THE POWER OF A CURSE, ITALY/CONGO

Region/Concept: West Europe, Myth (Curse)
Sub-Concepts: Fairytale, Racism, Politics
Description: Italian right-wing politician and former minister claims he has been cursed (as revenge for his vulgar racist statement) by a sorcerer in Congo.

Who is to say that the snake did not materialize from the interiority of the minister? That it did not curl out as the very modality of his ethnocentric delirium, affirming the world that favors transmutations in which there are no solid forms and where strange animals can transpire out of certain emotions? A world not separated into distinct objects that have nothing in common, but where things are seething, churning, and swelling into inexplicable occurrences; where every negative utterance is therefore an informal curse, a metabolic principle that eats away the unprotected interiority of the person who receives it, no less than, albeit more imperceptibly, it eats the curser himself. This is an ancient problem of health, where sentiments of the society fold into sentiments of the individual, just as the outside folds into the inside, thoroughly following the logic of the fairytale, the power of which is only seemingly enclosed inside children’s books. In reality, the more it is dismissed the stronger it becomes, because it lives not outside our world, but rather, it is our world (the world as a spell that needs to be broken). Hence a fable at the heart of contemporary politics of the crudest kind.

Link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/italys-deputy-senate-speaker-who-compared-countrys-first-black-minister-to-an-orangutan-claims-he-is-cursed-by-african-spirits-after-spell-of-bad-luck-9695231.html

Posted by: Dejan Lukic

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VACUUM OF THE REVOLVING SWARM, MOROCCO-INTO-SPAIN

Region/Concept: North Africa, Movement
Sub-Concepts: Flight, Acceleration, Synthesis, Ascension, The Nightmarish Return
Description: Waves of hundreds of African migrants rush the partition separating the Spanish exclave from Morocco to jump the border.

Theory: The fleeing mass staggers into focus, arriving to the trigger point. The trek has been slow and heavy. Having each been expelled by the rancor of decay, the discharge, which has submerged the places of origin in tarns of hunger, dejection and desolation, they arrive here—to the trigger point—in a synthesis of the worn. As though in one swift, unrestricted instant, the crowd is transformed. The legs, accelerating madly, rhythmically, propel the swarm toward ‘freedom,’ as though there were such a thing. As if the legs and the neurons were operationally schismatic. One believing in the victory of the sprint, the other born only of desperation, sustained only by adrenaline (without panic: this crown remains strong). The hamstrings feed a battering pulse into the ground; the quadriceps thrust the body forward—into ascension. The barrier has been scaled. The mind believes it has won. The corpse knows it must fall back. They are just corpses, in the end. Activated only by a spontaneous generation of life from within the wasted, robbed bowels. Picked off at the climax of this flight, the crowd is broken, returned to individuals, thrown back into the vacuum to pace in wait of the next purge.

Link: http://elpais.com/elpais/2014/03/18/inenglish/1395150133_092464.html

Posted by: RLS

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JUNGLE TACTICS, NIGERIA

Region/Concept: Africa, Space
Sub-Concepts: Terror, Cruelty, Wildness, Betrayal
Description: Boko Haram fighters flee their jungle refuge after suffering incessant attacks by deadly snakes and bees.

Theory: The guerilla fighter assimilates his tactics from the modes of spatiality (climates) he inhabits; his body in turn emanates its own climate, of terror. For Boko Haram, these monstrous spatial affects germinated in the untamable jungle region outside the villages of northeastern Nigeria. Camouflage, surprise, swarming, disappearance – with these capacities of violence and indifference to human suffering, capacities of the wild, Boko Haram has terrorized local villages and eluded capture by the Nigerian army. But their relation to the Sambisa forest has proven to be far from a simple alliance. After suffering incessant attacks from venomous snakes and killer bees resulting in numerous casualties, Boko Haram has fled the jungle for tamer climates. Betrayed by the jungle that granted their powers, by the very same tactics they inflicted so effectively upon the bodies of the Nigerian state, Boko Haram has itself been terrorized by the radical outside. And as if to reciprocate this betrayal, several guerillas who were captured upon returning to the relative safety of the villages claimed that the snake and bee attacks were caused by the vengeful spirits of their own human victims; a superstition of village justice imposed on the inhuman cruelty of the jungle. Thus the guerilla does not merely assimilate his tactics from the jungle, but also becomes assimilated by the jungle’s dangerous economy, where to partake of its powers means also to submit one’s body to the vulnerability of its toxins, the disarming impenetrability of its undergrowth, and the constantly lurking threat of predation. In this sense, from the perspective of the jungle, Boko Haram was simply not worthy to inhabit or embody the modalities of its wildness. It should come as no surprise then that the terror group’s more recent space of operations includes a shopping mall in the city of Abuja.

Link: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/06/mysterious-snakes-bees-attack-boko-haram-sambisa-forest/

Posted by: Will Scarlett

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TROPHIES OF BUTCHERY, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Region/Concept: Africa, Violence

Sub-Concepts: Camouflage, Fragmentation, Disappearance, War, The Gaze
Description: Art photographer uses infrared film—Kodak Aerochrome film, designed by the US military in the 1940s—to capture militias, “makes the invisible, visible.”

Theory: Here, the artist-turned-sniper fashions an ocular standoff, where the mechanized line of sight functions as the ammunition of the armed eye. In this operation, the militarized gaze programs the prepossessed perception of the enemy and his fugitive encampment. Where the eye labors to function anatomically, it functions only as weapon. Where it attempts to wrench the camouflaged rebel, with his slurred allegiance and war-drunk smile, from insignificant darkness and into object of reflective horror and awe, it succeeds only in stimulating his flamboyant swaggering. Treating this posturing to the masses in production after exhibition where, with every other ‘act of taking aim,’ every interpretation, the object and his habitat are fractured, disjointed, fragmented, until they have dissolved into nothing—absolute disappearance of the authentic target. In effect, this resplendently phantasmagoric mass presentation of exposure serves not to illuminate the invisible (now just a superficial, paralyzed [a]trophy of defeat), nor even to let it linger in triviality, but rather—and with absolute synthetic precision—to utterly obliterate it.

Link: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/05/world/africa/congo-richard-mosse-the-enclave/

Posted by: RLS

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