Interview on Radio Tahrir Regarding Our #Kickstarter Project

Earlier this evening I was interviewed by Radio Tahrir, a one-hour long talk radio program hosted on Pacifica Radio, WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City. Radio Tahrir is a weekly radio magazine that focuses on documenting and presenting issues and topics that affect Arab and Muslim communities in the US. As part of tonight’s show, I was asked to explain the Museum’s current Kickstarter fundraiser campaign. Here is the interview:

Listen!

This project has garnered a fair deal of attention from the media, as articles and interviews have been featured in both local and national journalism outlets. We are now on the final leg of the project. There are 17 remaining days in the campaign. Overall, we are pleased with the way the project is progressing. I will reflect on Kickstarter in greater detail at the end of the campaign.

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i.Phoneography International Photography Exhibition

It’s time for another iPhoneography exhibition! This one is called i.Phoneography and it’s Italy’s first juried exhibition of iPhone photography. Here are the details on the i.Phoneography International Photography Exhibition:

Do you still believe that the camera makes the photographer? i.Phoneography believes in the creative power of the gaze, in a new way to describe contemporaneity. Organized by Arteaparte, iPhoneography is the first Italian contest of photographs taken and edited with an iPhone. This is a language for images that becomes an art laboratory, and that involves a growing number of iPhoneographers from all around the world.

The rules:

  1. The contest is cost-free for contributors, but participation is restricted to iPhone’s taken and edited photographs.
  2. Each participant can send a maximum of six images through the submission form.
  3. Maximum size accepted 1536 x 2048 px.
  4. All material must be submitted online by 30 August 2010.

Here are my entries into this juried exhibition:
Cruisin'
Radcliffe Camera

Rose

Tulips

Yesterday

Ypsi Arbor

Here’s a link to my gallery at iPhonepgraphy.com.
i.Phoneography

You can find more of my iPhoneography on Flickr.

Devon Akmon

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Guest Blogger On Metromode (Part 2)

The second post in my two-part series as a guest blogger for Metromode was published this morning. The article is titled Striving to be a National Institution.

What does it mean to be a national museum? Whose stories do we reflect? What do we aspire to be? These are all common questions that I receive when people first learn about the Arab American National Museum (AANM). Understandably, the word “national” in the title can be a bit ambiguous. However, when understood in the context of the Museum’s history and its operations, things become much clearer. Read more…

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Guest Blogger On Metromode

I was recently asked to be a guest blogger on Metromode.com, a Website that “posts daily reports on job growth and development in Southeast Michigan.” I’m a fan of both Metromode and its sister publication, Model D, so agreeing to write a few short articles on the Arab American National Museum was a no-brainer. In my blog posts I will discuss the Museum’s history and its place in the community; its multicultural programming; and its goal of becoming a vibrant, nationally respected institution. The first post, Arab American National Museum is 1 in 17,000, was published today.

Founded on May 5, 2005, the Arab American National Museum (AANM) will soon celebrate its fifth anniversary. People are often curious about the Museum’s origins and its location. Although the Museum is still very much a startup, its roots extend back to the late 1980s. In fact, the AANM is a part of the Dearborn-based Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS). In 1987 the agency developed a cultural arts department to educate the public on Arab American culture and to provide affordable and accessible arts programming. Today, the AANM is an extension of this program and it remains a vibrant department within ACCESS. Although it is very uncommon for a museum to be part of a social service agency, ACCESS considers the arts to be just one part of a multi-component approach to providing comprehensive services for living an enriched and fulfilling life. Read more…

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Socially Awkward: Learning to Navigate Web and Social Technologies (#CASM Presentation)

The past few days have been incredibly hectic. I returned early this morning from three days of work in Washington, D.C. A colleague and I met with museums, government agencies, and members from the Arab American community to discuss new educational opportunities and a forthcoming exhibit we are developing. I departed Washington, D.C. at 3:30 a.m. to drive to Baltimore for a flight home to Detroit. My brain and body are recovering from this whirlwind trip.

Upon arriving back in Michigan, I participated in a panel presentation at the Cultural Alliance of Southeastern Michigan (CASM) 2010 Annual Meeting. The presentation, entitled Socially Awkward: Learning to Navigate Web and Social Technologies, focused on the Arab American National Museum’s approach to using social technologies and raising unrestricted funds online. We were pressed for time, so there was no opportunity for questions and answers at the end. If you’ve arrived here as a result of the presentation, please do leave a comment or question, or feel free to drop me a message vial email. Thanks for stopping by!

Devon Akmon

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The EYE’EM Award

It appears there are more and more exhibits and competitions for mobile phone photography. I’m glad to see the medium grow. Recently, I submitted five images to the EYE’EM Award, “an international competition dedicated to the rise of mobile photography as a new artform.” Here are the four most important rules for the competition (see the complete rules & requirements):

  1. Images must be taken with a mobile phone camera
  2. Participants may enter up to five pictures free of charge
  3. Both mobile as well as desktop applications are permitted for retouching images (I’m not too keen on allowing desktop editing)
  4. The deadline to enter is April 25, 2010

The winning images will be exhibited in Berlin and the finalists will be featured in an exhibit book.

Here’s a link to the images I submitted to the contest.

EYE'EM Submission by Devon Akmon
EYE'EM Submission by Devon Akmon
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“Understanding Who We Are” – A Town Hall Conversation

I’m honored and pleased to be a panelist for “Understanding Who We Are” – A town hall conversation about Detroit and Detroiters. This timely and important event will explore and discuss the diverse communities that makeup the metropolitan Detroit region. I hope you will be able to join us if you’re available on the evening of March 22. Here is the official press release for the event.

Wayne State University’s Detroit Orientation Institute (DOI) and One of Us Films are hosting a series of free town hall conversations examining Detroit’s communities – and a screening of the documentary film titled “Regional Roots: The Birth and Evolution of Detroit and its People,” produced by Carrie LeZotte of One of Us Films with the DOI. This inaugural town hall, hosted by the Task Force on Race Relations and Ethnic Diversity, will be held on Monday, March 22, 7 p.m., at The Birmingham Community House, 380 South Bates, Birmingham, Mich.

For further information and to reserve your seat, call 248-644-5832, or e-mail racerelations@communityhouse.com.

Following the screening of the 26-minute film, audience members will participate in a conversation moderated by Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley exploring why the various communities came to the Detroit area; what roles they play socially, politically and economically; what conflicts occur and what opportunities are available to work together. The audience also will learn some myths and truisms about the various communities.

Panelists from various ethnic groups in the Detroit area will be on hand including: Devon Akmon, deputy director, Arab American National Museum; Ozzie Rivera, director, Community Based Services & Family Preservations Programs, Health and Human Services, State of Michigan; Heaster Wheeler, executive director, Detroit Branch, NAACP ; and Sook Wilkinson, chairperson, Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission.

Covering 300 years of history, “Regional Roots: The Birth and Evolution of Detroit and its People,” uses the immigrant experience as an introduction to the diverse landscape of the Detroit region. From the earliest French and German settlers to today’s growing communities, the documentary illustrates how immigrants continue to shape the region.

For more information about the film, visit www.oneofusfilms.org. Regional Roots will also be shown locally at the Main Theatre on April 21 and 25 as part of a One of Us Films Showcase. And it will be shown on Detroit Public Television on Monday, April 26 at 10:30 pm.

To learn more about Wayne State University’s Detroit Orientation Institute, visit www.doi.wayne.edu.

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Devon Akmon

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Stolen! Steps To Protect Your Identity During a Crisis

Today marks the two-week anniversary of having our car stolen. After years of parking in sketchy areas of Detroit, our car was stolen from a seemingly safe area within the city. However, given the current economy, it’s no surprise that grand theft auto is on the rise. It’s a sad state of affairs in our region.

We’ll spare you the details of our travails. However, considering that my wife and l both had our laptops stolen with the car, we thought we’d share with you the lessons we’ve learned on protecting yourself from identity theft when personal information is compromised.

What To Do If Your Identity Has Been Compromised

  1. File a police report and specify that there is the potential for identity theft.
  2. Immediately contact one of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, or TranUnion) and place a fraud alert on your credit report. An initial fraud alert stays in your file for at least 90 days while an extended alert stays in your file for seven years. It is not necessary to contact all three major agencies; by filing a report with one, the others receive notification within 24 hours. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

    A fraud alert requires potential creditors to either contact you or take reasonable steps to verify your identity. This may cause some delays if you’re trying to obtain credit. To compensate for possible delays, you may wish to include a cell phone number, where you can be reached easily, in your alert.

    Be sure to check your credit reports periodically, especially for the first year after you discover the identity theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.

  3. File a complaint with the FTC. This is another means to document the situation in case fraudulent activities should occur on your accounts.
  4. Were the keys to your home or your garage door opener lost in the theft? If so, immediately change the locks on your home. Additionally, reset the frequency on your garage door opener.
  5. Believe it or not, the scallywag might contact you. Therefore, we recommend immediately contacting your phone service provider to unscramble blocked numbers. This is a service that you can purchase at any time.
  6. Reset all passwords on online accounts.
  7. Contact all organizations that you have accounts with (banks, utilities, credit, etc.) and alert them of the theft. Request an additional security measure that requires you, the account holder, to provide information that would not be included in standard documentation (now they possibly have access to maiden names and all the other standard “security” questions/prompts). Additionally, make sure that you continue to receive statements on a regular basis. Thoroughly review them for any fraudulent activity.
  8. Cancel all extraneous accounts that are not often used.
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The Implosion of J.L. Hudson’s Flagship Store in Detroit

At 5:47 PM on October 24, 1998, the iconic J.L. Hudson’s flagship department store in downtown Detroit was imploded. As I recall, there was much controversy surrounding former Mayor Dennis Archer’s decision to bring down this _______ (eyesore; historically significant structure; reminder of better days in a tired city; etc.). Sadly, to this day, nothing has been built upon this massive footprint in the city. Almost twelve years have passed and I can’t help but wonder what could have happened had that magnificent building been restored, rehabilitated and/or adaptively reused.

As a young art student with a love for the city – most of my creative work focused on Detroit – I made a point of attending the destruction of this icon. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the smartest move I’ve made in my life. Who knows what I inhaled in the plume that engulfed the city following the implosion that day (I’m sure I lost a couple years of my life). I remember feeling both exhilarated and depressed, simultaneously. I documented the destruction I saw with my 35mm SLR camera. My goal was to eventually do something with the series of images.

Originally, I planned to print a series of nine images showing the collapse of the structure. However, after further thought this didn’t seem appropriate. Later, I thought about screenprinting the series on Hudson’s store bags. The name of the series was to be 13 Hour Sale! (yeah, it’s satire for those familiar with Hudson’s). In the end, my ambivalence and personal confusion over the building prohibited me from finishing the series.

Today, I’m snowed in and feeling a bit nostalgic. I recently located some scans of the images on an old Zip disk (yes, the quality of the scans is poor). I thought I’d share them here with you today. Only a handful of friends and family have ever seen these images. If you have recollections of the building or old Detroit, please do share your thoughts in the comment section below (or email me if you prefer to be private).

Hudson's Implosion 01
Hudson's Implosion 01
Hudson's Implosion 02
Hudson's Implosion 02
Hudson's Implosion 03
Hudson's Implosion 03
Hudson's Implosion 04
Hudson's Implosion 04
Hudson's Implosion 05
Hudson's Implosion 05
Hudson's Implosion 06
Hudson's Implosion 06
Hudson's Implosion 07
Hudson's Implosion 07
Hudson's Implosion 08
Hudson's Implosion 08
Hudson's Implosion 09
Hudson's Implosion 09

Other resources:

– Devon Akmon

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