Artist Mariko Mori Uncovers Parallel Universes With New Show

One of the biggest art stars in Japan brings her intergalactic sculptures to NYC’s Sean Kelly Gallery.

Photograph by David Sims. Courtesy of Sean Kelly Gallery.

Though you might not have heard her name, in her home country of Japan 48-year-old polyglot artist Mariko Mori is a superstar. Her pieces, spanning from video, to film, to sculpture, seem like missives from the future, juxtaposing a Sci-Fi sleekness with a deep humanity that in some works, like her Rebirth series, can border on animism. Since her formal introduction to the western art world two decades ago, Mori has shown at the Brooklyn Museum, the MCA Chicago, and the Serpentine Gallery (among many others), and is now currently exhibiting at the Sean Kelly Gallery in NYC. The exhibit, Cyclicscape, which we had the pleasure of walking through with Mori late last week, is a stunning paean to humanity’s intrinsic ties with nature, modern spirituality, and the ways the environment and technology dance through our lives.

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Stimulant of the Masses

Meet the radical ex-priest who took on Brazil's military dictatorship.

Almost 25 years ago, I was learning to organize miners and peasants in the north of Chile. One of the movement’s leaders pulled me aside and handed me a worn copy of Comunidades Eclesiales de Base, a book by Leonardo Boff. “This is how to make it work,” he told me. A couple of years later, in a refugee camp in El Salvador, I got the same book as a gift. Since then, I have found Boff’s books on the shelves of human rights lawyers in Colombia, activist journalists in Mexico, and peasants trying to win land rights throughout Latin America. Boff, who spent most of his career as a Catholic priest, was both a spiritual and political leader, providing both moral weight and practical guidance to the fight against dictatorships and rapacious capitalism throughout Latin America’s most tumultuous years.

Boff left the small town of Concórdia, in the state of Santa Catarina where he was born to join the Franciscan Friars in 1959. Over the next 30 years, he organized “base communities,” small groups, spun off from the Brazilian church, to resist the dictatorship and strive for human rights. Writing about religion, community and politics, Boff became the most prolific scribe of liberation theology, a populist movement that questioned the church’s role in preserving a status quo rife with inequality and injustice. The poor and marginalized, he insisted, see power and suffering in a different way than the rich. Not that crazy an idea, considering the Bible is ostensibly a book about poor Judean peasants, carpenters, and fishermen.

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Post-Trayvon: In Oakland, Healing and the New Radicalism Take Root

If 'compassion is the radicalism of our time,' how do we bring healing to our communities?

A little over a week ago I sat in shock as text messages flooded my phone. Everyone from the NAACP to friends all around the country were sharing the news that George Zimmerman was acquitted on all charges in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. I managed to hold back the flood of tears and an angry "WTF??" outburst just long enough to get myself across town to meet friends for another racially heated event—a Saturday night screening of Fruitvale Station, a film which covers the final few days of Oscar Grant, an unarmed 22-year-old black father who was shot and killed by a Bay Area Transit Authority police officer at the Fruitvale Station train platform on New Years Day 2009.

These two events—Trayvon's and Oscar's murders—have resurfaced the deep wounds of racism, classism, and discrimination that many in the black community know too well. In response, we in this country have historically—and rightly so—boycotted, protested, and organized resistance campaigns as our main calls to action to protect our children's future from further ignorance.

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Seriously, What Is the Deal with These Idiots Who Hate Muslims?

If you want to kick Islam out of America, you're the one who's un-American.

What the hell is with this intolerance toward Islam? Honestly, I don't get it. I was watching a preview for the upcoming CNN program Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door, a documentary about the fight in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to build a mosque, and I found myself dumbfounded. I’m a child of the internet, so few things shock me anymore. But people outright burning mosque construction sites really throws me for a loop. As do malicious maniacs calling American Muslims “pedophiles” in front of their young children.

As it turns out, according to a new CNN poll, most Americans are totally fine with a mosque in their city, and that’s great news. But more than quarter—28 percent—aren’t fine with it. In the CNN video, a lawyer in a Murfreesboro courtroom even asks a man testifying if Islam is a religion at all, because of how they “blow themselves up.” In fact, Islam is the second-largest religion in the world. There are more than 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Needless to say, only a vanishingly small minority of them—often manipulated by terrorist organizations for political ends—blow themselves up. For an accredited lawyer entrusted with protecting our basic rights to suggest that suicide bombing is pervasive among Muslims is outrageous.

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Study: Religion Set to Go Extinct in Nine Nations

Citizens in countries from Ireland to Canada to Austria are seeing less "utility" in organized religion.

A new study of census data from nine countries around the world has ascertained that, statistically, religion in those countries is going the way of the pterodactyl.

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