Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘world’

06 MAY, 2011

A World Without Moms

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What going to school without underwear has to do with ruling the world.

A few months ago, our friends from Acumen Fund launched the Search for the Obvious initiative — a quest to find everyday objects and ideas that dramatically improve quality of life. In its latest iteration, SFTO challenged people to imagine a world without moms in an effort to raise awareness about the 7 million women who are injured and 350,000 women who die from complications due to childbirth every year — yet of the world’s 1,000 childbirth deaths per day, 800 are preventable by providing simple, basic maternal health care.

The challenge received dozens of submissions from all over the world across a variety of categories, from video to tweet to guerrilla. This poignant entry by the Jubilee Project, reminiscent of the beautiful Fifty People One Question, won the video category with its candid, deeply human journey into the richness and multiplicity of mothers’ impact on who we are and how we go through the world.

This video was inspired by our desire to help moms around the world because of the love and care we received from our own moms. We wanted to capture a genuine and raw spectrum of voices that spoke to just how much moms mean to all of us.”

See the other category winners and find out about ways to help save moms around the world on the official challenge page. For more on Acumen Fund’s work for maternity hospitals, don’t miss this excellent ABC News interview with founder Jacqueline Novogratz, whose TED talk on the life of immersion remains an all-time favorite.

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05 MAY, 2011

Urban Iran: A Rare Look at Iran’s Street Art Scene

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Presaging the Twitter revolution by way of graffiti.

Last week’s Arabic Graffiti is already one of the most-liked books we’ve featured this year. And though an important non-Western voice in the global conversation on street art, it isn’t the only one. In 2008, indie powerhouse Mark Batty Publisher released the excellent Urban Iran — a gripping, visually stunning anthology by photographers Karan Rashid and Sina Araghi exploring the rich spectrum of street art across Iran’s cities and countryside. Alongside the lavish visual spreads are illuminating essays that examine the artwork in a sociopolitical context, bridging this faceted visual landscape with the cultural undercurrents that power it.

What makes the project particularly intriguing is that it came mere months before the 2009 Iranian uprisings, but the content and context of the street art themes featured in the book — censorship, rebellion, political disillusionment, a yearning for justice and democracy — presage what was to come.

Reshad embodies urban Iran, celebrating it and criticizing it simultaneously, and that seems to be the essence of the country today. Of course, there is nothing new about such a relationship, but that’s the ultimate point. Iranians are not just some aggregate, its purpose to serve as nothing more than media headlines and statistics for government reports. They are individuals, struggling and enjoying life the best they can, the same as the rest of us.”

Lavish and thoughtful, Urban Iran is the kind of gem that restores your faith in the art of books and the role of editors as curators of the meaningful, as amplifiers of voices that matter, as bastions of cultural aspiration.

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29 APRIL, 2011

Arabic Graffiti: An Eastern Voice in the Global Street Art Dialogue

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Diplomacy by way of street art, or what Gaza has to do with Banksy.

We love street art, but the majority of coverage on the subject has a severe geographic bias — every street art encyclopedia, every showcase of notable work, every documentary on graffiti culture tends to focus on Western lettering and imagery. Until now. Arabic Graffiti is an ambitious new anthology by Berlin street culture tastemaker Don Karl and Lebanese typographer Pascal Zoghbi exploring the use of Arabic script in urban context. The lush hardcover tome curates graffiti artists and typographers from the Middle East and around the world, who incorporate Arabic calligraphy styles in their artwork — a beautiful intersection of tradition and contemporary creativity.

Images courtesy of Slanted

Part cultural anthropology, part study in creative ingenuity, Arabic Graffiti is one of the most exciting design books to come by this year and a timely cross-cultural bridge of visual communication in the context of today’s global political climate.

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