On March 7th the 2009 Academy Award for best feature documentary went to The Cove, a film based on the 2004 documentary Welcome to Taiji, which was written and produced by Ric'O'Barry, Diana Thater and T.Kelly Mason.
Thater and Mason were the artists in residence for O'Barry's organization The Dolphin Project from 2000 to 2006. They went on to become the official videographers for SaveJapanDolphins.org when O'Barry became its director in 2006. Save Japan Dolphins is an organization, under the umbrella of Earth Island Institute, that is dedicated to stopping the slaughter of dolphins and whales in Japan and to ending the black market sale of live dolphins and whales by the Japanese to seaquariums and "swim with dolphin" attractions worldwide. Since they first met O'Barry in 1999, Thater and Mason have self-produced 5 videos for O'Barry. These documentaries have been translated into French, Japanese and Croatian.
All of these videos are available on YouTube under "dolphinDVD". To date, Welcome to Taiji has over 200,000 views on YouTube, has been shown in full on the ARTE channel in France, and has been excerpted on ABC, CNN, the BBC, Frontline and 60 minutes.
Welcome to Taiji tells the story of O' Barry's attempts to end the slaughter of 20,000 dolphins each year by the Japanese and to bring the issue of dolphin and cetacean captivity to light. 1000 copies of Welcome to Taiji were made and distributed for free by Thater, Mason and O'Barry. It was shown by Ric O'Barry in 2006 at the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) conference, after which O'Barry was approached by the future producers of The Cove. The Cove is a re-make of Welcome to Taiji but is directed at a mainstream film-going public and is intended for movie theaters, while Welcome to Taiji was an activist video financed by Thater and Mason. Thater and Mason provided the makers of The Cove with all of their footage and the master tapes of all the videos they had made for O'Barry. Portions of their work appear unedited in The Cove. In addition, Thater rough-cut the final scenes of the dolphin slaughter for The Cove. Mason and Thater also produced all the videos for Ric O'Barry's body screen, which he wears in the climactic final scenes of The Cove.
Onstage at the Academy Awards, while the producers of The Cove accepted their awards, O'Barry held up a banner "Text Dolphin to 44144", which in one day, brought 100,000 new members to SaveJapanDolphins.org.
Thater and Mason will be working with Ric O'Barry in September of 2010 in Taiji, again documenting the continuing slaughter and sale of captive dolphins. They have dedicated their lives as activists to this cause.Posted by diana on 3/30/10 in | Permalink
Rob Storr vs. Okwui Enwezor - hear Enwezor expose himself as a loud pseudo-intellectual bully YET AGAIN! Storr 1: Enwezor 0
Oops Okwui Enwezor didn't know what he was talking about AGAIN and Rob Storr took him out and Okwui got mad! Apparently being in a country where there was a civil war in 1968 when he was 5 years old gives Enwezor leave to dismiss not only the Paris strikes and riots but numerable uprisings in 1968 as bourgeois. Take that first world!Posted by diana on 3/09/09 in | Permalink
To Diana from anonymous administrator at SFAI (rcvd March 8, 2009):
Madness at SFAI? In brief: There were ominous rumblings from the administration in Fall 2008 about the financial downturn's effect on SFAI's dwindling endowment. At the December faculty meeting, President Bratton warned the faculty about impending disaster, but "guaranteed" the faculty's next two paychecks. The very next day a notice appeared in everybody's mailbox announcing a month-long "furlough" (mid-December to mid-January), which, in its new meaning, means that nobody gets paid. The place was more or less locked up for that month. In February, the administration announced that SFAI was declaring "financial exigency", which seems to be some sort of contract term. In the contract there is a stipulated emergency procedure under such a condition: 1. Voluntary reductions in classes, and various sorts of shuffling, then 2. Laying off lecturers, then 3. Laying off faculty in order of reverse seniority. So, ignoring the explicitly stipulated procedure, Bratton then announced that 9 faculty - Robert Hopkins, Janis Lipzin, Pat Klein, Jon Lang, Stacey Garfinkel, Stephanie Ellis, Suzanne Olmstead, John Rapko and Charles Boone - were being laid off. As far as the faculty knows, not one lecturer has been laid off, and not one of the layoffs results from reverse seniority. So each of the nine has filed an individual grievance, and the Union has filed a 10th grievance for the obvious contract violations. Rapko had of course already been suspended for 6 months without pay for his role as the only SFAI faculty member who protested the Animal Execution Videos by Adel Abdessemed which were shown at the school gallery for several days in April 2008 before a public outcry against executions as art made Enwezor and Bratton and Hou Hanrou close the show for fear of having to defend the exhibition. Rapko recently gave a lecture on the Abdessemed show which was entitled "Art and Evil: The Uses of Slaughter."Now an SFAI student revolt is brewing. There was a meeting of students on March 5th (around 100 showed up) who were unanimously outraged at the administration's actions. There will be open protesting, contacting alumni, contacting media, and there's a movement to have a "no confidence" vote on Enwezor. The students seem particularly outraged about a big meeting held a couple of weeks ago, where Bratton announced the layoffs to open cries of dismay and weeping. Enwezor shouted "how dare you!" at one of the students who questioned something he said.(DT) The artworld has never been particularly concerned with the ethics of those to whom they give power. And here are a few men - Enwezor, Bratton and Hanrou - who have used their power to stage an exhibition of animal execution videos, fire a tenured professor who protested the show, have been recorded screaming at tenured professors and at students who object to the administration running their school into the ground...This is how bullies behave - not educators.Posted by diana on 1/14/09 in | Permalink