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Sunday, June 01, 2008
Extracted from some random spam, book530.com, one of the countless 'art factories' in Dafen, a southern Chinese town that produces vast numbers of oil paintings, copied slavishly - and expertly - from Old Masters, Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Abstract Impressionists, etc. etc. The work is true mass production: "We divide up the colors among us," said [18-year-old Zeng Xiangying], "By dividing up the work, contrasting colors stay clearest." How do they work? eBay is awash in Chinese galleries: avantoil, chengxiangzhubao521, Paintings-888 and templeofart all pulled from a very quick search. That last store has over 3,000 items for sale. Everything is 24 x 20 inches (must be something to do with standarised shipping rates), although you can supersize your order (everything is painted to order, naturally). The likes of Mark Kostabi and Thomas Kincade must be incandescent with rage that someone else is muscling in on their game. We're seriously tempted to buy a painting and see what the quality is like (although the medium is occasionally over-extended - such as the reproductions of Matisse's Blue Nudes, cut out pieces of coloured paper that might be interesting rendered in oils).

More. Michael Wolf has an excellent set of images of Chinese copy artists, posing proudly with their work, while Shenzhen-based flickr user lila75 has a complete set on the Dafen Artist's Village, a sort of hyper-steroidal version of the Place du Tertre or even the Hyde Park Railings. We like this picture, which seems to illustrate the collision between high culture and commerce quite succinctly. This piece, Workshop of the world, fine arts division, by James Fallows also gives a flavour of the place.

*

Other things. Paris in the 50s. See also general sets and scenes from the 60s and 70s, including views of the Olivetti factory, the inner workings of a typewriter workshop. Most of these images appear to pre-date the introduction of Sottsass's Valentine. There are plenty of typewriter museums online, including Chuck and Rich's and Lady Typewriter.

Some publications. Reconstruction, 'studies in contemporary culture'. Here you'll find articles like '"Thank Goodness He-Man Showed Up": Hypermasculine Cultural Posturing and the Token Women of 80s Animated Action Teams', discussing the 'strange sexualized overtones' in cartoons like G.I.Joe. Other issues include a piece on 'The Playing Card's Progress: A Brief History of Cards and Card Games'.

Urbanomic, 'philosophical research and development'. Their new publication, 'Collapse IV, Concept Horror', looks interested. Ordered / Tanks and Tablecloths, 'an ongoing collaborative research project between artists Elizabeth Haven and Lizzie Ridout, identifying common themes between the military and the domestic.' / the work of photographer Bas Princen, via candyland.

Digital Urban on MapTube, a suite of Free Google Map Creating Software developed by University College London's CASA laboratory (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis). A way of importing data into Google Maps, it works a treat for things like the London Underground Map and Post Office locations (compare and contrast with the closures map). We wish there was a way to strip out all the map information entirely, leaving just the data behind. Also, the data contained within maps like London Building Volumes begs to imported into Google Earth so it can be tilted and flown through.

Apocalyptic game rendering crops up on terrorist mood board, apparently. Gamers unamused / the first digital camera, invented by Steve Sasson / Japanese motorway interchanges, the kind of thing that crops up at Follow Found / Aesthetechtonik, a weblog and portfolio by architect Mike Suriano / Vintage Posters / stumbled across this on a bookshelf the other day: The Google Book, by V.C.Vickers, published in 1913. Unsurprisingly it now exists on the Google-devoted Google Blogoscoped.

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