Name: Brooke Morton

Concept: Death

Region: Paris, France

Sub-Concepts: Numbness, Artistry, Emotion


Description: The Rite of Spring is a Ballet composed by Igvor Stravinsky and chorographed by Vaslav Nijinsky. Together they created a show for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company, that focuses the plot on a girl who is selected to be a sacrifice and “dances herself to death”. The first performance was in Paris, France in 1913. The Rite of Spring reportedly evoked cat calls from the audience within the first few steps, and later manipulated the audience into a near riot. The ballet continued on for about 6 more performances. The original score and choreography was thought to be lost. However, the Joffrey Ballet of Los Angeles, California was able to track down the puzzle pieces. In the 1980s, Joffrey Ballet performed a seemingly identical show. There were no reported riots and the show was televised on PBS.

Interpretation: Backtracking through the above description, one may think that the lack of episodic reactions to The Rite of Spring in the modern world would be considered a positive outcome, a show of maturity through years, if you will. The modern audience was exposed to the same violence as the audience in 1913, so why did it not evoke the same reactions and the same emotions? Art is made to make people feel and to introduce a world of thought what was never before possible. It taps into our emotions and stimulates the senses. But the modern generations are becoming numb; numb to actions, numb to feelings, numb to violence. A girl is sacrificed in The Rite of Spring and the show was televised while knowing what the art provoked in prior viewers. There is confidence in thrusting death, or any type of violence into the eyes and minds of anyone who will see or hear of it. Yet, it is never expected that anything will come from it. Not a replication, or an uprising, nothing more than a post on social media only to be brushed to the side. Violence is exposed often so it becomes insignificant. More importantly, it becomes a form of entertainment or sometimes ridicule. We are living in a world where it is considered a good thing to be singular, and feel nothing.

Not only did we decide it was a good idea to televise a riot provoking ballet performed by a well known company, but The Rite of Spring also inspired other shows like Swan Lake which is a movie that focuses on a young ballerina that sacrifices herself to perfection, drives her to insanity, and ends with her death on stage.

Both works draw parallels to the performance world or any profession where perfection is constantly being reached for. Yet, it is very uncommon in the dance world to hear of death by the goal of perfection. The life style and the violence are so common that the people living in it are expected to push through.

According to The Rite of Spring, only the strong survive. According to the modern audience, its not worth much of a reaction, if any.







Connor Toomey

Concept: Animality

Region: Texas

“Adrian Peterson, Child Abuse, and Why It Doesn’t Matter If That’s How You Were Raised”

Sub-Concepts: Discipline, Aggression,

The Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was charged and convicted of child abuse this summer. His defense stated that he was disciplining his son in the usual way, but this particular incident went too far, including a gash in the child’s scrotum from a tree branch being used as a whip.

What Peterson did to his child is not socially acceptable and people will call him an animal for his decision making in enacting punishment on his child. In a civilized society it is more common practice to put a child in time out, take a favorite toy away, or a simple spanking. The act of punishment is usually enough to embed in the child that what they did was wrong, not the physical pain of doing the punishment brings on. Peterson showed a complete loss of control in his own aggression as society would expect from an animal rather than a sophisticated human being, especially Peterson who is extremely involved in his community and a role model to the younger generation.


In the animal kingdom there is many instances of physical punishment for disobeying or acting out. In packs of animals, if one of the lesser males takes more than his share or acts up against the alpha male, the alpha will physically punish the one whom acted out. This is due to the fact that animals do not have any other form of punishment; humans do as I previously stated. Peterson acted with his animalistic instincts to punish by asserting his dominance over his child so that they would obey him out of fear of punishment.

































Aileen Oh

Concept: Fate

Sub-Concepts: Uncontrollable, Limit of free will

Description: In Greek mythology, The Fates were three goddesses, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, who had the power to decide the fate of all mortals and immortals. Even an immortal, like Zeus, is said to have feared the Fates. Appearing three days before a child’s birth, the Fates decide the child’s course of life. Then, as the child is being born, Clotho, the spinner, spins the thread of life, Lachesis measures the thread of life, and Atropos cuts the thread of life when the time has come for death.  Ultimately, no one, but these cruel, merciless goddesses have control over one’s fate.

Interpretation: It is obvious that nobody believes that there are such things as, “the Fates” who control our fate and cut our thread of life when our time has come. In fact, most people do not even believe that fate exists. Instead, they think that they have the power to change their future through free will. Fate has become a term that is solely thought of when Hollywood love stories are mentioned. However, most people do not realize that there are other factors in this world that limit their freedoms to make their own, individual choices. Although it is not the Fates that are controlling their fate, factors such as, environment, the media, their parents, genetics, etc. can limit the free choices made. All these factors have a significant impact on the choices that one makes. For example, the media may influence the way you feel about your body and lead you to develop some unhealthy practices. The environment in which you were born in may have affected the person you grew up to be. You have no control over all these factors like how the merciless Fates controlled the fates of all mortals and immortals. The roles that these factors have on shaping what kind of person you become have a direct impact on your future. In a way, you are fated to become a certain type of person. Similar to how no one can change the minds of the Fates, you cannot change some of the factors you were born into.






Name: Alexis Yioulos

Concept: Space

Sub-concepts: Abandonment, Vastness, Landscapes of Death

Description: The Salton Sea, the largest body of water in California and once a recreational wonderland for tourists, has become a wonderland of waste and decay.


There is nothing particularly unusual when you think of the Salton Sea as the largest body of water in California. Of course, the Sea is surrounded by desert terrain, but again, that doesn’t seem particularly unsettling. However, when you consider that the 375-mile Sea was created from an accidental agricultural diversion of the Colorado River, which flooded mass amounts of water into the Salton basin, it becomes clear that this body of water is a site of disruption. What’s more unsettling is the history following the conception of the Sea: in the 1950s, the area was increasingly flocked to by real estate agents and tourists, who saw it as a recreational haven and inland vacation paradise. Not only were restaurants and businesses opened in large quantities, but homes and schools were also created in what became “seaside” towns.

The sea’s water, prone to level fluctuation and dangerously high saline levels even before the towns were founded, began to rise again in the 1970s. Buildings along the shoreline were subject to spontaneous and harsh flooding, and salt and fertilizers from the agricultural projects which had created the Sea in the first place reached toxic levels. The Sea turned on the people who had so blindly herded to it, inhabiting the communities and even animals which once inhabited it. The fish began to die due to the unbalanced chemistry of the water, and within a few years, the towns near the Sea were almost completely abandoned. Some communities were still in development at the time that they were destroyed, leaving vague traces of streets and buildings to-be. The towns, now referred to as ghost towns, and rightly so, reflect fragmented, post-apocalyptic scenes of ruin, hurried departure, and waste.

What appears to be sand surrounding much of the Sea, upon closer inspection, is actually the crushed bones of the millions of dead fish. The landscape, literally made of death, with water saltier than the ocean and air at times unbreathable, seems to pose an unequivocal message: as we center our private lives and interests in place of recognition for our surroundings, we will be reminded of the power of the places we inhabit. This isolated incident of mass creation and mass destruction exists within the time frame of just about 20 years. How quickly, irrationally, and forcefully our environments can turn on us.



(a 6.5 minute short film on the Salton Sea if you’d like to see more images):



Name: Mónica Quirós

Event: Sensory deprivation tanks, commonly used as torture devices, are now being used for relaxation therapies. In these tanks, you float in saline water (at body temperature) in complete darkness and silence. In the tank, all of your senses are useless and so the brain creates stimuli of its own. People who enter sensory deprivation tanks often experience visual and auditory hallucinations and extreme paranoia.

Concept: Loss

Sub-concepts: Senses, confinement, isolation

As human beings we are, whether we want to or not, connected to the outside world. Everything we see, smell, taste, touch or hear creates a very tangible link to something outside of us. In a way, we take possession of what our senses provide us and we try to compensate for it when we lose it. But what if we lost every single connection to what is beyond our own bodies?

Those who experience the sensory deprivation tanks lose all of their senses; in fact, they are stripped from them in a violent and unnatural way. By losing our senses, we lose everything else we have; we are left with nothing but our consciousness and this can become unbearable for some people ( this is why this was such a good measure of torture.) A violent loss like this one causes the brain to fill in the void.  It is our natural instinct to compensate for losses; however, in an isolated space like this one. The brain starts producing hallucinations because it feels like it is missing something, anything. Losing everything causes you to be disoriented, lost to the point where you find yourself lingering between reality and imagination, with no way of coming back. When we lose what connects us to the world, we enter a world of delusion that our mind creates to replace the senses that were violently bereft from it.


Entry into the Illuminati

Name: Charlotte Widjaja

Concept: Sacrifice

Sub-concepts: Desire, Excess, Reality/Illusion

Description: Wafeeq Sabir El-Amin, an aspiring rapper from Virginia, strongly believes in the connection between the Illuminati and the success of entertainment industry. In December 2012, after smoking marijuana, El-Amin allegedly shot his friend, believing that this sacrifice would grant him entry into the Illuminati, and bring him fame with his rapping career.

Interpretation: El-Amin’s actions were a complete shock to some who read the about the incident. However, to many other friends, family, or strangers, the motive behind El-Amin’s alleged shooting may have come across as standard, or even as the norm for those looking to gain entry into the Illuminati. The illuminati has been constantly mystified, and increasingly publicized as a conspiring secret society that it is no surprise some may believe murder constitutes as a legitimate requirement for entry into the group. A police search of El-Amin’s studio resulted in numerous books on the Illuminati and its impact on our society. One specific book spoke of the Illuminati’s role in the hip-hop industry and the success of several artists. The discovery of this book provides us with a sense of the knowledge and belief El-Amin held in the Illuminati. Given his strong faith in such a mysterious society, El-Amin would think it perfectly reasonable that entry was only given through the act of sacrifice. Yet, not the sacrifice of just any random animal or human being, but the sacrifice of a friend; a person who El-Amin came into contact with daily, a person who he knew by face and name, and a person who would not suspect the day he would become a sacrifice for his friend. Only through this act could acceptance into the society be granted to El-Amin. In this situation, sacrifice is seen as the ultimate act, the finale, the game changer in El-Amin’s status with the Illuminati and his status in the entertainment industry. The idea that sacrifice is used as the ultimate act that would finally grant entry into a secret society that may or may not even exist, illustrates the different ways people use sacrifice, and the extent of impact it can have on a person’s choices. Sacrifice serves as both the final act that ends the object or person being sacrificed, and the game changer component that opens the door to a world of possibilities for the one who dares to make the sacrifice.

El-Amin’s attempted sacrifice of his friend also touches upon the concepts of excess, desire, reality and illusion. El-Amin’s deep obsession with the Illuminati and the belief that the Illuminati plays a vital role in shaping the entertainment industry demonstrates the idea of excess, and how excess can lead to an incredible amount of desire. With such a strong belief in the Illuminati’s impact on the entertainment industry and the rapping career of several artists, El-Amin’s longing and desire to be a part of the society that has made his passion a complete success seems only logical. El-Amin’s aspiration to be a part of the Illuminati directly resulted from his obsession with the secret society. Furthermore, the fact that the Illuminati is so incredibly enigmatic, the group itself borders reality and illusion. Today, people can only speculate at the workings of the Illuminati, but not one person is able to give concrete facts about the actual existence or actions of the society. Thus, for an obsessive person such as El-Amin, the reality, if any, and the illusion of the Illuminati can be quite indistinguishable. The presence of marijuana during El-Amin’s alleged crime furthers the blurred lines between what constitutes as reality and what constitutes as an illusion. While high on marijuana, El-Amin’s sense of what is real and what is a delusion could have been distorted, easily leading him to act upon the notion that sacrificing the life of his friend would ultimately allow him entry into the Illuminati.

Link: http://www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=24288


The Fugue State

Mark Gulesian (Memory/Forgetting)

Greene, Rhode Island 1887

Sub Concepts: Abandonment, Solitude

Description: Ansel Bourne was an evangelical preacher who took a trip to visit someone, however, for unexplained reasons, he disappeared taking all of his money and began living a new life in Norristown, PA under a completely new identity Albert J. Brown. Two months later he woke up and had no idea what happened and returned home. This is the first ever documented case of “The Fugue State” and he was studied by the Society for Psychical Research under hypnosis.

Relating to Memory/Forgetting: The Fugue state is a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality. Ansel Bourne was studied and under hypnosis, they found, he could assume the personality of either Bourne or Brown, and neither personality had knowledge of the other. Each had their own memories and back stories, yet the true identity was Ansel. This makes me think how Albert could be able to create such an elaborate back story of a life when there truly is no actual experience or memory behind it. This brings me back to the Fugue State in general. Going long periods of time and experiencing many things before waking up and feeling as if you jumped two months into the future forgetting what you have done; you could also say you did not forget, you simply have it saved as a memory as someone else.

ABC Article (Published August 3, 2007): http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=3445059&page=1&singlePage=true

New York Times Article (Published November 19, 1893): http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C01E0DC153EEF33A2575AC1A9679D94629ED7CF





Name: Kenza Mouaqit

Concept: Language

Region: United States/Russia

Sub-Concepts: Violence, Disfigurement, Time


Description: Prisoners in the United States and Russia have been using tattoos as a means of communicating several aspects of their identity including their convictions, skills, gang membership, number of years in jail, beliefs, etc…

Interpretation: Since the beginning of times, tattoos, or indelible body marks, have been in existence within various societies. Some were imposed, and others served as a way to communicate one’s identity to one’s surroundings.  In the past few years, tattoos have become very prominent among gang members and criminals, as they wished to portray their identity to the other inmates and society as a whole. This language may be viewed as a secret code between inmates or as a sign of provocation. The referring of tattoos as language, is due to the fact that is a form of communication within the prison cells and their community. It exposes the violent aspect of many criminals as they exhibit their gang membership or flaunt the atrocity of the crime they committed. Tattoos may also be perceived as a means of disfigurement which many convicts view as necessary in asserting themselves within the prison system. Another interesting aspect of this language of symbols is its relationship to time. Many inmates tattoo symbols of time including a clock with no hands or five dots on their hands. These symbolize the passing time within the prison. The longer the sentence, the more meaningless time becomes. These symbols of time communicate the inmates’ frustrations at the inability to control time. The indelible marking of one’s body may also represent freedom, as this is an action that cannot be controlled by the prison system to a certain extent.


Sources: http://imgur.com/gallery/E5xZu


Image: http://tattoo.yoso.eu/tattoogoodies/tattoobooks-on-amazon/russian-criminal-tattoo-encyclopaedia


Name: Natalie Reta
Concept: Loss
Sub-Concepts: Mourning, Grief, Death, and Possession.

Description: Mother turns fallen soldier´s uniforms into teddy bears for the families that they left behind.

After the folded American flag is presented and the military funeral service concludes, the journey of grieving the loss of a loved one begins for families all over the country. It is unbearable for families to think that their loved ones died far away from home, while defending their country, to the knowledge and interest of no one. What troubles people after a death, is that they most likely did not get the opportunity to say goodbye. To most people, that is the worst kind of loss: the one that is not anticipated, where a person is suddenly wrenched away –in a tragic way; for no one has had the time to prepare for it. That person is taken away from them against their will. They are powerless.

There is an innate desire to immortalize a loved one after a loss like this; to keep them forever, for the possession of their image represents a comfort that no one else is able to provide. After losing her son to enemy fire during his service in Afghanistan in 2009, Lisa Freeman started creating teddy bears for the children and families of lost servicemen and women out of the cloth of their uniforms. Any family that has lost a member in service can send the service member´s uniform to Lisa to have it made into a teddy bear. The bears are free of charge. This is Lisa´s way of coping with her son´s death. She believes that something good is happening out of something extremely tragic. The fact that the bears are made out of the uniforms is a way of immortalizing the loved one, not only by who he was and how he lived, but also by how he died. It is a way of never forgetting. It is turning a nightmarish death into something benign. It is turning something that could potentially only bring grief into something that brings comfort. By having the teddy bears present -whether it is by giving them to the children to sleep with, or by keeping them in the house as a tribute, it is a way of making the fallen soldier an un-fallen one. As if the person had never departed, for they will always be present. It is a way of filling in for a loss, a way of not letting go.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/28/matthews-freeman-afghanistan_n_5405258.html

Sin título s sd

Svitlana Sangary allegedly posted photoshopped pictures of herself with politicians and celebrities on her website.

California lawyer facing suspension for Photoshopping herself into celebrity pictures

Name: Ellie Davis

Region: California

Concept: Nothingness

Sub-concepts: Power, sensation, madness, reality/illusion and images.

Description: California lawyer risks having her practicing license suspended for forging pictures of herself with celebrities and politicians.

Interpretation: The feeling of nothingness or emptiness is a characteristic symptom of Borderline Personality disorder.  Would such feeling have contributed to the California lawyer Svitlana Sangary Photoshopping herself in celebrity pictures in order to supposedly use them as advertisement and solicitation? Sangary’s website features fake publicity photos with President Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Kim Kardashian and Ellen DeGeneres, among others.  She responded to the accusations in a lengthy third-person soliloquy with not much of a rational connection to the event which only added to the public’s suspicion of her mental illness.

Sangary thought herself not good enough to use her own clients as references and solicitation of new business, but her sense of nothingness also meant she had nothing to lose in posting pictures that were “false, deceptive and intended to confuse, deceive and mislead the public”.  The “nothing to lose” feeling gave her power to trespass the lines of what society deems right.  In her defense argument she states (in the third-person) “Svitlana Sangary came to this country in her twenties, with nothing” – she is familiar with absence, she has been trained in it and it gives her a competitive edge ahead of every other one of us who are spoiled by our ever-surrounding certainties. And in response, we call it a disease.


Ebola partners with African history

Alberto Rodriguez Rico

Concept: Reality/Illusion

Sub concepts: Self-diagnose, paranoia, uncertainty, death

famine_east-africa.jpg (300×201) 

Description: As many Africans, Moissemah became sick, he had fever and joint pain, both symptoms of malaria and Ebola. He decided to lock himself in a room. His had two options either go to a hospital or stay at home. He thought that if he went to the hospital, even though he did not have Ebola, he would be placed among the people contaminated and therefore exposed to the virus. The other option was to stay at home since still the cure remains unfound; and therefore he would die anyways. This is just one example of what people are experiencing in Africa[1].


Ebola has created a fear in people in Africa in which by mistrusting the institutions that surround them they decide better not to go to the hospital or to self-medicate themselves which bring other consequences that can be detrimental for them. Africa has always been a place in which institutions and governments are inefficient which have created a lack of trust from the part of the population. They have grown up between war and famine, a constant state of violence. To that point locals think they are better off to their own inner analysis than to be exposed to another individual’s opinion. Self-medication is dangerous, main reason for the requirement of prescription to buy antibiotics in the majority of the countries. People doing that are either overdosing or under dosing themselves; or not even treating the condition they have. This is a type of violence targeted against your own body; instability, paranoia and impatience blind individuals to commit this act under the premise of trusting their judgment on the situation. They have lost faith for the world, it is just them against the rest. Luckily Moissemah had malaria and is still alive.

[1] “Liberians Choose Self-medication in Ebola Fight.” France 24. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.france24.com%2Fen%2F20140807-ebola-liberia-self-medication-health%2F>.



Inability to Feel Pain


Name: Caitie Benoit

Region: The United States

Concept: Pain

Sub-concepts: Sensationless, Terrifying, and Painless

Description: Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA) is a congenial disorder where the nerves of a person’s body do not allow them to feel pain, heat, or cold. This disorder is extremely dangerous because people who suffer from this problem often hurt themselves in ways that experiencing pain may have been able to prevent.

Interpretation: Pain is supposed to be a universal feeling that everyone in the world can relate to through an experiencing a painful sensation at one point in their lives. However, there is a rare congenial disorder, Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis, which prevents the production of nerve cells that carry the sensations of pain, heat, and cold. The first case of CIPA was reported in 1983 and there are currently around eighty-four documented cases in the United States as well has three hundred cases in Japan (Kennedy). Most people that are diagnosed with CIPA have experienced several serious injuries do to the inability to feel the pain that is usually experienced during these accidents. It is terrifying to consider that there are people born without the ability to feel pain.

Physical pain is an uncomfortable sensation that allows people to test their limits in society while performing day to day activities and physical exercise. Without the ability of using pain to help mark their boundaries, people who have never experienced pain can push themselves beyond their limits, causing serious injuries. As parents of children with CIPA, the void of pain is terrifying. It forces parents to pay extreme attention to their children because they have no way of understanding the feeling of pain. Their nerves are essentially sensationless. Things that would normally cause excruciating pain for someone, such as biting off his or her tongue, is painless for people with CIPA. Pain gives people the ability to drawn the line between a good sensation, pleasure, and an uncomfortable sensation, suffering. The inability to feel physical pain makes it difficult for people to distinguish pleasurable sensations. The positivity aspect of pain is removed and people are left with a void that is unable to be filled. Pain, although sometimes unbearable, does play an important role in everyday life. Living without being able to feel pain would detract from the pleasures of life and would also make normal injuries and accidents even more terrifying due to the lingering question of undetectable serious injury.





Psychedelic Movement

Name: Ayse Onen

Concept: Time

Subconcepts: Trance, Illusion, Movement

Description: People from different ages, backgrounds, and countries are coming together under the psychedelic movement to feel the sensation of being carried away and transported towards a mystical experience far from the reality. This movement particularly shows its presence at psychedelic music festivals where participants lose themselves in trance music and dance under the influence of psychedelic drugs.

Interpretation: People have always been fascinated with the idea of being carried away in time, losing track of reality, and entering a state of mind where there are no limits. The use of drugs has been enabling people to enter the world of illusions and hallucinations. Music has been a self-expressive tool for generations. Similarly, dancing has been a way to express feelings and emotions through movement. With these three acts combined, people find themselves in a stage of delirium where they lose track of time and space. The human mind becomes detached from the present time and enters a timeless cycle where the physical movements take on with excess energy and ecstatic dancing. This stage creates an absolute contrast between the human mind and the body. While the human mind enters a stage of void and emptiness with its detachment from the real world and time, the human body becomes deprived by reaching its extreme limits. Both the body and the mind, however, enter a timeless repetitive cycle which results in exhaustion.

Psychedelic music festivals lead its participants to experience the world of trance and hypnotic stages and altered perceptions of the reality by creating the timeless repetitive cycle. The participants see these festivals as an escape. The activities they take part of such as the music, the dancing and the drugs become a way to express their sense of freedom.




  1. Cleopatra Seduces Julius Caesar

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 8.54.16 PM

Name: Stela Maksutaj

Region/Concept: Egypt 51 BC/ Seduction

Sub-concepts: Power, Pleasure, and Manipulation

Description: In 51 BC, Cleopatra was kicked off of the throne by her brother, and was prepared to go to war against him. Her brother, Ptolemy, bummed into Caesar in the marketplace and spoke to him about the predicament he was in. But, because Ptolemy thought Cesear would see the situations differently and side with Cleopatra, he sent his soldiers to surround Caesar’s palace. Cleopatra heard that she could possibly win over Caesars heart, so she had one of her slaves wrap her in a carpet, in which he carrying off the ship and into the palace with no questions asked. Once Cleopatra exposed herself to Caesar, he was surprised and delighted by her efforts to see him. Her charm and intelligence had won Caesar over. Because Cleopatra was intelligent and knew how to keep a man intrigued, she eventually convinced Caesar to put her back on the throne. Cleopatra and Caesar soon defeated Ptolemy and his advisors, and later on had a child together.

Interpretation: Cleopatra is known as one of the most sexual, powerful, and manipulative women in all of mankind. She is renown for using her physical appearance and wit to seduce her victims into a spell that was for her advantage. Cleopatra, however, was not typical in her seductive methods, as she acted out of the ordinary to wow and enchant her victims. In this circumstance, Cleopatra was in a war to regain political power, and unconventionally disgusted herself to secretly approach the victim. Because Cleopatra was so creative with her methods of approaching Caesar- being rolled up in a carpet- she quickly grasped Caesars attention and desire out of a moment of pure surprise. Because the carpet master plan was so out of the blue, Caesar was caught off guard and vulnerable to manipulation. Caesar was enraptured in the queen’s spell, as she used her intelligence, physical appeal, and unconventional method of exposing herself to convince Caesar of her needs. If Cleopatra had decided of another way to secretly enter the castle, she might not have had the same effect as she did in this instance, as she might not have succeeded in the beautiful element of disguise. The lack of an enthralling reveal would make Cleopatra seem unappealing to Caesar at his first impression of her, and downward spiraled the manipulation efforts from there. Therefore, as a master of seduction, Cleopatra purposefully chose to be rolled in a carpet, as she understood the importance of alluring her victim through her first sight/impression, and prolonging her victim in a constant daze through her use of tongue and wit.

Link: http://gummie_frog.tripod.com/Cleopatra/id1.html


The Quietest Place on Earth

Name: Dwiarta Alim

Region/Concept: South Minneapolis, Pain

Sub-Concepts: Silence, Infinity, Disorientation


Located at the Orfield Laboratories, this anechoic chamber is able to absorb 99.9% of sound reflected in the room and holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s quietest place.  Due to its sound-absorbent capabilities, it is capable of giving hallucinations to individuals who stay in the chamber for more than half an hour.


Many people would think that silence can be peaceful. However, people would find perfect silence disturbing and sometimes excruciating. With an anechoic chamber designed to capture the sound of different things, it is able to completely absorb all sound and cuts off any external sources of noise. The chamber is also able to simulate a quiet open-space of infinite dimension. If a human being steps into this chamber for too long, it may pose deadly problems to individuals. For example, the quiet chamber amplifies even the slightest noise, making people immediately aware of anything and everything. This sensation can be so intense that an individual might hear his/her own bodily fluids flowing through the body.

In this chamber where silence is at its extreme, hallucinations can sometimes occur to individuals. With typical noise levels in the 10 to 20 decibels range, the anechoic chamber measures its own silence at -9.4 decibels. As humans are able to identify sounds above 0 decibels, a human in such a silent environment would perceive the surrounding as devoid of any sound.

Being deprived of the usual reassuring ambient sounds can induce fear and disorientation and explains why sensory deprivation can be twisted into a form of torture. Experiences of victims point out that they first notice the sound of their breathing, which leads to the evident thumps of their heartbeat. After the ten minute mark, victims could hear their own blood rushing in their head and the sound of their stomach gurgling loudly. Anything longer than that can cause extreme symptoms, from claustrophobia and nausea to occasional panic attacks. These panic attacks are derived from victims hallucinating because the brain is in such disarray of its perspectives and forces itself to create its own sounds.


Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2124581/The-worlds-quietest-place-chamber-Orfield-Laboratories.html


Angela Price

Concept: Excess

Sub-Concepts: Evil, Cruelty, Power

Region: Phoenix, Arizona

Description: Jodi Arias allegedly stabbed her boyfriend Travis Alexander 29 times, cut his throat, and shot him in the head. The jury convicted her with extreme cruelty and premeditation for the homicide, she now faces the jury’s decision for life imprisonment or the death penalty.


A psychiatrist reviewing Jodi Arias in this case deemed her as ‘Evil.’ The activities she committed are an extreme example of excessive overkill. Evil is in everyone. No one is perfectly good and therefore we all possess qualities of evil. Sin is considered evil because we defy what god tells us to do. Evil is the most powerful things not because it is wrong according to God, but because evil can possess traits of goodness. Purity and goodness can only be that, it can never be evil. Evil on the other hand can be good and can trick someone, or it can be cruel and purely evil such as in the case of Jodi Arias. Jodi possesses both the good and bad in evil. She was good to Travis which is why they dated and saw each other as long as they did. However, evil overcame her and possessed her to brutally murder Travis. Evil overpowered her again and again each successive stab and after the stabbing when she cut his throat and shot him in the head. This shows how evil can overpower anyone. This thought is disturbing yet extremely true. For an average person, realizing that anyone around you no matter how good they seem can commit something so evil as Jodi did is the scariest thing to think. Your mind is then possessed and you cannot escape from the thought that everyone around you is evil and there is nothing you can do about it. Those who deny it are wrong and then still commit sins and evil-doing, but do not admit their sins. This results in a narcissistic attitude and can be even more damaging and disturbing than someone who can admit they are evil. Jodi never thought she was evil before this outburst or did not display evil actions. She still does not believe she is evil for in her testimony she said it was self-defense and tries to make it seem like she is the victim so we feel sympathy for her. Her cruel acts and excessive overkill prove she wanted to be more powerful than Travis and control what happened as her pure evilness came out. It also reveals that she took some pleasure into her cruelty. She could’ve stopped at one stab wound but she continued 28 more times. The repetition shows she enjoyed it because if she had not, she would’ve stabbed him once and been done with it. This enjoyment of excessive overkill and cruelty stems from the need for power. She also proved she enjoyed the cruelty because of how deep the wound on his throat was. One who does not enjoy the evilness and cruelty would be too hesitant to cut another’s throat so deep but the evil inside of someone when they have already entered into their evil ways will continue and as this case shows will become excessive and overkill their victims.







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Out With The Old: Redevelopment Project of Sulukule


Name: Deniz Ozmen

Concept: Destruction

Sub-Concepts: Memory, movement and loss

Region: Istanbul, Turkey

Desription: Over the last decade Istanbul has been going through serious urbanification projects under the current regime of the Justice and Development Party. The project in this case was finished this year and some of the houses have already found their new owners. The region in case is Sulukule, one of the first Roman settlers in Istanbul when Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered the city from the Byzantine Empire. Sulukule is inside the Old City and was home to many talented writers, musician and many more influential people. This short documentary displays the lives of people who live/lived in Sulukule for years and their survival story after being kicked out of their homes.

The urge to replace the old with the new is always an ongoing trend in one’s life. The person searches for change of air and in return give away old pieces of his/her life away without a second thought. Now imagine throwing out few hundred people out of their homes where their ancestors lived for centuries. People who once entertained many people with its culture and understanding of fun. This neighborhood was located at the very heart of the city, they never hurt anyone, never forced anyone to do anything against their will and definitely never asked any officials to help them.

Urban development is always fun and exciting because something new starts to grow from the ground into something that could touch the sky if it was possible. Destruction in these situations is simply dusting everything under the rug and therefore is forgotten about as years to come. What is never stated is, what is lost during the construction? Or Was destruction really necessary? Now one of the oldest part in Istanbul has a few new homes and that is it. In the making of these few new homes many people lost their economic freedom, their friends and families, their house that maybe belonged to them long before any of us were born. Most importantly they lost their soul in those ruins where once they called home. Now their culture is in the brink of extinction along with the other remains under the rug.

Sulukule is not the first place where people had to move away because someone wanted them out, and it will never be the last place where such things happen. And the most terrifying thing is my children or their children will never remember such place or the actual people who had the right to live there.

Link: http://www.mundiromani.com/videos/?video%5Bvideo%5D%5Bitem%5D=58

(Mehmet the Conqueror)

Name: Emre Kulluk

Concept: Power

Sub-Concepts: Transformation, Fear, Destruction

Region: Ottoman Empire

Description: Mehmet the Conqueror was one of the most powerful Ottoman Sultans. After his death his two sons, Bayezid II and Sultan Cem fought for the throne which would give one of them the ultimate power.

Interpretation: Mehmet the Conqueror is one of the highest regarded Sultans of the Ottoman Empire since he is the one that conquered Istanbul from the Byzantines at the age of 21. Other than Istanbul, he expanded the western borders to Bosnia and eastern borders to Central Anatolia.

Although he was one of the most powerful and most important Sultans, his potential successors would not be able to manage the power he will pass on. Right after Mehmet the Conqueror passed away, Bayezid II sit on the throne as the new Sultan and the rivalry between two brothers started. This transition of the throne became more problematic than ever in the history of the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Cem believed that he is the right person to be in the control of this ultimate power since, in his perspective, his older brother Bayezid II does not carry the necessary characteristics to be the new sultan – or in other words Sultan Cem did not believe that Bayezid II is not strong enough to manage that amount of power.  On the other hand, Bayezid II believed that he should be the sultan because he is the oldest son of Mehmet the Conqueror. In his first couple trials Sultan Cem was not able to kill his brother and sit on the throne. He joined his forces with Western countries to take over and he caused a lot of problems to his brother Bayezid II since Sultan Cem’s knowledge and experience of Ottoman governing gave unexpected power to the Western forces. The possibility of losing the throne created fear for Bayezid II and he had fight against his kinsman which affected the stability of the Empire during this period. The desire of two brothers to possess an amount of power which would make either of them the strongest created a loss of power for the entire Empire.

However, at the end, both brother were united again with a kind of power they forgot during the entire challenge for the throne; the power of kinship. When Sultan Cem died on a military expedition to conquer Naples under the command of King Charles VIII of France, Bayezid II requested his brothers’ body and buried him the Muslim way.

Link: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/a-sultan-in-the-shadow-of-others-bayezid-ii.aspx?pageID=238&nID=21615&NewsCatID=438

Portrait_of_Sultan_Bayezid_II_of_the_Ottoman_Empire                           418px-Cem-in-italy


                   (Bayezid II)                                                                                                (Sultan Cem)


Young Boy Survives for Three Years Living with Monkeys

week 2 violence


Name: Kevin Dooley

Concept: Solitude

Sub Concepts: Animality, Nature, Loss, Language

Region: Uganda


Description: A young boy, John Ssebunya, was raised by Ugandan green vervet monkeys after fleeing his home following the murdering of his mother by his father.  Ssebunya lived for three years with the monkeys and began exhibiting many of their characteristics very quickly.  His reintegration into society is a process that is still ongoing two decades later.


Interpretation: The story of humans living in the wild among animals has been a familiar theme in many forms of literature dating back thousands of years.  Whether it’s the story of how Tarzan was raised by apes in the jungle or the story of Romulus and Remus being abandoned as children and finding themselves under the care of a wolf pack, these accounts have intrigued the human imagination for generations.  One of the more well-known real life narratives of this is the story of John Ssebunya, a boy from Uganda who as adopted by a group of green vervet monkeys when he was two years old.  The group of monkeys began offering Ssebunya food, which meant he was now one of them.  Shortly after, Ssebunya began adopting all of the traits that the monkeys had shown him.  He began walking like them, screeching like them, and soon forgot about his past life.

It’s very common for those who are left alone for long periods of time to adopt the world view of those closest to them, and in this case it is the monkeys.  The monkeys lived very simplistic lives, which caused Ssebunya to shun his own humanity and adopt the traits of the monkeys.  This was also probably the worst possible time for Ssebunya to adopt these characteristics.  Most doctors say that the early years are the most vital in the development of people.  When Ssebunya was found three years later, he was reluctant to go with the people that found him because all he really knew was his adoptive monkey family.  Most feral children have difficulty reentering society, because they are very animalistic in the way they act.  Ssebunya struggled to relearn how to walk, and he took years to learn how to talk.  I think we all find ourselves in times of loneliness trying to grasp onto anything nearby to feel a sense of belonging, and Ssebunya found security and belonging with those monkeys as a young boy.  Often, people in solitude feel a great sense of insecurity which is why they keep to themselves, however Ssebunya was only looking for a place of safety when he came across the monkeys.

John Ssebunya proves that being in solitude changes the way your mind works.  In his case, Ssebunya reverted to a primal individual whose instincts were solely based on survival.


Links: http://www.mollyandpaul.org/john%20ssebunya.html

Sounds are Drugs?


Name: Kevin Manesh

Region: United States

Concept: Nonsense

Sub-concepts: Reality/Illusion, Emotion/Mood, Sensation

Description: Binaural beats, which to most are obscure sound waves, have been designed and created to stimulate psychological effects in the listener, mimicking the effects that physical drugs induce.

These sound waves trigger neurological stimuli to create effects similar to those experienced from illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. They also create effects that help with relaxation or focus. Essentially, these sound files allow the listener to go through a state of meditation.

There are people who oppose this treatment, claiming that no complete medical studies have been performed to approve these effects and that it’s worrisome because young adults are the major buyers. They are also concerned with the many symptoms that users report. There is controversy regarding the use of this treatment by many but it is highly unwarranted. As soon as a technology emerges with the purpose of treating consumers, certain people attack it, trying to stir up government regulations. This opposition is confusing because the purpose of this treatment is entirely medicinal. Even the most extreme sound files that induce feelings similar to that of heroin or cocaine should not be worried about. In fact, people who oppose this treatment should actually recommend it because it has the potential to stop individuals from using real heroin or cocaine. If the government truly wants to reject harmful drugs then they should advocate for this alternative as it is known to not be addictive. In fact, as Alexandre Pills says, “e-drugs are an attempt to give a new face to a method of meditation and relaxation” which expresses how it’s a healthier alternative to illicit drugs. If this is pursued rather than attacked, this could reduce overall illegal drug use which makes it a logical choice. Unsurprisingly, the government would never advocate such a thing and would rather attack it. As a result, we essentially ignore the truths of illicit drug use which is more illogical than logical.

Any opposition should not emerge as this treatment does not necessarily work. It requires intense focus and meditation for effects to be experienced. With that logic, meditation and yoga should be questioned as these activities can produce mind altering effects. A large part of its effectiveness for some is due to the placebo effect. Hence, it doesn’t actually do anything for some and they instead create their own “high” from their own thoughts. Ultimately, we can see that there really isn’t any harm in this treatment and that there primarily only positive effects if people are lucky enough to experience them. It does not make sense for skepticism and opposition to hinder the development of this technology, yet this is happening anyway.

Link: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-737258

Hickory Hill Slave House

Hickory Hill

Name: Kayla Clark

Concept: Cruelty

Sub-Concepts: Time, Space, and Objects

Region: Equality, Illinois

Description: Built in 1840 by John Crenshaw, Hickory Hill (Also known as “The Old Slave House,” was “home” to more than 700 slaves. Crenshaw is best known for being the man behind the “reverse underground railroad,” taking free Black men, women, and children back into slavery. The house is believed to still be haunted by the slaves that resided there. In 1906, “The Old Slave House” was purchased by the Sisk family. They realized that there was money to be made in letting people tour this house. For the price of a nickel or a dime, one would be able to see a house that will permanently be marked as evil. For the century that the Sisk family owned the home, only one person was able to spend the night in the house. It’s reported that one could still hear screams, moaning, and chain rattling from the home. In 2006, the state of Illinois bought the property and guard it so that no one may be allowed inside.

Interpretation: When one thinks of cruelty, one usually thinks of it as a very finite thing. By this I mean that cruelty is perceived as something that happens and then it is over. There is no perception that cruelty is eternal. My theory is that cruelty, when unresolved, stays on earth for eternity. Hickory Hill is still home to those cruel events that took place there. No matter how long that house stands or doesn’t stand, those cruel events will mark that spot. Hickory Hill is not the only place doomed for terror. I definitely believe that when horrendously cruel events happen, evil will inevitably commandeer that place. Cruelty is one of those rare things that can transcend time and space. It can carry evil from the depths of hell and bring it on to this planet. It is eternal, meaning it will not leave. However, if something is eternal, it does not mean that it cannot die. Eternal things and beings can be eradicated.

Many people don’t believe in good triumphing over bad. Call me a fool, but I think that goodness can shine light on to the darkest of situations, people, and places. Evil, the devil, is a very tricky thing to wrap one’s head around. Promises of pleasure for cruel acts is very aesthetically pleasing. Evil uses cruelty as its transportation device. The beautiful thing about goodness is that the only transportation device it needs is oneself. Being kind, good, sympathetic, and thoughtful are things that one can do with or without the presence of a divine being. Evil is pathetic in that it tells you things you can’t refute. It promises you momentary happiness for an eternity of hate. Evil wants nothing more than chaos for chaos’s sake. If you attempt doing the will of goodness and genuinely smile at a person who has been commandeered by the devil, you won’t need God to stand beside you… You will feel him inside of you. That’s how you kill cruelty.

Link: http://www.prairieghosts.com/slave.html

Inside The Chilling Online World Of The Women Of ISIS

A look at her blog's archive reveals her intense interest in Islam and apparent desire to become a jihadi. It also shows communications with other like-minded women, such as the one below, which was posted before Mahmood left her home in November 2013.


Name: Lawson Hung

Concept: Sensation

Sub-concepts: Women, Religion, Internet, Family

Description: Conversations between young women who claim to be ISIS members living in Syria provide a disturbing insight into the everyday lives of female militants.


Girls are running away from their homes to go to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in order to marry a militant. These girls are Muslim, and are strong Islamic believers. They dream of the day that they get to run away from their homes in order to fight for their beliefs, literally. These girls wield guns and cover their faces in veils and cloth, making sure that none of their skin is showing. Their bravery is unsurpassed, and to be admired. They believe that after death, Allah will unite them with their sisters, other girls who have run away from their family in order to join the war. This sense of bonding and this sensation of closeness to god has brought them all together, looking forward to the day that Allah will unite them all. Furthermore, these girls are keeping track of their daily lives in ISIS via online social media, such as Twitter and Tumblr. They claim that becoming the wife of a mujahid (a fighter) grants them the sensation of being highly rewarded for what they do. However, this is not always easy for them, as after they are married, their husbands are their only family, and they are expected to withdraw from their parents. They record their feelings via social media. Furthermore, they use the social media in order to attract other women to do the same. One social media they use in order to build a sensation of sisterhood is KiK, where women in ISIS communicate directly with other women who are also planning on making the journey to ISIS to provide them with support and answer any questions that they may have. There are even online guides which provide step-by-step instructions on how to get into ISIS-controlled territory, as well as advice on how to deceive Turkish custom agents. This online support system is absolutely necessary, as most girls are running away from home without the knowledge or consent of their parents. However, there is a sensation of safety for the women in ISIS. For instance, men who rape women are killed in public and their bodies left on the road to rot. It is amazing what social media has done for us, and the impact that it leaves on society. Without the internet, these women would not be able to build a sense of sisterhood and family and would not have the guts to leave their homes.

Link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ellievhall/inside-the-online-world-of-the-women-of-isis#96zxw8



Judy Liu
Concept: Objects
Sub-Concepts: Hypocrisy, Religion, Blindness, Manipulation

Description: As if the world does not already shelter enough hypocrites, the Bible creates more charlatans. This object which preaches peace and love has manipulated the mass to wage war on those who are non-Christian.

It is absolutely astounding how many bible believers commit atrocities in which they preach against.  The bible, an object of religion, of “salvation”, teaches the religious mass every day not to sin. This object of salvation states, “True Christians will not sin as they lack the desire and the capability to sin, because their allegiance to Christ has changed their nature.” If this is accurate then true Christians do not exist in this world as all humans are not only fully capable of sinning but secretly desire the grotesque.

From my point of view, the bible is a means of an escape from the cruelty of reality for some people. It creates an illusion that humans can be purged of evil, of our natural instinct to commit crimes. Yet, it is the cause of past violence, namely the Crusades. The leaders and followers of the Crusades believed that if the intent was altruistic, then killing is not sinful. But murder is murder; bloodied hands are signs of guilt. When these murderers are confronted about their actions, they always find an excuse within the Bible. The book is ultimately an excuse for the blood-thirsty essence in humans to act, to fulfill that desire for the grotesque. It is an object that creates hypocrisy and spills blood.

The bible which states that there are only one true God in the universe also generates hatred in followers for other religious followers. Hatred is the root of most violence. This object which brainwashes humans have done the opposite of creating peace and love in this hellhole. Furthermore, the Bible creates faith in humans, giving them hope that they will not die, that a higher being will protect them. However, there are countless devout Christians who have suffered and died and Christ was not there to save them. For Koreans, “Being caught with a Bible is grounds for execution or a life-long political prison sentence” (Miller 2014). Ultimately, the Bible is an object that cannot save, cannot protect, and cannot purge anyone of their inner desire for the grotesque.

http://atheism.about.com/od/crusades/a/crusades.htm (More on Crusades)

http://atheism.about.com/od/christianityviolence/a/Christianity-Violence-Justifying-Killing-Religion.htm (Religion creating violence)

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/01/12/christians-killed-for-faith-nearly-doubled-in-2013-group-finds/ (Joshua Miller, 2014)

Victim of cannibal agreed to be eaten


Name: Hein Myat Win Lwin

Concept: Fragmentation

Sub-concept: Desire, Pain, Pleasure, Deconstruction

Description: The case A murder case Mr. Armin Meiwes, a 42 year old computer engineer turned himself in after eating another man. The victim however, was a willing participant in the act of cannibalism as everything that occurred in the case was done with his consent.


The case clearly involves two parties with complementary fetishes that has agreed to enact on their sexual fantasies. The details of the “crime” are quite appalling to a normal reader as it involves several perverse acts of butchering and cannibalism. The focus of the interpretation will be on the victim’s fetish. The desire to be eaten can be  reduced into two sub-categories. Either the person enjoys the sensation of seeing his body parts being methodically consumed by another body or by the feeling of his body parts parts methodically leaving his own body. Thereby, the main source of pleasure stems from seeing his body go through a process of fragmentation as pieces by pieces of his body part leaves the system. Fragmentation of the body or of the mind is usually an involuntary process where its victims slowly but inevitably lose the battle against their circumstances and end up being nothing. However, in the case of this “victim” embraces and encourages his own fragmentation as he sought out to be eaten. There is a masochistic aspect in this mentality as he derives pleasure from the pain caused either from the physical pain of being cooked or chopped as well as the mental pain of watching pieces of himself getting consumed. The desire for mental pain is more relevant as his desire for physical pain can be satisfied through other S&M activities that does not lead to his death. Beyond the S&M aspect the pleasure of seeing oneself gets eaten can stem from an extreme form of desire for acceptance as it can invoke a perverse sense of sadistic pleasure seeing your partner feast and enjoy what most people would find as repulsive and vile. Moreover, the desire to seek fragmentation can be related to one’s fascination with deconstruction, the same way we pull apart the arms and legs of our toys.

Links: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/dec/04/germany.lukeharding


Whole City Abandoned


Julia Goldstein

Concept: Abandonment

Subconcepts: Nature, Fear, Uprising

Description: The city of Tampico, Mexico with a former population of 300,000 has been completely abandoned after a series of violent uprisings by local gangs. This series of violent behavior includes street shoot-outs and torched cars resulting in 25 deaths.

Interpretation: Although Tampico is known as one of Mexico’s most dangerous cities it is still unheard of for a place so populated to be completely empty. Even more shocking is how fear has completely influenced the citizens of Tampico. These uprisings have killed a mere 25 people, which for the level of violence in the city is not a large amount. Yet because of the atmosphere these gangs have created, the remaining residents decided to leave their homes without question. Furthermore, the effects of these violent acts has lead to the city to be completely overrun by nature. The abandonment of people has caused the local shops, houses and other commercial real estate to be inhabited by the surrounding foliage. Not only are trees and other types of nature taking over around the buildings but they are actually growing and adapting to living inside the buildings. As seen in the pictures, nature has completely taken over where people once prospered.

Personally I am unsure of the future of this city. Tampico is known as a beautiful location and has even been called the “Disneyland of Mexico.” However, because of the fear instilled in its former residents and the mass domination that nature has over the city, I am skeptical that it will ever be a vacation spot again. In order to get back to its former state I believe there needs to be either government involvement or some form of a more powerful retaliation. Until either of those things happen Tampico will remain an abandoned city.

Links: http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jun/02/the-tragedy-of-tampico-mexico-a-city-of-violence-abandoned-to-the-trees

La Tomantina

Ari Markowitz

Concept: Pleasure

Sub-Concept: Temptation, Contrast, Satisfaction


Description: La Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Spain is a festival which occurs annually in which people throw thousands of tomatoes at one another. Seen as a friendlier alternative to the running of the bulls, the throwing of the tomatoes has been a tradition in this local town for decades.

A tradition, the annual festival of La Tomatina is a thrilling event that attracts thousands of pleasure seekers from around the world. Ironically enough, people seek the enjoyment of throwing tomatoes at each other as hard as they can in order to make the largest possible mess. People enjoy getting hit, and love it even more when they actually hit someone else. This is a very unique outlet of pleasure. The event itself is described as being a safer version of the infamous “running of the bulls.” Therefore already, the event is a substitute to something more dangerous. Interestingly enough, during interviews with people who participated in the event, many described experiencing the same enjoyment as having participated in the running of the bulls, without ever coming close to one. The psychology behind this says that because the individuals opted out from the more dangerous event in place of something equally as exciting and creative, they felt it substituted their experience with the bulls. Pleasure has an interesting manifestation in this example because the individuals felt as if they had done one activity through replacing it with another, equally as exciting. This raises questions over the human brain and whether or not this type of psychological swapping can occur in other scenarios. One such example could be to replace the dopamine release cycle of drug users with something much safer yet equally as engaging and unique. Pleasure is expressed through La Tomantina as a release, and as a contrast to the normality of life. The pleasure is gained in the uniqueness of the activity and even though people are getting hit with tomatoes, the excitement and fear of the activity creates a temptation for them to be hit for the shock and pleasure factor.

For years this event has been occurring in the same small town in Spain, and every year there are more and more people in attendance. Many even come back year after year. This highlights the after effects of the event as well. Pleasure is not only a temporary sensation, the human brain does an amazing job of summarizing experiences and recalling many of the best sensations from the past. Thus, the pleasure from something as unique as this remains prevalent in participants’ minds for years. Pleasure in this case is tied directly to the uniqueness of the event, rather than the overall enjoyment factor, in the long term, while in the short term it is caused by the cycle of fear and success.



A young woman’s philosophy of her body and linghun in face of incest and rape

Name: Thu Tran

Concept: Desire

Sub-Concepts: Incest, Rape, Pleasure, Pain

Region: Mainland China

Description: Particularly in Mainland China, sex is considered a taboo and women cannot speak freely about their abuses. A young Chinese woman named Meng Xi who is sexually abused by her father and various male figures in her life focuses on the ancient Chinese philosophy of body-linghun (rough translation as “soul”) to ultimately be indifferent towards her experiences. The crimes on her mind and body are now trivial incidents, and she stands above them all.

The subjectivity of women stems from the Confucian ideas of the Chinese society that men are the dominant and the superior. Meng calls herself a naked soul who “will forget how to cry”. Her physical body is not naked but rather it is the nakedness of her mind and soul. If she has nothing to hide or to be ashamed of, she is free from negativity. Meng’s indifference is eerie and unnatural, as if even the extreme ends of pleasure and pain will not affect her being. It is not naturally human. Even if her own father rapes her (later on as she accepts it, she does not call it rape) and her multiple lovers abuse her, she considers it as another action in her life that she can morph into labeling it just the basis of pleasure. There is no emotion, no sadness, desire, pain, or happiness in the crime, but just pure and simple objectivity.

When interviewed, Meng said her love has no relation to violence and refuses to label the incest as abusive. This is despite her lovers kidnapping and raping her. Her father was also her first man, and from that point forward he was also a sexual partner. The boundaries have been crossed, and her definitions of love, pleasure, and desire have changed.

Linghun transforms the victim into a survivor. From the word itself, they become strong and resistant. A survivor has control. Meng uses this idea to split her body from her linghun during the crimes and become a survivor and winner.  Her philosophy allowed her to not harm herself, unlike many victims of incest and rape. She trained herself to believe that the body is not important, but if the linghun were to be tortured, it would be the most egregious offense. The torture of the soul is kaowen linghun. Meng’s father wanted to take both her body and soul with his question of “Do you enjoy it?” which condemned him in her eyes. Meng had accepted that her body enjoyed the physical act of sex, but to ask her about her emotions marks a desire to control her mind as well. The “spiritual violation” is the most damning and this is where she becomes emotional.

Link: http://vaw.sagepub.com/content/13/12/1319.full.pdf+html




Name: Solomon Zheng

Sub-concepts: transformation, death, trance, cruelty

Snail with parasites

Description: a snail mind-controlled by a parasite

In the picture, a snail is attacked by the parasitic worm, Leucochloridiu, which saps the snail’s body fluids and nutrition, castrating its host in the process. Most notably, the larvae of the parasite are populated in the eyestalks of the snail. A healthy snail is able to contract and extend its eyestalks by pumping them with fluid. However, the eyestalks of an infested snail are so bloated that they are no longer able to be retracted. Furthermore, as the parasite develops in the snail, it even starts to control its behavior. While a snail is a nocturnal creature, the parasite is capable of manipulating its host to roam around during the day. It is not uncommon to find an infested snail climbing to the top of a plant, with its eyestalks full of Leucochloridiu larvae, involuntarily pulsating as do the bodies of caterpillars, beckoning at the predators of the sky day after day until it is eventually ripped into pieces. After the parasite is digested by the birds, it will be passed on to their feces. When snails feed on the bird droppings, the cycle continues. In a way, the parasite represents a downward transformation—a slow, uncontrollable and explosive death. Like a mania, it doesn’t kill its host directly. Rather, it infests in the minds of its hosts, slowly expanding, while encroaching the life energy of its hosts.






Name: Aakash Daryanani

Concept: Death

Sub-Concepts: Madness, sacrifice, reality/illusion


Description: In 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed suicide with the belief that their souls would be transported to a spaceship trailing the Hale-Bopp comet.

Interpretation: Heaven’s Gate cult was an American UFO religious Millenarian group that was based in San Diego, California. The leader at that time, Marshall Applewhite (shown in the photo above) believed that he was directly related to Jesus. In order words, he was an “Evolutionary Kingdom Level Above Human.” The members of the cult believed that the planet Earth was about to be wiped out and renewed, and the only way that they could survive this wipe out was if they left Earth. Applewhite controlled his followers’ lives, and the events that led up to the mass suicide of 39 members of the group is chilling. Applewhite had his followers run “suicide drills” every few days where an alarm would sound. They would lineup outside and receive an offering that they would have to consume, which was basically a suicide pill or liquid that they needed to drink. On March 26, 1997, 39 members gathered together and killed themselves in order to leave the Earth and jump onto a spaceship that was trailing the Hale-Bopp comet, which seemed like it was heading to Earth according to scans and news reports. This drove the group into chaos and some members decided to take their lives and avoid this wipe out so they could live life spiritually on a spaceship, which is utter madness. Unlike Kafka’s interpretation of the sorrow of death and what leads up to it, the Heaven’s Gate cult welcomed death and was ready to do it whenever they wanted or needed to do it. They were deprived of sex, love, wealth, and more so they did not really have anything to live for except for the moment of suicide and death, which is what excited them and enticed them to die. Three bodies, found by DiAngelo (the chosen one), were arranged neatly on their beds, and each body had a five dollar bill and three quarters in their pockets along with packed luggage at their sides. This cult saw death as an opportunity to the afterlife and to endless life, where they could be away and survive this wipe out of Earth. When you have nothing to live for but death, and when the pinnacle of your life is the day you’re going to die, maybe you will always live up and be excited about it, and the sorrow of death is non-existant.


Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120869/Heavens-Gate-cult-committed-mass-suicide-15-years-ago.html


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBTLThA0wOw (1 hour long documentary on the cult).


Solitary confinement makes inmates more violent

Name: Jared Silber

Concept: Solitude

Sub-concepts: Torture, Imprisonment, PTSD

Region: Iran, U.S.

Description: Solitary confinement is a widely used practice in prisons around the world. Despite the UN calling for a ban on using solitary confinement for general incarceration, more than 40 states in the U.S. have prisons with solitary confinement units. The UN recommends a maximum of 15 days in solitary confinement; Californian inmates in solitary confinement stay isolated on average 6.8 years.

Interpretation: People are emerging from stints in solitary confinement—ranging from a few days to a few years—to be later diagnosed with PTSD. Yet solitary confinement has a lack of stimuli and interaction, so what forces are causing this trauma? Sarah Shourd, a prisoner in Iranian solitary confinement for 13 months, describes the lack of activities causing her devastation. After only two months, she became violent within the confines of her cell. Yet Sarah was arrested for accidentally hiking across the Iranian border. In the American prison system, solitary confinement is usually reserved for the ultraviolent or mentally unstable. If the same confinement torture affected a non-violate person (in Sarah’s case), imagine how it would amplify the effects of violent criminals. These inmates are left with only their violent thoughts, unable to socialize—and normalize—with other prisoners, rendering them further unstable and unfit for reintegration with society. Being able to test ideas and see others’ interactions allows these previously violent men and women to restructure their thoughts to a peaceful (and lawful) state. Left alone with their thoughts for months or years only hardens and exacerbates their mental maladies.


Link: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/20/solitary-confinement-psychological-effects-sarah-shourd


8 Responses to WEEK 2

  1. Jeremy Fathy says:

    Name: Jeremy Fathy
    Region: South America
    Concept: Sacrifice
    Sub-Concepts: Death, Fear, Pain

    Description: The Inca people practiced human sacrifice in the form of “capacocha” primarily using children.

    Interpretation: In the ancient Inca Empire, they practiced “capachocha,” which was their form of human sacrifice that typically involved children. Historians propose children were sacrificed to please the mountain gods and that using their own children “was the ultimate sacrifice the Inca could make to please the mountain gods.” This example of human sacrifice in history shows how it was not typically seen as a violent and ruthless act. To the Inca people, sacrificing children to appease the gods seemed rational, and children such as Tanta Carhua (from the article) were honored to be sacrificed to the gods. This is an important concept to grasp when looking at the idea of sacrifice in general (not just human sacrifice). The motivations for sacrifice make the act seem worth it in the end. Sticking with the Inca example, they feared the mountain gods, so they used death and temporary pain to keep them happy (though, according to the article there is evidence to suggest that they attempted to minimize the pain felt by the children being sacrificed). To the Inca people, this sacrifice was worth the feeling that their gods were pleased. If the scope of sacrifice is then broadened, it becomes apparent that sacrifice is a form of a spiritual investment that often manifest itself in unusual yet oddly beautiful ways. Sure, human sacrifice in today’s modern world is ridiculous and unreasonable; however, sacrifice comes in many other forms that stem from the same thought process that the Inca’s followed. For example, a mother may sacrifice her personal life and work two or three jobs so that her children can get an education and live a fulfilling life. On the surface, this is completely different than human sacrifice, but they both follow similar logic: one group/person will give up something valuable (life or free time) so that another group/person will be able to live a better, more prosperous life. So, regardless of the form of sacrifice, the basic idea of trading temporary discomfort, pain, etc. for future benefits remains at the heart of the act’s rationalization.

    Link: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/sacrificial-ceremony.html

  2. Rebekah Wade says:

    Name: Rebekah Wade
    Region: Indonesia
    Concept: Madness
    Sub-Concepts: Power, Memory, Time

    Description: In 2012, Joshua Oppenheimer released his documentary “The Act of Killing.” The film’s stars are elderly Indonesian men who boastfully reenact the various types of murders they commit in the 1965-1966 holocaust that “cleansed” Indonesia of over one million “communists.”


    Quite often, when one commits an act deemed unjust by societal standards, he or she will attempt to cover up their malevolence and will try to extinguish all evidence. Many tend to put away the past’s injustice in an attempt to conceal and cover its trace from civilization. However, what is to be thought of the one who boasts about the blood on their hands? Oppenheimer’s documentary “The Act of Killing” films self-titled elderly gangsters who willingly and eagerly tell their stories of mass murder. What is to be thought of these men? Have their mad minds convinced them that what they have done is in fact virtuous, or are they aware of the atrocity but insanity tells them there is nothing to hide? Whatever the case, these mad men enthusiastically reenact the various murder methods they used to take the lives of thousands in an effort to eternalize their own.

    On the surface, these elderly men look harmless and seem to have the life of any free man. Men with families and grandchildren, they appear to have lived a fruitful and prosperous existence. However, these men’s hands are drenched in the blood of thousands, and they are not willing to wash it off. In fact, they want the entire world to know.

    A mind marked by mania is either unaware their actions are immoral, or has no shame in the harm they have inflicted on others. Either circumstance allows the mad to openly discuss, or even act out for further clarification, the cruelty they have commit. The mad have nothing to hide (or at least do not believe they do) and are eagerly waiting for the world to hear their story.
    One may feel disgusted when he or she hears a mass murderer say, “I’ve never felt guilty, never been depressed, never had nightmares.” However, what if the killer is mad? Is the murderer at fault when their insanity has caused their perception to be skewed? These men’s mad minds have caused them to perceive horrors as honorable; they see no wrong in sharing their murder methods that helped cleanse Indonesia.

    We all leave an imprint on this world, and these mad men are determined to eternalize their bloody marks.

    Links: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/act-killing-review-indonesia-film-murder-joshua-484423

  3. Anonymous says:

    Zachary Bastarche

    Concept: Sensation
    region/event: water/ Waianae Beach, Hawaii
    Sub-concepts: pleasure,fear, trance, death

    Description: For many the idea of dying from drowning sounds like it could be one of the worst ways to die, slowly running out breathe, followed by panic and gasps for air. But why is that many who have experienced drowning and somehow managed to be brought back describe it as one of the most pleasurable and euphoric experience they have ever experienced. Article 1 is a first hand description of a man who drowned, the second article looks into why there is this sense of euphoria people get from near death experiences.

    Interpretation: i chose this article because i want to look at the sensations that come with death. It seems that through death comes an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility for those that experience it. A man young boy swimming in Hawaii describes his own experience with death after he was pulled into the ocean by a wave than dragged out to sea by the under current. A young boy could feel death right before him, but the panic that he felt only lasted for a little bit and was replaced with peace and tranquility.

    This got me thinking about the contradicting thoughts about death. No one wants to die, but there seems to be this accepting and welcoming feeling that many people experience as they see deaths door open right in front of them. As humans there is a sense of peace of closure that comes with death even for an 8 year old boy. He just floated to the bottom and embraced the sensation that is death.

  4. Name: Tom Gallagher

    Concept: Transgression

    Sub-Concepts: Death, Sacrifice, Transformation, Fear

    Description: Benjamin L. Salomon was a dentist that was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1940, right before World War II. Salomon was stationed at a base that was attacked and taken over by Japanese forces. When the Americans retook the base, they found Salomon dead, surrounded by nearly 100 enemy troops.

    Interpretation: Benjamin Salomon probably had no idea that he would need to become a killing machine in the deadliest military conflict in history when he became a dentist in 1937. Even when drafted into the U.S. Army, he transferred to the Army Dental Corps, which had a very low prospected casualty rate. In Saipan, the Pacific Theater, the hospital he was working in was attacked by Japanese forces. The violent environment that Salomon was forced into then caused a transgression within him that ripped him from his rather peaceful life and threw him into a violent killing rampage. He grabbed hold of an unmanned machine gun and, “mowed down wave after wave of enemies”. The American forces that retook the base the next day found Salomon dead with more than 70 gun shoot wounds, and nearly 100 dead enemy troops in front of him. Very few could have predicted that outcome given Salomon’s background in dentistry and limited field experience in the military. One could say that the violence exhibited by Salomon was out of his character, and even went against his character. He was not prone to lethal violence before being drafted, at least not that anyone could tell. The violence that erupted from him that day was the mark of a core transgression from what is considered to be normal behavior to destructive behavior. This could have been trigged by his survival instincts, his desire to hold off the enemy until his fellow troops could escape, or any countless number of reasons. It could be possible that his transgression from peace to harm was triggered in his mind by an unconscious desire to reciprocate the violence that was directed towards himself, or even by the notion of the death wish, or desire to destroy oneself. Of course he had military training that likely kicked in at that moment and was in the chokehold of war, but the sheer number of his fatalities is reason enough to believe that the quintessence of Benjamin Salomon underwent a very deep transgression beyond the normal expectations of society.

    Source: http://www.cracked.com/article_20434_5-people-who-took-revenge-to-whole-new-level.html

  5. Name: Trevor C Sullivan
    Concept: Metaphysics
    Sub-Concepts: Satanism, Sacrifice, Evil

    Description: Nikolai Ogolobyak was a former Christian choir boy and turned to Satanism. He took four people into the woods and stabbed them each 666 times before eating some of their body parts.

    There are many religions and beliefs, and even more varying beliefs within certain religions. However, there are few which instill fear such as Satanism. Many Satanist live ordinary lives and just have a different golden rule set, being treat others how they treat you. Then there are Satanist’s like Nikolai Ogolobyak who perform rituals on random individuals. This violence is in the name of something which they believe is more present than the popular figure of God in the Christian faith.
    Those who perform such rituals believe to have been touched or seen the Devil, or have been turned away by God and Christianity. Either way, they perform satanic rituals which are aimed to please their lord of darkness. This is all to give a meaning, just like Christian’s, to their lives. The ultimate question to many is what is ultimately their and who/how did it start. With these beliefs these questions are answered. There is good (God) and bad (Devil), and God created it. The only additional question which Satanist may further ask is who then will end it?

    Link: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2012/12/craziest-real-life-crimes-committed-in-the-name-of-satan/nikolai-ogolobyak

  6. Henry Brown says:

    Concept : Excess
    Sub Concept : Love and Self Destruction
    Region : Britain

    Description : The 34-year-old, who now goes by the nickname Bart, is Britain’s Most Tattooed Man with over 200 Tattoos which cover 98% of his skin.

    Interpretation: There are several people in the world with tattoos but none have gone to the extent of “Bart” in Britain. He has violently inked his whole body up so excessively that there is little to no bare skin able to be seen. This excess of ink on his body can have many interpolations. He has been quoted saying that he does it for the love of his body, but I think he does it for the exact opposite. I think he does it for the love of art and uses self-destruction as his master piece. This is a tool even the great artist of another time, such as Picasso, used to display his love for art. This excessive ink is also violent because he destroys his skin that he was born with and can now no longer go back to the way his skin was originally. There must be a correlation to the excessive violence to himself and the love of art he has portrayed.


  7. Name: Nick Wong
    Concept: Nature
    Sub-concepts: Flood, Cleanse, Genesis, Chaos
    Description: The biblical flood is in the book of Genesis and details that there was a flood
    Interpretation: Nature can be a very powerful and violent force that can be manipulated by a higher source of power ie God. In the book of Genesis the flood is the force that is going to wipe out all the evil from the earth. Nature can be such an efficient killer because it is an inanimate force. This means that nature has no feelings and it certainly has no emotions and it can either be a great resource or a total wave of destruction. However, in this case nature is used as a weapon of violence, but normally nature acts completely on its own. It is interesting to think that people used to believe that the Gods could manipulate nature. Without science to show how storms are created it does seem easy to believe that some sort of higher power like a God could have been summoning them. Floods do occur in nature but none that are to the extent that was described in the Bible. I also found it interesting how water is a symbol of purity and what better way to cleanse the earth from all of its violence and cruelty than to violently cover the earth in water. It is exactly like putting out a fire with fire, sometimes in order to overcome violence you must become violent.
    Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis_flood_narrative

  8. John Olivo
    Concept: Language
    Sub-concept: cruelty, metaphysics
    Location: Saudi Arabia
    Speak No Evil

    A young girl in Saudi Arabia publicly said Jesus was our savior and was harshly punished. Authorities punished her by sewing her mouth and one of her eyes shut.

    It is well known that there exists an intense hatred of Christians by some Muslims in Saudi Arabia. The young girl must have been aware that her statement “Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, is a personal Savior” would lead to a severe punishment. This leads me to question what could drive someone especially a young person to say a statement like that. It is something that I clearly cannot grasp but the punishment seems unsurprisingly cruel. To openly oppose/challenge a group that is known for being extremists will certainly lead to a punishment that is extremely cruel.
    The part of the punishment that I did not understand was that the thread being used was intentionally contaminated in order to promote infection in the girls wounds. The girl was punished by having done to her the opposite of what Jesus Christ was said to have done. He was known to cure blind and mute people. The infections that may have resulted could kill the girl and then the purpose of having her live with the legacy of having had her mouth sewn shut for preaching Christianity would have been defeated.
    Link: http://www.westernjournalism.com/barbaric-muslims-sew-mouth-eye-shut-girl-professed-jesus-savior/

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