Animals as people.

Celia Rowlson-Hall is a filmmaker, dancer, and choreographer. There’s a great sense of whimsy to her work that reminds me of all that I love about Miranda July’s projects. My favorite piece of hers thus far is a short performance film that pokes some fun at the absurdities of The Audition process. I hope to one day collaborate with her.

Photographer Chris Arnade has spent several years documenting the people who live in New York City’s poorest neighborhood and not surprisingly where the best quality of heroin is to be found, Hunt’s Point. His deep commitment to revealing certain truths about the relationship between addiction, abuse and poverty is clear in a large body of work, as we can see his intimate rapport with the subjects. He simply sees them as “human beings,” people in a bad place and in need of help that probably isn’t coming. While most of America spends their Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays with their loved ones, Arnade huddles up in the cold, under highway overpasses with those whose lives are most destitute - 16 year old prostitutes, heroin and crack addicts, those that society would rather not recognize. Accompanying the photos of the flickr page for his Faces of Addiction series, are text entries that provide a greater understanding on the background of each image’s subject. This is some of the best photo-journalism that I’ve seen in a long time. More words and pictures from the series can be found on an accompanying blog. This one particularly poignant entry struck me hard. It gives insight into the creation of a prison class of people, and the design of a process made intentionally difficult to communicate with them.

I can recall the first time I came across Dan Flavin’s artwork in person. I was completely enamored by it and still am. Yet, I’d struggle to explain exactly what it is that I’m so compelled by in his work. More interesting to me than what an adult would have to say of his work is what a child might have to say. Here are 3 minutes worth of kid’s opinions on an untitled Dan Flavin piece that was installed in their Liverpool school for one day.

Nine months ago, my wife and I adopted a pit bull from a local Brooklyn rescue organization doing amazing work. The shelter, Sean Casey Animal Rescue places over 100 dogs a month in homes and is widely considered the best operation of it’s type in New York City. They’re a no kill facility and only take-in animals that they believe can be re-homed. When we first went to visit the shelter and look at the available dogs, we were immediately drawn to a rather large pit bull named Judson. He eventually came home with us, and with a quick name change to Jax, he became a member of our family. At just 9 months old, he was already one of the largest dogs there. He looked so big in his crate that I didn’t even realize that he was puppy. While most of the dogs barked in a chorus begging to be chosen for the chance to have a walk and stretch their legs, Jax was calm. He licked our fingers over and over through the metal grid that separated us. But the thing that most attracted us to him was his stunning appearance - all white with brown pinto spots, yellow eyes and a pink nose. Suddenly, our plan to adopt a dog closer to 2 years old was awry.  We took him for a walk around the block. He had no idea how to walk on a leash. He bounced around springing high in the air. It was evident that (like all dogs) this was going to be serious work.

We thought that we should take a few dogs out in hopes of discovering some unknown detail that might help us figure out which one to take home. When the decision came down to two dogs (both pit bulls), we were finding it quite hard to decide which one was right for us. Pak was a slightly older, very mellow dog who was all black with a white chest and feet. I went back to the shelter every day for a week and spent an hour with each dog with the hopes that I might learn something about them, that one would give me the signal that I needed. The workers at the shelter could see that I was determined to rescue one of them, but was struggling with how to decide. Without pressuring, they gave their opinion that Pak was the right one. I asked question after question. Did they think Pak would be rescued soon, as he had already been there a few months longer than Jax? The answer - “It’s hard to say. Black dogs are much harder to place.”

My reason for posting this is simple. Even when deciding which dog to rescue, appearance, color of the fur is a major determining factor in which dogs will find a new home. As I mentioned, Sean Casey places over a hundred dogs a month. Nine months later, Pak (a sweet and very well behaved dog) has yet to find a home.

Today, I discovered LaNola Stone’s photo project Least Likely To Be Adopted. The idea was to take “fashionesque images” of the longest running residents of her local shelter. She photographed portraits of the dogs which were believed to be least likely to be adopted. After these images which display a sense of personality were taken, each dog was adopted.

(via Design Observer)

15 Extraordinary Black & White Films (Since 1980)

The White Ribbon by Michael Haneke, 2009
Control by Anton Corbijn, 2007
Lake of Fire by Tony Kaye, 2006
Angel-A by Luc Besson, 2005
Dark Days by Marc Singer, 2000
Institute Benjamenta by the Brothers Quay, 1996
La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz,1995
Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch, 1995
Ed Wood by Tim Burton, 1994
Man Bites Dog by Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel, and Benoit Poelvoorde, 1992
Tetsuo: The Iron Man by Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989
Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders, 1987
Rumble Fish by Francis Ford Coppola, 1983
The Elephant Man by David Lynch, 1980
Raging Bull by Martin Scorsese, 1980