Forever Under Construction

Questions

Posted in Art, Civilization, Culture, Derrick Jensen by homeyra on April 29, 2009

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Hope by Scott G. Brooks

Do you believe that this culture is going to undergo voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living?

The next question is “If you don’t believe that the culture is going to undergo voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living” and you care about the land where you live what does it mean for your strategies and tactics?

And the answer is we don’t really know. And one of the reasons we don’t know is that we don’t really talk about it. And one of the reasons we don’t talk about it is that we are also busy pretending that we have hope.

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On Culture

Posted in Culture by homeyra on February 12, 2009

If you like to be challenged on your perceptions of culture, listen – just listen, DON’T WATCH! – to cultural critic, sociologist and philosopher Slavoj Žižek, preferably a few time.

An excerpt at 1.13.57:

[…] What worries me is precisely the simple fact that we talk publicly about [torture]. I mean I know very well, I am the first to admit when pro-American friends tell me […] “let’s be frank In the United States we at least debate torture. In China, in Russia they are probably doing it much more, they don’t even talk about it.” Ok we debate it. This worries me. Why? Let me draw a parallel. […]

Would you like to live in a society where you will have to debate and argue all the time that women shouldn’t be raped?

No I want to live in a dogmatic society where when somebody starts to advocate the right of men to rape women you simply disqualify your self, I mean people don’t even attack you, you are just a jerk, […] “haha, what’s wrong with this guy” or whatever.

Fortunately I want to live in a society where the same goes for torture.

I think the sign is that we debate about, they are many signs that this unwritten between the lines rules are changing. That’s why I think we effectively are in a middle of change. Its not maybe the change that Obama wants, it is a much more ominous change. It’s a change of this very ideological background.

This is why, If you want to get what the message is […] you should all the time apply this mechanism that “OK they are saying this, but what is the implicit message? They say I believe this. What is that they really want us to believe?

I think things are really clear, when Republicans are saying “not Obama, we are for change, we are the true candidate for change”. It’s a little bit I am afraid too short to claim “Oh but they don’t really mean change.”

Of course They don’t. […] The real message is “we promise you to change something, to change that what is necessary to change so things remain the same“. I mean this is the message between the line, it is all too naïve but its too clear.

When you ask about the economy, they say what? The same old mantra: “less state, less state spending, less tax, strong foreign policy”, absolutely nothing new, so its change so that nothing really changes.

Another thing, when people claim about all this populist rhetoric, of you know “we mavericks, simple people” of course Republicans are now playing the populist game, but what are the true contours of these games?

Again, I don’t think the real message which is well understood by their voters is “things are really that simple, we will just put in practice in Washington your populist fury […]”

No, the message is: “we and you know very well that we need boys in the back room, experts to do the job. Let’s play the game here we will keep a boy in the back room who will do the dirty job for you, and it’s better for you not to know it.”

I think that effectively between the lines they are offering you what is the opposite.[…]

(h/t to P U L S E)

Sophia, NY & the Rest of Us

Posted in Art, Civilization, Culture, Middle East, USA, World by homeyra on April 3, 2007

Sophia is back. She and her husband have celebrated their 24th anniversary, spending a long week-end in New York.

She has a marvelous post, Echoes of Empire, taking you to exhibitions, operas and a play. Aware as she is of the current state of the world, she draws most interesting parallels between the marvelous and the awful of our lives.

I highly recommend you to read this post in its entire version.

met0.jpgAn excerpt:

“New York is a great city and represents in its cultural scene the best of what the US has to offer to the world. And why the US does not offer this to the world instead of offering its army and its might, which come with destruction, humiliations, resentment, and more wars? One of the reasons is that the US itself has a hard time accepting the premises of the cultural life and the spirit of its most glamorous city. In the US, unlike in Europe, culture is considered a good for the elite. The rest must content itself with what they can watch on US TVs and cinema screens; Christian evangelists and other cultural mimes destined (albeit unintentionally) to maintain the population in a state of perpetual darkness. The sad thing is that the US exports only its ‘trash culture’, the culture of its own disgraced and ill-favored class. So before going on a Middle East tour civilising mission, the US must bring itself and its own majority, not only its elite, to civilisation through culture. Liberation comes through culture and not through the destruction of other countries and other cultures on the basis of racist and dangerous religious ideologies. And we can turn to culture only when our physical survival is not under threat.”

Visual Culture

Posted in Art, Culture, Graphic, Illustration, Iran by homeyra on February 21, 2007

These days, the new cultural criteria seems to be: Whatever you don’t see on CNN.

” … I remember being surprised when I read that some of my favorite designs in “area. 100 graphic designers. 010 curators. 010 design classics” are by designers who live and work in Tehran. Cutting edge graphic design is not something I would associate with Iran. But as I found out there is in fact a thriving graphic design scene in Iran …” Ivar Hagendoorn, read more

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Much has been said lately about the nose jobs and culture gaps in Iran of late, but little light has been shed on the art … … … the arrangement of the Farsi words. Sometimes they are knotted together in an unintelligable nest, and other times drip out of a clenched fist. It’s a facet of the book that makes this a gem for typographers. A fine visual reference really for anyone interested in a largely unexplored aspect of Iranian culture, maybe our State Department should pick up a copy or two … ” Tokion, read more

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Iranian graphic design is some of the most impressive happening today, and this is the first collection aimed at international readers. In the past few years, Iranian designers have won admiring attention overseas, though to date most of this has come from non English-speaking countries, particularly France … ” eyemagazine, read more

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“… the current trends absorbing the minds and talents of Iranian artists is a fascinating mixture of poetry, humanistic statements and reactions to the nearly constant states of upheaval in this seminal land …”

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“… Maybe I am wrong, maybe I am reading too much into it, maybe my lens is too tinted or tainted. Either way, it is a record nonetheless of what is on the minds of modern day Iranian artists, reporting that the truth is once again alive and well inside modern day Iran and recording our history like it always has. For better or worse. It’s good to see you again my friends…”Persian Mirror, read more

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” … At this particular time in our history, with our somewhat distorted reportage of Iran as depicted on television and the news media clouding our appreciation of an extant yet ancient culture fully transported into the present, this fine book provides an important bridge toward understanding a fascinating country. As is so often the case the artists are our shaman and offer us a more humanistic view of differences and similarities among our global neighborhood. This book is a must for all students and practitioners of art in this country: it is also highly recommended as an introduction to the creativity of a nation seeking understanding!” Grady Harp, read more

See more in the IMAGE GALLERY thx to Iranian.co

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New Visual Culture of Modern Iran colorfully showcases some of the most innovative and impressive work from illustrators, graphic designers and photographers living and working in Iran today. As Abedini writes in his introduction: “This book . . . will give you an insight into the real Iran, other than what the BBC or CNN news would give you!

Reza Abedini is the recipient of The Principal Prince Claus Award
Graphic design, Illustrations, Photography by Reza Abedini and Hans Wolbers
2006, Mark Batty Publisher

Lava: content driven design
Review and more photos at Peyvand

reza05.jpg An exhibition: The Visual Language of Reza Abedin

Platform 21, Amsterdam, January 2007

reza04.jpgreza01.jpg Click on images

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Interesting international graphic websites:
designws.com
eye, the International review of graphic design
Ivar Hagendoorn
Phaidon
Tokion

CultureKicks!

Posted in Children, Culture, Iran, USA by homeyra on December 29, 2006

As soon as Youtube was unblocked, I spent a day to find some interesting things for blogging purposes.

My connection is awfully slow and the whole process is very time consuming. Among different material about Iran I came across a series of short movies taken by an American group while traveling in Iran during June 2006; from there I was lead to CultureKicks:

What We Do

Focusing on one country at a time, American kids are introduced to the people of a particular country while building positive perspectives about their culture.

Mission Statement
To offer young American kids the opportunity to understand, accept, and appreciate people from other cultures in preparation for a global future.

Vision
To build global unity for the next generation.

The website had a link to a travel blog which ended abruptly. It made me wonder what had happened to this group. Were they arrested, had disappeared or taken hostage, one never knows what can happen in those countries.

I sent an email and I was relieved to receive an answer a day or two after: the writer was back in the USA, alive, safe and sound. We exchanged a few emails and shared a few long distance laughs.

For the time being this organization focuses on Iran, here you can find videos, pictures and some facts about Iran. CultureKicks provides a 45 minute of presentation to the kids age 6 to 18 anywhere in the United States, by request. Via this site, kids can also connect to the Iran program and exchange letters, draw pictures, or create a work of art for the kids at English-speaking schools in Tehran.

I wish all the success to the initiators of CultureKicks and Sian-Jan in particular. Movafagh bashid 🙂

Persian Literature & The West – III

Posted in Culture, Greek, Iran, Persia, Persian by homeyra on November 23, 2006

[In a posthumously published fragment, Nietzsche (1844-1900) deplores a lost of a historical opportunity: “It was much more fortunate if Persians became masters of the Greeks, than the very Romans.” In this note Nietzsche reveals, once more, his radical opposition to the Greek metaphysical thought, as developed by Socrates and Plato, which later, by supremacy of the Greek culture inside the Roman Empire, became dominant and then integrated into the other-worldly, ‘nihilistic’, tenets of Christianity. While, in his view, the dominance of the positive outlooks of the Persians toward worldly life and time would have prevented the prevalence of such a sinister event in human history.]

Maybe this same perspective is shared by Cyrus Kar, if you haven’t seen the preview of his movie, here it is.

[Nietzsche is known as a philosopher of culture. His analyses of, and critical views on classical, medieval, and modern European cultures witness his knowledge and profound concern with the historical development of human cultures, specifically their moral systems of valuation. Inquisitive about great Asiatic cultures, i.e. Chinese, Indian, and Persian, … Nietzsche’s curiosity for various historical developments of the human culture produced his unique philosophical understanding of the Oriental cultures and their traditional wisdom in contrast to the modern European culture. Here and there he puts the ‘Asiatic’ wisdom positively in opposition to the modern rationalism which he views despicably.

Nietzsche was a brilliant student of classical philology and later taught it at the University of Basel. His vast knowledge of Greek and Roman languages, cultures, and history is reflected in … innumerable references to them throughout his writings. His studies of the classical philology and deep involvement in Greek and Latin literature introduced him to the ancient Persian culture and history, as an Asiatic culture and imperial power challenging Greek city-states… or fragments fully reflecting his views on Persian people of the ancient times and their culture. He particularly praises their mastery of archery and horsemanship, their imperiousness and belligerency, and their emphasis on the virtue of truthfulness. These virtues positively correspond to the Nietzschean view of the valuable human life.

But Nietzsche’s highest interest and respect for the Persians appears where he speaks about their notion of history and cyclical Eternal Time; a concept that resembles his own concept of the “Eternal Return”, emphasizing on the recurrent temporality of being: “I must pay tribute to Zarathustra, a Persian: Persians were the first who thought of history in its full entirety.”] … to be continued

Source: Nietzche and Persia

See also Part I, Part II