October 15, 2011
Nina Berman at Occupy Wall Street: Sweeping Victory
If events had taken a different turn yesterday in the Bloomberg/Brookfield Office Properties vs. Occupy Wall Street stand-off (or, should I say, “wash-off”), the critics could very well have been comparing this figure today to, say, Don Quixote. In light of the victory, however, this scene is emblematic of more practical attributes of the unfolding movement. At the same time, the photo is aggressive and wholly civil, insurrectionist and constructive, deadly serious and seriously light-hearted.
Really, if Bloomberg and Brookfield wanted a fight, the issues of hygiene and consideration for public quality of life were some really odd values to try and hinge it on — not when dirt and the need for some serious clean up in more exclusive pockets dwarf whatever the protesters might need to do to keep Zuccotti sufficiently tidy.
Certainly, it’s far from a perfect translation, but this photo reminds me a bit of the images of the self-appointed, citizen soldiers we saw blazing around Libya earlier this year. At least for a day, these handles and bristles served as their own form of howitzer, the OWS rebels fending off a potential offensive from city forces in a battle, if wildly asymmetric, that’s looking more competitive by the day. Today the near corner, tomorrow the far one?
See Bag’s full OWS coverage here.
PHOTOGRAPH by Nina Berman/Noor