Monday, December 9, 2013


The movie Into the Wild could strongly represent the notion of Myths & Heroes. Indeed, a young man breaking free from today's society with its' rules, and therefore accomplishing his dream of living in a wild and free world shows that the young man could be considered a hero. You need bravery, intelligence and very strong convictions to be able to free yourself from all the comfort society offers. The movie also conveys the idea of the noble savage's myth. According to the french philosopher from the XVIII century Rousseau, society has corrupted Man's innocence and it's the people called "savages" who, living in the wild, end up being more innocent and kind-hearted than any civilized man.

Into the Wild could also convey the notion of Progress. The movie shows that progress doesn't only consist of new technologies or advanced civilizations. The young man feels that he is moving forward, progressing, by regressing into a "wild" way of life, where money has no value and where feelings and freedom are all that matter. Progress can sometimes mean to regress to another more simple and pure reality.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Anish Kapoor.

His name may ring a bell or not, but he's certainly one of the most influent artists of the era! 

Anish Kapoor was born in 1954, in Mumbai, India. His family is originally from Irak, but they moved to India during Anish's early years, being part of the jewish community of Mumbai. Like many artists these days, Anish started studying something he didn't really like, in this case Electrical Engineering. He had trouble with all the mathematics involved and ended quitting after 6 months. He then moved to Israel and decided that he wanted to become an artist. In 1973, he left Israel for England, where he studied Fine Arts in the Hornsey College of Art and in the Chelsea School of Art and Design. After his studied he moved to London and has been living and working in the city from the 1970's. 

He has won many prizes such as the Turner award and he even received the knighthood in 2013 for his services to visual arts. 

What I wanted to show you is his works: many may find them too over the top, or lacking meaning, but I find them outstanding from an aesthetic point of view and very deep in meaning. 

His early works are pretty simple: geomtric forms, with very bright colours. 

1000 Names (1979-1980)

 "While making the pigment pieces, it occurred to me that they all form themselves out of each other. So I decided to give them a generic title, A Thousand Names, implying infinity, a thousand being a symbolic number. The powder works sat on the floor or projected from the wall. The powder on the floor defines the surface of the floor and the objects appear to be partially submerged, like icebergs. That seems to fit inside the idea of something being partially there."

To Reflect an Intimate Part of the Red (1981)

He then started explorimg surfaces that evoked the "void". He states that these sculptures are a way of creating something that in fact represents nothing. It is up to viewer to fill the empty space before him, and well, get lost into the void!
Void (1989)

Here's project called "No place" that fits with the idea of void
He uses a special painting technique that allows him to create that feeling of an "infinite void".

After his obsession with void, Anish Kapoor started working on stainless steel. One of his most well-known pieces fits this period: 

It is placed in the Millenium Park in Chicago. 

Sky mirror (2001)
                                                        He has declared to want to turn the world upside down! 

He has also used red wax to create his sculptures, most of the time using it to evoke flesh and blood... 
Imagine blue (2003) 
My Red Homeland (2003)
Rooms (2005) 

As you can see, he is a very very prolific artist, working with many types of techniques that allow him to maginify his creating span. This is what makes him one of my favourite artists! He works on a theme, but he also evolves towards new meanings and techniques.
You might know this particular piece, which was presented in the Grand Palais of Paris, in 2011: 

Leviathan (2011)
And here's what he's currently working on! 
Ascension (2010) 


He posts regularly an album called "studio" in his website where he shows pictures of his studio, to give us a hint of what he's doing! Here's the link:


I hope you like Anish's work and you feel as curious as I do to know what he's gonna do next! 

Friday, November 8, 2013

POST 8 : The Wire (2002 -2008)

Here's a trailer for The Wire series:

The show deals with many of Baltimore's city (Washington, USA) problems. It is related to the notion of power in many ways. First of all, and from my point of view, the power of gangs.

Baltimore city is a pretty chaotic place to live in. It has a wide number of african american population, but most of it lives in the most dangerous and troubled neighbourhoods of Baltimore. Indeed, the gangs are in their territory, and they use these neighbourhoods as "marketplaces" for their drug dealing and other illegal activities. The series shows how powerful can gangs be, even if they are in one if the most developed countries in the world: The USA. All through the episodes we can see how the police are powerless before the gangs' actions. Indeed, there is no easy way of stopping them. They enjoy of a great influence in the political spheres, allowing them to get away from many things. Also, a lot of their gangsters start dealing drugs and running errands for them at a very young age, which makes it very hard to catch them for two main reasons: one of them being the fact that since they are mere children they can easily hide in crowds and the other being that children cannot be prosecuted for their crimes until they're16/17 years old (depending on the crime).

The show also reveals the power of drugs, in a very disturbing way. During the show, we see different caracters fall into misery because of them. Indeed, it conveys a sad reality: teenagers living in that kind of neighbourhoods need to face the only reality they live: the drug world. Some of them decide to become drug dealers, employed by rich and powerful gansgters, and accepting that they will die sooner rather than later. On the other hand, some of them, with no parents to take care of their child, fall gradually into drugs, misery and addiction. One of the main characters of the show, a young boy no older than any high schooler, bright, merciful and brilliant, ends up being addicted to drugs, sharing needles with homeless people and living under bridges or such. Unfortunately, drugs do have the power to destroy a person, even a teenager, and lead them into a dark world, from which it is almost impossible to escape.

I personally believe that the most implicit form of power is the power of money. Indeed, one of the policeman shown in the trailer states it: "Follow the money, and you will have everything". The series shows that money drives everything: drug dealers murder and create life dramas for the money, politicians look the other way or make personal favours for the money, and ultimately, it's money what stops the police corps of being more efficient. At one point of the show, the police corps experience budget cutbacks, and since they cannot repair the cars, or pay for the extra hours they would need to investigate on the drug dealers, they are powerless before the cruel war going on between gangs in their own city.

On the whole, the shows deals with many forms of power, mainly the power of gangs, drugs and finally money. It conveys the sad reality we live in, and that unfortunately, much like drugs, seems to not have a way out.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


The movie Redacted by the prestigeous film director Brian de Palma deals with many burning issues. It vividly shows the Iraqi war, and the conduct some of the US soldiers had during that time. It tackles the subject of the denigrating acts the US soldiers comitted against the Iraqi people, even to women and children. Indeed, the movie shows situations of shocking violence, and the desperation of the innocent people in Iraq. In addition to this, the film demonstrates how hard it is for the soldiers who lived such suffering and atrocities to come back to their homes in the USA. 
Another thing that makes the movie particularly efficient in its task of shocking the general public and raise awareness about the subject is the fact that the movie seems uncanningly real: all the scenes seem to be shot by an "amateur" and the atmosphere of the Iraqi cities is extremely realistic and faithful to reality. 
 Moreover, the film is clearly critical and denounces the multiple abuses the US army comitted during the war. 

This movie can be related to the notion of Power because of multiple issues it raises: 
On the one hand, the movie obviously questions the North American power in today's world. It is not the shining beacon of freedom that it pretends to be, and it definitely does not bring peace to the countries in which it "intervenes". But it also shows what the US is capable of...Indeed, they were able to start a war, and to finance it, and for now, getting away with the abuses comitted by their soldiers during that period. 
On the other hand, the film is a clear way of Brian de Palma to try to raise awareness about the subject, to draw attention to the fact that many have gone unpunished, and that world should not be allowing such a thing. Actually, this movie could be related to the power of knowledge and culture. Can a movie change the world? The power of the cultural industry against the political power of the states of the world. 

Here's a review by Mick LaSalle, published in the San Francisco Gate newspaper: 

Fictional documentary. Starring Izzy DiazDaniel Stewart Sherman,Patrick CarrollMike Figueroa and Ty Jones. Directed by Brian De Palma(R. 90 minutes. At Bay Area theaters.)
The standard line on anti-war movies is that Hollywood starts making them six or seven years after a war, never during one. "Redacted," the latest from director Brian De Palma, not only goes against that pattern but also is a new type of anti-war film, one that could have been made only during wartime. It isn't elegiac, but enraged. It doesn't look back with sorrow, but forward in dread. And it's made with a clear intention - to stop the Iraq war.
Its historical significance can be summed up in a sentence: "Redacted" is the angriest, most vehemently pacifist film ever made by a major American filmmaker in a time of war. It's a movie devoid of any reflexive sentimentality about the troops or the mission, and it doesn't even bother pretending. If a foreign filmmaker made it, it would seem an unpleasant provocation. But coming from the man who made "Carrie," "Scarface," "The Untouchables" and "Carlito's Way," it has to go down as one of the bravest and most unambiguous cinematic statements of the decade.
De Palma was able to make the movie because he could make it on the cheap, on digital video. And then he turned around and made a virtue of necessity, using various kinds of video and video techniques to tell his story with a maximum of immediacy and innovation. Sometimes we watch the soldiers filming themselves. Sometimes we see surveillance footage or video put out on the Web. Hidden cameras record conversations in some scenes. In others we see footage from a French documentary about Iraq.
All of it is fictional and created by De Palma, who won a completely deserved Silver Lion for best director at the Venice Film Festival this year. The characters are fictional as well. But the events depicted are based on truth, including the film's central incident, in which American soldiers rape a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, murder her family, shoot her in the face and then set her body on fire.
Video, with its present-tense feel, creates the sense of being there. Sweat trickles down soldiers' faces as they stand at a checkpoint, and the audience waits for disaster - a sniper, a car bomb. The movie conveys the hellish boredom and terror of the front lines and shows the toll they take, and yet it never absolves the characters of moral responsibility. Some would never lose their humanity under pressure, some do, and some use the war as a pretext to be as cruel and demented as they've always wanted to be. The troops are not a monolith, but people of varying strengths and weaknesses.
The flavor of barracks life is presented through footage shot by a character named Salazar (Izzy Diaz), who hopes to get into film school on the strength of an Iraq documentary. The soldier banter is the film's most erratic element. Sometimes it rings true, as when a soldier reacts to the killing of a pregnant woman at a checkpoint by saying, "You can't afford remorse. You get remorse, you get weak; you get weak, you die." It sounds like exactly the kind of mantra that a stupid young man might offer as wisdom. Yet the movie veers into obviousness with the character of Flake (Patrick Carroll), a dead-eyed psychopath who seems to revel calmly in having killed the pregnant woman. He's a character set up for us to hate.
Still, even at its most blatantly manipulative, "Redacted" provokes a response of rage, disgust and anger. De Palma strives to ignite passion, and while some of that passion may end up directed at the film itself, "Redacted" is an antidote to apathy. It's not the easiest movie to sit through, but who said movies are supposed to be easy to sit through? De Palma must have been absent the day they taught that in film school.
Rather than create a perfect, contained whole, De Palma has created a film that finds its meaning in the outside world, in the effect he hopes it will have. His movie is naked and obvious and sizable enough to hate or love, kind of like Charlie Chaplin's speech at the end of "The Great Dictator." Sometimes the world intrudes. Sometimes issues are so big that there's really no point in being elegant.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

MADTV iRack video.

I personally believe that this video could fit into the notion of "Places and forms of power". The video shows in a humorous way the power of the United States of America, drawing a parallel between Apple's high technology products (that are ridiculed e.g. the iVacuum cleaner) and the USA's military power. Indeed, Steve Jobs puts everything he wants into the iRack and the spectators are helpless, not being able to stop him. This can remind us of George Bush's attitude about Irak: he didn't take into consideration the other countries' opinions and of course, not Irak's opinion on its invasion.

This video could also be in the "Myths and Heroes" category. The man depicted is a hero of our age: Steve Jobs. He was Apple's CEO, one of the most important high technology companies in the world. Many people admire him greatly nowadays and therefore he could be considered a hero!

The video could also be treated from the Notion of Progress' point of view because it shows many high technology products. However, I don't think it is the main objective of the video: I believe the Madtv team aimed to imply a very strong   political message in this video.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Post 3: The postive side of technology.

This document is a cartoon published in the Houston Chronicle by the cartoonist Nick Anderson. Anderson is a renowned cartoonist, who has published in famous newspapers such as The New York Times or The Washington Post. He is also a winner of the famous Pulitzer prize. The date is not stated in the cartoon itself, although it's clear that it was published in the twentieth century. The cartoon deals with a much debated topic on a humorous key: the benefits of technology. 
The cartoon is made up of a drawing and a caption, representing a classroom, probably in elementary school. In the background we can notice a blackboard and a teacher sitting by her desk with the typical apple. In the foreground there are three students, two of them listening to the other, who is putting his hand up and formulating a question: "How come Lewis and Clark didn't just use MapQuest?"
We can guess the scene takes place in a history class in the United States of America, because Lewis and Clark were two famous explorers of the nineteenth century who were sent by president Jefferson to explore and map the newly acquired territory. 
"MapQuest" is a free online mapping service. 

The cartoonist suggests that technologies have had an important impact on our lives. Indeed, that is what the little boy implies when he asks what is evident for him: why didn't they just use a device provided by technology to help them with their task, instead of having to travel through North America mapping the whole country precisely? The author's aim is therefore not to critize but merely to show how much technologies have changed our everyday lives. Anderson is playing here with a child's innocent question to add the humour touch he needs. Maybe he wished to convey, on a deeper level, the fact that we are unaware of the importance of technology in today's world. In other words, he might be implying that we take technology for granted and that we cannot begin to imagine how our lives would be like without it. 

On the whole, the message put across by the cartoonist would be the power of technology nowadays, which allows us to do things in a much shorter space of time, or simply with less effort than before. Although this could be considered as the principal message, there might be another message, much more implicit message. Anderson could be suggesting that society and particularly young boys and girls do not realize the benefits of technology and take it too much for granted. 

I personnaly believe that this cartoon has been very carefully thought-out. Anderson has made an effort to represent what a regular american elementary school class would look like: the scene could take place in any school in the USA. The situation might be a bit exaggerated; any kid these days knows that in the nineteenth century computers or internet didn't exist. But then again, humorous cartoons tend to exaggerate in order to accentuate precisely the humor of the whole situation. In my personal opinion, the cartoon does convey its message effectively and is likely to amuse its readers. 
I agree to a certain point with the author, indeed, technologies have a positive side, and therefore do make our lives beter and easier. But it's important to remember that they have a down-side aswell: technologies like smartphones or social networks can cause addictions and alienation from the real world. 

Finally, this cartoon shows how, in a way, humanity has been spoiled by technology and how many could not live without it. Technologies are a wonder created by humans, indeed, but it seems that we have forgotten that it is fairly new, and that most of Humankind's history had taken place without any high-technology whatsoever! Indeed, this cartoon shows a postive side of technology. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Post 2: Videos

When technology is too much


-This video is structured around two main narrative voices and a character illustrating what the voice-over says while the singer often merely reports what's just been said.
-The setting is a Christian home and church. so this particular context is particularly meaningful. We can notice on various occasions that the main character is addicted to high-tech products, mostly smartphones.
He is shown as a family man unable to interact with his wife, except through texting.
He is also shown as a church-goer incapable of attending worship without all his phones vibrating all the time, making him look like he's full of the holy spirit.
Finally  he is depicted as a computer guru who's life has become extremely complicated instead of having been simplified.


Basically, this video means that high tehnology has become a religion for many people, even christians who are not supposed to be materialistic.
Then, in a christian lifestyle, quite a few church-goers and believers tend to focus more on materialistic issues than on spiritual ones.
We can add that technology reigns supreme for many people who revere it as a God enlightening his followers.
The question is, is this real progress for humanity?

When technology is missing


- Two people are stuck on an escalator in a place that seems literally empty. The man looks annoyed. He might be an office worker walking to his job. 
The woman claims that she's already late, so for her this is the last straw. 
At one point, she's about to cru and asks for a phone and yells for help. 
In short, the two of them look helpless. 


- We can relate this situation to a fairly common one: getting stuck on an elevator. 
The difference is, however, that in this situation there is no reason whatsover to panic.
The video points out the reliance of human beings on technology. 
If it goes missing, it is as if a crutch had been taken away, so these two people cannot walk up the escalator, which would be the normal thing to do. We could think that technological progress makes humans lazy or at less prone to take iniciatives. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Post 1: A cartoon

 This document is a cartoon published in the International Herald Tribune by the popular cartoonist Chapatte.
 It is undated although we can guess it was issued in spring, since the Cannes festival usually takes place at that time of the year. Thanks to the speech bubble, we can say that the cartoon deals with the issue of piracy, a much-debated topic. Indeed, many disagree about the limits of piracy. Some believe it is an amazing technological progress that gives access to culture in all its forms (movies, songs, albums, books...) but others believe that it is a form of intellectual copyright infringement.

The young man, wearing the "@" t-shirt, with a speech bubble saying: "I love your movies. I've pirated them all!" is what catches the eye at first sight. He looks fairly young, so he could even be a teenager. Then we see a beautiful woman wearing a long dress, next to a man in black jacket and sunglasses who is signing an autograph for the teenager. We can assume that he is a film director. In the top left corner there is a sign indicating that it is the Cannes film festival. Finally, different fans and photographers are depicted in the background.

But what does the author wish to convey with this cartoon? Indeed, he is suggesting that the limits of piracy are fading, and therefore we don't know where piracy stops being a wonder of technology and  starts being a crime. While posing this problem, the author also tackles with a very persistent issue: the exaggerated fanaticism of our society towards the show world in general (actors and singers aswell as directors). This is stated by the different fans screaming in the background, more precisely in the right side. Chapatte satirizes  this world, which he finds ridiculous. His aim is therefore to raise the readers awareness about the piracy issue.

On the whole, the message put across by the author is that times are changing and that we should ask ourselves where the limits are. To what extent should piracy be legal? Is the fan's attitude being completely over the top and even sickly? Undoubtedly, the author has carefully thought-out the cartoon, leaving the readers small "clues" to influence them.

In my opinion,  the cartoon is pretty effective and especially easy to understand. It is a way for the author to convey the message to an even larger group of readers. Because of its simplicity, the cartoon doesn't develop much the subject of piracy, so it leaves that task to the reader and public in general. Chapatte wants us to think by ourselves, and have our own opinion. I personally believe that the cartoon is definitely clever enough to influence the readers.

Finally, the situation illustrated by the cartoon reminds me of the film footage there is of, for example, The Beatles' concerts: huge cheering crowds of young teenagers, screeching and running at the sight of their idols. Undeniably, this scene is very likely to take place anywhere developed in the world, where the masses live in a fake world, filled with the lives of others, the lives of their idols, which might end up being more important than the own individual's life.