Poetess Jayne Cortez dies

This video from the USA is calle Artists On The Cutting Edge: Jayne Cortez.

From Associated Press:

Poet-performer Jayne Cortez dies in NY at age 78

Jan. 5 11:27 AM EST

NEW YORK — Jayne Cortez, a poet, activist and performance artist who blended oral and written traditions into numerous books and musical recordings, has died. She was 78.

The Organization of Women Writers of Africa says Cortez died of heart failure in New York on Dec. 28. She had helped found the group.

Cortez was a prominent figure in the black arts movement of the 1960s and ’70s that advocated art as a vehicle for political protest. She would cite her experiences trying to register black voters in Mississippi in the early ’60s as a key influence. She toured worldwide and had been planning a symposium of women writers to be held in May in Ghana.

She was married twice, to jazz musician Ornette Coleman and to the sculptor Melvin Edwards.


Käthe Kollwitz anti-war art New York exhibition

From the Huffington Post in the USA:

Käthe Kollwitz‘ Prints Heading To Brooklyn Museum For Rare Exhibition (PHOTOS)

Posted: 01/04/2013 10:35 am EST  |  Updated: 01/04/2013 11:49 am EST

As far as badass female artists go, they don’t get much better than Käthe Kollwitz. An upcoming exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum will present 13 rare prints from her “Krieg” (“War”) cycle.

During her career, the German artist (1867-1945) fluctuated between naturalism and expressionism in her empathetic depictions of humankind. Her visceral chronicle death, starvation, poverty and families torn apart by conflict. The emotional intensity of the works stems from Kollwitz’s personal experience with loss and depression, since her son Peter was killed in the opening days of World War One.

Kollwitz was initially unable to attend art school despite her budding talent because she was a woman, and persisted to become one of the most important German artists of the 20th century. In drawings, etchings and woodcut prints, the artist combines political pacifism and feminism in rough depictions that foreshadow contemporary street artists à la Swoon.

Käthe Kollwitz

Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867–1945). The Mother (Die Mütter), 1922–23. Woodcut on heavy Japan paper, 18 13/16 x 25 9/16 in. (47.8 x 64.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Carl H. de Silver Fund, 44.201.6. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Käthe Kollwitz

Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867–1945). The Widow I (Die Witwe I), 1922–23. Woodcut on heavy Japan paper, 26 x 18 11/16 in. (66 x 47.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Carl H. de Silver Fund, 44.201.4. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonnkollwitz brooklyn

Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867–1945). Self Portrait (Selbstbildnis), 1927. Lithograph on thin China paper, 24 7/8 x 17 15/16 in. (63.2 x 45.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 39.15. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst,Bonn

“Käthe Kollwitz: Prints from the ‘War’ and ‘Death’ Portfolios” will run from March 15 until September 15, 2013, at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Kollwitz’s impact on the future of women in art remains relevant to this day, as evident in the feminist group the Guerilla Girls, whose founder dons Kollwitz’s name as a pseudonym.

Croatian anti-nazi women, art and fashion

This video says about itself:

Excerpt from the Artist Talk with Sanja Iveković, 16.03.2012

Sanja Iveković (*1949 in Zagreb, Croatia, former Yugoslavia) studied from 1968 to 1971 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. Her photo montages, videos, performances and installations emerging since the early 1970s have been characterized by a critical questioning of the mass media and their identity-forging potential.

By personally entering into public discourse ‒ whether in the form of photographic representations in the media, or as the actual protagonist of performances ‒ Iveković brings out into the open the collective social codes of behavior based on gender-specific standardized patterns in mass media.

As one of the first explicitly feminist artists in Croatia, she has also been the facilitator and founder of a large number of political initiatives including the Women Artists’ Center Elektra and the Center for Women’s Studies in Zagreb. Iveković participated in numerous international exhibitions including documenta 11, and 12 and Manifesta 2. In November 2011, her retrospective Lady Rosa of Luxembourg took place at the MoMA New York.

By Michal Boncza in England:

Sanja Ivekovic: Unknown Heroine

South London Gallery and Calvert 22, London SE5

Friday 04 January 2013

Six large black and white photos of eye-catching female fashion models dominate this exhibition, their names prominently spelled out across the bottom of each image.

Initially their meaning is elusive but at close quarters their poignant significance becomes apparent.

A line of text below each name gives the background of each woman’s life and death as anti-fascist fighters in 1942 Croatia.

At the time the country was an obliging ally of nazi Germany and carried out its own genocide of Serbs, Gypsies, Muslims and Jews.

Yet these are not the true images of Dragica Koncar, Nada Dimic, Ljubica Gerovac, the Balkovic sisters, Anka Butorac and Nera Safaric.

The latter was the artist’s mother who survived Auschwitz.

All, in their mid-twenties and early thirties, are contemporary Yugoslav fashion models.

Sanja Ivekovic has used this subversive juxtaposition of adverts in the popular Arkzin magazine to draw the attention of the younger generation in particular to the selfless heroism of these brave young women, now all but forgotten.

Her creative impetus in reinstating women to their rightful historical position came to prominence with her 2001 Pregnant Memory project to replace the neoclassical figure of Nike (victory) on the Golden Lady obelisk in Luxembourg, a symbol of allied victory in WWI.

Its place was to be taken by the figure of Rosa Luxemburg – murdered in 1919 for her communist beliefs – who is visibly pregnant.

The original plaque commemorating male heroism was replaced with the words “Resistance, justice, liberty, independence,” “Kitsch, culture, capital, art” and “Whore, bitch, madonna, virgin” in four languages.

Predictably sections of the media were outraged and the ensuing fierce discussion spilled over to the internet, where the most violent opposition was not to the pregnant figure but the plaque.

The displacement of ideals of male bravery by abusive terms regularly used to describe women had touched the raw nerve of social convention.

Ivekovic’s exploration of, and disdain for, the media’s role in the subjugation and manipulation of women manifests itself with particular force in Figure And Ground (2005-6) and Women’s House (Sunglasses – 2002-9).

In the latter she superimposes testimonies from women victims of domestic violence over advertisements for designer sunglasses worn by abused women to hide their bruises.

The models of the adverts stand in for battered women, laying bare what Ivekovic eloquently describes as the “complex entanglement between consumerism and exploitation.”

The Mihaela caption tells us that she’s a Serb married to a Muslim and that she finally fled domestic abuse when her nationality became “a new reason” for abuse.

“He brought home his war companions and forced me to kiss their boots while they called me a Serbian whore. After spending 12 days in the hospital I decided to take my children and leave.”

In the highly topical The Black File (1976) the stories about missing daughters cut out of newspapers are paired with porn images of young girls with “sexy” names, uncomfortably reminiscent of the sexual grooming or Savile-like abuse of the underage and vulnerable.

A further and sinister contemporary connotation is of young women lost to sex trafficking.

Although an ardent and lucid feminist Ivekovic’s work is consistently marked by a thoughtfulness and restraint that makes her work all the more authentic and engaging.

She describes her artistic practice as one that directly intervenes into a surrounding world “in which the aesthetic operates in tandem with the political.”

While she distinguishes between the roles of the artist and the activist, there is a connection between the two.

“We can see them as circles of human activity that overlap in a relatively small area and that is the area in which I try to do most of my work,” she says.

As Unknown Heroine demonstrates, she inhabits that space admirably.

Runs until February 24. Free. Opening times: www.southlondongallery.org.

See also here.

Iranian leopards threatened by road plans

This video is called Caucasian (Persian) Leopard.

From Wildlife Extra:

Eleven leopards identified on proposed road route in Iran

Bafq Protected Area under threat from new road

January 2013. During a one year monitoring program in Bafq Protected Area in central Iran, eleven Persian leopards were identified, including four males and four females, and two of them are accompanied by one single and one set of twin cubs. Moreover, one of single females was filmed accompanied by an adult male which can be indication of breeding of the third female in the population.

Launched in January 2012, a one year camera trapping program was implemented by the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) and Yazd Department of Environment in partnership with (Asiatic Cheetah Project) CACP and Panthera to understand the population make up of the Asiatic cheetah and the Persian leopard across multiple reserves in central Iran, including Bafq.

It is unusual to record two different families of the leopards in a single area in west Asia, and this suggests the high potential of Bafq to re-colonize surrounding habitats, if they are properly protected. According to recent information, the female with two cubs has successfully raised her cubs and they have now left her and become independent; her last image shows that she is now solitary, probably looking around to find a mate for the next year. Moreover, both of her independent offspring have been confirmed to be female, making 6 female leopards in a single reserve, assuming that all four of the other females are still alive.

Bad news

Recently one of the Bafq Governor’s Office authorities declared that the area does not merit protection, stating “We believe that with no more than two leopards and 6 cheetahs, Bafq Protected Area does not have high environmental importance to continue its protection as a reserve”. However these investigations have revealed that the largest single population of the endangered Persian leopard in central Iran occurs in Bafq, and it is unusual to find six females in a similar sized area elsewhere in west Asia.

Bafq protected area – Under threat

Established in 1996, the 850 km2 Bafq Protected Area is one of the main habitats for various cats in Iran, but it is under severe threat from plans to construct a road through the area. The Iranian Cheetah Society, Yazd DoE and Conservation of Asiatic Cheetah Project (CACP) are negotiating with communities and authorities over this potential threat, and huge media coverage has been brought to stop the road. Undoubtedly, the Bafq road is nowadays the largest concern for Iranian environmentalists for the survival of the Asiatic cheetahs and Persian leopards.

Beautiful Blogger Award, thanks scottie27!

Beautiful Blogger Award

Scottie27 of the blog 27butterflies was so kind to nominate Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Beautiful Blogger Award.

Thanks so much, scottie27! All the best in 2013 for you, your blog, and your photos on that blog!

Here are the rules of the Beautiful Blogger Award:

If I nominate you, and if you choose to participate (no pressure!), then here’s what you do:

Write a post about the award and include the award picture.

Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

Nominate seven other blogs and include links as well as a quick statement about that blog.

Write a comment on each of the blogs to tell them you nominated them.

Have fun!

My seven nominees are:

1. Perikles Merakos Blog; with beautiful photographs from Greece.

2. Grow your innerself by Summer. “I love writing, drawing, dancing, music, spirituality, art, culture, nature.. The whole world! : )”

3. Laboratorio de Imágenes; with photos on nature in Spain and other subjects.

4. YESCuba: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba; by Russell. “YESCuba is an acronym for (Jamaican) Youth and Elders in Solidarity with Cuba. We are one of several organizations in Jamaica which together constitute the Jamaica-Cuba Solidarity Network.”

5. Wester Avenue in rural northern Wisconsin; fine photos from the United States countryside.

6. Greenhorn Photos. “A fantastic photo site”.

7. Poetic Licensee; poems, poems, and more poems!

Colder than Absolute Zero

When an object is heated, its atoms can move with different levels of energy, from low to high. With positive temperatures (blue), atoms more likely occupy low-energy states than high-energy states, while the opposite is true for negative temperatures (red). CREDIT: Image courtesy of LMU / MPQ Munich

From LiveScience:

Atoms Reach Record Temperature, Colder than Absolute Zero

Charles Choi, LiveScience Contributor

Date: 03 January 2013 Time: 02:09 PM ET

Absolute zero is often thought to be the coldest temperature possible. But now researchers show they can achieve even lower temperatures for a strange realm of “negative temperatures.”

Oddly, another way to look at these negative temperatures is to consider them hotter than infinity, researchers added.

This unusual advance could lead to new engines that could technically be more than 100 percent efficient, and shed light on mysteries such as dark energy, the mysterious substance that is apparently pulling our universe apart.

An object’s temperature is a measure of how much its atoms move — the colder an object is, the slower the atoms are. At the physically impossible-to-reach temperature of zero kelvin, or minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 273.15 degrees Celsius), atoms would stop moving. As such, nothing can be colder than absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.

Bizarro negative temperatures

To comprehend the negative temperatures scientists have now devised, one might think of temperature as existing on a scale that is actually a loop, not linear. Positive temperatures make up one part of the loop, while negative temperatures make up the other part. When temperatures go either below zero or above infinity on the positive region of this scale, they end up in negative territory. [What’s That? Your Basic Physics Questions Answered]

With positive temperatures, atoms more likely occupy low-energy states than high-energy states, a pattern known as Boltzmann distribution in physics. When an object is heated, its atoms can reach higher energy levels.

At absolute zero, atoms would occupy the lowest energy state. At an infinite temperature, atoms would occupy all energy states. Negative temperatures then are the opposite of positive temperatures — atoms more likely occupy high-energy states than low-energy states.

“The inverted Boltzmann distribution is the hallmark of negative absolute temperature, and this is what we have achieved,” said researcher Ulrich Schneider, a physicist at the University of Munich in Germany. “Yet the gas is not colder than zero kelvin, but hotter. It is even hotter than at any positive temperature — the temperature scale simply does not end at infinity, but jumps to negative values instead.”

As one might expect, objects with negative temperatures behave in very odd ways. For instance, energy typically flows from objects with a higher positive temperature to ones with a lower positive temperature — that is, hotter objects heat up cooler objects, and colder objects cool down hotter ones, until they reach a common temperature. However, energy will always flow from objects with negative temperature to ones with positive temperatures. In this sense, objects with negative temperatures are always hotter than ones with positive temperatures.

Another odd consequence of negative temperatures has to do with entropy, which is a measure of how disorderly a system is. When objects with positive temperature release energy, they increase the entropy of things around them, making them behave more chaotically. However, when objects with negative temperatures release energy, they can actually absorb entropy.

Negative temperatures would be thought impossible, since there is typically no upper bound for how much energy atoms can have, as far as theory currently suggests. (There is a limit to what speed they can travel — according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, nothing can accelerate to speeds faster than light.)

Wacky physics experiment

To generate negative temperatures, scientists created a system where atoms do have a limit to how much energy they can possess. They first cooled about 100,000 atoms to a positive temperature of a few nanokelvin, or billionth of a kelvin. They cooled the atoms within a vacuum chamber, which  isolated them from any environmental influence that could potentially heat them up accidentally. They also used a web of laser beams and magnetic fields to very precisely control how these atoms behaved, helping to push them into a new temperature realm. [Twisted Physics: 7 Mind-Blowing Findings]

“The temperatures we achieved are negative nanokelvin,” Schneider told LiveScience.

Temperature depends on how much atoms move — how much kinetic energy they have. The web of laser beams created a perfectly ordered array of millions of bright spots of light, and in this “optical lattice,” atoms could still move, but their kinetic energy was limited.

Temperature also depends on how much potential energy atoms have, and how much energy lies in the interactions between the atoms. The researchers used the optical lattice to limit how much potential energy the atoms had, and they used magnetic fields to very finely control the interactions between atoms, making them either attractive or repulsive.

Temperature is linked with pressure — the hotter something is, the more it expands outward, and the colder something is, the more it contracts inward. To make sure this gas had a negative temperature, the researchers had to give it a negative pressure as well, tinkering with the interactions between atoms until they attracted each other more than they repelled each other.

“We have created the first negative absolute temperature state for moving particles,” said researcher Simon Braun at the University of Munich in Germany.

New kinds of engines

Negative temperatures could be used to create heat engines — engines that convert heat energy to mechanical work, such as combustion engines — that are more than 100-percent efficient, something seemingly impossible. Such engines would essentially not only absorb energy from hotter substances, but also colder ones. As such, the work the engine performed could be larger than the energy taken from the hotter substance alone.

Negative temperatures might also help shed light on one of the greatest mysteries in science. Scientists had expected the gravitational pull of matter to slow down the universe’s expansion after the Big Bang, eventually bringing it to a dead stop or even reversing it for a “Big Crunch.” However, the universe’s expansion is apparently speeding up, accelerated growth that cosmologists suggest may be due to dark energy, an as-yet-unknown substance that could make up more than 70 percent of the cosmos.

In much the same way, the negative pressure of the cold gas the researchers created should make it collapse. However, its negative temperature keeps it from doing so. As such, negative temperatures might have interesting parallels with dark energy that may help scientists understand this enigma.

Negative temperatures could also shed light on exotic states of matter, generating systems that normally might not be stable without them. “A better understanding of temperature could lead to new things we haven’t even thought of yet,” Schneider said. “When you study the basics very thoroughly, you never know where it may end.”

The scientists detailed their findings in the Jan. 4 issue of the journal Science.

See also here.

A team of astronomers has used the pattern of light coming from distant methanol molecules to determine that the ratio of the mass of the proton to the mass of the electron has changed by no more than one part in ten million in the last seven billion years: here.