To put forth an idea of a utopia is one thing — to dissect the idea and watch as its parts intermingle and clash in a blinding haze is an entirely different endeavor. It’s one of the reasons why Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed won two of the most coveted sci-fi fiction awards.
The novel is essentially the tale of two worlds: Urras and the colonized nearby moon, Annares, the latter of which was a gift to its once native revolutionaries to tame a threat of rebellion. The nations and societies of Urras are not unlike our own: the excess materialism, the belief in competition, the rabid hunger for wealth and resources, the rigidly structured societies under all powerful autocrats, oligarchs. Anarres in comparison is a austere tabula rasa, an unforgiving world that tests survival, and where ownership and property is as alien as its former motherland on its horizon.
Few transverse the worlds, but readers intimately get to know one who does, the Annares-born Shevet, an ardent revolutionary at heart but a inquisitive and practical physicist with a penchant for what his race demeaningly refers to as “egoism.”
|Recommended by Rhys Dipshan||Tuesday, October 20th, 2015||No Comments »|
It’s hard to condense everything that makes up Liz Suburbia’s Sacred Heart into a short review. On the surface it’s a love letter to grungy garage punk-rock and the frenetic energy of small town youth. It’s also about faith, alienation, longing, fear, family, fanaticism, sex, murder, self-doubt, and monsters of both the fantastical and all-too real variety.
Surly and pragmatic Ben Schiller is growing up in the literal teenage wasteland of Alexandria.What at first glance appears to be an unremarkable if ramshackle American town is in fact home to a host of dark secrets, perhaps the most troubling being the mystery of why no one seems to be older than 18.
|Recommended by Marie Anello||Monday, October 19th, 2015||No Comments »|
Empress Of, real name Lorely Rodriguez, is no stranger to (The) Absolute. We’ve been quietly following her career since she dropped her debut EP in 2013 and have been keeping a close watch on her ever since.
In 2015, she finally releases her debut album, Me, a sprawling album with as much off-kilter jams as they are legit bops. “Standard,” one of the singles from the album, is a track that definitely leans more toward the latter. Because the song challenges the perceptions of body image, director Zaiba Jabbar decided to do some role reversal by casting a body builder to play opposite Lorely. In the video, he dangles her upside down while she eerily sings directly to the camera. It’s simple but powerful, and gets the point of across.
Out of all the singles she released this year, this is by far the strongest and shows her growth from “Brooklyn laptop artist” to a legit musical force a la Grimes or FKA Twigs. Aww, they grow up so fast.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, October 13th, 2015||No Comments »|
Pawel Kuczynski is a name you should know, especially if you’re interested in satirical artwork of any kind. This amazing Polish talent has been working over a decade to produce some of the most thought-provoking pieces of artwork on the page. Whether he’s making a statement about the world of politics or making a more general attempt at analyzing the human life and its value, you can’t help but feel a little embarrassed and a little bemused every time you lay your eyes on one of his illustrations.
While he might be a Polish artist, his works are clearly speculative of the entire world, and there are even some hints of metaphysical concepts that appear throughout his collections. Each piece of art tells its own individual story, but themes that touch on the value of human life, human interaction, and disconnect in human thought are certainly present in them all. There’s a lot to be said in regards to these illustrations, but what’s most obvious is that they manage to say everything they need to without using words at all. So on that note, I’ll stop here and just let you enjoy…
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Wednesday, October 7th, 2015||No Comments »|
How do I begin to describe the surreal, gut-bustingly funny, and all-too relatable humor of cartoonist Nick Sumida? A storyboard artist on the Nickelodeon children’s show Harvey Beaks, Sumida’s personal comics (collected under the title Snackies) are certainly targeted towards a very different demographic. The polar opposite of the idyllic and sweet Harvey Beaks, Sumida’s absurdist autobiographical comics are wrought with anxiety, self-deprecation, and nightmarish charm.
|Recommended by Marie Anello||Monday, September 28th, 2015||No Comments »|
Sure videos of people dancing in a white room are not the most original thing in the world — hell, there’s even a whole Tumblr for it — but there’s something endearing about the dancing in Society‘s video for their single “Protocol.” The song is a dramatic opus that demands that you take it seriously. So it’s interesting their video does the complete opposite and focuses entirely on a scrappy young lad doing unpretentious dance moves in an empty room.
“We actually cast a bunch of really great teenagers to be in the video,” director Laura Coulson told Stereogum. “Luke’s take was so fun and really excited us. He embodied the spirit of the song so well we ended up using his take for the whole video, as none of us could take our eyes off him.”
“Protocol” it the first proper single off the London duo’s upcoming debut album. So if you’re a fan of dancing, that ’90s big band/trip-hop sound, and of course, white rooms, you should keep them on your radar.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Friday, September 25th, 2015||No Comments »|
Anna Kerrigan, writer/director of The Impossibilities, wrote an article awhile back where she proclaimed that web series are replacing independent film. Unfortunately for most people, the word “web series” still has strong negative connotations, similar to “self-published author.” But The Impossibilities approaches the worn out topic of “artists finding themselves (but mostly losing themselves) in NYC” with a refreshing eye. Kerrigan isn’t here to tell the same tired ol’ stories and is actually more interested in redefining them while poking fun at itself. And if you think this series about a begrudging, platonic friendship between a man and a woman is going to end with them hooking up, think again. The woman is a lesbian, which takes the whole trope of “she’s just waiting for the right guy to come along” completely off the table. Oh, and did I mention there’s lots of magic?
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Wednesday, September 16th, 2015||No Comments »|