in media res

Eat the eye, then lick the finger by aristea F

Two signs of immense stupidity for today, one is the “world’s largest eye” and the other is the “finger lickin’ campaign”.

The later is apparently coming back, not that I noticed the first time, but this time I just could not ignore the huge poster ads on bus stops. while cycling by. That is from Falmer to Brighton and you can see there the impression of a chicken leg in a bloody backround. KFC, who did the ad, has a history of unethical treatment of animals and of cruelty when the Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign launched some years ago, with Pamela Anderson as their animal rights activist and some lettuce over her bosom. I have difficulty in grasping the meaning of ethical in farming little birds who are captured and can’t fly, fed to death and then slaughtered and dismembered, their limbs sunk into pulp and fried. I really can’t locate where the ‘ethical’ could be placed in this chain of events, cause it seems to me that the problem in this process is not if the bird was happy during its life but the fact that you murder it.

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Face Recognition Systems by meandomedar

I am already wondering what this is going to look like when I fly home for a couple of weeks and aim to write more about this in a short while.

I will also skim the German news to see what their next measures towards a safer nation are.

Sleep well.

Shine a Light by meandomedar
April 24, 2008, 6:32 pm
Filed under: anne, cinema, film, music | Tags: , ,

Lately, the Rolling Stones are reviving their (hi)story the grand way – right there on the cinema screen, supported by Martin Scorsese, director of films like The Departed or – perhaps most famously – Goodfellas. Intrigued by seeing the story of such an epic rock group depicted through the eyes and ears of Scorsese, I went along to watch one and a half hours of the New York concert of the Stones, called “Shine a Light”.

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The Minotaur by giantinsect
April 22, 2008, 4:26 pm
Filed under: music, Patrick


On Monday night Anne and I went to the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden to see Harrison Birtwistle’s new opera The Minotaur.

I greatly enjoyed it and Anne told me she did too. We were in the amphitheatre in the Royal Opera House and this was very high up, enough to give me a touch of vertigo, however I got used to it. I will go and see the production again when it next runs, which I’m sure it will, but then I will get a more expensive seat lower down in the balcony.

I don’t know the music at all for The Minotaur. Over the last year I have been listening to Birtwistle a lot, I have CDs of Punch and Judy and Theseus Game.

The music in The Minotaur has many very beautiful moments. There’s a lot of underlying dark mood stuff in the bass. Birtwistle constructs some marvellous things in his music. I’m looking forward to the CD when it comes out so that I can listen to it again.

The opera has a great deal of content. There’s lots there to think about methinks. It explores the darkest realms of human emotions.

As you probably have guessed despite all his goring the Minotaur (John Tomlinson) becomes quite a sympathetic character. His operatic howls are not so much of rage than of pain for his predicament. For me the Minotaur was reminiscent of the Elephant Man played by John Hurt in the film of that name. I felt sorry for the Minotaur and quite liked the idea of taking him home and adopting him as a pet. The Greek myth itself was always a bit undermined for me by the fact that bulls are vegetarians, however it is best to put such literal thoughts to one side and go with poetic licence.

The Minotaur has the power of speech in his dreams. I think it’s very clever really, the idea of being sentient only in dreams, but a beast when awake. The Minotaur also develops the power of speech at his point of death. This brings a new twist to the cliché of the opera character who, having been killed continues to sing away for twenty minutes or so. The Minotaur does this but as it is his first opportunity to speak outside of the dream state we happily give him licence to sing away.

The libretto (David Harsent) is a joy to hear and read. There are sur-titles and being in the amphitheatre I was staring right at them all night. I think that if the production goes to the US then some of the quality of the libretto won’t be understood as it does play very subtly on some quite specifically UK English usage. Many common expressions come up but they are given new depth and meaning. There are many very clever phrases and reconstructions of the way we say things, but now quite changed.

The set is minimalist but changes radically from one scene to another with just a bit of re-arrangement of the objects on stage, or at least it seems that way. There is highly imaginative use of lighting creating some very striking new environments for the action.

The opera contains many notable moments and scenes. Ariadne (Christine Rice) acts out her mother, Pasiphae giving birth to the Minotaur. There is almost nothing visual for this scene, Christine Rice simply sings and acts it out, the music and the libretto and her performance together are a hugely powerful combination. I think it is one of the most wholly monstrous things I’ve witnessed in any stage or film performance and yet it was achieved with apparently so little.

Another astonishing scene is when Ariadne visits the oracle. This is visually stunning. It does work but they took a massive risk because if it hadn’t worked it would have been fantastically camp. However at the point we come to this in the story we are totally spell-bound so we ‘go with’ this marvellous other-worldly experience.

Despite being relatively short, at a bit over two hours, the opera has left a very strong impression on me and I find myself frequently revisiting it in my imagination.

TERM PAPER SHOW AND TELL v. 3.0 by morva
April 21, 2008, 9:53 pm
Filed under: paolo | Tags: ,

The Luther Blissett Project: a viral attack on the modern infosphere. If someone accesses Wikipedia, the ambitious project of the open-source encyclopaedia in Internet, searching for the name Luther Blissett, he or she will find out a curious ambiguity that surrounds this name. Indeed, he or she will find two entries: the first one is about Luther Blissett, the English football player of Afro-Caribbean origins, who was active during the ‘80s. The second one is about a collective or multiple-use name (nom de plum) shared by hundreds of artists and social activists all over Europe and South America since Summer of 1994. From this date to 1999, the so called Luther Blissett Project became an extremely popular and noteworthy phenomenon in Italy, catching the attention of great part of printed and digital media, and causing cultural debates within intellectual and popular spheres. Despite the Italian project reached an end in 1999, Luther Blissett was active also in other countries, especially in Spain and Germany, and its name is still used nowadays for actions of social protest or forms of artistic expression.[1] Continue reading

term paper show and tell II by aristea F

Apropos Sam’s notion, here is my culture, experience and history paper

‘Squatting is more than just living’: Squatted Spaces of the UK Movement and, hopefully, others will follow. This paper is an approach to cultural history methods which, at least as far as I understood it in the short period I had the course, uses diverse sources of evidence, sources that may seem un-scientific since it formulates obscure research questions and is clearly interdisciplinary.

The tyranny of stereotypes by aristea F
April 5, 2008, 4:29 pm
Filed under: aristea, media everyday media | Tags: , , ,

There are two small girls in the park that my window faces, they are there every Saturday and they wear pink. Sometimes they are dressed alike, though not twins, but always with huge amounts of pink texture all over them. They play like crazy, they fall down, up and down the stairs, chasing the birds, they are fun to watch but the pink is disturbing. In the Guardian Family issue last Saturday(29.03.08), the front page says:’ Do you have a girl? Then read this’. I don’t have a girl(right now) but went on to read the article mostly as a media student. I was expecting something about how more clever girls are to boys and how they are over-achievers at school and some biology or genetics propaganda behind it. But not even close, not even that. ‘The tyranny of pink’ it was called, by Eleanor Bailey and its targeted to parents of little girls, whose world, apparently has inescapably turned pink.

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