Hands to the Side: My Comments as a Participant in Spencer Tunick’s Naked Sea Photo Shoot

Early Saturday, in Mineral beach in the Dead Sea, a thousand Israelis shed their clothes and participated in a massive naked photo session for US artist and photographer Spencer Tunick. As one of the participants, I thought I’d share a few short comments:

[singlepic id=296 w=300 h=450 float=right]1. This was a life affirming event, in which total strangers gathered in one place in order to achieve a mutual goal of capturing a fleeting moment of truth.

2. This was not a life changing moment, nor was it about embracing your inner nudist, naturist – or vegan, for that matter. This was about admitting that underneath our clothes we are all naked, and while all of the participants will get back to dressing themselves for work the next day, for two hours on a Saturday morning, hundreds of people said ‘Hey, this is me. This is what I look like today‘.

3. This was the opposite of individualism, as each participant was insignificant on their own. This was not about me or about you, as none of us mattered; Your name or social status made no difference; We came as individual people with the aim of becoming one thousandth of a group. You could literally feel the anonymity in the air.

4. This was an Israeli version of a Spencer Tunick photo shoot, and so you just need to accept the fact that the serene floating in the sea would be interrupted by motorized parachutes, or that the EMT team would be less than eager to clean up a bleeding, albeit minor, cut since they ‘already locked the doors of the ambulance’.

One last comment:
Commanding a thousand Israelis to “put your hands to the side” gets you the opposite result, as that phrase means the exact opposite in English as it does in Hebrew (Yada’im latsdadim).

[singlepic id=297 w=525 h=265 float=center]

Unintended Art: Self-Portrait With a Commode

[singlepic id=293 w=300 h=400 float=right]
Searching for furniture on Yad2, Israel’s leading classified ads website, I stumbled upon this photo: A young woman can be seen standing in front of the mirror, trying to capture a good angle of this nice three drawer commode – but unbeknownst to her, she actually captured what seems to be an authentic moment in time, a quasi-voyeuristic look of this ordinary looking family.
The younger woman, a tech-savvy daughter maybe, is so focused at the task at hand, she probably doesn’t notice the older woman, her mother probably, sitting in her nightgown on the bed.
Was mom aware of her role in this classified ad? Has she given permission for anyone and everyone to gaze at her in her unmentionables? Removed from the Yad2 website, this photo looks more and more like a self-portrait, or a family portrait, and I would not hesitate to say, a good one at that.

D.I.S.C.O – The Young Professionals


DISCOTYP Band – Lyrics

I, I wrote some letters on a paper in your house
It had a meaning no one else could figure out
I left a note next to your bed for you to find
I wanted you to know, I’ve been around

D is for doing what I want
I is for saying that I can’t
S is for somebody you’re not
C for don’t call me and
O is for oh no


I, I left my finger prints and skin my empty mind
It had a reason no one else can make me cry
You play along and break my bones i think you know
Time and time again, you show

D is for darling you’re so hot
I inside you break my heart
S for sometime when you’re around
C is for curious and
O is for oh my god


Disco I love you but cannot forgive you
I want to believe you but you’ve hurt me before
There’s no explanation for all this attention
I should be strong and not open the door

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Copyright But Were Afraid to Ask

If you’ve got 80 minutes to spare, watch RiP: A Remix Manifesto, a probing investigation into how culture builds upon culture in the information age.

If you’ve got 20 minutes to spare, watch Professor Lawrence Lessig‘s TED Talk, where he shows how current laws strangle creativity.

But if you’ve only 3 minutes to spare, watch Madeon‘s live mashup of 39 songs while asking yourself this: Should each of the sampled artists have the power to demand this video be removed due to copyright infringement?

Consumerism 101

A friend needed to give a lecture on consumerism and asked for some assistance. Following is a list of films, quickly composed off the top of my head. I thought I’d share it (listed in chronological order):










Extra credit:


Gil Scott-Heron – Work for Peace

[singlepic id=291 w=525 h=525 float=center]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Buy this MP3 track or buy the entire album.

RIP Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011) – Work for Peace lyrics

Back when Eisenhower was the President,
Golf courses was where most of his time was spent.
So I never really listened to what the President said,
Because in general I believed that the General was politically dead.
But he always seemed to know when the muscles were about to be flexed,
Because I remember him saying something,
mumbling something about a Military Industrial Complex.

Americans no longer fight to keep their shores safe,
Just to keep the jobs going in the arms making workplace.
Then they pretend to be gripped by some sort of political reflex,
But all they’re doing is paying dues to the Military Industrial Complex.

The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary.
The Military and the Monetary,
get together whenever they think its necessary,

They turn our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
they are turning the planet into a cemetery.
The Military and the Monetary, use the media as intermediaries,
they are determined to keep the citizens secondary,
they make so many decisions that are arbitrary.

We’re marching behind a commander in chief,
who is standing under a spotlight shaking like a leaf.
but the ship of state had landed on an economic reef,
so we knew he was going to bring us messages of grief.

The Military and the Monetary,
were shielded by January and went storming into February,
Brought us pot bellied generals as luminaries,
two weeks ago I hadn’t heard of the son of a bitch,
now all of a sudden he’s legendary.

They took the honour from the honourary,
they took the dignity from the dignitaries,
they took the secrets from the secretary,
but they left the bitch an obituary.

The Military and the Monetary,
from thousands of miles away in a Saudi Arabian sanctuary,
had us all scrambling for our dictionaries,
cause we couldn’t understand the fuckin vocabulary.

Yeah, there was some smart bombs,
but there was some dumb ones as well,
scared the hell out of CNN in that Baghdad hotel.

The Military and the Monetary,
they get together whenever they think its necessary,
War in the desert sometimes sure is scary,
but they beamed out the war to all their subsidiaries.
Tried to make So Damn Insane a worthy adversary,
keeping the citizens secondary,
scaring old folks into coronaries.

The Military and the Monetary,
from thousands of miles in a Saudi Arabian sanctuary,
kept us all wondering if all of this was really truely, necessary.

We’ve got to work for Peace,
Peace ain’t coming this way.
If we only work for Peace,
If everyone believed in Peace the way they say they do,
we’d have Peace.

The only thing wrong with Peace,
is that you can’t make no money from it.

The Military and the Monetary,
they get together whenever they think its necessary,
they’ve turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
they are turning the planet, into a cemetery.

Got to work for Peace,
Peace ain’t coming this way.

We should not allow ourselves to be mislead,
by talk of entering a time of Peace,
Peace is not the absence of war,
it is the absence of the rules of war and
the threats of war and the preparation for war.
Peace is not the absence of war,
it is the time when we will all bring ourselves closer to each other,
closer to building a structure that is unique within ourselves
because we have finally come to Peace within ourselves.

The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary.
Get together whenever they think its necessary,
they’ve turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
they are turning parts of the planet, into a cemetery.

The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary,
We hounded the Ayatollah religiously,
Bombed Libya and killed Quadafi’s son hideously.
We turned our back on our allies the Panamanians,
and saw Ollie North selling guns to the Iranians.
Watched Gorbachev slaughtering Lithuanians,
We better warn the Amish,
they may bomb the Pennsylvanians.

The Military and the Monetary,
get together whenever they think its necessary,
they have turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
they are turning the planet, into a cemetery.

I don’t want to sound like no late night commercial,
but it’s a matter of fact that there are
thousands of children all over the world
in Asia and Africa and in South America who need our help.

When they start talking about 55 cents a day and 70 cents a day,
I know a lot of folks feel as though that,
thats not really any kind of contribution to make,
but we had to give up a dollar
and a half just to get in the subway nowadays.

So this is a song about tommorrow
and about how tommorrow can be better. if we all,
“Each one reach one, Each one try to teach one”.

Nobody can do everything,
but everybody can do something,
everyone must play a part,
everyone got to go to work, Work for Peace.

Spirit Say Work, Work for Peace
If you believe the things you say, go to work.
If you believe in Peace, time to go to work.
Cant be wavin your head no more, go to work.

Memorial Day

The day before Israeli Independence Day, the TV stations in Israel screen the name of every soldier who has fallen for the country. A name flashes on the screen for a second or two, then the next name appears. You go to bed, you get up, the names are still flashing. It takes 24 hours. That’s how they observe Memorial Day.
      Leo McGarry (John Spencer) – The West Wing s05e22

[singlepic id=290 w=525 h=397 float=center]
RIP uncle Private First Class Moshe Wiskowski (1950-1969).
We’ll see you again, next year…

Watch Out World, The Aussies Are Coming! To Israel!

I seldom watch unscripted (read: reality) TV shows, but The Amazing Race is my one true guilty pleasure: Having watched 18 full seasons of the original US version, 3 seasons of the Asian version – and zero seasons of the wretched Israeli version, I may as well admit it: I’m a fan of The Race.

And so as tomorrow begins the first ever season of The Amazing Race: Australia, including one leg of the race in Israel – you better believe I’ll be watching, and so should you:
[singlepic id=286 w=525 h=300 float=center]
[singlepic id=287 w=525 h=300 float=center]

We Watched TV; They Make TV

We have to recognize [our kids] are different from us. We made mixed tapes; they remix music. We watched TV; they make TV. It is technology that has made them different, and as we see what this technology can do we need to recognize you can’t kill the instinct the technology produces; we can only criminalize it. We can’t stop our kids from using it; we can only drive it underground. We can’t make our kids passive again; we can only make them, quote, “pirates”. And is that good?
We live in this weird time, it’s kind of age of prohibitions, where in many areas of our life, we live life constantly against the law. Ordinary people live life against the law, and that’s what we are doing to our kids. They live life knowing they live it against the law. That realization is extraordinarily corrosive, extraordinarily corrupting. And in a democracy we ought to be able to do better.

– — Professor Lawrence Lessig, TED conference 2007