Thiago Rocha Pitta’s Heritage project. From Andersons Contemporary.
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: gadawan kura, hyena, itinerant minstrels, lagos, nigeria
He was originally led to believe they were — “debt collectors, drug dealers, and thieves who enlisted hyenas as muscle in support of their criminal activities.” But by traveling with them for two years found they were, more accurately — “itinerant minstrels … a group of men, a little girl, three hyenas, four monkeys and a few rock pythons,” who subsist by staging performances and selling traditional medicine.”
They remind me a bit of the macho guys in New York walking their pit bulls – only more extreme.
Lagos is one of the largest cities in the world and the object of scrutiny as planners watch to see how the issues of urbanism and population play out in unprecedented ways.
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: david and charmayne de souza, India, itinerants the nomads of mumbai, mumbai, photographs
Photographs from David & Charmayne de Souza’s book “Itinerants, the Nomads of Mumbai.”
Here’s Bob Dylan talking with Bill Flanagan. He learned freedom and dignity and how to stay within himself from itinerant preachers, quasimodo, the people from circus sideshow acts, the outcast.
BF: Does that mean you create outsider art? Do you think of yourself as a cult figure?
BD: A cult figure, that’s got religious connotations. It sounds cliquish and clannish. People have different emotional levels. Especially when you’re young. Back then I guess most of my influences could be thought of as eccentric. Mass media had no overwhelming reach so I was drawn to the traveling performers passing through. The side show performers – bluegrass singers, the black cowboy with chaps and a lariat doing rope tricks. Miss Europe, Quasimodo, the Bearded Lady, the half-man half-woman, the deformed and the bent, Atlas the Dwarf, the fire-eaters, the teachers and preachers, the blues singers. I remember it like it was yesterday. I got close to some of these people. I learned about dignity from them. Freedom too. Civil rights, human rights. How to stay within yourself. Most others were into the rides like the tilt-a-whirl and the rollercoaster. To me that was the nightmare. All the giddiness. The artificiality of it. The sledge hammer of life. It didn’t make sense or seem real. The stuff off the main road was where force of reality was. At least it struck me that way. When I left home those feelings didn’t change.
Filed under: departure lounge | Tags: architecture, diller + scofidio, installation, tourism
Tourisms: suitCase Studies, 1991. Mixed-media installation with 50 suitcases and fabricated ceiling, 10 x 60 x 30 feet. Installation view, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (Photo: Glenn Halvorson)
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: aldous huxley, brave new world, distopia, melvyn bragg, utopia
I subscribe to Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time newsletter. In Our Time is a culture radio program on the BBC. He tapes his show with scholars talking about a given topic in literature or the arts and then walks through central London back to his office where he puts down the newletter. Here is an excerpt from this weeks on Aldous Huxley’s distopian novel Brave New World. What I find interesting, and disturbing, is Bragg’s thought that many people today would actually want the distopian life described by Huxley. I think he is absolutely right.
From the newsletter –
A central argument of our programme was how this hugely acclaimed dystopia would in fact, in some respects, be a utopia for many people today. The notion of a life without physical pain, the notion of death made painless, the notion of being employed in an area where you were secure even though you were confined to that area, the notion that pleasure of certain sorts was always readily available. For many I think that would not be considered an entirely bad deal. There is a large dollop of snobbery in Huxley’s dismissal of the masses – vide John Carey’s magnificent book The Intellectuals and the Masses – and yet, in the final argument between John Savage and Mustapha Mond, the claims that Savage makes for art and religion are powerful and in my view, and I suspect in the view of many of you, conclusive. Yet it’s not an entirely one-sided thing. It presupposes a hierarchy of tastes which is perfectly acceptable. But it also presupposes that that hierarchy ought to be imposed which is not at all acceptable.
— Melvyn Bragg, In Our Time