Is Your Destiny Related to Your Name?

Aileen Oh

Concept: Fate

Sub-Concepts: Names, future, identity

 Description: Choosing a name for their child is hard for parents. Although some parents want their child to have a unique, uncommon name, some parents just want their child to have a generic, common name. Growing research is suggesting that one’s name may have a significant impact on one’s life from childhood to adulthood. One’s name can change one’s behavior and self-esteem.

 Interpretation: Parents have the great responsibility of naming their child. When naming their child, parents choose a name that they are fond of. However, this does not mean that their child will necessarily like the name that was chosen for them. Having a unique name could cause much hardship for the child which will affect them through adulthood. For example, studies show that boys who have girly names are significantly more likely to have disciplinary and behavioral problems in school. The reason for this is because they have a higher pressure to act more masculine than other male peers. On the other hand, if a girl has a boyish name, they are more likely to choose math and science courses in high school while girls with feminine names are more likely to choose humanities classes.

In addition, there is a direct correlation between how one feels about one’s name and one’s self-esteem. If someone dislikes their name or if other people think that their name is odd, that person is much more likely to have low self-esteem. On the contrary, if one likes one’s name, one is much more likely to be happier and have high self-esteem.

Although parents give their child the great gift of life, they may also condemn their child a life of problems depending on the name that they choose. The behavioral problems that a boy exhibits when he is young due to having a feminine name will completely change how he acts when he is an adult. It appears a bit unfair that children are unable to choose their own names, especially because a name can completely change a child’s whole life. Based on a parents’ personal preference, the child may have to suffer their entire life; this exhibits the importance of free will. If it was possible for a baby to pick their own name at birth, having a name that they approve of may completely change their behavior and self-esteem.


Problems With Speed and Mobility

Name: Cade Miller

Location: Japan, United States

Concept: Metaphysics

Sub-Concept: Desire, Striation, Nomadism

Description: The contemporary focus on bullet trains and increasingly fast modes of transportation are problematic because they striate space through channeling the potentiality for mobility through conduits pre-approved by the government. This allows the state to exclude marginalized communities from decision making and transportation planning, which is then falsely justified because of its efficiency.

Interpretation: With the plans of a high-speed train coming to the United States in the conceptual stages, we see yet again another instance of justifying efficiency over that of the human. The high-speed train must be accepted in order to provide an efficient mode of transportation to people. This is problematic because it leaves out marginalized or minority communities from the process of route planning and approval. The state apparatus approves the channels through which the train will bring itself, challenging the notion of smooth space. Instead of having the possibility for the war machine to take hold and allow a sort of pressure freeing those groups from the striation of movement in the suburbs, the government produces a state of order and predictable accepted limitations of where people can move. This sort of logic may be difficult to apprehend at the metropolis level, but to offer an example think of the freeway system which has been in place for decades. While passing through all of the space and allowing the passenger to see the totality of the landscape, it simultaneously only allows one to exit at central hub points that have been specifically targeted as places of interest. This serves the government well, because it allows for intense interaction with spaces of economic interest, but limits and disconnects the undesirable portions. In this way, calculation of accessibility can no longer be thought of simply in terms of distance, as the striation creates a shift of movement which necessarily changes the form and function of the land. Instead accessibility must be thought of in the contemporary world as connectivity. Regardless of distance, one space is reachable from another through these accepted channels, because they are connected in this seemingly arbitrary way.

Those with the means to transport themselves through this system and through these conduits are allowed to, while those that are not economically able to cannot transport themselves to certain places because it is either virtually impossible to do so or it is illegal. For example, let’s say you are in Boston and need to get to Logan Airport. The only way to get there feasibly is through an extremely long tunnel with cars whizzing closely around you. And even though there is a sidewalk, often times it is coned off in many parts because of valve construction or the like. You can see here a perfectly cogent example of how this in practice works, literally in our backyard of Boston. But this concept goes much further to even the very infrastructure of roads, causing what Delueze called ‘microfascisms’ to arise, making one feel obliged to take the normally accepted route of transportation. This is a shift in mobility from the topological flow to a constructed dromological space. This construction of accepted routes in the name of efficiency only allows the chaos of transportation to continue, reinforcing the power sources and systemic violence at the root of the metropolis, and leads to an elimination of physical enemies of the State to enemies that are only symbolic. This allows for a bio-political system capable of justifying endless brutality against the Other under the illusion of non-existent hegemony.

It seems that the movement towards nomadism is required for this to ever be resisted in actuality. This rejection of striation and of government-approved conduits of desire, allows the possibility for this space to yet again be smoothed out. This is referred to as the ‘nomadic war machine’ in A Thousand Plateaus, and functions as an assemblage of force that is self-replicating that does not use violence and war as an object or purpose, but rather as a means to ‘deterritorialize’ the channels that the State apparatus has put in place to effect fascism.

Link: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/nov/02/high-speed-rail-bullet-train-san-diego/



Julia Goldstein

Concept: Abandonment

Region: West Virginia

Sub-concept: Haunting, Murder, Fear

Description: Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, an abandoned park in West Virginia is home to multiple phantasms since their horrific deaths many years ago. These victims died while using the park’s many attractions and also by a Native American tribe who claimed the land.

Interpretation: When the land was first bought by a European family in 1783 the local Native American tribe was furious, they insisted the land belonged to them which started a violent rampage. This caused a band of the natives to kill the family’s youngest son, daughter, and eldest son. Each was brutally tortured including being knifed to death and burned at the stake. These ghosts as well as other children who were using the park’s Ferris wheel and circling swing set are often seen at the park. This lingering presence from the phantasms illustrates that their souls have been abandoned by heaven, hell, or any other post-life acceptance. Through this rejection they must wander the place of their last days, leaving them abandoned by all. However, a prominent point to this article is that the ghosts that are most often seen are those that were killed when the park was in use. This could be because the ghosts naturally go back to where they died. A small girl who was thrown from the cycling swing set will naturally in her afterlife go to the same cycling swing set which killed her. Yet, the daughter and two sons who were killed by Native Americans cannot return to a specific object or defining feature making it harder to return to a specific place. This idea also emphasizes that time is a sensitive matter for ghosts as well. The ghosts that were killed more recently are more likely to “haunt” the park. Could this be because the other older souls make more of an attempt to move on? Or could this be because newer souls are more lost and confused about their situation making them more likely to return? These concepts show that abandonment and time have a close relationship, defining how much abandonment can affect one soul’s based on how long they have been abandoned for.

Link: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/abandoned-west-virginia-amusement-park-bloody-history-article-1.1497567


Name: Jaehee Park

Region / Concept: Norway / Space

Sub-concepts: Children, Woods

among the sleep


“Among the Sleep” is a Norwegian horror video game developed by Krillbite studio in which you are a toddler going through a series of events (a house and the woods). You carry a talking bear toy with you as you travel through dark, creepy spaces. The

The intended audience is for adults but you are seeing the world through a child’s eye. The world that the toddler sees appears larger partially because the toddler sees at 2 ft. above ground and also because the eyes are close set. When you’re crawling around, you can’t defend yourself and minor things like the sound of a washing machine seem augmented and menacing. The voice acting of the bear is strange as it is a male adult speaking in the form of a tiny toy bear. You would expect a child to accompany the toddler throughout the journey. “Still, “Among the Sleep” pulls you in. As a child, you’re never really sure what is real and what is imagined.”

We are entranced by the appearance of the world through a toddler’s eye especially because we are aware that we are not toddlers—we are adults playing the game with the knowledge that the child will be incapable of running away from danger or from effectively defending itself. At the same time, the adult and the child are similar in that they both want to explore the space of the unknown. At various points of the game, the child realizes that his/her mother is in trouble–the bear tells you that it thinks the mother is in trouble. So you naturally go to the second floor where your mother sleeps and sees that the room is completely wrecked: the window’s open, some furnitures and your mother are absent from the scene. There is another part of the game where you, the toddler, goes into the dark wood at night. It’s a swampy area and whenever you encounter a creature, you’re vision blurs and noise is echoed, reflecting the frightened state of mind of the baby. Going into these dark spaces, you are able to navigate through by internalizing the toddler’s vulnerability and the natural human instinct to jump into the unknown. There is even an option to augment and intensify the experience of the child by using Oculus Rift which is a virtual reality device that incorporates various visual and tactile senses while you play the game.



Name: Michael Winter

Geographical Location: Boulder, CO

Concept: Time

Sub-concept: Relativity, Accuracy, Dimensionality

Description: A new clock developed by scientists at the University of Colorado is so sensitive that it can detect changes in the speed of time as it moves just centimeters towards or away from the earth’s core.


In his theory of relativity, Einstein proved that the speed of time is directly affected by changes in gravitational forces. As you move closer to the epicenter of a gravitational field, the gravitational pull will increase and time will slow down. For us, this gravitational epicenter is the core of the earth. Day to day, the changes in the speed of time that occur due to topographical differences across different locations are imperceptible; however, these small changes are causing big problems for a new clock technology boasting unprecedented levels of accuracy and sensitivity.

The new device, which harnesses the vibration of strontium atoms to create a clock capable of keeping perfect time for 5 billion years, is causing scientists to reconsider the feasibility of maintaining an absolute time scale across the earth. Previously, official clocks were synchronized using atomic technology; due to their lower accuracy and sensitivity, this old technology kept time in sync across the globe to the highest measurable degree.  The advent of the strontium clock made more precise measurement possible and, in doing so, allowed scientists to measure the minute differences in the speed of time across the globe. At this heightened level of sensitivity, the keeping of exactly identical time across the world no longer appears feasible; differences in the true speed of time will cause discrepancies between these previously unanimous official world clocks.

In short, this means that there is no universal unit of time, no unanimously agreed upon “second,” “minute,” or “year.” Time enters a mysterious overlap between the subjective and the objective; a minute for you might be different than a minute for me, yet both minutes are verifiable facts. This malleability seems a far cry from the concreteness required to form an axis on a dimensional plane thereby suggesting that idea of time as a dimension like length or depth may be erroneous. Instead, the strontium clock suggests that time may be a human construct, an imperfect tool we use to make sense of the universe.


Man and woman in hotel lobby

Name: Lawson Hung

Concept: Sensation

Region: Every Continent (Except Antartica)

Sub-concepts: Trapped, Slavery, Money, Sex

Description: Sex trafficking is a problem that is on every continent, and problems have only increased in recent years. Here’s how to spot and stop a sex trafficking ring.


Hotels are a major source of sex trafficking for leading prostitution rings. They are easy to get into, make money in, and easy to move on from, without attracting too much attention. It happens in every hotel, from the sleaziest and slummiest hotels to even five star hotels. There is now a ECPAT Code of Conduct set in place to fight drug trafficking. Major hotel chains, including Hilton, realize that sex trafficking occurs often in hotels, and is the main source of the crimes. Hotels now even train their employees to be on the lookout for red flags. First, when checking in, paying with cash is an obvious cause for concern. Furthermore, if an older man checks in with a younger woman who does not appear to be his/her children, the speak a different language, look dazed or afraid, or are made up to look older than they actually are, are all red flags that point out something is wrong. Another clue is a small amount of luggage. Legitimate travelers tend to bring a lot of bags with them, but women stuck in sex trafficking rings have little clothes to wear. Another way in which women are sneaked into the hotels are through side doors. This is so that the traffickers do not raise alarm by bringing in a large number of women at once. Another red flag is having lots of men coming and going from a single room, and congregating outside the door or in the general vicinity of where the crime is occurring.

Many of these women, and even children, are forced into sex trafficking. Some of these under-aged girls are forced to be sold by their debt-stricken parents back in their home country. Others were probably kidnapped at a young age. This poses a huge problem for authorities because a lot young girls are involved in the prostitution ring, and are more often than not underage. Most of these girls have not seen much freedom in their days, and some unfortunately spend their whole lives in the sex ring. When they grow old or out of shape, they are simply left in the streets or killed. However, one can stop this by keeping an eye out for red flags.

Link: http://time.com/3525640/sex-trafficking-victim-prostitution-hotel/


Alberto Rodriguez Rico


Description: The Narco is a word that is used to refer to the drug dealer cartels in Mexico. This cartels control the drug trafficking across Mexico to different parts of the world such as the US. They represent an important problem to Mexico’s future and economic growth since they create insecurity inside the country’s borders. The most dangerous aspect is that “El Narco” is rotting Mexico’s society by recruiting working population for their objectives. This is consequence of the large segment of the population living in poverty. Mexico lives an interesting condition, they have the richest man in the world, but also more than 30% of their population lives in poverty. These individuals join the Narco with the illusion of a better life, since their current condition represents an intense crisis.

As mentioned above the most precarious capacity of “El Narco” goes beyond the actions of the drug leaders and the violence they create. The have created a stereotypical image of their profession in the rural areas. People living in these communities typically live under poor conditions and a large portion of the Cartel’s members are originally from these kind of communities. The subjects that make a successful career inside the group typically go back to their hometowns. The inhabitants observe how their condition has improved extremely; they tend to have big trucks, fancy clothes and pretty women. Therefore the one’s that did not join the Narco place themselves in inferior condition compared to them. They have been able to get all these material treasures while they continue to live immersed in poverty. The danger arises with the perceptions of the young teenagers, which represent the future of the country. These young men create an illusion surrounding the reality of joining the Narco. They perceive that joining them will mean to get all those pleasures and refusing it would be to continue to live in poverty, such as their parents. Therefore their motivation is to become drug dealers; destroying any possibility of getting a respectful job.

The illusion behind the drug dealer ignores the reality of what it takes to become one of them. In order to succeed they need to commit horrific acts and risk their life and the lives of their beloved ones. However, they are significantly young and ignorant to perceive this, in which the country’s government takes an important role. The problem is that at the moment in which they take the decision to join, there is no way back. Once you are in the group, the only way to go out is by being killed.  By not having an exit, these individuals will continue to perform these inhuman acts until the moment in which they are killed or suicide, which increases the power the Narco.

The illusion they create is consequence of the urgent exit they need in order to improve their current crisis of being poor. Even if they could perceive another alternative like study or working hard, “El Narco” represents the fastest route to money and pleasures. They perceive that any other option does not guarantee success, while the Narco does, since all of unsuccessful drug dealers end killed. Therefore they only have contact with successful drug dealers. This intensifies the illusion behind the drug dealer, since all of them are able to get those pleasures without exception. The young generations want to be “El Chapo Guzman”, to have power and live without rules. However they ignore that they by deciding that, they will be playing a violent game which can end up destroying them.

El Infierno. Dir. Luis Estrada. Perf. Damian Alcazar. 2010.


North Korean Man Reports Mother and Brother’s escape of death camp, Leading to their Painful Death

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 10.53.48 AM

Name: Stela Maksutaj

Concept/ Region: Seduction/ North Korea

Sub-concepts: Brainwashing, Communism

Description: At 13 years old, Shin Dong-Hyuk overheard his mother and brother planning to escape from a North Korean death camp, and so he told the guards their plan. They were dragged away, hung and shot to death. Shin was tortured throughout his entire stay at the camp, and later understood the repercussions of his brainwash.

Interpretation: At the age 13, the government had a strong influence on the mind of Shin Don-Hyuk. Born into knowing nothing other than being suppressed, Shin no longer understood the natural loyalty one should have for his own family. The death camp seduced Shin into betraying his own blood through fear. He was tortured through the use of devices, and daily beat if he was not completely submissive. Forced to believe the government was the source of his happiness, and only ache of freedom, Shin feared to lose everything he had. Because his family failed to reveal the outside world to him, his seduction to side with the death camp was inevitable. Shin believed he had control over his own mind and decisions, when it was a life full of brainwash the entire time. Even witnessing the death of his own blood did not disarray Shin from his decision to tell the guards the truth. Shin had complete conviction in revealing his family’s treason, serving as evidence of the government successfully brainwashing him.



Phantom Limb, Real Pain


Name: Caitie Benoit

Region: United States

Concept: Pain

Sub-concept: Loss, Reality/Illusion, Movement

Description: When limbs are amputated for medical reason or due to traumatic injuries in the battlefield, the bodies of the patients are often confused and disturbed. Although the limb may be gone, the body and nerve endings give the patient sensations in the limb that make it feel as if the limb were still there. Some patients are even able to feel which way the limb is believed to be manipulated if there was a bone break that was never set before the amputation. In many cases this sensation is extremely painful and doctors around the world are searching for cure.

Interpretation: The brain works in mysterious ways and doctors are only able to discover so much about the body before they begin to struggle to find new information. When an amputation occurs, the nerve endings and the brain are thought to be hard wired when it comes to our limbs, causing them to send sensations to the limbs as if they were still there. These sensations are often extremely painful for the person experiencing them. The cause of the phantom limb pain is still being researched due to the lack of treatments available to help reduce the mysterious pain. The nerve endings in the limb may play a large role in the cause of phantom pain, especially if the endings are extensively damaged. Sometimes the damaged nerve endings regrow incorrectly within the part of the limb that is left behind, sending false signals to the brain. The erroneously grown nerve endings may also reconnect to the spinal cord in different ways, causing the firing of nerve endings to work incorrectly as well. As discussed above, sometimes if the there is a bone break within the limb that was not reset properly before amputation, the victim feels as if the arm or leg is still bent in the wrong direction and still broken, which causes extreme amounts of pain. In 1996 they began to experiment with the amputee clients by using mirror therapy to help reduce pain.

The purpose of mirror therapy is to allow the person experiencing the phantom pain to visualize their limb still attached based off of the reflection of their other limb. The patients are able to move the reflection of their limb, giving the brain and body the sensation that the missing limb is there again. The ability to view a reflection of the removed limb reattached, helps the brain to recollect itself and the realign the attempts to move the limb with the visualization of a moving limb. It has been discovered by doctors that humans have a system of neurons in their brains that are similar to the mirror neurons found in the brains of monkeys. These neurons fire when a person is performing an action themselves and when they are witnessing an action performed by another. The neurons mirror the behavior that it witnessed from the other and provides the patient with an internally recognized experience. This helps to explain why mirror therapy has been effective in reducing the phantom pain of some amputee victims. The ability to observe and visualize the movement of the reflection of the limb allows the patient to feel the same sensation and emotions of moving their other limb. Phantom limb pain is still being researched and new treatments are being tested.

Links: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3468806/



Proposed Texas textbooks are inaccurate, biased and politicized, new report finds

Name:                          Hein Myat Win Lwin

Concept:                      Fragmentation

Sub-Concepts:              Transformation, Language, Illusion




There is a new social studies textbook being proposed for the Texas public schools which is based on the “Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills”. The supposed new editions of the textbooks consists of conservative and historically incorrect information that undermines and in some cases even vilify non-Christian perspectives.



The control of information and what is essentially the truth has been a tactic administered by several ruling bodies throughout history to ensure that their subjects remains docile and content in their fabricated realities. The article above stands out mainly due to the position that the US supposedly stands in the world in regards to ensuring the freedom and the rights of its citizens. Thereby, the fact that a case such as this prevails in one of the biggest and influential states in the US means that the phenomena exists all around the world. The main reason that these compromised textbooks can be viewed as instruments towards violence is due to the amount of influence they have on the malleable minds of the future generation as they will be able to instill innate and fundamental beliefs that may align with racism, sexism and basically intolerance due to ignorance. Thereby, we can observe a fragmentation in one of the most fundamental sources of knowledge that is the backbone of academia. Therefore, as the material of textbooks gets tampered with to favor one ideology over the other, a rift is formed between what is factually correct and what is ideologically correct. Facts serve as a logical foundation to support one’s beliefs and ideologies and the very fact that “facts” are becoming inherently inconsistent results in violence committed by good-willed people shrouded by a cloud of fear and ignorance. Tampered texts books can be interpreted as a symptom for another form of fragmentation which is the fragmentation in the goals of education as a whole as there is a chasm between the indoctrination of an ideology and the ultimate pursuit of greater knowledge. The prior goal produces mind that are shaped to fit in with the current structure of the present society and would not be a disruptive presence whereas the latter goal overlooks the societal structure and produce minds that prioritize knowledge over conformism which could potentially disrupt the balance in the society.


Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/09/12/proposed-texas-textbooks-are-inaccurate-biased-and-politicized-new-report-finds/

Designer Babies

Aileen Oh

Concept: Fate

Sub-concepts: Genetically modified babies, future

Description: “Designer baby,” a term generated from “designer clothing” is a baby whose genes have been selected to either remove a particular gene or guarantee that a particular gene is present. As genetic technology is advancing rapidly, parents may soon be able to choose their child’s looks, intelligence, athletic ability, musicality, etc. This is becoming an ethical issue as parents would basically be designing their child’s life. Not only would they change the genes of their child, but also the genes of the children in future generations.

Interpretation: The ethicality of designer babies is currently being questioned. Should parents be able to decide the future and identity of their child? Parents currently can select the gender of their child, but they may soon be able to pick other traits such as, athleticism and physical traits. It is indisputable that parents want the smartest, most athletic, good-looking child. However, if they design their child to have superior athletic ability, the child is destined to become an athlete. If the child was left alone to be born naturally, he or she may unfortunately have had a natural desire and passion to become a doctor or a painter, which became overshadowed by the talents they received from the superior gene. By being able to choose the genes of their child, parents are essentially creating their child’s fate and whole course of life. Unfortunately, the child has no say and will be unable to pursue topics they are instinctively passionate about due to genetic technology. Not only do parents change the fate of their child but also the fate of their children’s children, since the chosen genes will continue to be passed down to future generations. Parents should not be able to choose their child’s passions and talents. It is unfair that the child’s natural gifts will be overshadowed by the superior genes that were selected by their parents.

However, other people think otherwise. Some people state that parents have the right to give their children the best start in life. Selecting genes is no different than hiring a tutor, or a piano teacher, or signing their child up for soccer, to acquire certain traits. Although this is true, children can choose to quit soccer if it’s not for them or quit the piano if they decide that they aren’t interested in music and have free-will. With the genes that their parents choose for them to have, they don’t have the right to make these kind of decisions themselves. As a result, genetic technology is enabling parents to act as God by being able to create the child they desire. Although being able to make a perfect child that is destined to be an expert or prodigy in a certain subject is tempting, parents should not be in charge of their child’s fate.





Name:Ryan Narod

Concept: Desire

Subconcepts: Madness, Animality, Death

Region: United States


Nightcrawler is a movie about a man named Lou, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who starts a career gathering firsthand footage of crimes that he later sells to local news stations.




Henry Barnes, a reviewer at The Guardian, best describes the essence of the film as a “wickedly funny satire on journalism, the job market, and self-help culture”. Lou’s desire to grow his business, Video Production News, is based on what he was able to learn through online courses. His self-help readings are his bible and the information blinds him to the blatant inhumanity and recklessness of his actions. For example, he stalls apprehending criminals until they are in a public place where he can get a better shot of the action. When Lou finally reports them the criminals end up killing a cop and surrounding civilians. After an argument with his partner, Lou sends him into the line of fire and proceeds to let him die, all the while filming, and as he dies he tells him that he could not let him inhibit his business growth. Lou’s online searches led him to staid heuristics and pop psychology that taught him how to advance in the business world through networking, leadership skills, etc. However, he takes each bit of doled out information at face value and ends up twisting the meaning and justifying his violent actions.

The satire on journalism is embedded in the plotline of the News Director, Nina’s, ratings objectives. She wants urban crime creeping into the suburbs. The victims should be white and wealthy. The footage needs to be graphic. The director here taps into the innate desire we all have for violence and destruction. Ratings are good when people can follow a horrific murder story about people similar to them. Viewers want to experience a bit healthy fear and they want to see what violent criminals are capable of. They need the bloodstains, and half-blasted flesh to make the story come to life.

Finally Lou’s partner, Rick, starts working for Lou for $30 a night. He’s homeless and incapable of asking for a raise or standing up for himself. When he finally does stand up for himself, Lou allows him to die. The bleak job market of Los Angeles is alluded to in the opening scene where Lou offers himself up as an intern and gets denied. Nina is also fighting for to keep her job by ensuring ratings stay afloat. The movie ends in a cyclic manner with Lou hiring his own interns for Video Production News. In desperate times, people’s desire to just get by allows people to unfairly take advantage of their urgent needs. The film explores the lengths to which Rick is berated by Lou in exchange for a slim salary and the crimes Lou is willing to commit in order to get the highest priced footage of the night.

Overall, Nightcrawler explores the pitfalls of three desires that are timely with current technology and the state of the economy. Lou, Nina, and Rick each serve as examples of what happens when these desires blind your morals and your actions become incomprehensible to a clear sighted self.




Nonsense is Accepted

Name: Kevin Manesh

Region: India

Concept: Nonsense

Sub-concepts: Excess, Reality/Illusion, Language

Description: Famous Bollywood actor, Manoj Bajpayee, responds to questions of the movie industry in an interview. He agrees that cinema as an art is declining due to commercialism saying that “nonsense is accepted if it is promoted well”.

As long movies are influenced by money, nonsense will be promoted. Nonsense will prevail over logical sense (quality movies) if it is funded. This is a simple relationship, but to accept nonsense is an interesting thing in society that proposes questions for further analysis. To accept nonsense alone is a paradox in itself by definition. In doing so, one has to unconsciously make sense of the concept to accept it. So if one can accept nonsense, is it really nonsense? Also, why would we choose to accept it when rejecting it seems more logical? This adds another element of nonsense creating an endless loop or cycle for nonsense to fuel itself.

This paradox reveals that nonsense is a cover-up for other issues of conceptual nonsense that we cannot accept. Accepting the nonsense that covers up a more explicit truth (the fact that commercialism plays a more vital role than quality in movies) is the only way to cope with the frustration of the root of the nonsense. The fact that good work is neglected even though it is not nonsense is another interesting element of how nonsense affects us. Without enough promotion, good work is deemed as inauthentic in the eyes of the public. This exposes our unconscious aspiration to follow the desire of the masses of society. Thus, nonsense is only accepted by a large grouping rather than by everyone. There are still a lot of individuals who reject this nonsense even though it is accepted overall. Nonetheless, we have a fascination with accepting the refutation of logic. We are drawn to a fantasy world which is particularly relevant to this situation since movies are a form of escape from the logic of the world.


Self-Sacrifice: Choosing the ultimate loss



Name: Monica Quiros

Concept: Loss

Sub-Concept: self-sacrifice, death, empowerment

Event: Rick Escorla worked at the World Trade Center and was one of the main organizers of the evacuation plan for his floor. During the 9/11 attacks, he organized evacuations that saved approximately 2700 people; however, he went back to the tower to help more people and ended up dying when the tower collapsed.

Most of us don’t seek loss; in fact, we usually turn away from it. Nonetheless, there are instances where extreme circumstances call for extreme measures and people choose loss. Whether this means  losing someone else, a part of themselves, or even their own life, it is intentional and this distinguishes it from other unexpected losses. Self-sacrifice is both a chosen and an imposed loss. The person who dies willingly decides that he is going to lose their life but at the same time his choice will impact those surrounding, and whoever chooses to sacrifice is imposing that loss on them.

In instances like the one being explored, the loss is not only embraced, but often actively pursued. Rick went back to the building knowing he could die. His motivation for the self-imposed loss does not seem like an aspiration for grandeur or recognition, because those who make the sacrifice know that they will not live to see their glory. In a way, the greatest power that loss has over us is the fact that we fear it, therefore embracing it and seeking it is empowering. The magnitude of the loss is lessened, both for those who chose it and those who are affected by it. It is easier for those who lose someone to come to terms with the loss when they know that those who are gone were in control of the situation and chose to embrace the loss as opposed to fight it.

Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033919/Twin-Towers-hero-predicted-terror-attacks-led-2-700-safety–died-went-look-stragglers.html


Name: Aakash Daryanani

Concept: Death

Region: New Delhi, India

Sub-Concepts: Cruelty, Objects

Description: An Indian father in New Delhi, India, invited a man he believes raped his 14-year-old daughter, tortured him by burning his genitals with tongs, drugging him, gagged him with a bed sheet, and then strangled him to death.

Interpretation: Vinod Kumar, the 36-year-old father of a 14-year-old daughter, decided to take revenge into his own hands and cast it upon the medical supplier who lived in the same neighborhood as him. Kumar, who believes the medical supplier raped his daughter, served the guest drugged food and beverages. Once drugged, he beat him, gagged him, burned his genitals with tongs, and then killed him by strangle. Kumar, enraged with anger, does not even have assurance that the medical supplier actually is the rapist. The medical supplier was a victim of revenge from a very proud father who did not want to ruin his family reputation, as he said when confronted by the police.

Revenge is a very strong feeling within anyone who is proud, because there is no stopping that person until they get the satisfaction of inflicting pain on the individual. The great Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, once said “the best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” Interpreting this, the rapist had lust to rape the daughter of Kumar. His satisfaction and his excitement was fulfilled by the act of rape, and he was the one that benefitted as the girl was left scarred. Kumar, however, had lust as well, but not for sex. He had the lust to inflict pain and hurt the individual that caused his daughter the scarring. While both parties had lust, they had lust for different reasons. Death caused by revenge brings about a very interesting and contradictory feelings at times for both parties involved. First party being the rapist, he obviously (or at least we can assumed) enjoyed having forced sex with the daughter and was satisfied at the end of the act. There’s a reason why he wanted to do this to the woman but we will assume it is lust because this could go so many ways otherwise. While the first party flourishes, the second party, as in the victim or the family (in this case, Vinod Kumar) is dreading the act that took place. The next step for revenge? Punish the perpetrator. In this case, Kumar tortures and kills the rapist, who once enjoyed the act that actually ended up killing him. That’s where Kumar’s satisfaction levels rise because he is inflicting pain on the man who hurt his family. Now, the rapist is dead, and Kumar is left to deal with the police. Is Kumar really satisfied now that he’s killed the man who brought shame to his family? Or does he feel the need to fill in the void the next time someone brings shame to his family in any way, shape, or form? Once satisfaction is brought about by killing the perpetrator to get revenge, a sense of emptiness is exists because the one taking revenge has nothing to look forward to anymore. He spends days, months, or even years, planning how he’s going to do it, when, where, and what. Now that the deed is done, what does he have to look forward to? The only logical explanation: the next person he is going to kill for revenge.

Link: http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/04/world/asia/india-revenge-killing/index.html

Name: Ayse Onen

Concept: Time

Subconcepts: Suicide, Impatience, Agitation, Destruction

Region: California

Description: In California’s San Quentin Prison, suicides have supplanted executions as the second leading cause of death, the first one being natural causes. There are currently 666 inmates on death row, and on average, the stay on death row for each inmate is 17 and a half years before their execution.


            For the most part in our lives, death does not carry any relevance to our way of living. We know that it exists and that it will find us one day, but we think as if that day is never going to be today. Our occupations and responsibilities create the illusion as if we are going to live forever. Even though we see death surrounding us in many places, we push the idea of surrendering to it out of our heads. There are only few instances when death evolves from being this abstract vision into a solid fact. These instances occur only when the person knows he/she will die without any possibility of survival. In such cases, the only game-changer becomes time. Those who used to not pay enough attention to time now becomes prisoners in it, since the only choice they are left with is to wait.

San Quentin Prison inmates on death row are not only physically but also mentally imprisoned. From the time they are condemned to death, every illusion their minds have created to continue living collapse in an instant. They no longer have any desires, aspirations, hopes or dreams and most importantly they do not have a future they can look forward to. They live just to wait to reach the inevitable end. The more the waiting process is longer, the more agitated they become. As their execution date gets postponed by the government, their impatience arise. This waiting process slowly leads to their mental and emotional destruction, creating a new possible escape plan for them. They realize that the only way of breaking this vicious cycle of time is through taking their own lives. This type of suicide is different from someone taking his/her own life based on preference. Even though the reasons lying behind such an act could be similar to what the inmates feel prior to killing themselves, these people are free and have a choice between life and death. On the contrary, inmates on death row do not have such a choice but instead they have the choice of when to die. It is not the physical imprisonment but rather the mental imprisonment caused by the inevitable yet unreachable end which tortures them. So why not accelerate the process of dying in order to reach the end sooner and avoid the internal torture and the mental pain?


Name: Rebekah Wade
Region: Canada
Concept: Madness
Sub-Concepts: Reality/Illusion, perception/interpretation

Description: Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian philosopher of communication theory. His works included controversial publications discussing the influence different technologies have on mankind. McLuhan argued that the information communicated to man no longer is of primary importance, and is often skewed, for now, the “medium is the message.”   With each technological advance, man extends himself, and with each extension comes a corresponding amputation.


The clothes one wears are an extension of the skin. The camera is an extension of the eye; the telephone an extension of the voice; the television an extension of the entire central nervous system. Every technological advance created by the hands of man has its benefits. A photograph can freeze a moment of joy. The telephone allows man to connect with a loved one over a vast distance. Although such technologies have their benefits, there are corresponding “amputations” that arise. No longer does man have to rely on his mind to remember the past, the camera is his new pair of eyes. The mystique and excitement once delivered with each handwritten letter no longer exists, for the telephone has caused this form of communication to almost become extinct. Families no longer sit around their living rooms and converse – the flickering screen of the television mutes their mouths and attracts their eyes. Man often praises the benefits of his creations, but does not discuss their corresponding negativities. Is it that mankind is blind to the repercussions such technologies have given birth to, or does it simply not care that with every advance comes the sacrifice of the senses and an irrevocable amputation?

Ignoring the blatant realities of one’s existence is an act marked by madness. A mad mind may disregard any entity that does not conform to the utopia it has carefully constructed. Man ignoring the products of his creations is nothing less than mania. It is evident that technological advances have produced negative repercussions; however, mankind is too mad to acknowledge and mitigate the residual damaging and destructive consequences of its creations.

McLuhan desperately attempts to warn man that he must not be mad – he must acknowledge the corresponding negativities that come about with each extension. If man continues along his mad path of ignorance, then he will continue to amputate his entire being until nothing remains but the technologies that destroyed him.

Links: http://www.marshallmcluhan.com/common-questions/



Name: Deniz Ozmen

Concept: Destruction

Sub-concept: Cruelty, Fear

Region: Paris, France

Description: A few weeks ago, some vandals in Paris, France deflated one of Paul McCarthy’s, a famous American artist, inflated sculpture of a tree because it was thought that it looked like a sex toy rather than a tree. The sculpture in question was being displayed in Place Vendome, a rich neighborhood of Paris. There has been a growing amount of talks and shares regarding this sculpture over the internet. Although the artist claims it to be a simple tree, majority of the talk suggests the sculpture is anything but a tree in the first place. After the incident Mr. McCarthy announced that he does not want the sculpture to be inflated again but his exhibition will continue to be displayed as planned.

The history of mankind consists countless acts against entities they failed to understand at first sight. Most of these entities ended up being destroyed because it was supposedly a malfunctioning example towards them and the youth.  These banned artifacts, in truth, were just projections of ideas the artist came up with. The style, shape or color is between the art and the artist and nobody else. This should be same regarding the display of the art as well. The viewer should keep in mind that art does not target to harm a part of society but on the contrary it is to entertain and force society to think in varying instances. Despite these “innocent” intentions fear of the unknown is an overwhelming factor in these situations. It is even worse when fear of the unknown turns into impulsive actions, in this case violence and ultimately destruction. Since this was a inflatable sculpture the act was not violent but the message it carried was violent enough to remind us of times when similar events happened. In truth this violent reaction against the piece is a cover for the inner interest towards the piece and the curious part of the mind. These parts of the brain is oppressed by the ideologies of the majority of society, thus forcing people inside the destructive group to create a sense of hostile environment against individuals who think their opposite way. Finally, people who are afraid of such oppressive feedback from the society causes a collective demonstration of destruction. Now we have one single group consisting of two types of people. First type is the sort of people who do not try to understand the art and thus feels the urge to create a sense of defense mechanism whereas the second type of people are actually interested in working more but terrified by the reaction of society. Both types combined you have a deflated green tree on your hands.

Destruction, in this case, is only destruction. Eventually the consequences hold people back against innovation revolving around them and causing them to create a confined space where time halted, causing to no problem for its inhabitants whereas those who sought innovation continue to progress.

Link: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/18/vandals-deflate-an-eyebrow-raising-sculpture-in-paris/?_r=0


Angela Price

Concept: Excess

Sub-concepts: Power, images

Region: London, UK

Description: Lauren Bailey would walk 12 hours a day to lose weight. She suffers from anorexia, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder and at one point in her life dropped down to 42 pounds when she was in her mid-twenties. She was hospitalized multiple times before she finally realized she needed to confront her problem and get back to a healthy lifestyle.


Lauren Bailey is so obsessed with her body image that she walks excessively to not gain weight. She has a disorder called Anorexia Nervosa in which people obsess about their weight and therefore do not eat anything. They view themselves through the eyes of others, but through a pessimistic view that others do not necessarily have of them. Their ability to always think negatively of themselves pushed them to depression and mental disorders.  When the person does not eat and excessively starves themselves they are showing that they are in control and have power over the way others see them. They want to be in control of themselves and do not want others to be the powerful ones in how they are so they take extreme measures to be the way they think society wants them to be. There are deeper problems with them than simply trying to lose weight or be skinny. The excessive walking in this specific case stems from a deeper part in Lauren where she lacks the ability to see that she is not overweight as she believes others think she is. She cannot control what others think of her and therefore decides to control what she can which is walking to lose weight. The inability to see that these anorexic people are getting to a point where their lives are at stake because they are too unhealthy is due to their excessive obsession about their body image and the image they think other people have of them.




1414787264376.cachedName: Emre Kulluk

Concept: Power

Sub-Concepts: Reality/Illusion, Fear, Transformation

Region: France

Description: The scary clown phenomenon is dispersing all around the world. After its initial appearance in California and few other states, now it has spread to Europe. Pranksters dressed as evil clowns and armed with guns, knives or baseball bats are terrorizing residents in several French cities.

Interpretation: Similar to Alex’s and his droogs’ behavior in “A Clockwork Orange”, there is a sociopathic and futuristic movement going on in France. The French police are on high alert against the powerful violence of these clowns. Fourteen teenagers who were dressed as clowns, carrying pistols, knives and baseball bats were arrested last Saturday. After getting arrested with their clown outfit, an investigation started to find out the connection between the suspects of the beating case of the 35 year old man in Montpellier who was beaten with a metal rod by a man dressed as a clown and two accomplices who tried to rob him. However, the police could not find any direct connection between two groups other than their appearance. Apart from these two incidents, there has been couple more similar complaints to the police that include ‘armed clowns’ in different parts of France. Currently, the violence caused by these fake clowns seems to be a reaction for something rather than being an organized crime.

As it was displayed in the movie and narrated in the book “A Clockwork Orange”, this trend of spooky clowns is very similar to Alex and his gang’s actions which was a demonstration of their understanding of futurism movement. It is very intriguing that, according to the police reports and the statements of the witnesses, most of these ‘armed clowns’ are teenagers. These ‘armed clowns’ can easily be connected to futurism movement since there is violence, courage, rebellion, expansion, speed, destruction, excess, noise, force and anti-history. In order to clarify these connections between futurism and these occurrences these clowns use violence as a way to reflect their power. Being able to hide their faces brings more power to them since they are now able to do anything they desire without any drawback that their identities would generate. Dressing up as clowns resets their identity and by being no one, they reach maximum amount of power they can achieve. Having no identity gives them the necessary courage to reflect their power and creates chances to rebel against the ultimate power in the country. This cycle of no identity, courage and rebellion generates more power than they can have. When they attack, in accordance to the excess principle of futurism, they prefer to be numerically more than the victim which gives them power while attacking. The expansion is very fast through social media, which gives them more power and helps them their goal for broader destruction. The people they harm and threaten are older people which is an example of anti-history. They are using the power of every single element of futurism in their actions and reflecting their understanding of futurism.

Moreover, it cannot be a coincidence that they are getting dressed as dreadful clowns as a resemblance to one of the most famous characters of one of the most famous TV shows of the modern days, Twisty, the killer clown from American Horror Story. The connection between Twisty and this movement is obvious; however the power of media and how it influences people in the modern world is another issue that should be discussed deeply and broadly. It is possible to say that this powerful stream is an example of modern world futurism, probably inspired by Alex DeLarge and American Horror Story.

Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11191626/Evil-clowns-stalk-France.html

———————————————————————————————————-Sarah Baartman

Name: Kayla Clark

Concept: Cruelty

SubConcepts: Desire and Fate

Region: Gamtoos River, now known as: Eastern Cape of South Africa


Saartjie Baartman, also known as both Sarah Baartman and Hottentot Venus, born to a Khoisan family in 1789, and voluntarily went to Europe in promises of riches and fame. She was; however, taken around Europe to star in any freak shows as people were surprised at the “hilarious” and “fascinating” nature of the Black Women’s body. In particular, people marveled at her large full breasts, big lips and buttocks, large areolas and enlarged clitoris. She died as the young age of 25 and even after her death, they cut out her vagina, brain, and skeleton and placed them on display alongside a large plaster representation of her naked body. It wasn’t until 2002 that her remains were returned to her homeland. That’s 188 years of her body being a spectacle, before people found something wrong with it.


Black women are still overly sexualized and marveled at in current times. The cruel reality of most Black women is that not only their physical make-up is scrutinized, but their actions are as well. My theory is that cruelty is the fate of the Black woman. Carrying the pain and sorrow of the misrepresented Black man, as well as the distorted image of herself, the Black women is burdened with the problems of the world (both past and present). They’re lesser because they’re women and they’re unpolished because they’re black. Sarah Baartman is not very different from the Black women of today. The only difference is that Black women no longer possess the need of physical reminders of their “less-ness.” It’s engraved into their minds that they exist for the excitement and pleasure of others.

Even established women such as Michelle Obama, are sexualized and inappropriately talked about. People Photoshop her image to a naked bodies just for cheap laughs. It’s as if no matter how beautiful, established, polished, and great a Black woman is, her being is less than that of everyone else. Some women have even embraced their “less-ness” and show off their bodies willingly for money. It’s as if some cruel epiphany arose inside of them and made them realize their existence means absolutely nothing. There is no cure to the cruel fate that Black women possess. It’s the Black woman’s curse for being so remarkable. All astonishing things must end in sheer and utter disaster. Sarah Baartman can attest to that. She was as beautiful as she was formidable and her fate had to be cruel.

Link: http://blacksupremacylovenunity.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/do-you-know-sarah-baartman-sarah-baartman-is-a-name-that-every-black-person-should-know/


Judy Liu
November 2, 2014

War, Hatred, Misunderstanding

An Israeli truck driver swerved into a car carrying Palestinian laborers to work on December 8, 1987. The crash could not have happened at a worse time for tensions were high in Israel during the late ‘80s and this collision caused the First Intifada.

When the most important person in two different countries butt heads and cannot come to an agreement, it can lead to war. Blood will spill, innocent lives lost, and devastation will not seize until one country triumphs. But who knew a collision between two objects can lead to the same fate. When two automobiles collide, usually only a few may die or get injured and hundreds of people will get frustrated from the traffic jam to come. The accident that occurred on December 8, 1987 however led to a very different outcome, the First Intifada—an event that killed nearly 1,500 people and injured thousands more. But it is not because the objects had a significant meaning; the breaking of these objects alone cannot cause such an outcome. It is what the objects held and the differences in the individuals utilizing the objects. It was also the timing of the crash between these objects, for a crash at an earlier period may have been resolved quickly. An accident seen as a deliberate attack and thus leading to riots, bombings, and military violence over the four years after the occurrence. The truck that struck the small car was seen as a bigger object bullying a little one; the bully being the Israeli government and the victims being the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
The perceived meaning behind the collision of these objects is what led to the aftermath—the destruction and intensified bitterness between two countries. Naturally to clear a misunderstanding, evidence and an explanation is needed. However, humans lie and the mistrust between the two different countries cannot be resolved through meaningless words. The lack of cameras, objects that displays the truth, does not help the case. But even with the presence of these objects, the intentions of humans cannot be fully captured and the examining of the evidence may be biased. The action, the collision of the objects, screamed war and left scars of the uprising that have yet to heal.

Link: http://listverse.com/2014/03/18/10-innocent-things-that-caused-incredible-violence/


Christening of a Lebensborn child.

Name: Jeremy Fathy

Region: Germany

Concept: Sacrifice

Sub-Concepts: Objects, Memory, Abandonment

Description: During Hitler’s reign in Germany, the Nazis established the “Lebensborn” program, which aimed to breed “pure” members of the Aryan master race. Years later, many of the program’s children have broken their silence and discussed the difficulties of dealing with their past.

Interpretation: In the secret Lebensborn program, the goal was to stop the declining birthrate in Germany and breed “racially pure” children that would be prototypical members of the Aryan master race. However, the results of the program and World War II as a whole have left these children (now adults) troubled and confused with respect to their past. This whole program may not represent a sacrifice in the conventional sense, but these children were most definitely sacrificed by the Nazis; the Nazis essentially ruined these children’s future in an attempt to satisfy their internal desire to create an Aryan master race. Because of how World War II and Hitler’s reign ended, these children have ended up embarrassed and ashamed of who they are. Thus, the ability for these children to live normal lives is what was actually sacrificed. They were treated as objects and were abandoned by their biological parents, resulting in severe emotional difficulties. While (in a twisted way) the Nazis may have felt that they were helping these kids by making them racially pure, this obviously was not the case. For example, one of the program’s children stated in the article that she remembers being referred to as the “SS bastard.” While small, memories like these reside the minds of these children and have made them ashamed of their past. This sense of shame in some of the children is so great that it causes many of them to refuse to speak about the project. The article also cites the particularly difficult situation that children from the Lebensborn clinic in Norway faced. Because they had German fathers, Norwegian society labeled them as outcasts and even placed some of the children in mental asylums in hopes of stopping the spread of German genes. These children clearly had to live through extremely difficult childhoods because of the Lebensborn program. Nonetheless, this historical example highlights the overall flexibility of the concept of sacrifice. In other words, sacrifice does not necessarily need to be (and often is not) a conscious effort by any involved party and can arise in many different situations. As such, sacrifice can be found in nearly any instance of violence. However, here the sacrificial violence was implicit and subtle; these children’s mental states were sacrificed in the name of racial purity. This emotional violence traumatized the program’s children and created a whole group of WWII victims that history typically overlooks.

Links: http://www.spiegel.de/international/nazi-program-to-breed-master-race-lebensborn-children-break-silence-a-446978.html





haunted house

Just say the safe word.

Name: Thu Tran

Concept: Desire

Sub-Concepts: Pleasure, Madness, Mutilation, Fear

Region: San Francisco, California

Description: There is an adult-themed haunted house called Hell in the Armory that has been heavily visited for the Halloween season. Typical exhibits include a werewolf devouring a woman after she went through BDSM, a doctor using his scalpel and cleaver to mutilate and contort a patient, and Jesus being chain-sawed on the cross. There are a variety of pornographic, bloody, and gory scenes performed in person that entices the walking audience.

Interpretation: There are the typical haunted houses around October that will do its fair share to scare you… and then there’s the XXX-rated haunted houses. Within this particular haunted house in the San Francisco Armory, the practice of BDSM and nudity is abundant.  The first line they say to the guests entering is “The safe word is Red.” People know that they are in for a show. After experiencing some performances, the guests are frightened, yet riveted. They are uncomfortable, but desire even more than what’s already given. It is a very interesting line that the haunted house crosses, and because of that, people are extremely interested. There is so much more to learn for things labeled “taboo” and people seek out this information because it is forbidden. It is just like the forbidden apple of the Garden of Eden. It lures everyone in until the ultimate fate is reached: they grab it and sink their teeth into it.

There was an instance where the author of the article stated that she felt uneasy and unprotected with the performers’ ability and what was shown in front of her. The vulnerability left her intense emotions. She knew everything was fake and rehearsed, but this “calculated deviancy” was enough to entrap and snare her for her to believe it was real. Despite knowing that she was to the point of disgust with the performances, she stayed for the entirety of the house. After all, the combination of fantasy, sex, Halloween, and real-live performances piques all interest. It is a grand show that only a few can watch and enjoy. We are all so interested in this because it lets things beyond our wildest imaginations run free, and it is simply titillating. Every sense is heightened, so that we can put ourselves in a dream reality. There could be some fun in evil that we are just realizing.

Link: http://www.vice.com/read/this-is-what-the-inside-of-an-erotic-haunted-house-looks-like-903



Name: Solomon Zheng

Concept: Transformation

Sub-concepts: Transcendence, power

Region: Chicago, U.S.

Description: Nik Wallenda walks on a tightrope 500 feet above ground between two skyscrapers


In the evening of November 2, 2014, Nik Wallenda embarked on a transformative journey between the pinnacles of two skyscrapers. This was an act dedicated to his travelling circus family, especially to his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, who fell to his death in 1978. By successfully completing this stunning feat, Nik was able to overcome and own the stunt that took away his great-grandfather’s death. As Nik proceeded on the wire, the steps increasingly required more focus, as well as the courage and willpower to succeed in this fatal challenge. At the same time, the rest of the world sank deeper into anxiety and fear as they spectated. As reporters from Discovery Channel captured Nik’s deadly challenge on video recorders, they did so with extreme caution and fear.  By streaming with a 10 second delay from live, they were prepared to terminate the broadcast in the event that Nik would fall, so that his death would not be broadcasted to world. It is only imaginable that the world below him was looking up at him with even greater fear than he possessed, holding breath for every step that he took. Half-way through the rope, Nik utterly transcended fear as he blindfolding himself, taking away one of the most important sense of any funambulist, of any human—vision—as if to declare his arrogance and supremacy over death, with which he had been battling throughout the walk. At this moment, he has transformed into a being that is devoid of fear, a being that mocks death in the face.




Name: Stephanie Hillebrand

Crimes of the Century: Jeffrey Dahmer


Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Subconcepts: Cannibalism, sexuality, authority (or lack thereof)
“A Victim Almost Escapes”
            Jeffrey Dahmer. This name may be familiar to some, but for those, such as myself, who had never even heard of him, to sum up, he is a cannibalistic murderer, who took the lives of 17 young men and boys. Furthermore, most of his victims were poor, African-American, Asian, or Latino. Targeting these minorities Dahmer surfaced issues on (obviously cannibalism), sexuality, race, and class. The victim that almost escapes shows that the underlying issues with this serial killer was not the existence of a ritual or practice that is deemed inexistent among civilization in the West, but the racist, homophobic, and misogynistic approach the police had in preventing the death of a young Asian 14-year old, Konerak. He was found outside running naked for his life, when the police believed a smooth-talking white male that the boy was his 19-year old lover who was intoxicated. Konerak was in fact drugged, and to be taken back to Dahmer’s apartment, with the police’s assistance, to be strangled and raped, dismembered.  Two women were there and tried to convince the police that Dahmer was not his lover, but the police did not pay attention to them, and did not want to intervene in a quarrel between two male lovers. They decided to believe a white man, over the Asian young boy and the two women in the scene. Dahmer had handed them his ID, and if they even questioned him for a second, and ran a background check, they would have found that Dahmer was on probation for molesting young boys in the past. The true problem then is not cannibalism, rather the lack of real authority and acceptance over main aspects of society, such as homosexuality, equality of gender and race.
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1937349_1937350_1937484,00.html     http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/notorious/dahmer/index.html


The Deep

Name: Jared Silber

Concept: Solitude

Sub-concepts: Isolation, Space, Nature

Location: Mariana Trench, 6.83 miles underwater


Description: In March of 2012, director and explorer James Cameron completed a scientific expedition in a personal submarine to the lowest point of the ocean floor, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.

Interpretation: Cameron descended 7 miles underwater in a submarine the size of a stretch limo; at that depth, the pressure is around 16,000 pounds per square inch—more than 1000 times the atmospheric pressure on land. The extreme risk means that by embarking on his voyage, Cameron is departing our world and entering into a hyper-dangerous realm, for he cannot simply re-enter normal life without carefully emerging from underwater. The sense of necessary solitude gives exuberance to his discoveries: “I think explorers feel a sense of the sacred, something that’s beyond themselves, when they go to a place that’s never been witnessed before and bare witness for the first time.” Part of this “sacred”ness stems from Cameron and other explorers submitting their lives to the hyper-dangerous voyages necessary for discovery. Yet why do the famous discoverers, real or fictional, typically voyage solo? Discoverers—Indiana Jones, Laura Croft—explore dangerous locations alone despite the availability of help. Do they (and Cameron) feel that they alone must make the discovery to not give credit to others? In Cameron’s case, there’s a logistical issue of building a submarine big enough for two people. However, I suspect given the option that he would still have descended alone, experiencing the sacredness all by himself.

Sources: http://www.sfgate.com/movies/article/James-Cameron-dives-into-the-abyss-with-Deepsea-5689772.php


Name: Kevin Dooley

Concept: Solitude

Sub Concepts: Decay, Transformation, Death

Region: Siberia

 week 8 violence

Description: Agafya Lykova is the last living member of her family.  Before she was born, her family retreated to the Siberian wilderness to avoid religious persecution by Stalin’s Soviet regime and lived alone in the woods for several decades before being discovered.  She is now looking for someone to come live with her.

Interpretation: Lykova has lived alone with her family in the woods since the 1930s, but now she is the only one left.  The only living beings he has regular contact with are her many animals.  She recently wrote to a Siberian newspaper pleading for someone to come live with her.  Isolation is the only life she has ever known which makes her search for a human companion even more ironic.

When Lykova’s family decided to move into hiding in the wilderness, it was initially a move to preserve and protect their lives.  However, over the years Agafya Lykova’s isolation is ultimately what is killing her.  She had to be completely self-reliant for so many years, and that stress is finally catching up with her.  She is constantly getting sick and shows signs of having cancer.  She also needs help completing tasks she used to have no problem doing.  Being alone can change the way you view others.  Solitude causes you to distrust others as your view of the world is the only one that you are exposed to, so it skews the way you perceive the world and the people who live in it.  Sure it can lead to one having a clearer mind through reflection, but when you only have your own beliefs and thoughts, how can you better understand the world around you?  In Lykova’s case, she seems to have had a severe skepticism of the goodness of others.  This is understandable because of her family’s situation in which they had to avoid people in order to survive.  It took Lykova decades to realize that she is going to need other people in order to live a good life.  It seems to me that she is now disappointed with the way he lived her life.  She missed out on so many life-changing events that most individual get to experience in their lives.  She never got married, never had kids, and never had anyone else who loved her after her family died.  Another thought that I gathered from this article is that I believe that she is afraid to die alone.  This fear is very common and shows itself in many relationships that people form.  We often see older widow find a companion in their last few years of life.  They do not love this person like they did the person they were married to, but it is a mutual bond formed out of the fear of being alone.  This is what Lykova is seeking.  She has been alone for so long and knows that her days are numbered.  She wants to feel something rather than the loneliness that has filled her soul for so long.  Unfortunately, Lykova will likely die as she lived, alone.


Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2544932/The-hermit-decided-people-person-Woman-lived-26-years-Siberia-appeals-live-shes-lonely.html

7 Responses to WEEK 8

  1. Name: Tom Gallagher
    Concept: Transgression
    Sub-Concepts: Madness, Reality vs Perspective
    Description: Jason Russell is an American film and theater director, choreographer, and activist. He is famous mostly for his involvement in founding Invisible Children, Inc., and for directing one of the most viral videos ever, Kony 2012. The credibility and stability of the campaign was questioned after Russell experienced a mental breakdown publically and required police detainment. A preliminary diagnosis was presented in a statement by his family, attributing the breakdown to a “brief reactive psychosis, an acute state brought on by extreme exhaustion, stress and dehydration”, brought on by the campaign’s popularity.
    Interpretation: Jason Russell experienced his episode at the height of the campaign’s popularity. The public’s infatuation with the campaign declined sharply after Russell’s moment of insanity became public via the media. This was also a time in the campaign marked by investigation and criticism. Russell’s transgression to a state of madness greatly devalued his credibility and made his character suspect to the public at large. His deviation from a stable mental state of mind led a large portion of the viewing public to stereotypically conclude that he was concealing or falsifying information about the film he directed. His mental breakdown became the face of his campaign and began the downfall to the popular Kony fad. On a larger scale, this movement’s quick rise in the public sphere and almost just as quick decline is representative of the problem of subjective vs. objective violence outlined by Slavoj Žižek in his book, Violence. Kony 2012 focused on a relatively small violent event in the world and called for everyone’s immediate intervention to try and solve the problem and promote peace. The problem with this idea is that it lack substantiality, argues Žižek. Many still see the campaign that Russell started as a social movement failure, based more on hype than on actual processed strategy. This, coupled with the transgressional insanity experienced by Russell, brings on a whole new cynicism to humanitarian activism.
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Russell

  2. Anonymous says:

    Science Behind Sex
    Name: Zachary Bastarache
    Concept: Sensation
    Sub-Concepts: pleasure, desire, emotion/mood
    The article that I have chosen for this week is focused on the sensations caused by arousal and what chemicals react in which way to stimulate the human mind and body. As it turns out sex is a lot more complicated than just “I’m horny, you’re horny, let’s be horny together.” Chemicals in the body flood the system when a member of the opposite sex is close, and cause certain reactions. For example dopamine levels are shown to increase significantly in the anticipation of sex, but do not themselves, cause the peak of sexual pleasure. Different parts of the brain are activated at different stages of a sexual experience. There are parts that contribute to the anticipation, the buildup, the peak and even the come down of the sexual experience. At the end of a sexual experience the body releases endorphins, prolactin, and oxytocin, chemicals that makes the body and mind feel satisfied and comfortable. The article talks through what makes us feel pleasure and why we feel it when we do.
    Interpretation: After reading the article I was wondering to myself, we have all these different parts of the human body at play, different parts of the brain becoming active and inactive, chemical levels changing depending on what part of a sexual experience that we are in, yet we also have all these drugs that we can get prescribed to change these levels. It all sounds like a science experiment to me all these different drugs playing different roles in our body, and it makes you see how much more there is to sex than just well sex. The article talks about the hormone oxytocin and how it is the hormone that is associated with trust and affiliation. This hormone that results in the post-sex “cuddle” and creates and warm and calming feeling in the person. So we have hormones that hype us up and build up anticipation before sex and then another hormone that brings us down after. It sounds like an addict, uppers and downers, all to make the body feel good. But how legitimate are these feelings, especially when all the feelings are coming from hormones released from sex not from the mind. If love and sex are separate than why do all of these hormones happen from sex, the hormones that result in emotions. The article than talks about how pleasure can attach itself to objects, people, money, cars, the science behind pleasure and sex affect every aspect of our life. Yet for most it is still just sex.


  3. Memory Palace- Memory of Ioci

    Name: Tan Sertthin

    Concept: Memory/ Forgetting

    Sub-Concepts: Memory Skills Training, Memory Palace, Complexity of the Mind, Visualization

    Description: Sherlock, the BBC/Masterpiece TV series, interweaves a memory technique invented by the ancient Greeks called Memory of Ioci. Memory of Ioci is a mnemonic device that is known as the mind palace, which is used to internally visualize a place with stored memories that can train a human to become keen to past details from different memories.

    Sherlock Holmes is not a genius but is a memory master because he is known to be a keen observer and problem solver that can interweave different memories of details with the crime scene investigation. According to a myth, the Greek poet Simonides of Ceos created this technique after he attended a banquet that was an absolute disaster. After Simonides stepped outside the banquet to meet up with two men, the hall began collapsing. The guest at the banquet was completely crushed by the columns to be recognized. Simonides had the ability to identify bodies with names and where each person was sitting in the hall. This ability to remember details based on location developed into the method of Ioci. The orator Cicero, employed Simonides technique to memorize speeches in order to create marks within the architectural complexity of his mind. The Greeks even created a myth of the nine muses, who are daughters of Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. Each muse represents a different form of art, literature, or science: Epic poetry, history, astronomy, religious music, song and elegiac poetry, dance and choral song, drama:tragedy, drama: comedy, and erotic and/or love poetry. In Neoclassical and Renaissance art, the nine muses were associated with emblems like writing tablet, scrolls, astronomy globe compass, etc. The creation of the muses and the transformation of the muses throughout the different centuries prove that humans have a great desire to preserve memories. The desire to preserving memories has been passed on to many centuries of ambitious scholars, poets, and orators.
    In the 20th century Memory of Ioci is a technique that can be used to memorize speeches, study guides, and Rubik’s cube patterns. The act of remembering lost its value because there are tools and technology that can preserve memories. The printing press helped people preserve history, religion, and traditions. People also recorded their own voices in order to replay it whenever they want to practice memorizing for the test or for a speech. People grew a dependency on using power points as a guide for their speeches.
    In order to use this technique, you have to visualize a complex place to physically store a set of memories. The place can be a familiar place or an unfamiliar place like your house, your neighborhood, or roads with multiple addresses. In the house for example, each room is a compartment that you can store a specific memory. In order to take full advantage of the minds ability to remember visual memories, you must visualize a story that can be associated with the memory. The more absurd the story, the more powerful the memory compartment is. If you want to remember buying eggs from the store, your mind needs to transform it into something absurd- like humpty dumpty cooking eggs for breakfast in the kitchen. These eccentric memories will be recalled easily when you navigate your mind into the kitchen.
    Sherlock Holmes stated that “a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose.” Holmes carefully select memories- usually cases from the past that are only useful to him. To make room in his attic, Holmes constantly discards the rest out- even the fact that the Earth circles the Sun. Watson, in contrast, stores his attic with random, jumbled memories like us.
    The connection between the technique of memory, Sherlock Holmes, and the 20th century applications, concluded that humans are keen to eccentric memories and have a limited storage that can keep a certain amount of memories. The memory of palace implies that our minds have the capability of creating a new complex world that can be transformed into valuable and personal information. By training minds to become builders of complex architectural memory palaces will increase the capability of preserving memories.


  4. Name: Connor Toomey
    Title: The Sphinx
    Geographical Location: Greece
    Sub-concepts: Destruction, Fate
    Descritption: The Sphinx self-destructs after being outsmarted by the king of Thebes. The Sphinx is a creature in Greek mythology with the head of a woman, the body of a lion and eagle wings. Legend has it that she was sent to Thebes as punishment from the gods. There, she would ask passerby to solve a riddle. Those who failed were gruesomely ripped apart and eaten. Nearly all faced this tragic fate, until one day she encountered Oedipus, the king of Thebes. When challenged to solve the sphinx’ riddle he answered correctly. Outwitted and outraged, the Sphinx proceeds to devour herself.
    Connection: The Sphinx is a monster defined by the predatory qualities of its animal parts. Like the lion and the eagle, it rips apart its prey and then eats it. Perhaps its most terrifying quality however is its humanness. By offering a riddle before attacking, the Sphinx offers her prey a false hope of the possibility of mercy before their ultimate demise. This same quality is what leads to her downfall when she is outwitted by Oedipus. The idea behind giving the Sphinx animal traits was to depict the strength, as well as destruction she is capable of. The idea behind giving her human traits is to provide her with a tragic flaw that forces her to turn her violent nature against herself, something that one can find frequently in Greek mythology. This challenges the theory that the use of force and violence will always result in success. Instead it suggests that intelligence and the manipulation of human psyche surpasses violence.


  5. Henry Brown says:

    Concept: Excess
    Region: Louisiana and Destruction
    Description: “Louisiana is the world’s prison capital. The state imprisons more of its people, per head, than any of its U.S. counterparts. First among Americans means first in the world. Louisiana’s incarceration rate is nearly five times Iran’s, 13 times China’s and 20 times Germany’s.”
    Interpretation: The main reason for such high incarceration rates derive from cash. “Each inmate is worth $24.39 a day in state money, and sheriffs trade them like horses, unloading a few extras on a colleague who has openings”. The cash that each inmate is worth is shared with the sheriffs running the prisons. So the sheriffs are acting as shareholders in a profit sharing business. That is why there is an excess incarceration rate. The more inmates, the more money for each sheriff. That’s why the prisons in Louisiana have so many lobbyers on their team. The lobbyers lobby for heftier sentences a longer minimal sentencing. This is extremely violent because these profits are coming from human beings. The purpose for a prison is supposed to be rehabilitation, but there can be no rehabilitation when three fourths of the prison’s population is serving life without parole. The sheriff’s excessive greed is causing thousands of their life. It’s so excessive that it can be compared to slavery. Just as slave owners worked their slaves free of labor cost, similar do prisons. The cost of labor is covered by tax payers, but the profits are only shared among the prisons’ sheriffs and owners. That’s how most private prisons are working. This excessive greed is destroying society in Louisiana because one out every 86 adults are incarcerated, and increasing. How can a society enjoy life if they are in fear of being that next statistic? Seems like that is the start of self-destruction of entire society over greed.
    Link: http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2012/05/louisiana_is_the_worlds_prison.html

  6. Anonymous says:

    Name: Kenza Qermane

    Location: Any Muslim Location

    Subthemes: Violence, Sorrow, Religion

    In Islam, there is a Muslim observance named Ashura of Muharram celebrated on the 10th of Muharram. It is observed as a main day for both Sunni and Shia Muslims; however, for very different reasons. On this day, Sunni Muslims celebrate it as a day of respect and thankfulness for Prophet Moosa, while Shia Muslims take it as a day of mourning and sorrow. In more detail, Shia Muslims observe Ashura as the day of martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali who was the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, Shia Muslims consider this a day of sorrow and observe it in a way where they refrain from any joyous events and music, listening only to sad poetic recitations; and wearing mourning attire. In some countries, as shown in the pictures, men flagellate themselves, beating their backs with blades dangling from chains and slice their scalps with swords to allow their blood to run freely. Shi’ites believe that Hussein was the rightful successor as the leader of Islam, and his death is a tragedy fixed in their memory.
    However, due to terrorism, this holy day has also become one of fear. In Iraq alone, jihadists tried to intimidate Shia Muslims by setting off a string of deadly attacks in Baghdad. Sunni jihadists have, through terrorism, have turned this day one in which Muslims remember a great leader in their history to a day where merely going outside is something to be scared of.


  7. John Olivo
    Title: Magical Ears
    Location: Oceans
    Sub-Concepts: Magic, superstition
    There are many different opinions about the origins and purpose of earrings. They vary greatly and one view that this webpage looks at is the origin of pirates wearing earrings.
    Earrings and piercings have a place in almost every culture around the world and their historical start within each culture is usually tracked to a couple root causes. Within each culture the piercings have a magical or superstitious purpose. Later the piercings help show social status within the culture. Lastly, in some cultures, the earrings have some practical purpose.
    Pirates often began wearing earrings because they thought that it could improve their eyesight or cure sea-sickness. Some pirates also thought that it could prevent them from drowning. After some time the earrings became more luxurious and were seen as a way of demonstrating wealth. The practical purpose of these earrings was that they were quite valuable and could cover the burial expenses of pirates who washed up on shore or died while at sea.
    This trend with earrings and piercings can be seen in many different cultures. Tribes in Africa tend to have the same trends with piercings; starting as magical and ending as wealth demonstrations. It is interesting to begin looking at why humans believe ears have a surreal power. Logically, ears can be seen as pathways to the brain. Through the ears and eyes is where all knowledge reaches the brain. So they must all be inter-related and have great control over who you are. When looking at a human, the facial features are some of the most important qualities. It is natural to begin manipulating them and see what happens as a result. One popular belief that used to exist is that demons and spirits enter the body through the ears. To prevent this, many people began wearing metal earrings, in an attempt to protect themselves from the spiritual world.
    Link: http://info.painfulpleasures.com/help-center/piercing-information/history-body-piercings

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