Ink Tank - Make words not war Julie Anderson

mSXHFZD

 

Think the 1950s were all sock hops and suburban housewives? Think again! Scroll down to see a few of the coolest black and white photos from the 1950s.

Children's home in Pittsburgh,1950's

Children’s home in Pittsburgh

50s women walking down the street

Women walking down the street.

1950s fashionistas

1950s fashionistas posing.

1950's gas station

PURE gas station.

1950s pin up

1950s Pin Up

A couple hanging out on a lawn in las vegas, 1950.

A couple hanging out on a lawn in Las Vegas, 1950.

a soldier leaning out of a train to kiss his girl goodbye.

A soldier leaning out of a train to kiss his girl goodbye.

A tram in Hamburg, 1950's

A tram in Hamburg, 1950s

Airline TCA welcomes its 3-millionth passenger. July, 1950

Airline TCA welcomes its 3 millionth passenger. July, 1950.

An engineering student takes a robot through its paces, 1950.

An engineering student takes a robot through its paces, 1950.

baby transport, New Zealand 1950s

Baby transport, New Zealand, 1950s.

Bowling night, 1950's

Bowling night

 

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Women on their bikes

fashion

Posing in the wind

Girls with their rifles to protect their homes.

Women with their rifles to protect their homes.

gym class, Finland

Gym class, Finland, 1950.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1950

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1950.

photo booths

Photo booths offering 4 poses for 25 cents

shoe cleaning in the 1950's, Helsinki

Shoe cleaning in the 1950s, Helsinki.

Stickball playing in New York City, 1950's

Playing stickball in New York City

street photo

A street full of pigeons.

To draw people's attention to a new line of bathing suits, a department store in Tokyo used human models instead of mannequins to show off the suits. June 5, 1950.

To draw people’s attention to a new line of bathing suits, a department store in Tokyo used human models instead of mannequins to show off the suits. June 5, 1950.

Women volleyball on stilts, Venice.

Volleyball on stilts, Venice.




The post 23 photos that will make you see the 1950s differently appeared first on .

Ink Tank - Make words not war Julie Anderson

mSXHFZD

 

Think the 1950s were all sock hops and suburban housewives? Think again! Scroll down to see a few of the coolest black and white photos from the 1950s.

Children's home in Pittsburgh,1950's

Children’s home in Pittsburgh

50s women walking down the street

Women walking down the street.

1950s fashionistas

1950s fashionistas posing.

1950's gas station

PURE gas station.

1950s pin up

1950s Pin Up

A couple hanging out on a lawn in las vegas, 1950.

A couple hanging out on a lawn in Las Vegas, 1950.

a soldier leaning out of a train to kiss his girl goodbye.

A soldier leaning out of a train to kiss his girl goodbye.

A tram in Hamburg, 1950's

A tram in Hamburg, 1950s

Airline TCA welcomes its 3-millionth passenger. July, 1950

Airline TCA welcomes its 3 millionth passenger. July, 1950.

An engineering student takes a robot through its paces, 1950.

An engineering student takes a robot through its paces, 1950.

baby transport, New Zealand 1950s

Baby transport, New Zealand, 1950s.

Bowling night, 1950's

Bowling night

 

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Women on their bikes

fashion

Posing in the wind

Girls with their rifles to protect their homes.

Women with their rifles to protect their homes.

gym class, Finland

Gym class, Finland, 1950.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1950

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1950.

photo booths

Photo booths offering 4 poses for 25 cents

shoe cleaning in the 1950's, Helsinki

Shoe cleaning in the 1950s, Helsinki.

Stickball playing in New York City, 1950's

Playing stickball in New York City

street photo

A street full of pigeons.

To draw people's attention to a new line of bathing suits, a department store in Tokyo used human models instead of mannequins to show off the suits. June 5, 1950.

To draw people’s attention to a new line of bathing suits, a department store in Tokyo used human models instead of mannequins to show off the suits. June 5, 1950.

Women volleyball on stilts, Venice.

Volleyball on stilts, Venice.




The post 23 photos that will make you see the 1950s differently appeared first on .

Ink Tank - Make words not war Kathleen Harris

Helsinki experienced massive growth after it became Finland’s capital in 1812. As the new economic and cultural center, its population exploded, architecture grew quickly, and technology flourished. But what did it look like? Let’s take a stroll through 19th century Helsinki, courtesy of the Helsinki City Museum’s vast database of photos from the late 1800s.

 

 

Market Square and Market Hall, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Saxelin Carl Otto

 

Kiosk in Esplanadi, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Helsinki’s first public transportation, the omnibus, 1889. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

A pair of cyclists, circa 1880. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Unveiling the memorial of J.L. Runeberg, Finland’s national poet, in Esplanade Park, 1885. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Hjertzell Fritz

 

Fish market at the Market Square, 1885. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Rowing in Kaivopuisto, circa 1870. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Group photo at a school for Swedish-speaking girls, 1886. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Nyblin Daniel

 

Sitting outdoors, 1888. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Rosenbröijer A. E.

 

Studio photo of the Gebhard family at the coffee table, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

A diver at the old town waterworks construction site, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Family ski day, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Members of the amateur photography club, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Saxelin Carl Otto

 

G.W. Sohlberg workers on the roof of the factory, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

A walk by the sea on Seurasaari, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Studio photo of a woman dressed as a sailor, 1890. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Vappu celebration at Kaisaniemi, 1892. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Wasastjerna Nils

 

Polytechnic Institute (later Helsinki University of Technology) Mechanical Engineering students playing cards, 1893. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Market Square, 1895. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Saxelin Carl Otto

 

Father and son sitting on a bench in Kaivopuisto, 1897. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Father and daughter sitting in Kaivopuisto, 1897. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Russian ice cream salesman in front of Ateneum, 1898. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

A much less crowded Aleksanterinkatu, 1899. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

The post Everyday life in the capital: 19th century Helsinki, in pics appeared first on .

Ink Tank - Make words not war Very Finnish Problems

What’s the weirdest place Finnish president Urho Kekkonen went fishing? Author Joel Willans is joined by maritime historian Aaro Sahari. The two discuss icebreaker ships and their impact on Finnish 20th century industrialization. Aaro explains how conquering nature with year-round open waterways affected Finnish national pride.

Contact: veryfinnishproblems@inktank.fi

Produced by Thomas Nybergh / Ink Tank Media

 

Shownotes:

Old footage with fearless strolling next to speeding icebreaker

Mr. Sahari’s academic record

Sahari & Matala: Small nation, big ships winter navigation and technological nationalism in a peripheral country, 1878–1978 (paywall)

Mr. Sahari’s popularized article on icebreakers (in Finnish)

Finnish Funding Agency TEKES makes video campaign with self-mutilating daredevils group Dudesons

Joel Willans with maritime historian Aaro Sahari

Joel Willans with maritime historian Aaro Sahari

 

Download or subscribe

You can get the show as a direct download.

Get all new episodes automatically by subscribing in your favorite podcast app.

Apple Podcasts / Soundcloud / Stitcher / TuneIn / AcastAll others (RSS)

 

About the show

What’s so weird and wonderful about Finland? British born Joel Willans, creator of Very Finnish Problems, discusses, with a variety of fascinating guests, what he’s learnt after 15 years living in his much-loved, adopted country.
Follow Very Finnish Problems to get all our stuff.

Facebook / Instagram / Twitter




The post Very Finnish Problems Episode 4: When your winter stroll is ruined by an arriving icebreaker appeared first on .

Ink Tank - Make words not war Very Finnish Problems

What’s the weirdest place Finnish president Urho Kekkonen went fishing? Author Joel Willans is joined by maritime historian Aaro Sahari. The two discuss icebreaker ships and their impact on Finnish 20th century industrialization. Aaro explains how conquering nature with year-round open waterways affected Finnish national pride.

Contact: veryfinnishproblems@inktank.fi

Produced by Thomas Nybergh / Ink Tank Media

 

Shownotes:

Old footage with fearless strolling next to speeding icebreaker

Mr. Sahari’s academic record

Sahari & Matala: Small nation, big ships winter navigation and technological nationalism in a peripheral country, 1878–1978 (paywall)

Mr. Sahari’s popularized article on icebreakers (in Finnish)

Finnish Funding Agency TEKES makes video campaign with self-mutilating daredevils group Dudesons

Joel Willans with maritime historian Aaro Sahari

Joel Willans with maritime historian Aaro Sahari

 

Download or subscribe

You can get the show as a direct download.

Get all new episodes automatically by subscribing in your favorite podcast app.

Apple Podcasts / Soundcloud / Stitcher / TuneIn / AcastAll others (RSS)

 

About the show

What’s so weird and wonderful about Finland? British born Joel Willans, creator of Very Finnish Problems, discusses, with a variety of fascinating guests, what he’s learnt after 15 years living in his much-loved, adopted country.
Follow Very Finnish Problems to get all our stuff.

Facebook / Instagram / Twitter




The post Very Finnish Problems Episode 4: When your winter stroll is ruined by an arriving icebreaker appeared first on .

Ink Tank - Make words not war Kathleen Harris

Finnish summers are short and sweet, but they sure can be spectacular! It’s important to enjoy every single second of them before the long dark winter comes once again. In Finland, summer appreciation has been turned into an art form — nobody soaks up the sun like the Finns do.

Need some proof? Just take a look at these historical photos of Finns loving the Helsinki summer. Take notes, because you just might learn a thing or two.

 

Having fun on the water slide at Pihlajasaari, 1969. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Bonin Volker von

 




Flying the skies at Linnanmäki, 1968. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Bonin Volker von

 

Sitting on the steps of the cathedral, 1977. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Pekka Punkari

 

Darts and sunbathing at the cottage, 1957. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Racz

 

A game of croquet at Tapaninkylä, Tapanila, 1928. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Tuntematon

 

Hanging out with Havis Amanda, 1973. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Bonin Volker von

 




Some things never change! A packed Cafe Reggatta, 1962. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Grünberg Constantin

 

Sunbathing at Pihlajasaari, 1939. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Children in a homemade tent, 1971. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Hakli Kari

 

Keeping it cool, 1952. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Group photo at Kasinonranta, Lauttasaari, 1923. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Timiriasew Ivan

 

Weightlifting at Hietsu, 1952. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Bonin Volker von

 

Celebrating the Sauna Society’s new sauna at Lauttasaari, 1952. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Bonin Volker von

 

Gisela von Bonin and a German NSU Fox motorcycle during the Helsinki Olympic games, 1952. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Bonin Volker von

 




Coffee by the sea in Kallio, 1920. Photo: Helsinki City Museum

 

Reading newspapers at the Three Smiths statue, 1968. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Bonin Volker von

 

Gymnastics at Hietsu, 1947. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Kannisto Väinö

 

More gymnastics at Hietsu, 1947. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Kannisto Väinö

 

Summer camp swim classes for the children of Elanto employees in Sompasaari, 1957. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Heinonen Eino

 

Two men building playground equipment in East Pasila, 1978. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Ahola Harri

 

Feeding the birds at Töölönlahti, 1964. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Grünberg Constantin

 

Pihlajasaari beach, 1963. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Grünberg Constantin

 

Sitting by the sea at Vuosaari, 1912. Photo: Helsinki City Museum / Elmgren Greta

 

Which of these is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!




The post Ihana kesä! The history of hot Helsinki summers, in pics appeared first on .

Ink Tank - Make words not war Kathleen Harris

BroxSistersRadioTeddyBear

In 1928, Otto Frederick Rohwedder gave the world the invention that all future inventions would be cheekily compared to: sliced bread. His revolutionary bread-slicing machine made such an impact that it inspired the popular idiom “the best thing since sliced bread”, which we still use even today. Despite the idiom, we aren’t quite as impressed these days by sliced bread — however, it’s still an apt example of the many inventions that not only defined one of the 20th century’s most dynamic decades but revolutionised the world.

A bread slicer in use, 1930.

A bread slicer in use, 1930.

The 1920s were a time of change and prosperity. Jazz ruled, hemlines rose, and Western countries like the United States experienced an economic boom of epic proportions. In all aspects of life, things were changing, and they were changing fast.

It was an exciting time. Society was shifting and innovation was booming, with advancements in technology, science, and entertainment rolling out one after another. Post-WWI prosperity allowed many people to live comfortably with cash to burn on consumer goods, and the retail market blossomed with gadgets. Scientific discoveries saved more lives than ever, and technological breakthroughs turned science fiction into reality. The Twenties were Roaring, all right.


The Jazz Age gave us everything from world-shaking scientific breakthroughs to household devices that simply made life more comfortable. The decade’s technological discoveries were among the most important of the 20th century, such as the first liquid-fueled rocket, which ushered in the Space Age. Other inventions focused on efficiency, comfort, and entertainment — hair dryers, sunglasses, BandAids, and even cheeseburgers were all born in the 20s. If you think those are the bee’s knees, take a look at a few of the decade-defining, world-changing technologies and inventions that revolutionised the world during the 1920s.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics, Alexander Fleming

Antibiotics have saved countless lives, curing infections that would have been deadly only a century ago—and we have Alexander Fleming’s messiness to thank for it. On September 3 1928, the Scottish professor returned to his laboratory after a family vacation. Fleming, who wasn’t known for being especially tidy, had left stacks of staphylococci-drenched glass plates sitting on a bench. While sorting them, he noticed that a fungus had contaminated one of the cultures, forming a staph-free area. Reacting with a simple “That’s funny,” Fleming showed his assistant and got to work studying the mystery mould. He discovered that this “mould juice”, as he called it, was able to destroy a variety of bacteria. He soon renamed the mould juice, dubbing it penicillin (a bit of a shame, really—mold juice has such a nice ring to it), which today is well-known as the first true antibiotic. Surprisingly, scientists in Fleming’s time weren’t interested in his discovery. Research on the magical mould juice didn’t take off until the 1940s after he had more or less given up on it. Happily, Fleming’s work was recognised, and he was granted a Nobel Prize in 1945. Better late than never, right?

Radio broadcast

Radio broadcast in the 1920s

The history of radio in a broad sense goes all the way back to the 19th century, with a variety of innovations and discoveries all contributing to its development. Radio was used for wartime communication and amateur broadcasts in the early 1900s, but the radio, or radio broadcast as a commercial medium, didn’t take off until the 1920s when radio receivers became common. The first licensed commercial radio station, KDKA, was developed by Henry P. Davis on November 2, 1920, and the first commercial broadcast was Davis reading the results of the US Presidential election. Over the next decade, radio stations began popping up all over the world. The new medium, which made immediate mass communication available for the first time, shook things up. Newspapers feared the decline of the printed page and bought their own stations, advertisers immediately jumped on board, and society fell in love with the entertainment programs that gave them news, drama programs, and music.


Frozen food

Frozen food

Walk into any grocery store today and you’ll find aisles upon aisles of frozen food, ready to be popped into the oven and eaten within minutes. Whether that’s a great thing for modern society is debatable, but it was certainly a huge deal back in the 20s and had a major effect on future Western eating habits. Frozen foods were developed by Clarence Birdseye, an American who travelled to northern Canada in the 1910s for business and observed the process of freezing food by natives. After some experimentation, he founded a company and patented his process of flash-freezing fish packed into cartons. In 1929, he sold his company and patents for $22 million, and large-scale production began in 1930. It was a hit with consumers for its efficiency and for making out-of-season foods available year round.

Pop-up toaster

Pop-up Toaster

The pop-up toaster isn’t the most prolific invention of all time, but it’s a perfect example of the many time-saving household items that hit the market in the 20s. Before the first electric toaster was developed in the 1890s, toast wasn’t a quick snack. A toast-lover had to hold bread over an open flame using tongs or a wire toasting frame. Even when using an electric toaster, toast still had to be manually flipped—and, of course, it was a fire hazard. The pop-up toaster solved these problems, letting hungry people everywhere set a timer, toast both sides of the bread, and not have to worry (as much) about kitchen fires. Invented in 1919 by Charles Strite, the first commercially available electric pop-up toaster, the Model 1-A-1 Toastmaster, hit kitchens in 1925—three years before sliced bread.


Insulin

Insulin

Before the development of insulin, diabetes was a death sentence. Doctors knew the disease was related to sugar and would prescribe strict diets, but there wasn’t much else that they could do. In 1920, Frederick Banting had a moment of clarity and jotted a note: “Ligate pancreatic ducts of the dog. Keep dogs alive till acini degenerate leaving islets. Try to isolate internal secretion of these and relieve glycosuria.” What looks like gibberish to you and me was the final breakthrough in a series of research milestones in the study of diabetes. Banting took his hypothesis to J.J.R. Macleod, Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto, who, despite being sceptical, gave him lab space, ten dogs, and two assistants (who flipped a coin to see who would end up as the only assistant). Banting experimented with his idea, refining and purifying the drug until he decided it was ready for clinical tests. On January 11 1922, 14-year-old Leonard Thompson became the first patient treated with insulin. The boy had a severe allergic reaction, and Banting worked for the next 12 days to perfect the injection, giving it another go on January 23. This time, it was a complete success. What happened next went down in history as one of the medicine’s most miraculous moments: Banting and his team made the rounds in a hospital, injecting children who were dying from diabetes. The children awoke from their comas, greeted by their overjoyed families. No wonder Banting and Macleod won the 1923 Nobel Prize for medicine!

Are these technological developments the cat’s pyjamas, or what? Between penicillin and sliced bread, we can safely say that it was a great decade for discovery. If you know of any other great inventions and technologies of the 1920s, let us know about them in the comments!


The post Disruptive Decades: Technologies that revolutionised the 1920s appeared first on .

Ink Tank - Make words not war Thomas Nybergh

Yolocaust: jumping on dead jews

Warning: this article contains disturbing pictures.

Israeli, Germany-based artist and satirist Shahak Shapira is justifiably tired of a certain trend at the Berlin Holocaust Memorial monument. That is social media posts with goofy selfies and other pics of leisurely activities taken at the Memorial.

The spot in Berlin’s Mitte district is often explored using means such as skateboarding, biking or just sitting around. After all, there’s a lot of creative ways to use a bunch of concrete slabs.

Regrettably, these blocks happen to symbolize the 6 million Jews who were systematically murdered under Nazi rule, before and during World War II.

Young women posting with selfie stick at Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

So, Shapira collected a bunch of these offending pics from social networks such as Instagram, Tinder and Grindr. Then, he made collages of the people in the pics photoshopped into grim photos of piles of genocide victims.

Very fittingly, Shapira has named his project Yolocaust, in reference to Yolo, an acronym for “you live only once”. The catchphrase has become a kind of ‘carpe diem’ for everyone’s favorite scapegoat, millennials.

Holocaust mashup: selfie stick and dead bodies

The results of his work are on display in full, together with the original social posts on his site Yolocaust.de. The collages are haunting and macabre. Sometimes, if you’re far enough removed from this atrocity, their arrangements are close to humorous.

It’s the guilt trip of the century, posing lots of questions, starting with superficial ones, such as how we should carry our lighthearted, youthful and careless selves in public.

Tourists posing at wagon filled with Holocaust victims

Yet, this may not be far removed at all for some our readers. Some of you may be only a generation or two removed from the fresh wounds of the Holocaust. And for that matter, the bizarre tendencies of antisemitism are just now starting to make itself more visible again, both in Europe and the USA.

It needs to be said: at Ink Tank, we’re no strangers to dark humor. It’s inherently human to try and absorb horrible things through humor. Yet, from the outside, and when the collective outrage is activated, it can be hard to read anything but superficial glee, even malice from the subjects in some of these pictures.




At the same time, I have the personal experience of having attended a school trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. I just felt numb for weeks about the insanity of it all, even as my face was rubbed in it. Emotions hit me later, long after returning home.

Which is to say that I indeed find it in poor taste to dance at the Memorial, but that I can see how little actual emotional labor goes into processing a memorial like this, in real time.

Man juggling in Holocaust mass grave

That’s why this writer would like to think that most these pictures are the result of thoughtlessness and forgetfulness of the nature of the public place in which they’re taken and that of the mediums through which they’re posted.

That’s why we’ve chosen to blur the faces of the subjects in the subset of Shapira’s pictures included in this article. After all, these are victimless offenses: the Holocaust victims are already dead. The potential victims here are people who displayed a large dose of bad taste in public, if we choose to focus on them.

The blurring can be seen as a futile gesture, as these pictures have been copied and viewed countless times already. And they’re all there, on Shahak Shapira’s site. Still, I don’t want to take the easy route of seeing this piece of art as a wall of shame for some guilty individuals. Rather, they’re representatives for all of us.

Women smiling in Holocaust mass grave

The banality of these pictures is such a great example of why it’s been wise of the international Jewish communities and various other institutions to try and keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.

Whatever reason, dark humor, ignorance or otherwise people have for posing like this at at the Memorial, Shapira’s work can hopefully be a little kick in their behind to make the Holocaust real.

This writer agrees with Shapira’s through provoking reminder of the nature of Memorial. In his statement, Shapira indeed reminds us that the Holocaust victims can’t be offended. However, we choose how we remember people who’ve died in completely vain, unnecessary, large-scale atrocities.

Young men jumping at dead victims of the Holocaust

I can also agree with how Shapira, on his site, points out the Holocaust as having certain unique characteristics. First comes to mind the process resembling industrial production with which Hitler’s people exterminated Jews and other minorities.

Sadly, this writer has to say he feels circumspect about a narrative that attributes too much uniqueness to the Holocaust, beyond the.. innovative industrial scale of it all.

Yet, the culture of Holocaust awareness spread by, initially, the relatives of its victims, has worked. At least until now. The concentration camps have a place in public sphere and are associated with Hitler’s Germany.

The popularized narrative of the Holocaust as a German phenomenon fails to reveal the larger context of European antisemitism. With its rich history of mind-boggling conspiracy theories, hating Jews was very far from new in the time leading up to the Holocaust.

Taking a wider view, Genocides or “ethnic cleansing” require the failure to see fellow humans in undesired Others. Genocidal acts can be close at hand when a sense of otherness is combined with despotism and war.

Young woman performing acrobatics beside dead bodies of Holocaust victims




It would be a great disservice to ourselves not to remind ourselves about other recent genocides, like those in Darfur, Sudan (2003), Rwanda or Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s. Then there are instances like the Turkish state, which still actively denies and spreads propaganda about the Armenian genocide in 1915.

Almost every war, civil wars in particular, have events with characteristics similar to that of mass rapes and killings of civilians men, women and children.

Simply put: genocides, ethnic cleansing and mass killings have happened again. Multiple times in fact, relatively close to any part of the planet with a sizable human population. The trains to extermination camps may not run as well as in Nazi Germany, but regular humans are universally capable of these acts.

Really grasping these facts, on a personal, emotional level, should reduce your tendency to dance at Holocaust memorials. Even more so than the risk of public shaming.

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The post Yolocaust: artist confronts selfie happy tourist culture at Berlin Holocaust Memorial appeared first on .

Ink Tank - Make words not war Thomas Nybergh

Yolocaust: jumping on dead jews

Warning: this article contains disturbing pictures.

Israeli, Germany-based artist and satirist Shahak Shapira is justifiably tired of a certain trend at the Berlin Holocaust Memorial monument. That is social media posts with goofy selfies and other pics of leisurely activities taken at the Memorial.

The spot in Berlin’s Mitte district is often explored using means such as skateboarding, biking or just sitting around. After all, there’s a lot of creative ways to use a bunch of concrete slabs.

Regrettably, these blocks happen to symbolize the 6 million Jews who were systematically murdered under Nazi rule, before and during World War II.

Young women posting with selfie stick at Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

So, Shapira collected a bunch of these offending pics from social networks such as Instagram, Tinder and Grindr. Then, he made collages of the people in the pics photoshopped into grim photos of piles of genocide victims.

Very fittingly, Shapira has named his project Yolocaust, in reference to Yolo, an acronym for “you live only once”. The catchphrase has become a kind of ‘carpe diem’ for everyone’s favorite scapegoat, millennials.

Holocaust mashup: selfie stick and dead bodies

The results of his work are on display in full, together with the original social posts on his site Yolocaust.de. The collages are haunting and macabre. Sometimes, if you’re far enough removed from this atrocity, their arrangements are close to humorous.

It’s the guilt trip of the century, posing lots of questions, starting with superficial ones, such as how we should carry our lighthearted, youthful and careless selves in public.

Tourists posing at wagon filled with Holocaust victims

Yet, this may not be far removed at all for some our readers. Some of you may be only a generation or two removed from the fresh wounds of the Holocaust. And for that matter, the bizarre tendencies of antisemitism are just now starting to make itself more visible again, both in Europe and the USA.

It needs to be said: at Ink Tank, we’re no strangers to dark humor. It’s inherently human to try and absorb horrible things through humor. Yet, from the outside, and when the collective outrage is activated, it can be hard to read anything but superficial glee, even malice from the subjects in some of these pictures.




At the same time, I have the personal experience of having attended a school trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. I just felt numb for weeks about the insanity of it all, even as my face was rubbed in it. Emotions hit me later, long after returning home.

Which is to say that I indeed find it in poor taste to dance at the Memorial, but that I can see how little actual emotional labor goes into processing a memorial like this, in real time.

Man juggling in Holocaust mass grave

That’s why this writer would like to think that most these pictures are the result of thoughtlessness and forgetfulness of the nature of the public place in which they’re taken and that of the mediums through which they’re posted.

That’s why we’ve chosen to blur the faces of the subjects in the subset of Shapira’s pictures included in this article. After all, these are victimless offenses: the Holocaust victims are already dead. The potential victims here are people who displayed a large dose of bad taste in public, if we choose to focus on them.

The blurring can be seen as a futile gesture, as these pictures have been copied and viewed countless times already. And they’re all there, on Shahak Shapira’s site. Still, I don’t want to take the easy route of seeing this piece of art as a wall of shame for some guilty individuals. Rather, they’re representatives for all of us.

Women smiling in Holocaust mass grave

The banality of these pictures is such a great example of why it’s been wise of the international Jewish communities and various other institutions to try and keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.

Whatever reason, dark humor, ignorance or otherwise people have for posing like this at at the Memorial, Shapira’s work can hopefully be a little kick in their behind to make the Holocaust real.

This writer agrees with Shapira’s through provoking reminder of the nature of Memorial. In his statement, Shapira indeed reminds us that the Holocaust victims can’t be offended. However, we choose how we remember people who’ve died in completely vain, unnecessary, large-scale atrocities.

Young men jumping at dead victims of the Holocaust

I can also agree with how Shapira, on his site, points out the Holocaust as having certain unique characteristics. First comes to mind the process resembling industrial production with which Hitler’s people exterminated Jews and other minorities.

Sadly, this writer has to say he feels circumspect about a narrative that attributes too much uniqueness to the Holocaust, beyond the.. innovative industrial scale of it all.

Yet, the culture of Holocaust awareness spread by, initially, the relatives of its victims, has worked. At least until now. The concentration camps have a place in public sphere and are associated with Hitler’s Germany.

The popularized narrative of the Holocaust as a German phenomenon fails to reveal the larger context of European antisemitism. With its rich history of mind-boggling conspiracy theories, hating Jews was very far from new in the time leading up to the Holocaust.

Taking a wider view, Genocides or “ethnic cleansing” require the failure to see fellow humans in undesired Others. Genocidal acts can be close at hand when a sense of otherness is combined with despotism and war.

Young woman performing acrobatics beside dead bodies of Holocaust victims




It would be a great disservice to ourselves not to remind ourselves about other recent genocides, like those in Darfur, Sudan (2003), Rwanda or Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s. Then there are instances like the Turkish state, which still actively denies and spreads propaganda about the Armenian genocide in 1915.

Almost every war, civil wars in particular, have events with characteristics similar to that of mass rapes and killings of civilians men, women and children.

Simply put: genocides, ethnic cleansing and mass killings have happened again. Multiple times in fact, relatively close to any part of the planet with a sizable human population. The trains to extermination camps may not run as well as in Nazi Germany, but regular humans are universally capable of these acts.

Really grasping these facts, on a personal, emotional level, should reduce your tendency to dance at Holocaust memorials. Even more so than the risk of public shaming.

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Ink Tank - Make words not war Thomas Nybergh

Finnish Independence day celebrations at Tamperetalo, 2013.
 

Independence. Isn’t that word sweet? Here in Finland, we celebrate independence for the 99th time in 2016, so we thought it would be fitting to compare independence day traditions in Finland to other countries.

In our defense, as you read on, remember what the weather is like in Finland in early December.

 

1. Independence day in Finland, December 6

In Finland, the sixth of December is celebrated in remembrance of the former tsarist era Grand Duchy of Finland severing ties with Russia, at just the right time after the Bolshevik revolution in the fall of 1917. Good timing, since the Soviet project soon become a less than pleasant scene.

Finland became a part of Russia in the early 1800s, and the relationship, which had its ups and downs, started to deteriorate in the early 1900s under active Russification.

At the sixth of November, modern day Finland takes independence day to maintain a national mythos of unification, which results from the WWII era struggles to not become, at worst, a Soviet satellite.

 

Google's Finnish independence logo doodle 2016

Google Finland celebrates independence day 2016 with one of the company’s legendary doodles. Image credit. Google maintains major and growing data center operations in Hamina, with a Cloud Platform region set to open in 2017.

 

This is done by lighting candles in the windows in remembrance of fallen soldiers. But most importantly: Finnish societal, political and diplomat elite is invited to take part in a televised ball at the presidential palace in Helsinki.

Watching the ball is tremendously popular considering the stuffy premise. Most of it is literally a procession of hundreds of guests arriving and shaking hands with the president and their spouse.

A common but less part of the perceived fun of watching the ball seems to be in defining an implied pecking order of every guest perceived as female, based on dress. Indeed, the dresses of and the companions of high society ball attendees are a constant target for tabloids the following days.



Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, 2014.

Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, 2014. Image credit: Pierre-Yves Beaudouin

2. France, July 14

France likes fireworks on Bastille Day, the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789 an important event of the French revolution. That’s not an unusual way to celebrate, neither are military parades, which in their modern form borrow a lot from France.

Most quirky and fun however, is the nation’s tendency to arrange Fireman’s Balls, where some of the country’s fire stations open up for public celebration.

The tendency of Fireman’s Balls is to have a dancefloor, lots of music, a bar and food. Big fire stations sometimes accommodate different tastes in music with multiple dance floors. Sometimes the balls are free, sometimes money is collected to benefit the fire brigades, the work of which is seen as essential to civilization.

 

Formation of Tricolour by the school children at Historic Red Fort, Delhi on August 15, 2010.

Formation of Tricolour by the school children at Historic Red Fort, Delhi on August 15, 2010. Photo credit

3. India, August 15

 

In India, the prime minister is known for gives a big speech at fort Delhi, on independence day, to commemorate the freeing from 200 years of British colonial rule on August 15, 1947.

But what steals the show is the practice of flying kites, which symbolize freedom, often with the country’s flags tricolor. Sometimes, it get a bit competitive with grownups trying to knock others kites out of the sky.

 

Old-school greeting between Pakistan and Indian border guards. The photographer describes this tradition: "Thousands flock on both sides to watch the drill, which is performed with precision and showing some sort of mock belligerence which borders on the farcical! Spectators from both sides try to out shout each other with patriotic slogans." Photo credit: Koshy Koshy.

Old-school greeting between Pakistan and Indian border guards. The photographer describes this tradition: “Thousands flock on both sides to watch the drill, which is performed with precision and showing some sort of mock belligerence which borders on the farcical! Spectators from both sides try to out shout each other with patriotic slogans.” Photo credit: Koshy Koshy.

 

4. Pakistan, August 15

As you might guess from the date, Pakistan and India share a few things other than bitter rivalry. Indeed, British colonial gave in on Pakistan on the same day in 1947. We’ll take a quick look at how at efforts of keeping peace in border regions.

Recently, to create cultural prerequisites for peace, activists across the Indian-Pakistani border have started a habit of hanging out together, as well as cheering on border guards as the flags of the respective countries are lowered. In 2013, Indian border officials started bringing sweets to their Pakistani counterparts.

 

National Liberation Day Commemoration Ceremony President Park Geun-hye gives three cheers for the country during the National Liberation Day commemoration ceremony held at Sejong Center in Seoul, on August 15. Sejong Center, Seoul

Gwangbokjeol, independence day celebrations in South Korea. President Park Geun-hye gives three cheers for the country during the National Liberation Day commemoration ceremony held at Sejong Center in Seoul, on August 15 2013. Photo credit: Republic of Korea.

 

5. South Korea, August 15

While Indians are flying kites a few time zones away, South Koreans celebreate Gwangbokjeol, or the Day of Restoration of Light. The occasion has a lot to do with getting rid of the rising sun, pun intended, or the darkness of Japanese colonial rule of the Korean peninsula in the 20th century, which lasted from 1910 to 1945. Suffice to say that the Koreans weren’t fans of attempts to assimilating their entire economy and society with Japan.

There’s a very literal take on freedom here, with the government giving out special pardons to prisoners. A fancy ceremony is also held at Cheonan, the Independence Hall of Korea: the president speaks and everyone sings the Gwangbokjeol song.




 

Two boys engaged in panjat pinang.

Two boys engaged in panjat pinang. Photo credit: Yan Arief Purwanto

 

6. Indonesia, August 17

Indonesia celebrates the riddance of Dutch colonial power on August 17 1945, when the country declared independence. It wasn’t a walk in the park, and a armed conflict waged on for another four years until the United Nations pressured the Netherlands to stop, calling for diplomatic measures. After some hard negotiations, independence was granted in August 1949.

Traditions for celebrating this hard-won freedom include flag raising ceremonies, communal neighborhood events and traditional games, such as multicultural cooking competitions and sack racing. However, the most fascinating tradition, beside a competition of eating shrimp cookies, is a game of climbing oiled palm trees.

 

Young Ukrainian man with Ukrainian and EU flags painted on his cheeks, shouting at Euromaidan protests in Kiev, 2013.

Ukrainian pro-European protester at the Euromaidan protests in Kiev, 2013. Photo credit: Ivan Bandura.

 

Bonus: Ukraine, August 24

Let’s tone down the fun and games for a moment to keep ourselves up to date with the state of national sovereignty in Europe. Ukraine, the former USSR republic has been ravaged by a Russian sponsored war effort for two years, following the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Here at Ink Tank, we think this is a sobering thing to keep in mind, as we sit here in Helsinki on December 6. Which is to say, a few hundred kilometers from the border of Russia, an increasingly authoritarian country led by a kleptocrat elite of oligarchs and intelligence officials.

In 2016 year, Ukraine celebrated 25 years of independence from the Soviet Union, which happened under the condition of giving up their arsenal of nuclear weapons. The country has had a less than stable path towards democracy. This year, there’s also additional baggage of unpleasant anniversaries: 30 years since the Chernobyl catastrophe and 75th anniversary of the Nazi massacre at Babi Yar.

Yet, let’s hope that Ukrainians in 2017 will be able to continue the tradition of flooding the streets, clad in traditional local costumes, under a form of rule more benevolent than a certain neighbor we share with them.

 
Did we leave out any fun independence day traditions we should know about? Did we completely mess up the descriptions above? Don’t just bang your head against your keyboard, but let us know in the comments below.

 

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