Archive for the ‘art and culture’ Category


February 4, 2008


January 30, 2008

The Department of Homeland Security has hired the services of the PR firm Sedatem, Cheatham, and Hyde to help people understand the War on Terror.
PR Duo Trish Sedatem and Clyde Hyde sing about America’s very capable military history, with accordion backup from Klyftan van Qlyvdn.

Under the Table, Brooklyn’s own Physical Comedy Ensemble…
(from “Fever Pitch,” 2003…

the zeitgeist

January 25, 2008

Documentary on artist Brian Alfred:

video by Brian Alfred:


Over the Horizon Radar

the wonder of being alive

January 10, 2008

video of an art installation by Os Gemeos

local culture

January 4, 2008

Brother Ali – Take Me Home

america’s next top republican

December 20, 2007

paths of victory: PAUL CHAN

December 3, 2007

The whole article by Holland Carter in the New York Times is well worth reading and there are images of the work, too:

The performances, by the Classical Theater of Harlem, took place outdoors in parts of the city particularly hard hit by Hurricane Katrina and slow to recover. In the Gentilly section, a gutted, storm-ruined house was used as a set. In the Lower Ninth Ward, where one of the largest black neighborhoods in a mostly black city was all but erased by roof-high water surging through a levee, the intersection of two once-busy streets was the stage.

The streets are empty now, lined with bare lots. A few trees and houses stand far off. Reclamation work by returning homeowners and volunteers is under way. But some residents live in cramped trailers supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, here widely despised for its inefficiency. Under the circumstances, Beckett’s words sounded less like an existentialist cri de coeur than like a terse topographic description.

The “Godot” performances were not isolated theatrical events. They were part of a larger project conceived by the New York artist Paul Chan, 34, who is well known to the international art world for his video animations of paradises embattled and lost, and to law enforcement officials for his activist politics.

A board propped against a ruined church carries a hand-painted text: “Can these bones live? Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and ye shall live.” The words, evoking an apocalyptic future, are from Ezekiel.

Sometime in October, new words began to appear. Printed on small cardboard signs, they consisted of the same three phrases: “A country road. A tree. Evening.” — an exact quotation of Beckett’s scene-setting for “Godot.”

The signs were designed by Mr. Chan and posted all over the city, in a distribution pattern that had a rhythm of surprise. Drive through a “good” neighborhood or a “bad” neighborhood and you’d spot one. At a traffic light, another one. On the boarded window of an abandoned shopping mall, another.

After a while the signs came to feel like a shared secret, or some bounteous but anonymous civic gift, the way Keith Haring’s subway paintings felt in New York in the early 1980s. They added up to a visual network, art as a connective tissue for a torn-apart town.

In 2004 he was arrested after taking part in a demonstration at the Republican National Convention in New York. But, as is often the case, his political activity was twofold: in the street and in the studio, where as part of a collective called Friends of William Blake he designed a free New York map for protesters, pinpointing convention events, delegates’ hotels and public toilets.

More recently he has created gorgeous, shadowlike film projections of an everyday world in gravitational crisis — one was in the last Whitney Biennial — with bodies pulled down and objects floating away. At the same time he finished a filmed interview, broken by intervals of abstract color and light, with the civil liberties lawyer Lynne Stewart, who was convicted of passing information from an imprisoned client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, to terrorists.

Since the only promotion had been the stealth advertising of Mr. Chan’s cryptic signs, there was no guarantee of an audience. But The Times-Picayune gave the event significant coverage, and thousands of people turned up for the performances over two November weekends. (A fifth was added to meet the demand.) At each, a gumbo dinner was served and the audience was brought into the seating area by second-line jazz bands.

we are in a moment of danger

December 1, 2007


Naomi Wolf talking about the bush administration’s following of the fascist blueprint. We’ve been through all the steps except the final crackdown.

Naomi interviewed on Democracy Now!:

PATHS OF VICTORY / against the culture of war

November 24, 2007

We are living in fascist times. The time is long passed to be polite enough in the debate to not use that word. If we are going to pull ourselves back from the brink, we must talk about it openly. The major systems of our society- economic, political, legal, educational, cultural- are corrupted and broken. While our society as a whole seems to stumble along with business as usual, it stumbles on the brink of collapse. One more stress or crisis could collapse the whole thing. The groundwork is being laid so that when such a crisis occurs the structure of society can be fully shifted into a corporate police state.

With all of the anti-democratic, totalitarian, fascist legislation passed in such a deceptive and heavy-handed way in the past few years (Patriot Act, Clear Skies, No Child Left Behind, Military Commissions Act, secret domestic surveillance, etc…) it is impossible to imagine these people don’t fully understand the path they are taking us down. It is their intention to consolidate their police state economic power over all of us in the world’s greatest scam. A corporatist system to enforce the dictates of global capitalism and dehumanized consumerism.

It has been a long road that is leading us towards this dystopic endpoint, but the rich variety of alternatives that have coexisted with the road are not yet extinguished. It is not too late to actualize the ideals of a shared, healthy, humane community. How do we take the power of determining our reality away from the fascists and decide for ourselves, as a community, what we want and how we will go about it? How do we come together as a society to actualize such a vision- preferably before the next disaster strikes? And, yes, what role does ART play in this struggle?


When times are as abusive and threatening as these, we owe it to our society -we owe it to ourselves- to not deny the social/cultural role of art as being engaged with its times. We must seek to have our art function as a facet of resistance to this mass-lobotomizing of consciousness, this mass-dehumanizing of the soul.

Immersion in the mainstream culture’s all-pervasive refusal to take seriously the idea that anything can change leads to immense disempowerment. Combine this with a heavy dose of militarism, the capitalist ideal of everything being bought and sold, and a society structured on relationships of domination and submission. This all adds up to a hopeless acceptance of the status-quo. If the majority of the population in the Unioted States are not ignorant of the reality we face, but rather feel hopeless to stop it; then we must conceptualize the art we create as one aspect of a liberatory culture. A culture of empowerment and nonhierarchal social relations counterposed to the culture of disempowerment and fascism. A culture where “all the bullshit” is unacceptable. Where the fabric of our daily lives encourages us not to submit to being lied to and manipulated, used and spied upon. The creation of this liberatory culture (the seeds of it already exist in various forms and subcultures) is a necessary step for the nurturing of a mass movement strong enough and large enough to stand up to these fascists. A movement to come together and assert the peoples’ right to govern their reality.

I am not proposing that there is one particular form of “political art” or “street art” or “mass art” that will lead the way to a revolution against the status quo. I am proposing that we must see the work we create- in all its many forms and different strategies- as working together. As different facets of a larger cultural whole rather than ghettoized and alienated subcultures. Our goal should be to further expand and nurture the sentiments which so many already feel and feel powerless in the face of. Engaging the larger population with respect as equals.

selected references:

* The Center for Constitutional Rights has some important information about the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This is the latest piece of legislation laying the groundwork for a full police state. Those involved in writing the legislation have specifically singled out ant-globalization activists, leftists, and anarchists as potential terrorist allies.

* Fox News propaganda working to normalize the idea that dissenters should be beaten and brutalized.

* Vandana Shiva speaking about seed saving, localized agriculture, localized culture and many other interconnected topics around the dehumanization of global capitalism:

* Naomi Klein’s website with resources and information on disaster capitalism and the shock doctrine.

* Lucy Lippard writing about the state of art and politics at the beginning of the 80s:

I hope we’re not just doomed to follow the bouncing ball through endless cycles of romanticism/classicism, subjective/objective, feeling/intellect, etc. If the 60s proved that commitment didn’t work, the 70s proved that lack of commitment didn’t work either. The 80s decade is coming into a legacy of anxiety, of barely articulated challenges to boringly predictable mainstream art. It is going to have to restore the collective responsibility of the artist and create a new kind of community within, not apart from, the rest of the world. The danger on all esthetic fronts is the kind of factionalism that already divides the politicized minority within the art world. Too many of us spend our time attacking everyone else’s attempts at relevance while paranoically guarding our own suburban territories. There is an appaling tendency to insist on the need for theoretical understanding of the artists position in a capitalist society and simultaneously to destroy by “logic” every solution offered.


October 31, 2007


found on the Liberator’s blog.