Clouded Points of Access: Phantoms in the Dirt at the Museum of Contemporary Photography

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My latest article went up on Artslant yesterday…

What first reads like an astral constellation is in fact a photograph whose blackness is broken only by the erratic swarm of dead insect bodies. Greg Stimac’s Santa Fe to Billings (2009) documents the choreography of the countless lives his windshield intersected on a drive between locales. The momentum of each smash is evident—guts smear and spray across the surface, recording innumerable tiny accidents. To create this piece, Stimac placed an 8 x 10 inch sheet of Plexiglass on the hood of his car. Upon arriving to his final destination—Billings, in this case—he used the car’s cigarette lighter to scan the resulting plate, thereby producing the final 20 x 30 inch photograph. This piece—its documentary mode, its gritty surface, its use of technology—is the perfect beginning for the Museum of Contemporary Photography’s Phantoms in the Dirt, a group exhibition curated by Karsten Lund, which currently showcases sixteen artists. In each work lies a theoretical straw: something the viewer grasps with sudden exuberance and recognition—Yes! Bugs spatter on my car too!—only to bump into larger questions, mysteries, and catastrophes thereafter. Stimac’s insects might provoke anxiety in the viewer about her own mortality, or encapsulate an expression of violence both sickening and banal, or even illustrate humanity’s omniscient relationship to its environment. Like the early efforts to prove the existence of an afterlife by capturing spirits on photographic paper, Phantoms in the Dirt presents the enigmatic trick of landscape photography, stirring up powerful questions about authenticity, mechanical illusion, and existential meaning in the process. read more

 

The Swell celebrates its one year anniversary with Switchback Books at the East Room

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JOIN US IN CELEBRATING OUR ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY WITH PERFORMANCES AND
BOOK FAIR IN COOPERATION WITH Switchback Books.

THURS 08.07.14

DOORS OPEN 7:00PM.
EVENT STARTS 7:30PM.

EAST ROOM
2828 MEDILL
{LOGAN SQUARE]

FEATURING:

Poetry by David Trinidad
Poetry by Nick Twemlow
Music/Video by Nick Twemlow &
Michael Slosek & Eric Unger
Performance by Penelope Hearne

Motherhood Archives on Triple Canopy

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I came across this Triple Canopy essay while thinking about Mothernism… 

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Meowsers on Finery

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@BirdsofLace online magazine, Finery, published an excerpt from my comic about time travel bank heist ladies; every day of the week was a different stretch of spreads from the first part of the story. (The second half, with the Giant Octopus battle-leads-to-cosmic-gang-transformation does not appear. But you can see another glimpse of what’s to come here.)

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What do words such as ‘freedom’ or ‘coup’ mean in Egypt today? One artist is collecting definitions from across a divided nation

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Amira Hanafi  (author of Forgery, GLP, 2011 discusses her new project in The Guardian:

9781450742122

Egypt: after the revolution comes the battle for language

by Patrick Kingsley

Was it a coup? Was it a revolution? The overthrow of Mohamed Morsi last July spawned unending debate in Egypt about how the president’s removal should be defined. Not that this was unusual: since Egypt’s 2011 uprising, the country’s many factions have competed to impose their narratives on highly contested events. As a result, words used to describe the events of the revolution can have wildly different meanings, depending on the speaker.

Fascinated by this lexical battleground, Amira Hanafi, an Egyptian-American artist, is travelling across Egypt to create a dictionary of its ill-fated revolution. She is interviewing hundreds of ordinary people about what 160 buzzwords related to the revolution – terms such as “freedom”, “coup”, and even “revolution” – mean to them. The replies will be turned into a book.

Responses to some words highlight Egypt’s huge divisions. Expressions such as “30 June”, the date anti-Morsi protests began, draw positive and negative reactions, depending on the interviewee’s politics. Other words elicit less divided reactions: Hanafi says respondents from all backgrounds have defined the concept of “future” as unpleasant and uncertain. “Pretty much everyone said it’s black, it’s dark,” she adds. read more