Of all the images I have seen of Wall Street this one best captures the monolithic almost inhuman scale of the machine behind the facade. It says everything about the power of money and the relative scale of the humans who toil there.
In appearance Ballen’s work resembles Diane Arbus; the two share an obsession with otherness, whether at a freak show or the neighbor’s yard. Their hunger for disturbing yet addicting images leads them to unlikely places and faces. We are asked to view people as both banal and grotesque. However, while Arbus’ interest lies primarily in appearance, Ballen looks deep into the psyche.
The photograph for which he is most remembered, “Dresie and Casie, Twins,” is undoubtably hard to look at. When trying to place the discomfort, we point out their fun-house mirror resemblance, the unsettling gazes, the dangling strings of what appears to be drool. Yet Ballen insists otherwise. According to The Guardian Ballen asserts we feel uncomfortable because “they’re your cousins. You’re related to them. You are seeing a picture of your insides.” This conceptual curiosity set Ballen’s work apart from his other taboo-bashing contemporaries.
Article extract from The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/19/roger-ballen-photographs_n_1527753.html
If you ever wonderered who Congress is answerable to, have a look at the following list and ask yourself; if it comes to a vote, do the members of Congress vote with or against their financial backers? If the answer seems to be that they vote with the person who pays them then you would be entitled to ask where that leaves the poor saps who voted them into congress. Exactly what influence do voters have on legislation affecting, say, the Pharmaceutical industry? Might have to redefine what democracy ACTUALLY means in the USA?
These photographs speak for themselves. They are moving and poignant. They were taken by Roman Vishniac in the 1930’3 in Poland and Germany. They chronicle the last moments of reasonably normal life of the Jewish people in those countries. They are from an exhibition at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam.
Reproduced from http://artblart.com/2014/08/16/exhibition-roman-vishniac-rediscovered-at-the-jewish-historical-museum-amsterdam/
I have to admit it. I am not an overly patient man. Today tried my patience to the limit. It all began when I noticed that our local appliance and furniture shop, Harvey Norman, was offering 30 months free credit on Apple computers. I need a new computer so my interest was piqued. I have always disliked this shop for two main reasons. First the name is incredibly stupid. It sounds like the founder had a really boring name and his advertising agency suggested he reverse it to make it more appealing. Secondly, it stocks the most God-awful furniture ever to have been shipped from China in its entire history and that includes those three ton coffee tables in shit-brown wood popular in the Mao era. Today I passed such design classics as a blindingly white shiny melamine (?) coffee table for a mere $600. I took a wild guess that in two years time the same table will be on sale in a local recycling shop, complete with scuffs, scratches and sun yellowed surface for about a tenth of its purchase price. However, I digress. I made my way to the computer department.
Strangely three of the assistants in the computer department were Indian. I was intrigued by the statistical improbability of three people from the sub continent ending up in the same depressing store. I engaged one of them in idle banter about a trip I had made to India and then we got down to business.
Yes he could offer me 30 months free credit. I took out my GE Money card. Ah no, it seems my card has been superseded by a ‘GEM’ Visa card. O.K. I can live with that. Unfortunately, Getting a new card is not simply a matter of transferring my details and history to the new card. That would be far too simple. No, he had to make a totally new application. What is my name, address, DOB, phone number , cell number, e mail address, time at present address, etc. I half expected to ask what color underpants I was wearing. Had I proof of identity he enquired. Yes a drivers license. A utility bill perhaps as well? I had brought a reminder from the council to re-license my dogs. No that is no good because it’s undated. I offer a bank statement. Yes, BINGO. That’s acceptable.
“Can you give me a friends name?”
Are you serious?
I’m not opening a Facebook account.
No, he is deadly serious.
I ask why he needs this. He looks baffled. Because the form demands it. Yes, but why?. No answer. Apparently that bit of the training had been left out. I can tell he is looking around to see if help is near in case I turn violent. My tone of voice must have given me away.
I tell him this is the stupidest question on an application form I have ever heard. I assume this nugget of information is to provide the credit company with a sap whom they can beat with baseball bats until he gives them my hide away address in the event that I default on the massive amount of money they are offering me.
I decide this is the moment to make a theatrical exit. I stand up and tell the assistant in magisterial tones that he has just lost a $3000 sale on the basis of an inane question from a credit card company who, given half a chance, will hit me with usurious interest rates if I go over my credit free period by 30 seconds. What’s more they are probably responsible, in part, for the world financial melt down, rigging LIBOR and selling shonky financial derivatives.
As I march out, the effect is totally spoilt by the assistant running after me waving my Driver’s License which I have forgotten on the table.
I’m not going back there in a hurry.