Zoe Strauss: 500 Words
Zoe Strauss’s Homesteading project is featured today in Artforum (a major contemporary art magazine). Strauss writes:
Homesteading addresses the way wealth is accrued and moves through the world in relation to this place, which generated the funds that built the Carnegie Museum and metropolises like New York. I opened a portrait studio in Homestead, on a block on Eighth Avenue that has recently begun undergoing revitalization. The studio has been set up so anyone who lives or works in the zip code or is a member of the United Steelworkers union (currently or retired) can visit and have their picture taken. Two hundred of those portraits will be featured at the Carnegie Museum, which is three miles away. After the International closes, the Carnegie will accession up to five hundred images, each valued at $1000.
Along with the portraits from the studio, I will be exhibiting two projections, which will be screened both in the Carnegie Museum and at the Pump House, where the first workers were killed during the strike. One projection will show a looped image of the Monongahela River, which divides Homestead from Pittsburgh. The name Monogahela comes from the Lenape word mënaonke, meaning “where banks crumble and fall.” Like this moving image, it’s important to talk about Homestead in action. The area, after this century-old event, is in a constant state of renewal, which is why its name could be more accurately understood as a verb, as in “homesteading.”
Read 500 Words by Zoe Strauss in Artforum>
FYI: Public actions for better jobs in Pittsburgh on Thursday … there are two.
1. On Thursday morning, fast food workers in cities across the US are striking to raise the minimum wage. In Pittsburgh, protests will take place at several as-yet undisclosed locations. From One Pittsburgh's Facebook event page:
Fast Food workers in Pittsburgh are standing up and joining a national movement by demanding $15 an hour and a union.
Across the United States workers at iconic fast food institutions have been striking because making $7.25 part time wages leave them in poverty while record profits and CEO compensation are the norm.
Join us on December 5th for a series of demonstrations throughout the day starting at Market Square at 6am and stand in solidarity with the workers bravely fighting to rebuild Pittsburgh’s middle class.
Text ‘PITT’ to 64336 to get text message alerts about times and locations about actions. Standard messaging and data rates may apply.
2. The Adjunct Faculty Association of United Steelworkers, along with supporters from throughout the city, will be marching up A-walk at 10:00 Thursday morning to demand official recognition of Duquesne adjuncts’ democratically elected union. They will deliver the administration a petition with 17,500 signatures, which you can read here. Updates and additional information are available at the Pittsburgh Students for Adjunct Justice Facebook page.
(285 reblog from Katie Hetrick)
Article by: John Upton (Nov. 13 2013)
OK, so Pope Francis didn’t exactly make a policy statement or a speech denouncing fracking. But hints have emerged that he might do so soon. And Twitter is afire with pictures of His Holiness holding up anti-fracking T-shirts. The pictures were taken Monday following meetings with Argentinians dealing with environmental issues. Written by John Upton
I think it is interested to see that the world’s most admired person (The Pope) disagrees with fracking. It is also humorous that all the pictures of him opposing fracking were put on social media (Twitter) for the world to see. Talk about news spreading fast!
(285 reblog from Judith Meyers)
This photo essay by Carloz Javier Ortiz documents the environment at Roberson High in one of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods. The blurb which accompanies the photo project (which can be found here) explains that Englewood, the neighborhood where the school is located, “has a median income of $18,955 and a demographic of 97.8% African Americans”. Clearly, this demographic is disproportionately subject to poor conditions in general, and, as this photo essay demonstrates, the youth are being further subjected to extremely chaotic and unsupportive schools. The blurb continues, explaining how “Roberson students […] have to walk through metal detectors, witness fights, and sometimes not have a clear idea of what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis.” One of the purposes of this essay is to demonstrate possible contributing factors to the fact that only around half of the freshmen who enter high school here will earn their diploma. The text concludes soberly: “public education is failing black male students. Nationwide, the graduation rate for this demographic of students is a paltry 47 percent. And in some major cities, it’s perilously low — in New York City and Philadelphia, for example, only 28 percent of black males complete high school on time.”
I personally think this is a good photo essay, as the photos dark mood and subject matter powerfully demonstrate the harsh environment that prevents students at schools like Roberson from succeeding in academics. Especially when accompanied by the informative blurb, the photos tell the story of how many obstacles impoverished inner-city students must surmount in order to merely earn a high school diploma (much more than the average middle class white suburbanite, for example). However, one potential issue with this photo essay is that without accompanying information or background knowledge of the issue, a viewer from a very different situation might misconstrue the photos in a racist manner. It is possible that someone with a bias toward thinking of black inner-city students who are at risk for not graduating, as typically lazy and or violent. The photos by themselves do, in some sense, uphold this stereotype in that they portray students in handcuffs, graffiti covering school property, and disengaged-looking students in classrooms. The true purpose of these photos is to demonstrate how this kind of environment is contagious to all students who enter it, and without a lot of extra help and support, it will not change. Background information is, however, necessary for this reason. One improvement that could be made to this photo essay would be to include, in some more personal, humanizing shots of the students to contrast with the purely bleak ones. This would show how these students are not innately lazy, dull, or violent by any means, but rather are depressed by their school environment.