Travel as a capitalist, colonial dream of freedom

Liked CAN I LEARN TO RESIST THE REWARDS OF PARTICIPATION? by Cailey Rizzo (Philosophy For Party Girls)

…[T]ravel becomes the one place we can imagine freedom. We wander different cities and fantasize about how different we would be if we lived there. Our priorities would finally be set right. We’d find the group of people with whom we belong. We would take siestas! Travel is intoxicating because it’s the closest we can get to our imagination in real life.

The show is always shorter than we imagined it would be, the Mona Lisa is always smaller. Tourism is never the adventure we tell ourselves it will be.

According to Graeber and Wengrow, in many pre-colonized Indigenous communities, travel was seen as a form of mutual aid. You were obligated to welcome nomads into your home with the knowledge that if you set off on the road one day, you too would be welcomed anywhere. I keep thinking about this. What would travel look like if it wasn’t linked to capital?

Today, our adventures are hemmed in by what we can afford.


Via Alicia Kennedy’s current series on travel and food, adapted from a course she’s teaching – On Gloss: Can travel magazines tell the truth of a place?

What glossy depictions do is provide routes to “escape”—but… when does the human desire to escape mundanity run into a responsibility to other people, the people who call the “escape” home?

This has something in common with the notion of “imperialist nostalgia” articulated by Renato Rosaldo in 1989: “agents of colonialism…often display nostalgia for the colonized culture as it was ‘traditionally’ (that is, when they first encountered it).” The savvy tourist wants to encounter food sovereignty in an “authentic” manner on their trip, without asking why food sovereignty is so out of grasp in the first place.

Activism Art and Design

Politicized Design: escaping oppressive systems with participatory movements

Watched Politicizing Design from the Grassroots by Bibiana Oliveira SerpaBibiana Oliveira Serpa from Futuress

Drawing from popular activist movements in Latin America, this talk explores the possibilities for the politicization of design.

In her PhD thesis that she recently defended for the Design program of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (ESDI/UERJ) in Brazil, Bibiana delved into her experiences as an active member of different civil society grassroots movements to reveal some of the political, ethical, and practical issues that permeate the transformative action of these collectives.

Through Militant Research Methodology and inspired by her action in the fields of popular education and feminism, she traced paths for a possible politicization of the Design field. In this conversation, Bibiana shares some of the lessons she learned from this journey, articulating four axes she considers crucial for the politicization of Design: ontology, epistemology, practice, and content.

Presented by Bibiana Serpa, a PhD visual designer from Brazil

Design & Opressão (Design and Oppression Network)

Articulação de Mulheres Brasileiras

What is militant research?

  • aims to educate people politically
  • participatory — cannot only research
  • acts in the “context of discovery” not “context of justification” — not seeking to support an existing theory, but to learn
  • always collective

Process of politicization

social movements are self-educating and self-transforming –> politicization

politicization = political learning — “a relational and experiential process”

Art and Design Culture

Watched Last Week Tonight: Museums

Watched Museums: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) from YouTube

John Oliver discusses some of the world’s most prestigious museums, why they contain so many stolen goods, the market that continues to illegally trade antiq…

Give. It. Back.

See also:

Activism idea: ranking museums by stolen artifacts

Culture History

An ongoing history of ethnic cleansing by the Russian state

Bookmarked Holodomor (Derek Kedziora)

It’s worth taking a few minutes to understand the the long history of genocide and ethnic cleansing along the southern edge of the Russian Empire, which culminated in Stalin’s artificial famines that were intended to absolutely destroy Ukrainian, Kazakh and other non-Russian groups in Ukraine and Southern Russia.

This story constantly repeats itself in Russian history. Brutally eliminate peoples that can’t be russified or easily subjugated such as Crimean Tatars and Circassians, resettle and russify people from the Western parts of the Russian Empire such as Ukrainians, Belarusians, Baltic peoples, Poles, etc., or force groups into a sort of feudal servitude such as the Buryats, Chechnians and Dagestanis.

(Her newsletter: Mariam on Ukraine)

Activism Art and Design Political Commentary

Banksy’s Hotel in Palestine

Liked The Walled Off Hotel by Banksy (

Is this a joke?
Nope – it’s a genuine art hotel with fully functioning ensuite facilities.
Centenary year?
2017 marks a hundred years since the British took control of Palestine and helped kick start a century of confusion and conflict. At the time of writing there are no special events being planned to mark the occasion.

Romance Science Fiction

Read Winter’s Orbit

Read Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Loved this. Miscommunication usually irritates me but these two are trying So. Damn. Hard. and misreading everything in the most charitable light for the other person (and worse for themselves) — neither wants to impose on the other and are so careful to accommodate to the point of over-accommodating.

Jainan’s “secret” is easy to guess from the way he acts. Loved seeing him learn to trust again and accept his value and place in their relationship as equals — and that part of that is proving to Kiem that he really is good at things and has things to contribute.

I liked the blend of culture-focused sci-fi with appropriately creepy and scary outside “judge” the Auditor, the murder mystery, and the slow-burn love story, with a dash of survival story. The mounting background tension that nothing has quite gone wrong yet but it will go very very very wrong if things don’t work out, and the time is ticking down, is done well.

The characters didn’t act the way I expected leading up to the ending, in a good way. Kiem handles a discovery poorly and confronts Jainan about it, but redeems himself with his actions in the climax.

I’m not sure whether or not it was the right call to do the only sex scene as a very early cut-to-black — probably necessary to keep this on the space opera shelf and not push it into romance. As a romance reader, I think it could have been a very character revealing moment, moreso than it was, that could have made them confront some things about themselves.