March 1, 2007

Connecting Sony Playstations and the violence in the Congo

The article linked below describes the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and suggests that this is driven by the demand for Coltan-- the metal that conducts heat in Sony Playstation. It begins with the assertion:
"This war has been dismissed as an internal African implosion. In reality it is a battle for coltan, diamonds, cassiterite and gold, destined for sale in London, New York and Paris. It is a battle for the metals that make our technological society vibrate and ring and bling, and it has already claimed 4 million lives in five years and broken a population the size of Britain's."

Congo: The War the World Ignores
by Johann Hari, UK Independent

War-Devastated Congo, Your Remote Control, Playstation and Cell Phone.
AUDIO - Amy Goodman interviewing Johann Hari

Development is theoretically supposed to proceed from the exploitation of natural resource and primary industry on up to specialization and urbanization. Sachs has argued that the pattern in Africa of natural resource extraction has failed to build the infrastructure on which to base development, and that other strategies that focus on investment in human capital are possible.

The complicated debate that informs contemporary political decision making has two poles represented by two New York based academics: Jeffery Sach, Director of Columbia Earth Insitute an author of "", who occupies a pro-AID position, and -- who's contest with Sachs is characterized by adhominum attacks, and a pro-market based approach.

Posted by admin at 4:22 AM | Comments (0)

February 4, 2006

Edward Burtynsky: China


This fall the Toronto-based landscape photographer Edward Burtynsky introduced a new series of photographs from China. In particular, his 'Manufacturing' series, taken in factories throughout China's southern province of Guangdong, mark a departure from his previous work, characterized by technically skilled but often romanticized depictions of industrial landscapes. His earlier 'Shipbreaking' series, for example, documents the incredible dismantling of enormous steel ships in Chittagong, Bangladesh as a purely formal exercise with little or no reference to the laborers or the life-threatening conditions in which they work.

Most of Burtynsky's work in China continues in this vein, but his manufacturing series is arresting - for once, his formal interests in scale intersect with the organization of human labor. While statistics on the growth of China's manufacturing sector are by now well rehearsed, Burtynsky's photographs attest both to the immediacy of visual information, and more importantly, to the social restructuring effecting this growth.

Edward Burtynsky