This episode includes new music by French electro pop specialists Justice, Richard Fearless, Dauwd, Bonobo, Falty DL, Daniel Avery, and we re-hash some good old 70s vibes with krautrock tunes by NEU! and Cluster.
Since the civil war in Syria began two and a half years ago, nearly two million Syrians have fled the country. About half a million of them have fled to Jordan, Syria's neighbor to the south, where they have passed through refugee camps and been absorbed into the Jordanian population.
In 2006, after a year-long journey through space, a NASA probe called the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter settled into a circular orbit around the Red Planet. Among the MRO's various scientific instruments was a camera, known as the HiRISE. HiRISE stands for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, and it's the largest and most advanced camera ever sent to another planet. Over the last 7 years, the HiRISE has sent back stunning images of the Martian surface Photographs of sand dunes and craters, dust devils and ancient riverbeds, frozen water and glaciers of CO2 have helped planetary scientists learn more about the dynamic surface of the Red Planet. The HiRISE images played a key role in choosing the landing site for the Curiosity rover, and they are sure to play an important role in identifying a landing site for humans, if and when NASA decides to plan the mission. Earlier this year Aperture published This Is Mars, a fine art book of beautifully printed black and white photographs taken by the HiRISE camera. Flipping through it's hard not to be sucked in by the almost erie detail in these pictures. Some, like the images of sand dunes and valleys seem almost familiar, reminiscent of desert landscapes on Earth. Others, like the Proctor crater and the abstract formations around the Martian polar regions, are positively alien. According to one of the book's authors, astrophysicist Francis Rocard, "the [HiRISE] camera equals a naked-eye view of the planet at a flight level of approximately one kilometer." So looking at these landscapes you're about ten times closer to the ground than when you're looking out the window of an airplane. The man who helped get the HiRISE camera of the ground and into orbit around Mars, is Dr. Alfred McEwen. He's a professor of planetary science at the University of Arizona and the principal investigator for HiRISE. Last week I got a chance to speak with Dr. McEwen about the Red Planet and the book This is Mars. Also this week, a look at Trevor Paglen's project, The Last Pictures. Playlist 00:00 This Is Mars pt 1 06:48 Track 07 - Cluster 07:03 This Is Mars pt 2 09:54 Bent City I - Phil Yost 10:34 This Is Mars pt 3 12:37 Clockworks - Laurie Spiegel 12:48 This Is Mars pt 4 18:08 Passerine- OK Ikumi 18:26 This Is Mars pt 5 19:35 The Steakout - Sun Araw 19:39 Trevor Paglen - The Last Pictures 27:33 Finish
Last summer, my guest photographer Benjamin Rasmussen went to Jordan along with photographer Michael Friberg to meet some of these Syrian refugees living in Jordan. With the help of local journalists Benjamin and Michael photographed refugees' daily lives, and recorded interviews with them telling their stories. They're calling the project By the Olive Trees. Benjamin and Michael are currently working on a newsprint publication of their photographs and interviews that will be distributed for free.
Martin Waldmeier is a curator based in London. In his new exhibition, Death of a Cameraman, Martin explores the complicated roles that images and image-makers play in conflicts, like the on-going civil war in Syria. Using the flood of anonymous videos coming out of Syria as a starting point, Martin's exhibition poses questions about the power of images to influence events, the high stakes of making images of war, and the ability for images themselves to act as weapons.
Ilona Gaynor is an artist and designer. Unlike many artists and designers however, Illona isn't interested in producing objects or products. She's interested in designing narratives, plots and schemes. And for her latest art project, she's designing a bank heist. The work is called Under Black Carpets, and the goal is to design a successful robbery of five banks that surround the One Wilshire building in downtown Los Angeles.