Several houses and spaces have been raided (including media activists) in the Twin Cities before Monday's scheduled protest against the Republican Convention:
Here is the indymedia wire as events unfold: http://twincities.indymedia.org/
Here is the coldsnap legal collectives up to the minute info: http://coldsnaplegal.wordpress.com/
Here is mainstream news coverage from the Star Tribune http://www.startribune.com/politics/27695244.html?page=3&c=y
ART OF DEMOCRACY:
WAR & EMPIRE
535 Powell Street
San Francisco, California
September 4 - November 4 2008
reception - Thursday September 4th, 6-9 PM
Image: Juan Fuentes. See more images here.
Its the last Friday of the month, which means another Critical Mass for many cities. This months ride is the 4 year anniversary of our historic Republican National Convention (RNC) ride, where many thousands of folks took to the streets. (image by Fly)
The NYC Metro seemed to remember this too.
Arrests set course for protests in city
by Amy Zimmer / metro new york
AUG 29, 2008
Friday night’s Critical Mass marks a seminal event in the ride’s history: Four years ago the police arrested more than 250 people during the monthly ride that attracted thousands during the Republic National Convention.
Hundreds of protesters were arrested during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. Excluding costs associated with the RNC, the NYPD and courts have spent more than $2.3 million on Critical Mass according to numbers compiled by Times Up!
Here's a cool project that my friend's friends are working on:
A duo of sweet cycling ladies who have initiated a project called The Gift Cycle, are on the final legs of their cross-country biking mission, bringing art from community to community from Providence, RI to Seattle, WA. Sarah Sandman and Melissa Smalls have been biking since June, where they set out from Providence on recumbent bikes pulling a trailer packed with art lovingly gifted by local artists. The project incorporates ideas from Lewis Hyde’s book The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property into an ethos that both art and nature are gifts, not commodities, and thrive in a “gift economy” that does not seek to exchange them for capital. Right on, Gift Cycle! So, as they move from city to city, they have been exchanging art from the previous city for art from the next, and so on until folks from Providence receive art from Seattle. Check out the lovely slideshow and track their progress on their blog.
They reach their final destination in Seattle on Saturday, August 30 - so check them out if you are in the area!
SEATTLE GIFT-GIVING /// FINAL DESTINATION CELEBRATION
No Space Gallery
507 E Mercer St
Corner of Summit and Mercer on Capitol Hill
AK Press just launched their blog Revolution by the Book.
The purpose of Revolution by the Book, the AK Press blog, is to inform people about anarchist publishing in general and AK Press in particular.
We will post interviews with AK authors, reviews of and excerpts from AK books, and reports on the events at AK. We will also post news about other anarchist publishers and booksellers, translations, interviews with activists behind other projects, and lists of relevant conferences. We will use video and audio whenever possible.
Initially, we will post new material three times per week, although we hope to publish with greater frequency in the near future.
Minneapolis Police Detain 3 Independent Journalists, confiscating video equipment, computer, phones, notebooks and money among other personal belongings
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (August 26, 2008) – Minneapolis Police officers detained three journalists early this morning, confiscating each of the their personal belongings including cell phones, video cameras, still cameras, a computer, hard drive, clothing, personal objects and money. The journalists are all members of New York City based Glass Bead Collective and are in town to document the events around the Republican National Convention. Police officer York photographed the three journalists and questioned them individually about their travel plans and what they intended to report on. The officers refused to file an official report of the incident or a receipt of the items taken, claiming that they were allowed to conduct the search and seizure under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security due to security risks leading up to the Republican National Convention.
The journalists were detained and then released after their belongings were seized. The journalists were clear that they did not consent to being searched at any point during the detainment.
Mention of the arrests is on Democracy Now! and will appear in newspapers in the future!
It appears that dissent will be closely scrutinized and monitored this convention season. While outside the DNC pepperball bullets were fired and 91 folks were arrested.
Its not surprising that there are questions like, "Why are they protesting the Democrats?", being left unanswered. It would be devastating to acknowledge that neither, Republican or Democrat, have "the people's" interest in mind. I am assured of an upsetting election, unless the momentum progressives are building last beyond November 4th.
Good luck to everyone that takes to the streets of Denver and St. Paul.
I've decided that this blog thing might be useful for regular, depressing updates on the subject that I think about most, namely, extinction. To start off with, I think I'll try to post regular entries dealing with individual species that have gone extinct in quasi-recent times due, at least in part, to human activity. We'll start with the Lake Atitlan Grebe, also known as the Poc.
The Poc was a very large flightless waterbird with drab plumage, robust paddling feet, and an apparently endearing expression. It's only habitat was the freshwater Lake Atitlan, in the highlands of Guatemala. It's problems with humans (at least, as far as I've been able to determine) started in about 1958.
Otepemisiwak | The People Without Bosses
Prints + Installation by Dylan A.T. Miner
01 September - 30 November
Opening | 05 September | 6:00-8:00 pm
At the Nokomis Center | A Native American Cultural Center
5153 Marsh Road
Okemos, MI 48864-1198
Erick Lyle/Josh MacPhee
Thursday, August 28th
123 Community Space
123 Tompkins, Brooklyn, NY
Erick and Josh will talk about their new books, tell stories and show pictures for you to look at. Erick recently released On the Lower Frequencies, a remix of the very best of his SCAM zine. Josh put together Reproduce & Revolt, a collection of over 500 public domain political graphics from 100 plus artists from around the big old world.
At least one of them will likely make you laugh, and hell, it's free!
The political graphics in Reproduce & Revolt are slowly starting to spread out around the world! Above is a poster made by communities in San Marcos that are resisting Montana Exploradora's mining project and communities in San Juan Sacatepequéz that are resisting the building of a cement factory by Cementos Progresos.
The 8th Annual Portland Zine Symposium is on August 23rd & 24th, 2008 in Portland, Oregon in the Smith Memorial Ballroom on the Portland State University Campus.
- Saturday from 10:00AM until 5:00PM
- Sunday from 10:00AM until 4:00PM
RMO is coming to Pittsburgh!
The Rude Mechanical Orchestra is a 30-odd-piece New York City radical marching band and dance troupe and will be augmented by Pittsburgh's own Break Away Marching Band.
DJ's Mary Mack and Pandemic Pete will also be spinning some dance tunes.
Sunday August 24th
$5-10 sliding scale
Belvedere's - 4016 Butler St - Lawrenceville
This event is sponsored by the Human Rights Coaltion - FedUp! Chapter.
All money will go to send people to the Critical Resistance 10 year anniversary conference in Oakland, California. Strategy and Struggle to Abolish the Prison Industrial Complex
Unless you've been living under a rock- you know about all the detentions, disappearances, and shootings of people in China who have been outspoken about the ongoing struggle for a free Tibet.
Needless to say, I was shocked to hear the news that a friend of ours from Brooklyn was just arrested with 4 others for holding up a banner near the National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest, on Aug. 19 around 11 p.m. spelling out the message Free Tibet in Chinese and English using blue L.E.D. lights. Fortunately this was followed by info that they are safely on their way home.
This banner was co-created with the help of Graffiti Research Lab member James Powderly who was also arrested and is currently being detained due to his plan to use his invention, "The Green Chinese Lantern,” a 400 milliwatt handheld green laser with micro-stencils to beam a Free Tibet message on a Beijing landmark, possibly Tiananmen Square.
Prior to this planned action, Powderly's invitation to participate in Synthetic Times, a new media art exhibition at Beijing’s National Media Art Museum of China, was revoked, after he expressed indignation that the work must be approved by the Chinese government.
According to G.R.L's press release:
James is proud to have been kicked out of the Synthetic Times new media art exhibition in Beijing because he wouldn’t censor his little art project. James wonders why organizations like the MoMA, Parsons, Eyebeam, Ars Electronica and many other arts and cultural institutions around the world who claim to support free speech and expression would participate in a show like this. But they did! It was after being kicked to the curb by the show’s curator that James connected with Students for a Free Tibet and decided he would go to China anyway and do what he though was right in support of Tibet, Taiwan, free speech and the people of China. James lives, if indeed he is alive, in the County of Kings, Brooklyn, and teaches at the Communication Design and Technology program at Parsons the New School for Design.
The NY Times reported that,
Two video bloggers, Brian Comley, 28, and Jeffrey Rae, 28, were with James when he was detained. On Tuesday night, he sent a text message to a friend saying he had been held since 3 a.m. on Monday. His current whereabouts are unknown.
I hope James is safe and released soon. I also hope that attention continues to be drawn to the violence and repression sanctioned by the Chinese government. The price of protest for Chinese citizens is atrocious. Most recently those who applied to the Chinese government's designated Olympic protest zones were rejected, disappeared and detained, and sentenced to "re-education through labor."
Last Friday in Troy, NY the Swimming Cities of the Switchback Sea was launched. It is a project of ridiculous proportions, over seven crafts being maneuvered down the Hudson River making occasional stops to do performances, and will be turned into a solo exhibition and installation for Swoon. The efforts of many dozens of people have gone into manifesting the crafts and coordinating the trip. Our pal Todd Chandler is working with a film crew that is shooting scenes on the crafts for a film in the works "Flood". The crafts will also turn into Swoon's solo installation in Long Island City at a Deitch space, which is an ambitious endeavor on its own, being thousands of square feet.
The NY Times has an article and images in their Arts Section called "A Floating City with Junkyard Roots" And you can see a slide show there at Floating Sculptures
FLIGHT:the mythic journey of a person displaced
Saturday Aug 16, 8PM @ 2640 (2640 St. Paul St.)
I'm really excited about this event as 2640 is one of my favorite venues on the East Coast! Plus Roby Newton was one of the first people I ever heard of doing puppetshows in the punk rock context and inspired the people who inspired me to start doing this kind of work!
Flight is a brand new 30-minute shadow theater piece from radical graphic artist and Justseeds collective member Erik Ruin, depicting the picaresque journey of a displaced person attempting to escape/ transcend persecution. This show will feature overhead projectors, scrolling landscapes, intricately cut scenes of shipwrecks, refugee camps & burning houses, and a hair-raisingly beautiful improvised score by violinist Katt Hernandez
Also on the bill for the evening is a special treat: "Interference," a puppet show about a stranger in a strange land, a newcomer to the city who finds the experience of living within its confines overwhelming, in a most peculiar way. robot neutron (aka roby newton) uses hand puppets and shadows to tell this tale of "interference". she lives in baltimore and has been making puppets and puppet shows since before the turn of the century.
Plus special musical guests tba. $5-$10 sliding scale.
International Food and Film Festival
Saturday, Aug. 16th
2-10pm (films begin at 8pm)
5pm canning workshop
Location: Hattie Carthan Community Garden, Marcy and Lafayette Aves, Brooklyn
Just Foods is an amazing organization in NYC that is working to build a healthy sustainable food system. They work to address the needs of regional, rural family farms, NYC community gardeners, and NYC communities.
Come groove to the sounds of live African percussion and experience the fresh tastes and cultures of Brooklyn. All foods are prepared by the garden members. Learn techniques to preserve your harvest all year long! Use mason jars, a hot water bath and your delicious home grown vegetables to make irresistible foods you can eat in the colder months, or that you can give as tasty and beautiful gifts. When the sun goes down, the films will begin!
Directions: Take the G train to Bedford Nostrand. Walk one block to Marcy. Or take the B38 to Marcy & Lafayette
And while I'm at it, here are some pictures of what's growing in my own garden in Brooklyn.
we built a hoop house for growing plants from seed and starters, and three beds with several varieties of tomatoes, basil, beets, garlic, radishes, mustard greens, kale, broccoli, potatoes, cucumbers, nasturtium, sage, and cilantro, mint, and rodiccio
green zebra heirloom tomato
one of the amazing thing about having a compost bin is seeing what pops up! All my cucumber plants and a whole lot of tomato plants grew out of the bin. I ended up giving away many plants
My friend and co-worker Ilana Sol will be screening her just-completed documentary, On Paper Wings, in Portland this weekend. Check it out if you're in town.
"In the spring of 1945, a Japanese balloon bomb claimed the lives of the only people killed on the continental U.S. as the result of enemy action during WWII. Forty years later, the decision to fold a thousand paper cranes would unite the Japanese and American civilians who were involved in and affected by this incident."
Her film is accompanied by "Passing Poston," a documentary about a Japanese-American internment camp in Poston, Ariz.
The Hollywood Theatre -
42nd and NE Sandy Blvd.
August 11th-12th (Monday & Tuesday): 7:00pm
August 16th-17th: 12:15 & 3PM (Matinee Shows)
That's a mouthful. I was looking at the WFMU blog yesterday and came across a post called "You Too Can Help Silence Bono". I really like the internet when it brings me closer to others that think similarly, kinda the opposite I feel from mass communications most of the time.
The post highlights the "Bono Retire From Public Life and We'll Donate a Ton of Money to FIght AIDS" campaign promises to collect pledges for the Global Fund and hold them in escrow until Bono promises to go away.
I have always been disturbed by the "activism" of characters like Bono, and most stars. There is belief that they lend their star power to raise consciousness about the "issue". That can be helpful, yet there is a dangerous line that is always crossed in our star obsessed media, and the real organizers and those affected are completely obscured by celebrity. And Bono is the most flagrant example. The criticisms in Kurt Gottschalk post "How to Dismantle a Pretentious Band or U2 Still Sucks" on the WFMU blog, provided some evidence and humor which articulated my discomfort with this "activism".
What it comes down to, is its so typical & paternalistic, of a "Westerner" and doesn't empower those who are in need with the resources they need to be autonomous from countries in the Global North. The critique in The American puts it bluntly
He has done more for raising Africa's profile and our awareness about debt relief, unequal trade, malaria and HIV/AIDS than perhaps any human being in history. He represents a game we have all played for nearly fifty years whose only winners have been corrupt governments and the international development industry.
Here's a radical idea: if we really want to help, why not ask Africans, not their governments, how they perceive the challenges before them, the dreams they have for the future, and the resources they think they need to realize them?
Our friends over at Jura Books, one of Australia's longest running anarchist book shops and community centers, are holding a poster contest! On top of being a book store, Jura also holds one of the best political poster collections in Australia, they've been collecting posters about different Aussie political struggles since they opened their doors. In order to promote themselves and raise money and awareness for their poster collection, they are looking for someone to design a new Jura Books poster. The full details are here:
Calling all imaginative and talented artists and activists! Could you or someone you know create a political poster that can stand alongside the great political posters of the past, and is also meaningful and relevant to the future?
Participate in an Exchange!!!
Submit 13 identical pieces, each 8”x8” by September 25th and receive a dozen prints back from various artists from around the world! The extra print will be archived with the possibility of future exhibition and/or publication. Please view the attachment for specific details. Please feel free to pass this onto anyone that may be interested or to post online! This Exchange is open to printmakers and stencil/graffiti artists internationally.
Thank you! ;)
(From the Manhattan Graphics Center in Jersey City, New Jersey)
Public Ad Campaign is now in a blog format. It highlights contemporary public advertising issues and ramblings about public space.
A couple months ago a friend and comrade, Michael Rossman, passed away. I first met Michael 3 or 4 years back while I was in the Bay Area for something or other, likely the Anarchist Bookfair. Michael was a voracious poster collector, buying, finding or peeling any and all political posters off any walls he walked past. He was the founder of the All of Us or None Poster Archive (AOUON Archive), an amazing and huge collection of posters from around the world, with a strong emphasis on Bay Area social movements, including the Berkeley Free Speech Movement (which he was involved in), Black Panthers, Chicano organizing, Native Struggles and many others. He had devised a genius system of archiving his tens of thousands of posters in a small room in his house, putting them in wood file folders that slid in and out of hand-made wooden cabinets that doubled as benches which surrounded the room. Going to Michael's house was like a trip to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, with Michael excitedly pulling out files and showing off amazing posters from farmworker strikes to Native land occupations. He collected 10 color beautiful silkscreens and down and dirty photocopies, anything and everything went into the folders. And the amazing thing was that of the 100 he pulled out, I might have seen 1 or 2 of them before. This was all new stuff, rarely seen outside of its original usage, and never published in books or traveled in shows.
When Michael died, the responsibility for his collection passed on to Lincoln Cushing, another friend and poster afficianado. I couldn't think of another person better suited to find a home for AOUON. The Oakland Tribune just did a nice piece on Michael, Lincoln and the collection. Give it a read here.
There's a bunch of press on Steve Powers-ESPO- new sideshow installation, “Waterboard Thrill Ride”, in Coney Island. It appears that Powers made some robots that simulate waterboarding in a space out on West 12th Street, just off Surf Avenue, in Brooklyn. Before you check it out you can read about it on the NY Times, BBC, ABC News, and probably a ton off other blogs. The piece will move to the Park Avenue Armory in September and be a part of Creative TIme's Democracy in America: The National Campaign events there. Chris Stain will also have a 70' mural included as well!
Every few weeks I am stunned by the abstraction of economics. It is beyond my comprehension how this system perpetuates itself, it has to. And anyone invested in it must follow along despite such precariousness. It scares the shit out of me, reading about the Sub-prime mortgage "scandal", the cost of war and debt to Asian banks, and the rising costs of resources. The "real" costs are not hidden from us anymore, and the institutions that once insulated us and came to "our", the people's service, have been gutted or deemed unimportant by an administration hellbent on corporate welfare.
I always presumed that economists deliberated before sending world economies into tailspins, for their own gain. I guess I'm also guilty of "trusting" the system. Yet each day I read something like the article below I realize, this is a poker game gotten out of everyones hand.
So I'm starting to accept that we are in a depression, minus gravity taking
the lives of those responsible, as it did in 1929. And understand that those who've always been stepped on and screwed over, will have it worse, and we really need to test our mutual support systems.
Does this concern anyone else?
Fannie Mae unveils loss of $2.3bn
Analyst John Raines on the problems at Fannie Mae
Problems in the US housing market have pushed mortgage finance company Fannie Mae into the red.The group sank to a net loss of $2.3bn in the three months to 30 June, against a profit of $1.97bn last year.
It comes days after its sister company Freddie Mac posted worse-than-expected results and its top executive warned house price falls are not over yet.Both government sponsored firms own, or guarantee, nearly half of the nation's mortgage debt. Shares in Fannie Mae sank in the wake of the announcement, falling 9.8% to $8.98.
As mortgage guarantors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, must pay out when people default on their loans. But as a result of recent woes in the US housing market and subsequent sub-prime crisis the pair have run into severe difficulty. Fannie Mae said that the current housing crisis had added to its woes to the tune of $5.3bn in credit expenses. The latest losses at the firm - which came in at more than three times analysts' estimates - followed a $2.2bn loss for the first three months of the year.
"Our second-quarter results reflect challenging conditions in the housing and mortgage markets that began in 2006 and have deepened through 2007 and 2008," said Daniel H Mudd, president and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae.
He added that the firm had also taken steps to raise an additional $7bn to help it tackle the "most difficult US housing market in more than 70 years". As part of the plan Fannie Mae is slashing its dividend by more than 85% to 0.05 cents, raising its fees and has taken steps to cut its costs by 10%. The group also said it would stop purchasing 'Alt-A' loans - loans made to borrowers with good credit but little proof of their income, or people who either put down a small deposit, or no deposit, for their loan.
But there was little to offer hope in near-term future with Fannie Mae warning that increased volatility in capital markets and deteriorating credit conditions meant that it would face more losses.
Last month, the federal government offered a financial lifeline to the two beleaguered companies offering to extend their line of credit. However, the financial aid may leave the taxpayer facing a bill of $25bn over the next two years. "The taxpayer is stuck if they have to be bailed out," John Raines, deputy director of political risk for Exclusive Analysis told the BBC. He added that reports had suggested the actual cost could end up being anywhere in the region of between $10bn to $100bn. "Right now, Fannie Mae says it has the capital to weather the storm, but its looking more and more stormy by the day."
Jared Davidson of the New Zealand-based Garage Collective has posted a follow-up essay to his earlier piece we blogged about here: "This Is Not A Manifesto —Towards An Alternative Design Practice." Here is the full text of his new piece, "From Punk to Proudon?":
I never wanted to be a graphic designer. At least not in the traditional sense — the faceless middle-man servicing the corporate body was something I didn't want to be. And when that's often the only direction encouraged within the design world, it becomes increasingly hard to find and explore alternatives, let alone sustainable ones.
Inspired by one part ego, one part punk, and a good dash of 'politics', my alternative to the overly commercial realm of graphic design ended up as 'Garage Collective' — the banner under which my design and screenprint output has come to be known. Over time, Garage Collective has had a number of projects and sometimes confused
directions — from local and international band's gigposters, grassroots political campaigns, features in a few exhibitions (as well as one of my own), numerous zines and writings (This Is Not A Manifesto — Towards An Alternative Design Practice), and my own personal screenprinted projects. It's these personal projects that have encouraged me to re-think, not only my own practice, but Garage Collective itself — it's current position and the possibility of other creative directions. The following text is the manifestation of that re-think.
Yesterday, August 6th, 2008 marks the 63 years since the United States military dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Each year I can help but personally commemorate all the lives lost to what I perceive as the most abhorrent and inhumane action in the history of civilization. On August 9th, the US military dropped a second more powerful bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. It is unknown how many people were killed and died as a result of these explosions, the numbers are over 250,000. These two days always remind me why I am anti-war.
There's plenty of haunting videos and photos you can find about the bombings and effect. Plenty more to read online try WIkipedia if you wanna start somewhere.
This is a great project worth supporting at any level if you are down with art, zines, radical cultural spaces, and freight train hopping. Hard to imagine a better alternative art space than one in a boxcar! Below is their call for support.
From the BBCRC website “In mid-July the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture (BBCRC) in Northern California made an arrangement with the Heritage Junction Museum in McCloud to acquire two historic pieces of rail equipment - an ex-Sacramento Northern wood boxcar (SN 2349) and an ex-Pacific Fruit Express iced refrigerator car (PFE 55224). Both cars date from around 1912 and are in reasonably good condition. We plan to move both cars to Black Butte later this year.
We intend to use the boxcar as a resource center/library/info shop and as an arts/project space for visitors to Black Butte. We hope to be able to have some art shows in the boxcar and to use it for special events. The reefer will be located alongside the boxcar and will also provide community space and add to the historic railroad atmosphere at Black Butte. The railcars will both be owned by the BBCRC, a California based non-profit agency. The intention is that they will be a long term resource for our project and our community.
Right now, we are appealing for help in raising funds for this ambitious project. Acquisition of both cars, moving them to Black Butte, and site preparation will all together cost about $10,000. We will also have additional restoration and rehabilitation costs. We have already raised about $4000. But we need A LOT of additional help in a fairly short period of time if we are going to pull this off. If you are able to make a contribution of any size, please write out a (tax-deductible) check to the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture and send it to us at 800 Black Butte Road, Weed, CA 96094.”
BBCRC Boxcar/Reefer Project
If you are in Pittsburgh this Friday, come on down to Free Ride, our Recycle-a-Bike project, for a good old-fashioned Summer Party. Proceeds benefit the Youth Earn-a-Bike program. It is also the going-away party for Justseeds buddy Andalusia Knoll, who is moving to Philly to work with Prometheus Radio Project. Andalu (DJ Baglady) & Justseeds member Mary Tremonte (DJ Mary Mack) will be spinning some sweet beats for you to dance to, along with DJ Pandemic Pete. Here are details:::
Two weeks after Katrina made landfall, New York filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal flew to Louisiana to make a film about soldiers returning from Iraq who were now homeless. But the National Guard closed off access. Just when the filmmakers were ready to disband their crew, Kim and Scott Roberts, streetwise and indomitable, introduced themselves. Kim had bought a camcorder the day before the hurricane, and using it for the first time, she captured the devastation and its pathetic aftermath, including the selfless rescue of neighbors and the appalling failure of government. The strong center of Trouble The Water, though, are the Roberts themselves who, says Deal, "survived all the storms of their lives not because they were lucky, but because they had intelligence, guts, and the kind of hope that is based in will rather than experience."
"Trouble the Water" will be in theaters starting the weekend of Aug.
22nd (in NYC at the IFC Center). Check out the distributor's website for more dates and cities.
“Among the earliest forms of human self-awareness was the awareness of being meat.”
- David Quammen, Monster of God
I've finally finished up a new video, (jokingly) entitled "Testing the Waters" - the first spur video from my tending-towards-sprawling "Wilderness" project. "Testing" is my attempt to get a grip on what, exactly, I'm trying to do with "Wilderness" - and indeed whether I can actually do what I think I can with this idea. My videos have typically been simple and performative, evidence of an action. This project represents something new for me, and as it is with any new creative thrust I'm not entirely comfortable with it. Maybe a big reason for this is also the most obvious: all of my source material for this project is other people's work. Add to that the general violence of the footage (animals attacking people and/or people attacking animals) and things start to get complicated. I'm enjoying the process, though, and I'm operating with the outlook that if these projects don't quite live up to the thesis they will at least make interesting YouTube fodder.
I post the first version of this video (in low-res, compressed form) in the hopes of getting some feedback as I continue with the project as a whole. Please share your thoughts! Comment on this blog, or email me personally.
Coincidentally enough, I finished the video on the same week as Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. The video montage of sharks leaping out of the water to the tune of "Flight of the Valkyries" on their homepage may already have my video beat...
"While some informed people may have decided that sharks are really not so bad, they yet may find reasons for not swimming in the ocean. Traditional island peoples widely regard the shark as a spiritual being whose analogous aspect in the human self is an embryo. That sharks rip open the body of their victims has a double horror of an unborn monster ravaging the self. Sharks are neither intrinsically terrible nor sacred, but they are utterly fascinating and therefore a perfect candidate for encoding extreme feelings and concepts."
- Paul Shepard, The Others
Although I'm deeply critical of the Cuban Revolution, this upcoming exhibition looks like it could be inciteful and interesting. I'm hoping once you get passed the photos of Fidel and Che, there might be some images of the Cuban people at large struggling against Batista, and particularly representations of the urban struggle, which although far more democratic and mass-based, is always eclipsed (if not erased) by the supposedly more "heroic" fight in the mountains.
Havana: The Revolutionary Moment
Photographs by Burt Glinn
111 Front St., Suite 208
Brooklyn, NY 11201
September 10-October 31, 2008
Opening, 6-8pm, September 10.
Havana: The Revolutionary Moment presents a unique collection of never-before-seen photographs by veteran Magnum photographer Burt Glinn, recording Fidel Castro’s historic entry into Havana. In the introductory memoir, Glinn describes the combination of chutzpah and journalistic prescience that led him to leave a New York party and hop a plane to Havana on New Year’s Eve, 1959. The photographs he returned with—of Fidel thronged by his countrymen and women as he stopped to encourage them along the road to Havana, of troops embracing, and of fierce men and women alike taking up arms in the streets—are full of the revolutionary fervor and idealistic anticipation that characterized that moment in Cuban history. The show opened to acclaim at the Fototeca de Cuba in Havana in January 2001 and will travel to Madrid, London, Paris, Milan, and other venues, before returning to the United States. The domestic tour is organized in association with the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona, Florida.
Daniel Tucker has written a nice piece about Justseeds that is going to be published in the upcoming issue of Alarm Magazine. It is also on their website here. And for those who don't want to click away from us, here it is:
Justseeds: Reminders of Emancipation and Justice
by Daniel Tucker
If in the last ten years you’ve traveled under the auspices of attending a lefty rally, protest, or conference, or you’ve spent time in a community center, a crusty punk group house, a union hall or a progressive bookstore, then you’ve probably seen some of the graphic arts distributed by justseeds.org. One particularly popular set of posters is the Celebrate People’s History series, organized by Justseeds founder Josh MacPhee. These posters, highlighting hidden and obscured histories of social movements, from the abolition of slavery to ACT-UP, show up in the most surprising and diverse contexts. In public school classrooms, they serve as the graphic curriculum equivalent to Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, whereas in the social centers and bookstores of today’s leftist and sub-cultural movements, they serve as a constant reminder of the roots of struggle and of significant battles for emancipation and justice.
Justseeds was started in Chicago in 1997 and was initially conceived as a distribution platform for MacPhee’s artwork (which included an assortment of stenciled and block prints, zines, and the people’s history posters).
Carlos Fernandez of Chicago Jobs with Justice was one of many activists that encountered this work in the streets, on tables at political conferences, and on the walls of social-movement centers. He reflected, “In my encounters with the work spread by Justseeds, I realized that art’s role in political struggle could be bigger. It has offered valuable commentary, but by politicizing its production—the costs, the collaboration—it could also show how to put the ideals we voice into creative practice. I saw this in lots of small but important ways: how it was made, where it appeared, how it got into people’s hands.”
Over the years, Justseeds gained street cred and notoriety amongst a diverse set of young teachers, community organizers, contemporary artists, and graffiti writers. As this happened, MacPhee took steps to build stronger networks in his new milieu of left-leaning artists (specifically the low-budget producers like print makers and graffi ti writers). His organizational aspirations found inspiration in the late ’80s Boston-area punk scene and various anarchist, prison solidarity, and anti-racist networks in the ’90s.
According to MacPhee, “Networks and organization are not simply tools to be more effi cient or successful, but the building blocks of creating a new world. Our current society is structured to make us feel like atomized individuals, alienated from others and ourselves. This makes us more vulnerable to the massive amount of corporate and state propaganda we are bombarded with daily. By building organizations and communities where we try to really connect, understand, and support each other, we can build the collective tools necessary to both live our lives for personal self-fulfillment as well as change the larger society so that all will be free to do the same.”
For those in NYC, come by this report back on the recent organizing and activism in Japan against the G8:
2008 NoG8! Report Back
Monday August 4, 7:30-9:30 pm
at The Change You Want To See Gallery
84 Havemeyer Street, storefront
at Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn 11211
L to Bedford, J/M/Z to Marcy, G to Lorimer
Did you go to this year's G-8 mobilization in Japan or do you want to know more about what went on? Come to an event this Monday, August 4th to hear, see, and share information.
Jim Fleming (Autonomedia)
Abraham Greenhouse (Palestine Freedom Project)
Brandon Jourdan (Filmmaker and Independent Journalist)
Diane Krauthamer (IWW and Indymedia)
Key questions framing the discussion will be:
- How to navigate new forms of authoritarian repression in global justice movements
- The benefit or disadvantage of summit hopping for non-locals in mass mobilizations
- How lessons learned at this year and preceding mass mobilizations can help us in upcoming demonstrations (e.g., Olympics, RNC/DNC, future G-8s, local campaigns, etc.)
- Pray tell, the Japanese had such kick-ass graphics and how can we reform the design aesthetic of the Left
+ Whatever questions you want to voice!