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Alley Culture
AC News V9 #1
FALL 2007
Harvest Time - Food or Fuel
Biodiesel For The Revolution: I Don't Think So

As a potential solution to the crisis of disappearing oil reserves and climate change, there is a lot more to the picture than dumpster diving french fry grease to run hippie buses. “If the entire annual output of used vegetable oil were diverted into the fossil fuel market, it would last us 36 hours,” according to Alexis Ziegler author of Culture Change.

While some believe biodiesel is a grassroots effort with a minimal audience, the truth is that agribusiness already has plans to reap huge profits from the world's intentions to “cure their oil addiction.” ADM (Archer Daniels Midland), the world's largest agricultural processors of soybeans and corn and the most prominent recipient of corporate welfare in recent US history, announced plans to build its first wholly owned biodiesel production facility in the US. According to ADM, the 50-million-gallon facility will be located in North Dakota and will use canola oil as its primary feed stock. ADM is already part owners of large biodiesel plants in Germany and Singapore.

According to George Biodet of the London Guardian, other new refineries are being built in the Malaysian Peninsula, Sarawak and Rotterdam. Two foreign consortiums - one German, one American - are setting up rival plants in Singapore. “The demand for biodiesel,” the Malaysian Star reports, “will come from the European Community ... This fresh demand ... would, at the very least, take up most of Malaysia's crude palm oil inventories.” Why? Because it is cheaper than biodiesel made from any other crop.

Analyzing the amount of biodiesel that can be produced per unit area of cultivated land, some have concluded that it is likely that the United States, with one of the highest per capita energy demands of any country, does not have enough arable land to fuel all of the nation's vehicles. “Abusing our precious croplands to grow corn for an energy-inefficient process that yields low-grade automobile fuel amounts to unsustainable, subsidized food burning” noted Cornell Scientist David Pimentel.

“American agriculture now invests three calories of fossil fuel for each calorie it produces. That is long before anyone considers putting those calories into a gas tank,” observes Pimentel. What about the long list of additional costs of industrial agriculture such as topsoil loss, ground water depletion, contamination of traditional crops from genetically engineered crops, and loss of small family farms.

Excerpted from Slingshot i.90, Spring 2006 by MAGNOLIA COLLECTIVE
Note: The price of corn & soybeans have each risen by 30% to 70% this year.

Exhibitions & Notes

Exhibitions director Nick Sousanis writes in his exhibition essay for the new U of M sponsored gallery Work : Detroit located on the south end of the Cass Corridor at Woodward and Mack, “Rather than being a limitation, this narrowing of focus [on the gallery's intersection] proves expansive. As Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden, 'a man can walk forever in an area of only a few square miles.' The modern mathematics of fractal geometry echoes Thoreau - the deeper we look the more we discover.” They couldn't have found someone more aesthetically grounded to the people and place to take this corner to new dimensions. The inaugural exhibit Intersection continues through November 2.

Fall 2007 at Alley Culture


The harvest, the one of beauty and essentials is quickly being overrun by the harvest of war, our freedoms, laborers and labor rights . . . everywhere one turns, the basket of harvest is empty, while a hidden container is getting full, moved from market to market by decisions made behind closed doors. In essence it becomes a harvest of perception. Our version of reality - from structural to ethics - is being tugged and tossed. Where's Bill Hicks now? We need the humor - the rewrite of the rewrite - back to reality. The media's role has been to thicken the soup with their resolve not to investigate, creating a sludge that impairs movement.

May we slow down, take a look at what is between the lines. The weeds growing between the rows may be just as important as the crop. Grab your broom. Rake the essential.

Each of the artists in Harvest address the rewrite in very different areas through their work. They are pulling the sides off the container, giving us a visual. As the word 'media' is tossed around, we should remember it is central to artists. They create with it, manipulate knowns, revise, tell stories, unwrap stories, and predict-as in the artist as antenna of society. Artists know only too well the power of media in all its shapes. All of the artists in this exhibit, as well, have created various unfunded DIY projects for the community where they saw a missing need. From 1995-97 Mary Fortuna created and edited Ground Up..., a bi-monthly 'assembling' journal to fill the gap in art criticism. Deb King brought the first political artists and writers show to the Willis Gallery in 1984, Artists Call, a nationwide call against US intervention in Nicaragua. In 2000 she started mark(s) as editor and tech, the first visually dynamic art journal on the web. Jack Johnson founded and directed musee d'troit on Library Street from 2003-05, a rare homeless friendly gallery. In 2004, Mohamad Bazzi co-founded OTHER Arab Artists Collective devoted to avant thought, art and support. Wade Rosenthal worked on a community mural project in SW Detroit for two summers, and helped defend political protesters with the NLG. All are acts of enlarging the discussion and of calling together. Reminiscent of the Sufi dictum “not two, only one.”

Mohamad Bazzi's oil paintings from his Land Memory series are painted from the place memory occupies the lost. In this case Beirut. Wade Rosenthal's I Do Mind Dying is a full wall installation created for this exhibit. Begun in Brooklyn and finished in Detroit where the sentiment arose. Deb King's net.work chronaMora - violations in times of war will be exported from the web to continue its voice about rape as a weapon of war. Jack Johnson's installation The Power of Suggestion works the contradiction between said and heard. Mary Fortuna's ceiling hung sculptures Dolls keep the chi moving and the spirits in question with bodhisatvas and devils.


Richard Mock, Bush Knew,2002
Wee, the people

So what are we going to do? Very little, I fear, because it's now clear that to be the winter soldiers this country needs to end its brutal occupation by soulless authoritarians, we are going to have to lay our own lives and fortunes on the line. We are going to have to use our collective strength to shut down the flow of what's essential to the continued affront to humanity that has become the government of the United States of America. We are going to have to divest ourselves of any holdings in companies that benefit from our continued participation in the godless enterprise of war. We are going to have to stop working for these same vampirous organizations. We are going to have to stop allowing our children to join the military while providing safe harbor for those already in its clutches, who now understand their moral obligation to refuse to carry out unjust orders. We are going to have to consider a national general strike, not for a day but for a week or longer, until the withdrawal of both our labor and consumption hits the greedy hard enough to make them realize they had better change their ways. We are going to have to stop following bogus rules of geniality that forbid political discussion. All such mandates do is keep the vast majority of Americans from realizing that they agree with one another.

We are going to have to be all the things we expect soldiers to be. Brave in the face of a dangerous enemy, willing to face personal depravation for a greater good and loyal to our comrades, regardless of the consequences of our solidarity.

Like I said, I don't see this happening. We are an overfed, intellectually slothful nation. It's likely that much of the opposition to this war comes from people who have tired of its presence in their lives, like they tire of a reality show or a video game. Once they realize they can't just change the channel or the cartridge, they'll find another high fructose distraction to amuse them until the American empire fully crumbles. They are probably smarter than me.

3 October 2007 (excerpt) Barry Crimmins, Political Satirist

Harvest Time - Genetic Roulette, the new probiotic: GMO Corn

“There's evidence in Europe that the gene that was inserted into many of these crops has rearranged over time. Two different plants can vary by a hundred fold. It's possible that these [crops] were like BT corn on steroids [when pollen created blood antibody reactions in Philippine villagers].”

“[Another] unpredicted side effect [comes] when you take a bacterial gene and put it into a plant. Normally genes from plants don't mix with bacteria. They've eliminated perhaps all of the barriers between genes jumping between your food that you eat and your gut bacteria. So you may end up colonizing the entire bacteria in your gut with these foreign genes.”

Jeffrey Smith, author of Genetic Roulette, 2007 interview on Coast to Coast Live


150 years ago we were a third world nation, but we put all of our investment into infrastructure rather than into (external) colonizing wars, and the corresponding machinery useless to life. The beauty, craftsmanship and design of the last 100 years that lies hidden beneath our feet has surfaced through extraordinary photographs by sub-urban explorers. The steam blowing up sewers in NYC, and collapsing bridges in MN tell us it's time to come home and work on the waterways and windmills.

Shops & Services - on the surface

Some of these Shops have been servicing the community 20, 30, 100 years. Some are a year old, but understand the continuity of place and service. The wallpaper of 'makeovers' and flattened landscapes (for future makeovers on such a large scale that the profit will be external to the community) ignores the human psyche of a neighborhood. Scale and continuity are lost without these places. Detroit proper has long been one to tear out and say there must be something better, while missing what is right in front of them, sending people to Boxtowns to shop or Well-lighted zones to play. How would Raymond Chandler have written anything if all the city was inside the Plan?

Shops & Services 'own your town - support & enjoy independent shops & services' (Reviews)

meeting CASS CAFE (831.1400 - Cass & Forest) AMSTERDAM CAFE (Bsmt. W Forest & 2nd) bed WOODBRIDGE STAR (831.9668 - www.woodbridgestar.com) house & tent supplies BROOKS LUMBER (962.6448 - Trumbull at Tiger Stadium - 107 years old) DETROIT HARDWARE (875.0838 - Woodward north of WSU) 3RD AVE HARDWARE (832.7241 - 3rd Ave south of Selden) CENTRAL DETROIT GLASS (833.8870 - Grand Rvr. W of 12th) MONDRY HARDWARE (OPEN SUNDAYS - Michigan west of Livernois) transportation Coyote Bicycle (bike@crop.pointyhats.com) BACK ALLEY BIKES (879-5073 - Cass and Mack - DIY after 5PM Mon & Tues) JIMMIE'S BIKE & REPAIR SHOP (925-5240 - Gratiot east of the Market) bodymind MOY TUNG VING TSUN (282.3915 - Kung Fu with Sifu Owen - daily classes in Eastern Market) food STEAK HUT (W. Lafayette & 10th - Sunday $2 breakfast) LA COLMENA (Bagley at 16th behind the Train station) AK INDAIN GROCERIES (Hancock west of Wwd.) DUTCH GIRL DONUTS (Woodward 1 south of 7 Mile - original Detroit) AVALON BAKERY (832.0008 - Willis & Cass) FOOD NOT BOMBS (Scripps Park Saturdays 3PM) LOUISIANA CREOLE GUMBO (567-1200 - Gratiot 2 east of Russell) TELWAY (Michigan west of Livernois - Coffee 24 hours) herbs NATURE'S PRODUCTS (N. Hmtk - 891.3900) water FULLER LIFE WATER CO. (800.224.6116 - home delivery) beer MOTOR CITY BREWING WORKS (832.2700 - 2nd & Canfield) books MARWIL BOOKSTORE (832.3078 - Cass & Warren) LIBRARY BOOKSTORE (248.545.4300 - E. Nine Mile - used books) music PEOPLE'S RECORDS (831.0864 - 615 W Forest at Second Tu - Sat 11-7 used & rare vinyl) paper, reams STANDARD PAPER (963.9163 - 14th & Fisher Fwy) art framing FRAMING (pf@crop.dissimulo.com - archival) union printing RED DOOR DIGITAL (875.9026) SAWICKI & SON (W Lafayette & Trumbull - 962.2725 - pickets & lawn signs) eyes DR. MURRAY FELDMAN (4851 Michigan Ave. - 894.6333) glasses BAGLEY VISION (964.7994 - Bagley west of 12th) shoes SHOE FAIR (843-4020 - 5872 W Fort - wood floors & sneakers since 1951) pets Herman Brothers (843-5430 - Central south of Michigan Avenue) pawnshop Louie's Place (Michigan & 8th - 962.8698 - strings, guitars, tools) garden & landscape NATIVE GREEN (248.547.0853) big tree work FROM THE EARTH SERVICES (319.0583) recycling Recyclean (871-4000 - Trumbull at Holden - Saturday before 3:00)

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