The situation in Ukraine and Crimea has rapidly worsened, but what was happening before all that? It was only a few weeks ago that protesters in Kiev were battling in the streets, demanding for the resignation of Yanukovych and closer relations with the European Union. Artist Tomas Rafa was in the thick of it, documenting the triumphs, violence and life in the square.
Organized by Chemi Rosado Seijo, a presenter from Creative Time Summit 2011, Festival de Chiringas La Perla (Pearl Kite Festival) is a celebration in Puerto Rico that invites locals to create their own kites and fly them together. “A piece of social / community art that will culminate in a collaborative artistic action” between the artist and residents of La Perla.
It’s happening March 16. We wish we could be there!
Nicolas Wills (top) and Jazael Olguín Zapata (bottom), We Were Not Born to Illustrate Books, 2013. Courtesy of Crater Invertido.
These awesome drawings were inspired by legendary Tropicália musician Tom Zé. Known for his pioneering role in Brazil’s Tropicália movement—a surge of iconoclastic art, music and politics during the country’s military dictatorship of the 1960s— Zé remains a significant influence for artists and musicians around the world today. Though Tropicália ended as quickly as it began, Zé’s music—a polytonal amalgam of styles including Western rock and psychedelia as well as Bossa Nova and Bahian Samba—reemerged from São Paulo’s fringes in 1989, when David Byrne signed him to his Luaka Bop record label.
Mexico City-based art collective Crater Invertido present a mix of songs by the legendary Tropicália musician Tom Zé, as part of a new publication aimed at disseminating Zé’s music and ideas to a Spanish-speaking audience. Head over to Creative Time Reports to listen to the mix!
For his public performance Fahrenheit 451:Reprinted, Istanbul-based artist Ahmet Ögüt worked with a crew of on-duty firemen to assemble and operate a mobile book-printing studio inside a Helsinki fire truck in August 2013. After the artist acquired the rights to reprint 20 books banned by various countries in modern times (from The Communist Manifesto to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), the firemen produced 1,500 new copies of the titles. Here, a fireman hands out a banned book as part of the performance.
For an episode of Forms of Life on Creative Time Reports, Nato Thompson, Creative Time’s chief curator, spoke with Ahmet about this project as well as community organizing beyond the art world, based on his experience of assembling the Silent University for migrants and refugees during his Tate Modern residency.
Mickalene Thomas, Mama Bush: (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher, 2009.
Mickalene Thomas’s film Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman premieres on HBO today! On Creative Time Reports, she commemorated the life of her late mother, whose conviction and resilience inspired Thomas to make a series of paintings and photographs in tribute to “Mama Bush.”
Why boycott the Sochi Olympics? Artist Bettina WitteVeen sent us this open letter, which emphasizes Russia’s long-term military ambitions and its controversial control of a naval base in the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol, across the Black Sea from Sochi.
What do you think? Have you been boycotting the Sochi Games? Why or why not?
There are the human rights abuses. There are the working conditions of the construction crews that resemble those of a penal colony. There is the over-the-top corruption. There is the the massive environmental devastation. Should these not be enough reasons to not watch and thereby support the folly in Sochi, maybe one should consider this: why are the Olympics in Sochi, the summer capital of Russia? Yes, there are some mountains nearby and yes, Putin likes to ski there, but above all…
Vladimir Putin follows a hardcore geopolitical agenda with the sole aim to return Russia to his perception of its former international glory. That involves the Caucasus. That involves Ukraine. Sochi is close to Georgia’s borders and right across the Black Sea from Sevastopol, Russia’s only warm seaport and home to her Black Sea fleet, which is a great source of national pride. Situated on the Crimean peninsula, Sevastopol is today part of Ukraine, which leases out the important naval facilities for Russia’s fleet. In 2010, the two countries ratified a second treaty—against stiff opposition from the Ukrainian people—that gives Russia joint military control over the navy base until 2042. If this sounds far into the future, it is not so for Russian nationalists who have never accepted the “loss” of Sevastopol and the Crimea.
With the help of the Olympic committee, Putin has basically built a massive military base in Sochi right under our noses. If you are wondering why there is such over the top security, it’s because Putin has installed a highly trained and loyal army in Sochi to keep the Caucasus in check and to be prepared for a possible future war with the Ukraine.
Let us not underestimate Vladimir Putin. He is a brilliant and ruthless long-term strategist.
Let us not support Russia’s militarism.
Let us support Ukraine in her democratic, although imperfect, efforts.
With international attention focused on Sochi for a Winter Olympics that has been protested due to Russia’s recent law punishing “gay propaganda,” Olya Ivanova photographs the local gay and lesbian scene and Katya Kabek comments on the varied political perspectives of Sochi’s LGBTQ community.
I’m honored to have worked on this piece with the talented photographer Olya Ivanova, with the amazing Creative Time team, and most of all with some of these photographs’ outspoken protagonists: the kickass teenager Vlad, the sweet student Olya, the upbeat party king Marat and graceful, fascinating Asya. Please look at the photos and read. Because nothing tells of the tragedy that is unwrapping in Russia better than these human faces and human voices. Poignant, frank, heartbreaking.
For Creative Time Reports & The Intercept, Trevor Paglen went on a helicopter ride, photographing the National Security Agency (NSA), National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA). Here, he explains why we need a visual vocabulary of the U.S. intelligence community. His photographs have been released into the public domain for everyone’s use.
As part of Creative Time Reports’ partnership with The Intercept, artist Trevor Paglen offers a glimpse of America’s vast surveillance infrastructure, photographing three of the United States’ most powerful intelligence agencies–including the NSA–and placing the images in the public domain.
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (NSA) With a 2013 budget request of approximately $10.8 billion, the NSA is the second-largest agency in the U.S. intelligence community. It is headquartered in Fort Meade, Maryland.
NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE (NRO) The NRO is in charge of developing, deploying and operating reconnaissance satellites. With a budget allocation of $10.3 billion, it is the third-largest U.S. intelligence agency. Its headquarters are in Chantilly, Virginia.
NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL-INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (NGA) The NGA is responsible for collecting, analyzing and distributing intelligence derived from imagery. According to documents provided by Edward Snowden, the NGA’s latest budget request was $4.9 billion—more than double its funding a decade ago. It is headquartered in Springfield, Virginia.
Anonymous members of Pussy Riot circulated an open letter this morning, shortly after recently imprisoned Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova performed at an Amnesty International benefit concert at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Referring to their two former colleagues, the authors write, “We are no longer Nadia and Masha. They are no longer Pussy Riot.” Their letter is presented in full, unedited, on Creative Time Reports.