Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

18 APRIL, 2011

Quakebook: Twitter-Sourced Anthology for and by Japan

By:

What Yoko Ono, William Gibson and Kings of Leon have in common.

The March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan are among the greatest natural disasters in modern history, affecting thousands of lives in unspeakably gruesome ways. While we’ve been skeptical of designers, writers and other creators flacking their work as a way to “help” Japan by donating a small portion of the proceeds while trying to sell large volumes of posters or t-shirts or novels — such schemes tend to feel like piggybacking on tragedy, disaster-washing, if you will — a new ebook by and for Japanese earthquake survivors tells a beautifully different story.

2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake, also known as the #quakebook project, was put together in a little over a week by a team of professional and citizen journalists who met on Twitter and set out to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in a thoughtful way that puts their strengths and talents to use. They collected essays, artwork and photographs from people all over the world — from ordinary people, from victims of the disaster, from journalists who covered it, from prominent writers like William Gibson, Barry Eisler and Jake Adelstein, who created original work for the book, and even from Yoko Ono, who captures the tragedy and turmoil of the moment in a poignant essay titled Awakening — and published them in an anthology the full proceeds from which benefit disaster relief efforts in Japan.

The idea for this book came out of desperation, desperation to do something for a country on its knees. As I write this, intense aftershocks still force me out onto the street with my daughter in my arms, even though we live far from the hardest-hit areas of the country, and far more comfortably than the thousands in refugee shelters.”

The book features 87 narratives, eyewitness accounts and essays covering — with raw and moving candor of lived experience — beauty, bravery, distance, escapism, God, morality, harmony, remembrance and everything in between.

Those of us who live in Japan are in a state of war. But not a war against a nation, or even nature. We are fighting defeat, worry and hopelessness. The question is: Are we strong enough to overcome? [F]or the many people around the world who care deeply about Japan, this book is a snapshot of a nation in crisis, told by the people affected, in their own voices.”

Besides the beautiful story of how the book came together and the profound bittersweetness of its goal, what makes the project unique is that 100% of the $9.99 you pay goes directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society. It’s the product of the sheer creative altruism of those involved, and of those choosing to support it — we urge you to join us amongst them.

via The Domino Project

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

15 APRIL, 2011

The Ancient Book of Myth and War

By:

What Roman warriors have to do with Pixar and medieval Middle-Eastern legends.

Nearly two years ago, we featured The Ancient Book of Séx and Science — the racy and whimsical side-project of four Pixar animators, which went on to become the most popular book in Brain Pickings history. But it was actually a follow-up to an earlier project by the same team, at the time out-of-print and near-impossible to get online, less a few exorbitantly priced four-figure collector’s copies. Now, The Ancient Book of Myth and War has magically reappeared on Amazon, where we were able to snag a copy for under $75. Needless to say, the book is an absolute gem worth every penny — a collection of stunning experiments in shape and color exploring the strange and wonderful world of mythology and legend throughout the history of the world. (As Amazon reviewer J. Brodsky eloquently puts it, “The only point to be made here, is that you simply must do yourself a favor and buy this art gallery they call a book.”)

The four animators — Scott Morse, Nate Wragg, Lou Romano, and Don Shank — manage to capture the essence of legends from around the world and across time with a rare blend of irreverence and cross-cultural curiosity, sweeping you into a journey into the soul of heroic mythology.

Playful and poetic, The Ancient Book of Myth and War is an absolute treat for art aficionados and mythology lovers alike, blending history and design with the kind of visual eloquence Pixar has grown legendary for.

Donating = Loving

Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner:





You can also become a one-time patron with a single donation in any amount:





Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

15 APRIL, 2011

Jonathan Harris: The Storytelling of Life

By:

We love artist Jonathan Harris, who previously delighted us with the We Feel Fine project, World Building in a Crazy World, I Want You To Want Me, and The Whale Hunt. When he turned 30, he decided to start taking one photo every day and posting it to his site before going to sleep — a seemingly simple, private project that soon turned into a fascinating exploration followed by thousands of people around the world. Our friends from m ss ng p eces — you remember them, right? — are back with another lovely documentary, capturing the project and the vivid, earnest curiosity with which Harris approaches the world.

I wanted to find a way to be more in the moment, to be more in every day; to understand time more and to understand my life more, to have more memories — all of these things. Basically, to live more richly, as a human life, not just as a work life.” ~ Jonathan Harris

No matter what you do in your life, what you create, what career you have, whether you have a family or kids, or make a lot of money… your greatest creation is always going to be your life’s story. Because it’s like this container that holds all of those other things. That was something I was really interested in with this project, thinking about life itself as a creation, as a story that you’re writing.” ~ Jonathan Harris

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.