weekend links: migrant children crisis, Paisley Park, Tommy Orange

 John Moore/Getty Images

John Moore/Getty Images

It’s been difficult and painful, in the past week, to look at images of children at the border being taken from their parents—the result of a cartoonishly evil policy implemented by the Trump administration, whose visibility has inspired many to rise to action. One image has spread particularly quickly, for its clarity, and the agonizing emotion it depicts. Photographer John Moore describes the scene in which he took this photograph, describing the anguish he felt in the moment, and that he continues to feel. [Esquire]

Artist and filmmaker Miranda July’s latest work takes place in London, but really Los Angeles. It follows her friend Oumarou Idrissa, an Uber driver she met three years ago while en route to meet Rihanna for an interview. As visitors to the Victoria and Albert Museum track Idrissa’s movements, his sleep patterns, and his phone messages to his family in Niger, he continues with his everyday life, unaffected by the knowledge that any number of strangers are following his every move. In a moment when our actual President avoids transparency and accountability for his own xenophobic actions, I’m The President, Baby exposes realities of immigrant life in America as well as the relationship to surveillance and citizenship and identity that come along as baggage to this experience. [It’s Nice That]

In this wild ride of short fiction, Tom Comitta sources his writing entirely from the first sentences of New Yorker short stories published in the last 20 years. These Franken-stories are bizarre, funny, haunting, and surprisingly sequential, organized by topic, by recurring subject, by narrative progression. “I wanted to examine the production of prestige fiction as well as the editorial character of the New Yorker fiction section, its idiosyncrasies, biases and imaginative limits. Each vignette of ‘First Impressions’ doubles as narrative and archive, microfiction and data analysis.” [Bomb]

Trisha is the name Vivek Shraya’s parents would have given their daughter. This daughter comes alive through the series of photographs Shraya displays and recreates for a show in the Ace Hotel in Manhattan. In her newest project, the trans interdisciplinary artist, with the help of a team of loved ones, explores her relationship with her mother, who immigrated to Canada from India in the 1970s. Time is queered through these images, as Shraya evokes, reimagines, and reframes archival photographs, connecting herself with her mother while exploring the “many ways of being a woman and how these ways of being are shaped by age, time, culture, generation, migration, marriage, and so many other things.” [The Village Voice]

Amanda Petrusich brings us inside Paisley Park, Prince’s recording studio-slash-home-turned-museum. Unsurprisingly, she finds a heavily curated presentation that Prince developed as a shrine to himself while he was still alive. Who was Prince the man? Did he exist at all, or was there only Prince the star? Beyond the outfits, the guitars, and the doves, Prince remains as elusive as ever. [The New Yorker]

There are few podcasts where you’ll hear a measured voice calmly compare a section of a Kanye West song to a Mozart sonata, or place Kendrick Lamar on the same level of genius as Beethoven. But this is just some of what Cole Cuchna does on his serialized podcast, Dissect. In three seasons, he’s analyzed Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterfly, Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and, most recently, Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE. Bringing a music theory background to the analysis of these albums, Cuchna approaches these artists from a place of love and extreme respect, which carries through his close consideration of their work. “What I’m trying to do with Dissect is say ‘Hey no, let’s recognize these things now. They are on par with those great works of history, we just haven’t had the historical filter applied to them yet.’” [The Fader]

Green Eggs and Ham is fire,” declares Tierra Whack, the 22-year-old Philly-based rapper. Her new record Whack World features fifteen 60-second songs, released on Instagram, as well as other streaming platforms, and is full of her signature humor, surrealism, and vivid imagery. The album is accompanied by a visual component that is every bit as weird, surprising, and iconic as Whack’s lyrics. [Noisey]

Reframing, reusing, and retaining are the three R’s that weave through the work of Nicola Ginzel. Her creations are concerned with the disposability, destruction, and ephemerality of the detritus inherent to our daily lives, and they attempt to extend the lifespan of these inconsequential things by turning them into objects of beauty, or talismans. In this essay broadly considering Ginzel’s oeuvre, Yau argues for a deeper appreciation of the little-known artist, preserving her precious works with much the same care as she does her trash. [Hyperallergic]

If you do not want any spoilers whatsoever, Chia Chia Lin has just the summer book reports for you. [The Paris Review]

And if you would like slightly more context for your summer reads:

"There is no there there," Gertrude Stein said when she returned to Oakland, California, where she grew up. There There, Tommy Orange’s first novel, set in Oakland, is a sharply, darkly funny story of Native Americans living there. It opens with a careening journey through a history of the harm done to Native Americans, and climaxes with a sinister scene in which all the characters commune at the Oakland coliseum. This fast-paced, witty novel not only addresses the violence ingrained in the history of native peoples but also works to counter this history of erasure, bringing Native American voices to the fore while taking care to maintain the individuality of its subjects. [NPR]




—Juliet Gelfman-Randazzo