Tag Archives: Skeletons

Skeletons promote diversity in an uplifting campaign, “Love Has No Labels”

Promotional Video by the Ad Council

Today I just discovered the most inspiring, yet heartwarming promotional campaign by the AD council that delivers a very powerful message to the wider community locally and internationally. This remarkable three-minute video, “Love Has No Label” features a range of skeletal figures behind a X-ray screen embracing one another and the overall campaign tackles some of the biased assumptions regarding ‘sexual orientation, same-sex relationships, age, race and disability,’ as referenced by Amy Lewis from the Dailymail.1

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This is such a uplighting campaign that does raise some very significant concerns regarding our prejudices or preconceptions. According to Cameron Keady, “the skeleton is a symbolic reminder — simply put — we’re all human, despite our varying identities.”2 I agree with Keady’s comment, while we may have our differences or discrepancies, the X-ray screen becomes an expression of humanity, we are human inside and out.

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The skeleton is used to create a remarkable campaign in order to promote diversity that has captured the hearts of the audience as well as millions of viewers worldwide. Katie Richards from ADWeek explains that the campaign has accumulated “more than 11 million views, 50,000 likes and 100,000 shares.”3 This is quite an astonishing number that demonstrates the impact of social media and viral advertising. The campaign was installed in Santa Monica on Valentine’s Day and the video has established an ongoing debate amongst a range of non for profit organisations including the media and the online community.

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I’m fascinated with the intention behind the promotional video and the Ad Council have suggested that “we do 98 per cent of thinking in our subconscious mind.”5 This particular type of thinking may produce assumptions or biased opinions that may impact the way we communicate with others. Amy Lewis cites the Ad Council who suggest that “Many of us unintentionally make snap judgements about people based on what we see – whether it’s race, age, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability.”4

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Overall the skeleton has become a very powerful form of communication that successfully unites friends, families, partners, couples, parents and siblings in this delightful, yet captivating campaign. Skulls and skeletons don’t always have a scary or frightening connotation, they can be used to promote something quite positive or uplifting.

References

http://lovehasnolabels.com/

1.Amy Lewis, “Same sex couples, inter-racial love and pensioner passion: Moving video uses SKELETONS of people kissing behind an X-ray screen to challenge prejudice,” 5 March 2015, The Daily Mail Australia, 2014 (Accessed 7/3/15) http://goo.gl/jPwy6x
2.Cameron Keady, “Giant X-Ray Screen Erases Gender, Age, Race To Prove ‘We Are All Human,” 3 March 2015, The Huffington Post (Accessed 7/5/15) http://goo.gl/VhzJXg
3.Katie Richards, “Ad of the Day: This Beautiful Ad Council PSA Reminds Us We’re All Human Underneath,” March 3 2015, Ad Week, (Accessed 7/5/15) http://goo.gl/f2sgFK
4.The Ad Council, “The Truth About Bias and Prejudice,” 2015 (Accessed 7/5/14) http://lovehasnolabels.com/about-bias

5.Amy Lewis, “Same sex couples, inter-racial love and pensioner passion: Moving video uses SKELETONS of people kissing behind an X-ray screen to challenge prejudice,”


OMG Literally Dead is one Instagram Account worth following this year!

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While I was scrolling through my news feed through Facebook, I discovered the most entertaining Instagram page known as “OMG Literally Dead” by Dana Herlihey. The site features a skeleton known as ‘Skellie’ who enjoys life’s everyday moments, whether it’s enjoying a cup of Starbucks coffee or going out for lunch, Skellie won’t miss a thing!

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As soon as I discovered the Instagram page, I was immediately fascinated with this deathly, yet animated skeleton who ‘literally’ won’t take life for granted. The site features a prefect blend of satire, humour and creativity that has inspired me to follow Skellie and her daily activities.

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It is interesting to view the subject of death from a satirical point of view and Herlihey’s Instagram page presents a unique, innovative concept that is rather addictive to follow at times. I have recognised that Skellie has rapidly increased in popularity amongst various social media sites and the online community. This has invited me to question whether we are searching for something different, a representation of death that isn’t overly morbid, sinister or grotesque.

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In reference to the article via Skullspiration, Herlihey began to take photographs of the ‘office skeleton’ that eventually transformed into a popular Instagram page with thousands of followers and she realised there was a market for “contemporary satire.” Herlihey’s idea has successfully transformed just an ordinary skeleton into a loveable, yet entertaining figure with some very humorous characteristics, as referenced by Skullspiration.

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If you love skulls or skeletons with a combination of humour and satire, I would recommend viewing this Instagram page, hopefully you’ll enjoy Skellie as much as I do! Check out the links below to view some more images or photographs featuring Skellie.

References

Skullspiration, “OMG Literally Dead,” http://www.skullspiration.com/omg-literally-dead/

http://instagram.com/omgliterallydead/

http://danaherlihey.com/

http://danaherlihey.com/omgliterallydead/


Zombies, Skulls and Skeletons parade through Melbourne for the Annual Zombie Shuffle.

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About a week ago, I attended the annual Zombie Shuffle in Melbourne, where thousands of individuals paraded through the streets dressed as flesh-eating zombies, skeletons and other pop culture characters. Many enthusiasts commenced their journey at the Treasury Gardens in Fitzroy and the various costume designs were extremely impressive to say the least!

The level of creativity and imagination was definitely inspiring and I began to frantically take photographs of undead, Disney princesses, skeletons, bridesmaids, nurses, surgeons, cheerleaders, policemen, convicts, school girls and many others. In fact there were so many different zombies, I didn’t know where to look next! It was great to see different age groups attending the event; children were dressed as Zombies along with their parents, while others brought their dogs along for a leisurely walk through Melbourne.

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During the event, I noticed several attendees mixed amongst the gore and the simulated blood with skulls painted onto their faces. I began to ask myself whether the skull is still a popular icon within the contemporary visual culture or everyday life in general?

From a personal point of view, the Zombie Shuffle allows the public to explore the concept of death within a satirical or entertaining manner. The event encourages the community to display their own creativity or imagination and it is interesting to examine the way death is represented.

There was one character in particular who was dressed in an old-fashioned outfit along with the black and white skull makeup. I raced over to take a closer look and I couldn’t stop taking photographs, this costume was definitely my favourite one! While I tried to search for a place to rest, I discovered a young woman with the most extraordinary skull makeup, the overall detail was admirable and the suit complimented the intricate design. I couldn’t leave without taking at least one photograph!

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As I continued to walk through the Treasury Gardens, I recognised a green sugar skull zombie; the colours were amazing and the vibrant designs were certainly intriguing. The make up merged elements of Western popular culture with the Mexican sugar skull designs; these two particular styles provided quite a unique interpretation.

I must admit everyone who attended the Zombie Shuffle looked spectacular and the crowd was throughly entertaining! Towards the afternoon, an amazing ‘percussion group’ known as Maracatu Estrela do Mar paraded through the Treasury Gardens onto Collins street along and the members of the band were wearing black and yellow sugar skull makeup.

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Enthusiastic photographs frantically joined the crowd of zombies that were leisurely following the band down the street and I suddenly began to develop the art of weaving in and out of large, overcrowded groups who began to walk or run besides members of the Zombie Shuffle.

The band in particular was definitely a highlight; I admired the vibrant, sugar skull face paint and the positive atmosphere from the crowd. Maracatu Estrela do Mar reminded me of the Dia De Los Muertos: The Day of the Dead Festival in Mexico and the band provided  a unique twist to the overall event.

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As the crowd reached Federation Square, the Zombie Shuffle collided with a Women’s rights protest and I suddenly found myself in-between a completely different group all together. I would have loved to have stayed to the very end, however I lost my sense of direction and I decided to search for the nearest train station.

Anyway, the Zombie Shuffle was an exciting, exhilarating experience that featured amazing, yet gory Zombies, a fantastic band and a spectacular audience! I would definitely recommend attending the Zombie Shuffle next year for sure!

zombiewatermark31 Check out the Black Calavera Facebook page to view photographs from the event.

https://www.facebook.com/BlackCalavera22

https://www.facebook.com/maracatuestreladomar?fref=nf

https://www.facebook.com/melbournezombieshuffle

ABC, ‘Undead roam Melbourne Streets in Annual Zombie Shuffle,” October 11 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-11/zombie-apocalypse-arrives-in-melbourne/5806796


Brook Andrew: Vox Tasmania at the National Gallery of Victoria

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Human Skull & the Gramophone in Vox Tasmania – Brook Andrew

Yesterday I decided to search through all of my photographs that I have taken over the past year and it’s surprising what you will actually find! I found one photo in particular that immediately captured my attention and I began to wonder why I left this image on my SD card for so long.

In February 2014, I remember visiting the Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria that explored Melbourne’s artistic and cultural diversity. According to the official NGV website, the Melbourne Now exhibition featured a range of contemporary works including visual arts, sculpture, graphic design, architecture and performance art.

I was fascinated with one installation in particular entitled ‘Vox: Tasmania’ by Brook Andrew, a contemporary artist born in Sydney whose work depicts certain issues relating to culture, identity and colonialism, as referenced by the NGV website. On Brook Andrew’s WordPress Site, the artist specifically mentions his ‘Australian indigenous / Scottish’ heritage that may feature a connection towards the artist’s work. 

According to Andrew’s WordPress Page, ‘Vox Tasmania’ features a range of books, photographs, images and artefacts that reflect the treatment of the indigenous community in Australia during the 19th century.

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Human Skeleton within Vox Tasmania – Brook Andrew

In reference to the NGV, Andrew’s work is based upon the research and documentation conducted by Richard Berry; an autonomist who collected indigenous remains from Tasmania in order to thoroughly analyse this particular race. The skulls were often used as possessions or trophies and the remains were used for other ‘scientific purposes.’

The installation also features a large, intricate gramophone that is placed next to the wunderkammer; according to Andrew, the gramophone amplifies the way these indigenous remains were perceived or valued back in the 1990’s. As I peered through the gramophone, I recognised a human skull enclosed within a glass container and the installation does provide a very interesting perspective.

From a personal perspective, the gramophone does create distance between the viewer and the skull; it was as if I was viewing the installation from the other side of the gallery space. Once I continued to walk around the installation, I suddenly realised how close I was standing to the wunderkammer. The work itself creates an illusion, to me the installation did create quite a surreal experience.

As I began to walk around the installation, I immediately discovered an entire human skeleton carefully and delicately rearranged within the container. This is definitely my favourite section and I couldn’t take my eyes off the skeleton, I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to a real human skull before, well I haven’t actually seen one in the flesh before.

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Photograph Two – Human Skeleton in the Wunderkammer

The human skull reflects a moment in time, a moment in history that is almost impossible to forget. The installation has invited me to question whom the remains to belong to and the actual cause of death, the mistreatment towards the indigenous population stares the viewer right in the face!

The installation was confronting and the skull initiates ideas relating to death or mortality and I began to wonder what happens to our remains once we die? Would our bones last forever or would they eventually disintegrate?

The work itself does provide quite a confronting experience, although I was intrigued by the overall subject matter. While I couldn’t take my eyes off the skeleton I was also quite disturbed by these historical moments and the way these remains were treated.

The installation also features a range of books, images and photographs that also coincides with the human skeleton. It’s interesting to see how these different elements connect to each other in some way. As I continued to walk around the wunderkammer, I began to recognise the minor details that I failed to recognise at the very beginning, it was as if I was searching for the missing pieces for a jigsaw puzzle.

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Artefacts, Images and records within the installation 

Overall the Melbourne Now exhibition at the NGV was definitely worth the visit and the works on display were displayed in a unique, creative manner. Andrew’s ‘Vox Tasmania’ explores an intriguing yet confronting subject through a range of images, photos and historical artefacts including a real human skeleton!

The way the works were displayed was fascinating; although I was shocked to discover the way these remains were used for research or private collections. If you haven’t see Andrew’s work before I would definitely recommend visiting the artist’s WordPress page or the NGV website.

Photographs taken by Black Calavera – Charlotte Pridding

References

Melbourne Now: 22 Nov – 23 March 2014, “About the Exhibition,” National Gallery of Victoria, 2013, last modified 17/7/14, http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/melbournenow/about-melbourne-now

Melbourne Now: 22 Nov – 23 March 2014, “Meet the Artists: Brook Andrew,” last modified
17/7/14, National Gallery of Victoria 2013,
http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/melbournenow/artists/andrew

Melbourne Now: 22 Nov – 23 March 2014, Wall Text – Brook Andrew: Vox Tasmania, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

Brook Andrew, “Planet Art: The Best Art from Around the World, June 2013, WordPress, last modified 17/7/14, https://brookandrew.wordpress.com/page/2/

Brook Andrew, “Researcher Profile,” Monash University 2014, http://www.monash.edu.au/research/people/profiles/profile.html?sid=51592&pid=4536


The Evil Dead directed by Sam Raimi

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The other night I decided to watch the original Evil Dead that was directed by Sam Raimi in 1981, for such an old film it was far better than what I was expecting. The special effects were rather impressive for a film that was produced in the early 80’s, Evil Dead also features some claymation towards the end that also adds a humorous twist to the overall film.

So what is Evil Dead and why do I like this film so much? Well the very first Evil Dead did scare me believe it or not, although there were particular sections of the film that were just hilarious! The claymation actually provided a very interesting effect to the film, the stylised violence features a unique aesthetic that is quite imaginative for a 1980’s horror flick.

So if you haven’t watched Evil Dead I would definitely recommend visiting your local DVD store, especially if you enjoy cheesy horror films! In fact, the violence and the claymation is rather cheesy, although the visual effects are throughly entertaining. So Evil Dead features four young adults who decide to travel to a deserted cabin within the middle of woods where they discover ‘The Book of the Dead’ that welcomes evil spirits to the living world.

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The film explains that “the Book of the Dead was written in blood and bound in human flesh”, I must admit the book does feature highly detailed drawings of skulls, skeletons and other supernatural beings; whoever designed the book in the first place has impressive drawing skills thats for sure. So what really happens in Evil Dead? Well the main protagonist, Ash discovers ‘The Book of the Dead’ along with a tape recorder within the bottom of the basement, Ash’s friend Scott decides to take these new items back to the cabin where the entire group begins to listen to the unusual recordings from the tape player.

As the group continue to listen to an old man speaking in Latin, the words suddenly conjure something evil within the woods. As a result, each person is possessed by a demon that was summoned by the Book of the Dead, meanwhile Ash tries to find a way to escape from the haunted cabin that becomes rather difficult when his possessed girlfriend tries to kill him. One thing leads to another and everything turns completely pear shaped, as the holiday retreat gradually turns into a disastrous blood bath.

So I do find the visual effects rather impressive especially for a film with such a low budget, what  I do find rather unsettling are the camera angles. The film provides the perspective of the demon, evil spirits that lurk around the cabin and the fast paced motion does create a level of suspense and anticipation. Bruce Campbell does play an excellent role as Ash Williams, the main protagonist who finds himself trapped within the deserted cabin with his girlfriend, sister and best friend that are all possessed by some kind of Demon.

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According to Kate Egan, The Evil Dead is an American cult classic that was produced by a group of university students including Sam Raimi and Robert Talbert during the late 1970’s, early 80’s. Raimi throughly studied other recognisable horror films, such as The Last House of the Left and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, although the actual production of Evil Dead proved to be rather difficult due to financial circumstances.

I personally believe that Sam Raimi has produced a very successful horror film with a low budget and a very small production team, which is quite remarkable really. There were some aspects of the film that did cause me to jump, although the acting and the visual effects do provide a level of humour, that do cause me to laugh uncontrollably.

I have also noticed that the original Evil Dead has inspired the contemporary horror genre, The Cabin in the Woods for instance does feature a strong reference to Raimi’s 1980’s production. The narrative does feature a parallel to the Evil Dead, as four young college students travel to an isolate Cabin within the woods, although the director, Josh Whedon does provide a very unusual twist that would take anyone by surprise.

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So I have also realised that the skull continually reappears within Raimi’s Evil Dead, in fact I have noticed that the skull has become a very popular symbol within the horror genre. I’m not to sure why, although I would assume that the skull is used as a symbol of death, mortality, even danger. I have also noticed that the skull does appear when something dangerous or violent is about to occur, as soon as Ash opens ‘The Book of the Dead’, the cabin turns into complete chaos.

So the other day I have realised that The Evil Dead is an actual trilogy, there’s Evil Dead 2 and Evil Dead: The Army of Darkness, which are two fantastic films produced by Sam Raimi. So Evil Dead 2 is basically a parody of the original Evil Dead that is one of the most entertaining horror films I have ever watched in my life. The violence is exaggerated to the extent where it’s almost impossible not to laugh, there are amputated limbs and laughing clocks flying left right and centre, that’s right laughing clocks along with laughing lamps and a possessed dear’s head that seem to haunt Ash’s Williams who cannot find a way to escape the cabin.

The skull constantly reappears throughout Evil Dead 2, Ash finds his girlfriend’s necklace on the floor which forms the shape of the skull, in a way the skull is used as some kind of subliminal message. Evil Dead: The Army of Darkness on the other hand makes a rapid transition from a comedy horror to an action adventure, Ash somehow travels back in time in order to defeat the ‘undead’ that form an army of skeletons.

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So Ash decides to steal ‘The Book of the Dead’ from the graveyard that suddenly resurrects the dead, all of a sudden there are hundreds even thousands of skulls and skeletons that begin to attack the castle in order to retrieve the book. As ridiculous as it sounds, the film is extremely entertaining, the visual effects do add a level of humour, parody and satire.

So if you are looking for something to watch then I would recommend watching The Evil Dead Trilogy, you can even watch the original Evil Dead and the Army of Darkness on Youtube! The DVD cover for Evil Dead 2 does feature some impressive advertising / marketing, the very front of the cover features a skull that significantly contrasts with the dark background, the advertisement definitely summaries the nature of the film.

It would be interesting to compare the original Evil Dead within the 2013 remake that was released a couple of months ago, due to censorship I haven’t been able to watch the film at my local cinema but it will be interesting to see how Fede Alvarez appropriates this 1980’s classic.

References:

Egan, Kate in ‘The Evil Dead’ (Columbia: Wallflower Flower, 2011), http://books.google.com.au/books?id=DuiJoSKHOdUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+evil+dead&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7
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The Evil Dead, directed by Sam Raimi (USA: Renaissance Pictures, 1981), DVD

Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, directed by Sam Raimi (USA: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group & Renaissance Pictures, 1987), DVD

Evil Dead: The Army of Darkness, directed by Sam Raimi (USA: Dino De Laurentiis Company, Renaissance Pictures & Universal Pictures, 1992) DVD

Cabin in the Woods, directed by Josh Whedon (USA: Lionsgate, 2012) DVD

Image URL Links:

1. http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/columns/the-bloodstained-balcony/evil-dead/

2. http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2013/sam-raimi-plans-to-write-evil-dead-4-this-summer/

3. http://goregirl.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/the-evil-dead-1981-evil-dead-2-dead-by-dawn-1987-the-dungeon-review/

4. http://drnorth.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/the-evil-dead-randomised/

5. http://stcatharines.cityguide.ca/army-of-darkness-is-back-on-029584.php

YouTube Links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odtcORs7VwM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW38E98fdBw


Peter Gronquist: Deers, Skeletons and Machine Guns

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This morning, I logged onto Facebook and I found a very unusual photograph that features a deer’s head with two gold skeletons holding machine guns. The skeletons have replaced the antlers; the juxtaposition is very humorous and satirical.

I was so fascinated with the photograph, I decided to undertake further research on the Internet, I soon realised that this three-dimensional sculpture was produced by Peter Gronquist, a contemporary artist located in Portland, Oregon.

Gronquist has sculpted golden machine guns as well as international icons that are used as antlers on top of the dear’s head. When I viewed Gronquist’s work for the first time, I couldn’t help but laugh, I do find the juxtaposition very random and spontaneous; I found Gronquist’s work so amusing I decided to write about it!

Of course the first thing most of us would think about is the unusual composition between the deer and the machine gun; the very first thing that comes to mind is corporate greed and the way consumerism can potentially destroy or even kill the natural habitat or the environment.

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According to the Shooting Gallery in San Francisco, Gronquist’s work depicts “humour and irony” through these large three-dimensional installations of “taxidermied animals” and gold-plated weapons. What interests me the most is the composition between the skull and the deer, in a way Gronquit’s installation becomes a reminder of death and mortality.

At the same time, the installation invites me to consider the dear’s previous life or existence, I begin to wonder how the poor deer had died in the first place. Now its head is used as part of an installation along with gold-plated skeletons and machine guns; the remains from the deer have been transformed into a piece of art, it’s incredibly random but it’s very interesting!

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When I viewed the photograph, I couldn’t believe the deer and the machine guns were an actual artwork, for one second I thought….is this a photo montage? I discovered that the installation was 100% real, there was no montage, this was a real artwork that has been displayed in an art gallery.

Ok so I do sound surprised, don’t get me wrong I do find Gronquist’s installation completely fascinating, I just couldn’t quite understand the concept to begin with. Once I viewed the image closely, I began to think about the negative aspects of consumerism and mass production.

The humour and the spontaneity is what makes Gonquist’s work engaging, I can’t help but laugh or chuckle to myself, the subject matter and the aesthetic are visually entertaining!

http://www.shootinggallerysf.com/artists/peter-gronquist/

http://www.petergronquist.com/

http://inestyle.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/stuff-it-peter-gronquist/


Metro’s Latest Campaign Reduces the Number of Train Related Accidents

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Metro’s Campaign at Flinders Street Station, Melbourne

Metro Railway Service Introduces Dumb Ways to Die

I often travel around Melbourne via public transport and over the past few months I have noticed a new advertising campaign by Metro. Every time I’m at the station waiting for a train, I recognise various cartoon characters that are attached to the walls along with posters that promote safe traveling. Each character has died from a very stupid accidents such as eating an unrefrigerated cookie or hiding in the tumble dryer.

Metro have also introduced at least three different characters that have died from train related accidents such as standing too close to the platform, jumping across the railway track or trying to speed through the boom gates at the level crossing. The campaign also adopts a level of humour and satire in order to reduce the number of accidents on Metro’s railway service.

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Skeleton with Fork and Toaster at Flinders Street Station, Melbourne

According to Stephan Cauchi from The Age, the campaign has reduced accidents by 30 percent, which is rather promising as there is nothing worse than hearing about another fatal accident on the train line. The campaign will be used to educate school children about the importance of safe travelling especially around trains, which is a great idea as Metro are making a huge effort to limit the number of fatality’s on trains and level crossings.

There was one character in particular that has captured my attention; from the corner of my eye I noticed a skeleton holding a toaster with a fork. This character has decided to use the fork to extract 2 pieces of toast and as a result he electrocuted himself to death; all that is left is a skeletal figure looking very disgruntled. I have recognised this skeletal figure in almost every station I have walked through!

Dumb Ways To Die, Video Clip

I decided to search for more information online and I found a website, titled “Dumb Ways to Die” with a video clip featuring all the characters from Metro’s latest advertising campaign. The clip features various characters dying from out of date medication, eating super glue or poking a grizzly bear; towards the end there are characters that die from walking or driving along the tracks. Stephan Cauchi explains that the video clip also features a song that was produced by Ollie McGill and the clip also features Emily Lubitz who begins to sing along to the lyrics.

In fact the song is the best part of the clip, I guarantee you’ll be singing along to the lyrics. I can’t get the song out of my head, it has a great tune! The website features a creative, innovative style that allows the viewer to interact with the content on the site. The viewer is able to click on the different characters in order to find out all the stupid ways to die. This is by far the most innovative campaign I have seen this year plus and if it lowers the number of accidents then that is a very promising result!

For more information, visit the official website.

http://dumbwaystodie.com/

Stephan Cauchi, “No Dumb Luck: Metro Claims Safety Success”, The Age, 2013, http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/no-dumb-luck-metro-claims-safety-success-20130214-2eelt.html