Voice of the week:

Roberta Flack - 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' 

(Original Footage) 1969

Roberta Flack - 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' (1969)

Roberta Flack - 'Killing me softly with his song'

Roberta Flack - 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'

Roberta Flack - 'Feel Like Makin' Love'

"Tech CEOs are out for themselves, not the public good."

 Just sharing...

Elon Musk is Not the Future



Tech CEOs are out for themselves, not the public good.
Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster, with Earth in background, on February 6, 2018. SpaceX 


Silicon Valley has no shortage of big ideas for transportation. In their vision of the future, we’ll hail driverless pods to go short distances — we may even be whisked into a network of underground tunnels that will supposedly get us to our destinations more quickly — and for intercity travel, we’ll switch to pods in vacuum tubes that will shoot us to our destination at 760 miles (1,220 km) per hour.
However, these fantasies of wealthy tech CEOs are just that: fantasies. None of these technologies will come to fruition in the way they promise — if they ever become a reality at all. The truth is that the technologies we need to transform our transportation networks already exist, but Americans have been stuck with a dated, auto-dependent system for so long while being denied the technology of the present — let alone the future — by politicians who are in the pockets of the fossil fuel lobby and addicted to a damaging “free market” ideology that they’ll believe any snake oil salesman — or wealthy entrepreneur — who comes along with a solution.
And, out of all of them, Elon Musk is the worst.

The Flawed Cult of Musk

To much of the tech press, Musk’s every utterance is gospel. Alongside the frequent (positive) comparisons to Steve Jobs comes the idea that simply because Musk has built some successful companies, he must be infallible; if he claims to know the solution to the transportation crisis the United States is facing, he must be right. After all, he’s a rich entrepreneur, and if there’s anything the past couple decades of US political discourse has taught us, it’s that you always trust the entrepreneur.
But the reality is that Musk’s ideas around transportation are at best “half-baked” or at worst designed to delay the construction of transportation infrastructure that could pull the United States into the twenty-first century.
Does that mean everything Musk touches is problematic? Not necessarily. He definitely deserves some credit for elevating the profile of electric vehicles and helping to push the industry in that direction, but, with regard to transportation, that’s about it. His vision of the future is not emancipatory or even particularly innovative; it’s actually quite conservative.
Musk’s imagination struggles to stray outside the confines of automobility; every one of his supposed solutions has vehicles — Teslas — at its core. SolarCity’s advertising emphasizes suburban, car-dependent living; the Boring Company is an inefficient and unworkable attempt to solve traffic congestion without reducing the number of cars; and even his Hyperloop proposal left the door open to cramming vehicles in vacuum tubes.
This should come as no surprise given Musk’s recent comments on public transit being “a pain in the ass” where “there’s like a bunch of random strangers, one of who might be a serial killer.” He valorizes individual transportation because he doesn’t want to be around other people — even seems to fear them, based on his comments — but sticking everyone in their own vehicle simply doesn’t work in the increasingly dense, urbanized world in which we live.
The truth is that rather than fawning over Musk and his fellow tech geniuses, we need to take a critical look at their proposals to see who would really benefit and whether their visions leave out fundamental considerations that are essential to making them viable in the real world. We can’t allow ourselves to be deceived by tech CEOs that put their own transportation desires and thirst for profit before the needs of the many.

Tech’s Transport Solutions Don’t Work

Driverless vehicles are the central feature of Silicon Valley’s transportation vision and the media largely bought the assertions of major companies that they were just around the corner, even when people like Musk promised they were two years away, then, two years later, promised they were two years away yet again.
The reality is that they’re not two years away; at least not the driverless pods which have no steering wheel and can navigate every road or weather condition they encounter. Many technology and automotive companies had timelines similar to Musk’s, and nearly all of them have been pushed to 2021 or later. And while they were making great progress for a while, as they were learning to drive on wide, empty suburban roads in states with clear, sunny weather, recent data from Waymo — one of the industry leaders — shows that progress has stalled.
We will see more driverless taxi services roll out over the next year or two, but it’s important to recognize that the vehicles will have level-4, not level-5 capabilities. That means they’ll be limited to operating in certain areas, like Waymo’s service in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, and they will struggle in dense urban cores with busy streets and in areas with a lot of rain and snow that could obstruct their sensors. Companies which put them in those situations anyway, like Uber and Tesla have done, may well get in trouble as reports of accidents and traffic violations continue to accumulate.
But if we put everyone in their own vehicle, where will they all go? Musk wants to build a subway-for-cars for those who want to bypass traffic. His rhetoric suggests it would be open to all, but the reality of limited space and high construction costs would narrow its ridership to the rich — or possibly a much smaller group, given that Musk’s first planned tunnel runs conveniently from his place of work to his home.
Musk won’t admit that his tunnels will be exclusionary. He promotes the Boring Company as a means to massively reduce the cost of tunnel boring — it may even benefit public transit! — but again his assertion shows his ignorance. Musk says that his approach will finally reduce the cost of tunneling, yet subway projects in Madrid, Seoul, and Stockholm have already achieved costs similar to those Musk promises only he can deliver.
New York Times investigation into the high cost of subway projects in New York City found that while the Second Avenue Subway cost $2.5 billion per mile, a similar expansion of Paris’s Metro is on track to cost only $450 million per mile. There are many factors that go into the high cost of transportation projects in the United States that Musk doesn’t address, either out of ignorance or to be purposefully misleading. This may well be the case with Hyperloop.
Musk published his Hyperloop proposal in 2013, after California’s high-speed rail project had been approved by voters, but before construction had begun. It sounded like the future: a vacuum tube that would shoot you between San Francisco and Los Angeles in half an hour and would cost only $6 billion — many times less than high-speed rail. What’s not to like? Quite a lot.
Not only would the proposed speed be incredibly uncomfortable, even nauseating, for passengers because of the force that would be exerted on them, but Hyperloop would carry far fewer people than high-speed rail: 3,360 per direction per hour, compared to 12,000. The construction costs were also found to be completely unrealistic, while Musk outright lied about the energy consumption of high-speed trains. The companies that are actually trying to build Hyperloop have found that it costs far more than Musk’s original proposal: a 107-mile (172-km) Bay Area line would cost double what Musk projected for the whole San Francisco-Los Angeles line.
Similar to the case with tunnels, California’s high-speed rail line is expensive compared to international standards. In China, such projects are $27–33 million per mile ($17–21m/km), compared to $40–63 million per mile ($29–39m/km) in Europe; while it’s more like $90 million per mile ($56m/km) in California. The Bay Area Hyperloop would be in the range of $84–121 million per mile ($52–75m/km). The high cost of high-speed rail isn’t a technology problem, it’s a problem with the way US approaches infrastructure projects.

Delaying Advancement to Serve Themselves

Putting forward pie-in-the-sky ideas to delay progress is nothing new for Silicon Valley, even though that’s not how the media presents it. Remember that many of tech’s “innovations” have depended on public research funding, while major tech companies are world leaders in tax avoidance. Every time there’s a public-transit ballot initiative, ride hailing and self-driving vehicles are used to make the case for voters to oppose increased funding for buses and subways, positioning them as the technologies of the past — yet nothing could be further from the truth.
In our increasingly urbanized world, public transit is essential to moving around a large number of people quickly and efficiently. The individualized transport favored by technologists will not deliver the same level of efficiency because there isn’t room for everyone to have their own vehicle or pod, especially as we reduce road space to widen sidewalks and add bike lanes.
Musk and his fellow tech CEOs promote driverless vehicles as the future because it’s the future they desire. They don’t want to be on a subway or train next to regular people — as Musk has already said, one of them might be a serial killer! It’s troubling how much they want to isolate themselves from regular people, but the reality of urban mobility is that only a small portion of the population can be in individualized transport until it simply stops working. That’s part of the reason traffic congestion is so bad in our cities; all those cars simply don’t fit, and the solution isn’t to have artificial intelligence take the wheel, but to move people in more efficient ways.
On top of his personal desires, Musk has a financial interest in retaining automotive dominance in the twenty-first century — he runs a car company! Public transit and high-speed rail are directly opposed to his interests, which is why he spreads ideas that will never come to fruition, but can be used by certain groups to campaign against funding for efficient transportation.
While US infrastructure crumbles and the focus is on repairing what’s there instead of building for the future, China and Europe have built extensive networks of high-speed rail and public transit. Their citizens are benefiting from technologies that are designed to efficiently move large numbers of people, while Americans are unhappily stuck in their vehicles with ever-rising commute times.
Americans need to stop drinking the Silicon Valley Kool-Aid — or should we say “Soylent”? — and start demanding better transportation options which free them from automobile dependence. The tides do seem to be turning, as cities across the country pass ballot initiatives to expand public transit and California pushes ahead with its high-speed rail line in the face of intense pressure from short-sighted conservatives.
It’s not true that public investment doesn’t generate prosperity — just look at the interstate highway system — but it will take political will, increased scrutiny of tech entrepreneurs, and an end to the austerity agenda to get government investing in the future once again. Huge investments in science and infrastructure helped the United States become prosperous, and the construction of a national high-speed rail network and mass expansion of public transit — similar to what China has accomplished over the past decade — would be the forward-thinking move necessary to show Americans that their country can still achieve great things.


Link to article - Jacobin: https://jacobinmag.com/2018/02/elon-musk-hyperloop-public-transit-tech


Björk - 'Undo'

Song of the day... 'Undo'.

..."I'm praying
To be
In a generous mode
The kindness kind
The kindness kind
To share me
Quietly ecstatic"...

Björk - 'Undo'


It's not meant to be a strife
It's not meant to be a struggle uphill
It's not meant to be a strife
It's not meant to be a struggle uphill
You're trying too hard
Give yourself in
You're trying too hard
You're trying too hard
It's not meant to be a strife
It's not meant to be a struggle uphill
It's not meant to be a strife
To enjoy
It's not meant to be a struggle uphill
It's warmer now lean into it
Unfold in a generous way
It's not meant to be a strife
It's not meant to be a struggle uphill
I'm praying
To be
In a generous mode
The kindness kind
The kindness kind
To share me
Quietly ecstatic
It's not meant to be a strife
It's not meant to be a struggle uphill
Undo if you're bleeding
Undo if you're sweating
Undo if you're crying
Songwriters: Bjork Gudmundsdottir / Thomas Knak
Undo lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group

Souvenirs from Niger

 Hello people.
I was talking with a friend about Niger tonight. This makes me want to share some TV reports I did in 2010 and 2013...
In French and English.

BBC News 19 Feb. 2010

Melissa Chemam on Niger military coup on the BBC World News


Reportage sur le tourisme et la culture touareg à Niamey, Niger (April 2013)



Art: 'One and Other'. A project by Kader Attia & Jean-Jacques Lebel

 Art!! I need more art, more beauty, more meaning!

Opening tomorrow in Paris' Palais de Tokyo:

One and Other A project by Kader Attia & Jean-Jacques Lebel

L’Un et l’Autre [One and the Other] is not an exhibition but a research laboratory. It is the result of an exchange of our perspectives, of a partnership underpinned by our deep friendship. We present here a selection of our work linked to the major questions of our civilization, which are approached principally through two installations. The first addresses the fabrication in and by the dominant media of the absolute Other, a violent and warlike entity that never fails to inspire fear: the Satan, the Savage, the Terrorist. The second concerns the persistence throughout history of humiliation, rape and torture in imperialist war crimes.
As a counterpoint to these installations, we present some of the enigmatic and polysemic objects that we have collected over the years, objects charged with spirits that are invisible to the naked eye, which speak to us all, which transmit coded discourses, and which enact both réparations and détournements.
Alongside this heterogeneous ensemble — of visual and sound works, of films and viewpoints, of nameless objects, of face and stomach masks, all woven together with one another — we have looked to bring together artists and filmmakers whose approaches intersect with our own. Together, we form a ‘collective assemblage of enunciation’ (Felix Guattari), an endless ‘montrage’ which generates multiple perspectives, horizons and criteria for appreciation and evaluation. This transcultural laboratory is only just getting started.” 
 - Kader Attia and Jean-Jacques Lebel

With: Marwa Arsanios, Sammy Baloji, Alex Burke, Gonçalo Mabunda, Driss Ouadahi, PEROU – Pôle d’Exploration des Ressources Urbaines


« The idea for our upcoming exhibition at Palais de Tokyo is to display our thought, so as to share it, both through works by artists, and everyday objects, and to show how each object is fully charged with energy, meaning and poetry without us realising it. » 
 - Kader Attia


link: http://www.palaisdetokyo.com/en/event/one-and-other

Subodh Gupta in Paris in April

Subodh Gupta
Première rétrospective en France

La Monnaie de Paris présente la première rétrospective en France de l'artiste indien Subodh Gupta (né en 1964 et vivant à New Delhi). Figure emblématique de l'art contemporain indien, les oeuvres de Subodh Gupta sont aujourd'hui présentes au sein de grandes collections privées et publiques. Elle s'articule autour de pièces historiques, rendant compte des origines de son travail, d'oeuvres monumentales et de ses plus récentes explorations autour du son.
 Subodh Gupta, Faith Matters, 2007-2010 - Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth - Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich
Subodh Gupta conçoit des oeuvres à partir d’objets tirés de la vie quotidienne, usagés ou neufs, emblématiques de l'Inde. L'artiste joue de ces évocations claires et directes à son pays par le biais d'œuvres en trompe l'oeil. Les objets du quotidien sont transfigurés par leur moulage en bronze, laiton, cuivre ou nickel. Libérés de leurs fonctions, mis à l'arrêt, accumulés ou reproduits presque à l'identique dans un nouveau matériau, ils s'exposent comme œuvre au regard du visiteur. Les ustensiles de cuisine métalliques – notamment la traditionnelle boîte à repas ou dabba en hindi – sont souvent utilisés.
Assemblés, juxtaposés ; ils traitent autant de l'acte de cuisiner et de la nourriture du corps que de celle de l'âme comme différentes nourritures spirituelles. La monumentalité et le sentiment d'abondance qui se dégagent de certaines installations, comparativement à des sculptures de plus petites échelles, agissent comme des métaphores des tensions à l'œuvre dans son pays et plus largement dans le monde : entre la vie rurale et la vie urbaine des mégalopoles, entre l'industrie et l'artisanat, entre une vision politique et une autre plus métaphysique.
L'exposition investit les salons historiques du 11 Conti, le long de la Seine, se prolonge dans l’escalier d’honneur et se poursuit dans les cours intérieures de la Monnaie de Paris où des oeuvres monumentales et inédites seront visibles gratuitement par les promeneurs.
Cette exposition annonce des axes forts de la programmation de la Monnaie de Paris : exposer les grands sculpteurs des XXe et XXIe siècles, avec des œuvres conçues pour l'espace privé, aux côtés d’oeuvres de grandes échelles, commanditées pour l'espace public ; réfléchir sur le savoir-faire et le geste artistique sur un site dont l'usine est encore en activité.
Une exposition placée sous le commissariat de Camille Morineau, Directrice des Expositions et des Collections de la Monnaie de Paris et Mathilde de Croix, Commissaire d’exposition à la Monnaie de Paris.


Monnaie de Paris
Salons d'honneur, 1e étage aile est du palais et cours extérieures
11, quai de Conti, 75006 PARIS


À découvrir à partir du 13 avril 2018
Du mardi au dimanche de 11h à 19h
Nocturne le mercredi jusqu'à 21h

'Harm of Will'

Song of the day.
'Harm of Will'...
Thinking of the hills of North Africa.

Thinking of these dreams where we meet. At the right time. In the right place.
Maybe in the past? Maybe in another timeline, another dimension...

Otherworldly sound, no...?

Love. Today. Yesterday. Everyday.

Björk - 'Harm of Will'


If there is a troubadour washing
It is he
If there is a man about town
It is he
If there is one to be sought
It is he
If there are nine she is
They are bought for me
This way is as is she
And he placed her
Long long long legged
On top of the family tree
And if he has chosen the point
While she is under him
Then leave her coily placed
Crouched sucking him
For it is I with
Her on knee
I leave her
Without pith or feel
And leave her be
Leave it be
For he controls what there'll be
He makes his face known to none
For if he is seen
Then all will
And all will know
Know me
Written by Guy Sigsworth, Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Harmony Korine • Copyright © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group


Back cover

Happy to share a few more word... 
We're getting ready to print this book and to have it out around late April.


Follow the last steps and share music and art with me on my Facebook page too if you will:



Words for nighttime...


I must have been made to live through nights...

I must have been designed by stars and satellites

For I love the sweet embrace of the darkness

But I've been struggling, fighting,

So many years...

Fighting with the simple embrace of slumber...



On "The Uniqueness Of Massive Attack"

"The Uniqueness Of Massive Attack" - My take on writing about Bristol - For Classic Album Sundays.

Link: http://classicalbumsundays.com/the-uniqueness-of-massive-attack-melissa-chemam/


The Uniqueness Of Massive Attack – Melissa Chemam

Over the past four years, as a freelance journalist, I have been travelling between Bangui (Central African Republic), Paris, Istanbul, Calais, Erbil (Iraqi Kurdistan), the South of France and Ventimiglia in Italy, London and… Bristol. I have mostly been covering post-conflict issues and the refugee crisis for different European radio stations and magazines. So I went to Bristol to write about a brighter, engaging and inspirational story. To explore the culture of England’s West Country, retrace the history of my favourite music, a fascinating journey through an artistic and social explosion.
I decided to write about the band Massive Attack when I read they were travelling to Lebanon, in July 2014. They were about to perform at the Byblos International Festival and to visit Palestinian youth they help, in a refugee camp in Burj El Barajneh, in the southern suburbs of Beirut. I contacted a friend who is a writer and music journalist to convince him I could write a book about them…

I had always loved their music and I know all of their albums by heart. Their engagement suddenly seemed very authentic to me; it completely stands out in the current music business. I started to think of a way to reach out to them, especially to 3D, also known as Robert Del Naja, the heart and soul behind Massive Attack’s writing process and social involvement. After months of preparation and once he agreed to meet me, I packed my bag for Bristol in February 2015.
I immediately liked the journey from London (where I had lived for two years) to the West country, the murals in Stokes Croft, the contrast between Saint Pauls and Clifton, the way art and music are present all around the city. I first stayed in Saint Pauls, walking everywhere, writing at the Watershed’s welcoming café and helloing Banksy’s famous ‘Mild Mild West’ and naked ‘Well Hung Lover’. After meeting with 3D, I contacted a snowballing list of Bristolians: some of 3D’s co-workers including sound-engineer and co-writer Neil Davidge, talented instrumentalists, rappers and vocalists like Mike Crawford, Sean Cook, Andy ‘Spaceland’ Jenks, Krissy Kriss, Mark Stewart and, six months later, Adrian Utley, Portishead’s guitarist. I also spent a lot of time in venues and art galleries, in Bristol – spending a day with Inkie or listening to Roni Size at the Hamilton House. In London too, in Paris – where I interviewed Tricky and met Nick Walker, then in Dublin and further, to see Massive Attack on stage. All these meetings and events helped me recreating the key moments that made possible The Wild Bunch then Massive Attack and the scene that followed.

The Wild Bunch, mid-1980s: Miles Johnson (aka DJ Milo), 
Robert Del Naja (3D), Grant Marshall (aka Daddy G), Nellee Hooper, Willie Wee

My book therefore retells the story of a rare group of unconventional and politically aware musicians and artists. The story starts with Massive Attack’s first album, the remarkable and inimitable Blue Lines, then goes back to their first influences. The Beatles, reggae, punk, soul music, hip-hop, Jean-Michel Basquiat and the graffiti stars of the film Wild Style. These include their very own hometown’s history, from the slave trade to recent riots… Then the book evolves until Massive Attack’s homecoming show in September 2016 and their coming projects.
It digs into the making of their groundbreaking albums, especially Mezzanine, which turns 20 year-old this year, described by many critics as the best thing that ever came from Bristol… It follows Massive Attack’s evolution as extraordinary performers, whose shows rival with the best acts in the world, and 3D’s artistic transformations, collaborating with Banksy, United Visual Artists and Adam Curtis. This very rich and fascinating path took them around the world, from Japan to America, Mexico and Turkey, Lebanon and the Congo…

Writing about them and about Bristol’s music and art scene, led me to write this parallel history of British culture, with underground origin, always pushing boundary and keeping an aware and open gaze on our fast-changing world.


Massive Attack: Out Of The Comfort Zone by Melissa Chemam will be available from April 9th 2018 here.