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Storytellers of the Future

Thu Nov 27, 2014, 2:02 PM
Storyteller by hyenacub by techgnotic

What kind of new narratives will 21st Century storytellers create for our changing world?

Brain Games host Jason Silva tackled that question in a two-minute video called "Lucid Dreaming," outlining the tremendous opportunities (and challenges) facing 21st Century storytellers. As our relationship to technology evolves, the stories we tell each other will change as well.

It’s always fun to imagine what the future will look like and how we will tell stories in this new world.

Silva used culture writer Erik Davis' description of immersive storytelling, a way to create a sort of lucid dream for the reader or viewer:

Immersive works of art or entertainment are increasingly not content to simply produce a new range of sensations. Instead, they often function as portals into other worlds."

— Erik Davis

Silva also quoted Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace by Janet H. Murray, a scholarly book looking at the future of storytelling. Silva explained how readers and viewers interact with a story:

So powerful is our desire to be immersed that it's not just that we suspend disbelief, but that we actually create belief--using our sophisticated intelligence to reinforce our belief in the story world, rather than to question it. We actively metabolize belief through story ... The narratives of the future have the potential to transform what it means to be human to employ landscapes of the mind and turn subjective experience into a living, breathing painting; a wake-walking dream.”

— Janet H. Murray

Murray's book was published in 1997, but it is still very relevant for readers, viewers and creators. She raised questions that still need to be answered as technology evolves.

Here is an inspiring passage from her book:

I find myself anticipating a new kind of storyteller, one who is half hacker, half bard. The spirit of the hacker is one of the great creative wellsprings of our time, causing the inanimate circuits to sing with ever more individualized and quirky voices; the spirit of the bard is eternal and irreplaceable, telling us what we are doing here and what we mean to one another. I am drawn to imagining a cyberdrama of the future by the same fascination that draws me to the Victorian novel. I see glimmers of a medium that is capacious and broadly expressive, a medium capable of capturing both the hairbreadth movements of individual human consciousness and the colossal crosscurrents of global society.

What do you think? Who are the writers leading this storytelling revolution?

The wonders of narrative immersion possible through new tech advances are truly amazing.  My only worry is that as with every other academic subject our youth are slipping in due to disuse, the intellectual muscles that created the worlds in which we as young readers had suspended disbelief are beginning to atrophy.

Children’s stories, or for that matter stories for any age group, should not rise or fall on how well the illustrators and animators built the backgrounds I see in my 3D virtual reality wraparound glasses.  At a certain point, pure storytelling (great writing) is going to begin becoming just another element in the overall narrative, and with its primacy reduced, become all the weaker and mundane.

Your Thoughts

  1. Have you ever had a favorite novel spoiled by a bad TV or film adaptation?

  2. Have you ever watched a movie before reading the book, only to find the adaptation more exciting and thoughtful and satisfying than anything in the original source material?

My Jackson Pollock Nine by DarkLinkFire

Just as Dada and surrealism had been the art world’s mocking response to the world’s failed progressive pretensions in response to the anti-human horror of World War I, the art movement that blew up in the wake of World War II’s repeat performance was “abstract expressionism.”

It was deliberatively non-figurative. It told the viewer no story. It was not meant to “mean” anything. It was no more than evidence of the artist still alive, surviving, still creating art in the wake of the second devastation of everything modernist and human. It’s bold declaration of art now being detached from meaning, narrative, historical perspective or progressive purpose made New York the new center of the art world. It’s boldest representative was Jackson Pollock.

Some critics complained about Pollock’s process of “drip painting” on canvases spread out on warehouse floors. He “attacked” the canvas from all four sides until he was satisfied with the composition. This, said critics, was “performance art” and that the finished artworks were of little value, as they were just souvenirs of the “art event.” Pollock replied that all his art only had value and meaning for him in the moment of completion.  This did not make the “old school” critics happy.

What should have been Jackson Pollock’s moment of vindication as an artist was also the beginning of the end of everything he was trying to express about art.

Pollock’s moment in the sun was four pages in the August 8, 1949 edition of Life (Magazine) headlined “Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?”

LIFE (Magazine)
(Aug 8, 1949)

Pollock’s greatest works, his drip paintings, were created between 1947 and 1950. The Life (Magazine) article brought fame and celebrity into Pollock’s life. After 1951, he dumped the drip method and began experimenting with what were arguably more salable paintings, perhaps not coincidentally unrelated with his move to a more commercial high profile gallery. He may have sensed that the new demand from collectors was forcing him to make artistic compromises. Or he may have just been being crushed under the pressure to produce. But for whatever reason, this is when his severe, eventually fatal, alcoholism began.

In 1955, Pollock created his last two paintings

He spent 1956 making sculptures constructed of wire and plaster. On August 11, 1956, a drunken Pollock crashed his car less than a mile from his house, killing himself and Edith Metzger. Pollock’s mistress, the artist Ruth Kligman, survived the crash.

Jackson Pollock was a brilliant artist whose life is a study of complex and ironic contradictions. He championed the abstract expressionist cause of art being free of any “meaning” and artists being the anonymous creators of that “meaningless” art. And yet, his brilliant drip paintings still inspire art lovers’ lives and he was made a shining star of the “new art” despite his preferring to remain in the shadows. He fought to be a revolutionary artist struggling against all official academic maxims about the meaning and value of art. He sought to be a “pure” artist, true to his ideals, yet he began cutting artistic corners once the title of Abstract King had been bequeathed to him and needed to be defended.

Pollock hated the commercial aspects of art and the false values that defined any artwork’s worth, e.g. the fame and notoriety of the artist vs. the art itself. And yet he fell into the trap of living up to his hype once the money started finally coming in. How sadly common it is that the battering the egos of young artists sustain in their struggle for success leaves them too weakened to defend their most cherished personal convictions when success finally does arrive.

Your Thoughts

  1. Do you feel an artist should be trying to express a meaning, or even just evoke a mood or feeling, with the art he or she creates?  Or should art, as much as possible, be simply a stimulant or prompt for the viewer’s own unique personal response?
  2. Should art be “used” by the viewer as an inspirational aid in their work, or should it be a message to be deciphered or understood?  Or are both “consumer uses” of art acceptable.
  3. Is it ever possible for an abstract piece of art to be completely purely “meaningless?”
  4. What do you like or dislike about Pollock’s drip paintings?
  5. Who is your favorite abstract artist?  Can you explain why?

Collection: For The Love of Dog

Thu Nov 27, 2014, 1:53 PM
A Song For Man's Best Friend by DiamonEyes

For the love of dog

The problem with lovers and spouses is that they have their own separate lives. They can’t always wake in the morning to a day of loving you until it’s time to close their eyes to sleep at night with their heads filled with thoughts of you. There are some activities necessary for their human existence that must be attended to, no matter how much you need a foot massage. Not so with dogs. Your dog lives only for you. Dogs are instinctive pack animals and you are the Leader of the Pack.

Scientists now report that your dog “reads” your pheromones and other subtle scent indicators to know if you’re happy or sad and depressed. Then he’ll know whether to raucously fetch you his leash for some fun in the dog park, or quietly rest his head on your shoulder to comfort you. But dog owners have never needed science to tell them their dog loves them best.

The Google Doodle as Web Icon

Wed Nov 26, 2014, 8:05 PM
Google homepage art I did by jimlee00

For those of you keeping current, the Google logo on the Google homepage is occasionally altered, sometimes to bring attention to an event, sometimes to celebrate famous artists and scientists on their birthdays. These clever alterations are “doodles” and they are often created by guest artists.

The first “Google Doodle” was to celebrate the Burning Man Festival in 1998.

Soon after, Google heads Larry Page and Sergey Brin asked intern Dennis Hwang to design a doodle for Bastille Day. This was the origin of the special team of Google “doodlers.” The doodles have evolved from being simply clever graffiti to becoming animated to now being interactive. As of 2014, Google has published over 2,000 regional and international doodles.

At DeviantArt we have our own special preference for doodles celebrating artists like Warhol, da Vinci, John Lennon, Kurosawa, H.G. Wells, etc. The latest honoree to be Google–Doodled is Henri de Toulouse–Lautrec, the post–impressionist painter and iconic figure representing a historic time and place of unfettered artistic freedom and vibrancy, “La Belle Epoque” (the “Beautiful Era”) in Paris from the 1870s to the start of WWI in 1914.

Henri was born to the aristocracy, but suffered from a genetic disorder that made his legs stop growing in childhood.

He was forced to live with the indignities of having an adult’s torso set atop a child’s legs. He was a 5’1” man who compensated for his lack of physical stature by immersing himself in and eventually becoming a giant in the arts, alongside his fellow post–impressionists Cezanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin.

Henri became a symbol of the Parisian bohemian bon vivant.

He was famously commissioned by the Moulin Rouge cabaret to create a series of posters for advertising. The nightclub was so pleased by the results that they installed a permanent display of Lautrec paintings and granted Henri permanent reserved seating. Prostitutes were a favorite subject of his art, and he became their favorite portraitist, often accepting a madams’ invitations to move into their brothels for months at a time. Lautrec gave painting lessons to one of his models, Suzanne Valadon, who went on to become the first woman painter admitted to the Societe Nationale des Beaux–Arts (in 1894).

Henri died a few months before his 37th birthday at his family’s estate in Malrome.

In a career spanning less than 20 years, Lautrec produced at least 737 canvases, 275 watercolors, 363 prints and posters, 5,084 drawings and some ceramic and stained glass work. These are estimates because so much of his work has been lost.

Henri is also thought to have invented the Tremblement de Terre, an alcoholic beverage consisting of ½ absinthe and ½ cognac.

Your Thoughts

  1. What’s the cleverest Google-Doodle you’ve ever seen?

  2. Do you not mind, or do you still resent, intrusive advertising when it manages to be really artistically imaginative and well-executed?

  3. What is your favorite version of artwork as headline on the web?

Wonder Woman Reborn

Wed Nov 26, 2014, 8:02 PM
Supers V Wonder by JoshJ81

The collective fan community sigh of relief that a female director has been chosen to bring the Amazonian Goddess to life on the big screen has been echoing across the web ever since Monday’s announcement that Michelle McClaren had won that coveted crown. Here at DA HQ, we can’t help but imagine what Joss Whedon might have done with the character.

Pray no one involved in the Catwoman movie gets close to it.

It’s not just that Wonder Woman is poised to become an integral element in the upcoming Warner Bros/DC Universe big screen explosion, more importantly it’s the current climate in which she is being brought forth as female Icon. It seems Warner Bros. has chosen to make this a period piece and set the film in the 20’s. Interesting on so many levels. Her comic history is really tied more into the 1940’s and World War 2. Her creation origins is a much larger story we’ll delve into soon.

Captain Marvel, another female super hero, this one from the already established Marvel universe will actually hit the big screen first and will be set in the present day. Another sign that Marvel are listening closer to the fan community? We’re pretty sure that Kevin Feige won’t let this become another Elektra.

Over at camp Dr. Who, producers there just hired Catherine Tregenna, their first female writer in seven years, totaling five in its history. It’s a shame as the shows first producer was a woman, Verity Lambert, and this in light of the season finale revelation that a Time Lord can in fact regenerate as a woman.

Your Thoughts

  1. Do you think the move to set Wonder Woman’s first film as a period piece a sign they are going to honor her origins in the comic or open it up to deal historically with the women’s rights movement as a whole?

  2. How important is it to the integrity of a Wonder Woman re-boot that women occupy the lead positions bringing her to life on the big screen?

  3. Maybe what is your favorite Wonder Woman outfit? Please share your favorite Wonder Woman deviation in the comments section.

Collection: Staircases

Wed Nov 26, 2014, 7:44 PM
Enlightened by Matthias-Haker


Modern elevators have made “skyscrapers” possible—buildings with so many floors that reaching them only by stairway access would be a ridiculous and exhausting proposition. And so stairways have become hidden in blandly utilitarian “fire exit” stairwells. Even buildings now designed with no more than two or three floors save space with elevators rather than having a central stairway. And so one of the glories of our most beautiful architecture is rapidly disappearing, being preserved only in private mansion residences. It is a pity.

There is something magical in a stairway—this structure endlessly “in motion,” indicating movement up and down, while remaining in reality, anchored and motionless.

Collection: Snowed In

Tue Nov 25, 2014, 6:33 PM
Honeymoon Cottage by nami64

Snowed In

There is no more stark dichotomy than the conflicting feelings we have about the wintertime. Many find the snow–blanketed landscape makes winter the most serenely beautiful of the seasons. But people die of exposure in the cold. The idea of being “snowed in” evokes thoughts of fireplaces and hot chocolate and snuggling under piles of blankets, of family reunions and gift–giving, and taking an annual “time–out.”

But it also means lost work hours and school days and danger should someone need to go to the hospital through white–out conditions on ice–glazed roads. Winter is the most beautiful but also the most dangerous season of the year. But for now… let’s just imagine that gigantic cup of hot chocolate we’ll soon be sipping by the fireplace, as we await our favorite snuggle–mate’s knock at the door…

Marriage Proposal on a Spaceship

Tue Nov 25, 2014, 6:22 PM
[Vivere] The Wedding Panel by LauraBevon

What if you could propose to your lover while exploring the universe in a spaceship?

One Reddit reader proposed to his girlfriend using a ring–shaped ship inside the indie starship video game, FTL: Faster Than Light. We love imagining what the future will look like and how we will tell stories in this new world. So I was captivated by this digital love story.

The dedicated gamer built an entire patch for the video game, making the proposal part of his girlfriend’s gaming experience. His heartwarming proposal illustrates how true love can be exactly like an interstellar space battle.

His girlfriend opened the game and discovered a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style set of options.

You boarded my heart and went straight for the shields. And then the life–support. And then the weapons. And then the shields. Oh wait, I said shields already. Anyway, I love you. Will you marry me?”

The designer built in options for both “yes” and “no,” but this game had a happy ending:

Sorry for the wait. She said yes. And then she went back through and tried all the other options.”

You can see all the images from the video game at this link.

Your Thoughts

  1. How will telling the stories of our relationships evolve as technology becomes an even greater part of our lives?
  2. Our virtual selves are in so many online environments simultaneously while we are doing other things in RL. Will our traditional definitions of relationships have to change or will we just have a lot more classifications of relationships?

Gabo by Quadraro

The Spectre of Magical Realism Comes to TexasGabriel Garcí­a Márquez


When he died last April at age 87, he had for a half century been a candidate for “world’s greatest living writer.”

Author of short stories and novels, including his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude, he received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1972 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in Literature in 1982. He was a fierce critic of the United States and had a friend in admirer Fidel Castro, with whom he sometimes shared notes on his works-in-progress. He was banned as a “subversive” from entering the U.S. for several decades until President Clinton lifted the travel ban in 1995. But great art always has a way of prevailing over petty politics in the end. It was announced this week that Márquez’s archives of extant manuscripts and other writing-related items will become a part of the prestigious Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin. His papers will be in good company with those of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.

Márquez was the creator of a literary style that came to be emulated by many other writers throughout Latin America.

It’s called “magic realism,” reflecting the surreal quality of lives lived in the perpetually unstable and volatile nations south of the U.S border. When life so often balances between life and death on the edge of a razor, passions become more intense, fear is a constant companion and life itself takes on a dream quality more palpable than actual reality. This is why “Gabo” is so beloved—for being able to capture this in his tales. His characters’ lives are “realist” narratives of the brutalities they must endure to survive, yet ancestors speak from their graves and moments of magic occur with no indication that they might be supernatural, hallucinated or even odd. For Márquez and his Latin brethren, the surreal running memory in their heads that is their life is as “real” as any documentarian’s or journalist’s “facts.”

Evaluating one’s life in terms of an ever-shifting personal story narrative made up of memories interwoven with dreams and fantasies is something that rubs North Americans the wrong way.  But it is the glorious and most human way to perceive one’s existence in this cruel and disappointing world of serial tragedies, according to fans of Márquez and his magical literary world. Márquez was a writer who painted tantalizing portraits and beautiful if dangerous landscapes with his words – and in a way that many will continue to be inspired by and try to emulate (some quite successfully, like Isabel Allende with her “House of the Spirits”).  But there will forever be only one “Gabo,” the recognized heart and soul of Latin American literature (and dream culture).  Rest assured, his recent death won’t keep him from stopping by for a visit from time to time.

About Artists on Writers


Writers will always find inspiration in the visions of artists, always feeling compelled to tell the stories behind the moments captured in artists’ unforgettable images,

Just as,

Artists will always find inspiration in the words of writers, always feeling compelled to lend visual reality and habitat to the characters described in the scribe’s haunting words.

A Quote From Gabriel Garcia Márquez


“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”
— Gabriel Garcia Márquez

Gabriel Garcia Márquez Inspired Artwork

Quotes from Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez


“No medicine cures what happiness cannot.”

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”

Love in the Time of Cholera

by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Tell him yes. Even if you are dying of fear, even if you are sorry later, because whatever you do, you will be sorry all the rest of your life if you say no.

Questions For the Reader


  1. What is your favorite aspect of the genre of Magical Realism?
  2. What is your favorite Book or Film with Magical Realism as it's main theme?

Research & Curation


Pokemon is Forever

Fri Nov 21, 2014, 7:11 PM
Pokemon : Triple Charizards by Sa-Dui

Foreword by techgnotic

Kay (aka damphyr) is DeviantArt’s go-to expert on everything “Pokémon.”  She also occupies the adventurous position of being one of DeviantArt's main enforcers of standards and practices.  We thank her for being a guardian of artistic erotica and especially, for being able to answer every question we get asked about Pokémon and just about anything else for that matter. Supreme Keeper of all pop culture knowledge, Kay must be protected in case of global disaster.

An incongruous collection of people lined the sidewalk outside the local video game retailer just before opening on March 6th, 2011. The first in line were a pair of teenage boys in baggy jeans and band shirts, skateboards tucked under their arms. Next was a 9-year-old boy and his mother, followed by a 20-something female with spiky purple hair, a skull and crossbones on her belt. Then there was a young teenage girl, dressed all in yellow, red circles painted on her cheeks and a stuffed Pikachu tied to the handlebars of her scooter. Then a pair of young twins, a boy and a girl, with their mother, and three preorder tickets between them.  Two college boys waited impatiently while talking too loudly about their strategy for the upcoming game.  There was the 20-something couple, arms tangled about each other, their female friend eyeing the mid-thirties man behind her, who typed a business email on his cellphone.

The line continued to grow…

This is the magic of Pokémon

There is no one demographic, no one type of Pokémon player. The 12-year-old who started playing “Red” and “Blue” is now the nostalgic 30-year-old who still has his original Red and refuses to let his collection fall behind. At the same time, the magic of the world of Pokémon has not been lost on the new generation, as wireless gameplay, charming mini games and tantalizing secrets draw in new players.

Fans around the globe are once again eagerly awaiting the release of the newest Pokémon games, “Alpha Sapphire” and “Omega Ruby.” Nintendo has been gearing up fans for the new releases and encouraging preorders for months, offering players who make the trek to a local gaming store the codes that can be redeemed for rare Pokémon and game items, including the new “Megastones” and the previously unreleased legendary Pokémon Diancie. The promotions appear to have been effective, with over one million copies preordered in Japan alone. Pokémaniacs are clearly eager to return to the Hoenn Region once again.

Eighteen years after the release of Pokémon “Red” and “Green” in Japan, the franchise is still going strong, thanks largely to easy yet addictive gameplay, storytelling and adaptability. While “Alpha Sapphire” and “Omega Ruby” are not, strictly speaking, new games (the original games were titled “Pokémon Ruby” and “Pokémon Sapphire” and were released in 2002 and 2003) these remakes offer players a much more immersive world, with radically different graphics, more monsters to catch, more items to collect, easier social interaction with other Pokémon players, as well as minigames and activities to lose themselves in. Pokémon, like its monsters, continues to evolve, and in so doing, has deftly managed to keep the interest of veteran players and attracted a whole new generation of gamers.

Ever embracing of pop culture, Pokémon is combining the cosplay trend with their most famous monster.

“Alpha Sapphire” and “Omega Ruby” will be the first games to offer the Cosplay Pikachu! This adorable Pikachu is sure to be the star of the returning Talent Show, and will have a variety of outfits. Cosplay Pikachu will acquire special moves based upon which costumes they wear, and, like any truly dedicated cosplayer, will appear in costume even in battle.


Pokémon could not have chosen a better slogan to promote their game, as there is no question that the obsessive desire to catch them all is a major drive for many players. Pokémon games are released in paired versions, and some Pokémon are version exclusives, found in one version of the game, but not the other.

Some Pokémon have forms which cannot be found naturally in game and can only be unlocked if they are traded from one player to another.

Some Pokémon have unique appearances which change depending on the season, sometimes the same Pokémon will have a different appearance depending on its gender, while still other Pokémon have a different appearance depending on the region your game originates from.

Some Pokémon will only evolve if the player has raised the friendship of their monster, by traveling with it in their team, or spending time in the Amie mini-game, where players pet their Pokémon and hand-feed them Poke Puff pastries.

Legendary Pokémon

Then there are the legendary Pokémon, which are rare and difficult to find, often version exclusive with only one monster found per game. Some Pokémon are event exclusives, where gamers must bring their 3DS and Pokémon game to a certain real-world location within the correct time frame order to download a special Pokémon. Some Pokémon are distributed via the Wireless feature on the Nintendo 3DS and are offered in celebration of a holiday or special event.  For the hardcore collectors, the game does not end when the credits roll, not even when the Pokedex is complete, and all 719 Pokémon have been recorded. For the truly dedicated, the game is not over until every Pokémon, every color variation, every gender variation, every shiny variation and every special event Pokémon has been acquired.

While Pokémon may be a one-player game, the game play is anything but isolating. Through the wireless connection of the 3DS, players can, at any time, see the icons of their friends and random online passersby, battle or trade with just a few clicks, or even offer a player a stat boost to help them in their game. Voice chat enables friends to connect over long distances, groups of players can trade unhatched eggs, and even those who are offline can still impact those actively playing by offering to trade a Pokémon via the Global Trade Station.

Across the Internet, Pokémon communities have become common, from groups here on DeviantArt, to Reddit and Tumblr and dedicated Pokémon fan sites. Players swap friend codes in order to explore Friend Safaris, where rare Pokémon with boosted stats wait to be found. Trades for Pokémon, both legendary and common are negotiated and breeding extras are given away to help out future breeders. The days of needing a link cable, a wish and a prayer in order to trade are long gone.  It has never been easier to interact and trade with other Pokémon players.

Even battle is a social event in Pokémon.

Wireless competitions are held regularly, with different rules dictating which Pokémon and which Pokémon teams can be entered. Gaming stores and individual groups often organize in-person Pokémon tournaments so gamers can see how their Pokémon teams stand up against other local trainers. The annual Pokémon World Championship is a televised, narrated global competition where Pokémon awards over $100,000 in scholarships to video gamers and card players. The 2014 tournament featured over 500 players from 30 countries, and the tournament winner, Se Jun Park, won a surprising victory with his Pachirisu, spawning a flurry of art featuring the adorable electric rodent.

Even if you are not inclined to catch them all, Pokémon has worked hard to offer something of interest to every kind of player. Pokémon has a whole host of games, features, minigames, strategies and events beyond those featured in this article.  Whether you are picking out your very first starter or if you are a master with a completed Pokedex, join us in a return to the world of Pokémon!

A new adventure and new evolutions await us all in Hoenn, and it looks like Team Magma and Team Aqua are up to no good once more, so let's go defend the world once more!

This article was edited for space considerations. If you would like to read the full text of Kay’s original extended submission, click here.

Questions for The Reader

  1. What is your favorite Pokémon?
  2. What attributes of either the Pokemon Universe or Game Play draw you in the most to keep you playing Pokémon games?
  3. If you battle, is this due to a competitive urge, or is it more about the social bonding with your teammates?
  4. Do you have any strong years-ago memories tied to Pokémon?
  5. Can you think of any more improvements or options that would make the Pokémon experience even better?
  6. Someday will you encourage your children to play Pokémon?  Do you think you will be able to explain your passion for this massively time-consuming “hobby?”

Collection: Telephone

Fri Nov 21, 2014, 6:58 PM
Telephone by techgnotic


Technology is advancing so quickly that our next generation may not be able to identify the technical purpose for the archaic devices in this gallery of telephones and phone booths. The radical evolution of no other single piece of essential equipment in life has ever perfectly denoted which century a story is being told about.

In the 20th century we were tethered by a coiled wire to the wall, in a place specially set aside to conduct phone conversations. In the 21st century everything we need to communicate is carried in a small device in our pocket, freeing us to speak or be s gpoken to from anywhere on the planet.

55-img-00 by techgnotic

In Bangkok, Thailand, students are being arrested for raising their hands in the air to flash Katniss’ three–finger “freedom” salute.

That’s right, the Katniss who’s the fictional heroine of the popular dystopian sci–fi “Hunger Games” movie series. The world has changed over the last few decades in a very big way, but some are apparently unaware of it or undisturbed by the stunning ramifications.

Advanced surveillance technology is endangering not only personal privacy, but also any possibility of political organizing being kept secret from government power. So even the most democratic nations are now faced with Big Brother seeing, hearing, and knowing everything. Drones and other military tech advances have meant a reconceptualization of warfare making resistance by those who have taken stands against their governments or ruling forces a difficult undertaking. Potential political leaders can be snuffed by drone strikes before anyone knows their names. Governments snooping on text messages can stop demonstrations before they happen. Still, the need to protest remains, leading us to ask—what form is left to us?

We still have the movies.

Putting on a Guy Fawkes mask or raising the “Katniss salute” are now actual political statements.

What many see as the planet’s politically leaderless void is now being filled by our movie hero champions. Fictional movie characters are delivering those heartfelt speeches about freedom and love of humanity that move us and inspire us, while the words of our actual political leaders, for many, continue to evoke only vague hopes of a better tomorrow. There may be a breath of hope in this—but the sword of movie propaganda cuts both ways. Movies are entertainments produced by corporations for profit. “Politically correct” messages are usually imparted only accidentally. The politics of “Katniss” will be determined at the box office by what her fans are willing to hear. Let’s hope her fans demand the studio not attempt to “soften” of her character so she can remain the female “Spartacus”—a Roman slave who lead an infamous revolt and a very cool movie.

The words of movie heroes are now igniting real passion in the hearts of people in Thailand, moving them to take a symbolic action: raising three fingers into the air. If this goes against government wishes and leads to arrests being made then these protesters will go to jail for referencing a fictional story from a movie.

In China, the premiere of Mockingjay, Part 1 has been delayed. A movie about a rebellion to overthrow a fictional oppressive government is quashed by a government perhaps fearful of the example Katniss and her comrades might put into the heads of audiences in China. But in a familiar pattern of banning content, China potentially makes the movie (which millions will see anyway on illegal downloads) all that more powerful as a symbolic torch for freedom.

Popular culture seems to have created a worldwide narrative of “freedom,” though it’s still as vague and hazy as the fictional sources it’s being extracted from to find its final shape. At the end of the day Katniss is a fictional character living in a fabricated world conceived of by her creator Suzanne Collins.

She is not taking real action, not facing consequences for marching in the streets, she may be the spark that lights the kindling—but the kindling has to be there to light. The heart of revolution lies in the people. Fictional characters don’t create social change, people do.

Your Thoughts

  1. Have you seen the Katniss three finger salute used by people at your work, at your school or in the streets? Do you have a clear sense of its meaning?

  2. What fictional story, character or role has inspired you to political action in your own community?

  3. As an artist, have you used symbolic images to substitute for grand ideas such as freedom or social equality on the one hand or repression and fundamentalism on the other?

The Little Mermaid

Fri Nov 21, 2014, 6:52 PM
Wish I could be by alicexz

Foreword by techgnotic

Elisa (aka spotted) steps out from behind the scenes as one of our intrepid Today Page senior editors to contribute her appreciation of “The Little Mermaid.” We hope it will be the first of many contributions to come, another hidden talent having been revealed by this longtime DeviantArt special projects manager.

It was 25 years ago that a redheaded mermaid made a splash in theaters ushering in a new era for the identity of the Disney princess.

The Little Mermaid was released in 1989 and was the studio’s first princess movie in 30 years since Sleeping Beauty in 1959. But unlike her predecessors who lay in wait for a daring prince to rescue them, Ariel was no damsel in distress. In fact, she was the one doing most of the rescuing, saving Prince Eric on more than one occasion. You’ll find no gentle submissive Snow White or Cinderella here, no royal slumbering while all the action took place; Ariel was defiant, determined, and eager to explore. She was the first Disney princess with personality.

DeviantArtists might make special note of Ariel’s grotto art gallery. We get a glimpse of her forbidden collection during her big solo musical number “Part of Your World” and if you look closely when she sings “What’s a fire and why does it—what’s the word? Burn.” you’ll see she’s looking at a painting of a woman with a lamp. Art history aficionados will recognize the painting which currently calls the Lourve home as the 1640 oil–on–canvas work of French Baroque painter Georges de La Tour titled Magdalen with the Smoking Flame.

That’s not the only art history treat in the film,

The scene of Ariel on a rock staring longingly at a shipwrecked Eric is a tribute the statue of the Little Mermaid which sits waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark. The statue made its debut in 1913 and is based on the original fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen.

The Little Mermaid did more than prove a “girl’s film” could hold its own at the box office, it created a renaissance period for Disney, becoming the first Disney animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award in 13 years. It won 2 Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, and gave the studio a new sense of credibility it had lacked in past years. It also established a new formula for animated films which still prevails to this day combining a winning plot with beautiful artwork and highly memorable songs.

While many will argue that Ariel is not a feminist role model, she was the first princess to take her life in her own hands and whether for good or bad she made her own decisions and followed her own path. Ariel lead the way for more empowered leading ladies in animated films to spring forth, with Belle and Jasmine quickly  following her lead, and paved the way for the most recent empowered Princesses, Frozen’s Elsa and Anna, who might not be a reality today if one ‘bright young’ woman had not gotten ‘sick of swimmin’ and chosen to stand instead.

Your Thoughts

  1. Who is your favorite Disney Princess and what is it about her that makes her so special to you?

  2. Do you prefer the original darker fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm Brothers over the “Happily Ever After” Disney versions? Which fairytale is your favorite?

  3. How do you think Disney movies have shaped the cultural narrative of each generation?

Star Wars: A New Hope

Thu Nov 20, 2014, 7:41 PM
The Empire Bargains by dvsdesigner

Who’s the most important person now in the Star Wars franchise? JJ Abrams? Think again!

It begins in mere weeks from now: The countdown to the first of the next Star Wars sequels, Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, the first of a new trilogy for a new generation. The first 1 minute trailer, a mostly wordless montage of series’ heroes, will debut attached to Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 or on Disney-owned ABC Television. American culture stirs in its sleep. George Lucas is whispering, “Wake up…” — for he has more life lessons for the youth. He continues on in his role as our children’s modern Walt Disney.

This second batch of Star Wars movies will hopefully fare better with the fans than the near-disastrous rollout of The Phantom Menace in 1999.  The Star Wars community was split in two by the prequel trilogy. While on one hand it brought in a whole new younger audience to the franchize, the older fans who had waited so many years for these films were devastated that they were skewed to such a young audience.

But there was something else missing, one might say the vital ingredients that made the original franchize so great. There was no hope that we’d ever see Francis Ford Coppola, writer and director of the fantastic Godfather Trilogy as well as Apocalypse Now, work on the scripts as he had done on A New Hope.  There was also no chance that Gary Kurtz, the original trilogies producer would be back either. Gary was just as involved with Star Wars as George Lucas was. He kept George on track on both development and production through American Graffiti and their early desire to do a Flash Gordon adaptation, the latter project evolved into Star Wars.

We can relax because J.J. Abrams, who so successfully resuscitated the Star Trek franchise with his reboot, is the director this time out.

No worries, right? So who’s left?

Lawrence Kasdan. The man who co-wrote Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. The man credited with breathing life into Luke, Leia and Han, then taking them on a slightly darker path. Kasdan was the man who also helped bring Indiana Jones to the screen, co-writing Raiders Of The Lost Ark! Many fans, with serious Star Wars knowledge, were relieved when the first video journal for Star Wars had both JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan in it. A hopeful sign that JJ wouldn’t have final say on the script, something many Star Trek fans had wished someone else had on that reboot. Lawrence will be around for a while, his name already linked with the further sequels and spin-offs planned by Disney for Star Wars.

Now we wait with baited breath for the first teaser for the first film in the next trilogy. We will analyse each second of the one minute trailer for hours, perhaps weeks, hoping for glimpses of Easter eggs within it.

So as the Jedi nation grows in its multitudes and the 2015 Star Wars Celebration Convention, scheduled for April 16-19 in Anaheim is projected to shatter attendance records, there remains little evidence of the Force ever having being asleep in these years after the third “prequel.”

Lawrence, our faith is with you.

No pressure.

Your Thoughts

  1. Which Star Wars characters are best suited to be featured in their own spin-off films?

  2. Do you hope Lando makes a surprise appearance?

  3. What are your hopes for the new series of Star Wars films?

  4. How would you like to see Han Solo and Princess Leia's relationship play out?

  5. What is your favorite Star Wars Fan Art or Fan Fiction?


Collection: Blue Harvest

Thu Nov 20, 2014, 7:37 PM
Harvest day by awijaya17

Blue Harvest

The Harvest time of year represents the last heroic exertion of labor to gather in for storage the bounty of crops to sustain life through the approaching Autumn and Winter. The health and relative comfort of an entire village or settlement, or a single remote homestead, through the cold and barren months, depends on a successful harvest. A blighted harvest means fear and prayers that the winter will be mild and of short duration, that the limited food might provide enough sustenance. In modern society, the Harvest has come to represent receiving just and due reward for any endeavor one has worked long and hard to make a success. But this gallery of mostly well–satisfied country folk and bountiful fields and orchards of fruits, vegetables and grains is how we’ll always feel the warmth of harvest time in our hearts and minds.

Abstract Art

Thu Nov 20, 2014, 7:31 PM
54-img-30 by techgnotic

The earliest known artworks of humans, found on cave walls dating back about 40,000 years, tell stories.

Usually the stories are of amazing hunts for enormous wooly mammoths and other food sources. Others suppose they were plans for hunts, no different from a coach’s football plays.

Today we are learning of abstract artworks on the cave walls, seemingly deliberately hidden, and much farther back, painted by medicine men huffing hallucinogenic herbs. The purpose for these totemic abstracts is unclear. While native art worldwide retained its abstract currents, Western art evolved mainly as the illustration of a narrative; that narrative being the lineage of kings, queens and other royals as well as representations of Jehovah, Christ, the saints and Biblical versions of human history.

Abstraction had no place in church or the royals’ courts. It wasn’t until the Renaissance and artists securing private investors that the idea of art as a source of sensation unattached to a narrative, free to tell each individual encountering it a different “story” with a different personal meaning, restored the balancing flipside of the rigidly representational to the art equation.

This was the “new language” of art, and the beginning of “abstraction.”

Presented here is a collection of mind–stimulating modern abstracts, demonstrating just how far the movement has come.

What’s It Saying to You?

Your Thoughts

  1. If you like abstract art, is it because it lets you feel free of the need to understand the artist’s “original intent” in meaning, and therefore free to let the art make you feel any way it makes you feel?

  2. If you don’t really like abstract art, is it because since the artist is not trying to discernably represent something, you have no way of judging how well he or she is succeeding in the representation?  Is understanding the artist’s “original intent” more important to you than how the art makes you personally feel?

  4. Is it possible for an artwork to “not mean anything?”  Is the creation of such “meaningless” art of no value, or is it a great achievement in empowering the viewer of the artwork, making the viewer’s perception of the art all powerful.


Collection: Glasses

Wed Nov 19, 2014, 8:39 PM
John Lennon by SoulOfDavid