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robertogreco : loss   13

#59 – Spring 2018 | Rattle: Poetry
[via: https://www.rattle.com/final-portrait-of-the-sudanese-by-dalia-elhassan/

"Dalia Elhassan

FINAL PORTRAIT OF THE SUDANESE

my parents sit side by side
in the half-light

two bodies, a half-world
away from me, singing

the way only sudanis know
how to.

[image: eDalia]

shuf al-zaman ya yuma
sayignee ba’eed khalas

look at this time, oh mama,
it’s taking me so far

on the uptown 6 train
my father—in sudan

—calls to ask us how we’re doing
are you okay? how’s your mother?

my mother, in the bronx,
waiting for her children

to come home,
to learn her mother’s language,

i swallowed two other languages
before downing my own

gutted my throat
of any accent

spent years tearing
up maps of africa

trying to rub the sandalwood
musk from behind my ears

i don’t bother to learn
the songs my parents sing,

instead i write poems,
about our hyphenated bodies

about the frankincense smoke
dancing on hot coal

about their hands
that never touch

and all the ways
i hardly recognize them.

—from Rattle #59, Spring 2018
Tribute to Immigrant Poets"
poetry  immigration  migration  poems  sudan  immigrants  memory  generations  loss 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Teju Cole en Instagram: “When someone dies whom we love, a relative, friend, or hero, the losses have something in common, though the intensity naturally varies. (I cannot speak to the death of a lover, which seems to be something else again—but perha
"When someone dies whom we love, a relative, friend, or hero, the losses have something in common, though the intensity naturally varies. (I cannot speak to the death of a lover, which seems to be something else again—but perhaps even there, there is this commonality.) What they have in common is this: there was this other who helped us in a particular way, and now this other is gone, and the help they gave has gone with them. To be bereaved is to be bereft. It is to be deprived. In mourning, in addition to raw grief, there is the loss of help. There used to be complicity, a task (an emotional task, for instance) that two people accomplished together. Now one, the survivor, no matter how reluctant, must do it alone. This is why one aspect of loss is a feeling of suddenly being forced to "grow up." It is not only a hollowing sadness that demarcates grief, it is the knowledge that what two used to do, whatever that was, whether or not it was even given a name, whether or not it was reciprocal (in the case of heroes it rarely is), one now must do alone. In the zone of your complicity with the one you love, this relative, friend, or hero, you are a child. Possibly you are children there together. Death compels you to put away childish things, and always too soon."

[also from Teju Cole on day of John Berger’s death: https://www.instagram.com/p/BOxl2gejlXz/ ]
tejucole  death  loss  childhood  grief  mourning  deprivation  complicity  togetherness  2017  johnberger 
january 2017 by robertogreco
The Last Photo | PhotoShelter Blog
"Ever since junior high school, I was the kid with the camera. And many years later, I’m still the guy who shows up to every life event with camera in hand to document the lives of my friends.

I used to carry around a hulking DSLR, but the weight bothers me, and the large size feels too intrusive for the everyday. I don’t want to interrupt life by taking photos, I simply want them to remember the fractions of a second that end up representing curated slices of life.

Within my archive of hundreds of thousands of photos, there are many that represent the last photo I will ever take of someone or some place. Some of these photos are inconsequential. They might capture a blurry stranger in the background, or perhaps a one-time friend forged through a glass of wine in a distant land.

Then there are the ones that matter.

***

There is a strange inflection point in life when more people you know are dying or getting sick than getting married and having kids. Suddenly, the act of taking a photo isn’t about eliciting FOMO and instant nostalgia on social media, but rather a tiny memorial of all the experiences that make up a rich life.

This doesn’t mean the act of taking a photo should be morbid. Perhaps it means that in a world where the avalanche of images has rendered so much photography worthless, there are still photos that are priceless. And for the photographer, not only is the image valuable, but so is the memory of taking the photo.

***

[photo]

The guy in the back with the pencil. That’s B and this is high school trigonometry taken with my Olympus OM-4. I remember the class vividly because Mrs. Field was a great teacher, and the class often felt celebratory. It was math, but we were having a good time.

B was a funny, cool kid. He was a senior when I was a junior, and at the time, the difference seemed interminably large. We were never friends, but there was always a sense of camaraderie in that classroom. After the year ended, B graduated, and he would otherwise be a footnote in my memory except for one thing.

That summer, he died.

People often say that teens feel invincible. I’m not sure this is accurate. I think that they simply don’t think about death because they haven’t encountered it. There is no point of reference. They have a whole life ahead of them. At least they’re supposed to.

B was the first kid I knew who died, and although I remember being floored by such a notion then, it didn’t affect me the way that it does now. Now I think about the tragedy of a life unfulfilled. What would he have become? Something exceptional? Something average? No doubt, something important to someone else, as he was on his last day.

This last photo is nothing. It’s a photobomb before photobombing was a thing. He’s not even supposed to be in the picture. Yet, there he is. The last photo is everything.

***

[photo]

Sara was one of my first hires in the early days of Web 1.0 at HotJobs. Despite an uncertain start, she blossomed, and became a big part of the department. Eventually she married, and she asked me to photograph her wedding. She moved to Seattle with her husband, and started work as a project manager.

People move, life carries on, friendships fade. But one day I got a call from our mutual friend Amanda, who urged me to go visit Sara.

I hadn’t seen her in years, and she somehow found herself with Stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 35. It was the type of dire situation that led us to plan an early Christmas, and the day before we were set to celebrate, we gathered in her bedroom to shoot the breeze.

Sara’s friend, Jennifer, grabbed my camera and shot the last photo. Not even cancer could restrain her booming laugh; her skeletal frame still capable of supporting her huge grin.

The last photo is a happy one. I remember it because John was there. Declan was there. Amanda was there. V was there. Sara smoked a joint to ease the pain before it became legal. It was good to be amongst old friends – even one last time.

***

[photo with caption “My grandfather on his 100th birthday”]

Grandparents are a shield against mortality.

With them, two generations of life stand before you — your parents and their parents — protecting you from the uncertainty of death. Once you lose your grandparents, life feels more precarious.

I am fortunate. All my grandparents lived into their 90s or 100s. My maternal grandmother was the last. For years after her husband died at 100, she lived quietly in a room adjacent to my parents’ in Honolulu. Although she had slowed physically, her mind was still sharp, and I would sometimes find her in the yard doing leg lifts.

In a world of overconsumption, hers was simple. No need for anything, save her television and La-Z-Boy. She tried pizza for the first time around the age of 90, and loved it. But other than that, her life had a predictable rhythm that was rarely interrupted.

Then one day, my father found her straining to breathe. The doctors think she suffered a heart attack. The paramedics took her to the ICU, but we finally brought her home for hospice. What was supposed to only be a week, stretched to several months — she was always resilient.

This isn’t the last photo I took of her. But it’s the one I am willing to share. A wave of wiry, salt and pepper hair of a woman who lived a simple, yet tremendous life. The last photo will not be one of pain and suffering. It will be dignified. What a fabulous head of hair!

[photo]

Fujiko Murabayashi passed away in 2015 at the age of 99.

***

Despite how it sounds, I don’t obsess over the last photo. If anything, these photos simply remind me to live a full life. They have meaning beyond the over hashtagged, hyper-curated lives displayed on social media because these images have little relevance to anyone besides me. Yet, they are most important to me — a personal treasure of pixels representing the lives that graced mine."
photography  memory  loss  allenmurabayashi  nostalgia  death  life  grandparents  friends  relationships  mortality  acquaintances  living  via:markllobrera 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Life After Death : NPR
“The world is starting to forget about Ebola. The village of Barkedu can’t.”



"At first glance, things were looking up. The weekly market had just reopened.

The health clinic, too.

Hunters were heading back into the forest. This hunter said he still avoids monkeys and bats, animals that are considered reservoirs for Ebola.

Large gatherings were safe again. Life seemed as if it were returning to normal.

But the more we talked to people, the more we realized the story wasn’t that simple. Ebola caused trauma and disruption that will stay with Barkedu for a long time to come.

We talked to farmers who can’t feed their families. Students who have missed school. A doctor who was nearly run out of town. And the woman who was left to care for many of the village’s Ebola orphans."
ebola  africa  libera  sierraleon  guinea  2015  death  disease  trauma  aftermath  storytelling  photojournalism  multimedia  barkeu  loss  photography 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Failure in the Archives | A conference celebrating the failures & frustrations of archival research.
"‘Failure in the Archives’ will provide a forum to examine everything that doesn’t belong in traditional conferences and publications, from dead-end research trips to unanswered questions.

How do we respond to the resistance, or worse, the silences and gaps, that we find in the archives? Scholarship tends toward success stories, but this conference seeks presentations from a range of disasters that arise when navigating the depths of the archive: damaged, destroyed, mislabelled, misrepresented materials, forgeries, exaggerated significance, and gaps in the historical record. Overall, the experience of failure in the archive is truly interdisciplinary, skewing the warp and woof of close reading and big data alike, not to mention posing everyday problems for archivists and librarians working on the frontlines to make their collections accessible

We welcome proposals on any aspect of early modern archival work, manuscript or print, covering the period 1500-1750. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

• Materials which challenge cataloguing standards
• Uncatalogued material – how to find it, how to access it, how to use it
• Inaccurate cataloguing – tensions between past and present.
• Broken or dispersed collections
• Damaged, destroyed, or compromised collections
• The ethics of maintaining archives
• The ethics of archival research – especially when working with sensitive material
• Absences and silences in the archive
• Difficulties conserving and preserving materials
• Conflicts of information between archival sources
• Digitisation and its discontents
• Agents in the archives: collectors, archivists, researchers"
archives  failure  loss  2014  conferences  cataloging  ethics  damage  destruction  maintenenance 
may 2014 by robertogreco
First Sentence: Aracelis Girmay | New Writing | Granta Magazine
"Small severance, when you know it’s coming, is a specific kind of heartache. Nearly mundane, it buzzes like a fly. The heart almost buckles, seeing how everything should go on, and that this mundane everything, made up of such small and ordinary parts, is exactly what one strives to keep. Our hands are small. And the world, too, is the sum of smallness, and this is part of the surprise and part of the grief.



In Brenda Shaughnessy’s poem ‘Headlong’ she writes, ‘Be strange to yourself,/ in your love, your grief.’ I carry this quote and love it and do not know all of the reasons why.

In our difficult or blissful moments, I think that strangeness is what troubles or opens us into discovery. Wanting to explore the strangeness of that mourning (when and where it would rear its head), was what pushed me backward into the poem to discover that at the heart of the difficulty, was music. And that part of what I hadn’t realized until writing the poem is that that music represented, to me, not just a severance from family but from my language, my cultural references, registers, and values. In fact, this is where much of the sorrow lived. The severance from many of the sounds I knew and loved. And so part of what this poem seeks to do – and what I seek to do in my work, in general, in my teaching, is to encourage and cultivate our specific and idiosyncratic languages, voices. As John Edgar Wideman writes it, language evolving from ‘the body’s whole expressive repertoire.’ It is easier to see this in the work of my students but it must also be true for each of us: in a sense, home and personal knowledge of one’s potential contribution, one’s worth, one’s beauty, one’s history (which is to say, shared history) are at stake."
strangeness  poetry  aracelisgirmay  brendashaughnessy  2014  johnedgarwideman  language  voice  voices  self  discovery  poems  multiplicity  self-knowledge  senseofself  beauty  personhood  unease  loss  mourning  change  memory  memories  smallness  grief  small 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Birdland Jazz » FAQ
"What is your business model?

Our business model is to lose money every bbq/jazz event; and we are very good at it; so good at it that we have expanded bbq/music programming to three days a week and will soon add Thursday nights when we get another neighborhood dog to volunteer to clean up after rib bones in the venue. We are not for profit nor are we non-profit. We are a for loss social venture. It is based on an old Northwestern Native American tradition of competitive wealth destruction called Potlatch where members of the tribe or community destroy their wealth occasionally and shower the entire community with food and gifts; in our case we shower our members with food and music three times a week. Even if that means the week’s sponsor eats Top Ramen or sardines in a can the entire week to pay for the weekend’s bbq, our sponsors in the neighborhood will do it.

How can I support Birdland?

1. Sponsorship: Don’t eat for a week or eat top ramen and sardines, save that money and pay for the bbq that weekend.

2. Weekly Funraisers: Jazzistas are all about raising the level of fun, hence fun raisers, get it? So bring your positive vibe and fun energy to Birdland. Come to Birdland not to wind down from the week’s beatdown from work but to wind up and energize the folks around you.

3. Donation: Support the musicians at the door with your donation while you eat free bbq for 10 hours(9pm-6am, look at our menu–it’s straight, no chaser comfort food) and drink non alcoholic drinks, usually aqua frescas. You don’t need to bring food since it’s a POTLATCH, not potluck. BYOB to share with other jazzistas. If you don’t share your beer or wine, jazzistas will gossip about you and will call you all sorts of names behind your back and look at you like you just stole from their mothers.

4. Email List: Pinky, the beagle and Herschel, the black lab/mastiff mix have not learned how to type or use the internet; they are too busy eating leftover ribs on the sidewalk, the backyard, and the park so good luck getting an email from both of them. You know where Birdland is and when the party is going on and the websites: we have an alternative website:http://jazzista.org/

5. Wish List:

- Jazzistas should take their naps so they can stay up later in the night…ideal time to go home is 3am, at least.

- Jazzistas should have a voracious appetite for BBQ, music, and conversation.

- Jazzistas should be generous with other human beings and throw their plates and beer bottles in the right container and give their rib bones to the neighborhood dogs that attend.

- Jazzistas have 30 minute(that usually means it takes one hour to say goodbye at Birdland)goodbye conversations;

- Jazzistas don’t leave without saying goodbye to the new friends they met at Birdland.

- Jazzistas leave the last piece of meat for someone else who might be hungry or offer their last beer to some other stranger even if they really need another drink.

- If all else fails, go back to grandmother; she’ll put some common sense into your head. As my grandma used to tell me, “Use your common sense, boy!!!!!”

6. Volunteer: Clean up after yourself at the social club. Didn’t your momma train you right that you treat somebody else’s house like you treat your own house? Take two minutes before you leave each time you come to clean up after yourself, your friends, and other Jazzistas.

7. Sponsor a bbq because sometimes the bbq sponsors in the neighborhood are broke on that weekend too. But give from the heart without expecting something in return. We can always party with hot dogs and hamburgers but we prefer our seafood and ribs, chicken, and hot links. Either way, the party will continue with or without new bbq sponsors, but it sure would be nice. We had one new one this year in 2011, yayayayyyy."
bridlandjazz  nonprofits  loss  potlatch  wealthdestruction  via:javierarbona  community  canon  nonprofit 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Design Fiction as Pedagogic Practice — What I Learned Building… — Medium
"Asking students to imagine a world and design artefacts to communicate a set of beliefs or practices though the utilisation of fiction has been an essential part of the BA Design curriculum for over a decade. But the thing I’m most surprised by is how little has been written about the role of fiction and speculation as part of design education. I can understand how DF can have value in a research context in order to provoke and convince an audience of a possibility space; a mode of questioning and coercion. I can also see its role in technology consultancy, as the construction of narratives, where products, interactions, people and politics open up new markets and directions for a client. But I think people have missed its most productive position; that of DF as a pedagogic practice.

I’m fully located in the ‘all design is fiction’ camp, so I’m not a big fan of nomenclature and niche land grabs. Design as a practice never exists in the here and now. Whether a week, month, year or decade away, designers produce propositions for a world that is yet to exist. Every decision we make is for a world and set of conditions that are yet to be, we are a contingent practice that operates at the boundaries of reality. What’s different is the temporality, possibility and practicality of the fictions that we write."
pedagogy  designfiction  teaching  learning  education  mattward  temporality  imagination  speculation  design  fiction  future  futures  designresearch  designcriticism  darkmatter  designeducation  reality  prototyping  ideology  behavior  responsibility  consequences  possibility  making  thinking  experimentation  tension  fear  love  loss  ideation  storytelling  narrative  howwelearn  howweteach  2013 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Artist Lara Favaretto Celebrates the Absurd and Existentially Tragic at MoMA PS1 | Highbrow Magazine
"Before leaving the exhibition, visitors are invited to choose one of the abandoned books from a large bookcase in the lobby.  Hidden in the pages of each book is a reproduction of an image that Favaretto has collected as source material throughout her career. Walking out of the museum with a book under arm, visitors are connected with the paradoxical delight of experiencing Favaretto’s work, in the face of a constant sense of depletion, obsolescence and loss."
ps1  installations  books  loss  obsolescence  depletion  2012  via:anthonyalbright  art  larafavaretto 
september 2012 by robertogreco
RSA Animate - Choice - YouTube
"In this new RSAnimate, Professor Renata Salecl explores the paralysing anxiety and dissatisfaction surrounding limitless choice. Does the freedom to be the architects of our own lives actually hinder rather than help us? Does our preoccupation with choosing and consuming actually obstruct social change?"
culture  society  psychology  choce  renatasalecl  anxiety  socialism  communism  capitalism  regard  socialchange  change  belief  pretext  rights  paradoxofchoice  ideology  consumption  perception  presentationofself  guilt  satisfaction  opportunitycost  loss  yugoslavia  sexuality  inadequacy  selfmademan  celebrity  psychoanalysis  lacan  freud  submission  bulimia  anorexia  workaholics  failure  ideologyofchoce  politics  sociology  fear 
august 2011 by robertogreco
David Foster Wallace and “Robinson Crusoe” : The New Yorker
"REFLECTIONS about “Robinson Crusoe,” the remote island of Masafuera, and the death of David Foster Wallace. In the South Pacific, five hundred miles off the coast of central Chile, is a forbiddingly vertical volcanic island, seven miles long and four miles wide, that is populated by millions of seabirds and thousands of fur seals but is devoid of people, except in the warmer months, when a handful of fishermen come out to catch lobsters. In the nineteen-sixties, Chilean tourism officials renamed the island for Alexander Selkirk, the Scottish adventurer whose tale of solitary living in the archipelago was probably the basis for Daniel Defoe’s novel “Robinson Crusoe,” but the locals still use its original name, Masafuera: Farther Away."

[Great piece, hopefully out from the paywall soon. Short passages here: http://boingboing.net/2011/04/12/jonathan-franzen-vis.html & here: http://www.mbird.com/2011/05/solitude-suicide-screwtape-and-the-death-sentence-of-david-foster-wallace/ ]

[A positive response by Charlotte McGuinn Freeman: http://charlottemcguinnfreeman.com/2011/04/21/on-franzen-in-the-new-yorker/

[A negative response by Felix Salmon: http://www.felixsalmon.com/2011/04/the-hateful-jonathan-franzen/ ]

[Update: Most of it here: http://liberatormagazine.com/community/showthread.php?tid=1223 ]

[Update: no longer paywalled.]
jonathanfranzen  davidfosterwallace  chile  robinsoncrusoe  loss  death  life  2011  writing  travel  storytelling  masafuera  juanfernandesislands  solitude  internet  cv 
may 2011 by robertogreco
desperate optimists
"Desperate Optimists is a creative partnership between Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor.

Since 1992, we have produced a distinctive and ambitious body of work across a range of disciplines most prominently in film.

Central to our work is an ongoing exploration of identity, community, loss, hope, place and belonging. Underpinning these themes is a desire to make work that is engaging, thought-provoking, contemplative and mysterious."
art  film  media  community  performance  joelawlor  christinemolloy  glvo  loss  hope  belonging  place  identity 
january 2011 by robertogreco

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