Editor’s Letter – January, 2013

January 10, 2013

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As we enter 2013, I would like to take a moment to highlight some of the very special pieces that Creative Time Reports has recently published. In keeping with our mission of featuring voices from around the world, these articles hail from nations and regions including the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, the United States, Palestine, the border between Mexico and California and the waters of the high Arctic.

We continued to explore the complex and urgent theme of migration. Here in the United States, President Obama has granted a swath of undocumented youth stays of deportation under the provisions of the DREAM Act. But he has also deported 1.4 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. We partnered up with Culture Strike and invited writer Roberto Lovato to explain how art fits into, and can change, this picture.

Five million people live in the metropolitan area that stretches from San Diego to Tijuana. Cleaving the two cities is the San Ysidro Port of Entry. This video, the first Creative Time Reports open call submission we have featured to date, depicts the architecture of the world’s busiest border crossing.

Artist Katrin Greiling ventured to Dubai, tracking migration to the United Arab Emirates, which is home to over a million Pakistanis. In their leisure time, many play kushti, a traditional Indo-Pakistani form of wrestling. Greiling shares her photographs of a match that took place just behind Dubai’s famous fish market.

Palestinian author Adania Shibli wrote about the recent United Nations decision to recognize Palestine as a state with non-member observer status. In her essay, “Palestine: UN Vote Reveals the Limitations of Imagination,” Shibli laments that “with this recognition or without it, conditions remain unchanged with regards to Palestinian existence: that is to say, they have continued to worsen, tirelessly and on a daily basis, for decades.” This was our first piece to be published in Arabic.

While visiting Nairobi, I had an opportunity to meet the artists and writers behind The XYZ Show, a daring political satire that is one of the most popular television programs in Africa. For my Editor’s Podcast, “The XYZ Show: Exposing Injustice in Kenya with Latex Puppets,” we go inside the studio to speak with the XYZ team. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for a fantastic cover of Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E.,” in English and Swahili.

This holiday season, a few dozen Americans received a very special surprise gift: a letter from Occupy Wall Street offshoot Strike Debt explaining that their debt had been cancelled. Millions of American households are in debt to banks, hospitals, credit card companies and student loan providers. In this short, but powerful film, Strike Debt profiles a typical American family pursuing the new American Dream: freedom from debt.

Finally, we inaugurated our “Climate Reports” series with a short video showing poet Nick Drake reading “The Farewell Glacier” on an expedition to the high Arctic. The trip was led by Cape Farewell, a non-profit that brings together artists and scientists to foster cultural responses to climate change.

As I write this, I am planning a trip to Beijing—a city with a booming art scene—to meet with local artists whose work we hope to feature on Creative Time Reports in the coming months. It is our hope that the visit will produce an array of pieces, which, like those above, feature personal perspectives and critical interventions that question the framework of the news and offer radical recalibrations of the topics at hand.

—Marisa Mazria Katz
@MarisaMazriaK

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