Year: 2016

Slum Village on Legacy and the Future | fluoro

Detroit 1997. Fan-Tas-Tic Vol. 1 the debut record by Slum Village was released. Recorded in the late J Dilla’s basement in 1996/1997, the album immediately rose to critical acclaim, making its journey to the hands of A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip and on to the ears of the 90s hip hop elite. A few years later Slum Village landed their first record deal and released their first official album Fantastic, Vol. 2 in 2000. Slum Village is almost ever evolving. The group has seen six members come and go due to illness and mismatched perspectives, but still their sound and need to continue the Slum Village and Dilla legacy drives their future and continues the creation of original hip hop. Today they are touring Europe to promote last year’s release Yes! their eighth studio album posthumously produced by Dilla, Young RJ and Black Milk, after Miss Yancey, Dilla’s mother found cutoffs and forgotten recordings from Dilla’s studio. One half of Slum Village’s current lineup, Young RJ, who was Dilla’s protégé, said that Miss Yancey, found Dilla’s storage van in 2014, eight years after her son’s …

Michael Kiwanuka: Love & Hate | fluoro

At home on a London summer’s day, Michael Kiwanuka spoke to us ahead of the release of his highly-anticipated second album, Love & Hate. We wanted Kiwanuka to tell us who he was, setting the tone for what was to come as we dove further into the expressive universe of Kiwanuka. “I’m Michael Kiwanuka, from London,” he says. “I’m a singer, songwriter and musician and I guess I create music, and it’s soul music, just music for the heart.” But when Kiwanuka was exploring his musical identity, he didn’t think anyone was calling him anything. “They didn’t know who I was. When I was around doing stuff, I was playing open mics, little acoustic nights, so I guess people didn’t know about me. In the early days I was an acoustic singer/songwriter. I think now it’s the same, but with this new album it’s changed to soul singer…a troubadour singer/songwriter.” Of Ugandan descent, Kiwanuka was born and raised on North London’s Muswell Hill. While the former has possibly subconsciously impacted his work, the latter is the main source of his inspiration and …

A Million Smiles: From war torn wreckage to bustling metropolises, Mike Worsman searches for a smile

The Mills Longitudinal Study at UC Berkeley was a 50 year investigation of the wellbeing and social development of a group of women since graduating from the college. The initial study examined the smiles from photos of 20-something year old women in their college yearbook in order to measure any favourable outcomes in their lives many years later. Only the Duchenne Smile was considered as it sees the corners of the mouth and cheeks raised, and crow’s feet formed at our brow. Essentially the Duchenne Smile is our physiological expression of true happiness. What the study posited was that emotional tendencies are believed to shape personality and the life course of their influence on cognitive, behavioral and social processes. 30 years later, the study found that positive emotional expression in their college yearbook photos related to stable aspects of personality change in certain traits over time, observers’ judgement of the women’s personalities and their responses to those women, and life outcomes measured up to 30 years later. In fact, over time, those who expressed more …

The Non-Existent Problem of Ageing

When Associate Professor Hans Meij would go to Africa, he would shave his head. Years later when he visited Africa again for a short visit, he le his hair untouched. A local woman who had seen him before expressed her curiosity. “Dr Hans,” she asked, “do you have grey hair?” He replied yes. “You are so stupid! Why do you shave off your hair?” Dr Meij explained that cropping the hair on his head ensured that the scorching African sun wouldn’t a ect him as adversely as it could. “Now you lose respect since grey hair signifies ageing, and to be aged is respect,” she said. Like any researcher, he stopped to ponder the concept and realised that the moral of the story was two-fold: age is esteem and deserves respect, but in some cultures age is a sign of the outdated. “That’s when I learned to look at ageing in a completely different way – ageing is merit, as something earned, and something to be proud of,” he said. Dr Hans Meij is the …

Notes From a Diplomat | In Conversation with Haris Dafaranos, ex Greek Ambassador to Australia

“A diplomat is by de nition a generalist. He or she has to know a lot about many dimensions of life,” says His Excellency Mr Haris Dafaranos, Ambassador of Greece to Australia. “I would say that Law, Economics, History, Diplomatic History, International Relations, Literature and Philosophy are subjects one should master, together with foreign languages. A good critical mind is also necessary, with the ability of synthesis and analysis as well,” he adds. Good judgement, he explains, is also part of this equation, but it comes with time and experience. Add to this being a good listener and multiply it by being an everyday avid reader and you have some of the essential qualities of a quali ed diplomat. Born in Athens, Greece, Ambassador Dafaranos had a certain penchant for languages, studying French, English and Italian in high school. He continued his interest in languages, studying English Literature and Law at university, where he realised that he wanted to follow a professional career which would give him experiences from a global perspective. So in 1980 …

Interview with Alex Chinneck | fluoro

You probably wouldn’t believe that a building could melt, be built upside down, or be split into two with its top half somehow levitating. An electricity pylon couldn’t just fall from the sky, and 312 windows could never be identically smashed. The thing is, they can, and have. They’ve been brought to life by London-based artist Alex Chinneck. Chinneck’s work is renowned for its ambitious scale and illusory nature. They are largely cross-disciplinary and cross-technical – architectural processes intertwining with sculptural processes, and engineering with art. The results are nothing short from magnificent. His piece From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes, or the ‘sliding house’, as it’s more commonly known, saw the façade of a home in Margate replaced with a brick front. It gave the impression that it was somehow sliding into the front garden. The detached four-storey house had been derelict for 11 years, had fallen into ruin, and Chinneck’s project was a kind of cultural or artistic rejuvenation not only of the building, but the area itself. The …

Focus on the Unfocused: Alex Garant | fluoro

Canadian pop surrealist artist and Queen of Double Eyes Alex Garant, creates pieces that are about focusing on the unfocused. Employing the use of pattern duplication, symmetry and image superstition, particularly of eyes, her pieces can almost discombobulate the viewers, as it is difficult to focus on the true face of each subject. Garant says she has always been fascinated by symmetry and patterns, or “anything that makes the eyes travel over an image repeatedly.” The more she played with duplication of elements the more she found the vibrating effect that was created by overlaying images so positively stimulating. Portraits are her modus operandi, ultimately vivid and assertively striking. She captures a certain stillness from her subjects – they are looking towards us, but it is the eyes (and some other facial features) and the way Garant multiplies and overlaps them that seem to be communicating various messages. “Eyes are the window to the soul. This is how we communicate,” says Garant. “I like to think that the viewers shall try to unearth the main figure by focusing on …

Cuba: Black and White by Anna Mia Davidson | fluoro

Photographer Anna Mia Davidson has released her latest book, Cuba: Black and White, a series of photographs taken during her time in Cuba. Her photos tell the story of a turbulent time in during the beginning of the ban of trade and travel between Cuba and the United States. A break in diplomatic relations ultimately created a de facto embargo on information about Cuba. “As a young activist, I questioned the morality of the US embargo against Cuba. I was eager to find the positive in a country that I was forbidden to travel to by my government,” said Davidson. In 1999, at just 25 years old, Davidson made her way to Cuba to capture the Cuban people’s perspective. Ultimately, she was in search of the positive in an otherwise bureaucratically dismal situation, and although encountering moments that caused her to shift her thinking at times what she found rising to the surface was the spirit and resilience of the Cuban people. And the photos of Cuba: Black and Whitedepicted the spirit, the resilience, and the beauty …

Any Other Name

Every month my primary school would have an assembly to give awards to the achievers of the month. Those who were awarded the small yellow certificates signed by the principal would run straight to their parents after school, their grins essentially indestructible. The student assigned to read the names on the certificate would do so effortlessly, and one by one the students trotted out to the front of the stage. Then, he paused. The auditorium paused. “Staff-a…Stepha…Stefatina?” The only Stefatina in the school got up, looked at the certificate and shook her head. It wasn’t hers. I knew exactly who that certificate belonged to but I sat quietly waiting in the hope that they would eventually pronounce the nine letters in the name with ease. In a recent study by Laham et al, it was found that in general those with easy to pronounce names have things a bit easier. In the five studies conducted it was found that compared to those with difficult to pronounce names, people with simpler names are judged more positively, …

Interview with Eero Aarnio | fluoro

There are few things that can define an era. Then there are fewer things not only that define an era but also seep into those succeeding it, and retain valuable cultural currency. A concept released in 1962 caused a stir and remains relevant to this day. It was the Ball Chair. A hollow sphere sliced on one side, giving the feeling to whoever is inside that they are, as the name suggests, sitting in a bubble. The design quickly gained momentum for its unusual style and it became a staple for many homes. The 60s embraced it, and it became a design phenomenon. The designer behind it all was Eero Aarnio. After studying architecture in Helsinki, Finland, Aarnio worked as a product designer for the largest furniture factory in Finland: Asko. He also worked for famed Finnish designers Ilmari Tapiovaara, who designed furniture for the Finnish army, and Antti Nurmesniemi known for his horse-shoe stool and his coffee pots. The two designers influenced Aarnio and taught him how to remain focused in design. “While working …