IMPOSSIBLE SUSPECT, BRAZIL

Region/Concept: Latin America, Myth
Sub-Concepts: Amnesia, Reanimation, Discontent, Forgetting
Description: Brazilian police force investigates nineteenth-century anarchist Mikhail Bakunin as potential suspect in protests.

Theory: Historical amnesia can sometimes generate the equivalent of necromancy. Combining illiteracy with suspicion, a political regime hears the name of a long-buried dissident, mistakes the ghost’s identity, and thereby reanimates a past force as present threat. In this spectral ontology, the legend recirculates with new life; hence the marks of recent vandalism are said to come from the hands of a dead revolutionary. In name (which matters most), the stained walls are alleged to be the product of his defacement. Notoriety; temporal oversight; a wanted man. From here, a phantom machinery of power is set in motion, tracking the imagined movements of a being not of this century (or even the last): interrogations, extortions, espionage, covert operations in search of an impossible suspect. Wiretaps become cosmic switchboards; blacklists become a kind of seance…listening for what is not there, looking for what cannot circle back. A lapse of knowledge thereby forms an inadvertent principle of resurrection: for all intents and purposes, he is the instigator once more…the one responsible for rising discontent (subversive exhumation). The streets belong to him again, given a second chance to alter everything, to restore a bad reputation, precisely because they had forgotten him.

Link: http://revolution-news.com/19th-century-anarchist-bakunin-investigated-by-brazils-police-as-suspect/

Posted by: Jason Mohaghegh

Brazil-Protests

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IMPERCEPTIBLE SOMEONE, PALESTINE-KUWAIT

Region/Concept: Middle East, Space
Sub-Concepts: Engulfing, Aloneness, Anonymity, the Stranger
Description: Artist Tarek Al-Ghoussein releases photographic series of a faceless man standing amidst barren landscapes.

Theory: There still remains a particle of Being here (enough to leave the outline, contour, or silhouette of this someone). Still, this does not amount to anything substantial: he is not entitled to act or speak with meaning; he is not allowed to influence the event. He has all the agency or importance of someone condemned to watch a tidal wave: he can only stare forward. Nevertheless, he is no survivor or even witness (both are pathological types). Rather, he is the figure of the engulfing…where the immensity of space conspires to drown one into final irrelevance. No identity or alternative to this drifting-across; no greater station than to serve as random, infinitesimal shade against the backdrop of a coastline, stadium, oasis, apartment complex, or vacant city square. Diminished form. His aloneness is not tragic but totally impersonal; it is the imprint of neutrality itself. And what becomes of Man when he is no longer the central player of history, no longer the inheritor of the destiny of the world? A gift; a curse. Some will die from humiliation; others will learn to appreciate the possibility of being unburdened by supremacy (toward slightness). They will learn the pleasure of immateriality, anonymity, supplication, and the imperceptible nights of the stranger.

Link: http://www.taymourgrahne.com/artists/tarek-al-ghoussein#18

Posted by: Jason Mohaghegh

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DESTITUTION TOWER, VENEZUELA

Region/Concept: Latin America, Space
Sub-Concepts: Poverty, Inhabitance, Kingdom, Temper
Description: Abandoned skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela becomes world’s “tallest vertical slum” as the city’s poor take over the empty building.

Theory: The key here is in the paradox, and the paradox is in the name. The skyscraper was to be called The Tower of David, thereby equating the riches of today with the mythic figure of a man who became king and founder of a royal dynastic line. More than this, an ancestral line to the one who some would call the Redeemer. And yet there is duality beneath the crown, the imperfection of a two-sided prophet: for David’s origins lay nearer to the destitute who now occupy the evacuated hallways and rooms of this structure. He was a poet, musician, and warrior (talents of the lower strata), someone who relied on luck and who harbored an ill temper. He even conspired to murder out of lust, thus tying him to the hedonism and criminality of the streets. He also was said to watch from rooftops, much as the masses do now in these photographs. No, the newcomers who clamor to fill the void of this modern tower are the correct inhabitants after all; their squalor is its own house of the sacred; their illegal unstoppable presence, their decadent adornment of the windows with rags, are a close match to the artistry and rage of their namesake. They too await the accidental fortune of the slingshot; they too may someday kill their rivals, and write songs as they do it.

Link: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/apr/03/tower-david-caracas-venezuela-in-pictures

Posted by: Jason Mohaghegh

A woman walks on a roof