Saul Williams – The Stone Bench

By Chryde

watch the video

It was Saul that came to us with something specific in mind: he wanted to do a movie under the city, in the catacombs of Paris. The “real ones”, the ones that are hard and illegal to access. The ones without guides or stacked up skulls simply there for show. He hoped we were crazy enough to follow him underground. And we were.

You might as well get in the mood. Close the windows of your office, disable your notifications, and start loading the video. You can even dim the lights. Set the video in full screen mode, put on a good set of headphones, and immerse yourself in the music for 30 minutes.
No doubt you will then feel the intensity of the experience. Those eight hours spent underground with Saul Williams. Off we go.

It was Saul that came to us with something specific in mind: he wanted to do a movie under the city, in the catacombs of Paris. The “real ones”, the ones that are hard and illegal to access. The ones without guides or stacked up skulls simply there for show. He hoped we were crazy enough to follow him underground. And we were.
François recruited one of his catacomb-lover friends and we bought the required equipment. François and Colin went off on a half a day of spotting and preparing the location and tried to figure out how the crew would survive… We were alas ready to take Saul and his musicians with us.

Those galleries sure are unwelcoming. They are cold and as damp as they get. Most of them are flooded, others are just wide enough to thread your way through. You need to climb, to duck, to bend yourself, walk for hours knee high in water with your frontal flashlight for only guide.
You need to fight cramps, get your equipment through an opening before painfully following it in, walk in pitch black and when you eventually discover a larger room, take a deep breath… and play.

In this claustrophobic, dark atmosphere, the build, the presence and the voice of Saul Williams are enhanced. His howling echoes, his gaze is penetrating, his voice is composed when he goes into an impro as powerful as a sermon. When only the dimming light of a mass of candles remains, when the crew is beat and embarks in the peaceful conclusion of this journey during a calm and restful song, the power can still be felt. It is diffuse. Saul inspires rest.

Voilà, show’s over. 30 minutes. Freedom. They had been there for eight hours.

Translated by Helena Kaschel

Taken from


Barricades and Boulevards: Material transformations of Paris, 1795-1871

by Carl Douglas

“Destroying and constructing are equal in importance, and we must have souls for the one and the other”.1

Large-scale urban violence is a tumultuous, messy and distressing affair. Materials and patterns of everyday life are blown apart. Amongst death and disarray, important spatial operations that take place in urban conflict are easily overlooked. However, the construction of street barricades and boulevards in Paris between 1795 and 1871 transformed the city. The struggles over these transformations can be described as both the disruption and the policing of what Rancière calls the “distribution of the sensible”. 2

The barricades built in the streets of Paris in the revolutionary years that followed the Great Revolution of 1789, and closed with the suppression of the Paris Commune in 1871, were not the first or the last artefacts of urban insurgency. Nor was Paris the only city in history – even European history – to be barricaded. However, in Paris, barricading became a revolutionary technique, the development and decline of which can be traced with some precision. Barricading served complex social purposes, of which defense was only one, and not always the most significant. Thus, barricades are also an ephemeral city-scale architecture occasioned by, and changing, the social.3

History and Tectonics of a Rubbish Heap

At first, the Parisian barricades were temporary barriers, or walls erected quickly across streets. They were built by anonymous groups of insurgents from whatever loose materials could be found nearby: carts, furniture, barrels and, most typically, paving stones torn up from the roadway. They were constructed en masse. In July 1830 there were over 4,000 barricades; in June 1848 there were as many as 6,000.

The first recorded instance of barricading in Paris occurred in 1588, when the popular Comte Cossé de Brissac lead Parisians in a rebellion in response to the posting of soldiers in the streets of the city. Chains were sometimes used to close streets to traffic, and these points of closure were reinforced with barrels (barriques) filled with stones to restrict military movement. In 1648, the arrest of a popular politician lead to the erection of over a thousand barricades in the city. Thereafter, barricades did not recur for nearly 150 years, playing no part in the Revolution of 1789. When they did reappear, with the Jacobin uprising of 1795, it was in a different context. While civil disobedience had previously been used as a way of gaining leverage over political leaders, the intention was now the complete overthrow of the state. Between 1795 and 1871, historian Mark Traugott records twenty-one instances of barricading (1993: 315). The most famous of these incidents were the July Days of 1830 (portrayed by Delacroix in his 1830 painting La Liberté guidant le peuple), and the revolutions of February and June 1848. According to Traugott (316), while barricading, by 1848, had achieved ”a genuinely international status as a tactic of revolt”, it was already losing effect in the face of mobile artillery and improving military tactics.4
In the streets of Paris, the last time barricades were used in a major way was during the Paris Commune of 1871, when the socialist government of the city declared itself independent of Versailles. Although barricades continued to be used in other cities in Europe, including Barcelona and Berlin, and reappeared in Paris in 1945 and 1968, barricading as a technique had ceased to be decisive in urban insurgency.

1. Paul Valéry, quoted in Pallasmaa (200: 6).
2. For Rancière’s political philosophy, see Disagreement:Politics and Philosophy (998), and The Politics of Aesthetics (2004), which contains a useful glossary of  Ranciére’s terms.
3. The barricades’ history is in some ways distinct from the history of ad-hoc fortifications (trenches, seige works, emplacements) in general. For the barricades, see Corbin and Mayeur (997) and Mark Traugott (99). In addition, nearly all historical accounts of the French revolutionary period mention the barricades, but few consider their significance in a sustained manner. For the general historical context, see Hobsbawm (962) and (975).                         3. The French uprising of 848 sparked others in cities across Europe, incluing Brussels, Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Milan, Naples, Budapest, Frankfurt, Prague and Dresden.
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Taken from

El Seed – Perception

El Seed

In my new project ‘Perception’ I am questioning the level of judgment and misconception society can unconsciously have upon a community based on their differences.
In the neighborhood of Manshiyat Nasr in Cairo, the Coptic community of Zaraeeb collects the trash of the city for decades and developed the most efficient and highly profitable recycling system on a global level. Still, the place is perceived as dirty, marginalized and segregated.
To bring light on this community, with my team and the help of the local community, I created an anamorphic piece that covers almost 50 buildings only visible from a certain point of the Moqattam Mountain. The piece of art uses the words of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, a Coptic Bishop from the 3rd century, that said: ‘Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eye first.’
‘إن أراد أحد أن يبصر نور الشمس، فإن عليه أن يمسح عينيه’

The Zaraeeb community welcomed my team and I as we were family. It was one of the most amazing human experience I have ever had. They are generous, honest and strong people. They have been given the name of Zabaleen (the garbage people), but this is not how they call themselves. They don’t live in the garbage but from the garbage; and not their garbage, but the garbage of the whole city. They are the one who clean the city of Cairo.

Taken from

Dan Witz – mosh pit series


DAN WITZ – MOSH PITS, RAVES AND ONE SMALL ORGY – MARCH 24, 2016 – at Jonathan LeVine Gallery – NY

I’m an academic realist painter, but I’m living in the 21st century, so I’m not going to be painting Roman soldiers invading, or some gothic baroque composition…The highest aspiration of an academic realist painter are these big group figure paintings, and I’m using the hardcore scene as my subject.

Taken from vna

Dan Witz

Ilias Petropoulos – An Underground World

The documentary An Underground World is about Ilias Petropoulos a  folklorist with a main focus on Greek subcultures like Rebetiko. The video is in Greek.

«Παρουσιάζω τον κόσμο με ένα διαφορετικό βλέμμα, από ό,τι μας έμαθαν στο σχολείο ή στο στρατό. Πιστεύω πως ο καθένας έχει δικαίωμα να βλέπει την κοινωνία με το δικό του βλέμμα. Προσωπικά με ενδιαφέρει περισσότερο ο Διάβολος παρά ο Θεός» Ηλίας Πετρόπουλος: Πνεύμα ανήσυχο και ερευνητικό, πολέμιος των ακαδημαϊκών και του κατεστημένου, ο Πετρόπουλος ήταν ο πρώτος λαογράφος στην Ελλάδα, που ασχολήθηκε με το περιθώριο και κατέγραψε πρόσωπα και πράγματα περιφρονημένα από την επίσημη ιστορία της χώρας του. Σκηνοθεσία: Καλλιόπη Λεγάκη Διάρκεια: 61′

Watch it here

March of the Gods: Botswana Metalheads

The idea of March of the Gods: Botswana Metalheads  was conceived when one day in spring 2011, Raffaele, the director of the project, came across Frank Marshall’s photographs from his project Renegades on Vice Magazine.  Frank’s work presents a considered vision of Botswana’s heavy metal subculture and portrays the unique local metalhead aesthetic which combines elements of British heavy metal of the eighties, cowboy fashion and biker elements creating an interesting anthropological study of a subculture like no other.

Raffaele’s curiosity about the metal scene in Botswana led to an intensive research and a series of attempts to contact various local bands. Two years later, in April 2013, a team of three filmmakers decided it was time to spend their savings in a meaningful experience and landed in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. The crew chose to focus the documentary on one of the most predominant local bands, Wrust, and it was offered hospitality by its singer, Stux Daemon.

The following weeks were an experience of intense immersion into the local metal brotherhood. The team interviewed several local bands, fans, musicians and people who offered anthropological insights into the subculture and its history. The crew also filmed and experienced the madness of the local metal gigs and spent enough time with the local people to understand the country’s uniqueness through its contemporary culture but also its problems and contradictions.

Upon leaving Botswana, the film crew and the band shared a common vision: Wrust had just got an invitation to play at one of the most respected metal festivals in Italy, SoloMacello, headlined by Red Fang. Although Wrust had opened for famous bands such as Sepultura and Carcass in South Africa before, that was their first chance to take a step outside their continent. SoloMacello would be the opportunity to put Botswana on the world map of metal music for the first time in history – and it did. Thanks to the crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, Wrust managed to cover an important part of their travel expenses and be the first metal band from Botswana ever to play outside Africa.

Wrust are currently performing in a number of African countries as part of their tour March of the Gods  (the film has actually been named after the tour). The film started hitting the festivals in 2014 and has already won the award of Best International Documentary at People’s Film Festival in New York.

Taken from

Low Bros video footage between 2013 and 2014

The Low Bros is an artist duo, which is made up of brothers Christoph and Florin Schmidt – formerly active as graffiti writers Qbrk and Nerd. Their work most often centers around stylized animal characters with human features, and addresses graffiti, hip hop, skateboarding and other elements which influenced and shaped the artists’ youth in the 1980s and 1990s.  Taken from

Check out their new website