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The masks we've worn

Francesca Magnani wrote about her ongoing photo project, documenting people wearing masks and the reasons behind them (besides the pandemic of course):

With a background in classics and anthropology I have long been interested in issues of identity and self-representation and in how people live and manage everyday challenges. As a street photographer I have followed with curiosity how people cope with the pandemic, dealing with the unknown. I was here on September 11 and during Sandy’s aftermath, and last March I saw in people’s expressions and movement their anguish, their incredulity, and confusion that matched my own. I walked around different New York neighborhoods every day and noticed the progression in more and more people starting to wear their feelings on pieces of decorated cloth.

[…] This small object has become a symbol of this time. Some images from the series have recently been acquired by the Smithsonian Museum as part of the first set of multiple pandemic-related digital acquisitions. Two COVID-19 related photographs are part of New York Responds: The First Six Months at the Museum of the City of New York, and one (May 10) mask was part of the #ICPconcerned group show.

Nina Banks on Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander and her ideas on economic justice

For The Washington Post, Nina Banks (associate professor of economics at Bucknell University) paid tribute to Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, the first African American to gain a doctoral degree in economics. She suggested that Alexander’s ideology could be the key to solving various problems in the US, particularly for African-Americans:

As a proponent of economic justice, Alexander believed that all people had a right to jobs that paid livable wages, and she viewed this as an essential foundation for enjoying democratic rights. As such, she called on the government to provide an equitable distribution of national income and to create public works programs that addressed urgent social needs tied to poverty and deprivation.

In the 1960s, Black anger over mistreatment in urban slums, where decades of White racial hostility and public policy had confined them, and a lack of economic access erupted in a string of uprisings in cities of all shapes and sizes.

Alexander saw the moral dimension of the civil rights cause, but uniquely, she also understood the economic dynamic, thanks to her training. She knew that despite White claims to the contrary, economic uncertainty among Whites was not the cause of racial violence plaguing Black lives. Rather, it merely acted as an accelerant that intensified their scapegoating and racial animus toward Black Americans.

Yet, Alexander’s work and advice got largely ignored.

Black titles from The Criterion Collection's upcoming line-up

I didn’t know if this was a conscious effort or a happy coincidence but there were more Black films (or films with Black people in major roles) than I expected in The Criterion Collection’s upcoming line-up. They include:

If you can find other means of watching or buying them, do that.

The theme of today's Nancy Comic is failed communication

Today’s Nancy Comic reminds me of how we communicate with people, especially during this god-awful pandemic. Should we burden our friends and family with the truth about how things are going or how we really feel? Or will “I’m fine”, “It’s good”, and “Okay” be enough? Maybe one conversation or even one long-winded response wouldn’t be sufficient. Either way, a failure in communication can lead to a misunderstanding of one’s place in a relationship or situation, as this comic demonstrates. Good intentions don’t always lead to good impacts.

8 LGBTQ+ artists discuss self-portraits and 'Expressions of Pride'

Shikeith Vessel of Possibility (Self-Portrait) III, 2018

For Pride Month this year, Rachel Weisman curated a collection of contemporary LGBTQ+ artwork for Artsy called “Expressions of Pride: Self-Portraits and Reflections by LGBTQIA+ Artists”. Artsy spoke with artists from the LGBTQ+ community about their own self-portraits how they displayed their queer identities.

Within the LGBTQIA+ community, visibility is often a double-edged sword: It can be a tool of self-empowerment, as well as a threat to one’s safety. The radical act of expressing one’s identity, despite rejection, political pushback, and the risk of violence, is a triumph of self-actualization in the face of public scrutiny.

Katori Hall wins Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Congratulations to Katori Hall for winning the award for her comedy “The Hot Wing King”.

Darnella Frazier also received Special Citation for her filming of George Floyd’s murder which feels weird to comprehend and Mikki Kendall hit the nail on the head in this piece for CNN:

This year, the Pulitzer Board’s announcement that Darnella Frazier — the teenager who filmed the killing of George Floyd — had won a special citation feels like a big moment, but not necessarily a celebratory one.

Floyd’s death is not something to celebrate, obviously, and despite the narrative of martyrdom and so-called sacrifice assigned to him posthumously, the horrifying truth is that he was murdered in front of a community. He did not choose to give up his life to change anything, and sadly in many ways, his death at the hands of police was just one part of the story.

(via Variety)

Zakiya Dalila Harris on her debut novel, 'The Other Black Girl'

Novelist Zakiya Dalila Harris spoke to Orange County Register about her new book ‘The Other Black Girl‘, racial diversity within fiction, and influences on her work such as James Baldwin and Jordan Peele:

Code-switching maybe matters less now than it would have two years ago because of George Floyd. On positive days, I think these conversations are allowing Black people to speak up more. On negative days, I think that’s only because it’s in vogue for now and you can only speak up so much. 

We know why diversity is important in a lot of ways, but I wanted my book to look at how it influences each person on an individual level.

Q. Were you worried about pulling the rug out from under readers or was that the goal?

It’s my first book, so I’m not saying it’s perfect. But I love twist endings and “The Twilight Zone,” and “Get Out” was definitely an inspiration. I definitely knew where it was going when I started writing. I love the end of “Night of the Living Dead,” which is so realistic about Black experience. It’s still America, so stuff is going to happen to you if you’re Black. 

People asked, “Are you sure about this ending?” Yeah, I think it’s pretty necessary. Any other ending wouldn’t be as impactful. I really want people to talk about what happens to Nella and what could her [White] co-workers have done if they’d really been listening. 

When I was a kid, I used to love the Goosebumps series, and they had a choose your own adventure and I loved that there were multiple possible endings; I left some things open with this book so readers can think about it. I didn’t want to tie the ending in a neat bow. 

Tom Karangelov skating on 16mm film

Filmmaker Matt Payne shot footage of Tom Karangelov skating on 16mm film and it looks really cool. Then again, everything looks good on 16mm. Matt also did an interview with Jenkem about the film and his techniques

How much did u guys spend on 16mm film to make this?
Not that much! Tom lands everything first try!

Just kidding, it was expensive and when we rolled on a trick we really had to make it count.

But we made this project on the side over a couple of years and got some deals with Kodak / Pro8mm so it didn’t hurt my wallet all at once. And I may or may not have used it as a tax write-off and sold some b-roll.

How do we know you didn’t just film this all on iPhone and use a 16mm filter or app?
I might have. The apps are that good. What if I told you this was all a marketing rouse to unveil the newest Kodak filter for iPhone 12 Pro Max? [laughs]

How much money would it cost to make a ~10 minute skate video on film?
I would say probably $2500 – $3000 on the cheap side. Maybe upwards of $5000 if you do it proper with good transfers and real cinema cameras.

(via Jenkem)

Fumi Ishino's 'Index of Fillers' chronicles Japanese culture in the 80s and 90s

someone making stir fry in a wok

Index of Fillers is the artist’s second monograph following his acclaimed publication rowing a tetrapod (MACK, 2017) and is the first artist book published by Assembly. Composed of found images of Japanese culture from the late 1980s and 1990s along with Ishino’s own photographs, Index of Fillers is a recreation of the artist’s elusive memory of growing up during this era in Japan.

I like the Japanese comic strip panelling he uses for his images. There’s nothing dramatised or embellished about the subject matter; it’s literally an index of cultural fillers and while that may seem mundane to some, it’ll be refreshing to others.

Buy it on the Assembly Art website.

The origin of the milkshake line in 'There Will Be Blood'

Ever since I watched There Will Be Blood a few weeks ago, I can’t hear the words “milkshake” or “you can sit down now” without thinking of the final scene from the movie. But where did that line about milkshake come from? If you’ve not seen the movie or the scene, here’s the line:

“If you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake—there it is. [He holds up his index finger]. That’s the straw, you see. [He turns and walks away from Eli] And my straw reaches acrooooooossssss [walking back toward Eli] the room … I … drink … your … milkshake. [He makes a sucking noise] I drink it up!”

It turns out the line wasn’t made up; it came from a transcript that Paul Thomas Anderson found from the 1924 Teapot Dome scandal congressional hearings.

Sen. Albert Fall described oil drainage thus: “Sir, if you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and my straw reaches across the room, I’ll end up drinking your milkshake.” He was convicted of taking bribes for oil rights on public lands.

(via kottke.org)

Helsingin Sanomat's 'Climate Crisis' font weights shrink with the Arctic sea ice

Climate change font graph

Helsingin Sanomat is Finland’s largest subscription newspaper, based in the nation’s capital, Helsinki. In response to the growing climate crisis, the publication created The Climate Crisis Font, a variable font with weights that change gradually but dramatically:

The font’s design is based on data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (https://nsidc.org) and predictions provided by the IPCC (https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/). The heaviest font weight represents the minimum extent of the Arctic sea ice in the year 1979, when satellite measuring began. The lightest weight represents IPCC’s 2050 forecast, when the Arctic sea ice minimum is expected to have shrunk to only 30 % of the 1979 extent.