Saturday, 31 December 2011


- I Know Something About Love :
group show with Shirin Neshat, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Yinka Shonibare and Yang Fudong,
Parasol unit

- L and i had problems with how in Neshat's video on forbidden love (snatched glances across Iranian prayer rooms, women firmly in a post-Revolution cage) the woman was fairly heavily made up beneath her cloths, and the bloke was a bit of a conventional oil painting, foregrounded in a sea of anonymous, unadorned faces *, but the cumulative effect of that, of Yang's inquiring video as young Chinese brazenly discuss their relationships, of Shonibare's (admittedly well-worked, if one-trick **) texture-heavy riff on Rococo France that had you scampering around a delicious trellis maze, all the while as elsewhere the slow dance marathon Cypriots in Panayiotou's video charmed pants off bemused viewers, was certainly enough.

(incidentally - the garden and pond at the back of Parasol Unit lovely.)

* is this a 'correct' response? who knows?

** this was more of a problem for the experienced L than myself, given i was popping my Shonibare cherry

Anselm Kiefer: Des Meeres und der Liebe Wellen, White Cube Hoxton Square - signature gigantic seascapes (everything comes from there) that battered faculties into submission; could have stayed beaten for days

- Chantal Joffe, Victoria Miro - portraits to push it forward

- Richard Long and Giuseppe Penone, Haunch of Venison - the complementarity of both (love 'em both, never seen 'em together before)

- Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters, Dulwich Picture Gallery - all of this made sense

Look11 Photography Festival (website), Liverpool, various venues

(including that fabulous resource the Contemporary Urban Centre on Greenland Street, and the splendid Blue Coat School)

- what to mention in scraps? Paul Graham's portraits of Thatcherite dole offices, Mohamed Bourouissa's staged neo-classical-like banlieue series Peripheriques, the group show Collateral Damage, with the likes of Tim Hetherington (RIP), horribly clear-eyed in Sierra Leone, the bedrooms of young American soldiers KIA, preserved in time by grieving parents, documents of American bases worldwide, dry schematic presentations, Edmund Clark's incredibly distressing series from Gitmo, Dornith Doherty photographing seed banks, Juergen Chill’s mundane German prisons: lots and lots of containerisation, confinement benign and otherwise

(quite literally for attendants of the off-off site installations of TRANSITION: fine work - Ciara Leeming on representations and "what it means to be a Gypsy/Traveller in the UK in the 21st century", or listen to Gary Tack here This piece is a kind of photo essay of my old city's attempt at transition architecturally, socially and economically with this theme running throughout the image. It is a reminder to the viewer that Liverpool was and remains, fundamentally, a working class city that is now dysfunctional. It’s original reasons for existence have been lost and the still extant historical attitudes of its mainly working class inhabitants remain despite their urban identity being lost because of the changes forced upon them - pasted on to shipping containers; being locked inside those not something to be forgotten in a hurry)

- Bridget Riley: Paintings and Related Work, National Gallery's Sunley Room - fundamental

(the work displayed from when she was a teen - her van Eyck copy of his Man in a Red Turban, which was news to me - felt like being on the precipice of a paradigm shift, but then you realised it already happened; does this hymning mean genius > scenius? hrm. wind-flecked Cornish coastal grasses, Egyptian blue, Ad Reinhardt, you know ALL THAT CROWD)

- Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century, Royal Academy - it will suffice to list names: Brassaï, Capa, Kertész, Moholy-Nagy, Munkácsi.

"Others, such as Károly Escher, Rudolf Balogh and Jószef Pécsi".


- Modern British Sculpture, Royal Academy - the curating was deliberately all over the shop; hence i thought 'fucking brilliant'

Friday, 30 December 2011

Thursday, 29 December 2011


that's quite the headline from the London Daily Mail.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Can movement be captured in art?

Deborah Bull: For a dancer to look at a picture of a dancer is to experience the sensation of movement

What can we learn from the changing physique of the dancer since Degas' time?

DB: Dancers tend to reflect the ideal of womanhood of the times.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

and in some of my other favourites from this year, Mike Skinner's mix for FACT (link) has cracking selections all the way through, but i especially appreciate at the end a jungle do-over of Bjork that finishes beautifully, bringing the melancholic 4am come down to you, switching into the shimmering, gorgeous build-up of corking Canadian prog house, that and perhaps how he goes into Jean Jacques Smoothie near the start

Monday, 26 December 2011

here's Natalie Shaw's tracks of 2011 (Spotify link)

Sunday, 25 December 2011

The approach of entitlements used in this work is very general and - I would argue - quite inescapable in analysing starvation and poverty. If, nevertheless, it appears odd and unusual, this can be because of the hold of the tradition of thinking in terms of what exists rather than in terms of who can command what. The mesmering simplicity of focusing on the ratio of food to population has persistently played an obscuring role over centuries, and continues to plague policy discussions today much as it has deranged anti-famine policies in the past.

- Amartya Sen, 1982

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Royal Dutch Shell wishes the Niger Delta Merry Christmas in their own inimitable way
Egyptians raise their voices

(photo: Mohamed Omar for epa)

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

HRW: 'This 52-page report documents the effect of the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer Citizen and Protection Act, commonly known as HB 56, on unauthorized immigrants and their families, as well as the larger Alabama communities in which they live. It is based in part on first-hand accounts by 57 Alabama residents, including citizens and permanent residents, who reported abuse or discrimination under the law.'

a real fucking cunt of a bill.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

from the courageous and invaluable Bahrain Center for Human Rights

Police in Bahrain on Sunday fired tear gas at thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-government slogans after the funeral of an elderly man who witnesses say died from tear gas inhalation.

The unrest Sunday is the fourth straight day of clashes between opposition supporters and security forces along a main highway west of the Bahraini capital Manama. At least 40 people have been killed since February, when Bahrain's Shiite majority started campaigning for more rights from Sunni rulers in the Gulf kingdom that is the home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Amir al-Mouali said his 73-year-old neighbor, Abdulali Ali Ahmed, was taken to a hospital Saturday morning after struggling to breath during a night of heavy clashes near his home along the Budaiya highway, which connects a string of Shiite villages west of Manama. Al-Mouali said Ahmed died Saturday evening.

In a statement Sunday, Bahrain's Interior Ministry said Ahmed died of natural causes.

- AP.

Bahraini security forces use tear gas made in the USA, France and Brazil.

can you have a dialogue with tear gas?

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Where does this road begin? Where does it end? [Dhorai] doesn't know. Perhaps no one knows.
Some of the carts are loaded with maize, others bring plaintiffs to the district court, still others carry patients to the hospital.

- 'Dhorai charitmanas', Satinath Bhaduri

Friday, 16 December 2011

London schoolchildren among those taking to the streets to protest the likely rigged election in the DRC and general lack of outside interest in Congolese woes (this precisely aligns with the international community's systematic plundering of Congolese treasure, naturally),

earlier this month.

i hadn't followed what UK press coverage of these hugely under-reported protests there has been, but apparently what few items have tended to crop up in the UK media have focused on London tourists being inconvenienced (maybe some Christmas shoppers too, i daresay! heavens), which is both absolutely sickening and, of course, not a surprise in the slightest when you take into account the (for the most part) ridiculous shower that passes for an enquiring press in the UK

Sunday, 11 December 2011



neoliberal networks

Intensive globalization has been created largely by law firms and more specialised financial services. As a process it can be interpreted as indicating globalization's origins in mid-twentieth century Americanization. As an outcome it can be interpreted as a continuing core of the globalization process.

Extensive globalization has been created largely by accountancy and advertising firms. As a process it can be interpreted as the diffusion of globalization from its Americanization origins. As an outcome it can be interpreted as the worldwide incorporation of cities into globalization.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Hitchens concludes the essay with the observation that even as he was writing the article, he noticed a full-page advertisement from CAMERA [Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America], which said:

In 1948, on the day of the proclamation of the State of Israel, five Arab armies invaded the new country from all sides. In frightful radio broadcasts, they urged the Arabs living there to leave, so that the invading armies could operate without interference.

Hitchens says he wrote to CAMERA on 20 February 1987, asking for an authenticated case of such a broadcast. He did not receive any reply. And he concludes with a prediction:

Even though nobody has ever testified to having heard them, and even though no record of their transmission has ever been found, we shall hear of these orders and broadcasts again and again.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Reynolds on the maximal nation - for Pitchfork no less

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Barbed wire and burnt-out vehicles, trucks laden with logs splayed across the roads, stone-throwing mobs and panicking international peacekeepers cowering behind their riot shields. The Balkan checkpoint, wearily familiar from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, is back.

In an attempt to keep a little swath of Kosovo Serbian, Serbs have cut roads, blocked passages and erected checkpoints at a score of locations across the north of Kosovo bordering Serbia since the summer.

oh dear.

Europe and Serbia are engaged in a risky game of brinkmanship. On the dusty blocked roads of northern Kosovo, Serbia's future is at stake.