History Lesson(s) #16


A hit of shisha [a type of crystal methamphetamine brewed from barbiturates and other ingredients including alcohol, chlorine and even battery acid], concocted in makeshift laboratories around Athens, costs 3 to 4 euros. Doses come in the form of a 0.01-gram ball, leaving many users reaching for hits throughout the day. They include prostitutes in Omonia, who have been selling their services for as little as 10 to 15 euros, a price that has shrunk along with the income of clients afflicted by the crisis. Shisha is most often smoked. But it is increasingly being taken intravenously; because of the caustic chemicals it contains, a rising number of users are winding up in the emergency room. Health experts say the injections are also adding to an alarming rise in H.I.V. cases around Greece, which surged more than 50 percent last year from 2011 as more people turn to narcotics.

Distance(s) #24

Untitled - Angelos Tzortzinis, from the series Immigrants in Greece 2008-2013

Qu'ils reposent en révolte (des figures de guerres I) - Sylvain George, 2007-10, digital video


Screening Nature


In London tomorrow (short notice, admittedly; forgot to post sooner): Screening Nature, a "weekend of moving image work on nature, humans, and animals, and the convoluted relations between us." The full series of programmes includes one entitled Leaves in the Wind, inspired by the third shot of James Benning’s Ruhr (2009), in which airplanes generate the visible 'wind in the trees' at five intervals during the shot. Also in London: a complete screening of Peter Watkins' The Journey (1987) at Tate Modern, Chris Killip's What Happened – Great Britain 1970–1990 at The Photographers' Gallery, and Time, the deer, is in the wood of Hallaig at St John on Bethnal Green. Other links: At Noda's villa, in Tadeshina; a fascinating interview with David Gatten; Interviews with J.B.David Bordwell on analogue film's end times; Liz Harris' FACT mix; How can we live with it?Nation Equals Rate Times Time.


History Lesson(s) #15

Lee Miller (Suicide) - Man Ray, 1930, gelatin silver print


In his autobiography, Self-Portrait (1963), Man Ray wrote: “From time to time, after a suicide of someone close to us, the question was raised as to whether this was a solution to an unbearable situation.” Ray reflected on the actuality of suicide in a series of works, including an early airbrush painting (1917), a portrait of Lee Miller (1930), and a photographic self-portrait (1932), in which he sits beside a bottle of poison with a rope around his neck, pointing a gun towards his head. The latter image was staged the night Miller left Ray, three years after they first met on the upper floor of the Bateau Ivre on the Boulevard Raspail. Earlier that day, in 1932, Miller had recovered a discarded negative from a bin in Ray’s studio, and cropped the image to form a new work. In a rage that followed, Ray threw his lover out, and she returned days later to find a copy of the reshaped photograph nailed to the wall, the image of her neck slashed by a razor and covered in red ink. Miller responded by buying a one-way ticket to New York, and left Paris immediately.

After Miller’s departure, Ray completed A l’heure de l’observatoire – les amoureux (Observatory Time – the Lovers) (later photographed in colour): an eight-foot-wide canvas of red lips, modelled upon Miller’s, suspended against a serene, clouded sky. Ray claimed that he worked on the painting for one to two hours each morning for two years, and accompanied this labour with a poem: “...in this instant before awakening, when I cast loose from my body − I am weightless − I meet you in the even light and empty space, and, my only reality, kiss you with all that is left of me.” Later, Ray returned to photograph the painting a number of times for an informal series, in which it hangs above a woman pressing her head to her knees, and a sofa upon which a statue of a female figure lies decapitated. After five years passed, Ray and Miller met again in the south of France, and, in time, became close friends. Their friendship endured until his death, from an infected lung, in 1976, and hers, of cancer, in 1977.