Thursday 30 October 2014

Walking on the Street

According to a US-survey carried out in 2014, 65% of women and 23% of men have experienced some sort of street harassment. Women mostly reported having been sexually touched or followed while men mostly reported homophobic or transphobic slurs. LGBT individuals are particularly vulnerable: In a study of 93.000 LGBT individuals in the European Union, half of the participants said they would avoid public spaces because of street harassment (via).

- This clip went viral: 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman
- This clip soon should: 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Man

Ruth Orkin's (iconic) photograph "American girl in Italy" (1951) is often used as a symbol of harassment of women. Ninalee Craig, the woman in the photo, criticises this association (information and photograph via).

Wednesday 29 October 2014

"(...) assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation"

In April 1935, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) “was contacted by a worried mother who was seeking treatment for her son’s apparent homosexuality. Freud, who believed that all humans are attracted to both sexes in some capacity, responded with the following letter of advice.” (via)

Dear Mrs [Erased],
I gather from your letter that your son is a homosexual. I am most impressed by the fact that you do not mention this term yourself in your information about him. May I question you why you avoid it? Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of the sexual function, produced by a certain arrest of sexual development. Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and modern times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest men among them. (Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc). It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime - and a cruelty, too. If you do not believe me, read the books of Havelock Ellis.
By asking me if I can help, you mean, I suppose, if I can abolish homosexuality and make normal heterosexuality take its place. The answer is, in a general way we cannot promise to achieve it. In a certain number of cases we succeed in developing the blighted germs of heterosexual tendencies, which are present in every homosexual in the majority of cases it is no more possible. It is a question of the quality and the age of the individual. The result of treatment cannot be predicted.
What analysis can do for your son runs on a different line. If he is unhappy, neurotic, torn by conflicts, inhibited in his social life, analysis may bring him harmony, peace of mind, full efficiency, whether he remains a homosexual or gets changed. If you make up your mind he should have analysis with me — I don’t expect you will - he has to come over to Vienna. I have no intention of leaving here. However, don’t neglect to give me your answer.
Sincerely yours with best wishes,

Hidden Freud: Currently, advertising pillars with posters and quotes of Sigmund Freud are entrances to the digital exhibition "Hidden Freud" in the Austrian city of Graz. The exhibition uses both public space and digital media. 14 advertising pillars have codes for smartphones and tablets which open the door to a virtual tour to and with Sigmund Freud.

inspired by Open Culture, image via

Monday 27 October 2014

Follow Up: Harlem Renaissance

“The day of ‘aunties,’ ‘uncles,’ and ‘mammies’ is …gone. Uncle Tom and Sambo have passed on….” 
Alain Locke

Harlem and ideas related to African American culture and achievement were closely wedded together by the early 1920s. Though emancipation and the Civil War (1861-1865) had brought an end to slavery, African Americans continued to face widespread discrimination, particularly in the South. During the first half of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of Americans migrated to northern industrial and urban centers, in search of employment and better living conditions. Termed the “Great Migration,” this movement brought numerous African Americans to Harlem in Northern Manhattan. Harlem was originally a Dutch settlement that had been overdeveloped by real estate speculators at the turn of the twentieth century. The lack of readily available urban transportation discouraged residents from moving to some areas of Harlem. Sensing opportunity, African American real estate developer Philip A. Payton began purchasing properties and leasing them to tenants (literally via Harlem Renaissance Docent/Educator Resource Guide).

It was only a matter of time before African American businesses, churches, and other communal organizations moved to Harlem, forming a “Negro metropolis.” By the 1920s, Harlem became a symbol of pride and achievement, and also a place of opportunity and fantasy. Jazz, cabarets, and Prohibition-era speakeasies brought numerous whites to Harlem, many fascinated with African American culture and their notions of the “primitive” and “exotic.” White “patrons,” such as Carl Van Vechten, author, critic, and avid photographer, encouraged the “vogue” of Harlem (literally via Harlem Renaissance Docent/Educator Resource Guide).

Though it served as a creative stimulus of sorts, this external interest in Harlem represents only one aspect of the period; it is also the era of the “New Negro.” In use since the turn of the twentieth century, the term “New Negro” came to epitomize the quest for self-identity and desire to move beyond the stereotypes that remained from the era of slavery. Critics such as Alain Locke and W.E.B. Du Bois urged artists and writers throughout the United States to explore themes of African American life and culture and to look beyond caricature and stereotyping in their works. Artists were also encouraged to explore African art as a source of inspiration (literally via Harlem Renaissance Docent/Educator Resource Guide).

The cultural and artistic climate of the Harlem Renaissance also paved the way for later developments, such as AfriCobra and the Black Arts movement of the sixties, which prioritized an expression of the African American experience, African heritage, racial [sic] pride, and the black image (including slogans such as “Black is Beautiful”), as well as racial politics. The lasting legacy of the Harlem Renaissance lies in the continued interest in exploring, modernizing, and visualizing the African American experience, both contemporary and historical (literally via Harlem Renaissance Docent/Educator Resource Guide).

photos by Carl Van Vechten via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via; copyright by their respective owners