All things come to a beginning

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

World of Hurt

Though it's definitely not the primary reason, the ridiculous heat wave that has swept big parts of Western Europe (make that, the world) for the past few weeks has put me in a pretty lethargic, non-creative place. Hence the lack of updates. It hasn't all been lethargic, though: I passed the theoretical part of my driver's test, found an internship for next year and attended a Belgian/Scottish wedding last week (I was seated next to Jim, who was not only sporting a kilt, but a cast as well. Turns out he broke his leg falling on a rock after a fishing trip on the lake (loch?). Ha! Stereotypes rock my world). It's been a big week for Scots, Toronto connection Martin is visiting Belgium this week (and promptly showered me in crickets, filthy rascal). Anywho, back to the weather. Not normal. It's been brutally hot for weeks now - in places that are usually fine. The weather's been getting increasingly messed up for years, global warming is no longer the rallying cry of those long-haired Greenpeace activists whose tofurkey breath alone makes you go "Sorry, no time" and march straight into the nearest H&M. It is being felt, right now, by everyone. And frankly, I think it's pretty fucking scary. Hey, good thing I'm taking those driver's tests, huh? This world needs more exhaust fumes, damn it.

This photo, titled "The Truth", is by a woman named Jill Greenberg and is part of the exhibit "End Times" at the LA based Paul Kopeikin Gallery. The collection features only toddlers, many of whom are crying and visibly upset. Dixit the artist: “The work depicts how children would feel if they knew the state of the world they're set to inherit.”

As per, there has been a lot of controversy about the pictures, the words "child abuse" are being put out there. Greenberg's defense: "The children I photographed were not harmed in any way. And, as a mother, I am quite aware of how easily toddlers can cry. Storms of grief sweep across their features without warning; a joyful smile can dissolve into a grimace of despair. The first little boy I shot, Liam, suddenly became hysterically upset. It reminded me of helplessness and anger I feel about our current political and social situation. The most dangerous fundamentalists aren’t just waging war in Iraq; they’re attacking evolution, blocking medical research and ignoring the environment. It’s as if they believe the apocalyptic End Time is near, therefore protecting the earth and future of our children is futile. As a parent I have to reckon with the knowledge that our children will suffer for the mistakes our government is making. Their pain is a precursor of what is to come.” (

I can see both sides of this argument. The situation is dramatic and needs to be addressed, maybe by shocking people into awareness. I've been watching my 17-month old nephew for the past couple of days, and the rare times that he has cried (food took too long to reach his mouth, aunt Sofie disappeared into the kitchen for a sec, gravity issues whilst chasing a fly around the room) were indeed very brief. Hold up a toy, re-appear into the room, do a little dance to the Sesame Street Tune and bamm, ear to ear grin and maybe even a giggle. That being said, I'm unsure about the effect of the exhibit, as a part of the eternal "What does art really do for the world" debate. Do you need to take away candy from some kids in an LA studio to drive home the message? Or does it only increase the mediatization of environmental issues? It does not have to be up in art galleries, framed and expertly lit. It is everywhere, around us, above our heads, in our lungs, beneath our feet. Taking pity on future generations is a very natural reaction, but it won't
actually make their lifes any better. Right?


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