December 2008

No Spin Zone. Free the Truth in Gaza“Mr Dromi [a former government press adviser and air force colonel] admitted that the administration will struggle to win hearts and minds if footage of those suffering in Gaza continues to be shown. ‘When you have a Palestinian kid facing an Israeli tank, how do you explain that the tank is actually David and the kid is Goliath? That is why the television kills us.’” Not only has the Israeli government barred journalists from entering Gaza, they also bombed the local TV station on second day of the assault.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Consulate in New York yesterday held a “citizen’s press conference” on its new Twitter channel and blog, while the IDF’s new YouTube channel is going strong.

Update January 13, 2009: Hamas has launched its own YouTube equivalent and Al Jazeera has made its latest video from Gaza freely available at broadcast quality under a Creative Commons license.
>  31 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,
Feed the World. Pictures of Starving People“In 1986, the anarchist band Chumbawamba released the album Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records, as well as an EP entitled "We Are the World", jointly recorded with US band A State of Mind, both of which were intended as anti-capitalist critiques of the Band Aid/Live Aid phenomenon. They argued that the record was primarily a cosmetic spectacle, designed to draw attention away from the real political causes of world hunger.”
>  27 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Use as Directed

Youth holds posters depicting a gun in front of riot police deployed in front of Greek Parliament late December 9, 2008 during a peaceful demonstration following the death of a 15years-old boy shot by a policeman.
December 9, 2008. AFP/Getty Images. Protestors in front of the Greek Parliament building.

Looking at some of the striking photos of the December protests in Athens, I noted a couple of images a week apart with this poster of a gun turned on its owner.

Students shout at riot police outside the police headquarters during a demonstration in Athens on December 15, 2008.
December 15, 2008. Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images. Students outside the police headquarters.

December 9, 2008. John Kolesidis / Reuters. Vigil in front of the Greek Parliament building.

It’s an iconic image, but I think it takes on a different meaning in an oppositional context vs a memorial. Regardless, while trying to find out more about its source I instead found this mixed collection of 41 posters by Greek designers in response to the riots.

More Greek posters

>  23 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in
Commodify Your Dissent, 3. ShoeScrew the Flash game, since a pair was hurled at President George W. Bush the Model 271 shoe is flying off the shelf. “Baydan Ayakkabicilik San. & Tic. has received orders for 300,000 pairs of the shoes since the attack, more than four times the number his company sold each year since the model was introduced in 1999.... ‘Model 271’ is exported to markets including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Egypt. Customers in Iraq ordered 120,000 pairs this week and some Iraqis offered to set up distribution companies for the shoe, Baydan said.” More on The NY Times.
>  20 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

Code is Wall

Place de Concorde

In the Concorde station of the Paris Métro, the tunnel for line 12 is decorated with tiles spelling out the text of the Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, a foundational document of the French Revolution. See more photos on Flickr or this panorama.

Place de Concorde

This works in so many ways: as a beautiful display of public typography; as a visualization of the correspondence between human rights and public transit, between policy and infrastructure, between theory, practice, and everyday life. In its deadpan presentation, there’s also something of a memorial to it which seems appropriate given its proximity to Place de la Concorde, previously Place de la Révolution, the site of the guillotine.

Not to mention a passing resemblance to The Matrix.

Place de Concorde, Matrix

>  20 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in , , , , This brief but clever social-networky video web site published by Queensland Transport in Australia is really an anti-speeding campaign. The twist is sudden and unexpected.
>  19 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in , What will happen to investigative journalism when news is free and the old newsprint conglomerates have evaporated? is one interesting, simple trial in “citizen-funded community journalism:” 1. People submit tips. 2. Journalists pitch stories based on the tips. 3. Community members share the cost of reporting with micro-donations. 4. Spot.Us will work with local news organizations to publish the story in as many places as possible, or will give exclusive rights to a news organization that is willing to reimburse the original donors. The pilot is focused on the San Francisco Bay Area, but it could be easily adapted to other areas.
>  17 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in
Little by Little, Silkscreened. The kickass team at the Groundswell Collective took my little poster sketch, made a silkscreen and printed up a couple of T-shirts and hoodies. (With silver ink, no less.) Very cool!
Little by Little, Hoodie
>  13 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in , ,

New York City Area

New York City Income DoughnutI’m sure I’ve heard this term in passing, but today in a meeting with a foundation that’s historically focused on grassroots groups in New York City it really hit home how gentrification is pushing people to further strata of the urban donut. In the selection of its cover graphic, the organization chose to zoom out, widen the map and refer not to “New York City,” but the “New York City Area.”

The org, it seems, is increasingly working with people who can’t afford to actually live in the City, but who still work or organize there — people living in northeastern New Jersey, north of the Bronx or east of Queens.

It sounds a bit like “Bay Area” vs “San Francisco.” Something larger than the property lines of the five boroughs but smaller than the tri-state region or New York metropolitan area.

>  10 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in ,
A Visual Guide to the Financial Crisis. Clever flow-chart of recent events leading to the housing bubble and financial market collapse punctuated with some choice, embarrassing quotes from the heads of state. It doesn't go into deregulation, predatory lending or other deeper roots, but does a good job with the immediate cause and effect.
A Visual Guide to the Financial Crisis
>  5 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in ,
Whatever Happened to "A Day Without Art?". What began on December 1, 1989 as an annual day of action and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis seems to have mostly vanished today. Whatever happened to a day without weblogs?
Day Without Art
>  1 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in , ,

On to January.
Back to November.