A Different Berlin Wall

 

This promotional video created by phone company LG and projected on a building in Berlin incorporates some very imaginative high-tech imagery  and intelligent scripting which heightens the impression of “audience participation” in an alternative dimension.

It also gives new meaning to the term: “Berlin Wall” – a wonder-filled  example of how applied creative imagination can provide the “magic” that helps to re-structure reality in new and exciting ways.

The World’s Saddest Dolphins

…Are the ones enslaved by human beings….

This report was put together by ACRES – Animal Concerns Research and Education Society.

Dolphins don’t express emotions with their facial muscles.
Their mouth is just shaped in a way that we humans misinterpret as a smile. So even when a dolphin is suffering from high stress, visitors to marine parks often come away thinking that the dolphin is having a good time. This is usually far from the truth.

Captive dolphins are abducted dolphins.
Dolphins are highly intelligent social creatures that live in pods, forming close bonds with family members. Humans visitors to marine aquariums often fail to see that the dolphins there had to have been ripped from their natural ocean environments, snatched away from their family and pod mates, held in nets, carried in trucks, hoisted into planes and flown for hours.

Most dolphins die during capture.
30% to 80% of dolphins die during the capture itself, mostly from drowning in the nets and from wounds sustained during the process. Others may die pretty soon after, from the stress, panic and trauma. Think about it this way. To bring a single dolphin into an aquarium, the captors may have caused the death of four of her pod mates.

Transport is traumatic.
A dolphin’s body is not adapted to air temperatures or the effects of gravity on land. So when a dolphin is hoisted out of the water, she can overheat very quickly. And the sudden pressure of her own body weight over her inner organs can cause severe pain and sometimes permanent cramps all over its body. Imagine going through such agony for ten to twelve hours while being transported to a new water tank. These cramps can even make the dolphin incapable of moving when lowered back into the water, resulting in death by drowning.

 

Captivity is sensory deprivation.
Dolphins in the wild are very curious animals and live in a world full of sounds, sights, movement, colour, varying landscapes and changing currents. Contrast this with the captive environment – often four walls in a land-based lagoon devoid of visual or auditory stimuli. There’s nowhere to go except back and forth. And nothing to do except turn round and round.
The food is now dead fish, and it arrives in a bucket. The dolphins in concrete-walled pools face the worst hell of all, with their sonar bouncing back and forth deafeningly.

 

There’s nothing natural about their new lives.
The late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau said: “No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.” Free-living dolphins from the ocean are accustomed to three-dimensional surroundings, to diving deep and travelling great distances. These conditions cannot be duplicated in captivity, where natural feeding and foraging patterns are lost and even behaviours associated with mating, dominance, and maternal care are severely altered.

Captivity leads to insanity.
Prisoners in solitary confinement, caged zoo animals and captive dolphins develop similar behaviour patterns. They pace back and forth, rock and sway, bang their heads and in the case of dolphins, swim endlessly in tight circles. This is called stereotypical behaviour and it’s a sign of neurosis. It stems from the destruction of the dolphin’s sophisticated social structure, the feelings of intense claustrophobia and the profound frustration from being unable to hunt or behave naturally. The symptoms may even include suicidal behaviour and unnatural aggression.

Keeping dolphins in captivity shows a lack of intelligence in humans.
Dolphins are incredibly clever creatures, even brighter than chimpanzees according to some scientists. They are capable of great emotion and sensitivity. Some researchers have suggested that they should be treated as “non-human persons”. We have to ask ourselves if it is morally acceptable, or even clever of us humans, to confine such amazing animals in amusement parks.


ACRES – Animal Concerns Research and Education Society.

FaceBook: Unfriend Coal

Facebook-Unfriend-Coal

Facebook announced in February 2010 that it was building a massive new data centre in Oregon, USA. Claiming to be using the latest energy efficient computers, it did not mention that it would be powering the hungry beast with the dirtiest of all energy: coal.

GreenPeace is running a campaign to try to make them realise what a bad choice that is. Their campaign: Facebook: Unfriend Coal asks Facebook to:

  • Increase the use of clean energy to make Facebook coal free Develop a plan to make Facebook coal free by 2021
  • Educate your users about how Facebook powers its services and its carbon footprint
  • Advocate for clean energy at a local, national and international level

“Basically, we are campaigning to get Facebook to drop coal and commit to 100 percent renewable energy, cutting its carbon footprint and helping in the struggle to prevent catastrophic climate change.”

FaceBook does not need to use dirty energy to power its data–it should be setting an example.

Shirin Neshat: Art in exile

Shirin Neshat is perhaps the most famous contemporary visual artist to emerge from Iran.
Born in Qavin, one of the most religiouc cities in Iran, her work, predominantly in film and photography draws on her own experiences as an exile from Iran, to explore with great sensitivity Islam and gender relationships and the widening political rift between the West and the Middle East.
——————-
Journalist Peter Bradshaw wrote of Neshat’s debut feature film "Women Without Men" in his 2010 film review in the Guardian:

"The Anglo-Iranian comic Shappi Khorsandi recently revealed that Jon Snow had told her about a conversation he had once had some years ago with the then prime minister, Tony Blair.

The premier had asked Snow, plaintively, why Iran hated the British so much. Snow replied hesitantly: "Well, you know, because of Mossadeq …" – that is, the left-leaning Iranian leader, toppled in 1953 by a coup instigated by the British and American governments because of his determination to nationalise oil. Blair replied blankly: "Who?"

Perhaps watching this excellent movie would be a way for Blair, and the rest of us, to brush up on British and Iranian history."
——————-

Art_in_Exile_Shirin_Neshat

In this presentation, Neshat talks about her journey as an artist in exile, with particular reference to her feature film "Women Without Men"

"The story I’d like to share with you today its my challenge as an Iranian artist. as an Iranian woman artist. As an Iranian woman artist living in exile.

Well it has its pluses and minuses and the dark side, politics doesn’t seem to escape people like me. Every Iranian artist in one form or another is political. Politics has defined our lives.

If you’re living in Iran you’re facing censorship, harassment, arrest, torture, at times execution. If you’re living outside  like me, you’re faced with a life in exile. the pain of the longing and the separation from your loved ones and your family.

Therefore we don’t find the moral and emotional, psychological and political space to distance ourselves from the reality of social responsibility.

Oddly enough, an artist such as myself finds themselves also in the position of being the voice. The speaker of my people, even if I have indeed no access to my own country. Also, people like myself, we’re fighting two battles in different grounds.

We’re being critical of the west, perception of the west about our identity, about the image that is constructed about us, about our women, about our politics, about our religion. We are there to take pride and insist on respect. At the same time we’re fighting another battle that is our regime, our government, our atrocious government who has done every crime in order to stay in power.

Our artists are at risk. We are in a position of danger. We pose a threat to the order of the government, but ironically this situation has empowered all of us because we are considered as artists central to the cultural political social discourse in Iran. We are there to inspire, to provoke, to mobilize, to bring hope for our people.

We are the reporters of our people and are communicators to the outside world. Art is our weapon. Culture is a form of resistance. “

 

Iranian Artist Shirin Neshat talks about life as an artist in exile, and her debut feature film: “Women Without Men”

 

“I envy sometimes the artists of the West, for their freedom of expression. For the fact that they can distance themselves from the question of politics. For the fact that they are only serving one audience, namely the Western culture

But also I worry about the West because often in this country, in this western world that we have, culture risks to be a form of entertainment.

Our people depend on our artists and culture is beyond communication.

My journey as an artist started from a very personal place.
I did not start to make social commentaries about my country. The first one that you see in front of you is actually when I first returned to Iran after being separated for a good 12 years. It was after the Islamic revolution of 1979. While I was in absence from Iran, Islamic revolution had descended on Iran and entirely transformed the culture from Persian to Islamic culture.

I came mainly to be reunited with my family and to reconnect in a way that I found my place in society, but instead I found a country that was totally ideological and that I didn’t recognize anymore. More so I became very interested as I was facing my own personal dilemmas and questions I became immersed in the study of the Islamic revolution, how indeed it had incredibly transformed the lives of Iranian women. I found the subject of Iranian women immensely interesting in the way that the women of Iran  historically seemed to embody the political transformation. So in a way, by studying a women, you can read the structure and ideology of the country.

So I made a group of work that at once faced my own personal questions in life and yet it brought my work into a larger discourse, the subject of martyrdom, the question of those who willingly stand in that intersection of love of god, faith but violence and crime and cruelty. For me this became incredibly important and yet I had a neutral position towards this.

I was an outsider who had come back to Iran to find my place, but I was not in a position to be critical of the government or the ideology of the Islamic revolution. This changed slowly as I found my voice and I discovered things that I didn’t know I would discover, so my art became slightly more critical, my knife became a little sharper, and I fell into a life in exile.

I am a nomadic artist. I work in Morocco, in Turkey, in Mexico. I go everywhere to make believe it’S Iran. Now I’m making films.

Last year I finished a film called "Women Without Men". Women without Men returns to history, but another part of our Iranian history. It goes to 1953 when American CIA exercise a coup and removed democratically elected Dr Mohammad Mosaddegh. The book is written by Iranian woman Shahrnush Parsipur’s , a magic realist novel. This book is banned and she spent 5 years in prison. my Obsession with this book and the reason I made this into a film is because it at once was addressing the question of being a female, traditionally, historically in Iran and the question of four women who are all looking for an ideal, a change, freedom and democracy.

While the country of Iran equally as another character also struggles for an idea of freedom and democracy and independence from the foreign intervention. I made this film because I felt it was important for it to speak to the westerner about our history as a country. All of you seem to remember Iran after the cultural revolution. Iran was once a secular society and we had democracy and this democracy was stolen from us by the American government, by the British government.

The film also talks to the Iranian people in asking them to return to their history and look at themselves before they were so Islamified. In the way we looked, in the way we played music, in the way had intellectual lives, and most of all, in the way that we fought for democracy. These are some of the shots I create for my film. This is some of the images of the coup and we made the film in Cassablanca, recreating all the shots.

This film tries to find a balance between telling a political story but also a feminine story. Being a visual artist indeed I am foremost interested to make art. To make art that transcends politics, religion, the question of feminism and become an important universal work of art.

The challenge I had was how to do that. How to tell a political story but an allegorical story. How to move you with your emotions but also to make your mind work. This is some of the images and the characters of the film.

Now comes the green movement, summer of 2009 as my film is released, uprising begins in Iran. What is unbelievably ironic is the period that we tried to depict in the film, the cry for democracy and social justice repeats itself now, again in Teheran. The green movement significantly inspired the world. It brought a lot of attention to all those Iranians who stand for basic human rights and struggle for democracy. What was most significant again for me was once again, the presence of the women. They are absolutely inspirational for me.

If in the Islamic Revolution the woman portrayed was submissive and didn’t have a voice, now we saw a new idea of feminism in the streets of Teheran. Women who were educated, forward thinking, non traditional, sexually open, fearless and seriously feminist.
These women, and those young men united Iranians across the world, inside and outside.

I then discovered why I take so much inspiration from Iranian women: that under all circumstances they have pushed the boundaries, they confronted the authorities, they have broken every rule, in the smallest and the biggest way and once again they proved themselves.

I stand here today to say that Iranian women have found a new voice and their voice is giving me my voice and it is a great honour to be an Iranian woman and an Iranian artist, even if I have to operate in the west only, for now."

MayDay! MayDay! Herbal Remedies Banned

No, not April Fool, it’s the first of May.

Bank holiday, an extra day off, a Royal Wedding, a Prince and a Princess… so much for people to watch on TV and in the news. Street parties and celebrations.

It would be difficult to find a better time to  “slip a little something in for the weekend…”  and rest assured very few people will notice…

Well then, how about a little inoffensive piece of legislation that will never do anyone any harm, like banning the use of herbal remedies. Who uses herbal remedies anyway? It’s a term that sounds so quaint and antiquated, like something you read on an old newspaper cutting in your great grandmother’s scrap book.

It’s the Twenty First Century now, we should all grow up and start behaving like Modern Adults. 21st Century Citizens and all that, and we all know that you don’t use “Herbal Remedies”.

You go to your Drug Store, Chemist or supermarket and buy proper medicine, created in pristine, clean laboratory conditions, with no nasty “natural” “dirty” bits that probably creep or crawl into anything not made in test tubes and glass bottles. We really have come a long way since people did things like that.  Right?

Well don’t worry because all the kind, caring pharmaceutical companies and drugs manufacturers have been heroic enough to stand up for your health and mine, because they really care about us, and to stop the damage Herbal Remedies could do to us, they have just banned hundreds of them…

Now products have to meet “safety, quality and manufacturing standards, and come with information outlining possible side effects.”

This ruling puts as many obstacles as it can in the way of herbal remedy manufacturers, and even individuals wishing to use product directly from nature’s pharmacy. The big multi-national pharmaceutical companies have the resources to bypass these obstacles, but small and medium sized businesses will be forced to close.

Herbal remedies have been used by qualified practitioners for hundreds and even thousands of years, and the effects and side-effects of them have been observed and documented. They are part of the wisdom of mankind.

Yes, herbal remedies can have negative side effects if used incorrectly. When something does go wrong it is likely to hit the headlines and receive massive press coverage.

However, natural herbal remedies have far less negative effects than most of the “modern” synthetic un-natural drugs, and far less coverage is given to these negative effects. Billions of dollars of profit make it worthwhile for giant multinational pharmaceutical companies to lobby continuously to create a positive image for their products and to build a negative one of “natural remedies” which are not controlled by them, and therefore stand in the way of their profits.

What they do not publicise is that they are promoting many drugs which do huge amounts of damage, are often prescribed unnecessarily, and in most cases have only a few years of observed side-effects, run in their “clinical trials”, unlike many of the “herbal remedies” which have been studied for centuries by healers.

And yet this law or European Directive has been brought in because they suggest they are worried about the “side-effects” of “herbal remedies”.

Can Art Change the World?

Parisian photographer and street artist "JR" has undertaken many projects that have spanned the planet, using giant billboard sized monochromatic photographs in unexpected places, in positions of high visibility.

He started out as a graffiti artist in Paris, but after finding a camera on the Metro, began taking photographs documenting his friends painting graffiti on the rooftops and walls of the city..

He now mixes the two mediums of photography and graffiti, calling himself a "photograffeur", posting giant black and white photographs in public places.

His "Face 2 Face" project was dubbed "the largest illegal photo exhibition in the world" in which the border wall which runs the length of the disputed area between Israel and Palestine became a gallery of giant portraits of Jews and Palestinians of all denominations and types, grinning and pulling faces into the camera and posted side by side along large stretches of the wall.

Part of this is a giant triptych of a rabbi, a priest and an immam wearing intentionally comic expressions. The message is simple but powerful: there is far more that unites humanity than that which divides it. "It’s about breaking down barriers," JR says. "With humour, there is life."

His more recent "Women are Heroes" project took him to meet, work with and photograph women in slums and war-torn, poverty stricken communities across the world, using art as a medium to reaffirm the positive, creative side of humanity.

"They keep on asking you: what is the purpose of your project? Are you an NGO? are you the media? … Art. Just an artist…
Some who understood the project will explain it to others: to a man who did not understand I heard someone said:
"You know, You’ve been here for a few hours trying to understand this thing with your fellows. During that time, you haven’t think about what you’re going to eat tomorrow. This is art."

"Women are Heroes" created a new dynamic in each of the communities and the women kept that dynamic after we left. For example, we created book, not for sale, but that all the community would get but to get it they would have to make it signed by one of the women…

Its really important point to me is that I don’t use any brands or corporate sponsor, so I have no responsibility to anyone but myself and the sisters…
They made me promise… please, make our story travel with you…so I did…look… that’s Paris, that’s Rio… that’s London… New York…"

—— TURN THE WORLD INSIDE OUT ——–
His latest project is one that everyone can participate in:
"I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world.. INSIDE OUT.

When we act together, the whole thing is more than the sum of the parts.
So I hope that together we will create something that the world will remember, and this starts right now, and depends on you."

Use the link below to find out how you can participate.

www.insideoutproject.net

International Women’s Day Centenary 1911 -2011

Events are scheduled in over 100 countries around the world to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Women’s Day.

Celebrating 100 years of celebrating the movement to overcome gender injustice

Events happen globally throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.

Themes are chosen for each year, by organisations and women’s groups as well as governments. These can differ from country to country. Themes chosen for 2011 include: Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.

In the US, Barack Obama proclaimed March 2011 to be "Women’s History Month", a time for Americans to reflect on "the extraordinary accomplishments of women" in shaping the country’s history.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the  "100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges" on the eve of the celebration.

MSNBC Cheers Britain’s Free Healthcare: It’s Free For Tourists Too!

  This is a YouTube clip from an American TV station talking about the British NHS, with some of the responses to the clip below.
   
 

tourists that use the NHS, thats fine by me. it doesnt matter if your British, American, Russian, Chinese, Angolan, whatever, as humans we need to look after each other when we are in the most need. if some American breaks his leg on a step whilst taking a picture of Big Ben, im absolutely fine with him getting all the treatment he needs over here for free. i hope America one day embraces the idea, having a broken arm like i had whilst skiing then being asked about the bill is not what you want.

mericos23


@Thetruthishere11 Jobs!

Oh ok - this is where you go back to claiming that the US is much better because of it’s wonderful free market, low unemployment right and world beating economic model? And Europe is shit because we’re all bereft, unemployed socialists desperately wishing we were American? Then I remind you of the following:

US Unemployment: 9.2%

SWE Unemployment: 8.2%

UK Unemployment: 7.8%

GER Unemployment: 6.9%

NOR Unemployment: 3.5%

Darn commies!


NHS is one of the greatest things to have happened in Britain and has recently been rated 2nd for the world’s top health care. Americans should support Obama if they want to stop greedy corporations from preventing them from receiving universal health care.

Paulwherrell


@katards Kat, I think this word "socialist" should be put to rest here. All that is happening in Britain..and other civilised countries is that the idea that informs collecting taxes to provide a fire service, an army, social workers and school teachers has just been extended into health care. Simple. SO if you pay for the police and you never need them, how do Americans feel about that? Well we feel the same in the UK about Health care. We pay a progressive premium, sick or welll. WIn-Win

CobinRain


@Thetruthishere11 Oh – and the NHS does *not* provide lower quality care. European healthcare almost always ranks above the US in healthcare tables. The difference is, it costs half as much, because we don’t have to factor in:

a. The beauracracy of having to arse on with hundreds of different insurance providers

b. We don’t have to factor in a 30% profit margin for everyone providing the healthcare.

Do yourself a favour and do some research – the US system is a laughing stock outside the US

sh856531


@Thetruthishere11 You might have some semblance of an argument if it weren’t the case that 15% of your population don’t have any coverage at all, and another 50% would be bankrupted if they got a serious illness when the insurance company decides not to pay out. The US rations care *far far* more than any other developed country – it just does it by restricting access to only those that can afford to pay insurance company profits.

sh856531


Thetruthishere11 I have never had rationed care, nor do I know anyone who has. You are talking nonsense. The same treatments that are available in the US are almost always available in the UK if they are proven to work. The difference is:

a. All citizens have access to them in the UK – not just the wealthy (so just who’s doing the rationing my friend?)

b. Having to pay for those treatments does not bankrupt anyone if their insurance company decides not to pay out

sh856531


@sh856531

NHS wait times. We don’t have these and we have better quality. news.bbc.co  .uk /2/hi/3749801.stm

Thetruthishere11


@sh856531

NHS = rationed care. Thats not what i want. We don’t want lower quality and lower service.

Thetruthishere11


@Thetruthishere11 Minimum 44million and up to one-third of US population (not illegals) without insurance many millions more without adequate insurance to cover health costs and go bankrupt , over 22000 US citizens die every year because they do not have the correct medical cover. You are to cowardly to comment on "the US Healthcare system in international Context" which shows just how false Beck and Hannans claims are.

davijeph


@Thetruthishere11 Well, given that the NHS costs 40%-50% less than the US system, whilst covering everyone and ranking above the US in health outcome tables, I’m pretty comfortable with the way costs are being contained.

As for Dr shortages – I don’t know anything about that. Maybe in some specialised areas? From my own experience, I’ve never had a problem seeing a Dr and I don’t know of anyone who has.

sh856531


@sh856531 I think American’s who waffle on about rationing are completely crazy. The US is the most rationed system in the western world. The difference the rationing takes place based on whether you are poor or not and how likely an insurance provider is to be able to make a profit out of you.

In the UK system, "rationing" (something I have never seen anyone actually experience here) occurs based on what the most appropriate use of funds is – not profit

sh856531


@ManlnCognito

Aren’t you in f***ing recession? Nothing is free.

Uk = jobless but with expensive healthcare. lol. that makes sense.

Thetruthishere11


@Thetruthishere11 Yes everything does cost money. I’m going to get taxed no matter what. But I’m happy for my taxes to be spent looking after the health and well being of our people.

Do you moan when your taxes go to your countries war machine? No because you support your troops right? you think it ok to be taxed to kill other peoples, but not to help your own less fortunate and less well off.

That’s what is wrong with your country

ManlnCognito


@Thetruthishere11 Er… the rich and bloody famous can afford it. They can also afford private jets, several holiday homes, fast cars etc… I WANT the best drugs, the best hospitals and treatment. Unfortunately, I don’t have dollars is my bank account. I had insurance. They rejected every op I needed. Told me I’d have to pay half the docs fees. I went NHS instead cos they didn’t quibble over pennies.

planetbrowny


Our drug companies are the BEST in the world.

We have the best hospitals and treatment centers in the world.

That’s why your rich,famous and your politicians come to the USA from Canada and the UK.

Thetruthishere11


   
   
   

There is a “Plan B” … and it needs our attention.

If you disagree with the severity of any of the “Spending Cuts” then there is a Plan B that is worth investigating. You may not yet realise how much you disagree with the planned cuts.

We are being asked to give up libraries, NHS facilities, care for the elderly, care for the young, care for the disabled, essential services are being cut…funding for almost every worthwhile cause has been cut or is to be withdrawn, students are being asked to get into a huge amount of debt in order to be able to afford the privilege of studying, we were even being told we had to give up our forests… …

The only people that seem to have escaped the effects of this global shake up, strangely enough, are the banks. Barclay’s Chief Executive, Bob Diamond stated that the period of "remorse and apology" for banks was over and to prove the point they are back to paying out annual bonuses to themselves that would take 75% of the world’s population 600 or more years to earn.

Something doesn’t sound quite right with this equation.

Politicians and tax campaigners have been stunned by the (forced) admission this week by Barclays Bank that in 2009 it only paid !% tax – just £113m in UK corporation tax in a year when it rang up a record £11.6bn of profits.

The current rate of corporation tax in the UK is 28%

Most of the bank’s taxes are avoided through loopholes in the system… Barclays admitted it has 30 subsidiary companies in the Isle of Man, 38 in Jersey and 181 in the Cayman Islands, so there is no shortage of ways in which money can be siphoned out of the system.

Max Lawson, of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign, said: "This is proof that banks live in a parallel universe to the rest of us, paying billions in bonuses and unhampered by the inconvenience of paying tax.

"If banks paid their fair share we could avoid the worst of the cuts and help those hit hardest by the financial crisis they did nothing to cause."

On Tuesday – when Barclays announced 2010 profits of £6.1bn and a 23% rise in average pay in its investment banking arm, Barclays Capital – the tax campaigners turned a London branch of the bank into a library

The banks are holding us to ransom, threatening to leave us high and dry if we so much as slap them across the wrist… and what are they actually providing us with?

Plan B is explained in a video that gives good food for thought, especially in the light of the latest Banking scandal…