Dream of the Dragon

Tag: oil spill

Black Fashion – Vogue and the Oil Spill

by Justin

There’s a fine line between opportunistic exploitation and timely, topical art. It isn’t very hard to be inciting and controversial in the interest of generating an audience – you don’t need to look past GOP campaigns and demagogues. But sometimes controversy emerges because the artist tapped smartly into the pulse of something unspoken and framed it just right to make people uncomfortable. It’s rare and wonderful when art (and journalism) does that.

This entry into the debate comes courtesy of Vogue Italia, pouncing on the BP oil spill catastrophe and marrying the harrowing imagery of a ruined coastline with high fashion. I personally appreciate how layered my immediate reaction was – I couldn’t condemn, endorse, or dismiss the spread right out the gate. That, at least, suggests that photographer Steven Meisel‘s work isn’t completely any one thing. It is absolutely morbid, and the use of inky feathers and a model coughing up water plants the shoot comfortably in the realm of the grotesque. But it’s also kind of beautiful if you’re down with the darker side of things. Read the rest of this entry »

Poison Gets Palatable

by Justin

The focus of the Gulf spill damage has understandably been upon the crude drifting on the surface – it takes no expertise to recognize the dying marine life and the swells of copper and black floating along or lashing the shores. The effects are immediately visible and visceral to communities of both people and local wildlife. ¬†Statistics are always useful in gauging the scale of disaster, but the photographs of Deepwater Horizon’s wake have been especially stirring. There’s no lack of material, but the Boston Globe’s website killed it yesterday with its¬†Big Picture account of recent events. The copper tendrils are really quite beautiful, if ultimately terrible, in photos like the one below – more painting than ecological catastrophe. Please follow the link. It’s incredible work.

Unreal. The amazing revelation today in the NY Times, however, is that the poison ballooning onto the surface may have the opposite effect in the abyss below. Read the rest of this entry »

Oil and the whales.

by Justin

The situation in the Gulf remains incomprehensible to me – new and constantly rising estimates for the sheer volume of crude, the comparable flow of photographs depicting the assaulted ecosystem, the presidential addresses demanding 20 billion dollars from the villainous multinational corporation responsible . . . none of it contextualizes the travesty in a way that I can grasp. It’s too big. Almost too big to be tragic in a real way. Undeniably tragic, of course, but not in a gut-twisting, immediate way. At least not for a New York resident with no active link to the Gulf.

But this story drove it home. While the death of this sperm whale may not have been a direct consequence of the spill, the possibility that something so majestic and powerful fell to this negligence hurts. Sperm whales aren’t surface skimmers like their baleen-sporting cousins, they dive along the continental shelf hunting for food. Meaning they’re more likely to stumble into the black plumes of toxic crude oil. Read the rest of this entry »