Saturday, December 10, 2005

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Apache Killing Video

I just came across this today while browsing an indymedia web site:

this is text from the indymedia site:

This video has caused a great deal of controversy. Originally shown on ABC TV, it was first shown as an object lesson as to what happens to Iraqi Insurgents who dare show weapons before US forces. However, as time goes on, doubt has begun to surface as to whether the people shown blown to pieces with the 30mm cannon on the Apache were really insurgents, or just harmless farmers.

This is what is known about the tape. It is from the thermographic camera system of an Apache attack helicopter. The image is of heat, not of light. The time of day appears to be midmorning, based on the time display seen on the heads-up display. Military time uses a 24 hour system, there is no "PM" in military clocks.

The vehicle at the far left of the video is a farm tractor, facing away. The engine is running as is evidenced by the hot vertical exhaust tupe and the glowing undercarriage seen in the thermal image. Attached to the rear of the tractor is a plough, and the dirt in the foreground shows clear furrows.

There is a longer version of the tape (which may not play on everyone's computers) that does show one individual taking a long object or objects from his car and taking it over to the vehicle at the far right. It is assumed by those who want to justify the shooting that this object is a missile launcher assembly being discarded. However, one cannot explain why someone who had just fired off an RPG at US troops would bother to put the used launcher into his car, only to them drive someplace else and then discard it. Nor does it make sense that the man would place a weapon over there it is likely to be run over by the tractor and plough, damaging both the weapon and the plough assembly as well. And, given that the man does not in any way point the object at the approaching helicopter, it is clear that at least he does not think it is a working weapon. Given that the object is actually longer than an RPG launcher assembly, three alternative explanations suggest themselves.

1. That the object is a bundle of long handled farm tools being taken over to where the farmers are working with the tractor.
2. That the object is a bundle of thin poles to be driven into the ground ahead of the tractor to give the tractor driver a visible guide to keep the furrows straight.
3. As suggested by a reader, that the object may be part of the plastic pipe irrigation system used in dry climate agriculture.

We can deduce several facts from the video.

From the perspective seen in the video, it is clear that the Apache helicopter is not being threatened. It is hovering, moving slowly forward, and not engaging in any evasive maneuvers which would suggest that the individuals on the ground have threatened the apache in any way.

From the body language of the individuals on the ground, it is clear that they themselves do not feel they are doing anything which should be of concern to a US helicopter hovering nearby. In other words, they do not act like the object thrown into the field near the tractor is anything the US helicopter would object to. No sooner has the man delivered the object to the tractor than he turns and walks back to the car. At no time does he (or anyone else) act like they are trying to escape the area until the Apache opens fire.

From The Geneva Convention 3-1: 1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria

The very FIRST person gunned down was the person who had been driving the tractor. This video records a war crime.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

No Thanks to Thanksgiving

No Thanks to Thanksgiving
By Robert Jensen, AlterNet.

Posted November 23, 2005.

One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting.

In fact, indigenous people have offered such a model;
since 1970 they have marked the fourth Thursday of November as a Day of Mourning in a spiritual/political ceremony on Coles Hill overlooking Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, one of the early sites of the European invasion of the Americas.

Not only is the thought of such a change in this
white-supremacist holiday impossible to imagine, but the very mention of the idea sends most Americans into apoplectic fits -- which speaks volumes about our historical hypocrisy and its relation to the contemporary politics of empire in the United States.

That the world's great powers achieved "greatness"
through criminal brutality on a grand scale is not news, of course. That those same societies are reluctant to highlight this history of barbarism also is predictable.

But in the United States, this reluctance to
acknowledge our original sin -- the genocide of indigenous people -- is of special importance today. It's now routine -- even among conservative commentators -- to describe the United States as an empire, so long as everyone understands we are an inherently benevolent one. Because all our history contradicts that claim, history must be twisted and tortured to serve the purposes of the powerful.

One vehicle for taming history is various patriotic
holidays, with Thanksgiving at the heart of U.S. myth-building. From an early age, we Americans hear a story about the hearty Pilgrims, whose search for freedom took them from England to Massachusetts. There, aided by the friendly Wampanoag Indians, they survived in a new and harsh environment, leading to a harvest feast in 1621 following the Pilgrims first winter.

Some aspects of the conventional story are true
enough. But it's also true that by 1637 Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop was proclaiming a thanksgiving for the successful massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indian men, women and children, part of the long and bloody process of opening up additional land to the English invaders. The pattern would repeat itself across the continent until between 95 and 99 percent of American Indians had been exterminated and the rest were left to assimilate into white society or die off on reservations, out of the view of polite society.

Simply put: Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant
white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers. The first president, George Washington, in 1783 said he preferred buying Indians' land rather than driving them off it because that was like driving "wild beasts" from the forest. He compared Indians to wolves, "both being beasts of prey, tho' they differ in shape."

Thomas Jefferson -- president #3 and author of the
Declaration of Independence, which refers to Indians as the "merciless Indian Savages" -- was known to romanticize Indians and their culture, but that didn't stop him in 1807 from writing to his secretary of war that in a coming conflict with certain tribes, "[W]e shall destroy all of them."

As the genocide was winding down in the early 20th
century, Theodore Roosevelt (president #26) defended the expansion of whites across the continent as an inevitable process "due solely to the power of the mighty civilized races which have not lost the fighting instinct, and which by their expansion are gradually bringing peace into the red wastes where the barbarian peoples of the world hold sway."

Roosevelt also once said, "I don't go so far as to
think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth."

How does a country deal with the fact that some of its
most revered historical figures had certain moral values and political views virtually identical to Nazis? Here's how "respectable" politicians, pundits, and professors play the game: When invoking a grand and glorious aspect of our past, then history is all-important. We are told how crucial it is for people to know history, and there is much hand wringing about the younger generations' lack of knowledge about, and respect for, that history.

In the United States, we hear constantly about the
deep wisdom of the founding fathers, the adventurous spirit of the early explorers, the gritty determination of those who "settled" the country -- and about how crucial it is for children to learn these things.

But when one brings into historical discussions any
facts and interpretations that contest the celebratory story and make people uncomfortable -- such as the genocide of indigenous people as the foundational act in the creation of the United States -- suddenly the value of history drops precipitously and one is asked, "Why do you insist on dwelling on the past?"

This is the mark of a well-disciplined intellectual
class -- one that can extol the importance of knowing history for contemporary citizenship and, at the same time, argue that we shouldn't spend too much time thinking about history.

This off-and-on engagement with history isn't of mere
academic interest; as the dominant imperial power of the moment, U.S. elites have a clear stake in the contemporary propaganda value of that history. Obscuring bitter truths about historical crimes helps perpetuate the fantasy of American benevolence, which makes it easier to sell contemporary imperial adventures -- such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq -- as another benevolent action.

Any attempt to complicate this story guarantees
hostility from mainstream culture. After raising the barbarism of America's much-revered founding fathers in a lecture, I was once accused of trying to "humble our proud nation" and "undermine young people's faith in our country."

Yes, of course -- that is exactly what I would hope to
achieve. We should practice the virtue of humility and avoid the excessive pride that can, when combined with great power, lead to great abuses of power.

History does matter, which is why people in power put
so much energy into controlling it. The United States is hardly the only society that has created such mythology. While some historians in Great Britain continue to talk about the benefits that the empire brought to India, political movements in India want to make the mythology of Hindutva into historical fact.

Abuses of history go on in the former empire and the former colony. History can be one of the many ways we create and impose hierarchy, or it can be part of a process of liberation. The truth won't set us free, but the telling of truth at least opens the possibility of freedom.

As Americans sit down on Thanksgiving Day to gorge
themselves on the bounty of empire, many will worry about the expansive effects of overeating on their waistlines. We would be better to think about the constricting effects of the day's mythology on our minds.

Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the
University of Texas at Austin, and the author of, most recently, The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005).

Monday, November 14, 2005

Casket Factory 2005

I just got back from Dallas today. I travelled with artist Edra Soto and we had a blast meeting new and interesting people from Texas. We got a glimpse of the contemporary art scene down there. Below are some pics:

Randall from Plush Gallery suggested
having lunch at this restaurant near the fair called Raul's with a huge bull sculpture in front. Edra noticed some anatomically correct parts.

Once inside we noticed this office chair. It seemed out of place. I guess they ran out of restaurant chairs.

Edra took a photo of my bag as we were leaving.

Once back at the art fair, Edra did a brief 2 minute dance performance inside this paw/hand looking sculpture/costume.

diet ROCKSTAR Energy like the rockstars!!

see more photos here

Friday, November 04, 2005


Another great show at polvo tonight!! Huong Ngo and Rob Allen, both from the east coast, were in town to install and for the opening. They created micro installations/environments along with video animations of the objects projected onto one of the walls. You need to really get on the floor and see the miniature environments up close.

Casket Factory

I am off to Dallas, Texas for a weekend. There is this cool new independent art fair happening down there. I am taking several artists' work to show, so it will be fun to travel to Texas country and network.

Friday, September 16, 2005


i have been so busy doing art related stuff and haven't had time to write on this thing. Usually september and october are just too busy for me. It is the beginning of the fall art season and october is Chicago Artists' month, so we at polvo also publish a new issue of the art mag during this time and distribute it all over. So between myself and Jesus Macarena we edit and publish it....a lot of work for only two people....damn we need some help...

aside from this, i have been receiving strange signals and noises, both when asleep and when awake....i am afraid to use the microwave now.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

hot summer

It has been over 90F on and off the past month and a half., which is nuts....and august is barely begining! Last year we only had a few hot days over the summer and all were in August. My paint is stripping off the canvas!...i wish i lived in Canada at this moment.

As far as art stuff; we shipped work for a digital new media show in Melbourne, Australia last week and created a brochure from the money we raised from the auction several weeks ago. Unfortunately it wasn't enough for a plane ticket to send someone to install it, but oh well...Australia tickets are damn expensive...close to $2000!

Friday, July 22, 2005


are we all just part of a process? when we map out our individual existence, is it some linear/organic(branch) pattern?... we go thru life searching for something, some explanation about who and what and why we are---we read the past, we theorize about the future...our life is spent trying to understand ourselves---hence philosophy, religion. in order to understand ourselves we have to step out of ourselves.

torture video

see if you like this very short video

soap drawing

sunday july 17-12pm

nosy neighbor

and after he left i took this photo. Notice one "w" is missing and the "g" looks like a "c"..i need a new sign.

contagious brain blurbs

Artists Hyunjoo Oh and Noah Shibley recently had an opening at polvo. For more images you can see the web site

light pattern

July 3, 2005 at 6:19am
Paola would love this...I was amazed when i saw this.

rogers park

some photos from June 25th, 2005

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

irn dream

I don't know what's going on with me but i hardly ever remember what I dream. The past two nights have been strange. Last night I had a dream where I was with my family at our old house in Little Village(Chicago) and we where in the living room talking and all of a sudden I looked over to one of the small tables and there was this electric clock/thermometer that would display the temperature (71F) and below it the word "irn". So I asked one of my sisters what that meant and she said the clock tells you an opinion on how the climate will be on a certain day and "irn" meant it would be a "raw, pleasant day"....whatever that means...and this morning at work i typed in "irn" on google and one of the first pages that pops up is some enviromental page called "International Rivers Network" I have no idea what my subconscious is trying to tell me....

Monday, June 20, 2005

strange dream


I had this lucid and strange dream last night: I was in some art school in a city that doesn't exist and with people i've never met. Everything seemed so real. We were staying in dorms in a neighborhood that resembled some low income/decayed area. And one of our assignments was to create public art, so we walked around the neighborhood and created installations using found objects and materials. We separated into groups and during our walk I saw this futuristic 2 wheeled cycle. My quick sketch is above. It reminded me of the vehicles in the movie "Tron". Anyways we were crossing the street as this 2-wheeled cycle was speeding. It tried passing this other futuristic garbage truck(i don't remember the design though) but the truck scooped up the 2-cycle and threw it up on top to it's disposal area crushing it and the driver...Talk about tapping into a parallel universe...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

This woman from work showed me a photo album of her parents' wedding June 1960 and to see such a detailed record of an event so long ago was aswesome. That made my day. Since the last post I have bought a cheap used car to get me places. The only thing is my license is supended due to massive past parking tickets totaling $3500, so I am very careful and not driving it that much. I was a bad boy years ago.

Anyways, I was recently invited to submit work for this fall's Day of the Dead at the
Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum. They will dedicate the entire show to the life of Carlos Cortez, and activist, artist and poet who died earlier this year. So the image below is my homage to him. It is a digital print on canvas which will be shown with 500 postcards of one of his poems. And these cards will be free to the public.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Version 05 - Harold and Anna

Here are two wonderful artists who have shown at Polvo and are participating in Version 05's NFO EXPO. Harold Mendez will have a solo show in June 2005. Anna Mayer is leaving chicago this fall to California to complete her studies.

As soon as I walked into the Zou B. Center(who lent the space for Version 05) I saw the Kuntshalle Exhibition on the first floor and was blown away. I was bombarded by all these new media experimental projects. I knew then this surpassed all the art fairs from this weekend. The 2nd floor was just as good with alternative spaces/collectives and NPR(Neighborhood Public Radio) broadcasting via the net. Check out the web site:

family stuff

And after hanging out at Version05, I had to stop by my parent's house for my nephew Jaime's 6th birthday party. Here he is pretending to fall asleep after blowing out the candles.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

a lot of art events this weekend in Chicago

There are 3 art fairs happening this weekend:
ArtChicago/Stray Show:
Nova Art Fair:

I'll definitely try to go to the NOVA and NFO EXPO(forget Art Chicago) and report back next week along with some pics.

Monday, April 04, 2005

NIU art gallery

I stopped by April 1st to see an interesting show of latina women artists at Chicago's NIU gallery/museum( The show featured work by Edra Soto, Paola Cabal, Dianna Frid, Gisela Insuaste, and Jessica Almy-Pagan. These are some of the most interesting women artists of latin american origin who are doing innovative contemporary work at this point in time in Chicago. Most of them have shown at Polvo at one time or another and are good friends of mine.

After I walked into the gallery the installation that was in the center was that of Gisela's vertical organic looking sculptures(the picture above is from her show at Polvo Well I remember from her show, the scultural pieces can easily fall since the black shapes just rest and balance on top of the sticks, so any movement can tumble them down. Anyways when I walked up to see it, most of them where on the floor. I thought maybe this time Gisela intended for some to be on the floor. You know artists can sometimes change their statement or can conceptually bullshit about anything. It wasn't until I was talking to Edra that she told me some visitor brushed up against one the pieces and that created a domino effect until most of them where on the floor. Wow! talk about an opening night performance!

Friday, March 04, 2005

ipod shuffle

i bought an ipod shuffle recently and it arrived yesterday! to my surprise i cannot use it on my mac os 9, so i have been downloading songs at work on a pc. it's so wonderful and so tiny! apple rocks!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005



Here's a shot of part of my show. You can see all of it here: