Spring Cleaning Pt. One: Nancy Reagan Dazzle Edition

Sound Advice

Sound Advice: Though there’s a preachy Nancy Reagan-ish tone to the whole thing (at its base it is an anti-drug initiative), the Sound Advice Project operates on a fun premise.  Speak into your mic and the captured audio will be transformed into corresponding bead waveforms that you can purchase.  It’s an interesting and beautiful transformation for nostalgic audio bits, inside jokes, etc.  I’m going to make an educated guess and say that most of these will have little or nothing to do with the cautionary tale message that’s being pushed.

On Race and Rape: “In the clip, Kimmel asks Wayne about losing his virginity at age 11. Wayne reveals that he did, indeed, lose his virginity at 11. He lost it to a 14-year-old girl who turned out the lights and surprised Wayne into participating, even as he had not intended doing so. What is fascinating is, were Wayne a white female, this narrative would have been considered molestation or rape. As a black male, doubly hypersexualized as a man (who always wants sex) and a black man (who really always wants sex), it’s just considered a joke. This is really nice evidence of the social construction of men, especially Black and Latino men, as hypersexual and, therefore, incapable of being sexually assaulted… Just one excerpt:

White guy: I didn’t know you could lose your viriginity at 11-years-old. Other white guy: Well, we can’t, but he did.”

[via Anthropophagous]

Egyptian Women's Self Defence

Egypt x 3:

1. Women’s Self Defense Classes: Sexual harassment is crazy rampant in Cairo and the Middle East (while I was there a man began masturbating in public while my friend passed by).  Often it’s chalked up to be a “woman’s problem,” so it’s nice to see some sort of positive headway.

2. Thoughts on the Decline of Cairo: In many ways Cairo, seems to be the Middle Eastern equivalent of Detroit (or Cleveland, etc.).  Both cities have such a faded mystique and luster to them, but that luster, though decaying and blighted, ardently refuses to die.  Neither place is classically beautiful, but in that hell and back sort of way each has more character (and is subsequently more inspiring) than almost anywhere else I’ve ever been.

3. On Blogging and Gender in the Middle East: “Banat wa Bas or “Girls only” is the first online Arabic radio station entirely run by women and which addresses their issues. It is one of a growing list of online stations that have sprung up in Egypt including Horytna (Our Freedom) and Teet (an Arabic reference to the censor’s “beep”).  Banat wa Bas was started by a 25-year-old computer science graduate, Amani Tunsi, who was frustrated with how women are treated in Egyptian society. “We are almost not living. If you are always at risk of being sexually harassed everywhere, What kind of life is this? ” she asks. Banat wa Bas is not afraid to let its contributors express opinions about what is in the news, and they can get away with it because using the internet means they can steer clear of government censorship.”


Artists Buying Up Detroit’s Inexpensive Bungalows: I was suprised to read this, as I had been thinking of something similar for a while now — though not as a place to live, but as space for large scale urban installations.  It seems like others might be considering the same thing.

“But the city offers a much greater attraction for artists than $100 houses. Detroit right now is just this vast, enormous canvas where anything imaginable can be accomplished. From Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project (think of a neighborhood covered in shoes and stuffed animals and you’re close) to Matthew Barney’s “Ancient Evenings” project (think Egyptian gods reincarnated as Ford Mustangs and you’re kind of close), local and international artists are already leveraging Detroit’s complex textures and landscapes to their own surreal ends.  In a way, a strange, new American dream can be found here, amid the crumbling, semi-majestic ruins of a half-century’s industrial decline. The good news is that, almost magically, dreamers are already showing up. Mitch and Gina have already been approached by some Germans who want to build a giant two-story-tall beehive. Mitch thinks he knows just the spot for it.”

Dazzle Camouflage

Dazzle Camo: A lot of military technology can be chotchy and bro-ish, but some of it is really very incredible.  One example is dazzle camouflage.  I’m a sucker for biomimicry to begin with, so it’s always exciting to run across anything pertaining to the surreal facade found on turn of the century British and American vessels.  One of the most best sites is RISD’s special online collection, which includes 455 ship plans and 20 photos.

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