Nauru mocked by media bullies

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AS regional neighbours, Australia and Nauru share a close history that includes solidarity during wartime, and we share the same journey towards a peaceful existence. Baron Waqa * – The Daily Telegraph However while many Australians have heard of Nauru, most know little about us. To understand our country — and other Pacific island nations — it is important to acknowledge our lifestyle, beliefs and cultural dynamics. We are a Christian nation. Our motto is ‘‘God’s will first’’ and we ... Read More »

Turkish President Erdogan fined 10,000 lira for calling statue symbolising peace a ‘monstrosity


The statue was a symbol of unity between Turkey and Armenia An Istanbul court has ordered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay an artist 10,000 Turkish Lira (£2,500) in compensation, after the politician called his sculpture a “monstrosity.” Kashmira Gander The Independent Mehmet Aksoy’s Monument to Humanity featured two human figures towering 30 metres above the eastern city of Kars, and was designed to symbolise reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia. But Mr Erdogan made his feelings towards the piece clear ... Read More »

Artists protest against Cuban artist Tania Bruguera’s detention


Group of 14, including four Turner prize winners, condemns arrest and legal charges over free speech performance piece in Havana Hannah Ellis-Petersen The Guardian Fourteen of the world’s most prominent artists, including Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor and painter Howard Hodgkin, have publicly condemned the detention of Cuban artist Tania Bruguera. In an open letter to the Guardian on Monday, the group of artists – which includes four Turner prizewinners – collectively expressed their concern at Bruguera’s arrest and the subsequent ... Read More »

The greatest mistranslations ever


After Google Translate’s latest update, BBC Culture finds history’s biggest language mistakes – including a US president stating ‘I desire the Poles carnally’. Fiona Macdonald BBC Google Translate’s latest update – turning the app into a real-time interpreter – has been heralded as bringing us closer to ‘a world where language is no longer a barrier’. Despite glitches, it offers a glimpse of a future in which there are no linguistic misunderstandings – especially ones that change the course of ... Read More »

Alexander the Great claimed by both sides in battle over name of Macedonia

Alexander the Great

Alexander waxwork given pride of place in Macedonian museum in latest example of symbolic point-scoring by Skopje Nikola Gruevski’s love affair with statues began with Alexander the Great. In 2011, much to the consternation of Greece, the Macedonian prime minister had the world’s largest sculpture of the warrior king installed in Skopje’s central square. Now, after peppering the capital with grandiose bridges, a gargantuan triumphal arch, concert halls, theatres, new government buildings and artworks great and small, the premier has ... Read More »

New Scans of the Voynich Manuscript, a Medieval Book No One Can Read


The Voynich Manuscript is one of the most obsessed-over historical enigmas. A medieval book dating from the late 15th or 16th century, its strange, flowing script has never been deciphered, its origins never determined. The 113 plant illustrations it contains seem to depict no flora found on Earth, and throughout its vellum pages are visuals of the cosmos, a small army of naked women cavorting through pools of water, and the arcane alphabet that has so frustrated linguists and cryptographers. As the Yale Daily News reported last ... Read More »

Inside the Notorious Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre


Susan wrings her hands and twitches as she speaks, jerking her head from side to side. She is clearly not well. “I ate washing powder to try and kill myself,” says the nervous woman in her fifties. Her eyes flash wild. “It was all I could find. I wanted to die. I would rather die than go back.” Susan, whose name has been changed, as have those of all the residents quoted in this article, at their own request, says ... Read More »

China Weighing More Emphasis on Traditional Culture in Textbooks


Education officials in China are considering changes to elementary and middle school textbooks that would  expand the study of Chinese philosophy and literature, a shift that some education experts say is connected to recent efforts by the government to emphasize China’s cultural heritage. At an annual education conference this past weekend in the southwestern city of Chengdu, Wang Xuming, president of the state-owned Language and Culture Press, told reporters that his publishing house had revised its Chinese language and literature ... Read More »

Pussy Riot On Art, Activism, and Their Name’s Hilarious Russian Translation


On November 2nd, Pussy Riot members Masha Alekhina, Nadya Tolokonnikova, and Petya Verzilov joined Klaus Biesenbach for a discussion at MoMA PS1, in conjunction with the museum’s current exhibition, “Zero Tolerance“, which features the group’s work. After making an unsurprisingly badass entrance in colored sunglasses (sans facemasks) and a pause to take an Instagram photo from the stage, the trio dropped some wisdom, both hilarious and heartbreaking, on the crowd. For example: Ever wonder what the name “Pussy Riot” translates to in ... Read More »

Canada’s new human rights museum shares oral histories from genocide survivors

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WINNIPEG (AFP).- A new museum in Canada’s western prairies has amassed a unique collection of personal stories from genocide survivors, human rights defenders and others, and wants to share them. Dedicated to the 60-year-old notion of human rights, a singular but intricate ideal, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba will open its doors on November 11. It was conceived by now-deceased mogul Izzy Asper, who once controlled CanWest Global Communications Corp, one of the world’s largest media ... Read More »

How to Kill a Culture in 3 Easy Steps


Over the past few years I’ve been filming interviews with random people I’ve met from the streets of New York, to Prague and from the farms of Eastern Europe to the Midwest and Western United States. I’ve interviewed hundreds of people from farmers, artist, workers, professors and even celebrities and pop stars, and in nearly all cases most people especially in the United States, haven’t a clue about what culture is. I’ve gotten responses from, “Its some fifty-dollar word that ... Read More »

Mapping the European Union’s Massive Crackdown on Immigrants


This month saw the largest single-operation crackdown on undocumented immigrants in European Union history. Dubbed “Mos Maiorum” (a Latin phrase referring to the “ancestral custom” of the Roman Empire), the initiative, which ran from October 13 to October 26, saw EU member states join forces to clamp down on illegal immigration and the organized criminal syndicates that facilitate it. Operations of this kind happen twice a year and are growing in size as the number of migrants in Europe increases. ... Read More »

Why Do We Make Art? Author Explores The Depths Of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Brain To Find Out


“The good painter has to paint two principle things, that is to say, man and the intention of his mind. The first is easy and the second difficult.” Leonardo da Vinci, the man who pondered these thought centuries ago, was an innovator across art and science, who obsessed not only over the rigors of beauty, but over the creative processes taking place deep inside his mind. Leonard Shlain, the late author and surgeon beloved for books like Art & Physics, ... Read More »

The Vatican Library’s Amazing Documents Are Finally Online


The news: The Vatican Library is getting an e-upgrade. The official library of the Holy See is undertaking a massive digitization project designed to upload hundred of thousands of books and images from its physical archives into an online database. As Business Insider reports, nonprofit organization Digita Vaticana Oculus was founded in 2013 with the goal digitizing 80,000 manuscripts. That’s just a little over half the approximately 180,000 manuscripts, 1.6 million books and 150,000 images that are housed in the library. ... Read More »

Sweden Has Its Own Font


But they’re worried it’s maybe a little too nationalistic (at least for them). Type has a way of speaking to us. I mean, of course it does: Type spells out words. So let me rephrase that: Typefaces have a way of speaking to us. Comic Sans can’t be taken seriously. Helvetica, ubiquitous, clean, used everywhere from corporate logos to the New York City subway, is often used for clarity and neutrality. But what if you need your font to represent ... Read More »

With so much “stuff” out there in the world, can we still tell what is art and what isn’t?


From U2’s forcedly ubiquitous new album to “rediscovered” paintings from centuries ago, we are surrounded by things that lose and gain artistic status according to their context. It must have seemed like a great idea at the time – Apple and U2 deciding to team up and give every iPhone and iPad user a free copy of the band’s new album Songs of Innocence along with their update of the operating system. The response from users was not so gracious though, with ... Read More »