thissideofthetruth

NOT THE OTHER

Category: Written. Notes. Stories.

One and Only

But is it Art?

One & Other was a public art project by Antony Gormley, in which 2,400 members of the public occupied the usually vacant fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London, for an hour each for 100 days. The project began at 9 am on Monday 6 July 2009, and ran until 14 October. The first person to officially occupy the plinth was Rachel Wardell from Lincolnshire. A documentary art book by Gormley, entitled One and Other, was published in the UK by Jonathan Cape on 14 October 2010. The Wellcome Trust has posted online at its website its series of oral-history interviews of the 2400 plinthers.

Passing by

The project was opened by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Minutes before the official launch Stuart Holmes, an anti-smoking protester, managed to clamber onto the plinth and displayed a banner calling for a ban on tobacco. Gormley urged him to do the “gentlemanly thing” and give up his place to the first official “plinther”, Rachel Wardell. He did so and descended in the cherry picker used to carry participants to and from the plinth.

Change of the guard

Members of the public could apply for an hour on the plinth via the project’s website. Gormley himself applied but didn’t get a place. Reviewing the event afterwards, the Guardian’s top ten “plinthers” were:

Name Performance
Gerald Chong Demolished a cardboard replica of the London skyline, dressed as Godzilla.
Amanda Hall Constructed a full-size Gormley-style human figure from bread products.
Ollie Campbell Pitched a tent, from which a live chicken and two blow-up dolls emerged.
Steve Cousins (The Balloonatic) Performed in a red catsuit with a large, red balloon.
Sam Martin Dressed as a football referee, Martin challenged members of the public and announced half-time.
Jonathan May-Bowles (Jonnie Marbles) Invited members of the public to text their secrets to him, which were then read aloud.
Neil Studd Dressed as a living statue of Lord Nelson, in an echo of Nelson’s Column.
Liz Crow Sat in a wheelchair wearing a Nazi military uniform, as a political statement on the rights of disabled people.
Susanna Meese-Simpson Posed naked as if for a life study.
Paul Speller Performed a succession of scientific experiments submitted by the public, including an experiment with a tin can telephone.

Plinth Concept

On 14 July at 8.00 pm, poet R. N. Taber read a selection of his poems, while photographer Alex Boyd collaborated with Scottish Makar (Poet Laureate) Edwin Morgan for his time on the plinth. On 12 August at 1 am, a naked plinther was asked to cover up by the police.

Monique-Speksnyderon-on-t-002

Streamed live online by SkyArts, the exhibit quickly developed a cadre of regular Twitter followers who provided a running commentary of events on the plinth.

Balloon Man

 

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Kunstakademie Dusseldorf

KF

The Kunstakademie Düsseldorf is the Arts Academy of the city of Düsseldorf. Notable artists who attended the academy include Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Thomas Demand and Andreas Gursky. In the stairway of its main entrance, are engraved the Words: “Für unsere Studenten nur das Beste” (“For our Students only the Best”).

'Betty' by Gerhard Richter.

The school was founded by Lambert Krahe in 1762 as a school of drawing. In 1773, it became the “Kurfürstlich-Pfälzische Academie der Maler, Bildhauer- und Baukunst” (Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture of the Electorate of the Palatinate).

JBThomas DemandT. S.

It has been amongst Europe’s foremost art schools for more than two centuries.

Trinity College Dublin, Candida Hofer

The German photographic movement commonly known as the Düsseldorf School of Photography, began in the mid 1970s at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under the instruction of the influential photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, known for their comparative grids of mundane industrial buildings captured with an objective and clinical eye.

Bernd and Hilla Becher

This school has not only birthed some of today’s most important and successful photographers, but has also had a fundamental and lasting influence on the history of the medium.

da16

Sirens

Sirens

In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous and beautiful creatures, portrayed as femme fatales who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands called Sirenum scopuli. In some later, rationalized traditions, the literal geography of the “flowery” island of Anthemoessa, or Anthemusa, is fixed: sometimes on Cape Pelorum and at others in the islands known as the Sirenuse, near Paestum, or in Capreae. All such locations were surrounded by cliffs and rocks.

Sirens by Boris

When the Sirens were given a name of their own they were considered the daughters of the river god Achelous, fathered upon Terpsichore, Melpomene, Sterope, or Chthon. Although they lured mariners, for the Greeks the Sirens in their “meadow starred with flowers” were not sea deities. Roman writers linked the Sirens more closely to the sea, as daughters of Phorcys. Sirens are found in many Greek stories, particularly in Homer’s Odyssey.

According to Ovid, the Sirens were the companions of young Persephone and were given wings by Demeter to search for Persephone when she was abducted. However, the Fabulae of Hyginus has Demeter cursing the Sirens for failing to intervene in the abduction of Persephone.

Ulysses

The Sirens might be called the Muses of the lower world, Walter Copland Perry observed: “Their song, though irresistibly sweet, was no less sad than sweet, and lapped both body and soul in a fatal lethargy, the forerunner of death and corruption.” Their song is continually calling on Persephone. The term “siren song” refers to an appeal that is hard to resist but that, if heeded, will lead to a bad conclusion. Later writers have implied that the Sirens were anthropophagous, based on Circe’s description of them “lolling there in their meadow, round them heaps of corpses rotting away, rags of skin shriveling on their bones.” As Jane Ellen Harrison notes of “The Ker as siren:” “It is strange and beautiful that Homer should make the Sirens appeal to the spirit, not to the flesh.”

Siren by Anne Stokes

“They are mantic creatures like the Sphinx with whom they have much in common, knowing both the past and the future,” Harrison observed. “Their song takes effect at midday, in a windless calm. The end of that song is death.” That the sailors’ flesh is rotting away, though, would suggest it has not been eaten. It has been suggested that, with their feathers stolen, their divine nature kept them alive, but unable to feed for their visitors, who starved to death by refusing to leave.

According to Hyginus, sirens were fated to live only until the mortals who heard their songs were able to pass by them.

The Siren, by John William Waterhouse

O Brother Where Art Thow

Sirens of Titan

Sirens of Titan Cover

“Oh Lord Most High, Creator of the Cosmos, Spinner of Galaxies, Soul of Electromagnetic Waves, Inhaler and Exhaler of Inconceivable Volumes of Vacuum, Spitter of Fire and Rock, Trifler with Millennia — what could we do for Thee that Thou couldst not do for Thyself one octillion times better? Nothing. What could we do or say that could possibly interest Thee? Nothing. Oh, Mankind, rejoice in the apathy of our Creator, for it makes us free and truthful and dignified at last. No longer can a fool point to a ridiculous accident of good luck and say, ‘Somebody up there likes me.’ And no longer can a tyrant say, ‘God wants this or that to happen, and anyone who doesn’t help this or that to happen is against God.’ O Lord Most High, what a glorious weapon is Thy Apathy, for we have unsheathed it, have thrust and slashed mightily with it, and the claptrap that has so often enslaved us or driven us into the madhouse lies slain!” -The prayer of the Reverend C. Horner Redwine”
― Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan

Saturn from Titan

Black Narcissus

Title Shot

A group of Anglican nuns travel to a remote location in the Himalayas (the Palace of Mopu, near Darjeeling) to set up a school and hospital for the local people, only to find themselves increasingly seduced by the sensuality of their surroundings in a converted seraglio high up in the mountains, and by the local British agent Mr Dean (David Farrar). Clodagh (Deborah Kerr), the Sister Superior, is attempting to forget a failed romance at home in Ireland. Tensions mount as Dean’s laid-back charm makes an impression on Clodagh, but also attracts the mentally unstable Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron), who becomes pathologically jealous of Clodagh, resulting in a nervous breakdown and a violent climax. In a subplot, ‘the Young General’ (Sabu), heir to the throne of a princely Indian state who has come to the convent for his education, becomes infatuated with Kanchi, a lower caste dancing girl (Jean Simmons).

Dancer

Black Narcissus achieved acclaim for its pioneering technical mastery and shocked audiences at the time of release with its vibrant colour and the themes of the film. Audiences gasped at some of the scenes, notably the shot of the vibrant pink flowers, which shown on the big screen was a spectacle at the time. The film’s clever use of lighting and techniques have had a profound impact on later film makers, notably Martin Scorsese who used the extreme close ups technique of the nuns for Tom Cruise’s character around the pool table in Color of Money. Martin Scorsese has said that the film is one of the earliest erotic films, in the last quarter of the film in particular, which caused controversy given its Roman Catholic content. The film was one of his favourites as a boy, and Scorsese has stated that one of the greatest experiences he has had with film is viewing Black Narcissus projected on a massive screen at the Director’s Guild in 1983. In Michael Powell’s own view this was the most erotic film he ever made. “It is all done by suggestion, but eroticism is in every frame and image from beginning to end. It is a film full of wonderful performances and passion just below the surface, which finally, at the end of the film, erupts”.

Deborah Kerr

Targets. The Movie. 1968.

Targets Poster

The story concerns a quiet insurance agent and Vietnam War veteran named Bobby Thompson (Tim O’Kelly) who murders his young wife, his mother and a grocery delivery boy at home and then initiates an afternoon shooting rampage from atop a Los Angeles area oil refinery. Several motorists and passengers are wounded or killed on the nearby freeway. When the police respond and start to close in on him he flees and resumes his shootings at a Reseda drive-in theater where an aging horror film icon, Byron Orlok (Boris Karloff) is making a final promotional appearance before retirement. Orlok slaps the murderer into submission and the police arrive and affect an arrest. Thompson wonders aloud about the exact number of victims.

Targets Movie Poster

THE BELL JAR

Sylvia Reading

The Bell Jar is American writer and poet Sylvia Plath’s only novel, which was originally published under the pseudonym “Victoria Lucas” in 1963. The novel is semi-autobiographical with the names of places and people changed. The book is often regarded as a roman à clef, with the protagonist’s descent into mental illness paralleling Plath’s own experiences with what may have been clinical depression. Plath committed suicide a month after its first UK publication. The novel was published under Plath’s name for the first time in 1967 and was not published in the United States until 1971, pursuant to the wishes of Plath’s mother and her husband Ted Hughes.

Victoria,

The Bell Jar addresses the question of socially acceptable identity. It examines Esther Greenwood, a young woman from the suburbs of Boston’s, “quest to forge her own identity, to be herself rather than what others expect her to be”. Esther is expected to become a housewife, and a self-sufficient woman, without the options to achieve independence. Esther feels she is a prisoner to domestic duties and she fears the loss of her inner self. The Bell Jar sets out to highlight the problems with oppressive patriarchal society in mid-20th Century America. The men in Esther’s life are all oppressive, whether it is in a physical manner or an emotional one.

SP

Atta Kim

In Buddhism, all objects, or in other words, color and matter are another word for space and space is another word for color. All objects can become one according to the concept of “all matter is emptiness” and the process of breaking down is called “emptiness is form.” In particular, Hua-yen Buddhism’s teachings of “one is all, all is one” is a physical analysis of how points build to space and space breaks down to a point. Buddhism’s “all matter is emptiness” does not mean a lack. I will use my work as an example.

New York

New York (2008) Indala Series  A photographic portrait of New York using 10,000 images.

My ON-AIR Project’s Indala Series (Indala is another word for Indra’s net, which refers to the concept of the interconnectedness of all things in the universe. New York, Washington, Moscow, Tokyo, Paris, London, Venice, Berlin, Athens, Seoul, Delhi, and others, comprise the 14 cities that are a part of this project). For the project, I took 10,000 photographs of New York and superimposed them to create one final picture.

The completed picture appears to be nothing but a blurry, gray image, but there are physically 10,000 photographs within it. Those 10,000 photographs of New York streets, buildings, people, and events were vividly captured over the course of several years, lovingly, with proper photographic technique. I’m not Buddhist and I didn’t do this project with the intention of explaining the concept of “all is emptiness,” but this is similar to that concept of emptiness. If one penetrates into the gray image (as in Heidegger’s concept of entwurf, or the mental process of absorption in something), one is able to meet again the countless events and identities melted into the 10,000 cuts. This process of disassembly is “emptiness is everything.” If one physically dismantles an analog picture, one is left with the particles that make up analog film; in a digital process, only the pixels are left. In the final gray image of the Indala project, those 10,000 photographs have become one and each has lost its function but their identity is not gone. Just like how my DNA contains all of humanity’s genes, identity does not disappear. This is similar to how the point’s identity is inherent in space. Ironically though, the final gray picture of one city composed of 10,000 different superimposed photographs is digitized and has no mass or volume; it only has form when it comes out.

Atta Kim

Foolish War Mongers One And All

Back the Attack

The Great Saddness

War is an organized and often prolonged conflict that is carried out by states and/or non-state actors. It is characterised by extreme violence, social disruption, human suffering, and economic destruction. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities, and therefore is defined as a form of political violence or intervention. The set of techniques used by a group to carry out war is known as warfare. An absence of war is usually called peace.

Double Caring

O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain;

Executions and USA disgrace.

American Bommbing Raid

help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it —

Germans @ War

Vietnam

for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!”    Mark Twain

Shelling From Afar

Gas Masks

“If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood/Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,/Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud/Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,/My friend, you would not tell with such high zest/To children ardent for some desperate glory,/The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est/Pro patria mori.”   Wilfred Owen

'waiting for the war' by siwymortis

Rattlebag Medicine 2

David Tennant in The Badlands

Bill Ray and the Hells Angels of San Berdoo 1965

biker

“This was a new breed of rebel,” Bill Ray told LIFE.com, recalling his time with the Angels. “They didn’t have jobs, of course. They absolutely despised everything that most Americans value and strive for — stability, security. They rode their bikes, hung out in bars for days at a time, fought with anyone who messed with them. They were self-contained, with their own set of rules, their own code of behavior. It was extraordinary to be around.”

On the road

Ray spent some of the time with the Angels on a ride from San Bernardino (about 40 miles east of Los Angeles) to Bakersfield, California, for a major motorcycle rally. The Berdoo-Bakersfield run is a trip of only about 130 miles — but in 1965, it would offer enough moments (both placid and violent) for Ray to paint a rare, revelatory portrait of the world’s most legendary motorcycle club in its early days. The way in which the story came about, meanwhile, was as dramatic and unexpected as Bill Ray’s pictures.

talk to the hand

“It was exhilarating being around them, there’s no question about it,” Ray says. “You just never knew what they were going to do. You’re always kind of on edge, because — think about it! — these people have a lot of time to waste. They don’t punch a clock, so they fill the time drinking beer, smoking pot, screwing around. There was always a sense that anything could happen at any minute. Things could go from light-hearted to tense, and from tense to very scary, pretty goddamn quick.”

Biker Chicks

Ray and Joe Bride spent more than a month with the Angels in the spring of ’65, “mostly on weekends,” Ray remembers, “but the Bakersfield run was around the clock, three days and nights.” In Bakersfield,” remembers Ray, “I slept on the floor of the Blackboard Cafe — the bar that the Angels basically lived in while they were there.”

Brothers in Arms

“There’s a romance to the idea of the biker on the open road,” Ray says. “It’s similar to the romance that people attach to cowboys and the West — which, of course, is totally out of proportion to the reality of riding fences and punching cows. But no doubt, there’s something impressive about these Harley-Davidsons and bikers heading down the highway. You see the myth played out in movies, like Easy Rider, which came out a few years after I photographed the Angels. You know, the trail never ends for the cowboy, and the open road never ends for the Angels. They just ride. Where they’re going hardly matters. It’s not an easy life, but it’s what they choose. It’s theirs. And everyone else can get out of the way or go to hell.”

Up Yours Biker Chick

Social Engineering – “Life in Plastic is Fantasic”

Barbies Night Out

Advertising directed toward children has been a concern for marketers, researchers and policy-makers for decades. The attention and concern is not without justification. Children see a great deal of advertising. Moore and Lutz (2000) reported that children in the age range of six to fourteen see an estimated 20,000 advertisements each year.

Like

Advertising practitioners recognize this and are more than willing to target children.

Essex Girl

Advertisements are known to have an impact on children, both consumption-related and unrelated to the product advertised. Increasing attention has been focused on the impact of advertising on children which is not directly related to the product. Advertisements have been linked to children’s self image, self concept, motivation and performance.

Advertising

Of increasing concern is the impact of role models in advertising on children.

Barbie Eyes

The Swimmer

Book Jacket

The Swimmer” a short story by American author John Cheever, was originally published in The New Yorker on July 18, 1964, and then in the 1964 short story collection, The Brigadier and the Golf Widow. Originally conceived as a novel and pared down from over 150 pages of notes, it is probably Cheever’s most famous and frequently anthologized story. At one point Cheever wanted to parallel the tale of Narcissus, a character in Greek mythology who died while staring at his own reflection in a pool of water, which Cheever dismissed as too restrictive. As published, the story is highly praised for its blend of realism and surrealism, the thematic exploration of suburban America, especially the relationship between wealth and happiness, as well as his use of myth and symbolism.

Burt

In 1968, “The Swimmer” was adapted into a film with the same name, starring Burt Lancaster.

The story begins with Neddy Merrill and his wife lounging at a friend’s pool on a mid-summer’s day. On a whim, Neddy decides to get home by swimming across all the pools in the county, and starts off enthusiastically and full of youthful energy. In the early stops on his journey, he is enthusiastically greeted by friends, who welcome him with drinks. It is readily apparent that he is well-regarded and from an upper-class social standing.

Reflection

Midway through his journey, things gradually take on a darker and ultimately surreal tone. Despite everything taking place over just one afternoon, it becomes unclear how much time has passed. At the beginning of the story, it was clearly mid-summer, but by the end all natural signs point to the season being autumn. Different people Neddy encounters mention misfortune and money troubles he doesn’t remember, and he is outright unwelcome at several houses which should’ve certainly been beneath him. His earlier, youthful energy leaves him, and it becomes increasingly painful and difficult for him to swim on. Finally, he staggers back home, only to find his house decrepit, empty, and abandoned.

Dream Story

dream story

Rhapsody: A Dream Novel, also known as Dream Story, (original German title: Traumnovelle) is a 1926 novella by the Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler. The book deals with the thoughts and psychological transformations of Doctor Fridolin over a two-day period after his wife confesses having had sexual fantasies involving another man. In this short time, he meets many people who give a clue to the world Schnitzler is creating for us. This culminates in the masquerade ball, a wondrous event of masked individualism, sex, and danger for Fridolin the outsider.

Eyes Wide Shut 3

It was first published in instalments in the magazine Die Dame between December 1925 and March 1926. The first book edition appeared in 1926 in S. Fischer Verlag and was adapted in 1999 into the film Eyes Wide Shut by director, screenwriter Stanley Kubrick and co-screenwriter Frederic Raphael.

 Eyes Wide Shut 2

The book belongs to the period of Viennese decadence after the turn of the 20th century.

Eyes Wide SHut 1

Chaos Theory

Tornado from Outer Space

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state. The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the theoretical example of a hurricane’s formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks before.

Tornado

Although the butterfly effect may appear to be an esoteric and unlikely behavior, it is exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ball placed at the crest of a hill may roll into any of several valleys depending on, among other things, slight differences in initial position.

The butterfly effect is a common trope in fiction when presenting scenarios involving time travel and with hypotheses where one storyline diverges at the moment of a seemingly minor event resulting in two significantly different outcomes.

Majestic Green Swallowtail

Waiting for Godot

Moon

Waiting for Godot, the play in which ‘nothing happens – twice’ is now recognised as a major influence on post war drama. ‘It was about two tramps waiting nowhere in particular for someone who never shows up.’ The two tramps (Vladimir and Estragon) are waiting for someone called ‘Godot’ although they are vague as to why, who he is, and whether he will come. To occupy the time they eat, sleep, converse, argue, sing, play games, exercise, swap hats, and contemplate suicide – anything “to hold the terrible silence at bay”. Author Samuel Beckett refused to explain the piece, but the wait can be seen as a metaphor for life, and our need to give it meaning and purpose.

Samuel Beckett

Set

When Peter Hall had staged the British premiere in 1955, the play’s avoidance of a clear linear plot, or any attempt at realism, caused consternation among the critics. While a few recognised its brilliance, many saw no literary merit in the form of the piece. ‘His work … holds the stage most wittily, but is it a play?’ said one. Audiences were also divided, and ‘Godot’ became a hot topic in the media. Now the play is recognised as probably the single most influential work of the 20th century, which inspired future writers such as Harold Pinter, Joe Orton, Edward Bond and Tom Stoppard to name a few.

Poster

Houdini

Houdini

L’Age d’or

La edad de oro (1930) Luis Buñuel

L’Age d’or, The Golden Age (1930) is a French surrealist comedy directed by Luis Buñuel about the insanities of modern life, the hypocrisy of the sexual mores of bourgeois society and the value system of the Roman Catholic Church. The screenplay is by Salvador Dalí and Buñuel. It was one of the first sound films made in France.

In a series of thematically-linked vignettes, a couple’s attempts at a fulfilling and consummated romantic relationship are continually thwarted by the bourgeois values and sexual mores of Family, Church, and Society. In the course of seeking sexual release and satisfaction, the woman sublimates her sexual passion by fellating the toe of a religious statue.

The final vignette is an allusion to the Marquis de Sade’s novel 120 Days of Sodom; the intertitle reads: 120 Days of Depraved Acts, about an orgy in a castle, wherein the surviving orgiasts are ready to emerge to the light of mainstream society. From the castle door emerges the bearded and berobed Duc de Blangis (a character from de Sade’s novel) who greatly resembles Jesus, the Christ, who comforts a young woman who has run out from the castle, before he takes her back inside. Afterwards, a woman’s scream is heard, and only the Duc re-emerges; and he is beardless. The concluding image is a crucifix festooned with the scalps of women; to the accompaniment of jovial music, the scalps sway in the wind.

New Grange

New Grange

Lara Croft 2013

Miss Croft 2013

Lara Croft is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the Square Enix (previously Eidos Interactive) video game series Tomb Raider. She is presented as a beautiful, intelligent, and athletic English archaeologist-adventuress who ventures into ancient, hazardous tombs and ruins around the world. Created by a team at UK developer Core Design that included Toby Gard, the character first appeared in the 1996 video game Tomb Raider.

Angelina Jolie

She has also appeared in video game sequels, printed adaptations, a series of animated short films, feature films (portrayed by Angelina Jolie), and merchandise related to the series. Official promotion of the character includes a brand of apparel and accessories, action figures, and model portrayals. Croft has also been licensed for third-party promotion, including television and print advertisements, music-related appearances, and as a spokes-model.

Tomb

Critics consider Lara Croft a significant game character in popular culture. She holds six Guinness World Records, has a strong fan following, and is among the first video game characters to be successfully adapted to film. Lara Croft is also considered a sex symbol, one of the earliest in the industry to achieve widespread attention. The character’s influence in the industry has been a point of contention among critics; viewpoints range from a positive agent of change in video games to a negative role model for young girls.

Wi

Katana

katana fighter

Historically, katana were one of the traditionally made Japanese swords that were worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan, also commonly referred to as a “Samurai Sword”. Modern versions of the katana are sometimes made using non-traditional materials and methods.

The katana is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. It has historically been associated with the samurai of feudal Japan and has become renowned for its sharpness and strength.

Kadana Japanese Sword

Where Is Everybody

The first episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone, broadcast on Friday October 2, 1959.

A man finds himself alone walking towards a diner. Inside he finds a jukebox playing loudly, and coffee hot on the stove, but no one else. He inquires for some breakfast, but no chef or waitress is to be found. He is dressed in an Air Force flight suit, but he does not remember who he is or how he got there.

Demon

Demon

Astral

Astral

Second Life

Second Life is an online virtual world developed by Linden Lab. It was launched on June 23, 2003. A number of free client programs, or Viewers, enable Second Life users, to interact with each other through avatars (Also called Residents). Residents can explore the world (known as the grid), meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another.

Travelers

In computing, an avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user’s alter ego or character. It may take either a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds, or a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities. It can also refer to a text construct found on early systems such as MUDs. It is an object representing the user. The term “avatar” can also refer to the personality connected with the screen name, or handle, of an Internet user.

Avatar

The word avatar originates in Hinduism, where it stands for the “descent” of a deity in a terrestrial form. (Deities in India are popularly thought to be formless and capable of manifesting themselves in any form.)

You stand in a throng of multifleshed being, mind avatared in all its matter, on a broad avenue winding through a city of blue trees with bright red foliage and living buildings growing from the soil in a multitude of forms. Norman Spinrad (Songs from the Stars)

Jamie

A square of cyberspace directly in front of him flipped sickeningly and he found himself in a pale blue graphic that seemed to represent a very spacious apartment, low shapes of furniture sketched in hair-fine lines of blue neon. A woman stood in front of him, a sort of glowing cartoon squiggle of a woman, the face a brown smudge. “I’m Slide,” the figure said, hands on its hips…[She] gestured, a window suddenly snapping into existence behind her.
“Right,” Bobby said. “What is this? I mean, if you could sort of explain.” He still couldn’t move. The “window” showed a blue-gray video view of palm trees and old buildings.
…”Hey, man, I paid a designer an arm and a leg to punch this up for me. This is my space, my construct. This is L.A., boy. People here don’t do anything without jacking. This is where I entertain!” William Gibson (Count Zero)

Avatar 2

Theft

TheftFort Knox

Grand Tetons & Snake River

Grand Tetons & Snake River 1942

Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984) was an American photographer and environmentalist best known for his black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park.

With Fred Archer, Adams developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs and the work of those to whom he taught the system. Adams primarily used large-format cameras despite their size, weight, setup time, and film cost, because their high resolution helped ensure sharpness in his images.

Adams founded the Group f/64 along with fellow photographers Willard Van Dyke and Edward Weston. Adams’s photographs are reproduced on calendars, posters, and in books, making his photographs widely distributed.

Ansel Adams’s photograph The Tetons and the Snake River has the distinction of being one of the 115 images recorded on the Voyager Golden Record aboard the Voyager spacecraft. These images were selected to convey information about humans, plants and animals, and geological features of the Earth to a possible alien civilization. These photographs eloquently mirror his favorite saying, a Gaelic mantra, which states “I know that I am one with beauty and that my comrades are one. Let our souls be mountains, Let our spirits be stars, Let our hearts be worlds.”

http://theesotericcuriosa.blogspot.ca/2011/02/by-harsh-light-of-day-breathtaking.html

saucer clouds

ufo clouds

Sherlock

Benedict as Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A London-based “consulting detective” whose abilities border on the fantastic, Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to adopt almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve difficult cases.

Robert as Sherlock

Holmes, who first appeared in publication in 1887, was featured in four novels and 56 short stories. The first novel, A Study in Scarlet, appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887 and the second, The Sign of the Four, in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine in 1890. The character grew tremendously in popularity with the first series of short stories in The Strand Magazine, beginning with A Scandal in Bohemia in 1891; further series of short stories and two novels published in serial form appeared between then and 1927. The stories cover a period from around 1880 up to 1914.

Jeremy as Sherlock

All but four stories are narrated by Holmes’s friend and biographer, Dr. John H. Watson; two are narrated by Holmes himself (“The Blanched Soldier” and “The Lion’s Mane”) and two others are written in the third person (“The Mazarin Stone” and “His Last Bow”). In two stories (“The Musgrave Ritual” and “The Gloria Scott“), Holmes tells Watson the main story from his memories, while Watson becomes the narrator of the frame story. The first and fourth novels, A Study in Scarlet and The Valley of Fear, each include a long interval of omniscient narration recounting events unknown to either Holmes or Watson.

Basil as Sherlock

Death Chamber

Lethal Injection Chamber, Texas State Prison, Huntsville, Texas

The Nine Million Names Of God

The Nine Million Names Of God

“The Nine Billion Names of God” is a 1953 science fiction short story by Arthur C. Clarke.

The Taktshang Monastery,

This short story tells of a Tibetan lamasery whose monks seek to list all of the Names of God, since they believe the Universe was created in order to note all the names of God and once this naming is completed, God will bring the Universe to an end. Three centuries ago, the monks created an alphabet in which they calculated they could encode all the possible names of God, numbering about 9,000,000,000 (“nine billion”) and each having no more than nine characters. Writing the names out by hand, as they had been doing, even after eliminating various nonsense combinations, would take another 15,000 years; the monks wish to use modern technology in order to finish this task more quickly.

Prayer

They rent a computer capable of printing all the possible permutations, and they hire two Westerners to install and program the machine. The computer operators are skeptical but play along. After three months, as the job nears completion, they fear that the monks will blame the computer, and by extension its operators, when nothing happens. The Westerners delay the operation of the computer so that it will complete its final print run just after their scheduled departure. After their successful departure on ponies, they pause on the mountain path on their way back to the airfield, where a plane is waiting to take them back to civilization. Under a clear night sky they estimate that it must be just about the time that the monks are pasting the final printed names into their holy books. Then they notice that “overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.”

Hole in the Sky

‘Sky City’, Acoma, New Mexico.

Sky City by Edward Curtis

Acoma Pueblo (pron.: /ˈækəmə/; Western Keresan: Aa’ku; Zuni: Hakukya; Navajo: Haakʼoh) is a Native American pueblo approximately sixty miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico in the United States. Three villages make up Acoma Pueblo: Sky City (Old Acoma), Acomita, and McCartys. The Acoma Pueblo tribe is a federally recognized tribal entity. The historical land of Acoma Pueblo totaled roughly 5 million acres; now only 10% of this land is in the hands of the community. According the 2010 United States Census, 4,989 people identified as Acoma. The Acoma have continuously occupied the area for more than 800 years, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. Acoma tribal traditions estimate that they have lived in the village for more than two thousand years.

Welcome

I was very fortunate to have paid a visit to Sky City back in the early 1990’s, whilst on one of my many American ‘Blue Highway’ road trips. I had already read the signs that it was not a desired notion to take photographs of the place, but I just couldn’t resist rolling some Super 8 when Acoma, atop it’s 367′ sandstone mesa first showed itself to me. To this day I have never seen or located the footage from that hot and magical afternoon.

Acoma Pottery

Hindenburg

Hindenburg NY

The Hindenburg disaster took place on Thursday, May 6, 1937, as the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, which is located adjacent to the borough of Lakehurst, New Jersey. Of the 97 people on board (36 passengers, 61 crew), there were 35 fatalities; there was also one death among the ground crew.

The disaster was the subject of spectacular newsreel coverage, photographs, and Herbert Morrison’s recorded radio eyewitness report from the landing field, which was broadcast the next day. The actual cause of the fire remains unknown, although a variety of hypotheses have been put forward for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire. The incident shattered public confidence in the giant, passenger-carrying rigid airship and marked the end of the airship era.

The Twilight Zone

Night of the Meek

The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. Each episode (156 in the original series) is a mixture of self-contained drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, suspense, or horror, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist. A popular and critical success, it introduced many Americans to serious science fiction and abstract ideas through television and also through a wide variety of Twilight Zone literature.

The program followed in the tradition of earlier shows like Tales of Tomorrow (1951–1953)—which also dramatized the short story “What You Need”—and Science Fiction Theatre (1955–1957), as well as radio programs such as The Weird Circle, X Minus One, and the radio work of Serling’s hero, dramatist Norman Corwin.

The success of the series led to a feature film, a radio series, a comic book, a magazine, and various other spin-offs that spanned five decades, including two “revival” television series. The first ran on CBS and in syndication in the 1980s, the second ran on UPN from 2002 to 2003.

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

As a boy, Rod Serling was a fan of pulp fiction stories. As an adult, he sought topics with themes such as racism, government, war, society and human nature in general. Serling decided to combine these two interests as a way to broach these subjects on television at a time when such issues were not commonly addressed.

Throughout the 1950s, Serling established himself as one of the more popular names in television. He was as famous for writing televised drama as he was for criticizing the medium’s limitations. His most vocal complaints concerned censorship, which was frequently practiced by sponsors and networks. “I was not permitted to have my senators discuss any current or pressing problem,” he said of his 1957 production The Arena, intended to be an involving look into contemporary politics. “To talk of tariff was to align oneself with the Republicans; to talk of labor was to suggest control by the Democrats. To say a single thing germane to the current political scene was absolutely prohibited.”

Poster

Cube

Cube Poster

Cube is a 1997 Canadian science fiction psychological horror film, directed by Vincenzo Natali. The film was a successful product of the Canadian Film Centre’s First Feature Project.

The movie received a cult status for its surreal, Kafkaesque settings; it is set in identical cube-like rooms (hence the name) with each room being a different color (white, blue, green, amber and red), and no background story is revealed for the characters or the reason they were left in the Cube. The film also doesn’t demonstrate any clear plot regarding the Cube’s background, creation, purpose and its location. The timeframe of the story is also left unknown.

Cube

The Clock

The Clock

In order to respect the concept of Christian Marclay’s work, viewers should kindly play the above video starting at 0.04 pm, local time. If that time is passed, please wait for tomorrow or another day same time. Thank you.

The Clock is an art installation by video artist Christian Marclay (born 1955). It is in effect a clock, but it is made of a 24-hour montage of thousands of time-related scenes from movies and some TV shows, meticulously edited to be shown in “real time”: each scene contains an indication of time (for instance, a timepiece, or a piece of dialogue) that is synchronized to show the actual time. The Clock debuted at London’s White Cube gallery in 2010.

Watching The Clock

The film incorporates classic scenes such as Gary Cooper in High Noon, Woody Allen in Mighty Aphrodite at 2.59, Peter Fonda in Easy Rider at 11:40, and Patrick Macnee as John Steed looking at his elegant pocket watch at 12.05 in The Avengers.

LeMans

Klaus Ludwig

“This race is like a war. Nobody knows if they are going to return”.

Anthony Davidson Pictures - Le Mans 24h Race - Qualifying

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest active sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency, race teams have to balance speed against the cars’ ability to run for 24 hours without sustaining mechanical damage to the car and manage the cars’ consumables, primarily fuel, tyres and braking materials. The endurance of the drivers is likewise tested as drivers frequently spend stints of over two hours behind the wheel before stopping in the pits and allowing a relief driver to take over the driving duties. Drivers then grab what food and rest they can before returning to drive another stint. Today it is mandated that three drivers share each competing vehicle.

(Lion André de Lourmel)

The race is organised by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and runs on the Circuit de la Sarthe, a circuit containing a mix of closed public roads and specialist motor racing circuit that are meant not only to test a car and driver’s ability to be quick, but also to last over a 24 hour period. The competing teams will race in groups called classes for cars of similar specification while at the same time competing for outright placing amongst all of the classes. Originally, the race was held for cars as they were sold to the general public which were then called Sports Cars compared to the specialist racing cars used in Grands Prix. Over time, the competing vehicles evolved away from their publicly available road car roots and today, the race is made of two classes specialised enclosed-bodywork two-seat Prototype sports cars and two classes of Grand Touring cars which bear much closer resemblance to high performance sports cars as sold to the public.

Jan Magnussen Pictures - Le Mans 24h Race - Zim

Competing teams have had a wide variety of organisation, ranging from competition departments of road car manufacturers who are eager to prove the supremacy of their products, to professional motor racing teams who represent their commercial backers, some of which are also road car manufacturers attempting to win without the expense of setting up their own teams, to amateur race teams, racing as much to compete in the famous race as to claim victory for their commercial partners.

LeMans Map

The race is held near the height of the European summer in June, leading at times to very hot weather conditions for the drivers, particularly in closed roof vehicles whose cabins can heat up to uncomfortably hot temperatures with generally poor ventilation; rain, however, is not uncommon. The race begins in mid-afternoon, racing through the night and following morning before finishing at the same time the race started, the following day. Over the 24 hour period modern competitors will complete race distances well over 5,000 km (3,110 mi). The present record is 5,410 km (3,360 mi), recorded in the 2010 race. It is a distance over six times longer than the Indianapolis 500, or approximately 18 times longer than a Formula One Grand Prix.

Paul Newman driving LeMans 1979

The Dreamcatcher

While dreamcatchers originated in the Ojibwa Nation during the Pan-Indian Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, they were adopted by Native Americans of a number of different nations. Some consider the dreamcatcher a symbol of unity among the various Indian Nations, and a general symbol of identification with Native American or First Nations cultures. However, other Native Americans have come to see dreamcatchers as over-commercialized.

According to the Encyclopedia of Insects, spiders had a great impact on the Native American culture that related to dreamcatchers. Each tribe had a different significance relating the two. As for the Cherokee people, the spider brought fire. Naʼashjéʼii Asdzą́ą́ʼ was the “Spider Woman” in Navajo culture and taught the women in the culture how to weave, and she was the “core of creation” in Pueblo legend. In the Sioux Indian tribes the term dream catcher means “spun by a spider” and they are used to catch good dreams.

American ethnographer Frances Densmore writes in her book Chippewa Customs (1929, republished 1979, pg. 113):

Even infants were provided with protective charms. Examples of these are the “spiderwebs” hung on the hoop of a cradle board. These articles consisted of wooden hoops about 3½ inches in diameter filled with an imitation of a spider’s web made of fine yarn, usually dyed red. In old times this netting was made of nettle fiber. Two spider webs were usually hung on the hoop, and it was said that they “caught any harm that might be in the air as a spider’s web catches and holds whatever comes in contact with it.”

Traditionally, the Ojibwa construct dreamcatchers by tying sinew strands in a web around a small round or tear-shaped frame of willow (in a way roughly similar to their method for making snowshoe webbing). The resulting “dream-catcher”, hung above the bed, is used as a charm to protect sleeping people from nightmares. As dreamcatchers are made of willow and sinew, they are not meant to last forever but are intended to dry out and collapse as the younger sleepers enter the age of wonderment.

The Ojibwa believe that a dreamcatcher changes a person’s dreams. According to Konrad J. Kaweczynski, “Only good dreams would be allowed to filter through… Bad dreams would stay in the net, disappearing with the light of day.” Good dreams would pass through and slide down the feathers to the sleeper.

Another explanation of Lakota origin, “Nightmares pass through the holes and out of the window. The good dreams are trapped in the web, and then slide down the feathers to the sleeping person.”

These conflicting accounts about how a dreamcatcher works may be proof of its antiquity. While this traditional symbol has survived, its original meaning has been lost and subsequently reinterpreted in many different ways.

Peeping Tom

Peeping Tom Movie Poster

Peeping Tom is a 1960 British thriller film directed by Michael Powell and written by the World War II cryptographer and polymath Leo Marks. The title derives from the slang expression ‘peeping Tom’ describing a voyeur. The film revolves around a serial killer who murders women while using a portable movie camera to record their dying expressions of terror.

The film’s controversial subject and the extremely harsh reception by critics effectively destroyed Powell’s career as a director in the United Kingdom. However, it attracted a cult following, and in later years, it has been re-evaluated and is now considered a masterpiece.

Peeping Tom

Brain Cell

This might look like a distant web of galaxies captured by a powerful telescope, but it’s actually a microscopic image of a newborn nerve cell. The human brain contains more cells than there are stars in our galaxy, and the most important cells are neurons, which are nerve cells responsible for transmitting and processing electro-chemical signals at up to 320 km/h. This chemical signalling occurs through synapses—specialised connections with other cells, like wires in a computer. Each cell can receive input from thousands of others, so a typical neuron can have up to ten thousand synapses—i.e., can communicate with up to ten thousand other neurons, muscle cells, and glands. Estimates suggest that adult humans have approximately 100 billion neurons in their brain, but unlike most cells, neurons don’t undergo cell division, so if they’re damaged they don’t grow back—except, apparently, in the hippocampus (associated with memory) and the olfactory bulb (associated with sense of smell). The process by which this occurs is unclear, and this image was taken during a project to determine how neurons are born—it actually depicts newborn nerve cells in the brain.

The Myth

Camus outlines the legend of Sisyphus who defied the gods and put Death in chains so that no human needed to die. When Death was eventually liberated and it came time for Sisyphus himself to die, he concocted a deceit which let him escape from the underworld. Finally captured, the gods decided on his punishment: for all eternity, he would have to push a rock up a mountain; upon reaching the top, the rock would roll down again leaving Sisyphus to start over. Camus sees Sisyphus as the absurd hero who lives life to the fullest, hates death and is condemned to a meaningless task.

Camus presents Sisyphus’s ceaseless and pointless toil as a metaphor for modern lives spent working at futile jobs in factories and offices. “The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks, and this fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious.”

Camus is interested in Sisyphus’ thoughts when marching down the mountain, to start anew. This is the truly tragic moment, when the hero becomes conscious of his wretched condition. He does not have hope, but “[t]here is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” Acknowledging the truth will conquer it; Sisyphus, just like the absurd man, keeps pushing. Camus claims that when Sisyphus acknowledges the futility of his task and the certainty of his fate, he is freed to realize the absurdity of his situation and to reach a state of contented acceptance. With a nod to the similarly cursed Greek hero Oedipus, Camus concludes that “all is well,” indeed, that “[o]ne must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

Vikings

The Vikings (from Old Norse víkingr) were the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.

These Norsemen used their famed longships to travel as far east as Constantinople and the Volga River in Russia, and as far west as Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland, and as far south as Nekor. This period of Viking expansion – known as the Viking Age – forms a major part of the medieval history of Scandinavia, Great Britain, Ireland and the rest of Medieval Europe.

Popular conceptions of the Vikings often differ from the complex picture that emerges from archaeology and written sources. A romanticised picture of Vikings as Germanic noble savages began to take root in the 18th century, and this developed and became widely propagated during the 19th-century Viking revival. The received views of the Vikings as violent brutes or intrepid adventurers owe much to the modern Viking myth which had taken shape by the early 20th century. Current popular representations are typically highly clichéd, presenting the Vikings as familiar caricatures.

José Saramago

Seeing is a kind of political fable: the night after the election, an unnamed European government finds that 77 percent of the population of the capital city has cast blank votes. Alarmed, they declare a mistake and organize a second election (complete with reconnaissance agents stationed casually in line at voting booths to intercept any information about the supposed blank-vote conspiracy), and everything seems perfectly normal except for the now 83 percent of capital-city voters who cast blank ballots into the box. The government interprets this action as an “attack on democracy” and reacts with a steady stream of increasingly restrictive measures, none of which seem to do a bit of good or extract a modicum of information. Beginning by declaring a state of emergency and suspending all constitutional rights in the city (a change none of the citizens seem to notice), they progress to sending intelligence agents into the populace (no one is interested in talking about the blank votes), and detaining a random sampling of citizens whom they hold indefinitely for interrogation (everyone refuses to say who they voted for). As the citizens’ dignified non-participation holds steady, the government gets more and more ruffled, eventually choosing to abscond absurdly in the dead of night with all its officials, police, paperwork, assistants, computers and assorted detritus and declaring a state of seige on the capital city, forbidding anyone to enter or leave before the government has received a tearful apology from the city at large.

This wonderful satire is just the thing for those people who believe that the standard of public life has gone down the gutter, that the world is ruled by fools and knaves, that choosing between political parties is like trying to tell the difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, that our masters are platitudinous windbags who can’t be trusted or respected and are only intent on hanging on to power, forever watching their backs while telling the benighted populace a pack of lies in order to stay in office, and, moreover, for those who are able to tolerate long sentences (a little like this one) in paragraphs that snake over three, sometimes four or even five pages.

Shock Corridor

Shock Corridor is a 1963 film, directed and written by Samuel Fuller. The film tells the story of a journalist who gets himself committed to a mental hospital in order to track an unsolved murder.

Peter Breck plays journalist Johnny Barrett, who thinks the quickest way to a Pulitzer Prize is to uncover the facts behind a murder at a mental hospital. So, he pretends to go insane and is locked up in the institution. While pursuing his investigation, he is sidetracked by the behavior of his fellow inmates. The three witnesses to the murder have all become insane owing to the stress of confronting American bigotry and war. After a hospital riot, Barrett is straitjacketed and subjected to shock treatment. Barrett begins imagining that his exotic-dancer girlfriend (Constance Towers) is his sister, and experiences many other symptoms of mental breakdown. He learns the identity of the killer, and writes his story, but the damage to his mind is irreparable, and he never leaves the hospital.

Remember. Remember. The Fifth of November.

Lewes Bonfire is a series of celebrations in the town of Lewes, East Sussex which form the UK’s largest and most famous Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night festivities, with Lewes being called the Bonfire capital of the world.

Always held on 5 November, unless the 5th falls on a Sunday, when they are held on Saturday 4th, the event not only marks the date of the uncovering of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, but also commemorates the memory of the seventeen Protestant martyrs from the town burnt at the stake for their faith during the Marian Persecutions.

There are six societies putting on five separate parades and firework displays on the 5th, and this can mean 3,000 people taking part in the celebrations, and up to 80,000 spectators attending in the small market town with a permanent population of just under 16,000.

The history of bonfire celebrations on 5 November throughout the United Kingdom have their origins with the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, where a group of English Catholics, including the now famous Guy Fawkes, were foiled in their plot to blow up the House of Lords.

The following January an act entitled ‘An Acte for a publique Thancksgiving to Almighty God everie yeere of the Fifte day of November’ was passed which held that the 5 November should be held in perpetual remembrance of the plot, with a special service held in every Church of England parish church.

Celebrations in Lewes were not planned or carried out annually, but were more random events that were more like riots. They continued until they were banned by Oliver Cromwell during the Commonwealth. However, they were reintroduced when King Charles II returned, but still on a random basis. Interest waned by the end of the 18th century but in the 1820s large groups of Bonfire Boys started celebrating with fireworks and large bonfires. The celebrations became more and more rowdy until in 1847 police forces were drafted in from London to sort out the Bonfire Boys. There were riots and fighting, and restrictions were clamped down on the celebrators, their locations moved to Wallands Park, at that time fields, not the suburb it is today. However, in 1850 they were allowed back to the High Streets. By this time the former riots had become much more like the processions carried out today. In 1853 the first two societies, Cliffe and Lewes Borough were founded and most of the others were founded later in the same century.

Popeye

Popeye the Sailor is a cartoon fictional character created by Elzie Crisler Segar, who has appeared in comic strips and animated cartoons in the cinema as well as on television. He first appeared in the daily King Features comic strip Thimble Theatre on January 17, 1929. Popeye also became the strip’s title in later years.

Although Segar’s Thimble Theatre strip was in its tenth year when Popeye made his debut in 1929, the sailor quickly became the main focus of the strip and Thimble Theatre became one of King Features’ most popular properties during the 1930s. Thimble Theatre was continued after Segar’s death in 1938 by several writers and artists, most notably Segar’s assistant Bud Sagendorf. The strip, now titled Popeye, continues to appear in first-run installments in its Sunday edition, written and drawn by Hy Eisman. The daily strips are reprints of old Sagendorf stories.

In 1933, Max and Dave Fleischer’s Fleischer Studios adapted the Thimble Theatre characters into a series of Popeye the Sailor theatrical cartoon shorts for Paramount Pictures. These cartoons proved to be among the most popular of the 1930s, and the Fleischers—and later Paramount’s own Famous Studios—continued production through 1957. The cartoons are now owned by Turner Entertainment, a subsidiary of Time Warner, and distributed by sister company Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Over the years, Popeye has also appeared in comic books, television cartoons, arcade and video games, hundreds of advertisements and peripheral products, and a 1980 live-action film directed by Robert Altman starring comedian Robin Williams as Popeye.

The Last Detail

The Last Detail is a 1973 American comedy-drama film directed by Hal Ashby and starring Jack Nicholson, with a screenplay adapted by Robert Towne from a novel of the same name by Daryl Ponicsan. The film became known for its frequent use of profanity. It was nominated for three Academy Awards.

Stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. Navy sailors, Billy “Badass” Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and “Mule” Mulhall (Otis Young) are assigned shore patrol detail to escort young sailor Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid) to Portsmouth Naval Prison near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Meadows has drawn a stiff eight-year sentence for a petty crime: trying to steal $40 from a mite box of the C.O.’s wife’s favorite charity. During their train trip up the northeast corridor, the oddly likeable Meadows begins to grow on the two Navy “lifers”; they know the grim reality of the Marine guards at Portsmouth, and feel sorry he’ll miss his youth serving his sentence. They decide to show him a good time before delivering him to the brig.

With several days to spare before they are due in Portsmouth, the trio detrains at the major cities along the route to provide bon-voyage adventures for Meadows. In Washington they take him to a bar to have a beer, but are denied because Meadows is too young. Buddusky gets a few six packs and a hotel room, and the three get drunk. In Philadelphia they seek out Meadows’s mother, only to find her away for the day and the house cluttered with empty whiskey bottles. In New York, they take him ice skating at Rockefeller Center and then in Boston, to a brothel to lose his virginity. In between, they brawl with Marines in a public restroom, dine on “the world’s finest” Italian sausage sandwich, chant with Nichiren Shōshū Buddhists and open intimate windows for each other in swaying train coaches. Meadows pronounces his several days with Badass and Mule to be the best of his whole life.

When they finally arrive in frozen Portsmouth, Meadows has a final request – a picnic – so they buy some hot dogs and attempt a frigid picnic in the crunching snow. Docile Meadows walks along the park, seemingly ready to head to prison. He suddenly bolts, though, in a last-ditch effort to run away. Buddusky runs after him, catches him, and pistol-whips him fiercely. Mulhall and Buddusky then brusquely take Meadows to the prison, execute the Navy paperwork, and after being released from their detail, they stride away angrily, berating the marines they have encountered at the prison – and about how hopefully their orders will come through when they get back to Norfolk.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick. First published in 1968, the book served as the primary basis for the 1982 film Blade Runner. The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic near future, where Earth and its populations have been damaged greatly by nuclear war during World War Terminus. Most types of animals are endangered or extinct due to extreme radiation poisoning from the war. To own an animal is a sign of status, but what is emphasized more is the empathic emotions humans experience towards an animal.

The main plot follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who is faced with “retiring” six escaped Nexus-6 brain model androids, the latest and most advanced model, while a secondary plot follows John Isidore, a man of sub-normal intelligence who aids the fugitive androids. In connection with Deckard’s mission, the novel explores the issue of what it is to be human. Unlike humans, the androids possess no empathic sense. In essence, Deckard probes the existence of defining qualities that separate humans from androids.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? takes place in the year 1992 (2021 in later editions), projecting 25 years in the future after the author’s 1967 writing, after World War Terminus and its radioactive fallout have destroyed most of Earth. The U.N. encourages emigration to off-world colonies, in hope of preserving the human race from the terminal effects of the fallout. One emigration incentive is giving each emigrant an “andy” — a servant android.

The remaining populace live in cluttered, decaying cities wherein radiation poisoning sickens them and damages their genes. Animals are rare, and keeping and owning live animals is an important societal norm and status symbol. But many people turn towards the much cheaper synthetic, or electric, animals to keep up the pretense. Prior to the story’s beginning Rick Deckard owned a real sheep, but it died of tetanus, and he replaced it with an electric one.

The story is set in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. San Francisco was one of the last places affected by the radioactive dust, especially on the peninsula to the south. It is monitored daily by meteorologists using the Mongoose weather satellite in Earth’s orbit. While still relatively habitable, the sandy deserts of Oregon to the north are highly contaminated by radiation. Rick Deckard stays in a building on the east-side of the bay with his wife, Iran, who is depressed. J.R. Isidore lives on the peninsula south of San Francisco.

The main Earth religion is Mercerism, in which Empathy Boxes link simultaneous users into a collective consciousness based on the suffering of Wilbur Mercer, a man who takes an endless walk up a mountain while stones are thrown at him, the pain of which the users share. The television appearances of Buster Friendly and his Friendly Friends, broadcast twenty-three hours a day, represents a second religion, designed to undermine Mercerism and allow androids to partake in a kind of consumerist spirituality.

Animal Farm

Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before the Second World War. Orwell, a democratic socialist,was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism, especially after his experiences with the NKVD and the Spanish Civil War. In a letter to Yvonne Davet, Orwell described Animal Farm as his novel “contre Stalin“.

The original title was Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, but the subtitle was dropped by U.S. publishers for its 1946 publication and subsequently all but one of the translations during Orwell’s lifetime omitted the addition. Other variations in the title include: A Satire and A Contemporary Satire.Orwell suggested the title Union des républiques socialistes animales for the French translation, which recalled the French name of the Soviet Union, Union des républiques socialistes soviétiques, and which abbreviates to URSA, the Latin for “bear”, a symbol of Russia.

Time magazine chose the book as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005); it also places at number 31 on the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels. It won a Retrospective Hugo Award in 1996 and is also included in the Great Books of the Western World.

The novel addresses not only the corruption of the revolution by its leaders but also how wickedness, indifference, ignorance, greed and myopia corrupt the revolution. It portrays corrupt leadership as the flaw in revolution, rather than the act of revolution itself. It also shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution could allow horrors to happen if a smooth transition to a people’s government is not achieved.

WEST

West is about courage: the courage to live according to your spirit and not the guidelines laid down for you by others, to be true to yourself, which may involve alienating others, but your truth is worth pursuing since it defines who you are. It shapes, forges and hones you into something that is not vague but clear-cut and definite. Mike’s truth is to live for simple principles and to put his courage where his mouth is. He defeats the Hoxton monster and will continue to fight monsters so that others can rest safe in their beds. While the play is an allegory about demons we must defeat, it is also about an area of time and space called London and, specifically, Stamford Hill or Hackney, N16. You wore tailored suits and strutted your gear at the Lyceum, Strand, on Sunday nights. Movements were short, percussive and cool – Oscar Rabin led the band, Lita Rosa sang and the Kray twins would stand and survey their domain. I never saw them dance. Stamford Hill stood at the crossroads of Tottenham, Dalston and Hoxton and was subject to attacking forays from many directions. Such skirmishes were few, but I remember when, instead of sending a gang each time, Tottenham would send, symbolically, one of their toughest fighters to come and spread terror and challenge our leader. There was one young man from Stamford Hill who somehow elected himself to take on each one, and he did in fact beat them all. He was a frightening cur who actually put his fist through doors for practice. His name was Harry Lee. Mike is not based on a hero but is an amalgam of feelings that I had at the time and my observations of the environment.

Steven Berkoff, 1994

HAL 9000

HAL 9000 is a character in Arthur C. Clarke’s science fiction Space Odyssey saga. The primary antagonist in 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) is an artificial intelligence that controls the systems of the Discovery One spacecraft and interacts with the ship’s astronaut crew. Being a computer, HAL has no distinct physical form, though is visually represented as a red television-camera eye located on equipment panels throughout the ship. HAL is voiced by Douglas Rain in the two film adaptations of the Space Odyssey saga, and speaks in a soft, calm voice and a conversational manner, in contrast to the crewmen, David Bowman and Frank Poole, who speak tersely and with little emotional inflection. HAL became operational on 12 January 1992, at the HAL Laboratories in Urbana, Illinois, as production number 3; in the film 2001 the activation year was 1992, and 1991 in earlier screenplays. In addition to maintaining the Discovery One spacecraft systems during the interplanetary mission to Jupiter, HAL is capable of speech, speech recognition, facial recognition, natural language processing, lip reading, art appreciation, interpreting and reproducing emotional behaviours, reasoning, and playing chess.

BioShock

BioShock is set during 1960, in Rapture, a fictional underwater dystopian city; its history is revealed to the player through in-game audio recordings scattered throughout the game.

Rapture was envisioned by the Objectivist business magnate Andrew Ryan as a laissez-faire utopia for society’s cultural and scientific elite to avoid the oppression of government and religion. He secretly funded its construction on the mid-Atlantic, utilizing submarine volcanoes to provide geothermal power,[38] and Rapture was completed by 1946. Despite Ryan’s attempts, a seedier side of Rapture formed, led by businessman and gangster Frank Fontaine, who secretly managed to maintain a black market for goods to and from the surface. Scientific progress flourished within Rapture after the discovery of a new form of sea slug by Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum; stem cells from the slugs could be used to create “ADAM”, a plasmid that altered its user’s DNA and would grant him super-human powers like telekinesis and pyrokinesis. An industry for plasmids was created by Tenenbaum and Fontaine. To meet the growing demand, Tenenbaum devised a means for the sea slugs to be embedded in the stomachs of young girls from Fontaine’s orphanages, named Little Sisters, producing large quantities of ADAM.

As plasmid use grew, a class division arose. Fontaine launched a war against Ryan using an army of plasmid-enhanced soldiers, but was apparently killed in the fight. Ryan seized Fontaine’s assets, including the plasmid industry. Some months later, a new figurehead for the lower class arose, going by the name of Atlas. Atlas’s forces attacked Ryan’s industries to steal the ADAM and Little Sisters. To fight against this, Ryan ordered the creation of “Big Daddies”, plasmid-enhanced humans contained in giant diving suits conditioned to protect the Little Sisters as they scavenged for ADAM.

Ultimately a complete breakdown of Rapture’s society occurred on New Year’s Eve of 1959 (about one year before the player in the game arrives at Rapture). Atlas launched a full-fledged attack on Ryan’s forces; Ryan in turn was forced to create his own plasmid-enhanced soldiers, nicknamed Splicers, controlled by pheromones in Rapture’s atmosphere. The resulting war left few survivors. Those that remained alive barricaded themselves in isolated areas of Rapture, while the remains of the Splicer armies, having become deranged over time due to heavy ADAM use, wander Rapture looking for more ADAM to consume, which the Little Sisters continue to harvest from corpses.

The Flintstones…

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The Flintstones is an animated, prime-time American television sitcom that was broadcast from September 30, 1960 to April 1, 1966 on ABC. The show was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. The Flintstones was about a working-class Stone Age man’s life with his family and his next-door neighbor and best friend.

The show’s continuing popularity rested heavily on its juxtaposition of modern everyday concerns in the Stone Age setting.

The show is set in the Stone Age town of Bedrock. (In some of the earlier episodes, it was also referred to as “Rockville”.) In this fantasy version of the past, dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, and other long-extinct animals co-exist with cavemen. Like their mid-20th century peers, these cavemen listen to records, live in split-level homes, and eat out at restaurants, yet their technology is made entirely from pre-industrial materials and largely powered through the use of various animals. For example, the cars are made out of stone, wood, and animal skins, and powered by the passengers’ feet (as in the theme song, “Through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet”).

The original pilot episode clip was called the “Flagstones” (which first appeared in 1959 as a 90-second promotion to draw advertisers to the show) and was later reincorporated into the show’s first episode (third episode in original air date order). The show’s name was changed to “The Flintstones” shortly thereafter.

Paranoia (adjec…

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Paranoia (adjective: paranoid) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. (e.g. “Everyone is out to get me.“) Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view as an accident or coincidence, a paranoid person might believe was intentional. However, just because an individual is paranoid does not necessarily mean his or her suspicions are false, as noted in Catch-22: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

The Rutles

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The Rutles (also known as the Prefab Four) are a band that are known for their visual and aural pastiches and parodies of The Beatles. Originally created by Eric Idle and Neil Innes as a fictional band to be featured as part of various 1970s television programming, the group (remaining a parody of The Beatles) recorded, toured, and released two UK chart hits in reality.

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Initially created for a short sketch in Idle’s UK television comedy series Rutland Weekend Television, the Rutles gained international fame after being the focus of the 1978 mockumentary television film, All You Need Is Cash (often referred to as just The Rutles). Having been encouraged by the reaction to the sketch, featuring Beatles’ music pastiches by Neil Innes, the film was written by Idle, who co-directed it with Gary Weis. It featured 20 songs written by Innes, which he performed with three musicians as “The Rutles”. A successful soundtrack album in 1978 was, much later, followed in 1996 by Archaeology, which spoofed the Beatles’ Anthology series which had recently been released. The Rutles pre-date the American parody Spinal Tap by about a year.

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A second film, The Rutles 2: Can’t Buy Me Lunch — modelled on the 2000 TV special The Beatles Revolution — was made in 2002 and released in the US on DVD in 2003, but it did not prove as popular as the original film.

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Let Him Have It…

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Let Him Have It, is a 1991 British film, which was based on the true story of the case against Derek Bentley, who was hanged for murder under controversial circumstances on 28 January 1953. While Bentley did not directly play a role in the murder of PC Sidney Miles, he received the greater punishment than the gunman (who was below the age of 18). It stars Christopher Eccleston as Bentley, with Paul Reynolds, Tom Courtenay and Tom Bell and was directed by Peter Medak.

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The title of the film is taken from Bentley’s alleged cry of “Let him have it, Chris!” shortly before Christopher Craig shot and wounded the first policeman on the scene. Crown prosecutors suggested that Bentley meant “Go ahead and shoot him,” whilst Frank Cassells for the defence argued that he meant “Give him the gun” (and thus, surrender).

Craig was sentenced to gaol “at Her Majesty’s pleasure”, and spent ten years there. He has been a law abiding citizen ever since.

Derek Bentley’s father bought an expensive bottle of wine in 1958 to celebrate their victory should Derek be proved innocent. However, Bentley’s parents never got to drink it. His father William Bentley died on 12 July 1974 and his mother died on 10 October 1976.

The film’s end titles state that Bentley’s sister, Iris, was still fighting for his pardon, however seven years after the film was made and after numerous unsuccessful campaigns to get Derek Bentley a full pardon, his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal on 30 July 1998. However, Bentley’s sister had also died by this point.

The Jungle Book…

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The Jungle Book (1894) is a collection of stories by English Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling. The stories were first published in magazines in 1893–94. The original publications contain illustrations, some by Rudyard’s father, John Lockwood Kipling. Kipling was born in India and spent the first six years of his childhood there. After about ten years in England, he went back to India and worked there for about six-and-half years. These stories were written when Kipling lived in Vermont.

The tales in the book (and also those in The Second Jungle Book which followed in 1895, and which includes five further stories about Mowgli) are fables, using animals in an anthropomorphic manner to give moral lessons. The verses of The Law of the Jungle, for example, lay down rules for the safety of individuals, families and communities. Kipling put in them nearly everything he knew or “heard or dreamed about the Indian jungle.” Other readers have interpreted the work as allegories of the politics and society of the time. The best-known of them are the three stories revolving around the adventures of an abandoned “man cub” Mowgli who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. The most famous of the other stories are probably “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”, the story of a heroic mongoose, and “Toomai of the Elephants”, the tale of a young elephant-handler. As with much of Kipling’s work, each of the stories is preceded by a piece of verse, and succeeded by another.

The Jungle Book, because of its moral tone, came to be used as a motivational book by the Cub Scouts, a junior element of the Scouting movement. This use of the book’s universe was approved by Kipling after a direct petition of Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement, who had originally asked for the author’s permission for the use of the Memory Game from Kim in his scheme to develop the morale and fitness of working-class youths in cities. Akela, the head wolf in The Jungle Book, has become a senior figure in the movement, the name being traditionally adopted by the leader of each Cub Scout pack.

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Being There

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Some quotes from the film, ‘Being There’.

[Riding in a car for the first time]
Chance the Gardener: This is just like television, only you can see much further.

[upon walking out of an elevator]
Chance the Gardener: That was a very small room.

Ron Steigler: Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say?
Chance the Gardener: I can’t write.
Ron Steigler: Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my children. Look uhh, we can give you a six figure advance, I’ll provide you with the very best ghost-writer, proof-readers…
Chance the Gardener: I can’t read.
Ron Steigler: Of course you can’t! No one has the time! We, we glance at things, we watch television…
Chance the Gardener: I like to watch TV.
Ron Steigler: Oh, oh, oh sure you do. No one reads!

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[With other poor black seniors, watching Chance on TV]
Louise: It’s for sure a white man’s world in America. Look here: I raised that boy since he was the size of a piss-ant. And I’ll say right now, he never learned to read and write. No, sir. Had no brains at all. Was stuffed with rice pudding between th’ ears. Shortchanged by the Lord, and dumb as a jackass. Look at him now! Yes, sir, all you’ve gotta be is white in America, to get whatever you want. Gobbledy-gook!

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[last lines]
President “Bobby”: Life is a state of mind.

The Dice Man is…

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The Dice Man is a novel published in 1971 by George Cockcroft under the pen name Luke Rhinehart and tells the story of a psychiatrist who begins making life decisions based on the casting of dice. Cockcroft wrote the book based on his own experiences of using dice to make decisions while studying psychology. The novel is noted for its subversivity, anti-psychiatry sentiments and for reflecting moods of the early 1970s. Due to its subversive nature and chapters concerned with controversial issues such as rape, murder and sexual experimentation, it was banned in several countries.[2] Upon its initial publication, the cover bore the confident subheader, “Few novels can change your life. This one will” and quickly became a modern cult classic.

The book went through a number of republishings – in the United States it acquired the even more confident subheader “This book will change your life”, in spite of its being a highly edited version of the original. It was initially less successful than in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.

The themes of the book are continued in two other novels, The Search for the Dice Man and Adventures of Wim and a companion title, The Book of the Die.

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‘Sole Solution…

‘Sole Solution’ by Eric Frank Russell. (1956)

He brooded in darkness and there was no one else. Not a voice, not a whisper. Not the touch of a hand. Not the warmth of another heart.
Darkness.
Solitude.
Eternal confinement where all was black and silent and nothing stirred. Imprisonment without prior condemnation. Punishment without sin. The unbearable that had to be borne unless some mode of escape could be devised.
No hope of rescue from elsewhere. No sorrow or sympathy or pity in another soul, another mind. No doors to be opened, no locks to be turned, no bars to be sawn apart. Only the thick, deep sable night in which to fumble and find nothing.
Circle a hand to the right and there is nought. Sweep an arm to the left and discover emptiness utter and complete. Walk forward through the darkness like a blind man lost in a vast, forgotten hall and there is no floor, no echo of footsteps, nothing to bar one’s path.
He could touch and sense one thing only. And that was self.
Therefore the only available resources with which to overcome his predicament were those secreted within himself. He must be the instrument of his own salvation.
How?
No problem is beyond solution. By that thesis science lives. Without it, science dies. He was the ultimate scientist. As such, he could not refuse this challenge to his capabilities.
His torments were those of boredom, loneliness, mental and physical sterility. They were not to be endured. The easiest escape is via the imagination. One hangs in a strait-jacket and flees the corporeal trap by adventuring in a dreamland of one’s own.
But dreams are not enough. They are unreal and all too brief. The freedom to be gained must be genuine and of long duration. That meant he must make a stern reality of dreams, a reality so contrived that it would persist for all time. It must be self-perpetuating. Nothing less would make escape complete.
So he sat in the great dark and battled the problem. There was no clock, no calendar to mark the length of thought. There were no external data upon which to compute. There was nothing, nothing except the workings within his agile mind.
And one thesis: no problem is beyond solution.
He found it eventually. It meant escape from everlasting night. It would provide experience, companionship, adventure, mental exercise, entertainment, warmth, love, the sound of voices, the touch of hands.
The plan was anything but rudimentary. On the contrary it was complicated enough to defy untangling for endless aeons. It had to be like that to have permanence. The unwanted alternative was swift return to silence and the bitter dark.
It took a deal of working out. A million and one aspects had to be considered along with all their diverse effects upon each other. And when that was done he had to cope with the next million. And so on . . . on . . . on.
He created a mighty dream of his own, a place of infinite complexity schemed in every detail to the last dot and comma. Within this he would live anew. But not as himself. He was going to dissipate his person into numberless parts, a great multitude of variegated shapes and forms each of which would have to battle its own peculiar environment.
And he would toughen the struggle to the limit of endurance by unthinking himself, handicapping his parts with appalling ignorance and forcing them to learn afresh. He would seed enmity between them by dictating the basic rules of the game. Those who observed the rules would be called good. Those who did not would be called bad. Thus there would be endless delaying conflicts within the one great conflict.
When all was ready and prepared he intended to disrupt and become no longer one, but an enormous concourse of entities. Then his parts must fight back to unity and himself.
But first he must make reality of the dream. Ah, that was the test!
The time was now. The experiment must begin.
Leaning forward, he gazed into the dark and said, “Let there be light.”
And there was light.

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Un Chien Andalo…

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Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) is a 1929 silent surrealist short film by the Spanish director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí. It was Buñuel’s first film and was initially released in 1929 to a limited showing in Paris, but became popular and ran for eight months.

The film has no plot in the conventional sense of the word. The chronology of the film is disjointed, jumping from the initial “once upon a time” to “eight years later” without the events or characters changing very much. It uses dream logic in narrative flow that can be described in terms of then-popular Freudian free association, presenting a series of tenuously related scenes.

The film is famous for the scene where a middle-aged man (Luis Buñuel) sharpens his razor at his balcony door and tests the razor on his thumb. He then opens the door, and idly fingers the razor while gazing at the moon, about to be engulfed by a thin cloud, from his balcony. There is a cut to a close-up of a young woman (Simone Mareuil) being held by the man as she calmly stares straight ahead. Another cut occurs to the moon being overcome by the cloud as the man slits the woman’s eye with the razor, and the vitreous humour spills out from it.

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24 Hour Psycho …

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’24 Hour Psycho’ is the title of an art installation created by artist Douglas Gordon in 1993. The work consists entirely of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 Psycho slowed down to approximately two frames a second, rather than the usual 24. As a result it lasts for exactly 24 hours, rather than the original 109 minutes. The film was an important work in Gordon’s early career, and is said to introduce themes common to his work, such as “recognition and repetition, time and memory, complicity and duplicity, authorship and authenticity, darkness and light.”

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A Clockwork Ora…

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A Clockwork Orange is a 1962 dystopian novella by Anthony Burgess. A satire portraying a future and dystopian Western society with (based on contemporary trends) a culture of extreme youth rebellion and violence: it explores the violent nature of humans, human free will to choose between good or evil, and the desolation of free will as a solution to evil. Teenage gangs, enraged by the docile, clockwork society that they find themselves living in, are constantly on the rampage. The main character, Alex, is a fifteen year old boy who revels in Beethoven as much as he loves his nightly episodes of violence and rape. Burgess experiments with language, writing in a Russian-influenced argot called “Nadsat” used by the younger characters and the anti-hero in his first-person narration. According to Burgess, the novel was a jeu d’esprit written in just three weeks. He bemoaned the fact that the book had been taken as the source material for a 1971 film that was perceived to glorify sex and violence.

The brutality and gang violence of A Clockwork Orange was inspired by a terrible incident during a blackout in London at the height of the Second World War, where Burgess’ pregnant wife Lynne (Llewela Jones), was assaulted, raped and robbed by a group of American soldiers. Subsequently she suffered a miscarriage and the couple lost their first child.

The book was written as a form of catharsis and a severe warning about a future where the state controls the way we think, and everyone is turned into good, little citizens . . . without the power of choice.

‘Gog’, is reg…

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‘Gog’, is regarded as one of the most groundbreaking and influential commercials of the 2000s, and received more awards from the television and advertising industries than any commercial in history. Its success was blighted, however, by persistent accusations of plagiarism by Peter Fischli and David Weiss, the creators of The Way Things Go (1987).

In May 2003, Fischli and Weiss threatened legal action against Honda. The artists felt that the ad’s creators had “obviously seen” their film, and should have consulted them. Fischli and Weiss had refused several requests to use the film for commercial purposes, though Honda claimed that this was irrelevant as their permission was not needed to create new works with some elements similar to their previous works. Honda’s advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy eventually admitted to copying a sequence of weighted tires rolling uphill. The controversy was blamed for denying ‘Cog’ a Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

Wilson (Stamp),…

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Wilson (Stamp), recently released from a British prison, travels to Los Angeles to investigate the death of his daughter Jenny, who is reported to have died in a car accident. While adjusting to the United States, he finds allies in Jenny’s friends Eduardo (Guzmán) and Elaine (Warren) and comes up with a suspect: Jenny’s boyfriend Terry Valentine (Fonda), a record producer. Valentine has connections with drug trafficking through his security consultant Avery (Newman). After locating the warehouse of the drug importer with whom Avery had done business, Wilson is overpowered and beaten by the drug trafficker’s thugs, who also insult his daughter’s name. After he is thrown out, Wilson retrieves a back-up pistol, goes back and kills all but one of the employees, shouting at the last to “Tell him I’m coming!” The employee relays this threat to Avery who reports it to Valentine.

Wilson reminisces with Elaine and Eduardo about his past relationship with his daughter, whom he only remembers as a child. As he recalls, Jenny always threatened to call the police when she found her father had committed crimes. He states she did not because she truly loved him. His criminal life put strain on his wife and child, but they never left him. He ended up in prison after the thieves he was associated with confessed to his involvement in their crimes.

Wilson and Eduardo infiltrate a party at Valentine’s house, where Wilson searches for evidence. He finds and steals a picture of Jenny. Attracting suspicion from Avery, Wilson is accosted by a guard, who Wilson then throws over a ledge, killing him. Wilson and Eduardo flee, and are chased by Avery who shoots at them with a shotgun. Wilson rams Avery’s car into a ditch and he and Eduardo escape, but not before Eduardo makes the mistake of calling out Wilson’s name within Avery’s hearing. Afterward, Avery hires a hit-man named Stacy (Katt), who tracks down Wilson and Elaine. DEA agents prevent the attempted killing, and escort Wilson and Elaine to meet a DEA agent who is investigating Valentine. After the meeting it is clear the agent will not interfere with Wilson. Stacy and his partner then plot a double cross on Avery and Valentine.

Avery moves Valentine and his girlfriend to a safe house in Big Sur, with Wilson following them. That night, Avery’s guards shoot an intruder, who is revealed to be Stacy. Avery and the guards engage in a shootout with Stacy’s partner, resulting in several deaths. Valentine flees to the beach with Wilson in pursuit. After he falls and breaks his ankle on the rocks, Valentine admits that Jenny found out about his drug business and threatened to call the police. Attempting to restrain her, he accidentally broke her neck. Avery then staged her death as a car accident. Wilson is haunted, knowing that Jenny would not have turned him in. Wilson decides to return to London, saying goodbye to Elaine and Eduardo.

The narrative structure of the film is presented in disjointed flashbacks by Wilson during the plane trip home.

Fahrenheit 451 …

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Fahrenheit 451 is a 1953 dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury. The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and firemen burn any house that contains them.

The novel has been the subject of various interpretations, primarily focusing on the historical role of book burning in suppressing dissenting ideas. Bradbury has stated that the novel is not about censorship, but a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature, which leads to a perception of knowledge as being composed of factoids, partial information devoid of context.

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François Truffaut wrote and directed a film adaptation of the novel in 1966. At least two BBC Radio 4 dramatisations have also been aired, both of which follow the book very closely.

The book’s title refers to the temperature that Bradbury understood to be the autoignition point of book paper.

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Doodlebug

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Heaven, the Hea…

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Heaven the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious, cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings (such as a Sky deity, God, angels, King or Queen of Heaven, Heavenly Father or Heavenly Mother or Son of Heaven, heavenly saints or venerated ancestors) originate, are enthroned or inhabit. It is commonly believed that heavenly beings can descend to earth or take on earthly flesh and that earthly beings can ascend to Heaven in the afterlife or in exceptional cases enter Heaven alive. Heaven is often described as a “higher place”, the holiest place, a Paradise, in contrast to Hell or the Underworld or the “low places”, and universally or conditionally accessible by earthly beings according to various standards of divinity, goodness, piety, faith, or other virtues or right beliefs or simply the Will of God. Some believe in the possibility of a Heaven on Earth in a World to Come or of a World Tree which connects the heavens, the world, and the underworld. Another belief is in an Axis mundi which connects heaven and earth.

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The Panopticon …

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The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late eighteenth century. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates of an institution without them being able to tell whether or not they are being watched.

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The design consists of a circular structure with an “inspection house” at its centre, from which the managers or staff of the institution are able to watch the inmates, who are stationed around the perimeter. Bentham conceived the basic plan as being equally applicable to hospitals, schools, poorhouses, daycares, and madhouses, but he devoted most of his efforts to developing a design for a Panopticon prison, and it is his prison which is most widely understood by the term.

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Bentham himself described the Panopticon as “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.”

Das Boot (Germa…

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Das Boot (German pronunciation: [das ˈboːt], German meaning “The Boat“) is a 1981 German epic war film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by Günter Rohrbach, and starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, and Klaus Wennemann. It has been exhibited both as a theatrical release and as a TV miniseries, and in several different home video versions of various running times.

Das Boot is an adaption of the 1973 German novel of the same name by Lothar-Günther Buchheim. Set during World War II, the film tells the fictional story of U-96 and its crew. It depicts both the excitement of battle and the tedium of the fruitless hunt, and shows the men serving aboard U-boats as ordinary individuals with a desire to do their best for their comrades and their country. The screenplay used an amalgamation of exploits from the real U-96, a Type VIIC-class U-boat.

Development for Das Boot began in 1979. Several American directors were considered three years earlier before the film was shelved. During the film’s production, Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, the captain of the real U-96 and one of Germany’s top U-boat “tonnage aces” during the war, and Hans-Joachim Krug, former first officer on U-219, served as consultants. One of Petersen’s goals was to guide the audience through “a journey to the edge of the mind” (the film’s German tagline Eine Reise ans Ende des Verstandes), showing “what war is all about”.

Produced with a budget of 32 million DM (about $18.5 million), the film was released on September 17, 1981 and was later released in 1997 in a director’s cut version supervised by Petersen. It grossed over $80 million ($190.2 million in 2009 prices) worldwide between its theatrical releases and received critical acclaim. Its high production cost ranks it among the most expensive films in the history of German cinema. It was the second most expensive up until that time, after Metropolis.

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A nightmare is an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong negative emotional response from the mind, typically fear or horror, but also despair, anxiety and great sadness. The dream may contain situations of danger, discomfort, psychological or physical terror. Sufferers usually awaken in a state of distress and may be unable to return to sleep for a prolonged period of time.

I started having extremely, strong and visceral ‘tornado’ dreams when I was on my first American road trip. As I recall, the very first visitation was when I was sleeping in a tent just outside Ventura, California. I could have better understood if it had occurred somewhat later in the trip when I was traveling through the likes of Texas, but as I was sleeping on a beach I guess the roar of the Pacific crashing along the shoreline created the impetus. As much as it was terrifying in presence, it was at the same time a thing of great visual beauty. It was if I were a locked-off camera about to take a snap shot of a 1930’s American family. Old grandparents, their offspring, excited grandchildren and even the family dog, gathered on the porch of their lonely, wooden farmhouse to pose for the photograph that I was about to take. As everyone beamed a smile towards me I noticed on the horizon, to the right and behind, fast-moving black clouds out of which descended three tornadoes. One by one each tornado quickly earthed, churning up the farmland as they proceeded towards this idyllic family portrait.

Needless to say, I awoke to the very loud and deep echoing sound of a large roller crashing into the shore. I was frightened but somewhat elated at having witnessed the fingers of God, albeit in a dream. To this day the visitations, sometimes lifting me with their energy and at other times scaring the absolute hell out of me, surround me with their presence of mesmerizing beauty.

“The only con…

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“The only condition of fighting for the right to create is faith in your own vocation, readiness to serve, and refusal to compromise.”

“Always with huge gratitude and pleasure I remember the films of Sergei Parajanov which I love very much. His way of thinking, his paradoxical, poetical . . . ability to love the beauty and the ability to be absolutely free within his own vision.”

“Art could be said to be a symbol of the universe, being linked with that absolute spiritual truth which is hidden from us in our positivistic, pragmatic activities.”

“For the first time in the history of the arts, in the history of culture, man found the means to take an impression of time…That is the sense in which the Lumiere brothers were the first to contain the seed of a new aesthetic principle. But immediately afterwards, cinema turned aside from art, forced down the path that was the safest from the point of view of philistine interest and profit”.

“I reject the principles of “montage cinema” because they do not allow the film to continue beyond the edges of the screen: they do not allow the audience to bring personal experience to bear on what is in front of them on-screen”

“Devoid of spirituality, art carries its own tragedy within it…..The true artist always serves immortality, striving to immortalise the world and the man within the world”.

“Art must transcend as well as observe”.

“A work becomes dated as a result of the conscious effort to be expressive and contemporary”.

“I think that one of the saddest aspects of our time is the total destruction of people’s awareness of all that goes with a conscious sense of the beautiful. Modern mass culture, aimed at the “consumer”, the civilisation of prosthetics, is crippling people’s souls, setting up barriers between man and the crucial questions of his existence, his consciousness of himself as a spiritual being.”

“The aim of art is to prepare a person for death”.

Andrie Tarkovsky (April 4, 1932 – December 29, 1986)

Battle Royale t…

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Battle Royale takes place in an alternate timeline—Japan is a member region of a totalitarian state known as the Republic of Greater East Asia. Under the guise of a “study trip”, a group of students from Shiroiwa Junior High School in the fictional town of Shiroiwa, in Kagawa Prefecture, are gassed on a bus. They awaken in the Okishima Island School on Okishima, an isolated, evacuated island southwest of Shodoshima (modeled after the island of Ogijima). They learn that they have been placed in an event called the Program. Officially a military research project, it is a means of terrorizing the population, of creating such paranoia as to make organized insurgency impossible.

The first Program was held in 1947. According to the rules, fifty third-year junior high school classes are selected (prior to 1950, forty-seven classes were selected) annually to participate in the Program for research purposes. The students from a single class are isolated and are required to fight the other members of their class to the death. The Program ends when only one student remains, with that student being declared the winner. Their movements are tracked by metal collars, which contain tracking and listening devices; if any student should attempt to escape the Program, or enter declared forbidden zones (which are randomly selected at the hours of 12 and 6, both a.m. and p.m.), a bomb will be detonated in the collar, killing the wearer. If no one dies within any 24-hour period, all collars will be detonated simultaneously and there will be no winner.

After being briefed about the Program, the students are issued survival packs that include a map, compass, food and water, and a random weapon or other item, which may be anything from a gun to a paper fan. During the briefing, two students (Fumiyo Fujiyoshi and Yoshitoki Kuninobu) anger the supervisor, Kinpatsu Sakamochi, who kills both. As the students are released onto the island, they each react differently to their predicament; beautiful delinquent Mitsuko Souma murders those who stand in her way using deception, Hiroki Sugimura attempts to find his best friend and his secret love, Kazuo Kiriyama attempts to win the game by any means necessary (stemming from his lack of ability to feel human emotion due to a brain injury sustained in a car crash while in utero) and Shinji Mimura makes an attempt to escape with his best friend Yutaka Seto.

See also, Peter Watkins film, ‘Gladiators.’ 1969.

Four Atlanta bu…

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Four Atlanta businessmen, Lewis (Burt Reynolds), Ed (Jon Voight), Bobby (Ned Beatty) and Drew (Ronny Cox), decide to canoe down a river in the remote North Georgian wilderness, expecting to have fun and see the glory of nature before the fictional Cahulawassee River valley is flooded by the construction of a dam. Lewis, an experienced outdoorsman, is the leader. Ed is also a veteran of several trips but lacks Lewis’s machismo. Bobby and Drew are novices.

The four are clearly the outsiders in this rural location. The crude locals are unimpressed by the “city boys”; it is also implied that some of the locals are inbred and educationally subnormal. While attempting to secure drivers for their vehicles (to be delivered to the takeout point), Drew briefly connects with a local banjo-playing boy by joining him in an impromptu bluegrass jam by playing Dueling Banjos. When they finish, however, the boy turns away without saying anything, refusing the effusive Drew’s handshake. The four men exhibit a slightly condescending attitude toward the locals; Bobby, in particular, is very patronizing and even derides the locals to his companions for seeming to display genetic defects.

White Tiger (Ke…

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White Tiger (Kenny), Selective Inbreeding Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and Foundation, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Photograph by Taryn Simon. ‘An American Index Of The Hidden And Unfamiliar.’

Kenny was born to a breeder in Bentonville, Arkansas on February 3,1999. As a result of inbreeding, Kenny has mental retardation and significant physical limitations. Due to his deep-set nose, he has difficulty breathing and closing his jaw, his teeth are severely malformed and he limps from abnormal bone structure in his forearms.

In the U.S., all living white tigers are the result of selective inbreeding in captivity to artificially create the genetic conditions that lead to white fur, ice-blue eyes and a pink nose. Currently, inbreeding such as father to daughter, brother to sister, mother to son has become commonplace.

Conservation experts challenge the perception that white tigers are a rare and endangered species. Instead, they state that zoos, breeders, and entertainment acts have over-bred white tigers for financial gain, citing instances where private breeders and zoos have sold “quality” white tigers for over $60,000. The grave health consequences of inbreeding and over-breeding have led to abortions, stillbirths and a high mortality rate among infants. The Species Survival Plan has condemned the practice. In recent years there has been a significant drop in their market value.

Meet KotaKoti, …

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Meet KotaKoti, also known as Dakota Rose. KotaKoti has a rather unique look: she looks like a life-sized anime character or doll, thanks to a series of makeup effects and custom contact lenses. Dakota Rose’s Model Mayhem profile lists her as a 23-year-old who’s living in San Francisco.

Dakota Rose seems to draw as much buzz from haters as from fans: lots of people call her fake (well, duh, clearly nobody really looks like that), arguing that her look is the result of Photoshop. Clearly these people have never seen a fashion shoot.

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 …

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I also know that the shock of Annabel’s death consolidated the frustration of that nightmare summer, made of it a permanent obstacle to any further romance throughout the cold years of my youth. The spiritual and the physical had been blended in us with a perfection that must remain incomprehensible to the matter-of-fact, crude, standard-brained youngsters of today. Long after her death I felt her thoughts floating through mine. Long before we met we had had the same dreams. We compared notes. We found strange affinities. The same June of the same year (1919) a stray canary had fluttered into her house and mine, in two widely separated countries. Oh, Lolita, had you loved me thus!

I have reserved for the conclusion of my “Annabel” phase the account of our unsuccessful first tryst. One night, she managed to deceive the vicious vigilance of her family. In a nervous and slender-leaved mimosa grove at the back of their villa we found a perch on the ruins of a low stone wall. Through the darkness and the tender trees we could see the arabesques of lighted windows which, touched up by the colored inks of sensitive memory, appear to me now like playing cards–presumably because a bridge game was keeping the enemy busy. She trembled and twitched as I kissed the corner of her parted lips and the hot lobe of her ear. A cluster of stars palely glowed above us, between the silhouettes of long thin leaves; that vibrant sky seemed as naked as she was under her light frock. I saw her face in the sky, strangely distinct, as if it emitted a faint radiance of its own. Her legs, her lovely live legs, were not too close together, and when my hand located what it sought, a dreamy and eerie expression, half-pleasure, half-pain, came over those childish features. She sat a little higher than I, and whenever in her solitary ecstasy she was led to kiss me, her head would bend with a sleepy, soft, drooping movement that was almost woeful, and her bare knees caught and compressed my wrist, and slackened again; and her quivering mouth, distorted by the acridity of some mysterious potion, with a sibilant intake of breath came near to my face. She would try to relieve the pain of love by first roughly rubbing her dry lips against mine; then my darling would draw away with a nervous toss of her hair, and then again come darkly near and let me feed on her open mouth, while with a generosity that was ready to offer her everything, my heart, my throat, my entrails, I gave her to hold in her awkward fist the scepter of my passion.

 Opening from …

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Opening from J.G.Ballards 1977 short story, ‘The Intensive Care Unit’.

Within a few minutes the next attack will begin. Now that I am surrounded for the first time by all the members of my family it seems only fitting that a complete record should be made of this unique event. As I lie here – barely able to breathe, my mouth filled with blood and every tremor of my hands reflected in the attentive eye of the camera six feet away – I realize that there are many who will think my choice of subject a curious one. In all senses, this film will be the ultimate homemovie, and I only hope that whoever watches it will gain some idea of the immense affection I feel for my wife, and for my son and daughter, and of the affection that they, in their unique way, feel for me.

It is now half an hour since the explosion, and everything in this once elegant sitting room is silent. I am lying on the floor by the settee, looking at the camera mounted safely out of reach on the ceiling above my head. In this uneasy stillness, broken only by my wife’s faint breathing and the irregular movement of my son across the carpet, I can see that almost everything I have assembled so lovingly during the past years has been destroyed. My Svres lies in a thousand fragments in the fireplace, the Hokusai scrolls are punctured in a dozen places. Yet despite the extensive damage this is still recognizably the scene of a family reunion, though of a rather special kind.

Continue the rest of this warning about a future where everyone lives in isolation and only communicate through cameras.

 A conspiracy …

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A conspiracy theory explains an event as being the result of an alleged plot by a covert group or organization or, more broadly, the idea that important political, social or economic events are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.

  LEON. THE PROFESSIONAL. 
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                               MATHILDA
               Who'll I aim at?

                               LEON
               Whoever.

     Leon pulled out binoculars. Mathilda looks for a victim by 
     telescope. She passes over playing kids.

                               MATHILDA
               No women... No kids....

     Leon smiles: she learnt the lesson.

                               LEON
               Begin from a steady target. It's easier.

     She stops on a man who's reading a newspaper.  The man wears 
     a suit, Herald Tribune, fat.

                               MATHILDA
               The fat man down there, on the bench.

                               LEON
               Perfect.

     Mathilda aims at the fat man. One of bench's boards explodes. 
     The fat man turns his head. He doesn't understand what 
     happened and resumes reading.

                               LEON
               Try again. The same.

     Second shot. The bench explodes on the opposite side.  The 
     man is still curious but doesn't understand.

                               LEON(at binoculars)
               Too much to the left.

     Mathilda concentrates again and shoots: nothing happens.  
     Mathilda wonders whether she missed again and prepares for a 
     new shot.

                               LEON
               Wait...

     The fat man softly leans down on his side.

                               LEON
               Bull's-eye.

     Mathilda is happy but, evidently, she expected death to be 
     more spectacular.

Social Realism also known as Socio-Realism, is an artistic movement, expressed in the visual and other realist arts, which depicts social and racial injustice, economic hardship, through unvarnished pictures of life’s struggles; often depicting working class activities as heroic.

The film is par…

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The film is particularly well known for a single tracking shot that lasts for over 8 minutes. The shot follows a car slowly moving through a traffic jam. After eight minutes, the cause is discovered: a family has been in a car accident and their bodies lie across the road. It is a stark contrast to the beeping horns and frustrated drivers waiting to get by.

As Black Elk, H…

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As Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux pointed out in his famous quote (see post below), the natural order of the universe is based on a circle. Why then is our civilization being sucked into the vortex of the digital age? It seems very clear that the digital world is completely alien to everything the rest of the universe stands for.

I used to blow-up my 35mm film stills and study the grain structure. Beautiful mappings of colour and detail all made up of circles.

If you were to blow up a digital photograph you end up with pixels/squares, as with the rim of a bird’s nest above.

I often wonder if the many thousands of images we see these days, whether they are on computer or TV screens, are in some way destroying our natural eyesight (eyes being round of course).

Or is the digital age slowly eating away at the very soul of humanity itself?

Chunosuke Matsu…

Chunosuke Matsuyama

In 1784, Chunosuke Matsuyama, a Japanese seaman and 43 of his companions began a voyage to find buried treasure on a Pacific island. During the voyage, a storm blew the group’s ship onto a coral reef and forced the sailors to seek refuge on a nearby island. However, the crew was unable to find fresh water or sufficient food on the island. With a limited food supply, consisting mostly of crabs and coconuts, the sailors began to die from dehydration and starvation. Before his own death, Matsuyama carved a message telling the story of his group’s shipwreck into thin pieces of wood from a coconut tree, which he inserted into a bottle and threw into the ocean. Approximately 151 years later, in 1935, a Japanese seaweed collector found the bottle. The bottle had washed ashore in the village of Hiraturemura, where Matsuyama was born.

http://youtu.be…

A Matter of Life and Death (1946) is a romantic fantasy film set in World War II by the British writer-director-producer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It was originally released in U.S. under the title Stairway to Heaven, which derived from the film’s most prominent special effect: a broad escalator linking the Other World and Earth. Reversing the effect in The Wizard of Oz, the supernatural scenes are in “Technicolor mono-chrome” (a special process developed jointly by Director of Photography Jack Cardiff and Technicolor London), while the natural scenes on Earth are in Technicolor. Photographic dissolves between “Technicolor mono-chrome” (the Other World) and Three-Strip Technicolor (Earth) are used several times during the film.

In 2004, A Matter of Life and Death was named the second greatest British film ever made by the magazine Total Film in a poll of 25 film critics, behind Get Carter.

After he ascend…

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After he ascended the throne of Crete, Minos competed with his brothers to rule. Minos prayed to Poseidon to send him a snow-white bull, as a sign of support. He was to kill the bull to show honor to Poseidon but decided to keep it instead because of its beauty. He thought Poseidon would not care if he kept the white bull and sacrificed one of his own. To punish Minos, Aphrodite made Pasiphaë, Minos’ wife, fall deeply in love with the bull from the sea, the Cretan Bull.[6] Pasiphaë had the archetypal craftsman Daedalus make a hollow wooden cow, and climbed inside it in order to copulate with the white bull. The offspring of their coupling was the monstrous Minotaur. Pasiphaë nursed him in his infancy, but he grew and became ferocious; being the unnatural offspring of man and beast, he had no natural source of nourishment and thus devoured man for sustenance. Minos, after getting advice from the oracle at Delphi, had Daedalus construct a gigantic labyrinth to hold the Minotaur. Its location was near Minos’ palace in Knossos.

The story centr…

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The story centres on Charles Marlow, who narrates most of the book. He is an Englishman who takes a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a river-boat captain in Africa. Heart of Darkness exposes the dark side of European colonization while exploring the three levels of darkness that the protagonist, Marlow, encounters: the darkness of the Congo wilderness, the darkness of the Europeans’ cruel treatment of the African natives, and the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil. Although Conrad does not give the name of the river, at the time of writing the Congo Free State, the location of the large and important Congo River, was a private colony of Belgium’s King Leopold II. In the story, Marlow is employed to transport ivory downriver. However, his more pressing assignment is to return Kurtz, another ivory trader, to civilization, in a cover-up. Kurtz has a reputation throughout the region.

This symbolic story is a story within a story or frame narrative. It follows Marlow as he recounts his Congolese adventure to a group of men aboard a ship anchored in the Thames Estuary from dusk through to late night. The passage of time and the darkening sky during Marlow’s narrative parallels the atmosphere of the events he narrates.

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“It’s about the idea of entitlement; (how) through the ages we enforce our feelings of entitlement in whatever way that age will allow — from Leopold II owning the Congo as a private possession to the corporations involved with blood diamonds. The effects of entitlement have not so much gone out of fashion as out of sight.”

“Heart of Darkness is the most important book in the last 100-plus years not because it’s the best, but because it anticipated how 20th century leaders with visions of bringing light and creating new models for humans beings – Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot, Mao – all ended up,” he said. “When disappointed by the response of the very groups they wanted to save or help or transform, they, like Kurtz, wish to (and actually do, of course) ‘exterminate all the brutes!'”

"Ladies and Gentlemen"

THE ELEPHANT MA…

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THE ELEPHANT MAN

A film by David Lynch

Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), a surgeon at the London Hospital, discovers John Merrick (John Hurt) in a Victorian freak show in London’s East End, where he is managed by the brutish Bytes (Freddie Jones). Merrick is so deformed that he must wear a hood and cap when in public, and Bytes claims he is an imbecile. Treves is professionally intrigued by Merrick’s condition and pays Bytes to bring him to the Hospital so that he can examine him. There, Treves presents Merrick to his colleagues in a lecture theatre, displaying him as a physiological curiosity. Treves draws attention to Merrick’s most life-threatening deformity, his oversized skull, which compels him to sleep with his head resting upon his knees, as the weight of his skull would asphyxiate him if he were to ever lie down. On Merrick’s return, Bytes beats him so severely that a sympathetic apprentice (Dexter Fletcher) alerts Treves, who returns him to the hospital. Bytes accuses Treves of likewise exploiting Merrick for his own ends, leading the surgeon to resolve to do what he can to help the unfortunate man.

The phoenix, or…

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The phoenix, or phenix (Greek: Φοίνιξ Greek pronunciation: [ˈfiniks], Persian: ققنوس, Arabic: العنقاء أو طائر الفينيق, Chinese: 鳳凰 or 不死鳥, Hebrew: פניקס), is a mythical sacred firebird that can be found in the mythologies of the Arabian, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, Indians and (according to Sanchuniathon) Phoenicians.

A phoenix is a mythical bird with a colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet (or purple, blue, and green according to some legends[which?]). It has a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again. The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self. In some stories, the new phoenix embalms the ashes of its old self in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis (literally “sun-city” in Greek). It is said that the bird’s cry is that of a beautiful song. The Phoenix’s ability to be reborn from its own ashes implies that it is immortal, though in some stories the new Phoenix is merely the offspring of the older one. In very few stories they are able to change into people.

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The Fénix caps…

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The Fénix capsules were designed by the Chilean Navy, in collaboration with the United States space agency NASA. They have a diameter of 54 centimetres (21 in), and have eight wheels located on the top and the bottom, with a damping system for mobility in the pipeline. The Fénix capsules have a harness to hold the occupant, an oxygen supply, and a microphone with speakers, which were used to connect the miners with the rescuers at the surface during the rescue.

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Officially, three prototypes of the capsule were created. The Fénix 1 had a larger diameter than the other two capsules and was used in tests in the shaft created by the T-130 drill, where it descended to a depth of 610 metres (2,000 ft).[2] Fénix 2 was operated with an Austrian pulley system and was used throughout the rescue of the miners. Fénix 3 was held in reserve and not used. 2010 Copiapó mining accident.

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They eventually…

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They eventually encounter a subterranean ocean, which they name the Saknussem Ocean, and make a raft from the stems of giant mushrooms to cross it. Somewhere in the middle of the ocean, they pass through the center of the earth and their raft begins circling in a mid-ocean whirlpool. The professor deduces that must be the center of the earth, because the magnetic forces from north and south meeting there are strong enough to snatch away even gold in the form of wedding rings and tooth fillings. They somehow manage to cross the ocean, and, completely exhausted, reach the shore on the other side.

Despite the dangers of their journey, no one has died, but that soon changes. Gertrude, the duck, loses her life to Saknussem, who can’t control his hunger and eats her. Soon after a mild earthquake occurs; Saknussem is buried under a shower of heavy stones, but right behind the collapse the rest of the group comes upon the sunken city of Atlantis. They are now faced with one ominous question: How will they return to the surface?

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Solaris chronic…

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Solaris chronicles the ultimate futility of attempted communications with the extraterrestrial life on a far-distant planet. Solaris, with whom Terran scientists are attempting communication, is almost completely covered with an ocean that is revealed to be a single, planet-encompassing organism. What appear to be waves on its surface are later revealed to be the equivalents of muscle contractions.

Kris Kelvin arrives aboard the scientific research station hovering (via anti-gravity generators) near the oceanic surface of the planet Solaris. The scientists there have studied the planet and its ocean for many decades, a scientific discipline known as Solaristics, which over the years has degenerated to simply observe, record and categorize the complex phenomena that occur upon the surface of the ocean. Thus far, they have only achieved the formal classification of the phenomena with an elaborate nomenclature — yet do not understand what such activities really mean in a strictly scientific sense. Shortly before psychologist Kelvin’s arrival, the crew has exposed the ocean to a more aggressive and unauthorized experimentation with a high-energy X-ray bombardment. Their experimentation gives unexpected results and becomes psychologically traumatic for them as individually flawed humans.

The ocean’s response to their aggression exposes the deeper, hidden aspects of the personalities of the human scientists — whilst revealing nothing of the ocean’s nature itself. To the extent that the ocean’s actions can be understood, the ocean then seems to test the minds of the scientists by confronting them with their most painful and repressed thoughts and memories. It does this via the materialization of physical human simulacra; Kelvin confronts memories of his dead lover and guilt about her suicide. The torments of the other researchers are only alluded to but seem even worse than Kelvin’s personal purgatory.

The ocean’s intelligence expresses physical phenomena in ways difficult for their limited earth science to explain, deeply upsetting the scientists. The alien (extraterrestrial) mind of Solaris is so greatly different from the human mind of (objective) consciousness that attempts at inter-species communications are a dismal failure.

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Crash is a nove…

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Crash is a novel by English author J. G. Ballard, first published in 1973. It is a story about symphorophilia or car-crash sexual fetishism: its protagonists become sexually aroused by staging and participating in real car-crashes.

It was a highly controversial novel: famously one publisher’s reader returned the verdict “This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do Not Publish!”[1] The novel was made into a movie of the same name in 1996 by David Cronenberg. An earlier, apparently unauthorized adaptation called Nightmare Angel was filmed in 1986 by Susan Emerling and Zoe Beloff. This short film bears the credit “Inspired by J.G. Ballard.”[2]

The story is told through the eyes of narrator James Ballard, named after the author himself, but it centers on the sinister figure of Dr. Robert Vaughan, a “former TV-scientist, turned nightmare angel of the expressways”. Ballard meets Vaughan after being involved in a car accident himself near London Airport. Gathering around Vaughan is a group of alienated people, all of them former crash-victims, who follow him in his pursuit to re-enact the crashes of celebrities, and experience what the narrator calls “a new sexuality, born from a perverse technology”. Vaughan’s ultimate fantasy is to die in a head-on collision with movie star Elizabeth Taylor.

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The Who are an …

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The Who are an English rock band formed in 1964 by Roger Daltrey (lead vocals, harmonica and guitar), Pete Townshend (guitar, keyboards and vocals), John Entwistle (bass guitar, brass and vocals) and Keith Moon (drums and percussion). They became known for energetic live performances which often included instrument destruction.[2][3] The Who have sold about 100 million records,[4] and have charted 27 top forty singles in the United Kingdom and United States, as well as 17 top ten albums, with 18 Gold, 12 Platinum and 5 Multi-Platinum album awards in the United States alone.[5]

The Who rose to fame in the UK with a series of top ten hit singles, boosted in part by pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline, beginning in January 1965 with “I Can’t Explain“. The albums My Generation (1965), A Quick One (1966) and The Who Sell Out (1967) followed, with the first two reaching the UK top five. They first hit the US Top 40 in 1967 with “Happy Jack” and hit the top ten later that year with “I Can See for Miles“. Their fame grew with memorable performances at the Monterey Pop,[6] Woodstock[7] and Isle of Wight music festivals. The 1969 release of Tommy was the first in a series of top ten albums in the US, followed by Live at Leeds (1970), Who’s Next (1971), Quadrophenia (1973), The Who by Numbers (1975), Who Are You (1978) and The Kids Are Alright (1979).

Moon died at the age of 32 in 1978, after which the band released two studio albums, the UK and US top five Face Dances (1981) and the US top ten It’s Hard (1982), with drummer Kenney Jones, before disbanding in 1983. They re-formed at events such as Live Aid and for reunion tours such as their 25th anniversary tour (1989) and the Quadrophenia tours of 1996 and 1997. In 2000, the three surviving original members discussed recording an album of new material, but their plans temporarily stalled upon Entwistle’s death at the age of 57 in 2002. Townshend and Daltrey continue to perform as The Who, and in 2006 they released the studio album Endless Wire, which reached the top ten in the UK and US.

The Who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, their first year of eligibility;[7][8] the display describes them as “Prime contenders, in the minds of many, for the title of World’s Greatest Rock Band.”[9] Time magazine wrote in 1979 that “No other group has ever pushed rock so far, or asked so much from it.”[10] Rolling Stone magazine wrote: “Along with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, The Who complete the holy trinity of British rock.”[11] They received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1988, and from the Grammy Foundation in 2001, for creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.[12][13] In 2008 surviving members Townshend and Daltrey were honoured at the 31st Annual Kennedy Center Honors.[14] That same year VH1 Rock Honors paid tribute to The Who[15] where Jack Black of Tenacious D called them “the greatest band of all time.”[16]

Sculpting In Ti…

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Sculpting In Time (Russian “Запечатлённое время”, literally “Depicted Time”) is a book by Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky about art and cinema in general, and his own films in particular. It was originally published in 1986 in German shortly before the author’s death, and published in English in 1987, translated by Kitty Hunter-Blair. The title refers to Tarkovsky’s own name for his style of filmmaking.

The book’s main statement about the nature of cinema is summarized in the statement, “The dominant, all-powerful factor of the film image is rhythm, expressing the course of time within the frame.” Tarkovsky describes his own distaste for the growing popularity of rapid-cut editing and other devices that he believes to be contrary to the true artistic nature of the cinema.

The book contains a great deal of poems by the filmmaker’s father Arseny Alexandrovich Tarkovsky along with a fair amount of Tarkovsky’s personal writings on his life and work, lectures and discussions during making of Andrei Rublyov with a film history student named Olga Surkova, who later became a professional critic and helped in writing of this book. The book has commentary on each of his 7 major feature films, and his complex relationship with the Soviet Union. The final chapter, a discussion of his film The Sacrifice, was dictated in the last weeks of his life.

At the opening …

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At the opening of the book, the narrator, an everyman named John (a.k.a. Jonah), describes a time when he was planning to write a book about what important Americans did on the day Hiroshima was bombed. While researching this topic, John becomes involved with the children of Felix Hoenikker, a fictional Nobel laureate physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb. John travels to Ilium, New York, to interview the Hoenikker children and others for his book. In Ilium John meets, among others, Dr. Asa Breed, who was the supervisor “on paper” of Felix Hoenikker. As the novel progresses, John learns of a substance called ice-nine, created by the late Hoenikker and now secretly in the possession of his children. Ice-nine is an alternative structure of water that is solid at room temperature. When a crystal of ice-nine contacts liquid water, it becomes a seed crystal that makes the molecules of liquid water arrange themselves into the solid form, ice-nine.

John and the Hoenikker children eventually end up on the fictional Caribbean island of San Lorenzo, one of the poorest countries on Earth, where the people speak a barely comprehensible creole of English (for example “twinkle, twinkle, little star” is rendered “Tsvent-kiul, tsvent-kiul, lett-pool store”). It is ruled by the fictional dictator, “Papa” Monzano, who threatens all opposition with impalement on a giant hook.

San Lorenzo has an unusual culture and history, which John learns about while studying a guidebook lent to him by the newly-appointed US ambassador to the country. He learns about an influential religious movement in San Lorenzo, called Bokononism, a strange, postmodern faith that combines irreverent, nihilistic, and cynical observations about life and God’s will with odd, but peaceful rituals (for instance, the supreme act of worship is an intimate act consisting of prolonged physical contact between the bare soles of the feet of two persons, supposed to result in peace and joy between the two communicants). Though everyone on the island seems to know much about Bokononism and its founder, Bokonon, the present government calls itself Christian and those caught practising Bokononism are punished with death by the giant “hook.”

As the story progresses, it becomes clear that San Lorenzon society is more bizarre and cryptic than originally revealed. In observing the interconnected lives of some of the island’s most influential residents, John learns that Bokonon himself was at one point a de facto ruler of the island, along with a US Marine deserter. The two men created Bokononism as part of a utopian project to control the population. The ban was an attempt to give the religion a sense of forbidden glamour, and it is found that almost all of the residents of San Lorenzo, including the dictator, practice the faith, and executions are rare.

When John and the other travelers arrive on the island, they are greeted by President “Papa” Monzano and around five-thousand San Lorenzans. It becomes clear that “Papa” Monzano is extremely ill, and he intends to name Franklin Hoenikker his successor. Franklin, uncomfortable with this arrangement, abruptly hands the presidency to John, who grudgingly accepts.

The dictator later uses ice-nine to commit suicide rather than succumb to his inoperable cancer. Consistent with the properties of ice-nine, the dictator’s corpse instantly turns into solid ice at room temperature.

During John’s inauguration festivities, in which the American ambassador to San Lorenzo was going to speak, San Lorenzo’s small air force was supposed to present a brief air show. One of the airplanes crashes into the dictator’s seaside palace and causes his still-frozen body to tumble into the ocean, and all the water in the world’s seas, rivers, and groundwater turns into ice-nine, killing almost all life in a few days.

John manages to escape with his wife, a native San Lorenzan named Mona. They later discover a mass grave where all the surviving San Lorenzans had killed themselves with ice-nine, on the facetious advice of Bokonon. Displaying a mix of grief and resigned amusement, Mona kills herself as well. John takes refuge with a few other survivors (an American couple he had met on the plane to San Lorenzo and Felix Hoenikker’s two sons), and lives in a cave for several months, during which time he writes a memoir revealed to be the novel itself. The book ends by his meeting a weary Bokonon, who is contemplating what the last words of The Books of Bokonon should be. John receives inspiration from these words and the reader realizes he is planning to place his own book—a “history of human stupidity”—on Mt. McCabe (the highest point on the island) as a “magnificent symbol” and then die.

Banksy is a pse…

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Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter.

His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine irreverent dark humour with graffiti done in a distinctive stencilling technique. Such artistic works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.[1]

Banksy’s work was born out of the Bristol underground scene which involved collaborations between artists and musicians.[2] According to author and graphic designer Tristan Manco and the book Home Sweet Home, Banksy “was born in 1974 and raised in Bristol, England.[3] The son of a photocopier technician, he trained as a butcher but became involved in graffiti during the great Bristol aerosol boom of the late 1980s.”[4] Observers have noted that his style is similar to Blek le Rat, who began to work with stencils in 1981 in Paris, and members of the anarcho-punk band Crass, which maintained a graffiti stencil campaign on the London Tube System in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[5][6][7] However Banksy himself stated on his website[8] that in all actuality he based his work on that of 3D from Massive Attack, stating, “No, I copied 3D from Massive Attack. He can actually draw.”

Known for his contempt for the government in labelling graffiti as vandalism, Banksy displays his art on public surfaces such as walls and even going as far as to build physical prop pieces. Banksy does not sell photos of street graffiti directly himself;[9][10] however, art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the winning bidder.[11] Banksy’s first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, billed as “the world’s first street art disaster movie,” made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.[12] The film was released in the UK on 5 March 2010.[13] In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary for the film.

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The Voyager 2 spacecraft is a 722-kilogram (1,592 lb) space probe launched by NASA on August 20, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space. Operating for 34 years, 8 months and 5 days as of today (25 April 2012), the spacecraft receives routine commands and transmits data back to the Deep Space Network.

Part of the Voyager program with its identical sister craft Voyager 1, the spacecraft is currently in extended mission, tasked with locating and studying the boundaries of the Solar System, including the Kuiper belt, the heliosphere and interstellar space. The primary mission ended December 31, 1989 after encountering the Jovian system in 1979, Saturnian system in 1980, Uranian system in 1986, and the Neptunian system in 1989. It was the first probe to provide detailed images of the outer gas giants.

Each Voyager space probe carries a gold-plated audio-visual disc in the event that either spacecraft is ever found by intelligent life-forms from other planetary systems. The discs carry photos of the Earth and its lifeforms, a range of scientific information, spoken greetings from the people (e.g. the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the United States, and the children of the Planet Earth) and a medley, “Sounds of Earth”, that includes the sounds of whales, a baby crying, waves breaking on a shore, and a variety of music.

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The Voyager spacecraft are not heading towards any particular star, but Voyager 1 will be within 1.6 light years of the star AC+79 3888 in the Ophiuchus constellation in about 40,000 years.[1]

As the probes are extremely small compared to the vastness of interstellar space, the probability of a space-faring civilization encountering them is very small, especially since the probes will eventually stop emitting any kind of electromagnetic radiation. If they are ever found by an alien species, it will most likely be far in the future as the nearest star on Voyager 1’s trajectory will only be reached in 40,000 years.

Carl Sagan noted that “The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this ‘bottle‘ into the cosmic ‘ocean’ says something very hopeful about life on this planet.”[2] Thus the record is best seen as a time capsule or a symbolic statement rather than a serious attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life.

 

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Having fled from his home in New Mexico after being jailed for a theft he may not have committed, Billy became a ranch hand and sheepherder in Arizona. In 1877, he was hired on as a teamster at the Camp Grant Army Post, where he attracted the enmity of a burly civilian blacksmith named Frank “Windy” Cahill. Perhaps because Billy was well liked by others in the camp, Cahill enjoyed demeaning the scrawny youngster.

On this day, 17 August in 1877, Cahill apparently went too far when he called Billy a “pimp.” Billy responded by calling Cahill a “son of a bitch,” and the big blacksmith jumped him and easily threw him to the ground. Pinned to the floor by the stronger man, Billy apparently panicked. He pulled his pistol and shot Cahill, who died the next day.

Excerpt: Introduction to ‘The Omega Suites’.

…we are present at the moment before or after the body twitches it’s last spasm and not when the death rattle is heard. However, once we cease to be seduced by the beauty of the designed formal space, the civilized moral consciousness asserts itself to challenge privileging the esthetic reaction. Slowly, as we begin to understand what we are looking at, we must question whether the unseen action is any less brutal and barbaric because we perceive its instruments with out witnessing it actually taking place.

Some great moral works of art, such as Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist drama Les mains sales, André Cayatte’s film Nous sommes tous des assassins or Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., in which viewers cannot read the list of the war dead without seeing their own faces mirrored among the names of casualties, are based on forcing our acknowledgment of participation in human tragedy.

Extract. ‘The Time Machine.’ H.G. Wells. (1895)

‘It is simply this. That Space, as our mathematicians have it, is spoken of as having three dimensions, which one may call Length, Breadth, and Thickness, and is always definable by reference to three planes, each at right angles to the others. But some philosophical people have been asking why three dimensions particularly – why not another direction at right angles to the other three? – and have even tried to construct a Four-Dimension geometry. Professor Simon Newcomb was expounding this to the New York Mathematical Society only a month or so ago. You know how on a flat surface, which has only two dimensions, we can represent a figure of a three-dimensional solid, and similarly they think that by models of thee dimensions they could represent one of four – if they could master the perspective of the thing. See?’

‘I think so,’ murmured the Provincial Mayor; and, knitting his brows, he lapsed into an introspective state, his lips moving as one who repeats mystic words. ‘Yes, I think I see it now,’ he said after some time, brightening in a quite transitory manner.

‘Well, I do not mind telling you I have been at work upon this geometry of Four Dimensions for some time. Some of my results are curious. For instance, here is a portrait of a man at eight years old, another at fifteen, another at seventeen, another at twenty-three, and so on. All these are evidently sections, as it were, Three-Dimensional representations of his Four-Dimensioned being, which is a fixed and unalterable thing.’

‘Scientific people,’ proceeded the Time Traveller, after the pause required for the proper assimilation of this, ‘know very well that Time is only a kind of Space. Here is a popular scientific diagram, a weather record. This line I trace with my finger shows the movement of the barometer. Yesterday it was so high, yesterday night it fell, then this morning it rose again, and so gently upward to here. Surely the mercury did not trace this line in any of the dimensions of Space generally recognized? But certainly it traced such a line, and that line, therefore, we must conclude was along the Time-Dimension.’

THE MACHINE STOPS by E.M. FORSTER

Anybody who uses the Internet should read E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops. It is a chilling, short story masterpiece about the role of technology in our lives. Written in 1909, it’s as relevant today as the day it was published. Forster has several prescient notions including instant messages (email!) and cinematophoes (machines that project visual images).

THE CONCENTRATION CITY by J.G.BALLARD

“The Concentration City” is set in a “city” encompassing everything in known existence to its inhabitants. The districts comprises endless streets and buildings and seemingly infinitely high and low levels, or floors, with few trees and little wildlife. Cubic space is in shortage and expensive; high speed transportation is in use, but it is implied that many people do not find the need to leave their particular area. The people do not know what lies beyond the endless urban expansion, but seem to care little, and generally assume that there are just endless levels and districts that have existed forever.

The short story follows a physics student named Franz, who devotes his time to the concept of “free space” – the idea that somewhere, there must be just infinite amounts of space, a concept labelled as nonsensical by most of the other city’s inhabitants. He also wishes to develop a machine for flight – a relatively unknown theory due to the complete lack of partially open spaces.

Eventually, Franz decides to travel on one of the high-speed rail coaches for as long as possible in one direction in order to discover what lies beyond the urban zoning and trying to find free space. The story ends when Franz after ten days of travelling realises that the coach is travelling back in the opposite direction. When he is finally stopped by the authorities, he notices the date of a calendar is unchanged from when he set forth travelling. Franz discovers that if one keeps travelling forward, one finally ends back in the same place at the same time.