07 June 2008

Che

Che t-shirt

Trisha Ziff and Luis Lopez have made a film, Chevolution, about what may be the most popular photograph in the world. Amy Reiter of Salon asks:

I'm kind of curious about all the man-on-the-street interviews with people wearing the Che T-shirts who have no idea who he is. I'm wondering about the process of finding those people. I'm guessing it wasn't very hard to do.

Ms Ziff responds:

We went to gathering spots. At Venice Beach, we waited about five minutes for a Che T-shirt to come along. Maybe we were very lucky, but they happened pretty quickly in London, in different places. What happens is once you become sensitized to the image, you hate it, because you start seeing it everywhere. You realize our world is saturated by Che T-shirt wearers. So it wasn't that difficult, but it was interesting the level of ignorance.

I would say it's culturally specific, too. Because if you were to walk through the streets of Belfast or Dublin or Mexico City and you ask people “Who's on your T-shirt?” they'd know. I think it's quite culturally specific to the United States and to education in the United States and what people are taught and not taught in the States. It's quite mind-boggling as a non-American.

On my way to New York for the festival, I sat next to a Tibetan monk on the plane and I was looking at some of the early reviews with the Che image on them. He leaned across and he said, “I see that man in so many countries, but not in my country, not in Tibet. Is he a musician?”

Witty image via horrifying conservative t-shirt store Those Shirts.

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