Analgesic is easily the most blatant of depiction of materialism. This hand in particular takes on the fallen nature that ZHANG wants the audience to see; the pills lay around the hand as if they have been dropped. The hand itself is holding the mass produced pain pills beyond its control. Here we begin to see the control of the market over society. ZHANG has taken a well known and popular household product and made it into nothing other than material gold and silver purchased and held by the hand of society. The human has lost identity and lost control, implying the degradation of consumerist culture. And now all we know is the pills given to us; the drug of the masses. (via)
Anti-Vice campaingn Series is based on Internet photographs of young women caught up in the Chinese governments efforts to purge the city of prostitution and pornography. The highly publicized campaign to eliminate vice and illegal publications focuses on the apprehension and detention of young women such as these, who are among the most powerless of the countrys citizens. Victimized on one hand by gangs and threatened with fines and prison by authorities on the other, they are often paraded through streets to face insults and ridicule. Zhang is not attempting to present a case for the decriminalization of prostitution, but as an artist, hopes instead to portray their frail humanity and the sympathy their shame evokes.
I love this amazing series dubbed, The Square from Korean photographer Seokmin Ko. Seokmin adds a completely different element to the landscape structure of photography. A mirror shown reflecting its surroundings is held in a field, or in the sea, or on a road. Two hands gripping the mirror’s edge are the only clue of the holder’s presence. Modernist architecture is featured in other images; here, the human hand, the slight presence of humanity, is seen amidst the reflective surfaces of glass and steel construction. He say’s “Regrettably, our eye looks thickly soaked with prejudice and stereotyped minds which are tamed by culture and customs of specific society.” Awesome work from the Korean artist, be sure to check out more of his work after the jump.
Human bones are regularly used in the rituals of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, and of all Tibetan customs, none has attracted more attention than the use of human skulls for practical and religious purposes. A whole decorated skull is called a ‘yama’ (which is also the name for the Hindu and Buddhist god of death), while a partial decorated skull is called a ‘kapala’, or a skull cup, which is made out of the upper half of the human skull. Yamas may have been carved to take a curse off a family, or to guide a misled soul onto the right path, while kapalas were used in Tibetan monasteries as offering bowls, symbolically holding dough cakes or wine to represent blood and flesh offerings to the gods. Kapalas are also associated with rituals where the user employs the cup to help reach spiritual enlightenment. Skull cups are tradiationally lined with pewter or tin, decorated with silver, brass and gems, and the bone is ornately carved with Tibetan symbols.
The Kailashnath Temple is carved out of one single rock. Carvers started at the top and excavated downward, exhuming the temple out of the existing rock. The traditional methods were rigidly followed by the master architect, which could not have been achieved by excavating from the front.
Dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva, the temple was built between 756-774 CE by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I and measures about 60 feet tall and 200 feet wide. All the carvings are done on more than one level. Originally flying bridges of stone connected these galleries to central temple structures, but they have since fallen. The base of the temple has been carved to suggest that elephants are holding the structure aloft.