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Greece is building a $7.3 Million Barbed Wire Fence To Keep Out Illegal Immigrants

Jeez, this will just require wire cutters!

Feb. 9, 2012 – In a bid to curb the number of illegal immigrants that enter the country, Greece has begun construction on a 6 mile-long, 13 foot-tall barbed-wire-topped fence along its border with Turkey, EUObserver reports.
The fence — to be completed in September in the Evros region on the Greek-Turkish border — will be equipped with a network of night-vision cameras providing live feed to a new command center, according to Greek newspaper ENet. The project will cost cash-strapped Greece about €5.5 million ($7.3 million).
Greece is one of the 26 EU nations part of the Schengen Area, which has external border controls but none within the zone. And since Greece is on the edge of the area, and Turkey has not signed the Schengen Agreement, Greece is required to maintain its border controls, according to the AP.
To make matters more complicated, Turkey’s lax visa requirements mean that nationals from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Jordan, Libya, and Iran do not need a visa to enter Turkey, making Greece the most common illegal entrypoint into Europe. The Greek-Turkish border is 180 kilometers (112 miles) long.
While the European Commission called the fence a national issue, it criticized it as being a “pointless” short-term solution.
Christos Papoustis (sic), a former European commissioner and currently Greece’s minister for citizen protection said the fence has both “practical and symbolic value.” “Traffickers should know that this route will be closed to them. Their life is about to get much harder,” he said.
According to official figures, around 55,000 migrants were arrested in the area last year Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reports.
NGOs are worried that fencing off the land border will divert refugees fleeing violence in Africa and the Middle East to more dangerous routes in the Balkans or Ukraine, the EUObserver says.

After a significant number of studies and reports on the effectiveness of a variety of measures on blocking international migration (or even plain old common sense) the Greek government should have figured out that fences are generally a very stupid idea! NGOs may be missing here another level of tragic “unseen” results of the fence policy – that is, the many more drownings in the Aegean Sea since the barrier will push immigrants and their slave-traders to increasingly pursue sea routes in more dangerous conditions! This has been the international experience e.g. in the case of crossings at more remote locations on the US-Mexico border.

There is of course also a longer-term perspective on what the country will eventually be missing out when it spends money on blocking people instead of governing their wider integration and participation in the commons. I defer to Sir Peter Hall and Chapter 2 of his “door-stop” volume Cities in Civilization, titled ‘The Fountainhead’ (not THAT Fountainhead), examining the city of Athens at its most enlightened period in history: 500 – 400 BC. After describing the rather cushy everyday lives of the Athenian citizenry, which essentially formed a “gigantic civil service” (sounds familiar?), the author moves on to discussion the class of the metics, the productive pillar of ancient Athens – a class of residents that the city would have missed out on in a hypothetical regime of fence-building:

Yet someone had to keep the economy going. In this extraordinary society, a peculiar but vitally important position was held by the resident aliens or metics. The so-called ‘metoikoi’ were in fact a small though special sub-group, who made a special tax called ‘metoikion’ to live in Athens permanently, of a much larger group of free migrants or ‘katoikoi’. These ‘katoikountes’ included very large numbers on non-Hellenes; though the majority were Greeks [...], including ex-slaves who had found their freedom, by the fourth century BC they also included Thracians, Phrygians, Carians, Paphlagonians, Celts, Lydians, Syrians , Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Egyptians, Arabians, Scythians, and Persians.

Metoikos...

The metics had no political rights (politics was the primary concern of citizens) and could not own land, but did enjoy “personal freedom, protection of the law, liberty of worship and almost unlimited work opportunities”. They essentially run the economy – by the fourth century, they constituted about half of all professionals!:

Here, ‘their keenness and energy are amazing': ‘They do everything… The Metics do the removal of rubbish, mason’s work, and plastering, they capture the wood trade, timber construction, and rough carpentry, metal work and all subsidiary occupations are in their hands [...]. Metics played and equally prominent part in art, medicine and, above all, philosophy. ‘To art it was but a step from industry’, since the craftsmen became artists. [...] Athens, the city that gave them hospitality, owed its striking intellectual achievements overwhelmingly to them, as it drew on the intellectual resources of the entire eastern Mediterranean, to become Europe’s first truly cosmopolitan city.

Greece in the time of the Troika and deep recession admittedly presents some complications in the idea of uncontrolled migration. Migrants that enter a country dominated by lawlessness and unaccountability may adopt the bad behaviors of their hosts. But it may also be that one of the solutions to our current problems is an external “imported” re-invigoration of economic activity (and yes, culture!) through openness to all immigrants and especially those who bring important skills in crafts, are dynamic and entrepreneurial, and thirsty for building up their livelihoods, achieving significant improvements in their quality of life.

The Spirit of the Beehive (El espíritu de la colmena), 1973 (Trailer)

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Indagación lírica en las entrañas de un tiempo amordazado, atrapado entre la desolación y la derrota, y exploración a la vez de los paisajes interiores del mito (organizada sobre imágenes primordiales, desligadas de toda servidumbre explicativa o psicológica), la narración arranca de una mirada infantil capturada por unas imágenes primitivas. Y su itinerario nos propone, simultáneamente, la inmersión en el sueño para escapar del mundo real, el triunfo del imaginario sobre una realidad devastada, que no es otra sino la de aquella dolorosa posguerra española que sume en el silencio emocional y en el exilio interior a los habitantes de la colmena.

Era la primera vez, en la historia de nuestro cine, que un guerrillero, un maqui, aparecía contemplado desde la óptica de los perdedores y con una mirada solidaria. Faltaban un par de años aún para que la figura del combatiente antifranquista conquistara finalmente la palabra de la que aquí carece, todavía, ese personaje episódico – pero de tanta significación – que irrumpe en la vida de Ana como trasunto terrenal del fantasma que, en ese momento, se corporiza para ella y también para una cinematografía que, con la aparición de El espíritu de la colmena, empieza a ajustar cuentas no sólo con la memoria histórica secuestrada por el franquismo (corría la fecha de 1973 y el dictador no se había muerto aún), sino también con las pautas de una modernidad cinematográfica que llegaba a España con retraso. (…)
Carlos F. HEREDERO

http://www.elcultural.es/HTML/20040122/Cine/CINE8704.asp

Mon Dieu ! Apple Store Coming the Louvre

Malin comme tout !
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There’s a price for everything, even in the Louvre: Tomorrow, Apple will be opening up their very first Parisian Apple Store, and it’ll sit in the concourse right below I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid.

According to Bloomberg, this’ll be Apple’s 277th store, worldwide. It’s set to be slightly smaller than the one on Oxford Circus in London. But it’s not tiny: The bilevel store will employ 150 people. You can expect the place to be mobbed. The Louvre concourse is one of the most heavily trafficked places in Paris. It links all of the wings of the Louvre, and visitors to the museum have to pass by before entering the museum.

For Microsoft, it comes at a particularly irksome time. Last month they opened a very sad looking cafe to coincide with the launch of Windows 7.

By next summer, Apple will open two more stores in France–one near Opera, a major hub on the Left Bank, and another in Montpellier, the economic powerhouse of southern France.

You’ve gotta wonder just how many records the Louvre location is set to smash. The 5th Avenue store in New York, which isn’t very big at all or even particularly pleasant as Apple stores go, is thought to earn far more than any of its neighbors, with yearly receipts of around $350 million.

Come to think of it, design wise, coming to the Louvre actually makes a lot of sense–the glass cube of the 5th Avenue store was basically a straight-up theft of I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid, and his widely celebrated idea of turning the entrance to a dark, underground space into a dramatic point of pride:

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[Via Bloomberg; picture by Al Ianni]

Haus proud: The women of Bauhaus
Bauhaus women

Bobbed, geometric haircuts. Chunky jewellery. Vegetarian diets. Saxophone playing. Breathing exercises. Painting. Carving. Snapping with brand new 35mm Leica cameras. Dressing in the artiest handmade clothes. Attending arty parties. Ninety years on from the founding of Walter Gropius‘s legendary art, craft and design school, the female students of the Bauhaus appear to have been as liberated as young women today.

At least they do in the photographs in Bauhaus Women, a book by Ulrike Muller, a “museum educator” in Weimar, the German town where the Bauhaus opened in 1919, declaring equality between the sexes. Where German women had once received art education at home with tutors, at the Bauhaus they were free to join courses.

And yet the photographs of those seemingly liberated women tell, at best, a half truth. Yes, the world’s most famous modern art school accepted women. But few became well known. While the men of the Bauhaus – Gropius, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – are celebrated, names like Gunta Stölzl (a weaver), Benita Otte (another weaver), Marguerite Friedlaender-Wildenhain (ceramicist), Ilse Fehling (sculptor and set designer) or Alma Siedhoff-Buscher (toy maker) mean precious little.

If these bright young things came to the Bauhaus as equals, why are the women so obscure? The school’s fleeting existence (just 14 years), the rise of the anti-modern National Socialist movement and six years of world war may have been factors, but the uncomfortable truth is that the Bauhaus was never a haven of female emancipation.

More women than men applied to the school in 1919, and Gropius insisted that there would be “no difference between the beautiful and the strong sex” – those very words betraying his real views. Those of the “strong sex” were, in fact, marked out for painting, carving and, from 1927, the school’s new architecture department. The “beautiful sex” had to be content, mostly, with weaving.

The school’s students produced radical work, but Gropius’s vision was, at heart, medieval, if apparently modern, and he was keen to keep women in their place – at looms, primarily, weaving modern fabrics for fashion houses and industrial production. He believed women thought in “two dimensions”, while men could grapple with three. ()

The Freedom to Dream

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR PUBLIC ART PROJECTS TO ADDRESS ISSUES OF SOCIAL AND CULTURAL JUSTICE? YES, ARGUES ZAYD MINTY IN HIS PROFILE OF DOUAL’ART, A CAMEROONIAN PUBLIC ART ORGANISATION 

Ananya Roy’s injunction that a shift in urban planning practices towards a distributive justice that profiles the object of urban planning – the people themselves – forms part of a growing critique of dominant modernist paradigms of planning.1 According to Roy, a comparative urban studies and international development expert at the University of California, Berkeley, this dominant paradigm is founded on an overriding “ideology of space” in which the built environment is given priority over people and their livelihoods. She suggests we need to engage with the so-called developing world more pragmatically and practically – to become involved with the “Politics of Shit”.

Roy’s critique proposes a city that is at once socially and culturally just, wherein citizens are active players in re-imagining and making real their own conception of place (rather than having it planned for them from above without their involvement). Collective or participatory engagements with planning are seen as particularly necessary. Such seemingly utopian approaches, which centre on dreaming better cities, propose that vibrant groupings in civil society can and do create such outcomes – better cities. It is precisely this sort of approach I hope to argue is what makes doual’art’s practice special. This Cameroonian public art organisation’s independently developed practice, which draws heavily on its work with artists, resonates strongly with a critical planning that emphasises the need to ensure a re-imagining of city through collective engagement. Doual’art’s greatest strengths, suggests artist Achille Ka, resides in its ability to allow the residents of a crumbling “pirate city” the freedom to dream new futures.2 Founded in 1991, doual’art’s premises are located in an old cinema behind La Pagode, an exquisite 1905 landmark in Bonanjo, Douala. A small garden cafe leads into espace doual’art where a small bar and stylish gallery – together with mezzanine offices and resource space – are located. The venue is used to host exhibitions, performing art events, conferences, seminars and a residency programme.

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Aqueous

New York architects The Living, mentioned in an earlier post, have completed another recent project called Amphibious Architecture. This one is an environmental monitoring station—a subtle filigree of colored lights—floating in the rivers of New York.

 

As such, it is more or less a direct outgrowth of their earlier project River Glow:

Amphibious Architecture is a floating installation in New York’s waterways that glows and blinks to provide an interface between life above water and life below… Two networks of floating interactive tubes, installed at sites in the East River and the Bronx River, house a range of sensors below water and an array of lights above water. The sensors monitor water quality, presence of fish, and human interest in the river ecosystem. The lights respond to the sensors and create feedback loops between humans, fish, and their shared environment. An SMS interface allows citizens to text-message the fish, to receive real-time information about the river, and to contribute to a display of collective interest in the environment.

The idea of text-messaging fish adds a dream-logic to this project that I find intensely enjoyable. A man lost somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean who retains his sanity only by texting Leviathan. Screenplay by Ernest Hemingway.

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Protected by pictures

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An interview with Ai Weiwei in the cellar of Munich’s Haus der Kunst, as the artist was preparing to turn the place into a battlefield. With Hanno Rauterberg

What would megalomaniac modesty look like? Is there such a thing as relaxed rebellion? A state of peace which is all get up and go. Well Ai Weiwei certainly exists. An artist who is not afraid to take on the mightiest of enemies, the dictators in Beijing. Who demands democracy at the top of his voice, freedom of speech, equal rights for all! Who refuses to be silenced, even if they lock him up, even if the police break down his door in the middle of the night and beat him to the ground, as they did just recently. He kept up the protest , even as the blood pured down his face, pulling out his camera and photographing the the police as they carried him off. It looks likes a family outing. The whole world should see this image: the terror and the un-terrified.

And now he’s sitting here in front of me, a man of substance and pride, yet so completely withdrawn into himself. His voice, a whisper, his eyes flitting about the room. “I was so shy in school,” he will tell me later, “that I’d blush every time someone looked at me.” A man, who now has so many eyes trained on him, whose voice is heard like no other, a man who is probably the most famous fighter of injustice in the whole of China.

“I’m an ordinary person, very ordinary,” he says and rubs his fac eyes light upe vigorously with both hands. “It was nothing to do with me,” he says. “It was the others, the interviews. I’m probably the most interviewed person in China.” Then he smiles for the first time, shrugs his shoulders cautiously, a shrug of wonder – how peculiar, why me?

Right now, the most interviewed person in the whole of China, is living in the cellar, in the catacombs of a Nazi palace in Munich. There, in the Haus der Kunst, which was built between 1933 and 1937, he has made himself at home for a few weeks, setting up camp with a 20-man team on folding beds all crammed into four rooms, to prepare for his first ever major exhibition worldwide, which opens on October 12. He has everything he needs down there, armchairs, TV, computer, close friends, a cook. He has effortlessly transformed this fortress into a cheerful shared apartment. Every now and tempting smells of Chinese food waft up into the museum halls, a museum attendant tells me.

“I’m not really a fan of museums, it so often feels as if they only display the corpses from long forgotten wars. We want to do something else here. We want to turn the Haus der Kunst into a battlefield.”

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John Bulmer Retrospective

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A pioneer of colour photography in the 1960s, photographer John Bulmer began his photographic career in Cambridge, where along with Peter Laurie Brendan Lehane and Adrian Bridgewater they founded Image. The magazine’s aim was to provide its photographers with experience to work as professional photographers in London and Bulmer duly joined the Daily Express in 1960.

Bulmer was a devotee of the new photographic technology and quickly embraced the 35mm format. This enabled him to work with greater flexibility and faster than his other Fleet Street colleagues who were still shooting on Rollei cameras.

From the Express, Bulmer started freelancing for Man about Town, later renamed Town, working alongside Terence Donovan, David Bailey and Don McCullin and it was here that he shot one of his most celebrated works on the North of England and in particular his documentary of the town, Nelson.

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The Geek Atlas

The Geek Atlas has rounded up 128 great candidates from around the world. The Atlas calls them “places where science and technology come alive.” I think of these destinations as places that make you think. The possibilities run the gamut from birthplaces of famous inventors and scientists (yawn) to really cool tours of working technological systems (a nuclear power plant, a dam turbine, a solar furnace) to a spectrum of interesting but little known museums, to just cool places like the prime meridian. A lot of these destinations are in the US and UK, but a fair number hail elsewhere. In addition to a description of a destination, author Graham-Cumming writes up a page explaining the key concept behind each spot. I’ve visited a dozen of these science hot spots and they are well worth a short detour, or in some cases a trip just for the purpose. You could probably fill another volume of brainy tourist traps missed by this book: I predict a sequel.

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Don Bojo de la Mancha
Boris Johnson saves woman from street attack

Green filmmaker Franny Armstrong pays tribute to ‘my knight on a shining bicycle’
Boris Johnson cycling in London with a mobile phone, Britain - 05 Oct 2006

Boris Johnson cycling in London. Photograph: Rex Features

Boris Johnson rescued a woman from three “feral kids” who were wielding an iron bar, chasing them away on his bicycle, it emerged tonight.

The mayor of London was cycling through Camden, north London, on Monday night when he answered the cry of Franny Armstrong, a documentary maker and environmental activist who was surrounded by a group of hoodie-clad young girls.

Johnson stopped and chased the girls down the street, calling them “oiks”. Read More