March 30, 2008

Neal Oshima: Squatter Settlements in Metro Manila

"These photographs were made over the past five years as part of a survey of the architecture of informal settlements in Metro Manila. The study had city planning, architectural and economic components and resulted in the soon to be published Lungsod Iskwater, The Evolution of Informality as a Dominant Pattern in Philippine Cities, by Alcazaren, Ferrer and Icamina. The survey grew out of a comment by the Cuban-American urban planner, Andres Duany, who, in a lecture about the metropolis, noted that the solutions for Manila’s myriad urban problems would more likely come from the squatter settlements than from the exclusive enclaves that Manila’s elite inhabit." Neal Oshima: Urban Landscapes
"As I made these photographs I was struck by the contrast between the trepidation that non-squatter residents would express about their neighbors and the whole-hearted welcome that the settlement residents would greet me with when I asked to photograph their homes. I came to realize that most of the squatters were there by choice. More often than not, they paid rent to someone who had connections with local authorities, were building on tiny plots of untitled, marginally-habitable land and had made a carefully considered choice to live on the edges of what was legal and prudent. I found that invariably, they had created communities that were self-governing and humane, pockets of sanity in a city of three hour a day commutes through blinding pollution in the chaos that is Metro Manila."
"Informal settlers face the same urban problems as others in the city, of course, with the added dangers of violent eviction, sweeping fires that can raze entire communities in minutes, institutionalized crime, and sanitation problems characteristic of an urban sink. On the other hand, in many communities I visited, shoes and sandals are left out on the doorstep without fear of theft, and young children play without danger, supervised by all neighboring adults. I found that people were highly aware of and genuinely concerned about their neighbors, expressing a sense of cooperation and tolerance that is often rare in formal communities. In addition, I found that the architectural solutions were often surprising in their use of materials and space, often redefining the limits of human habitation." "It is not my intention to romanticize life in these communities—by any standard, it is a tough, hand-to-mouth existence every single day: tiny, flimsy, untitled dwellings constructed of discarded materials, without proper water, sewage or electrical connections, alongside fetid drainage canals or an arm’s length away from raging commuter trains. Yet, as we become increasingly aware of the damage we, as a species, have done to the planet and as the prospects of long-term human survival dim, I wonder if these photos aren’t an optimistic glimmer of the future of the human species on earth. "
-Neal Oshima
October 2006

March 25, 2008

A snapshot of the now revisited Gonda's taken just after midnight 3/22/08. Happy belated Easter!

March 20, 2008

On YouTube, Pacquiao, and Copyright Infringement.

So Youtube signed with Korean giant LG to develop a phone directly integrated with YouTube for direct video uploads without the use of a computer. Pretty cool, but pointless if you're trying to edit videos first. Also, this was like a year ago they annouced this, and I haven't heard any updates really. But the idea is pretty next level when you think of how easy it would be to upload random video. If you thought YouTube was wild now think of how insane it will be once all phones evolve to have this feature. Kinda scary even.

"The LG KU990 is a new phone with very nice feature - YouTube integration plus a 5-megapixel camera. With LG YouTube phone you can shoot video at 120 frames per second nad upload those new videos directly to your YouTube account. It hasn’t been released yet, and the prices have not been announced either, but the phone is scheduled to be available soon."

I have a few videos on YouTube, some unedited, some slightly edited, mostly for fun or to show friends something mundane. Most of the videos have maybe mustered up about 60 or 70 views over a years span. But I noticed that in one of my videos, scrapped up camera-phone footage of a weekend trip to Las Vegas, there was close to 700 views, even though it was uploaded at the same time as the other videos. I wondered what might have made this video so interesting, then realized it was because the name "Pacquiao" was tagged on the videos list of keywords. So I came up with an experiment to see just how many views I could get with an actual Pacquiao video....nothing too fancy or high tech, just a quick highlight of one of his fights. I chose to cater it towards their rematch, and labeled it "Get Hyped! Pacquiao vs. Marquez 2!!" And the gimmic worked! Before long, in just 1 and a half months it had tallied close to 5,000 views! Its not even a decent video--its choppy, quickly edited, and the image is actually really poor and mega-pixelated. The only thing cool about it is that I used Bad Brains as the background music.

Oh and check this...when it was actually time for the rematch, I was still nearing 5,000 views....then the next day after the fight, I checked on the view count again, and it jumped all the way up to 28,000 views! Pretty wild to think that 23,000 people viewed it overnight, probably just from reading the title. I think by the end of today it will be over 30,000. It's like an experiement on Marketing! Here's a link to the "trick" video: Get Hyped!! Pacquiao vs. Marquez II

As an addendum to this, that night Pac won by a close split decision, so I made a video of him knocking down Marquez in the 3rd round. It was complete with an antagonizing message to his naysayers, slow-motion of the punch and replays of Marquez knocked on his ass. I thought this would garner up even more views than the Get Hype! video. lived for about an hour or two, then disappeared into cyberspace. Huh? I then received an email from the folks at YouTube and HBO that it was stepping into the realms of Copyright Infringement and that if it happens again they'll remove all my videos and cancel my account. I had jumped the gun... It was too soon to give away the spoiler before it airs on non pay-per-view HBO. So.... I'll wait till next Monday! -Jaguarman

March 18, 2008

My new South Philly apartment*.
*joking of course.

The newest in get-overs: Infants as lookouts even though they sleep on the job.

And work in progress from Marci Washington.

Philly Hustle.

The private warehouse is a wonderful work of art. Carlos shows how to make a transfer happen on this great wooden sculpture.


March 17, 2008

Hogs on Design*Sponge

Modish, a website that features handmade goods, wrote a feature article for Design Sponge showcasing affordable art under $50 and selected our very beloved Hedgehogs as one of their favorite items! See them here on Design*Sponge. "Design*Sponge is a daily website dedicated to home and product design run by Brooklyn-based writer, Grace Bonney. Launched in August of 2004, Design*Sponge features store and product reviews, sale and contest announcements, new designer profiles, trend forecasting and store/studio tours. In addition, Design*Sponge features a unique section dedicated to covering student design, national and international design shows. The site is updated constantly throughout the day (with an average of 6-10 posts a day), and attracts a core group of devoted readers. Design*Sponge currently has over 30,000 daily readers."
Be sure to visit the Jena Coray's Modish site as well (link above). "Modish is a daily blog celebrating handmade goods, the people who create them and the shoppers that buy them, run by Jena Coray. Modish (pronounced: mō'dĭsh) means stylish, and was created in April 2006 to present handmade goods as stylish, practical and unique alternatives to the hum-drum and homogeneous mass-produced goods that we are inundated with on a daily basis. Featuring handmade product reviews and guides, a huge monthly giveaway and a variety of columns that let us peek into the lives of the people behind the handmade movement, Modish seeks to inspire its readers with independent art and design and encourage them to buy handmade, whenever they can."

They have a really great online shop specializing in handmade goods as well, located here. Be sure to visit! Thanks Jena:)


Weekend Wrap....

Friday: Black Lips show was sold out, I had no ticket but the doorguy let me slide. The opening band, Quintron & Lady Pussycat, had a most interesting stage set and a fun performance to go with it. The lead singer sat behind a organ that was modeled after a 1940's style car grill, situated next to a homeade drum machine and a high-hat cymbal. With call-and-response style vocals, I noted to my friend that they reminded me of the B-52's on peyote, but adding a certain brand of funk via their New Orleans heritage. Complete with backup female vocalists sporting lounge-ish bellhop costumes, and the show ending with a puppet show, this interactive married duet made their bizarre impression known to Philadelphia.

The show was at Johnny Brenda's in No.Libs and I was fortunate enough to get a taste of the new PBC Beer they supplied. It was good!

Black Lips put on a great, high energy show and we had a great time. Almost took me back to the days of the Columbia Hose shows in Plymouth, PA(not music-wise, but for the mere fact that at one point we had rallied troops to form a classic "wall of death").... Black Lips "Not a Problem" .mp3
On Saturday night a good handful of us enjoyed dinner at Manila Bay Restaurant and Bar. We watched the Pacquiao fight, with the Pacman winning a close 12-round battle over Juan Manuel Marquez in what many are saying is a candidate for fight of the year. If I were obsessed with Basketball or Soccer I'd make occasional posts about those topics, but since the sweet science is my addiction--a 'Pacmaniac' no less, this is the only sports coverage you'll get on here:)
Sunday we spent all day in the wonderful land of Stroudsburg, PA.
Monday its back to the grind.

March 13, 2008

SP Intact....

Just a few randoms stolen from Flickr....I'm pretty geeked on moving back to Soufilly in about a week. -Jaguarman

Big shout out: Pat and Geno's, Bitar's, La Lupe, That other mexican joint on 10th and Washington Ave., Passyunk, Cantina Los Cabalitos, Ikea, Home Depot, Marra's, Chickie and Petes, Tony Luke's, Jons Wudder Ice, Nifty Fifty's(R.I.P.) Ray's Happy Birthday Bar, fresh pretzels at 3am, Royal Tavern, A.C. Moore, Souf Street, new dog park on 12th, FDR, Alter St. Arts and Cultural Society, all the Italian Pastry and Pizzerias, Mai Vie, the Asian Supermarkets, Italian Market, etc. etc.

March 11, 2008

I really dig this storefront in South Philly. -Jaguarman

March 7, 2008

More Recents

Above: Laying out freshly painted panels to start something new. Below: Blurry close-up of yet more Pacmania.

Small font done last October for the Trees show.

Visiting Drew Leshko's Studio. Drew(left) and John Slaby(right)

March 4, 2008

Hydrogen Fueled Vehicles, Future Now

Doing what I do for my real job allows me to do some pretty cool things. Today is a prime example of that. I was able to drive the Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell, a vehicle that runs 100% on hydrogen. There are currently only about 50 of these in the U.S. right now, half of which are in the Northeast and the rest in Southern California. 100 are expected to be made, and they will all be destroyed late in 2010, since it is just a concept car. Imagine how much one of these things are worth. It was on some futuristic George Jetson shit.

While it looks like a typical SUV, it drives much smoother than any car I have ever been in. Unlike how when you tap the gas pedal in a truck or SUV and the vehicle surges forward a little bit, the Equinox flows seamlessly ahead, as if floating. It is very quiet too, and you may even think it is not even running. The fuel cell vehicle also works in freezing temps, unlike how some hybrids out there have problems in the cold weather. Being that was warm today, I flicked on the air conditioning and there was no clocking of gears and machinery. The air came out a few seconds later cooling me down and the vehicle was not affected at all. Even the engine looks really futuristic, and fake.

The only hydrogen fueling stations in this area of the country are located in White Plains, NY and in Washington DC. Hopefully, as time moves on, more people will become interested in these types of vehicle and the demand will make retailers build more of these stations. There are four stations in Southern California currently. Only these special test drive sessions, celebrities (like Sir Richard Branson who drove the Tahoe hybrid I describe below on Monday in NYC. However, people who live in the area of the fueling stations can sign up on the Chevy website for 90 day trials of these vehicles. For serious. Those people in those areas should get on that.)and top government jokers are permitted to drive these. GM wants to get a broad cross section of the publics input on the hydrogen vehicle to see what changes they should make to it before full on making it available for purchase.

I also drove a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid that was also very slick and looked exactly like a regular Tahoe, except on the screen in the car you can watch how the engine power is being utilized. There are a limited number of these on the road currently as well. The Tahoe also drove quite smoothly, is quiet and very efficient. It's the U.S.'s first full-size two mode hybrid SUV. It gets the same gas mileage as a Toyota Camry, which impresses me for a vehicle its size.

March 3, 2008


Last week saw the World Taxidermy Championships take place in Salzburg, Austria -- the first time the event has ever been staged in Europe. It offered an unusual glimpse of a world as unsettling as it is fascinating -- one where the greatest joy comes from pulling the pelt off an alpine marmot or a white-tailed deer.

Spiegel Online

Related to the Taxidermy World Championship is "Hunting Trophies" a project by France Cadet that looks at our relationship with animals.
Hunting Trophies is a collection of 11 hunting trophies hung on the wall. They feature the most frequent species used in taxidermy for the realization of wall trophies, mainly deer and cat family. Instead of being real taxidermied animals they are chests of modified I-Cybie robots.

An infrared sensor allows the robots, each in its own way, to detect the presence but also the movements of visitors.

we make money not art has a good analysis of this project.

-Posted by Parker