The notion of ‘biocultural rights’ goes beyond individual rights and private property to explicitly recognize a community’s identity, culture, governance system, spirituality and way of life as embedded in a specific landscape. It represents a bold new departure in human rights law that recognizes the importance of a community’s stewardship over lands and waters. The emerging movement for biocultural rights is woven from four main strands:
“post-development” advocates who are articulating a vision for human society beyond the discredited neoliberal paradigm;
the commons movement that rejects the “tragedy” fable and empirically demonstrates the effectiveness of local self-governance;
the movement of indigenous peoples asserting their right to self-determination, cultural heritage and stewardship of the land; and
the push for a “third generation” of environmental human rights that go beyond basic civil and political rights (first generation) and socio-economic and cultural rights (second generation), to recognize community rights to self-determination, economic and social development, cultural heritage and a clean and healthy environment.
The exuberant cacophony of children’s shouts and the hubbub of games playing out – the school playground is a near-global example of both universality and difference.
James Mollison began photographing children on break-time in Britain and became intrigued by the big differences he found, so took the project out internationally to create a remarkable document of cultural diversity and commonality.
In past centuries, fortunate artists found patrons in the aristocracy or the church who would support their work. In the 20th century, art institutions and foundations stepped into this role with residency programs funded either by wealthy donors or by public donations. More recently, a new variety of artist-in-residence program has emerged, this time sponsored by big companies.
The software company Autodesk invites artists to spend up to six months working in their facilities, giving them a stipend and funds for their materials and using their work to support development. Amtrak gives writers-in-residence a free ride on their trains without any contractual obligation. In contrast, Facebook has its own quasi-secret artist-in-residence program which pays to create – and own – artwork that adorn the walls of its buildings.
Elizabeth Segran describes these evolving opportunities for artists, with a hovering question around what is really motivating companies to do this and what they expect in return for their sponsorship. Welcome to the brave new world of the corporate-sponsored artist… Read more >>
“Protest photography is much more than extreme street photography. Coverage of protest forms our social memory, it creates a permanent record for history, spreading the ideas behind the protest and fertilising social change.” says David Hoffman, co-founder and senior moderator of the EPUK photojournalists network.
However, he continues, “there’s something very Zen about protest photography. Caught on the fly, seen and recorded in a fraction of a second, protest photographs are truths. Not an explanation of the truth. Not a commentary or an analysis.
This article explores the importance and the effect of protest photography – and the ways in which the state and the police attempt to neutralise and manipulate images of political dissidence.
“Food is very powerful in terms of social change, because it has that ability to bring people together. It’s something that transcends all barriers — the universal language.” Nikandre Kopcke is the founder of a London-based pop-up restaurant collectively run by women from migrant and refugee communities.
Mazí Mas has six women – all mothers – from six different countries currently working as part-time chefs while other women participate in a weekly training program, supporting them to adapt their skills to the restaurant industry while reducing their vulnerability to exploitation and their dependence on male partners.
After becoming a new mother, Michelle Henning found herself looking for different models of parenting. This conversation with the photographer Jimmy Nelson explores some of the indigenous approaches to parenting that he found during his extensive travels documenting tribes all over the world. The two of them discuss the differences in approach- and philosophy – between many traditional cultures and the ways children tend to be raised in the modern western world, asking if there are lessons or inspirations for parents in the west. Read the article here >>
The conversation explores some of the terrain presented by the anthropologist Jean Liedloff in her seminal Continuum Concept, which was perhaps the first western parenting model to draw on indigenous ways .
Note that Jimmy Nelson’s work is not uncontroversial, his project Before They Pass Away having been criticised by indigenous leaders and advocates as idealised fantasy disconnected from the reality of indiegenous peoples and their contemporary situation.
Read more on this angle here >>
“The people who are ditching their Kindles and savoring books as physical objects, brewing their own beer and resurrecting other old arts and crafts, reformatting their lives in the modes of a past decade, or spending their spare time reconnecting with the customs and technologies of an earlier time — these people aren’t doing any of those things out of some passion for self-denial. They’re doing them because these things bring them delights that the shoddy mass-produced lifestyles of the consumer economy can’t match.”
For John Michael Greer, blogger, commentator on the disintegration of civilisation and Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, the way forward is not a ‘Butlerian jihad’ (a reference to the revolt against technology in Frank Herbert’s Dune) – but a Butlerian Carnival.
He argues we need a sensuous celebration of the living world, outside the cubicle farms and the glass screens, drawing raw materials from eras, technologies, and customs of the past which don’t require the extravagant energy and resource inputs that the modern consumer economy demands. Such a carnival way of life will be better suited to a future defined by scarce energy and resources… Read his full essay here >>>
For the youth of Goma, the capital of North Kivu in Eastern DR Congo, dance has become a form of resistance against violence and a tool for peace-building in a mineral-rich region devastated by decades of conflicts.
Islamic State is harvesting the world’s attention, but meanwhile, Kurdish freedom fighters are using the disintegration of Syria to carve out an autonomous state they call “Rojava” (sunset). Their vision is of creating a completely new kind of society based on radical democracy, diversity, tolerance and gender equality – shaped by the ideas of a forgotten American revolutionary thinker called Murray Bookchin. The formerly socialist PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan discovered Bookchin’s writings whilst in solitary confinement in a Turkish prison on a tiny island and found a new template.
This clip from Submedia TV shows how men and women have been fighting the head-chopping ISIS to create a libertarian commune along the border between Syria, Iraq and Turkey.See also this more in-depth documentary from anonymous journalists who had to dodge Turkish army patrols to enter the autonomous zone area to meet Kovan Direj, a Kurdish activist, and read Adam Curtis’s post and analysis of the situation.
“We were never as free as we were under the Occupation”
For the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, human beings are simply a coincidence of Nature and it is our task to find meaning in our presence in Life. The “existentialist” part of that meaning is our search for Freedom.
This BBC documentary is an invitation to spend 50 minutes with ‘one of the greatest minds of the 20th century.’
Making documentary films in China is not an easy path. Film is subject to tight state censorship and little that is in any way critical of the status quo gets made, never mind disseminated. Recently however, environmental docs seem to be making it through the censors’ filtering system, perhaps because the authorities are starting to recognise China’s worsening pollution problems and attempting, at times, to address the issue.
“School, work, family – once in this cycle, you are a prisoner of your own position. You should be pragmatic and strong, or become an outcast or a lunatic. How to remain yourself in the midst of this?” is the central question raised by the Russian photographer Danila Tkachenko’s work.
Tkachenko traveled through Russia and Ukraine in search of hermits living in self-imposed exile, far away from any city or village. The photo series Escape was the result. See the full series here >>>
Clubbing and dance music have always ridden the edges between catalysing liberation and commercialising escapism, existing in a kind of subcultural tug-of-war between soul and money. 2014 was a bad year for quality clubs, with a number of legendary venues across Europe closing and others being squeezed by gentrification and property speculation.
“Rather than finding ourselves in an era of unprecedented change, we may find it is one of crushing tedium, uniformity and vacuous conformism.” writes Richard Martin as he looks back at true revolutionary periods from artistic, political or corporate perspectives. “People really should stop talking about talking…” he adds.
His proposal for starting the slow change processes that may produce a rich harvest many years hence: “Play them at their own game… accepting a role alongside them and operating as an outsider on the inside.” Read more here >>>
Skateistan began in 2007 when an Australian skateboarder, Oliver Percovich, discovered a perfect spot to skate at the weekend – Mekroyan Fountain, an abandoned, Russian-era concrete relic located in the heart of Kabul. In 2009 Percovich created the non-profit skate school in Afghanistan. The goal is simple: to use skateboarding as a tool for empowerment in a country worn away by 30 years of conflict and dislocation. The children, and especially the girls, come for skateboarding, they stay for education writes Kat Lister.
The unexamined life is not worth living… for a human. But how are we supposed to live, to examine, to be, to become, to be fully human – and free – when we are so busy? – asks Omid Safi. Read article here >>>
KKK, Sony, Xbox… Hacking has never been so “en vogue”, whether the motivation is political, criminal, exposing the system – or “just for the LULZ.” But hacktivism and codebreaking are of course not new, having been around since the very technologies they use…
Fire is perhaps the most visual and emotive symbol of protest and resistance movements…
Jarret Martineau explores the role of anger in Indigenous and Black struggles for freedom in the U.S, suggesting that in the post-colonial historical context, collective expression of rage and resentment is a necessary precursor as well as fuel for liberation. Jarret Martineau is a Cree/Dene doctoral candidate in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria and this essay is inspired by Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks and Sean Coulthard’sRed Skin White Masks. Read the essay here >>
Meanwhile, on the ground, read this post by Zig Zag on anti-fracking actions by Mi’kmaq activists, who have been using burning tyres to blockade vehicles engaged in shale gas exploration. Zig Zag, aka Gord Hill, is a writer and activist from the Kwakwaka’wakw nation.
Photograph from Red Shirts protest in Bangkok featured in Warrior Publications blog; AFP photographer unknown.
Today the Greek Parliament will attempt to elect a new president. Bruno de Landevoisin’s analysis goes back some fundamentals of “Democracy” and reviews the main forces at stake in this socio-politico-financial tragedy. An interesting perspective from America on a highly sensitive issue for the Old Continent to resolve…
Postcard: image & text based missive sent to friends by travelers. Babylon: (1) capital of Babylonia in 2nd century B.C, often considered the first city. (2) Rastafarian term for capitalist civilisation. Liberation:the process of seeking and embodying freedom for, and by, all peoples