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ISSUE 4 DEC 2010 VHCLE MAGAZINE

-INSIDE ISSUE 004 The National / What Dr. Seuss and Clay Taught Me About Christmas / The Patriotic Lie / Object and Context / Dirt, Grime and Poetry – A Look at the Music Scene in Brantford, Ontario / Jessica Bell / Christopher St. Leger / Katja Sonnewend / MAGIC – Project 2010 Las Vegas WWW.VHCLE.COM


magic project 2010 las Vegas J. Lindeberg -PHOTOGRAPHER ANDRI TAMBUNAN (Continued on p98)


CONTENTS Vhcle Magazine ISSUE 004

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004 CONTENTS . 006-007 Contributors . 008 MASTHEAD . 010-015 The National by Jamie Dance Thunder . 016-019 What Dr. Seuss and Clay Taught Me About Christmas by Marc Ingber . 022-024 The Patriotic Lie by Eric Garbe . 025-029 Object and Context by Tim Sunderman . 030-034 Dirt, Grime, and Poetry – A Look at the Music Scene in Brantford, Ontario by anDrew Whitson . 035-053 The Artwork of Jessica Bell . 054-081 The Artwork of Christopher St. Leger . 082-097 NYC Polaroids/The photography work of Katja Sonnewend . 098-121 MAGIC – Project 2010 Las Vegas forward by Stephanie Weaver, photography by Andri Tambunan ---

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Happy holidays VHCLE MAGAZINE 2010


VHCLE MAGAZINE ISSUE 004 CONTRIBUTORS (Alphabetically by last name)

-JESSICA BELL/ARTIST

Born in Montréal and currently living in Vancouver. She has a BA in Art History. She owns more books with pictures than words. She can’t throw out any of the security envelopes from her bank mail because of the patterns on the inside. A chronic walker, knitter and coffee drinker, and a sponge for the place she lives in. www.jessicabellart.com

-ERIC GARBE/WRITER

A penny-ante malcontent from Atlanta. He is currently impersonating a law student but professes no ambitions or intentions regarding the future.

-MARC INGBER/WRITER

A journalist with Sun Newspapers, based in Minneapolis, MN. He was born and raised in the Twin Cities and attended journalism school at the University of Kansas. His primary interests include rock ‘n’ roll, movies, food and drink, the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins – probably in that order. Christopher St.Leger visually examines the subtleties of place. Where one finds himself is to this artist the most deserving of his attention. His concern is primarily image-making, in emphasizing a watered down beauty found everywhere, more so than say the photo-journalist who is determined to make distinctions between this place and that. Before he begins a painting, he steps back and considers an automotive approach. This point of view is detached from nature and of one who sees things from within a moving glass container. To paint in a way that speaks of the limitations of existence, he sees importance in an accurate sense of perspective. www.christopherstleger.com

-KATJA SONNEWEND/PHOTOGRAPHER

Born in Poland, grew up in Germany, studied photography and Fine Arts in the Netherlands. Currently lives and works in Berlin. Since receving her first photo camera from her parents, she’s been fascinated by the fact that you can keep moments of this life on a small piece of paper. Her work was published in several international magazines like Vanity Fair (Germany), Vogue and Sleek Magazine. Group and solo shows among others in Amsterdam, Berlin, Warsaw, Israel and Nanjing. www.sonnewend.com

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|004-2010 VHCLE ISSUE 4 CONTRIBUTORS|

-CHRISTOPHER ST. LEGER/ARTIST


-TIM SUNDERMAN/WRITER, ARTIST

A graphic designer in the San Francisco Bay Area whose first love is drawing and painting, tries to avoid computers until there is no other recourse, and because there is no other recourse, yearns for the open spaces. Tim is a graduate from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and majored in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a college art and design instructor and freelance artist. www.timsunderman.com

-ANDRI TAMBUNAN/PHOTOGRAPHER

A freelance photojournalist/documentary photographer currently based in Northern California. He was born in 1981 in Jakarta, Indonesia. At age 10 he moved to the United States. He received his BA in photography from Sacramento State University in 2006 with a concentration in Fine Arts. His love of travel has taken him to many countries. After witnessing and documenting the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India on November 26, 2008, Andri shifted his focus to photojournalism and documentary photography; to tell stories in pictures that embraces truth and beauty but at the same time moves people into action. www.andritambunan.com

-JAMIE DANCE THUNDER/WRITER

(Yes, that’s his real name.) An English Language graduate from Cardiff University, now studying for an MA in Investigative Journalism at City University, London. He hopes his interests of bad puns and current affairs will help him get a decent job on a newspaper, or failing that make him that guy at parties who makes terrible topical jokes and is the only one who laughs. www.exclarotive.wordpress.com

-STEPHANIE WEAVER/WRITER, DESIGNER

A Northern California native who attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Has worked and lived in NYC, Paris and London. She holds a BFA in Fashion Design from the AAU and a second year diploma from Studio Berçot in Paris. She has worked for a number of design companies including Gucci, Nice Collective, MYSELF by Kai Kuhne, and Alexander McQueen. A freelance designer and personal stylist, Stephanie recently partnered with a long time friend to create Absence of Light, an avant-garde fashion design company.

-ANDREW WHITSON/WRITER

A recent graduate at Western Ontario, he’s written for the University newspaper, covering art and music-based events throughout Canada. He hopes to continue writing for publications in an attempt to break into the wide variety of careers in the journalism market. 004- 2010

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Founder/Editor in Chief Charlie Lee charlie@vhcle.com

Founder/Editor Cassie Lee cassie@vhcle.com

-Sub-Editor Jamie Dance Thunder Director of Advertising & Marketing jonathan young jonathan@vhcle.com Senior Correspondent – Int’l Marketing & Media Relations ANDrew Whitson andrew@vhcle.com -Contributors Features Jessica Bell, Christopher St. Leger, Katja Sonnewend Writers & Photographers Tim Sunderman, Jamie Dance Thunder, Eric Garbe, Marc Ingber, andrew Whitson, Stephanie Weaver, Andri Tambunan, clara tortato, Loïc RAUX, aaron Doucette -Cover THE NATIONAL, Photographer clara tortato Photos (pp10-11) www.flickr.com/nasodacornflakes -Photos (pp2-3, 98-121) MAGIC – PROJECT 2010 LAS VEGAS, Photographer Andri Tambunan Photos (pp14-15) The National, Photographer Loïc RAUX www.flickr.com/photos/halogenure Artwork, spread (pp5, 16) VHCLE LAB Illustration (pp25, 28-29) TIM SUNDERMAN Photos (p27) (Lt.) Holbein-ambassadors 1533, courtesy of wikimedia commons, (Rt.) The Xiao and Xiang Rivers, courtesy of wikimedia commons photo (p32) Photographer aaron Doucette -General inquiries, questions, and comments: contact@vhcle.com Advertising: jonathan@vhcle.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/vhclemagazine Twitter: www.twitter.com/vhcle Vhcle Notes: www.vhcle.com/notes

-Published by Charlie Lee: Vhcle Magazine, www.vhcle.com, and VHCLE NOTES All content copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission from both the copyright owner and the publisher of this magazine. Vhcle Magazine is not responsible for the return or loss of, or for any damage or injury to, any unsolicited manuscripts or artwork.

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THE NATIONAL writer JAMIE DANCE THUNDER -The National, London Brixton Academy, November 30th, 2010 Vhcle Magazine Issue 4, pp10-15

Matt Berninger of The National is, whatever he might claim in his between-song banter, an awkward man. As he mutters and murmurs his way through the set at London’s Brixton Academy he variously hits his hands against each other, his legs, and his chest, screams into the microphone, and gestures with hands on thighs to his drummer. At one point he crouches down and does a sideways roll. (Apparently it goes down a storm in Belgium.) Throughout the show he seems to be teetering on the edge of a breakdown, letting himself stare over the edge before hauling himself back, only to fly into a confused rage that builds and builds before finally being unleashed in the thrilling squall of “Abel”.

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sound tauter and more muscular, packing a much greater punch.

If Berninger’s performance ratchets up the tension through the feeling that this might be the night he loses it, it’s more than matched by the men behind him as they tauntingly soundtrack his paranoia. From the opening “Runaway” with its ominous lines about being fed to the flood and swallowing the shine of the sun to the rolling drums and sparse piano of “Squalor Victoria” the music swirls around him, mocking his attempts to force it under his control.

They’re helped by the inclusion of a twopiece brass section, which adds a forlorn, Last Post feel to the slow-burners like “Sorrow” that might otherwise fall a bit flat. Only two songs, the snarling “Available” and a lovely version of “Lucky You”, are included from the first two albums, as the far more accomplished recent work takes centre stage, but it never feels like The National are ashamed of their past.

But then ever since Alligator marked them out five years ago as something more than a morose guitar band with above-average lyrics, The National’s draw has been the tense sparring between singer and band. That album’s mix of mournful, faintly sinister warnings and full-throttle blasts was followed up by Boxer, in which the conflict became still more pronounced as Bryan Devendorf’s drumming buffeted the songs seemingly at will. Onstage the backdrop flickers with images of the band, never stopping quite long enough for you to work out whether it’s a live feed or images from previous shows, while Berninger veers around the stage then returning to clutch the mic as if fighting to stay afloat in an ocean of noise. There is, understandably, a focus on the most recent three albums, with several songs from this year’s High Violet making the set. The recorded versions are a slightly underwhelming listen, but live the songs

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It’s also clear that despite the fractious character studies they turn into music, the band are very comfortable with each other. They’ve been together for over a decade now, and there’s not a missed cue or false start throughout the set. It’s particularly impressive on “Fake Empire” as drums, guitar, and trumpet collide in a swirl of time signatures and syncopation, but no less well-rehearsed for simpler songs like “Secret Meeting” or “Conversation 16”. Although the screaming of the first few albums has disappeared from more recent recordings (maybe because they no longer need to grab a truculent crowd’s attention) it’s still an integral and electric part of the live performance. “Abel”, “Mr. November” and “Available” all get the treatment, as does “Squalor Victoria”, which is transformed from a pretty-but-edgy little track into a chaotic assault, climaxing with its title being repeatedly yelled down the mic. It’s a


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complete and surprising departure from the studio version, and a very welcome one that shows definitively this isn’t just a band going through the motions. With a show at the end of November in London, it’s no surprise when “Mr. November” and “England” (which Berninger cheekily introduces as ‘France’) both make appearances. But it’s the finale of “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks”, played completely acoustically and off-mic with an awed audience singing along to every word that’s the real highlight (even if several of the audience seem to think it’s actually about geese). It takes an unusual band to reduce the Brixton Academy to a hushed reverence, but The National do it with ease. They’re awkward, uneasy, and unpredictable – and on this sort of performance, completely unstoppable.

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Photographer : Lo誰c RAUX www.flickr.com/photos/halogenure

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What Dr. Seuss and Clay Taught Me About

Christmas

writer MARC INGBER -What Dr. Seuss and Clay Taught Me About Christmas, December 2010 Vhcle Magazine Issue 4, pp17-19

I’ve never conducted a survey, but it’s safe to assume that most people’s Christmas celebrations don’t resemble George Bailey’s in It’s a Wonderful Life. I’m 28 years old and never has a friend or co-worker recounted his Christmas holiday break to me with a story of every acquaintance he has ever known bursting through the door with wads of cash to save him from financial ruin at the last minute. This doesn’t mean It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t any good. It’s rightfully considered a Christmas classic, and a sappy favorite of mine from when I was young. But much like a number of other holiday classics I watched as a kid, the subject matter was always a little foreign to me.

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I suppose this is natural, considering I’m Jewish and my family never celebrated Christmas. The feeling I had watching movie or TV characters celebrate Christmas is similar to the feeling I have now when I see thousands of Europeans celebrating the World Cup – it’s cool that everyone is so excited and I can be happy for them, but it seems to have nothing to do with my life whatsoever. Like many kids, I looked forward each year to watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman and other Christmas TV traditions. The funny thing is that much of my adult knowledge of “Yuletide” traditions comes from these shows and the Christmas movies and songs I experienced as a kid. Unlike my nonJewish classmates, none of my encounters with Christmas trees, lights, eggnog and the like came firsthand.

of adolescence. It isn’t until years later when you actually attend high school that you realize not all nerds wear cheesy glasses and not all football players are jerks. The problem was, growing up I never had a real-life Christmas to dispel the Hollywoodcreated myths about it. I wasn’t a complete idiot – I realized no one referred to their holiday meal as roast beast or that they were visited by talking clay snowmen who told tales of glowing reindeer and misfit elves who dreamt of being dentists. But I was never able to reconcile where the strange folktales ended and reality began. The classic Christmas songs, mostly written in old English vernacular, sure didn’t help. I’ve known the lyrics to “Deck the Halls” ever since I was a young kid, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t learn what a “bough of holly” was until I was 22.

For me, Christmas as a family celebration solely existed in pop culture. When I think of the holiday, I don’t think of waking up extra early and running to the tree to open presents. I think of Macaulay Culkin putting Micro Machines on the floor in Home Alone to thwart would-be burglars or the Grinch sitting at the head of the table to carve the “roast beast”. Not surprisingly, it can be dangerous to rely on Hollywood, much less cartoons or Claymation, for an accurate representation of Christmas. It’s sort of like watching a movie about high school kids when you are 8 years old – at the time it seems like a pretty accurate portrayal

As I got older, it was interesting to balance what I thought families did on Christmas with what actually occurred. I, of course, learned that there is no real uniform way to spend the holiday. Sure, there are some families who deck the halls, decorate the tree, roast chestnuts on an open fire and gather around the piano to sing carols of Noel, St. Nick and winter wonderlands. But on the other hand, there are also people who take food to their room, watch football and spend the day doing their best to avoid the family. Growing up, Christmas for me always meant

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two things: Chinese restaurants and movie theaters, two of the only places it’s possible to go on the holiday. Lo Mein on Christmas Eve and a matinee on Christmas Day is an annual tradition for many Jewish families. Though Hanukkah is a gift-giving holiday in December, comparing it to Christmas is misleading. It just doesn’t have the same mystique – it’s eight days long, takes place on a different week each year and isn’t a work holiday. Hanukkah staples like candles and potato pancakes have their perks, but Hollywood doesn’t make movies about them. That’s why I always watched Christmas specials and movies, along with my gentile brethren. Even though they didn’t necessarily apply to me, they intrigued me as a kid. In the days before DVRs, DVDs and the internet, I was fascinated with a show or movie that would only air once a year. Today I’m all grown up, but I still enjoy these holiday traditions. Unlike many, I never had a real Christmas celebration as a child to prove that Frosty and Rudolph didn’t actually come over to the house. I never had to go through the experience of learning Santa didn’t exist because he never came to my house anyway. For me, he always was just the heavy guy in Coke commercials, which is what he’s remained to this day. Around this time of year, it’s nice to think that some things never change.

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The Patriotic lie writer ERIC GARBE -The Patriotic Lie, December 2010 / Vhcle Magazine Issue 4, pp22-24

As I write this article the 2010 Elections are less than a week away. Perhaps the defining theme of this year’s campaigns has been patriotism. But a strange sort of patriotism tempered by the idea - sometimes explicit, sometimes implied, but most often alluded to and then hastily apologized for – that should patriotism alone not be enough to “fix” this country, then armed secession is the logical next step. “America, loved it and leave it.” A paradox at first blush, but not a new one. To anyone raised in the former Confederacy, this is a paradox that from our earliest education forms an essential part of our understanding of American history.

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Two statues flank the corners of the Georgia State Capitol, each marking the corners of the grounds. To the left is John Brown Gordon, who rose from command of a band of irregular soldiers to become one of Lee’s top generals. To the right is Joseph Emerson Brown, who served as governor for the entirety of the war and then some: 1857-65. By contrast Jimmy Carter’s statue is tucked into a corner, and maybe half the size of Gordon’s. Both statues call the honoree a “patriot”. The logic isn’t necessarily inconsistent. If there is some particular set of values that are essential to the character of the nation, then a serious enough deviation from those values is a threat to the nation that may require armed force to correct. But can this patriotism be recognized with the idea of patriotism tied up with loyalty to and love for one’s country, to the aspiration of coming together as one nation? No, this is a selfish patriotism – a love that touches only through the reflection of one’s own personal worldview. By imposing his own value system on his connection with the nation, the hypocritical patriot says: “I love my country, but only so far as it does something for me.” Of course there are always extremists willing to kill something to say it, and it’s unlikely this logic will stick around for very long. More probably it’s another symptom of the general panic surrounding this election, the force that turns the most banal hardship into the gravest tragedy. Something that will fade back into the woodwork as the panic subsides. Something boring. Transitory.

But in the South it will remain and perpetuate. Just north of Atlanta is Stone Mountain, where some irritation of the earth’s crust produced a giant rocky pimple to dominate the landscape. Not really a mountain, but not a hill either. The grounds, where the KKK once held their rallies, are now a chintzy theme park version of the ante-bellum south-historical recreation meets carnival schlock with a healthy dose of shityou-can-buy. The centerpiece of the park is a giant relief carving of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and President Jefferson Davis. (Wikipedia tells me this is actually the largest bas-relief in the world.) On summer nights this is the backdrop for a laser show. Of course, it goes without saying that outdoorlaser-show and tacky go together like peanut butter and jelly, and this is no exception – a sickening medley of southern rock classics, forgotten country hits, saccharine tributes to America, and of course a celebration of Confederate heritage, ending in a truly eyerolling sequence where the three figures come to life. These things have their time and place, it would seem. Salute your country, and then cheer for those who took up arms against it. Patriotism and treason: two great tastes that taste great together. Maybe I’m too quick to judge. Maybe there’s something to this – you can both love America as it is and honor the south as it once was, honor the Confederate lifestyle. Maybe. Probably not.

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Because the bearers of Confederate pride, of the so-called “Southern heritage” are never content to venerate the pre-rebellion culture. They seek to venerate the rebellion itself. Recall those two statues, dominating the corners of my state capital – men who did not simply exist as relics of the ante-bellum. These are men who were instrumental to war against the Union. And that war… a war that killed a million Americans. A war that pitted American against American. A war that weakened and divided us, embarrassed us. So even if you claim that it was a war fought on principle (and it wasn’t) it was the stupidest, most wasteful principle imaginable. The character of America will always be two-fold: we are a nation formed out of violent uprising but also a nation defined by peaceful debate, and we must stay a nation defined by peaceful debate. To celebrate secession is, I think, to court destruction. As long as monuments to petty rebellion stand, America cannot truly be at peace.

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Object and context writer TIM SUNDERMAN -Object and Context, December 2010 / Vhcle Magazine Issue 4, pp25-29

The way that we see the world is defined by our cultural training. In other words, the manner in which we organize our perceptions and how we prioritize our attention are strongly influenced by what we are taught to value. That may seem obvious, but the contrast of differences between cultures can reveal things that may otherwise escape awareness. A central aspect of the way that we prioritize attention has to do with how we relate subject and space, object and context. In art, we like to distinguish between positive and negative space. Simply stated, positive space refers to the object in an image and negative space is the area around the object. Though this definition, like most art definitions, leads to considerable ambiguity when taken literally, it nonetheless is quite accurate when predicting the attention of the viewer. For example, an image of a cloud in the sky directs attention in such a way as to define the cloud as a positive shape and the sky around it as negative. But if that same image is also inclusive of a landscape, we tend to think of the land as positive. Now if a person is standing in the landscape, we think of the person as positive and all the surrounding elements as negative.

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Photo (Left): Holbein-ambassadors 1533, courtesy of wikimedia commons. Photo (Right): The Xiao and Xiang Rivers, courtesy of wikimedia commons

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In the long tradition of Western art and culture, a premium value is placed on the positive shapes. Indeed, even the terms positive and negative imply a scale of value or preference. Eastern art, particularly Far Eastern art (China, Korea, and Japan) uses a much different sensibility. There is a much greater infusion and integration of negative space into Eastern compositions. Looking at the excellent work of the German renaissance painter Hans Holbein the younger, we see incredibly dense detail covering every surface of the picture plane (The Ambassadors 1533). It is almost as though the rationale directing the composition is that if there is empty space, it needs to be filled. Another example would be the intricate ornamentation of Gothic cathedrals.

may simply be a metaphor for the mind. As we empty our minds of its ceaseless chatter, it is filled with the universal energy, or “Tao.” But that philosophy creates a broader view of the world which places great value on open space. This is clearly seen in the work of Dong Yuan’s The Xiao and Xiang Rivers (tenth century).

This emphasis on open space is also reflected in the extreme proportions of the rectangles used to define the picture plane in Eastern art. Chinese landscape art can often be five or six times longer than its height. Western art rarely ventures beyond picture planes whose sides are one and a half times the proportion of the other. Extreme rectangles almost demand a dominance of negative space. A friend of mine, Jaijun Lu, a bronze sculptor of some renown from China whose work was chosen as a cultural exchange gift for sister cities San Francisco and Shanghai this year, commented to me about the nature of the extreme rectangles used in Chinese art, particularly the very long ones. He said that the scope of the landscapes being presented could not be seen by the viewpoint of one observer, but are more likely representative of multiple viewpoints all presented simultaneously.

This is the antithesis to the Chinese principle described in the Tao Te Ching. “We mold clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that makes the vessel useful.” On the surface, this

It is as though the artwork is the viewpoint of a collective mind that extends beyond the individual. Likewise, the landscapes do not

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require a main subject. The eye is left to wander at ease without a central gravitational point. Context is the message. It is a self-corroborating world view. A Western perceptual framework may find that notion elusive or pointless when nothing takes center stage. But a stage does not need to take center stage. In an Eastern way of looking, that thought emerges as being irrational. A practical example of this fundamentally different world view is a cleverly conceived study by Takahiko Masuda and Richard Nisbett in 2001. The study sought to observe the differences between American and Japanese participants’ attention and their ability to report what they saw in an animated video of an underwater scene. The great majority of the American comments were oriented toward the objects like fish. The Japanese participants mentioned information about the field, or background, twice as many times as Americans did and were able to make sixty-five percent more observations about the field than Americans. The temptation to conjecture about the study’s larger cultural implications rightfully belongs to sociologists and anthropologists. But I think that there are also encouraging insights that each individual can make use of. Namely, that we make many decisions about where to apply our attention within the pattern of light that enters our eyes. The filters we use to construct and analyze information can broaden to include more relationships regardless of our cultural heritage. But I think that there is a particular cautionary note to most of us inculcated in a Western view of the world. And that is to stretch attention to be more inclusive of the

relationships between the objects that so often dominate our attention and the often overlooked context within which those objects exist. A musical note played in a song of a certain key may lift us to great elation. But the same note heard against a different key may be horribly dissonant. We do not need to look too far to find this kind of object-oriented thinking in much of America. How we demand our politicians to obstinately hold a position without regard to the reality of the situation that surrounds them, how we judge and reward our schools for performance with not the slightest acknowledgment of the economic hardships that affect learning, even on the highway, how many people seem oblivious to the fact that they are moving within a flow of other cars — all these examples point to a need to incorporate a greater scope of vision if we are to collectively or even personally ascend to the next level of understanding. Two simple exercises: the next movie you watch, look around the whole frame that surrounds the main actor or action. Secondly, reflect on how much of your next conversation’s meaning is never spoken and how it’s context may mean more than the words. There are layers of information that surround every object. Without context, objects are meaningless.

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Dirt, grime, and poetry — a Look at the music scene in Brantford, Ontario writer ANDREW WHITSON -Dirt, Grime, and Poetry – A Look at the Music Scene in Brantford, Ontario, December 2010 Vhcle Magazine Issue 4, pp30-34

Brantford, Ontario – a downtrodden and somewhat forgotten city, deep within the heart of Southwestern Ontario. A city met with division, from the prosperous northend with its shopping malls and businesses to its distraught west-side counterpart. The quick drive down West Street charts both the structural and financial changes within the city. An aging downtown core seeming to fall to pieces amongst a backdrop of old nightclubs, pubs, and abandoned buildings. And yet it is this very same downtown sector that gives Brantford one of the most interesting and independent musical hotbeds in the Southwest. The town has been fortunate to see a variety of influential bands rise up amidst the crumbling core. The development of Brantford’s underground and independent music scene started with bands like The Vermicious Knid and the Sourkeys, and continues to see up-andcoming bands like The Racoon Wedding and Hey Brother. The influence of the downtown center has been an important stomping ground not only for these prominent indie bands, but also for budding individuals like Casey and Jennifer Mecija of the now Toronto-based Ohbijou.

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bands employ is not for lack of skill or style, but creates a bond between the musician and the Brantford surroundings that influence this sound. Sacrificing the clean radio-friendly pop sounds, bands like The Racoon Wedding and Hey Brother have used this theme to give their music a personal touch that so many of the current, carbon-copy industry bands lack. With this mantra and outlook, it is these bands that make Brantford truly an interesting fusion of dirt, grime, and poetry.

The desire to stay in an independent market has rightly been supported by downtown venues like The Ford Plant and Alexander’s Tavern, places that have always been in favor of supporting local talent and promoting a hard-working and dedicated music scene. Both venues were instrumental for local and regional musicians to continue a Brantford tradition of gritty and emotionally-charged music that not only caters to the citizens of the downtown streets but directly reflects the city itself. The unpolished sound that many of these

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The current state of Brantford’s rising music scene is largely due to the impact of Tim Ford and Scott Wilson. From 2002 until 2010 Ford and Wilson operated and ran The Ford Plant, organizing shows and providing a place for any local band to perform. With The Ford Plant now shutting its doors, the duo have turned their attention to another project – the touring and promotion of their indie rock outfit, The Racoon Wedding. I had the privilege of sitting down with Tim and Scott to talk about their new projects, the impact of The Ford Plant, and of course, the importance of Brantford, Ontario.

Photo by Aaron Doucette

The rise of the Racoon Wedding in Southwestern Ontario is already well documented with glowing reviews of the bands first release [Gather Gather Bones Rattle Rattle Truth], praising the use of both raw energy and hometown pride. When asked about how the city of Brantford affected the song writing on their current release, Scott Wilson replied: “We didn’t try to add Brantford to the album, it wasn’t meant to be a concept album at all... we are constantly influenced by our surroundings, and Brantford will always be a huge part of our inspiration. I think the city is in some form a part of every song.” The album makes multiple references to the downtown and the aging infrastructure that defines a Brantford forgotten amidst the rising industries and commercial enterprise. When it was open, the Ford Plant brought bands from all over North America into Brantford’s abandoned downtown streets. Tim Ford speaks about the decision to ultimately close the doors on the storied venue. “We realized [as members of The Racoon Wedding] we were doing two

things half as good as we should. The Ford Plant has far succeeded any dream or desire we had when it opened and now we want to try and reach our goals with The Racoon Wedding.” Although Brantford will surely miss the popular venue, the underground and independent scene that Ford and Wilson helped foster will surely continue to thrive. Ford said the Racoon Wedding had no plans to relocate to another city. “Brantford is our home, and we feel confident about our abilities to make it as musicians here, and in this city,” he said. And Scott Wilson echoed these words by stating how important it is to stay true to your home. With a tour planned in the coming winter months, and a new fulllength album hitting the shelf in January, the Racoon Wedding are staying true to their word and putting one hundred percent into the growth of the band while continuing to maintain a relationship with the city. As the Racoon Wedding continues to keep pace and show promise within the city, bands like the widely successful Ohbijou show a different form of dedication to the city of Brantford. Although Ohbijou is now located predominately in Toronto, the indie pop band largely started out in the quiet streets of Brantford, with sisters Casey and Jennifer Mecija. Despite having left the city they still hold on to their hometown pride, and frequently stop in on tours in an effort to help the scene that has so graciously helped them. Casey and Jennifer can’t escape the history they

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have in Brantford, and are now good friends with the boys in The Racoon Wedding (you can even hear the sisters singing background vocals on various Racoon Wedding tracks). Ohbijou may be located in Toronto, but as so many bands have come to realize, you can’t ever truly leave a scene like Brantford. As the historic Ford Plant closes its doors, it is bands like The Racoon Wedding and Ohbijou that are continuing an environment for future bands to grow. As the dust settles on Brantford’s crumbling downtown streets, the music scene continues to rise and breathe life into a hardened city. With the Racoon Wedding vowing never to leave, and Ohbijou continue to show all the support it can muster, a new crop of raw music is primed to emerge, ready and willing to foster in the next group of underground and independent Brantford music.

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ART Jessica Bell


The artwork of

JESSICA BELL Onesee Project: Bridge Form Group (1-3) 2010 Community Group (1-4) 2010 Development Group (c) Items Under Overpasses, 2009 Paper Group (c) Space with Sunlight (e) Space with Movement, 2008 Forsythia Group (a, b) Seeing Forsythia (2,3), 2010

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Q&A Jessica Bell 001

We’d love to know how you go about creating these unique and sophisticated art pieces. That’s very kind, thank you. I think the starting point for the things I make on paper and otherwise are a direct result of a geography and of my life in it. It might be a bit of a stretch to say that Vancouver is my muse, but I am certainly enamored with it. And I am enamored with the idea of a city. As a city, Vancouver has a visual character that is very distinct; the climatic conditions are determined by geographical elements like a mountain range, and water in such close proximity. They manufacture atmospheric qualities that can change on an hourly basis. This place is at once a rugged landscape and the most densely populated city in Canada; that makes for an experience of city that can be a visual overload. I think of the things I am making as notes about this place – both the fleeting and the finite aspects of it.  002

What is the inspiration behind your paper collages? I started making the sewing collages with paper in late 2007. In my extended family are women like my grandmother, Jane, who are incredible sewing technicians. I lack her proficiency but I love the manner in which seemingly disparate material parts can be assembled together into

a communicable whole. I also love the natural cohesion such a process has with a subject like the place I live. I live and work right in the middle of Vancouver, and like many other areas in the center of the city, it’s difficult to find a horizon line. There are buildings, upon trees, upon buildings, upon bridges, upon skyscrapers, upon more bridges, upon mountains; the landscape elements are layered one on top of another and any matter of perspective or scale for me is secondary to the visual delight of shape and pattern upon shape and pattern. The paper collage work with and without the sewing allows me an ease of language to speak about these things. 003

Your art pieces like the Bridgeform Group and the Community Group are beautifully created. What’s the significance behind these? Thank you again. Both of those groups of work are relatively recent and are very satisfying for me because both are exercises in restraint. In the past I’ve worked in a way that I would add more and more information to a piece and then edit out a lot of it to complete it. These works are different in that I managed to add minimal information to talk about two aspects of city. I made the Bridgeform Group after I walked home from my studio across the Granville Street Bridge to my apartment for a week in the fall. From my apartment I can see three bridges over one of the inlets

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into the Vancouver core and I started paying attention to all of the structural arms that were essentially holding up the means for movement within the city. Community Group also is a direct result of my neighbourhood. In the past six months or so, I have been mulling over what ‘community’ might look like in varying scale and consideration. My neighbourhood has some awful apartment buildings from various different stages in development history. Each are faulty because they lack all of the potential that good architecture can hold for its inhabitants or its surrounding community and yet they are here with a certain amount of permanence and are part of my experience of place. Community Group is an ode to them, I think. As a familiar form I see repeated in my surrounding landscape, and as a container for the more life giving aspects of what community is they have a certain amount of grace.

yet I can’t seem to get away from it. I can’t entirely explain it but it is place itself and my relationship to it that are in a continuous state of flux; it’s what determines the things I make. 005

A question we like to ask everyone – favorite drink? Winter or summer? In the summer I will never turn down a mojito. And in pretty much every other instance I am endeared to the four shot latté from Vancouver coffee roaster J.J. Bean. It is equal parts taste and ritual that make it my favourite.

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So your surroundings have a huge affect on your creativity then? My surroundings are the crux. This is a challenging question because I’m in a constant state of trying to pin down what it is that engages me; some things I can articulate more successfully than others. For example I am sometimes surprised to go to really impressive places and walk away feeling rather flat with nothing I feel is worth mentioning in visual form from it. I’m equally surprised when I become obsessed with something characteristic of my surroundings that is pretty mundane and

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Bridge Form Group (1) 2010, 26� x 40� Acrylic, graphite, and hand-painted rice paper collage on paper

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Bridge Form Group (2) 2010, 26� x 40� Acrylic, graphite, and hand-painted rice paper collage on paper

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Bridge Form Group (3) 2010, 26� x 40� Acrylic, graphite, and hand-painted rice paper collage on paper

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Community Group (1) 2010, 19� x 25� Acrylic, and hand-painted rice paper collage on paper

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Community Group (2) 2010, 19� x 25� Acrylic, and hand-painted rice paper collage on paper

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Community Group (3) 2010, 19� x 25� Acrylic, and hand-painted rice paper collage on paper

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Community Group (4) 2010, 19� x 25� Acrylic, and hand-painted rice paper collage on paper

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Development Group, (c) Items Under Overpasses, 2009 24” x 36” Acrylic, and drawing media on wood panel

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Paper Group, (c) Space with Sunlight, 9� x 15� Paper collage, fabric remnant, and thread on linen paper

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Paper Group, (e) Space with Movement, 2008 9� x 8� Paper collage, metal, rayon mesh, and thread on linen paper

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Forsythia Group , (a) Seeing Forsythia (2), 2010 12” x 9” Paper collage, and thread on linen paper

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Forsythia Group , (b) Seeing Forsythia (3), 2010 12” x 9” Paper collage, and thread on linen paper

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ART Christopher St. Leger


The artwork of

christopher st. leger Midland Cinch Coat The Pea Family Upon Shards of Bat Teeth Puer Utah League Shiloh Here to Tingle Goosey Fit Ober Quad and Fluted Outcrop Nieder Johansson Lab Untroubled Face of the Way Weakened Stems Slab Welstare Gate

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Q&A christopher st. leger 001

In your bio you mention an automotive approach to your work – can you elaborate on this a bit? I find driving to be what walking in the countryside was for Jane Austen. Such an involuntary exercise of being behind the wheel allows the strategic part of my mind to calm down. It is a lesson that I try to instill in my painting…which is to avoid big and complex strategies mapped out in advance. And so the emphasis is less on invention and more of a reflexive approach that focuses on the paintbrush or the emotion in music. I also enjoy the notion of viewing the world from within a glass container that strips away much of the senses except vision. I could go on and on, but really I look to simulate the tranquility found within the protective body.   002

Also in your bio you contrast yourself to a photo-journalist as to your emphasis in “image-making”. What is the significance in this comparison? A photo-journalist’s challenge is to capture that one image that sums up the specifics of one city, one event, one country, etc. Well, I use a similar eye but to create simple or ambiguous narratives that are devoid of icons and landmarks. Because I recreate snapshot scenes in paint, I am surveying one image edge to edge…and I wish for the viewer to long for nothing beyond this

frame. I am the anti-journalist in that I wish to unplug any associated “current events” that I find to be a distraction from the immediate beauty of here and now. 
 003

Among all your work, is there one piece that seem to be favored more so than the others? I have a few nightscapes in watercolor. The entire paper is blanketed with a dark color field, except those areas representing minute bulbs of light. I think of James McNeil Whistler or Childe Hassam and wonder if they received a similar enthusiastic reaction.
 004

What advice would you give to new artists in this area of artistry? I would encourage new artists to look at all exhibition spaces/galleries with the same open mind that they apply to their art. Don’t eliminate the opportunities offered by smaller local venues. I live in a small town and it clearly benefits from the spark of youthful, creative talent.   
 005

A question we like to ask our featured artists - favorite drink? Coffee and gin. Though not together.

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Midland Cinch Cioat Original 15� x 23� watercolor on paper

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Midland The Pea Family Original 15� x 23� watercolor on paper

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Midland Upon Shards of Bat Teeth Original 15� x 23� watercolor on paper

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League Shiloh original 20� x 28� watercolor on paper

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League Here to Tingle original 19.5� x 30� watercolor on paper

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League Goosey Fit original 29� x 41� watercolor on paper

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Ober Quad and Fluted original 18.5� x 28� watercolor on paper

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Ober Outcrop original 20� x 28� watercolor on paper

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Nieder Johansson Lab original 28� x 40� oil on panel

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Nieder Untroubled Face of the Way Original 24” x 24” oil on panel

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Nieder Weakened Stems original 20� x 28� watercolor on paper

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Slab, welstare gate, original 21� x 39� watercolor on paper

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ART/PHOTOGRAPHY Katja Sonnewend


The photography work of

katja sonnewend New York City Polaroids

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Q&A katja sonnewend 001

What inspires you about photography? The impassioned and complementary relationship between time and light. 002

How would you define your style of photography? I take my time to celebrate the colour. 003

Describe your NYC polaroids? New York is always very agreeable for my Polaroid and me. It’s the city where time and colour could have started their romance, so my camera and I are just strolling around like a couple. The only difference: we are not blinded by love... 004

Any advice to new aspiring photographers? Always be yourself; do not try to be someone else. But if you copy, do it well or only better. 005

What’s your favorite drink? Żubrówka on the rocks with fresh lemon juice.

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MAgic

project 2010 las vegas -Forward STEPHANIE WEAVER Photographer ANDRI TAMBUNAN

MAGIC – Project 2010 Las Vegas, December 2010 Vhcle Magazine Issue 4, pp100-121

The squeeze is on. MAGIC, the world’s largest fashion trade show that happens bi-annually in Las Vegas, is poised to showcase the biggest and best assortment of brands in five years. Although optimism runs uneven, exhibitors hope to entice buyers, and ultimately consumers with new capsule collections and the appropriate ratio of value to design. While mired in the challenging financial times, which has been exacerbated by the questionable economy, raw material shortages, and rising production costs, the industry has come together to combat these challenges and find innovative ways to appease the current demand in the ever-changing market.


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Apparel companies continually develop solutions and often propose that change must be made in-house, not with their manufacturers abroad. The rising costs of raw commodities and overseas production are continually a cause for concern for all parties involved. Michael Silver, the CEO of Silver Jeans, said: “The usual method is to run to a different country with lower production costs, but you can’t do that with a specialized product like premium denim.” Ultimately, the consumer feels the greatest burden, and as a result, alternative trends have been developed. Currently, there is more willingness in utilizing new textiles in apparel manufacturing, and the trends seen at MAGIC for Spring/ Summer 2011 are as follows in both Womenswear and Menswear: Active Utility Minimal color palette of tonal neutrals with black and white Proportional layering of fine gauge jersey and bleached, raw denim Shaped hemlines Sports-utility inspired garments Bonded jersey and smooth cotton fabrications Modernist Predominantly white color palette with accents of bold blues, tangerine and hot pink Glazed leather using hi-gloss PU to create a plastic like shine Sleeveless and structured tops created with Tyvek-like fabrics Voluminous bottoms with a dropped crotch and slim leg opening Sheer inserts and color blocking Rocker Offbeat color palette using sober greys, black and white, with pops of poppy and ink Sleeveless trench coats with ink stains Boxy t-shirts in second-skin fabrications Teddy boy jackets Decorative studding and zipper details

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Coming soon to Vhcle Magazine...

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notes

[a global perspective of news and opinion]

Vhcle Notes is a natural extension of Vhcle Magazine. Utilizing the informative and dynamic nature of a weblog, Vhcle Notes serves to offer a truly global perspective of news and opinion from a range of both consistent and contributing writers. --

Vhcle Issue 4  

Featured Articles: The National, What Dr. Seuss and Clay Taught Me About Christmas, The Patriotic Lie, Object and Context, Dirt, Grime and P...

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