[-empyre-] Re: empyre Digest, Vol 38, Issue 18
jhaber at haberarts.com
Wed Feb 6 13:11:09 EST 2008
Naeem's description was vivid, so his contribution is worth it for that
alone. (Did I say it's hard to write about art?) It raises a number of
questions as well.
One was my uncertainty on what he feels, other than amazement. It could
be read as condoning terrorism or not. While I don't believe in Bush's
global war on terror -- or even on the value of defining terror as an
enemy rather than a tactic -- I'm not too keen on killing people,
period, but especially civilians.
A second was how familiar it sounded. "Street theater" has been an
aspect of American politics, although more so in the 1960s, and one can
still start an interesting discussion of whether it was useful as
politics or intersected in an interesting way with performance art.
I'll just say it was necessary at the time but probably left little
legacy. I marched in an anti-Bush demonstration in New York when the
2004 GOP convention was held here, and I remember how depressed it made
me. All the people around were chanting, "This is what democracy looks
like," and all I could think was, "This is what happens when democracy
fails or is suppressed, and we're reduced to self-expression rather than
A third was the whole issue once again of borders in context of
globalization. As in everything before, capitalism is an enormous force
for destruction and creation, and it's only fair if we're scared to
death. I'll save you my Thomas Friedman analysis (or my amusement at
discovering that a hot artist, at least in Beverly Hills, is also named
Tom Friedman) for a better time.
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