FILM

LIFTING THE VEIL

Lars von Trier's Depression Trilogy

By Rebekah Smith

The lead sad person
I do not know if there is ever a good or right time to watch Lars von Trier’s films. Often criticized as horrific, sadistic, and misogynist, the Danish director’s work does not make for a pleasant viewing experience. With raw, unflinching depictions of sex and violence – genital mutilation seems to be an interest - the Danish director’s films are not suggested for the light hearted or easily offended. Von Trier’s most recent work, Antichrist (2009), Melancholia (2011), and Nymphomaniac Volumes I. & II., typically dubbed “the Depression Trilogy”, were condemned not only for supposed gratuitous imagery, but for the subject matter itself.

MUSIC, POLITICS, ART

THE AFROFUTURIST PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

the galvanizing presence of Erykah Badu and Outkast

By Deborah Obanla

Don't forget this image--she is the future!

By no means whatsoever is afrofuturism a new concept. It comes into prominence as early as the 1960s and has any number of offshoots over the next two decades. Tales of Sun Ra beginning his day in extravagant regalia (what some of us call clothes), playing sizzling jazz, and riding in a groovy space ship certainly isn’t particularly weird for the era. What with the civil rights movement, the Black Panthers fighting the system in Oakland, and everything else in between, I might’ve opted for an intergalactic journey, too. The idea of black people segregating themselves to another planet marks the beginning of the afrofuturist movement and it was coming on all fronts -- visual media, music, and literature with such luminaries as George Clinton, Parliament Funk, Ishmael Reed, and Octavia Butler. They were all instrumental in the forging the way, though, they would all have to wait…

TELEVISION

MARVEL TELEVISION HEROES FIND RELIGION

an analysis of faith in pop culture

By Alexza Gipson

Stay true to the ways, my hero son
Throughout cinematic history comic book characters have been featured on the big and small screens. Although fictional comic book characters have always included moral reflection and questions of ethics, religion has never been that prominent an issue, that is until the inception of the Marvel Comic Book universe on television. On April 10, 2015 Marvel introduced Daredevil, a practicing Catholic who visits his priests as often as he uses his fists to stop crime. After the success of Daredevil marvel has continued to follow the same religious templates with their other series, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. Although the references to religion in these series aren’t always as overt as they are in Daredevil they all represent a specific belief. Iron Fist is a committed Buddhist, who fights crime and thinks about various Koans; Luke Cage is clearly a Baptist, a religious denomination that fits nicely in with his African-American background; and Jessica Jones is a lost aesthesis existentialist.

MUSIC

THE AUTHENTICITY GAME

how authentic is Korean Hip Hop

By Betty Gu

Are they the real thing?
We often think of Hip Hop in its obvious surface effects -- crazy back beats, rhythmic and rhyming speech, the style, the bravado, the nutty personalities -- but as it has gone world wide, the most important aspect of the genre has been the idea of authenticity. We can see this when Hip hop aesthetics leave the United States and infiltrate the cultures of other countries, especially Asian ones, and, most interestingly, South Korea. What we can see is that the copy is never authentic, maybe. When South Koreans take up Hip Hop in all its seriousness, our first reaction is come on. But that would be a mistake, the question of taking an American art form and culture and translating it into something truly Korea is mind-boggling. In other words, how do you take an aesthetic that isn’t of your culture and make it your own.

MUSIC

THE PUNK YEARNING OF THE MIDWESTERN SOUL

why the midwest needs its pop punk

By Emrys Hiatt

We know what you need, midwest punks!

Attention, attention! May I have all your eyes and ears…” the debut full-length album of Chicago’s own The Academy Is... , begins, immediately followed with an emblazoned cry about worst case scenarios playing out amongst rooms full of all too familiar faces. The lyrics themselves are unique to the band, but they are not at all a unique mentality to listeners, genre, or even location. In fact their message -- one of nostalgic-fueled frustration for a landscape that seems simultaneously empty and claustrophobic -- is one addressed by Fall Out Boy, Screeching Weasels, Powerspace, The Atari’s, and The Hush Sound. Aside from having arbitrarily long and cobbled together names, these powerhouses of pop punk music have one major thing in common that few pay attention to. They all originate from the Midwest. So what is it about these fly over states that encourages such a bracing message that has lasted over 40 years and still continues without any signs of losing strength?

ART

SIGHT AND SOUND

a review of "Soundtracks" at SFMoMa

By Artem Stryanskiy

What you hear is what you get
I had a strange experience walking through “Soundtracks” a group exhibition at SFMoMA that focuses on sound and space. I couldn’t stop thinking about what each piece looked like. I know that sound is something we cannot usually see. It requires that we use other senses: hearing, and, rather strangely, our sense of touch, as sound waves travel through our bodies. We primarily receive information through vision, especially in the age of screens and monitors. We aren’t used to paying attention to sound in any kind of nuanced way and the fact that I immediately wanted to translate it into an image was perplexing to me. So, I guess I was at the right show.

FILM

THE PRINCESS PROBLEM

why Frozen is more than a fixer-upper

By Gianna Cappuccia

What's a princess to do?
In November of 2013, just before Thanksgiving, Walt Disney Pictures released the film Frozen into the world, and the world responded by releasing the contents of their wallets into Disney’s bank account. The smash hit took the world by storm. Its songs could be heard playing everywhere, a merchandise shortage left parents fighting over Olaf plushes like they were the Tickle-Me-Elmos of the 1990s, and children watched the movie on repeat enough times to make their mothers and fathers suicidal. In less than eighteen months, Disney had green-lit a sequel, gotten a Broadway musical adaptation into production, and even decided to foist Norway out of their Epcot World Showcase in favor of a new Frozen-themed section. The movie became the highest-grossing animated feature of all time. So why wouldn’t Disney milk this cash cow dry? Everyone was in love with Frozen.

TELEVISION

THE BRILLIANCE OF INSIDE NO. 9

the dark, dark, dark, British series where everything is a surprise

By Yaqi Zhang

Everything's a surprise and not always a pleasant one
Inside No. 9 is an anthology television series that is very British, very dark, and very funny. It first aired in February 5, 2014. Written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton and produced by the BBC, each episode features a new story, with a new setting, and new characters. Episodes last around half an hour, and always come to a surprise conclusion—even when we’re waiting for the surprise conclusion, which is part of the fun of the series. The stories are linked only by the fact that each takes place in any place where there is a number 9—it could be a room, an ad-dress, etc. Shearsmith or Pemberton, and normally both play different characters in every epi-sode. The episodes are effectively short plays, and could easily be performed on stage. Most of them take place in real time, following half an hour in the lives of the characters.

ART

DIFFERENCE IN PICTOGRAMS

Yang Liu's shows us the difference between East and West

By Ding Wang 

Confused, you should be
Yang Liu was born in Beijing in 1976, and moved to Germany in 1990. She studied at UWE at Bristol, UK in 1976, and graduated with a master’s degree from University of Arts Berlin in 1976. Since 2010 Liu has been a professor and chair of communication design at Berlin Technical Art University. In 2003, she left Berlin and moved to New York. At the time she had spent exactly 13 years in Germany and 13 years in China and felt the desire to document this chapter of her life in visual terms. She decided that she would produce a book and that its dimensions would be 13 x 13. In 2007, Liu published West meet East in Germany. During the first exhibition, some of the images in the book were posted on blogs and websites and got a great deal of attention. The intense interest was easy to explain: Liu had rendered the complex social differences between the east and west in easy to understand pictograms. I want to look at some of them and explain how well they explain Chinese culture.

FILM AND ART

THE HACKSAW RIDGE CONDITION

what exactly is anti-war art anyway?

By Ting Ting Dai

It's not a war. It's a condition.
Hacksaw Ridge is based on the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) who refused to kill or bear arms during WWII. He was a pacifist who chose to serve his country as a battlefield medic. The movie forces you to see war not as a battle, but as an incredible loss of human life. The normal narrative of the war movie changes from a story about killing to one of survival and attempting to make other people’s lives better. The film is particularly effective in showing just how horrific war is and how difficult it is to be a pacifist in a world dedicated to conflict and fighting. So, I’d like to coin a term: The Hacksaw Ridge Condition. That would mean any work of art that attempts to not just be anti-war, but to explain the difficulties and complexities of actually living in a state of war.

ART

YOU CAN LEARN A LOT FROM A MADE UP FACE

the difference styles of Korean and American makeup

By Jeong Min Park

Makeup is truth
We see people and we take them in as they present themselves. So we have a tendency to think that everything is natural, especially within our own cultures. We meet people and we don’t even begin to think how they got to look like that. They look like they look. Now, if we were a bit smarter, we would at least stop to think how long it takes them to look like they look. And we would have to admit that from the moment we get up in the morning to when we leave for school or work, we look radically different. In fact, we all know what a change in hairstyle will do and what 20 pounds of weight will do, and what clothes can do to our appearance and how people treat us.

TELEVISION

WHEN BEAUTY IS THE GUIDING PRINCIPLE OF ART

an analysis of the aesthetics of Korean television drama

By Chin Hwa Wu

Please, film me, I'm uncontrollably good looking

Korean television drama is part of the "Korean wave" that has swept across the world. This relatively small country of 51.2 million people has generated a revolution in fashion, music, television, and the movies, especially in Asian countries, but also in the US. I am a big Korean drama fan and have spent a lot of time thinking about what makes them so wonderful. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but when it comes to my favorite genre beauty is its first and foremost concern. And by that I mean the physical beauty of the actors. The producers of Korean television dramas use beauty as a radical form of storytelling and that makes for a rather strange art.

ART

THE ARTFUL DISHES OF KOREAN CUISINE

how Chaehoon Moon is returning to tradition in a new way

By Minji Seol

An amazing array of dishes
A dish? What is a dish? Is it too ordinary an object to talk about? Is it just a round or square shape for containing food? We use dishes every day. They are not considered special objects. They aren’t there to enjoy and appreciate in term of their tremendous art and design. However, every dish has a story and especially Korean dishes. What seems merely a shallow container for food is actually a philosophy and a way of thinking and being in the world.

ART AND LITERATURE

JUNJI ITO'S UZUMAKI IS THE NEW TERROR

or the horrible truth of the uncanny

By Starlyiana Osias

Junji Ito’s Japanese manga Uzumaki (published in 1998) like most Japanese horror leans toward the psychological, rather than the violent or monstrous. Although it is categorized as psychological horror, it employs several other sub-genres, including mystery, the supernatural, suspense/thriller, and the most important of them all, Lovecraftian cosmic psychological despair. Uzumaki is about a town, Kurozucho, plagued by the curse of the spiral. Through a series of short stories, we gradually learn about the town, the scope of the plague, and how it all relates to the two main characters, Kirie Goshima and Shuichi Saito. Is it frightening? Yes, sometimes, but not in a there’s-a-monster-in–the-house way. What’s scary is how the normal becomes inexplicable, and the characters can’t truly grasp and/or explain what they are seeing. And we as readers become similarly confused about what’s right before us.

FASHION

FASHION IS LIFE

what I learned when I asked a few questions

By Yuki Sung

Does this say anything about you?

What does fashion mean to people? Well, clearly lots of different things, depending on who they are, how much money they have, and their relationship with clothes. Yes, I believe everyone has a relationship with clothes. What’s interesting is that fashion not only tells us about a person’s identity, but also can create that identity. No matter where you’re from, what you do, what you wear, how you wear it, and how much it costs, you can’t hide behind your clothes. They say everything about you. So I decided I wanted to know more and asked people to take a survey about their relationship with their clothes. What I found out was weirdly illuminating and caught the strange intersection between what we wear and who we are.

MOVIES

PERFECT CARNAGE

John Wick 2 and the Art of World Building

By Scott Whitney

Keanu knows Gun-Fu

Before we talk about Chad Stahlelski, perhaps one of the most interesting directors of recent years, we need to mention that this is the first time since The Matrix that we’ve seen Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne together. What else needs can you say? This is the second John Wick Stahlelski has directed, the first being in 2014 and whether you saw it or not this one will give you exactly what you paid for: guns, guns going off, and more guns, as well as Keanu Reeves’ ability to form meaningful relationships with just about everyone using the fewest words possible. If you saw the trailers, you saw the movie. Unlike most movies that do this, John Wick 2 movie gave you more of the same with a huge emphasis on the word more. And let’s be honest more is all you wanted from the movie in the first place.

IDEAS

THE RINGS OF SANTA MONICA

there are no rules to the Zen of flying

By Austin Conrad

Rings 1 by Austin Conrad
There are not many sports that have somehow managed to avoid being controlled by rules. When we think of major or even minor sports we think about a set of rules to decide how a game should be played. When considering the idea of a foul we think about whether that action is harmful, and gives an unfair advantage to a player or team. Similarly, there are some sports that ignore rules and change the very nature of how people play games.

ART

PAT PERRY AND THE POLITICS OF WORK

illustration as a way of life

By William Greeley

Many of the great themes of Pat Perry

I recently took a trip back to my hometown, Grand Rapids Michigan, where I visited family and friends. Coming from the Bay Area, going home is always a bit of a culture shock. Grand Rapids is uneventful and very conservative. One night, while grabbing drinks with old High School friends, I found myself in the middle of an intense argument over who’s 9-5 job is better and who makes the most money. At this moment I realized how different my views of work are and how leaving home and becoming an illustrator has changed me.

ART AND IDEAS

THE IDEA OF THE UNSPOILED WILDERNESS

the image Ansel Adams created

By Laura Heywood

Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, Ansel Adams

When we think about wilderness, we think of nature untouched by man. If you plan a trip to the wilds you probably think of an uninhabited place that is unspoiled by man or woman. It’s interesting that we don’t consider our National Parks to be under the control of the federal government, but they are. I remember when I visited Yosemite in the summer of 2016 the valley was covered in shuttle buses, stores, lodges, traffic, etc. I was taken back by so much activity in the unspoiled wilderness. But don’t get me wrong, walk in the opposite direction and Yosemite still has the appearance of pristine wilderness.

ART AND IDEAS

THREADING COOL

in art we never lose anything

By Aaron ("M27") Ruiz

It change the world!
When the urinal got flipped upside down and tagged the moniker R. Mutt, Marcel Duchamp sent the art world and everything we knew into a new dimension. The Dadaists were the first artists to explore what it meant to be an artist in the vortex of the urban world. They found a home in cities all throughout Europe, and slipping through New York. And from New York their influence splintered all over the US into a variety of different social and artistic movements. Some of these movements might seem highly unlikely, like “The New Negro Movement”, but that’s how culture works. It slips and slides past the censors of good taste and possibility. So nothing you know is new; the past is always present and alive in the future. Since Dada burst on the scene, the young have created social and artistic movement from different cliques and racial backgrounds. These movements rely on the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next, with each generation progressively building on the previous one’s ideas. These movements rely heavily on what is literally the state of cool. But art movements require catalysts. Music, art, fashion, philosophy, aesthetics, and of course drugs, have all served as the markers for new movements; but what they really need is a real person to help drive them. Duchamp was one of these, and I’m going to key you in on a couple more.

MOVIES

SWISS ARMY MAN SOARS

on the knowledge that we're all human even when we're dead

By Scott Whitney

Ride the Dead Fart Machine!

Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan directed Swiss Army Man, starring Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, with their eyes fully on that middle ground between comedy and drama. This is the duo’s first major release and it must have been quite a coup to get a cast of mid-range stars. Since Winstead has been John McLane’s daughter in the entire Die Hard Franchise it isn’t surprising that she wanted something new. Dano is clearly looking for challenging roles—he received a best supporting actor Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy. And Radcliffe, is a wizard. Or was.

IDEAS

THE EIGHT RULES OF FINE DINING

a pilgrimage to a food mecca

By Marco Pan

The Destination of our Food Pilgrimage

The first thing I do is go to the website. I want an incredible food experience, and not just a generic great food experience; I want a high-class, incredible, Japanese food experience. I had trolled around the Internet looking for a restaurant that might serve my needs, and then I came across Kusakabe. There was something about the understated quality of the design and the promise of a long meal that was irresistible. I clicked to reserve a table and immediately realized that the restaurant was booked for a month. I don’t know how to explain this, but it made the restaurant seem almost perfect, like a paradise I needed to visit. And so I learned the first rule of an incredible food experience, not everyone can have it and you have to want it real bad.

MUSIC

JAMAICAN SOUND SYSTEMS

when technological innovation meets economic deprivation

By Ubirani Ferreira

The Revolution Hit the Streets!

So, what exactly is someone referring to when they say ‘Sound System Music?’ Doesn’t my grandma have one in her car? In fact, yes she does, but the origins of sound system music derives much further back in time to Jamaica, where it emerges from both an economic crisis and a technological break through. Within the context of Jamaican pop culture, a sound system is the meeting of many Disc Jockeys and engineers, linking up huge speakers and generators and setting up parties in densely populated areas of Jamaica, first and foremost in Kingston. In the 1940s and 50s most of the music being played was popular Rhythm and Blues from the U.S., but eventually other local Jamaican music took form and grabbed center stage at sound system events.

MOVIES

PROMISES, PROMISES

Kong won't even give me giant ants

By Scott Whitney

Yeah, I'm bad, one bad mother-fucking movie

Jordan Charles Vogt-Roberts directed this movie and unless you’re a Sundance film groupie or historian or both his name won’t mean anything to you. It certainly didn’t mean anything to me and I’m not sure after Kong it ever will. Executive producer Ridley Scott does mean something and you’ll find his influences all over Kong, though probably not in any admirable way. But we’re name-dropping now, which happens to be the most successful thing the movie does. Whatever Vogt-Roberts pitched to get this thing made, he clearly mentioned The Dirty Dozen, Apocalypse Now, King Kong (all versions) and a little liberal wink-wink to indigenous people. It’s one of those films, or really a dozen of them.

PERFORMANCE

AVAILABLE LIGHT IS BACK

the negative space of collaboration

By Kelly Lai

A Classic is Back

Lucinda Childs, John Adams, and Frank Gehry’s Available Light premiered in 1983 at the Los Angeles Museum of Modern and Contemporary (MOCA). The piece is now considered to be one of the most significant works to come out of American performance and is thought by many to be a masterpiece. Each of the contributing artists—Childs, Adams, and Gehry—have become world famous in their respective fields of dance, music, and architecture. The present remounting and tour of Available Light (at Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall) is a chance to go back to a moment when they all were on the cusp of fame and see how they negotiated creating a piece of art together. And the issue really is about artistic collaboration and the way they imagine it.

FASHION

JOHN GALLIANO'S TRIP TO CHINA

a deepening of a cultural connection

By Frieda Jiang

Style Beyond Belief

John Galliano is a British fashion designer and by far one of the most talented and controversial designers in the world. He was born in Gibraltar and moved to Streatham, South London when he was six. He graduated from St. Martin’s School of Art, the top fashion design school in London, and became an instant star. His style was hyper-romantic and passionate, but he also displayed a meticulous attention to the details of tailoring that set him apart from his experimental peers. He was the head designer of Givenchy (1995-1996), Christian Dior (1996-2011) and his own brand John Galliano (1988-2011) before he got drunk, went on an anti-Semitic tirade in a dive bar, was caught on videotape, and got fired from his job and shunned by all his friends. He later apologized for being blasted out of his mind and everyone forgave him. He has since become the creative director of the Paris luxury fashion house Maison Margiela.

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.