Sick Beats

January 25, 2011

I can’t help but watch this video and say “I know where that is! I’ve been there! I walked down that street! I fucking walked there!” It’s unreal to me that this is happening.

After 20 years of Mubarak’s “presidency,” I have to admit I’m happy to see this. I don’t know when or how this government will improve, but finally the Egyptian people are uniting. (At least, I hope there are Copts out there protesting as well.) After the food riots and the riots after the swine flu, this will hopefully be the beginning of the end. Solidarity, my friends.

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Maybe Someday My Dreams Will Match Up With My Pay

June 18, 2010

It’s been a long day, and tomorrow will only be longer. But I just have to say a few words about the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, because it’s really incredible.

I’m currently a consultant with the film festival, and I’ve seen a good number of the films. Tonight I saw Camp Victory, Afghanistan, which follows the events that unravel over three years as the US National Guard tries to help train the Afghan Army to bring stability to the country. I hadn’t realized how little the media actually covered regarding the rebuilding of this entire nation. And furthermore, I had no idea how complicated it is. I mean, I always knew how complicated it all was, but seeing things happen and listening to the struggles on both sides…it’s eye-opening.

After I saw Camp Victory, I spent some time with the Youth Producing Change filmmakers. Seeing them all here from all over – Afghanistan, Kenya, Texas, Slovenia, L.A., Brooklyn – and watching them interact has been priceless. It’s so great seeing youth engaging in arts and human rights and activism and wanting to learn more. I love it. I love it all. It always gives me hope to see young, peaceful youth trying to live a good life and share themselves with others.

Anyway, that’s what I wanted to say. If you’re in NYC, come out to the festival. It’s the best $7-$12  you’ll spend this summer. (well, one of the best.)


The Sun In My Head

November 15, 2009

Hi.

So I’ve been busy. But I have something really cool to show you before I do more work. Check out this installation called Journey. It’s one woman’s story of her life and sex trafficking. So powerful I cried. And art rarely makes me cry.

I have tons to say about it, but I really need to work on this research project for MVS‘s class, among other work for other classes…


Tumblin Down

September 13, 2009

(Please note: I’ve been meaning to write this post since the end of August. Now that my senior year of undergrad has started, I don’t think I’ll be posting as often, but we’ll see…)

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Doctors Without Borders most recent ad. Apparently it’s stirring up some dialogue in the NGO and health care development world. Our friends at Aid Watch talked about it, and our buddy at Transitionland wrote about it as well. I’ve decided to give my two cents, just for gits and shiggles.

The horror people feel is like what they see (or should see) in human rights and documentary photography. We are attracted to pain. This particular ad, however, plays on a different dirty desire. The image remains the same: a desolate land with a concrete building in the foreground. (Why Aid Watch takes it upon themselves to assume it’s Africa, I have no idea.) Then a soundtrack plays of a child wailing and crying. The text that appears on the screen tells the audience that militia raped his sisters and clubbed his parents to death, and then it says, in seemingly innocent white lettering “We Can’t Operate Without Your Help.”

I agree to some extent with Transitionland. This is what MSF does. If you’ve been gazing at pictures from Abu Ghraib, Vietnam, and Chernobyl, and you can watch movies like Hotel Rwanda, Inglorious Basterds, and Saving Private Ryan, and looking at goodness knows what other imagery is out there, then you can watch this ad. If the commercial makes your stomach twist, then it’s done its job, don’t you think? It sucks that making you feel that way is its job.

But it’s not the imagery that makes you a little sick – it’s the audio. And that’s what I find so amazing about this ad. Is it just as much of a violation of dignity if the audio is heard, rather than an image seen? If the image of the boy crying and having an operation played on your screen, would you be more outraged and disgusted? Or would you have accepted it as more NGO promotional imagery? And this is what I loved about Transitionland’s post. She included more ads that are clearly worse (in different ways) than the most recent MSF ad. I don’t know about the discussions surrounding those ads, but I imagine it could be similar to the ones revolving around this one.

So congratulations MSF for promoting further discussion about your work by means of a more dignifying way. I’m interested to see how NGO promotional media will progress.