Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Republicans vs. Chris Christie?

In the wake of devastation from one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit the Northeast coast of the United States, Governor Chris Christie acted out like any governor or compassionate and sympathetic human being should. He put everything else that was going on in the world at the time on the back burner, and gave all his attention to his state of New Jersey and its shellshocked residents in a time of crisis. Hurricane Sandy happened to hit the week before the presidential election, and Christie's reactions and response to President Obama during this time of need has cause some fury among the Republican party and Mitt Romney donors. Governor Christie praised Obama's actions as president in his response to the storm, publicly calling him "outstanding", "incredibly supportive", and worthy of "great credit". The party believes Christie played a role in the outcome of the election that next week, and unfortunately for him, he has been trying to explain himself to his party ever since.

Mitt Romney donors demanded to know why Christie stood so close to the president the week before the election. At the Republican Governors Association meeting in Las Vegas following the election, he was not praised like normal, instead reminded of how many people he had offended. Days before the election, Richard Murdoch claimed that the governor might be responsible for the re-election of Obama. Republicans are now questioning him as a reliable leader. Some believe he is looking out for his future, positioning himself for re-election or as a possible 2016 presidential candidate. He has been called "Judas", "traitor", "fat", and a "fool". They are putting much of the blame from the results of Mitt Romney's loss onto the shoulders of Mr. Christie.

"I'm not going to apologize for doing my job," Christie stated. "The fact of the matter is, I'm a guy who tells the truth all the time, and if the president of the United States does something good, I'm going to say he did something good and give him credit for it," he said. "Politics becomes a lot smaller when you're dealing with life and death issues, it just does." Damn right, Mr. Christie. He was not thinking politics when the northeast was slammed by Sandy. When people were losing everything they had, he did not put Romney first. When lives were being lost, Christie was doing his job. It is disturbing to think that those fueling the Republican party are coming down hard on a governor who was doing everything he could to help during a national disaster, which meant, yes, shaking hands with the President of his country. It comes across as ruthless, vicious, and heartless. These reactions following the election just reinforce, in my mind, why Mitt Romney was not victorious.

Check out the article on The New York Times.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Water Portraits

Peter Holmes has been seeking to "make water consumption visible in a meaningful way." He set out on a project that is entitled Water Portraits, in which he has taken 16 portraits over a two year period throughout North America, Europe, Morocco, and Turkey. Holmes photographs people in different cities at or near their own residence. With help from an assistant or friend of the subject, water is dumped from above onto these people, and the scene is only created once. There are no retakes. The amount of water dumped in each equals the average input of municipal water per person per hour in that particular city or country.

California: 32L per person per hour

Serbia: 5.3L per person per hour

Holmes' intent of this project is to "bridge that gap between statistics and significance". It is difficult for the average citizen to comprehend statistics about water consumption. Canada, for example gives the average consumption per capita per year: 1,420,000 liters in 2004. That is hard to put into layman's terms, and that is exactly what this artist is trying to do for his viewers. This is certainly art in my opinion because Holmes is passionate about the subject, and he is trying to make humans aware of the issue. This is just very intriguing to me because Holmes actually has a bachelors degree in political science from the University of British Colombia. His work has been featured in magazines and group and solo exhibitions in Vancouver. The series is printed onto newsprint, and the informative statistic is located below each portrait. Also, in the gallery he displays the original aluminum plates that transfer ultraviolet ink to the press blankets, then to the newspaper.    

He combines art and math to try to invoke a response from the observer. Most, especially Americans, aren't aware that fresh water that comes out of the faucet is actually a very precious commodity and resource. It is essential in everything we do. Of course, in the west, we turn on the tap or press a button and clean water comes out, and then we go on about our merry way without thinking about how lucky we truly are. The World Health Organization estimates that one billion people in the world do not have access to clean water. There wasn't a better way for Holmes to bring this to our attention than through photography and portraiture. Art can establish a connection with the viewer, something reports and papers many times cannot.  

Germany: 6.3L per person per hour

France: 10L per person per hour

Belgium: 4.3L per person per hour 

Netherlands: 3.8L per person per hour