Sunday, January 22, 2006

Everybody Is Somebody's Terrorist

Hours after making a brief appearance at the weekly Peace Vigil in front of the San Francisco Federal Building...

...with those well-known terrorists, the Quakers (click here for a short essay by a Quaker about being under federal surveillance for 350 years)...

...I went to the monthly art opening at Supervisor Mirkarimi's offices in City Hall.

The one-man show was entitled "Everybody Is Somebody's Terrorist"... a young artist named Andy Diaz Hope (click here for his website).

It was both sinister and witty in about equal measure.

The artist himself has the following explanation of the show:
"Terrorists are the new enemy. They could be anybody. Lawless fanatics, they place no value on life, not even their own. Once someone has been labeled a terrorist they become one-dimensional; their personal history, their love of family and country, even their politics and religion are eclipsed by the public perception of irrational fanaticism. As the government continues its War on Terror, who will fall under its scrutiny as traditional terrorists become harder or more difficult to find?"

"The teachers' union has been called a terrorist organization. Past allies have migrated from freedom fighters to terrorists relative to their alignment with current US policy. Protestors advocating pro-choice, anti-war, anti-globalization, and homosexual rights have all been called terrorists. Labeling a person or group a terrorist, justly or not, immediately creates a massive character deficit that is almost impossible to overcome."

"Depending on your point of view, almost everyone can be considered somebody's terrorist. Environmentalists may consider big business as globally, economically or environmentally terrorist. The businessman might consider Greenpeace operations as terrorist acts. The aging baby boomers look at a group of teenagers dressed in street fashion and cross the street in fear."

"Local economies in developing countries embrace busloads of fat American retirees, while the local residents complain as their landscapes and livelihoods are replaced by high rise hotels and private beaches they will never see the inside of."

"Everybody is Somebody's Terrorist is a series of hand knit balaclavas representing a variety of socio, economic, or political groups that someone might consider terrorist. Each mask is the subject of a series of photo essays and videos that explores our relationship to that group and the ideologies it represents as well as our comfort level with extremity of the label of terrorist."

The artist seemed to be having a great time at his own exhibition...

...which has already been seen at a fancy-schmancy gallery in Manhattan. Check it out.


PWS said...

Great post. I miss San Francisco and the thriving "crazies" community.

On Craft:
You wouldn't want to hang out with a dude who was close with the greatest composer of the century, W.H. Auden, Aldous Huxley, T.S. Eliot, Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, Jean Cocteau etc.? C'MON!

Trevor Murphy said...

Why, those are just like the face masks grandma used to knit for terrorism in Sun Valley back in the '40s!

Very nice photos and commentary.

cedichou said...


did you happen to city the string quartet from the SF symphony performing in front of city hall today to raise awareness to their union debate (and potential cancellation of the trip to China)?
I heard about it, but I guess you might have been there in person.

AlbGlinka said...

Impressive work. I HEART Clown Art.

Oh, I guess you figured that out, huh...

:-) Alb/Grove

sfmike said...

Dear Ced: Did not see the musicians protesting, but thanks for the heads up. I'm going to the old ladies' matinee on Thursday afternoon at the symphony and will be sure to ask people what they think. And thanks for the funny comments, pws, trevor and albglinka.

cedichou said...

I'll be one of the old ladies at the matinee, most likely seating in the orchestra. If you wear your star wars jacket, maybe I'll recognize you.