January 2009

Monthly Archive

Soy Ilegal, No Criminal

Posted by thomas-cummins on 31 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: upcoming events

Mon, Feb 2
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Centro Cultural Aztlan: Soy Ilegal, No Criminal 1800 Fredericksburg Road, . “Soy Ilegal, No Criminal,” annual Segundo de Febrero show, has works by 30 artists commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. 6-9 p.m. opening reception.

Another Matthew Rodriguez on S Flores

Posted by ben on 30 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: graffiti, in yo face, public art

I thought I’d throw a little Friday-night fun your way: another Matthew Rodriguez piece spotted down the street from Emvergeoning headquarters. I think it goes quite well with the hand-painted signage on the Ruby Ann Cleaners.

Matthew Rodriguez on S Flores St in San Antonio

Image as Reality

Posted by thomas-cummins on 29 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: responses/reviews, tv

Saatchi is bringing art to Reality T.V. Unfortunately, Texas artists aren’t allowed to submit to this competition as it’s a U.K. thang. I don’t think the artworld has anything to be threatened by this debasing of art to the lowly realms of Reality T. V. After all isn’t this what has been going on since Warhol and Pop Art. I’m not an expert on Project Runway, or the World of Fashion for that matter, but as an outsider it seems that they have done nothing but enhance one another. If it helps one artist get some publicity, connections, and a career then it’s a success in my book. I don’t think Saatchi has anything to worry about either. Regardless if his show fails or not his reputation will always be golden. Any publicity is good publicity and this remains especially true for the artist.

Actually this merger of art with Reality T.V. has already been done once before by Deitch Projects. That particular reality art show was a failure and I, unfortunately, never saw one of its 8 episodes but art has survived that debacle nevertheless.  Dave Hickey once noted that good art often happens when highbrow meets lowbrow – so why can’t Reality T.V. similarly be a platform for art. I seriously doubt it will be, but it will still give an interesting glimpse into one of its most richest facets.

R. Mutt

Posted by thomas-cummins on 29 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: graffiti, links

Never knew this. Always thought Duchamp was using the word Mutt to go against the purity of Modernism.

signature “R. Mutt” – It is not clear whether Duchamp had in mind the German “Armut” (meaning “poverty”). Later in his life Duchamp himself commented on the name of the alter ego he created for this work: ‘Mutt’ comes from Mott Works, the name of a large sanitary equipment manufacturer. But Mott was too close so I altered it to Mutt, after the daily cartoon strip Mutt and Jeff. But not even that much, just R. MUTT.” If we separate the capital and lowercase letters we get “R.M” and “utt”, “R.M” would stand for “Readymade” which is the fountain itself and “utt” when read out loud sounds like “eut été” in French (much like Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q.). Together it means “Readymade once was, 1917″. Word games like this are common in Marcel Duchamp’s work.

via Fountain (Duchamp) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Trinity Cinema: ‘The Trap’

Posted by thomas-cummins on 29 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: upcoming events

Wed, Feb 4
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Northrup Hall – 040 | Trinity University

This movie looks pretty good – I think I’m gonna check it out.

“The Trap” trailer at IMDb

Wikipedia lists it as the fifth most expensive Serbian movie of all time at 2 million Euros. The most expensive is The Battle of Neretva at 71 million dollars.

From -

The Cinema Series is back! Join us every Wednesday night in February for a free, award-winning film.

A modern film noir reflecting the true face of Serbian “society in transition,” The Trap is an archetypal story of a parent’s worst nightmare—a dying child—and how far a man is willing to go to save him. In post-Milosevic’s Serbia there is no more war, however normal life remains almost unreachable. When Mladen is offered an only chance to save his son, he must confront moral and existential demons and decide how to measure the worth of a human life.

The Trap received the Best Director and Best Actor awards at the Milano International Film Festival, and screened at numerous festivals worldwide. The film was Serbia’s entry for consideration in the Best Foreign Film category at the 2007 Academy Awards.

In Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles. (115 minutes)

Image vs. Image or, I’ve Got Levitation

Posted by aaron on 28 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: music, performance art, r.i.p., vs.

I hope Ben doesn’t mind me borrowing his trademark vs. trope, but I couldn’t resist posting these images. Levitate over them for deeper enlightenment.


Pocket trumpet master and frequent Ornette Coleman collaborator Don Cherry.


Magical TM devotee and 1970's teevee phenomenon Doug Henning.


Bonus levitation.

Marcia King @SAMA

Posted by thomas-cummins on 25 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: upcoming events

Thu, Jan 29
5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
From San Antonio Museum of Art’s website
Opens Thursday, Jan. 29, 5-8 pm; Artist talk Tuesday, Feb. 3, 6:30 pm

Marcia Gygli King: Botanical Paintings
January 29 through April 12, 2009
Marcia Gygli King: Botanical Paintings
SAMA is pleased to be collaborating with the Southwest School of Art and Craft (SSAC) and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Art Gallery in presenting Marcia Gygli King: Forty Years, a retrospective exhibition honoring the part-time San Antonio resident who also maintains a studio in New York City. Included in the exhibition at SAMA are gritty paintings featuring a variety of exotic species, including the carlina vulgaris or carline thistle, the trumpet vine, the bird of paradise, the Fritillaria imperialis (also known as the Crown Imperial), the Cleome dendroides, and a Texas favorite, the yellow rose.

King, Ba, Arredondo, Watanabe @SSAC

Posted by thomas-cummins on 25 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: upcoming events

Thu, Jan 29
5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

From Southwest School of Art & Craft website -

Reception: Thursday, January 29th 5 – 8 PM

Spontaneous Combustion
Marcia Gygli King: Forty Years

Russell Hill Rogers Gallery | Navarro Campus

January 29th 2009 – March 29th 2009
Three concurrent exhibitions at the San Antonio Museum of Art, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and the Southwest School of Art & Craft reflect different facets of the artist’s work.

Osamu Watanabe: My San Antonio

Express-News Photography Gallery | Navarro Campus

January 29th 2009 – March 29th 2009
SSAC photography student Osamu Watanabe’s color images are a personal selection of recent works entitled My San Antonio.

Zou Ba: Let’s Go

Navarro Lobby Gallery | Navarro Campus

January 29th 2009 – March 31st 2009
This trade portfolio from the China Sanbao International Printmaking project includes work by SSAC Department Chair Margaret Craig.
Artist Talk: Tuesday, March 31 7 PM
Jiansheng Li, President of the Sanbao Ceramic Art Instite at Jingdezhen, China

Estevan Arredondo:Pencil Sounds

Ursuline Hall Gallery | Ursuline Campus

January 29th 2009 – March 29th 2009
San Antonio artist and SSAC exhibition preparator, Arredondo, exhibits new paintings reflecting indiginous energies.

300 Augusta
San Antonio, TX 78205   

UTSA Art Gallery – Marcia King

Posted by thomas-cummins on 25 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: upcoming events

Wed, Jan 28
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Marcia Gygli King: The Culture Series
UTSA Art Gallery
January 28 – March 1, 2009

Lecture by Robert C. Morgan 7-8 pm

Three concurrent exhibitions at UTSA, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the Southwest School of Art & Craft, will reflect different facets of artist Marcia Gygli King during her 40-year-long career. The UTSA Art Gallery will exhibit a selection of her most recent works, “The Culture Series.”

1604 Campus, One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249   

artpace Potluck

Posted by thomas-cummins on 25 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: upcoming events

Thu, Feb 5
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

From artpace’s website -

Potluck Dinner: Sterling Allen, Richard Grayson, and Christian Tomaszewski
If you’re dying to show off that new recipe or if you prefer to share a freshly opened bag of chips and dip, then stop by and welcome our 09.1 International Artists-in-Residence. Be sure to bring a healthy appetite and a big Texas smile. Please bring any dish that serves twelve and RSVP by February 4.

MAN: Appoint a White House arts adviser

Posted by ben on 25 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: arts organizations, politics

Since Obama took office, I’ve seen a number of people call for the creation of a cabinet level Secretary of Arts (or Secretary of Culture), through op-eds, online petitions, and other channels. These proposals have left me cold for a few reasons. Most of the advocates of this measure frame it as a generic plea for the government to do more to support the arts. But why can’t congress just increase funding for the numerous federally controlled arts organizations that already exist? William Ferris also points out that the several existing arts-related government organizations (NEH, NEA, PBS, Library of Congress, Smithsonian, etc) sometimes have turf wars, and could benefit from some cabinet-level coordination and delineation of roles. Ok, but what is the nature of these conflicts, and could they be solved in another way?

I’ve not yet seen a really compelling argument for the Secretary of Arts position, which would, it must be admitted, seem rather frivolous to most Americans when the incoming administration has so many huge issues to deal with. A few days ago Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes proposed what seems like a much more practical move: appointing a White House arts adviser. Green takes as his model the White House science adviser, who deals with numerous agencies in coordinating a cohesive science policy. The White House arts adviser could play a similar role: advising the Department of Education on arts curriculum, the Pentagon on how to approach cultural monuments and institutions in occupied countries (remember the Iraq museum debacle?), the State Department on granting visas to visiting artists, etc. Apart from advising federal agencies, this arts advisor could help museums deal with the thorny issue of returning foreign artifacts to their home countries, and other non-federal matters that nonetheless have dimplomatic repercussions. Green discusses all these issues and more in laying out a pretty convincing case for this new appointment. Check it out.

Fluid Branding

Posted by thomas-cummins on 23 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: design, typography

Ben’s link about Google’s philosophy towards a perpetually evolving brand is certainly a new corporate policy but logo evolution has always been around. San Antonio’s own AT&T morphed from an imposing Death Star logo to a more eco-friendly looking globe which the viewer can look down upon. Notice AT&T’s font also changed from the commanding CAPITALIZED letters to a more genial type.



My favorite is Starbucks’ logo though. The Seattle-based company started off with a traditional image of a mermaid but failed to realize she was nude and opening her legs for wandering sailors. I guess when you’re stuck on a boat with a bunch of men for months on end you begin to see women everywhere. As Starbucks grew into a blue chip Corporation they updated their obscene image by covering her breasts with her hair, cropping her legs off, and abstracting the entire image. Throughout the ages, the siren myth has always been a means for artists to portray how bodily impulses often lead us to disastrous results despite our better judgment. How fitting, then, that Starbucks similarly lures its customers in and convinces them to buy a $5 coffee despite their better judgment. How else does Starbucks make so much money just selling a drink? Because coffee is a legal drug.

Starbuck's Siren

Starbuck's Siren

One of those link posts

Posted by ben on 22 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: links

I don’t think I’ve done this before, but I came across lots of interesting stuff this morning that I don’t have much to say about, so here’s one of those blog posts that’s just a list of links.

U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A!

Posted by aaron on 20 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: celebrations, image & sound, music, politics

Performed by Los Dorados del Norte.  Music & lyrics by… ?

Troxler’s Fading

Posted by thomas-cummins on 20 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: design, video/film

Lilac Chaser

Stare at the black cross for 30 seconds.

The above image is an optical illusion sometimes referred to as the Lilac Chaser. It’s the result of several different known visual phenomena including:

Negative Afterimage – The everyday experience we have when we see something very bright and then continue to see its floating silhouette even after we look away from it. The neutral gray background seen here works to enhance this effect and this interactive site allows you to change the dot’s color to see opposing ghost colors.

Troxler’s Fading – First discovered in 1804 by Ignaz Troxler. Basically, we have a blind spot in the middle of our vision (called Scotoma) but we constantly make up for it by having two eyes, rapid eye movement, and also a brain that fills-in the missing information. Unvarying stimuli, however, is able to escape our focus. Similarly, we may feel our clothes when we first put them on but we soon forget about them even though they are still probably touching millions of neurons on our skin right now. A similar illusion is seen below and you can also test your blind spot at this website.



SAMA Soiree

Posted by thomas-cummins on 20 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: upcoming events

Fri, Jan 23
8:00 pm to 11:59 pm
$15/members, $25/non-members in advance*, $30/non-members at the door

Celebrate the Chinese New Year at our next Soirée: Night of the Red Dragon, an art party with an Asian twist.

SAMA continues our quarterly event series for young professionals highlighting our permanent collections in January with a special Asian theme. Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and a specialty cocktail, music, fortune telling, and a scavenger hunt through the Lenora and Walter F. Brown Asian Art Wing.
Ages 21 and up.

“Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness”

Posted by ben on 19 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: music, r.i.p.

Don’t Expect Too Much From Elizabeth Alexander

Posted by ben on 19 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: poetry, politics, public art

Jim Fisher, discussing the challenges Elizabeth Alexander faces in writing an occasional poem for the inauguration, explains why this kind of poetry doesn’t usually work:

Why is poetry so different from other disciplines? Music and the plastic arts (painting, sculpture, architecture) are demonstrably receptive to commissions, with great works created on command, as it were. With sculptures and buildings, we only have to walk a few downtown blocks in most major cities to see lasting examples of both, pro and con.

The problem for poets is not the commission — Milton’s “Lycidas” and Marvell’s “Upon Appleton House” are both immortal poetry commissions — but the occasion, which fixes the poem with a public event. Once the function has passed, the poem loses the immediacy of its audience, and with it the power to summon meaning and emotion over time.

So let’s dispense with this idea that poets can produce lasting poems for public events. It’s unfair to the audience, discomposes the poet, and probably confirms the low opinion of poetry some listeners already hold.

When we read poetry to ourselves, the occasion of a great poem is an internal event, organizing the perceptions and determining the material. When that occasion is a point in time and place, the work is more likely to be stuck there when published: partial, responsible, contemporary, rarely timeless.

[hat tip]

Richard Serra’s voicemail to Barack

Posted by thomas-cummins on 18 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: interviews, politics, public art

Inauguration weekend is underway. Kurt Andersen investigates ‘Artists and Obama‘ at Studio360.org. You can find the following interviews there for your listening pleasure:

The Making of an Icon

Shepard Fairey, designer of the iconic red-white-and-blue Barack, and other Obama portraitists admit to riding the Obama wave but fear they might have over-hyped the president-elect to unrealistic expectations.

Dana Gioia

The departing chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dana Gioia, was a Bush appointee but he’s down with a Democrat who reads poetry.

Voicemails for Barack: Part IV

Sculptor Richard Serra asks Obama for a Culture Minister as well as for a grassroots art movement.

Shepard Fairey's Obama Poster
Shepard Fairey’s Obama Poster

Artslam! 3

Posted by thomas-cummins on 17 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: upcoming events

Sat, Jan 24 9:00 pm to Sun, Jan 25 2:00 am

21+ only.  $5

From Artslam website:

Artslam! Is a live art and live music event where local artists team up with local bands and d.j.s to perform on stage together. The event is meant to bring together different types of art in a positive atmosphere for the welfare of the art community. The collaboration between the different artists is used to help expand the creative limits of each artist by forcing them to produce quick, yet detailed pieces in front of an audience. The art produced during the shows are up for silent auction during the show.

Art Slam 3

Art Slam 3

YouTube: “Three Strikes and You’re Out”

Posted by ben on 16 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: intellectual property, politics, video/film

Nate Anderson at Ars Technica covers what is probably the best cause célèbre I’ve seen for oponents of restrictive copyright enforcement. The article recounts the case of Kevin Lee, a prolific film blogger who used YouTube extensively to publish “video essays” which interspersed his own critical insights with short film clips. Lee’s work demonstrates everything that’s good and noble about the Internet: an unpaid blogger pioneering new avenues of critical discourse, just to share his love of cinema with others. His blog, Shooting Down Pictures, reveals a passionate, intelligent observer documenting his travels through the greatest 1,000 films. Read more about the significance of Lee’s work at The House Next Door.

But all this came to a grinding halt when, after a third DMCA takedown notice was served against Lee, over five hours of his critical commentary was deleted by YouTube and his account closed. I’ve written about what I see as some helpful innovations on YouTube’s part in dealing with copyright, but this “three strikes” rule is absurd on its face. YouTube offers some fair objections to the idea that it should manually review all of these takedown notices, but deleting whole user accounts due to a small ammount of allegedly infringing content is bad for YouTube, bad for free speech, and will ultimately feed the backlash against copyright in general. It’s not even clear that the video that triggered the account deletion was violating copyright; Lee has a strong case that his critical videos fall under fair use protections.

The blame for this doesn’t fall entirely on YouTube, as many of the large rights holders are taking a “shoot first, ask questions later” stance with takedown notices, and of course the DMCA itself encourages this behavior. Any lasting solution will involve a combination of legal reform and consumers creating a shitstorm whenever something like this happens.

[Cross-posted at Scattered Work]

John Mata at Sala Diaz

Posted by ben on 15 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: upcoming events

Fri, Jan 23
7:00 pm to 11:00 pm

For his exhibition Sala Diaz Is Open, John Mata will utilize the east and west rooms of Sala Diaz to present an art show and record store respectively.

In the East Room, Mata will be presenting drawings, collages, and sculptures containing images of Apocalyptic Cartoon Landscapes, often referencing the fall of the common person to the hegemony of cycloptic mountains in molten pits of hellfire and sunflowers.

Mata has invited Jesse Garcia from 180 Grams Records to showcase a selected group of vinyl records for  display and purchase. 180 Grams, a record store launched in 2005 on San Pedro Rd. in San Antonio, was closed during the summer of 2008. By giving Garcia the East Room to reopen his store temporarily, Mata hopes to give the surrounding community an opportunity to experience 180 Grams. As a DJ, Mata has spent numerous hours browsing through the racks of vinyl records and engaging in an on going dialogue with Garcia. During the run of the exhibit, Garcia will keep daily hours in the gallery and will work with Mata to coordinate weekly events which will include performances by local and regional performing artists.

Sala Diaz is a 501 (C)(3) non-profit space supporting the San Antonio community with exhibitions of local, national and international artists and is located at 517 Stieren, near the intersection of South Alamo and South Saint Mary’s Street in the heart of the Restaurant Supply District. Open weekly, Thursday – Saturday from 2 – 6 PM and every First Friday at 9 PM. Sala Diaz is sponsored by Fluent Collaborative, Liberty Bar, The National Endowment For The Arts and numerous private individuals.

John Mata: Sala Diaz Is Open
January 23 – February 22, 2009
Reception, Friday, January 23, 7 – 11 PM

517 Stieren
San Antonio, Texas 78210

“Be Seeing You”

Posted by ben on 15 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: r.i.p., tv

Patrick McGoohan

I’m very gratified because, when [The Prisoner] came out originally, in England, there were a lot of haters of it. A love/hate relationship, whichever way you look at it. Already there was a small cult. Now there’s a much bigger one over there. In fact, when the last episode came out in England, it had one of the largest viewing audiences, they tell me, ever over there, because everyone wanted to know who No. 1 was, because they thought it would be a “James Bond” type of No. 1. When they did finally see it, there was a near-riot and I was going to be lynched. And I had to go into hiding in the mountains for two weeks, until things calmed down. That’s really true!…

I wanted to have controversy, argument, fights, discussions, people in anger waving fist in my face saying, “How dare you? Why don’t you do more ‘Secret Agents’ that we can understand?” I was delighted with that reaction. I think it’s a very good one. That was the intention of the exercise….

— Patrick McGoohan, creator and star of The Prisoner, who died Tuesday

You can watch all 17 episodes of The Prisoner on the AMC website. The full Troyer interview (from which the quote above was taken) is transcribed here with .

Calma con La Algebra of Life: Remembering Manny Castillo

Posted by aaron on 14 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: arts organizations, essays, in yo face, music, mustaches, possibilities, public art, r.i.p., rock!, wordy

Unknown artist's rendering of Manny Castillo and Ram

Manuel Diosdado Castillo, Jr. tragically succumbed to lung cancer on January 6th at the age of 40 – a matter of weeks after receiving the diagnosis – leaving behind a remarkable legacy of music, public artwork, of pride in and a powerful sense of responsibility for his beloved Westside San Antonio barrio. Manny was, for nearly twenty years, a singular presence in both the underground music scene in San Antonio (whose spiritual epicenter is marked by the centuries-old live oak tree at his favorite local dive/venue: the legendary, much-missed Tacoland) and in the non-profit community organization he built, originally as an offshoot project of Patti & Rod Radle’s Inner City Development, but which quickly blossomed into San Anto Cultural Arts.

My friendship with Manny goes back to a spontaneous garage rehearsal circa 1991. Marshall Gause and I were fruitlessly waiting at my folks’ house for some now forgotten drummer we wanted to try out, as our last band line-up hadn’t worked out. Marshall suggested trying to get in touch with this guy he had played a couple of times with the year before – they had enjoyed it, but it didn’t go anywhere as Manny soon left for New Orleans to follow Academic Pursuits. Marshall had a hunch he might be back in town now. After a few calls, the hunch was confirmed and we had a drummer on the way.

That first rehearsal (guitar, bass, & drums – singer Terry Brown had to work) immediately revealed an undeniable chemistry between Marshall’s hippy-punk musicologist guitar explorations, my intuitive but rudimentary bass playing (which, lucky for me, sounded better than it had much right to thanks to my chronic music obsession, a plethora of interesting audio exposure at a job selling used records, and especially Marshall’s unpretentious ability to cover for my lack of formal musical knowledge,) and Manny’s balls-out, hit-the-drums-hard-enough-to-break-at-least-one-head-per-session-but-always-dead-on-the-beat style, using complex rhythms even formally trained jazz drummers wouldn’t have the nerve to try. He was, and remains, one of the fastest, most precise drummers I have ever seen (even faster when he was nervous,) augmented by the physical strength to just bash the hell out of his drums – a steamroller cross between John Bonham, Neil Peart, Mitch Mitchell, George Hurley and Elvin Jones. All on a minimal and creaky drum set usually somehow held together with yarn.

That afternoon we quickly bonded musically over our mutual love for Rush, The Plugz, Esteban Jordan, Thin Lizzy and especially The Minutemen. Spontaneous jams we engaged in that day became the basis for numerous songs later fully developed and forming the initial base of our oeuvre (some still included in the set list at the time the band imploded.) In short order, we brought Terry back into the circle, sat around with some Lone Stars or whatever was cheap that day and soon agreed to call ourself El Santo, in homage to the legendary Mexican lucha enmascarada/film star who never lost a match.

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Virtually a Museum

Posted by thomas-cummins on 13 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: possibilities, responses/reviews

I took the virtual Prado experience on Google Earth today and, overall, I have to say the hype is a little overblown. I flew into Madrid assuming Google would sweep me straight into the museum but was, instead, confronted by 14 masterpieces outside the Museum. I updated to the latest version of Google Earth and attempted to enter the Museum’s entrance like a video game but was still denied. What you do have access to is each of these paintings at an amazing 14,000 megapixels – which means you can see details never before possible to the general public. Sure, it’s definitely fun to float above craquelure but, in the end, this is only useful for a few specialists in the field of art history. What Google is really giving us is a preemptive glimpse of what is yet to come -that the Prado will eventually be virtualized for the benefit of everyone. This won’t take anything away from the museum experience itself but will, rather, enhance it – just as encyclopedias, tourist’s guide books, and postcards did once before. Don’t get me wrong, Google Earth is still awesome and gets better every month but who really won today were the P.R. firms for both Google and the Prado Museum itself. Just as the ‘Mona Lisa’ became even more famous in the mechanical age of reproduction so did the Museum in the virtual age of the internet. Google says they don’t plan on virtualizing other museums but don’t believe them – they won’t be happy until they document and record every frickin’ aura in the universe.

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