Introducing the Mizoram Synod Choir

I will try to tell the story of how people I have never heard of, who live in a place I have never heard of, and speak a language I have never heard of – have used a photograph I took for the cover art of their musical album.

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At the end of 2001 I went to India and spent about six months backpacking. One photo I took was of a street beggar. I shot it in a small village called Hampi in the state of Karnataka in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent. I actually took half a dozen shots of the same man, and what I particularly liked about this one is the enigmatic face, glistening with sweat. I felt it conveyed the true meaning of being that person.

[singlepic id=259 w=300 h=456 float=right]Back then I wasn’t blogging yet, but I did manage to develop, print, scan and email that photo to folks at home. Fast forward to 2007 when I started blogging and one of the first things I did was retroactively post my travelling correspondence, including this one.

Now we get to two days ago, when I noticed quite a bit of traffic coming to my website from this forum post. I could not understand what language the site was using, but from the bits in English I could decipher the post was discussing the similarity between the cover art of an album and that of Assassin’s Creed, a video game – both featured a hooded man. A user by the name of Angaiha was able to track down the source for the man in the cover art: Yes, it was my photograph.

Upon further investigation it turns out that the cover art was for a choir named Synod Choir for their video CD titled Pathian Hmel which apparently will set you back a hundred Indian Rupees (a little more than two bucks). Oh, yes, it turns out that this musical ensemble comes from the Indian state of Mizoram which I have never heard of, inhabited by Mizo people who speak (and sing) in Mizo language and look nothing like the Indian people I have met travelling.

How do I know what Mizo people look like? Glad you asked, as it gives me the chance to direct your attention to the album’s eponymous song:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jFJuaxppCM

It should be mentioned that everything I post on this blog falls under a Creative Commons license which allows for certain uses of it, but using any of the content for commercial purposes goes beyond that scope. Basically, there are legal ramification for the unauthorized usage of my photo, but I will not get into that at this time.

Hagigit Artist Collective Launches a New Art Magazine

The artist collective I am part of has kept me pretty busy during the last couple of weeks. We cooperated with Jerusalem’s Train Theatre, donated our time for a charity in Jerusalem’s first Cooking Pot Festival, and in between managed to launch the first issue of our art magazine.
The issue, titled ‘No one will admit to it‘ is a mixture of our art works, including poems, short stories, paintings, drawings, photographs and digital art. It features a number of my photo collages and a few Hebrew poems I wrote this year.

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At this time you can purchase a copy wherever we perform, but we are working on additional ways of distribution including selected Jerusalem bookshops and making online purchasing available both for hard copies and soft copies.

Upcoming events of Hagigit are posted on its Facebook page and on its website.

Free Bonus: AIG Pigs Poster

As a bonus to my readers, and when I say bonus I mean it in AIG terms: something extra you get whether you deserve it or not, here’s my take on the recent insurance company shenanigans:
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Extra information for graphic designers:
Font: LTC Cloister Small Caps
Colors: white (#ffffff), blue (#002261)
Artistic decisions: At first I thought I would just go with ‘PIG’ to fit AIG’s three letter logo and to make it a smart word play by replacing just one letter. After thinking about it, ‘PIG’ did not convey my notion of corporate greed, and since this is not targeted at any particular person but at capitalism as reflected by the AIG culture, I thought I would break the three letter mold and allowed myself an extra letter to make it plural.

Bar Refaeli – A Crotch Retrospective

[singlepic id=141 w=320 h=240 float=right]Everyone is talking about Bar Refaeli these last couple of days. The 23 years old Israeli model can be seen on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue of 2009, and everyone is making a big deal out of it. So much so, that today on Israel Channel 2, newscaster Oded Ben Ami interrupted an interview with newly elected female Knesset members, in order to show Bar Refaeli’s interview on yesterday’s Late Show with David Letterman – equating a model to members of parliament – because, well… they are all successful women. MK Tzipi Hotobeli was not amused and neither was I.

The new SI cover has Bar Refaeli in her signature pose: fingers towards crotch, about to take her bottom half off. You see, Bar likes to touch her crotch. A lot. Now don’t get me wrong, I like to touch my crotch as much as anyone else, it’s just that I don’t do it in pictures because I am not a moron. Like any intelligent person I know exactly what pointing at your groin signifies. But not Bar – oh no – Israel’s darling does not mind teaching millions of young girls how a woman needs to look and behave, and does not mind teaching millions of young boys what they need to crave and demand.

Now, as always, there are those who will accuse me of being a prude, claiming that sex sells and at the end of the day we are talking about a photo on a magazine cover. My answer to that claim comes in the form of a commemorative mosaic, a crotch retrospective if you will, of Bar Refaeli over the years – I call this work Get In My Pants – A Hallmark of Poor Taste:

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How does a person change from this – into this?!
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Hagigit Ends the Summer with A Blast at the Jerusalem Theatre

[singlepic id=95 w=300 h=400 float=right]Hagigit, the artists collective I co-founded, was invited to participate in the End of Summer events by the Jerusalem Theatre. We spent the last few weeks in preparation for the three day event, our biggest event to date both logistically and in terms of crowd participation. We set up our famous outdoors studio, packed it with theatre-related props, set up a work station consisting of 6 laptop computers, 2 photo printers, a wireless router, and one strategically placed electric fan.

The whole shebang worked like so: people could play dress up and don outrageous costumes, three Hagigit members staged the studio scenes and photographed them, another member was in charge of downloading the photos and distributing them using our wireless network. Most of the photos were instantly printed by another member, and a few were manipulated using Photoshop by two other Hagigit members.
Myself? I was in charge of hooking up to the jumbotron, displaying the photos taken and playing the Photoshop screen-captures, to the amusement of the crowd.

Here is a short movie consisting of photos taken at the studio:

And here is an example of the sort of Photoshop work that was done in real time, played here at 8 times the original speed:

…oh, and we got mentioned here and here.

Love In The Tub: Jerusalemite.net Discusses Hagigit


Jerusalemite.net

Hagigit, the Jerusalem artists’ cooperative I co-founded, got some attention today in the form of an interview:
Jerusalemite.net, the self-proclaimed ‘definitive English-language culture guide to the center of the world’ published today an interview with Guy Yitzhaki, a fellow co-founder of our little art group. In the interview Guy discusses the goals of our group and elaborates on our most recent activity. Check it out!