Monday Morning Artist: Robbie Cooper

Immersion Gaming by Robbie Cooper
Robbie Cooper is a photographer and videographer who mixes his artistic work with an ethnographic eye and a neuroanthrological sensibility. After all, this is someone who goes from Gilles Deleuze to Paul Ekman as he describes his work!

As a photographer Robbie has recently focused on capturing our digital representation of our selves – the avatars we create in online worlds like Everquest and World of Warcraft. Previously he had done photojournalism in Africa. As a video artist, he shoots stunning and provocative video, capturing people in some of their most intimate, involved moments with a clear and human-centered approach.

Avatar by Robbie CooperHe published his avatar photographs in the glossy book The Alter Ego, featuring portraits and bios of gamers from the United States, Europe, China, and Japan. You can read more about the book in reviews by Colin Pantall and Escapist Magazine, as well as read this interview with Robbie and his co-author and listen to some good coverage of Alter Ego on NPR.

On his homepage you can access a good slice of these pictures, complete with a text overview you can all up. This is the Alter Ego series in the Immersion side of his work. For just the photos you can go directly to this slideshow from the NY Times.

The NY Times also featured his Immersion video, which captured young gamers as they played. The portrayal of their involvement is intimate and intense, and I recommend either the Times video for the quality (you can also get even better video on Robbie’s homepage through the Immersion – but it’s a few more clicks).

The Immersion video is also up on YouTube so I’ve embedded it below. Alongside the video, you can see the Immersion photo series on Robbie’s website – it’s there in the Immersion link after you click on Simulations.

His latest work builds on the Immersion approach. This time it’s Immersion – Porn (yes, you can get the video on that link). In this video informants introduce themselves and then we get to see their own immersion into themselves, top-up only. It was produced exclusively for Wallpaper.

I’ve also been enjoying his Immersion blog. Of late he’s had a humorous take on Ekman’s emotional faces, an intense video of close combat in Iraq, and babies as challenging both science and philosophy.

Link to Robbie Cooper’s homepage and art.
Link to Robbie Cooper’s Immersion blog.

Monday Morning Artist: Sam Mangwana

The second in this occasional series, the featured artist today is the Congolese musician Sam Mangwana. He is one of the leaders of the Soukous genre, derived from the French “secouer” (to shake) and once known as the African rumba. That means it’s fun! I also find it fascinating how it mixes African and Latin rhythms and sound together.

This YouTube clip is just the music really, not much video, but it’s a great tune with Franco and TPOK Jazz.

If you like that, the best place I’ve found to listen to some of Sam Magwana’s music is over at Rhapsody.

Calabash Music, with the tag “Tune Your World,” also provides a list of some of Mangwana’s music, including short clips. Calabash gives a bio as well:

In his early years, Mangwana formally studied music as a member of the Salvation Army Chorus. While in his mid-teens, Mangwana began his professional career. At age 17, he became the lead singer of the group ‘Tabu Ley Rocherau’s Africa Fiesta’, in addition to singing with the band for over 10 years, Mangwana appeared with other popular Soukous bands. In 1976, he formed his own band called the ‘African All Stars’, in 86′ their single “Maria Tebba,” became a huge soukous hit. He sings in seven different languages, both African and European and has toured extensively inside and outside Africa, justifying his tag as the ‘International Sam Mangwana’ and the ‘Pigeon Voyager’. Mangwana serves up a blend of Cuban and Congolese sounds, seamlessly fusing them together. Mangwana’s style is referred to as the Congolese Rumba because he deftly takes Cuban styles and puts any number of Congolese (or Mangwanese) twists to it.

For more, you can look at Mangwana’s albums on Amazon. And here’s the unofficial Sam Mangwana website.

Monday Morning Artist: Chow Martin

So this starts a new and occasional series, the Monday Morning Artist. I just came across Chow Martin’s work through We Heart It, a new image sharing site that was featured in a recent NY Times article. The two drawings here come from Martin’s 1.5 Exhibit on his Behance Network site. Martin also has his own website. You can reach him at chow [at] chowmartin [dot] com.

Here is the image that caught my eye:

Gorilla Market by Chow Martin
Gorilla Market by Chow Martin

Another striking illustration comes after the fold. Continue reading “Monday Morning Artist: Chow Martin”