Showing posts from December, 2015


Two cartoonists testing the notion of metaphysics. 
Their meeting is in physical time and space: Khalid Wad Albaih is in the dining room decorated by Valdemar Andersen at Christiansborg. Until now their communion has been of the viral kind on Valdemar's blog. 
They have in other words taken the meta before the physics against the etymological sense of the notion, which is of course not what metaphysics is about at all, and yet cartoonists are defined by questioning everything. In fact, the one cartoonist is seen examining the other. 
Which is all in the spirit of metaphysics.

From the first day

At first sight it could be wrapping paper before us with the continuous nature of such a pattern.

The blurred edges lead us to a focus within the continuity, in which the human form of the single beings within the masses is once again to be detected. They are as much our fellowmen today as they are our ancestors. Humankind has always traveled in pursuit of hope and on the will to survive.

The French Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira tweeted in her poetic precision on Migrant's Day on December 15: "From the first day people settled down all over the world, walking towards hope and joy, yet Aylan will never reach 15":

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Juan Zero and must not be reproduced without his permission.

No Comment

You are lost at Malmö Central Station.

You are finding yourself at the second floor of the car park and not too certain, how you got there.

You locate a way out, relieved to be thrown aback by the wind, because surely that is a sign of rescue? Still, you have no idea, which world corners go where, while you are zigzagging your way along the massiveness of a station, which has sprouted new sections to all sides.

There is a logic to it somewhere, and yet is too massive to be detected by way of the human scale when walking around it. It seems brutal of character since each of the sproutings are without a trace of a welcoming spirit.

Right then, when you doubt that there is a meaning to be found in any of this, a cartoonist calls your name. He presents you with one of his original drawings and you realize that you have just experienced in person what cartoons do for us.

They do not pretend that there is a meaning to the absurdity of life. On the contrary they address the absurdity and by…

When you tighten the ribbon...

Last week an outrage erupted at the printing of the cartoon by Anne-Marie Steen Petersen in the Danish daily Politiken.

I for one loved it on the day. There is a delay in the composition by which your eye is drawn to the light of the match, highlighting the face of the Minister of Integration, Inger Støjberg. Then, not till then in spite of his being in the very middle, you realize that there in the shadows below is a hanged man. He was a refugee by the state of his clothes. A sad life even in death.

For a day or so anyone with the need to enter the moral high ground by way of what is at hand, made ample use of Anne-Marie Steen Petersen's cartoon. This was a new low, we were told, seeing how it was pointing the finger at Støjberg as if she were to blame for the intentions of the government and the number of refugees out there. This is the danger of cartooning, it was bombarded, creating monsters out of servants to the state.

To this it must be pointed out that Inger Støjberg poste…

"Neutrality is escapism"

Neutrality is escapism, in the words of Zunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Haque).

- If we see someone being burgled, we do not react with a "Well, I am neutral" and that reaction is just as absurd when witnessing corruption.

The photos in this blog post were all taken by me on Amnesty International's action Skriv för Frihet (Write for Freedom), in which Zunar took part on Saturday in Malmö. His cartoons were exhibited on the street, while he was drawing outside for everyone to meet him and talk to him in person. His colleague Fadi Abou Hassan joined him on the day.

Zunar is facing trial for nine tweets, for which he has been charged separately and may lead to a total of 43 years of imprisonment if he is found guilty. The trial is set for January 27, 2016. He is in other words charged for exercising his right to free speech and while he has been charged for tweeting, it is an obvious attempt to silencing the cartoonist within him.

- as he said, there is no transparency in the Malaysian …


Below is the textbook example of misunderstanding a cartoon.

This morning Dennis Meyhoff Brink, Ph.D. and specializing in religious satire, reviewed Det lille rige med Svovlstikkerne by Adam O. in the weekly Weekendavisen.

Dennis focuses his critique one cartoon in particular on the murdered cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo: Why, the terrorists are nowhere to be seen?! Here is a bird dead from the lack of oxygen, and so are we to conclude that the massacred cartoonists are "reduced to a cute little bird" dying from said lack of oxygen? Apparently so since the terrorists are nowhere to be seen in the drawing, nor in the book as a whole.

This is an instance of a misconceived wish to protect those in presumed less happy circumstances than oneself. The terrorists should and must be exhibited, not sheltered.

Adam O. lacks the guts to speak the truth, with which Dennis sums up his critique.

In other words, Adam is ultimately lying?

Indeed not. Before us is a homage to the cartooning …

In Times of Peace

The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet will receive this year's Nobel Price for Peace tomorrow and on the day of the announcement the Tunisian intellectuals seemed unusually quiet for quite some time before uttering a incredulous, wondering, sarcastic REALLY???

Now of course the requirements to any peacework is stubborn idealism, hopefully coupled with organizational skills no less stubborn, if it is to succeed. All of which the Quartet (comprising the Tunisian General Labour Union, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League, and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers) comprises. They are agents to a political process, in the words of the Nobel committee, and to the prize is of course tied the cadeau of recognizing the one process of the Arab Spring with the most hope to it. 
Nadia Khiari responded by creating a confrontation between staged ideality and quite a few of old well-known cats among the noise above; the Kafka-reader in the ga…

Pardon me

The linework of the drawing above is dainty, almost fragile of character, embodying the vulnerability of the protagonist. We feel his predicament of being beaten at the very moment he is defining if his sight proves him right. Only to be told that he is lying; he is seeing wrong. To which he is unfazed asking a direct question, cutting through all that has gone before.

Simple as the drawing may seem, style and content are in utter symbiosis. In each frame the outlines of their bodies follows their actions. The slamming arm of the optometrist makes for a perfect circle, while the now visibly impaired customer is all leaning forward while reaching for his glasses. We feel the frailty in his wrist in its continuous reaching for the glasses on the floor before the realization sets in. This time in a perfect oval. Ultimately he is all edges when no longer afraid, openly confronting the one before him.

We have an ideal of the child in The Emperor's New Clothes dissolving all pretense b…

"Enjoy the disgusting, politically incorrect world of..."


That ultimate one. The question of how humor occurs has been explained through history as a play with interference, inversion, repetition, the unexpected, confusion, parallelism, incongruence or contrasting.

In other words the meeting of two elements, independent of each other; two types of activities for instance, which are contrasted and from which emerges a third element, the reaction from seeing the contrast of the two.

Oliver Ottitsch calls that reaction a catharsis.

Catharsis is the yellow pus that springs from a wound, when it bursts, in his words.

His cartoons stays at that very moment of the yellow pus bursting forward while innocence is at once still intact and already hurt. There is no catharsic cleansing in his drawn universe. That version was undressed by Adorno as a piece of Kunstmythologie, a mythology of art. Rather, liberation is to be found in the disruption of the hegemony when that, which social mores forbid to be even wondered at and not at all uttered…

"My guise is also a malicious trick"

And then, on the very afternoon a pair of cartoonists team up, another gem turns up in the inbox creating a triad.

- It was the nose, as Per Marquard Otzen noted. That twisting and turning nose of Putin, snakelike by its very nature, has an uncanny likeness to that of the Danish extreme right-wing politician Pia Kjærsgaard. Since we have a referendum tomorrow, the timing is in itself uncanny of nature.

Other than that I shall say no further. This very gem is as much mesmerizing us into not seeing by way of...

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Per Marquard Otzen and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Your guise is a malicious trick

Sheer opulence of line work across a century. Oleksiy Kustovsky and Valdemar Andersen are visibly creating the very act of seeing before us; we see the intricacy created, the detail within each detail, the sectioning to let every scale catch the light in its very own way and the minuscule open or dotted closed rectangles. All of it at once before us for us to be willingly bedazzled. 
Willingly since we very well know this is the way of boa constrictors; the very visibility is there to make us not see what is before us. An image of all-out artistry thus turns out to be political to the core. The constrictor below was once an occupant of the Copenhagen Zoo; the imprisoned one too awaiting the right moment.

The first cartoon above is courtesy of Oleksiy Kustovsky and must not be reproduced without his permission.
The title above this blog post refers to a line in the poem on the boa constrictor by Kai Holberg in the collection of poems "Zoologisk Have" to which Valdemar Andersen…
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