Be led into the obscure

Posts tagged “facebook

Facebook Profile Cover Photo Badge: Season’s Greeting

Facebook Profile Cover Photo Badge Seasons greeting

How to use Photo Badge in your facebook profile:
* Download the image to your PC.
* Upload the image as facebook cover photo in your facebook profile.

Please “share”, if you “Like” 🙂

Facebook Cover Photo Badge: Push the Tempo

Facebook Profile Cover Photo Badge Push the Tempo

How to use Photo Badge in your facebook profile:
* Download the image to your PC.
* Upload the image as facebook cover photo in your facebook profile.

Facebook Cover Photo Badge: Mind Fuck*d

Facebook Cover Photo Badge Mindfucked

How to use Photo Badge in your facebook profile:
* Download the image to your PC.
* Upload the image as facebook cover photo in your facebook profile.

Please “share” if you “like” 🙂

Facebook Cover Photo Badge: Wassup!

Wassup Facebook Cover Photo

How to use Photo Badge in your facebook profile:
* Download the image to your PC.
* Upload the image as facebook cover photo in your facebook profile.

Please “share” if you “like” 🙂

Augustana at SXSW 2011 – Photos

Augustana was the soulful self at the high-profile South By Southwest (SXSW) 2011. Photos of the band performing at the event emerged on Facebook. The images attributed to the artist Jesse DeFlorio are in the slideshow below:

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Valentine’s Day with Augustana and Lucinda Williams

The Valentine’s Day just got special for music lovers in LA as the ‘Sweet and Low’ rockers Augustana will be performing alongside Lucinda Williams at Bardot on February 14.

Announcing this on Facebook, Augustana wrote, “Hey LA friends, we’re going to be joining the incredibly talented Lucinda Williams for It’s A School Night at Bardot on February 14th (Valentine’s Day)! You can RSVP on their website… See you then!”.

Augustana and Lucinda Williams' 'It's a School Night' show

Augustana and Lucinda Williams' 'It's a School Night' show

Those interested in attending can RSVP on It’s A School Night website.

Augustana has over 170,000 fans on Facebook.

While the gig comes as a great news for the Augustana and Lucinda Williams’ fans in LA, most of the comments on the social networking site were from the disappointed ones.

“GRRRR! I live on the east coast but would be there in a heartbeat if I could! That would be my dream valentine’s day!!” wrote Emily Tennant.

Korey Vallance wrote, “Yet another reason I wish I lived in LA.”

However, one question in the comments threads that did strike us was from Todd Zilla, who asked, “new record any time soon?”

We hope Augustana would heal the thousands of aching hearts who have missed all the recent shows and the one coming up on Valentine’s Day by just releasing a new album.

Sanitizing Huckleberry Finn = Whitewashing History

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Book

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Book

An attempt to edit, or rather censor, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, one of the greatest novels ever written, has sparked off a row.

Taking offense to the occurrence of the ‘N-word’ 219 times in the book, Alan Gribbons, an Auburn University Professor, has taken up the responsibility to rid the American classic of those words. The new version of the book, which would be published by NewSouth Books in Feb 2011, will have the word ‘slave’ replace the ‘N-word’.

“It enables us to set this inflammatory racial epithet aside and begin to address the greatness of Twain’s works,” CBS quotes the professor as saying.

Gribbons told USA Today of the troubles teachers are facing due to the contents of the book, which parents and children find “injurious” and “hurtful”.

Justifying his controversial move, the Professor says that he is revising the text to make it more readable and argues that the readers would still get the essence of Twain’s message.

While there is small fraction of the society that seems to be heaving a sigh of relief on the move (ex: few mothers of school children), this attempt to “sivilize” Twain’s book just like how his character Widow Douglas tried to “sivilize” Huck has invited the ire of many. People have spoken out against the “censorship” and the revision of the masterpiece, which is considered a sin among the literary circles.

Several online campaigns have also begun. One among those is on the social networking site Facebook, titled Boycott NewSouth Books.

“The revision and censorship of literary works is wrong and should be stopped. It is wrong to “clean” the works of masters because someone is too lazy to explain to new readers why something was written the way it was. Companies that take this step need to be rebuked in the harshest form. Deny them business,” the description reads.

The campaign has already been been ‘liked’ by 100 users, it is only a matter of time before this number goes up judging from the response to the news on the revision have evoked so far.

Huckleberry Finn has been trending on Twitter for several hours now. Some of the Tweets are listed below:

jess3 wrote: “Snooki wrote a book and Huckleberry Finn is being censored. It’s official: literature is dead. Great way to start the new year!”

StephenAtHome posted: “It’s great that they took the N-word out of ‘Huckleberry Finn’. Now get to work on ‘Moby D-Word’.”

ZacGlitchBuster tweeted: “Huckleberry Finn is being censored. A tragedy. It also shows how spineless some schools are. Pathetic”

Pixies say:

Huck and Jim on the raft

Huck and Jim on the raft

As writers and artists yourselves, we stand against any form of censorship. The move to take out the ‘N-word’ from Huckleberry Finn is a mindless act as the authenticity of the text would be lost in the process.

The book is based in Missouri in the 1830s and 1840s, in a time and place where the epithet was widely used. Mark Twain’s works often elicit reading under realism. The truth and the reality of the settings reflected in the book can not be obscured, to no extent what so ever.

If we can not teach our children of what constitutes the human history and the horrific realities of the centuries past, then why teach them anything at all. Don’t we read history, hoping that when it repeats itself we are equiped with enough rationality to not commit the same mistakes?

Moreover, the replacement of ‘N-word’ with “slave” only re-asserts the institution of slavery.

Huckleberry Finn and Jim

Huckleberry Finn and Jim

Besides, Twain’s efforts to capture the reality also included writing to reproduce the dialect. All those who have studied literature have learned how the writer reproduced several dialects, including the “Missouri negro dialect”. While Huck does not speak “proper English”, Jim, the slave of Miss Watson, speaks bad English with a very heavy accent.

So this revision, not only censors, but also deforms the genuineness and genius of the text; while the choice of word substitute is poor as well as pointless.

Omékongo Dibinga, a spoken word artist, rapper, actor, one of Les Brown’s hand selected platinum motivational speakers and a winner of Urban Music Award Winner, says on CNN iReport, “Editing these texts is essentially rewriting them.

“We should not be politically correct about our history. For all of American history’s positivity and negativity, it’s still our history. Let’s not try to whitewash it.”

However, one consolation for those against the revision is the fact that NewSouth is not the only publisher. The original version of the book will still be in circulation as there are several other publishers that publish the classic.

Facebook Profile Pic Hacks: The artist speaks…

Alexandre Oudin Facebook Profile Hack

Alexandre Oudin Facebook Profile Hack

Alexandre Oudin, the French artist identified by the media as the one who started the Facebook profile hacks, does not seem to be convinced that Facebook or social media is going to change the way photography or art is created.

LexicalPixies contacted Oudin through Facebook to get his take on the new profile page hacks on the social networking site after Mashable identified him as the man behind the craze.

The artist’s responses were thoroughly surprising as they stood apart from the views expressed by other Facebook users who were featured in the news for their creative uses of the new profile page, which incorporated five additional pictures besides the traditional profile picture.

In our previous post published on Dec 26, titled ‘Facebook Profile Hacks: Social Media Art is here…‘, we quoted two Facebook users – Luke Kingma and Prashish Rajbhandari – optimistic of the new trend on the site.

While Luke said that the new Facebook fad reflected an evolution from the way we used to photograph ourselves in the past, Prashish hoped that the creativity on sites such as Facebook would be appreciated.

What Luke said:

“We focus a lot less on how ‘good’ we look and a lot more on what we can do with our surroundings. I think” we’ve come a long way from the “camera and the bathroom mirror shots from the Myspace days. I hope this is the start of a string of much more creative ways to express oneself on social media! I really think it is, and I think this a great start.”

What Prashish said:

“As you can see many creative facebook pages have been appearing in the last few days. Even the creator of the ‘row of five photos’ in facebook would have been amazed of the creative flow of art or photography by facebook users. Its very early to say if social media is affecting photography or art but yes, we can see the imagination and creativity of people in such a small platform. I hope to see one day ‘Amazing collection of facebook profile pages’.”

Both Luke and Prashish were among hundreds of those who chose to “experiment” with the new profile page after seeing what others had done. And according to Mashable, the whole wave of experimentation began with Oudin. Interestingly, the artist was not as plausive about interweaving photography/art with social media trends.

“I don’t think it (social media) has a great impact on fine arts as we know them, it’s just a new media that artists will probably have to appropriate in order to produce a new kind of work. And as a matter of fact, they already do which is not my case,” said the artist, who experimented with the row of five photos “just out of boredom”.

The only change, he observed, that Facebook has had on the process of photography is the way we display it.

“I don’t think Facebook really changes the way we take pictures, or what we want to photograph, but it changes the way we show them, the way they are displayed for everyone, all the time, everywhere… But I don’t consider Facebook as the best place or platform to show photography.”

Pixies say:

Oudin’s responses, we realised, balanced out that the views expressed on the first post. But the fact that the creativity displayed on the use of the row of five photos is remarkable can not be ruled out.

On one line, the new Facebook profile hacks could be seen on the lines of Cubism, where images or subjects were fragmented. Despite the fact that the cubist pieces of art were seen as chaotic, there was an underlying stability. Faces and people were not the only subjects, everyday objects also intrigued the 20th century avant-garde artists, who preceded the Surrealists. The subject matter is broken up, analyzed, and reassembled in an abstracted form.

Pablo Picasso, along with Georges Braque, is considered the pioneer of the movement. Picasso’s famous anti-war painting, bombing of Guernica is one among the master-pieces – considered peculiar symbol of peace.

Picasso's Bombing of Gernica

Picasso's Bombing of Gernica (Photo Courtesy:Wikimedia Commons)

Picasso said, “Art is the lie that tells the truth.”

Art has always been the reaction of and/or interpretation to the external world. The hacks represented unison in fragments, which, in turn, represented the world around us today. The need to reach out with something to say or just a humble need to express. If it is through a Facebook profile page, why not? It is increasingly becoming a bigger part of our lives, even dethroning our need to Google – as new statistics show.

This makes Oudin a true artist.  Why? Just a little thought, figure it out with what has been argued above and what has been left to ponder with material below. Leaving you with two interesting takes on pessimism and art:

I am an anarchist in politics and an impressionist in art as well as a symbolist in literature. Not that I understand what these terms mean, but I take them to be all merely synonyms of pessimist.
(Henry Brooks Adams)

pessimism, n. A philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile.
(Ambrose Bierce’s satirical lexicon, The Devil’s Dictionary)

Facebook Profile Hacks: Social Media Art is here…

Facebook’s new profile page, unveiled in the first week of December, seems to have sparked off creativity and inspired several users into experimental photography and photo-manipulation.

The revamp

“And since there’s often no better way to learn about a person than through photos, the profile now includes a row of recently tagged photos of you,” Josh Wiseman, a Facebook engineer, wrote on the official blog on December 5, explaining the new features on the revamped profile page.

He was commenting specifically on an interesting aspect of the redesign was a row of five recently tagged photos of the user nestled horizontally after the profile picture.

It was incorporated immediately under the basic information, another new feature, described as “a quick overview of basic information such as where you’re from, where you went to school, and where you work—the kinds of conversation starters you share with people you’ve just met or exchange with old friends as you get reacquainted.”

Several other aspects were also introduced such as featured friends to allow users to chose or feature selected friends or family members, as well as the feature enabling users to showcase their interests, hobbies, even projects worked on.

However, it is the addition of the five berths for photographs that seems to have impressed and inspired many to unleash creativity.

‘Creative Uses of New Facebook Profile’

The ‘Creative Uses of the New Facebook Profile’ were brought together by a tech blog called Mashable on Dec 14. Exactly ten days later on Dec 24, the site published second edition to the report ‘More Creative Uses of the New Facebook Profile’ from their readership, who either shared their own profiles or ones they have highlighted as particularly impressive.

These double-ten doses of creativity struck us very interesting as they reflected a distinct sense of photography and precise photo-manipulation.

Mashable identified French artist Alexandre Oudin as the creator of the craze, and reported that these designs were emerging in number.

“People have been playing around with their profile pics since Facebook first launched, but the new redesign allows for some inspired fun including clever animations, typography and photography magic.”

Even though the craze started in one artist’s head, the each of the picked profiles stood on its own. From Oudrin’s depiction of his face in six pictures on his profile page, the experiments took it to newer spaces. A moment between a father and a daughter, the suspension in air with a basket ball reaching out to the ring, playful depiction of rescue from a shark, decorating the Christmas tree – each of the selection was intriguing in its own way.

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We spoke to the people behind the social media art….

“We focus a lot less on how ‘good’ we look and a lot more on what we can do with our surroundings. I think” we’ve come a long way from the “camera and the bathroom mirror shots from the Myspace days.

I hope this is the start of a string of much more creative ways to express oneself on social media! I really think it is, and I think this a great start,” said Luke Kingma, whose basic information reads “Worked at Camp Iroquois Springs (Videographer, Cabin Specialist); Studied Business Administration & Film at University of Pittsburgh; Born on October 22, 1987.”

Luke’s experiment with what has come to be known as “new Facebook profile pic hacks” was him decorating a luminescent Christmas Tree. His profile picture was him with his arm (until his wrist) stretched out. What followed it in the five photo spaces was his arm from wrist on putting an adornment on a whimsical Christmas Tree.

“Since it was so close to Christmas, I just immediately thought of a Christmas tree as being something distinguishable that would be perfect for the row of 5 photos. I wanted to do something really different than the ones I had already seen (didn’t want to just do my face) so I chose a Christmas theme,” he told LexicalPixies.

But this was not his original planned. Revealing what he originally conceptualized, he said, Originally, I wanted the 5 photos to be presents under a tree, then a picture of me reaching for one of them, but when I started photographing my tree, I realized this would be a lot cooler.”

Taking what was inspired by the new profile page layout, Prashish Rajbhandari “wowed” with an entire album hack.

“I don’t really think facebook is changing the way we photograph ourselves or things till now. I reckon only 3 to 5 percent of the facebook users would actually consider to photograph themselves particularly for their facebook page. The rest would just take a photo from their album stock and use it,” he said when asked if Facebook is changing the way we photograph ourselves or things.

We asked both of them about what effects they thought social media was having on photography and arts. Prashish, who is a founder of and admin of a student-created blog aimed at providing information flow with high quality posts, Fortystones, said that these platforms provided grounds to display and appreciate creativity and imagination.

“As you can see many creative facebook pages have been appearing in the last few days. Even the creator of the ‘row of five photos’ in facebook would have been amazed of the creative flow of art or photography by facebook users. Its very early to say if social media is affecting photography or art but yes, we can see the imagination and creativity of people in such a small platform.”

Luke, who essentially works with film, video and photography, thought that social media was bringing art and photography into the mainstream.

“Social media is allowing us to show off our creativity to a much broader audience than before (when we typically are constrained to photo sharing sites or niche audiences on niche websites and venues). It is also allowing us to view ourselves in new ways, and allowing us to show others how creative we really are, not just how creative we say we are in our ‘bios’ or whatever. The more advanced social media gets, the closer we get to really seeing who other people are online. Used in the right ways, I think that can be a very good thing.”

Pixies say:

When we came across these profiles we were struck by the amount of creativity and imagination that is out there. Internet as we know it has been stretching its temptations into almost all aspects of our lives. So art followed. Internet art was first born from the need to escape dominance of the gallery and museum system, delivering aesthetic experiences. It gave artists, big and small, a little space to experiment. With the social media also delivering the same joy, the adventure has just began for those with their heads brimming with ideas.

The Facebook profile experimenters, we believe, have created a new sensibility into aesthetics.

And so Prashish, here is what we have to say about your remark – “I hope to see one day ‘Amazing collection of facebook profile pages'” :  “The day is here and the time is now”.

SNL ridicules TIME in support of Assange

From anger and contempt to ridicule – TIME’s decision to overlook WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange and recognise Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg as the 2010 ‘Person of the Year’ continues to reign the media. After a large portion of the international media criticized the magazine’s move, Saturday Night Live (SNL) was the latest to join the bandwagon with a little comic touch.

The late-night television sketch comedy ridiculed the TIME’s decision leading to several media outlets interpreting the piece as and yet again reiterating that despite the final decision Assange has emerged the hero.

”SNL’ pits Assange against Zuckerberg’: read a headline on CNET. Mashable wrote: ”SNL’ Skewers Zuckerberg: Is WikiLeaks’ Assange the Hero?’.

Bill Hader plays Julian Assange in the SNL scene, in which the founder of the whistle blower site is depicted as congratulating Time magazine on its selection of Mark Zuckerberg as ‘Person of the Year’.

“Tonight I want to congratulate Time magazine on the excellent selection of Mark Zuckerberg as Person of the Year. Time magazine – always on the cutting edge; discovering Facebook only weeks after your grandmother.”

Among the many observations Hader (Assange) makes, one notable remark is: “What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? Let’s take a look. I give you private information about corporations for free. And I’m a villain. Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he’s Man of the Year.”

Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live

The popular live variety show, known for parodying American culture and politics, mainly chose to draw contrasts between the two men.

Zukerburg and Assange are, in fact, very different from each other.

Take for instance, Zuckerburg’s disappointing, if not completely empty, statement on WikiLeaks, released with Time’s press release:

“I mean the wikileaks story is fascinating, but I also just don’t think we’re anywhere near the end of it. And I personally feel like, from the coverage that I’ve read, that I don’t understand enough to fully comment on it, so I won’t.

But I do think it’s a fascinating kind of turn of events, and watching how the different institutions react to it is also fascinating….We definitely don’t wake up in the morning and think about toppling institutions.

But one of the things that I think happens from people being able to share their opinions with their friends or more broadly. You know I really do think there is this concept where the best stuff spreads.”

With this, Zuckerberg seemed to have intended to tell Facebook users that the social networking site is not very different from Wikileaks, while it also tried to appease those against the whistle-blower site by saying that Facebook does not “think about toppling institutions.”

Pixies say:

By snubbing Assange, TIME seems to have contributed positively to the 39-year-old Australian’s image and rather negatively to Zuckerburg’s. SNL’s little piece has asserted that yet again.

Psychedelia to take over Facebook next year

As the year winds out, the world is looking forward to the promises of tomorrow. Well, rather interestingly the future holds great nostalgia for Facebook users as the legendary British comedy troupe Monty Python is working alongside game developers Zattikka to take its surreal humour and psychedelic art into the realm of social gaming.

The Ministry of Silly Games, which will include eight free games, is slated to be released on the social networking site in 2011.

Based on some of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin’s most popular skits, the games are set to “bring Monty Python characters and scenes to life like never before”, Gamespy reported, quoting Terry Jones, the ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ star.

Surreal Art

While the Pythonesque virtual world is set to provide the Facebook users with farcical diversions with Monty Python’s surreal brand of humor, an exciting aspect of the games for observers of art would be that the sketches and imagery from the films and show will be incorporated into the games.

The TV series Monty Python’s Flying Circus that ran from 1969 to 1974 had animations between sketches and the opening credits. Original Python and film director Terry Gilliam was the man behind these pieces.

Anarchy was embodied by twist of famous works of art such as Botticelli’s ‘Venus’, which was animated to senseless dancing for comic effect. At the same time, Gilliam, whose film directing credits also include Twelve Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, worked on a surreal level of art.

The giant foot descending from the sky to squash the figures below, bulbous comic-book like characters, a man’s teeth turning into piano keys, the old woman walking a pram with a granny-gobbling monster, human figures or body parts grafted onto the bodies of animals, a couch potato with his eyes sucked out by the TV are some of the popular and memorable examples.

While promoting the The Ministry of Silly Games, both Gilliam and Python Terry Jones are quoted in several media reports as explaining that art not only influenced the animations but also the content of many of their acts.

“Both of us are huge Bruegel and Bosch fans. (It’s a) kind of a medievalist view of the world which seems to me to be a lot more alive and interesting than most of the iconography of our modern world,” Gilliam is quoted as saying.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525 -1569), sometimes referred to as Peasant Bruegel, was a Flemish Renaissance artist known for his landscapes and peasant scenes. He is known to have created some of the early images of acute social protest in art history such as The Fight Between Carnival and Lent, which some believe is a satire of the conflicts of the Reformation. (See: Bruegel Gallery)

Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450 -1516) was an early Netherlandish painter, known for his use of fantastic imagery to illustrate moral and religious concepts and narratives, such as Garden of Earthly Delights (Ecclesia’s paradise), The Last Judgement, and The Temptation of St Anthony. His far-fetched depictions even earned him the reputation of being heretical.  (See: Bosch gallery)

So, now we know that the comic yet didactic style of Monty Python art was derived from Bruegel, while Bosch provided the inspiration for fantastical or surreal imagery.

Even though Bruegel and Bosch were very early painters, surreal art comes from a comparatively recent movement in 1920s. Surreal art can best be seen as distortion of the world as we know it or see it. The works hold an element of surprise with absurdity and juxtapositions. Surreal or Psychedelic art has been one of the most intriguing, meaning-ladden genres of art, and is capable of rendering multiple and varying interpretations.

However, Gilliam does not seem to be too happy with the way violence takes over aesthetic in video games made these days.

“I mean, we created interesting worlds full of odd, bizarre, surprising elements and I think that’s what gamers seem to want.”

“I don’t know, most games I look at it seem to be incredibly violent. Our violence was much funnier — bloodier — but funnier,” he opined.

Facebook Games

Speaking specifically on the upcoming Facebook games, he said, “I guess my visuals have always been a bit videogamey. So it’s brilliant seeing them actually in games at last. The Ministry of Silly Games looks like what was inside my head when I was creating all that iconic imagery.”

The games, which are slated to be unveiled in first quarter of 2011, will include:

King Arthur’s Knight Fight: A slice-’em-up games, featuring the Black Knight, The Killer Rabbit, Tim the Enchanter, the Holy Hand Grenade and God.

Monty Python’s Scratch ‘N Sniff: Observation game with Zattikka’s original Flash Scratchcard mechanic.

Camelot Smashalot: The goals of this game would be to catapult livestock, Holy Hand Grenades and Trojan rabbits at the fiendish French fortresses.

Twit Russian Roulette: The player has to keep an upper-class twit alive for as long as possible in this wacky game of Russian Roulette.

Mr. Creosote: In this one-button reaction game, the player has to feed Mr Creosote his favorite nosh but avoid the wafer thin mints.

Gumby Flower Arranging: The player has to help the Gumby match three flowers of the same kind. The consequence otherwise would be he will hit himself with bricks.

Gillaxian: This arcade-style shooter is also a tribute to a great game by Namco and a great artist.

Aerial Antics: This is a puzzler in which the player has to balance the TV aerial on household objects to tune in.

Beta sign-ups are open.

Pixies say:

The triple delight of gaming, art and comedy prompted us to sit up and take notice. We have already registered to participate in the Monty Python closed beta. As soon as we have something to share on the outcome of this interesting development, we’ll be back to blog. However, be warned that our love for psychedelia is probably going to affect our views.

What we would also love to see is a game based on Gilliam’s other masterpiece – The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.