Friday, February 4, 2011

Alexis Rockman

Cataclysm (2003) in Volcano

The Farm (2000) in Wonderful World

Rat Evolution (1999) in Future Evolution

Ready to Rumble (1998) in Concrete Jungle

'Vivid landscapes - full of dinosaurs, insects, birds and farm animals - are set against natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions and floods. In them, he depicts surreal, sometimes post-apocalyptic scenes that foreshadow the fate of the world if mankind doesn't better protect its delicate ecosystems.' [Images 1 & 2 and text from and images 3 & 4 from]

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mac James's Shark Fin Soup


Sharks at Underwater World

I just went to the Underwater World oceanarium in Singapore. It was more crowded than Disneyland. This scene shows part of the long acrylic tunnel where visitors go through.

Photographed a visitor who elected to 'Dive with the Sharks', seen here petting a baby shark. The sharks include adult leopard sharks, white tip reef sharks, and nurse sharks.

It made me think of Rob Stewart hugging a shark in his film Sharkwater. This scene is in Sharkwater part 1/9 at 3:30 min.

A sign in the acrylic tunnel relating the sharks to sharks' fin soup.

Because virtually all upscale Chinese restaurants serve shark's fin soup, I'm happy about the didactic shark exhibit in Singapore, which had earlier waged a campaign to avoid shark's fin soup (a wedding tradition as entrenched as diamond rings), and wish that the exhibit were in Hong Kong and China (as well as Rob Stewart's Sharkwater film).

Image: 'Chiu Chou Shark Fin Restaurant' in Hong Kong, 12.2010

Each year almost 100 million sharks are killed to make shark's fin soup. Many times a shark is dragged onto a boat and its fins cut off, then tossed back into the ocean while it dies a slow and painful death. This practice is not only cruel but wasteful []. Sharks have the most mercury compared to other fishes, since they're top of the food chain and toxins (e.g. mercury from our pollution of the ocean) accumulate in their system as they eat other animals. Mercury is a neural toxin that damages the brain and nervous system.


An interesting video of swimming with tiger sharks (not the cuddly kind, unlike the reef or nurse sharks), however it's not advisable to hand-feed sharks. Similar to feeding bears, it's not good for the bears or the sharks as it changes their natural behavior. The shark opens and closes its mouth to take in water to breathe

Previous post about sharks...
'No shark-fin' cards

Cities in 3D

Rebirth as animals: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Micheangelo Frammartino

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Loong Boonmee raleuk chat
2010, Drama, Sci-fi & Fantasy

In Buddhist thought, any human could be reborn as an animal, and any animal could be reborn as a human. Animals have always been regarded as sentient beings and have an equal potential to become enlightened. 'Watching the just-released trailer for Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives it's impossible not to think of the director's brilliant Tropical Malady.' Uncle Boonmee, who knows he will die in 48 hours, calls his distant relatives to take him back from hospital to home. 'There, they are greeted by the ghost of his deceased wife who has re-appeared to take care of him. His lost son also returns from the jungle in an ape-like form. The son has mated with a creature known as a 'monkey ghost' and has lived in the trees with her for the past 15 years. ... while the ghost wife is doing his kidney dialysis, Boonmee has a sudden urge to visit a place she has mentioned. So the group takes a journey into the jungle at night. It is full of animals and spirits. They finally reach a cave on top of the hill. Boonmee realizes that this is the cave in which he was born in the first life that he can remember.' [Todd Brown at]

Micheangelo Frammartino's Le Quattro volte (Four Times) 2010

'Frammartino orchestrates a breathtaking one-take comic set piece in which a panic-stricken dog disrupts an Easter parade, which causes a small pickup truck to crash through the gates holding the goats, who proceed to storm the man’s house. This astonishing sequence, followed up by a clearly fictional death scene, indicates that Le Quattro volte will stray further from the documentary form .... Frammartino’s strategies are simple, and he introduces the grand death/rebirth, all-living-things-are-carbon-based theme via a single cut, from the man breathing his last to a goat kid emerging from the womb and falling to the ground, covered in fluid.' [Benjamin Mercer in]

John Bankston's Fabulist Garden

'With a distinct aesthetic that recalls children's coloring books, the work of John Bankston ventures into a realm where fairy tales, science fiction, and contemporary issues of racism and sexuality coexit. Bankston tends to work in series that set forth contemporary fables addressing themes of masculine identity and transgression. ... his visual narratives, which lie somewhere between the Brothers Grimm and Tranny World -- a San Francisco cable television program that features transvestites -- describe a world where innocence is forever lost. ... characters disguise themselves in masquerade, blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction, human and animal characteristics, and masculinity and femininity.' [2002 SECA Art Award: John Bankston, Andrea Higgins, Chris Johnson, Will Rogan published by SFMOMA]