Art & Culture

New Aesthetic, New Anxieties — a new book

24,000+ words, seven writers, four days, one book. Download the latest publication in the Blowup series I curate at V2_ by clicking the image below:

Read a review by clicking here.


Narcissism Evolved (or devolved)

Image removed at Melissa Whitworth's request

1994-2009: In a recent article on the Telegraph, Melissa Whitworth describes the phenomenon of “phototherapy”: “For many women who are not ill, phototherapy is a chance to step away from the humdrum monotony of everyday life. … it’s a chance for many women “to have a pin-up moment away from their busy schedules, the screaming kids, work, household duties and family”.” Ms. Whitworth underwent some phototherapy herself (see results above), enjoying a “pin-up moment” that she deemed “brave and shocking”. Well, let’s see…

From the GlamourShots Facebook group.

1990: “After years of success in special events photography, Candid Color Systems® introduced a new company targeting the female portrait market called Glamour Shots®. Knowing that women liked to be pampered, Counts’ brainchild filled a niche in the formal photography business by offering a complete session to its customers which included a personalized consultation, makeover, hairstyling, wardrobe changes from a vast clothing stock in the store, a fun photography session and what is considered a first for this industry, the customers could actually view their proofs on a video monitor right after their session and order their pictures instantaneously.”

1890: Oscar Wilde published “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. The novel describes how the beautiful Dorian sells his soul, so that a portrait of him will grow old but his own beauty will not fade. “”How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrid, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June. . . . If it was only the other way! If it was I who were to be always young, and the picture that were to grow old! For this–for this–I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give!””

Art & Culture

Do you want a beautiful city?

Photo by Matthew Blackett
Photo by Matthew Blackett

At the end of my talk at Manchester Urban Screens, I proposed a call to action, asking people to “get out their pencils” and write to their local politicians to ensure that art and culture becomes a priority in public space, and that billboard operators are compelled to give over space and time to artists and local communities.

I couldn’t be more delighted, then, with the marvellous Beautiful City initiative in Toronto. The Alliance is made up of 42 organizations, who are collectively proposing the BCBF (Beautiful City Billboard Fee), which “…will hold billboard advertisers accountable for their impact on public space via a charge on each billboard (tax or fee – to be determined by staff), with revenues dedicated to art in the public sphere.”

The possibility of this happening is real! A bill proposing this will go before Toronto city councillors soon. What can you do to support it?

  • Sign and circulate the petition at
  • Join their Facebook group.
  • Attend the International Youth Week Town Hall, tonight, Tues May 5, City Hall, Committee Rm 2, 6:30-9 pm.