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This Is Not An Article - How Journalism Has Gone Post-Modern

"Plaster Surrogates" by Allan McCollum
"Plaster Surrogates" by Allan McCollum
Jonas Pulver


GENEVA - Have you ever heard of Dan Rollman? If so, you are spending way too much time on your computer – just like me.

Dan is a Canadian native who now lives in New York and works in media. On May 28, he caught the attention of Internet addicts when he went viral with a nicely packaged little nugget: a tweet of a vine of an Instagram of a Tumblr post of a Facebook post of a tweet. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” as Mary Poppins would say.

This is a tweet of a Vine of an Instagram of a Tumblr post of a Facebook post of a tweet: https://t.co/eSRouKly3a

— Dan Rollman (@snerko) May 28, 2013

Rollman says he created an “Inception-esque tweet that integrates all major social media platforms.” On Vine, users can share 6-second video clips, while Instagram and Tumblr are fixed image platforms. He created a communications tumble and roll, an origami folding on itself, a tweet (-y bird) chasing its own (feathered) tail. A Droste effect pointing at the accumulation of social networks, and showing that while these platforms allow us to share information, they also result in its circularity.

“This is a tweet,” Dan writes brazenly. His crypto-artistic confidence is somewhat reminiscent of ready-made art, and French artist Marcel Duchamp. Who knows, surrealist Magritte might even have replied, “This is not a tweet”.

Have you ever heard of Allan McCollum? If so, you must be spending a lot of time in museums – at least more than me.

I found out about this American artist on my last visit to the Pompidou Museum in Paris. One of McCollum’s creations is exhibited in the 1980s section. It consists of a multitude of little black canvases in framing mats. Typically the kind of work that people allergic to conceptual art would hate, but which turns out really interesting and significant once you have read the explanatory notice (which was very helpful in this case).

[rebelmouse-image 27086960 alt="""" original_size="1024x768" expand=1]

Shapes by Allan McCollum - Photo: Lian Chang

Plaster Surrogates (1985) offers to replace paintings with castings of paintings, which are then reproduced on a large-scale basis, in order to question inspiration, artistic reference and remaking, art after art. It highlights the dialogue between plastic creation and everyday objects, institutional art and industrial products. In other words: “This is not a painting.”

Writing about a tweet of a Vine of an Instagram of a Tumblr post of a Facebook post of a tweet in a newspaper (or on the newspaper’s website), is like exhibiting a multitude of “fake” paintings with no “real” image in an art museum. At first, you’re not sure that you understand, but then, with explanations and context, the whole thing suddenly springs into focus.

In the 21st century, most journalists do not create content anymore, they are more like curators, like those guys at the Pompidou Museum who write the explanatory notices on artworks. Nowadays, the world of media is expanding in multiple directions, becoming faster and volatile as any user can share information through networks.

Consequently, the added value of journalism not only lies in the (verified) facts, but now also depends as much on how they are connected to each other, put into perspective. Being critical about the facts is now as important as reporting them – in content as in form alike. In a nutshell: journalism has become postmodern.

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Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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