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‘Koyaanisqatsi’ director’s dystopian PSA for The New Mexico Civil Liberties Union, 1974


 
Godfrey Reggio is best known for the first installment of his avant-garde “Qatsi” trilogy, Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance. The 1982 film was a Philip Glass-scored non-linear experiment in slow motion and timelapse footage, depicting urban and natural scenes throughout the US. Koyaanisqatsi contains no dialogue at all, and its follow-ups, Powaqqatsi: Life in transformation (1988) and Naqoyqatsi: Life as war (2002), contain very little—all three films are named for words in Hopi, as Reggio believed “language is in a state of vast humiliation,” saying, “It no longer describes the world in which we live.”

Before all of this however, Reggio was a community activist working on issues of health care and gang violence in New Mexico, eventually forming a sort of media activist non-profit, the Institute for Regional Education. The IRE was commissioned by the The New Mexico Civil Liberties Union to create a public service announcement warning of the growing surveillance culture, resulting in the trippy, insidious short you see below. In addition to cinematographer Ron Fricke‘s trademark visual style, the PSA parallels Reggio’s later work pretty clearly in terms of theme. There is a palpable fear of an unfeeling, authoritarian modernity, a historical period of technology and industrialization, rather than humanity.

While the campaign ran on billboards, radio and in print ads, it was the television commercial that really caught on—viewers actually called stations to see when the ad would air again. Despite the success of the campaign, the ACLU stopped funding the IRE, and after an unsuccessful Washington fundraiser, Fricke suggested the remaining money be used to fund a full-length film—Koyaanisqatsi.
 

 
Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Obama’s Immunity Doctrine for Torturers
12.10.2009
02:50 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Obama
Human Rights
ACLU
Torture

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The ACLU took a hard swing at the Obama administration today for upholding the Bush administration’s torture policies. Almost a year on into the Obama administration (quite hard to believe), we’re opening more secret prisons and upholding all the torture doctrines that got us into this mess. What next, starting more wars? Oh wait…

“The Bush administration constructed a legal framework for torture,” Jameel Jaffer, Director of ACLU’s National Security Project, said in a conference call with reporters. “Now the Obama administration is constructing a legal framework for impunity.”

While he credited Obama for having disavowed torture under his watch, Jaffer said that “on every front, the administration is actively obstructing accountability by shielding Bush officials from civil liability, criminal investigation and even public scrutiny for their role in authorizing torture.”

“It’s the last month of 2009, and not a single torture victim has had his day in court,” said ACLU Attorney Ben Wizner. “Not a single court in a torture case has ruled on the legality of the Bush administration?

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment