Interesting how this destroys everything I love about both.
July 27, 2009
Having recently visited Pompeii, Huffington muses there are two kinds of warning signs: those recognized while there's still time, and those ignored 'til we're buried.
"In the case of Pompeii, the warning signs included a severe earthquake in 62 A.D., continued tremors over the ensuing years, springs and wells drying up, dogs running away, and birds no longer singing. And then the most obvious warning sign of all: columns of smoke belching out of Mount Vesuvius before the volcano blew its top, burying the city and its inhabitants under 60 feet of ash and volcanic rock."Now, we too are surrounded by economic warning signs that are being rationalized away:
"[T]he . . . tremors were dismissed as 'not particularly alarming because they are frequent in Campania.' And the billowing smoke was quaintly described as looking like an 'umbrella pine.'"
And the biggest warning sign . . . is how many of the very people responsible for the economic collapse not only are still in power, but are still lining their pockets with outrageous windfalls – courtesy of the American taxpayer.
- Unemployment has hit a level beyond the administration's worst projections [reaching double-digits in many states, up to 15.2 percent.] Meanwhile, over 650,000 workers will run out of unemployment benefits come September.
- Credit card defaults have surpassed 10 percent, and in May hit a record high – the sixth straight month that dubious achievement has been reached.
- Foreclosure numbers continue to shatter records. . . . And more than 15 million homeowners now owe more on their homes than they are worth.
- In the first six months of 2009, 675,351 individuals filed for bankruptcy. In June alone, there were 116,365 bankruptcy filings – a 40 percent increase over June 2008.
- Since the recession began, an estimated 2.4 million workers have lost their health care benefits.
According to last week's earnings reports, Goldman Sachs posted a $3.44 billion second-quarter profit, Citigroup earned $3 billion, and Bank of America earned $2.4 billion. On top of this, Goldman Sachs just announced it was setting aside $11.36 billion for employee compensation through the first half of the year. And AIG – which we bailed out to the tune of $150 billion – is apparently doing so well they're ready to set aside $235 million in bonuses.
After the earthquake that severely damaged Pompeii in 62 A.D., it is said that among the first buildings repaired were Pompeii's famous brothels. The metaphor holds. Only in 2009, we call them Goldman, AIG, Bank of America, and Citi. Though that is probably unfair. To the brothels.
More at HuffPo (rock me, Arianna!)
Meanwhile, the nearby, wealthier Herculaneum, was timely evacuated!
July 24, 2009
July 23, 2009
here, consisting of an array of 20 YouTube videos with a variety of audio tracks accompanied by visuals of the people creating the audio or other images, any or all of which you can play in any sequence, combination or simultaneously.
I put up an open call on the website for submissions, with these instructions:
- Sing or play an instrument, in Bb major. Simple, floating textures work best, with no tempo or groove. Leave lots of silence between phrases.
- Record in a quiet environment, with as little background noise as possible.
Wait about 5-10 seconds to start playing.
- Total length should be between 1-2 minutes.
- Thick chords or low instruments don't work very well.
- Record at a low volume to match the other videos.
- You can listen to this mix on headphones while you record.
- After you upload to YouTube, play your video along with the other videos on this page to make sure the volume matches.
And the Brooklyn Museum's showing a mid-career survey (through Sept. 20), including these gals (click on the image for a larger version), who must be related to these guys I shot at the 2007 Venice Biennial.
Headlessness seems so right lately.
Finally, Shonibare's work will also be included in the Dallas Museum of Art's exhibition, Performance/Art, Oct. 8 - Mar. 21.
July 22, 2009
"Vanish is a research [?] system designed to give users control over [their] . . . personal data stored on the web or in the cloud. Specifically, all copies of Vanish encrypted data — even archived or cached copies — will become permanently unreadable at a specific time, without any action on the part of the user or any third party or centralized service.
"For example, . . . a user can create an email, a Google Doc document, a Facebook message, or a blog comment — specifying that the document or message should "vanish" in 8 hours. . . . after that timer expires, nobody can read that web content — not the user, not Google, not Facebook, not a hacker who breaks into the cloud service, and not even someone who obtains a warrant for that data. That data — regardless of where stored or archived prior to the timeout — simply self-destructs and becomes permanently unreadable.
* * * * *
"An enormous amount of private data is now stored on the web or in the cloud, outside the end-user's control. . . . Web-based email systems may back up the message, potentially forever, even if you delete it. Similarly, when you send a message via Facebook or create a Google Doc, you have no idea where and for how long copies of your data will be stored.
" . . . . There are known examples of data remaining in the cloud long after users explicitly request that data's deletion. Private data could be exposed by accidental misconfigurations on a web service, be compromised by hackers, or be used in legal proceedings.'"
(Emphasis supplied; via boingboing, via Ben – thanks!) More at Vanish.
Of course, this means the gummint can "vanish" its own records, too – but lately there's been little to stop them from doing that the old-fashioned way.
Bourriaud keeps nailing some of the same things I've been seeing.
Near the end, he suggests history is the new, last undiscovered continent, which artists are exploring as if it were a jungle (cf. my posts on Barney, Linzy, and Trends at the 2009 NYC Fairs.)
July 21, 2009
July 20, 2009
"'Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status . . . ' (Article 2, Universal Declaration of Human Rights).
"'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.' (Galatians 3:28)
"I have been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
"So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses . . . ordained that women must be 'subservient' to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief – confirmed in the holy scriptures – that we are all equal in the eyes of God.'"
More at the UK Guardian (the story's been scarcely mentioned in the corporate U.S. media).
July 18, 2009
July 17, 2009
"In some of their documents, Doug Coe, the leader of the group, was actually advising another member on what to do with his wife, who the member felt was demonically possessed, and Doug Coe said that's quite possible. The symptoms, were, uh, and there's just no way to make this sound respectable, the symptoms were that the woman was complaining that she wasn't sexually satisfied by her husband. That was to them a symptom of demonic possession."
July 16, 2009
Remember how NASA lost the original video? Apparently they never found it; they say it was a lot better than what we've seen on t.v.
In honor of the 40th anniversary of that landing, they're "refurbishing" footage from the t.v. broadcasts. Some of it's online here; more to come. It's pretty wonderful.
The plaque, among other things, was left on the Moon. ("We came . . . for all mankind"; and we planted the U.S. flag on it. Thanks for the thought.)
July 15, 2009
By Evgeny Morozov at NPR.org:
"A trusted colleague . . . has told me of a very disturbing episode . . . as [a friend] was flying to Iran last week . . . , she was asked by [immigration control] officers if she has a Facebook account. When she said "no", the officers pulled up a laptop . . . . They found her account and noted down the names of her Facebook friends.[Emphasis supplied.] (Thanks Dan!)
"[First, this] means that the Iranian authorities are paying very close attention to what's going on Facebook and Twitter (which, in my opinion, also explains why they decided not to take those web-sites down entirely – they are useful tools of intelligence gathering).
"Second, . . . we have to be fully prepared to be quizzed about any online trace that we have left . . . .
"Third, this reveals that some of the spontaneous online activism we witnessed [in Iran during] the last few weeks - with Americans re-tweeting the posts published by those in Tehran - may eventually have very dire consequences, as Iranians would need to explain how exactly they are connected to foreigners that follow them on Twitter (believe me, I've observed enough bureaucratic stupidity in Eastern Europe to know that even some of the officials who follow Twitter activity on a daily basis may not know how it works)."
There is, of course, the equally dangerous likelihood that governmental and/or commercial Big Bros. know very well how Facebook and other online facilities work and are already actively mining at least some of them.
Even if you don't care about your own privacy, note that what you do online or elsewhere could affect your online friends. (And, what your online friends do, online or elsewhere, could affect you.) For more, enter "Facebook" in the "Search Blog" box in the upper left corner of this page.
. . . on the side of a building. The two spend up to fourteen hours a day al fresco.
The brothers "say the hardest part[s are] listening to drunks who relate their life stories during the night, when they're trying to sleep, and the rain."
Through August 22.
(Via Oddity Central.)
July 11, 2009
July 10, 2009
July 9, 2009
"A Candler, N.C., woman danced in front of the [funeral] service, waved a wand around the casket, opened the lid, laid her hands on the deceased's head, and struck the body with the wand, according to an incident report from the Laurens County Sheriff's Office. . . . " (more here; thanks, Julie!)
The deceased's relatives were offended (though apparently no one stopped the woman, who escaped in a burgundy Toyota). Not clear whether the relatives were disappointed at the non-revival, or objected to the attempt.
Hope they don't lock her up. "When we are young / We read and believe / The most fantastic things. / When we are older / We learn with regret / That these things cannot be" – find that and other enjoyable quotes at Blithe Spirit, based on Noel Coward's play of the same name.
July 8, 2009
"For two to three days the critic is available, in a given location (usually an artist-run gallery or non-profit arts center), to any artist who wants a review. Artists bring in their work and, on a first-come, first-served basis, the critic spends twenty minutes writing them a review of one to two hundred words. She guarantees a thoughtful, critical but not necessarily positive review. The text is then “published” by the receptionist and posted on an adjacent wall for everyone—critic, artist, receptionist, audience—to read. Eventually all or some of the reviews are published in a magazine or newspaper."More info here. I'd be v. interested in reports from participants (in any capacity).
UPDATE: Thanks to fluent~collaborative for granting my wish: the critic's performance is reviewed by 7 artists here.
July 6, 2009
Five of the world's top few scientific experts in biological warfare using anthrax have met untimely deaths that their family members or respected experts regard as suspicious. Anthrax War investigates these deaths and ultimately points toward the possibility that the 2001 anthrax attack in the U.S. was intended to bring about a massive expansion of the U.S. biological weapons "defense" programs indistinguishable from preparations for offensive biological warfare.
Produced for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.; directed by Robert Coen. You can watch it on YouTube in segments; find the first one here.
"This how-to video shows how you can hack a standard baseball cap into a cool invisible IR mask to hide your face from cameras anywhere, and look perfectly normal to the human eye!"
(From WonderHowTo; thanks, Mark!)
July 5, 2009
"When Frederick Douglass was old, a young man asked him what he should do to advance the cause of civil rights. 'Agitate, agitate, agitate!' was the answer Douglass gave.(Thanks, madfloridian and Deep13!)
* * * * *
"Apparently, our agitations and calls for single-payer insurance or at least a strong public option are seen as a nuisance by the Democratic establishment. Now Mr. Obama is telling us to knock it off and to support his watered-down measure, which will itself be further watered down by our jellyfish in the Senate. So we are faced with a choice. Do we trust the President and take his instructions, or do we follow Douglass' advice?
"In the 1960s, civil rights leaders were told to knock it off and wait for a better time. (Sound familiar, gay rights supporters?) Well, Kennedy and Johnson are gone now, but we still have the civil rights act and the voting rights act.
"There is always some excuse to do nothing. Someone once said that well behaved women rarely make history. That is true of any oppressed group."
Former Guantánamo detainee Binyam Mohamed has launched an urgent legal attempt to prevent the US courts from destroying crucial evidence that he says proves he was abused while being held at the detention camp . . . .More at the UK Guardian.
The image, now held by the Pentagon, had been put on his cell door . . . . because he had been beaten so badly that it was difficult for the guards to identify him.
. . . . The photograph will be destroyed within 30 days of his case being dismissed by the American courts – a decision on which is due to be taken by a judge imminently . . . .
[Mohamed] says he needs the image as a crucial piece of evidence to fight his case against US authorities for unlawful incarceration and abuse. "That is one piece of physical evidence that I know exists of my abuse," he says in the statement . . . .
After being kicked and punched, he says his guards . . . . "slammed me and my Qur'an into the fence." After he objected, he says, they "slammed me into the fence again. . . . They then strapped me into a restraint chair and cut off half my beard. They then performed the humiliating 'anal cavity search', although it was painfully obvious that there was nothing to find." . . . at one point he screamed and . . . this "made them redouble their efforts and my situation got worse."
He adds: "One [military guard] took the heel of my hand and pushed my nose up violently. One soldier pulled on my jaw. They slammed my forehead down on the concrete floor. One grabbed my testicles and punched me."
Great discussion on HuffPo of "free trade." The problem isn't free trade of goods, it's that our jobs have been shipped to countries that don't have protections against worker and environmental exploitation. As Dave Johnson explains,
"Imagine a company in South Carolina that makes 20,000 pairs of shoes a week and distributes them to stores. Now, imagine that the company closes its South Carolina plant, opens a plant in a low-wage country, ships all the machines and raw materials there, ships back 20,000 pairs of shoes each week and distributes them to the same stores. Is that 'trade?' Are the raw materials sent out of the country an 'export?' Are the shoes brought back into the country an 'import?'Meanwhile, foreign workers still can't afford the goods they're manufacturing, and we can't either because we've lost most of our decently-paid jobs. Without disposable income or equity, we masses can't continue to consume, and the economy grinds to a halt.
"The only thing that has been 'traded' in this scenario is American jobs traded for huge executive bonuses."
July 4, 2009
July 2, 2009
"Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth said today she was canceling plans for an exclusive 'salon' at her home where, for as much as $250,000, the Post offered [healthcare and other] lobbyists and association executives off-the-record access to 'those powerful few' — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and even the paper’s own reporters and editors.
"The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he felt it was a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its 'health care reporting and editorial staff.'"