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3. River Revealed: Cross Timbers and into the Llano Uplift

Margie Crisp Texas A&M University Press ePub

CROSS TIMBERS AND INTO THE LLANO UPLIFT

Below the dam at O. H. Ivie, the Colorado River cuts across layers of time, digging into the exposed shelves of millions of years. Alluvial deposits along the bed and banks of the river are recent, but the river has relentlessly carved away at the cover of Cretaceous rocks exposing the tilted stacks of old sedimentary rocks in the broad basin. On a geological map, multiple parallel bands of color stripe north to south. The river slices across in a twisting gold line of alluvial soils, descending from young to old, across pale bands of Permian limestone and shale, pink blobs and squiggles of sediment eroded from the Cretaceous and Permian rocks upriver, and into the dark blue patterns of older, exposed Pennsylvanian sandstones. Curving in a tight arc, the river bounces between the old sandstones and tongues of limestone and shale before snaking down the deep canyons of ancient Ordovician limestones into the heart of the Llano Uplift.

In this length of river, seven or eight counties, depending on how you count them, crowd up to the river, nudge each other’s shoulders, and wiggle their toes in the stream. It is a land of big ranches, white-tailed deer and turkey hunting, a few row crops, and pecan orchards. The river regains its strength, pulls water from creeks and springs, and works its way back into a free-flowing stream for a few miles before running into the dams of the Highland Lakes downstream.

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03 Optics and Lenses

Cora Banek Rocky Nook-IPS ePub

»Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the aha.« Ernst Haas, Austrian-American photographer

Let’s start with the part of photography that doesn’t actually rely on a camera, or more specifically, that doesn’t require a light-sensitive medium. It is concerned only with the reproduction of an image, not with storage of visual data. Some elementary physics are necessary to understand the properties of light and its relationship to color and how these concepts play out in photography. After all, at its root, photography is drawing with light.

For light to form an image, a lens needs to capture light and direct it to both the viewfinder (for the photographer to examine) and the sensor (for the actual exposure). There are many different kinds of lenses you can use; each has its own advantages and disadvantages. These characteristics give each lens its own specific purpose. The more you know about the construction, operation, and limits of lenses, the easier it will be to select the ideal lens to achieve your compositional objectives. You should also have a good knowledge of how focusing works so you can make sure the correct parts of your picture are sharp.

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5 Invisible Humanism: An African 1968 and Its Aftermaths

Daniel J Sherman Indiana University Press ePub

JAMES FERGUSON

One of the premises of this volume is that the full significance of what we call “1968” can only be grasped by attending to a wide range of ideas and events that unfolded at more or less the same time in many different locations around the world. This entails a recognition that there is not a single 1968 (with its epicenter in, for instance, Paris in May). The mood and moment of ’68, this volume insists, was irreducibly plural and meant different things in different places. To this it is necessary only to add that the same is true of Africa’s 1968s. This is why the title of this essay refers to “an” African 1968, not “the” African 1968. As I will argue, there were many African 1968s.

We do live in a world of centers and peripheries, and France was undoubtedly a center from which many things reverberated in those heady years (the United States was no doubt another). But the 1968 phenomenon is generally reckoned to be so significant precisely because it swept across (as it is often put) “the whole world.” It was never just a matter of Paris but also of Saigon and Hanoi. Czechoslovakia was in the middle of it, but so was Tokyo. In Mexico City as in Chicago “the whole world was watching.” In dealing with a set of events whose significance rests on their claimed globality, peripheries turn out to be surprisingly central.

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CHAPTER 7. THE LAST YEARS: 1994–2001

Olive Jensen Theisen University of North Texas Press PDF

CHAPTER 7

The Last Years: 1994–2001

I think we have to show the human condition and what happens to it. To me that is what art is all about—showing the spirit of man struggling above the mundane, above the material, above suffering. This is the whole story of art.

— John Biggers, quoted in Felts and Moon,

“An Interview with John Biggers”

The years 1994 to 1997 were exciting but tiring ones for John and Hazel

Biggers. Upon completion of the murals at Hampton University and WinstonSalem State University, Biggers experienced some serious health problems caused by diabetes and exhaustion. They planned to rest for a good long time in their Houston home.

Celebration of Life

In late 1993, Biggers had been approached by a group of artists from

Minneapolis, Minnesota, led by Ta’Coumba Aitkin, Seitu Jones, and Patricia

Phillips, who asked him to design a mural that they would paint collaboratively. The mural was to be painted on concrete sound barrier walls 16 feet high and 160 feet long alongside a major highway. Biggers was intrigued. To work with a community of artists as Diego Rivera had done long ago had always been his dream. John Biggers knew that he could not personally oversee the project but he could design a series of panels for them. He accepted the project and planned that the mural should tell the story of creation through his selected African symbols. After phone discussion and various drawings,

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10 Zombie Postfeminism

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

The corpse is death infecting life.

Julia Kristeva

While Julia Kristeva doubtless did not have in mind the undead corpse of the zombie when she wrote of the abject and how it forces death upon the living, the walking dead undeniably embody abjection. It is not strange, then, that in representations of zombies, in film, literature, television, or other media, the primary focus is on how the humans who have not been infected confront and battle those who have returned from the dead. Those who engage in zombie fighting are necessarily confronting and denying the death (among other things) that the posthuman monster represents. This analysis of Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009) looks at how the heroine of his contemporary novel is rewritten to be physically strong, capable of independence, and yet still chained to the necessity of finding the ideal mate that is the touchstone of the original Jane Austen text. The pervasiveness of postfeminism is apparent in the book as Elizabeth Bennet fights off the monsters even while the ideal end for her is to marry well.1 Her education and the fact that she is one of the best in her field are subsumed under the ability to use these skills to secure a man. In fact, it is her very prowess in fighting the zombie offensive, her abilities with a sword, and her capacity for killing that win her the esteem of those around her and garner her the greatest prize of all: Mr. Darcy, a rich and handsome (and equally well-trained) husband. Despite the fact that her militarized body and violence are constructed as being first and foremost for the defense of herself and her loved ones, her finely tuned body is heteronormatively attractive, though this is presented as an added bonus, the result of so much training for the defense of others and not the primary motive for her training. Her body is of primary concern, especially because it is one of the principal tools in the fight against the zombie hordes. It contrasts starkly with the zombie body: where one is contained, in control, and integral, the other is messy, falling apart, and contagious. Arguably, though, the difference between the body of the zombie and that of the zombie slayer hides a more chilling similarity: that both raise the heteronormative necessity of eliminating the other.

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10 Beginning 9 Evenings

Daniel J Sherman Indiana University Press ePub

MICHELLE KUO

The artist’s work is like that of a scientist. It is an investigation which may or may not yield meaningful results; in many cases we only know many years later.

—Billy Klüver, “The Great Northeastern Power Failure”1

Its ambition was matched only by its scale: 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering was a colossal enterprise, a performance series that lasted, appropriately, nine evenings in October 1966 in New York and was attended by over ten thousand people. Thirty engineers from the AT&T Bell Laboratories campus in Murray Hill, New Jersey, worked together with ten artists; their fervent struggles against and with one another brought the working methods of the postwar laboratory and studio into unprecedented intimacy. These travails have been chronicled widely as both pinnacle and nadir of the neo-avant-garde aspirations of the 1960s. But the historical reception of the event is much more complex than its contemporary traces indicate. Indeed, 9 Evenings moved collaboration toward a peculiar kind of organization and production, a vital shift that fundamentally altered modes of collective action, disciplinary bounds, and the terms of performance.

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7 Mexico 1968 and the Art(s) of Memory

Daniel J Sherman Indiana University Press ePub

JACQUELINE E. BIXLER

2 de octubre no se olvida (October 2 is not forgotten).

—popular slogan, 1968–present

Like the mythical two-faced Janus, the words “Mexico 1968” conjure up two diametrically opposed historical images. For many, particularly those who reside outside Mexico, the mention of “Mexico 1968” brings memories of the XIX Olympics and of the two African American athletes who raised their black-gloved fists as a sign of Black Power upon receiving their medals. While most Mexicans know that the Olympics were held that year in Mexico City, the words “Mexico 1968” are much more likely to evoke memories of a long summer of marches and manifestations that ended on October 2, within days of the Olympic opening ceremony, with the death of an untold number of students and bystanders in the Plaza de Tlatelolco.

Memory, particularly as it relates to history, has been a subject of intense philosophical debate since the days of antiquity, when Plato described memory as a block of wax onto which we imprint perceptions and ideas. Key questions persist, however. What do we remember? How do we remember? Why do we remember? Recent years have produced a “memory boom” in both critical theory and cultural production as the result of the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, the Dirty War in Argentina, and other hauntingly unforgettable events of the not-so-distant past. According to Kerwin Lee Klein, “Academics speak incessantly of memory because our epoch has been uniquely structured by trauma.”1 In the case of Mexico, the twentieth century was rife with trauma, beginning with the Revolution of 1910, the deadly earthquake of September 19, 1985, and the 1994 Chiapas uprising and multiple assassinations of high-level political figures.2 But the deepest and most lasting trauma of all was inflicted on the evening of October 2, 1968, when Mexican army troops opened fire on thousands who were attending a peaceful student-led rally in the Plaza de Tlatelolco. On that day, twentieth-century Mexican history fractured into two eras: pre- and post-1968. As David William Foster notes, October 2, 1968, “marks a dividing line in Mexico’s socio-historical consciousness; and in many ways the enormous changes in Mexican society in past decades, including considerable erosion of the PRI’s [Partido Revolucionario Institucional] political authority and symbolic stature, are a consequence, if not directly of what happened in the plaza, of fault lines in Mexican society that became brutally evident with those events.”3 Indeed, it was the very awareness of these fault lines that later caused the residents of Mexico City to bypass the government and form the grassroots brigades that saved thousands of those trapped beneath the rubble of the 1985 earthquake.4 The year 1968 was to be the cornerstone of Mexico’s modern collective consciousness, a consciousness characterized by distrust of and resistance to governmental authority, whose weapons ranged from rifles to the manipulation of historical “facts.”

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11. Neelam Chaturvedi

Pravina Shukla Indiana University Press ePub

WHEN I FIRST TALKED to Neelam Chaturvedi in the spring of 1996, she was an art teacher in the Sunbeam private school in Banaras. Unlike Nina, a Sindhi living in a Sindhi household, Neelam is a Punjabi married into a Brahmin family from Banaras. Being born in India to Punjabi parents who were displaced from their native Pakistan, Neelam has developed an adaptive personal style. Constant adjustment to different contexts is a main theme of her choices in life and adornment, a pattern evident in our interviews. My main tape-recorded conversations with her, which lasted several hours, took place in Neelam’s bedroom, upstairs in her mother-in-law’s house a few blocks from the vast red temple dedicated to Durga in Banaras.1

When she was growing up in Banaras, Neelam spoke Punjabi at home with her parents, yet she was exposed to Hindi at school and to the local Bhojpuri dialect of the servants. Neelam learned Hindi and Bhojpuri, and, though she was scolded for speaking these ill-regarded languages in the presence of her parents, she grew up speaking what she calls a “mix” of languages. Her shifting between Punjabi and Hindi, choosing one or the other in different contexts, is like the double-coding used by immigrant children who grow up in America, adapting and conforming to two cultures simultaneously.

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1 Portrait Photography: A Visual Currency in the Atlantic Visualscape

John Peffer Indiana University Press ePub

African historians’ interest in photographic sources is still rather recent and can be traced back to the mid-1980s. Today, after more than twenty years of research, we know the general outlines of the history of African photography, but have yet to move beyond the larger picture.1 In looking closely at some centers of the early history of West and Central African photography, such as Sierra Leone, Fernando Po, and Gabon, as well as at the professional careers of African photographers such as Francis W. Joaque, this essay will contribute to a better and deeper understanding of the early history of West and Central African photography. Particularly, it will show how portrait photographs served within what I term the “Atlantic visualscape” as a visual currency thus allowing “facework between absentees” in an increasingly globalized context.2

The Atlantic Visualscape

The long contact between the Western world and Africa and hence between different cultures and continents, which intensified in the sixteenth century, created a space where images of all kinds circulated, were produced, and were consumed. Within this area of interaction Africans came in contact with drawings, oil paintings, lithographs, lantern slides, engravings in illustrated newspapers, illustrated books, and eventually photographs. For instance, during the reign of Queen Victoria (who, like her husband Albert, was an early enthusiast of photography) portraits of the Queen and the Royal Family were printed, painted, and engraved on various materials and came to be omnipresent throughout the British Empire.3 Evidently the appropriation of the West’s visual repertoire and practices did not occur without mutual misunderstandings, as the following incident shows: “When some natives took Catholic images brought to [Cuba] by Columbus’s men, buried them in a cultivated field and urinated on them in order to produce a rich harvest, the Spanish responded by burning the offenders to death.”4 However, many other sources point to a natural integration of the new images into Africans’ visual practices. According to the British trader John Whitford, King Eyo from Creek Town (near Bonny in the Niger Delta) had a portrait of Queen Victoria taken from the illustrated newspaper The Graphic hanging in his house.5 The prevalent habit of African elites of hanging up pictures of all kinds was also noticed by the French medical doctor Griffon de Bellay in the Gabon hinterland as early as 1862.6 Europeans and Americans in Africa and at home, at the same time, became acquainted with masks, sculptures, patterns, and drawings on cloth, walls, and bodies. Few, but quite illustrative, sources provide hints as to the practice of exchanging photographs in a way similar to how business cards are given to business partners today.

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1. From Yorùbá to YouTube: Studying Nollywood’s Star System

Noah A. Tsika Indiana University Press ePub

1

When Nollywood star Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde was shooting the VH1 drama series Hit the Floor in February, 2013, she started live-tweeting from the set, describing the Paramount lot and calling her colleague Kimberly Elise “a beautiful Method actor.” That tweet in particular seemed to say so much all at once: that a Nollywood star can thrive when 8,000 miles from home and filming scenes with an American costar; that she can classify that costar’s performance style according to what is perhaps the most revered model of realist acting; that she can join forces with a fellow woman of color in order to furnish a reflection of global “girl power” (the tweet came with the hashtag “GirlsRock”); and that she can define her own ever-evolving identity as a truly boundless one. This tweet alone displays the notion that Nollywood’s star system well equips its constituents to achieve expansive success. Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde has, as she says, “the power” to infiltrate American popular culture; the proof is in the Instagram photos that she provides—the charming self-portraits of the Nigerian star weaving her way through a Melrose Avenue lot with the legendary Paramount banner as a backdrop.

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2. Impounded on the Rolling Plains

Margie Crisp Texas A&M University Press ePub

Destiny proudly poses for my camera, a grinning gap-toothed eight-year-old with wind-tangled black hair. Behind her, the orange waters of Lake J. B. Thomas whip themselves into small brown waves. She squints in the sun. The shutter clicks, and with a quick wave she scrambles down the steep rocks returning to her sister and their game of throwing rocks into the water. Her father uncaps a jar of the newest and best stinkbait for catching catfish. The girls squeal and hold their noses while the sleek muscular dog in the back of the pickup sniffs the air appreciatively. The two girls, their dad, and his best friend drove over from Big Spring for a day of fishing but even with the pungent bait, the catfish aren’t biting. I bring over my road map, and together we trace the path of the Colorado River from our position at Lake J. B. Thomas, down to the E. V. Spence Reservoir, and then to the O. H. Ivie Reservoir. The river runs through the Rolling Plains ecoregion,1 the southern end of the Great Plains, a land of deep clays, dry former prairies, and woods. It is bordered on the west by the Caprock Escarpment and the High Plains, on the south by the Edwards Plateau, and on the east by the Cross Timbers and Prairies ecoregion. With an annual rainfall of 20 inches, most of the area is desert-like rangeland locked in an unrelenting battle with woody brush, struggling croplands, and the ubiquitous oil industry.

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4 Zombie Media

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

We are the hostages of news coverage, but we acquiesce secretly in this hostage-taking.

Jean Baudrillard, Virtuality and Events

The news is always horseshit.

Tony, Diary of the Dead

Taken as a whole, George A. Romero’s body of work has most often been thought to mark shifts in cultural anxieties—anxieties around the Vietnam War and the civil rights era, the rise of a consumer economy, the relation of science and the military during the Cold War, the war in Iraq, and the irruptive spectacle of terrorism—anxieties that his films not only embody but also critically respond to, and all of which have been well documented. Yet, by regarding these films as markers of cultural anxieties or repressions, such readings either implicitly or explicitly tend to use psychological models, often ones that have been transposed to a cultural level.1 Such frameworks, while certainly useful, also tend to domesticate the zombie.2 Under such models, the zombie becomes safe and familiar, immanently legible as political allegory and cultural construct. In the end, it all comes back to us humans.

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08 The Right Camera

Cora Banek Rocky Nook-IPS ePub

»Cameras are tools to me; they’re a means to an end. They’re important, but you shouldn’t think too much about them.« Frans Lanting, nature photographer

You should understand that no one right camera exists; what exists is the right camera for a specific person or purpose. Many variables come into play when you consider which is the right camera or camera system, and every photographer must approach this question from a different perspective. Finding a camera that allows you to create good images and enjoy your time photographing depends on the following factors, among many others: your personal preferences, your expectations for quality, your photographic experience, your loyalty to a particular brand, your style of shooting, your preferred subjects and settings, and your pocketbook, which is often the most decisive factor.

Whether you are currently deciding which camera to buy or you are just giving some thought to what your dream camera is, consider the criteria that matter to you and evaluate various cameras based on facts. Emotions have their place in the decision-making process—after all, photography is, ideally, an activity driven by passion. But all too often prejudices, dangerous half knowledge, and advertising confuse our reasons for wanting things by altering our perceptions, bending our evaluations, and distorting the outcome of our decisions.

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6. A Young Man without an Ego: A Study on James Joyce and the Mirror Stage

Parveen Adams Karnac Books ePub

GENEVIEVE MOREL

By presenting the art of James Joyce as a sinthome in his seminar of 1975, Lacan introduced a conceptual innovation into psychoanalysis. “Sinthome” is an old French spelling of “symptom” dating from 1495. Rabelais, who was a doctor, wrote it in this way. In French the two words are pronounced differently. Until this seminar of Lacan’s, psychoanalysts (including Lacan himself) had approached art with the Freudian concept of sublimation (Sublimierung) ,33 However, when he was invited to a symposium on Joyce, Lacan, who had been elaborating a new theory of the symptom since 1974, broke with psychoanalytic classicism by leaving sublimation behind and invented the concept of the sinthome for Joyce. He thus designates a transformation of the initial symptom of the subject by the savoir-faire of the artist. Before elaborating this point, it might be useful to briefly situate Lacan’s conception of the symptom when he undertook to work on Joyce.34

The most classic Lacanian theory is that of the symptom as a metaphor, that is to say as a substitution of one term (the signifier of the symptom) for another (the repressed signifier) (Lacan 1966). This is what a conversion symptom is, for example the aphonia of Dora, the young woman in analysis with Freud. The symptom is lifted when the word associated with the symptom appears in the treatment, unvermogend, namely the repressed signifier of the father’s impotence that equivocates on his fortune and wealth. The aphonia in fact mimes the sexual relations of her father, impotent and wealthy, with whom Dora identifies, in an oral relation with his mistress, Frau K. Such a conception of the symptom makes it a type of unconscious formation that can disappear: it suffices to produce the repressed signifier to unmake the metaphor and unknot the symptom. As a metaphor, the symptom contains within itself the possibility of its own cure. In the seminar R.S.L (1974-1975), the definitions of the symptom entail entirely different consequences. For example, with the definition of the symptom as “that which doesn’t work out in the real,” Dora’s symptom can no longer be limited to its conversions. Indeed, Dora gives multiple signs of what does not work out in the real for her. In L’envers de lapsychanalyse, Lacan includes here everything that divides the subject, and turns it into a multiform “hysterical complex” that is unresolved by the enunciation of the unvermogend alone, as one sees in the Freudian observation. A second definition of the symptom in R.S,1: “the symptom can only be defined as the way in which each subject enjoys [jouif] the unconscious, insofar as the unconscious determines him,” shows us its double link with jouissance and the unconscious. Jouissance is here to be taken as the excess in relation to the Freudian pleasure principle, which is a principle of homeostasis: an excess of pleasure or suffering. In this sense, what Freud called “the strange satisfaction” of the drive in the symptom can be renamed as jouissance and characterized as real, and even as “that which does not work out in the real.” The determination of the symptom always comes from the unconscious, in other words from the symbolic,35 but this fixes something of jouissance: in this way the symptom becomes a function of jouissance. Psychoanalysis touches upon the symptom insofar as it is homogeneous with it, operating from the symbolic (speech) toward the real (jouissance) by means of interpretation. The equivocation of interpretation responds to the equivocation of the symptom in which jouissance remains a prisoner, aiming at it to produce effects of sense. However, to operate on, or to relieve, is not to remove, and if, at the end of an analysis, the symptom is no longer touched by interpretation, it remains no less present, and becomes from then on the irremovable and real framework (monture) of the subject. The symptom becomes transformable, but not curable.

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4. On Critics, Sublimation, and the Drive: The Photographic Paradoxes of the Subject

Parveen Adams Karnac Books ePub

JULI CARSON

What, would a model of the psychic relation between the critic and his object look like, one that relinquished the desire for mastery and openly embraced the manner in which transference-love and narcissism drive the pursuit of a given object? Roland Barthes’ later writings (specifically A Lover’s Discourse [1978] and Camera Lucida [1981]) instance the critic’s attempt to work himself out of complicity with the materialist, semiotic certitude based upon the academic law of “critical distance” and scientificity. By moving toward a psychoanalytic model in the late work, one that performatively demonstrates the operations of such an approach, Barthes openly embraced and exposed the manner in which the repressed dynamics of narcissism and transference-love constitute the critic’s so-called “object of knowledge.” In so doing, what his discourse directly takes up is how the operations of the photograph (his object) mirrored that of the subject (the critic). To unpack this problematic, of course, necessitates an examination of what drives Barthes in particular, and the critic in general.

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