Weekly Reading from 06.06.2019
Visits. Trump triggered a healthcare panic in the UK when he told reporters that the NHS was on the table for a trade deal, while visiting lame duck PM Theresa May. Although his comments have left the public outraged, they raise important questions about what will happen to the NHS in a post-Brexit world. After the UK leaves the EU, the country will likely lose access to resources in the health sector, including NHS medical professionals (as many are EU nationals), medical equipment, and pharmaceuticals. On his next stop, Trump infuriated the Irish public when hecompared the border with Northern Ireland to the US–Mexico border, suggesting that they build a wall.
– The New Yorker | The Guardian
Food. Not only animals are endangered: climate change is threatening many crop varieties around the world. 96 per cent of the US’s corn varieties have been lost, as have 90 per cent of China’s wheat varieties and 80 per cent of Mexico’s maize and corn varieties. In the next 30 years, humans will have to learn not only how to survive in hotter temperatures, but also how the feed people with less genetic varieties. In Guatemala, crops are failing, leading many families to try to cross the border in order to save themselves, and especially their children, from starvation and deaths related to malnutrition. Paradoxically, US carbon emissions are partly responsible for the deprivation that drives emigration.
– Vox | The New York Times
Comedy. The artist collective Slavs and Tatars curated the 33rd edition of the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, which opens Friday 7 June. With the help of stand-up comedians, the curators have focused on works and performances that “harness the subversive power of satire” as a form of protest. However, Slavs and Tatars recognise that satire is not always progressive but also can presuppose a norm. For our French audience, the podcast “Affaires sensibles” examines what happens when the latter occurs in an episode entitled “Dieudonné, de l’humour à la haine” (“From Humour to Hatred”). Controversial French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala has become increasingly anti-Semitic; however, his fans claim his stand-up act must not be censored because it represents free speech.
– Artnet News | France Inter | The Independent
Censorship. On Sunday, photographer Spencer Tunick, known for his mass nude installations, directed a photo shoot with over a hundred participants of all genders, challenging Facebook’s censorship policies. Women wore male nipple pasties, and all covered their genitals with enlarged prints of male nipples. The action is part of the NCAC’s #WeTheNipple campaign, which has gathered signatures from over 250 artists, museums, and arts organisations. Yesterday, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that they agreed to meet with NCAC, stating “It’s important for us to hear from directly from different communities who use Facebook and Instagram.” Last spring, Facebook updated their policy to allow paintings and sculptures featuring nude figures on the platform.
– Artsy | Artnet News
In light of Pride month, the New York Time’s “Overlooked” section is featuring obituaries about remarkable LGBTQ+ people whose deaths went unreported. Yesterday’s obituary remembered Alan Turing, who produced seminal insights into what became modern computing and artificial intelligence. As one of the most influential code breakers of World War II, Turing contributed greatly to the Allied victory. Around 1952, police discovered his sexuality while investigating a burglary at his home. Because homosexuality was illegal in the UK at that time, the court ordered Turing to be chemically castrated. He died two years later at age 41.
– Alan Cowell