Amazing BLFC report, Hug Permits, furries in national art shows. Newsdump (5/21/15)
by Patch O'Furr
Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag. Tips are always welcome.
Mainstream sightings and fandom news
VICE parties hard at Fur-eh!
The article gets super friendly, and stays refreshingly non-judgemental. It can be hard to broadly cover an event with immersion in a tight circle of friends, so it’s only a small slice of the experience. Not all furries are way into parties. Some feel like it ruins think-heavy sci-fi focus. However, sci-fi cons with no parties are a world I don’t want to live in. You can make a furry con anything you want it to be. When they do party, nobody does it better!
Impressions from Biggest Little Fur Con.
I confess to partying too hard to cover this with it’s own article. (Thanks Vox for a great vid!)
- It’s really amusing to see someone get covered head to toe in shaving cream. (It takes about 4 cans.)
- Favorite shirt I saw: “I’M FAT – LET’S PARTY”
- Thank-you’s for blogging? You might as well thank me for eating! Someone joked that it must take drugs to pound these out. Nope. Fursuiting is my drug.
- Attendance of 2400+ makes BLFC the 6th largest con. (AKA “Biggest Medium Fur Con.”) That’s impressive to build in 3 years. The subculture is rising!
- With the future Dystopia theme, a lot of fan interaction means they succeeded. Many said it was the best use of a theme they had ever seen. High praise.
- More interaction I loved were the unofficial “Hug Permit” officers. They were funny, engaging… and helpful with secret wing-man encouragement. (See “code 90944?”) Come on… with 2400 adults together for a once a year celebration, how could that NOT happen? No judging. Further proof that “Hugs are the handshake of furries.”
2015 FURRY CRUISE: November 16-22.
6-Day Western Caribbean from Miami. More info at their site or email@example.com.
PAWcon announces Halloween date, and hotels are open now.
It’s the second furry con in San Jose, CA! Look for a longer article next week, about this under-covered new event at the famed Doubletree.
It is official, or room reservations link is up on the site and active! Go have fun 🙂 https://t.co/y0mdiWTu1X— Pac Anthro League (@pacanthro) May 4, 2015
Art Appreciation and further fun
Controversial art show at Dallas Museum of Art apparently makes a negative statement about Furries and porn.
I happened to notice a rather interesting exhibit called “Mirror Stage”… the effect of the internet on how we view ourselves.
The poster shared some video of the show, but it was immediately deleted by DMCA takedown. I requested an update if they find a way to share. It would be interesting to compare with a positive upcoming article, about a Furry erotica artist getting mainstream gallery showing in Italy. Look for that soon.
Exhibit: A Visual History of Society’s Monsters.
The above exhibit focuses on self-image in the digital age – this one covers historical images:
From medical deformities to military enemies, the impulse to turn the unknown and threatening into mythical monsters has endured for centuries. What Makes a Monster? is an exhibition threading through five libraries on the two campuses of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, examining through art, literature, and other cultural objects who or what has been labeled a beast.
“Fursuit” dancing from internationally-lauded artist Nick Cave.
Old, but just shared to me:
This is what it means to be a subculture… When people organically grow amateur, participatory conventions where some of them dress up in animal costumes and dance around, it’s treated as weird and stigmatized. But when an Official Capital-A Artist does it at a museum or other public institution, it’s respected:
Nick Cave and Creative Time make magic happen at Grand Central Station. Total communal bliss and social walls disintegrating for whole happy minutes at a time. A thousand people as one emotional biomass. – (Video comment.)
Hey, latecomers, furries always knew about this! Oh, you can see your show, but not go right up and hug them, or join in with your own costume… I know what fur cons do better. However, no bitterness. Points for artistically juxtaposing “horses” with the trains, and the goal to make a visionary experience in a mundane place. I love writing about the spontanaeity of street-fursuiting, and it’s awesome any time creatures play in creative habitats.
Frontier Air got attention for cute anthro mascots.
These mainstream mascots probably aren’t made with awareness of Furry subculture… but I don’t know, that fox looks pretty fabulous. Either way, enjoy something loveable.
Fred Patten shares: ‘Ratchet & Clank’ Movie news.
Cartoon Brew reports that the movie has a distributor and release date.
Most of the images in the Dallas Exhibit video are typical image board fodder and the video itself feels like a youtube rant since it’s preachy rather than ironic, so I agree with the first commenter in the Reddit thread, it feels like the work of a 40+ person who isn’t familiar with internet culture and has an outdated idea of “shock value” compared to the younger generations. The author’s point is basically the same expressed in the Shawn Keller comics and animations from 20 years ago, only coated with psychological mumbo-jumbo to make it sound highbrow and somehow relevant. I believe the existence of image boards and internet memes has already made shocking conceptual art obsolete according to its own philosophy (it’s become mainstream and mass produced, therefore it’s no longer original or thought-provoking), but even assuming it’s not obsolete, Takashi Murakami has much more interesting things to say about the topics of alienation, cartoon porn and escapism.
About Nick Cave… well, in the fine arts world it’s all about motivation, presentation, and “repackaging” of old ideas. Unlike the Dallas video this is repackaging done right and with the motivation of making an art show enjoyable by ordinary people. I don’t see many furry fursuiters motivated by such open goals though or even considering fursuiting a form of performance art. In most cases fursuiting is about personal fun and it’s targeting other furries or people from other subcultures rather than the general public (much less the highbrow public which enjoys other kinds of performance art). Unfortunately that’s not going to be taken very seriously as an art motivation, and that’s one of the reasons furry artistic achievements are largely unnoticed or considered oddities from an irrelevant subculture.
It’s hard to imagine how furry imagery and performances might be adapted to appeal to a highbrow public, but looking at the works or Roy Lichtenstein and Takashi Murakami I think it’s possible, although it won’t happen by itself. Gaining respect will take a lot of work from a lot of people who want their things recognized as actual artistic achievements beyond the mere fun factor.
Thats a great comment. Yeah that Dallas exhibit was weak and lame to me. I’m sad for anyone who would find it transgressive or whatever.
Speaking of furries doing performance art type stuff, ok it’s personal fun or simple clowning, but there are some aiming to weird up the world by doing it on the street.
Is pursuing respectability even worth caring about? From another view, there’s decaying relevance of highbrow concerns, being upstaged by street level creativity. Sometimes that’s where the avante garde really is.
I sense that happening with overlap to furry fans, in things like dance, fashion/costume design, and even club culture. The Club Kids of the 90’s can be outweirded by a visit to a fur dance. I really enjoyed getting to invite John Waters to come to ours in San Francisco. If he came I would just die.
I agree, there is an increasing overlap of furry creations with other cultures and interests, and that’s certainly going in the right direction. Anything that breaks the old furry isolation bubble is good!
I do think respectability is worth pursuing though, because it comes with a lot of benefits, first and foremost tolerance and a chance to be listened. I don’t think LGBT people would have accomplished much as a community if the Gay Pride was its only face and there were no LGBT role models with great achievements in “serious” things such as academic studies, art and high responsability jobs. While most people like weirdness at face value there is only so much that it can earn you, since deep down nobody wants to acknowledge that entertainers are real people who can actually cry. We have seen an example of this in the shameful coverage of the MFF gas attack earlier this year. The journalists just couldn’t take the whole mess seriously because in their eyes the furry community has no value other than weirdness – and nowadays there is plenty of weirdness around, so it’s not much of a value.
Mind you I DON’T like this state of things! 😛 I’m just trying to connect facts. While the highbrow/lowbrow divide is obsolete in theory, it’s still very much there in practice because people naturally crave for feeling important and naturally pay more attention to people who have contributed to the general culture. What if an accomplished artist like John Waters had been enthusiastic about furries and visiting MFF during the attack? I bet you that the media coverage would have had a very different tone. Maybe even the investigation would have been conducted differently.
Of course I’m not talking about the petty burgeoise “respectability” pursued by so many furries in the 90s and early 2Ks. Maybe “respectability” is not the best word and something like “artistic awareness” would be more fitting. What I mean is the ability to think in broader terms than personal fun, understanding which rules need to be challenged and which rules need to be followed, and understanding how people who are not into our same frame of mind see what we do, in order to better discuss and defend what we do. Because IMHO people have every right to oppose new stuff until they hear a convincing defense of it. It’s also a matter of self awareness and honesy about one’s innermost motivations. I swear there is nothing more frightening than trying to explain erotic furry art to an art critic who won’t take “it’s cute and sexy” for an answer. 🙂