This is Giulio Andreotti, a legend in Italian politics:

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Giulio Andreotti, Rome, 1970s © TEAM Editorial Services/Alinari

For almost half a century, Andreotti occupied all the major offices of state. He held the post of prime minister 7 times and for longer than any other postwar Italian politician except Silvio Berlusconi. Andreotti was not as farcical as Berlusconi though but he was every bit as shrewd as a Borgia. He was involved in most political corruption scandals, was tried for mafia association and has also been accused of being involved in a variety of conspiracies related to high profile assassinations, massacres and banking crimes. In his 2008 film, Il Divo: La Straordinaria vita di Giulio Andreotti, director Paolo Sorrentino, highlighted the responsibility of Giulio Andreotti in the kidnapping of Aldo Moro, former prime minister and then president of Christian Democracy (Italy's relative majority party at the time). Sorrentino is not the only one to hold that suspicion. Many believe that Moro was the agnello sacrificale, the sacrificial lamb who had to be executed because of his efforts to include the Communist Party in a coalition government.

On 16 March 1978, Moro's car was assaulted by a group of Red Brigades terrorists in Rome. His corpse was later found in the trunk of a Renault 4 after 55 days of imprisonment.

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9 May 1978: Aldo Moro's body is found in via Caetani, Rome in the trunk of a Renault 4

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Moro, photographed during his kidnapping by the Red Brigades

Andreotti, Moro but also Andy Warhol, Federico Fellini and many others appear in Amore e Piombo: The Photography of extremes in 1970s Italy, one of the exhibitions of the Brighton Photo Biennial. Amore e Piombo means Love and Lead. Lead as in the anni di piombo, the tumultuous years of social conflict and acts of terrorism carried out by right- and left-wing paramilitary groups in the Italy of the 1970s. Now the Amore comes with the glamour of Cinecitta and the stars photographed by paparazzi in the streets of Rome. Two worlds poles apart that characterized Italy in the 70s and were documented by a group of photographers working for the agency Team Editorial Services.

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Specialist anti-riot police unit Cellere, 70s

The press photographers constantly shifted between battling film stars at play and the reality of near civil war unfolding on the streets. Politics and celebrity are brought together through the paparazzi style of alto contrasto, collusion and intrusion. Alluded to, although less visible, are the murkier dealings of clandestine groups linked to the Italian Secret Services, The P2 Masonic Lodge the CIA and NATO, operating against the backdrop of the extremes of the Red and Black Brigades. Archive prints are presented alongside television news footage, film sequences and sound recordings. A choice of Italian photo-books of the period, loaned from the Martin Parr collection, add a further layer of reference.

Amore e Piombo is an exhibition as fascinating and enigmatic as the years it portrays. Don't miss it if you're in or around Brighton:

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Demonstration against the Historic Compromise, alliance of the Christian Democracy (DC) and the Italian Communist party (PCI), Rome, 70s All photographs: Alinari Courtesy The Archive of Modern Conflict

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Giulio Andreotti in the early 70s during his first time as prime minister of Italy and leader of the Christian Democrats

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Actors Ninetto Davoli and Franco Citti with director Pier Paolo Pasolini (standing) in an actors' football team, 70s

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French actor Alain Delon on an Italian film set

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Clash between police and far-left protesters, Rome, 1977

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Avelar Brandão Vilela, Brazilian cardinal of the Roman Catholic church, 1970s

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Brigitte Bardot in Les Femmes, directed by Jean Aurel, Rome, 1969

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A police bodyguard lies dead after Red Brigades ambush and kidnap Aldo Moro, via Fani, Rome, 16 March 1978

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Pro-divorce demonstration in advance of the divorce referendum, 1974

Views of the exhibition space:

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The Guardian has more images.

Amore e Piombo: The Photography of extremes in 1970s Italy was co-commissioned by the Archive of Modern Conflict and Photoworks, curated by Roger Hargreaves and Federica Chiocchetti. It is open until 2 November at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.

Sponsored by:





The Deadly Life of Logistics. Mapping Violence in Global Trade, by Deborah Cowen, an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto. Her work focuses on the politics of space and questions of citizenship.

Available on Amazon USA and UK.

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Publisher University of Minnesota Press writes: A genealogy of logistics, tracing the link between markets and militaries, territory and government

Deborah Cowen traces the art and science of logistics over the past sixty years, from the battlefield to the boardroom and back again. Though the object of corporate and governmental logistical efforts is commodity supply, she demonstrates that they are deeply political--and, considered in the context of the long history of logistics, deeply indebted to the practice of war.

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Details of the new Basra Logistics City, on the site of the old Camp Bucca (image)

The image above encapsulates rather efficiently the intimate connections that link the military and the private businesses which transport 'seamlessly' all kinds of goods around the world. Basra Logistics City used to be called Camp Bucca and it used to be the largest U.S. military detention facility in occupied Iraq. In December 2010, the US handed the base to the government of Iraq, which, on the same day, gave Kufan Group of Iraq a license to turn the place into a 21st-century logistics hub for Iraq's port.

The Deadly Life of Logistics demonstrates how logistics is at the very heart of war and trade. Since WWII, businesses have been learning lessons from the infrastructures, strategies and technologies that armies have put in place to ensure that soldiers are fed and ammunition is available at the front. Logistics plays a key role in war. The greatest volume of material shipped from the UK to France during WW1, i read in the book, was oats and hay for the horses. Over time, private companies have not only learnt from the military, using logistics to reshape the geographies of capitalist production and distribution on global scale, they have also quickly started to support war efforts and are now providing housing and feeding to the soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. The author speaks of a militarization of the economy and a privatization of warfare.

The book offers a fascinating tour of the instruments and tactics of logistics: the palet, the container, the deregulation of the transport industry in the U.S. in the 1980s, the use of 'flags of convenience', etc. All of which provide huge benefits in time, space and capital. DHL delivers your parcel on time, new toys arrive in store before Christmas and everybody is happy. Except the workers who saw their wages, rights and the strength of their unions reduced. Their very safety is at risk as well. Port, transport and logistics are consistently ranked among the most dangerous industries by governments that monitor health and safety on the workplace.

The picture that the book offers is rather bleak. In the world of logistics, China imports its cheap labor model, the port of Dubai where the vast majority of the private workforce have no formal citizenship is heralded as a model for the U.S. port security, Somali pirates are presented as enemies of humanity while foreign companies illegally dump toxic substances in Somali waters and others deplete them of marine resources in total impunity, the flow of capital and commodities is a matter of species survival and human rights are a rather tiresome hindrance.

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Striking workers at the Kwai Chung container port. Photo: Reuters

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A sea crane is removing the 1280 containers that remain on board the ship.AP Photo/New Zealand Maritime, Graeme Brown, HO (image via Gizmodo)

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Somali pirates in small boats hijacked the arms-laden Ukrainian freighter Faina. Photo: United States Navy, via Agence France-Presse -- Getty Images

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The trade surplus China has built up over the past two decades is only likely to increase further. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The Deadly Life of Logistics is a fascinating, informative and politically engaged book. I sometimes found that the constant abbreviations, quotes, references and repetitions got in the way of a fluid reading but otherwise it's a book i'd like to place in the hand of artists and activists. Of artists mostly because no one better than them can translate the impact and dangers of contemporary logistics into an arresting language understood by the broad public.

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Giuditta Vendrame and Paolo Patelli (La Jetée), Friction Atlas. Photo: BIO50

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Giuditta Vendrame and Paolo Patelli (La Jetée), Friction Atlas

One of the themes of the BIO 50 design Biennial which opened last week in Ljubljana looked at the simple act of walking in the city. Several designers explored walking under various guises and lenses but i was particularly interested in the street markings, research and performances of Giuditta Vendrame and Paolo Patelli from design and research studio La Jetée.

The designers logged into a Friction Atlas some of the rules and constraints that regulate the circulation of citizens within urban space. For example, any reading or picnic gathering over 20 persons in one of New York city parks requires a special event permit. In Sweden, you need to apply for a permit to dance in public. In Cairo you're allowed to spontaneously discuss public matters only if you are fewer that 10 people.

Giuditta and Paolo drew 1:1 diagrams onto the pavement to illustrate rules that control the use of public spaces in cities such as Genoa, Cairo, Washington, Stockholm, Sydney, etc. They then invited the public to perform staged choreographies while discussing issues of public space, law and legibility.

Friction Atlas addresses the issue of legibility of public space, its programs, and the laws that regulate its uses. Many regulations discretize human behavior, tending to be algorithmic, quantitative and invisible. Sometimes they are rigorous and mathematical, other times loose and under-defined. They are textual, prone to contested interpretations. Friction Atlas aims to make regulations - that are always implicitly present in any public space - explicit and visible, through graphical devices.

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Giuditta Vendrame and Paolo Patelli (La Jetée), Friction Atlas. Test in Ljubljana. Photo: BIO50 / The Agency of Walking

I can't resist a project that makes the dynamics of authority not only visually but also physically discernible, so i contacted the designers to discuss their work for the BIO 50 biennial (proper report on the event will be on your desk. One day):

Hi Giuditta and Paolo! Could you explain what you mean when you talk about the algorithmic quality of these regulations that govern the use of public space?

Regulations are nothing but symbols, conventions, but they have the power of persuading human beings to act. When they are put to work, they make things happen. They are sets of instructions that incorporate power, while responding to internal and external conditions. They are a kind of invisible structural force that plays through into everyday life.

In the context of public space, a number of legal prescription can generate differences in the displacement, mobility and assembly of bodies. Citizens perform in their everyday a synchronized routine of elaborate moves on public surfaces. We recognize, in such patterns, a choreography.

Assembling in public space to discuss, demonstrate either support or opposition, publicize a cause, mark or commemorate an event is both an individual and a group activity. Figures and routines involve interplay and sometime synchronization. The use of public space is choreographed not only to the organizer's intentions, but also to abstract regulations. As sets of instructions, algorithms are rules. They are abstract, but always implicitly present in any public space. These prescriptions extend way beyond exceptional events, and pervade our everyday urban experience thoroughly. Regulative rules exist for picnicking in a park in New York City, for group dancing in Sweden, for kids to return home in Iceland. For example, it is not uncommon to see in the media demonstrators keeping their march to one line, standing on the sidewalk, always fewer than fifty, in front of the White House.

The idea of making such instructions legible on public ground, came to us last April, while we were in Cairo. We were greeting a group of Egyptian friends, just outside a bar in Talaat Harb, Downtown. Suddenly, one of them grinned, realizing that - according the recently introduced Egyptian anti-protest law - we were being illegal. Giuditta and I immediately thought of what it means to be a group of ten people. How do you define it? How do you recognize it? Where are the thresholds to be found in our mutual interactions? Of course such relations extend to our online presences.

Indeed, in recent Cultural and Media Studies, as in the writings of Scott Lash and Alexander Galloway, the phrasing "algorithmic rules" has been associated to new forms of power, that reside in the networks, computers, information, and data, rather than being exerted from above by legitimate institutions. Paolo Gerbaudo used the expression "choreography of assembly" while analyzing the online organizational structures and process of the recent urban revolutions in Egypt, USA and Spain.

Our project is more basic. It is on the ground perhaps that a wide range of phenomena can be recognized at their maximum degree of visibility.

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Giuditta Vendrame and Paolo Patelli (La Jetée), Friction Atlas

How do you (and citizens living in a particular city) find out about these regulations?

We started asking friends who are living in different cities and countries if they were aware of legal prescriptions that regulate the use of public spaces. Sometimes they would tell us anecdotes or they would suggest us to look for specific events on the news. For example Marko Peterlin recalled of a protest in Koper, which couldn't take place because the Slovenian law states that the organizers of any public event must always have with them a written agreement with the owner of the land where they want to assemble. In that case, protesters meant to express their disagreement with a local policy, through a demonstration on public ground. The problem then was that "public" means owned by the Municipality and managed by the local government. This resulted in a weird short-circuit, which we also tried to visualize.

We subsequently met with NGOs, with lawyers, we had meetings with the local police, and with public officials. While collecting anecdotes, listing procedures, and saving titles from the local news, we also started looking into the actual codes. We photocopied and downloaded when possible City Ordinances, Public Order Acts, Police Regulations, Park Regulations, even Children Protection Acts, from different cities and countries. Across these documents, we searched for numbers, quantities, distances, conditions, predicates. We searched for the abstractions that shape our public behaviors, to represent them visually.

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Giuditta Vendrame and Paolo Patelli (La Jetée), Friction Atlas

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Giuditta Vendrame and Paolo Patelli (La Jetée), Friction Atlas. Test in Berlin. Photo: BIO50 / The Agency of Walking

Paolo, i read on your online page that you worked with Urban Sensing. That project relies a lot on digital technologies and is generally quite sophisticated. Friction Atlas, on the other hand, is pretty low tech: diagrams on the floor and walks. Why did you make the project so 'tangible', instead of having an app for example?

In code as much as in regulative rules, objects - even people - are abstracted. They cannot be known in themselves or in their being. Things are only known through their predicates, their "quantified" qualities. Citizens, as individuals or groups, are measured for their number, the noise they make, the age they have, the distance they keep, the money they have paid. Against the abstract, the mathematical, it is the real that embodies resistance. The materiality of the street, and of walking, are the natural media for making this tension tangible. They are also the best sites for opening a discussion which needed to be im-mediated. The street, in fact, afforded unexpected interactions of the public with our graphic devices, beyond what we had planned and designed.

We wanted to turn the physical context into an open playing field, or a loose game board, and keep the experience ambiguous. We posed an invitation to play, while valuing the uncertainty of the status of the performance as game. Taking part to a choreographed debate about regulative rules on the use of public space, by enacting such rules in a real public space, raises questions: Is this a game? Are we playing? Which role am I playing?

In the street, the boundary between being in and out of the game is blurred, and so are the social boundaries between who is playing and who is not. Our diagrams represent strollers, as well as protesters and policemen, but the player identity and the normal everyday identity always somehow overlap.

The sort of game we propose, at the same time playful, ironic and highly serious, has no goal - only rules, which without context, interpretation and the active participation of the visitors would exist only as static code, as ready-made, found predicates.

Keeping a 1:1 scalar ratio with the human body is central to affording this interplay and to really make the rules legible on the ground. It also helps maintaining different levels or engagement, from the superficial interaction of kids and cyclists, to the concerned reading of students and people with a bit more time.

Do you see Friction Atlas as a continuation of Urban Sensing, or is that a totally different approach to the urban environment?

We are getting accustomed to seeing the behavior of the citizens - users, customers, consumers - of any given city represented through spectacular real-time maps and data visualizations.

Our attempt this time was to look through our transparent society to try to visualize the other side. Rather than in a bird's view on the city, we were interested in looking to what's above it.

I certainly see Friction Atlas as a reflexive continuation of the work I have done in Urban Sensing, and at MIT's Senseable City Lab. As other projects and prototypes developed in the last couple of years - from my research residency at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, to a number of workshops, including at SALT Institute in Istanbul, and at Strelka Institute in Moscow - it shows a more critical edge. Central to all of them, anyway, is the transformation of data into fully visible (or sometimes audible) agents, in order to provide a possible model for opening up to new forms of civic and aesthetic engagement with hidden or abstract layers of the city. Even when - to say it again with Scott Lash - information is not *in* society or related *to* society, but it *is* society, and vice versa, the focus on space offers a tangible - and therefore debatable - representation and an embodiment of such immaterialities as code or law. The city is a mirror of the current society and culture.

Finally, but very importantly, in the case of Friction Atlas, Giuditta and I have worked together as "La Jetée". She has an encompassing fascination for invisible borders and flows, and has worked in the recent past with legal loopholes and related paradoxes. We believe that design has a lot of space for experimentation in these areas. How can it cope with invisible things? Sometimes ideas can be expressed very simply.

I'm also interested in the term 'friction' in the title? Where do you locate this friction?

The friction we wish to represent in our atlas is to be found in space, on the ground. Within the contemporary city, a plurality of processes and logics converge in the same sites. The sites extend to our own lives, to our desires and perspectives.

Densely weaved dispositions - more or less integrated, more or less coordinated - inhabit the same space we live in. Our everyday experience of the urban cannot be understood but in relation to other processes, other dimensional scales. The encounter between these different logics happens on contended ground, hence the friction. The security paradigm followed by many cities worldwide is inscribed in space, the commodification of our historical heritage is inscribed in space, the media bubble that surround global events is inscribed in space. The visibility of the battlegrounds, of the exceptional event - as argued among others by Andrea Mubi Brighenti - shows and proves the importance of the infra-ordinary in its invisibility. We don't sample from different cities in order to show specific conflicts, but because we are interested in the pervasivity of minor and daily frictions.

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Giuditta Vendrame and Paolo Patelli (La Jetée), Friction Atlas. Test in Berlin. Photo: BIO50 / The Agency of Walking

Is this an ongoing archive? or will Friction Atlas end with the biennial?

The diagrams represent cases from different cities, including Cairo, Genoa, London, Ljubljana, New York City, Rome, Stockholm, Sydney, Washington. We definitely want to continue with this research, add more cities, involve more people, expand the discourse. Comparisons between cities, countries are particularly enlightening: try with Singapore and Egypt, or with USA and Iceland. You would be very surprised. The installation in Ljubljana, together with an edited collection of comments, short interviews, excerpts from articles and public acts, constitute our notes towards a critical atlas.

We set up a tumblr, to start collecting external contributions: do you have any anecdote, article, or thought that you would like to share?

You can do it on the beta version of the Friction Atlas archive: http://frictionatlas.net/

We would also like to bring our research further by moving beyond prescriptive rules, and including other formal strategies that define "a priori" the possibilities - and the impossibilities - of movement (e.g. public transportation trajectories). Making tangible the invisible text of such implicit rules - which are biopolitical rather then disciplinary - would define - in the words of Andrea Mubi Bringhenti - subjective environments, or horizons, rather than traces and routes.

This is a big challenge, as we really want to keep all the levels of engagement present, especially the most playful.

Thanks Giuditta and Paolo!

Friction Atlas was developed by Paolo Patelli and Giuditta Vendrame for the Agency of Walking, BIO 50. The 24th Biennial of Design is open in various locations around Ljubljana until 7 December 2014.

Also part of BIO 50: Engine Block. Or how to turn a moped into a boat or a concrete mixer.

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Coral Stoakes, I wish my boyfriend was as dirty as your policies, 2011. Photo Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Installation Image, Disobedient Objects, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has recently opened an exhibition that "examines the powerful role of objects in movements for social change." It is called Disobedient Objects. That's the kind of title that chic and cheerful designers would use to describe how their work is 'subversive' but, thankfully, this is probably the most un-designy show the V&A has ever organised (except for the whole communication and setting which was orchestrated by the studio of Jonathan Barnbrook.) Disobedient Objects is not one of those fashionable activist art exhibitions either. This is a show about activism with a capital A, a show inhabited by artefacts that had never graced the venerable rooms of a museum or art gallery until now.

Many of the items exhibited are often mundane objects that were either given a new purpose or modified in haste in answer to an emergency situation. As modest as they might seem, these artifacts show the resourcefulness and ingenuity of people. They testify of their courage as well. Confronted with the sophisticated (except maybe in London where our good Mayor favours cut-price water cannons that are being phased out in Germany amid concerns about their safety) and potentially harmful equipment used by security forces, these artefacts look almost pitiful. But that doesn't make them less efficient.

Disobedient Objects focuses on the period from the late 1970s to now, a time that has brought new technologies and political challenges. The items displayed range from the very rudimentary to the sophisticated, from a slingshot made from a Palestinian child's shoe to mobile phone-powered drones for filming demonstrations or the police, from textiles sewn by women to communicate the atrocities they have experienced under the Pinochet regime in Chile, in particular the 'disappearance of their children to a robot that spray paint slogans on the pavement.

I entered the show ready to sneer at V&A's grand attempts to glamourize popular protests and turn evidences of genuine and at times violent dissent into food for cool hunters. My fighting mood quickly vanished. Disobedient Objects is a show that invites visitors to get out and raise their heads, to be inspired and fight for their rights. And that's what matters to me.

As the curators wrote: "Peaceful disobedience only works when protesters have cultural visibility and the government acknowledges their right to protest. Without this, struggles for freedom can sometimes take other forms."

Here's a very small overview of the stories you can discover in this ridiculously crammed with visitors but invigorating exhibition:

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TAF!, Enmedio and Plataforma de Artefactos por la Hipoteca, We Are Not Numbers

As usual, I bow (me saco el sombrero?) to Spanish wittiness. No one does protests as eloquently and astutely as they do these days. TAF! and Enmedio worked with Plataforma de Artefactos por la Hipoteca (a platform for mortgage debt victims) against dehumanizing media representations of people affected by Spain's mortgage crisis. The group pasted portraits of evicted homeowners on the facades of banks responsible, showing evicted people, not statistics.

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Inflatable cobblestone, action of Eclectic Electric Collective in cooperation with Enmedio collective during the General Strike in Barcelona 2012. © Oriana Eliçabe/Enmedio.info

The inflatable cobblestones were rolled across the streets in Berlin and Barcelona to confuse police and generate sympathetic media attention.

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Electronic Disturbance Theatre 1.0, FloodNet, 1998

When many people run the program FloodNet (1998) together, they can target and overload websites. The Java applet was created in response to the massacre of 45 peaceful supporters of the Zapatistas in Mexico. Ten thousand protestors disturbed the website of the Mexican presidency and the Pentagon. FloodNet has since been adopted by many groups and movements.

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Bike Bloc Graphic Poster. Anonymous. Photo Victoria and Albert Musem, London

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Installation Image, Disobedient Objects, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The first Bike Bloc was part of the mass civil disobedience organised during the 2009 Climate Summit in Copenhagen. Moving in swarms, bikes helped protesters breach the summit's security cordon and hold an alternative People's Assembly. The leading bike carried a sound system and pirate radio antennae. It broadcasted via other bikes around it with independent speakers, each on a separate channel. The sound could jump between bikes inside the crowd, and change in tone to respond to different situations.


Sound Swarm (of the Bike Bloc) @ the Climate Summit. Shot and edited by Leah Temper

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Occupy London Stock Exchange, Capitalism is Crisis banner. Used 2009-12. Credit: Immo Klink

The banner was made for the 2009 Climate Camp at Blackheath, London. It identified capitalism as the source of climate chaos and as an ongoing crisis of inequality and injustice.

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Ed Hall, Banner for UNITE the union at the march in support of the NHS in Manchester, 29th September 2013. Courtesy of Ed Hall

One of the banners hanging over the exhibition space was designed and hand-stitched by Ed Hall (whose name appears in almost every single post i've written about Jeremy Deller's work.) Hall has been making banners used by union groups for over 30 years. This one was used in a protest march in support of the NHS in Manchester in 2013. It features the Thatcher quote 'Still the enemy within', which is surrounded by iconography referencing the miners' strike, poll tax rebellion and welfare cuts.

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Andy Dao and Ivan Cash, Occupy George overprinted dollar bill, 2011. Courtesy of Andy Dao and Ivan Cash

Andy Dao and Ivan Cash circulated dollar bills stamped with fact-based infographics that communicate the widening economic disparity in the U.S.A. The designs were also released on the Internet enabling anyone to participate.

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Occupy Liz, defaced currency for the Occupy movement. Photograph: Ivan Cash and Andy Dao

The artists/advertising experts were commissioned by the museum to design stamps about the UK's wealth disparity on the £5 note: in 2011, 1% of the UK population earned £922,433 while 90% earned £12,933. Any visitor can use the stamp to make their money a bit more riotous.

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Middle Burmese 1 kyat "democracy note," 1989-90, private collection

There is a long, long tradition of bank notes used for protest. The show also reminded that in 1990, a Burmese currency designer very subtly painted the face of Aung San Suu Kyi onto a new note after she had been democratically elected then placed under house arrest by the military junta. The designer softened the features of Gen. Aung San (the father of Aung San Suu Kyi) so that his face resembles the one of his daughter. People could thus hold up their bank notes to the light and see a hidden portrait of the opposition leader.

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Faced with police tear-gas, protesters in Turkey made their own gas masks

In 2013, the Turkish government used record amounts of tear gas against people protesting against the redevelopment of the Gezi Park in Istanbul. Protesters devised their own makeshift gas mask using plastic bottle, surgical face mask, foam and rubber bands.

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Greek protester Katerina Patrikarakou covers her face in a Maalox mixture to counter the effects of tear gas. Photo Peter Hapak for Time

Greek protesters adopted an equally cunning strategy. People resisting government austerity discovered that a solution of antacid and water sprayed onto the face offered relief from the burn of tear gas. However, it left a white residue that market protesters out.

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Book Bloc activists in Rome in 2010. Photograph: Vittorio Giannitelli/SonarProject

The protest shields painted to look like books were first made in Italy, in November 2010. Students were protesting against the drastic cuts to the public university system. The oversize books were held up at the front of demonstrations so that when the police hit the students with sticks, it looked as if they were attacking literature.

Students in London produced their own book shields after they saw videos of the actions online. The tactic quickly spread to other parts of the world.

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Institute for Applied Autonomy, Graffiti Writer (Robot for writing street graffiti), 1998. Courtesy of Institute for Applied Autonomy

A couple of artworks did sneak into the exhibition. I guess that the Graffiti Writer doesn't need any introduction....

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Molleindustria, Phone Story, 2011

The gallery also featured Molleindustria's Phone Story, a free game app that players win by forcing children to mine coltan in the Congo, preventing worker protest-suicide in China, managing rabid consumers in the West and disposing of electronic waste unsafely in Pakistan. The game was banned from Apple's iTunes store four days after its release.

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Guerrilla Girls. Image George Lange

The Guerrilla Girls was formed in 1985 to protest against the ridiculously low number of works by female artists in the most prestigious galleries and museums of New York. Their fight is as relevant as ever today (and not just in NYc obviously.)

More images from the show:

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L J Roberts, Gaybashers, Come and Get It, USA, 2011. Courtesy of Blanca Garcia

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Dolls of the Zapatista Revolution, The Zapatista, Mexico. PhotoVictoria and Albert Musem, London

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Installation Image, Disobedient Objects, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Installation Image, Disobedient Objects, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Carrie Reichardt and the Treatment Rooms Collective, Ceramic Intervention on the V&A Façade, 2014

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Bone china with transfers printed in green, bearing the emblem of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). Photo: Victoria and Albert Musem, London

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Chilean Arpilleras wall hanging: Donde estan nuestros hijos, Chile Roberta Bacic's collection. Photo Martin Melaugh

The museum has PDF guides to DIY some of the objects exhibited.

Disobedient Objects was curated by Gavin Grindon and Catherine Flood. The show is at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, until 1 February 2015.

0-t02807.jpgA few months ago, Ben White gave a wonderfully eloquent lecture at Amnesty International in London. The event celebrated the new edition of the journalist's book, Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide (published by Pluto and available on amazon USA and UK.)

The Israeli embassy had done its best to convince Amnesty International to cancel the talk. They also tried to dissuade David Hearst from chairing the evening. To no avail, thankfully.

The lecture was in March and the reason why i blog about it today is that while children (125 so far) and other innocent civilians are being terrorized and murdered right now in Gaza, people are still accused of anti-semitism simply because they believe that the basic human rights of the Palestinians should be respected. I fear there is still a lot of disinformation and misunderstanding about what is happening in Israel/Palestine. I would certainly never claim that i understand precisely the situation but i do think that Ben White's book and his talks are well documented, engaging and worth a few minutes of your time.

Sadly, there is no video of the evening but some of Ben White's videos are on youtube. Here's one of them:


Ben White at Ryerson University in Toronto: "Israel: Apartheid not Democracy"

White starts his lecture by explaining the relevance of the word 'apartheid' in the Israeli context. Apartheid does not apply solely to South Africa. Nowadays, apartheid is outlawed and defined in international law independently of the country where it takes place. In 2012, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination itself has used the term to condemn Israeli policies. Numerous international, Israeli NGOs, Palestinian NOGs and human rights observers have done the same.

The author goes on by giving a series of examples of ethnocratic Israeli policies that have been affecting Palestinians for over 6 decades, both inside what people call "Israel proper" and in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

White also exposes clearly that the main problem for Palestinians is not just the occupation but the issue of their forced expulsion in 1948. One day after the date Israel has chosen to celebrate its independence is Nakba Day for Palestinians, the day they were expelled from their home, the day their land was confiscated, the day they were forbidden to come back home.

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800,000 Olive Trees Uprooted, 33 Central Parks. By Polypod and Philippe Ghabayen

Please do check also Ben White's twitter feed, Visualizing Palestine's striking infographics, and Léopold Lambert's recent essays on The Funambulist.

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Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, The Saints Forest, 2005 (via)

I'm going to close this post with a photo by Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin. The image is part of a series that depicts forests planted by the Israeli to cover and erase the very existence of former Palestinian villages that were evacuated and destroyed at various times since 1948. Each razed village has since been planted with stands of pine trees that gradually colonize the reclaimed lands and obscure their histories of devastation.

Should you be interested, i took some photos of Ben White's slides.
Photo on the homepage: Palestinian workers at the Bethlehem checkpoint. By Daniel Bar-On.

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Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa await processing in the port of Tripoli after attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe December 5, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

Forensic Oceanography is a research project started in 2011 by Lorenzo Pezzani and Charles Heller to investigate the militarised border regime in the Mediterranean Sea, and document the violence perpetrated against migrants attempting to cross the liquid border.

The sea, and in particular the Mediterranean, is a space of escape for thousands of people who leave the African continent in hope of a safer life in Europe. It is also a space of control and thus a political space. Much of what happens on the surface of that liquid political space takes place far away from the public gaze and often remains unaccounted for. However, the sea is closely surveilled, information about what happens and what sails through it is being generated, analyzed and recorded.

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Chain of events as reconstructed for the FO report

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Drift model providing hourly positions of the vessel. The drift trajectory was reconstructed by analyzing data on winds and currents collected by buoys in the Strait of Sicily

Forensic Oceanography looks at the sea as a witness to interrogate and cross-examine, re-purposing data and technologies initially produced as evidence of illegal migration and turning it into evidence of a crime of non assistance.

Lorenzo Pezzani was at The Lighthouse in Brighton a few weeks ago to talk about Forensic Oceanography and more particularly about the case of 72 migrants who had been left to die while they were attempting to flee Libya and reach the Italian shores during the Libyan conflict of 2011.

The Mediterranean is a fairly crowded sea and Western military forces were made aware of the refugees' distress shortly after the dinghy's departure when the captain lost control of the boat and called for help. The Italian coast guards received the appeal and relayed it, along with the position of the boat, to the NATO coordination centre and to military vessels present in the area. The distress calls were repeated every 4 hours for 10 days. But no-one came to their assistance. The dinghy was seen by an airplane, military helicopters, two fishing vessels and a large military vessel, which ignored their distress signals. After 15 days adrift, the boat washed up on the Libyan coast with only 11 survivors on board, two of whom died shortly afterwards. FO call the case, the 'left-to-die boat'.

Here's Liquid Traces, a short film which sums up the case.


Liquid Traces, Forensic Oceanography - video report on the Left-to-Die boat

And the video of Pezzani's presentation at The Lighthouse. It was a great evening. He talked about how a journey at sea is fast for goods and for privileged passengers but excruciatingly slow for the unwanted, about the dilemma of producing evidence to account for violence while trying not to be complicit with governments, about FO new project to make and distribute to migrants leaflets containing legal information about their rights, etc.


Monthly Talk - Lorenzo Pezzani

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SAR data within the Straight of Sicily for the period pertaining to the left-to-die boat case (27 March - 10 April)

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