Seitō - a 1911 Japanese magazine exclusively for women

seito-cover

A publication for women, particularly women of colour, is something I can get behind and Seitō is one such magazine.

Initially created as a collection of work “for women and by women”, Seitō (the Japanese word for “Bluestocking”) started in 1911 slowly became a feminist movement. The five women who created the magazine, known as the Japanese Bluestocking Society, or Seitō-sha, were:

The Japanese government moved to ban its publication but this only spurred the writers to continue. Feminist Hideko Fukuda wrote this for “The Solution to the Woman Question”:

“Only under such circumstances will real women’s liberation come about,” […] “Unless this first step is taken, even if women get voting rights, and even if courts, universities, and government offices in general are opened to women, those who enter these, will, of course, only be women from the influential class; the majority of ordinary women will necessarily be excluded from these circles. Thus, just as class warfare breaks out among men, so class warfare will occur among women.”

Seitō was a pioneering publication for Japenese women and went onto produce 52 issues and feature over 100 contributors before it folded in 1916.

Further reading

Codex Seraphinianus is one weird-ass book

Codex Seraphinianus

There are plenty of weird and indecipherable texts in history. But one of the most curious texts in recent times is the Codex Seraphinianus. Published in 1981, the codex was written by Italian artist, architect and industrial designer Luigi Serafini over a two-year period between 1976 and 1978.

But what’s inside the Codex Seraphinianus?

To put it crudely, it’s a made-up encyclopedia. Codex Seraphinianus depicts an imaginary world with a cypher and a host of different topics including nature, clothing, and architecture. The illustrations in the book were surreal to say the least. They included:

  • A weird horse-carriage fusion
  • Bleeding fruit
  • Chair-shaped plants
  • A couple that transforms into an alligator

The point of the codex is to stretch the realms of the imagination but it’s incomprehensible. The cypher is but none of the text has any meaning. And that was the point.

At the end of the day [it’s] similar to the Rorschach inkblot test. You see what you want to see. You might think it’s speaking to you, but it’s just your imagination.

Luigi Serafini, author and illustrator of the Codex Seraphinianus

Where can you buy a copy?

It was originally published in Italy but it made it to a few other countries. The original edition is still super rare but a newer edition came out in 2013, selling out its 3,000 pre-ordered copies.

You can buy a copy of Codex Seraphinianus from Amazon. A hard copy is about £75 if you have deep pockets for surrealism.

The Photography of Sook Moon

The Photography of Sook Moon

Sook Moon is one such creative who brings a new life to the seemingly mundane: butchers’ markets, closed convenience stores, empty alleys. Yes, they are stylised in a certain way but not to diminish the character or the story each image tells. Instead, they enhance the vision and give extended importance to their portrayal.

We take for granted the food we eat or the shops we visit for a packet of cigarettes or box of teabags. There’s an ugly abandonment to these services, commercially and emotionally. But these images put them at the forefront and turn bleak and underappreciated moments into felicitous wonders.

You can follow the rest of Sook’s work on Instagram and I strongly recommend you do.

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Modern Art - It's More Than Just White Paintings

Why these all-white paintings are in museums and mine aren't

The fact they’re white is more than a little poignant. Vox asked the question “Why do all-white paintings sell for millions of dollars and end up in museums?” The answer isn’t “because high art is pretentious and has a serious problem with diversity and inclusivity” as I’d have hoped.

Instead, Elisabeth Sherman of the Whitney Museum of American Art said “there is much more to these paintings than meets the eye, and while you could have painted one of these priceless pieces of art, you didn’t” (quoted from the Vox video description).

While I agree with the latter, the former feeds into the general pretension of modern art. A lot is inferred but the reason behind some works of art could just be “I liked how it looked” without a need for a deeper, hidden meaning. But that would devalue otherwise mediocre white art, wouldn’t it?

Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait

picturing-prince

Prince was quite a secretive person but you won’t be short of photographs of him. Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait will piece together never-before-seen photos of the late musician, taken by Steve Parke.

A new book from Cassell, Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait, out September 5, aims to add depth to Prince’s public persona; it features never-before-seen photographs by Steve Parke, the musician’s former art director at Paisley Park, including 16 pages of lost photographs from his extensive archive.

Along with those images are some hilarious anecdotes from Parke, revealing more about Prince than most fans would know. Stories include The Purple One renting out whole movie theatres at 4am, requests for exotic animals, and his love of basketball. Away from taking photos of Prince, Steve Parke also designed his album covers and merch before becoming the official Paisley Park art director. That’s a high accolade given Prince’s attention to detail and perfectionism when it came to his image.

This is a must-read for Prince fans and music lovers alike.

View a slideshow of nine photos via The Cut.

The Simpsons - The One At the Bottom (Remix)

The Simpsons - The One At the Bottom

I don’t know who created this but it’s the perfect marriage (lol) of good music (pun intended) and classic Simpsons quotes. The title comes from S2 episode War of the Simpsons where Homer gets very drunk and asks Maud to get him some peanuts from the bottom of the dish so he can see her cleavage. Of course, Marge was watching in shock and disgust and they had to work on their marriage at a retreat. How their marriage is still together I don’t know.

And if you didn’t already know, the backing music comes from Gorillaz’s Feel Good Inc. A true animation mashup.

Stream “The One At the Bottom” below.

Update: Sorry, they’ve taken the video down. There’s a version on Facebook though. (sorry about that too)