Over at Gawker, John Cook has posted a highly entertaining video commissioned by the Pentagon in 2001 to educate its staff on protocol for handling Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Though the video gained notoriety when the Associated Press reported on it in 2004, because the government wouldn’t release it without redacted portions of allegedly copyrighted material, it has a deeply strange, noir-style conceit, presumably meant to lighten up a mundane bureaucratic topic. But the actual effect is more sinister, or at least uncomfortable, kind of like the Transportation Security Administration’s use of hashtags when it shares confiscated weapons on Instagram. And though it feels low-budget, the video reportedly cost $70,500 to produce, according to the AP report. (The origin of this particular copy of the video, which Cook gets into, bears reading.)
“FOIA is a customer service,” the video’s trench-coated pseudo–Humphrey Bogart protagonist intones, perhaps by way of explaining why the video uses the concept of diners at a restaurant to act out the transaction that takes place between FOIA requesters and the government. “May I please be allowed into the record room?” a femme fatale in a veiled red hat interjects at one point. Later, the scene inexplicably transitions to a ship, replete with canned-water sound effects. It’s not possible to embed the 23-minute-long video here, so you’ll have to head to Gawker to see the full thing. Take in the stilted dialogue, the strange transitions from elevator jazz to noir-ish piano bits. Connoisseurs of government kitsch: memorize the script and regale your friends over the weekend.
“You can’t have idols; it’s in the second commandment,” he screamed before being arrested.
The Mexican artist confronts gun violence and nuclear power through sculpture, print, performance, and video work.
Ten artists will receive studio space and access to faculty, staff, students, workshops, and programming at an arts institution in the heart of Philadelphia.
Manhattan now has its own, downscaled version of the artist’s famous Chicago sculpture, oddly squished under a luxury condo tower.
Increased oil tanker truck traffic would “seriously degrade” the experience of viewing the canyon’s Indigenous rock art, said one advocate of the site.
Join the New-York Historical Society on February 10 for a virtual conversation about our changing relationship to the natural world with Julie Decker, John Grade, and LaMont Hamilton.
Jafar Panahi was arrested last July, after he participated in protests at the notorious Evin prison.
Designed by artist Christine Egaña Navin, the items will be offered by Project Art Distribution at this weekend’s NADA Flea Market.
The French painter felt he had to rise to the challenge of one question above all things else: What exactly is it to be a modern artist?
Philipsz’s haunting sound and video artworks serve as a poignant witness to the lives and artistry of victims of the Holocaust.