Required Reading

This week, there are at least 36 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way, Representative AOC’s unforgettable speech, the fates of adjunct professors, and more.

Elisa Wouk AlminoJuly 25, 2020

“Swiss designer Yves Behar has unveiled his design for French ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau’s underwater pressurized research station that will be ‘the ocean’s equivalent to the International Space Station.’” (via Dezeen)

“There should be at least a few dozen active civilizations in our galaxy under the assumption that it takes 5 billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as on Earth,” lead researcher Christopher Conselice said in a news release. “The idea is looking at evolution, but on a cosmic scale.”

  • Marcos Balter, a composer and professor of music composition at the University of California, San Diego, wants to set the record straight about Joseph Boulogne, a remarkable 18th-century polymath whom John Adam once described as “the most accomplished man in Europe in riding, shooting, fencing, dancing and music.” And yet, Boulogne has mostly been sidelined as the “Black Mozart”:

Presumably intended as a compliment, this erasure of Boulogne’s name not only subjugates him to an arbitrary white standard, but also diminishes his truly unique place in Western classical music history.

  • This has rightly been making the rounds on the internet, but in case you haven’t watched it in full, please do. Congressional Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a powerful speech, rebuking Representative Ted Yoho, who called her a “fucking bitch” in front of the press.
  • Zoé Samudzi (who is also a Hyperallergic contributor) penned an excellent piece in the New Republic about the “public debate about whether it’s appropriate to watch and/or circulate images of black people being murdered by the police and other, non-state killers.” The real question, she says, is: “why do white people continue to make cases for watching them?”

Where empathy exists, it is not sufficiently urgent to move white people to actually seek to alleviate witnessed suffering. It serves, actually, as a reinscription of white supremacy: a reification of the boundary between the white self and the Black “others” through a passive bystander witnessing and the enforcement of race through public violence.

Before the coronavirus, 25 percent of adjunct professors were dependent on federal assistance, according to a new study from American Federation of Teachers. A third earned less than $25,000 a year, below federal poverty standards, and tended to make between $2,000 and $7,000 a class.

  • Photographer Dave Killen shares the uncropped version of the photo he took at protests in Portland at around 1:45am on Saturday, July 18. The photo, which has gone viral, has become an emblematic image of calm defiance in the face of violence. Killen said in a tweet: “I would encourage anyone seeing this photo now to seek out the totality of the coverage of what has been happening in Portland since late May, not just from my paper but other local outlets and the myriad of independent journalists who are out there every single night.”

And for those who want to have a cocktail with a curator, Xavier F. Salomon, a chief curator over at the Frick Collection, has been doing this series on YouTube. I particularly enjoyed his episode on Holbein’s gorgeous painting of Sir Thomas More (I, too, am a Blood Mary fan):

Required Reading is published every Saturday, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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