Thursday, December 25, 2008

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Take a seat, relax and enjoy the show. Slideshow courtesy of Picasa this time. Click on the show to see the whole gallery.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Slideshow Test

As Ive been in a village state of mind for about the past year I havent been able log on to flickr. It seems as though theyve got a nice new (to me) embedded slideshow feature. Let me try it out with some old stuff and then if it seems legit we will get a few nice shots that are right out of the oven.



Oh Holga, my friend, how I miss you. Oh Dakar, why are your keyboards so wild to the touch?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ten to the One Hundreth-A Call For Innovation

So I saw this quick little video, I think its made by google and it asks you to see how many lives in this world you can change for the better. I didn't have too much time to check out the details. But if you're interested (and you should be, it is your planet after all) watch the video and see what it really entails.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Shiny and New


A fresh batch of photos is finally online. I've contributed to the organization of a photo contest among Peace Corps volunteers so we'll see how I do. I've taken more than six thousand shots with my camera now, a few of them ought to be alright. Maybe not? The Compound of Jah Gallery

From The Compound of Jah


On Starlit Affairs

Of the happenings that transpire under the light of the stars, they have always been there for one to stumble upon. From overlapping toes to clasped hands, to curtained rooms, the whole of the village is busy and nobody wants anyone to know about it. As the wind blows and the leaves rustle, so too do the soft exclaimations of pleasure and pain characterize the night. Along with the hope that nobody hears, nobody discovers, the rampant disregard for supposed cultural norms. Though do norms only count in the daytime when lovers refuse to acknowlegde each other? Or are the starlit affairs not an abuse of the norms, but instead simply the complete manifestation of them? Some are mere youth trying new things while others are trying new partners. What is infideliy in a culture that permits polygamy anyhow? Does infidelity even exist, is it based on intention or does it only kick in when the roster is full? Regardless, people are usually late to sleep and some rooms fill with a natural heat, even in the absence of the blazing son.

Culture is a complex an dynamic beast, it must be to shun unmarried couples, yet under the stars encourage locked lips and poorly recited lines of true love. Here desire is drunkeness and the darkness its vice, obscuring visions and decisions all through the night.

The Books

If you can have only three books, keep your holy book, your dictionary and your notebook.


But if you can have only two books, keep your dictionary and your notebook and write a personal holy book based on your own convictions.

The Compound of Jah

No, I'm not dead, but the internet scene in my region is. Upcountry Gambia, however, remains a hot spot, despite its isolation from the world. We've been mighty busy out there hoeing up the fields and getting real dirty. I've been tending a new variety of dryland rice called ATM-3 that I'm a bit anxious to get back to, as it should be bearing fruit soon. The village crew and I have also been whiping up some local organic recipes to try and stay fit. Not fancy/trendy foods, but remedies for improving health and agricultural yields. We've got some cream made from the neem leaf that will protect you from mosquitos, a few compost piles with a smorgasbord of decaying materials sure to enrich the soil, an organic pesticide cocktail that is gaurenteed keep your garden protected and flourishing, and a delicious beverage known as rehydration solution consisting of sugar, salt and water that will replace and hold fluids in your body if you seem to be making a few more trips to the latrine than usual. I've got some adult literacy classes on the horizan and I may be able to contribute to the launch of a local credit union. So I'll be staying busy, not to mention the rice harvest.

When it comes doen to it I got a good situation going on. I have a few tales to tell here, but they wont reveal the whole story. You have to live it to really soak up the details. All the more reason to visit. I've been writing plenty, but most of my scrawl would be jibberish on a computer screen. Sometimes it's a bit too personal, sometimes its a bit too critical of the political environment and sometimes as I reread my writing I realize just how much my world view is evolving. So, no cause for alarm. But there is a cause to always think freely and creatively. Hopefully I'll be able to keep this place up and running now.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blisters

Blisters here, blisters there, blisters everywhere. Out in the countryside people use their hands. There isnt some fancy machine to do all the work for them. I have finally partaken in the traditional activity of breaking down my skin so that it can heal even tougher. Digging a garden in my backyard. Blister. Pulling buckets of water from the well. Blister. Pounding coos with a mortar and pestle. Blister. Shelling massive amounts of peanuts. Blisters.

If you yourself have no blisters youve either worked really hard or harldy worked. Go dig a hole and throw some seeds in there it builds character.

Thatch vs. Rain

The first rains came on the night of May 6th. First there were flashes in the distance and as they approached the drops began to fall.

I realized that a land with this much sand, for a few moths every year, must become a land of mud. And so it did. But not for long as the storm soon passed. This was simply the first taste of what will come in the following weeks. Or so Im told.

With the rain that night came the wind. Whistling, window-slamming wind. I must admit that at first I doubted the structural integrity of my thatch roof. Could it withstand such gusts I asked my self, and would the rain seep through, wreaking havoc on the inside of my home? As I lay on my bed below the roof, I clutched a flashlight in my hand. Whenever a particularly fierce wave of wind blew past I would shine the light on the roof and make sure it was still there and without a gaping hole. I awoke in the morning still holding my flashlight. The roof greeted me above, in perfect form.

Im now sold on thatch roofs. And you know what they say, once you go thatch you never go back.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Forbidden Fruit

Here's a trapdoor that leads to a few photos of mine...

Forbidden Fruit


Go ahead, take a bite.

4/17/08
The fruit just got a little bit sweeter.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Avoiding Conquest By Inferno


The year's great fires burned high and bright as each village in the region struggled to build a flame-proof belt beyond its borders to prevent a catastrophe. My village was no different. I saw the smoke spires looming not far away as I attempted to learn Mandinka in my outside classroom. A windy afternoon brought the fires so close that they were visible from the village garden. I doubt my green plastic watering can would have slowed them much. Eventually, however, they appeared to retreat again. Sitting outside chatting in the late evening, I noticed the orange glow hovering patiently over the village like a flying phoenix waiting to swoop down low. Tenacious embers were pursuing our small town. I went to the road and could see the fire's horizontal battalions advancing around us. The flames could clearly be seen and even felt as they were perhaps merely a couple hundred meters away. As conquest by inferno appeared inevitable, the fire leapt and danced at our perimeter, its crackling war cry deafening. And then there was a change of wind and we were spared.

Dreams.

Dreams. Kind of silly to discuss in formal settings beyond their mysterious meanings. What environments are the most encouraging for their inception and their rememberance? Do the people in The Gambia dream about the same concepts and senarios as those people residing in other regions? Is it possible for a person who has never been to West Africa to conjure images of a masquerading character clothed in organic fibers - like the that of the cerimonial Kankurang we have in these parts - independent of the cultures that spawned it? I guess anything is possible nowadays in the era of globalization...even our minds are intertwined. But should that scare us or inspire us?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

One Large Step

In his finest traveling shirt Babanding prepared to leave. His faded red duffel with the two rabbits carefully stitched on it was packed and ready to go. He walked towards the door, but stopped in the doorway and placed his bag (and its rabbits) carefully by his side. Then he slowly bent down and wrote two lines in the sand with his finger while reciting a prayer. When he was at peace enough to elevate the rabbits (and the bag) again he did so, and then took one large step to ensure his writing remained unscathed. He said his goodbyes and walked through the compound gate across the plot where the new mosque is planned to be. He headed towards the crumbling yet enduring road. The last time I've seen him since. One really must wash their hands before they write and then again afterward as well.

Monday, March 24, 2008

a letter home

Zach hasn't been able to access the internet, but he did send a letter home, and I (Dad) have posted some excerpts.

"I am healthy and content. The Gambia is beautiful. I've already had many memorable experiences and made some good friends...My new experiences have opened my eyes to the cultures of Islam and West Africa at the village level...
"My Mandinka is coming along. I did well on my first of three language tests that I need to pass in order to swear in. Learning Mandinka has been great in facilitating communication between me and my host family. I have a great family...They have named me Ansoumana Yabo...
"As for the food, it is all quite good...I've managed to tolerate eating fish quite well and even come close to liking it on occasion. There are peanuts around as well and they make a great peanut sauce for the rice...
"I've had a chance to make it out to the local football field a couple of times to demonstrate my moves. The younger kids love playing with my ball until the sun goes down...
"The days are both long and short but regardless, I'm on my way to being on my own with my personal projects and goals. Hopefully I can send some pictures home soon and receive some prints in return. Also feel free to send more Black Warrior pencils, a small battery powered sharpener, as many Swedish Fish as you can, and whatever else could prove to be useful."

In case anyone was worried, Swedish Fish are on the way.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Through the Door

My journey begins tonight and it's too late to back out now. As I've spoken with friends and family about my future a number of question have arisen about what my Peace Corps service will be about. So, I've decided to propose some of those questions here and answer them much more eloquently (I hope) than I have in actual conversation.

(1.) So where is The Gambia?

-Being one of the least discussed places in the world on the least understood continent, I didn't expect many people to know where The Gambia is, especially in an age where young Americans can barely find Canada on a map let alone Iraq or a tiny West African country. That being said, I was impressed that a few people I talked with actually had heard of The Gambia and knew where it was located in the world. For those who may not have heard of such a place however, I'll provide a map.




There, now everyone is intimately familiar with the location of The Gambia. For facts about the country, please visit the CIA World Factbook.

(2.) How do you feel about working for the United States government?

-While I'm not in agreement with all of the policies of the current administration to say the least, I have no reservations about being a Peace Corps volunteer. The reason is that the Peace Corps operates only in countries that request volunteers. I feel comfortable knowing that the community which I will eventually join wants a volunteer to assist them in any development work that they may want to pursue. Secondly I agree with the promotion of Soft Power. Soft power is a political science principle that is described by using peaceful and supportive actions to influence other nations into believing what you stand for. I think that the United States really does strive to be a free, fair and thriving society and that Americans wish for those ideals to be shared by every people in the world. Unfortunately, actions that are associated with Hard Power (military might) such as invasion, war and torture, sully the American image. One of the best ways to promote the positive image instead, I believe, is to engage in Soft Power programs that provide technical development and relief assistance with the goal of raising global standards of living alleviating poverty. Programs like the Peace Corps.

(3.) How do you pack for something like this?

-Well lets just say I should be sponsored by Ziplock. Packing has been a very slow and careful process. Of course I was provided with a packing list, but my mind has still been plagued with hesitations. Is there anything I should have that is not on the list? What items are really necessary? Will I be able to find these things in The Gambia? Will my bags be within the airline weight and size requirements? Everything needs to be functional, but still appropriate for the local culture. Each item I have selected to take has passed the test of my careful consideration. I have enjoyed the organizational aspect of packing, though now that it has come time to actually put everything into the bags I will travel with, I have found it dificult to proceed. As I write this entry I have made serious progress and I imagine everything will ultimately be under control, but there is still more to do...and I leave tonight.

(4.) Are you nervous?

-I have to admit that I am nervous, but probably not in the ways my fellow volunteers may be. For me, learning about and integrating into a new community is the easy part. I have no problem with taking bucket showers, using pit toilets, or spending long periods without electricity and other amenities. No qualms with riding in sketchy buses and eating the same thing for dinner, week after week. I've done those things before in my semester abroad in Tanzania. What gets me nervous is the pressure of actually helping the people I will be with. I hope I have, or will soon acquire, the skills to make positive changes in my future Gambian community. And I hope the friendships I make with Gambians and fellow volunteers will be lifelong.

(5.) How do you respond to those that say older more skilled volunteers are more valuable?

-That is a very important concern that I've had to deal with personally. The conclusion I've come to is that there is no denying that bringing skilled experts may often prove to be more productive than training younger volunteers from scratch. Yet a skilled volunteer without motivation or initiative will be worthless compared to a young volunteer who is serious and passionate about making a positive impact and gaining important experiences that they can utilize to continue to raise standards of living in the future. I may not have all the skills of an older volunteer yet, but I plan on bringing passion to the table which will hopefully allow me to learn and thrive, giving me the experience necessary to truly make the impact I wish to have.

(6.) How will you communicate?

-Internet access will most likely NOT be a regular thing while I'm in The Gambia, especially during the first few months. If email is truly your groove-thing though, feel free to shoot me a message, short or long, and I'll get back to you the next time I get a chance. Writing letters will be essential without the internet, so I've listed my address on the righthand side of this webpage. As far as I know, I'll be getting a mail delivery once per month and just like the emails I'll respond to every one. I love the idea of the handwritten word - each author has their own distinct handwriting characteristics and paper preferences, plus other worthwhile things can be put into envelopes like interesting articles, product labels or photographs. Letters written on typewriters are encouraged as well. If all else fails I hope to buy a cell phone and I will post the number here when I get it. It will probably cost me a months pay to make an international call so I'd suggest if you want to say hello, you ought to call me. Phone cards are available online.

(7.) What is the future of this website?

-While I have enjoyed highlighting fascinating resources, innovations and photographs thus far with this fine piece of internet real estate, this space will now be the online home of my Peace Corps journal. I hope to discover similar examples of innovation within The Gambia, but those entries will be mixed with other experiences I have as well.

So that's that, I'm sure there may have been more questions, but these were the ones that seemed most important to answer,,,and anyways, now it's time to finish packing and walk through the door. Don't forget to write.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Secret...This Aint No Vacation

Okay, I admit it, I have something that I really need to get off my chest.
Alright, here it goes: I'm going to be taking a little trip.
Fine it's more than just a trip, I'll be changing lifestyles.
No longer will I taste the chill of the icy Wisconsin air, it' time to sweat.
It's time to get my hands dirty, you know, experience life on the ground, the way I like it.

I've done enough theoretical rambling in the past, now I need to see first hand how the world really works. That is why I'm embarking on a mental and physical excursion known by many as the Peace Corps.

I depart in just about one week for a country called The Gambia, located on the Atlantic coast of West Africa. The Gambia is a small thin strip of land (as far as countries go) that penetrates into mainland West Africa. Running the length of the country is a river of the same name. It's safe to say that when you're within the borders of The Gambia you're never too far from the river, and thus life.

There are a number of ethnic groups living in The Gambia, the largest of which are the Mandinka, Wolof and Fula tribes each with their own distinctive tongue. Though the colonial language is English (in a region surrounded by French speaking countries), most people - especially those living in rural areas - primarily speak the tribal languages, which vary depending on the district. I wont know which language I'll learn until I get there.

The Gambia is generally a stable country of nearly 1.7 million people. Most are united by their faith in Islam, which accounts for roughly 90% of the population. I've heard of very little animosity between Muslims and the other faiths, which includes Christianity and indigenous beliefs. Word on the street is that it's pretty common to be woken up by the daily call to prayer and I've been advised to bring ear plugs. Personally, in the past I've found calls to prayer quite melodic and far from irritating, but it may have something to do with the proximity I am from the mosque. We'll see.

For my position I have been assigned the role of health and community development volunteer. First, I will undergo ten weeks of intensive language, cross-cultural and skills training, then I will settle down at a permanent site for the following two years. Once I become adequately integrated into my new community I will assess the health needs of the surrounding area. I may partner with a local non-governmental organization (NGO) or assume the project of a previous volunteer. This often entails educating community members about hygiene, sanitation, nutrition the prevention of maladies like HIV/AIDS and malaria. I hope to employ teaching techniques that are familiar to me as well as other methods that are more traditional to the region like the use of folk drama. I could also end up working in a health clinic, organizing information technology (IT) trainings for youth or promoting strategies for local entrepreneurial success and income generation. My tasks may include any combination of those activities and others I've probably neglected to mention.

What it comes down to is that I will have to wait and see what the situation is when I get there. I don't pretend to know it all already and I can only hope that the facts and figures I've provided above are somewhere close to accurate. This will be a stimulating yet chaotic experience for me, but I believe I'll abide.

My eyes will be wide open.

(I will follow this post by addressing a few questions I've been confronted with since applying to serve a Peace Corps volunteer over a year ago. If you have any questions that you would like me to answer please comment on this post or send an email to zach.rosen@gmail.com)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Goodbye to the Golden Garifuna


On January 19th, 2008 renowned Belizean musician Andy Palacio suddenly passed away at the age of 47. Andy Palacio, who was certainly on the rise in the international music scene when he died, proudly represented the African-descended Garifuna communities that are found predominantly in Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.

Born in a small fishing village called Barranco in Belize that until recently was only accessible by boat, Andy Palacio rose from his humble roots to become one of the most recognized musicians in all of Latin America. Beyond his extraordinary singing and songwriting, Andy dedicated his life to promoting the rich cultural traditions of the his people, the Garifuna. An all around well respected man, he was appointed to the position of Belizean Cultural Ambassador in 2004.


Andy's most recent CD "Watina", which he recorded with a group of his peers known as the Garifuna Collective, was very warmly received and is a powerful testament to the enduring vibrancy of the Garifuna culture in Latin America. In 2007 Andy was honored with the prestigious Womex Award for his cultural and musical contributions to world music. In his acceptance speech he spoke proudly of his heritage saying,

"I accept this award on behalf of my fellow artists from all over the world with the hope that it will serve to reinforce those sentiments that fuel cultures of resistance and pride in one’s own.

The true heroes behind my music are really those first Garifuna fighters who, in the 18th Century, on the island of Yurumei (St. Vincent) stood up against slavery, colonization and cultural domination, choosing to keep their identity and remain the Garifuna Nation. Many, including Paramount Chief Joseph Chattoyer, paid the ultimate price.

Then came those who survived that genocide and were forcibly relocated to the Caribbean coast of Central America. This award honours those mothers and fathers who have passed on this legacy (including our language, music, dance, folklore and spirituality) to their children, that we today may add to the richness and diversity that makes our world a better place for all."

It is truly an inspirational speech.


In 2007 Andy was designated an "Artist for Peace" by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This past November he traveled back to his home village of Barranco to present his award and was paraded through town by a giant crowd of drummers and dancers. Following his death this month it was announced that Andy was awarded the BBC Radio 3 Award for Best Music of the Year from the Americas. This was a an unprecedented announcement because although a jury picks the winners in late December, the awards are not usually presented until mid April. The early award recognition was very honorable.

Andy Palacio was definitely on my radar when he passed away this week. I have really been impressed with the rich musical compositions on the album Watina and I'm sure I would have purchased it eventually regardless of his death. Unfortunately I missed out on seeing him and the Collective live this past summer in Chicago because Seun Kuti was playing the same night in Madison. Because I live in Madison I went to see Seun, but it seems I made the wrong choice. I will remain a fan and hopefully I can find solace in his earlier material.

Andy had accomplished much in his 47 years, but his potential to continue producing incredible music was truly great. Let's hope future generations of Garifunas can carry on his musical and cultural legacy.

Take a listen of Andy Palacio's music on his Myspace page and enjoy the following short film about Andy and Garifuna music.



Andy Palacio 1960-2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Innovate or Die"...then what?


Sometimes I feel like we're all doomed and sometimes I uncover evidence to refute that sentiment.

The Innovate or Die contest sponsored by Specialized Bikes and Google challenged avid cyclists to come up with new ways to use bikes that would benefit the world. In total there were a whopping 102 teams that submitted their "pedal powered inventions" for critique. Entries were scrutinized on their creativity, environmental impact and design. In the end, only one creation was crowned the grand prize winner, but everyone truly comes out on top when the purpose of the event is to fashion designs that are environmentally friendly.

I now submit for your approval the grand prize winner of the Innovate or Die Contest: The Aquaduct.


(The videos of other finalists can be seen on the Innovate or Die contest websiet as well.)

The genius of this contraption is the ability to filter water while riding and, by switching a level, water can be filtered with the bike in a stationary position as well. Using firewood and other fuels to purify water, as is commonly done in much of the developing world, leads to serious patterns of environmental degradation. When trees are used as fuel then the nearby soil is more prone to erosion and soil quality is lowered, decreasing the agricultural yields that make up a significant portion of the livelihoods of people in those places. By lowering the demand for fuel to purify water, efforts to sustains existing forests will be more successful and pure water can be used for cooking and consumption much quicker and easier.

Ideas like this are fun and interesting, but rarely are they produced on a large scale that would actually have some impact. The goal of the contest should not be to see what kinds of designs we can come up with, but to see how much those designs can accomplish in real world settings. Then we'd really be cruising.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

So Fresh and So Cool


Sometimes, an invention comes around that is so simple I can't believe nobody thought of it earlier. Sometimes that invention is also quite valuable. The most recent example of human ingenuity to blow me away is the pot-in-pot cooling system also known as the "desert fridge." The "desert fridge" is an innovation conceived of by a Nigerian man named Mohammed Bah Abba to keep agricultural produce and other items cool, thereby increasing the length of their freshness and shelf life.

The genius of the invention is its simple design that can be easily constructed with materials found pretty much everywhere in the world. In regions like Africa and elsewhere in the world that do not have reliable electricity, preserving crops for later consumption or sale is fairly difficult and spoilage is not uncommon. The pot-in-pot system developed by Abba in the late 1990's effectively prevents rapid spoilage.


As it's name suggests, the pot-in-pot cooling system consists of a large ceramic pot within which another pot of slightly smaller size is placed. Between the two pots is a layer of sand that is kept wet with the periodic addition of water. The pots are then covered with a wet cloth. As the water evaporates throughout the day it cools the pots and any produce items inside are kept fresh as a result, a miracle in climates that are notoriously hot and dry. It has been reported that eggplants stay fresh for roughly 27 days, instead of the typical three, African spinach is good for 12 days as opposed to just one and tomatoes and peppers last for around 21 days. Truly a remarkable system.


What makes the "Desert Fridge" especially effective is that not only does it create an income for people who produce the pots essential to its construction, its inventer Mohammed Bah Abba tours regions in Nigeria and elsewhere educating people about how and why to use his creation. The manner in which he goes about his teachings is quite impressive as well. Knowing that rural agricultural populations often lack the opportunity to acquire quality educations for various reasons, Abba demonstrates the power of the fridge with communication tools everyone can understand, namely through a theater production he authored or by showing a videotaped presentation of the production with a portable generator-powered projector.


For his inspirational efforts, Mohammed Bah Abba received the Rolex Award for Enterprise in 2000 and the Shell Award for Sustainable Development in 2001 in addition to other international praise. Let this be a lesson to those who view Africa and Africans as a land and people incapable of progress and ingenuity. Also let this demonstrate to everyone the power of simply designing with what we have around us.

Monday, January 14, 2008

For the Record - We're Watching


Many of us have heard about or seen the chaos that has unfolded following the elections in Kenya on December 27th, 2007. Media outlets that rarely cover African affairs have shined their lights on the East African state as it has been experiencing ethnic turmoil in the wake of the hotly contested and reportedly, highly flawed presidential elections between incumbent president Mwai Kibaki and opposition candidate Raila Odinga. Though Raila Odinga was the frontrunner in the polls leading up to the election and took an early lead in the ballot counts, Kenya's electoral commission pronounced that Kibaki had won a second term in office, a decision that sparked violent riots and protests across the country, among other atrocities. The dust has mostly settled at this point and communities are beginning to rebuild, but nearly 600 people died in all the commotion and an acceptable agreement between Kibaki and the opposition has not been reached. While the Kibaki administration attempts to claim its legitimacy to the international community, the Kenyan people struggle to recover from the violence that tore through their cities, towns and villages.

To let the people know that they are not being ignored a website called ushahidi.com was created for Kenyans to record on a map (courtesy of Google Maps) what kinds of events have occurred in their communities. Incidents of rioting, death, property loss, looting, rape, and peace efforts can be recorded and viewed on the map with information detailing the date, time and a description of the event. In addition, some of the best coverage of the hullabaloo in Kenya did not come from international news networks like CNN, it came from Global Voices Online, a collection of blogs from around the world that showcases the different perspectives of those that are actually experiencing the events on the ground. You can find Global Voices' extensive election coverage here along with a video clip:

http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2008/01/02/kenya-do-not-doubt-the-power-of-the-internet-in-africa

http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2008/01/11/kenya-bloggers-seek-to-heal-a-wounded-nation/

http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2008/01/10/kenya-moving-images-of-unrest-and-hope/


While the Kenyan election has not been an example of an effective democratic process, Kenya, under Mwai Kibaki can come together with Raila Odinga's opposition group to find a path to an effective reconciliation and allow peace to be associated with Kenya once again. Though nobody enjoys seeing violent riots like those that occurred recently in Kenya, they did prove that the citizen advocacy movement (ie. blogging, texting, youtube) is there to give a voice to the voiceless and make sure that nothing and nobody is swept through the cracks.

Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/NYT

Thursday, January 3, 2008

vi.sualize.us fo.rev.er


We've all been browsing the internet, checking out whatever kinky websites we enjoy and suddenly happened upon a beautiful image. This scenario happens all the time for me, whether I'm reading an article about the current riots in Kenya in the World section of the New York Times or viewing photographs that have been uploaded to photo-community websites like JPG magazine or flickr. In the past we have had to make mental notes of the visual stimulations that have proved to be so extraordinary or we've bookmarked the website hoping that the image would still be there the next time. Having a keen eye for photography I am constantly pursing images on the internet that blow me away, though there has never been a satisfying way to catalogue them.


For those fans of sites like del.icio.us, which allows people to bookmark and organize websites so that they can access them any time on any computer, a new site has popped up on the radar that does the same for online images and photographs alike. The new phenom is called vi.sualize.us and it lets you save photos from other websites online in a single place. They can be easily organized with "tags" that describe their content and you can travel to the site of their origin with the click of a button. No more lists of endless bookmarks to be saved on our individual computers. We've all been saved, it's all online. vi.sualize.us.


Come visit me, my name is nyani.
Photos by La Caitlin, Frank Elias and Hailey A (each is a favorite of mine on vi.sualize.us)