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CULTURAL PHENOMENONS

MERGE O1 / DEC 09

MAUS Hテ。ITOS

ZACHARI LOGAN ONNO HAMBURGER


10

>

06

VIEW OF

DAM FUNK

// WE´VE BEEN LISTENING THE SOUND OF

>

// A SINGLE

Some of its objectives are:  Promoting the meeting of different artistic areas in the same space;  Training \ education of new audiences; Promoting work and launching new artists;  Promoting the exchange of artists and projects from various origins; Creation of an international network of partnerships.

GEORGE OSODI

DECEMBER 2009

CONTENTS

ISSUE 01

Merge magazine is the link between cultural associations and at the same time assume the role of perpetuating these artistic phenomena. What are these cultural associations and cooperatives? They are spaces that encourage confrontation, experimentation and dissemination of artistic and cultural proposals emerging. These spaces and communities are civic spaces, multi-ethnic and inter-crossing through the language and experiences, seeking to revitalize the concept of culture.  They are singular spaces, whose identity is formed between those who build them and

MERGE


16

// GET SOME INSPIRATION WITH

A PLACE TO VISIT IN PORTO

MAUS Hテ。ITOS,

> 26 >

18 LOGAN

YOUR

NEXT DAYS

// SETUP

HAMBURGER

// BE HAPPY AT WORK WITH THE ADVICES FROM ONNO

>

// THE REAL SIZE OF FLASTIC ART BY ZACHARI

ANDREI TARKOVSKY

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23

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12

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Series “Oil Rich Niger Delta” Untitle, 2006


single view | Dez . 09 | 06

GEORGE OSODI text by: Francisco Vaz Fernandes

George Osodi is a Nigerian photographer who since 1999 has dedicated himself to photojournalism. He published his work in Lagos newspapers until 2002 and was then invited by the associated press News Agency to join their team and, since then, has contributed to many of the most important newspapers in the world. Alongside this, he has been developing a more personal project exploring the socio-economic landscape of the River Niger, with some of the most exploited oil fields in Africa. His photos are part of the tradition and aesthetic of photojournalism, with a humanistic viewpoint yet at the same time an element of social critique. In this context, the impact of his images is caused, in part, by two distinct realities, running parallel to each other but never quite coming into contact. On the one hand is the portrayal of daily life in all its simplicity, the limited resources of the women and children as they go about their domestic chores, whilst on the other hand, we see the exploitation of the region as a result Osodi is interest is in cap- of the economic interest turing exactly this dichot- in the area, with the horomy; in the foreground, a rific pollution which now certain life-affirming lyr- stains the landscape. icism set against the catastrophic transformations which, within a space of 15 years, have transformed one of Africa is most idyllic landscapes into one of it is most devastated. The series which we have included here, Oil Rich Niger Delta, had an enormous impact when it was shown, and in 2007 george osodi was one of the artists invited to what is widely felt to be the most important exhibition in the art world; The Kassel Documenta


DAM

FUNK FROM ANOTHER PLANET

by Rui Miguel Abreu

// Sasha frere-jones, ex-member of post-rockers UI, is one of the most well-known documentor of the hip-hop scene over the last few years, according to the usually circumspect new yorker. Recently, he highlighed the “ageing” of hip-hop in an article titled «wrapping up» , writing that it is no longer this genre which sustains the development of pop. There are many signs of this and for Frere-jones, there is an increasing debt to European synth-pop and the substitution of the bounce of blues with a more metronomic sense, based on electronic typology. Maybe it is this which, beneath the sur- face, is opening the way for Dam-Funk – something noticeably different, leaning towards a different groove from another era, another dimension, somewhere between the past and the future. // Dam-Funk have just put the final touches to their impressive deut, «toeachizown», divided into five parts -Latrik, Fly, Life, Hood and Sky - available in a box-set with five vinyl LPs and a generous double cd, with extraordnary, organic music, despite the synthesisers and the vintage rhythm boxes from which dam draws his groove.


music | Dez . 09 | 10

// This is the key-word, “groove”, a word used and abused, not always in the correct sense of the word, but which has the implicit sense of some// The term “wonky” comes to mind, “assymetrical thing more human, hence with the anti-rhythms, manually created” as alex williams (on possibility of error. It’sb certainly his blog splintering bone ashes) wrote, relating this safe to say that what is isn’t, is funky. sound to the art of salvador dali. in a word, psycheBootsy Collins’ long, straight hair is delic. Dam-Funk take the electro-funk from the bethe first sign that here is someone who ginning of the 1980s, without jumping on the revivaldoesn’t follow the standard fashion ist bandwagon which this decade spawned. The hopes values of coolness, the one true religion for the future are clear in the music of Dam-Funk and for those such as kanye west or jay-z. maybe because of this, In Dam-Funk’s world, there are palm the last return back to trees, not sky-scrapers, green lawns instead of cocrete, boom boxes the future was underinstead of blackberries and ... er... a cat instead of a pitbull. Nothing quite guarantees that Dam-Funk produce their music at the end of standably conceived. the first decade of the XXIst century. However, there is definitely After hip-hop imposed a touch of the future in their sound. In «Toeachizown», there are itself on the 1990s, “realbaselines which can’t possibly have ever eaten a single lettuce leaf; ism” was the dominant they are so corpulent, analogical, acidic, flowing from the speakers, theme and, as we know, with vocoders which dislocate time and space as in, for example, the what is real only exists in hit «rockit. The beats are jerky, jumpy and these are perhaps the the here and now. However, contradicting what biggest clues reminding us that we are in the XXIst century. Sasha Frere-Jones wrote, Dam-Funk return to the point at which hip-hop created the mould for that vast arena of pop, reinventing the future with synthesised slashes and beats which disobey the rules for today’s top Forty hits. // For native Los Angeles musician Damon Riddick (his real name), music is the way into another dimension, where jamming lasts longer than the customary three and a half minutes of today’s normal chart hits. Keytar (a keyboard with shoulder-strap like a guitar) is where the dance floor and the cosmos unite, with different bpms, the lift-off pad from where we are transported to another planet; woozy, wonky, warbly. you choose the name, you’ll be the first to arrive anyway.


MAUS Hテ。ITOS by: Daniel Pires

We can start by name - Maus Hテ。bitos ( Bad Habits ) . Maus Hテ。bitos because the cultural intervention to be socially meaningful and fruitful, that is not limited to the size of purely decorative, can not be "well behaved". Must be innovative, subversive, transgressive. It is not a conventional gallery, but has places for the receipt of. There's a scene of Italian style, but offers a welcoming environment for theater and concerts. Not one school in the traditional sense, but developing a training program in various areas of artistic creation, organizing workshops. The project Fnac, installed a large 4th floor of an old deserted building downtown Porto, characterized mainly by its interdisciplinary character.


places | Dez . 09 | 12

The crossing of languages that we breathe in Maus hábitos can be explained by the fact that, at its source, to meet people with backgrounds and very different experiences, they felt a lack of space for creative freedom and cultural development, and they intended to fill this gap founding a project that would serve them and was at the service of others. The "specifications" of the project, operating since January 2001, comprises three main objectives: providing space for rehearsals and performances, the production of events and content, and training. The first point of the program arose from the need to provide logistic conditions for testing, producing shows and presenting exhibitions by young artists, whose projects for that reason and in many cases, fail to pass the level of ideas. However, these new talents are in 600 square meters of Maus Hábitos opportunity to show what they do, our goal was not publicize the work of young artists, in addition to the work of established artists who also produce and present. Entering then, production of events and content, over eight years of work you can get an overview of all the Maus hábitos can take a city like Porto, providing an exceptional venue for the event shows the most various areas of cultural life, the visual arts to music, the presentation of plays and performances, concerts and poetry recitals. On training, the distinguishing characteristic is, first, the greater autonomy given to the trainee in the learning process and on the other hand, the importance of the practical. A logic close to the workshops and workshops that we organized, for professionals and / or amateurs who wish to deepen knowledge of techniques used in photography, theater, dance, visual arts, music and video. Since its opening, the Maus hábitos produced and showed other productions. We brought people to the deserted downtown Porto. We development of new audiences through exhibitions and art performances. And promote the debate. Born in the context of the Porto 2001 - European Capital of Culture in partnership with Rotherham, the Maus hábitos project aims to contribute to endure and be renewed curiosity then awakens in the general public, and believes it is possible to feed this energy and not waste the intensity of spiritual and cultural life of that Porto can be found at this exceptional event. For what will be important to establish strong links with foreign partners, as we have done, especially with Rotherham (MORGEN project), Barcelona (Fair NEW ART) or Hannover (TRANS_HÁBITOS project). Maus hábitos the project has matured, is tuning the course and, especially, opened up the world to internationalize. Our space is now meeting regularly with people of many nationalities and areas of activity. In the era of globalization, we gather and provide, what is better: a movement increasingly easier for people and ideas, which brings the approach, the discovery of similarity in difference, the exercise of fellowship, tolerant and free - same condition, beyond and below the differences in circumstances.


Tarkovsky's films are characterised by Christian and metaphysical themes, extremely long takes, and memorable images of exceptional beauty.Recurring motifs are dreams, memory, childhood, running water accompanied by fire, rain indoors, reflections, levitation, and characters re-appearing in the foreground of long panning movements of the camera.

TARKOVSKY

ANDREI

by: JAAP MEE

inspiration | Dez . 09 | 16


Up to, and including, his film The Mirror, Tarkovsky focused his cinematic works on exploring this theory. After The Mirror, he announced that he would focus his work on exploring the dramatic unities proposed by Aristotle: a concentrated action, happening in one place, within the span of a single day. Several of Tarkovsky’s films have color or black and white sequences, including for example Andrei Rublev which features an epilogue in color of religious icon paintings, as well as Solaris, The Mirror, and Stalker, which feature monochrome and sepia sequences while otherwise being in color. In 1966, in an interview conducted shortly after finishing Andrei Rublev, Tarkovsky dismissed color film as a “commercial gimmick” and cast doubt on the idea that contemporary films meaningfully use color. He claimed that in everyday life one does not consciously notice colors most of the time.

Tarkovsky included levitation scenes into several of his films, most notably Solaris. To him these scenes possess great power and are used for their photogenic value and magical inexplicability. Water, clouds, and reflections were used by him for its surreal beauty and photogenic value, as well as its symbolism, such as waves or the form of brooks or running water. These are symbols of film, sight and sound, and Tarkovsky’s film frequently has themes of self reflection. Tarkovsky developed a theory of cinema that he called “sculpting in time”. By this he meant that the unique characteristic of cinema as a medium was to take our experience of time and alter it. Unedited movie footage transcribes time in real time. By using long takes and few cuts in his films, he aimed to give the viewers a sense of time lost, and the relationship of one moment in time to another.

STYLE

CINEMATIC


was Nostalghia in 1983. His last film The Sacrifice was produced in Sweden in 1986.

Hence in film color should be used mainly to emphasize certain moments, but not all the time as this Tarkovsky’s first distracts the viewer. To him, films color are like moving paintings or feature film was in photographs, which are too beautiful Ivan’s Childhood to be a realistic depiction of life. The elements play a large role in in 1962. He then natural Tarkovsky’s films. The soundtracks directed in the Soviet Union often contain the sounds of water dripping while the earth seems to Andrei Rublev in be perpetually damp. Fire and water are usually 1966, Solaris in represented together, the burning barn from The and candle in Nostalghia being two ex1972, The Mirror Mirror amples. The Mirror, Stalker, and Nostalghia all in 1975 and Stalker contain scenes in which one or several characters on the earth in contemplation. Wind is also in 1979. The docu- lay used often in The Mirror. This emphasis of momentary Voyage in ments in nature, as well as the theory of “sculptin time” has been cited by the remodernist Time was produced ing film movement as a major influence on their own in Italy in 1982, as ideas on filmmaking.

FILMOGRAPHY

inspiration | Dez . 09 | 17


Zachari The sheer dimension of his self portraits and of course their nudity, have ensured

that young canadian artist Zachari Logan has attracted the attention of the art world.

Unafraid of being labelled exhibitionist or narcissistic, Logan speaks to us of sacrifice and heroism through his tactile, accessible drawings, responding to stereotypes of masculine representation from the history of art.

Log an by Roger Winstanley


interview | Dez . 09 | 18

Tank-top 1 (detail) Pastel on paper, 42 x 65 inches, 2009


How did this theme of self-portraiture develop in your work? For a few years before i began this current series of drawings and paintings i had been using images of men from various ubiquitous sources such as images from internet porn, art historical images, magazines and old photographs, to create allegories about masculine archetypes. I began to feel that the images of men i had been using as subject for my work had no personal connection to me, which bothered me. In using myself as the sole subject, i was able to fill this gap and focus on creating a dialogue about my own body and the ways in which male bodies have been historically disseminated. Do you feel that the self-portrait is always a form of narcissism? I believe creating artwork is a form of narcissism, no different than writing a book or composing music. All creation is somewhat narcissistic, because it is all somewhat of a self-realization. If one’s creation is going to be one worth listening to, looking at or reading, it is going to have something to do with the creator’s actual life experiences, not all acts of a narcissistic nature are negative. Self-reflection can be deeply honest and frightening, which is wherein the taboo lies. Fear breeds contempt, so naturally people assume drawing or paint- ing one’s self continually is a negative act of self-love.

Kafia (detail) Oil on canvas, 54x64 inches, 2008


interview | Dez . 09 | 19

Crowd 1 (detail) Graphite on paper, 100x82 inches, 2008

Which self-portrait in the history of art is most important for you? I would go with caravaggio’s painting of “david with the head of goliath” in which caravaggio portrays himself as the slain character of goliath. I believe it was the last painting he ever did before he was murdered, which adds to the painting’s incredible beauty. To what extent does a homoerotic aesthetic influence My work to be honest is about me as your art? a man, as a sexual creature like all other animals. I certainly try to be honest about my sexuality but not explicitly so, I don’t see my work as having a particularly ‘gay’ or ‘homoDo collectors ever request specific images erotic’ aesthetic. That is not to say that No actually... unless you count my family, who would from you? if people read into my work a sense of rather have pictures of flowers or animals, and not what it is to be a gay man in the conimages which contain my penis!! temporary world i would tell them they are wrong, i would likely agree, but aes- What would you say are your greatest thetically i aim at re-visioning my own pleasures in life? I enjoy everyday body within the rubric of the historic things like walking with my husband (neo-classical/baroque) because of art’s and going to the gym or for coffee... power to both codify bodies and sexual and the days when i am in my studio preferences through imagery. drawing and painting for hours on end. I would also add travelling for work, this year i was fortunate enough to travel to paris twice, nyc twice, and miami all for exhibitions of my work, it was bliss... and yes, lisbon is on my list, hopefully very soon!


ONNO HAMBURGER Text by: Carla IsĂ­doro

The science of happiness has divided opinion among psychologists. However, many people are currently analysing the subject of optimism and multinationals are investing in the self-esteem of their employees.

We invited dutch psychologist onno hamburger, specialist in happiness at work, to explain the potential of positive psychology.

Here he speaks of the state of society, education, creativity and the lack of motivation which afflicts the portuguese. It seems that paradise can indeed be found here on earth.


interview | Dez . 09 | 23


The first question should naturally be: Are you a happy person? Yes, I am. Although, of course, I have my occasional moments of unhappiness, I´ve really learned to appreciate these moments. You know, I think I need these moments of unhappiness to keep myself on the right track. There are so many nice things to do out there. So much interesting stuff! but you can also get very distracted by unimportant stuff. For years I used to get lost all the time and that didn’t make me happy. So you can say that my temporary unhappiness keeps my sustainable happiness pretty high. I am also glad that I can say that I am happier now than 10 years ago.

“I am happier now than 10 years ago.”

What makes happiness such a special value nowadays? People realise that when you have everything, and lots of people have lots of things nowadays, materialistically speaking, it is simply not enough. Like buying a bigger car or a better, larger house. I also think that people are searching for meaning. People in holland and europe in general are getting less religious. If you are not going to work for heaven after your lifetime, you ´d better try to reach it in this life. People have realised that money and luxury don’t get you any closer to heaven. Perhaps happiness does!? I mean in, the end it, is all about happiness, don’t you think so? Did the subject of happiness make you go from Concentrating on “Regular” psychology to positive psychology (pp)? Yes, absolutely. You should also know that about 10 years ago I was living on the island of aruba in the Dutch Caribbean, in a gorgeous place with beautiful white beaches and palm trees. I lived there in a nice old, colonial style villa next to a beautiful beach and looking over a beautiful reef. I had a good job, with a bright future, living together with a beautiful girlfriend, windsurfing and diving every weekend, drinking cocktails on the beach. I was living this dream life but still deep inside I did not feel fulfilled, not really happy. That was the moment for me to start my big research project of a lifetime. What makes people happy? On that Island I decided that my mission would be to find happiness. For myself and, after that, help others with their happiness. I started doing research into happiness and soon I found out that there was a new small but very inspiring group of people working on happiness. The moment I read about their work and what they were doing I was completely hooked.

“On that Island I decided that my mission would be to find happiness.”


interview | Dez . 09 | 24

In portugal, the knowledge of pp is almost insignificant, mostly psychologists, educational investigators and those who are curious know about it. in the usa, for example, the subject is already part of the school and high-school Curriculum. what difference does pp make to kids education? The difference will be huge. Research shows that children who are happier feel more relaxed and learn better and more at school. They are better able to focus and achieve more in school. Research also shows that becoming happier creates lot of advantages, like being more creative, open, less sick, having better health, living longer, cooperating more, etc. This is true for adults but for children as well! Research shows that children can change and become happier. Has holland implemented pp in schools as well? In holland we have a few schools which are working with PP. Jacqueline boerefijn is very busy with it. educators can download their material about PP for kids for free. It is called lessen in geluk. Have you ever looked in the mirror every day repeating 10 times “i am beautiful and smart” expecting to look more beautiful and be more intelligent? I did, and it did not work for me. but at that moment I surely tried because I wished it were true. I think that works for a lot of people. They really want to believe it but in a way it is more magical childlike thinking than realistic.

“...do happiness practice al least twice a day!”

Is happiness possible without working hard to achieve it? Some people are born very happy and they don’t have to work hard for it. For most of us it is about hard work. By natural selection/ evolution, negative things that happen to us have an impact which is five times stronger that positive things. So there’s a natural disadvantage. Also take into account that within our lives, changes are getting faster and faster, which of course creates stress. We have to learn to cope with this. and there is no quick fix. Everybody is looking for it. Some people go for drugs, alcohol, etc. to help them. It is not sustainable. In the end I think 80 percent of the people will just have to make happiness interventions part of their daily routine. Like we brush our teeth twice a day we will have to learn and do happiness practice at least twice a day!


THEATER > Volcano

CONCERT > Youthless Where: Cabaret Maxime, Praça da Alegria, 58 When:Dec 21 - 23.30h

CINEMA > Silent Night, Deadly Night

Where: Teatro Sá da Bandeira When: Until Dec 25 Wed to Sat at 21.45 | Sun 16.15

Where: Cinematheque, Rua Barata Salgueiro, 39 When: Dec 22 - 19h

There are women who are a volcano. There are others living in eruption. But a rash inside, sad, repressed. In this case, it is all this and victim of her husband. Yes, here we are witnessing violence and intolerance. Drama, tragedy and horror that so many houses are in this country and around the world. Are realities that can not close eyes. It is forbidden to ignore. And do not be thinking, “I’m going to leave the house to watch a woman being raped?”. You The idea is to remove the chairs and will, because there is (almost) always tables Maximian, or even climb up on a light at the end of the them because this will not be one of tunnel and because the those concerts to dance only with your female power is a cerfingers. “Wicked Wisdom is the story tainty. Sooner or later of an American and an Englishman there is a twist, or as who decided to come to Lisbon to pick they say the popular afup colored umbrellas. One word leads ter the storm comes the and ended up making an album: the What Santa Claus hides behind the white beard? It is calm. And who is the vilTelemachy. “Unauthorized Biography a chin or a non-concealment of identity? An elderly lain deserves his punishin and not confirmed the bands play- customers by an informer in the program of protec- ment. You need to know ing in the capital of the Empire. And tion of witnesses, the uncle who disappears mysteri- to wait. ously 5 minutes before Christmas Eve the rest is music, because they were waiting for me to put me here to make parallels with or a ruthless serial killer who punishes other bands and sounds that they are mistaken. The the bad guys and good, why not? Both ears do not deceive. Ahh, and do not forget that as we red Christmas finally finds its raison enter Ur MA and for dessert the Dj Set d’être. Let’s celebrate the enlargement “The 50 best singles of the 00s to the of the court (at this point we can calBodyspace.net.” It will be the kilo! culate the duration by about one and a half ) with a mass of recycling books and toys Toys’R’Us with a film screening that disfigures the icon of Christmas, too cry of false scare, “he’s behind you” and “do not come here, this is the closet door!”. Bonus: blind teen female character and mental. Just do not see the future because many ideas were good together in the same film.


next days | Dec . 09 | 26

DANCE > More more... FUTURE Where: Teatro Municipal Maria Matos, Frei Miguel Contreiras, No. 52 When: Days 27 and 28 at 21:30

CONCERT > Vetiver OPENING > Generation Z Where: Gallery Association of Architects When: Dec 27 - 21h

Where: Galeria Zé dos Bois, Rua da Barroca, No. 59 When: Dec 29 - 22h

This thing encapsulate generations of names and lyrics always made me confused - I get lost trying to understand the myth that generation called lowball that never existed or coldly analyze the cyclical generational conflict at the political and musical. When rebels - the newer generations do not stop aging! And always conservative - the older generations sin always From Kinshasa to Europe, Faustin late in its progression Linyekula brings moved Congolese and analysis! Do vacant nights. It was the great revelation of architectural producKunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels and tion (between aesthetic will debut in Lisbon. Not kuduru pro- battles and claims of the gressisso or wild funk, is ndombolo. existence of schools of Faustin joined the existing literature, Porto and Lisbon) comes There are women who are a volcano. theater, playing this kind of music, Generation Z that is amThere are others living in eruption. family nights Kinshasa. You created plified in social concerns But a rash inside, sad, repressed. In choreography, gave him new rhythms, and extends in architecthis case, it is all this and victim of her linked him to a message. More, more, tures global language husband. Yes, here we more, FUTURE. For the Congo. For and affirmation of the technology. The are witnessing violence the Congolese. And for Z here is not that these Zzzzz Kaputt! and intolerance. Drama, Europeans nostalgic reauzprojekt and never allowed them- tragedy and horror that call Nijinsky and Bausch. selves to sleep - but serves rather to tab so many houses are in In more, more, more Fubetween then and now, between con- this country and around ture, Faustin puts the tinuities and ruptures to be there and the world. Are realities body to speak, giving come here to this exhibition. that can not close eyes. voice and dreaming that It is forbidden to ignore. “(...) with his feet firmly And do not be thinking, “I’m going to on the ground can be leave the house to watch a woman bebuilt on top of the ruins, ing raped?”. You will, because there is a little more in the future (almost) always a light at the end of the “ . Today, it is not only tunnel and because the female power is credited with creating a certainty. Sooner or later there is a twist, or as they the first contemporary say the popular after the storm comes the calm. And dance company in Kewho is the villain deserves his punishment. You need nya, but also the artistic to know to wait. project of cultural that formed in Kisangani, Kabako Studio. A breath of hope for the Congo. A life lesson for us.


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