Fernando Botero's Abu Ghraib suite. “The suite of paintings and drawings depicting the torture of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of their American jailers in Abu Ghraib prison, will at last be exhibited in an American museum. An exhibit of 24 paintings and 23 drawings by the 74 year old Columbian master, will go on view at the Doe Library, located at the University of California, Berkeley.” More about the paintings and the trouble finding a venue in the U.S.
>  13 January 2007 | LINK | Filed in
Pedestrian Memorial. “After 19 months of installing ghost bikes for slain cyclists around New York, this is the first memorial we’ve created for a pedestrian.... We tried to come up a simple visual icon (like the white bikes), but couldn't come up with any one symbol that seemed appropriate. In Bogota, Colombia, a stenciled black star is stenciled onto the sidewalk, but that didn't seem right. Suggestions are welcome. Email us at visual.resistance at”
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The violence of European cartography and partition. Fisk charts a brief history of imperialism and conflict in Lebanon.
>  30 December 2006 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Ghost Bikes

Ghost Bike

Last week, the New York Times ran a sober photo essay on the ghost bikes that Visual Resistance and Time’s Up! have been installing around New York City since June 2005. The bikes are public interventions, a grassroots action in the spirit of graffiti memorial walls. The bikes are painted white and chained near the site where a cyclist was killed by an automobile, along with a plaque with their name and the date they were killed. Several are plotted on this map.

The bikes were inspired by a similar project in St. Louis, and have since appeared in cities across the U.S. and the U.K.

A 2005 report on bicycle fatalities from the New York City police, parks, health, and transportation departments reports that between 1996 and 2005, 225 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles. Between 1996 and 2003, 3,462 NYC bicyclists were seriously injured in crashes.While the annual number of serious injuries has decreased, deaths remained steady during the 10-year period.

The statistics show a failure of urban design and policy — 89% of crashes occurred at or near intersections, 92% of bicyclist fatalities resulted from crashes with motor vehicles — as well as the absence of personal equipment: 97% of the bicyclists who died were not wearing a helmet. 74% of the fatal crashes involved a head injury.

While it’s clear that helmets save lives, something else is broken in NYC: of the 3,964 transportation-related deaths in New York City between 1996 and 2005, only 6% were cyclists. Almost half the deaths (49%) were pedestrians.

>  5 December 2006 | LINK | Filed in , , , , , ,
Unseen America. “Hundreds of workers were given cameras and lessons in photography, and then asked to document their lives. Through this collection of black-and-white images — sometimes bleak, sometimes poignant, and always honest — the workers give voice to their stories.” Interview with the curator.
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>  15 April 2006 | LINK | Filed in
How Islamic inventors changed the world. Brief summaries of 20 influential inventions. (via)
>  13 March 2006 | LINK | Filed in ,
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A brief history of the “clenched fist” image. Fist“A persistent symbol of resistance and unity, the clenched fist (or raised fist) is part of the broader genre of ‘hand’ symbols that include the peace ‘V,’ the forward-thrust-fist, and the clasped hands. The clenched fist usually appears in full frontal display showing all fingers and is occasionally integrated with other images such as a peace symbol or tool.... Fists, in some form, were used in numerous political graphic genres, including the French and Soviet revolutions and the United States Communist Party. However, these all followed an iconographic convention. The fist was always part of something — holding a tool or other symbol, part of an arm or human figure, or shown in action (smashing, etc.). But graphic artists from the New Left changed that in 1968, with an entirely new treatment. This ‘new’ fist stood out with its stark simplicity, coupled with an popularly understood meaning of rebellion and militance.” (via)
>  3 March 2006 | LINK | Filed in

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