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F.O.K.U.S. uses the arts to unite, inspire and empower diverse communities. This is accomplished through the production of events, workshops and the publication of INSIGHT, our quarterly arts magazine. F.O.K.U.S. is an organization led by young adults that highlights the importance of and need for the arts and creativity in life. We believe the arts enable people to rise above barriers in society by creating new ways of thinking, communicating, and interacting.
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Volume IV | Issue 4
Letter From the editor Cover art the dirty woLverine brown bLazer the kids poetiC perseveranCe Chaosharmony: oCCupy waLL street hungry ghosts CLaustrophobia hidden identity spaCe painting i Like it when the City FeeLs Like ghosts ten Commandments oF reaL ear us body paint eL Camino inFinite pLayList
artiCLes / Q&a photography poetry inFinite pLayList
PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / LAYOUT & DESIGN: ATIBA T. EDWARDS
Atiba is a perpetual visionary that likes to do art in the dark since it is easier to see the true light.
EDITOR: ALLISON MARITZA LASKY EDITOR: ANDREW MILENIUS
Allison believes that children are the best artists—they are individual universes of infinite creativity. Andrew has always been on the fortunate side of the fence thinking about how the people on the other side of the fence feel, and he wants to break down that fence.
CONTRIBUTORS: Ashlee Arder / Lyndsea Cherkasky / Jolie Clifford / CSW / Alma Davila-Toro / Carly DeLuca / Drü / Atiba T. Edwards / Jordan Kifer / Marthalicia Matarrita / Andrew Milenius / R. Anthony Morrison / Corinna Nicole / Rachel Terry / The Earth Warrior / Thee Real Life / Jozi Zwerdling www.onefokus.org/insight Questions and comments can be directed to email@example.com Submission inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org All advertising inquiries can be directed to email@example.com INSIGHT is published by F.O.K.U.S. Inc.
All rights reserved on entire contents. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of F.O.K.U.S., Inc. or INSIGHT.
VOLUME IV | ISSUE 4
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR:
As we close out the year, I want to thank all of the contributors to our 2011 issues. The works have been diverse and beautiful akin to F.O.K.U.S. I especially want to thank Andrew Milenius for joining and increasing the content we get from Ace Deuce (Ann Arbor, Michigan). When we first started some twenty-seven issues ago, we were predominantly an outlet for the young artists at the University of Michigan. Since then we have evolved under various team members and most importantly our contributors. The growth in recognition lead to a surge in the submissions and works we had each issue. Allison Lasky has been a great help with finding artists to profile to keep the diversity wheel turning. I had the chance to sit with Andre Torres, Founder, Publisher, and Editor-In-Chief at Wax Poetics Inc. It isn't common to see a magazine interviewing and featuring another magazine but that's just how we do things here at the INSIGHT clubhouse. Like any great awards speech, I would be remiss of me to try to expand on what is in store in the coming pages. Artists and their art don't necessarily need to be explained by someone else. So turn the pages and take the tours of many beautiful minds with each artists being their respective tour guide. We have some tweaks, polishing and tailoring in store for next year and can't wait to show you in our February 2012 issue. F.O.K.U.S. also has a pretty exciting calendar on tap and their own newness for the world. Ch-ch-changes are abreast in these neck of the woods. See you in 2012.
Atiba T. Edwards
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COVER ART: EARLy HIP-HOP
Volume IV | Issue 4
My message i this piece was a simple on, one that I enjoy, it is the capturing the youth in its innocence in an urban culture and how profound young children really are with the impressions of us and the world around them. http://marthaliciaart.blogspot.com/
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THE DIRTy WOLVERINE
words by Ashlee Arder photo by: Alma Davila-Toro
The Dirty Wolverine (TDW) is a collection of vintage clothing exclusively representing the University of Michigan and the state of Michigan. With garments dating as far back as the 1970s, the collection pays tribute to Michigan's history while encouraging state pride and school spirit. Collection owner Ashlee Arder was born and raised in Flint, MI, and graduated from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 2010. Her journey from a small town to the Big House inspired an unwavering sense of loyalty towards her school and her state. What began as an effort to stand out in a sea of fashionable maize and blue supporters has turned into a business for the young entrepreneur. One of The Dirty Wolverine's goals is to encourage Michigan residents and fans to participate in more environmentally-friendly shopping habits. While hunting through consignment and thrift shops can be the favorite pastime of residents, many more still scoff at the thought. Thrift shopping can be smelly, dusty, and time consuming, but it is good for our environment. By purchasing second-hand garments, shoppers are participating in the "reduce" and "reuse" segments of the recycle triangle. Thrift shoppers support a healthier environment by reducing the amount of waste and environmental damage from the unsustainable production and consumption of goods. Vintage clothing also offers uniqueness when showing state and school spirit, rather than blending in with the crowd of mass-produced T-shirts!
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Rather than presentations about becoming environmentally conscious and hoping for them to thrift shop on their own, TDW will educate Michigan residents by curating a shopping experience in the Ann Arbor community. Garments from Arder's collection will be sold during monthly popup boutiques for one night only.
"Go Blue, live green!" has gone from a phrase shouted in the University of Michigan's Diag during environmentalist demonstrations, to being the tag line for a movement encouraging Michigan residents to not only be fashionable, but to help preserve our environment while doing so!
The Dirty Wolverine's grand opening pop-up boutique was held September 25, 2011 at the Footprints store at on Main St. in Ann Arbor, MI. With interviews from The Michigan Daily and The Flint Journal, The Dirty Wolverine is creating a buzz in Michigan, and the second pop-up boutique in November is highly anticipated. For information about The Dirty Wolverine email -firstname.lastname@example.org.
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by Corinna Nicole
In this series, I am appropriating classic paintings of female nudes by male artists and “recasting” the figure in each painting with one of my own female models. Instead of assuming a feminized or erotic pose, however, I ask my models to embody masculinity, striving for female nudes that project power, strength, and control, qualities more commonly found in representations of the male nude. By queering my subjects in this way, and in the very act of re-creating works by men as a female artist, I hope to provoke questions about artistic representations of women. If women artists placed as much emphasis on the female nude as male artists have done, how would the paintings differ? How do both female and male viewers respond when female nudes portray elements of masculinity? Could such images challenge the phenomenon of the objectifying male gaze, and could they even activate a “lesbian gaze?" If my paintings can create a nontraditional viewing space—one in which female nudes take on multiple complexities to transcend their traditional status as merely beautiful objects—then perhaps they can inspire a broader awareness of how we think about gender. The Brown Blazer, after Ruben's The Fur Cloak (right) 60x36 in. (5 x 3 ft.) Oil on Canvas
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words and photography by THE EARTH WARRIOR
Kids are cool. That’s just common knowledge. If you don’t get to rub elbows with them regularly, you can hopefully recall the “once upon a time” of your own Crayola days: the monkey bars, the daily cereal and milk and the best part of all…coloring all over everything! “the kids” aims to capture mini-humans in their essence: the simplicity of their nature, the innate energy and (sometimes) serenity behind their actions and the basic beauty behind the way they move, play and just plain are. I’ve met some incredible, hilarious and genius kids on my global escapades and their silliness, beauty and grace, when they can manage to stay on their feet, are nothing short of captivating. When they’re not moving at top speed, I may have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to capture their awesomeness. The intrinsic charm of these pocket-sized earthlings has always been at the heart of my portraiture. This time around, I chased them around long enough to create “the kids.” What follows is a glimpse into The Earth Warrior’s inaugural photographic document, “the kids.” “Why does the preview contain 7 portraits?” We asked The Earth Warrior. Her response, “because that’s how many books there are in the Harry Potter series, duh!” Robin's Egg Blue , 2011, taken in La Quiaca, Boliva (previous page) Mango Tango, 2011, Carapegua, Paraguay (page 7, right) Cotton Candy, 2011, Rio Paraguay (page 8) Purple Mountain's Majesty, 2011, Buenos Aires, Argentina (page 10) Granny Smith Apple, 2010, New York, New York (page 12) Tropical Rain Forest, 2011, Cordoba, Argentina (page 14) Macaroni and Cheese, 2011, Uyuni, Bolivia (page 16)
New Yorker by birth & Dominican by bloodline, the Earth Warrior studied sustainable & international development at NYU & serves as Project Coordinator for the Culture of Creativity. She is currently living and working from Paraguay, leading an arts education/photography project, Somos el Presente. To see more of her work, visit http://www.theearthwarrior.com 10 | INSIGHT
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words and photography by ATIbA T. EDWARDS
Andre Torres set out to create Wax Poetics, a brand that represented quality journalism that connected the various histories of music, primarily Hip-Hop."Hip-Hop didn't occur in a vacuum or suddenly appear from nowhere. Hip-Hop is a strain from the music of the black Diaspora." Having gone to school for art he knew there was a different way to do a magazine so people would take it seriously. Ten years later, Wax Poetics has grown into a brand that encompasses magazines, books, a record label, films and soundtracks. Across the years and medium, Wax Poetics reminds us that it is bigger than Hip-Hop. Torres and his team spent most of 2001 putting together Wax Poetics magazine. He didn't know anything about starting a magazine and questions if, with all the knowledge he has know, he would do it again. "Back then not knowing probably worked to my advantage because it was really all passion. I just thought anything is possible." he added. He attributes most of the initial success to his passion because it made people buy into the idea, especially since he couldn't pay the contributors. Torres knew there was a demand from others to learn about the record digging
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culture and the music that spawned from it. The record digging culture has always been a secret society as each DJ tried to protect the treasures they spent years amassing. " A lot of cats I talked to who had been in the record game for 15 or 20 years prior were a little weary. 'You going to blow up my spot. I don't want nobody to know about these breaks.' It was really secret squirrel back then." he said. Once the first issue was released people understood Wax Poetics intentions and benefits, which led to their increased involvement and cooperation. However, before issue number one was released there was an important decision to be made. Over a decade ago, on the cusp of following through with his dream, Torres faced the decision of if to go ahead and launch Wax Poetics magazine. "It was right after 9/11. I had the magazine ready to go but didn't know if anyone would be interested in reading about records at the time." Torres, who worked in Tower One of the World Trade Center just months before the tragic events took place, took the fact that he was sitting here today as the sign to push the magazine over the hill. "I had no experience when we put that first one out, so we had to wait six months until we got all the money back from the distributors before we could put a second issue out." The magazine was initially a side hustle as they all worked regular jobs. Torres found himself wearing many hats- distribution, advertisement sales, circulation manager and others- which he says caused things to fall through the cracks from time to time.
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Eventually he met his now-partner at Wax Poetics, Dennis Coxen, who came in to sell advertising which was a great addition to the team. Coxen understood the brand and knew how to talk to advertisers to get them to bite. Increased ads in the magazine was both good and bad, depending on which side you were on. For the readers, this was a stray from what they loved - a magazine with almost no advertisements. For Torres and the team, this allowed the magazine to grow and get on a schedule. "They don't get it, no ads means no art. It's the same way with TV, you have to sit through those three minutes every fifteen minutes in order to get you your show. If someone doesn't pay for the content you are not getting it." In the magazines fifth year, the team decided to quit their jobs and make Wax Poetics the main focus and turn it into a full business. "That's when you start to look at things a lot differently because things are much more important when you are handling a business. I was married and was about to have a child - so I had to make sure that check came in every two weeks. You start looking at the long term, how you build a brand, navigate the waters on a day to day in order to be able to get to these long term goals." The core of the Wax Poetics brand is a print magazine that is released bimonthly. The print industry today and over the last five years has faced a fare share of challenges - the largest being the rise of the internet- which caused many magazines to fold or significantly change their model. Wax Poetics provided information that was only found on chat groups, email lists and other early-internet age forms of communication. Over the
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last decade, the internet has taken the 24 news format to an new level. Where news stories were often recycled throughout the day, the digital world allowed content to change as fast as minute by minute. This created a strain on the magazine industry as advertisers allocated more money to digital ads and away from print and readers no longer wanted to wait for content on a monthly basis when they could find it and more online. "So that's why you see a huge collapse of the magazine industry because what they were doing wasn't important enough that it needed to be preserved for 30 days to wind up in print. The thing about the digital beast is that it needs to constantly be fed. You need to have a headline, something snappy, something tragic, something that everybody can make fun of, as there needs to be something to keep people's attention going because that is the nature of our culture and certainly the nature of this digital world that we created. " says Andre Torres. For him, print allows readers to rise above the fray, noise and distractions that the internet presents. "People who understand magazines look forward to sitting down, holding a magazine, taking a moment and going off into a completely different space." The younger generation presents a new challenge for Wax Poetics magazine. Many younger kids rely on the internet for all their reading, news, source of content as it is already embedded in their way of life. From common topics and ideas to more eclectic and eccentric topics, the digital world is the go-to source for many people. The internet is now the primary and secondary source for people and where they think and are told the important information can be found.
"It takes a certain threshold that once you get past and understand what's important to you, you start digging a little deeper. I think that's when people discover print and the importance of it. There is something about having something printed. It is the written word and people still find value in it. Just as they did with the Gutenberg press when they were doing Bibles for the first time - it holds a lot of weight. For us it remains important to keep a print magazine going." Torres commented about the digital vs print mediums. He sees multiple things contributing to Wax Poetics edge over other magazines and the internet: "What we do have is something the internet doesn't have- a way to present the material in a manner that speaks to the integrity and respect that we are paying to the artists and the music we are talking about, like using really great photography and well edited articles that people can really get into. Not something short but 3,000 to 5,000 word articles that the you actually will get something out of." Torres sees the future of Wax Poetics and print magazines in general reliant on utilizing content to leverage the print and digital platforms in a way that maximizes the brand. This is how future generations will be able to understand and appreciate both digital and print.
The focus on little things allowed Wax Poetics to grow from selling magazines to become a brand that is includes a publishing books, a digital download store and a record label. "I had to watch my distributor when we first came out because they would stick us in the poetry section. I would look at the entire music rack in Barnes and Noble [bookstore] and wonder where we were at only to find that we were stuck in the middle of the poetry rack. I was in there one day and saw it was a young kid opening the box and he was in charge. It was important for me to get on top of my distributor to tell all the kids in Barnes and Noble to put me in the music rack. Put me right in front of the music rack. " Andre Torres recalls how he had to stay on top of the small details to grow the brand. "We started publishing books because people kept asking us for all these old issues. It didn't make sense to me. Who goes to Esquire and ask them to reprint an issue. Magazines don't reprint issues that's what people do with books. I saw there were anthologies for magazines so I thought maybe there was a way for us to put an anthology out. I knew nothing about the book market so did some research.
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I did research and found the model was weak. You spend all this money on a book and sometimes you wait a year before they pay you on a book. So that meant you put out a book and sit on ice for a year before you get any of it back. We said that's not going to work. So we started building and thought about maybe we could get one of our advertisers from the magazine. We got Puma to bite and did three books with them. That was the beginning of our book publishing business. The record label business start was very similar. One of our writers brought a super rare record to us and asked if we wanted to reissue it. "Yeah" it was kind of like a no-brainer because talk about music and records so often. I realized we don't need to be confined by the medium. Just because we are a magazine doesn't mean we need to stick something that was in print on a newsstand every two months and that was all that we can do. Which has been the model that so many other magazines have lived by for the past 50, 70 years. I saw there was an opportunity to create a brand that could have a life of its own and do whatever it wanted. I think as long as you come with something real, you can apply that to almost anything as long as you keep that same focus, respect and integrity when you go in. Just as hard as we go on the magazine we go just as hard on the books and just as hard on any other thing. Of course it is a much different landscape now which has forced a lot of magazines to go out of businesses or stick and move. You have to figure out what works and what doesn't work. We've made some changes and will continue to make some changes that are reflective of this new time. It reminds me of taking it back
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to square one but it isn't the same climate that it was 10 years ago. So until it gets back to the way it was or if this is the new norm, the priority is to make sure we can keep putting this magazine out. Aside from the records, the books and everything else, the magazine is the core of the brand. It is important we keep doing the magazine and doing it in a way we can attract readers. That is what we are focused on in 2012 and beyond." To read more from Wax Poetics, visit http://www. waxpoetics.com/ Atiba T. Edwards: Wax Poetics always worked with multiple genres- including Soul, Funk, Jazz - not just Rap. What are your thoughts on the possibility of those gaining a bigger audience? Andre Torres: Hip-Hop rode on the backs of jazz, blues, soul, funk, rock, gospel and R&B. That is the history that we compiled over the years in the magazine and have been able to tell that the story is all connected. The biggest problem for us as a people is that we don't really preserve our history. We are always at the forefront of the change in sounds of music. We are always looking to the next thing which is why Hip-Hop is still here and evolving; for us, this really has become the one for the moment. 50 years ago there was another sound, Soul music and before that Jazz. As we move on into the next thing, whether it was bouncing from the Blues to Soul to Funk and then to Hip-Hop. We leave it behind for essentially anybody to pick up the pieces, such as the British Invasion in the 1960s and the way they took American blues music that Americans were not seeing any value in because we moved into Jazz and then into Soul and R&B.
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They saw value, ingested it, put a spin on it and came out with something fresh. Why we couldn't do that on our own in a way that it could reverberate with the masses is beyond me. It is unfortunate that music gets left behind. I think it takes a dedicated group of people, followers, collectors, super fans that really keep music alive. For younger kids, they are not really aware of jazz music, most are not hip to Soul or Funk or very old R&Bit is about the now and there is nothing wrong with that. There was the same aspect for our generation. It wasn't about what was on the R&B radio, we wanted to listen to Eric B. and Rakim which wasn't on the radio because that was new, that was fresh that is what we were into. I'm not sure you will ever see Jazz or Funk music rise to the level of popularity and prominence they once held in the American public's eyes. Obviously there are very dedicated groups of jazz lovers out there, most of them with enough money to pay the ticket price and have a nice suit or tux to go to Lincoln Center and do it up. It is kind of the Metropolitan Opera House. The music has been taken out of the whorehouses of New Orleans, put in university, been canonized and now its American's classic music. It's a process. One of the reasons I started the magazine was because I didn't want Hip-Hop to fall through the cracks and not get that same treatment. As far as I was concerned it, Soul, Funk and everything that happened between Jazz and Hip-Hop, were just as important and relevant. They all needed to be put on that pedestal. They all needed to be America's art form because this is what we do. We create this stuff and give it to
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the world and they take it and do whatever they want with it , a lot of times to greater effect and more commercial success. People have to come to other genres when they're ready to understand this older music that is not part of their generation. Getting to the point where you dig below the surface of what you are listening to and become curious about its history and where it came from. I think it is important for younger AfricanAmerican kids to understand their history and know that we created this; it's not something that is just for your grandmother. I think there needs to be more education on our part as older listeners to hip these kids to what they need to be listening to which is the goal of the magazine. There is something for us to really understand- that what we are listening to now would never be here if it weren't for these other music genres. ATE: Expand on your comment in issue #48: "I'm hopeful for the future of Hip-Hop and music in general." AT: I've been involved in Hip-Hop for a while and have seen the ups and downs of the genre. Probably five years ago, I wasn't quite sure where everything was going. I wasn't very excited about what I was hearing and the direction we were heading. Hip-Hop became codified by the labels as far as the way you were you are supposed to sound, what neighborhoods you're supposed to be representing, they way you are supposed to talk and act. Just as major labels have done over the history of recorded music, especially with AfricanAmerican artists and trying to fit them into a box.
I think what I've seen now is a busting out of that box with the collapse of the music business and some of the restraints they were putting on art, especially AfricanAmerican art. A lot of kids are not looking to sign to a major label. They just want to do them- make art, make music that they like and hopefully their friends will as well. That is an exciting development that gives me hope because what I am seeing are kids who just don't care anymore about what labels have to say or even the kid living next door to them has to say- they just want to be original. That to me is a big change for Hip-Hop. After it became very commercially successful we got forced into a corner and I see us battling our way out now. I think these younger artists who are doing their own thing and finding ways to use Hip-Hop and bringing in other sounds, whether it be rock or electronic and finding their own space. I think this is the sign of something great that is next- that maybe isn't called Hip-Hop but maybe the evolution of what we do as a people.
Complete our phrase "Art Is..." To me art is freedom. I have a degree in painting and art is still very much a part of my life. When I became an adult and really got into the desire to be an artist I found it to be completely liberating in the sense of being able to create something from nothing, especially when you don't have anything. Coming from the Hip-Hop generation, that's what has always drawn me to this medium. We try to create art with this magazine. We want to make something beautiful that is going to open up a whole new world for people. We started with nothing and built it into something. For me that is the real trick of art. You can have all the paints, the most expensive canvases, bronze and whatever else but if you can't flip it then you really got nothing popping. If you can take nothing and turn it into something, that's the real key. That's the liberating factor that will eventually lead to freedom of being able to do you and not have to worry about what anybody else is saying or doing.
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words and photography by ANDREW MILENIUS
I had already decided to go to New york City to see the proving grounds of a movement that’s currently sweeping the globe before I even knew where I was headed. We left Ann Arbor on a road trip to the hills of Virginia and somewhere in Pennsylvania, we found ourselves headed for downtown Manhattan to join the occupation. I didn’t spend any time complaining about the itinerary switch. Occupying Wall Street has become an art form. From the moment you step out of the Cortland St. subway station and into Zuccotti Park, the headquarters of the nation’s largest social protest in the last forty years is staring you in the face. The park has become a gallery and forum, populated by a stunning cross section of every ideological persuasion imaginable socialists preach from the same soapboxes as libertarians while liberals sit painting signs with anarchists. A line at an impromptu T-shirt silk screening table sits across from an overflowing library of donated books. Temporary shelters have emerged everywhere -some even have the feel of a home, nestled in among the sleeping bags. Everywhere you look, people are busy expressing their frustration with the financial sector and government in the
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best ways they know how; all under the towering unblinking guard of the growing World Trade Center complex. It is breathtaking. (continued on page 22)
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Once we arrived at the park, and had finished appreciating the spectacle, we learned that we would be marching to Times Square to occupy the front doorstep of global consumerism with a few thousand of our new closest friends. As the famous square began to fill up with people, and the chants for change grew louder, protest signs started to occupy more eye space than advertisements. Every sign offered a unique point of view and a glimpse into the mind of a stranger you wouldn’t look twice at had you just been walking down the street. Every sign told a story of someone who was aware; and had become so frustrated by what they saw that they had no choice but to take to the streets. Ideology, policy concerns, and opinion became trivial matters. At this point everyone could finally agree on something that is more primeval than even the most ancient human language: that a time of change is coming. Crammed together in pens created by police barricades bred a certain level of camaraderie that began to search for an outlet as the protest wore on. Luckily, these protesters also happen to know when its time to celebrate a job well done. The after-party and General Assembly meeting in Washington Square Park was electrifying. In between thundering speeches, the music of drums and tambourines filled the air as protestors called out chants and danced their pants off. The audience roared each sentence of the speeches using the now-famous human microphone amplification system. It unified the diverse crowd just as well as it carried sound across the park with ease.
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As the Assembly debated on how best to act next in light of their new global relevance, and police officers stood in the darkness surrounding the park on all sides, I realized that I was standing amidst a moment in history. This moment marked the first time that my generation, once labeled apathetic and cynical, decided to express itself fully. We decided to take back a responsibility left for too long in the hands of our elected officials and their cohorts. When people trivialize the movement by decrying its lack of a central message, they are missing the point - the movement itself IS the message. When the peoples' ability to express themselves is marginalized, soon they are forced to take drastic action. The crowd in Washington Square Park that night knew this. We knew what we each wanted to say, and we knew that we could depend on each other to amplify it to a level that everyone could hear. We stood there in that moment, in our shared movement, with our signs, shouting our chants, and danced our way into history.
andrew is a sophomore at the university of michigan. in addition to taking spontaneous road trips and editing for insight, he loves wearing sweaters and meeting people without warning.
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by Jozi zwerdling
she said your room looks like a thrift store i should say sometimes i am a den of borrowed and given things tape cassettes yellowing film dirty metal hooks the admission of redraised skin sometimes laundry detergent i’ve never been to a laundromat no thumb push for ridged quarters guard swishpress of my own clothes
Jozi Zwerdling lives in the DC metropolitan area, where she works in various capacities as a social activist, artist enabler, community builder, and story teller both independently and for the organizations Teaching For Change and City at Peace DC. You can see more of her writing on her blog http://talebearer88.tumblr.com
dust is what packs into indulgent old corners haunts the gold toothed ghosts they feed us mouth may stink of lonely weed
pores may fill with the ash of sandalwood upstairs parents creak through their many rooms there are stacks of psychology magazines the windows of unfolded newspapers on the dining room table we no longer use
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Stuck. This is my luck. Another one of millions fighting for some room to breath. Constriction. This is not fiction. No time in the day to do what i need. Irrelevant. That's what I am. Just another working-class man. Greed. That's what I need. If I wanna succeed on this earth. Green. Those dollars have no worth. Just rags to wipe away my sorrows. Struggle. Trying to be free. Thinking of a better tomorrow. Claustrophobia. Trapped. No way out, slowing killing ya.
Drü has always been on the fortunate side of the fence thinking about how the people on the other side of the fence feel, and he wants to break down that fence.
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words and photography by JOLIE CLIFFORD
Out of all of my works' subject matter, this series is definitely the most personal. It is the direct reflection of my psyche. When I'm in the process of creating an image, the thing that I am usually trying to emulate are the alien emotions that a twenty-one year old female living in NyC (or anywhere for that matter) goes through. I find myself attracted to obscuring the lines between reality and psychology. I am constantly hiding female faces in my images. Removing an identity has always been an interesting concept to me; maybe because in real life I'm too concerned with discovering my own. I think this also allows the character in the photo to act as a surrogate for the viewer. I'm drawn to the works of Francesca Woodman and Deborah Turbeville. I found a sense of feminine anguish and a play on identity. Their work attracted me emotionally and visually. I can't speak for every one else but I think that these images are showing a pretty universal feeling. In order for these images to be successful, they need to evoke something out of the viewer. If they can do that then I've done my job.
macabre, 2011 (right) in vetro, 2010 (page 32) get rhythm, 2010 (page 34) mary-janes, 2010 (page 36)
Jolie Clifford a 20 year-old girl from Long Island who came to NYC to see where I could get with my photography. The only other thing that I love as much as photography is old Rock 'n' Roll and my cat CoCo. To see more of her work, visit http://iamjoliephotography.carbonmade.com 38 | INSIGHT
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jolie's man-ray, 2010 (left)
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paintings by LyNDSEA CHERKASKy
My paintings are personal narratives about displacing one's self to achieve success. I use imagery from the Old Soviet Space Program to symbolize my move from Alabama to New york.
Better Not Be Any Dogs, Oil on Canvas, 2010 Mouth, Oil on Panel, 2011 If I Don't Know Better Than You I Will Agree, Oil on Panel, 2008
Lyndsea Cherkasky is an artist living and working in Manhattan. She works in oils and in graphite. Her paintings are inspired by memories of growing up near the Space and Rocket Center in Alabama. She received an MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art and a BFA from Birmingham Southern College in Alabama. Lyndsea has shown her work both nationally and internationally. Recently her work was included in "The Draw Show" at El Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico. Lyndsea works out of her studio in TriBeCa. She is also a curator at Kraine Gallery in the East Village. To see more of her work, visit http://www.lyndseacherkasky.com 48 | INSIGHT
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I LIKE IT WHEN THE CITy FEELS LIKE GHOSTS
on a walk around the town with the places and faces -visagesthat I don’t recognize except for their neon light air and Ann Arbor café glow
CSW is an anonymous resident of Ann Arbor who thinks of everything most important on walks at night. Next time you're out after dark look out and you may see him. INSIGHT | 53
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TEN COMMANDMENTS OF REAL
artwork and words by THEE REAL LIFE
“He who dictates and formulates the words and phrases we use, he who is master of the press and radio, is master of the mind” --JM The term “real” in the black community has become a word to express how “with it” or genuine a person is. There are select groups of people who put on a false personality and claim ideas that they believe in, however they do not stand up for these beliefs when placed in front of others. In other words, they aren’t “real” as in realistic with their actions. At first this “real” was funny. It used to joke with others and laugh, however, it has gone past playful use. Rather than applauding people, the black community uses “real” negativelyessentially saying, no one is “real," no one is genuine. Constantly I hear people saying no one wants to better anything. Or, everyone has become selfish and pushed themselves away from one another- all in attempts to be “real” but in the end no one is. This notion extends past the black community and even us students at the University of Michigan. We are currently living in a world of constant change and conflict. So much is happening in the worldpolitics, the environment, healthcare, abortion, war, terrorism, the death penalty, flooding, hurricanes, lack of resources, gay rights, racism, sexism, education, the power of the one%... the list goes on. Out of frustration, I asked myself, what makes someone "real?" What specific attributes do they have to have or what philosophy do they have to live by to be "real?" Well obviously we are all "real," but what does it mean to be genuine? Am I even genuine? From this question, I created these positive attributes I think the "real" should have, attributes I and I hope many others would like to embody. This formed into the TEN COMMANDMENTS OF THE REAL- the ten laws are what I believe it takes to be a truly, kind genuine person. The plan is to place each poster around campus in hopes that someone will find one and attempt to find the rest. Each commandment will be a poster, signifying a ripped out page. This represents lost information. We all may have experienced reading books and coming to missing pages and longing to find that one page to gain that knowledge. So, when each poster is found, knowledge is gained. I chose to use the University of Michigan as my first attempt to see how others respond to it. If they respond well, I plan to spread them through various cities around the country and throughout the internet. Even if others disagree with what the commandments say, it is a way to open up the discussion on what attributes are really required to be genuine or “real”. Thus, leading people to embody these qualities and hopefully act upon them.
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interview by CARLy DELUCA photo by: R. Anthony Morrison
Carly DeLuca: What influenced you to start creating Hip-Hop beats? Mad Bangers: My brother, L 183, inspired me because he is music producer. I was also influenced by reading XXL magazine. Creating Music is just something I find easy to do. CD: What process do you use when you start making music? MB: I have an idea in my head and I go with it. I piece together a beat that I create with piano and synth. I also like to listen to older music. It influences me to create my own sound. I started by experimenting with a program called FL Studios then my brother taught me the basics of how to make a beat pattern and how to sample music. I actually taught myself how to play piano by watching You Tube videos. CD: How does playing the piano help you make music as a Hip-Hop and pop producer? MB: It helps me make music by creating structured chords. I usually can hear the music in my head before I have created it. I find it easy to create Hip-Hop and pop even though I’m not great at reading music. Sometimes I make them from scratch and other times I'll use a drum loop. I have a natural rhythm in my head. CD: How has becoming a part of Art Start’s Emerging Artists In Residency helped you focus on your musical craft? MB: EAR has helped me learn to focus better because I had to learn how to dedicate my time to working on projects. I enjoyed working on my music projects for EAR because it is all apart of my development and progress to the next level of becoming a better producer. CD: What are some of the memorable moments and experiences during your time in EAR? MB: There have been so many memorable moments. I got to go to so many different events. We went to Brooklyn Hip-Hop festival where we saw Kanye, Busta, Q-Tip, and Theophilus London. I really enjoyed the Bowery poetry club when we attended the poetry slam contest. It was an experience with some good shows and some not so good. At times I wished my music were playing on stage. CD: What kind of a legacy would you want to leave behind after you finish up at Art Start as an Emerging Artists in Residency? MB: I want to leave Art Start knowing that I accomplished some of my goals and dreams as a music producer. I want to be able to produce music and to make a living from it.
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CD: How has your work ethic changed now that you are working on different projects? MB: It changed dramatically. Not only do I have to make quality music but now I’m giving it to other artists to use. I have to represent myself to the best of my ability because you never know who is going to hear my sounds. I have become more persistent in creating music on a daily basis. I have been working on a new sound that incorporates Hip-Hop and Broadway music. I was commissioned to do a song for an Art Start Fundraiser show that included Bill Cosby on Broadway! CD: How did you two come about working together? Miky: We met at Art Start One Mic and then connected more during our time as EAR. CD: Why do you think both of you make a great team? What makes you different from the rest of the emerging Hip-Hop artists and producers? Miky: We think out of the box!
MB: Because everybody is just listening to the radio they all do the same thing. I create other rhythms and grooves while I listen to music from around the world. CD: How did your family influence your passion for music? Miky: They are really proud of me and want me to continue doing what I’m doing. I try and help my family as much as possible by working to make money for them. My family and friends were really proud of me when they saw me in the NY Daily News. I was proud of myself too. MB: They support me and know that I have what it takes to live out my dream of being a music producer.
ART START’s Emerging Artist in Residency program is seeking New York City youth ages 17-20 with a dedication and track record in the creative arts (www.artstart.org). Carly is a singer and performance artist from Brooklyn. In addition to being the Program Director for ART START‘s EAR program, she is also a teaching artist for ART START‘s Homeless Youth Outreach Programming. She is currently touring NYC with her live band.
artwork and words by RACHEL TERRy
This series is an exploration of the interaction between two simple yet powerful concepts, the human body and color. By juxtaposing bodily gestures with different color relationships I hope to emphasis the natural beauty of the human form. The body has always been a subject of fascination for me, both in its strength and in its intricacies. In this way, I hope to highlight the captivating nature of these figures through their cohesion with various color principles. I use the contrast of vertical lines with the flowing curves of the body to further extenuate the qualities that compose our compelling form. It is through all this that I hope to communicate a sense of the raw and simple beauty that the human figure holds. all images are untitled, acrylic on canvas, 2009
Rachel Terry is a sophomore at the University of Michigan. When she isn’t painting, her favorite method of expressing herself is on the Michigan Synchronized Skating Team, where she is a fierce competitor. INSIGHT | 61
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words and photography by JORDAN KIFER
When I began El Camino de Santiago, I did not truly know why I was walking it, or what I was trying to find. The Camino I began is an ancient spiritual pilgrimage, thousands of years old, stretching from the border of France to the northern edge of Spain, over 500 miles of walking through basque country where a language without any identifiable influence is spoken and ending in Galicia where the body of Saint James is rumored to be buried. It is a test of body and spirit and is truly a world unto itself. In many ways, it is what we imagine the world to be. All photos taken by Jordan Kifer, 2011, northern Spain.
Jordan Kifer is a 21-year old student at the University of Michigan. Shaping her world view is the belief that everyone is an artist and has something beautiful to share. Her tumblr page is http://lavidaesuncarnaval.tumblr.com INSIGHT | 67
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INFINITE PLAyLIST: CHAPTER 10
Curated by F.O.K.U.S. CRU
We've got the best tunes in town. This playlist was a list of various songs both chapters were rocking to over the past month. It would behoove you to get hip to these. We are here to keep you on the cusp.
RITUAL UNION - LITTLE DRAGON DOS GARDENIAS - BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB BOP GUN (ONE NATION) FT. GEORGE CLINTONICE CUBE PETIT SEKOU - BEMBEYA JAZZ NATIONAL BOIRO - BEMBEYA JAZZ NATIONAL N'GAMOKORO - BEMBEYA JAZZ NATIONAL FUSSING AND FIGHTING - BOB MARLEY SPLATTITORIUM - THE PHARCYDE BEYLA - BEMBEYA JAZZ NATIONAL SKINNY LOVE - BON IVER NEVER GROW OLD-THE CRANBERRIES ESSENCE-LUCINDA WILIAMS LONELY LONELY (FRISBEE'S MIX) -FEIST IN A SENTIMENTAL MOOD- JOHN COLTRANE LOVERS ROCK- SADE SEND IT ON- MARA HRUBY IT WAS WHATEVER - SHLOHMO BEACH CRUISER - FAM-LAY BALLE BALLE PUNJABI MC MORNING MSTR - GHOSTPOET ZOO TOO - DAS RACIST WILDFIRE FT. LITTLE DRAGON & DRAKE-SBTRKT LOVECRIMES- FRANK OCEAN OVER AND DONE WITH- THE PROCLAIMERS FLIGHTLESS BIRD, AMERICAN MOUTH- IRON & WINE I USED TO LOVE HIM - LAURYN HILL CANT GET ENOUGH - JCOLE APPLETREE- ERYKAH BADU LAUGHING AT LIFE- BILLIE HOLIDAY ALL I COULD DO- G-EAZY LIVING ROOM- TEGAN AND SARA LOVE ON TOP- BEYONCE MY BOO- GHOST TOWN DJS DOES NOT SUFFICE- JOANNA NEWSOM ROSE GARDEN - SHAD LA LA LA - DE LA SOUL TO THE LIGHTHOUSE (MILLIONYOUNG REMIX)MEMORYHOUSE THE ZONE FT. DRAKE- THE WEEKND WHITE RABBIT- JEFFERSON AIRPLANE COLLY STRINGS- MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA SHE FEAT. FRANK OCEAN- TYLER, THE CREATOR DON'T F** WITH ME (FREESTYLE)- PUSHA T AUDIO, VIDEO, DISCO- JUSTICE LOTUS FLOWER BOMB FT. MIGUEL- WALE
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OY VEY- MAC MILLER STAY THE SAME FT. ANDREYA TRIANA-BONOBO HIP HOP CHANGED FT. RYE RYE- CROOKERS DO YOU LOVE ME NOW?- THE BREEDERS AUDITORIUM- MOS DEF THUNDER LOVE- LITTLE DRAGON LOVE SONGS- ANJULIE WHO KNOWS WHO CARES- LOCAL NATIVES HOLOCENE- BON IVER STUCK IN MY ID- REPTAR JOB- CURREN$Y RIESLING & ROLLING PAPERS- FABOLOUS 8 MILLION STORIES- A TRIBE CALLED QUEST GRAVITY- BARNABY BRIGHT SHE WILL- LIL' WAYNE PAST THE FALLS- DISPATCH SWIM GOOD- FRANK OCEAN NOBODYS PERFECT- J. COLE IS THIS LOVE (BOB MARLEY COVER)- CORINNE BAILEY RAEWILDFIRE- SBTRKT KEEP FLOATING FT. WIZ KHALIFA- MAC MILLER COUNTDOWN- BEYONCE GEORGIA- EMILY KING THE WILHELM SCREAM- JAMES BLAKE ARMY ARRANGEMENT- FELA KUTI FAREWELL- J.COLE TRUST ISSUES- DRAKE
LAY IN A SHIMMER- PANTHA DU PRINCE LIVING LIKE I DO FEAT SAMPHA- SBTRKT OYA O FEAT WUNMI- RAW ARTISTIC SOUL ETERNAL SUNSHINE- JAY ELECTRONICA SHINY SUIT THEORY FT JAY Z AND THE DREAMJAY ELECTRONICA WAHID- MOS DEF SUPER BASS- NICKI MINAJ CARRY ON WAYWARD SON- KANSAS AFTER PARTY- THE LONELY ISLAND DAYDREAMS- GREGG GREEN AND SOTU THE TRAVELLER HOLLA MEARS- MADE IN HEIGHTS VIICES- MADE IN HEIGHTS
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