Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga

Structural Patterns

Reflections on Art, Technology and Society

Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Metamorphosis of Ortega into Somoza

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With each manipulation of the Nicaraguan constitution by Ortega and the Sandinista party, I feel a deep sadness for the impoverished country. I am also dumbfounded at the short-sightedness of the ruling party and the ignorant avarice of Daniel Ortega who will not hand over the political reigns of the country to a new generation. Prosperity has been illusive to this small country that has suffered a long-lasting dictatorship, natural disaster, a popular revolution and seemingly inherent political corruption. If only a true leader would emerge who seeks an end to corruption and the engineering of a society striving for the well-being of all its people. Unfortunately, since the Nicaraguan National Assembly elected to eliminate presidential term limits, an end to poverty and corruption appears as distant as the worst period of the Somoza dynasty. Ortega has effectively become Somoza.

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May 27th, 2014 at 11:50 am

NSA Haiku by Grayson Earle

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NSA Haiku by Grayson Earle - nsahaiku.net

Artist and IMA MFA candidate Grayson Earle has just launched the NSA Haiku Generator. Set against a GIF-style rainbow sky background is a haiku composed of NSA watch words. The use of any of these 845 words or character combinations over internet communications can land one on the NSA’s terrorist watch list. Grayson Earle edited the list down to some 300 terms to construct haikus that poke fun at what seems like a ridiculously sweeping effort to construct a flawed terrorist watch list. As the artist states:

This web app uses the NSA’s database of terms which can land you as a suspected terrorist if you use them in electronic communication. Rather than being all ‘doom and gloom,’ I decided to make a game out of it. I’ve assigned each phrase a syllable count which enables you to create random haikus out of hundreds of words.

Click the haiku text to generate new haikus and then share them over various social media, to make the NSA list even more pointless.

The information page to the site also presents links to organizations that are taken a serious stance against the NSA monitoring of our electronic communications:
Fight For The Future
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Stop Watching.Us and the October 26th Rally in DC

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October 23rd, 2013 at 9:43 am

Larry Bogad: Tactical Performance

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Artist, performer, activist, professor Larry Bogad recently posted his TEDxUCDavis talk on YouTube. It’s well worth checking out and may inspire some fun and thoughtful hijinks!

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July 7th, 2013 at 8:51 am

EXCESS NYC Documentation

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EXCESS is a community-based art project that investigates the large amounts of organic waste in urban centers and creatively employs new tactics to divert food from landfill and back to people to consume or compost. Can we make smarter urban infrastructure where edible food gets eaten, organic waste is turned into compost, compost is used to remediate contaminated lots, vacant lots are transformed into gardens and cities save money while reducing greenhouse emissions? EXCESS NYC is currently active in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

The food rescue and composting bike will be circulating in downtown Stamford, CT in conjunction with the exhibition Strange Invitation at Franklin Street Works.

“la Caixa”: Bank and Cultural Sponsor

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The new prime minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy reduced 15 ministries to 13 last week by merging culture and education with sports, and entirely eliminating science. It’s difficult to imagine a Spain without a Ministry of Culture. This of course is an austerity cut to salvage the Spanish economy.

The new minister of culture, education and sports, Jose Ignacio Wert has stated “We will have to do more with less. There will be less culture of the subvention… One of our first priorities will be to develop the patronage law” has quoted by the newspaper El Mundo.

So it appears that if culture is to continue to proser in Spain it will largely be through private sponsorship. The incoming rightist party PP will in general seek to privatize, cut social spending and allow the markets to prosper… Once again, Friedman’s formula for a neoliberal economy will be the solution to Spain’s economic problems. Following the collapse of the Lehman Brothers, irresponsibility of banks and the recent economic collapse, I simply can not understand this. I can understand Spaniards being frustrated by the previous prime minister and the Socialist party’s inability to make economic reform, but to elect a strongly neoliberal party in its place?

"la Caixa" vandalized bank facade

Who is the vandal - the bank or those effected by predatory bank loans?

During my current stay in Madrid, I am two blocks from a branch of “la Caixa” – “currently the leading savings bank in Spain and the third largest financial entity in the country” – according to their website. Over the last couple weeks, new stickers have appeared on the bank’s window facade. Old stickers announce a June 19th demonstration and states “The plazas and the streets are ours… VIOLENCE IS TO CHARGE 600 EUROS”. New stickers declare “LET IT BE KNOWN, THIS BANK LIES AND STEALS AND THROWS PEOPLE FROM THEIR HOMES” and links to “Plataforma Afectados por La Hipoteca Mdrid” a blog for those effected by Madrid mortgages. There’s another sticker not pictured that presents four CEOs with nicknames and their salaries. Whereas the bank ads on the window state “Tranquility… that is what I ask of my pension plan…”

Meanwhile, “la Caixa” funds the magnificent CaixaForum Madrid the architecturally amazing cultural and social center that reflects the bank’s social cause. It’s entirely free to visit and features the vertical garden below on the facade of an apartment building across from its entrance.

CaixaForum Madrid, Vertical Garden

CaixaForum Madrid, Vertical Garden - the social work of the large bank

The complexities of the capitalist economy… does this beautiful and “free” cultural center make up for the injustice felt by many thousands who are experiencing economic hardship?

What will happen to edgy cultural centers such as El Matadero that is currently publicly funded, when private money is its only lifeline?

Currently the feature exhibitions at CaixaForum are “Delacroix (1798-1863) and “The Persistence of Geometry” featuring a long list of well established artists such as Bruce Nauman, Donald Judd, Dan Graham, Richard Long, Gordon Matta-Clark, Mario Merz, Robert Smithson… Whereas El Ranchito, the latest program at Matadero Madrid focuses on work by young artists with a social agenda. Would CaixaForum ever feature the art of a young large collective Todo por la praxis? Or the very difficult work of Sally and Gabriela Gutiérrez Dewar who have worked with squatters to realize their work at El Ranchito? Or will art work presented at Spanish cultural centers be reduced to safely historicized pieces that exist in the collections of the bank and its board members?

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December 26th, 2011 at 1:05 am

TODAY 5:30PM ONE POLICE PLAZA – NYPD HEADQUARTERS PROTEST

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Last Saturday, women contained within police orange netting were pepper sprayed. The women were entirely contained, did not present a danger to anyone, were not violent and were pepper sprayed. This can not be ignored – PROTEST TODAY AT 5:30PM ONE POLICE PLAZA

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September 30th, 2011 at 6:39 am

Censored Billboards, Censored Speech

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Bill de Blasio believes that the government can decide what is viable free speech and what is not. de Blasio feels that he knows what messages may be censored and which may be allowed to remain in the public space. A couple years ago de Blasio demanded the removal of anti-abortion billboard and stated the following “There should never be a law prohibiting this sort of sign, Mr. de Blasio said, ‘but to have a serious debate, to have people express their outrage, and then to have a private owner of the advertising space decide that it was ultimately not appropriate, that to me is a functioning democracy.'” Read the NYTimes article.

Today the UN Assembly gathers in NYC and I comfortably sit in my office at 68th and Lexington after dodging through stand still traffic while police vehicles weaved through… all for a series of limos with international flags. If you’ve got a limo, get a flag… traffic will part for you. In preparation for the UN members’ visit Two Peoples One Future paid for posters throughout the subway system presenting Israelis and Palestinians beneath these words: “Be on our side — we are on the side of peace and justice.” Local politicians protested and now the posters are down. Just as who paid for the advertisements is public knowledge, the names of the people who demanded that freedom of speech be censored should be public knowledge. Read NYTimes article.

Now off to Wall Street to visit the protestors at Zuccotti Park, I mean Liberty Plaza.

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September 19th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

“My Brooklyn” Support New Doc by Kelly Anderson

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Documentary film maker and colleague Kelly Anderson has just launched a kickstarter campaign for a doc in production titled “My Brooklyn” revolving around urban planning and gentrification in Brooklyn, particularly changes occurring in and around Fulton Mall. Check out the trailer and support the film if you like what you see!

My Brooklyn trailer from Kelly Anderson on Vimeo.

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July 8th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Short Doc by Hunter Film & Media Students

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The fight for public education is just getting started…

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May 4th, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Save Funding for NPR and PBS

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Move On is running a poll to help stop threats to cut federal funding for NPR and PBS:
http://pol.moveon.org/nprpbs/

Please take a moment to sign the poll and share with others. The government once protected the radio airwaves from corporate ownership, because it was recognized as a public service. NPR and PBS are amongst the most important public services that present a space in the media for intelligent and critical perspectives rather than inane entertainment. NPR and PBS are a citizen service that must be protected!

The Move On page states: “With Republicans back in charge of the House of Representatives, funding for NPR and PBS is in grave danger. Again. The Republicans just released their budget proposal, and it zeroes out funding for both NPR and PBS–the worst proposal in more than a decade. We need to tell Republicans that cutting off funding was unacceptable last time they were in charge, and it’s unacceptable now. A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to your Senators and Representative.”

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February 15th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Posted in politics

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