Author Archives: john hutnyk

Edwin Segal’s review of ‘Celebrating Transgression’ from American Anthropologist 2007, Vol 109(1):202-1

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Archive: 1989 review article “Clifford Geertz as a Cultural System”

An old review:

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Hutnyk, J 1989 ‘Clifford Geertz as a Cultural System’ Social Analysis 26:91-107 

Click on the paragraph or here for the PDF Clifford Geertz as a Cultural System. (the pdf unfortunately duplicates page 97)

 

Anthropology

Anthro

A shelfie for teaching a five section anthropology course at Zeppelin Uni. Not everything is here, but starting with some basic stuff. A few things I am missing…so people might write to help and tell me what has come out in anthro in the last five years that is good on violence (Casey High, I have some of your stuff). I need more on politics and domestic economy (have AM and Silvia Federici of course). What else?

The five parts are thus::

1 Malinowski and Fieldwork Method/Writing Culture (Narayan, Clifford, Spivak, Taussig, Paglin)

2 Photogenic Poverty – Gift, Contract, Exchange and Economy (E-P, Azoulay, Federici, Mitropoulos)

3 Writing Structuralism – Lévi-Strauss and Myth today (Lévi-Strauss, Geertz, Derrida)

4 Political and Military Anthropology – (Mao, Marx, Swedenburg, COIN, Taussig)

5 Corporate and Glossy Anthropology – studying ‘up’ (Nader, Marcus, Rao, Price)

 

note to self #prophecy #insight #stub-of-an-idea

CRICKET 4 SEATERTo admit to feeling the futility of political and analytical purchase is still no justification for paying the price.

Do not imagine you will succeed, and even resting content with this realisation would be arrogance.

[I dreamt my elder son - now six - tells me these things at 14 years old. He is wise before his years].

Bitter Tears Revisited – Johnny Cash – Peter La Farge – #cash #LaFarge #musicandpolitics

When he first discovered youtube, my elder son Emile was an avid viewer of videos about locomotive trains, and the very best of these was the ‘Riding the Rails’ documentary on the history of the railways narrated by Johnny Cash.

http://youtu.be/KNPUZixJA-s

We must have watched this 30 or more times, and this was while I was getting to know Antonino Pasquale D’Ambrosio’s book A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears – the book IS one of the greats, about the Great, Cash, and Bitter Tears, this Great album (am I overdoing it a bit?) was like a mind worm for many many years. I was glad to meet and hang in NYC bookshops and record stores with Antonino a few years back, (thanks Jen Otter) and now it turns out there is a new covers/tribute album and a documentary film about Bitter Tears coming too. This is excellent news fans. Here is part of what David Kennedy has to say about Bitter Tears and the new revisited album [must get] and the forthcoming documentary:

‘It was during this time that Johnny Cash would find his way to the New York folk scene and, in particular, to the work of songwriter Peter La Farge.  La Farge is not a household name by any means, but it is safe to say that his work is remembered largely thanks to Cash.  While the civil rights movement gained steam in 1963 and ’64, Native American issues began to emerge due to problematic government policies and land grabs that continued the United States’ historic mistreatment of Indians and thievery of their land.  Peter La Farge gave a voice to these issues with a string of protest songs that emerged in parallel with the folk movement’s wholehearted embrace of African Americans’ civil rights movement.  As Johnny Cash (along with several other celebrities) found himself increasingly aware and committed to Native American issues – with demands and circumstances quite different from those of African Americans – the idea formed for yet another concept album, this one sure to cause further tension between Cash and his label.  The seeds of Bitter Tears were sown from a unique set of circumstances, both social and personal, and the record proved to be polarizing and often forgotten among Cash’s body of work.

Heartbeat_GuitarThe social, political and musical context surrounding Bitter Tears is wonderfully captured in Antonio D’Ambrosio’s2009 book, A Heartbeat and A Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears.  D’Ambrosio devotes only a few pages to the actual recording of Bitter Tears (notably, the only time Cash and La Farge spent any significant time together) and instead traces the events and experiences that would lead Peter La Farge to write his songs and Johnny Cash to record them.

Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited was no doubt inspired by D’Ambrosio’s book (he is credited as Executive Producer on the new album), and a forthcoming documentary directed by D’Ambrosio will cover both the original Bitter Tears as well as the tribute album.  However, it was producer Joe Henry who assembled the players and produced Look Again to the Wind, which, in equal measure, is a testament to the talents of both La Farge and Cash (who contributed two originals, “Apache Tears” and “The Talking Leaves,” to Bitter Tears).  Musically, Look Again shares as much (if not more) with La Farge’s original interpretations, which in some cases were nothing more than solo acoustic performances.  As you might expect, Henry did not recruit big-name country stars for the project but rather marquee names from the world of Americana, the genre of music most indebted to Johnny Cash these days.  As Bitter Tears has its roots in the folk scene of the late ’50’s and early ’60’s, it’s only fitting that some of today’s leading lights in folk music –Gillian Welch & David Rawlings and The Milk Carton Kids – provide the musical backbone of most of the tracks here.  Norman Blake, the only living veteran of the original sessions, fittingly contributes a track (as does his wife, Nancy Blake).  Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle represent the generation who most directly inherited the torch from stars like Johnny Cash.  The Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Rhiannon Giddens puts here signature on “The Vanishing Race” (the lone tune penned by neither La Farge nor Cash, but Johnny Horton), and Native American artist Bill Millercasts a spell on the title track (a La Farge composition that did not appear on Bitter Tears).  Kris Kristofferson tackles the indelible “Ballad of Ira Hayes,” still the standout song here (and easily the most widely recognized, as it became a staple of Cash’s live repertoire).’ (David Kennedy August 19 2014)

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So, if you have. Indeed, revisiting is the occasion of this very visit.a flood of stuff that you need to get into if you have not yet, and a bunch of stuff worth revisiting.

Catch up or rerun, its worth the time – you can read the whole of the Kennedy blog post here. You can get Antonino’s Heartbeat and a Guitar here, buy the original – the Great Johnny Cash – album Bitter Tears album here [a non-Amazon link, sorry Jeff], and the new Revisited album now has a whole FB thing going on here. All in tribute to the memory of Peter La Farge, in itself important.

Kim’s Game

john hutnyk:

and this return to 2006 because we were explaining Kim’s game to Emile on the train the other day – another Scouting link, but this has a certain trinket and art object, surrealist games, aspect – even if Kipling made it a spy training thing.

Originally posted on trinketization:


I have a brother called Kim (Hiya) and in the book I am writing now (‘Jungle Studies’) I will have some sharp things to say about Rudyard Kipling the creator of Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera and Akhela, as well as about his close friend, Baden-Powell, founder of concentration camps and of the Scouts.

It was in the Scouts that my brother and I endured various militaristic drill sessions, were forced into a peculiar form of (mild) child-labour collecting newspapers, beer bottles and doing ‘bob-a-job; (which I liked because I worked for a certain elderly woman called Mrs Chandler, one-time girlfriend of Ned Kelly) and it was as Scouts and ‘cubs’ that we learnt of “Kim’s Game”. This game was a memory test where you would be shown a tray of objects (I would now call them trinkets of course) and after a minute these were covered up and…

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Scouting Shame NYT.

john hutnyk:

A brief return to May 2009 and wonder when the Scout effect – get em while they are young – morphed into hatred of concentration camps. They certainly did not tell us these things as we tied our knots to win badges and the like.

Originally posted on trinketization:

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“‘There is no document of civilization that is not simultaneously a document of barbarism‘” (Benjamin p. vii)

A photograph of five young Americans in combat gear beside a ‘Homeland Security’ bus graces the front page of the New York Times on May 13 2009. This image catches my eye on a day when newly discovered atrocity photos from CIA ‘facilities’ in Afghanistan and Iraq should be published, but are not so as to avoid undermining the war effort and the troops at the front. Anxious excuses are conjured for spin and impression management… we get this unbelievable shot of Explorer scouts tooled up for the kill.

The Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence — an intense ratcheting up of one of…

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Thought Crime – its a joy

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I used to get things sent from Tom Vague and sometimes redo the images for fax art – this one from about 1992 in Sydney. Have just found the old Vague publications, but cannot find the original image for this (but am pretty sure I remember it from there) .

Books by John Hutnyk

I updated my books page at last, but it still needs some tinkering with, click on any image and please let me know if the links are bust.

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Burt

Originally posted on trinketization:

burt_lancasterAlongside Barbara Stanwyck, my other fave mainstream movie star is Burt Lancaster (and though the woman on the beach in this still is, if you did not know, Deborah Kerr, Stanwyck and Lancaster teamed up together in “Sorry, Wrong Number” way back in 1948). As I am on a bit of a Burt tip this month, I watched “The Professionals” (1966) tonight. It is fantastic. Alongside his great “Crimson Pirate”, its one of the huge movies that show that the House Un-american Activities Commission (HUAC) really had a point, there were communists in Hollywood. Kaaabaaan! And it was a good thing too. More arty types might also enjoy Lancaster in Visconti’s very last film, “Conversation Piece” where Burt plays an aging Professor obsessed with trinkets. That kind of appealed to me too. What a trajectory – pirate – revolutionary – art dealer. Its a pity his involvement with the…

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Pantomime Terror: Music and Politics

Originally posted on trinketization:

A welcome boost to sales numbers last month – some booksellers are doing it right. get them here

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Communist Headache #1

link to PDF

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The Imperial Universtiy: Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent

 

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Visiting Faraway: an installation by Geoff Weary at the Art Gallery of NSW

Originally posted on trinketization:

Gael Clichy 5

This one is really from the Vault. It was printed in the Melbourne art magazine Agenda, in about 1989 or so. The totally irrelevant picture I have chosen to illustrate this is not of Weary’s art, but since Man City beat the Gunners 4-1 yesterday I thought it amusing that when I searched ‘weary’ this picture turned up, with the caption ‘a weary Arsenal…’ Apologies, but the image that illustrated this piece in its original form will be retrieved when I’ve dug still further down into the swamp…

‘Visiting Faraway: an installation by Geoff Weary at the Art Gallery of NSW’

– by John Hutnyk

There is no way that the ‘main event’ could be ignored in this tale.

In a room tucked away beneath the Guggenheim collection, which dominates attendances at the NSW Gallery this summer, Geoff Weary’s video installation waits for an audience.  Weary had been artist-in-residence at the time…

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Do bee do bee do

john hutnyk:

buzz – needs a rewrite…

Originally posted on trinketization:

beesHere is the first of ‘Eleven theses on art and politics’ for my talk in Copenhagen on thursday (‘Forms of engagement, Configurations of politics’ conference):

1. Do Bees have art?

“what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is that the architect builds the cell in his mind before he constructs it in wax.” – Marx, Capital I, p284

In Marx’s passage about the bees and the architects, clearly it is the bees who do not have representation, despite their excellent construction skills. The (human) architect constructs a structure in the mind (or on paper) before building it in the world. We can call this art. If we are to take Marx’s analogy seriously, bees do not have art, they have sting and a love of nectar, but no art.

But if art is different to politics, do bees have politics? Is the art of politics one of…

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Note for interview on politics of art.

Originally posted on trinketization:

That diagnostic that says political art is not useful, or is only useful as a part of an explicitly political project is almost as bad as that which insists that politics have an aesthetic. The old slogan If I can’t dance it’s not my revolution, which I do actually have on my wall at home, is too often an alibi for forgetting that art – and dancing is art here – has been wholly recuperated by the culture industry such that even the fantasy of art for art sake – obscure dancing at the back of the hall – is also bound up with the entrance fee, the music cd sales, the charts, the Internet sites upon which bloggers lol at your awkward moves, and the merely escapist illusion that time away from work, which is only afterall, recovery time, is somehow anti-capitalist. Dancing is through and through reified.

What…

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On the Courtyard, talk at Tate from January

Originally posted on trinketization:

On 26 Jan 2013, a talk at Tate Modern on the Sharjah Art Foundation Biennale proposed theme of New Cultural Cartographies. My views, given late in the day, reliant on Gayatri Spivak’s hugely influential work, and following talks by the excellent Sarat Maharaj, Yuko Hasegawa and Wael Shawky (interviewed). Slightly combative  and with a slip in putting the Danes in Chandenaggor, it is the talk I wish I could have parsed for Princeton – but that was not recorded, even though some people asked for it (thanks Anisha, Saleh, Ben). Click the picture to get to the Tate link.

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Participation in Museums: Trinketizing the Audience.

john hutnyk:

retread – should be rewriting this soon…

Originally posted on trinketization:

Notes for Museum ‘debate’ in Liverpool on November 11.

There is much talk of participation and much effort to remodel foyers, and to an extent interiors, plus toilets, cafes, bookshops and websites, to enable easy access. Asked to be curmudgeon-esque, it seems clear to me that this participation-talk is pseudo-participation. Every participation seems the same, everything alike, repeated patterns, even colour schemes – so many pastels, and fluorescent red plastic chairs. Some of the chairs are little, for kids, or for breaking dad’s back.

How did it get to be that pseudo-participation rules? The dominant culture has no anxiety about having people walk past the exhibits, but do not let them touch you. File on by, stop perhaps for a second, for an hour, but only in a standardized way. Check the visit off on a list. Culture 101.

Nothing without regulation – aims and outcomes carefully calibrated on a…

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South Asian Television Studies articles free till Dec 2014

john hutnyk:

reminder…

Originally posted on trinketization:

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RELEASE JONATHAN BOARD – [Maoist] political prisoner in Kerala

Jonathan

India: Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners : An Appeal to International Community on behalf of Jonathan (Bold) Board

The Arrest of the Swiss citizen Jonathan Board who came to Kerala on tourist visa, by Kerala police on flimsy grounds, is highly discriminative and with ulterior motive.

After the arrest in order to justify the same Kerala police is fabricating canards, that Jonathan has link with Maoists and he has come to attend the memorial meeting organized by Maoists to show the respect towards the Maoist Guerilla fighter Sinoj who became martyr in an accidental explosion took place on june 16th of 2014.

The police also alleged that Jonathan addressed the meeting hence violated Foreigners Act.

The police has taken a case against him and incarcerated in the dungeon hole named Iringalakkuda Sub Jail,Thrissur District,Kerala.

I was the Chairperson of the Sinoj Memorial Committee that organized the meeting and was a main Speaker.

As the Chairperson I wish to state that Jonathan was neither an invitee to the meeting nor a speaker.

And he did not addressed the meeting as the police was trying to depict with a sinster view.

According to Jonathan, he came to the meeting only out of curiosity as he is a left lenient person.

He got the information of the meeting from an English Daily News Paper.

He listen to the speeches delivered in the meeting up to the end.

In the meantime he also purchased some English handbooks.

As the meeting was formerly over Jonathan himself approached the organizers and expressed his wish to introduce himself to the audience who was started disbursing.

Out of the same curiosity as the Chairperson I agreed to his longing.

He introduced himself and expressed that he also share our sorrow caused by Sinoj’s martyrdom. It was only a casual talk,any humanitarian from any corner of the World can express.

The police and the state which is a culprit in granting V.I.P treatment to the Italian marines who had violated the international water laws as well as Indian laws and shot two fishermen to death is now taking a different approach to meet their narrow political ends.

It is deplorable.

And I/We regret for the unfortunate faith met out with Jonathan, though created by state , and request to the progressive and democratic forces and personalities of International Community to intervene in Jonathan’s affair and put pressure on the India/Kerala governments and see that his release from the Jail unconditionally.

M.N Ravunni Vice President, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners
Kerala, India

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