Archive for October 5, 2005

Cao Fei More Chinese Art

Matthew Barney’s continues to look kinda quant next to China. Cao Fei is another of what I guess counts as surrealists turning the magic of cinema into the world of magic realism or something of that sort. Que up Lacan or something like that, you could spend weeks disecting Cao Fei’s worlds, but like Fudong her work doesn’t seem to be autobiographical the way Barney’s does. If anything, from the pictures I see, it seems to be more about moving through myth than creating one around you.

Like a lot of Chinese stuff, if you have to find a trend, there seems to be a genuine sense of humor in the whole thing. As Helen Zhou’s shangart proclaims as you enter, “now is the best time to buy chinese art,” and you have to wonder, is it jest, half-serious claim, or really just pretension? It seems to sum up a block of artists that are amazingly humane.

Other notable asian art stuff today:

Singapore group Kill Your Television


Fukuoka Asian Art Trieannle.

October 5, 2005 at 9:38 am Leave a comment

Religion and Violence

There’s been a wealth of studies recently linking Religion and all sorts of social ills. One, which I can’t find right now, recently linked Christianity to Gonorrhea. Anyway, Daniel Chen(marginal revolution post is the link there), an economist in training at the University of Chicago, has done these studies of islamic communities in Indonesia. Qoute from the abstract:

“Stronger measures of religious intensity are more strongly associated with social violence. Social violence is negatively associated with other social activities. These results are unlikely to be driven by omitted environmental variables: social violence increases fastest where participation in Koran study also increases the fastest, and this is not true for state or industrial violence. Religious intensity is more strongly linked with social violence in regions that are more economically distressed. ” – Daniel Chen

I haven’t read Chen’s paper, but fundementalism ceases when credit is available. What he means by credit by I don’t know, but if access to money is the problem then any country with an adequate micro-credit program should see significant drops in religious zealotism. Ahhh micro-credit… can you do no wrong?

Here’s another study showing that discovering rates of aetheism is hard and concludes:

Based on a careful assessment of the most recent survey data available, we find that somewhere between 500,000,000 and 750,000,000 humans currently do not believe in God. Such figures render any suggestion that theism is innate or neurologically based untenable. The nations with the highest degrees of organic atheism (atheism which is not state-enforced through totalitarian regimes but emerges naturally among free societies) include most of the nations of Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. There also exist high degrees of atheism in Japan, Vietnam, North Korea, and Taiwan. Many former Soviet nations, such as Estonia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus also contain significant levels of atheism. Atheism is virtually non-existent in much of the world, however, especially among the most populated nations of Africa, South America, the Middle East, and much of Asia. High levels of organic atheism are strongly correlated with high levels of societal health, such as low homicide rates, low poverty rates, low infant mortality rates, and low illiteracy rates, as well as high levels of educational attainment, per capita income, and gender equality.

I’m not against religion and despite that recent Dawkins article I linked to, the extremism being studied by both Chen and condemmed by Dawkins isn’t the norm. Wealth and college, the two common folklores for zealots, often don’t take away religion, but probably make Religion look something like this. It’s a shame Gladwell’s article on Rick Warren isn’t online yet. New Yorker…. damn you….

October 5, 2005 at 6:12 am 1 comment


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