*co-written by Boima Tucker and Thanu Yakupitiyage
Created with Admarket’sflickrSLiDR. Photos in this series were taken by Sabelo Narasimhan (daytime photos) and Neha Gautam (evening photos).
On September 18th, 2012, Dutty Artz, Beyond Digital, La Casita Comunal de Sunset Park, La Union, CAAAV-NY, and the Arab American Association of New York presented the first edition of Beyond the Block at Rainbow Playground in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. Beyond the Block was a day-long music, arts, and community festival that took place in the crossroads between several major immigrant communities in New York. We had performances and participants from various communities in the South Brooklyn area, and invited musicians, artists, and organizers from outside the neighborhood in order to connect them. As we attempt to improve upon our efforts with future incarnations, we present the story of this festival with the hope that it can serve as an example of the merging of arts activism In-Real-Life with the ideals of a ‘globalized society’.
It has been declared by decree that the Changing of The Mood from this point forth will be an event held quarterly unless otherwise decided upon by the powers that be. For the first incarnation of said gathering of revelers, we were able to raise a bushel of American monetary units and throw a (beyond the) block party that found itself in the Park of the Sunset in the year 2012 of the Christian God. The follow up manifestation will make sure the world knows that Africans are indeed real, by pulling them out of the realm of myths, and pushing them deep into your ear canals, penetrating the furthest stretches of your ancestral souls.
Excitingly, the lineup for said gathering features: a Kenyan superstar scribe making his way down from the upper reaches of the Hudson river, a DJ from Africa of the South who in the current era is able to sell 30,000 physical units of House mix CDs from out the back of his carriage, four Salone borbors including a village chief, a blind genius virtuoso musician, a house music maestro, and His Imperial Majesty Lamin Fofana I. Also appearing in the pageant will be wordsmiths Old Money and beatsmith Matt Shadetek whom both represent the colony once belonging to a great people of the North, but at the current juncture remains under the reign of Emperor Bloomberg of York (the new one).
Tomorrow I’m off to Beirut for the Share Conference, “a weekend-long public, free and non-commercial hybrid event blending an Internet culture and technology related daytime conference with dynamic cutting-edge music festival by night.” I’ll be doing double duty: a daytime artist talk on Sunday October 7th, and a conference-closing DJ set that night. First time in Lebanon, looking fwd!
From there I head to Istanbul for the opening of the Istanbul Design Biennial, where we’re taking over a room to install Sufi Plug Ins & John Francis Peters’ Morocco photographs. Beyond Digital by the Bosphorus! Last time I was in Turkey was a dozen years ago, touring with Wax Poetic & Norah Jones before she was (the) Norah Jones. Everyone says the city has changed more than any other in this time, turned ‘hip’, skyrocketed.
Tonight, Thursday September 20th, I am participating in a free event at Williamsburg’s Public Assembly. DRONEWORLD! is “a multimedia conversation” presented by Motherboard.tv & the ETC festival. Our drones switch on at 9pm.
The FB invite contains bios of the participants in this “late night chat about our robot past, present and future, with detours into Peruvian archeology, Marilyn Monroe, remote taco delivery and more. With surprise unmanned cameos and the whir of new software — all set to luscious drone tunes.” I will be talking Sufi Plug Ins, ‘playing the stock market’, audio drones’ relationship to architecture, & more. Coder-wizard / microphone handcrafter Bill Bowen will be on-hand to demo our ‘Drone’ Sufi Plug In.
I enjoy events that get different types of people talking & relating to each other — call it interdisciplinary, call it being bored by the same type of similarly open-minded music fans shouting at each other in the same old rooms. This should be a lively night. Plus it’s free!
To get amped up, here are some vids. The first comes courtesy of fellow panelist Rahel Aina, who tweeted “as gender+surveillance goes, there’s also cryptodrones in TLC’s ‘unpretty’ video, c 1999”. It’s incredible. I would say that this TLC video is more exciting than the entire internet in 2012 — much of whose DNA seems to come from it, especially Tumblr. Check it out:
Next is the Instructional Video for our Drone Sufi Plug In. I believe that all software should come with clear, concise directions as to its use:
And last but not least, a new hit from Pakistani singer Sitara Younis, whose viral success in our Anglophone media bubble is due to a translation of its chorus: My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack. As the Guardian reports,
Maas Khan Wesal, a Pashtu music veteran who wrote the accompanying music, said the drone reference had nothing to do with politics, but simply the fact that the “eyes of a beautiful dancing girl are so powerful they are like a drone, they can destroy men”.
I wish Lamin had his own country, because he would make a great dictator. – Jace /rupture
Artist: Lamin Fofana
Title: Africans Are Real
Label: Dutty Artz
Release: October 2nd, 2012
Artork: Photo of Oroma Elewa by Mike Brown | Layout by Talacha
Dutty Artz is proud to announce Africans Are Real the latest release from Lamin Fofana. It features remixes from SUB POP recording artist Spoek Mathambo, WIRE Magazine coverboy DJ /rupture, Afro-dashing Chief Boima, and a collaboration with King of Brooklyn Matt Shadetek.
2. Africans Are Real (featuring Matt Shadetek)
3. Africans Are Real (DJ /rupture Enamel Remix)
4. Africans Are Real (Spoek Mathambo Par Express Remix)
5. Africans Are Real (Chief Boima Africans Are Myths Remix)
The impact which created the Caloris Basin was so powerful that its effects are seen on a global scale. It caused lava eruptions and left a concentric ring over 2 km tall surrounding the impact crater. At the antipode of the Caloris Basin lies a large region of unusual, hilly and furrowed terrain, sometimes called “Weird Terrain”.
Catch Señor Fofana live this Saturday at WEIRD TERRAIN alongside Teengirl Fantasy, Blondes, Huerco S., and Slava! (fbook)
Raz Mesinai is a longtime homie of the Dutty Artz crew and is one of those crazy, iconoclastic and stubbornly original musicians that defy easy classification. He’s been making spacy, sometimes terrifying, blunted bass music since before your mom ever started listening to Dubstep. He posted this piece on his Tumblr the other day and I got a real kick out of it and thought I’d share it here.
MY WORK by Raz Mesinai
My work cleans up after itself as well as after the messes I make.
My work doesn’t want to be ‘current’, because that would mean that eventually it wouldn’t be.
My work picks up chicks for me, and then forces me to break up with them.
Hello Bad Mind is a new object oriented project studio I opened to bring physical manifestations of my work into the world.
I’m sick of the screen. We all are. Bruce Sterling’s latest forecast imagines 2031 when, “No one can afford to track the ageing data, archive it or save it. There is little desire to try. New schemes have disrupted the Internet; they are vaster, faster, friendlier, more interesting.” The attention economy simply doesn’t give a fuck about your content. On to the next one is the rallying cry of a consumptive vortex.
Your movie, your music, your collection of hentai kitten videos. It’s all the same, and soon to be outdated and inaccessible thanks to changing protocols, proprietary systems and creeping forced incompatibility. I like the intimacy of digital space, but my experience with physical phenomenon and organic decay holds faster in my mind. Hello Bad Mind is my next step towards creating the economies I want to support and engaging new networks of production and distribution.
(Thanu and longtime Dutty Artz collaborator, DJ Ripley (Larisa Mann) are Detroit bound)
This week, we’re in Detroit for the Allied Media Conference, a networking conference for youth organizations, organizers/activists, technologists, educators, media reform advocates, alternative economists, musicians, DJs, artists, and others who come together to develop new ideas and expand upon the relationships between media and justice, and explore community approaches to social change.
There’s been a slew of discussions bubbling up online and off that involve politics, music and nightlife. It’s funny to us that these discussions often start with the assumption that politics and nightlife are different, because we have never experienced those worlds as separate, and neither do most of the communities we care about and live with. So we decided to start here from the assumption that there are already politics on the dancefloor and the questions is – how do we deal with it?
We wanted to share and start conversations around work that is meaningful to us as deejays, event planners, and organizers by discussing the relationship between activism and music– and how to explore dancefloors as sites of and for activism. What are the possibilities of challenging dominant social orders through the creation of dance space? How are certain spaces (gay ballrooms, queer dance parties, Jamaican street dances, for example) sites of resistance and how are they simultaneously valued, idealized & misused by those inside of those subcultures?
If you’re around the AMC these next few days, stop by our session on Friday at 4pm.
Here’s a short blurb (for a more thorough descript click here):
Radical Organizing from the Dancefloor
“You’re an activist? But you party so much!” Political activism and dancefloors – the languages don’t always overlap, neither do the people – but nightlife is key to survival and sanity for many marginalized communities. We will come up with tools to discuss nightlife with activists, the impact that cultural spaces can have, and how to embody activism on the dancefloor. Come share your favorite stories of political pleasure, failure or success on the dancefloor, and we will strategize responses to them, and other scenarios we have encountered as DJs and event planners. Location: Hilberry A (Student Center)
I sent my super talented artist friend Mreeuh Chang our Chants Remix, and a couple of hours later, I got back the sketch you see above.
Says Mreeuh: “I was workin on sketches when I received the song, this is what transpired. Don’t think I’m done. May turn it into a painting.”
Which of course, it did.
I think that this is the first time than an unsolicited sketch/painting emerged from sounds+words that I helped create. Which of course, was based on sounds that someone else created! And words that other people spoke! Miiiiiiiindwarp. Can’t even describe how much this shit boosted mines. Humbling and ego lifting at the same time, if that’s possible? Made me feel…understood, and shit. Thanks Mreeuh.
And if anyone reading this finds themselves in Cincinnati and in need of a tattoo, or just dope visual art in general, look her up.
Death/Traitors is the work of Alex Heir and it is fucking sick. I went to his spot on Delphi last week to get inside the mind of the genius behind my favorite New York brand.
T: You grew up in Jersey going to Punk shows and talk about how you see band shirts as this kind of holy grail of authenticity for design- how did band shirts inform your work with D T.
A: My initial interest in wanting to learn screen print and make shirts was born from my love of record and t-shirt art, and I think my idea of what makes a good shirt design is still largely based off that. A good band shirt is not just a random t-shirt with an image on it, it shows your musical taste and interest in a larger subculture, almost like wearing gang colors.
T: Whether it’s Japanese/Kanji characters that say Fuck Pigs, or your iconic Endless War Posters- you seem to hit an angle that’s 50/50 gothic vibes and anti-authoritarian anarchy. Is there any particular message that defines the brand?
A: I guess, as you said, “anti-authoritarian” sums it up pretty well. I’m not trying to spread a political message or anything, but I feel pretty angry about the state of the country and the world right now, and that works it’s way into my designs. I use the Anarchy symbol in the same way I use 666, I’m not a card carrying Anarchist or Satanist, but their symbols are a way to show what I am not.
T: While the 80 dollar t-shirt kids are gonna be happy to cop your gear at Mishka- you don’t go to trade shows or play the street-wear game- who’s your ideal audience for this stuff?
A: An army of leather clad rockers wandering the wasteland in search of food and water.
T: Do you have any fashion inspiration in terms of brands? What music or other design is most inspiring?
A: Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren had a store in London in the 70s called a variety of things..Let It Rock/Sex/Seditionaries. They designed a lot of the clothes the first wave UK punks wore and it was the biggest influence to me when I first thought about designing clothing. Alexander McQueen, who’s work I also really admire, definitely took a lot from them.
Nowadays I get a lot of inspiration from old occult and religious art, Japanese woodcuts, horror movies posters. I saw a show of old CRASS zines and flyers from their personal collection a few months ago…that was really inspiring and contributed a lot to the way the most recent designs have looked.
T: Can you talk about your process a little bit- your screen are everywhere around the house and most of your gear is there well- can you talk about hand printing all of your own work.
A: Once I finish a design and am ready to release it, I will shoot the screen and print a few samples to shoot on a model for the website. I keep a stock of screens of all my current available designs, and for the most part custom print every order as I get it.
T: Since images can move so easily between mediums- from stickers, to shirts, to bags, to textiles to whatever- how do you think about not overwhelming your customers.
A: I design the graphics specifically for each piece…An image might look great on a shirt, but not necessarily work as a patch or sticker. I re use a lot of the same imagery…skulls, kanji, swords, etc…but will do a different composition depending on what I’m going to print on. Less is more very often…I prefer to only release a handful of shirts and a few other items every season The artwork is very personal to me, so I would rather have a smaller amount of consistent, quality work then a ton of mediocre items.
T: you started doing these amazing varsity jackets- can you talk about your more indepth approach on that process.
A: I was lucky enough to link up with a tailor here in NYC that helping me through the process of of getting these jackets made. I initially was getting them from China, but once I stumbled upon this opportunity to have the jackets made here I leaped on it. I get to choose all the materials myself, from the wool and sleeve fabric to the lining and snaps, and the overall quality is much higher. Of course the costs to produce the jackets is much more than if I had them made in China, but I think people will appreciate the quality and the fact that they are made in the USA.
T: Beyond the clothing line, can you talk about the label a little bit and your other screen printing work and how you manage the balance.
A: Besides Death/Traitors, I do commercial screen printing for other people under the name Funbot Press. The nice thing about working for yourself is you get to set your own hours and make your own schedule, but it also means you never really stop working. Unless I’m at a show or hanging out with friends outside my apartment, I’m always working on SOME thing, be it printing, designing for D/T, or making other artwork or music. Every day is different, but it usually is a combination of everything. I love what I do, at least most aspects of it, and I enjoy being constantly busy.
T: Anything else you want to include?
A: I will be showing some new pieces in a group art show entitled Input/Output opening Sat, Jan. 28 at Booklyn, 37 Greenpoint Avenue 4th Floor. booklyn.org And I will be showing more work at the Mishka Store, 350 Broadway, BK, on Friday, April 6.
Low Income Tomorrowland, a project studio run by artist & musician Jace Clayton (DJ /rupture) seeks a bright and resourceful studio assistant to work closely with Clayton on a number of installation, performance, and software-based art projects for 2012.
For more info, check out the New York Foundation for the Arts listing.
In our world, “art project” is a code name for “crazy shit.” 2012 gonna be fun.