The American civilization achieved many marvels and saw itself as the culmination of twenty millennia of history tending ineluctably towards their own perfect glory, but they too sank into the dust in time. Surviving relics of this fascinating and ancient people are mostly votive offerings: a massive offering in the shape of a dam in a particularly striking stretch of Black Canyon; a brass plaque in honor of the moon god Nixon, and most fascinating to scholars, a heroic epic about a group of men and women who somehow embodied and gave honor to the concept of “friendship”. We do not fully understand its cultural nuances, but we believe that by recapitulating a heavily ritualized sacral life, the Americans created a cultural-religious text-object which was pregnant with meaning both to themselves and their gods. It is not important that we understand the meaning of the “Pivot / Shut Up” exchange, or the “On A Break” leitmotif. It is only important we understand what meaning they had to the Americans.
Ariana Page Russell - Skin
"Artist Ariana Page Russell was, born with a skin condition called Dermatographia, any light scratch will raise her skin into rosy welts which last for about 30 minutes. She explains dermatographia as:
A condition in which one’s immune system releases excessive amounts of histamine, causing capillaries to dilate and welts to appear (lasting about thirty minutes) when the hypersensitive skin’s surface is lightly scratched. This allows me to painlessly draw on my skin with just enough time to photograph the results. Even though I can direct this ephemeral response by drawing on it, the reaction is involuntary, much like the uncontrollable nature of a blush.
The photographs from her series Skin capture her body covered in beautiful temporary designs of her own creation. She writes words, creates patterns with floral flourishes and points, and even connects her freckles like stars in a body based constellation.”
the bajau laut are some of the world’s last true sea nomads, living as they have for centuries almost entirely in the waters of the coral triangle (“the amazon of the seas”) on long boats known as lepa lepa.
hunters of fish, pearls and sea cucumbers, the bajau people free dive to depths of 20 meters, hold their breath for up to three minutes, and spend up to 60% of their time in the water submerged - the equivalent of a sea otter. it is a common practice amongst bajau people to intentionally burst their ear drums at an early age to deal with the problem of equalizing.
as photographer james morgan explains, “traditional bajau cosmology - a syncretism of animism and islam - reveals a complex relationship with the ocean, which for them is a multifarious and living entity. there are spirits in currents and tides, in coral reefs and mangroves.” the bajau people, for example, will not spit in the ocean.
in the last few decades, increasingly depleted fish stocks and government efforts have forced many to settle permanently on land and abandon a life of self sufficiency known as cari laut, or ‘searching the ocean’. a dwindling few, however, still choose to live the majority of their lives at sea
[TW: rape] I asked the Congolese women; ‘give me the 5 major issues affecting Congolese women today’. Rape was number 4. Political participation was number 1. Economic empowerment was number 2. Domestic violence was number 3. And they qualified it; the rape you see is because we don’t have women in high places to effect the change that needs to be done. No.2, if we were economically empowered, we wouldn’t be in abusive relationships and will know how to handle ourselves.
But outsiders expected rape to be number 1 because that’s the global image of Congolese women. One Congolese woman asked where people got the idea that rape was their major problem. Someone answered her “if you don’t say so, the West won’t give you aid”.
Congolese women wanted to show their fellow sister how they’ve been sustaining their children and communities in midst of the violence they lived in. By the time the white people arrived, they changed their tune: ‘help, I’ve been raped. I’ve been abused’.
They’ve figured you all out. That’s the stories you white people want to hear. You travel to cry. So they will make you cry. The media never goes into any community to pick stories of how you survived and what positive things are happening. A pressman once asked me if I’ve been raped during the Liberian war and when I answered no, he passed the mike over my head. So the easiest thing for those who need media attention or aid is to talk about their personal history and say they were raped.
This is a similar situation across the globe for migrants who wanted papers after war; every time they went to the US consulate and told the truth, they were denied. When they went and told a sad story, the counselor cried and granted them their papers.