phiffer.org

Dan Phiffer Dan Phiffer builds websites, makes art, and teaches in NYC

Bryan Denton in today’s NY Timeswww.nytimes.com

It’s pretty thrilling to discover someone you know doing amazing work. I went to elementary school with Bryan Denton, a photojournalist working for the New York Times. He has some great photos accompanying this front page article about attacks on U.S. soldiers by their Afghani trainees.

Capt. Mohamed Qasem of the Afghan Army, left, lighting a cigarette for Lt. Jason Davis of Greenville, S.C. At the personal level, the Sangesar attack was a nightmarish betrayal for the units involved, whose commanders initially struggled to figure out how the Afghans and Americans who share the base could possibly cooperate again.

He was also featured last year on the NYTimes Lens blog:

Q: You returned to Misurata after Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed there. Why?
A: It was hard. I had this knot of dread in my stomach the entire time we were on the boat on our way back to Misurata. I had a lot of confidence in the way Chris [Chivers] and I were working and moving around the city, but more than any other moment on this assignment, I seriously considered the prospect of getting hurt or killed.

Link

Throw-away manifestos and the New Aestheticwww.thestate.ae

Adam Rothstein’s response to Bruce Sterling’s essay on the New Aesthetic:

The only manifesto for such a thing could be a Tumblr, and the confusion and consternation that such a lack of directness would cause is its own militancy. It may be irritatingly meta, but that an aesthetic that is largely about glitchy digital networks should be discussed only via glitchy digital networks is hardly surprising … There is a consistency in the drive to move past the manifesto itself, to let the aesthetic actually take over. The aesthetic may be a gooey sort of object-oriented ontology, or it might be a fetishization of pixels, but at some point we move past the urge to talk about what it is that we’re doing, and just start doing it. The forced rhetorical conviction becomes superfluous as the proposition becomes reality.

Link

Taryn Simon’s China vs. Rian Dundon’s China

Two very different approaches.

Changsha by Rian Dundon (support his book project on emphas.is)

“I always thought of it as a kind of collaboration,” he said. “I’m here, I’m hanging out, and I don’t really know anything. So I’m going to let people lead me and see what kind of threads I can be led along. And if I give it enough time, those threads will lead to other threads.”

Dundon lived in China for six years, unofficially documenting his experience there. In contrast, Taryn Simon used the process of seeking officially sanctioned representation as a kind of material for her project.

A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters by Taryn Simon

China’s State Council Information Office (SCIO) was solicited in 2009 to select a multi-generational bloodline that would “represent China” for this project … Previously known as the Office of Foreign Propaganda, the SCIO researches, develops, and manages China’s external publicity activities.

This is just a small part of Taryn Simon’s exhibition that’s up at MoMA, Taryn Simon: A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII.