18 December, 2010

Statement from a recent art exhibition open call submission: Aafia Siddiqui Trial Sketches

My statement from a recent art exhibition open call is reprinted below (the bulk of this text, and a link to the relevant images, can be found at my previous blog post):
I recently had the opportunity to assist with the making of a documentary film about the late artist, Mark Lombardi. Best known for his abstract drawings that depicted the scandal-ridden relationships between international figures of power, Lombardi believed that the most compelling art was based on real world events - events that sometimes remained largely unnoticed by the general public.

04 October, 2010

Aafia Siddiqui Trial Sketches

From Aafia Siddiqui Trial Sketches

The included sketches are from a series that were made during the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. On September 23, 2010, Siddiqui received a sentence of 86 years after being found guilty of numerous charges - among them, attempted murder of U.S. soldiers and federal agents.

What makes Siddiqui's case unique are the questions that still remain in light of her trial. Where was she prior to her arrest in Afghanistan in July 2008? Was she, as some have alleged, being held in a secret prison at Bagram as Prisoner #650? After all three of her children disappeared, two have turned up - where were they, and what is the fate of her third and youngest child, Suleman?

The fact that some of these questions may never be answered (without the revelation of classified information) highlights some of the shortcomings of the U.S.-led War on Terror. But more broadly, the limits of law, as an ideal of modern, constitutional liberalism, come to the fore. And it is precisely this condition of incommensurability with our ideals that I had in mind when producing these courtroom sketches.

Stylistically, these sketches intentionally differ from the rote, courtroom sketches usually made for evening-news panning. Either finished and flat, or rough, with notes on the side, they retain a resistance to a completely fleshed-out story. A deference to skepticism is maintained, paralleling that which is deserved for Siddiqui's case, as well as any other instance in which a nation proclaims "Victory" over its enemies.

(A digital piece based off of these sketches is in the works...)

17 August, 2010

Xtranormal: for the increasing need to say something, via an animated/avatar/de-humanized voice.


For example, a discussion on the gender politics intricacies of "Michfest," the annual, all-womyn music festival, and their trans- admittance policy (Created by Amita Swadhin):

Nerd Alert: Context Highlight - Awesomely Useful Add-on for Firefox

Allows you to quickly and easily highlight all instances of a word or phrase within the current page. Simply select the text you want, right click and choose "highlight"...
A good workaround for a "multiple-find word" option, provided that you can already find one instance of the word(s) you're looking for on the page.  Holding Ctrl- while selecting "Highlight Word" from the context menu allows for multiple, highlighted words, à la Google Cache.

29 June, 2010

On dump.fm


I don't think I'll ever be 100% convinced by the micro-blogging of image-macros (saturation is finite; over-saturation is finite, too), but I can still appreciate this:

...if one GIF can be a "grammatical molecule", than 100 can be a "complete sentience" and 10,000 can be a "book"...

- Ryder Ripps, in a response comment following his article, "Introducing: dump.fm" on Rhizome.org

(Btw, I'm reading "sentience" as intentional.)

Way to go Ryder!


19 April, 2010

Upon the occasion of yet again, some person I know in academia getting undue praise...

... I couldn't help but think of this classic.  From Insider Baseball, by Joan Didion (1988):

It occurred to me, in California in June and in Atlanta in July and in New Orleans in August, in the course of watching first the California primary and then the Democratic and Republican national conventions, that it had not been by accident that the people with whom I had preferred to spend time in high school had, on the whole, hung out in gas stations. They had not run for student body office. They had not gone on to Yale or Swarthmore or DePauw, nor had they even applied. They had gotten drafted, gone through basic at Fort Ord. They had knocked up girls, and married them, had begun what they called the first night of the rest of their lives with a midnight drive to Carson City and a five-dollar ceremony performed by a justice still in his pajamas.
 Later, regarding a Dukakis photo-op, baseball toss:
What we had in the tarmac arrival with ball tossing, then, was an understanding: a repeated moment witnessed by many people, all of whom believed it to be a setup and yet most of whom believed that only an outsider, only someone too “naive” to know the rules of the game, would so describe it.
So I will raise my glass once to forget those unwarrantably honored, and then I will raise it once more for all of the people in academia that have not completely succumbed to cynicism and forgotten why they are there.

Source: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1988/oct/27/insider-baseball/?page=3

11 April, 2010

Cinema 16 blurb in the New York Times

Congrats to friends Molly Surno of Cinema 16, Rachel Blackwell, and my old band Dirty Churches for making some ink in the NYT. See the original article here.

A still from Rachel's film Rituals, screened April 9th at Galapagos.

30 March, 2010

No Immunity for former AG, in Abdullah Al-Kidd v. John Ashcroft

From AllGov.com and ACLU.org:

Last Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a September 2009 ruling that Al-Kidd may go forward with his claim that Ashcroft bears responsibility for the former's wrongful detention, dismissing a petition filed by Ashcroft to have the decision reconsidered en banc.
"In March 2003, Kidd was arrested at Dulles Airport as he prepared to board a flight to Saudi Arabia to work on his doctorate in Islamic Studies."
Kidd was detained for two weeks, and then asked to live with his wife's parents in Las Vegas for 15 months.  His detention was ordered under 18 U.S.C. § 3144, commonly known as the "material witness law."  The ACLU, filing suit for the plaintiff, contends that Ashcroft implemented a distorted version of the law to pre-emptively detain Kidd (along with others) with no probable cause, rather than secure witnesses with actionable information or testimony.

26 March, 2010

13 February, 2010

A short list of Canadian bands that should've been in the Winter Olympics opening ceremony

 Instead of Flaming Lips*, we got flaming penises

Sure - the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony was impressive in terms of logistics and scale (what Olympics ceremony isn't?), but why did "Inspire the World" have to translate into "Bore me to (Ice-cube) Tears?" Why is a former new-waver, Ignatius Jones, giving us Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams?

What the ceremony did inspire me to do was compile a short list of Canadian bands (thanks to Wikipedia) that I would liked to have seen instead:

• Black Mountain
• Broken Social Scene
• Chromeo
• Crystle Castles
• Godspeed You! Black Emperor <- perhaps enough Winter Olympics dough would bring them out of hiatus...?
• Junior Boys
• King Khan (with whatever crew he chooses)
• The New Pornographers
• Skinny Puppy (can you imagine?!)
• Any of the Unicorns spin-off bands

* - I know the Flaming Lips aren't from Canada - Oklahoma has finally officially recognized them as their own - but the giant bear seemed like something right out of their concert playbook.

Black Mountain - "Wucan"

05 January, 2010

"Awesome-Blage '09" closing reception at Artjail, this Fri., Jan. 8th, from 7-10PM

The show I'm in, "Awesome-Blage '09" is having a closing reception this Friday, Jan. 8th, from 7-10PM.  With live performances by Big Game and Open Ocean.  At Artjail, 50 Eldridge St., 6th Fl., NY, NY 10002.