July 3rd, 2006

Chris Keeley

Photojournalist Martin Adler murdered in Somalia

Photojournalist Martin Adler murdered in Somalia 

Photojournalist Martin Adler murdered in Somalia

Award-winning photojournalist Martin Adler was killed in Mogadishu this week while filming a political demonstration. He was shot at close range by a single, hooded gunman. Mr. Adler often covered conflict zones alone, filling the multiple roles roles of writer, cameraman, producer, and correspondent.

Link to Photo District News story, here's a statement by Reporters Without Borders, here's a Washington Post piece about an ongoing inquiry into the attack. Link to statement on the website of photo agency Panos Pictures, and here is a small sample of his extensive body of work, via Panos.

At left: Image shot by Mr. Adler in 1996 of internally displaced persons in Sri Lanka seeking lost relatives. Link to details.

posted by Xeni Jardin

Chris Keeley

Web zen: prefab zen

Web zen: prefab zen 

kit houses
quik house
retreat homes
modular dwellings
glide house
modular house
some assembly required

Web Zen Home, Store (Thanks Frank!)

Reader comments: Lisa says,

don't forget the beautiful flatpak houses, which, like many houses in this group, focus on green and clean construction.
someone says,
Dont' forget sheds! the sheddie reach enlightenment in their own hand crafted temples. Link.


posted by Xeni Jardin

Chris Keeley

Sloth, not Monkey! That's a sloth, not a monkey

What did Brazil look like in 1822?

Brazil in 1822: people walked around with monkeys sloths on their shoulders (why is the monkey sloth holding a stick in his mouth like that?) and kids ran around squirting some kind of liquid on well-dressed women carrying overloaded fruit baskets on their head (what kind of fluid and why did they squirt it?). See more engravings from the same series at the always-wonderful BibliOdyssey. Link

Reader comments: Jackson Pritt says:

Sloth, not Monkey! That's a sloth, not a monkey. Also the stick appears to be a truss being used to keep the sloth from clawing the man carrying. Given the way the other animals are presented in that engraving it seems pretty apparent that they're taking exotic animals to market for slaughter.
Bernardo Carvalho says:
The liquid the kid is squirting is water, and the tube is called a 'bisnaga'. It was a common carnival prank until the early 20th century. This PDF talks a little bit about it on the first paragraph, also about the works of Jean Baptiste Debret.

Grant Berger says:

These pictures are actually examples of traveler artists whose commissions from colonial governments sent them to Latin America in order to produce elaborate pictures depicting native life, flora, and fauna. Obviously, these were made before the advent of photography, and were the only way the colony's mother government would see the place. Most western stereotypes are derived from these paintings.

William Silva says:

The fluid is perfumed water, squirted for fun, in the carnival.

Axt von Feld says:

Well Jackson, you are right, that is a sloth in a truss. Those slim arms end with three very sharp, branch grasping talons (ouch!) hence the name ‘three toed sloth’.

But the part about taking them for slaughter, I must disagree. The others are carrying exotic birds and butterflies, which were probably be sold as specimens. The print’s description “Le retour des nègres d'un naturaliste” (The return of a naturalist’s negroes) also corroborates that.

It wouldn’t be kept alive if it were to be slaughtered.

About the other print: The well dressed woman is carrying various fruits in her basket, the only ones I can discern are a pumpkin and a pineapple (BTW not a Hawaiian fruit, it was discovered in Brazil). Her fancy clothing is part of a early “carnival” scene, take a look at the other figures, they are all masqueraded or painted! The kid is squirting a “bisnaga” which was probably full of scented water, a typical 1820´s Brazilian carnaval prank. For a fascinating discovery of Imperial Brazil, please take a (very pleasant) read at Patrick Wilcken's Empire Adrift, about the mind boggling escapade of the whole of Portugal royalty to Brazil (my beloved country), driven from Europe by Napoleon’s army in the 1808.

Irene Delse says:

Here's the translation from French in the pictures shown in that entry:

1) "Negro hunters coming back to town. A naturalist's Negros return."

The hunters are in fact the black servants of a naturalist bringing him rare animals and plants (birds, lizards, butterflies, a sloth...) to be studied and preserved or sometimes, like the sloth, kept alive in menageries.

2) "Scenes from the carnival" (above) "Cobblers. A seller of Atacaça" (below)

It's carnaval or mardi-gras. The prettily-dressed woman is selling fruit to the revellers (see the basket on her head). A man is caressing her face and taking off her mantle. The child squirting a liquid (probably water?) is playing tricks at the adults. Note that everybody has the face partly painted in yellow or white or is wearing a mask.

Chris Keeley

Selected Works by Wangechi Mutu

In her series Histology of the Different Classes of Uterine Tumour, Wangechi Mutu uses 19th century medical diagrams as a basis for invented portraiture. The original illustrations, symbolic of colonial power, suggest a wide range of cultural pre-conceptions: from the 'superiority' of European 'knowledge' to the classification of nature (and consequently race) into genealogical hierarchies. In Uterine Tumor, Mutu challenges these imposed values, using physical disease as a metaphor for social corruption.

The Saatchi Gallery: Collage of Wangechi Mutu


Wangechi Mutu, Tumours of the Uterus

Wangechi Mutu uses collage as a means of both physically and conceptually bringing layered depth to her work. Using images cut from fashion magazines, National Geographic, and books about African art, Mutu pieces together figures which are both elegant and perverse. Individual body parts comprised of found 'objects' are made to seem like odd prosthetics glued over torsos and limbs drawn in ink. In Untitled, Mutu's surface uses these conflicting textures to draw a wide range of connotations: from glamour models, to dyed fabrics, diseased skin, and science fiction special effects. Her goddess-like figure becomes an embodiment of the disjointed facets of modern Africa, caught in the flux of Western preconception, internal turmoil, ancient tradition, and blossoming future. 

Wangechi Mutu, Uterine Catarrh       The Saatchi Gallery
Chris Keeley

Shepard Fairey (aka Obey Giant

Shepard Fairey at Galerie Magda Danysz in Paris


Shepard Fairey - Obey

Shepard Fairey - Obey Shepard Fairey (aka Obey Giant)... Untitled (2006, collage and stencil). From Shepard Fairey - Obey, a show of solo works by Shepard Fairey at Galerie Magda Danysz in Paris. "...The visual codes used by Shepard Fairey, aka Obey Giant, are worthy of those of Stalinist propaganda, but here they highlight the mechanisms of advertising propaganda which invade public space. Currently based in Los Angeles, Fairey's rising success has helped transform his once homemade Xerox style into lush multi-colored screen prints."
Chris Keeley

Mr. Perrino was still alive as they prepared to dispose of the body and had jammed an ice pick into

Bonanno turncoat, who said a member of the clean-up crew had noticed that Mr. Perrino was still alive as they prepared to dispose of the body and had jammed an ice pick into his head

Associated Press

The body of the Bonanno boss, Carmine Galante, cigar still in place, in a Brooklyn garden July 12, 1979.

Mob Family's Undoing, a Turncoat at a Time

For Baldassare Amato, a Sicilian immigrant who came to this country more than 30 years ago, traditions seem to die hard. But they are dying nonetheless.

Over the last five weeks, Mr. Amato, a slender, hard-eyed 54-year-old, has listened intently in Federal District Court in Brooklyn as prosecutors and Mafia turncoats have told stories of gangland murder in rich detail, stories that could land Mr. Amato in prison for life.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

not the desire for sex, which the movie regards as relatively unimportant, but for power and for ver

“The Devil Wears Prada.”
Issue of 2006-07-10 and 17
Posted 2006-07-03

In “The Devil Wears Prada,” Meryl Streep, as the invincible New York fashion editor Miranda Priestly, never raises her voice. To snarl or shout would imply that some resistance to her authority exists, and none does. In the most matter-of-fact way, Miranda has reduced her staff to a state of hyperventilating fear. At the offices of the thick fashion monthly Runway, the perpendicular girls in John Galliano and heels race through the corridors like cranes on point; one girl, running across the street on a meaningless errand, gets knocked down by a car. Despite these desperate efforts, Miranda insists that she’s a victim of universal lethargy. Day after day, she’s perplexed by the ineptitude of the staff. Lowering her chin slightly, Streep stares at the young women who work for her until their knees knock; she speaks in petulant fragments, leaving out the information that they need, then dismisses the baffled employees with a flutter of her wrists. Streep, a brilliant comedienne, pushes the terror tactics into satire, but the comedy moves in a shrewd direction: Streep’s every gesture says that fashion is a multibillion-dollar business in which civility (except when directed at the famous) has become a disposable luxury. Miranda is a calculating monster—she has excised any remaining trace of softness from her temperament—but she understands her role in fashion so acutely that you can’t make fun of her. In all, this has to be the most devastating boss-lady performance in the history of cinema. By comparison, Faye Dunaway’s hysterics in “Network” come off as amusing freak-outs, and Sigourney Weaver in “Working Girl” is a coarse, leather-lunged shouter.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

The atomic bomb? But who are you? Tell me your name

Issue of 2006-07-10 and 17
Posted 2006-07-03

Although the complete text of Solzhenitsyn’s first full-length novel, “The First Circle,” has been published in Russia, the only version available in English so far is an abbreviated text that Solzhenitsyn “lightened” in the vain hope of getting it past Soviet censors. The “lightened” version opens in December, 1949, as Innokentii Volodin, a Soviet diplomat, tries to caution a doctor he knows against sharing an experimental drug with Westerners. In Solzhenitsyn’s original opening, which follows in its first English translation, Volodin has learned that a Soviet spy in New York is about to be given classified information on atomic-bomb technology. An insider, no longer able to deny that he operates within a totalitarian regime, Volodin faces a moral dilemma: should he warn the U.S. Ambassador?


The filigreed hands pointed to five minutes past four.

The bronze of the clock was lustreless in the dying light of a December day.

A tall window looked down on bustling Kuznetsky Most. Maintenance workers trudged doggedly to and fro, scraping up the fresh snow that was already caking and turning brown under the feet of pedestrians.

State Counsellor Grade Two Innokentii Volodin surveyed all this unseeingly, lolling against the embrasure and whistling something drawn-out and elusive. His fingertips flipped through the pages of a glossy foreign magazine, but he had no eyes for it.

Volodin State Counsellor Grade Two—the diplomatic-service equivalent of lieutenant colonel—was tall and narrow-shouldered, and wore a suit made of a silky material instead of his uniform; he looked more like a well-off young drone than an official of some importance in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Collapse )