Hype: Will I Go to Hell for This?

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My man Lars and co-authors Rasmus and Jacob, are about to drop a brick of Danish graffiti history with the book Will I Go to Hell for This?, which will be on the bookshelves on Monday. A hardcover, 264-page, full colour coffeetable book, available both in Danish and in English, it presents the history of Danish S-Train graffiti from the pioneers of the early 80s till today (1984-2009) in 600 photos and 75 interviews with Danish and international writers. Looks like a must-have to me!

And if you’re in Copenhagen, today’s the release party! It goes down near Lygten Station, next to Nørrebro Station. The book will be for sale at the event for DKK 400 — bring cash, no cards accepted. Other limited edition goodies will also be available. Music will be provided by Slick Nick & Dulfi, DJ Cars10, DJ Swingking & Funkcutter Old Chesse, Dj Skinny Pimp, and others. Here’s the Facebook page for the event.

Release parties are also scheduled for Ã…rhus, Stockholm and Oslo — check the official blog, or the book’s Facebook page, for more info.

Hype: Fabrice Neaud’s “Émile” in English

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As mentioned earlier in this space, it is really sad that Fabrice Neaud’s comics have failed to generate translations. Now, however, publisher Ego comme X and Travis Leland-Maplesden present an online translation into English of the short story “Émile”, which was first published in the anthology Ego comme X #7 (2000) and is also available online in the original, French-language version.

While perhaps not the ideal introduction to Neaud’s both ground- and heartbreaking autobiographical work, it’s as good as it gets for his short stories. Written at a time when he was experiencing a draining personal blowback, including lost friendships and threats of violence, from having portrayed the people around him as honestly as he could in his masterwork Journal III (1999, recently released in an ‘augmented’ edition), it aspires toward emotional distancing by the non-portrayal of the people about which it nevertheless hovers attentively and analytically. An understated, powerful piece — personal and political — that I can only urge you to read, or re-read.

Hype: Laughing at Art

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With combined holidays and work backlog, blogging is still on partial hold here, but normal service will return soon enough. In the meantime, I’d like to take a moment to plug another event in which I’m participating later this month, the conference Laughing at Art: The Study of Humour in the Visual Arts at Pembroke College, Cambridge, April 29-30. It will see papers on a wide variety of topics relating to humor in the visual arts, and includes keynote addresses by no less than three distinguished people, Robin Simon, Hogarth scholar and editor of The British Art Journal, Dean Mobbs, fellow in biological and cognitive neuroscience at Cambridge, and the great Quentin Blake!

My own contribution will be an assessment of the comics and cartoon theory of Rodolphe Töpffer (1799-1846), on whom I’ve written before. I’m looking forward to it all, and encourage you to go if you’re able to! More information and registration form here.

Ujævnt ristet mindesten

natasja_book.jpgMed bogen Natasja har Karen Mukupa og Rasmus Poulsen ristet en mindesten til dansk reggaes største talent og en af landets fineste sangere gennem de sidste tyve år, Natasja Saad, der i 2007 tragisk omkom i en bilulykke på Jamaica i en alder af 32 år. Det er på sin plads, for Natasja havde længe arbejdet i relativ ubemærkethed og var kun netop ved at bryde igennem som den folkelige kunstner hun alle dage havde været, da hun døde — hun fortjener og kan bære en sådan udgivelse. Desværre er resultatet, skønt gode kræfter, en noget ujævn og i sidste ende uprofessionel affære.

Natasja ikke en mindebog eller en musik-monografi, men en biografi, slet og ret, og leverer følgelig en detaljeret fortælling af sin hovedpersons liv. Det fremgår ikke helt, hvorledes arbejdsdelingen mellem de to forfattere har været, men det er tydeligt at bogens grundlag er Mukupas egne oplevelser som Natasjas nærmeste veninde samt musikalsk samarbejdspartner gennem det meste af deres liv. Musikjournalisten Rasmus Poulsen har formentlig leveret noget af det mere opsøgende arbejde, inklusive de mange interviews og vidnesbyrd bogen samtidig trækker på og har måske sørget for noget af den bredere musikalske, kulturelle og politiske kontekst, Natasjas liv løbende indsættes i.

Men det er naturligvis kun spekulation og umiddelbart mærker man ikke, at bogen har to forfattere. Det, der i stedet primært slår en, er at den tilsyneladende ikke har haft en redaktør, der magtede opgaven.

Comics and Beats in Copenhagen

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Last night saw the first iteration of Comics and Beats in Copenhagen. Presented by the Danish Comics Council in collaboration with the venue, Vega, it united cartoonists Rikke Villadsen, Philip Ytournel and Christoffer Zieler in front of a live audience, drawing to the tunes selected by DJ M. Dejean. The event was very well attended and inspired some fine artwork from those involved. Stay tuned for part two at the end of the month, featuring Ron Regé Jr.

Check out photos from the event at the Comics Council website, courtesy Mads Bluhm.

Hype: Købke and the Golden Age

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I’m still suffering somewhat from a heavy workload here, so it’ll be a while longer before I return to regular blogging, but I just wanted to let those of you in the UK who might be interested know that there’s currently a great show on at the National Gallery in London of the Danish painter Christen Købke’s (1810-1848) work. It presents a choice selection of the best of one of the best kept secrets of early 19th-century modern painting and may be an eye-opener for people interested in modernity or Scandiavian art. (Of course, there’s also the fascinating, major show of Købke’s French contemporary, Paul Delaroche — an expertly curated show, suggesting several fresh avenues of exploration into his work and that of his contemporaries).

Also, on April 24, the Gallery is hosting a study day where a number of scholars will present papers on Købke and his time, the so-called Danish Golden Age. I myself will be participating with a paper on Købke and his teacher, the equally interesting C. W. Eckersberg (1783-1853). It is open to everyone at a modest fee and I naturally urge you to go if you have any interest in these subjects.

View of the North Gate of the Citadel, 1834, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

Draw or Die!

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Danish quality comics publisher Steffen P. Maarup has ripped off borrowed the inspired concept of pitting cartoonists against each other on paper from French cartooning duo Ruppert/Mulot, and the results promise to be pretty hilarious. Check in here — a new battle will be posted every Friday until we have a Danish champion!

First up are Cav Bøgelund and Erik Petri, above.

Tegneseriebeats i Vega

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Dansk Tegneserieråd præsenterer i samarbejde med Vega for første gang i Danmark Tegneseriebeats — en tegneseriemusikevent med Philip Ytournel (Politiken), Christoffer Zieler (Weekendavisen) og Rikke Villadsen samt DJ M. Dejean

Onsdag den 31. marts 2010 kl. 20.00-23.00 på Ideal Bar, Vesterbro.

Se hvad der sker, når tegnerne lader sig inspirere af DJ M. Dejean og vice versa. Mens musikken spiller projiceres tegninger op på væggen. Alt er helt og aldeles live. Intet er aftalt på forhånd. Næsten….

Politiken and the Mohammed Cartoon: The Wrong Settlement

The following is the official press release from the Danish Comics Council on yesterday’s news of Danish newspaper Politiken‘s settlement with eight Muslim organisations on its publication of the most infamous Mohammed cartoon:

The Danish Comics Council has learned that the Copenhagen daily Politiken has reached a settlement with eight international Muslim organisations representing the descendants of the Prophet Mohammed. In it, Politiken apologises for having offended Muslim sentiments, but not for having published the infamous Bomb in the Turban (which they did in connection with the news of a assasination plot against cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in February 2008).

The Danish Comics Council disapproves of Politiken‘s decision, which we think threatens freedom of speech. Politiken‘s published Westergaard’s cartoon in full accordance with Danish law and press ethics, so there is nothing to apologise for. The risk of feeling offended by an article or a cartoon is, for better or worse, an essential condition in a society with freedom of speech.

By this settlement, Politiken has weathered the threat of a major lawsuit, which the offended party would probably have lost, if it had been heard by a European court, just like we saw it with the lawsuit against the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo for having published the Danish cartoons.

In an interview with his own newspaper, the editor-in-chief at Politiken, Tøger Seidenfaden, says that the settlement “may help ease some of the enduring tensions that have continued popping up.” It is possible that Politiken will succeed in reducing the strain on society posed by this issue in the short term, but at the same time it encourages those opposing freedom of speech in their future endeavours. This is worrying.

The Danish Comics Council hopes that the other Danish newspapers will avoid the temptation of similar settlements in this case. Our freedom of speech is at risk.

Dansk symposium om tegneserieforskning på KU

Dansk tegneserieråd præsenterer nu, i samarbejde med Institut for Kunst- og Kulturstudier og Komiks.dk, et en-dagssymposium for danske tegneserieforskere på IKK. Det indgår i det undervisningsforløb om tegneserier som hovedarrangør og PhD-studerende ved instituttet, Rikke Platz Cortsen pt. kører — et forløb, der i maj kulminerer med en international forskningsdag.

Det foregår mandag d. 22/3 kl.11-17 i lokale 23.4.39, Det nye KUA:

Her er listen over forelæsninger:

  • Hans Christian Christiansen: ” Tegneseriens fortællinger : et tværmedialt perspektiv”
  • Liva Skogemann: ” Komplekse fortællestrategier i nyere tegneserier”
  • Steen Christiansen: ” Mellem drøm og medie: David Macks Kabuki”
  • Carsten Fogh Nielsen: “Why so serious? : Jokeren som normativt nulpunkt”
  • Anne Magnussen: “Tegneserier og Historie”
  • Andreas Gregersen: “Digitale tegneserier, digital tegneseriekultur, digital kultur?”
  • Alle interesserede er meget velkomne, men af hensyn til lokalets størrelse bedes man tilmelde sig til forskningsdagen.

    For yderligere oplysninger, det detaljerede program og tilmelding kontakt venligst Rikke Platz Cortsen: rpc@hum.ku.dk