July 25, 2013

On The Lens of Cultural Histories And The CIA's Otherwise Concealed Bonds

What spate of unfortunate public disclosures and Oscar losses could ever have precipitated the CIA's decision to allow coverage of its "museum"? Or maybe what beat needed to be freshly greased by NBC, that it would propose a tour of the awesome, closed-to-the-public historical exhibition spaces at Langley?

cia_ak47_display_makelynbc.jpg
image: John Makely/NBC News

We'll never really know, but the day before military prosecutors made their closing arguments against Pfc Bradley Manning, we were somehow lucky enough to see the AK-47 that belonged to Osama bin Laden himself, or at least the one that was found, in undiscussed circumstances, near him in the Abottabad room where he was killed.

I am most impressed by its presentation, on a simple painted grey shelf, with a bullet-riddled book of some kind, which is mounted against a tumultuous photomural of, of what, exactly? A massive explosion ripping apart a heavily forested hillside? I'm sure that's not an image from the botched attack on the caves of Tora Bora, where the US, already chomping at the Iraqi bit, let bin Laden get away in 2002. The CIA would not have such self-criticality [on unclassified display].

steinbach_bard_inst_1979.jpg
Haim Steinbach, installation, 1979, image via bard.edu

But one thing we do know: at least one operative in Langley is a fan of Haim Steinbach.

'Secret' CIA museum features Osama bin Laden's AK-47 [nbcnews]
Haim Steinbach: Once Again The World Is Flat, runs through Dec. 20, 2013 at CCS Bard [bard.edu]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: July 25, 2013.

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