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2:45 a.m. Interview on KPBS

I’ve been working from about 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. the last few nights to keep KPBS.org updated. Our web team, along with the news staff and other volunteers, are taking turns to keep everything up and running 24/7. As I was finishing up early this morning, Doug Myrland (KPBS general manager who was working overnight on-air), asked me a few questions about the Google map to give people a sense of how we’re doing it.

Here’s the conversation:

(It’s not exactly an award-winning performance by yours truly, but I thought it was worth a posting for posterity’s sake.)

Much has progressed since this recording. Google has joined the effort to streamline updates, and those who have been updating the county maps will now be contributing directly to our Google map. In addition, a site from Governor Schwarzenegger, calfires.com, has embedded the map directly. Local CBS is linking to the map. Wired bloggers Michael Calore and Kevin Poulsen reported on KPBS’ use of Twitter and Google maps.

(Special props to Joe Spurr for pushing the use of Twitter and Google maps.)

Lumiere – A Week’s Worth

Participating in Lumiere videoblogging:

  • 60 seconds max.
  • Fixed camera
  • No audio
  • No zoom
  • No edit
  • No effects

The rules reflect the working conditions of the Lumière brothers, who screened their first moving pictures in 1895.

[ via thestatusjoe | view more videos ]

The Sound of a New Year in Tijuana

The night sky in one of Tijuana’s neighborhoods explodes with energy in the early hours of 2007. My nephews and I share in the improvised community pyrotechnics to welcome the new year. The spirit of celebration emanates all around us.

América

One of my favorite songs about América (yes, that accent means I’m refering to the continent) is a song by Chilean hip hop group Tiro de Gracia called “América” from their album Retorno De Misericordia. Listen here and read along:

Tiro de Gracia

The song begins by describing América as a place of corruption, colonization, corporate exploitation, dictators, murderers.

América tierra vendida, explotada y herida,
América con corrupción, malos trabajos,
explotación, educación, racista, clasista,
hay muchos blancos elitistas
América con dictadores, asesinos
traficantes, mal nacidos
América mi tierra en pie de guerra
América con genocidios
por colonos no bienvenidos
América con Colón igual
muerte destrucción
América con héroes aunque el gobierno los niegue
América con mucha gente inconciente
América con muy pocos inteligentes
América con deforestación
que es igual a la tierra, muerte destrucción

The chorus then states “This is América. When God made Eden, he thought of América.”

América América esto es América
América América esto es América
cuando Dios hizo el edén pensé en América
cuando Dios hizo el edén pensé en América
América América esto es América
América América esto es América
cuando Dios hizo el edén pensé en América
cuando Dios hizo el edén pensé en América

The music and lyrics shift to describe the beauty of América, the people and rich culture.

América tierra de sabor
rimas salchis amador amor
mi tierra y cultura yo Lengua Dura
dura mi gente morena, pelo negro
yo te respeto te amo
América India JAH te bendiga
mi América Pacha Mama esta es mi cama
recuerda que el Perú es igual que tí
who are you bu umbudú guerito explotador
mama la pinga por favor

The song is scattered with references to the white racist colonizer and exploiter (You know that’s why I like it). It’s an ode to the good and the bad, a realistic portrait of a truly complicated landmass.

Dedico esto para tí
porque soy de aquí
con todo el corazón
soy tu caparazón acción
que pocos toman
porque mucho alcohol toman
recuerda que eso a los mapuches hundió
la falsa religión también la muerte apoyó
yo hablo de Historia y Geografía de tierra
y aunque a los maricas les duela
como un dolor de muelas
América suelo y tierra, sudor y escuela

This is the song I often think of when I hear people talk about being “American” in the U.S. I know a lot of people think of themselves as “Americans” but are unaware that others who drink Coca Cola but will never visit Disneyland also consider themselves “Americanos” in the continental sense. The saddest part is that many U.S. Americans mistake the country’s economic power for cultural superiority to the Spanish-speaking Américas, making them unworthy of seeing eye-to-eye as neighbors.

* * * * * * *

About a week ago, I was thinking about writing something up about the song, and on the TdG website (a web disaster, btw) I found the video for “AméricaAmérica,” which I had never seen. Unfortunately, the file took 20 minutes to download… so I figured I might as well upload it somewhere so it can get more access. Out of respect, I thought I should ask. So I did. I sent them an email asking if they didn’t have any problems with me uploading it to youtube. It took a week to get a response, but I got one (which contained the JPG I posted above). Viktor is the group’s Email Manager:

Nathan;

Vaya nuestro mas afectuoso saludo y deseos de paz y respeto para todos los seres humanos. Puedes usar el video de la forma que quieras sin uso comercial …. difundelo y todo lo que necesites …. quedamos a tu servicio.

Adjunto grafitti de la banda

Crew TDG www.tirodegracia.cl

Viktor

I immediately went to upload the video and found someone else had uploaded it while I was waiting for permission. I can’t say I’m any worse off for asking; it is nice to know they care enough to respond. Unfortunately, the video itself is a bit of a let down. From their lyrics, I expected a bit more artistic layering than what they came up with. The song still stands strong, and despite some of the rockstar cliches, they did slip in a few smart scenes and made it clear they are having a good time doing what they do.

MACSD exhibition “Strange New World” to display work from Tijuana artists

Tijuana Art Exhibition

You should definitely check out their website. Once you get past the horizontal navigation, it’s a rich experience worth a lot of exploring. The exhibition opens May 21st and runs through September 3, 2006 at both the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Downtown and La Jolla.

Tijuana is a new cultural hot spot. Influential publications in the United States, Europe, and Mexico have recognized the city as a vibrant site of innovation in the arts. Journalists, scholars, and critics alike celebrate Tijuana’s diversity of artistic production from art made with traditional media, such as, painting and printmaking to installation and conceptual art; from photography to digitally derived images; from street-level video to ambitious feature films; from utopian architectural proposals to streamlined and economic housing design. As the city’s newest art weekly recently announced, “Tijuana moves –and it’s everywhere.”

This exhibition will document the recent explosion of artistic experimentation in Tijuana, and will also explore the subtle shift in focus from art about the border experience to art that takes advantage of a new type of accelerated urbanism being pioneered in developing cities around the world.

Here’s an interview from KPBS These Days about the exhibition.

Teddy Cruz on Border Cities: Tactics of Encroachment

Yesterday, I attended a lecture on architecture and urban planning in the San Diego and Tijuana region by Teddy Cruz, professor in the Visual Arts Department of UCSD. Teddy Cruz talked about a local prototype he’s planning to build in San Ysidro that addresses issue of community-based planning through local non-profits, human traffic, zoning, transformative public space, and the problems with city bureaucracy. The visual elements of the presentation illustrated his points really well. I wish I had his slides to put up here, but I did at least record it:

Cruz is a Guatemalan living in San Diego. Much of his ideas revolve around the functionality of “third world” urban planning – or lack of planning. Tijuana is an example of emergency development, the intense and immediate demand for city growth caused by massive influx of people. The people meet their own needs first, and then the bureaucracy fills in the gaps with utilities and city services. This process has led to some of the most creative urban planning around.

Cancha

You can read more about his theory in this NYTimes article, Shantytowns as a New Suburban Ideal or read more about the lecture series here.