Geek Mythology

July 26, 2009

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 7:25 pm

This is a new commissioned work that I did of Los Angeles rapper Eazy E. It has a safe sex message on it seeing that Eazy E died of Aids.

July 21, 2009

A Regional Approach to Afghanistan

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 12:56 pm

Barnett Rubin, a political scientist, is a leading expert on Afghanistan. He has advised the United Nations, NATO, and the Afghan government on many policy matters, including aid policy, security policy, and diplomatic strategy. Here is a talk by him called “A regional approach to Afghanistan” which gives a very intresting perspective on whats happening there right now.

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. Its twice as poor as Haiti and is now a major theater of military operations with both American and NATO troops involved. In 2001 after the US bombed the Taliban out of Afghanistan, the Bonn agreement was settled in Germany which created a new government in Afghanistan. One of those present as an advisor to the UN was Barnett Rubin. The main aim was to demilitarize Kabul. When there was no government the only way to hold power in the country was to create an armed group. The Bonn agreement wanted to prevent this to get rid of the armed groups and have peaceful governence.

The US has let go of grandiose ideas it had for Afghanistan during the Bush administration, and now have more modest and realistic plans. The main goal has been to support a governance in Afghanistan that will help America and the west to police the country so that the terrorist threat will be contained. This is more realistic than creating a gender-sensitive democracy within two years. This will take longer.

Here he speaks also about Iranian-US relations. In 2001 after 9/11 America invaded Afghanistan to get rid of the Taliban. This was also in Irans interest since the Taliban see the Shia muslims as being heretics. Irans revolutionary guards supplied weapons and support to the Northern alliance during this time which where aligned with the US. So infact Iran and the US where working together to get rid of the Taliban. Iran was also very supportive during the signing of the Bonn agreement.

But later Bush would call Iran a member of the “axis of evil”. This was still when Irans old president, Mohammad Khatami, was in power. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the elections after that and seeing how America had created regime change on both sides of Irans borders in Afghanistan and Iraq in a very short time period one might say that Iranians had a reason to feel a little paranoid. This in combination with that there where serious talks within the Bush 2 administration of creating regime change within Iran.

Rubin talks of how now the Qudds force of the Iranian revolutionary guard is supplying weapons to certain insurgencies in Afghanistan. Initially Iran said stability in Afghanistan was the the no 1 priority, but in 2007 this changed in Ahmedinejads policy.He wants to send a message that they could respond to an American attack.

July 19, 2009

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 4:23 am

These dudes kick some serious ass:

July 17, 2009

Vj Moerker and Goblin city!

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 5:41 pm

Saturday the 18th at Goblin City:

Video projections and random pixelbending, all live by VJ Moerker! See Sci-fi and Nasa from a psychedelic angle. Not to be missed!
Riche, Lilla baren from 10 pm. As usual Miriam and I will bring you some hard hitting tunes.

July 14, 2009

700 days in Baghdad.

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 1:31 am

Laura Macdissi is a journalist and UN worker who has written a powerfull account about her two years working for the United Nations in Iraq. Her book is written in Swedish and is called “700 dagar i Baghdad” (700 days in Baghdad). She describes the February 2006 bomb attack that devastated the Al Askari Mosque. This was a major Shiite seat of worship. In the process of this happening the Iraqi female journalist Atwar Bahjat was also slain. Many other journalists where being killed in the mounting violence. The bombing of the Shiite mosque unleashed huge waves of sectarian violence in Baghdad. The Shiite police forces rolled into Sunni neighbourhoods and arrested young men. Many of these would be found dead a few days later with their hands tied and their eyes dug out. Sometimes heads where cut off from the bodies. When people came to claim the bodies they where themselves killed by militia men.

This was the situation in Iraq all throughout 2006. Around 100 people where being killed every day. The bodies whould be discarded in garbage dumps and by the sides of the road. Finally a cleric from Sadr City started a program where the maimed and mutilated bodies where collected off the streets and given proper burials. The result of this sectarian violence was ethnic cleansing. Baghdad neighbourhoods that had once been integrated and mixed where now being emptied out so that Shiites where in certain areas and Sunnis where in others.

Minorities where also persecuted. Both Christians and Palestinians faced severe forms of persecution. Around 600 Palestinians where killed by Shiite militias. 6 Palestinians had addmitted to being part of the attack against the Al Askari Mosque. This made the Palestinians targets for Shiites in the time that followed. Turkmens, Mandeeans, and Jezidities where other minority groups that all suffered because of the war. Many of them being forced to leave the country.

The American invasion of Iraq ultimatley led to Iran gaining much more influence within the country. This has also reactivated the old Shia and Sunni conflicts. Anarchy and lawlessness often flared up on the sreets of Baghdad. By 2006 a situation close to civil war was raging in Iraq where Sunnis and Shias where killing each other in the most brutal ways possible. When President Bush announced the decision to create a troop “surge” in 2007 most of the Iraqis where relieved. The anti-war protesters where enraged that the US government decided to send 21,000 more troops into Iraq. But it was exactly this that was needed to stabilize the country and save it from descending into a complete civil war.

All the killing inbetween the Sunnis and Shias had resulted in that the Shia population controlled around 3/4 of all the districts in Baghdad. Around 12000 Iraqi police have been killed since the war began in 2003. During one period around 3500 civilians where dying every month in Iraq. In 2006 the total amount of dead civilians numbered approximatley 34,000. Apart from all the killing the Iraqi civilians suffer from lack of water, unemployment, widespread poverty, a medical system that is close to collapsing, not to forget all the breaches against human rights and torture. All the fighting forces involved in the conflict made themselves guilty of breaches against human rights. Wether it was the US forces, the guerilla groups, the militas, the Iraqi police forces, and Al Qaida.

Since 2007 the levels of violence have decreased in Iraq. This was due to a combination of different factors. It was partly due to the US troop surge, but it was also due to the fact that the US army had started to put their old enemies from the Sunni insurgency on the US payroll. They now helped the US army to hunt down Al Qaida forces. Another reason was that the Al Sadr forces declared a cease fire. But this is a fragile peace. Many Iraqis are afraid that the sectarian violence will again start to escalate once the American troops start pulling out. We have already seen signs of this now that US troops have started leaving the Iraqi cities and moving back to their bases.

Lastly, here is a film about the sectarian violence that erupted in Baghdad after the war broke out. The situation is more stable today then when this film was made. But its still a very strong documentary and I can recommend that you watch it to get a clearer picture of how Iraq almost ended up with a civil war on its hands. A word of warning though, this film contains many images of graphic violence so if you are sensitive then dont watch it:

July 13, 2009

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 3:43 am

Blogg about my Seattle exhibition:

Arts Journal

July 10, 2009

Los Angeles-It makes nonsense of history and breaks all the rules.

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 1:01 am

This is an incredible documentary about the city of Los Angeles from 1970. Its made by a groovy British architect who fell in love with the city. He gives a hilarious voiceover throughout the film, saying stuff like “Los Angeles is as remote as Mars from Norridge ,the city where I was born and brought up.” I can relate to the way he looks at the city. During my trips to LA I have felt the same kind of inspiration that he talks about in this film. The weird talking guide machine he has in his car is such a good detail.Like they kind of foresaw the GPS but with an inbuilt futuristic tourguide effect. Love it!

July 8, 2009

NYC 2009

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 8:13 pm

My oldschool friend Chris Shaw and his Brazilian wife Marjorie in their new house, mixing drinks for his hockey team before the game.

Chris hockey team playing a game on a night in June!

Driving around with Chris.

The Playhouse 4, the movie theater in my old hometown Mamaroneck. I saw alot of movies in this place when I grew up. Like Sudden Impact, Rambo 2, Scarface, The last dragon, The Beastmaster, Crossroads, Reanimator, Gremlins, The Hunger, Psycho 2, Halloween 3, and many others. Classic stuff.

This is Chris pitbull Frodo. He loves running on the treadmill machine!

This is at my old friend Peters moms birthday party. You can see Pete jumping in the background. On the couch are all his sisters and brothers kids.

A sculpture made by the art students at the school where my friend Peter is a science teacher.

This is a weird street sign I saw in Manhattan. On the logotype they have used the demon PAZUZU from the Exorcist film.

This is a dude I saw in a park in Manhattan. He wore a Boba Fett helmet and played an accordion. The thing was that he would only play themesongs to famous sci-fi movies. When I was there he played the theme to Back to the Future, Jurrasic Park, Battlestar Galatica and Star Trek.

This is a flag hanging outisde of a Manhattan Freemason lodge.

Zadie, my bro Fred, and Nick.


The crew got back together-Chris, Pete, Fred and me. Old school!

At the Jung institute on 39th street.

July 7, 2009

The republic of fear

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 3:01 am

Saddam Hussein was a member of the Iraqi Baath party. In his brilliant analysis of Saddams Iraq the author Kanan Makiya illustrates how the Baathist regime managed to hold the Iraqi population in its grip for so long.

Children from 5 and up where indoctrinated with Baathist ideology in the old Iraq. The children where encouraged to spy and tell on their parents if they heard them backtalking the party. During Baath party rule the Iraqi litteracy rate was raised as the output of state propaganda soared. Women where brought into the workplace and the country was developed. Meanwhile, personal freedoms sank-all in the name of progress. Similar developments can be seen in the revolutionary governments of Cuba, China, Vietnam and Algeria. Development took the place of freedom.

Baathist Iraq built itself as a movement and in power on Stalinist norms. It contained both the crude violence and primitive isolationist outlook on one hand while at the same time pushing forward extensive mass education and a modern planned economy. Just like Stalin, the Baath party used the countries “backwardness” as an excuse to resort to extreme measures of violence. And just like Stalin, the Baath party managed to create a more powerfull nation, while at the same time unleashing a regime of terror.

It became necessary for Iraqi civilians to wear a “mask”. One could never speak openly about the fear, violence and conformity in the society without risking being punished. So the Iraqi citizen would become like “a snail sealed in a shell”. The personality becomes liquidated in the oppressor group and its values. Saddams image was everywhere. On a typical radio broadcast his name was mentioned thirty to fifty times an hour. Saddams images appeard on TV several hours a day. Children had to memorize verses in his honor.

Kanan Makiya writes that the USSR and East Germany imported “the methods, investments and structures needed for the effective torturing institutions” into Iraq. The Iraqi Baathist state systematically invaded its citizens privacy, denied their individuality and generated fear. Torture was the “apex of that system”. Things like public hangings, corpse displays, rape rooms, executions, confession rituals and torture where all used to breed fear in the Iraqi population.

The main idea of Baath government was to uproot individuals from their traditional groups and tribes, thereby destructing the social reality. This would then be replaced by a “new state-centralized network of relationships. The undifferentiated Leviathan like mass that emerged was in principle either hostile to or sealed off from other “partial” non-Baathist sense of belonging.” The Baathist view of the world was split up into extremes. On one side the infinetly good(socialism and pan-Arabism) and on the other side the infinetley bad (Zionism, imperialism and foreign agents).

Baathism rose to power out of the Pan-Arabist movement. According to the author, this was a movement intent on getting rid of western colonialism and zionism. It had its roots in Syria in reaction to French rule and it had many of its first members in the officers corps there. They were also opposed to communism. They thought that the Syrian communist party had too strong connections to France and that it was tainted by Russian thinking which could hurt Arabic traditionalism. In their first programmatic statement they proclaimed: “We represent the Arab spirit against materialist communism”. The Baath saw their mission being to exorcise the demons of imperialist communism from a degenerate colonized society. They appealed primarily to those who felt threatend by the rootlessness that came about due to modernization, population growth and urbanization.

To the old Baath founder, Aflaq, “Communism is western, and alien to everything Arab”, and was the culmination of the humanistic tradition from Europe.When the Iraqi monarchy was overthrown in 1958 the communists had achieved a significant degree of power within the country. The Iraq leader at that point became Abd al-Karim Qasim, a nationalist Iraqi military officer, who claimed power by overthrowing the monarchy in a coup détat. He supported the Communists in Iraq and was inturn overthrown by a Baathist coup in 1963. The Baath party purged the communist at this point. Hunting them down in the streets, killing as many as they could find. Qassem was himself executed. His corpse was tied to a chair and filmed, where in the final sequence a soldier spits in the corpses face. This material was shown nightly on Iraqi televsion (this has similarities to the videos circulating on the internet of Saddam Husseins execution). In 1969 the first purges began against the Jewish population of Iraq. Saying that they where spies and imperialists. Gruesome spectacles where put on were the population was brought out to witness public executions. This would later be reenacted in 1979. But then it wasnt a question of a small group of political outcasts. In 1979 the top leaders of the Baath party itself were purged when Saddam Hussein took over power in Iraq.

July 6, 2009

Anti Superstition Party

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 12:15 am

On July 11th Goblin City returns to Riche. This time we are proud to show brand new video art specifically produced for the club!:

The artists Therese Enström and Mikelis Lapsa, who are both studying at the Royal Academy of arts meet in a collaboration under the name Anti Superstition Party.
Together they explore and pay tribute to widley different sources of inspiration, ranging from spiritualist seances, Swedenborg, live role playing and their own artworks which all blend in with each other to form a kaledioscopic vision.

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