Contemporary Street Art Journal

April 27, 2022

I chose to add this song because it reflects the patience that it takes in order to scope out a spot and create one of these pieces of art. Usually done at night, this song also mentions, ‘vacant dreams’ which I thought was an interesting inclusion as our very own Syracuse Street Artist(Vandal?) goes by the moniker Vacant.


Earlier I spotted one of the Vacant eyes of one of the tributaries on the Syracuse highway. Sadly I was going too quick to catch a picture. This shows the extra care that the artist had to take in order to find a perfect place to commit vandalism in order to create public art.

I drove through Downtown Syracuse looking at the different depictions of street art that can be seen everywhere. Walk down the street and look at the walls anywhere in Syracuse, NY and you will see rushed tags or small throw-ups. This is what gives Syracuse its character and becomes a part of people’s daily lives in the form of memories(especially if you have ADHD).

Ever since the rise of the internet and the introduction of new communication technology, we have learned to categorize different aesthetics over the internet. We do this through our comments and our posts and we are constantly growing our intended vision.

When I started writing for my blog it was hard to find topics to write about. Growing up in an academic setting most of my teachers and professors have told me to be mindful of my work. Most of the time when people try and be completely mindful, they are able to share their work. For my work, much of the cultural aspect being explained is hidden from the public eye. The only way for me to understand this work is by experiencing it myself and explaining how I relate to the subject of discussion. I think that the experience of art is singular to the viewer and the meaning can vary from one person to another.

The reason that I post at all on the internet is in order to group my interests into a singular place where I can access them during my day. The posts come in the form of music blogs where music has a place on my blogging platform. Since music has always been very important in my life, it would only make sense that I could share these new tracks that I have recently become aware of.

Photo by Caio on Pexels.com

Building a repertoire of photos was definitely a key part of learning how to post online. By using Adobe Lightroom, I was able to renue photos I had taken prior and make them feel new. The photo in question is the bench photo which was taken on an outdated iPhone. The rest of the photos are taken on my Nikon Camera. Each photo was planned and then the shot was targeted for ample lighting and directional lighting.

Rick the Bit – A QR Coded Story by Cinzia Bongino is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

 When I first saw the QR Code mural, I was tempted not to include this almost corporate. However, I like to see the usefulness of the QR code in generating an online presence. I saw a QR code in the bathroom one time and I thought that was the smartest thing as all you have to do is scan the code via your phone.

In putting together the website component of the project, I had trouble with the backend and making sure that each link had a photo. In going through the images and linking them together under the umbrella of contemporary street art, I found connections that I would not necessarily have established through my exploration of this niche genre of art.


Having just come back from my sister’s graduation at the prestigious Michigan University, I was happy to see that the streets were flourishing with culture. One looks a small alley and we found tons of street art fighting for their place on the facade of their choosing.

What is Strategic Vandalism?

Rare defacement of object at Alpha Chi Chapter of Theta Chi bench in front of the house on 711 Comstock Ave

What came as a surprise to many onlookers walking down Comstock is the bench in front of the alpha chi chapter of Theta Chi. Why was this bench vandalized and is it tasteful or just a bunch of strategic vandalism?


When asked how I should respond to this piece of work, I first had to analyze. For hours I looked at my phone looking at the curves of the lines and shapes that were being displayed. It seemed like the perpetrator had complete disregard for taste and message. All that the defacement did was destroy a perfectly fine bench.

Similar to building, this vandalism doesn’t seem to be very well thought out. Could be strategic vandalism!

This type of depiction could be from a building, but it looks oddly similar to strategic vandals like Katsu. This strategic defacement reminds me of early Katsu mixed with nothing original.

Image captured at 711 Comstock Syracuse, NY

A couple of days after opening up to my class about the Strategic Vandalism on 711 Comstock I came back to the same location of the bench and happened to find these inscriptions on the side of our dumpster. The inscriptions were not there when the dumpster fist got there. Thinking about this object and the new tag many questions arise. Did we get a new dumpster? Did someone strategically vandalise our dumpster? Is it actually art?


Katsu- Schacter, Rafael, and John Fekner. The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. London Aurum Press, 2017.

Although I believe Katsu’s depiction to be more tasteful as it is away from eyesight, while everyone can see the typography on that post or the painting over on side of the letters on the defaced bench.


Conclusion:

My Professor at Syracuse University, Kevin Adonis Browne asked me what my thoughts were on the vandalism of the bench. I told him I was dumbfounded and had no idea how I would respond. I asked some of the fellas about what we would do about the bench and they seemed to believe that the bench would look nice painted over as a blank monochrome design. I seem to agree with this idea, but I also like the character of the art prior to the bench. If only the Vandalism was more tasteful. I also seem to believe that it would be cool if someone replace the bench with art painted or stenciled on it. I know we have artists out here reading this. You can leave comments at the bottom of this page.

Reference:

Schacter, Rafael, and John Fekner. The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. London Aurum Press, 2017.

Monday Aesthetic Of The Day; Purple/Pink/Blue Filters

Today is a day for trying new things. Try taking pictures with a purple filter. Put your photo into Adobe lightroom and try enhancing your photo and replacing dark lines with purple hues.

Edited in Adobe Lightroom

Heres a track to start your afternoon

This track would bump sitting on the beach drinking a bud light seltzer and staring out over the sea as the sun sets over the horizon.


Heres another one to continue your vibe into glossy purple hues resembling A$AP Mobs Yamborghini High music video.
Check in the Vibe section as I will be adding a link to my pinterest where you can see more photos that adhere to the purple-blue aesthetic.

Atlantic Ocean Sunrise; Edited in Adobe Lightroom

This Into by Tchami is something else. The percussive melodic elements are set to the vocals of gangsters paradise. Just wait until the next one.

Classic Electro House track by SBRN
Here at Melvin Blogs, we get that that shit can get tough and genres of interest may vary. It is for this reason that we try to include music from a broad range of artists not only in EDM/ trap. We also include chill mixes and will later be including links to playlists in other sections of the website.

This track featuring SharC is a great portrayal of how it feels to be winning from the perspective of SharC. The beat, however, kind of goes hard. especially the bass which bumps at intervals that naturally catch your attention. Great song to listen to alone in your room if you need to hype yourself up.


This anthem by Tritonal by Noisestorm is a great way to keep your productivity levels up. If you are going to the gym and need a hype playlist visit https://soundcloud.com/melvinmusicofficial/sets/radio-love?utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

Cry/ Dance Mix_02 by Kasbo

This is an especially chill mix by Kasbo. Enjoy a trip back in time about like 5 years. Kasbo is great at building and keeping attention with those soft synths and thick saw bass.


#babydog #frenchie art artgallery Audi basquiat cars charlidamelio Contemporary dog ethics flight frenchiesoftiktok grafffiti graffiti gronk gronkowski jack Katsu Keith Haring lifestyle mask Meme modernart opensea patriots puppy puppytok real rob s6 salty sill skate skateboarding spare streetart streetwear sweet thatsjustmypuppydog tiktok tire TJMPD wine zedrun

-Michael

Contemporary Avant-Garde Work: Street Art

-Michael Melvin

Ukrainian Artist Homer

In this essay, we will be discussing Contemporary and Avante- Garde forms and how these concepts fit perfectly within the contemporary world of street art. While the definition of contemporary art is very loosely translated, the ‘art’ can be seen as the ‘art of today.’ Naturally, since contemporary art goes against classical forms of art, this concept can be a popular choice for those looking to explore the Avante Garde.

Dai East
Wuhan, China

Stressing formal opposition Avante- Garde fits perfectly with the contemporary art format. The need to express art past its initial format is recognizable as having some type of respect in the contemporary art circle for people who are finding themselves. This has been seen in contemporary street format by the artist Dal East in Wuhan, China. He used the entire building facade for his spiritually unraveling street art masterpiece. This piece is a large-scale acrylic painting with influences from eastern philosophy. Looking at the piece, there are many Eastern influences(Schacter). The film that most notably pops out for this art piece is the Chinese animated film, Big Fish and Begonia. Big Fish and Begonia comment on the relationship between the spirit world and the reality we live in. Dal East seems to be commenting on the disconnect between modern-day people and their ties to the older generations. We can see this as energy slowly unravels into a whale made up of beams similar to the cursed warthog in Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke. What makes Dal East’s art avant-garde is the format he uses for his painting. East can extend his art to a larger audience that would not necessarily see the art in a studio setting by taking up the whole facade of a building.

Big Fish and Begonia(2018)

Ukrainian artist Sasha Kurmaz challenges how art can be expressed. By turning to the street canvas, he was able to bring art to a place where everyone could experience it. While Sasha, also known as Homer by most Ukrainians, has painted over some of his pieces due to his Avante-garde nature, he still has some of the pieces on showcase for all of the public to see. The act of creating these masterpieces and then deleting them is very avant-garde. It questions what art is and how/ where it can be interpreted.

Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke

With the rise of street art in the mid-1980s, Street Art entered the “high art” world through social activism and the need to move art into a more prestigious space. While people are still finding ways to express themselves using street space internationally, the United States found a way to legitimize certain street art as ‘art’ and turn this craft into contemporary works respected by the ‘high art’ circle.    

While Basquiat was introduced into the “high art” sphere by his relationship with artists like Andy Warhol, his work garnered so much attention that it should have been instantly recognized. From October 18, 2020 – July 25, 2021, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston held their Writing the Future; Basquiat and The Hip Hop Generation exhibition. This exhibition comments on the increased popularity of street art and its transformation into the art world. Contemporary street artists like Keith Haring, Fab 5 Freddy, and others were included in this exhibition(mfa.org). Through the relation with Basquiat’s art, the exhibition can show how street art has evolved over the years from its original format on the streets.

When people see street art, they are initially reminded of the rising ‘black culture’ and its impact on art and society. I am reminded of Graffiti Crews, MCs, and Grandmaster Flash, who thought it was necessary to express themselves in very clever ways, which society did not accept at the time. For people who find it hard to relate to the ‘high art’ circle, it can be culturally advantageous to have public artworks which everyone can appreciate. 

Jean Michel- Basquiat

While I don’t necessarily like the way contemporary Street Art is being marketed as a part of the ‘Hip Hop Generation’, I am fond of the artist that was being recognized and the artwork that was being displayed.


Basquiat and Fab 5 Freddy connected art to hip hop. Not many people have wanted to go to museums because of the lack of diversity in art. Having exhibits like these will definitely drive the younger generations to come to museums as these pieces fit the real issues that people want to talk about today in modern-day America.


References:

“Writing the Future.” Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, https://www.mfa.org/exhibition/writing-the-future. 

Schacter, Rafael. The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. Aurum Press, 2017. 

Ototo, et al. “What Is Contemporary Art? an in-Depth Look at the Modern-Day Movement.” My Modern Met, 18 May 2021, https://mymodernmet.com/what-is-contemporary-art-definition/. 

Contemporary Street Art: Art or Vandalism

Michael Melvin –

File:Fall of the Berlin Wall 1989, people walking.jpg

As a child growing up close to New York, I have always been obsessed with city life. The people, the different cultures, the public art, and the bustle of moving parts always excited me as someone who came from the quiet town of Greenwich, CT. I always felt that there was more to life and New York City was the place where dreams happened, so naturally, I would take the train every weekend to experience this dream...

When someone first sees a depiction of street art, one can think of all sorts of kinds of things. First, street art can be relative, as it can be seen or not seen as art depending on its appeal to the community. In New York City, this appeal can be seen in the light of public art and tagging. Each individual is different in nature, but tagging is almost Avante garde in nature.

In doing this project, we are looking at the prominence of street art on a global and domestic scale. Prominent artists such as Dai East, and Katsu, as well as work done by myself. Through understanding the similarities in formats, we can see how global artists have used street art as a way to transform neighborhoods.

We will also be looking at how some artists never fully transformed their work into art that would be accepted in the art world. Conceptual vandalists like Katsu, these artists tend to merge lanes with fashion and use their craft for marketing and clout.


Schacter, Rafael, and John Fekner. The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. London Aurum Press, 2017.


This is Dai Easts mural in Wuhan, China. His depiction of the whale reminds me of a cross between Chinese animation Big Fish and Begonia and the possessed boar in Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke. The most notable thing about this piece is the size of the wall they chose to display this artwork on. The size and height makes it almost impossible for this peice to not catch your eye.

To hear that pop-ups are happening all over China right now is actually stunning to me. I had recently read articles and watched videos describing how people in Beijing have been taking up street art and citing New York as the place of influence and style. Personally, when I went to the 798 art district and China and did my throw-up piece, I was not thinking about New York City. I was thinking about my personal struggles as a human being and my persistence in being the person I wanted to be.

Considering the recent COVID- 19 pandemic and the protests in Hong Kong, we must be aware of how a large mural like this would affect the community. Personally when I see a large well done mural I feel a sense of pride in the fact that another human being produced such a peice. Seeing a peice like this in China is something even more huge, as it can be difficult to get painting permits, especially working with the extremely beauracratic CCP.

In looking at these two pictures back to back we are reminded of the ways in which street art can be used in order to transform a plain white wall into a communal masterpiece. In looking for a piece of art that was similar to Dai East’s example in Wuhan, China, I had to look for a large scale mural in downtown Syracuse. In choosing the mural, in particular, I had to sift through multiple photos that I have taken in advance to work on the website portion of this assignment.

While many of the pieces in Syracuse are works of art, I had to use my own rationale in order to pick a photo that would do Dai East’s work justice in terms of the size and space of the art piece. 

For a while, street art was not accepted as a viable art form. However, through the help of artists like Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Banksy, the art world soon became obsessed with this new format and its application within communities.

This is a depiction of one of Katsu’s tags which can be seen by helicopter or plane. Many of his tags can be found located all over New York and he has even had his pieces featured in museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

This is a depiction of raw street art or a tag. I am not sure what it means, however, the CK seemed to remind me of Calvin Klein who is a notable designer in fashion. While this tag could have been used as a way to claim territory, I found that this picture was a great example of the difference between art and simple vandalism.

A great ballad by Nardo Wick and Lakeyah that encompasses the vibe that Melvin Blogs would like to represent. The choice of this song is directly linked to the link to the idea of linking fashion with art. More importantly, finding a way for contemporary street artists to make money in other areas of business. As we continue to post we will also include explanations of certain street artists’ rise to fame. and fortune.


Through engaging with the material I have become aware of the many ways in which street art can be used as a form of expression. Personally, my relationship with street art is linked to nostalgia and my respect for art regardless of the platform it can be found in.


In looking at Street Art in the contemporary format, we need to make sure to emphasize that this form was initially connected to cultural heritage and painting was a means of expressing one’s identity in a harmless, yet rebellious, way. This will be covered in the next post which will also be located on the Melvin Blogs Contemporary Street Art page.

Through taking the time to take in my images, I hope that you see this work as a reflection of many different groups of people and cultures, all intersecting at a point where expression is felt to be needed or just necessary. In exploring these occurrences, I ask the audience to be mindful of the locations of the pieces and to think about what meaning could be drawn out of each depiction.


About Me

My introduction into the Contemporary world of street art came about during my time spent abroad in Beijing, China. During the duration of my time studying abroad, I enjoyed many local restaurants, talked with people in the area, and had a run-in with the art district. It came to my attention that many of the walls were very oblique and not very colorful. I thought that maybe a touch of art here and there would provide a more positive walk on the way home from work.


In making this remix freshman year of college I initially wanted to have an anthem that could be played at parties. With the reggaeton/dembow/percussive element along with the Bonnie Clyde Uknown lyrics, this piece definitely is hype.


Citations

Schacter, Rafael, and John Fekner. The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. London Aurum Press, 2017.

Young, Alison. Street Art World. London, Uk, Reaktion Books, Cop, 2016.

Hughes, Melissa. Street Art & Graffiti Art: Developing an Understanding. 2009.

Soergel, Allison Arteaga. “The Writing on the Wall: Exploring the Cultural Value of Graffiti and Street Art.” UC Santa Cruz News, news.ucsc.edu/2021/09/graffiti-street-art.html.

Bates, Lindsay. ScholarlyCommons ScholarlyCommons. 2014.

Syracuse Campus Golf Outing 10/14/21 6:30

10 October 2021

Syracuse University Campus Golfing Organizational Flyer

Some of my most profound childhood memories took place on the golf course. I recall the immense anticipation I felt every week as Sunday—the day my dad took me golfing—approached. It was a quiet game, but I loved the silence; the course was a place to think profoundly and evaluate every aspect of the layout. As a college senior, I often remember people and places that have slipped my mind as so much has happened in the past four years. When this project was assigned, I took it as a challenge to create an organization that encapsulated my love for the game of golf. During my time at SU, I’ve enjoyed golfing with the friends I’ve made and found it to be something we have all bonded over.

Furthermore, I am taking a golf course this semester at Syracuse University, which sparked the idea to play “campus golf.” While at first, this was something I joked around about, I realized that I could use this assignment to physically design a golf course layout and bring my idea to life. My success in this project was due to creating my own opinion, class engagement, and my understanding of Illustrator.

By actually playing golf on campus, I figured out where possible holes could be for the Syracuse ‘back 9’. This was very gratifying as I was able to hang out with my friends and talk over a friendly game of golf. I was also able to experience the beauty of the Syracuse campus, which is something rare in modern times where technology is everything.

During class, I have been well engaged in the content being presented. By taking notes on the readings and actively listening, I can take away much from each class. I have logged into every class and even got a chance to learn a little about design software from our classmates. This part was especially important as it motivated me to sign up for Adobe Creative Cloud. 

As someone who is not a design major, I initially had no idea how to use Adobe Illustrator. However, after learning from my friend Preston Buhrmaster, I was able to use the pen tool. This tool was crucial to making the layouts of grass on the flyer reflect that of an image of the campus greenery. By using layers, I was able to mimic what land is available for golf. This was not the only precaution I took before building the final draft as I sketched how the course would look on a piece of paper from my notebook. Through planning and working consistently on the project, I have been able to make an excellent final presentation.

In one of our class sessions, I taught my classmates how to use Datawrapper for statistics and infographics. I learned how to use Datawrapper with my own insights on technology and similar programs I’ve previously used. I hope that my shared knowledge helped my peers make convincing infographics with great rhetorical applications. I not only appreciated sharing my own skills but also giving inspirational feedback and overall conversing with my classmates. It was equally helpful hearing what they had to contribute to the conversations we had and keeping their feedback in mind. 

The aspect of my project I am most proud of would have to be the articulate details. Each hole number is formatted onto the flyer to read vertically down the screen; I picked over my final product for hours before deciding it was finished. Patently, nothing is truly perfect, but the time and effort I put into this project resulted in my satisfaction. That being said, there’s nothing I’d change if allowed to do so.

Dark and Light: Contrast and Perception

Michael Melvin

Caravaggio Saint Jerome Writing

The nature of this presentation and paper revolves around the idea of dualism and how it plays a critical role in understanding contrast: Dark and Light, Knowledge and Ignorance, and Life and Death. Through assigning contrast to art we can understand the multiple perceptions within the simulation in question. It is from this third perspective that we are fully able to take in the art and understand the duality in energy and light that brings balance or dissonance to the subject in question. By breaking the illusion and focusing on the mutual relationship between life and death, artists are able to remind the audience of reality. Once the viewers are caught in this illusion and get a taste of realism, they will always come back for more in order to understand what is considered the avant-garde. 

Through viewing Caravaggio’s Saint Jerome Writing, we are instantly hit with much symbolism. Saint Jerome is on the right donning a halo which resembles that of an angel. To the right of the glowing Saint Jerome writing, we see a skull perched upon a book in the back corner. This skull is an example of a memento mori. During the medieval European period, through the depictions of skulls in contrast to human artifacts, 15th century artists were able to create deep symbolic work. This same theme reemerged in late medieval Christian artwork and this idea of looming ephemerality was always popular and thought of as avant- garde for its time period no matter what was displayed.   

Humans have always been obsessed with the idea of escaping fate, which creates a romantic lust in most god fearing citizens. Gohr states reasons why a negative depiction could be aesthetically pleasing by stating that, “The relationship between beauty and terror, eros and death, those time honored themes of art, are presented again by the painting. Negativity, death is introduced as a theme.” Gohr, “Remarks,” n.p. (Page 129). Oddly enough the sentiment Gohr is expressing is still true today. With the rise of postmodern thought, many are looking towards the Anti- Aesthetic in order to create the avant- garde.

While we ponder the ideas of fate and death, we also cannot overlook social injustices. Luey Lippard makes a fair point stating, “Political realism is usually labeled propaganda. Yet racism, sexism, and classism are not invisible in this society.”(Luey R. Lippard, 347). Through using political realism as an artist, one can make progressive propaganda that caters to the artists ‘struggle’. In this scenario the artist is using their platform in beneficial ways that cater to the avant- garde and ‘not being a sellout’. “Foster argues that the avante- garde returns to us from the future, repositioned by innovative work in the present.”(MIT Press) The avant- garde is the reinvisioned present, which is the ideal simulation for creating the world of your own choosing.

While one may think they full understand avant- garde and its benefits to modern art, German critic Peter Bürger states, “that all its activities can be subsumed under the project to destroy the false autonomy of bourgeois art- is problematic”(Peter Bürger) I feel that this new wave of art could be representative of a new age centered on perceptual reasoning. However, I feel that the raw power of this new wave of anti aesthetic art is only programmed to get a response out of its audience.



Concept of Dualism: Yin(阴) and Yang(阳) 

But knowledge is as food, and needs no less

Her temperance over appetite, to know

In measure what the mind may well contain;

Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns

Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.

John Milton (Bk. VII, ll. 109-130)

What follows the idea of modernity is the criticism of the manifestations. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German critic, stated, “Postmodernity definitely presents itself as Anti Modernity.” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 1). The idea that what is modern can be redefined through the avant- garde puts pressure on artists and creators to shape the future aesthetic; the anti aesthetic. By depicting realism through a hole in the lens, artists are able to provoke feeling and thought. While the reality is still just an illusion, this re-depiction creates a strong image in people’s minds. 

This idea of creating copies was actually done by many artists in order to create collections of great value. Benjamin H.D. Buchloh states, “The repetition of the original act of depletion and the new attribution of meaning redeems the object.”(Benjamin H.D. Buchloh). Simply put, by redoing something that people already know one can get a secondary effect on the market through a similar copy. This can be used in branding and marketing. Andy Warhol is known best for this repetition of everyday items, as seen with his Campbell’s soup can prints. Through the use of copies, the utilitarianism and capitalist ‘struggles’ are fully at work with the artist. While attempting to prove the reality of a robotic lifestyle, Warhol is unironically catering to the needs of society. 

Art should be a reflection of society during the time of creation. Due to the fact that art is noble in practice, many great artists have to receive funding in order to stay afloat financially. Due to the relationship between artist and art purveyor it can be difficult for an artist to create large expository pieces due to legalities and money. While the struggle within every artist is to fight for what they believe in as an individual Jurgen Habermas explains ‘the struggle’ as, “[The struggle] takes form of exposing every manifestation… drawing the connection between modernism and nihilism… between the Left generally and terrorism, anti- semitism, and fascism”-(Jurgen Habermas, 6) Basically this quote states that the artist struggle is to navigate the world as it is without giving up personal values. However, through looking into the contrast between two conceptually different ideas, we are able to see that perception plays a huge role in determining whether the struggle is applicable at the moment.

References:

Foster, Hal. The Return of the Real. MIT Press, 2009. 

Wallis, Brian. Art after Modernism Rethinking Representation. New Museum of Contemporary Art U.a., 1999. 

R. H. Fuchs, Anselm Feifer (Venice: Edizioni “La Biennale di Venezia,” 1980) 

Gohr, “Remarks,” n.p. (Page 129)

Foster, Hal. The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. New Press, 1998. 

Glasses Cover Eyes: Duality, Knowledge,etc.

Giorgio de Chirico. Portrait of Guillaume Apollinaire (Bildnis des Guillaume Apolinaire), 1914. Oil on canvas, 32(⅛)x25(½)” (81.5 x 65cm). Musee National d’Art Moderne, Centre National d’Art et Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris

Heartfeild Portrays Hope That Baby Will Grow Up Strong

John Heartfeild. Hurrah, die Butter ist alle!, 1935. Photomontage in A-!-Z(December 19, 1935). Text reads: “Hurrah, the butter is gone! Goering in his Hamburg speech: ‘Iron has always made a country strong; butter and lard have at most made people fat.’”

Duality Between Ignorance and Cruelty

Carole Conde and Karl Beveridge. Work in Progress, 1980- 1981. Color photograph, 16 x 20” (40.6 x 50.8 cm). From a series of eight

Christy Rutt: Comment on City Hygienics(New York’s Banksy?) 

Christy Rupp. Making Visible During the Day Something Which is Nocturnal(formerly Rat Patrol), 1979. Posters: offset printing on paper, each 6 x 18” (15.4 x 46.2 cm). Various site in New York City

Duality of Future; Hope and Fear

Victor Burgin, Zoo 78

Duality Between History and Present

Barbara Kruger, Untitled, 1981-83

Distressed; Duality of Face

Richard Misrach, Playboy #38 (Warhol), 1989-91.

Duality in Nature

Tony Smith, Die, 1962.

Andy Warhol Finds Hope in Form of illusion

“Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible” -Jean Baudrillard

Window display with paintings by Andy Warhol, Bonwit Teller, New York, 1961.

Vito Acconcis’ Trademark Highlights Transience of life

Vito Acconci, Trademarks, 1970.

Dark Within Light: Racist Indoctrination of Youth Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson, Mining the Museum, 1992, details of carriage and KKK hood, Maryland Historical Society

Perspective; Outside view on Duality

Barbara Kruger, 1981

Utilitarianism and Capitalism

Utilitarianism and Capitalism

Andy Warhol. Campbells Soup Cans 1962

Life and Death; Transience of Life

Vanitas By Antonio de Pereda

Postmodern Anti Aesthetic

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917.

Memento Mori as Kitsch

Lindsay Lohan wearing Marc Jacobs V-Neck Cardigan Chocolate/Argent, Alexander McQueen Skull Scarf

Banksy paints London Underground train with sneezing rat not wearing face mask. The Arts Newspaper.

Minimalism and the Anti- Aesthetic

Buyers of Maurizio Cattelan’s $120,000 Banana Defend the Work as ‘the Unicorn of the Art World,’ Comparing It to Warhol’s Soup Cans. Artnet.com

Kaws and Transience of Life

Steve Aoki Kaws


Totally Wasted NFT; Is this Gen Z’s Keith Haring?


Totally Wasted is an NFT project run by Financial Wizard and Entrepreneur Preston Buhrmaster. This project assemples 3,500 minted collections with the Totally Wasted watermark. The inspiration behind the style of the watermark originates from inspiration of the notable artist Keith Haring. Totally Wasted challenges the conception of value and previous ideas of what makes artwork thrive.

Buhrmaster jokes on his OpenSea account stating, “I am waiting for an investment of a million doll hairs from my good friend Mark from cuba.” This unapologetic style is how Totally Wasted has been gaining the attention of a younger generation of investors. 

Totally wasted includes a collection of 11 tweet post NFTs. Buhrmaster has been a huge advocate for unrestricted crypto trade, believing that it will help a new generation become financially independent. Through his social advocacy, Buhrmaster has built a community on twitter referencing nipples, #wenquit, blockchain, and the minting of NFTs(i.e. Totally Wasted).

-Melvin

NFT Horse Racing; How I Bred a Horse in Zed Run?

July 30, 2021

Perpetual Motion Machine

“Here is an NFT that can be replicated. With the strong framework surrounding Zed Run, one can easily dominate a market run by virtual horse fanatics.”

Zed Run; The Horse Racing NFT

Candidate for Breeding NFTs


The previous owner bought it at 0.12. We bought it at 0.1.

Because ‘Zmu’ is a Mare she is able to breed in cycles.


Looking To Breed

I searched the breeding marketplace for stallion to breed. Finally I happened upon ‘Chain of Events’.

Big Stud in Town

There is a small fee that comes out of paying the stud owner to produce your new NFT.

Example of Stud Farm

This can range in prices, but I found a great option for not much.

Chain of Events
Highest Bidder on this Stallion

Stud Stats


Once the Stud is chosen and the breeding fees are accepted, both parties engage in a transaction which results in a new NFT Race Horse.

Owsley is Born

Conclusion:

This was by far the most ideal situation an NFT could have as an attribute. Due to the nature of the woman horse and the breeding cababilities that comes with owning the NFT, I was able to reproduce my NFT. After Breeding my horse ‘Zmu’, I had created a very new NFT: ‘Owsley’.

-Melvin

Exxon Continues To Save Its Own Ass

Michael Melvin

Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

Rhetoric and How Exxon Continues To Save Its Own Ass

Exxon is a global energy conglomerate that is one of the largest publicly traded energy companies in the world. With such a large presence in the world, Exxon needs to protect the United States by abiding by ethical concerns brought to our attention by foreign countries they do business in. For many years, Exxon has used rhetoric to brand itself as environmentally friendly and conscious. By analysing rhetoric located on the Exxon website and by listening to interviews with the current and past CEOs of Exxon, we can truly see if the corporate ethics on a macro level matches that in action. As a company that has, in recent times, pledged support to the Paris Agreement and reduce its carbon emissions, it is essential that we analyze what the company stands for in order to fully understand how the future will present itself with this company. From an environment friendly perspective, crude oil should never be as prevalent as it is today. However, the demand that backs travel and energy is so large that companies like Exxon are allowed to continue practices that are bad for the environment. In order for Exxon to properly follow their ethics code, the company should be going into cleaner energy research. While this has been done, the market for gas and oil has only skyrocketed relative to the current economy. Will Exxon continue its old ways and ignore the growing concerns over climate change through the use of rhetoric? Or will Exxon pivot their stance on energy in order to promote a healthier planet? The answers to these questions could change at any moment based on the rhetoric that Exxon uses in order to promote its own self interests.

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 Exxon protects itself through corporate ethics and expediency, by using calculated vague words during press releases and interviews. This was primarily the job of Rex Tillerson, until his disassociation with the company in 2017 due to his nomination as Secretary of State. Through his dissociation with this large company, Rex Tillerson was given a cushy $180 million and let go. Initially, Tillerson started out at Exxon during the financial crisis in 2008. Since then, Tillerson has raised the company into the global conglomerate that we saw before the pandemic. Due to increased instability and concern over the future of crude oil, Exxon appointed Darren Woods as the new CEO. So far, Woods’ career as CEO has been a strategic failure. When Darren joined Exxon in 2017, the price of the stock was equivalent to 90 USD. Four years later, Exxon would reach unprecedented lows of 32 USD. 

While Darren Woods could never have predicted such low demand for crude oil, he is still the face of the company and should be treated as such. Presently, the price of Exxon is trending slowly upward. However, if we take into account the drastic measures we have to take in order to protect our earth, crude oil may never reach the old levels of demand again if we are really interested in combating climate change. However, as the pandemic restrictions start to lift, we are seeing an increased demand for traveling, and therefore fuel. The airline industry is a large consumer of fuel, and they single handedly rely on Exxon and other energy companies to keep up with demand.

One could make the case that Exxon has such large purchasing power that they can spend money on lobbying in order to protect their status as a dominant market player. Through lobbying Exxon has been able to twist the dialogue so that they can survive in the corporate world and while still using rhetoric to satisfy shareholders’ environmental concerns. In response to the idea that Exxon has been lobbying, the corporate company page discloses that lobbying is a vital practice for protecting democracy in other countries. There is literally a page on the corporate website that is entitled Political Contributions and Lobbying. This shows that Exxon is not hiding the fact that they are manipulating politics in foreign countries for the sake of democracy. However, in reality the use of the word ‘democracy’ could just be used as rhetoric in order to keep their global businesses running. Exxon already dominates the world with its business. Thus, one could say that the sun never sets on the Exxon empire and that would be completely true.

On the macro level, Exxon has tried to adapt to modern environmentally conscious times. What once was an Industrial Empire is now on the outs. With global ethics being an important subject matter in today’s corporate world, Exxon is forced to find different ways to expand their empire. However in doing so, Exxon may become a totally different company in the next 10-20 years if the environment is lucky. However to be completely honest, we have no idea what is going on outside of US borders, as most of our news is based in the United States and runs off of basically a ‘zoom call’. This is very terrifying and should scare any investor as we start to open up our borders again. If Exxon can only keep their rhetoric together for a little longer they can regain their old power dominance over the world. 

Exxon prices going down is not a new topic. After the previous CEO Rex Tillerson stepped down, Exxon has been slowly bleeding. It was only until the 2019 COVID pandemic, that Exxon stock fully plummeted. It was here that Exxon needed to step up their corporate ethos and rewrite their entire platform. This was especially vital, as their previous CEO was nominated as Secretary of State for one of the most controversial presidencies the United States has ever seen. This nomination alone shows just how powerful the CEO of Exxon is from a political standpoint. 

The new and improved Exxon company, which backed the Paris Agreement, stands for finding solutions to the problems that face the world and its environment. However, the company still believes that energy ‘improves lives’ and is ‘essential’. In response to this Exxon has diverted investors’ attention away from its past, in order to focus on a new era of cleaner energy. One concrete example of this can be found by looking at Exxon’s investor presentations. Before late 2020, the company did not regularly include slides that focused on the environmental impact of its business. However, the company’s two most recent investor presentations, from December 2020 and March 2021, have both included slides focused on Exxon’s efforts to improve the environment. Even before Exxon regularly made the environment a visible part of its rhetoric, the company issued corporate responsibility reports. These reports were not advertised or brought to investors’ attention during earnings calls, but they contained rhetoric that painted Exxon as a company that was continuously monitoring and researching its environmental impact. In an ESG report from 2010, Exxon focuses on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The company report says “Due to the possible negative impacts climate change poses to business operations, human rights an economic development around the world, we urge further integration of climate change into the core of ExxonMobil’s business strategy.” According to Bloomberg, from 2017 to 2018, the company’s total greenhouse gas emissions intensity per barrel of oil equivalent spiked by almost 6%.

Exxon has used many rhetorical strategies in order to divert the attention away from the messy impact that its businesses have on the global front. Exxon has used their algae biofuel as a way to divert attention from the concerns over the ethical dilemma that is Exxon. For a company spanning more land than any empire ever to grace this planet, the environmental impact of Exxon must be disastrous. What makes all of this worse is that the United States borders are closed and we do not have many journalists currently reporting many stories overseas about these environmental concerns on a micro level. However, we do have years of research by Exxon scientists pointing to the increasingly dangerous impact of Exxons business overseas. These scientific journals have been released to the public and have even led to the New York Attorney General investigating this matter. Another prominent example is Exxon’s recent embrace of carbon capture. In 20200, the company proposed a $100B carbon capture infrastructure initiative. While this initiative sounds like an environmentally conscious move by Exxon, it also functions as a way to use rhetoric to advance its interests. One critical component of this plan is the use of public funds. By using environmentally friendly rhetoric to propose an infrastructure project, Exxon is able to lobby for government funds to put back into its business. Instead of using its own funds to make a commitment to improving the environment, Exxon used rhetoric to make itself seem environmentally conscious without having to put up as much of its own capital. 

Analyzing the scientific articles provided by Exxon, many journalists began to report on the topic. This brought rise to the #ExxonKnew movement. The #ExxonKnew movement is based off of the principle that Exxon lied to the general public about information regarding climate change and growing worries about the environment. In addition to deliberately contributing to climate change, these lies directly contradict the Engineers Code of Ethics. The Code states “Engineers must perform under a standard of professional behavior that requires adherence to the highest principles of ethical conduct. Engineers, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall: Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.” 

In terms of the #ExxonKnew campaign, the company already had an excuse: Lobbying. Using a dismissive tactic by acknowledging the campaign as competitor slander, Exxon just doesn’t acknowledge the logos of the situation at all. This is also evident when you visit the Exxon ‘Who We Are’ web page. It is here that rhetoric is placed strategically in order for the company to appear stable from an outside point of view. Also by blaming lobbying for a problem they are facing, Exxon is indirectly making lobbying a legit concern. 

As the world becomes infatuated with the idea of clean energy, the markets say otherwise. With Oil and Gas increasing by the day and global warming becoming a daunting threat looming over us, Exxon is forced to face the constant backlash from social advocates and journalists by using applicable rhetoric. Upon first look at Exxon’s ‘Who We Are’ page, it can already be taken into account that Exxon is using rhetorical techniques in order to convince the reader to support their own vision. Words such as ‘Human Comfort’, ‘Economic Prosperity’, and ‘Social Progress’ pop up in the summary of what exxon stands for. This is a take on pathos, as the organization’s purpose strongly reflects that of the company’s own bias. Instead of embracing humility in light of the situation at hand, Exxon uses key rhetorical strategies in order to distract the reader away from all of the controversy. By painting a picture of Exxon mobiles ‘humble’ beginnings, Exxon takes focus away from controversy and replaces it with a track record of success and stability. While this may seem vague and suspect, the investors love to hear rhetoric like this because it builds trust in the company’s value. By manipulating the rhetoric surrounding exxon, the company is able to keep a steady upward trend without much instability. However, competitors and social advocates can use the same rhetorical techniques to lobby against exxon. This can be seen through the #ExxonKnew movement, which has gained some popularity recently due to Exxons recent change in rhetoric surrounding the Paris Agreement.

The Exxon ‘Who We Are’ web page functions as rhetoric perpetuating the ideals of the company on a macro level. In order to figure out if the Macro vision actually worked, I went to an Exxon station in my area and asked some of its employees a few questions about the company and its involvement in the community. When I asked one of the employees if they thought that Exxon benefited the community, I got a resounding yes. One employee was cited saying, “Because it helps a lot of people out with gas and stuff like that”. This makes you wonder if the corporate ethos has rubbed off on its employees in the community. Overall through the rhetoric provided by said employees, I found that the corporate ethics seemed to have been lost somewhere down the line. However, the company did provide certain benefits to the employees I interviewed in the form of steady pay and Health benefits.

Through interviewing employees at my local Exxon station, I was able to gauge the awareness of such subjects on the issues regarding Exxon. However, it seems as if most of the employees are struggling to get by and rely on Exxon as a source of income. One of the women I was interviewing was also putting a kid through college, which is no cheap task. Even with financial aid, I have no idea how. With that being said, I wonder how the Exxons around the world operate on a micro level. This information is impossible to know as there are travel limitations due to COVID-19.

All in all it seems that Exxon is able to perform in the markets regardless of the controversy over their corporate ethics. The company seems to have an excuse for everything and has much swing in terms of purchasing power. For Exxon this rhetoric seems to be used in order to appear as a stable entity. By doing so, Exxon is able to stay out of the limelight even though they are so large and have such a global impact. Hopefully by reading this paper, you have learned where the real problem stands with climate change. The mainstream media tends to skew certain ways based on the dialogue they are trying to perpetuate. However, by doing so the media is always going to be biased to those who hold money and power. If we want to promote a more open dialogue, we should analyze more companies and see if their corporate ethics match up with what they are actually doing. 

-Melvin


Citations:

“Exxon’s Climate Denial History: A Timeline.” Greenpeace USA, http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/ending-the-climate-crisis/exxon-and-the-oil-industry-knew-about-climate-change/exxons-climate-denial-history-a-timeline/. 

Erprose. “Oil Giant Exxon Mobil Pushes New Climate Change Plan as Activist Investors Circle.” CNBC, CNBC, 15 Dec. 2020, http://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/14/exxon-mobil-begins-to-mount-defense-of-itself-and-a-bigas-activists-circle.html#:~:text=Exxon%20Mobil%20announced%20a%20new,the%20Paris%20Agreement%20reduction%20targets. 

HKS Authors See citation below for complete author information. , and Robert Stavins A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy and Economic Development. “International Climate Policy: The Durban Platform Opens a Window.” Harvard Kennedy School, 24 Jan. 2012, http://www.hks.harvard.edu/publications/international-climate-policy-durban-platform-opens-window. 

Ward, Andrew. “Shell Joins Exxon to Defend Paris Climate Accord.” Financial Times, Financial Times, 4 May 2017, http://www.ft.com/content/043320bb-1c59-301a-9e5d-20cce5dc28b1. 

“Political Contributions and Lobbying.” ExxonMobil, 15 Feb. 2017, corporate.exxonmobil.com/About-us/Policy/Political-contributions-and-lobbying. 

“Who We Are.” ExxonMobil, corporate.exxonmobil.com/About-us/Who-we-are. 

#ExxonKnew, exxonknew.org/. 

Gillis, Justin, and Clifford Krauss. “Exxon Mobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Lies by New York Attorney General.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Nov. 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/06/science/exxon-mobil-under-investigation-in-new-york-over-climate-statements.html?_r=0. 

Press, Associated. “Tillerson Leaves Exxon with $180 Million Retirement Package.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 4 Jan. 2017, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/tillerson-leaves-exxon-180-million-retirement-package.