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To Icarus
Seyed Alavid

Here are some views of a terrific site specific installation, titled Flying Carpet, by the Iranian artist Seyed Alavi. It's fifty miles of the Sacramento River, or at least aerial photographs of it, woven onto a walkway bridge at Sacramento International Airport. A beautiful pairing for sure.

Seyed Alavid

Seyed Alavid

And then the lights come on: why not use less arcadian, more politically charged satellite images as well?

Fifty miles of the US-Mexico border fence, for instance. Or fifty miles of the San Andreas Fault coated onto an actual vehicular bridge, say, a Calatrava. Or fifty miles of Fisk's Mississippi or the future underwater trenches of the Arbonian Sea inside the corridors of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Or how about fifty miles of the Israeli security barrier inside perhaps this very brave synagogue.

Or even less as a sanctioned work of public art and more as a mode of political dissent: the bombed out shell of the al-Askari Mosque unfurled on sites heavily trafficked by Halliburton executives; the scarred landscapes surrounding an African diamond mine on the sidewalks of Antwerp's Hoveniersstraat or New York's 47th Street; the parched terrain of Mexico City during that city's ongoing 4th World Water Forum.

TerraServer appropriated as a guerilla tactic. Google Maps as acts of civil disobedience.

I can certainly imagine scenarios in which disaffected but still idealistic students in dorm rooms or co-ops or in a badly-lit cafe preparing for a rally the following day. Seated on mismatched vintage chairs, they enter long strings of longitude and latitude coordinates into TerraServer, all abstract sets of numbers but potentially worldchanging. Then a westward, eastward, northbound, southbound scopic drive all through the night in a drone of mouse clicks. Reading the landscape, strategizing with geography. Click. Click. Click. Icarus as an anarchist. And then, with their downloaded patches of terrestrial ecologies stitched together on Photoshop, they head on out to Kinko's for a late night print run, hoping against all hope that the plotters are working.

Rosemary Laing and the Marvelous
  • K
  • March 21, 2006 at 1:17:00 PM CST
  • This is nothing short of amazing.

  • e-tat
  • May 16, 2006 at 6:23:00 PM CDT
  • and then there's this

  • Anonymous
  • December 8, 2006 at 12:37:00 PM CST
  • Whoa - I just read this some months too late. Sorry. But hey, I love Pruned, but your terminology is very simply right-wing suddenly: Israeli "Security Barrier" is what only Israeli government, right-wingers and Fox news it. Is the U.S. Mexico wall being built a "security barrier?" Even Israel's left and Peace movements don't call it that, they acknowledge it as NOT a security device at all, but simply a wall, and as most say, an apartheid wall. Sorry, you are off here to give it a credible meaning of "security" when that has been shown by government critics not to be the reason - grabbing more land from Palestinians as the wall is built, is not allowed for "security" either. As for that exhibition in Berlin you cite, it was typical stupid expressionist-artists who can't deal with anything but bad theater. Anyone whose family has been through such an event, doesnt need some asshole to show them "how it feels, man", unless they also show how it feels to be paraded with signs on their clothing, how it feels to be in a land they are the "enemy" persecuted in and so on, that is, ideology. Not the stupid mechanism of it. Again and again why art fails in dealing with issues that have to do with more than simplistic shock-horror reflection. Wow, they had gas. Yeah, and guess what, the horror wasnt that. The horror was that the neighbors participated in turning them in. Ok?

    Now I look forward to the normal good Pruned coverage.

  • Anonymous
  • September 20, 2007 at 3:57:00 AM CDT
  • wouhaw I love it :)

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