May 2004 Archives

Toubab or not toubab

Jean-Claude Derey's Toubab or not toubab is a powerful, remarkable, terrible novel.

Mixing the noir with the picaresque and transcending both, it tells the African story of Hondo, a 12-year-old Mauritanian camel sheppard on the run from a crime he has not committed and lovelorn for his master's daughter. Like a pre-adolescent Dante he travels through layers of hell, as he comes across organ hunters, perverse policemen, junked-out ex-child soldiers in the backstreets of Abidjan.

There is no redemption, no salvation to be found, no truth hiding under the shadows of misery and mutilation that chill the pages of the book, cutting away at any hope with the severity of a blunt machete. And yet Derey has the empathy to inject poetry and a little humor in his tale.

These days it acts as a reminder that Abu Ghraib is not only a place in geography and time but a state of mind. War spells not only Iraq but a state of being. Aggression, oppression, violence a state of politics. The result is that this slim volume packs the punch of a heavyweight, and floors you with its pain.

I couldn't find word of an English translation, but there deserves to be.


May 23, 2004 | 08:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
The only bush I trust is my own

The body as billboard - advertise for shit that matters.



May 22, 2004 | 10:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Filter: an exhibition by Barminski back in 2001.



May 22, 2004 | 10:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Lynndie England (a triptych)




May 22, 2004 | 05:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Vonnegut's cold turkey

Cold Turkey by Kurt Vonnegut:

"One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us."


May 20, 2004 | 10:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
God(s) bless the bandwidth

The project by Shilpa Gupta.


May 20, 2004 | 04:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Question #7

What does the future mean today?

May 20, 2004 | 03:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Eros&thanatos (the wall posters mix)


(On a wall in Pavia, sometime last year)

May 19, 2004 | 10:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Bush the POW pornographer

In Bush's prisoner of war porn, dr. Susan Block writes like Noam Chomsky on viagra and no date:

"And yes, it's all very disgusting and dismaying to see hooded, naked men being forced to "assume the position" in a perverse pornographic Passion Play. But is it any less disgusting and dismaying to see them bombed to bloody smithereens? Is it less disgusting to see their heads blown off, their bodies riddled with bullet holes, their arms shattered, their legs amputated, their skin burnt to a crisp? Is it any less disgusting to see their families murdered, their children pulverized, their libraries torched, their museums looted, their hospitals ruined, their homes razed, their oil stolen, their land RAPED by invaders? Everything about the Rape of Iraq-that is, the brutal, unprovoked invasion and occupation of this sovereign, ancient land--has been "disgusting." The Photos just give the ongoing horror of Bush's War a little extra "spice."

But, oh that spice. It packs such potent psychic punch. It titillates as it appalls. It's not the kind of thing that hurts your eyes like a cluster bomb victim with no arms or legs and burns all over her body, or a guy on the road whose head has been run over like a ripe melon by a U.S. tank. Bush's POW Porn is disturbing, but you can look at it. In fact, you kind of want to stare at it. Why do you think they show The Photos over and over everywhere, even on Fox?"

May 16, 2004 | 09:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Hoy soy torero (reprise)


May 15, 2004 | 01:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Fendi up your iPods

I wonder if the west african lads who do business in fake (and I use the word superficially here) designer bags along the cobbled streets of old Pavia, will ever stock this in their mobile cloth shops.


May 13, 2004 | 10:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Octofungi is a reactive robot sculpture.



May 13, 2004 | 03:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Yoruba twins

I once knew a painter that spoke like a poet who first told me about Yoruba.


(Yoruba links via)

May 12, 2004 | 10:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Question #6

Do plants mourn their dead?

May 12, 2004 | 06:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
The nuclear nightmare as dirty dream

Codenames can't get more disfunctionally freudian than this one: Back in 1953, the largest continental atom bomb test carried out by the US military was called Climax.



May 11, 2004 | 01:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
Seven lust


(Flounder's art - via)

May 08, 2004 | 04:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
augmenting art ad (a self-portrait)


(Europe, spring 2004)

May 06, 2004 | 10:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Pink doll in Picasso blue

It's late morning a couple of saturdays ago, walking through the chronological halls of the Picasso museum in Barcelona, and the place is full of people, filled with tourists walking in awe of art. The dominant sound is the muffled silence that clothes museum spaces. In particular, in the blue period section there is the weight of the blues hanging in the air like the wail of a silent harmonica.

It is there that my two-year-old daughter, sitting silent in her pushchair, discovers disruption by staging an impromptu event of performance art. She presses the arm of the pink doll she is holding (just bought from a Chinese euro-dime store) and the doll starts singing some Cantonese pop song loop. Eva Maria begins to bob her head to the metallic rhythm while lifting the doll in the air to dance.

All eyes slither off canvass and refocus on pink as smiles are dabbed across faces at cubist angles. Meaning has been changed. Laughter breaks like a beautiful ceramic hitting the floor. For a moment, the power of Pablo is swept aside by the minotaur spell of a young child.

May 05, 2004 | 02:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Abu Ghraib 2.0

The actors change, the torture remains.

May 04, 2004 | 03:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)