Saturday, November 24, 2012
Monday, November 19, 2012
Since we live right outside NYC, it was easy to get to all the go-sees and auditions.
It was a fun little job and provided our family with lots of adventures.
(In the top pic, my daughter is the girl in the forefront, middle, behind the blond girl with her hands on her head and my son is the boy front and center. He is also in the second pic, forefront, walking towards the little blond girl.)
In 2003, two of my children were asked to dress in white and meet at a building near Times Square. The job paid very well and took a few hours. Two of the images are shown above.
I knew the photographers were a Russian collective of artists and that the photos were to be a part of a series. That is all I knew.
I was able to see the images at a gallery when they first were shown but had to leave quickly to another event and wasn't able to read any of the descriptions of the show.
Over the last nine years every now and then I would google and try and find the images. This week I hit the jackpot and found them. I also found some reviews and you can imagine my surprise when I found out what the "subject" of the series was...
The King of the Forest
Robert Leonard and Janita Craw
"Advertising agencies know they can always use beautiful wide-eyed children to pull on our heart strings and prize open our wallets. It's the feel-good factor: fresh-faced kids sell the future, attaching their appeal to any product or ideology they're aligned with. AES+F address this in their film trilogyKing of the Forest (2001–3). Recalling the medieval folk tale of a King who imprisoned beautiful children in his palace for his pleasure, AES+F 'steal' hundreds of children, recruiting them from local model agencies, ballet schools, sports clubs... They dress them generically, in classic whites, sometimes suggesting sports kit and underwear. They install them in picturesque locations, film them in lingering slow-mo, then cut the footage to music. AES+F chose locations in the Old World, the New World and the Third World. Le Roi Des Aulnes(2001) was shot in the gilded, mirrored halls of Tsarskoye Selo, Catherine the Great's St. Petersburg palace. This film of beautiful children caught in a hall of mirrors suggests a mass audition or a ballet studio study after Degas. The kids instinctively court the camera, striking poses. More Than Paradise(2002) was shot in Cairo's mosque-castle Mohammed Ali. AES+F required the children to demonstrate well-known ritual situations such as processions and circling, which have become cliches of the Islamic world in the Western media. For a complete contrast, KFNY (2003) was shot in the hubbub of New York's Times Square with Navy recruiting ads playing on overhead video screens, displaying dramatic images of battleships, warplanes and helicopters. Attentive to the ironies of the new world order, this final installment involves a deep contradiction. Its all-embracing multi-cultural cast of 'heroes' — its 'rainbow coalition' — lining up on the side of America.
King of the Forest drips with art, advertising and pop culture associations. AES+F put a real spin on Vanessa Beecroft (with her performance-tableaux of inscrutable glamorous naked women), Shirin Neshat (with her orientalist videos of massed milling 'Others') and Art Club 2000 (a tribe of identically dressed juveniles who gathered in Times Square to be photographed). It also recalls fashion advertising campaigns for Benetton (whose multicultural appeal veils dubious third world labour practices), Calvin Klein and others. The King of the Forest trilogy remains ambiguous. The films are like ads which largely forgot to mention their product. The children instead seem to absorb the background ideological associations of their locations. The films' extended duration grants us the chance to map a variety of contradictory interpretations and affects: to see the children as innocent and knowing; as vulnerable and sublime; as the filmmakers' patsies and as coquettish spoilt agents. One moment we are jealous of their perfect existence and good looks, the next fearful for their safety. Equally our concern over their possible exploitation gives way to a realisation that their beauty can be used to exploit us. Kids may be captive but they are also captivating, their beauty exercising a magical force over us. As Elena Zaitseva explains, AES+F leave us 'balanced on a fine line between nobleness and treachery, bewitched by a beauty that has turned into a trap.' 'Our protest against the "stealing" of children does not prevent us from admiring them.'
Sometimes reality intervenes after the fact, changing the significance of an artwork forever. It's hard not to read King of the Forest in this way. On 1 September 2004, terrorists calling for Chechnyan independence 'stole' hundreds of staff and students at a school in the Russian town of Beslan. They herded their hostages into the school's gym. Deprived of food and water, the hostages were forced to drink their own urine; to cope with the stifling heat they were stripped to their underwear. On several occasions, released or escaped children were photographed fleeing in their smalls. By targeting 'innocent children', the terrorists were guaranteed the glare of world attention. The media milked it for all it was worth, giving the terrorists the publicity they sought, viewers something racy, and their advertisers a bigger audience. Three days in, a shoot-out between the terrorists and Russian security forces claimed the lives of over 300 hostages, more than 170 of them children. Despite moralising over evil, the media would be criticised for participating in it by running exploitative suggestive images of traumatised children in their whites. It is at such moments that our moral panic over child abuse spectacularly aligns with reality, and our obsession with safeguarding childhood innocence reveals its pornographic underbelly."
We thought it was a fun little job. it was safe, (the barricades and security officers were photoshopped out of the pics) the kids were given lots of breaks, were well fed, and got to be with their friends.
Who knew that the "subject" was about exploited children, as in our case-models.
So bizarre to find out nine years later.
My kids think it is cool to finally see the pics of that fun day they remember from years ago.
Now THAT is innocence.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
There are still leaves on the trees and lots and LOTS of damage from Sandy....
And now comes the snow, a Nor'easter packing a big punch of 40 to 50 mile an hour winds.
We gave up our generator to someone who needed it more. We still haven"t recovered from Sandy.
My business has been severely affected. School just started after a ten day absense.
All this is better than most of what the people around here have been experiencing.
So many people have been so generous and helpful, usually the ones who have suffered the most!
On the other hand, you cannot believe how terrible others have been. I think because people are on edge, tired cold, and upset that the worst is coming out in the strangest of places.
Ive heard a lot of petty exchanges in the A&P parking lot, on gas lines, at grocery store and deli.
Hopefully, we will all be back to normal- soon.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
I don't judge anyone by their politics, unless they are extremists of any persuasion. I try to keep my opinions to myself regarding politics because...
I am not consistent.
I guess I would say I'm a little bit of a Republican with a large dash of Democrat, some folks would say that means I am a fence sitter.
I think of myself as a Buffet Catholic. I take the parts of the religion that I want to follow or believe in.
I would say that I am very similar with my politics.
There is some Republican ideology that makes a lot of sense to me. I tend to side along with most Democrats regarding social issues.
So now what?
Well, it kinda stinks.
I don't feel strongly about either candidate or party...
First time ever.
At this point?
I think I'm voting for Chris Christie.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Friday, November 2, 2012
These are a few of my favorites...
What I didn't know was that you can do your own,
So I did!
I thought I would stick with my theme this week- Sandy!
Do you want to have some fun and make your own ecard?
Make sure you send me one :)
Thursday, November 1, 2012
image taken at LBI, Beach haven 2012
I don't think any children will be named Sandy for quite some time, at least not in the New York area. Especially not in New Jersey.
Even those love/power outage babies, born about 9 months from now?
I doubt it.
This is a tough one folks.
Just starting to understand the ramifications. The reality is setting in.
The immediate problems are a pain.
We will probably not have power for ten more days. But we have a generator.
There are gas shortages and hours long lines to get gas. Since we need gas for the generator this will be a problem.
There are not many grocery stores open and those that are do not have much food or water.
Many roads are closed due to fallen trees or phone or electric wires, this will take a long time to clean up. It makes it very hard to go anywhere as there are constant detours.
School could be out for another week. The kids will be going to school till July!
Getting in and out of New York City is almost impossible. The trains and subways should be up soon. Until then? Three to a car or you will be denied access to bridges and tunnels.
All these problems are minute compared to the long range problems that may occur.
Our beloved Jersey Shore with its landmarks and distinct architecture is forever changed.
Many businesses and homes will never be rebuilt. It will take many, MANY years to recover.
It is the same story from Hoboken down to Cape May.
Our entire shoreline has been devastated geographically, financially, and emotionally.
We worry about the bridges and roadways along the barrier islands as many have been ruined.
We worry about real estate and resell for those along the Jersey shore. It will be many years before people forget and dare to buy in beach towns.
We worry about lower Manhattan. The subways and Brooklyn battery tunnel were filled with salt water, will they be safe?
Is New York City safe during future storms?
All things I had never thought about until this week.
I feel so lucky and blessed compared to so many of my friends, many whom have lost their dream homes or primary residences.
One of my neighbors bought her home because of the huge, old oaks that gave her home shade and privacy.
It looks like a giant came along and pulled up a bunch of carrots...
Seven oaks- roots and all, down on her home and lawn.
So, no "woe is me" here.
Just prayer and hope that this won't happen again for a long, long time.