Jacob Holdt came to Nixon's United States in 1970, planning to head south for a story about Allende's Chile, when he was held up at gunpoint and befriended his robbers. Hitch-hiking the U.S., using a small range-finder Canon, he took over 15,000 photos of both the impoverished of the south and urban north, and the upper class that surrounded them. What he found was shocking: cycles of oppression he labeled enslavement. By excluding the lower and middle classes from his narrative, Holdt executed extreme contrast. Once compiled as a book, Holdt barnstormed colleges throughout the 80s projecting large auditorium slide-shows, selling the book for cost (14.95). His parallel narrative to the images is interlaced in the book as well as expanded onto Holdt's copiously illustrated site. The story is riveting as Holdt is a profound optimist always on the verge of a religious journey into an ill place. A must-read for any student of U.S. History; the visual equivalent of Emile Zola. What is striking about Holdt's U.S. is how much it has changed and how little it has. The book is a must-have, even though out of print, used versions are easily found.
|Louis was a king, and our republic is established; the critical question concerning you must be decided by these words alone. Louis was dethroned by his crimes; Louis denounced the French people as rebels; he appealed to chains, to the armies of tyrants who are his brothers; the victory of the people established that Louis alone was a rebel; Louis cannot therefore be judged; he already is judged. He is condemned, or the republic cannot be absolved. To propose to have a trial of Louis XVI, in whatever manner one may, is to retrogress to royal despotism and constitutionality; it is a counter-revolutionary idea because it places the revolution itself in litigation. In effect, if Louis may still be given a trial, he may be absolved, and innocent. What am I to say? He is presumed to be so until he is judged. But if Louis is absolved, if he may be presumed innocent, what becomes of the revolution? If Louis is innocent, all the defenders of liberty become slanderers. Our enemies have been friends of the people and of truth and defenders of innocence oppressed; all the declarations of foreign courts are nothing more than the legitimate claims against an illegal faction. Even the detention that Louis has endured is, then, an unjust vexation; the fédérés, the people of Paris, all the patriots of the French Empire are guilty; and this great trial in the court of nature judging between crime and virtue, liberty and tyranny, is at last decided in favor of crime and tyranny. Citizens, take warning; you are being fooled by false notions; you confuse positive, civil rights with the principles of the rights of mankind; you confuse the relationships of citizens amongst themselves with the connections between nations and an enemy that conspires against it; you confuse the situation of a people in revolution with that of a people whose government is affirmed; you confuse a nation that punishes a public functionary to conserve its form of government, and one that destroys the government itself. We are falling back upon ideas familiar to us, in an extraordinary case that depends upon principles we have never yet applied.|
The time has come to develop curricula in visual media literacy for all children K-12. For a country as media saturated as ours, it is dangerous not to teach children how images work, why we use them instead of words, how sequencing them alters their meanings, and what lies ahead for language once expression becomes liberated from the alphabet. Media is not a tool to be censored, it is a tool that must expand along every horizon to search for all knowledge yet unkown. Future modes of expression are what will elementally lead us to our next breakthroughs in the sciences and in the arts. Pivotal is the performance of violence, since its essential metaphor is the breaking down of old ways, old systems.
"The United States is the only developed nation without a national curriculum in visual literacy." Douglas Ruskoff Coercion: Why We Listen To What They Say 1999
Master mathmetician Roger Penrose intersects math, physics, neuroscience and cosmology to attempt to answer "the big question." While he gets as close as anyone could have in 1990, he fails tantalizingly to convince readers that outerspace and the brain's innerspace are integrally related. Like a fundamentalist he begins with Turing and using that as a model for the human brain's A.I., he ventures from algorithm to particle theory to cosmology to neuroscience. His detractors (like Edelman) make mincemeat out of his simplistic computational aspects of the brain, but Penrose is going for the biggest picture possible: space/geologic-time. Like Tipler-Barrow's Anthropic Comsological Principle, which he cites repeatedly, Penrose has built a key foundation for time-travel in multiple dimensions.
Top: The big-bang eventually splinters into black hole singularity Bottom: Particle-wave theory. Two slits reveal how photons (light) behave like particles AND waves.