Photographics · Projects · Social/Politics

Temporary Shelters by Henk Wildschut


Close to the port of Calais there is an area encompassing a few hundred square metres that is known as ‘The Jungle’. The people occupying this area have travelled many miles to get there, and their journey is still not at an end. Calais is the departure point for the final and most desirable crossing. There are thousands of people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria, all in search of a better life in Britain, the destination of their dreams.

While they await the opportunity to make the great crossing, they build temporary shelters: tent-like structures made of waste material from the immediate surroundings of the camp. In the best cases, the cultural characteristics of the country of origin can barely be distinguished in these.

The way in which the primary requirements of life are manifested in such shelters forms the leitmotif of this documentary photography project, for which I travelled extensively to Calais, the south of Spain, Dunkirk, Malta, Patras and Rome. For me, the image of the shelter – wherever it is in Europe – became the symbol of the misery these refugees experience.

All photos and text by Henk Wildschut. See project HERE

Events · Performativity · Public Space · Social/Politics · Videos

Reel-Unreel By Francis Alÿs | dOCUMENTA 13

Francis Alÿs
Kabul, Afghanistan

In collaboration with Julien Devaux and Ajmal Maiwandi

Commissioned by dOCUMENTA (13)
Produced by dOCUMENTA (13) and the
artist. Special thanks to the kids of Kabul;
Goethe-Institut Afghanistan; David Zwirner.

Eco/Adaptable · Paint/Illust./Mix-Media · Projects · Social/Politics

Roots to Resistance: Stories of courage from 12 remarkable women

“Roots To Resistance is an Art and Activism Project in which I am painting twelve Women Activists on a large scale, doing groundbreaking, risky and extremely important work here on the planet. In addition to the portraits, the Roots Project has created a Global Postering and Postcard Campaign that displays each of the Women Activists and the issues they fight for and against, and sends them across the world via global partnerships with organizations and individuals. These Campaigns seek to build social engagement and support systems through international and local partnerships, working together to empower people and communities. People are Postering and passing out Postcards in Kenya, Russia, Guatemala, Australia, South Africa, Afghanistan, New Zealand and across Europe and the United States. A School in Portland Oregon is using the Postcards and posters as part of its curriculum and Prison Book Projects across the U.S. are partnering with the Roots Project to bring the postcards to folks living inside of the prison system. It is so deeply inspiring to see that people out there in our communities care about these issues, and so powerful to raise our voices together in support of these women and in support of each other as we engage in such profoundly important resistance work on the planet!

I am remembering that while we are helping to share the histories of these women, the present times we are living in like many times past, will be the histories of the future. As we watch entire countries and communities around the globe risking so much to rise against oppression, I am reminded that in these times we are writing our histories and the histories of others with what we do and say and with our actions vs. inactions. I give profound thanks for the work that these 12 women are engaged in, under tremendous pressures and at great risk to themselves, and I encourage everyone to consider the histories we are each writing here today. With our support of and partnership with each other, we will help to lift up the voices of many as they continue to lift us up. Thank you!”

Denise Beaudet

Human-ities · Projects · Technology

Afghanistan’s DIY Internet / YOU can do it as well

FabFi is an ambitious project which is creating Internet networks for eastern Afghanistan whose main components can be built out of trash. It’s low-tech, it’s simple–and it works.

The Afghan city of Jalalabad has a high-speed Internet network whose main components are built out of trash found locally. Aid workers, mostly from the United States, are using the provincial city in Afghanistan’s far east as a pilot site for a project called FabFi.

It’s a broadband apart from the covert, subversive “Internet in a suitcase” and stealth broadband networks being sponsored by the U.S., aimed at empowering dissidents, but the goal isn’t so different: bringing high-speed online access to the world’s most remote places.

Residents can build a FabFi node out of approximately $60 worth of everyday items such as boards, wires, plastic tubs, and cans that will serve a whole community at once. While it sounds like science fiction, FabFi could have important ramifications for entire swaths of the world that lack conventional broadband.

FabFi is an open source project that maintains close ties to MIT’s Fab Lab and the university’s Center for Bits and Atoms. At the moment, FabFi products are up and running in both Jalalabad and at three sites in Kenya, which collectively operate as an Internet service provider called JoinAfrica. Inside Afghanistan, FabFi networks are used to aid local businesses and to prop up community infrastructure such as hospitals and clinics.

Three generations of a teaching family near Jalalabad, shown in 2009, discovered Wikipedia on a laptop from the One Laptop Per Child program. Their Internet access was facilitated by a FabFi network. Credit: Keith Berkoben/Fab Folk. NYT

Via Co.Exist. Click HERE for more info.


Talking with the Taliban

Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef (C), translator Ahmed Ratib (L) and deputy Ambasador Sohail Shaheen (L) listen to journalists’ questions during a news conference in Islamabad, October 29, 2001. Afghanistan has no need of outside help and advised Pakistani mujahideen not to enter the country, Zaeef said on Monday. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

PDF by Ahmed Rashid