Dolls With A Message

_DSC0327Doll “WIFE”, Author Marina Bychkova, Canada

In the words of the doll-maker: Playing with doll-brides, romantic little girls dream of growing up, marrying a handsome prince and live happily ever after in a partnership of two loving hearts. The doll-maker tries to explore the darker side of marriage. By the way, contrary to the stereotype, the violent aggressor may as well be a representative of a weaker sex. All the love stories end in a wedding. And then what?_DSC0330“Survivor” Doll, Author Marina Bychkova, Canada

The tragic image of this doll is a tribute to  women who survived.It is also a tribute to those who could not win …. I beg you – take care of yourself, watch your health, do a mammogram at least once a year. In this creation I express my personal fear of this terrible disease, my clear understanding that one day I may hear, “You have breast cancer.” I can only hope to be as brave as those who faced this disease and conquered it. (Marina Bychkova, excerpt, translation.)

15588Doll “Nicole”, Author Methos, Israel

Nicole is a nightmare of Mitos’ childhood. Once he saw a plaster cast of an ancient female torso, headless and limbless. What is more important in a human body, the most beautiful and attractive? Nicole embodies the fear of amputation, one of the most powerful of fears.

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Doll “ALICE”, Author Natas, France

Loosely translating Natas’ own word:  “I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass.
A child is inevitably grows up, gradually growing into a reality, entangled in it, as into a web. Creating our own world, we are running out of time and effort since, growing up, we are more and more concerned with demands of everyday life. Fulfilling these obligations gives us a realistic view of the world , professionalism and routine and, gradually, robs us of magic. Then the rabbit becomes just a rabbit, and the cat never smiles…

But there are exceptions among us — the cranks that never seem to mature. They are different — odd, slightly detached, asking odd questions. They see many of our everyday problems in a different light.  These people aren’t of this world, we often say condescendingly and… enviously. Because not everyone has a luxury to remain a child, living by one’s  own rules. But is it possible to spend one’s entire life in a rabbit hole? And not get bored to tears? It looks like our Alice knows the answer to this question.shocking-art-2012-mimi

Doll “MIMI”, Author Natas, France

The looks are deceiving, as all the external is deceptive. the essence of things. insecurity mask successfully hide dependent, under the veil of romance can be found a liar, beautiful face sometimes masks ugly soul.  We are always on the alert, because of this tend of being deceived all the time. Even the absence of the mask may be a mask. The most elegant way to say a lie is to tell the truth!

Little Mimi is a good girl, we assume, don’t we, although her story remains behind the scenes. There is an ax in her hand. Why? Perhaps, on a freezing autumn evening, she decided to cut some wood for the fireplace. Perhaps — some believe — in a cruel world where she is so helpless and small, she needs an ax to be brave. Might as well, Little Mimi is up to no good…

“What do you think?” the doll-maker asks. He doesn’t know either. No matter how deceptive the looks, our world (and out secrets) are within us. What kind of emotions will prevail is the end? The nature of things are so confusing, both to the artist and to us…

Meet The Artist: Steven Spazuk

It would seem that, in this age of modern technology even gives in to work progress – there are new kinds of hobbies, new musical instruments and new technologies in architecture. And the experienced viewer is already difficult to surprise. However, the human imagination is limitless and always able to present something new.

Canadian artist Steven Spazuk began his career using quite ordinary techniques. First, there were pencil drawings, then oil paintings and watercolors. This was followed by passion for airbrushing. Soon, it has become Stephen’s favorite method due to its soft, smooth shape, a certain lightness and ease.It would seem that, in this day and age, modern technology touches everything, art including. There are new kind of hobbies, new musical instruments and new technologies in architecture. It’s difficult to surprise an experiences art-lover. However, the human imagination is limitless and always able to present something new.

In 2001, Steven Spazuk began working with the burner, discovering a new dimension of creativity.“[This technique] changed my life, it gives me a great deal, it is unique. The spontaneity of the process — that’s the most interesting. Approaching the canvas, I do not know what will happen, what to follow and what’ll come out,” the artist says.

“I don’t control anything, I merely let the candle and its flame to do their job. And then look what happened. Usually what happens is these abstract shapes of soot in which I can see the picture. Looking at these shapes, I suddenly can see an elbow, knee, chest or leg –and then so be it,” says Steven.

Stephen’s unique set of tools includes brushes with metal bristles, needles, feathers.  This is a rather difficult technique, very time-consuming, so the author spends lots of time in his studio.

The idea of “playing with fire” came to the artist in his sleep. In his dream, Steven visited the gallery, where every picture was created using this technique. Incredible but true, in the dream he already knew how create such paintings. Many years since passed, the technique underwent many changes, became more varied and sophisticated.  That’s how it’s done:

Using a burner or a candle the artist gets soot on the sheet. Then, using the “traditional” tools, outlines a drawing adding contours.
And then remains a delicate job of of putting finishing touches with emphasis on smallest details.

Steven is a versatile artist:

Congratulations, Rest In Peace!

Since times immemorial Chinese believed that man can be happy only in marriage, and unmarried people are socially handicapped and greatly disadvantaged. In earthly life (so short!) everyone aspires to find a mate. After death, in the endless afterlife, every person meets his/her dead friends and relatives. Afterlife is good for those who were righteous in their earthly life for there is no divorce in thereafter. If couples shared a happy married life, they are destined to stay together forever after.

Bachelors, however, are in a great disadvantage because they can never find a mate in the after-world. Chinese people care for their dead a great deal. They simply cannot let their unmarried deceased loved one to be unhappy in the afterlife for eternity. Thus living relatives look for a “dead bride” for the dead bachelor. When found, the “newlyweds” are buried together, to start married life in the “other world.” And this marriage is considered perfectly legal!

The history of a ghost marriage (Chinese: 冥婚; pinyin: mínghūn; literally: “spirit marriage” goes back to antiquity. In those years, the infant mortality was very high, so many had no time to get married before succumbing to death. Hence the tradition of afterlife weddings. Archaeologists often find ancient tombs of opposite sex children buried together. Inscriptions on the graves say that these kids are married.Ghost marriages were officially banned by the communist government after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. As the nation began experiencing increased wealth over the last few years though, the ghoulish practice has reemerged, particularly in the northern provinces of Shanxi, Henan, and Shaanxi.

There are varying levels of ghost marriages. The more basic ones involve molds of dough or clay with black beans for eyes, or silver statuettes, being buried next to the deceased male. However, the ‘best’ ghost weddings involve corpse brides, dug up from another grave, reinforced with wire, dressed in new clothing, and reburied next to the deceased single man. The problem is that these corpses are stolen from unsuspecting families who in turn are unable to perform appropriate levels of ancestor worship, such as burning fake money at the annual Tomb Sweeping Festival held every April.

The tradition has gained so much traction in recent years that entire matchmaking agencies of the dead have been established to connect the families of deceased, single males with the families of women who have recently died. The government allows these agencies to function, in part because it recognizes that such activities are a result of the One Child Policy imposed on the nation for over thirty years. However, these agencies are unable to keep up with demand, leading others to steal bodies. The incentives are high for the thieves, with fresh corpse brides fetching over $15,600. In 2011, a man was arrested for killing his wife and then trying to sell her body as a corpse bride. Three years ago, four men were arrested after selling ten bodies for nearly $40,000. Even old, decomposed bodies can be sold for over $760. The thieves are emboldened by the relatively minor punishment for stealing corpses, which is up to three years in prison.Ghost Marriage

With authorities unable to curb the problem, Chinese families have adopted a number of ways to protect their deceased loved ones. Rather than burying the female members of their families on distant mountainsides, families are constructing tombs next to their homes. Others have encased the tombs in concrete. Affluent families have begun building fences around tombs, installing CCTV cameras, and hiring security guards to conduct daily patrols to ensure their dead family members stay buried.

‘Ghost marriages’ on the rise in China as people steal ‘corpse brides’ to marry dead single men.

November 19th

Image result for артиллерия и ракетные войскаOn November 19 Russia observes the Day of  Artillery, or, more elaborately named, the Day of Missile Troops (or Strategic Rocket Forcesand Artillery.

The first celebration of the Day of Artillery was established by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from 21 October 1944. The date was chosen because on November 19, 1942, following a powerful artillery preparation, the Red Army began the operation “Uranus”, the counter-offensive during the epic Battle of Stalingrad that was the beginning of radical change in the course of the Great Patriotic War and the World War II.

This tiny vehicle is a heavily armed war machine

Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces have acquired a new weapon: a heavily armed robot. Chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces’ combat training department Evgeny Shchelkanov told the Interfax news agency about the latest acquisition. 

“Just this year we completed testing one such system of protection. Visually speaking it is a small tractor which is armed with machine guns and an automatic grenade launcher, it knows how to detect targets, and it leaves almost no distinct signs.” 

Shchelkanov added that the robot could detect targets even in the dark, and that it was almost “invisible.” (The Moscow Times)

Did You Know? More people in the world have a mobile phone than a toilet. Of the world’s seven billion people, six billion have mobile phones. However, only 4.5 billion have access to toilets or latrines – meaning that 2.5 billion people, mostly in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation.

Some Russian bloggers try to find a hidden meaning in this coincidence. I don’t. It is rather unlikely that the UN designated the World’s Toilet Day to coincide with the Battle of Stalingrad. Sometimes cigar is just a cigar.

Chinese Approach To Internet Addiction

There are 632 million internet users in China – and 24 million of its children are thought to be hooked. China was the first country to recognize internet addiction as a clinical disorder. It has hundreds of rehab camps where concerned parents can send their web-dependent kids. The path to recovery isn’t easy but it is most effective, if the parents walk it with them.

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A patient at the internet-addiction treatment centre in Daxing is wired up for EEG scans to measure brain activity. PHOTO: Fernando Moleres

‘Internet addiction leads to problems in the brain similar to those derived from heroin consumption. But, generally, it is even more damaging. It destroys relationships and deteriorates the body without the person knowing. All of them have eyesight and back problems and suffer from eating disorders. In addition, we have discovered that their brain capacity is reduced by eight per cent, and the psychological afflictions are serious. If someone is spending six hours or more on the internet, we consider that to be an addiction.’ (Tao Ran, a psychiatrist and colonel in the People’s Liberation Army, who designed a treatment that combines military discipline with traditional techniques to overcome addiction.)

Inside the Chinese boot camp treating Internet addiction, an enlightening article in the subject in The Telegraph. 

Meet The Sculptor: Philip Jackson

Born in Inverness, Philip Jackson lives and works in West Sussex. He was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2009.

Jackson’s ability to convey the human condition through skillful use of body language is legendary, producing figures both imposing and operatic in their narrative and presence, which are recognizable worldwide.
Powerful and beautifully sculpted, Jackson’s meticulously precise posturing of each piece creates an overwhelming sense of drama.

escultorWhether with the prestigious, figuratively detailed public monuments and statues for which he is often commissioned, or his hauntingly elegant and theatrically enigmatic gallery sculptures, Philip Jackson’s work is truly awe inspiring — it never fails to move people.

Kremlin in 3D

Found a site offering 3D tours of Kremlin territory, Kremlin State Theater and –the best of them all — Kremlin’s Teremnoy Palace. Had a great visit. Zoom in and out, go left, right, up and down… Have fun.

The Teremnoy PalaceTeremnoy Palace was built by B. Ogurtsov, T. Sharutin, A.Konstantinov and L. Ushakov in 1635-1636 during the rule of Michael I of Russia. The remains of the Armory were used as a basement. Tsar’s apartments that comprised four rooms of the average size, occupied the second floor.

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kremlim.PNGThe State Kremlin PalaceThe State Kremlin Palace, formerly known as the Kremlin Palace of Congresses was built in 1961 under the management of M.V. Posokhin with the support of Khrushchev on the site of the old building of the Kremlin Armory. The construction lasted for 16 months and the opening was dated for the 22 conference of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Besides congresses, conferences and meetings, the hall is intended for festivals and theatrical performances: operas, ballets and concerts.kremlin.PNGMoscow Kremlin territoryMoscow Kremlin was built on Borovitsky Hill on the left side of the Moscow River. First fortifications, surrounded by ditch and earth mound, were constructed there in 1156. In 1238, during Mongol-Tatar invasion Moscow Kremlin was demolished, in 1339 it was rebuilt; current walls and towers were built in 1485-1516. Today Kremlin houses a residence of Russian President and a lot of historical monuments.

Ig Nobel Once Again

The Ig Nobel prizes are given every year for “achievements that make people LAUGH, and then THINK.” The  Annals of Improbable Research, the science humor magazine doles out the awards.

This year honorees included a man who lived as a goat, a man who lived as a badger, a man who put tiny pants on rats and tracked their sex lives, a team who investigated the personalities of rocks, and Volkswagen. The Chemistry Prize, awarded to Volkswagen “for solving the problem of excessive automobile pollution emissions,” was particularly ignoble.

In the picture above, Thomas Thwaites, in his goat suit, prepares to speak after receiving the Ig Nobel prize in biology from Nobel laureate Eric Maskin (economics, 2007) during ceremonies at Harvard University on Thursday.

Japanese scientists bend over forward to win an Ig Nobel prize for Perception Study. They  investigated “whether things look different when you bend over and view them between your legs.”

True, most of the awards were grin-inducing. However, in my opinion, the level of hilarity wasn’t quite as high as at the other years Ig Nobel ceremonies — Ig Nobel 2014 or last the 2015’s Happy 25th Birthday, Ig Nobel.