kottke.org posts about Africa
Love these. African textiles. Studio 360: "But I had no idea that some of the trendiest of these prints are actually designed and produced in the Netherlands by a company called Vlisco."
Khrista Rypl writes:
Inge Oosterhoff wrote a wonderful deep dive into the history behind the Vlisco textile house, and explained how their designs have remained hugely popular in Africa since the late 1800s. But Vlisco doesn't just make fabric; they're known for their printed designs. And unlike many fashion companies, Vlisco doesn't name their patterns: each is given a number and then distributed to different areas in Africa. Some patterns are designed with different countries in mind, while others are distributed widely around the continent. As the patterns catch on among shopkeepers and consumers, many of them get colorful names like "Love Bomb," "Tree of Obama," and "Mirror in the Sun." But the names aren't even the best part: many popular patterns have developed specific cultural meanings and subtexts.
Paragliding photographer George Steinmetz takes beautiful aerial photos of Africa and other places from what is basically a chair attached to a motor and parachute.
Steinmetz was the subject of a New Yorker profile last year.
Frustrated with the carefully chosen photos of Africans "dressed in rags, smothered in flies, with [looks] of desperation" used to symbolize poverty by development organizations, Duncan McNicholl has started a photography project in which he takes two photos of a person: one in a typical poverty pose and the other with the person "looking their very finest".
The truth is that the development sector, just like any other business, needs revenue to survive. Too frequently, this quest for funding uses these kind of dehumanizing images to draw pity, charity, and eventually donations from a largely unsuspecting public. I found it outrageous that such an incomplete and often inaccurate story was being so widely perpetuated by the organizations on the ground -- the very ones with the ability and the responsibility to communicate the realities of rural Africa accurately.
A new study suggests that HIV jumped from apes to humans around the turn of the 20th century, which coincides with the development of colonial cities in sub-Saharan Africa.
HIV was and remains a "relatively poorly transmitted" virus, he said, so the key to the success of the virus was possibly the development of cities such as Leopoldville in the early 1900s.
The large numbers of people living in close proximity would have allowed more opportunity for new infections.
"I think the picture that has emerged here, is that changes the human population experienced may have opened to the door to the spread of HIV," he said.
A photoessay that follows the path of a diamond from the mines of Africa to the Western jewelry store. "In Angola, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, miners work for food but receive no wages" and "last year, grooms spent nearly $4.5 billion on engagement rings". See also the interview with Edward Zwick, director of Blood Diamond. "By putting your credit card down, you're essentially endorsing the practices that are involved in getting a resource. This place and that place are, in fact, interconnected." (thx, blake)
Drawings of war from children caught up in the Sudanese cleansing in Darfur. "Without any instruction or guidance, the children drew scenes from their experiences of the war in Darfur: the attacks by the Janjaweed, the bombings by Sudanese government forces, the shootings, the burning of entire villages, and the flight to Chad."
My mom has email now. The Internet has officially Arrived.
I just finished reading Tom Clancy's new book, Rainbow Six. It was OK.
The Avengers is possibly the worst movie I've seen since The Fifth Element.
Go rent Good Will Hunting. You know who you are.
I bought some drawstring pants. My unemployment experience is complete.
I will be gone for the weekend.
I'm looking though the Sunday paper today...searching for bargains. I open up the ad sheet for Dayton's, an upscale department store, and what do I see but dinnerware by Calvin Klein. Let me repeat that: dinnerware by Calvin Klein. And Ralph Lauren makes Polo house paint. Tommy, Calvin, and Ralph all have their own "lines" of bed linen. I'm currently looking for a new car...does anyone know if I can get a Tommy car yet? If I can, I bet it'll look just like a low-end Toyota and cost as much as a high-end Lexus.
And borrowing liberally from Henry Ford, Mr. Hilfiger had this to say about the Tommy car: "they can have a Tommy car in any color they want, as long as it's red, white, or blue."
On the one hand, you've got the good. On the other hand, you have the bad. And then there's a bunch of stuff in the middle. I was in the middle for a long time. Most of my life actually...just sort of floating nonchalantly along.
Then life got weird. Ever since, I've been oscillating between the good and the bad, swinging (sometimes violently) back and forth from one extreme to the other. This weekend, I felt as bad as I've ever felt in my life. Despair the size of a watermelon. But, I also felt as good as I ever felt this weekend. Happiness you only see in the face of a small child during a really ripping game of Peek-a-boo.
And this existance is really different for me...I used to be on cruise control, but now I'm driving in the city, stopping and starting again at all the intersections. I really don't know where I'm going to end up. Is all this oscillating going to rip me apart or will I settle on one or the other or end up somewhere in the middle again?
Right now, the good is far outpacing the bad...and I think that trend will continue for a while.