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Posted inArt

How Violence Has Become Shielded by Virtual Distance

BERKELEY, California — On BlueServo, webcams are streaming live webcams stationed at potential border-crossing hotspots on the line between Texas and Mexico. Anyone in the world can go to BlueServo and guard the border virtually, 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. If a viewer was to spot suspicious activity they can report it to the local authorities, all without leaving the comfort of their keyboard. In my mind, BlueServo connected immediately to the work of NYU professor Wafaa Bilal.

Posted inArt

Postage Due: Joan Miró’s Alternative History

For a call for help, it packs a punch: an outsized yellow fist, raised in salute, all but leaps out of the blue background of Joan Miró’s color stencil “Aidez l’Espagne” (“Help Spain,” 1937). Open-mouthed, the stylized Catalan peasant who dominates the image is an emblem of strength and energy — a rooster crowing, a poet singing. In his paintings of the 1920s and 1930s, Miró achieved an unsettling power by delving into the unconscious, creating yawning expanses suggestive of colorful abysses and symbol-laden dreamscapes strewn with biomorphic forms. But in “Aidez l’Espagne,” he opted for the direct simplicity of graphic propaganda.

Posted inBooks

What Didn’t You Do in the War, Daddy? Chickenhawks and a Few Good Books

Last week Mitt Romney reached deep into the Republican bag of stock postures to attack President Obama as weak in matters of defense and foreign policy. The macho posturing by chickenhawk Republicans (Romney, Rove, Cheney, Bush, Kristol, Gingrich and many others avoided Vietnam if not military service altogether) is an all-too-familiar and, unfortunately, effective right-wing tactic.

Posted inBooks

A Global Toy Story

Do children’s toys breed a culture of violence and war? This was one of the many questions you’re left to ponder when reading Miniscule Blue Helmets on a Massive Quest by Dutch artist Pierre Derks.

Posted inOpinion

War Photography’s Lack of Originality

“What really dismays me …  is how three major organizations [TimeToronto StarNew York Times] could send out three of the best photographers in the business and, within the space of just over two weeks, proudly publish nearly the same photo-story … Is this pure coincidence? Or, does it illustrate (too well, in this case) the acumen of the Pentagon in the mediating of war access?” I want to know who are the people taking risks to document the real war? [BagNewsNotes]

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