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Archive for the ‘The News’ Category

Sounds carry historical and political significance, even when they are intended as pure entertainment. Alternative meanings shimmer just beneath the surface as accepted meanings—safer meanings—give way to the attentive listener. Consider the sound of fireworks. According to Wikipedia, fireworks “were originally invented in ancient China in the 12th century to scare away evil spirits, as a natural extension of the Chinese invention of gunpowder.”

In the twenty-first century, fireworks and other forms of explosive entertainment continue to fulfill their ancient mandate to scare away “evil spirits.” When we pack a blanket and join our family and friends on the beach to experience the fireworks, we banish loneliness, depression and tiredness, as well as our anxieties about the economy, our worries about the country’s values and the concerns we have about the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (more…)

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camouflage-46_liu-bolinI am reminded that what we “know” from day to day is truly known only through a glass darkly. Despite the digital information revolution and the development of more forms of information delivery than we can shake a stick at, we are no more enlightened by what we read and watch today than we were when life and ideas moved at a slower pace. In fact, we may understand less. If there is an art to journalism (and I do believe there is) it is in probing more deeply into the stories and “facts” made available to us through live feeds, blogs, cell phones, digital images and audio recordings; then turning that informative into a coherent whole that we can use for better decision making and action. Information, without thoughtful interpretation, is worse than no information at all. We might as well get our news over our neighbor’s backyard fence.

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Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century"  by Donna HarawayIf I were writing a blog about Brad Pitt or David Archuleta (America’s former Really Cute American Idol), instead of a blog about political and intellectual territories re-envisioned through art practice, I would never mention Barack Obama. The sexiest man alive (meaning Pitt rather than Obama, though a strong case could be made for Obama rather than Pitt), might share with us the fastest way to lose ten pounds so I can outrun the tax collector in 2009, though President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama (Say it loud! Say it proud!) promises a refund and a tax cut since the economy’s wheels have come off, and who has money to pay taxes anyway? Certainly not me.

After referring to the news of a remarkable honeyed bandage curing one man’s rotting limb, I might launch into expletives about Bernie Madoff ponziing his way through a million-trillion-gazillion dollars while eating caviar and having his nails done. If my blog were not about art practices as they are affected by the constant re-drawing of geopolitical, socio-political and socio-economic states, I might report on the increasing number of cyborgs in our midst. They walk among us, blatantly, with their machine parts indistinguishable from their meat parts: pacemakers coupled to hearts, dental implants screwed and glued into jaws, injected “smart tags” barely visible under real or synthetic skin over a computerized titanium leg provided by the US government for your service in Iraq. (more…)

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