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Joseph Cornell: Reaching for the Moon

Joseph Cornell, Americana: Natural Philosophy (What Makes the Weather?), ca. 1959, masonite, paper, paint, colored pencil, graphite, and ink, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Robert Lehrman in honor of Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, 1991.90, © 1959, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation

Nine years after John F. Kennedy gave his speech, “The New Frontier,” Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the moon. At the height of the Cold War, the American flag Armstrong raised claimed victory for the United States. The Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957 had spurred the United States into action. The White House’s “Introduction to Outer Space,” published March 1958 outlined the justifications for undertaking a national space program: “The first of these factors is the compelling urge of man to explore and to discover, the thrust of curiosity that leads men to try to go where no one has gone before. Most of the surface of the earth has now been explored and men now turn to the exploration of outer space as their next objective.” Several months later, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, was founded.

How to secure a country. From Border Policing via Weather Forecast to Social Engineering

How to Secure a Country. From Border Policing via Weather Forecast to Social Engineering—A Visual Study of 21st-Century Statehood, edited by Salvatore Vitale and Lars Willumeit. With essays by Roland Bleiker, Philip Di Salvo, Jonas Hagmann, Salvatore Vitale and Lars Willumeit.

Lars Müller Publishers writes: Switzerland is well-known as one of the safest countries on earth and as a prime example of efficiency and efficacy. One of the central reasons that such a country exists is the development of a culture based on protection, which is supported by the presence and production of national security. When in 2014 Swiss people voted in favor of a federal popular initiative “against massive immigration,” Salvatore Vitale, an immigrant living in Switzerland felt the need to research this phenomenon in order to comprehend where the motives for this constant need for security originate and how they became part of Swiss culture.

In How to Secure a Country Vitale explores this country’s national security measures by focusing on “matter-of-fact” types of instructions, protocols, bureaucracies, and clear-cut solutions which he visualizes in photographs, diagrams, and graphical illustrations. The result is a case study that can be used to explain the global context and the functioning of contemporary societies.

State of suspension: the “relentless, never-ending struggle to adapt”

A few weeks ago, while in Paris for the always excellent refrag (more about that one as soon as life is back to blissful indolence), i discovered Le Bal and its ongoing En Suspens/In Between exhibition.


Darek Fortas, Changing Room VI, 2012

The show explores how individuals and groups of people find themselves trapped in a state of uncertainty and precariousness due to bureaucracy, politics and other circumstances they have no control over. Frozen in a state of suspension, these people have lost their political visibility and with it, their place in the world.

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