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Required Reading

This week, Shepard Fairey’s Inauguration graphics, defeating gerrymandering, artists at Standing Rock, swarm technology in the US military, ACT UP vs. Trump, and more.

Michael Kamber, photojournalist and founder of the Bronx Documentary Center, and photojournalist David “Dee” Delgado pick their three favorites from The Brian Lehrer Show‘s annual top photo “sitting on your phone of 2016” contest, including:

How Paul Smith might defeat unconstitutional redistricting (aka gerrymandering) in the United States once and for all:
A decision invalidating Wisconsin’s gerrymander as unconstitutionally partisan would, of course, be a boon to democracy. But it would also be a godsend to Democrats, who are in the process of being gerrymandered into oblivion.
Carolina Miranda speaks to artist Cannupa Hanska Luger about Standing Rock (he was also featured in our three-part podcast from Standing Rock), where he was born, and asks:
CM: What role do you think artists can have in protest?

CHL: Being an artist, it is a way to weaponize privilege. I could have been on the front line a dozen times, but my wife said, “You are one person there; you are 10,000 here — where you can engage all of these resources.”

I did a mural at the Center for Civil and Human Rights [in Atlanta] about these issues because I had the opportunity. And if I don’t utilize every amount of privilege for a cause that’s worthwhile, then what is the point? If I am not for you, then who am I for?

Artists, we live on the periphery. But we are the mirrors. We are the reflective points that break through a barrier. You don’t have to be in the same economic place that I am to relate to the work that I make. That is the power of art.

We are not rich people. But we are incredibly wealthy. We have ideas.
This American Life asked Sara Bareilles to imagine what President Obama might be thinking about this election and Donald Trump. She wrote this song, which Leslie Odom Jr. sings:

The US military has successfully tested new “swarm” technology, which resembles a 21st-century swarm of locusts:
The test of the world’s largest micro-drone swarm in California in October included 103 Perdix micro-drones measuring around 16cm long launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, the Pentagon said in a statement.

“The micro-drones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviours such as collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing,” it said.

During a press conference this week, Trump paraded files he pointed to and said they were proof of preparations being made to separate himself from his businesses. Then a photograph revealed that they were blank. What’s the story about the emperor and his clothes again?

The women of the Iroquois nation had far more power than European American women. Their example may have influenced others:
Unlike European American women of the mid-19th century, Iroquois women had tremendous political authority. Though the process of assimilation had begun, the essence of Iroquois society had remained intact. In the Iroquois Confederacy (including the Onandaga, Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Cayuga, and later Tuscarora Nations), women participated in all major decision-making.

Women had the power to veto any act of war. And women selected the chiefs. “A man only served as leader if nominated by women, and women could call for his removal, for which there was no appeal,” says Doug George-Kanentiio, member of the Mohawk Nation and author of Iroquois Culture and Commentary, who currently serves as vice president of the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge. Women could disqualify or remove a chief from office if he was found guilty of any one of three behaviors— murder, theft, or sexual assault. Justice was largely served by women, and a man who committed sexual assault might be banished, scarred, or sentenced to capital punishment.
The straight men who made the US’s first gay record:
Because there was no mainstream gay audience, the producers had no idea how to reach gay listeners. “Some copies went to the biggest record store in L.A., which happened to be across the street from a restaurant that almost exclusively employed gay waiters,” Doyle says. “The store’s owner contacted Murray and said, ‘Hey, this thing is selling like hotcakes. These waiters are buying half a dozen copies at a time and telling all their friends.’ So the producers realized they should market it in gay neighborhoods and sent some copies to San Francisco and New York, but that was about the limit of what they could think of then.”
Julian Assange’s AMA on Reddit didn’t go well:

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