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Sunday Roundup: Abyei, Ai Weiwei, Artmaking…


U.N. probes absences amid Sudan clashes. Since Northern Sudanese forces seized Abyei, many rightfully think northern and southern fighting over Abyei could reignite a full blown war in #Sudan. And we thought U.N. peacekeepers in Sudan would protect the people of Abyei from the attacks; apparently we were wrong. According to Reuters: ‘U.N. peacekeepers in Sudan stayed holed up in their barracks for two days during violent clashes between northern and southern forces that sparked the flight of tens of thousands of civilians, diplomats told Reuters‘.

We can also read: ‘Diplomats described the peacekeepers’ failure to maintain a visible presence in Abyei during a period of heightened conflict — which they said is crucial for deterring attacks — in disparaging terms. One senior diplomat described their performance as “pathetic.” Another said it was “terrible” […] “The Americans and Europeans don’t want to send their troops into the field, and yet they’re always demanding robust implementation of mandates,” a U.N. envoy said. “The blue helmets could often use a few really professional units from North America or Europe in their operations. Where are they?“‘

Here we are, again. No wonder why Omar al-Bashir doesn’t care about the arrest warrant and isn’t afraid of any kind of international intervention. We are definitely Dancing with a dictator in Sudan, again.

I use to say every action has consequences and even if we desperately hope someday #China (and #Russia) will decide to give more support to the United Nations decisions against Sudan, some other countries are now more cautious about the consequences of certain actions. I read an article by Matthew Kahn: ‘The New York Times rarely published general equilibrium pieces but today Lester Brown has published one. His logic chain is the following; importing Asian nations such as South Korea and China seek grain from exporting nations in Africa. They are signing mutually beneficial deals with nations such as the Sudan, Ethiopia, the Congo and Zambia. The Asian nations are buying land with dedicated agricultural output to be shipped to the Asian nations.’

This is not something new but maybe it’s time to raise awareness about the consequences of buying lands is other (poor) countries. Unfortunately, the topic generates wildly diverging opinions…

China. Detained artist Ai headlines Beijing art show with blank wall. ‘Organizers of an art show in the Chinese capital have left an empty space on a gallery wall for detained artist-activist Ai Weiwei in a rare gesture of open defiance of the authorities. A small tag with Ai’s name adorns a blank wall among 19 other artists’ work at an annual photography show that opened Wednesday, almost two months after police seized Ai Weiwei at Beijing’s airport, igniting an international outcry.’ But then : Beijing artists detained after homage to Ai Weiwei. ‘The organizing artists of a Beijing art show who reserved a blank gallery wall with a small name tag as a show of support for detained artist-activist Ai Weiwei have been detained by police and their exhibit was shut down‘.

Free #Ai Weiwei and support Chinese artists and their freedom of expression!

If China shuts down exhibitions, in Toronto it is another story. I read the news posted by Boing Boing thanks to a retweet from #Pete Fowler: ‘A Toronto artist repainted an abandoned bike that had been locked in front of a storefront gallery for years, sanding it and spraypainting it eyepopping pink and adding a flower-basket. This eyesore-to-sculpture transition was well-loved in the neighbourhood, but the City of Toronto decided that the act of decorating the bike has converted it from abandoned trash to “a bike stored on public property” and is now threatening fines if someone doesn’t angle-grind the lock off and haul the bike away‘.

You will find pictures of the bike and more info about ‘Caroline Macfarlane and Vanessa Nicholas explore Toronto’s creative communityon this page.

Art. Or kind of. The Sama Gazette replied to a tweet from @AmazingArt: ‘Artists Outsourcing The Actual Artmaking (It’s Not Just Jeff Koons Anymore) http://bit.ly/mgmQxj -> We still call them ‘artists’?‘ I like their reply and the fact they questioned the fact we can still call artists outsourcing the actual artmaking, ‘artists‘. Artists having assistants is nothing new but assistants creating art and not the artist himself who only gives instructions and then he comes to sign the artworks, is not acceptable. Now if you’re aware that the piece you are buying is produced by an art studio and you are still willing to pay millions of dollars for it, this is your choice. If you are in this case, please don’t forget to also check the work done by ‘real’ artists, doing the job themselves. Most of the artists I know struggle to sell their art.

Art & Money? You will love Guggenheim Museum’s $100,000 Room

Now let’s talk about #Science! The #SETI Institute tweeted about LOFAR radio telescope making deeper images of universe than ever before. ‘An international team led by astronomers at ASTRON and the Kapteyn Institute of the University of Groningen have used the LOFAR telescope, designed and constructed by ASTRON, to make the deepest wide-field images of the sky in the relatively unexplored part of the spectrum around 150 MHz. It reveals faint radio sources never seen before.’ Don’t forget to check the hi-res images.

Science again. This is something I didn’t know about: qubit. ‘A quantum computer is a device — still largely theoretical — that could perform some types of calculations much more rapidly than classical computers. While a bit in a classical computer can represent either 0 or 1, a quantum bit, or qubit, can be in “superposition,” representing 0 and 1 at the same time. In experiments, however, keeping qubits in superposition long enough to do anything useful with them has proven very hard‘. You can read more about quantum computers here.

What do Lady Gaga and #Tony Bennett have in common? Not much I guess but it will change soon as Lady Gaga will duet with Tony Bennett on his new album. The American singer will indeed feature on Tony Bennett’s new album Duets II. For his new album, Bennett will sing with such artists as John Mayer, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Josh Groban, Sheryl Crow, Faith Hill, Willie Nelson, Natalie Cole, k.d. lang, Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse, Michael Bublé

The album will be released on September 20 and as a fan of Tony Bennett, I’m eager to listen to it!






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