Another Vietnam: Pictures from the Other Side of the Vietnam War

A surreal and haunting photograph taken in Cambodia in 1970, deep in the mangrove swamps of the Ca Mau Peninsula (this was an actual medical situation, not a publicity setup):

Photograph by Vo Anh Khanh © National Geographic Society

In 2002, it was included in curator Doug Niven’s Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side— the first ever exhibition of Vietnam War images by North Vietnamese photographers, presented at the International Center of Photography.

As a wire service photographer in Cambodia from 1991-96, I worked on occasional assignments in nearby Saigon. There I got to see firsthand images from the “other side.” On the same tree-lined street where American war correspondents had offices during the Vietnam War, grimy street kids now peddled war memorabilia, such as fake U.S. Army dog tags, Zippo lighters, and handmade black-and-white postcards of the conflict. While the images they sold were not very high quality, their existence suggested to me that more photographs must exist. Thus began the adventure of rediscovering lost Vietnamese-made war photographs.

During meetings with various communist officials over endless cups of bitter green tea, doors slowly began to open. Word spread that a young American was trying to collect and print photographers’ war negatives. Soon, everyone wanted to help. Entire archives were opened up, and tables overflowed with catalogues of images, both good and bad. One photographer brought me trash bags of dusty, curling negatives, none of them ever printed before. Another photographer kept his pristine film airtight in an old U.S. ammunition case, packed with roasted rice to absorb the moisture.

Ultimately, I was able to locate thirty surviving war photographers from all corners of Vietnam, as well as thousands of pictures by photographers who had long since died. The living photographers shared their stories with me, and I worked with them to edit and print their old film. From hundreds of such encounters, this exhibition emerged.

Another Vietnam is now available as a book, published by National Geographic Press. Visit Nivens’ site here.

BTC Part II: Faith Healer Defeats Evil Buttock-Ravaging Eagle Spirit

Sometimes Mondays are an extra special pain-in-the-ass, so here’s an encore installment of BTC. Via the GreatDismals comes this sit-uplifting interaction between a cheeky young prankster, “Robin Cooper“, and an unflappable call-in gluteus maximus-mending spiritual master, Gilbert Deya.



Wesleyan University students, determined to speak out against extreme conservative members of the House of Representatives’ recent attack on Planned Parenthood, have presented this straightforward, sex-positive rallying cry to fellow young people across the country:

Via Lauren Goldberg, thanks!

Their press statement:

In order to “balance the budget” the House of Representatives recently announced the intention to strip all federal funding to Planned Parenthood. This is unacceptable. It’s time to face reality: many young people have sex, and need to know how to stay safe and healthy. Even those who have chosen to wait still need to know how to be safe and healthy when begin their sexual activity. This extreme ideological measure threatens our youth’s ability to choose their own future.

In many parts of America, Planned Parenthood is the only place young people can go to learn about safe sex, access contraceptives, or have a simple question about “down there” answered.

With all the rhetoric centering on “government waste,” Congress’s refusal to close multi-billion dollar corporate tax loopholes and instead eliminate essential, multi-million dollar sexual health programs is beyond hypocritical.

We are starting a student movement to make sure elected leaders know: Americans have sex, and we stand with Planned Parenthood.

On March 9, 2011, the Senate defeated the proposed de-funding bill. “However, budget negotiations are not yet over and we expect conservative members to continue to push to include the amendment to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds in upcoming continuing resolutions,” stated PP in a recent newsletter.

Obviously, teens and twentysomethings aren’t the only ones who would have been negatively impacted by the proposed H.R.1 bill. People from all walks of life have been benefiting from the many services Planned Parenthood provides for nearly a century. Were the organization (which spends ZERO federal dollars on abortion procedures) to lose all government funding, untold millions of women and men would potentially be affected.

What can defenders of reproductive rights, sex education, inexpensive health care, and safe sex advocacy do to peacefully and intelligently combat further ideological attacks? Visit Stand With Planned Parenthood to learn more.

The Last Glass Eye Maker In Britain

Jost Haas is, as the title of Tomas Leach’s short film The Story of the Last Glass Eye Maker in Britain states, the last glass eye maker in Britain. Whether he is the last to make ocular prostheses by hand or at all is not specified but I think it would be safe to assume the former (though, I suppose, it could very well be both). In fact, due to either the brevity of the film or the reticence of Mr. Haas there is not a great deal of information to be gleaned here. And yet, it is still a captivating five minutes not only because we get to see a brief glimpse of the delicate process of making these prosthetic orbs but because the soft-spoken Haas is so dedicated, not to his craft per se, but to those who benefit from it. No doubt this humble attitude does the most for making this such a great interview.

Via Engadget : Thanks, chesh!

Katarzyna Konieczka: Medical Dystopia

Polish designer Katarzyna Konieczka first made an appearance on Coilhouse this past July, but these newer photos of her medical fashion are too wonderfully twisted not to share. Above is a new image of her previously-featured Elephant Man-inspired ensemble, shot by Maciej Boryna. After the jump, two dreamlike masks, photographed by Marcin Twardowski. Definitely one to watch.

See also:

Elder Sign and Cthulhu Stocking Stuffage

From Joseph Nanni and friends (the same twisted souls who brought us that Necronomicon infomercial) comes this important, potentially lifesaving message about Elder Sign:

Sure, this clip has been circulating on the internet for a while, but as everyone knows, flying polyp infestations are most rampant during the holiday season. If you suffer from “an overwhelming sense of dread brought on by the realization of your own insignificance in the universe” that’s possibly being compounded by Seasonal Affective Disorder, rancid egg nog or overexposure to Glenn Beck-parroting (read: polyp ridden) in-laws, you need Elder Sign now more than ever.

And possibly some *cough* stocking stuffers from the HPLHS Bazaar:

(ElderWear: “Because you don’t want Shoggoths in your pants.”)

Live 4 Pakistan Fundraiser Featuring Zoe Keating, AFP

Quick heads up! Tomorrow, Sir Richard Branson and Imogen Heap are spearheading “a very spontaneous ‘get together‘ with live music and open discussion […] to raise funds to benefit the victims of the recent devastating floods in Pakistan.”


Hosted by Ze Frank, the webcast will feature intimate musical performances by Coilhouse faves Zoë Keating and Amanda Palmer, as well as Heap, Kaki King, KT Tunstall, Ben Folds, (Zoetica’s old high school chum) Josh Groban, and others. Conversations with Sir Richard Branson, Mary Robinson, Cameron Sinclair, Mark Pearson (live from Karachi), Gary Slutkin and Anders Wilhemlson. Heap says:

As you know, Monsoon rains have caused extensive flooding throughout Pakistan. Around one fifth of the country was hit, causing over 14 million people to have been affected, 900,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed and the death toll is rising.

The future of Pakistan and its region are at risk . Our global and connected communities can help today by coming together and showing solidarity.

Firstly and most importantly, we’re looking to fund raise for a group of charites on the ground. A further aim is to stimulate a debate between you and the speakers perhaps generating lifechanging ideas and solutions which could address the long lasting social and geopolitial consequences.

So, this is about the disaster relief and also how life copes after the flood.

Find out when the live event begins in your time zone, and tune in to see how you can help.

Orthodontic Medical Elephant Man-Inspired Fashion

All images by Marcin Szpak

If Joseph Merrick had solved the Lament Configuration.

“Dear Coilhouse,

My name is Katarzyna Konieczka, I am an avant-garde fashion designer from Poland. I have been browsing through your website and while reading the blog I came across photos of Joseph Merrick’s head sculpture. I would like to take the opportunity of inviting  you to consider some of my work which took his inspiration from his life and condition. In particular, one of my models from the ‘Very Twisted Kingdom’ collection. The costume depicted in the attached illustration consists of a metal ruff and other elements resembling orthodontic medical equipment in reference to his illness which had not been diagnosed at the time.”

SOLD. Ten minutes later, I’m still picking my jaw up off the floor after perusing Konieczka’s site. Many more images, after the jump. In addition to the images on Konieczka’s page, many more images can be found in Marcin Szpak’s portfolio.

Inner Space II

I had posted previously that I retain from my childhood the visualization of my body in metaphorical terms, especially during times of illness. The accompanying video was one which evoked those thoughts but was still realistic enough to be incongruous with the visuals conjured up by my imagination. In contrast, Henning M. Lederer’s short animation, Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man As Industrial Palace) — based on the 1927 Fritz Kahn illustration of the same name, previously posted by the lovely Miss Lev in these very pages — is an almost perfect representation of the imagery in my mind. Here the various functions of the body are represented in lucid, mechanical terms; a network of pistons, pumps, pulleys, and tubes manned by an industrious, miniature workforce. It’s simply fantastic. Definitely one to watch in full screen mode.

via Dark Roasted Blend

Inner Space

I realize that this demo reel from Hybrid Medical Animation may only appeal to me. As a child if I was sick I would often visualize the goings on within my body as some sort of protracted war; a campaign waged around and within the machinery responsible for the operation of the various divisions of my physical person. Even now, ask as what some would call an adult and what others would call a drooling man-child, buy cialis I still fall back upon these simplistic representations when feeling feverish. Hybrid, pills of course, represents the internal mechanisms of the human body as close to their reality but still, when viewed from a macroscopic perspective, they swiftly recall those childhood visions.