[Image: a series of tweets by justified agitator (@Awkward_Duck) on August 19, 2014.
1:23 AM: We literally laid in someone’s backyard for what seemed like an eternity while tanks rolled down the streets #Ferguson
1:26 AM: I’m live tweeting because there’s a media blackout. #Ferguson
1:33 AM: I’m so shaken. They’re literally just rolling around throwing tear gas into neighborhoods-not aggressive crowds. #Ferguson
1:34 AM: I was pouring milk over one guys eyes when they came back around and threw another at us. #Ferguson
1:51 AM: Let me repeat, THEY ARE GASSING NEIGHBORHOODS not crowds of protestors.There was only a few of us walking. there is no curfew, so why?]
Sir Joshua Reynolds
George Clive and his Family with an Indian Maid
Oil on canvas
Height: 140 cm (55.1 in). Width: 171 cm (67.3 in).
From Simple English Wikipedia:
Lord George Clive was cousin of Robert Clive, founder of the empire of British India. He made his fortune there. Clearly the painter found the Indian nurse’s depiction his greatest pleasure.
Is it just me or do the white family look unreal and vacant despite contrasting the dark shades of the back drop. Yet the nurse pops and looks tangible and alive.
A lot of people have responded similarly about the contrast between the white colonial family and the indigenous woman in this painting. Even the child is nearly as white and stiff as a corpse…and yet, these images were intentionally idealized in this manner; their very whiteness can be seen as a rebuke to the Indian woman’s vivid, tangible presence here.
This has everything to do with Color, Chromophobia, and Colonialism.
Chromophobia is marked, not just by the desire to eradicate color, but also to control and to master its forces. When we do use color, there’s some sense that it needs to be controlled; that there are rules to its use, either in terms of its quantity or its symbolic applications (e.g., don’t paint your dining room blue because it suppresses appetite). Please note that I’m not arguing against color psychology; it’s undeniable that certain colors carry certain cultural assumptions and associations, a fact that has led anthropologist Michael Taussig to argue that color should be considered a manifestation of the sacred.
But what I am arguing is that there is a pervasive idea that color gets us in the gut: it’s seductive, emotional, compelling. Color, in the words of nineteenth-century art theorist Charles Blanc, often “turns the mind from its course, changes the sentiment, swallows the thought.”
According to some art critics, sensory anthropologists, and historians, this mutual attraction and repulsion to color has centuries-old roots, bound up in a colonial past and fears of the unknown.
Michael Taussig has recounted that from the seventeenth century, the British East India Company centered much of its trade on brightly colored, cheap, and dye-fast cotton textiles imported from India. Because of the Calico Acts of 1700 and 1720, which supported the interests of the wool and silk weaving guilds, these textiles could only be imported into England with the proviso that they were destined for export again, generally to the English colonies in the Caribbean or Africa.These vibrant textiles played a key part in the African trade, and especially in the African slave trade, where British traders would use the textiles to purchase slaves. According to Michael Taussig, these trades are significant not only because they linked chromophilic areas like India and Africa, but also because“color achieved greater conquests than European-instigated violence during the preceding four centuries of the slave trade. The first European slavers, the Portuguese in the fifteenth century, quickly learned that to get slaves they had to trade for slaves with African chiefs and kings, not kidnap them, and they conducted this trade with colored fabrics in lieu of violence.”
Where I differ with Taussig is that there is very little doubt in my mind that using the concept of aesthetics in the manner can absolutely be a form of violence, and that art can be used to subjugate.
Say what you will about this being an exaggeration, but I wasn’t the one cleaning the Elgin marbles in acid in the 1800s to better fit a misconception of whiteness…after all, Greek marbles originally looked something like this, much to the chagrin of western aestheticism everywhere:
So when you consider the historical context of the painting in the original post, it becomes entirely likely that the stiffness and whiteness of the colonial family is meant as a desirable contrast to the vibrantly alive Indian woman.
And you should also consider what kind of ideas you have about her from the painting, and think on how your view of her is affected by the context. Is she somehow more “natural” or “wild” than the family? Is she “earthy”? How is her existence affected by the fact that she is situated below even the child in the composition…do her arms ache from holding her up?
I had never seen this painting before it was submitted, and I wonder why that is. There are a lot of things about it that are unpleasant, but the ideas in it influence us anyways.
A silent protest in Love Park, downtown Philadelphia orchestrated by performance artists protesting the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The onslaught of passerby’s wanting to take photos with the statue exemplifies the disconnect in American society. Simply frame out the dead body, and it doesn’t exist.
Here are some observations by one of the artists involved in the event:
I don’t know who any of these folks are.
They were tourists I presume.
But I heard most of what everything they said. A few lines in particular stood out. There’s one guy not featured in the photos. His friends were trying to get him to join the picture but he couldn’t take his eyes off the body.
"Something about this doesn’t feel right. I’m going to sit this one out, guys." "Com’on man… he’s already dead."
There were a billion little quips I heard today. Some broke my heart. Some restored my faith in humanity. There was an older white couple who wanted to take a picture under the statue.
The older gentleman: “Why do they have to always have to shove their politics down our throats.” Older woman: “They’re black kids, honey. They don’t have anything better to do.”
One woman even stepped over the body to get her picture. But as luck would have it the wind blew the caution tape and it got tangle around her foot. She had to stop and take the tape off. She still took her photo.
There was a guy who yelled at us… “We need more dead like them. Yay for the white man!”
"One young guy just cried and then gave me a hug and said ‘thank you. It’s nice to know SOMEBODY sees me.’
This famous photograph by Horace Cort shows a group of white and black integrationists in the former Monson Motor Lodge swimming pool on June 18, 1964. The photo was connected to the St. Augustine Movement, named for the town in Florida where it took place. Lots of peaceful protests and demonstrations were responded to with violence, which lead to more and more complicated protests.
On June 11, 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr was arrested for trespassing at the Monson Motor Lodge after being asked to leave from its segregated restaurant. This (and other things) helped spurn on a group of protesters, black and white, to jump into the pool as a strategically planned event to end segregation at motel pools. The pool at this motel was designated “white only.” Whites who paid for motel rooms invited blacks to join them in the motel pool as their guests. This swim-in was planned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and two associates. The motel manager, Jimmy Brock, in an effort to break up the party, poured a bottle of muriatic acid into the pool, hoping the swimmers would become scared and leave. One swimmer, who knew that the ratio of acid to pool water was so great that the acid was no longer a threat, drank some of the pool water to calm the other swimmers’ fears.
Muriatic acid is undiluted hydrochloric acid and is used in the cleaning of masonry surfaces such as pools. But what people heard was the word “acid.” It did not scare the swimmers, though it seems like it was effective in making the protesters at least nervous — the amount of acid to the amount of water being so small it was mostly safe—and so a cop jumped in to arrest people.
Many people from that time remember Brock as more the victim in the incident. One moment of temper led to an unwanted legacy. “Jimmy kind of caught the brunt of it. He was a nice guy.” said Eddy Mussallem, a fellow hotelier and longtime friend. “They had to pick a motel, so they picked Jimmy’s motel. I always told him he did a foolish thing.” Brock found himself pressured by civil rights groups and militant whites fighting integration. On 2007, aged 85, Jimmy Brock died at his St. Augustine home.
The motel and pool were demolished in March 2003, despite five years of protests, thus eliminating one of the nation’s important landmarks of the Civil Rights Movement. A Hilton Hotel was built on the site.
Information from: http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/motel-manager-pouring-acid-water-black-people-swam-pool-1964/
PURE EVIL. No other way to put it. I’m over here bawling tears.
Sonoma County DA announced on Monday that they will not be filing charges against Deputy Erick Gelhaus who shot a child through the heart, then 6 more times after the first fatal round, on October 22, in Santa Rosa, CA.
The young boy was walking down the street carrying a partially translucent plastic airsoft BB gun that resembled a rifle when he was spotted by Deputy Gelhaus and his partner Michael Schemmel.
Gelhaus ordered Lopez to drop his weapon, possibly confused because the orange tip on the toy was missing.
Lopez then began to turn towards the officer when the officer immediately opened fire, shooting to kill. Gelhaus told investigators that he could not remember if he identified himself as a police officer,
Seven bullets were fired at Andy Lopez within six seconds. The officer’s report claims that he shot Lopez after he turned towards him with the toy gun, despite bullet wounds in Lopez’s side (which supporters claim may indicate he was struck while turning).
The altercation lasted a total of 19 seconds from the call for backup to “shots fired”.
After the 8th grader was on the ground, having been shot repeatedly, the officers then handcuffed the child’s dead, lifeless body.
New information released yesterday indicates Lopez may have smoked weed in the hours before the incident, the report states that he would likely have had “impaired judgement, slowed decision making and increased mental processing time, particularly when having to deal with performance of sudden, unanticipated tasks, including decisions that require a quick response.”
Jonathan Melrod, attorney and extremely dedicated activist, said the decision was based on “patent lies.”
“The police feel that we, the community, are their enemy, they police us as though they are still in Iraq or Afghanistan.” he stated. He also said that using marijuana as an excuse is just a way to divert blame to the victim.
“Let’s assume there was THC. Does that justify executing Andy?” he demanded.
Gelhaus is ironically a firearms instructor, as well as a contributing writer to gun publications, despite having once accidentally shot himself in the leg in 1995 as he searched a teenager for weapons.
People gathered to protest the decision last night, and social media was full of cries of “You say justified- We say homicide!” and “Jailhouse for Gelhaus”.
Dozens of protests have been organized, mainly by other children who go by “Andy’s Youth”, and they have been passionate and intense. From crossing police lines to bravely face off with riot police, marching and storming city council with crosses representing police brutality victims, to shaming killer cops they run into along their marches… these kids have been truly inspiring.
A demonstration to protest the decision was scheduled at the “hall of injustice” for Tuesday at 1pm.
It has yet to be announced if Gelhaus will begin patrolling the streets once again. Lets hope he doesn’t.
Andy’s life mattered.