IDEAS

THE STORY OF A POSTER

the strange influences on Keith Haring's greatest work

by Janice Ng

GREAT = ART, GREAT = ACTIVISIM

In 1989, a young artist named Keith Haring produced an untitled poster, later known as “Ignorance = Fear, Silence = Death” for the AIDS advocacy group ACT UP New York. Haring's deceptively simple imagery and text provided a sharp social critique of AIDS’ policy, politics, and among other things drug addiction, social outsiders, and gay life. Using a graffiti-inspired style and addressing stereotypes about AIDS, Haring’s poster drew attention to the dangers of prejudice and ignorance. He also distributed the posters free of charge (7) to spread the word to the general public. This is art as social activism, and yet despite all the serious political and social implications Haring never lost his sense of fun.

ART

A SIMPLE THEORY OF ABSTRACTION

and the rise of the digital

by Justin Son

The Definition is Historical

Whenever the world experiences a drastic change, we get a new movement in art. Industrialization and the emergence of photography gave us Impressionism and Expressionism. WW1 gave us machine guns and chemical weapons and artists responded with Surrealism and Dadaism. With the Atomic Bomb, came Jackson Pollock and Abstract Expressionism. In 2016, the digital revolution is here and with it the new, new abstraction in art.

IDEAS

Marina Abramovic and The Politics of Experience

And it is Art or Not?

by Colin Swenson

Here She Is, Ave Maria

Marina Abramovic is aggressively frank. In much of her work, she invites audiences to break social norms and allows them to participate in simple gestures that are usually considered inappropriate or strange. In Rhythm 0, which is perhaps Abramovic’s most famous work, she simply sits and invites the audience to engage with her in whatever way they please. Timid at first, people eventually become bolder and sometimes they get aggressive and even violent. After 6 hours of this strange confrontation, she walks toward the audience. Most people run away. In Abramovic’s most recent work The Artist Is Present, she sits at a wooden table and invites viewers to sit across from her and share a silent moment. In this way, many of Abramovic’s works deal with reframing a seemingly unimportant, or simple interaction in a way that can cause the viewer to reconsider everyday moments.

MUSIC

BOOM-BAP

pop music in the age of the drum machine

by Ubirani Ferreira



We’re supposedly living in the golden age of tech, where revolutions in product design, communication, even AI, are touted everyday. And so we tend to think of the 70’s as being the Stone Age, the age of 8-Track tapes, laser discs, gas guzzling muscle cars, but that would be a mistake. People are always assuming that what happened in the past was crude, primitive, and not worth the time. But that’s because the most lasting changes disappear from sight and become the everyday world.

IDEAS

Analyzing Type As A Consumer

a journey into typefaces

by Jessie Carvalho

There was once no choice

An infinite number of typefaces are available today. Hundreds of them are released every week and if you are a young designer like me it can be overwhelming to know where to start in choosing a typeface. Do you pick what’s cheapest? Do you choose based on foundries, variations? This is a critique of a handful of contemporary typefaces. It is meant to help novice designers compare contemporary typefaces based on qualities rather then just how the typeface looks. Every designer has intuition and preferences that tell them what typeface to apply in their projects, but if you can take a critical perspective on foundries, type anatomy, type history, etc. it will elevate and strengthen your design.

FILM

OPEN ENDED LINGERING FEELINGS

the odd genius of Makoto Shinkai

by Kai San Oh

The Place Promised in Our Early Days

What distinguishes Makoto Shinkai’s work from his contemporaries is his embrace of the open-ended. His plots meander and wander where they want. He concentrates on the mundane. He’s a realist interested in exploring odd connections and relationships. Strangest of all, his films provoke an interest in learning, not morals, but actual activities and skills. He possesses an appreciation of and the details of everyday objects. We see this in the way Shinkai is a master of technique, from his use of live cameras in 2D space, extreme color tones, and ambient sound effects. Taken as a whole, we can see bits and pieces of Buddhist thinking embedded in his films, which is quite unusual for animated films.

IDEAS

THE CAR OF THE FUTURE IS HERE, ALMOST

how Tesla and Elon Musk are doing to the SUV what Apple did to the Phone

by Yutian Sun


So Beautiful, so revolutionary

The SUV is an interesting type of car. It’s designed to carry more people than a regular one and is beloved by soccer moms everywhere. But that undersells the SUV’s potential and by potential I mean the ability to change how we think of travel and transportation. Elon Musk, the great South African entrepreneur, who has changed our ideas about electric cars, space travel, and all sorts of things, has put his sights on the lowly SUV. And what he’s done with it is almost as wild as what Apple has done to the phone. So it’s with great anticipation that we await Musk’s new masterpiece. It’s not just a vehicle, but also a window into the future, and, most important of all, a new way of thinking. This is the beginning of the revolution.

LITERATURE

IS THIS DEVOTION?

Keigo Higashino's dismantling of a beautiful impulse

by Chunxu Ma

X marks the Devotion

The Devotion of Suspect X is not your standard mystery novel, where there is a crime, an investigation, and a solution. Instead, Keigo Higashino practically tells you in the first chapter who the killer is, why he did it, and how he’ll be caught. You’re probably asking yourself, why bother reading a mystery when there’s no mystery at all. To your surprise, the next 17 chapters will prove you wrong: there is a mystery and it’s quite unnerving and complex. And if you’re alert you might ask, “devotion to whom? And what’s with the X?” That’s the most brilliant part of Higashino’s design: the X is more than a little scary, and it’s scary because of how worthy and laudable it is, even for a murderer.

ART

SUCCESS THROUGH FAILURE

the triumph of Yoshida Naoki's Final Fantasy XIV

by Josie Sone

Most people think video and online games are not only a waste time, but are also a fine way to waste your life. Yet, there are video games and then there are video games, and I want to talk about the latter and Final Fantasy XIV is an excellent example of it. It might not change your thoughts about gaming, but you’ll have to admit that it is far from a waste. One of the hallmarks of great art is that it actually anticipates its audience. In other words, it thinks about the needs of the people who use it and then shapes those needs. FF14 is especially sensitive to its audience and goes much further than other video game in establishing a compact between user and game.    

MUSIC

IT ALL DEPENDS HOW YOU HEAR IT

the many ways to hear Porches' Pool

by Pearl Shen


The Medium Matters
What could be more exhilarating than seeing one of your favorite musicians live? Music that had previously only been in your head is right in front of you. You aren’t separated by production, but you’re part of the music, part of the experience. As it turns out, there are plenty of people that prefer the experience on their own—they want to hear the music as the artist wants it to be heard and no other way. I was first introduced to Porches by my high school friend Johnny—that sounds like a cliché. We have the same taste in music, so I’m always ready to hear something new while driving around town in his old Trooper. I remember Johnny excitedly pulling up Porches on Spotify, but it didn’t take long for me to feel that something was off about Aaron Maine’s overly auto-tuned voice. Like so many vocalists today, Maine just didn’t feel human enough. Despite the song’s overall sparseness and minimal use of synth, I felt repelled by Maine's voice. I upped the volume, fiddled with the air conditioning, the trooper hummed, and I soon switched to the more familiar synth beats of Com Truise.

IDEAS

THE BEAUTY OF THE DANISH KITCHEN

what I learned cooking in Denmark

by Helen Yu

A Kitchen design for Hell

I’ve been in a lot of different kitchens, all over the world. In China, where I’m from, I have, of course, seen many kitchens. When I moved to America, one of the first things I looked for was the kitchen. Strangely, Chinese kitchens and American kitchens are not that different -- they’re made for mess and fast cooking. It wasn’t until I moved to Denmark that for the first time in my young life that the kitchen, or should I say, the design of the kitchen, made perfect and total sense.

FILM

PITY THE PEEPER

the voyeur's greatest fear is not getting caught

by Katlin Li

Creepers, Peepers

What’s peeping? Peeping is spying on people and sometimes for no good reason, like for your own thrills. It might be wrong. It is wrong, and yet people do it all the time, because it makes them feel that they’re in control, as if merely by watching what they’re not supposed to they become powerful. To be a peeper or voyeur, if you want to use the fancy French term, you don’t need a telescope or a camera, but just the desire to kind of check up on someone without them knowing it—like your boyfriend or girlfriend’s text messages, or emails, or their browsing history, or, you know, what’s in their medicine cabinet. There are a lot of things to check, believe me, I’ve thought about it. So we all peep. It’s fun and it’s human and you get to know other people’s secrets.

IDEAS

THE LEGEND FORMERLY KNOWN AS JOHN STEVENS

and his quest for immigration reform

By Daniel Frank


THEY WILL SING

John Stevens was born in 1981 in Springfield, Ohio. Apparently Stevens wasn’t a mythic enough name and so he became a Legend, a John Legend. Like any R&B superstar, Legend has an image, a silky voice, and fans who adore and lap up what he gives or sells them. He seems to be manufactured, an R&B singer, tailor-made for every generation, and yet somehow he comes off as sincere. His rise to fame has supported a newfound voice for activism and caring in America, which Legend, born Stevens re-packages in an enticingly humble allure.

ART

ATHLETES AND ARTISTS

Adelita Husni-Bey's Movement Break

By Pinyuan Li

Testimony?

“Why didn’t you keep playing?” “Because I wasn't good enough.” That was my boyfriend’s cold and direct assessment of his athletic ability. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Athletes are reminded of the brutality of talent all the time. You aren’t fast enough, you aren’t tall enough, you aren’t strong enough. That brutality is what makes Libyan-Italian artist, Adelita Husni-Bey’s exhibition Movement Break, so powerful and disappointing. Like my boyfriend’s athletic ability: it was good, but not good enough.

ART

AN INTERVIEW WITH TSHERIN SHERPAIS

a Tibetan artist in a strange world of rules

By Tenzin Tsomo

A Wild Identity
The exhibition, Bring it Home: (Re) Locating Cultural Legacy through the Body, curated by Meg Shiffler and Kevin B. Chen is a group show of ten artists that represents culturally diverse communities of the Bay Area and how they explore their sense of home and belonging. Though the show was laudable in its ambition, it reads as the same generic blueprint of “culturally diverse exhibitions” that are thematically built around popular assumptions about assimilation or migrant experiences. This becomes problematic because it dilutes the specificities of religious belief, history, and the politics of each artist and privileges the more digestible aspects of displacement. Tsherin Sherpais one of the artists exhibiting in the show. He was a born and raised in Nepal. He studied in Taiwan and moved to the United States in 1998. As a thangka artist, he began his career painting traditional Tibetan deities. However, over the years he has embraced a more contemporary style. He still paints in the traditional Tibetan style, but more as an act of defiance to the dominant Western mode of art.

ART

PATRICIA'S GREEN TEMPLE

a Hayes Valley landmark, an artistic question mark

By Han Zhang


If you ever walk through Hayes Valley in San Francisco, you cannot help but see David Best’s Patricia’s Green Temple, plopped in the middle of a strip of green, sandwiched between a jungle gym, food trucks with some of the most expensive slices of pizza in the world, clothing stores for millionaire skateboarders, and restaurants selling thirty dollar pancakes. Best is famous for building immense temples out of recycled wood sheets for Burning Man and then setting them on fire, in the tradition of that ridiculous hippy festival in the desert. Best’s Hayes Street Temple stands out because it’s so different than everything else around it: expensive boutiques, Victorian apartments, new multi-million dollar Condos, expensive shoe stores, one might say that everything is expensive and for sale on Hayes Street, maybe even including the people. So, Best’s Eastern inspired temple stands out that it doesn’t appear to be selling anything and even seems to tout—in Burning Man tradition—it’s own temporary status. It too will be destroyed.

FILM

RICHARD LINKLATER'S STUNNING BEFORE TRILOGY

which might not even be a trilogy in the future

By Angelynne Jose

Time yields hard truths

How many movies end in perfect love? The couple gazing into each other’s eyes, the knowing smiles, the arms entangled around each other, the kiss, and then the slow fade to black: happiness, forever after. Richard Linklater, filmmaker, screenwriter, and art house darling, is as fascinated with love as any Hollywood hack, but how he depicts it is radically and strangely different. His Before trilogy challenges the notion of happily ever after, and instead looks at how we love and why we love. They explore stages in a relationship that are too often sugarcoated over by clichéd notions of romance (Hello, Nicholas Sparks. Hello, Bridget Jones and all your diaries). Instead, Linklater gives it to us as it is.

ART

THE SEARCH FOR REAL ART

a surprising discover at the Berkley Art Museum

by Termeh Behbahani

That's where I went

Strolling around the new Berkeley Art Museum, which opened under the multi-show theme of “Architecture of Life,” I thought that I was going to get some snazzy and iconic architectural drawings. Instead, I saw spider webs, wooden sheds with abstract films showing in them, Saul Bass inspired video art, a charcoal map of China, not very accurate although I haven’t been to China, textiles from Nepal: and it all made me think what is architecture, what is life, what am I doing here, I’m very mad. Just as I was about to leave and go to Top Dog across the street, instead of the fancy third floor vegan cafeteria for the dowagers of Berkeley, I turned a corner into a new room, I hadn’t noticed. In front of me was something I might call art.

ART

SLEEP NO MORE GAVE ME SLEEP MANY NIGHTMARES

an unusual theatrical experience from Punch Drunk Theatre

By Yingyue Huang

The audience is in the masks!
I had an unusual experience. Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, a strange take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, messed with my mind and my sense of who I am. Yes, it was that good and bad. Before entering the theater, a waitress -- dolled up in 1930’s film noir style – opened up a door and led us down some stairs into a dark room. It didn’t feel like a pleasant way to begin an evening of theater. There were electric candles in every corner, the only and insufficient light available. We were stumbling around in the darkness, trying to catch up to our waitress, or was she our leader?

ART

PRIVATE WEALTH/PUBLIC ART

the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project

By John Anderson

Everyone, come and look

A public mural, at any scale, can be a massive undertaking for an artist or group of artists. Often fraught with conflicting public opinions, a mural with any substantial content can quickly be politicized and sometimes watered-down. As Lucy Lippard poignantly states in her book Mapping the Terrain, “Culture is not where we come from, it’s where we’re coming from.” A successful public mural reflects the community in which it resides. The Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project (2015), an effort by Attitudinal Healing Connection (AHC), meets and exceeds these requirements. Heroes should be praised for its execution in uniting the community and its ability to negotiate Oakland’s complex political climate.

ART

THE LUGGAGE STORE GALLERY

a 14 year span

By Morgan de Lorenzo



Morgan de LorenzoI was 18 years old when I first attended a show at the Luggage Store Gallery on Market Street near the Tenderloin in San Francisco. The Gallery is a S.F. landmark, established in 1987 by Daryl Smith and Laurie Lazer. From the beginning they have been relentless in their passion to support emerging artists from the Bay Area as well as international ones. You can easily trace the paths of many contemporary artists back to the Luggage Store. New to the Bay Area I made fast friends through skateboarding and graffiti. On a rainy day my friends and I set out from Oakland as a pack of wild and reckless youths to view the infamous Brazilian twins, Os Gemeos exhibit at the Luggage Store.

FILM

YOU CAN SEE THE MEETINGS IN THEIR ART

the difference between art and product

By Katie Davis



Oscar season has come and gone, and taken with it the season of predictions, speculation, and judgment on the motives of the Academy. By this point, it can certainly feel like everything that could possibly be said about the nominees has been said, probably at least six times. We’ve made predictions, commented on the lack of diversity, and collectively wept for the winners of this largely arbitrary award. Since these things have been covered, there’s something else I’d like to dig into. The Academy Awards are supposed to honor the best in film achievement. But is it always artistic merit that drives the production of Oscar nominated films? How can we distinguish from films that were produced by committee with the intention of winning prestigious awards, the Oscars included, and those that were made purely because their creator had to make them.

FILM

WHAT TO WEAR IN A DYSTOPIA

it all depends who you are

By Sterralda Osias


Do you like me outfit?

The allure of the dystopia is an everlasting one. We can’t seem to get enough of everything going wrong. From “Hell” to the latest Mad Max, dystopia sells and especially at the movies: every year Hollywood releases a film that seems to catch the essence of the look of dystopia. But not all dystopias are made equal. The Fifth Element takes place in the twenty third century, where the cabs and cops fly at the same level as high-rise buildings. The Matrix’s dystopia takes place in a computer-generated dream, and in the film, Snowpiercer, the last survivors on earth are trapped in a train that circles an icy earth over and over again. You couldn’t ask for more different dystopias. Yet, no matter how different each dystopia, you can count on the clothes always being the same. Yes, I said that, it’s as if the same costume designer has worked on every dystopian film for the last twenty years, wait thirty, no forty, fifty years. It’s always the same.

ART

POLIT-SHEER-FORM FOR ONE AND ALL!

an artist(s) quest for individuality and community

By Pinyuan Li


He's our man.

Polit-Sheer-Form: Fitness for All at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) opens with an incredibly striking image: a 61 3/10 × 47 3/10 inch portrait of a man wearing a perfectly ironed white shirt with a blue badge, awkwardly parted hair, looking straight ahead, and possibly to nowhere. Most people who see it just glance at it for two seconds, avoid eye contact and then go on. Who is he? Why is his portrait here? Why are they so disinterested? Perhaps because his face is uninspiring and seems to be as normal as you could possibly get. He is an average man of no particular note. And that’s your first mistake. You should be very interested in this boring man and everyone who sees this show should be, too. No one has ever quite looked like that, so normal and so non-noticeable. How is that possible? The answer is that he is not one man, but the amalgamation of the five artists who make the group Polit-Sheer-Form (PSF). The man’s name is Mr. Zheng (Mr.Polit).

ART

THE INSTAGRAM MOMENT

watch out Kodak, a new aesthetic's in town

By Christine Juon


We will learn why this image is great!

There used to be something called the “Kodak moment”. It was that once in a lifetime photo that will forever preserve that memory. In 2015 we have Instagram, or the Instagram moment. Instagram doesn’t have a catchy slogan, yet, but it does the trick. In many ways, it is the new Kodak moment. Because of social media the Instagram moment comes in a compact, square format. Instagram is littered with an influx of “#ootd (outfit of the day),” foodie pics, and selfies, but there’s also a growing community of what we can only call fine arts photos. Like Kodak moments, they are fleeting images captured on the fly by artists who have their eyes peeled. What’s fascinating is the way traditional ideas of composition have been upended in this new format. The compositions often center the main subject in the square. In addition, the image is usually cut with lines running diagonally, horizontally, or vertically. What we are witnessing with Instagram is the emergence of a new aesthetic with its own rules and its own sense of quality. What’s even more interesting is how the logic of the Instagram aesthetic finds itself in opposition to a great deal of the established rules of photography and illustration. Let’s see how some of the more interesting Instagram photographers are using this new aesthetic and how the rules of photography are branching into new realms.

MUSIC

THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE & I AM NO LONGER AFRAID TO DIE

a long-named band finally pulls it together

By Eliot Larson


Grrrrrrr, that's a long name
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die is often tagged as an Emo band; however, over the course of multiple 7-inches, 2 EPs, an album and a spoken word collection, the ever-growing collective is more accurately some blend of Post-Rock, Chamber Pop, Math and Noise Rock. Live, the band is one big exhale of emotion, members and instruments float in an out, so any given appearance may or may not feature strings, horns, keys, multiple lead vocalists, and long bits of improvisation. Images of nature, home, and shared experiences are frequent themes. Songs can take the form of minute and a half punk-y bursts of energy to 9-minute epics. The lyrics, penned by a number of different members, often revolve around a core question: what does it mean to be human? 2013’s Whenever, If Ever built up the chaos of band’s early EPs, but was oddly ordered and criminally short. In last year’s Between Bodies, collaboration with spoken word artist Chris Zizzamia, the instrumentation crept toward the avant-garde, and the project ultimately came off as sounding unfinished. TWIABP is often name checked as one of the current leaders of the “Emo Revival”, however not until Harmlessness have they produced a cohesive piece of work.

THE RETURN OF 2-D BEAUTY

the Song of the Sea turns animation on its head

Chaojie Hu


The Return of 2-D!

As little as ten years ago, no one took animation seriously. It was a kid’s art form, harmless, disposable entertainment. Thanks to Disney, Pixar and Studio Ghibli, this is no longer true. Animated films are now considered real art, have their own category at the Academy Awards, and are treated by the major media outlets as a complex art form. But we know that with everything good comes something bad: as animation has gained more and more cultural caché that caché has ironically begun to limit the art form. It’s as if the price of respectability is losing what made you interesting in the first place, and that’s a steep price to pay.

FILM

BRUTALITY CONTAINED BY THE FAIRY TALE

the triumph of Isao Takahata's Princess Kaguya

By Leecie Suyeda


Incredible Beauty!
No child has been tormented by a princess as much as me. The first time I heard the story of Princess Kaguya, I thought it was passable. But I was three. Every time I heard that stiff, emotionless story afterwards I grew more and more annoyed at its opaque nature. Her story tortured me at bedtime, in my Buddhist church, and at school where I was forced to make a giant life sized Princess Kaguya drawing. After a while I wondered if I was going to hear this awful story at my funeral. When I heard Studio Ghibli was making a movie adaptation, I figured I had suffered enough. But some crazy part of me loves watching movies, bad and good alike, and since it is my field I felt duty bound to at least see the movie before I hated it. What happened next was one of the most shocking moments of my life. I was crying and by the end it had restored my faith in animated movies. Isao Takahata took a story I knew too well, that I had never wanted to hear again, and turned it into a moving film.

FILM

LET'S DREAM SMALL

the human dramas of Ant Man and The Martian

By Gabby Hernandez


Small Guy Troubles

We can dream of being larger than life but it turns out the real dream is what it would be like to be smaller than life. Ant Man is the first superhero in the last ten years with what we might call “relatable” powers. He’s smart, he’s fast, and he doesn’t need to destroy Manhattan for the billionth time—only the construction industry could be happy with this unending carnage of prime real estate. There’s just enough story for the audience to believe that when Dr. Hank Pym (a zippy Michael Douglas) offers Scott Lang (the relatable Paul Rudd) the Ant Man suit, it’s a job he can’t refuse.

FASHION

THE POWER OF AIR YEEZY

the meaning behind the world's greatest sneaker

By Michael Zhou



Nike’s Air Yeezy is the most discussed piece of footwear in the history of the world. It has achieved this dubious distinction not only because of its incredibly, jaw dropping, stunningly foolish, high price, but also because of its shape and design and maybe especially its shape and design. You wouldn’t have guessed it but well-known pop singer and husband to Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, the largest ego in the known world, is the creative design force behind this shoe. In 2012, Air Yeezy II rocketed to a level of popularity unheard for a pair of shoes. Almost every famous pop star had to have at least one. Sneakerheads on the street clamored and fought for them, even NBA players would have played on them if they could: it has now become the dream shoe for the sneakerhead set.

FILM

THE GENIUS OF POPCORN

an attack on Oscar Bait

By Kaley Bales


How do we value movies? Acting? Actors? Sets? Costumes? Critics? Director? Cinematographer? Soundtrack? Box office? Maybe the poster seemed interesting? A review in the paper? The aggregate score on rotten tomatoes? No, Oscars! I know that’s what you’re thinking. Every year the Oscars are there to tell us what is the best. So it should be very simple, just watch the Oscars, note the winners, cue up your Netflix, and you’re off to movie Heaven! But here’s the thing, only a fool or a masochist would want to sit down and watch the last twenty winners of the best picture Oscars. The winners are generally liberal-minded, do-gooder, sentimental pieces of pseudo drama. While the best films (the ones we like to watch) are not the avant-gardes, not the important, or the noble, but the films that rack up ticket sales like crazy. Popcorn movies! The movies where, at the time of their release, are dismissed as being there just to make a good buck and to entertain the masses. Well it turns out ‘fluff’ is what stands up. Personally I’ve always been a popcorn movie lover–Grease, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Home Alone. Are they philosophically deep? Will they help you adjudicate the death penalty? Will they give you the answer to our immigration problems? Will you study them in film school? Not necessarily. But boy if they aren’t entertaining as hell, and entertainment is underrated.

MUSIC

WHY NOT TRY SOME JAPANESE HOSPITALITY AT A ROCK FESTIVAL

the brilliance of Fuji Rock

By Fuko Suzuki

Let's get together, people!

You learn a lot about a culture when you put a lot of people in the same place for over seventy-two hours. Music festivals do this all the time and I have learned a lot, and not necessarily nice things. Go to any festival in America and you’re asking to be vomited on, groped, by both sexes, and surrounded by people who are clearly out of their minds. And I mean, they literally seem out their minds—their eyes are popping out of their sockets and they’re doped up on who knows what. You just ask yourself, why am I here, why am I here, and again, why am I here.

FILM

REVENGE IS BEST LEFT TO THE EVIL

Kim Ji-Woon's I Saw The Devil

By Emma Chu


Which One is Worse?

I Saw The Devil is a Korean psychological thriller, horror film directed by Kim Ji-woon. After it opened on March of 2011 most people found it to be so overwhelming and cruel that they felt it should be banned. Its plot certainly suggests the level of brutality that the film strives for and reaches. The fiancé of the main character, Soo-Hyun, is brutally raped, murdered, and then hacked to pieces by a psychopath named Kyung. The psychopath doesn’t simply end her life, but tortures her beforehand by sticking her into a clear plastic bag so that he can watch her reactions throughout the entire gory killing.

DESIGN

DIAMONDS ARE A DESIGN'S BEST FRIEND

or the joy of precious metals

By Xin Zeng

D is for Beautiful!

People wear jewelry for many different reasons, but the first one is always beauty. We want jewelry to reflect back and highlight our own beauty, or even better, make ourselves as ravishing as a diamond. Our use of jewelry forces us to ask some complicated questions. How do we create beauty? Where does the beauty come from? Is beauty natural? Of course, when we think about jewelry, we think of design: the arrangement of materials and the overall effect of the design. We think of this as creating something of value, a quality that we often designate as beautiful. But I think looking at beauty and value in that way is a mistake. It is not the design that creates beauty but the material itself that creates it.

ART

THE MASTER OF THE HUMAN BEING

Arnold Newman's perfect celebrity photographs

By Zhou Zoe Yuan

A Master shot by a Master
“Arnold Newman: Masterclass” is a posthumous retrospective of Arnold Newman's celebrity portraits, some of which have never been presented to the public. Newman was one of the most productive, creative and successful photographers of the second half of the 20th century. His black and white portraits formed a new genre known as "environmental portraiture." Newman didn't just shoot standard publicity and glamour shots of the day. Instead, he tried to capture his subjects where they worked or lived. The effect of this is that they seem more human and less posed than normal, run-of-the-mill portraits. They read more like condensed visual biographies; the product of rich, creative lives where work is the defining element.

FILM

THE GRAVEYARD OF VISIONS

the impossibility of filming Frank Herbert's Dune

By Josh Gibson

Good luck, Alejandro
1: Dune In Retrospect

Frank Herbert’s Dune was a product of a time before Star Wars and the clichéd, under-imagined Sci-Fi blockbusters that crowd modern movie theaters. Its predecessors were the Victorian tales of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, and pulp science fiction novels that were so technologically oriented that they lacked any sort of human element. Nonetheless, they set the basic tropes for most of contemporary Sci-Fi (dystopian societies, international or galactic politics, technological innovation, cyborgs, artificial intelligence, time travel, to name a few). Ray Bradubury’s The Martian Chronicles got close, adding some sense of character and an elegant prose style, but it too is uninspired and artistically suspect. That was the case for most of Sci-Fi until Dune was published in 1965. It set the gold standard for the genre, while avoiding just about every trope and cliché that had been made previously made available.

FILM

THE GREEN SCREEN OF DREAD

what happened to Peter Jackson's Hobbit films?

By Kelly Airo

The Dreaded Green Screen of Blah

The most recent (and thankfully the last) of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies was, unsurprisingly, just as disappointing as the first two. The same director that gave us The Lord of the Rings in beautiful, bordering on obsessive detail, turned around and gave us a series that feels rushed and unloved. Despite the fact that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was a box office success, it is an aesthetic disaster and that disaster can be summed up in three letters: CGI. Some think that computer generated imagery is just a tool, but it has become so much more than that. It might be the most corrupting influence in the movies today, seducing and ruining some of our most talented artists, of whom Jackson is one of the most ambitious and, sadly, obvious examples.