Thursday, January 20, 2011

News updates

Belgian photographer/film-maker Vanessa De Smet and her two Mongolian artist friends, Dorjderem Davaa and Enkhjargal Ganbat, were successful in the online funding appeal they launched last month on the Kickstarter arts website.  They had stalled badly in the middle of the 30-day appeal period, after a strong start, but picked up momentum again in the last few days, and just squeaked home to their $9,000 target (the pledges they'd received would have been void if they had fallen short of this minimum).  Congratulations to all three of them.  I look forward to hearing more news of the completion of the projects they're working on and of their experiences on the planned European tour.  Many thanks to everyone who contributed, or passed on details of the appeal, or just checked out their video and wished them well.

Another photographer friend of mine, Amy Johansson, had this rather stunning picture of hers in contention in a National Geographic competition back in November.  Alas, she didn't win it - but it seems she did make the final, final shortlist of three, which is quite a result.  (Many thanks again to all of you who helped by giving her picture a high rating on the magazine's website.  Several of you told me that you thought it was the standout of that selection.)  She was up for a prize in a competition run by the fashion magazine Elle around the same time; she missed out on the top award there as well, but it's major kudos even to make the prize shortlist in such select company.  She currently has a solo exhibition of her Bangladesh pictures (including the National Geographic one) at the Arbetets Museum in Norrk√∂ping, Sweden - on until the end of the month.  This year, Amy is taking a photography course at the well-regarded Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus.  After that... she might just possibly look into making photography her new full-time profession.  She's a very talented young lady, and I'm sure she'll be enjoying many more such successes in the future.

News - of a sort - finally in the Wu Yuren case: his lawyer, Li Fangping, was summoned to the courthouse on Monday to "view" the police videotapes from the Jiuxianqiao Police Station which were supposedly the key piece of evidence in the case, but which had not been brought to court by the prosecution on the first trial date back in November.  The presiding judge adjourned the trial - indefinitely - on Li's motion to produce the tapes, and... two full months later we are told that (surprise, surprise) the original surveillance camera tapes have long since been lost or erased; and the - obviously heavily edited - tape from a handheld video camera which was produced in court (and shows nothing to incriminate Wu) is claimed to be the sole (original, unedited) version.  So, after this long and painful delay, there is no new evidence.  In fact, there is no evidence at all - apart from the not terribly convincing testimony of the police officers.  In just about any other country in the world, the case would now be dismissed.  Here in China, there is a depressing inevitability that it will proceed anyway, and that a guilty verdict - which was effectively decided in advance - will be handed down, and that a sentence will be imposed that is out of all proportion to the trivial assault alleged (one year, if we're lucky; two or three, if we're not).  Now, we're just anxious for the trial (and sentencing) to be concluded as soon as possible.  It's starting to seem dangerously likely that they'll try to do this during the upcoming Chinese Spring Festival holiday, when it will escape too much media attention or public notice (and when Wu's family - and his lawyer - are likely to be unavailable to attend the hearings!).  Sigh.

But finally, some really good news....

'Ashleigh Burrows', a cyber-friend who was injured in the Tucson shooting on January 8th, is back blogging again - barely a week later.  She's still in hospital, but is recovering well and seems to be in good spirits.  Welcome back, a/b; get well soon.


Anonymous said...

I like this newsy post; it speaks of hope, which is a sentiment to which I can't seem to help being drawn in spite of everything that tells me, to the contrary, that I ought to be a dyed-in-the-wool pessimist.

Hope you are well, Your Froogness! I seem to have no time at all any more now that I seem to be fully recovered from the horrible yergh that plagued me for months. Funny how easy it is to fall right back into the grind...

Hugs, Froog!

Froog said...

Nice to hear from you again, CW. I'm glad your silence this past week or so is a sign of better health.

I hope you won't abandon us altogether, though!