30 November 2006

Vision=Life Exhibition at the University of Rochester

Vision = Life: AIDS Posters from the Edward C. Atwater Collection
Exhibition runs from November 27 though December 20
Hartnett Gallery, University of Rochester

To mark World AIDS Day 2006, the exhibition Vision = Life: AIDS Posters from the Edward C. Atwater Collection seeks to provide an interdisciplinary space for considering some of the major issues and challenges of the AIDS pandemic. The posters have been selected from a significant collection of approximately 4000 items. Featuring posters from more than 29 countries, these powerful images represent a significant addition to the collection as they effectively raise important questions about the politics of visibility. Looked at chronologically, they reflect changes in our understanding of the disease. More importantly, they show what widely different attitudes toward sex and serious disease may be found in different countries and societies. Considering the outpouring of creative work that has made the HIV/AIDS pandemic the disease inspiring more cultural productions than any other, the gallery seeks to publicize and relate this significant body of cultural production to the current global context of AIDS. Edward Atwater was born, raised, and has lived most of his life in Western New York. For 37 years he practiced medicine and taught at the University of Rochester Medical School.

Local Event: Carol Vance Lecture at UofR

Craig Owens Memorial Lecture
"'Juanita/Svetlana/Geeta' Is Crying: Melodrama, Human Rights, and Anti-Trafficking Interventions."

Carole S. Vance

The Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies Annual Craig Owens Memorial Lecture presents a public talk by Carole S. Vance (Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health - Columbia University). - Friday, December 1 at 4:00 pm, Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester. For more information contact the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies. 585-275-7451


29 November 2006

Bound for Glory: America in Colour 1939-1943

Chopping cotton in White Plains, Green County, Georgia, June 1941.
In The Guardian today contains this announcement of a new exhibition opening early next month at The Photographer's Gallery in London. The images are color photographs fromt the Farm Security Administration discovered relatively recently in the collection of the Library of Congess. The author of this essay, Blake Morrison, poses thoughtful questions regarding whether color images alter our view of the depression era given that the iconic photographs of the period are the black and white work of say Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange. He points out that color may make things and conditions seem less bleak. But he also rightly notes that the FSA was virtually a propaganda arm of the Roosevelt administration and that policies within the agency changed in the late thirties, with its Director Roy Striker charging his photographers to focus less on hardship and despair and more on hope, determination, hard work and resolve. Morrison rightly insists that the FSA photographers "were more than supine propagandists," but the issues nonetheless remain quite complex. As I've written here a couple of times [1] [2] [3], the whole issue of "embedding" photographers with military units takes on new meaning once we start to think more generally about how the location of photographers influences the uses to which their work is put. You can link to a slideshow of some images from the "Bound for Glory" exhibition above.

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28 November 2006

Wichita Vortex Sutra

There is an interesting recollection of Alan Ginsburg's poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra" (1966) as "The Last Anti-War Poem" in The Nation online. The author, Rolf Potts, ponders why the 40th anniversary of this anthem has been completely overshadowed by the 5oth anniversary of "Howl". (If you go to your local bookstore you'll find multiple commemorative volumes marking the latter.)

"In declaring war over "by my own voice," he is ironically underscoring the ambiguity and powerlessness of poetry as a political gesture. Consequently, "Wichita Vortex Sutra" reads like a prophetic and final antiwar poem, an elegy for the power of language in an age of competing information.

Because Ginsberg's revelations are difficult--because they seem to question the potency of poetry--it's no surprise that the anniversary of "Wichita Vortex Sutra" has been ignored this year, despite the poem's jarring relevance to the current American landscape.

Instead, the poetry community will continue to focus on the anniversary of Howl--not just because 50 is a rounder number than 40, but because it's more enjoyable to celebrate the First Amendment triumph of an old sex-and-drugs anthem than wrestle with a poem that reminds us of the limitations of language in a political world."

You can link to the full text of Wichita Vortex Sutra from this post.


Stop in for Tom Waits, Stick Around for Steve Reich

Yup, Pitchfork currently has interviews with both Waits and Reich. I just bought Waits' new CD Orphans and it is, as I expected, very, very good. This interview with Waits is quite funny - I don't think I could have a conversation with the man, as I'd be laughing too much. For example:

" Pitchfork: What sorts of movie roles are you attracted to?

Tom Waits: I do some acting. And there's a difference between "I do some acting" and "I'm an actor." People don't really trust people to do two things well. If they're going to spend money, they want to get the guy who's the best at what he does. Otherwise, it's like getting one of those business cards that says about eight things on it. I do aromatherapy, yard work, hauling, acupressure. ..."

Reich, by contrast, seems to be good at math; at least I hope he is. Otherwise he may be in trouble.

"Pitchfork: Do you think something like the Phases boxed set is a suitable introduction to your work, or is it just the best substitute for seeing the pieces performed live?

Steve Reich: It has an advantage over the previous boxed set in that it includes "You Are (Variations)" and "Cello Counterpart", which I think are really good pieces. I'm sure that Nonesuch had in mind that it was half the number of CDs, and still more than half the amount of music, but probably less than half the price ..."

And then he goes on to say that the best music might be that which can survive in multiple, often pretty much inauspicious, contexts:

"In my field, the idea that people are going to get chopped up into little movements is discouraging. On the other hand, Chuck Berry did have it right. "Any ol' way you use it." There is some truth to that. You can go into a coffee shop in Chicago, or New York, or Europe, and hear the Brandenburg Concerto tinkling away in the background, and it works just fine while you have your espresso or latte. That's not to say, hey, Bach just sold out, man. It's a tribute to music, probably the greatest music that was ever written, that it could be used at the deepest level of concentration and musical analysis and also sitting in the background in a café. ..."

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27 November 2006

Inside Out

Tonight I doscovered this slender volume, Inside Out, a collaboration between painter Stefan Kurten, whose work I do not know, and writer/critic Rebecca Solnit who I think is simply terrific.

The book was just published in San Francisco by ARTSPACE BOOKS (even though it doesn't actually yet appear on their web page - oops!). According to the publishers, they began publishing books in 1992. "To date, nine books have been published. The books are typically collaborations between contemporary artists and writers--their works are not intended to illustrate the other, rather to be creative pieces that complement and challenge each other." Here is the cover description of what Kurten and Solnit are up to:

"A meditation on the dilemmas and desires for home that combines the writings of art critic and cultural historian Rebecca Solnit with painter Stefan K]rten's lush images of domestic interiors, buildings and landscapes. Solnit reflects on emotional privatization, real-estate fetishism, and aesthetic pleasure, while Kurten's paintings of stale bourgeois interiors and suburban homes project a dogged attempt to make life perfect, at least on the surface. His armchairs, teapots and planter boxes suggest that we are living in a peculiar state of safety and bliss. Together, the text and images question the equation of ideal houses with ideal lives, the images that shape our perception of childhood, and our notion of a fulfilled adulthood."

Although the Kurten/Solnit collaboration does not involve photography, several of the other books the publisher already has already released do. So check out their list. This sounds like an extremely provocative publishing endeavor.

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26 November 2006

Sorry David, There Just Seems to be No Evidence for a Vast Radical Conspiracy to Indoctrinate College Youth

As I have said here before, I believe the whole point of college is to challenge students, not simply re-confirm the views and commitments they bring with them when they arrive on campus. Of course, that aim can be abused. So, when the conservative students at Rochester complain that they are penalized by faculty for expressing their right-wing views I often ask them to provide some evidence, not "proof" mind you, but something more than entitled whining. To date, our college righties have not identified so much as a single not-so-compelling case, let alone a plausible instance to support their worries about the Rochester faculty.

The same challenge goes for the so-called "Student's Bill of Rights" being peddled by former far-left-nut-job, now converted into far-right-nut-job, David Horowitz. Can Mr. Horowitz show us that there is actually a problem that requires the supposed remedy he is peddling? (The image here shows Horowitz testifying before a legislative inquiry held at Temple University earlier this year; it seems from the photo that he thinks there is a big, obvious, easily detectable problem.) Unfortunately, the early returns are not looking good for everyone's favorite ideologue (well, almost everyone's - there are just so many nuts out there). See this report on the results of an inquiry mandated by the state legislature in Pennsylvania after Horowitz took his road show to the state last year. The legislative committee that conducted the inquiry was controlled by Republicans. And Pennsylvania is hardly a hot bed of liberalism. It would seem that Mr. Horowitz couldn't design a more auspicious laboratory for establishing his complaint.

So where are all the oppressed conservative students whose GPAs are being held hosatge by wild-eyed radical faculty? They seem to be an artifact of Mr. Horowitz's rich fantasy life, and he has managed to abuse a bunch of students by persuading them to waste time feeding their own fantasies and anxieties rather than going to school and learning something. In the process he is doing more of a disserive to those students than the radicals he imagines are out to indoctrinate them. My advice to David Horowitz? Seek clinical help.


25 November 2006

“Darfur: Who Will Survive Today?”

The U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC has over the past week marked the Thanksgiving holiday by exploiting its prominent location to confront Americans with the realities of genocide in Darfur. The Museum has projected images made by the photographers affiliated with the Darfur/Darfur exhibition onto its exterior walls from 5:30 pm until midnight each evening. (The projections will conclude tomorrow evening.) The image shown above is © Gerald Martineau - The Washington Post, and depicts passersby looking at some of the images being projected onto the building.

You can find my remarks on the Darfur/Darfur project in this earlier post. Although projections like this are not unprecendented - Krzysztof Wodiczko, most famously has undertaken a number of them - this seems like a rather bold step for an institution such as the Holocaust Museum to take. Yet, while I applaud the USHM for the novel approach it is adopting here (this is the first such projection it has undertaken), my question remains the same - what sorts of action are the images themselves meant to induce viewers to undertake? The Museum states that "Our Walls Bear Witness," which is true and important. Having drawn viewers' attention to the genocide, though, the basic question remains - what would the Museum or the photographers have us do? I ask not to criticize but to engage. Humanitarian responses treat consequences and are crucially important, but if we aim to stop genocide we must disrupt its causes. Can the Museum or the not-for-profits who are underwriting the exhibition challenge us to act politically or does their tax status prevent them from so doing? And, if any effective remedy for the Darfur genocide is political, what steps can we take toward effecting one?

PS: Here is a predicament creatd by having this projection mounted by a Museum - even one aimed at memorializing the Holocaust and educating visitors about current genocides, actual or threatened. While the Washington Post published a news story on the projection (11/21/06, C1) it also then included the "exhibit" in its column listing things to do in "The District," right there between an announcement for a "Holiday in Brazil" concert and a notice about several events and exhibitions focusing on Elvis Presley (11/23/06, C16).

PS2: (Added 26 November 2006) For a start toward grasping the the political complexities involved in Darfur see this essay by Alex de Waal from the London Review of Books.


24 November 2006

Jerry Stone's NYC

In The New Yorker this week (27 November 06) Adam Gopnik has an essay "Street Life" on photographer Jerry Stone (d. 1994). Gopnik writes: " The democratic funkiness of New York’s streets has seldom been seen with so stoic and accepting an eye." The essay is accompanied by a slideshow of Stone's work the makes one think Gopnik is not far off the mark.

23 November 2006

Janitors' Union Victorious in Houston

Houston janitors who had been out on strike since late October won concessions from their employers on 20 November. They will see pay raises, opportunities for increased hours (many work only part-time) and, very importantly, health benefits - all phased in over the next couple of years. Learn more on the Justice for Janitors web page. Hopefully, this is an initial step toward the resurgence of union success. Note too that the majority of the workers engaged in the strike are women and hispanic. So, when someone asks you how immigrants strengthen the US economy, tell them that they support orgainzed labor.

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An Oversight on My Part: Rumsfeld's Departure

This, from The Onion ... I apologize to readers. I'm not sure how I could've overlooked this report.

"Rumsfeld: 'My Half-Assed Job Here Is Done'

8 November 2006

WASHINGTON, DC--After nearly six years of much-publicized service as Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld announced his resignation Wednesday afternoon, saying that he had 'proudly accomplished everything [he'd] set out to bungle.' 'Years ago, I decided to bog this great nation down in an extended, grueling foreign occupation, and I'm happy to say that's exactly what I've done,' said Rumsfeld in a farewell address at the White House, during which he urged Americans to continue waging the ill-conceived, mismanaged, and evidently unwelcome fight for democracy in the Middle East. 'Each of my actions--from undersupplying troops with body armor to focusing on capturing Saddam Hussein while Osama bin Laden remained free--has led America inexorably toward our current state of extreme crisis. Well, anyway, goodbye!' President Bush expressed confidence that Robert Gates, his new nominee for Secretary of Defense, will be able to 'fuck everything up the rest of the way.'"

22 November 2006

All Muslims are Terrorists? All Terrrorists are Muslims?

What if I got suspicious and fearful every time I saw someone reading the Bible in a public place? Could I go to the local uniformed authorities and ask to have the person detianed or removed from the premises? Should those personnel take me seriously? Or should they suggest that I get a grip?

I basically am agnostic in religious terms. During the course of too many years in Catholic school the Sisters of St. Joseph beat (quite literally) the faith out of me. So I am not here to champion public displays of religious conviction. In fact, I prefer that believers not put their faith out in my face. Of course, they are free to do so and many, many Christians take full advantage of that freedom. Just watch a college football game (if you can bear it) as the coach or players fall to their knees or point to the sky or verbalize their thanks to god when interviewed after an important victory. Does God care who wins? Does one team vanquish the other due to divine intervention?

Perhaps I should worry, though, that the person reading the Bible on the bus or subway or Boeing 717 is a religious fanatic about to go gun down abortion providers. Or perhaps he or she is about to drive an IED up next to the Federal building in some mid-sized mid-western American city.

Read this story form The New York Times about the six Muslim clerics who were removed from a USAirways flight in Minneapolis because gate workers and other passengers grew concerned after the men said evening prayers. Apparently the Homeland Security Department has a Civil Rights Office (now there is the fox guarding the chicken coop!) that is conducting an investigation. So too is USAirways, which, of course, assures us through a PR spokesperson that it countenances no discrimination. This sort of affair is predictable, I suppose. Will the folks involved be charged with believing the administration's proopaganda? Will they be charged for doubting the effectiveness of the TSA security screening through which the Imams already had passed? Will they be charged for pure stupidity for assuming that any self-respecting terrorist is going to "act suspiciously" by praying among those he is about to destroy? Is there any evidence that suicide bombers or hijackers are trained to do anything other than blend in with their surroundings so as to not call attention to themselves? Isn't "Arabic" and "suspicious" redundant in the US these days?

Which passenger wrote this note? Publish his name. And why did the crew take it seriously? Publish their names too. Perhaps that will serve as a deterrent against future foolishness. The media can start reporting on "Frightened Bigots." The stories can appear adjacent to the reports of the death toll in Iraq - just another consequence of the "war on terror."

21 November 2006

The Reach of War

This set of slideshows by South African photographer Joao Silva and narrated by New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers conveys the ways politics and warfare pass one another in the night for U.S. Marines on duty near Faluga. It gives some sense of how harrowing daily life is for the servicemen and of how irrelevant electoral politics is to them.

Duane Michals, Foto Folllies

Jeorg Colberg over at Conscientious brought this forthcoming book to my attention - Duane Michals Foto Follies: How Photography Lost Its Virginity on the Way to the Bank (Steidl, 2007). It is billed as a succinct (96 pages), informed and humouous analysis of the pretentions of "art photography." Since I find most of what appears under that label overbearing, I look forward to getting a copy. Although I am unfamiliar with Michals' [*] work as a photographer, I plan to track some of it down if only because he seems to have a wicked satirical streak. Beyond that his practice of integrating text and ideas into his "photographic" work seems a welcome departure from the conventions of both "art" and "documentary" photography.

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Adbusterrs (Jan-Feb 2007!)

The other night I bought the current (?) issue of Adbusters which oddly enough carries the date "jan/feb 2007." Last I checked, it is mid-November. As I've mentioned, however, I think the magazine often offers a cuttingly insightful take on politics and economics - not one I always agree with, but usually worth reading. And the distinctive design style typically is interesting as well. In any case, this issue draws upon the work of two photographers about whom I've posted here.

The first is Hank Willis Thomas whose B®ANDED works I mentioned last Dcember [1] [2]. The Adbusters folks reproduce this image from Thomas:

The image is powerful but gains special impact beccause the photograph is of mourners at the funeral of Thomas's cousin Songha who was murdered in Philadelphia in 2000.

The second reference is to the notorious "State of Emergency" spread by Steve Meisel in Vogue Italia. This is an incredible lapse on the part of the Adbusters folk. I am unsure whether the photos they actually use are Meisel's or knockoffs. But they use one on the cover and a couple more inside. As I already have said several times [1] [2] [3] Meisel's work is fatuous, misogynistic crap. Insofar as the Adbusters crew finds "inspiration" in it they confirm the worries I expressed about Meisel's work displacing actual concern with political abuses. There is no irony herre; Meisel is simply eroticizing fear and dehumanization in ways Adbusters ought to find pathetic.

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20 November 2006

Enthusiasms (4) - Andrew Hill

A short while ago I posted on a then forthcoming album - "New Monestary" - by guitarist Nels Cline which I expected to be wonderful. The album is an exploraiton of the music of jazz compser and pianist Andrew Hill and, as expected, it is extremely good. As I noted in that post Hill's 1964 release "Point of Departure" was among the first jazz records (yes, the actual record) that I ever purchased. It is a classic. Well as I went to track down the Cline disc I also bought Hill's new "Time Lines" disc on Blue Note. It too is very, very good - intricate off-kilter tunes that veer here and there without ever runing into the ditch, assertive musicianship that never becomes over-bearing. I highly recommend it.

For most of the 1990s Hill did not record at all. Since 2000 he has released two discs on the Palmetto label, one a live recording of his big band. Blue Note has been re-issuing his early work for them as well, including music from the late 1960s that they recorded but never actually released. One might think that this is simply an effort to capitalize on Mr. Hill's resurgence. But as this review from The New York Times of a recent performance where Mr. Hill's quintet suggests primarily performed the long lost music, they are not simply sweeping out the vaults.

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Arthur Miller on Inge Morath

This is a photograph of Inge Morath (1923-2002) shortly before her death. The portrait on the wall is of her husband, the late playwrite Arthur Miller. Steidl has just published The Road to Reno which contains the photographs documenting Morath's encounters with America on a cross country road trip in 1960, just prior to meeting Miller. Today The Guardian has published an excerpt of Miller in 2004 discusing the trip and Morath's work.

The Magnum photo agency, of which Morath was a member, sponsors the annual Inge Morath Award which the (not very user friendly) agency web page describes as follows:

"The prize of $5000 is awarded annually to a female documentary photographer under the age of 30, in memory of the late Magnum Member Inge Morath. The award intends to help a photographer complete a long-term documentary project. The submission guidelines for the next year's award will be announced in February 2007. The deadline for submissions will be May 20, 2007. "

19 November 2006

Kalle Lasn Design Anarchy

If Adbusters has a mastermind it would be Kalle Lasn founder & editor-in-chief of the magazine. (I tend to think of the magazine as a sort of collective endeavor and, besides, what self-respecting proponent of anarchism would want to be thought of as mastermind?) In any case, he has produced this new (and at 400+ pages, large) book which the Adbusters site bills as "equal parts memoir, manifesto, scrapbook, and revolutionary design manual." I find the magazine intereting, if sometimes a bit overwrought. You can preview the book at the webpage; it seems to mimic the magazine stylistically. In that sense it aspires to embody what it preaches.

18 November 2006

Justice for Janitors

Democracy too frequently is identified with parties and elections when, in fact, it presumes effective freedoms of speech and association among other things that, when actually exercised, often reveal the limits of democratic practices and commitments. This is especially true when workers seek to unionize or when, once organized, they press employers for higher wages adequate benefits or decent working conditions. "More than 1,700 SEIU janitors in Houston have been on strike since October 23 over civil rights abuses and a failure to bargain in good faith by their employers, the five national cleaning companies ABM, OneSource, GCA, Sanitors, and Pritchard. (From JFJ web page)." And predictably enough, the Houston police have responded to non-violent protests in an "overzealous" way. This image shows mounted police trampling protesting workers in downtown Houston on November 16th. Are the officers shown here unionized? Would they work for $5.35/hour with no health insurance benefits? Regardless, what are they doing trampling non-violent protesters? You can find additional pictures of the police riot on the JFJ website.

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Ruth Brown (1928-2006)

Over the past few days several iconic figures have died,. Fanatics of different stripes will have noted the passing of Milton Friedman, economist and libertarian ideologue and of Bo Schembechler revered coach of Michigan's football team. I suspect fewer people will have noticed the passing yesterday of the wonderful R&B singer, actress and advocate of performers rights Ruth Brown. Here is a decade old picture of Ms. Brown. Listen to her sing sometime - it'll surely help you resist the temptation to embrace ideological pieties of whatever sort.

Ruth Brown performing at the 15th Annual Chicago Blues Festival in 1998. © Jack Vartoogian/FrontRowPhotos


Brian Thomas - "Berlin 9/11"

Among the interesting and usually quite nice by-products of writing this blog is that I am meeting - in the virtual sense - people whom I otherwise would almost surely never encounter. These are people who, for one or another reaon, have read something I've posted here and who've felt the urge to write. Today I received an email from Brian Thomas who pratices what he calls "participatory photojournalism." He lives, I think, in Portland OR from whence he writes: "I spend a lot of effort trying to match tame political images with words or turn merely beautiful images into meaningful ones. I just finished a 3 minute free online film of my photography and I invite you to have a look."

Having had a look, I want to recommend the film to you as it is thought provoking and, I think, well-crafted. The film, entitled "Berlin 9/11," presses an analogy between the burning of the Reichstag in in Berlin in 1933 and the attacks of 9/11. You can find it here. In invite you to take a look too! Thanks Brian.

17 November 2006

Darfur: The Displaced Talk Back

"Photo released by the United Nations shows refugees at the Kalma Camp in south Darfur, in 2005." Clearly the members of the displaced population in Darfur is seeking to exploit connections to Western media to advance their own demands and claims. Has anyone in the West answered their question?


Against Compassion

In The Nation this week, critic Arthur Danto has an essay - "The Body In Pain" - on the exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery in NYC of a series of paintings prompted by Abu Ghraib by Colombian painter Fernando Botero. I have posted parts of Botero’s work in my earlier criticism of the"State of Emergency" spread by Steve Meisel published by Vogue Italia earlier in the fall [1] [2]. I am including additional examples from Botero's Abu Ghraib series here.

Danto calls these paintings "masterpieces of ... disturbatory art--art whose point and purpose is to make vivid and objective our most frightening subjective thoughts." He then explains:
"We knew that Abu Ghraib's prisoners were suffering, but we did not feel that suffering as ours. When the photographs were released, the moral indignation of the West was focused on the grinning soldiers, for whom this appalling spectacle was a form of entertainment. But the photographs did not bring us closer to the agonies of the victims. ... Botero's images, by contrast, establish a visceral sense of identification with the victims, whose suffering we are compelled to internalize and make vicariously our own."
When he elaborates this claim Danto echoes, indeed endorses, Susan Sontag’s lament that, in contrast to painting, photographs cannot adequately capture "the pain of others" and so are morally and politically deficient insofar as they cannot adequately induce compassion in those who view them. But this view presumes without argument that compassion is an effective political response in the first place. In fact, I believe compassion is politically disabling.

Like Sontag, Danto ignores Hannah Arendt’s argument that compassion is politically otiose. On her account there are two reasons for this. First, because it literally involves vicarious suffering compassion undermines the space of language and therefore of politics. And, second, because it focuses resolutely on the predicament of some specific individual, it cannot adequately generalize and so disables us in the face of the large populations who typically suffer from war, famine, forced migration, genocide and other man-made calamities - like torture - that requires political redress.

In an essay in Slate (15 November 2006) entitled "Cartoon Violence: The True Power of Fernando Botero's Abu Ghraib Paintings" Mia Fineman suggests that the power of Botero's images consists in the way he tries to induce identification with the victims of torture. As she explains:"Botero's Abu Ghraib paintings ... are searingly powerful. And it is precisely the discordance between the cartoonish style of the images and the sordid reality of the atrocities they depict that gives them their emotional intensity. By portraying the Iraqi prisoners as stylized Everyman figures, Botero's pictures do something that even the most vivid photographs of torture don't do: They encourage us to identify with the victims. ... While all figurative art does involve some degree of distortion, the particular types of distortion Botero employs—soft, rounded forms; simplified features; exaggerated proportions ... is key to understanding the power of the Abu Ghraib paintings. By depicting the prisoners in a simplified, schematic style, Botero neutralizes their "otherness"—a strategy that allows American and European viewers to identify more readily with the victims."

Such identification, however, is basic to compassion. And so, Botero may get viewers to vicariously share the pain of others but never, I suspect prompt them to do much of anything about it. Having said this, I think Botero’s work remains far superior to the misogynist images Meisel produced. While the latter are largely self -indulgent and I think repulsive the former are at least ethically provocative, even if they will never, I suspect have any impact on the political judgements or activities of those who see them.

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16 November 2006

Video: Salgado at Berkeley

This evening I discovered this video "Sebastiao Salgado: The Photographer as Activist" a "conversation" with Sebastiao Salgado, Orville Schell, Ken Light and Fred Ritchin. The conversation took place in 2004 in Berkeley on the occasion of the first English language edition of Sahel: The End of the Road - twenty years after the photo project was published in Europe. In 1988 when the work was first done no English language publisher was willing to publish such "depressing" images. The exchnage is extremely interesting in terms of how Salgado understands the relationship between his photographic work and the people who are the subjects of his images.
PS: (Added 18 November) This interview was conducted just as Salgado was embarking on his "Genesis" project. If you are interested you can find some of the "early returns" at The Guardian.


Groundhog Day: "Stay the Course"

In a post last week, I suggested that the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld and the appointment of his successor Robert Gates would have scant impact on the BushCo policy in Iraq. The administraiton has abandoned its "Stay the Course" mantra, but its policy remains in place as The Guardian is reporting in this story. The administration is planning to increase US troops in Iraq in hopes that a large-scale commitment will lead to what W calls "victory" and "success." I am not sure what he means by those words. I do predict that this obtuse strategy will only deepen the disaster he and his administration have created.

So, here is a picture of our soon-to-be-former Secretary of Defense indicating just how much difference his departure will make to administration thinking on Iraq.


The Observer Hodge Photographic Award 2006

Here is the announcement of the 20th annual Hodge Photographic Award sponsored by The Observer and Olympus Cameras. The award recognizes te accomplishments of young (under 29) photojournalists. The winner this year is Stuart Whipps. You can link from the announcement to a slideshow of Whipps' work as well as that of four other young photographers who were honored in the competition.

15 November 2006

Richard Perle: How Being an Ideologue Makes You Look Like an Idiot

Richard Perle, notorious neoconservative ideologue, was interviewed on npr one morning this weekend as I was driving with my oldesst son Douglas across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from a College he may attend to a lacrosse tournament. As I listened I nearly drove into the bay as Perle proved himself to be blind to reality and zealous in his willingness to defend our disaster in Iraq. Here is the exchange:

"ANDREA SEABROOK: Now the American public has just watched the years pass — three years and plus of this war — has watched the intelligence that said there were WMD in Iraq be discredited, has watched Saddam’s ties to terrorists be discredited, can you blame them for voting against this policy by voting out Republicans in large part?

RICHARD PERLE: Well, the intelligence about Saddam’s stockpiles appears certainly to have been wrong. I don’t believe it’s correct to say that his ties to terrorists have been discredited. There were numerous links between Iraqi intelligence and various terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda. Those have been documented. And I frequently hear people say that there’s no evidence. It’s simply wrong. I’ve seen the evidence.

SEABROOK: But much of that evidence — that I’ve heard other analysts say, on both sides of the aisle and from several different policy points of view — has in fact been discredited. Most people, it seems now, are saying that Saddam didn’t have any serious connection with terrorists.

PERLE: Well, I simply think that’s wrong. I’ve looked at the evidence and have come to a different conclusion."

Nothing like the "secret evidence" ploy to stop reasonable discussion of any matter. But what secret evidence has Perle seen? He must be privy to some very, very sensitive material, so sensitive indeed that his cronies over at BushCo declined to share it with legislative investigating committees despite the clear incentive they had to do so (in order to justify their own roles in creating the Iraq fiasco). Here, for instance, is a relevant pasage from the Senate Intelligence Committee Report (8 September 2006) on just this matter:

"Postwar findings indicate that Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qa’ida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al Qa’ida to provide material or operational support. Debriefings of key leaders of the former Iraqi regime indicate that Saddam distrusted Islamic radicals in general, and al Qa’ida in particular… Debriefings also indicate that Saddam issued a general order that Iraq should not deal with al Qa’ida. No postwar information suggests that the Iraqi regime attempted to facilitate a relationship with bin Ladin. (p. 105)"

In this matter of pressing national security Dick Perle clearly should make a quick trip over to the Capitol and reveal his secret information to the relevant House and Senate Committees as well as his to pals at BushCo. Otherwise the disconnecct between his assertions and the Senate Report make him appear to be a true idiot.

Iraq before the invasion was a dictatoship. Saddam Hussein was a reprehensible tyrant. But Iraq did not pose a threat to "homeland security" in the US, so the invasion and ensuing quagmire is (at best) a distraction from that concern. Sorry Dick.
PS: (Added later that same morning.) A number of questions arise here.

The first is why Seabrook didn't challenge Perle more vigorously regarding this incredible claim. She is new to the host job on weekend edition but she knew he was dissembling and should have simply stated that or asked him "What evidence are you talking about?"

The second is why places like the American Enterprise Insititute, which purportedly gesture toward intellectual integrity, allow hacks like Perle in the door. They afford him an air of legitimacy that diminishes their own credibility.

The third is why npr continually allows known prevaricators like Perle on the air. Journalistic objectivity does not require giving air time to every crackpot that claims expertise no matter how incredible their views.

The fourth presumes (implausibly) that Perle might be telling the truth and that there is evidence to support his claim. We should then be asking why the adaministration (or whomever supplied it to Perle) withheld such evidence from the Intelligence Committee.

The last is whether, given performances like this, any future Republican administration will rely on Perle either officially or for informal advice. He is the sort of ideologue even Republicans are better off without.


How to Follow an Arrow?

In The Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein discusses the indeterminacies of understanding what an arrow might mean, or more precisely what it might mean to "follow" an arrow. He has in mind something like the arrow in this sign. Should we take this to indicate direction, as in "If you are here to vote go this way"? Or, should we interpret it as right as in "Be sure to vote correctly"? (Where "correctly" may mean following the proper procedure or for the right candidate/policy.) Or, more ominously, should we take this as a sort of subliminal suggestion: "Vote right," as in "Vote for the right wing"?

14 November 2006

Depicting Labor and Migration - David Bacon

In The Chronicle Review (17 November), the "End Paper" this week consists of an excerpt from a new book by photographer and storyteller David Bacon. (You can find an earlier excerpt from The Nation here.) His larger focus seems to be on the ways working people navigate the exigencies of (to borrow from economist Albert Hirschman) "exit, voice and loyalty."

Bacon focuses on labor struggles (voice) and migration (exit) within a context where connections and commitments to places and others (loyalty) demand that individuals make very difficult, indeed painful, sometimes tragic decisions. Bacon's new book is Communities Without Borders: Images and Voices from the World of Migration (Cornell UP) and it combines photographs with interviews to provide insight into the lives and travails of Mexican laborers who criss-cross the Mexico-US border in search of work that will sustain their families and communities. The book contains a pointed essay by Carlos Munoz, Jr. about the ways that Bacon depicts his subjects in word and image. So, calling Bacon a "storyteller" is not meant as condescending; to the contrary it is meant to say that he presents stories of workers in a rounded and respectful manner.


13 November 2006

Glamour Photography: Please Let's Not Pretend It Can be Profound

I found this interview with the photographer Rankin (whose less stylish given name is J.R. Waddell) in The Guardian today. It turns out to be remarkably vacuous, but only in part due to the interviewee. The interviewer, Natalie Hanman, apparently had nothing interesting to talk about. In any case, I started reading the interview because of the first question and answer:

"Q: What got you started?
A: I saw W Eugene Smith's work at the Barbican art gallery a long time ago. I was completely inspired to be that kind of photographer. "

I figured, one could do much worse in an evening than explore the work of a photographer of whom you'd never heard who aspired to be the same "kind of photographer" as Smith. What a disappointment. The first indication was reading on the homepage of Rankin's (dysfuntional) web site that it is designed to present his portfolio's "without the distraction of text." Once you move inside it quickly becomes clear that Rankin is apparently a purveyor of glossy glamour photos of celebs and models (especially scantily clad female models). Here are three samples lifted from the web:

I am not terribly interested in such glamour imagery and find it especially irritating when those who purvey it try to lend false gravity to their work (see, for instance these posts [1] [2] occasioned by the political posturing of fashion photographer Steven Meisel). So far as I can tell, nothing in Rankin's work has even the vaguest relation to anything that W. Eugene Smith ever did (see, e.g., [1] [2]). Of course, both Smith and Rankin use cameras to make their images. So what? It is hardly the common tool that counts, but the very different things the two photograpahers do with the tool that does.

I may be mistaken; I may have missed something truly weighty in Rankin's textless portfolio's. I doubt it. After all, his latest "project" is entitled Tuulitastic: A Photographic Love Letter and is inspired (if that is the right word) by his favorite model. What I really would like to know is whether Rankin was able to keep a straight face as he claimed that he wanted to be the same kind of photographer as Smith. How did Hanman let him get away with such a preposterous claim? Rankin is merely seeking to claim some profundity for a body of work that focuses more or less relentlessly on the superficial and perhaps, thereby, rationalize using his (pretty obvious) talent for such purposes.

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12 November 2006


Here are several portraits of playwrite Samuel Beckett (1906-1989). I'm posting them for a friend who claims not to know what he looked like.

11 November 2006

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day in the US, a national holiday established to honor men and women who have offered militaary service to the country. I often think our military adventures very frequently are (to be polite) terribly ill-advised and that many higher ups in the defense establishment, including many military officers, here are complicit in the tragic consequences that those ill-advised adventures generate here and abroad. That said, many, many young kids join the military for perfectly admirable reasons, sometimes they do not join by choice. So, to me, Veteran's Day honor's them. It is often difficult to keep my critical views of the government distinct from my understanding of - and sometimes admiration for - the service men and women who implement govenment policies. Here are a couple of images of the memorial to those who died in the defining conflict of my generation. I only wish we were not defining my sons' generation in terms of an equally troubling war.

On this day in 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened. Designed by Maya Lin, the monument is made of black granite and features the names of the fallen and missing etched into it. WASHINGTON—A visitor touches names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1987. © Erich Hartmann / Magnum Photos.

WASHINGTON—The Vietnam Veterans Memorial at night, with the Washington Monument in the background, 1987. © Erich Hartmann / Magnum Photos.

Photography & the Politics of the Double Chin in Poland

Poland: Say Cheese!
By Victor Homola
New York Times
(November 4, 2006)

"Polish press photographers were briefly barred from taking pictures of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski ... from the side. The rule was published by the Polish government’s press office, the newspaper Nowy Dziennik reported. There was simply no need to photograph Mr. Kaczynski’s profile, a government spokesman, Jan Dziedziczak, said, rejecting assumptions that full-face pictures might be better at hiding the prime minister’s double chin. Photographers at a news conference called by the prime minister on Thursday were forced to obey the pronouncement, and outrage quickly followed. The rule was rescinded yesterday, reportedly on the order of Mr. Kaczynski."

Reuters - "The State of the World"

Reuters has collected the work of 227 of its photojournalists from 70 countries in this volume. The accompanying web page offers several slideshows to whet your appetite as well as a schedule of the locations the images will be exhibited around the world and profiles of many of the photographers. The volume is divided internally into these seven themes: Power Politics, Ways of Living, Patterns of Belief, Big Issues, War & Conflict, Culture in the Digital Age, Looking Forward Looking Back. It is available from various publishers in seven languages.

09 November 2006

Photography: A Very Short Introduction

"The photograph is an aid to vision and what matters is what it can be used to see, not its supposed status as a literal copy, and certainly not its adherence to one particular visual tradition. The fundamental question at stake ... is ... an issue of social relations and of the ways in which the apparatus is actually employed. Perhaps stripped of this simple version of realism, photography might emerge with a stronger, more sustainable conception of representation and evidence."

I just received this new introduction in the mail today and so have not read it through. But the conlusion, from which this passage is drawn, makes me eager to plunge in. The point sesems to be that what we require is a theory of photography and its uses.


With All Due Disrespect: A Tribute to Donald Rumsfeld

We don't have Don Rumsfeld to kick around anymore. My suspiscion is that the real problem for him was not the election results but the fact that the military press had called loudly and publically for him to go. (Word has it that his replacement was offered the Secretary post last weekend - prior, that is, to the elections.) The interesting thing is that when he was asked several days ago whether he had faith in Rumsefeld the POTUS insisted that the Secretary would serve out his term. Yesterday when answering questions after he'd given Rumsfeld the boot, Bush admitted that he had played politics with that policy decision. He admitted that he had lied about his confidence in Rumsfeld so as to not interfere with the election campaign. Now that is truly pathetic but not at all shocking, Bush blatantly subordinated his "war on terror" to partisan politics. And, of course, he went to a faithful servant of the Bush dynasty for a replacement. Which means largely that BushCo plan to "stay the course" without actually saying so.

The BBC ran several features on Rumsfeld's resignation today. One was a set of quotes from his own mouth. Another was his "Career in Pictures." I can't resist the urge to match some of the pictures with some of the comments attributed to him. So here goes:

"We know where they [Iraq's WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat. " (March 2003)

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know. " (February 2002)

"It seems to me that it's up to all of us to try to tell the truth, to say what we know, to say what we don't know, and recognise that we're dealing with people that are perfectly willing to, to lie to the world to attempt to further their case and to the extent people lie of, ultimately they are caught lying and they lose their credibility and one would think it wouldn't take very long for that to happen dealing with people like this. " (December 2004)

"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. " (September 2002)

Finally we have this deep reflection: "Once in a while, I'm standing here, doing something. And I think: 'What in the world am I doing here?' It's a big surprise." (May 2001) Well, Don, you are now going to be standing some place else, wondering cluelessly what is going on. And that will be significanly less deadly for our troops and the Iraqis.


08 November 2006

Joe Lieberman - Sanctimonious Opportunist (2)

Joe Lieberman won the Senate election in Connecticut mostly, I suspect, because he received large numbers of republican votes. He has shown himself an opportunist once again, putting his own personal ambitions above those of party and any chance of less disastrous policy. That is fine, I suppose. He differs from other elected politicians only in degree, not in kind.

That said, I do hope the Democrats will have the backbone to treat him as a member of another party - no seniority, no committee assignments of note, no admission to democratic caucuses, and so forth. That is unlikely not just because the dems tend to be political weenies but because the balance of political control in the Senate may well ride on how they treat Joe. There is another independent in the Senate (Sanders from Vermont), so perhaps it might not matter. Lieberman, though could very conceivably trade his vote to the Republicans for prerogatives of various sorts.

If you think that is far-fetched consider this snippet as reported in the New York Times from Lieberman's victory speech: “I will try in every way I can, every day I am your senator, to reach out in a way and get things done in a way that honors and sanctifies God’s holy name.” All those Connecticut dems who voted for Joe can see right away what they bought in doing so.


07 November 2006

Elections are Great - So Long as They Turn Out The Way We Want!

Just when it might've seemed a reasonably safe region for the US, elections in some Latin American countries have returned various leftist (and so, by definition, unacceptable) figures to office. First, Lula da Silva won a decisive victory in Brazil's presidential election. And now, in an especially galling turn of events, Daniel Ortega seems to have won the Nicaraguan presidency.

The folks at BushCo, of course, find this wholly unacceptable. You will recall that George H.W. 'Papa' Bush was up to his elbows in Iran-Contra machinations. And the current Bush regime has rehabilitated several of the principals in that fiasco (e.g., the loathsome Elliot Abrams as well as John Negraponte). Unfortunately for BushCo, pretty much everyone except the themselves seems to depict the elections last Sunday as having run without significant mishap. Unsurprisingly, there are widespread, credible reports that the US has threatened to withdraw aid or restrict trade should Ortega actually win. Now that his opponent has conceded defeat we will have to see whether yet another American administration will seek to impose its views on Nicaraguans. I am not entirely sympathetic to Ortega's views and policies. For example, he has supported the new, draconian anti-abortion law in the country and played nice with the right. But he won an apparently free and fair election. The Bush administration should honor that outcome. I am not sanguine. You can read reports on the lead up to the election and the outcome here and here.

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06 November 2006


When some group of human beings decide to treat another group as "the enemy," as "evil," as a threat by virtue of their very existence (meaning their race or ethnicity or heritage or language or religion) the first step typically involves dehumanization. An extreme example is slavery which, as Orlando Patterson perceptively notes, typically means powerful actors treating those whom they enslave as "socially dead." This treatment involves various symbolic and ritual actions - physical segregation, expropriation of property, special clothing or physical markings, and so forth. Once marked in this way and thereby relegated to "social death," slaves are placed outside the rules of justice and morality and, therefore, can be treated by their masters in whatever way the latter choose. Of course, this process is never complete and seamless, but it is seemingly ubiquitous - recall that in the Rwandan genocide Hutu murderers referred to the Tutsi population as "cockroaches." Clearly, there is a continuum of such treatment ranging from slavery and genocide in the extreme to cases of less systematic but nonetheless morally reprehensible and legally questionable practices such as those that various American Governments have at various times undertaken in the name of national security.
Dorothea Lange documented this pattern to great effect in a series of images of the ways Japanese-Americans were treated during WWII (otherwise known as "the good war"). These long "lost" photograpahs have been collected in a volume just published by W.W. Norton. You can read a review of the book from the New York Times here. That is where I lifted the images and captions below. The internment of Japanese-Americans in 1942 (which is when Lange made these images) involved precisely the sort of dehumanization that Patterson discusses.

A family in Hayward, California awaits an evacuation bus.

People of Japanese ancestry arriving at Tanforan Assembly Center,

a former racetrack in San Bruno, California

Horse stalls at Tanforan that were transformed into living quarters for internees.

Inside a barracks apartment at Tanforan.

The editors of the volume, Linda Gordon and Gary Y. Okihiro, are not shy about drawing parallels between the situation Lange depicts and current events. I don't think we should be bashful either. The parallels are striking in terms not just of how the administration is treating, or aspires to treat, whole categories of persons, but in terms too of how they are seeking to control information about their own activities. The fact that Lange's visual record of the internment camps simply disappeared for so long should raise suspicions, no?

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Not just me ...

So, maybe it is not just me! Here is a headline from The Guardian: "Endgame for a dictator: Saddam sentenced to hang November 6 2006: Bush hails 'milestone' amid EU doubts over death penalty, legality and timing." And here is an accompanying cartoon:

© Martin Rowson 2006 for The Guardian

05 November 2006

Is It Just me, or Is Something Fishy Going on Here?

Saddam Hussein hears his sentencing: Photo: David Furst/AFP/Getty Images

Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death for his role in the mass murder of Shia whom he deemed involved (somehow!) in an assassination attempt against him in the early 1980s. If anyone deserves that penalty he surely does. I generally oppose capital punishment and this case is sorely testing that commitment. I may discuss that perplexity at some point in the future. What I want to know now is why I find the timing of the verdict suspicious. I also generally do not buy conspiracy theories, but this coincidence - the announcing of this verdict the weekend before our elections, when it looks like nearly nothing could derail a fairly dramatic change in the partisan make-up in the US Congress - is sorely testing that commitment.

My suspicion is not completely preposterous. You may recall the Iranians seeking to manipulate the US presidential election that brought us Ronald Reagan. Do you think it wholly impossible that the Bush crowd pressured the Iraqi regime to make this announcement just now, when any glimmer of vaguely "positive" news out of Iraq has got to play to the advantage of the Republicans? Or are the Iraqis in power (al-Maliki, et. al.) simply nervous that a Republican loss might undermine US support for their regime and, given that the regime is unlikely to survive of its own accord, imperil their own political prerogatives? In that case, BushCo might not even have to drop any special hints.

In any case, will the announced death of a dictator distract the American electorate's attention from the 105 American service men and women who died in Iraq last month, or from the thousands of other senseless casualties amoung coalition forces and civilians in the war?


04 November 2006

Curiouser and Curiouser: American Views of the Rule of Law

This falls into the category of "You couldn't make this stuff up!" The CIA has argued that not only should they be allowed to torture suspects with impunity, but the tortured should not be allowed to actually say what happened or where should they ever get a day in court. Here are the juicy bits from a story in the New Yrok Times today:

"In papers filed in the case of Majid Khan, a Pakistani who is among 14 so-called “high-value detainees” recently transferred to the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, Justice Department and C.I.A. officials argued that allowing Mr. Khan to disclose details of his treatment could cause 'extremely grave damage to the national security.'"


"The court filings ... also argued that revealing the countries where the prisoners were held could undermine intelligence relationships with those governments."

So, we can spirit you away without a warrant to a secret prison god-knows-where and torture you in various ways until you cough up some "intelligence," and then, if you somehow get a court date, you and your legal counsel (what a notion!) are prohibited from raising any of the details. I leave it to you to imagine what the trial transcripts would look like.


Pinochet and Bush (2)

George Bush looks a bit agitated in this picture I lifted from The Guardian (Photograph: Larry W.Smith/EPA). I am unsure why his knickers are in a knot here, but have hopes that he will experience even greater discomfort before long. A couple of days ago I posted on the legal travails of Augisto Pinochet who now (belatedly) is under house arrest in Snatiago on charges of murder and torture. In what seemed to me at the time a moment of pure wishful thinking, I remarked that Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and various other administration officials might look to Pinochet for a preview of their own futures. Well, according to this story on-line at The Nation, Bush et. al. may discover that the future is not too far off. The story reports on efforts to use what is called "universal jurisdiction" to bring charges against administraiton official in German courts. Universal jurisdiciton "allows domestic courts to prosecute international crimes regardless of where the crime was committed, the nationality of the perpetrator or the nationality of the victim." Policies that contravene international law and, especially, that seek to render officials immune from prosecution in their home country for their actions under those policies, provide grounds for invoking it. Can you say "Military Commissions Act of 2006"?


"They died in vain."

Our local daily newspaper, The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle -refuses to print the casualty statistics from the Bush Administration's Iraq fiasco. However, City our "alternative newsweekly" does, and in this week's issue (1-7 November) reports that "2811 US soldiers, 239 Coalition soldiers, and approximately 44,803 to 49,760 Iraqi civilians have been killed in Iraq from the beginning of the war and occupation to October 26."

Writing in The Guardian, Timothy Garton Ash offers a blunt and bleak assessment of these deaths.. He argues the British and American governments have sent young men and women off to kill and die in Iraq for nothing. You can read his essay here. But here are a few of the highlights:

"To exchange tyranny for anarchy is merely to move from one circle of hell to another. ... The country is already in civil war. As foreign troops leave, that is almost certain to get worse before it perhaps - but only perhaps - gets better ..."

"An intervention that was intended to make the world safer for democracy has made the world more dangerous for all democracies." (TGA is charitable, I think, about the actual intentions of the US and British governments.)

"It's not too soon to suggest that the invasion of Iraq has proved to be the greatest strategic blunder of our time."

"Oh yes, and there's the cost. The Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has estimated that the total eventual costs of the war, "including the budgetary, social and macroeconomic costs, are likely to exceed $2 trillion" - that's $2,000,000,000,000. That would be $2,000 a head for each of the world's poorest billion people, who live (and die) on less than $1 a day."

And, unsurprisingly, The Guardian also reports that the very neoconservative ideologues who promoted the war in the first place now are engaged in mutual recriminations as they seek to pass the blame off onto someone, anyone, other than themselves. This is a shameful display.


03 November 2006

Martha Rosler: Still Bringing the War Home

During what the Vietnamese refer to as "the American war" Martha Rosler created a powerful series of photomontages called "Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful" (1967-72) in which she integrated images of war into scenes of American domesticity. Here is an example, entitled "Red Stripe Kitchen," in which American GIs seemingly search the hallway just beyond a well-appointed kitchen.

In response to our current fiasco in Iraq, Rosler has renewed the project, calling it "Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful" (New Series, 2004). Here are a couple of the her images entitled "Amputee (Election II)," "Gladiator," and "Photo-Op" respectively.

Rosler's work is included in an exhibit called "War Fare" at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. The exhibition also includes work by for other photographers - Ashley Gilbertson, Sean Hemmerle, Sarah Pickering and Sean Snyder - I am not familiar with any of them, but they seem to work within more traditional photojournalistic conventions. It is interesting to note that even the oldest of them had only just been born when Rosler was making her first series.

[All images in this post © Martha Rosler.]

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