Archive for February, 2007

Faith47

February 25, 2007

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Faith47 is an amazing graffiti writer from South Africa. One of her projects is to go to shanty towns in South Africa and paint murals on some of the resident’s shacks. She interacts with and forms real human connections with the community. Not only does this add extra color and positivity to the impoverished environment, she often connects the pieces to current local struggles such as instances of police brutality or rape; encouraging self-empowerment and humane consciousness.

This image is of a piece she did on Intermedia Arts during the 2006 Be-Girl Be Summit. See more images on flickr.

check out her website here.

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Lady Pink

February 25, 2007

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This painting by Lady Pink is from the Be-Girl Be summit at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, 2006. As part of this “celebration of women in hip hop” female graffiti writers both local, national, and international came and painted the outside of Intermedia’s building. It’s great to see an early innovator of the art form such as Lady Pink putting out imagery that is engaged with the critical social conditions of our time. And it is some funny stuff, too! The finished mural had many beautiful pieces, by many talented women, full of strength and conscious radicalism.

check out more images on flickr.

Privatizing 1984

February 25, 2007

From Friday’s Democracy Now:

Blackwater USA Opens Intelligence Firm
The private military company Blackwater USA has announced a new venture. Total Intelligence Solutions has been founded to provide clients with CIA-like intelligence services. The company roster includes several former intelligence officials, at least two with strong Blackwater ties. The company advertises a “24/7 intelligence fusion and warning center” that will help companies respond to threats and decide where to operate. The company also promises to “monitor civil unrest, terrorism, economic stability, environmental and health concerns, and information technology security around the world.”

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Blackwater is one of the biggest private military contractors (meaning mercenaries). They have many operations in Iraq and are closely connected to the neoconservative permanent war architects. Now it seems they will be branching out into privatized, mercenary domestic surveillance including “monitoring civil unrest”- quite possibly a worrisome euphemism for legitimate anti-corporate dissent given their ideological leanings. Not only will we have the government’s illegal, secret, domestic spy programs but now also a completely unaccountable privatized fascist secret police?

more coverage from Democracy Now of Blackwater USA, their history and connections to the neo-conservatives can be found here.

check out Blackwater USA’s own website.

1984

February 23, 2007

The Surveillance Camera Players from 1998. I would bet it is much more difficult to get away with this in NYC today. As relevant as ever…

Some recent Democracy Now surveillance reporting, including the extent of surveillance during the 2004 RNC.

“We need to wake up.”

February 13, 2007

It’s not directly about art, but todays Democracy Now has some pretty chilling information on the government’s current crackdown on domestic dissent. The whole show is worth checking out but here is an excerpt of the interview with imprisoned independent journalist Josh Wolf. It is worrisome stuff for anyone trying to speak out about what is happening in this country, artist or journalist.

AMY GOODMAN: On Friday, we spoke with Josh Wolf from his jail cell in Dublin, California. I began by asking him why he’s in prison.

JOSH WOLF: I’m here for refusing to comply with a subpoena demanding that I both testify and turn over a tape of a protest that occurred on July 8, 2005.

AMY GOODMAN: Why are you refusing to comply?

JOSH WOLF: Well, there’s a number of reasons. It’s been viewed that the tape is central to the issue, but it’s also the testimony. Essentially, what the government wants me to do, as we can tell, is to identify civil dissidents who were attending this march, who were in mask and clearly did not want to be identified, but whose identities I may know some of, as their contact that I’ve been following in documenting civil dissent in the San Francisco Bay Area for some two-and-a-half years now. (more…)

Gee’s Bend Strategy

February 11, 2007

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I was looking up quilts as an example of a rich cultural tradition and came across the Gee’s Bend Freedom Quilting Bee. They became well known a few years back when they were “discovered” by a collector and a big museum show was organized. Here is the basic description from the Voices of Civil Rights website:

One cultural gift from Gee’s Bend’s civil rights work was the Freedom Quilting Bee, a rural collective that produced quilts for eastern department stores. For 30 years, the Quilting Bee provided employment for local black women who lost work when they took a stand and registered to vote. In the late 1990s, the Quilting Bee ended, for the most part; many of the key participants had either died or grown infirm.

It reminded me of something I heard recently about how a lot more troops would be deserting from the war if there were support structures in place for them and their families. A realistic assessment worth thinking about, and the Quilting Bee offers an historical example. For that matter, how do we begin organizing alternative economic structures for all of us, so that we can disengage from the economic death machine of global capitalism and the fascist police state supporting it? (more…)

“I can’t take the pressure much longer” nina simone (RIP)

February 11, 2007

an inspiration of strength in the struggle, of making art which is beautiful without turning away from the pain of the world. looking it in the face, shouting the truth, nurturing resistance…

end the war already, end the torture, end the whole effin brutal system

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cindy sheehan

February 8, 2007

It is refreshing and inspiring to see a regular person just trying to figure it all out, and speaking up along the way.

All or Nothin

February 7, 2007

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Images from the All or Nothin show at the Belfry Center in January. With the paintings I made for this show I was exploring the fusion of midwest identity and radical politics. Thinking in terms of the visual arts being one element of a vibrant culture of resistance and social change. One nice thing about putting a show up at the Belfry is that it is a multi-use space which means people see the art when they come there for all other sorts of events (music shows, pot-lucks, skill shares, etc), not just to have an “art experience.” All paintings were made on found pieces of wood.

see more images on flickr.

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inspiration: Patti Smith

February 7, 2007

Patti Smith performing after an anti-war demonstration. Listen through to the part in the middle where she starts ranting about the “greedy shitheads taking over the world” and telling people to get back in the streets. “It’s not over. It’s never over.”