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Category: 1209DC (September)
Where does the creative process start (September 30 2012) Where does the creative process start (September 30 2012)

Doug Aitken the 44 year old American multimedia artist whose body of work ranges from photography, sculpture, architectural interventions, narrative films, sound, single & multi-channel video works, and installations; has created his first public installation in the UK for the Liverpool Biennial – titled ‘The Source’. Dave Jennings for LouderThanWar has reviewed the installation, stating “The Source is housed in a temporary pavilion outside Tate Liverpool which was designed by Aitken alongside British Architect David Adjaye OBE and asks 2 simple questions: where does the creative process start and how is it realised? Simple questions they may be, but take a moment to consider and they are actually at the heart of everything we all love in music, art or any other creative process. How often have you asked yourself ‘how did they think of that?’ … or ‘why did they do it that way?’ …Aitken has presented a fascinating study of filmed conversations with a range of participants from different spheres of creativity such as music, art, photography, acting and architecture. These are projected inside the pavilion simultaneously during the day and then outwards from the building after dark. …Aitken’s conversations are projected simultaneously inside the pavilion so you can either wander round and take in different parts or stand in the centre and make a snap judgement which area to head to. You certainly leave the building with your faith in creativity reaffirmed – let people create what they want, when they want to and how they want to do it.”


Inspired by Dave Jennings image source artistsbooksandmultiples

Controversial figure in Netherlands and abroad (September 29 2012) Controversial figure in Netherlands and abroad (September 29 2012)

Geert Wilders the 49 year old Dutch far-right politician, founder and leader of the Party for Freedom the fourth-largest political party in the Netherlands best known for his criticism of Islam, summing up his views by saying, “I don’t hate Muslims, I hate Islam”, views that have made him a controversial figure in the Netherlands and abroad. Anno Bunnik has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘The rise and fall of Geert Wilders?’ stating “…Wilders is labelled the sorcerer’s apprentice. Trained by one of the most prominent Dutch politicians in recent decades – “sorcerer” Frits Bolkesteijn – Wilders transformed from a relatively unknown Member of Parliament into the most outspoken and influential politician in the Netherlands. But his magic seems to have worn off, as Dutch voters are increasingly getting tired of his yearning for political hysteria. …Even when Wilders-admirer Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 children and young adults in Norway it did not harm his position. PVV-voters are able to distinguish between a terrorist and a legitimate politician, even if they share similar views. Nothing seemed to stop Wilders rise to power. …Wilders, however, failed to observe … the majority of voters simply do not want more political crises, but instead long for politicians to take up their responsibilities – even if that means tough austerity measures. Not a single person that I spoke to in recent weeks, irrespective of their background, is really looking forward to yet another general election. Most voters hold Wilders accountable for tearing down the minority government and blame him for prioritising his own interest over national interest.”


Inspired by Anno Bunnik image source Twitter

Sea ice at the frontline of climate change (September 28 2012) Sea ice at the frontline of climate change (September 28 2012)

John Vidal the British Author and environment editor for The Guardian newspaper has published an article titled ‘The staggering decline of sea ice at the frontline of climate change’ highlighting how scientists on board Greenpeace’s vessel exploring the minimum extent of the ice cap are shocked at the speed of the melt. Vidal states “The vast polar ice cap, which regulates the Earth’s temperature and has been a permanent fixture in our understanding of how the world works, has this year retreated further and faster than anyone expected. The previous record, set in 2007, was officially broken … a reduction of nearly 50% compared to just 40 years ago. … This year, 11.7m sq km of ice melted, 22% more than the long-term average of 9.18m sq km. …The record hasn’t just been broken, it’s been smashed to smithereens, adding weight to predictions that the Arctic may be ice-free in summer months within 20 years, say British, Italian and American-based scientists on board the [Greenpeace ice breaker] Arctic Sunrise. They are shocked at the speed and extent of the ice loss. …All over the Arctic the effects of accelerating ice loss and a warming atmosphere are being seen. The ecology is changing rapidly as trees and plants move north, new beetles devastate whole forests in Canada, Siberia and Alaska, and snowfall increases. Inuit and other communities report more avalanches, the erosion of sea cliffs and melting of the permafrost affecting roads and buildings. Whole coastal communities may have to be moved to avoid sea erosion.”


Inspired by The Guardian image source Twitter

Now my play yard to fight by words (September 27 2012) Now my play yard to fight by words (September 27 2012)

Yehia Jaber the Lebanese poet celebrated for the bitter comedic work he often performs like stand-up comedy has been profiled by filmmaker Roxana Vilk on Aljazeera. In the profile titled ‘Yehia Jaber: Laughter is My Exit’, takes us on a journey across Lebanon, and into his past, to explain why this former fighter of Lebanon’s long civil war now battles for change with nothing but words. Vilk states “There is something very enticing about filming poets. Here are these characters, reflective and questioning by nature, living through a truly historic time of change in the Middle East. …when I first met him, it was his laughter that immediately drew me in: it is warm, infectious, and cannot help but gather you up in its path. …he is everything you imagine a poet to be, questioning society and politics around him, and spot on with his sharp, funny observations of life. …Lebanon’s history is complicated. The country has been ravaged by so many wars, and Yehia with his own complex past seemed like the perfect quirky character to guide us. “In this comedy that is Lebanon,” as he sees it, “we are always re-building and re-war-ing.” …[he] become a communist fighter during the civil war and the consequent invasion by Israel. It was the horror and disillusionment of his fighting years that finally led him to pick up his pen. “Now this violence inside me, it will be by words, because there is no blood. Perhaps this is now my play yard to fight by words,” he says.”


Inspired by Roxana Vilk image source Twitter

Described as a “not-to-be-missed attraction” (September 26 2012) Described as a “not-to-be-missed attraction” (September 26 2012)

Andy Goldsworthy the 56 year old British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist who produces site-specific sculpture and land art situated in natural and urban settings has been commissioned by an Australian State government to create a sculpture that is designed to disappear into the environment over time, located in the remote Australian wilderness. Nicholas Forrest in a Blouin Artinfo article states “After a one hour hike along a track accessible only with a four wheel drive vehicle, hikers, tourists and art lovers will be confronted by a striking 12-feet-tall granite sculpture described as a “not-to-be-missed attraction” …Constructed in picturesque Conondale National Park, Goldsworthy’s sculpture, titled “Strangler Cairn,” consists of hundreds of blocks of hand-cut granite sourced from a local quarry and tightly packed into a “dry wall” system. Carved into stone at the top of the sculpture is a small dish in which a rainforest strangler fig sapling has been planted. It is the artist’s intention that over time the fig’s roots will grow to eventually cover and “strangle” the sculpture, essentially causing it to dissolve into its environment. According to the Queensland Government department that commissioned the project, “During his initial visit in 2009, Andy Goldsworthy found inspiration in a natural clearing in the rainforest of Conondale National Park where a large strangler fig had fallen.” …Noted for his sensitive response to the environment, which made him a perfect choice for working in the national park, Goldsworthy is renowned for his temporary works of art that make use of natural materials readily available in the remote locations he visits such as twigs, leaves, stones, snow, ice, reeds, and thorns.”


Inspired by Nicholas Forrest image source Twitter

You can actually see a pulse of New York City (September 25 2012) You can actually see a pulse of New York City (September 25 2012)

Terri Ciccone the American founder and editor of a street art enthusiast blog, has released an article on Blouin Artinfo titled ‘A Prognosis of Street Artist EKG’s Irregular Heartbeat’. Ciccone states “If you keep your eyes open, you can actually see a pulse of New York City everywhere. And I don’t mean “pulse” the way news anchors refer to it … I mean a beat, an ever streaming murmur, a recorded, monitored, living pulse. I mean street artist EKG’s orange heart beat running throughout the city. EKG’s tag, or “html link” as he sometimes thinks of it, is that recognizable blip on a machine that reminds us we’re alive. …More than 2,000 of these orange oil stick lines run along the bottom of walls like mice, and sneak through our feet as they slither down streets, go in and out of doors, run underground and live on beams holding up our subway stations, seeming to trail off into infinity. …And there’s a lot more to EKG’s tag specifically. The idea of symbol recognition is one that’s made a lot of people a lot of money, and one that is very relevant to our time. Think about the difference between the Nike symbol and the Occupy Wall Street tag, OWS. Both are highly recognizable but hold very different meanings. … EKG’s tag is not just another word scribbled in marker on the wall of the C train. It’s a creative reminder of who we are, where we live, and what kind of power our living, breathing bodies and minds can have.”


Inspired by Blouin Artinfo image source Facebook

Transformed from a shadowy ex-convict (September 24 2012) Transformed from a shadowy ex-convict (September 24 2012)

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula the 55 year old Egyptian-American Coptic Christian has been named as the writer, producer and distributor of the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims that has inflamed anti-american violence across the middle east and major cities of the west. Ben Piven in an article published on Aljazeera states “After a film insulting the Prophet Muhammad triggered mass protests in Muslim-majority countries across North Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been transformed from a shadowy ex-convict into an international man of mystery. Reporters and police began camping out next to the 55-year-old Nakoula’s house outside Los Angeles, as US law enforcement officials confirmed Nakoula’s central role in the notorious anti-Islam video. But questions remain about Nakoula’s exact role in the production of the film, and rumours continue to circulate about the video’s dissemination. …probation officers briefly interviewed – but did not technically arrest – the Coptic Christian resident of southern California who has been on probation since his conviction for financial crimes. As part of his release terms, he was forbidden from using computers or the internet for five years. His probation order also warned Nakoula against using false identities. Nakoula has already admitted uploading the trailer to the internet, which could constitute a violation of the terms of his five-year probation. It was not immediately clear whether Nakoula was the target merely of a probation violation check, a new criminal investigation – or part of the broader investigation into the deaths of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya possibly related to outrage over the video.”


Inspired by Ben Piven image source Nick Stern

Getting into the business of environment (September 23 2012) Getting into the business of environment (September 23 2012)

Amantha Perera the Sri Lankan journalist and foreign correspondent has published an article on the Inter Press Service titled ‘Getting Into the Business of Environment’. Perera states “Regulations that stand in the way of conservation programs lower their likely success, experts warned at the World Conservation Congress of the International Union of Conservation of Nature in South Korea. They say there is mounting evidence to show that with participation of communities, businesses and other groups, conservation efforts have shown better results. “Generally we find that protection efforts are more effective if they involve participation by different stakeholders,” Bastian Bertzky, senior program officer at the UN Environment Programme and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) … “Wherever there are businesses involved, non-governmental organisations involved, the higher their participation, better the management.” Bharrat Jagdeo, the former President of Guyana, while acknowledging the increasingly essential role private companies played, struck a note of caution. He warned that companies may try to gain undue advantage by linking with nature-friendly programs and agencies like the IUCN. Jagdeo proposed that if private sector companies are willing to take part in conservation programs, there needs to be strict criteria that tests and evaluates their willingness to change and sustain that change. “There is a need for a litmus test, to test their willingness to engage and change,” he said. Former South Korean minister for environment Maan-ee Lee suggested that governments should keep a close focus on companies willing to invest in conservation and environment friendly projects. “Governments should look at giving incentives to such companies,” he said. Lee called for a consensus among different governments because “big multi-nationals are going beyond national borders.”


Inspired by Inter Press Service image source Dart Centre

An ethical duty to support the Syrian people (September 22 2012) An ethical duty to support the Syrian people (September 22 2012)

Mohamed Morsi Isa El-Ayyat the 61 year old President of Egypt and a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood. He became Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party when it was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. In an article published on Aljazeera by Hamid Dabashi titled ‘Morsi in Tehran: Crossing the boundaries’, Dabashi states “When during his speech at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi declared it an “ethical duty” to support the Syrian people against the “oppressive regime” of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus suddenly, for a clear moment, he became the messenger of the Egyptian Revolution for the Syrian people, and by extension for the rest of the Arab and Muslim world – that Egyptians as a liberated nation stand with them. The utterance, in and of itself, suddenly placed Egypt as the leader of the potentially free and democratic Arab and Muslim world – dismantling the old cliché of the US as the self-designated “leader of the free world”. Morsi spoke with a presiding authority that stems from no religious conviction, but from a moral imperative that only a liberated nation can momentarily invest on their elected officials. …Egypt has emerged as a moral voice from the heart of its revolution and as such it is a force that Morsi’s speech in Tehran made abundantly clear. Beyond anything that any other country or political figure could do, President Morsi’s speech dismantled the entire propaganda machinery of the Islamic Republic, forced its official news agencies deliberately to mistranslate his words, replace the “Syrian government” for where Morsi had said “Syrian people”, and prompted a walkout by the Syrians delegation.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Press TV

Dodging the drones: How militants have responded (September 21 2012) Dodging the drones: How militants have responded (September 21 2012)

Aaron Y Zelin the American researcher focusing on Salafi politics, global jihadi activism and reactions to the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa has published an article on Afpak titled ‘Dodging the drones: How militants have responded to the covert US campaign’. Zelin states “Over the past decade U.S. drone strikes have killed between 1,800 and 3,100 people in Pakistan, along with hundreds more in drone attacks in Yemen and Somalia, as a result of the United States’ efforts to combat al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The rise in strikes since the beginning of the Obama administration, and the growing stridency of questions surrounding the legal, moral, and practical efficacy of the program, have led to a lively debate among the commentariat. This debate is indeed important, but it is also crucial to understand how the drone program has affected the jihadis, and how jihadis have deployed the issue of drones in their propaganda. This is a necessary part of gaining a wider understanding of whether the program is a worthwhile endeavor. …In the documents collected by Navy SEALs during their raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan last May, bin Laden nicknamed Pakistan’s tribal areas the “circle of espionage” for the network of spies that helps identify targets and place tracking devices for the strikes. …The fear of infiltrators has created an atmosphere of paranoia within the jihadi movement, and has led many of al-Qaeda’s operatives in the Pakistani tribal areas to move to more urban areas like Karachi. …Bin Laden also suggested that individuals flee to Afghanistan’s Kunar province, where he thought they would be safer from the spy networks that have supported the drone campaign.”


Inspired by Afpak image source Washinton Institute

When Do We Become Truly Conscious? (September 20 2012) When Do We Become Truly Conscious? (September 20 2012)

Daniel Bor the British cognitive neuroscientist believes the new science of consciousness should change how we think about thorny ethical dilemmas, has published an article on Slate titled ‘When Do We Become Truly Conscious?’ Bor states “The investigation of our own awareness is a blossoming scientific field, where experiments are illuminating exciting details about this most intimate of scientific subjects. In my book The Ravenous Brain, I describe the latest consciousness science and how we are closing in on establishing a consciousness meter—a way to measure levels of awareness in any being that may be able to experience the world. Consciousness is in many ways the most important question remaining for science. But the nature of consciousness is not just a vital question for science; it’s also the source of some of society’s thorniest, most fundamental ethical dilemmas. …questions about consciousness lie at the heart of many of our most fundamental ethical debates, one of which is abortion and the right to life. …If science could come up with some means of testing for the presence of consciousness in other animals and perhaps also a way of gauging the extent of consciousness when it’s found, this would have a huge impact on all ethical spheres of the animal rights debate. …Consciousness research informs other political issues as well. For instance, how can we assess the level of consciousness remaining in someone who has suffered severe brain damage and is in a vegetative state? At what point should we let such patients die? And it is possible that in the decades to come, we might also need to start thinking about how we assess artificial forms of consciousness and what rights we consequently need to bestow on such beings.”


Inspired by Slate image source Twitter

Epic struggle between good and evil (September 19 2012) Epic struggle between good and evil (September 19 2012)

Tarak Barkawi the American Senior Lecturer in War Studies believes that Tony Blair and Desmond Tutu share a vision of world politics as an epic struggle between good and evil, in an article he published on Aljazeera titled ‘Invasions and evasions: The Tutu-Blair paradox’. Barkawi states “Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu refused recently to appear with former prime minister Tony Blair at the Discovery Invest Leadership Conference in Johannesburg. Tutu did not want to speak alongside a leader who had lied. “If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth?” asked Tutu. The lie in question was the formal US-UK justification for the invasion of Iraq: that “intelligence assessments” had established that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). …Tutu accuses Bush and Blair of “destabilising” and “polarising” the world “to a greater extent than any other conflict in history”. …accuses the Anglo-American leaders of being “playground bullies”. He even blames them for the current situations in Iran and Syria. …However, allowing finance capital and big banks to range unchallenged and unregulated certainly has cost Western governments vast amounts of treasure. As for blood, just how much sweat and tears, hopelessness and stunted lives, among millions suffering in the Great Recession of recent years, equate to some few thousands killed and displaced by petty warlords? Desmond Tutu needs to reconsider just who the great purveyors of lies and human suffering are in the contemporary world. The rest of us need desperately a new political and ethical language by which we can equate the suffering caused by the economy with that inflicted by force of arms.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source New School

She went through an anthropometric test (September 18 2012) She went through an anthropometric test (September 18 2012)

Nadia Jelassi the Tunisian artist facing a five year prison term on charges of disrupting public order, following her exhibition of controversial art works, has become the focus of a campaign by hundreds of artists throughout Tunisia and abroad according to Hend Hassassi in an article published on Tunisia Live. Hassassi states “When Jelassi was summoned by the investigative judge … she went through an anthropometric test. She recreated her experience by posting a picture of herself holding a ruler by her face on her Facebook account. A support campaign was then launched by other artists inspired by Jelassi’s depiction of the incident. Many Tunisian artists have condemned the lawsuit and consider it an attempt at limiting freedom of expression. …“We are all Nadia. It is unbelievable, we never thought that charges would be brought against an artist for being creative, that’s what we do we express ourselves, we do it through our art. I don’t even get what the crime she is being accused of[…] It is certainly a first. For this to happen after the so-called revolution, it is just shocking, … It is the state that raised the lawsuit, how outrageous is that, this is not a spontaneous accusation someone is pulling the strings, it is certainly political and artists are paying the price“ said Sana Tamzini, artist and director of Belvedere Contemporary Art gallery, praising the support campaign for its intelligence and symbolism.”


Inspired by Hend Hassassi image source Facebook

No justice for Rachel Corrie (September 17 2012) No justice for Rachel Corrie (September 17 2012)

Neve Gordon the 47 year old Israeli Philosopher of Politics and Government, supporter of the two state solution and member of the Israeli peace camp, has released an article on Aljazeera titled ‘No justice for Rachel Corrie’. Gordon states “Twenty-three-year-old Rachel Corrie …[while] demonstrating against the Israeli military’s massive demolitions of houses on the Egyptian border … was crushed to death by a Caterpillar D9R Israeli military bulldozer … the family filed a civil suit in Israel against the State of Israel and the Defence Ministry. …according to the Israeli military … close to 6,000 grenades were thrown at the IDF in the region, there were 1,400 shooting incidents between the IDF and Palestinians, and 150 roadside bombs were detected. Writing for Haaretz, Amira Hass reveals that bullets were fired in both directions. …101 Palestinians were killed in the region, forty-two of them children. One Israeli soldier was also killed during the same period. The defence team used these statistics against Corrie, claiming that she put herself in harm’s way, but one could, more persuasively I think, say that she was an incredibly courageous human being who believed that all people should enjoy basic rights, such as freedom, self-determination and security. And Rachel was willing to struggle for such rights. Haifa District Court Judge Oded Gershon showed no empathy toward this line of thinking, and on August 28 handed down his verdict: the State of Israel and the Defence Ministry were not responsible for Rachel Corrie’s death.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source openshuhadastreet

About what makes us special in the world (September 16 2012) About what makes us special in the world (September 16 2012)

Svante Pääbo the 57 year old Swedish biologist specializing in evolutionary genetics who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has participated in a collaborative investigation by the Leipzig and Harvard Medical Schools to reconstruct the genetic makeup of a 50,000 year old girl from a finger-bone fragment of an ancient and long extinct group of humans called Denisovans who lived and died in a Siberian cave. In an article published by Ian Sample for The Guardian, Sample states “These ancient relatives are thought to have occupied much of Asia tens of thousands of years ago. Previous tests on the remains found they were more closely related to Neanderthals than modern humans. …Svante Pääbo, at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, said there was now “no difference in what we can learn genetically about a person that lived 50,000 years ago and from a person today, provided that we have well-enough preserved bones”. … The research highlighted scores of intriguing gene variants that are found in modern humans but not in Denisovans. Eight mutations that have arisen since our ancestors split from Denisovans are involved in brain function and nerve connectivity, for example. “I think that this is perhaps, in the long term for me, the most fascinating thing about this: what it will tell us in the future about what makes us special in the world, relative to the Denisovans and Neanderthals,” said Pääbo. Another 34 mutations found only in modern humans are associated with diseases, including four that affect the skin and eyes.”


Inspired by The Guardian image source PLoS

Eating water latest threat to a thirsty world (September 15 2012) Eating water latest threat to a thirsty world (September 15 2012)

Thalif Deen the North American UN Bureau Chief and Regional Director for the Inter Press Service news agency, covering the United Nations since the late 1970s, has published an article titled ‘Eating Water Latest and Rising Threat to a Thirsty World’. Deen states “Paradoxically, the water we “eat” is likely to become one of the growing new dangers to millions of the world’s thirsty, hungering for this finite natural resource. …Since everything humans eat requires water to be produced, the paradox of the water we “eat” was best illustrated by an exhibition in the conference lobby [annual international water conference], which pointed out that the production of an average hamburger – two slices of bread, beef, tomato, lettuce, onions and cheese – consumes about 2,389 litres of water, compared to 140 litres for a cup of coffee and 135 for a single egg. …a 50-page report by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) released here points out that nearly one billion people still suffer from hunger and malnutrition – despite the fact that food production has been steadily increasing on a per capita basis for decades. Producing food to feed everyone well, including the two billion additional people expected to populate the planet by mid-century, a significant from today’s seven billion, will place greater pressure on available water and land resources. …Achieving food security, the report argues, is a complex challenge involving a host of factors. Two of the most critical have been identified as water and energy, both essential components to produce food.”


Inspired by IPS News image source Web Islam

Trolling for trolls in the real world (September 14 2012) Trolling for trolls in the real world (September 14 2012)

April Alliston the American Professor of Comparative Literature and Guggenheim Fellow has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘Trolling for trolls in Disney World and the real world’ referring to the increase in internet trolling – much of it misogynistic and damaging. Alliston states “You may have thought trolls were those fairytale ogres who lurked under bridges once upon a time, or maybe those vintage naked plastic dolls with the big shocks of brightly-coloured hair that are so ugly they’re cute. But recently, trolls – fictional and nonfictional – are turning up everywhere, from cyberspace to the school bus, on screens large and small, showing us how fantasy can disturb reality, and folks from schoolboys to grannies can turn into trolls. A global outcry faulted British police last week for penalising trolls who use Twitter for hate speech. After his close friends were ridiculed and lambasted online following the stillborn birth of their child, television host Piers Morgan declared this week, “But what I am going to do is go to war with these trolls.” Earlier this summer another global outcry led to the suspension of schoolboys who aped cyber-trolls in person. The one thing that’s clear is how confused we all are about the line between fantasy and reality, words and deeds, victims and trolls. …While speaking out against internet trolls is gaining momentum, shouldn’t the incidents of cruel trolling be decreasing, not increasing? Instead of rewarding their victim by sending her away from the real world, let’s teach everyone – schoolchildren and adults – that trolling isn’t tolerated.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Facebook

I Just Wait Until It Goes 'Pow!' (September 13 2012) I Just Wait Until It Goes ‘Pow!’ (September 13 2012)

Ed Moses the 86 year old American abstract painter considered one of the most innovative and central figures of postwar West Coast art has been interviewed by Alanna Martinez for Blouin Artinfo. During the interview Moses describe his painting practice as “It’s all sort of intuitive: arbitrary and intuitive and intermittent, in terms that I may choose one color to do everything. And if I don’t like it I hose it off, or the assistants scrape the paint off. Before it dries, I start introducing paint again in various methodologies of marking: pouring, foam brushing, making a crisscross pattern and not liking that, and hosing that off and then starting over. I work on about 8 to 10 paintings simultaneously. …Sometimes I’ll work on a painting over a couple of months, and sometimes I hit it right off the bat. When I do, what happens is at the end of the day, I drag the painting, kicking and screaming, into my studio, tilt it up along the walls. I have two viewing spaces; they’re about 20-by-30 to 40 feet long with 16-foot ceilings, and the lights are all on tracks. I use incandescent lights. I don’t like paintings lit by fluorescent lights. …The painting is the issue, not the environment in which the painting exists. Fluorescent light neutralizes. There’s no drama to it, there’s no romance. But that’s not a popular attitude at this particular point. People are more interested in ideas than the romance of painting. I’m still old-fashioned in that sense. I’ve been painting 50 or 60 years, so that has something to do with being still in that situation.”


Inspired by Blouin Artinfo image source Facebook

Our Longing for Lists (September 12 2012) Our Longing for Lists (September 12 2012)

Phil Patton the American author on design and culture has published an article in the New York Times on ‘Our Longing for Lists’. Patton states “We’re living in the era of the list, maybe even its golden age. The Web click has led to the wholesale repackaging of information into lists, which can be complex and wonderful pieces of information architecture. Our technology has imperceptibly infected us with “list thinking.” Lists are the simplest way to organize information. They are also a symptom of our short attention spans. The crudest of online lists are galaxies of buttons, replacing real stories. “Listicles,” you might say. They are just one step beyond magazine cover lines like “37 Ways to Drive Your Man Wild in Bed.” Bucket lists have produced competitive list making online. Like competitive birders, people check off books read or travel destinations visited. But lists can also tell a story. Even the humble shopping list says something about the shopper… Lists can reveal personal dramas. An exhibit of lists at the Morgan Library and Museum showed a passive-aggressive Picasso omitting his bosom buddy, Georges Braque, from a list of recommended artists. We’ve come a long way from the primitive best-seller lists and hit parade lists, “crowd sourced,” if you will, from sales. We all have our “to-do” lists, and there is a modern, sophisticated form of the list that is as serious as the “best of…” list is frivolous. That is the checklist.”


Inspired by New York Times image source Twitter

Pre-Raphaelites were YBAs of their day (September 11 2012) Pre-Raphaelites were YBAs of their day (September 11 2012)

Fiona MacCarthy the 71 year old British biographer and cultural historian has published an article in The Guardian titled ‘Why the pre-Raphaelites were the YBAs of their day’ claiming their art was as shocking and controversial as anything by Damian Hirst. MacCarthy states “…ardent, ambitious and serious artists and poets. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais were the leaders of the movement formed in 1848. The pre-Raphaelite brotherhood embodied protest. William Morris was later to describe it as a “really audacious attempt” to reject the prevailing academic forms of art in favour of truth to nature. It was an audacity that applied to literature as much as to painting and the decorative arts. They called themselves pre-Raphaelites defiantly, taking up the purist values of pre-renaissance art of the period immediately before Raphael, drawing on the past to make their own mid 19th-century artistic revolution. We need to remember these were still very young men. Holman Hunt was 21, Rossetti only 20, Millais just 19. They formed a cohesive in-group, shutting out the unbelievers. Their dazzling manifesto on the true meaning of art proved terribly obscure to both the critics and the public. They were clever and sardonic. Their irreverence still makes them seem curiously modern. …They were radical in their ways of looking, viewing their subjects with an intense psychological acumen. They were radical, too, in their techniques of painting. That pre-Raphaelite super-realism was achieved through meticulous attention to detail. The artists preferred painting outside the studio, the strange and often shocking candour of their vision exaggerated by the effects of natural light. The brotherhood was wonderfully wilful and obsessive.”


Inspired by The Guardian image source Oxford University

Veils, polleras and mini-skirts (September 10 2012) Veils, polleras and mini-skirts (September 10 2012)

Manuela Lavinas Picq the former professor and researcher at Amherst College and currently researching in Brazil on politics for indigenous women in the Andes, has released an article on Aljazeera titled ‘The politics of veils, ‘polleras’ and mini-skirts’, where veils and ‘polleras’ are modern expressions of “political contestation and negotiation” between state and society. In the article Picq states “What a difference a piece of cloth makes. Indigenous’ polleras, or Muslim headscarves tend to be read as signs of poverty and subjugation whereas a mini-skirt usually asserts a woman’s emancipation. Of course, women’s rights do not reside in dress. Yet the way one dresses has political significance. A mini-skirt or a headscarf can both be symbols of oppression or emancipation, depending on the context. At first sight, indigenous women wearing polleras in the Bolivian Congress do not seem to have much in common with young Muslim women defending their right to wear the scarf to attend French universities. Looking closer, however, their insistence in bringing cultural attire into public realms points at similar practices of resistance. In both cases, clothing becomes a strategic site of political contestation to negotiate rights and authority. …Both polleras and veils are perceived as signs of cultures that keep women down, cultures that have not yet achieved political modernity. As different as they may be, in the collective imaginary both are signs of the oppression of women, visual reminders of gender inequality and implicitly indicators of underdevelopment. …Today, wearing polleras on the floor of the Peruvian Congress or headscarves in French universities represents a more fundamental challenge to oppressive power structures than women donning high fashion silk “power suits” as they struggle for conventional forms of success in the executive suites of governments or multinational corporations.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Sertaobras

Make people LAUGH, and then THINK (September 9 2012) Make people LAUGH, and then THINK (September 9 2012)

Marc Abrahams the American editor and co-founder of Annals of Improbable Research, and originator and emcee of the annual Ig Nobel Prize celebration, has published an article in The Guardian titled ‘Strange but true: science’s most improbable research’ in which he highlights that ‘Science isn’t always about the big questions, spending his time studying research that seeks the answers to more unlikely problems – little conundrums that others dare not tackle’. Abrahams on his web site states “…is the father and master of ceremonies of the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, honoring achievements that make people LAUGH, and then THINK. The Prizes are handed out by genuine Nobel Laureates at a gala ceremony held each autumn at Harvard University and broadcast on National Public Radio and on the Internet. The Washington Post called Marc “the nation’s guru of academic grunge.” The Journal of the American Medical Association called him “the Puck of Science.” …Marc and several Ig Nobel Prize winners are the heroes in a manga in Young Jump Magazine, Japan’s most popular manga magazine. The Improbable Research editorial board of more than 50 distinguished scientists includes nine Nobel Laureates, IQ record holder Marilyn Vos Savant, and a convicted felon. …Marc has a degree in applied mathematics from Harvard College, spent several years developing optical character recognition computer systems (including a reading machine for the blind) at Kurzweil Computer Products, and later founded Wisdom Simulators, a creator of educational software. Marc is the subject of a Harvard Business School case study called “Marc Abrahams: Annals of an Improbable Entrepreneur.”


Inspired by The Guardian image source Twitter

Secret history of your favourite hamburger (September 8 2012) Secret history of your favourite hamburger (September 8 2012)

Rose Aguilar the American progressive journalist and radio host has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘The secret history of your favourite hamburger’ reporting on multiple undercover investigations over the years show horrific animal cruelty, neglect and abuse at slaughter plants. In the article Aguilar states “Thanks to the brave and compassionate souls who go undercover into slaughterhouses with hidden cameras, the truth about horrific cruelty to animals is no longer being hidden from the public eye. …Because undercover videos showing the most horrific animal cruelty you can imagine are released on a regular basis and receive widespread media coverage, the meat, dairy and egg industries are feverishly working to keep you in the dark by prosecuting the whistleblowers, not the factory farm owners. Those who oppose animal cruelty know what they’re trying to hide. …The USDA exempts birds from its enforcement of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which requires that farm animals be insensible to pain before they’re shackled and killed. Most people are appalled to learn that because the meat, dairy and egg industries are so powerful, not a single federal law provides protection to animals on factory farms. …Images of cows, pigs and birds being brutally tortured are powerful and the slaughter industry knows it. That’s why they’re working to pass Ag-Gag bills across the country. They don’t want you to know the truth. In March, with the help of agricultural lobbyists, including the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Iowa Dairy Association, Iowa became the first state in the country to make it an offense to capture undercover video exposing animal abuse.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Twitter

Relationship going back to the 15th century (September 7 2012) Relationship going back to the 15th century (September 7 2012)

Michael Ibsen the 55 year old Canadian Furniture Maker and descendent from “King Richard III’s maternal line, has provided DNA samples aimed at confirming the regal identity of any human remains found during the unprecedented dig, which continues this week at the former site of a medieval church where — 527 years ago — the violently overthrown monarch was buried” according to Randy Boswell in an article in the Post Media News. Boswell states “A high-profile search for the gravesite of the 15th-century monarch King Richard III …beneath a parking lot in the English city of Leicester – has a remarkable connection to a Canadian family whose members hold the genetic key to solving one of British history’s most enduring mysteries: Where is Richard III’s body? …The University of Leicester-led archeological project was launched after the discovery that the maternal bloodline of the last Plantagenet king — killed in 1485 in the climactic battle of the War of the Roses — survived into the 21st century …the much-maligned monarch at the centre of the William Shakespeare play renowned for its dark characterization of Richard as a scheming villain but dismissed by historians as wildly inaccurate. “Now is the winter of our discontent,” Shakespeare has Richard seething in a famous opening soliloquy that exhibits the aspiring king’s evil intent. By the end of the play, with King Richard’s hopes for a long reign dashed in an epic battle, the character memorably cries out: “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”


Inspired by Postmedia image source Leicester University

Don't make kids do it we need them (September 6 2012) Don’t make kids do it we need them (September 6 2012)

William Sanford “Bill” Nye the 56 year old American science educator and television host, best known as the host of the Disney/PBS children’s science show ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’ has released a video online urging creationist parents not to force “Crazy” world views of their children as “We need them”. Neetzan Zimmerman in a Gawker article states “In a new web video from online knowledge forum Big Think, science guy Bill Nye talks about evolution denial and its negative impact on society. “When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in [Evolution] it holds everybody back,” Nye says. “Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology. It’s very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates.” His disagreement with grownups who believe in creationism notwithstanding, Nye says they are welcome to their “crazy, untenable, inconsistent” world view, so long as they don’t try to force it on their children. “If you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them,” Nye says. “We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can-we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.” The video concludes on a positive note, with Nye assuring viewers that “in another couple of centuries that world view…just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.”


Inspired by Gawker image source Twitter

Control of internet has become critical (September 5 2012) Control of internet has become critical (September 5 2012)

John Kampfner the 49 year old British external adviser to Google on free expression and culture and an adviser to the Global Network Initiative, which brings together technology companies and civil society to address human rights issues, has published an article in The Guardian titled ‘The fight for control of the internet has become critical’. In the article he argues that if plans to put cyberspace under a secretive UN agency go through, states’ censoring of the web will be globally enshrined. Kampfner states “Over the past few years, largely out of sight, governments have been clawing back freedoms on the internet, turning an invention that was designed to emancipate the individual into a tool for surveillance and control. In the next few months, this process is set to be enshrined internationally, amid plans to put cyberspace under the authority of a largely secretive and obscure UN agency. If this succeeds, this will be an important boost to states’ plans to censor the web and to use it to monitor citizens. Virtually all governments are at it. Some are much worse than others. …All governments, whatever their hue, cite similar threats: terrorism and organised crime, child pornography and intellectual property are the ones most commonly used. Unsurprisingly these, and local variants, are used by dictatorships, who need merely to point to precedents set in the west to counter any criticism with the charge of hypocrisy. The internet, as originally envisaged, was borderless. In theory, anyone could – if they had access to the bandwidth – find out information anywhere and communicate with anyone.”


Inspired by The Guardian image source Twitter

JPMorgan Starts Buying Congress Again (September 4 2012) JPMorgan Starts Buying Congress Again (September 4 2012)

George Zornick the American reporter for The Nation magazine and former researcher for Michael Moore’s SiCKO documentary has published an article titled ‘JPMorgan Starts Buying Congress Again’. In the article Zornick states “When the “fail whale” breached at JPMorgan earlier this year, creating billions in embarrassing losses as a result of risky trading, the bank immediately ceased its political giving. Not that the bank didn’t need help from Congress – it certainly did, but a long history of donations to key committees bought CEO Jamie Dimon friendly audiences during hearings exploring the losses. Rather, the bank realized that while on the hot seat, the donations were tainted and likely unwelcome in Congress. But in a clear indication that JPMorgan’s seat has already cooled considerably, the bank is once again doling out the cash. …JPMorgan PAC wrote ten checks to the PACs of ten members of Congress, many of them key members of committees with the power to stop the risky trading that created the multibillion-dollar losses at the federally insured bank this year. Nine Republicans and one Democrat split $36,000 from JPMorgan Chase & Co. PAC in roughly equal amounts. …each of the Representatives sits on [either] the House Financial Services Committee or House Ways and Means. Each senator is on [either] the Senate Banking Committee or Senate Finance Committee. These committees exercise oversight over financial reform implementation and the financial services industry needs them on its side. …this certainly won’t be the last of them—and more importantly, what it buys the industry.”


Inspired by The Nation image source Twitter

Hooliganism motivated by religious hatred (September 3 2012) Hooliganism motivated by religious hatred (September 3 2012)

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova the 23 year old Russian musician with the feminist punk rock group ‘Pussy Riot’, along with two other group members have lodged appeals against their two year sentence. In an article published in The Independent Shaun Walker states “As lawyers for the jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot prepare their appeals, the three women are gearing up to face the grim reality of two years in a Russian prison, where they will be able to meet their families and young children just once every six months, and receive phone calls only quarterly. …sentenced to two years in prison …for performing a “punk prayer” in a Moscow cathedral in February. The women say it was a political protest over the Russian Orthodox Church’s support for President Vladimir Putin, but the court ruled that it constituted “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” in a verdict that has caused outrage in Russia and across the world. Lawyer Nikolai Polozov said he expected the court to hear the women’s appeal in September, and if it was unsuccessful, they would be moved from pre-trial detention to a prison camp shortly afterwards. …The women can be dispatched to any prison in Russia, meaning they could end up thousands of miles away from Moscow. Two of the women have young children, but Mr Polozov said this would not be taken into account, and they would be allowed to see them only twice a year.”


Inspired by Shaun Walker image source Таганский суд

It is not easy being Muslim (September 2 2012) It is not easy being Muslim (September 2 2012)

Butheina Kazim the United Arab Emir ant New York-based Scholar of Media, Culture and Communication discusses among many things, the difficulty of being Muslim in an article published on Aljazeera. In the article Kazim states “The holy month of Ramadan is notorious for its wide assortment of television viewing. Broadcasting tycoons and media moguls of the pan-Arab television industry spend the better half of the year carefully preparing the brain stuffing that they would peddle to Arab audiences …There’s your celebrity Quran-readers who make an appearance every year, usually an hour or so before iftar followed by your staple live Q&A Fatwa Sheikh Show with list of questions that seems to have been dropped down as a recycled standardised list of Ramadan concerns for the past decade. …For the soul-searching, information-rife, questioning Muslim youth, there is little consolation in such superficial attempts at spiritual pacification. Outside the grasp of the television screens, Ramadan is the season for those seeking to use the annual routine-shuffle and disruption of the quotidian to grapple with the tough questions of the spirit and matters of the heart. Riddled with questions about their place in the world, an increasing number of Muslim youth in the Arab world are becoming impatient with this regimen; and they want answers. It’s a scary world out there. Rohingya Muslims are being massacred in Myanmar, Syria is a battlefield of warring ideologies spilling blood, girls are being married off to their rapists and Pamela Geller is on yet another anti-Muslim mission across the US transportation systems. It is not easy being Muslim.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Twitter

Arctic summer sea ice loss is 50% higher (September 1 2012) Arctic summer sea ice loss is 50% higher (September 1 2012)

Robin McKie the British Science and Technology editor for the Observer has published an article in The Guardian titled ‘Rate of Arctic summer sea ice loss is 50% higher than predicted’ discussing the new satellite images that show polar ice coverage dwindling in extent and thickness. In the article McKie states “Sea ice in the Arctic is disappearing at a far greater rate than previously expected, according to data from the first purpose-built satellite launched to study the thickness of the Earth’s polar caps. Preliminary results from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 probe indicate that 900 cubic kilometres of summer sea ice has disappeared from the Arctic ocean over the past year. This rate of loss is 50% higher than most scenarios outlined by polar scientists and suggests that global warming, triggered by rising greenhouse gas emissions, is beginning to have a major impact on the region. In a few years the Arctic ocean could be free of ice in summer, triggering a rush to exploit its fish stocks, oil, minerals and sea routes. Using instruments on earlier satellites, scientists could see that the area covered by summer sea ice in the Arctic has been dwindling rapidly. But the new measurements indicate that this ice has been thinning dramatically at the same time. For example, in regions north of Canada and Greenland, where ice thickness regularly stayed at around five to six metres in summer a decade ago, levels have dropped to one to three metres.”


Inspired by The Guardian image source Twitter

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