Monday, July 16, 2012

Holes: Looting in Photos

Photo: Holly Pickett for the NYT
Having created and maintained this blog for a while in an effort to expose more college students to the illicit antiquities trade/cultural heritage issues in general, I can confidently tell you one thing about the whole process: it's damn tricky getting people to care sometimes. There are only so many times a young white person can insert "bitches be trippin'" into a rant about Jim Cuno or Timbuktu to get people's attention. I think, frankly, people don't care enough when I tell them thousands of looters are tearing up archaeological sites for merchandise every day because they don't know what that actually looks like, what it really means, or what it has to do with them.

So I decided to create an online photo collection of looting. Holes: Looting in Photos is an effort to bring together many images of looted archaeological sites and looted artifacts to more effectively present what our destroyed human past actually looks like. By displaying both the individual artifacts/sites alongside the repetition of countless holes, dug up bodies, and defaced stone, I hope to provide a different kind of resource for learning about looting, as well as a more meaningful comprehension of the overwhelming global scale. 

The kicker in this whole project is that I would like it to be a sort of collaborative, crowd-sourced deal. There are many photographers, journalists, and archaeologists who document the looted sites they see; it would be amazing to bring them all together in one place as a kind of testimony to what is happening to our human past for a global market. 

I've created a Flickr group pool for submissions, and a Flickr site to house the collection. Additionally, there is a whole Tumblr  dedicated to showcasing the project, and photos will be pinned to Pinterest as well. It's all pretty raw right now, but hopefully that will change with you! If you have any photos of looted sites or artifacts, submit them! Remember to have the name of the photographer, a caption including where it's from, and website or source from where the photo came.

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