Archive | April, 2008

Voyage of the Peapod by Steve Himmer on A Boy, a Cat, a LifeBoat

Ever since reading that novel the whole city read at the same time, the boy had imagined what he might do, how he himself might behave if trapped in a lifeboat with a tiger. “I’d tame the tiger,” the boy told his friend. “I’d fashion a whip from fishing nets and detach the whistle from my life preserver and for my tiger tamer’s chair I’d use a…” [Read Voyage of the Peapod by Steve Himmer]

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Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo If Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo had managed to safely hitchhike from Milan to Lebanon dressed as a bride as part of her conceptual art thing (the Brides on Tour project) thereby demonstrating that she could put her trust in the kindness of local people, this success which would have been novel, would have broken with any kind of expected narrative. If I were to describe to you her project — two woman in their early thirties dressing up as a brides and hitchhiking across the Baltic states, through Greece, Turkey, and into the Middle East — you would most likely say, “What are they thinking, they’ll be raped and killed and their naked corpse thrown into the wilderness.” You’d think she was either naive or had a death wish. Her success in braving this cliche and breaking the expected narrative would not be marked by an event. It would be marked by a lack of an event — the lack of death — and it wouldn’t have generated any kind of international press coverage. In short, as a conceptual stunt success would have been failure.

Instead someone identified as MK picked up Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo at a gas station outside of Gebze and performed the obligatory roll dictated in the situation. He raped and killed Marineo, removed her wedding dress, and tossed her naked body into the woods. He also took her cell phone and used it to make calls, even if he did switch the SIM. He needed to be caught, I suppose to satisfy the story. Art against barbarism.

And so this it is the cliche and the expected narrative that is newsworthy. The story confirms the trope of the barbaric Middle East against the civilized West. In some ways it is worse than this though because Marineo working as a conceptual artist makes even her impulse to bridge this gap and work to dissolve this trope seem not only naive but dangerously delusional, and this gap I think undermines the entire impulse behind her project. She demonstrated that she not only could she not trust the locals but that she should be very, very afraid of them.

The project was doomed to failure from the beginning.

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