Weekend

Required Reading

This week, the rich are hoarding, feminist performance art responds to rape, the story behind one of the most famous game show jingles, and more.

This photography by Ingo Arndt of Germany won a top prize at the 2019 Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest, and you can see the other images over at Colossal. (via Colossal)

It’s noteworthy, if not entirely surprising, that it took a new genre to open up conversations about rape. Performance offered a form that was immediate, fleeting, and intangible, which allowed for emotions, experimentation, and mistakes in an enterprise that surely felt and was risky. It created a safe space in which artists and others could speak freely, and it provided an audience, whose members became witnesses to the trauma. Fryd sees an even deeper connection, citing the scholars Peggy Phelan and Sophie Anne Oliver, who argue that because of its ephemeral nature, “performance ‘is always an enactment of loss, of the impossibility of retrieving the past.’” Performance could emulate the conditions and effects of sexual trauma, but maybe also help to heal it.

“I believed that my company was on my side,” she said. But the investigation showed her that the company was more interested in protecting itself and its male managers than protecting her from assault. Making matters worse, as one of Dahlquist’s direct reports, Passeri was still required to submit her “call sheets” to him, which gave him access to daily information about her whereabouts. Her anxiety, and sense of vulnerability, “kicked into full gear.”

  • The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 killed many millions more than World War I but few artists took it on as a subject. Allison Meier takes a look:

Despite the ravages on the global population by the Spanish flu – so called not because of its origins but due to Spain’s neutrality in the war, allowing for free reporting on its spread – there are few cultural expressions that tackle this loss. There are countless memorials to the dead of World War I, but more perished in this pandemic. As Laura Spinney wrote in the 2017 ‘Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World’, there “is no cenotaph, no monument in London, Moscow, or Washington, DC. The Spanish flu is remembered personally, not collectively”.

Earlier this year, a group of Kickstarter employees publicly pressed to form a union, calling for a larger say in the company’s operations. They were spurred to action after controversy over a Kickstarter campaign for a satirical comic book filled with images of people punching Nazis.

Kickstarter pushed back against the union, and as the effort dragged on, two of the organizers were dismissed last month in what they say was retaliation.

Kickstarter maintains it is not anti-labor, and has repeatedly said the firings had nothing to do with the union drive. It said the two workers were let go because of performance issues unrelated to their union organizing.

America has a social mobility problem. Children born in 1940 had a 90% chance of earning more than their parents. For children born in 1984, the odds were 50-50.

Most accounts of this trend focus on the breakdown of upward mobility: It’s getting harder for the poor to become rich. But equally important is the decline of downward mobility: The rich, regardless of their intelligence, are becoming more likely to stay that way.

One might be tempted to think that those crimes have now become undeniable history, but Bosnians learned the hard way that “Never again!” usually means “Never again, until the next time!” We often run into people who don’t know, don’t care to know, think it is too complicated or outright deny what happened in Bosnia and whose responsibility it was.

Any survivor of genocide will tell you that disbelieving or dismissing their experience is a continuation of genocide. A genocide denier is an apologist for the next genocide. As for Mr. Handke, The Irish Times reported, “When critics pointed out that the victims’ corpses provided evidence of Serb atrocities, the writer replied: ‘You can stick your corpses up your ass!’”

The months-long protests in Hong Kong have also been studied in Indonesia by students who took to the streets to oppose new laws, and Extinction Rebellion climate activists in the UK, but it is the Catalonia protests that appear to be most directly inspired by the Hong Kong playbook. For weeks, Catalan activists have examined the techniques of Hong Kong’s protesters closely, taking notes on what works and what might be successfully replicated in Catalonia. In late September, the grassroots group Assemblea Nacional Catalana even held a public forum titled,  “Experiences of the use of new technologies in the nonviolent struggle: the case of Hong Kong.”

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning ET, and is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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