Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category:

From Stigma To Style: Female Tattoo Culture In Modern History

Ultimate expression of individualism and creativity? Or a relatively cheap way to piss off your dad? Pure artistic statement? Or a symbol of feminine empowerment?

No matter where you stand on the issue of female tattoo culture, the fact remains that tattoos are more popular amongst women now than they have ever been. Whilst tattoos on girls is by no means a new phenomena,  it is more prevalent today and far more widely accepted by society at large.

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Maud Wagnar – 1901

Historically in Western society, tattoos signified cultural deviance or rebellious behavior and those who were tattooed were often stigmatized or marginalized as a result. Nowadays tattooing tends to focus just as much on the motivations behind the practice; on notions of decoration, protection, ritual and identification as it does on “body art”.

But whilst tattoos used to stereotypically make men sexier, too many tattoos could make a women seem intimidating. You only have to visit SuicideGirls.com to see that this is no longer the case today. Tattoos on girls are more “in” than they have ever been and alternative female beauty is being celebrated in the mainstream unlike ever before.

Bodies of Subversion, a book by Margot Mifflin, was the first photographic history of women’s tattoo art when it was first released in 1997. Sixteen years later and the book is still performing in print selling more copies than ever before.

In the book it is suggested the Queen Victoria may have had a tattoo on her vagina and that Winston Churchill’s mother was alleged to have been tattooed. In fact, famous tattooed figures are perhaps the best way to examine how the culture has changed over the eras…

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Gus Wagnar, Maud’s Husband, & Client 1910

The Wild West – Olive Oatman

If the ancient Greeks were the first people to denounce the tattoo as “uncivilised” when they met their neighbours the ancient Thracians, then it wasn’t until some 2000 years later, with the story of Olive Oatman, that the idea of the tattoo as savage became engrained in our collective imagination.

Olive was raised the daughter of a Mormon family in the American west sometime around 1850. Her family were killed when she was only fourteen and she was sold into the slavery of the Mojave people – a Native American tribe. The tale of Oatman came to be retold in her “memoirs” and speeches as well as in novels, in plays and in popular later movies. The story resonated greatly with the American media, partly owing to the “prominent blue tattooing of Oatman’s face”. Years later the story continues to be circulated with particular emphasis on the monstrosity of her tattoos and perceived barbarism of her tattooers.

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Olive Oatman 1895

Victorian America – Maud Wagner

Maud Wagner was a contortionist, working a traveling circus when she met Gus Wagner—a tattoo artist who described himself as “the most artistically marked up man in America“. The two were destined to fall in love and to travel the nation together pioneering what would later become American tattoo culture.

Somewhat surprisingly, inviting a tattoo artist to entertain you in your drawing room was a serious past time for many of the women from rich families. Maud Wagner is just one dramatic example of how prevalent inked skin was at the time amongst upper class women. At first only an apprentice of her husband Maud later graduated to the status of ‘artist’ herself. Together the two are widely credited with bringing tattoo artistry inland, away from the American coastal cities and towns where the practice had started and where, without the Wagners, it may well have died.

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1950′s London – Jessie Knight

The Kat Von D of her day, Jessie Knight was Britain’s first professional female tattoo artist. She won the Champion Tattoo Artist of All England in 1955, way before it was commonplace for women to take up tattooing as a full time profession. She clearly laid some serious foundations for the future wave of female tattoo artists working today. Jessie and her work define the 50′s pin up style of the time precisely.

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Julia Gnuse, The World’s Most Tattooed Woman

In Burma’s hilly Chin province, women have sported full-facial and body tattoos for generations, an ancient cultural tradition and rite of passage for many – it can also be seen as a sign of beauty, strength and pride. Julia Gnuse is an interesting example of how this practice has morphed, coming full circle today by being incorporated, if only by a few people, into Western tattoo culture. Cartoon art depicting the faces of pop culture characters like Snoopy and Charlie Brown have been worked into Julia’s skin in a similar tribal style to the Chilean full body covering.

This officially makes Julia the most tattooed woman alive and probably the most tattooed woman ever to have lived.

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From Female To Male: Wynne Neilly’s Photographic Gender Transformation

With his photographic series From Female To Male, a young transgender artist Wynne Neilly takes us to the heart of his physical transformation.

On August 16th, it will be a complete year since Reilly injected his first dose of hormones, a ritual that he repeats each week. “The changes appear just like a teenager in puberty: it’s as if I was growing by the second” he enthuses.

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In recent years, this Canadian artist, 23, has been made a graduate of Visual Arts at Ryerson University and has also photographed the gay community in Toronto. He wants to “satisfy his frustration” and “immortalize intimately his body” as part of the complete transgender change.

“I never managed to get close to someone who made ​​a physical transformation they were able to fully document.

Upon entering this milestone in his life, his “second puberty,” he felt the he need carry on through his art of choice – photography. The problem was that Wynne had to separate from his digital camera in order to be able to afford the expensive breast surgery.

So, equipped with cheap Polaroids obtained from his friends and roommates he took a picture every Friday, the day he injected his hormones. During the early shots, he perhaps didn’t realise the impact that his photos would have later on: for him, they served the sole purpose of a personal journal. Since then, the project has been made public.

On July 23 in an exhibition was held at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto, the university where he studied. The city has since hosted the summer 2014 World Gay Pride. An event that takes place every five years in a different city worldwide to raise support for LGBT people around the world.

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“There is a part of me that still nervous at the moment to show my work and one that is even more nervous when I answer interviews and articles that are written on my work. When it happens, I try to think about my initial goal: to document the experiences and the bodies of trans.

Wynne-24th-shot-810x635“My goal? That people are more informed.”

Although anxious, Wynne is very interested in feedback from people who have seen the show, especially since they are usually very positive.

“Many people have told me that they had a profound reaction on seeing the photos on display. It’s really amazing to feel that this project, in which I gave a part of myself, can move people.” 6081bfdb6439aad0a8a5da43fc46fcd1-810x640Wynne-52ndshot-810x654The young man recognizes that living in Canada and being trans is easier than in other parts of the world. Although all is not entirely rosy. For despite widespread tolerance throughout the country, “sex reassignment surgery and hormones are not recognized by the government as a medical need and are often not covered by health care systems.” This is compounded by discrimination in employment or in life everyday for some trans.

Therefore, he hopes that his series “Female to male” will allow people to better understand and appreciate their everyday life and the spectrum in their wider community.

“I think art can help create a common base and an accessible platform that can allow society at large to better understand the queer and trans identities. My goal is that people are more informed about trans people after seeing my work.”

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TATE Britain Will Let You Explore Their Gallery At Night With A Robot!

Starting tonight, a one-of-a-king fusion of art, history and technology will unfold and will continue across the next few nights in London, England. After partnering with RAL, a space engineering company, The Tate Britain will play host to four roving exploration robots which you will be able to control online allowing anyone to explore the gallery late at night.

After Dark, as the project has been named, was created by design studio The Workers. It is the winning project of the IK Prize 2014, which is an annual prize presented by Tate in order to celebrate digital creativity and widen access to art.

The project is designed to recreate the experience of exploring “where you’re not supposed to” should shed some new light on the litany of famous artwork on display.

On Wednesday 13, Thursday 14 and Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 between 22.00 BST and 03.00 BST, you can log in to view the robots on their journey through the artworks and even remotely control their movements. If your kids (or you) can’t stay up that late, Friday 15 is the night for you, when the robots will be taking a turn about the galleries between 19.30 BST and 00.30 BST.

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A Robot’s Eye View

 

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“Much Needed” Gentrification Hails Another Luxury Shoreditch Hotel!

A new 5 star boutique hotel that will apparently be “styled to fit with the new modern art and media image of Shoreditch” is scheduled to open next year. Shoreditch has long been the home of London’s trendy, artistic (and dare I say) “hipster” community and the vitriol directed towards gentrification of any kind in the city is at an all time high.

Home to innumerable galleries, boutique coffee shops, production companies as well as the historical headquarters of VICE magazine Shoreditch is now full of dissenting young voices who, quite rightly, object to such a monstrously expensive eye-saw being developed in their back yard.

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128 new proposed guest rooms are planned within the existing building. A number of suites will also be created with some linking to a roof-top bar which will double up as an event room and function area.

The site for the hotel will be a well known building formerly used as the Old Street Magistrates Court and Police Station.

The Old Street Court Hotel, as it will officially be known, will either be an expensive and indulgent waste of money or a shining beacon of the hip arty community (Im guessing the former). That said, other hotels in the neighborhood have been successful. But not without a shocking £400-per-night pricetag.

More info here. Though it could be quite a while before you’ve donated enough bodily fluids to afford to stay their.

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#InternationalCatDay: How The Cat Became Symbolic Of Female Liberation

Happy #internationalcatday, everyone!

You only have to type the word ‘Cat‘ into an internet search engine in order to become instantly inundated with hundreds of thousands of videos, GIFs and pictures. That said, our modern fascination with our furry feline friends is nothing new: the ancient Egyptians for example worshiped cats as gods.

Traditionally the cat was always the hallmark of a lonely old woman, perhaps even a witch. But today the cat is fast becoming a symbol of something fresh and modern – female 20-something independence.

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Note: cats can also be used as workout weights

Whilst historically the dog has always been [wo]mans best friend cats have made undeniable headway over the past decade, transitioning seamlessly from snobby arrogant household pets to a “must-have” for any busy single lady. After all, dogs take a lot of work to look after and cats… well… cats don’t.

So much for that classic stereotype of the elderly spinster cat lady, hey? Former Google employee Caroline McCarthy, 29, said the following about her obsessive love of cats…

“Cats are the ideal pets for women in the business world. Especially in New York. There’s a kind of a suspended adolescence, with people staying single and still living with roommates into their 30s. I think pet ownership is something that seems a bigger step here than it does anywhere else in the country. It does seem very rebellious [to get a cat]: I’m going to do this really adult thing, but it’s not really going to change your life.”

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Lets take a look at the cultural changes, mostly driven by the internet, that have made the simple cat such a desired must-have accessory:

Girls Love A Celebrity Cat

Rising to meet the unfulfilled feline-centric needs of the internet community at large our love of cats has merged with our infatuation with celebrities. Together they have produced the celebrity cat – a kind of novelty affection absorbing machine usually used to gain cheap laughs from your colleagues at work.

So. Damn. Cute. Though.

Originally started by a wave of interest in the infamous Grumpy Cat this bizarre online movement has morphed into an adoring community of little fur balls whose owners were camera-savvy enough to make YouTube videos. Some people, the owners of Grumpy Cat are a good example, have made a great deal of money from their pets.

This was most notably marked when Grumpy Cat, Colonel Meow, Oskar the Blind Cat, Nala Cat, and Hamilton the Hipster Cat came together in an unprecedented celebrity cat supergroup last year for a Christmas video. Equal parts adorable and cringe inducing.

Girls Love A Cat Café

The world’s first cat café opened in Taiwan in 1998. The Taiwanese cat café in Taipei eventually became famous elsewhere after attracting numerous Japanese tourists and domestic visitors. In Japan, the first cat café opened in Osaka some six years later.

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Now similar establishments can be found the world over with a predictably high concentration of cafés opening in the upscale areas of London and New York.

Girls Love A ‘Lolcat’

Ever since the first cat postcard (see below) was created back in 1905 cats and their humorous expression have been fair game for people who wanted a giggle. Now though, our love of cats has advanced to a level where we personify and revere them as though they were actually people. The best example of this we could find comes in the form of Cashcats.biz, a website dedicated to displaying hilarious pictures of “gangster” cats surrounded by drugs, guns and heaps of (mostly fake) money.

From silly memes to serious forces for social change cats have proven once again that they are not te be messed with. And what can we say? Chicks dig it.

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1905 Cat Postcard by Harry Whittier Frees

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Image: cashcats.biz

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Image: cashcats.biz

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Image: cashcats.biz

Zootopia: Where Humans Are Captive And The Animals Watch You

The Bjarke Ingels Group, also known as BIG is one of the worlds most prominent architecture and design firms. They have received heaps of much deserved praise over the past few years for their innovative and often groundbreaking work.

From towering skyscrapers to triangular fibre glass museums the group has been responsible for some of the most revolutionary structural buildings in the world, particularly in Europe. Now though, they have a new venture: completely redesigning the concept of the zoo.

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The architects want to revamp the Givskud or “Zootopia”, a 1960′s built zoo in Denmark, by reversing the roles we have all come to be familiar with: under the new design animals will be free to roam around the 300-acre facility whilst us humans are to be carried from location to location in floating viewing pods.

Some especially technophilic readers might be interested to note there will be three different types of proposed pods: Ground pods (re-engineered bicycles), Sea Pods (re-engineered boats) and Air Pods which seem to float through the sky like cable cars. All of this design is geared around minimising animal discomfort and creating a “natural” environment to view them from.

“Architects’ greatest and most important task is to … make sure that our cities offer a generous framework for different people – from different backgrounds, economy, gender, culture, education and age – so they can live together in harmony. Nowhere is this challenge more acrimonious than in a zoo.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 11.44As far as the firm sees it, the most important role of architects is to build and preserve sustainable ecosystems for the future. This zoo is a classic example of this and hopes to promote a more healthy relationship both between the visitors and the animals and between us humans and the wider world we live in.

The architects are keen to avoid the usual Disneyish approach of Sumatran temples to see the tigers and Chinese pagodas to view the pandas by doing away with buildings all together.

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“Instead of copying the architecture from the various continents by doing vernacular architecture, we propose to integrate and hide the buildings as much as possible in the landscape.”

Image: The Bjarke Ingels Group

Image: The Bjarke Ingels Group

Image: The Bjarke Ingels Group

Image: The Bjarke Ingels Group

Image: The Bjarke Ingels Group

Image: The Bjarke Ingels Group

Image: The Bjarke Ingels Group

Image: The Bjarke Ingels Group

Image: The Bjarke Ingels Group

Image: The Bjarke Ingels Group

Levis’ Latest Installation In Their Eloquent Ode To Cycling ‘The Ride’

Earlier this week, San Francisco-based clothing brand Levis Strauss launched the latest installation in their on-going three part video series entitled ’The Ride’ – exploring the importance of cycling communities and the freedom associated with their daily commute.

This recent clip pursues London-based poet and musician James Massiah – documenting his ride through Hackney whilst he explains his deep-rooted love for cycling.

“It definitely is an extension of my soul. Things that connect together… It gives you the ability to travel through time. You’re completely open to the elements and you can feel the wind blowing past your face … That’s the true magic of being on a bike. It is like the urban horse. A cowboy needs his horse, I need my bike.” – James Messiah

Each episode takes a back-seat approach to the importance of cycling – as illustrated by a diverse group of individuals. Perceptions differ somewhat, although each installation has provided an eclectic range of quotable passages.

“The buses hate you, the drivers hate you, the pedestrians hate you, everyone hates you. This is what you have to do. This is what makes sense for your life right now.” - Tyrone Stevenson

It’s evident that their exists an unreasonable level of animosity growing amidst road users worldwide. For this reason cyclists face a very real danger. Not to say that bus drivings are trying to knock you off your bike every chance they get, but there is an obvious lack of human compassion when it comes to sharing the tarmac.

“I move through the city so much, I feel like my soul is rooted here.” – Kyle Garner

Commuters profiled in the three part series include Tyrone Stevenson, founder of Scraper Bikes Movement in California, London-based poet James Massiah (seen above) and Brooklyn-based designer Kyle Garner (also seen below). Episodes from Brooklyn and Oakland are expected for release soon – so stayed tuned.

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Levis Strauss, ‘The Ride’

Read More >>> The Ultimate Urban City Bike: Levis Inventive Competition Concludes

B-And-Bee: The Perfect Micro Hotel For Festival Season

A Belgian competition looking for smart ideas surrounding “sustainable entrepreneurship” has received a lot of attention lately for one of its more innovative and unique entrees: The B-And-Bee. Comprised of a series of interlocking wooden pods, each containing a king-sized bed that doubles up as a sofa, the system is gaining notoriety as a promising potential product for festival goers next year.

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Each honeycomb-shaped pod measures approximately 1 and half meters width which is by far big enough to have a small party in, if you catch my drift. Each pod also includes an individual light and a separate power source for your speakers or laptop. Although it could be a nightmare if everyone in the “hotel” decided to play music all at once due to a lack of soundproofing.

Diana Schneider, a designer and leader of the project at Achilles Design is seems to be mostly responsible for the creation. Along with her colleagues Raf Schoors, Tim Ruytjens from social entrepreneurship company Compaan and Labeur she is trying to take the brand from just a niche product to a legitimate rival of the tent.

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“We were looking for the most effective way to stack cells so they strengthen each other. If you stack a square on top of each other the structure won’t strengthen itself, whereas if you stack hexagons, they fit into each other and stabilize the structure. We wanted to provide a sustainable sleeping option.”

According to all sources, the B-And-Bee will be ready for the 2015 festival season so don’t be suprined if you see these next year.

More info here.

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Michel Lamoller Explores Urban Camouflage In ‘Tautochronos’

‘Tautochronos’ is the latest series from German photographer Michel Lamoller who appears to be obsessed by what he calls “the possibilities of melting several moments in time down into one.” Michel’s work has been featured at high profile galleries across Europe and he seems to be the only living artist using this technique to such devastating effect.

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The images created reflect a kind of camouflage for the subject in each shot. Part hiding, part showing off the pictures prove that you don’t have to stand out in order to be noticed. They also say a lot about the clothes we wear and how our outward appearances mirror our true selves.

More work by the artist can be found here.

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The Ultimate Urban City Bike: Levis Inventive Competition Concludes

Levis Commuter recently teamed up with independent creative catalyst Oregon Manifest to present the aptly titled ‘Bike Design Project‘ – a pioneering design/build competition providing a platform for craftsmen to innovate the ultimate urban utility bike.

Partnering high-level design firms with leading American bicycle craftsmen, the project aimed to incite the collaborative development of a new contemporary bicycle – an all-encompassing concept, comprising a myriad of unique attributes. Five teams from five cycling-centric cities in America (Chicago, New York City, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle) were set to compete in their efforts to conceive, create and develop their inimitable vision of tomorrow’s bicycle for the modern commuter.

The Bike Design Project - Oregon Manifest

The Bike Design Project – Oregon Manifest

On July 25 all five bikes were unveiled. Now, after rigorous inspections from cycling enthusiasts around the world and opening publicly to a voting ballad – the announcement was made to award Seattle’s ‘Denny’ as the winning design.

Through a partnership with Fuji Bikes, the winning design will now move from concept to production – set to arrive at bike shops in 2015. Congratulations

The Winning Design – Seattle: TEAGUE x Sizemore Bicycle

‘Denny’ – a bicycle to enable travel through the very diverse and unpredictable city of Seattle.

SEA: TEAGUE X SIZEMORE BICYCLE'S DENNY from oregon manifest on Vimeo.

Features: The bike uses an onboard computer in combination with front wheel motor assist to smartly shift gears based on the ride conditions. The bike also leverages sensors to provide always on lights, which change their brightness intensity based on the natural light conditions.

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The front of the bike frame functions as a carry tray with a flexible netting design that caters even for the morning coffee run

Here’s what you could have won…

New York City: Pensa x Horse Cycles

‘MERGE’ – an urban bicycle loaded with integrated functionality at your fingertips so you can RIDE YOUR WAY.

NYC: PENSA x HORSE CYCLES' MERGE from oregon manifest on Vimeo.

Features: An efficient, compact, maneuverable design perfect for cyclists to navigate the busy streets of New York City. An integrated USB phone charging station and a built-in retractable rear rack with advanced lighting.

USB Charging Pocket and lock holster
USB Charging Pocket and lock holster

San Francisco: Huge Design x 4130 Cycle Works

‘EVO’ – a hybrid bicycle that leverages a modular accessory platform for ultimate flexibility.

SF: HUGE DESIGN x 4130 CYCLE WORKS' EVO from oregon manifest on Vimeo.

Features: multiple front and rear quick-connection accessories as attachments. Integrated front light, secured locks, and a front wheel lockout system that enables freestanding lean for loading and unloading, with city mountain bike hybrid tires.

Light works with all attachments

Light works with all attachments

Chicago: MINIMAL x Method Bicycle

‘BLACKLINE’ – a bike for cruising during the summer months and able to contend with the rugged Windy City winters.

CHI: MNML x METHOD BICYCLE'S BLACKLINE from oregon manifest on Vimeo.

Features: an integrated LED headlight and side blinkers which utilise GPS enabled turn-by-turn navigation – to help you safely navigate the urban grid and a custom steel frame able to support a multi-configured cargo system and double leg kickstand.

Custom steel frame with 2” single main tube

Custom steel frame with 2” single main tube

Portland: INDUSTRY x TiCycles

‘SOLID’ – the first lifestyle connected bike that also represents the rich history of Portland cycling.

PDX: INDUSTRY x TI CYCLES’ SOLID from oregon manifest on Vimeo.

Features: Handlebars with electronic shifters and haptic GPS navigation that works in coordination with a DISCOVER MY CITY smartphone app. Tig welded 3D-printed Titanium frame and sub Assemblies, integrated lighting, matte black carbon fiber rims, self-charging electronic front-hub, and detachable rack with integrated ABUS lock and strapping system.

Self-charging electronic front hub with embedded GPS module for security

Self-charging electronic front hub with embedded GPS module for security