Inspiration, Photo manipulation, Politics

The “Yolocaust” of Shahak Shapira

Tourists can be a nuance when they don’t spend enough money in local businesses and especially when they disrespect the culture hosting them. Israeli satirist and author Shahak Shapira realized that of the daily 10K visitors of the Holocaust Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, many end up taking ‘goofy’ pictures, or pose doing other inappropriate activities such as jumping, skating or biking on the concrete slabs. Recurring to public shame, Shapira came up with Yolocaust, a project where he combined selfies (found on Facebook, Instagram, Tinder and Grindr) of irresponsible tourists posing there with archived images from Nazi extermination camps.

In a FAQ section he states,

“No historical event compares to the Holocaust. It’s up to you how to behave at a memorial site that marks the death of 6 million people.”


“[S]ome people’s behaviour at the memorial site is indeed disrespectful. But the victims are dead, so they’re probably busy doing dead people’s stuff rather than caring about that.”

Shapira also left the option to removing the pictures by emailing him.

Far from the unfortunate situation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the author makes an important point. Being a tourist comes with the responsibility of finding information prior to visiting any site, not just a memorial for Nazi victims, and acting accordingly.

There is also the question of place, what makes a place sacred or valuable, and how does that notion construct a set of invisible rules regulating people’s behaviour while on/in it?

Below are a few images Shapira manipulated for Yolocaust, a word which by the way comes from YOLO (“you only live once”) + caust (Holocaust).


Article of the Day, Politics

The history of maps offers an insightful view to how the West’s inhospitable behaviour shaped life’s latest creation: the internet. Going over it extensively would take more than one post and definitely a lot of passion on the subject to type in one sit. Maybe in my senile days I’ll talk relentlessly about it, and hopefully my audience will bare with me, even if it’s mainly the 1 pig, 2 dogs, 4 cats, 8 donkeys, 2 chickens and 6 cows making me company.

Certainly, cartographic maps were not originally made to show peasants the beauty of the planet they happened to be born in. Cartographic maps were (and continue to be) a tool of power.

Back in the day of blue blood elitists, cartographic geographers (not their actual title at the time) were subjects in the royal house and as such, had to produce maps as commanded. During the middle ages, maps were less concerned about scale and more preoccupied with the unknown. As a matter of fact, sea monsters and mythical creatures were drawn like warnings of what could be ‘out’ there. This fear was also funded on the belief that the earth was flat, so venturing too far meant falling in a void of redemption–if not the confines of hell. Maps were also more likely to show illustrations of biblical locations.


c 1460 Psalter Map of the medieval world

Once the fear to imaginary creatures and free falling became less asphyxiating than the dread of a feudal existence in an overcrowded continent, imperialism saved the day. Idiots like Christopher Columbus didn’t mind getting eaten alive by mermaids, deep inside all he wanted was to get out of the pestilent kingdom he was a part of and get rich fast (Wouldn’t this be a fascinating story?). Exploring the oceans in the search of resources required more precise maps in order to allow rulers know what was actually out there, while also providing a visual reference for navigation.


c.1490 Christopher Colombus map

Had Columbus’ life ended feeding algae and Nemo’s ancestry before reporting back to his queen, chances are another idiot’s name would be taking his place. Or, in a more positive light, ‘indians’ would had never been ‘discovered’ and white guilt would be more honest because it wouldn’t be a thing.

Then what happened? A lot happened. But to make the story short let me just move on to the part where google acquired Keyhole, a company that specialized in geographical information system (GIS) applications that could be run from a desktop computer (aka Earthviewer). However, months later [in June 2005] Google had already launched Google Earth. What is more, Google had also started investing in commercial and aerial imagery from companies like DigitalGlobe. And yet, Google Maps was launched in February 2005. Ever since, both apps continue to evolve as geographical data becomes more available.

There is also something called ‘ray tracing’, which provides a more human like experience (since it uses geometry to mimic the human eye’s peripheral vision). As Ed Parson, geospatial technologist at Google in London, claimed back in 2008:

“That’s not to say the principals of design are not important in the creation of “maps” for screen display, indeed one could argue for the need of a “new” cartography which adopts rather than ignores the capabilities of screen based maps to portray information dynamically.”

In other words, resolution is key in today’s cartography to attain a ‘real virtuality’. Anyone with a computer or mobile device and access to the internet can navigate through virtual chambers of millions of pixels that give the impression of a street view. Due to legal and military constrains, Google continues to rely on terrestrial and aerial imagery to fulfill the real time expectations on the street view option. Although satellites can produce imagery at 10 cm resolution, allowing to identify an person’s face, their use is reserved for billionaires and government agencies.

Geospatial data is not as restricted. We are at the point of tracking our everyday moves, information that is processed, mapped, stored, and partially sold so we can get more personalized ads in our navigation through the web. It’s all pretty cool insight about our existence, and it is also disturbing to see how self-absorbed the human world has turned. We spy on each other for power / monetary accumulation, and we so naively accept any terms and conditions a website pops up on us without reading past the first paragraph (if even). Isn’t it fascinating?

Art, Inspiration, photography

The “Aerial Views” of Bernhard Lang

The impact of our species on this planet is devastating. Ever since Europe found refuge in the so called Americas, or the New World, and Africa, there’s been nothing but destruction. Colonialism has been nothing more than a destructive force that goes hand in hand with imperialism. Had it not been for the mine in Potosi, Bolivia, the decrepit kingdoms of fair skinned psychopaths would not have experienced the renaissance, and possibly the world as we know it today could had been deprived from the marvels of classical architecture. Thank god for the conquering and slavery of dark skinned nations that ensured humanity got to see the good taste of Europe. Thank god mamma Africa is still as rich as it has always been since the time it was discovered by Wall Street.

Here is the most recent work of German photographer, Bernhard Lang. What he titled “African Mines” is the aerial view of Botswana, Angola and Niger mines that extract diamonds, nickel and uranium for faceless investors. Since 2010, Lang has been capturing the abstract patterns of different landscapes around the world that depict the aesthetic potential of scale as seen from a satellite’s eye point of view.


To see more of  Lang’s work, check out his website.

Art, Inspiration

Emilie Franceschin-isque summer time.

I should had posted this a while ago. To say the least, I attended Emilie Franceschin‘s latest exposition at Les Territoires this June and although there was a minor accident during one of her performances, it was an agreeable event. The artist, Emilie looked just like in her pictures and her aesthetics were pretty good. Performance art is not a subject I know very well. Sometimes I do some solo performances in the privacy of my room, grab some makeup and let it take over me. Just recently one of my roommates saw me on my way to the washroom and asked me if I was trying makeup on for halloween. I smiled and nodded, “Yes!” said I, rushing to the washroom. I might actually write something more in depth about this art form, but for now a brief mention of Emilie Fraceschin’s Secrets does it.

Fraceschin is French, a graduate from the Toulouse School of Fine Arts, and has performed all over Europe. At Les Territoires, the gallery was divided into two rooms. The first one at the entrance welcomed the audience with a short film projected on a circular screen. The content was interesting as it explored the process of conceiving a performance, which demands the artist to be present. In the video she appeared sitting on a dinning table rehearsing an absurd yet existentialist script with another actor who would enter into a similar dynamic, creating a dialogue of intimate preparation in a rather mechanical and mundane setting.

The second room immersed the audience in the privacy of her portraits and sculptures. The sea and navigation are the main things I recall from the experience as there were a conceptual video installation of the sea and a paper boat maquette. Emilie performed in that room. She entered the room barefoot as we, the audience, sat or stood by the walls, creating an agora like set up. Emilie walked to the middle of the room and after building up momentum with her body movement, she proceeded to bury herself in soil and then pour water on herself…or was it the other way? I didn’t take notes, but the accident occurred when someone dropped their drink, breaking the glass too. It was unfortunate, yet extra drama was incrusted to the whole affair.

As a vernissage, though, it was stressful that there was no cheese and the alcohol was not free. Nevertheless, it was an interesting project. Here are some images taken from the artist’s website that prove most of what I’ve tried to explain in this text.

Finally, this is a recording of the performance Around.

Emilie is a remarkable artist, I am happy I had the chance to see her live in the comfort of my current home, Montreal.

Art, Article of the Day, Illustration, Inspiration, Politics

Questioning nonsense as Lola makes portraits with glue and paper

Can art be a therapeutic endeavour collectors purchase for status while bored people pursue to avoid going insane? Can politicians be caricatures of society, and can leadership be a social construct idealized by the brain of an ape? Is there such a thing as privilege…or is it a 20 year-old English boy masturbating in-front of his 13-in macbook?

Currently based in Ireland, Lola Dupré made these illustrations by putting together pieces of various pictures of the actual portraits. Indeed, her illustrations are collages she completed by using paper, scissors, and passion…or a lot of time to meditate while creating.

Lola Dupre

David Cameron


Barack Obama


Margaret Thatcher


Kin Jong II


Pope Benedict XVI

Art, Article of the Day, Drawing, Illustration, Inspiration, Literature

The echo of the offspring and the visual poetry of Elicia Edijanto

When the night arrives the child comes outside to play with the beasts.

What is there for the children who are not born yet? How will they interact in a world of uncertainty amongst themselves? Will they grow up and turn into drug addicts, junkies, pot heads, whores, womanizers, scum? No matter how little or how much their parents loved them, they will still feel empty and not good enough. Then they will  turn into deformed beings that want to dismantle the lies and trash fed to them like pedigree, and they will roar in the dark under flashing lights of coloured filters, sweat and share the illusion of freedom until it all becomes a part of who they are, who they think they are… they’ll feel happy puking glitter, masturbating because why not? “the gods resemble to us, we created them after all”, they’d say. Then when the day arrives 10 hours late again, they will complain about adults and their own humanity, for they have accepted their species is evil and some have actually embraced the idea…others fight it…others don’t care. The children, what will be of them when they fully grow up? Does that actually ever happen to children? Do they truly grow up or is it just a misunderstanding?

Elicia Edijanto is an extraordinary artist from Indonesia who specializes in watercolours to create beautiful illustrations that recite silent verses of hope, like reminders to not discard one’s inner child because innocence is never lost. She introduces each illustration with curated quotes mainly from authors such as Hemingway. The illustrations is also titled so that the narrative is even more straight forward, reinforcing the message to avoid misunderstandings. Nostalgic notes are observed in the composition of the paintings, each protagonized or antagonized by a human offspring and an individual of another species. The nature of life is rendered in black and white while both creatures share a moment, a reflection of the goodness that persists regardless of nihilism and the food chain.

Here is the link to Edijanto’s website, followed by a recompilation of her work, which can be also purchased here.

Elicia Edijanto

“Glowing Sun”

You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.

-Ernest Hemingway-

Elicia Edijanto


And after all the falls are done, we must rise again –

Elicia Edijanto


Elicia Edijanto

Untitled from “The Animal Stories” collection

Elicia Edijanto

“Comforting Sounds” from the “Safe” collection

Elicia Edijanto

“Going Home”

I’m the blood, I’m the key
Let them born into this world,
Let them sing into the sky


Elicia Edijanto

“Echo (3)” from the “Echo” collection

Oh, this is her, by the way. A beautiful woman with a beautiful craft.

Elicia Edijanto

Activists, Art, Inspiration, Politics, Tradition

On Sexual Assault & The Perfect Indian Woman

Ancient mythology holds no shame when speaking out for male privilege. Rape was a common thing, as common as disease and war that even the gods were entitled to possess their female counterparts without consent. Remember the story in which Hephaestus attempts to rape Athena, or the one where Zeus sexually assaults Hera (yes, his wife!)? Stories like these predominated in the beliefs of Athenians and influenced their mundane activities. Women were property and held no rights other than those granted by the protection of men. What is more concerning is that Western culture has appropriated Ancient Greece as its birthplace. There sure are amazing things to learn from ancient times, but how can facts be ignored?

When I came across Kanika Kaul’s Behance, I had to share her post because it sparks hope. Her project, which she so perfectly titled The Perfect Indian Woman, is a reminder of how powerful satire can be. Kaul’s art work challenges social conventions, where women are subordinates of men, by making fun of the ‘perfect’ Indian woman. It consists of 5 posters, digitally designs, crafted as instructions to achieve such perfection: “Step 1. Obtain lots of dowry…Step 2. Stay at home…Step 3. Say no to jeans…Step 4. Embrace violence…Step 5. Be inert…”. Check them out, they’re awesome!

Kanika Kaul 2015

Kanika Kaul 2015

Kanika Kaul 2015

Kanika Kaul 2015

Kanika Kaul 2015

Kaul is from Mumbai, India, and is just starting out in communications design. If you enjoyed what she did, here’s a link to her Behance. Kanika, you rock!