Following a week in which fundamental constitutional protections have come under relentless criminal assault from an increasingly violent, extremist and lawless administration, we turn to Ruth Ben-Ghiat, author of the forthcoming Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present.
Excerpts from a recent interview below, with images from Robin Bell’s NYC Trump Hotel projections. Relayed from Bell Visuals, we get this week’s title from one of them.
About his projections, Robin Bell says:
“I was reading this thing about when you deal with authoritarian governments, you have to create your own story. If we’re reacting to these people all the time, they can just play us. So, part of the thing is making things that you can laugh at, that you can share, that aren’t just reacting to them.”
Now comes activist and historian Nick Estes, citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, with excerpts from an interview following the publication of his compelling new book, OUR HISTORY IS THE FUTURE.
Images are from an essay by Charles Rencountre, outlining the genesis of the powerful carved sculpture he and his partner Alicia created for Standing Rock, from which we borrow this week’s title.
LOOKING STRAIGHT AHEAD INTO THE EYE OF THE STORM WITH NO FEAR
NOT AFRAID TO LOOK FACES THE LAUNCH PAD OF THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE.
ON THE HILL ABOVE THE FORMER SITE OF THE SACRED STONE CAMP AT STANDING ROCK
About the sculpture, inspired by a pipe that shows a similar figure on the prow facing the head of a white man that serves as the pipe’s bowl, Rencountre writes:
As for pitting a pipe against the pipeline, he writes:
Now comes Judge Brian A. Jackson, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, with a ruling that overturns Herman Wallace’s conviction for the 1974 murder of a prison guard, granting him full habeas relief based on the systematic exclusion of women from the Grand Jury, in violation of the 14th Amendment. Judge Jackson also orders that “the State immediately release Mr. Wallace from custody.”
Mr. Wallace, who has long maintained his innocence consistent with abundant evidence, is dying of liver cancer. He has been held in solitary confinement for forty one years, inside the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
In 2001, Wallace received a letter from artist Jackie Sumell. After two years of correspondence, Sumell asked the question that would initiate their extraordinary collaboration, “what kind of house does a man whose been in solitary confinement for 30 years dream of?”. Though Wallace was at first reluctant to engage — he had no such dreams — he finally wrote, “let’s do the project baby, you done gone way out there in that water, let’s see how we do together”.
In 2003, the prisoner and the artist began designing Mr. Wallace’s “dream” house through detailed inside/outside dialogue. In time, the project became the subject of a major traveling exhibition, a book, and a 2012 documentary film, all of which in turn brought both heat and light to the dense thicket of legal and racial injustices suffered by Wallace during the time of his incarceration:
MODEL OF THE SPACE OF CONFINEMENT
DIALOGUE AND DIALECTIC
GUESTS WILL SMILE AS THEY WALK THROUGH THE FLOWERS
UPDATE FROM JACKIE SUMELL, OCTOBER 4, 2013: