Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mexican corn by local Oaxacan farmers

All difficult things have there origin in that which is easy,
and great things in that which is small.
 Loa Tzu

Amado serves only the most traditional of Mexican foods in his restaurant, showcasing the various organic corns, harvest by local Oaxacan farmers in their purest form. But beyond the taste of history and tradition, Amado brings a poetic truth about the power of this ancient grain.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nameless - The future we want, Nigeria

from Book Sprints

THE STORY OF A BOOK looks behind the scenes of the writing of Nameless, a book written in five days and nights in a collaborative effort by eight Nigerian writers. They came together in a Book Sprint to take a critical look at present-day Nigeria ahead of the national elections in 2015 and to offer glimpses of alternative futures ahead. What started as political critique soon turned into provocative fictional stories. These are centered around a market town that could be any and everywhere in the country, and thus remains nameless. The short documentary tells Nigeria’s current situation through the story of the book, picking up the pulse on the street, the intensity of the concern for everyday issues and the hope for change in the future.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté, father and son - the wheel of history turns when we play together.

A quarter of a century ago, Toumani Diabaté played at the Royal Festival Hall in London with his father, Sidiki. Here, in this acclaimed concert, the great Malian kora player performs alongside his son, also called Sidiki.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Apo Mechanics Village, Abuja, Nigeria.

The Apo Mechanics Village is a spare parts village and makeshift mechanics workshop. No one can keep a car running for longer than these guys.  

Music: Igbo highlife 1974, Celestine Ukwu & His Philosophers National - Okwukwe Na Nchekwube

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Of the Unknown, Hongkong.

By Eva Weber & Nia Ashley

"While poverty persists, there is no true freedom."

A visual meditation, in Hong Kong where millionaires and the ‘working poor’ live side by side in one of Asia’s wealthiest and most densely populated cities.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Arsy-Versy, documentary by Miro Remo, Slovakia.

The film is a story of a mother and her son Lubos who lives in a world turned upside-down, or, arsy-versy. Lubos broke free from the world as generally conceived by others to arrive at the supreme human-nature symbiosis; he flew away to a planet purely inhabited by butterflies - intelligent beings. The sole focus of his life energy, enriched by a great deal of empathy, is being chanelled into his amateur photography and film making, the climax of his fascination with natural phenomenona being his unique study of bats. By way of communicating with the upside-down creatures he is fascinated with, he attempts to achieve the utmost understanding between man and beast. He is assisted by his mother who has been a great reaserch and life support to him, but is now apprehensive about her son’s future. "What will become of the kid?" she wonders. Those who 'knew' him thought him lost up to the moment they saw the arsy-versy film; now it’s them who are losing it!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Puppet art in Burkina Faso and Yaya Coulibaly's Bambara puppetry tradition in Mali.

Giant marionettes in Burkino Faso

 Bambara puppetry tradition

Yaya Coulibaly is one of the greatest living puppeteers and descends from a long line of puppeteers in the Bamana kingdom of Segou in Mali. He began his initiation into the magical world of puppet and masquerade figures at the age of ten as an apprentice to his father. His puppet company Sogolon Puppet Troupe was founded in 1980 and has since become the leading group of the oldest and richest of Africa’s surviving puppetry traditions. Coulibaly is the custodian of a vast collection of puppets, many of which have come down to him through his family.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Collecting Insanity" by Joshua Frank - the Jianchuan Museum, China.

Every country has a past it likes to celebrate and another it would rather forget.
In China, where history still falls under the tight control of government-run museums and officially approved textbooks, the omissions appear especially stark.

An unusual museum dedicated largely to what is absent in China’s self-presentation is the subject of Joshua Frank’s short film Collecting Insanity.
Frank tours the Jianchuan Museum Cluster, of Fan Jianchuan, an ex-official and real estate magnate, in the town of Anren, near Chengdu. The group of exhibits display their owners collection of millions of historical artifacts, gathered over a lifetime of obsessive accumulation. Fan’s museum displays objects from various historical events, including the officially memorialized Sino-Japanese War and the far more taboo fallout of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

But Frank, and Fan himself, place special emphasis on galleries devoted to the Red Era and, in particular, the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), a period when the collection and proper enshrinement of Maoist paraphernalia became a necessity for political respectability and thereby survival, when, in essence, anyone who hoped to remain free of persecution was forced to become a collector. Fan got his start during those days, gathering up leaflets and posters denouncing his father as a capitalist roader. Much goes unsaid at Fan’s museum, and that is by design, as well. But it is unique in China, if not in the world, as a testament to one man’s will to spend his wealth and influence probing the boundaries of what can permissibly be remembered, and perhaps inspiring others to do the same.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ever Young: James Barnor - Photographer Accra-Ghana/London-U.K.

Miss Sarah Quansah, Ever Young Studio, Accra, c.1954

James Barnor documents societies in transition: Ghana moving towards its independence, and London becoming a multicultural metropolis during the ‘swinging 60s’. His extensive portfolio of street and studio portraiture spans over 60 years and different continents, many commissioned by Drum magazine, Africa’s first Black politics and lifestyle publication. In the early 1950s, Barnor’s photographic studio Ever Young was visited by civil servants and dignitaries, performance artists and newly-weds. During this period, he captured intimate moments of luminaries such as Kwame Nkrumah as he pushed for pan-African unity, and commonwealth boxing champion Roy Ankrah. In 1960s London, he photographed Mohammad Ali and BBC Africa Service reporter Mike Eghan.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Kamra-e-faoree - the Afghan Box Camera.

Afghanistan is one of the last places on earth where photographers used a simple type of instant camera called the kamra-e-faoree for means of making a living. The hand-made wooden camera is both camera and darkroom in one and generations of Afghans have had their portraits taken with it, usually for identity photographs. At one stage it was even outlawed when former rulers of Afghanistan, the Taliban, banned photography, forcing photographers to hide or destroy their tools.The aim of the Afghan Box Camera Project is to provide some record of the kamra-e-faoree which as a living form of photography is on the brink of disappearing in Afghanistan.                                                                                         

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Yezidi's (or Êzidî, Yazdani, ایزدیان) - Children of the sun, primarily northern Iraq, Syria, the Caucasus, and since the 1990's Germany.

The Yezidi are an ancient people, originally from Mesopotamia. The sun is their principal deity. In their morning prayers they offer up praise to the day-star, God’s reflection on Earth, just as they did several thousand years ago. Despite being sun-worshippers, they were actually among the world’s first monotheists, i.e. they believe in one God. The Yezidi are an ancient people, originally from Mesopotamia. Their main temple at Lalesh is now in Northern Iraq. As a result of the constant feuds with their Muslim neighbours, some Yezidi emigrated – initially to Turkey, then to Armenia; after perestroika about 30,000 of them ended up in Russia, the majority in the Krasnodar Region. They are pleasant, sociable, kind, hard-working people. They include people of various professions: from farmers and musicians to sportsmen and businessmen. The extraordinary warm feelings of the children for their parents arouse particular respect. “God cannot look after everybody, so he invented parents”, says 17 year-old Boris. The film features portraits of various people from different generations who are united by a common aim – to preserve their race, their culture and their traditions, and to live in friendship, peace and harmony with Russian people.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The last village cinemas in Slovakia - Cinema World.

by Marek Janicik

Real life stories and memories of local villagers give us a look into history of the cinema of the village Očová and show us its importance. Not only has the viewer an opportunity to be a witness of the cinema's celebration in the memories of people, but he can also witness the closure of this cultural village temple. Even though the cinema was a significant part of the village for over half of the century, villagers will have to give it their last goodbye. The trigger in this scenario is the digitalization of cinemas in Slovakia.Village Očová decided not to take a part in this action. Unfortunately, this means sending their cinema straight to execution. Will the last goodbye carry the smell of sadness or pride? That is the question.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Unfinished Sicily, Italy.

by Zelig

Unfinished buildings have the beauty of what could have been.
Of what is not yet there.
Of what might be one day.

(Inspired by 'Le temps en ruines', Marc Augé)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hidden Gardens dedicated to peace, Glasgow, Scotland.

Angus Farquhar, Creative Director of NVA public arts organisation and founder of The Hidden Gardens returns ten years on to present the ideas which led to the creation of Scotland's first sanctuary gardens dedicated to peace. 
'Seed' provides an interesting insight of Angus' work and artistic process, interest in abandoned sites and urban regeneration. It also explores the betrayal by the Labour party leading upto the Iraq war and the disillusionment that caused in its supporters.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

EU crisis - No Job Land, Spain.

No job land offers a look at the situation facing thousands of families in Spain because of long-term unemployment. Unprotected and at risk of social exclusion a group of unemployed people decide to unite to fight for a better future.

Made by Gabriel Pecot, Olmo Calvo and Eva Filgueira.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My first school, promoting education in Gilgit, Baltistan, North Pakistan.

 Promoting education in Pakistan's remote northern area is important for children at a very young age. The learning conditions are very poor at times. Any little help we can give goes a long way. "

Photographer Andrea Francolini:

"Follow the second trip I have done for My First School in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan."

Sunday, April 27, 2014

South China Mall, Guangdong.

Six years after the 2005 opening ceremony of the South China Mall, its 892,000 square meters still afford it the title of the largest shopping centre in the world. Yet less than 1 per cent of the 2,350 planned shops are occupied. Five escalators are running in this megalomaniac project that has burst onto the former farmlands of Dongguan's suburbs, in the rich southern province of Guangdong.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Transnistria, a region of internal displacement.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the countries that have gained their indepenence question their new identities. Transnistria, an enclaved zone, between Moldova and the Ukraine, is an unrecognized de facto state situated in the Republic of Moldova. Between Transnistria and Moldova, four languages are spoken daily: Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian and 'Moldavian'. This political entity with its own cultural attributes is not recognized by any country of the international community including Russia where its troops are still deployed. Transnistria has become a region of internal displacement. The United Nations uses this term to refer to people who live in situations of internal displacement as a result of conflicts or natural disasters.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

City of Shadows, early 20th century Mugshots of Newtown Police Station, Sydney, Australia.

Joseph Messenger 

Valerie Lowe and Joseph Messenger were arrested in 1921 for breaking into an army warehouse and stealing boots and overcoats to the value of 29 pounds 3 shillings. The following year, when this photographs were taken (18 and 19 years old), they were arrested for stealing a saddle and bridle from Rosebery Racecourse. In 1923 Lowe was convicted of breaking into a house at Enfield and stealing money and jewellery to the value of 40 pounds.

Matilda Devine, criminal record number 659LB, 27 May 1925. State Reformatory for Women, Long Bay, NSW Matilda ‘Tilly’ Devine used a razor to slash a man in a barber’s shop and was sentenced to two years gaol. She was Sydney’s best-known brothel madam. Aged 25

William Cyril Moxley, Special Photograph number 1152, 12 February 1923, Central Police Station, Sydney. NSW Police Forensic

Photofilm by Mike Bernard
Mug shots taken at the New South Wales Police Department from the 1910s to 1930s.

In the early part of the 20th century police routinely went to places that respectable people did their best to avoid, the dark places where bad things happened. They were just doing their job - asking questions, taking photographs, writing reports. But now, nearly a century later, the fruit of that footwork offers us the most extraordinary and intimate record of the more troubled sides of everyday life in early 20th century Australia.

Monday, April 21, 2014

National Hero, Li Ying, China’s most famous toilet attendant

Interview to Li Ying, probably China’s most famous toilet attendant. Li, who immigrated to Shanghai from the countryside aged 17, won the May 1st Labor Medal, one of the highest awards a Chinese worker can receive. She was also the first rural immigrant in Shanghai to be granted residence status in the city, for her public service in the toilet. Li is proud of the prizes, of course, but also of her toilet. “Sometimes people walk on tiptoe after we have cleaned because they don’t want to make it dirty. I clean this place so well, people think it’s a hotel.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Buzludzha Soviet monument, Bulgaria.

On the remote Buzludzha peak in the mountains of Bulgaria stands an unusual abandoned monument. The peak itself was the site of a battle between the Bulgarians and the Turks in 1868. In 1891 a group of socialists lead by Dimitar Blagoev met on the peak to plan for Bulgaria’s socialist future. To celebrate these events, the government in power during the height of Soviet influence decided to erect a monument commemorating socialist communism. After the government’s fall from power in 1989, the site was abandoned and left open to vandalism. The main entrance has been sealed and therefore closed to public. However, there is still a little way to get into the building.