Wednesday, October 26, 2011

PETA Sues SeaWorld for Violating Orcas' Constitutional Rights

Written by PETA :

In the first case of its kind, PETA, three marine-mammal experts, and two former orca trainers are filing a lawsuit asking a federal court to declare that five wild-caught orcas forced to perform at SeaWorld are being held as slaves in violation of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The filing—the first ever seeking to apply the 13th Amendment to nonhuman animals—names the five orcas as plaintiffs and also seeks their release to their natural habitats or seaside sanctuaries.
The suit is based on the plain text of the 13th Amendment, which prohibits the condition of slavery without reference to "person" or any particular class of victim. "Slavery is slavery, and it does not depend on the species of the slave any more than it depends on gender, race, or religion," says general counsel to PETA, Jeffrey Kerr.
The five wild-captured orca plaintiffs are Tilikum and Katina (both confined at SeaWorld Orlando) and Kasatka, Corky, and Ulises (all three confined at SeaWorld San Diego).
"All five of these orcas were violently seized from the ocean and taken from their families as babies. They are denied freedom and everything else that is natural and important to them while kept in small concrete tanks and reduced to performing stupid tricks," says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "The 13th Amendment prohibits slavery, and these orcas are, by definition, slaves."
In the aerial view of SeaWorld, one can see how little room orcas have. Inside the circle is Tilikum, whose nose and tail almost touch the ends of his tank. Image © 2011 Google
Orcas are intelligent animals who, in the wild, work cooperatively, form complex relationships, communicate using distinct dialects, and swim up to 100 miles every day. At SeaWorld, they are forced to swim in circles in small, barren concrete tanks. Deprived of the opportunity to make conscious choices and to practice their cultural vocal, social, and foraging traditions, they are compelled to perform meaningless tricks for a reward of dead fish.
Our understanding of animals grows every day. Animals are no longer regarded as "things" to dominate, but as breathing, feeling beings with families, dialects, intellect, and emotions. Just as we look back with shame at a time when we enslaved other humans and viewed some people as property less deserving of protection and consideration, we will look back on our treatment of these animals with shame. The 13th Amendment exists to abolish slavery in all its forms—and this lawsuit is the next step.
The orcas are represented in the suit by what the law refers to as their "next friends": PETA, Ric O'Barry (a former orca and dolphin trainer and the star of the Academy Award–winning documentary The Cove), renowned marine biologist and orca expert Dr. Ingrid N. Visser, Orca Network founder Howard Garrett, and former SeaWorld trainers Samantha Berg and Carol Ray.
The groundbreaking suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego.
Please help animals imprisoned by SeaWorld todayClick here to write to The Blackstone Group—the company that owns SeaWorld—and ask that it immediately set in place a firm and rapid plan to release the animals to sanctuaries that can provide them with an appropriate and more natural environment.

National Conference to End Factory Farming

Over the past few decades, the rise of factory farming has institutionalized animal cruelty, caused massive environmental destruction and resource depletion, and posed a constant threat to human and animal health. While there are a wide range of reasons to speak out against this detrimental system, it is clear that many experts and movement leaders today share a common goal: To end factory farming.
Join Farm Sanctuary as we bring together experts from the environmental, public health, and animal welfare movements for our first-ever National Conference to End Factory Farming: for Health, Environment, and Farm Animals. This conference will be unique in its exclusive focus on factory farming and the problems surrounding it, and aims to reach a broad audience of professionals and advocates from the animal protection, health, and environmental movements to collaborate on these issues.
The conference program boasts over 30 speakers from a wide range of backgrounds, including authoritative presenters such as Executive Director of Food and Water Watch Wenonah Hauter, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine director of government affairs Elizabeth Kucinich and leading researcher in the field of diet and disease and author of The China Study Dr. T. Colin Campbell.
The conference program features a Thursday night welcome reception, plenary speakers and panel discussions on Friday and Saturday, and a Friday banquet dinner. Panels will cover a wide range of factory farming related topics, including climate change, public health risks, the emotional lives of farm animals, and a look at the economics of factory farming. There will also be Q&A sessions and exhibit tables showcasing healthy, sustainable, cruelty-free products and organizations.
With factory farms causing damage to animals, our health, and the environment every day, and with the 2012 Farm Bill coming up for a re-authorization vote, now is a more urgent time than ever for anti-factory farming advocates from across the board to come together. Please join us at the National Conference to End Factory Farming to discuss the issues and learn how to take personal, public, and policy action to make factory farming a thing of the past!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

For Sophia Cho: (my ongoing favorite photographer list)


"Fazal Sheikh is an artist who uses photographs to document people living in displaced and marginalized communities around the world. His principle medium is the portrait, although his work also encompasses personal narratives, found photographs, sound, and his own written texts. He works from the conviction that a portrait is, as far as possible, an act of mutual engagement, and only through a long-term commitment to a place and to a community can a meaningful series of photographs be made. His overall aim is to contribute to a wider understanding of these groups, to respect them as individuals and to counter the ignorance and prejudice that often attaches to them. 
Each of his projects is collected and published and is exhibited internationally in galleries and museums. He also works closely with human rights organizations and believes in disseminating his work in forms that can be distributed as widely as possible and can be of use to the communities themselves."


Fazal Sheikh is an absolutely amazing human being and photographer. I had the opportunity to go to one of his lectures and had him critique my work during my undergrad. He is just so brilliant and eloquent in person, in his vision and purpose, and aesthetically in his work. I have some of his books if you'd ever like to see- I highly recommend going through his projects and reading the titles and the information about each series. 

Where Children Sleep / Project by James Mollison

"Mr. Mollison’s new book, “Where Children Sleep,” had its origins in a project undertaken for a children’s charity several years ago. As he considered how to represent needy children around the world, he wanted to avoid the common devices: pleading eyes, toothless smiles. When he visualized his own childhood, he realized that his bedroom said a lot about what sort of life he led. So he set out to find others."

My friend just sent me this article from the NY Times. During my freshman year of college in a color photography class I went around and took photographs of people within their personal spaces with the idea of letting their physical features and character play off of the things they surround themselves with, which I think is really important. I love the idea of this project and how it differs from those like it. I enjoy the idea of where it stemmed from- and Mollison's thoughts on his own childhood bedroom being telling of his own being- and that it has become so big and important in a way that it comments on poverty in different countries and cities, child labor ages and laws, popular culture and its effect on children, and so much more. The comparison of the child on a stark white background (but still in their apparel of choice) next to a separate photograph of their bedroom is really nice and still shows strong connections between the images.

Like the article says, view the images as large as possible in a thread- it is a very powerful story.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

i heart alec soth

one of my all time favorite photographers. had the pleasure of going to one of his lectures and had him critique my work during my senior project in college. love how he finds such beauty in the seemingly mundane/desolate landscapes and uniqueness in every person he meets. i picked a few favorites from different projects- i first heard about him around the time he was doing sleeping by the mississippi and niagara. gorgeous photographs- he is also a part of one of my favorite galleries in minneapolis:

Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz

Orphan Girl at the Cemetery, after Delacroix from Gordian Puzzles, 2008
Digital color coupler print
87 x 71 inches

I'm sorry I missed this piece at one of my favorite galleries in Minneapolis this past winter. Vik Muniz is definitely one of my favorite artists- in every sense of the word- he can make art and then a photograph (to make usually temporary pieces very much permanent) out of virtually anything- from garbage to chocolate syrup or spaghetti.

Virtually Warhol: A New App

Saw this and thought of the class's art education app ideas.

Los Angeles Stakes Its Claim as a World Art Center

*Image shown:
Courtesy of artist, Asco,1972/Harry Gamboa., Jr.

"Birds Wave Goodby" (1972), by the Chicano performance and Conceptual art group Asco, in a retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Back Home, and Homeless

*Stolen from Julie's blog, but so powerful and well written I wanted to repost.

"Four and a half years in the Army, including 16 months as an infantryman in eastern Afghanistan, provided plenty of skills with no legal application in the civilian world. It was, however, wonderful preparation for being homeless."

Based on this article, homelessness with war veterans, especially young vets, is a serious and growing issue. It was profoundly upsetting to read the writer's thoughts of wanting to be back in the comfort and stability (in a way) of Afghanistan.

"Jonathan Shay, a psychiatrist with the Veterans Administration who earned a MacArthur Genius Grant for his work on behalf of vets, wrote that combat post-traumatic stress disorder is 'a war injury.'"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Remembering 9/11 Exhibit at International Center of Photography

In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the International Center of Photography is collaborating with the National September 11 Memorial Museum on Remembering 9/11, a major exhibition of photography and video that addresses the issues of memory and recovery from disaster and explores how New Yorkers and volunteers from across the U.S. responded to this inconceivable tragedy. Focusing on how firefighters, transit workers, police officers, construction workers, artists, photographers, and World Trade Center neighbors worked together in the aftermath of the attacks, the exhibition will include five parts:Memory Remains: 9/11 Artifacts at Hangar 17, a major installation by Francesc Torres; photographs from Eugene Richards' Stepping Through the Ashes; a five-channel video installation,cedarliberty, by Elena del Rivero and Leslie McCleave; Above Ground Zero, photographs and proof sheets by Gregg Brown; and excerpts from here is new york: a democracy of photographs. The exhibition is organized by ICP Curator Carol Squiers.

Harry Callahan Photography Exhibit at National Gallery of Art in London

Harry Callahan (1912–1999) was one of the most innovative and influential photographers of the 20th century. Celebrating the centenary of his birth, the exhibition of some 100 photographs explores all facets of Callahan's art, from its genesis in Detroit in the early 1940s and its flowering in Chicago in the late 1940s and 1950s to its maturation in Providence and Atlanta from the 1960s through the 1990s. Throughout his long career, he repeatedly found new ways of looking at and presenting the world in photographs that are elegant, visually daring, and highly experimental.