Friday, July 29, 2011

All That is Solid Melts Into Air

It was a rainy day in Miami when we visited the Miami Art Museum (or MAM) for short. We were not allowed to take any photos inside. Without photos or any publicity materials it was hard to remember everything one saw.

What I remember most powerfully is the two-screen video installation of Mark Boulos' "All That is Solid Melts into Air". Boulos' video is a dialectical exposition of the oil fields of Niger delta (exploitation) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange where the oil futures are traded (commodification). The title of the show comes from a passage from Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto: "All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind". When Marx wrote that two centuries ago the western Europe was being swept into the bourgeois revolution, but, it might as well been a manifesto for the 21st century with the world ever more sharply divided between the haves and the have not, the powerful and the powerless, the rich and the poor, democrats and republicans.

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