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Part art project, part utopian experiment, a street artist by the name of Swoon, as well as a band of artists, DIYers, and other free-spirits, has built a collection of ramshackle yet visually striking rafts to float down rivers and canals with a loosely defined purpose. Tod Seelie, a friend of Swoon’s, has been on all the trips so far as a crew member and brought his camera to document the creativity and chaos.

“I can only really speak for me,” Seelie says, “And really it’s a combination of things, but I’d say the main point [of the trips] is inspiration. It’s the inspiration we feel and the inspiration other people feel when they come across us.”

The group have organized three different trips so far. The first two were down the Mississippi. The plan was to take the rafts from Minneapolis to New Orleans, but the farthest the group ever made it was St. Louis because the river proved to be too strong. The third trip went down the Hudson from Troy, New York to Queens. The fourth trip went from Slovenia to Venice and was meant to coincide with the Venice Biennale. All these trips took place several years ago, but there is a new one in Oregon planned for mid-August.

The rafts are the brain child of Swoon (her real name is Caledonia “Callie” Curry), who is probably most famous for her life-size wheatpastes. Most of the rafts are made from recycled materials and are essentially artfully made-up pontoon boats (their pontoons are wood with styrofoam inside instead of metal). The motors are old car engines that have been hacked to run propellers. Each trip featured a different number of boats, but sometimes there were up to five or six different vessels.

On some of the trips, the boats were designed to not only move through water and house a crew but also host live theater and music performances. On the Mississippi trip, whenever the boats would dock near a town, the crew would invite locals to the boat and teach them trades like silk screening or costume making.

“Many of us had hitchhiked before, or toured with bands. But we were all swept up by being on the boat, It was by far the most amazing thing I’d done,” says Seelie.

Seelie says the flotillas are different from other cross-country adventures because it’s not just about making it down or across some specified route. It’s also about meeting people along the way.

“We are moving as this giant group and intentionally trying to engage people,” he says. “We constantly heard people say, ‘I really wish I had done something like this when I was younger.’”

Along with photos that document the boats and the adventure, Seelie also made portraits of crew members in order to put a face on these crazy adventures.

Seelie’s first book, which is about New York City, where he lives, will be released in October, and a couple of the photos from the Hudson trip are included. For years he’s shot punk bands, artists and other people living their own lives around that city, and he sees the raft crew as directly related to these other alternative, or counter-cultured, communities.

“I think a lot of the people who I photographed for the book are trying to make the city the city they want to live in,” he says. When it comes to the flotillas, that idea “is taken to an even bigger level. There it’s about making the world that they want to live in.”

To see more of Seelie’s work, please check out his blog.

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Last night I watched the 1954 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and this is stuck in my head.

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crudelyerased6FINAL

Have you ever been lost in a shopping mall as a kid? Gone to Disneyland and shook Mickey's hand? You probaby just imagined it. False memories, in which you believe an imagined or distorted memory to be fact, are more common than people think. They constitute a neurological no man's land where the brain's creative capacity for reimagination collides with the grotesque flotsam of the subconscious, creating a memory that blurs the line between real and unreal.

For the past nine months, experimental artist and Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow A.R. Hopwood has been crowdsourcing examples of this phenomenon for The False Memory Archive. Hundreds of these accounts, along with video and photographic work inspired by false memories, will be displayed as part of the touring exhibition that will, appropriately enough, culminate in a show at the Freud Museum.

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Spaceships, size comparison

A while back we saw a size comparison of random spaceships. That one pales in comparison to this extensive version by Dirk Loechel. It's got ships from Star Wars, Star Trek, EVE, Babylon 5, Starship Troopers, Titan A.E., and oh so much more.

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00_NOP writes "Researchers from the New School for Social Research in New York have demonstrated that if you read quality literary fiction you become a better person, in the sense that you are more likely to empathize with others [paper abstract]. Presumably we can all think of books that have changed the way we feel about the world — so this is, in a sense, a scientific confirmation of something fairly intuitive."

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Original author: 
Staff

Portland-based creative group Kamp Grizzly have directed the visuals for Local Native's track "You & I". The strange video is set in an apocalypse-style hospital and revolves around the hospitalisation of the last dog on earth. Don't worry if you're a dog lover though, there's a happy twist to the whole affair at the very end. The track comes from Local Native's latest album Hummingbird, which was released in January, 2013. Check out the video above.


www.thelocalnatives.com

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By DAVID GONZALEZ

The makers of a documentary about the life of Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, were concerned that they had few pictures of the famously anonymous man. But a tantalizing auction on eBay changed that.

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Original author: 
James Cartwright

Childline-list

Creating a piece of animation designed to deal with the horrifying realities of child abuse is a pretty tall order, particularly when it’s for ChildLine and the people you’re attempting to communicate with are all under the age of 19. How does one go about discussing these delicate issues without intimidating your target audience and creating something that’s all-too harrowing for television? Buck and YCN Studio have recently come up with an incredibly effective solution, producing a four-minute film that gently but assertively discusses the issues facing victims of sexual abuse.

Read more

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