Monday, December 15, 2008

Schools for Peace

(Origami cranes at the Children's Peace Monument in Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. These paper cranes, symbolizing a desire for peace, are sent in by children from all over the world).

The School for Peace
The School for Peace is an educational institution offering Jewish-Arab encounter programs. They hope to promote better understanding through broad, in-depth examination of the nature of relations between Arabs and Jews. The School for Peace was established at Neve Shalom / Wahat al Salam as part of the village’s effort to bring about a more just and egalitarian relationship between Arabs and Jews.

International School for Peace Studies

School of Peace and Conflict Management

School of Peace (from the Presbyterian Record; September 1, 2006):
"Religious leaders in Asia are hoping a 'School of Peace' will help young activists from different religions spread a message of harmony and tolerance. 'This program has opened my eyes. Earlier, I thought my religion was the best,' said Elizarni Jaffar, a Muslim from Indonesia's Aceh province, at the end of the three month program. 'Now I realize that faith is precious to each one. If we need peace, we have to respect one another,' added Jaffar, who works with an action group in Aceh called Beujroh (Be Better). He was one of 16 Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist youth from conflict zones throughout Asia who took part in the program, in India, that lasted from February to May.

School of Peace
The School of Peace, jointly organized by the Asian Pacific Alliance of YMCAs, Christian Conference of Asia, Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst and Visthar is a three-month course based at Visthar, Bangalore.

Village of Peace Orphanage
In 2005, PAMASOR completed construction of the Village of Peace Orphanage in Kigali, which houses 75 children in mixed-age, independent family units. In addition to building a new primary school for area children, the orphanage raises cattle and rabbits that provide fresh milk and meat, respectively, and produce enough surplus that milk from the cattle and offspring of the rabbits can be sold to raise additional income for the orphanage. Additionally, the organization worked with the Kigali Institute of Technology (KIST) to develop a BioGaz system that uses the waste from the cows to provide gas for cooking. The gas is pumped directly from the storage tanks to the kitchens and presents a steady supply of fuel. The orphanage also maintains small vegetable gardens to supplement the children’s diet.

Peace Matunda Orphanage - Tanzania

Peace Child Orphanage - Pokhara, Nepal

India Peace Charitable Trust Orphanage

Peace Child International
Founded in 1981, PCI is one of the largest networks of youth-led organisations in consultative status with the United Nations. First famous for bringing the first Soviet Youth to the USA on a youth exchange to perform the musical, Peace Child, it has grown to unite 1,500+ affiliate groups and networks in over 180 countries. PCI’s mission is to empower young people to address the most pressing global challenges they are going to have to address in their lifetimes – climate change, peace, human rights, making poverty history and achieving sustainable prosperity for the entire human family.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

War Crimes?

This past Friday, a bipartisan Senate report named Secretary Rumsfeld and other top officials directly responsible for sanctioning torture (see the article below). Now, rumors are that Bush will pardon Rumsfeld and others for these abuses. Amnesty International is advocating for a letter-writing campaign to local newspapers protesting any possible pardon of accused war criminals. Click here to learn more about the campaign and how you can easily write a letter that will bring awareness of the issue to your local community.

Report on Detainee Abuse Blames Top Bush Officials
(Washington Post: December 12, 2008)
by Joby Warrick and Karen DeYoung
For the full article, click here. Here are some excerpts:

A bipartisan panel of senators has concluded that former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials bear direct responsibility for the harsh treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and that their decisions led to more serious abuses in Iraq and elsewhere.

In the most comprehensive critique by Congress of the military's interrogation practices, the Senate Armed Services Committee issued a report yesterday that accuses Rumsfeld and his deputies of being the authors and chief promoters of harsh interrogation policies that disgraced the nation and undermined U.S. security. The report, released by Sens. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), contends that Pentagon officials later tried to create a false impression that the policies were unrelated to acts of detainee abuse committed by members of the military.

The full report was unanimously approved by the committee late last month and sent to the Pentagon with no dissenting views, Levin said in an interview. Although much of the information has previously been made public, there are references to still-classified memos, including an Aug. 1, 2002, report to the CIA by then-Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee, who headed the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, evaluating the legality of specific interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.

Levin acknowledged that most of the senior officials named in the report have left government or soon will. "But I would hope that the new administration, as well as the Defense Department . . . would look for ways, where appropriate, to hold people accountable," he said.

In July 2002, Rumsfeld's senior staff began compiling information about techniques used in military survival schools to simulate conditions that U.S. airmen might face if captured by an enemy that did not follow the Geneva Conventions. Those techniques -- borrowed from a training program known as Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, or SERE -- included waterboarding, or simulated drowning, and were loosely based on methods adopted by Chinese communists to coerce propaganda confessions from captured U.S. soldiers during the Korean War.

The SERE program became the template for interrogation methods that were ultimately approved by Rumsfeld himself. In the field, U.S. military interrogators used the techniques with little oversight and frequently abusive results, the panel found.

"It is particularly troubling that senior officials approved the use of interrogation techniques that were originally designed to simulate abusive tactics used by our enemies against our own soldiers," the report said, "and that were modeled, in part, on tactics used by the Communist Chinese to elicit false confessions from U.S. military personnel."

Human rights and constitutional law organizations have urged further action, ranging from an independent commission to prosecutions of those involved in authorizing the interrogations. Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has helped defend detainees at Guantanamo, said the committee report is valuable because "it's official, it's bipartisan."

"It's open and explicit, going right to Rumsfeld and having Rice involved," Ratner said. "It breaks new ground in saying that the SERE techniques basically don't work . . . that they're actually designed to elicit false confessions."

Our note:

As the Bush administration scrambles to push through numerous measures before January, the pressure is on Obama to work to restore confidence in the US government and military. In September, Feingold chaired a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee entitled “Restoring the Rule of Law.” The hearing featured testimony and recommendations from about forty historians, law professors and advocacy organizations, including the head of President-elect Obama’s transition team, John Podesta. Feingold provided a copy of the written record of the hearing to the President-elect.

The recommendations include:
Closing the facility at Guantanamo Bay – a step Obama has supported;
Banning torture and establishing a single, government-wide standard of humane detainee treatment;
Conducting a comprehensive review of Office of Legal Counsel opinions and repudiating or revising those that overstate executive authority;
Supporting significant legislative changes to the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act;
Cooperating with congressional oversight, including providing full information to intelligence committees;
Establishing presumptions of openness and disclosure in making decisions on the classification of information and responding to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Feingold's open letter to Obama can be found here .

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Music as Weapon

A recent leak revealed that music is being used to "soften up" detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo, often bringing them to the point of trying to commit suicide or mental insanity. The news continues to paint an even uglier portrait of the US military and only adds to the mounting cases of war crimes, accusations of torture, and global criticism of the US as a whole. The news also outraged the many musicians whose very music was being used to torture prisoners. It has been reported that music is blasted for several days without stop into the holding cells. And while these reports of torture don't perhaps sound as horrible as those of the recent past (the Abu Ghraib scandal being the most notorious, but perhaps only because it was the most reported and mediated), it seems a sick irony to compare levels of torture. Once again, we are asked to consider what has become "standard operating procedure" (because these are not cases of exceptional "bad apples") and what sort of accountability can exist for a power as unbridled as that of the US military.

"One of the most startling aspects of musical culture in the post-Cold War United States is the systematic use of music as a weapon of war. First coming to mainstream attention in 1989, when US troops blared loud music in an effort to induce Panamanian president Manuel Norriega’s surrender, the use of “acoustic bombardment” has become standard practice on the battlefields of Iraq, and specifically musical bombardment has joined sensory deprivation and sexual humiliation as among the non-lethal means by which prisoners from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo may be coerced to yield their secrets without violating US law."
Read the essay, Music as torture / Music as weapon here:

A pretty good account of "Music Torture" in general (Wikipedia):

Sesame Street breaks Iraqi POWs: Heavy metal music and popular American children's songs are being used by US interrogators to break the will of their captives in Iraq.
Read the article here:

Musicians don’t want tunes used for torture: Nine Inch Nails, even ‘Sesame Street’ theme used for interrogations
The U.S. has used loud music against those held in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan, and detainees now aren't the only ones complaining: Musicians are banding together to demand the U.S. military stop using their songs as weapons.
Read the article here:

And, finally, an interesting article about two soldiers (one of whom is Darby, the Army reservist who turned in the Abu Ghraib photos) who are now living with the burden of their time as prison guards in Iraq.
Read the article here:

Monday, December 08, 2008

The End of Television

From the blog:
(Please click on the link for the whole story).

Cutting through the digital TV static:
Three months from today, the television broadcast system that most Americans watched growing up will sign off forever.
Through a handful of measures since 1996, Congress has ordered most broadcast stations to phase out their use of conventional analog transmission and switch their signals to digital technology by the end of Feb 17, 2009.
For most TV viewers, the digital transition already has taken place, even if they don’t realize it. About 93 percent of broadcast stations – most affiliates of the national networks such as CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and Fox – are sending their signals digitally today, according to the National Association of Broadcasters.
Cable TV companies have sold digital packages for years, sending programs through digital set-top boxes for subscribers. Other TV service providers, such as satellite companies and Verizon Communications, tout “all-digital” lineups that have severed their customers’ connections to the old format.
Still, in more than 9 million households nationwide ... the old analog TV picture is the only one some people watch, according to statistics released last month by The Nielsen Co.
When they go to turn on their televisions Wednesday morning Feb. 18, their screens will show dead air.
Unless they get ready...

The End of Television is a video program beginning where analog television ends. On February 17th, 2009 the U.S. television broadcast signal will change over from analog to digital. No television will receive a signal without a special converter box.

On February 17th, The End of Television will air through analog broadcast TV on channel 2 in Pittsburgh. When broadcasters turn off their analog transmitters The End of Television turns it's analog transmitter on and broadcasts the program. Using a restricted and nearly obsolete medium (broadcast TV) , The End of Television re-imagines the omnipresent idea of "broadcast yourself." We are accepting all videos submitted before the deadline and there is no submission fee.

For questions contact:

Send videos to:
The End of Television
331 S. Aiken st
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

- Please have the video postmarked by January 25th.
- Work should be submitted on miniDV or VHS.
- Work will not be returned unless a SASE is included.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Human Rights Day

2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. December 10 is celebrated as the official "Human Rights Day" to commemorate the UDHR and to advocate for human rights advocacy around the world.
You can go to the U.N.'s website to read/print the full text of the UDHR and to access other educational materials).

With rampant violations of Human Rights in the USA and worldwide, what does this anniversary mean and how can we use this as a moment to strengthen the rights of people everywhere?
How can we advocate for human rights that are matched with human responsibilities?
And how can we champion the rights of the whole Earth and the environment - where the rights of animals, plants, and humans are treated with equal respect and understood as interdependent?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

“They kept shopping”

“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since yesterday morning,’ ” Ms. Cribbs told The Associated Press. “They kept shopping.”

Jdimytai Damour died after being trampled when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island Wal-mart store on Friday morning, police and witnesses said. The 34-year-old employee, a temporary maintenance worker, was rushed by the chaotic crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m. Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

Here is the full article from the New York Times (November 29, 2008) by Robert D. McFadden and Angela Macropoulos
Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death: A crush of shoppers tore down the front doors and thronged into a store in suburban New York, killing a temporary employee.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Meet Animal Meat" Conference

Still from "Meat Joy" (1964) by Carolee Schneeman

"Meet Animal Meat" International Conference: May 21-23, 2009
Center for Gender Research at Uppsala University, Sweden

Informed by feminist investigations of embodiment and bodiliness, we ask: How do we understand our bodily relationship to other animals? How do we embody animals, and how do animals embody us? How are carnal modes of incorporation, intimacy, and inhabitation kinds of contacts forged between “HumAnimals”? If, as Donna Haraway writes, “animals are everywhere full partners in worlding, in becoming with,” then how do embodied encounters with animal matter necessarily constitute categories of “human” and “animal”? What is the meaning of meat, and the meat of meaning? How do we think and write about human and animal power relations in a way that acknowledges the discursive traffic, the actor-ship, agency, and the life conditions of these differently bounded socio-historical, political populations? How do we attend to the ways that animals and humans co-constitute each other in the flesh? What is the consequence of taking embodiment and corporeality as the starting point of inquiry into questions of relationality? How do we make meat “matter” in cultural/social/political studies of animals, and/or problematize preconceived notions of animals as “food”? How do animal parts and body-matters figure in politico-economic stories, processes, and institutions? We seek proposals for papers, panels, and other public presentations connecting representation, language, embodiment, animals, consumption, power, and culture. We especially welcome interdisciplinary approaches; readings of corporeally inflected HumAnimal fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction; films, videos, and slide presentations of artwork that explore carnal human and animal encounters; and proposals from outside the academy, including submissions from artists, writers, practitioners, and activists.

Keynote Speakers:
Carol J. Adams, author of "The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory" and "The Pornography of Meat".
Judith Halberstam, author of "Skin Shows: Gothic Horror" and The Technology of Monsters" and "In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives".

This conference comes out of a concerted research effort (at Uppsala University and elsewhere) that seeks to examine human-animal relationships in a new light. As the the HumAnimal Group at Uppsala explains:
The study of human-animal relations is a fascinating but still relatively unexplored research area. One of the reasons why the social sciences and humanities in general have been reluctant in dealing with the issue is the classical nature/culture divide. While “society” consists of humans and their interaction in institutions and culture, other animals become excluded and conceptualized as “nature”. The presence of animals can thereby, on the one hand, ”decivilize” human activities and urban places. But on the other hand, we have a strong Western tradition of linking the treatment of other animals with degrees of civilization: the more “humane”, the higher the civilisation. Put together, this points to an interesting potential openness of categories and flexibility in the understanding of humans and other animals. This potential openness creates a space for questioning taken for granted discourses and truths, and this is where the critical potential of animal studies lies. Internationally, human-animal studies is a growing interdisciplinary field with specialized journals, conferences and networks. However, in the Scandinavian context, the existence and activities of a research collaboration such as the Humanimal group has no precedence.
The HumAnimal group currently represent a vast diversity of disciplines and perspectives, from evolutionary biology, through sociology and pedagogy, to arthistory and philosophy. This is not a mere coincident. In line with the overall aims of GenNa, the HumAnimal group finds it an important advantage to cross over the nature/culture divide in science, also in the area of human-animal studies. Thus, interdisciplinarity is a given in the group. We believe that disciplinary and other differences, can become methodological advantages and present us with new insights, but also new questions and problems. The overall aim is to promote better understanding of human-animal relations in society, science and culture by way of exploration and analysis, to explore the critical potentials of such understanding. of human-animal relations in society, science and culture, and to establish human-animal studies as a field of academic inquiry in Sweden.

More about GenNa (Centre for Gender Research at Uppsala University):
Nature/culture and transgressive encounters The Centre for Gender Research at Uppsala University is working to promote sustainable interdisciplinary encounters and networking. The aim of our GenNa-programme is to study empirically and reflect theoretically on the ways in which knowledge about gender and gendered knowledge are produced in the intersection between the natural and cultural sciences. We continuously identify different focus areas for research, collaborate with internationally renowned researchers, and organise transgressive seminars and conferences. By bridging organisational and conceptual divisions, we offer a unique meeting place for researchers and students from different disciplinary backgrounds. We have been awarded the Swedish Research Council’s funding for Centres of Gender Excellence 2007–2011, in order to continue building a centre of international excellence in empirical research, theoretical development and teaching.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2008 World AIDS Day

The 1st of December, World AIDS Day, is the day when individuals and organizations from around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. While we have come a long ways since 1988, there is still much more to be done.
For more info, please look at the World AIDS Campaign website.
World AIDS Day 2008 materials are available online here.

According to UNAIDS (the U.N. Report of HIV & AIDS), there are:
  • 33 million people living with HIV worldwide
  • 30.8 million adults
  • 15.5 million women
  • 2.0 million children under 15

New HIV cases in 2007:

  • 2.7 million total new cases
  • 2.3 million adults
  • 370,000 children under 15

HIV-related deaths in 2007:

  • 2.0 million total deaths
To begin preparing for World AIDS Day 2008, you can do the following:
* Download World AIDS Day materials for 2008.
(For events in the USA, go to "U" section)
* Read more about leadership and why 2008 is the time to LEAD-EMPOWER-DELIVER
* Learn more about events and SMS pledge campaign happening for World AIDS Day in India
* Read about what happened on World AIDS Day in 2007
* Find out about more information about themes and resources for World AIDS Day 2007, 2006 and 2005
* View the campaigners tools available for 2008, 2007 and 2006

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Art at Just Seeds Collective

Justseeds/Visual Resistance Artists' Cooperative is a decentralized community of artists who have banded together to both sell their work online in a central location and to collaborate with and support each other and social movements. Our website is not just a place to shop, but also a destination to find out about current events in radical art and culture. Our blog covers political printmaking, socially engaged street art, and culture related to social movements. We believe in the power of personal expression in concert with collective action to transform society.

Here is some new artwork that you can purchase online.

Roger Peet: "Baiji" ($65)
This is the Yangtze river dolphin, known in China as the Baiji. One of the world's few species of freshwater dolphin, and now one with the snows of yesteryear. The Baiji's habitat was destroyed by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, its prey species were wiped out as a result of overfishing, and it suffered huge losses to boat traffic, pollution, and probably existential malaise. What's so important about this creature? Why should anyone care? These are questions that I pose to myself when making these pieces about extinct animals. These beautiful, graceful creatures were around on this planet for more than ten million years. They lived lives of swift elegance in the muddy Yangtze water, curling and spiralling through the turbidity and chaos of spring floods. They snapped up their meals of fish with their long, toothy beaks clacking like chopsticks. Like many beautiful lost things, they were eliminated not necessarily by human rapaciousness, but by the byproducts of human industrial development and overpopulation. People didn't kill the Baiji off, but they made it impossible for the Baiji to survive. Who is responsible? We all are. This is what we do. Not to beat a dead horse, but the baiji is a victim of humanity. Our essence is this death. We are truly become gods, destroyers of worlds, but we've no need of atomic bombs to do the work; it can be accomplished just as well with simple household tools and a prideful smile. We are the losers, if only because only we can be tortured by the knowledge of what we have done.

Santiago Armengod: "Tus heroes son nuestros enemigos" ($25)

Este grabado es un llamado a informarnos y aprender por nuestros propios medios aquellas historias ya desgastadas por los gobiernos e instituciones. Todas nuestras vidas se nos bombardea visual y psicologicamente con imagenes de supuestos heroes y heroinas de la historia. Esta en nuestras manos decidir si los heroes de las instituciones son tambien nuestros heroes.

This woodcut is a call to educate ourselves by our own means, of all those worn out stories told by the goverment and institutions. We are bombarded our whole lives visually and psychologically with pictures of supposed heroes of history. It lays in our hands the decision to choose if those heroes of the institutions are also our heroes.

Swoon: "Alden" ($400)

This print is adapted from a block print of my grandfather, and all of the money from this one will go to rehabbing the church that is being taken over in Braddock, PA. is the project website. Silk screened with hand cutting, on dyed paper. Stitched to a sewn paper background.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss Turns 100

NPR audio documentary by Frank Browning on All Things Considered, November 23, 2008

Listen Now [6 min 20 sec]

This week in Paris, one of the last icons of 20th century French intellectual life turns 100. Claude Levi-Strauss not only reshaped the nature of how anthropologists do their work, he changed the world's perception of so-called "primitive" tribes in Asia, Africa and America.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

International Experimental Media Congress 2010

The International Experimental Media Congress, April 7-10, 2010 in Toronto, will provide a forum for exchange between artists, curators, programmers, gallerists, theorists, activists, writers and lovers of Canadian and international film, video and related time-based media art.

The first Congress since 1989, this gathering will promote ongoing international conversation and provide a platform for creative discussions about the burning issues related to experimental media production, exhibition, dissemination, criticism, pedagogy and reception.

Without the luxury of endless time and space, this thematically-focused event aims to include voices both young and old, from near and far, and across disciplines and practices in order to address the most pressing topics and to further develop the world wide networks of individuals working in this field. To make the process as inclusive and open as possible, major themes of discussion will be identified on the basis of responses to a short online survey at the link to your left.

Timed to coincide with the 23rd Images Festival, the Congress will extend free Festival passes to all registered attendees. The conference will feature morning and afternoon panels with plenty of time for networking and attending contemporary experimental programs at Images and throughout Toronto in the evenings and on the weekend.

Please share this exciting information with your networks.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Early Spring Courtship Dance of the Totally Positive" at Citizen Jane Film Festival

Still from "Early Spring Courtship Dance of the Totally Positive" (16mm B/W film with live performance, 10 min) by Allison Halter. The project was made with assistance from The Archaeology of the Recent Future (planning, cinematography, and editing).
This film shows a traditional courtship dance of the Totally Positive of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The footage represents the typical dance, characterized by a series of stylized flight-and-pursuit movements, often seen in the early months of spring. For the Citizen Jane Film Festival, the film was presented with a mock lecture (as well as a dance demonstration) by Siobahn Burgundy, one of Allison Halter's many alter egos. The film played to a very enthusiastic crowd at a packed theater in the Ragtag Cinema (Columbia, MO) as part of a program of performance art and movies with live soundtracks.
Allison is now back in Portland, continuing graduate study and making hundreds of "bricks" out of cloth for her next project!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"CHINA, Portraits" at ICE Film Festival

On October 9-11, 2008, ICE (Iowa City Experimental) Film Festival brought Deborah Stratman and Vanessa Renwick to Iowa City as jurors of its 2008 festival. From a pool of over 200 entries, they selected 50 for screening over three days of events in and around downtown Iowa City. "CHINA, Portraits (Xi'an, Chenglu, Shanghai, Beijing, Jingdezhen)" - a 16mm film by the Archaeology of the Recent Future Association - was included as part of the closing night program.
Full 2008 festival program available at:
For more info/questions:

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ears inside out and other (un)natural phenomena

The Museum of Jurassic Technology presents...
Jacob Kirkegaard has turned his ears inwards: his new work LABYRINTHITIS is an interactive sound piece that consists entirely of sounds generated in the artist’s auditory organs – and will cause audible responses in those of the audience. LABYRINTHITIS relies on a principle employed both in medical science and musical practice: When two frequencies at a certain ratio are played into the ear, additional vibrations in the inner ear will produce a third frequency. This frequency is generated by the ear itself: a so-called “distortion product otoacoustic emission” (DPOAE), also referred to in musicology as “Tartini tone”. By arranging the tones from his ears in a composition and playing them to an audience, the artist evokes further distortion effects in the ears of his listeners. At first, each new tone can only be perceived "intersubjectively": inside the head of each one in the audience. Kirkegaard artificially reproduces this tone and introduces it, "objectively", into his composition. When combined with another distorting frequency, it will create another tone... until, step by step, a pattern of descending tonal structure emerges whose spiral form mirrors the composition of resonant spectra in the human cochlea. Jacob Kirkegaard is an artist with an interest in the scientific and aesthetic aspects of resonance, time and hearing. His performances, audio/visual installations and compositions deal with acoustic spaces and phenomena that usually remain inaccessible to sense perception. With the use of unorthodox recording tools such as accelerometers, hydrophones or home-built electromagnetic receivers, Kirkegaard manages to capture and explore "secret sounds" - distortions, interferences, vibrations, ambiences - from within a variety of environments: volcanic earth, a nuclear power plant, an empty room, a TV tower, crystals, ice... and the human inner ear itself. During the last ten years, he has been presenting exhibitions and touring festivals and conferences throughout the world. He has released five albums. Among his numerous collaborators are JG Thirlwell, Ann Lislegaard, CM von Hausswolff, Philip Jeck and Lydia Lunch.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Summer Projects

There are a good number of projects simmering and stewing, almost completed and ready to be shared. Among them are:

CHINA, Portraits (Shanghai, Beijing, Chenglu, Jingdezhen, Xian)
Shot over the course of a month's travel in eastern China, the film presents a series of portraits – poignant, funny, confusing, bland, and charming – of people in rapidly changing neighborhoods and towns. Not quite a travelogue, and far from an ethnography, this quiet testament to the power of portraiture asks us to consider the pleasures, discomfort, and dangers of looking.

Animal Portraits: Milwaukee (Pierce St Public School / Woodland Pattern, Milwaukee, WI)
A 3-month art class with a small group of 4th and 5th graders results in an exciting series of different animal personas. Masks, costumes, backdrops, song, and dance (all made by the children) come together in a celebratory collective portrait that also reflects our own
magnetic yet mystifying relationship with other creatures.

Our Dreams Are Waiting For Us Around the Corner: Images from a Photo Booth and Thank-You-Letter-Writing Party at NEIGHBORS (May 2008).
The beautiful B/W medium format images from the Photo Booth are finally in our possession and awaiting a venue in which to be shared. We are exploring different printing options and hope to create a book that contains the images as well as critical writing about the project and its context, as well as about the neighborhood and our community.

NEIGHBORS Space/Gallery
There is movement to create an artist residency program at the NEIGHBORS storefront space. Anyone interested in such ventures should send word!

The Citizen Jane Film Festival
The new women's film festival - premiering this October in Columbia, Missouri - continues to build momentum, boasting a line up of extraordinary women makers and films.
Please check out the blog:

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Citizen Jane Film Festival

The Archaeology of the Recent Future Association has recently been invited to help curate and organize a new and exciting film festival, the Citizen Jane Film Festival. CJFF celebrates the work of women behind, in front, and near the camera with the hope that more fair representation in media can bring us closer to better understanding and listening to ourselves as well as one another.
For more info on the film festival, please go to:
Or, if you are a myspace nerd, please befriend us out there:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Photo Documents from May

Photographs from "OUR DREAMS ARE WAITING FOR US AROUND THE CORNER: Photo Booth and Thank-You-Letter-Writing Party" at NEIGHBORS.

For documentation of the entire event, please click here

Actual medium format photographs from the "photo booth" will be up soon and, hopefully, available in the form of a printed book! Above is just a peek - it is one of our favorites (and it includes some of our favorite creatures).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Waiting Out the Rain

Axel Erlandson's Tree Circus

Between 1922 and 1963 a California farmer, surveyor and orchardist named Axel Erlandson designed and trained trees into sculptural and architectural forms unique in horticultural history.

Axel expanded that ancient science to include chairs, towers, ladders, spiral staircases and enclosures that could be grown, rather than built. He eventually displayed his creations in a roadside attraction outside of Santa Cruz, which he named the "Tree Circus".

Mark Primack discovered Erlandon’s neglected and dying trees in 1977, shortly after completing his Masters thesis on ‘Botanic Architecture’ at the Architectural Association of London.

His efforts to document Axel’s work, to write their history, and to protect and preserve the surviving trees were themselves fading into obscurity when his friends at the Museum of Jurassic Technology convinced him to present, in words and images (many for the first time) his remarkable record of a dedicated visionary and a creative genius.

Mark Primack will speak on the genius of Axel Erlandson, founder of the World Famous Tree Circus and visionary pioneer of Botanic Architecture.
SATURDAY, May 24, 2008, 8PM at the Culver City Foshay Lodge No 467 (9635 Venice Blvd, Culver City). A reception will follow at the Museum of Jurassic Technology (9341 Venice Blvd, Culver City). $10 General; $8 Museum members, students & seniors

More images can be seen at:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Our Dreams Are Waiting For Us Around the Corner: Photo Booth and Thank-You-Letter-Writing Party

A celebration of the ephemeral as well as the documented at NEIGHBORS. Saturday, May 17th, in conjunction with the Milwaukee International Art Fair!

Come draw on the wall, get your portrait taken
with someone you love or a stranger from across the street, and write that thank-you-note you have been meaning to write to your 3rd grade art teacher, your neighbor, the author of that amazing book, that awesome hot dog vendor, or whoever else you have been meaning to write to for oh so long! NEIGHBORS is excited to open its doors and provide you with a cozy atmosphere, paper, tables, chairs, arts supplies, a sunny storefront, and maybe even snacks... as well as a chance to help create collective documents of our time here on Earth: photographic portraits to keep close and hand-written letters to send out into the world.

SATURDAY, MAY 17, 2008
12 PM - 6 PM
NEIGHBORS (800 E Clarke St, at the corner of Fratney)
Milwaukee, WI

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Locally Groan, You Have Homework To Do! Ta Da!"

The Archaeology of the Recent Future Association presents "Locally Groan, You Have Homework To Do! Ta Da!" - an entire evening of new films, videos, and live performance made especially for this event by over 25 local Milwaukee artists.

THURSDAY, MAY 8, 2008 at 7PM
UWM Union Theater
(UW-Milwaukee campus in the Union building, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd, 2nd floor).
Totally FREE and very OPEN to the PUBLIC!

"Locally Grown" is an annual festival dedicated to providing a showcase for Milwaukee film, video, and performance artists. "Locally Grown" screenings, held at the UWM Union Theater, are always free & open to the public. This edition of "Locally Grown" is being specially programmed by The Archaeology of the Recent Future Association which is a loose organization that strives to create experiences & support work that inspires vision & hope for a better world.

This year's festival will be a little different in that local artists were asked to complete an "assignment", and make a new piece especially for the show. So, instead of curating, the curators handed out some homework. Specifically, participants were asked to complete one of two assignments:
#1. Using only one 100-foot roll of 16mm film, create a film and present it with a live soundtrack. Or, #2. Submit 3 minutes of video. Each short clip will be compiled on one
tape & each participant will receive a compilation tape with which they will make one new piece.

Inspired by Dadaist exquisite corpses and madcap collaborations, the hope is that the assignment's "rules" will create a joyful challenge for the makers as well as inspire an unexpected new piece for us all to enjoy. The results will be revealed at a screening on MAY 8, 2008, in a celebration of our community's ingenuity, sweetness, humor, and talent.

Participating Artists:
Jesus Ali, Sam Augustine, Trevor Berman, Jeremy Bessoff, Anne Bisone, Robyn Braun, Ray Chi, Portia Cobb, Brent Coughenour, Jamal Currie, Allison Halter, Kati Katchever, Kelly Kirshtner, Laura Klein, Xav Leplae, Andrea Maio, A. Bill Miller, Erik Peterson, Kate Raney, Mat Rapaport, Joseph Reeves, Ryan Szarnowski, Marc Tasman, Chris Thompson, Renato Umali, Celeste Verhelst, Steve Wetzel

For more information, please write to:

Friday, April 04, 2008

"Paradise Remixed" (a neighborhood-wide art show, April 2007)

From “Through a high (snowy) pass and, Who Is This For / What Does It Do” (Multi-media installation by the Archaeology of the Recent Future Association at NEIGHBORS, Milwaukee, WI).

Friday, March 21, 2008

Humans, Animals

"Animal Portraits" Workshop in Milwaukee, WI.
(Work in progress)

Sample #34 from the "Wondrous Fruits and Vegetables" Archive.

Venice Blvd and Bagley Ave, Culver City, CA

One of those ubiquitous electrical boxes... This one has been taken over by The Archaeology of the Recent Future Association while in Los Angeles.

Please notice (on the left-hand facade) the slightly off-colored green paint near the top: At one point, the LA "graffiti removal" team came by and decided to cover up some tags on the box. They tried to match the paint that was on the box with an even pukier shade of lime green. At the time, We had painted the box lime green, but had only sketched out and painted a few bits of the design. The "anti-graffiti crew" chose to leave all of our work alone and blotted out the tags with their almost-lime-green paint... We decided not to paint over their work as a testament to the odd and complicated nature of public space. Honestly, we don't know how to feel about the fact that the anti-graffiti people accepted ("curated") our work, while erasing that of "taggers". In many ways, part of the hope for the design was to make it look so neat and complete, that it would, in fact, be "convincing"...

The wacky faux-fancy Byzantine-Hare'Krishna-Uzbeki-Victorian design is very fitting considering that the box is outside the Museum of Jurassic Technology (one of the best places on Earth), across the street from India Sweets & Spices (the best .79c samosas), and a few blocks west of the Hare Krishna temple.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bush Vetoes Anti-Torture Bill

According to the Geneva Convention (1949), torture is explicitly forbidden: "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind." (
. Yet, this past Saturday, in yet another example of the Bush administration's blatant dismissal of international law, Bush vetoed H.R. 2082, the "Intelligence Authorization" bill, which prevents the CIA and other US agents from torturing detained individuals. The bill explicitly prohibits "waterboarding" (where restrained prisoners are threatened with drowning) as well as other "interrogation methods" such as sexual humiliation, dogs, physical violence, and other techniques that amount to torture.

The Bush administration's condonation and support of torture, detention, surveillance, and secrecy have continuously been the subjects of intense criticism in the US and abroad. As Steven Lee Myers writes in the New York Times on on March 9, 2008 - "Veto of Bill on C.I.A. Tactics Affirms Bush’s Legacy" - the anti-torture veto is another in several moves by the Bush administration to consolidate and expand executive control:

"Bush’s veto — the ninth of his presidency, but the eighth in the past 10 months with Democrats in control of Congress — underscored his determination to preserve many of the executive prerogatives his administration has claimed in the name of fighting terrorism, and to enshrine them into law. ... Mr. Bush is fighting with Congress over the expansion of powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and over the depth of the American security commitments to Iraq once the United Nations mandate for international forces there expires at the end of the year. ... And as he has through most of his presidency, he built his case on the threat of terrorism."

What is ironic and sad is that many US intelligence officials have denounced torture techniques to be ineffective and often dangerous, often leading to misinformation. Further, the US Army field manual on interrogation already prohibits physical force against prisoners and outlines other methods for interrogation. The bill Mr. Bush vetoed would have limited ALL American interrogators to techniques allowed in the manual. According to the same NY Times article, "the debate has left the C.I.A. at odds with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies, whose officials have testified that harsh interrogation methods are either unnecessary or counterproductive. The agency’s director, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, issued a statement to employees after Mr. Bush’s veto defending the program as legal, saying that the Army field manual did not “exhaust the universe of lawful interrogation techniques.”

You can read the cited NY Times article for the full scoop. As for responding, Amnesty International has put a call out for Americans to speak up in order to keep attention on the fight against torture and to show that Bush does not represent all Americans. You can learn more about the issue and opportunities to voice your opinion at Amnesty International

(photo of Guantanamo Bay prisoners from the University of Chicago Chronicle)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Memories of Summer

Watermelon costume (in progress). Wakefield, RI, 2006.
Part of the "Startown Magicians Summer Tour"
(aka "The Secret Hippies Tour #2")

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bear on Bridge

My friend Jennifer just sent me this story about a bear rescued from under a strikingly tall bridge. The juxtaposition of a large, powerful bear (beautiful and frightening, and here hanging helplessly) with an even larger human-made bridge filled me with a strange combination of awe, sadness, empathy, and that special, awkward feeling - that has no name - for when I see something "cute"... (I even have to put that word in quotations because it is so embarrassingly emotional and potentially saccharine... ). It is a sort of wonderful, horrible feeling - a feeling that seems at once so raw & yet so manufactured, leaving me confused and embarrassed.
This story has a happy ending, I suppose... until you keep thinking about it as I did, and then it just seems really pathetic.

The story according to the local news is this: On Saturday, a bear was walking across the Rainbow Bridge (Old Hwy 40 at Donner Summit, Truckee, California). The bridge is on the Old Donner Pass Highway - yes, it is the same Donner Pass that was one of the fateful moments of defeat for the infamous Donner Party, who trekked those parts in the 1840's (and were resigned to cannibalism to survive). Well, now there are cars and bridges and roads in what was once wlderness... So, two cars were crossing the bridge and scared the bear into jumping over the edge of the bridge. Somehow the bear caught the ledge and was able to pull itself to safety into the underbelly of the bridge. Authorities decided that nothing could be done to help the bear that day. When they returned the next morning, they found the bear asleep on the ledge! The fact that the bear was sleeping in the bridge's vast concrete cradle, thousands of feet in the air, was subject to much amazement and speculation. A net was secured under the bridge, the bear was tranquilized, fell into the net, was lowered, then woke up, and walked out of the net.

There remain only about 200,000 brown bears in the world. The are only about 32,500 brown bears left in the US. Brown bears are now extinct in many areas and their populations have greatly decreased in others. Ironically, while their natural habitat continues to diminish at a rapid rate, the potential new habitat for the brown bear is increasing in Arctic areas. The warming of that region has allowed the species to move farther and farther north into what was once exclusively the domain of the polar bear.

The grizzly bear (sometimes called the silvertip bear) - a type of brown bear - is listed as threatened in the Continental United States. It is currently slowly repopulating in areas where it was previously extirpated, though it is still very vulnerable. The California grizzly bear disappeared from the state of California in 1922 when the last one was shot dead in Tulare County, but, ironically, it is still on the state flag of California.

While people are right to keep their distance from bears, there are only an average of two fatal attacks a year in all of North America - attesting to the small number of bears, the remoteness of their habitat, and their general attitude towards humans. Attacks usually occur because the bear is injured or a human encounters a mother bear with cubs. And, then of course, there is Timothy Treadwell (ie, Grizzly Man) - but that's a whole other story...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Before I Was A Psychic

Still from "Before I Was A Psychic" (16mm, 4 min, 2006-7).
The film begins with the lines, "Before I was a Psychic / I was a Wild Animal". Is this a possible trajectory for the human condition? Using sparse imagery, sound, and text, a small tragicomedy emerges of circular logic, transcendental longing, awkward communication, and sci-fi leanings.