All posts by dispatcher2013

current readings on myth & cultural imaginaries:

Spheres – Volume I: Bubbles (Peter Sloterdijk, 2011)

Political Theology: Four New Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty (Paul W. Kahn, 2011)

On The Modern Cult of the Factish Gods (Bruno Latour, 2010)

Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity: Johann Jacob Bachofen in German Culture 1860-1945 (Peter Davis, 2010)

“Abused Goddesses”

Image Courtesy of Scoopwoop.com

Image Courtesy of Scoopwoop.com

Employing iconic religious imagery to send messages about a modern day problem, the new “Abused Goddesses” Campaign highlighting domestic violence in India is garnering attention. Hand-painted images (based on photos of live models) of bruised, battered, and beaten Hindu goddesses are followed by this caption:

Pray that we never see this day. Today, more than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. Tomorrow, it seems like no woman shall be spared. Not even the ones we pray to.

via Save Our Sisters: The “Abused Goddesses” Campaign | Girls’ Globe.

Gyges, drones, invisibility, impunity

In classical mythology Gyges was a shepherd who discovered a magical ring that could make him invisible.  Armed with his new power, Gyges eventually killed the king, married the queen and seized the throne.  ‘Invisibility’, [Grégoire] Chamayou notes, ‘conferred upon him a kind of invulnerability.’  In Plato’s Republic the story is used to ask searching questions about virtue and justice: what happens to morality, to virtue, if it becomes possible to evade responsibility for one’s actions?

The dilemma is no longer confined to the realm of story-telling or philosophical speculation, Chamayou argues, because the thought-experiment has been realised through the political technology of the drone.  The modern answer to Plato’s question is now all too clear: invisibility produces not only invulnerability but also impunity.

via geographical imaginations | war, space and security. August 8, 2013

apotheosis of the ‘Reaper’

usaf_mq_9_reaper_2013_USMilitarypatch.com

In the sixteenth century, [Grégoire Chamayou says,] the iconography of Death often portrayed a soldier fighting a skeleton – most famously in Holbein’s Dance of Death – in a struggle that was always pointless because Death mocked his adversary and always triumphed in the end.   The imagery has now been appropriated in this unofficial patch produced for Reaper crews, where the soldier now assumes the position of Death itself (and becomes synonymous with the MQ-9 Reaper); the slogan – which is in fact a parody of “That others may live”, used as a patch by the USAF’s Pararescue teams  – gives Chamayou the title for his chapter.

via geographical imaginations | war, space and security. August 8, 2013

The point to be noted is that the positions in dispute, no less than the interactions among them, are constructed out of, and propelled by, logics of the imagination as much as they are by logics of capital, politics, religion, or any other regime of power and authority because the interpretive energies and capacities of the imagination so often determine the way other logics can be construed and employed.

Giles Gunn, Ideas to Die For: The Cosmopolitan Challenge (2013)

energy, poverty, our sisters, our future

“Women and girls bear the primary responsibility for fetching firewood, cooking and other domestic work, making them disproportionately affected by energy poverty across developing countries. According to Solar Sister, a women’s enterprise working to eradicate energy poverty, up to 780 million women and children are breathing in toxic fumes and risking their health and lives every day because their sole source of lighting is the kerosene lamp. Energy poverty, while affecting everyone, has a female face, and addressing this issue in developing countries is essential not only for the environment and sustainable future, but also for gender equality, women’s empowerment and the health of women and girls.”

via Energy Poverty has the Face of a Woman | Girls’ Globe.

intangibles: Chengdu 2013

“…acknowledge the central role that knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe play in maintaining sustainable ecosystems and biodiversity and in helping communities to ensure food security and health; and encourage establishing sound and effective safeguarding mechanisms […] addressing appropriately the relationship between transmission and innovation and between safeguarding and commercial use.”

via Meeting review: Chengdu International Conference on Intangible Cultural Heritage | Traditional Knowledge Bulletin.

‘pastures of heaven’: the fate of the Altai

On a warm summer’s day twenty-four centuries ago, a noblewoman of the

Altai "Princess of Ukok" tattoo design
Altai “Princess of Ukok” tattoo design

nomadic Pazyryk tribe was buried in a large ancient burial tomb, or kurgan, on the Ukok Plateau — now a region of the Russian Altai that borders China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. Mummified with herbs, bark and marten fur, she was placed in an oversized sarcophagus hewn from a single larch log. [….]

Altai people feel that to restore the order of things, the Princess Kadyn must be returned to her rightful place on the Ukok Plateau…. [A] UNESCO-Ghent team quickly sketched out what they fear is in store for the Altai’s frozen tombs.

via Maria and the Ukok Princess: Climate change and the fate of the Altai – OurWorld 2.0 | OurWorld 2.0.