’t recognize names of entire genres—a harsh confirmation of one’s out-of-touchness. My first thought as I clicked the link was, “Chillstep is not even a real thing, right?” My second thought was, “I like sadness, let’s see how sad this thing really is. Bring it.”

A few seconds of buffering and I was into the sad hour of sadness. It struck me that “chillstep” was nothing at all like what I had imagined it would be—I was waiting for some wub wub wubs or some “drops” that never actually dropped. In fact, the whole thing sounded to me like a poppier trip-hop with what I usually describe as “new style girl vocals,” because, again, I’m totally old, and I was never really all that great at differentiating electronic music genres to begin with (though I can explain the difference between any type of “core” you care to name). As a tangent, let me interject here that when I say “new style girl vocals,” it’s not meant to demean or infantilize women—I find these particular adult female singers have a talent for sounding really young.
 

Zoe Johnston, adult female featured on the “sad chillstep hour of sadness”
 
So there I was listening to this “sad chillstep hour of sadness” wondering, “What makes this genre ‘chillstep’ as opposed to ‘downtempo’ or ‘triphop’ or ‘chillout’ or whatever,” and I decided to look to the YouTube comments for clues. What I found in that comment section did not answer my question, but instead, I discovered post after post of brutally real, absolutely heartbreaking stories of depression and suicidal thoughts. I spent the entire “hour of sadness” reading through the 500+ posts. Remarkably, there was very little trolling or assholeishness that I typically associate with YouTube comments sections. YouTube commenters are notoriously some of the biggest jerks on the Internet, but incredibly, that was not the case here. The sage advice of “never read the comments” did not apply in this instance. I couldn’t help but read ALL the comments, most coming from teenagers, who were experiencing depression, loss, and profound anguish.
 

 
Scrolling through these meaningful expressions of sorrow and desperate cries for help reminded me exactly of what my own teenage years were like. Though I didn’t have the Internet to share those thoughts with the world, it was always music—melancholic, depressing music, that helped to ease my pain. The fourteen-year-old me didn’t have a “sad chillstep hour of sadness,” but he did have a “sad goth 90-minute mixtape of sadness.”
 

It looked something like this.
 
Continuing to scan comment after comment of kids wishing for their own demise, I was reminded of the urban legends surrounding the 1930s recording “Gloomy Sunday,” also known as the “Hungarian Suicide Song,” which was purportedly banned from radio airplay for causing a number of suicides. Of course, it’s a “chicken or the egg” argument—did they kill themselves because of the song, or were they attracted to the song because they wanted to kill themselves? Perhaps this chillstep mix is the modern equivalent of “Gloomy Sunday” in that both are more likely to be attractive to people who are already depressed and suicidal, rather than being the actual cause of their desperate final action.

What I found most striking about stumbling onto this mix and its adjoining comments was the sociological significance of the music being a beacon to so many people of a particular emotional state—how the music reflected that emotional state and became a community for these people to express their sorrow. There are the clichés of the morose cafeteria lunch-table of goth kids, or emo kids, or, now I guess, chillstep kids—but these communities are naturally occurring phenomena when cultural forms reflect and acknowledge feeling. It just so happens that in this case, because of the Internet, we are watching this community develop publicly, in real time.
 
Listen to ‘Chillstep hour of sadness’ after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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04.10.2015
09:57 am
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