Louie Psihoyos: The Cove | 2009

The idyllic Pacific coastal whaling town of Taiji, in the Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, with its community of fisher-folk, long held a terrible secret, a secret that was uncovered and put to global critical scrutiny (and subsequent outrage) by a team of concerned animal and environmental activists led by National Geographic photographer and later film director, Louie Psihoyos. Psihoyos’s ‘The Cove‘ was largely triggered by the work of former dolphin trainer and now long term dolphin welfare activist Richard O’Barry, who, along with Psihoyos and friends, undertook the investigation and documentation that led to the uncovering of the brutal mass slaughter of bottle nosed dolphins in the Taiji cove. Given the real dangers of undertaking such a project (threat to life, suspicious Japanese government officials, non-cooperative and tailing policemen, angry and potentially violent fishermen,) Psihoyos, O’Barry and team had to roll out a covert military style operation, keeping a low profile, using camouflaged gear and cameras, night vision apparatus, and discreet diving. Read More…

Pawel Kuczynski: Illustration for social commentary

A native of Szczecin, Poland, 40 year old illustrator Pawel Kuczynski trained in graphics at the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, Poland (now, the University of Arts, Poznań.) I recall bumping into his work in communication journals quite some years ago, and it is always rewarding for me to engage with his satirical, and at times caustic takes on contemporary societies and ‘life’, for the lack of a better word. In the finest of editorial illustration traditions, Kuczynski does away with the tyranny of the written word/text, and is able to communicate powerfully through the single image, an image made pregnant with varying instances of irony, wit, and even derision. Read More…

Noam Chomsky: Requiem for the American Dream (2015)

This is accessible, non-exhortative Noam Chomsky and although the focus of this dissertation of his is the systemic dismantling of American idealism, the questions that he raises certainly finds resonance in the countless democratic struggles against concentrated wealth and power in lands spread out across the globe, India included. Economic inequality, more than ever, is at the heart of the agonies of a majority populace embattled on all fronts, and their suffering made more acute by what Chomsky delineates as the ten principles of the concentration of wealth and power, principles articulated by the self interests of Adam Smith‘s minuscule minority, the “masters of mankind” following the vile maxim of “all for ourselves and nothing for anyone else.” These principles are: 1. Reduce Democracy, 2. Shape Ideology, 3. Redesign the Economy, 4. Shift the Burden, 5. Attack Solidarity, 6. Run the Regulators, 7. Engineer Elections, 8. Keep the Rabble in Line, 9. Manufacture Consent, 10. Marginalize the Population. Read More…

Postgraduate Research Scholarships at the University of Melbourne, 2017

The University of Melbourne enjoys an outstanding reputation with world rankings consistently placing it as Australia’s leading comprehensive research-intensive university, and one of the world’s top 50. The International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) is funded by the Australian Government and enables international students to undertake a postgraduate research qualification in Australia and gain experience with leading Australian researchers.

For the academic year 2016-17, about 35 International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS) are being offered across the various faculty, schools, and colleges of the university, including the Graduate School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Melbourne School of Design and the Victorian College of the Arts. Applicants must be willing to undertake a masters by research or a doctorate (PhD) by research degree at the university. Read More…

Good Design Awards (Australia) 2016

Since 1958, Australia’s annual Good Design Awards program has been recognizing and rewarding excellence in design, innovation and creativity at a national and international level (read, mostly national) – not to be confused with the Japanese ‘G Mark‘ Good Design Award. It is one of the prestigious design awards, and this year, through rigorous evaluation and judging processes, the best entries (mainly Australian) in each category were declared. Take a look. Read More…

Oliver Hirschbiegel: Das Experiment (2001)

German director Hirschbiegel‘s debut feature ‘Das Experiment‘ does not quite shine as an accomplished cinematic piece (it is plenty rough around the edges,) but what it does is that it brings ample material to the table for engaging in debates surrounding the psychological ramifications of incarceration, confinement and captivity. The distribution and struggle for power is thematically anything but novel, but in choosing to adapt Mario Giordano’s novel titled ‘Black Box‘, Hirschbiegel does manage to orchestrate (however imperfectly) a taut and bleak look at the ‘discipliners’ and the punished, housed in modern prison systems. Read More…

Mark Khaisman: The Banality of Packing Tape

Of Ukrainian origin, but now working out of Philadelphia, USA, visual artist Mark Khaisman produces work of some intrigue and interest by using an unusual material, that is not only everyday and pedestrian but is industrially produced for disposable, single usage. No, it is not rubber. Trained as an architect at the Moscow Architectural Institute, Moscow, Russia, Khaisman marries his considerable experience in architectural practice with the rather ancient and venerated stained glass practice. Like the stained glass practitioners of yore, Khaisman literally ‘sculpts’ light by using layers of translucent packing (duct) tape to control the passage of light through it, creating effective illusions in various shades of pale, dark, medium browns of adhesive packing tape. Read More…

Arne Næss, Ecosophy and Deep Ecology

Norwegian professor and philosopher, late Arne Næss, remains a key figure in the awakening of 20th C occidental consciousness to the real threats of the ecological-environmental crisis. I am posting this on ‘Earth Day’ to bring his (often marginalized and neglected) ideas to the fore, and also to remind us (myself included) of our inter-relatedness with, and the common fate that we share with all life forms on our planet. My first brush with Næss, quite a few years ago, was through readings about deep ecology – I thought him too ‘white-male-crisis’ for my taste then, but with distance, and time, I have come to appreciate his ideas more. His personal philosophy, which he called Ecosophy (not to be confused with Félix Guattari‘s usage of the same term,) encompasses the complexity of the relationship of humans to their natural environment, and he calls for a higher spiritual and psychological evolution of humankind, to ‘Self-realization’, a set of ideas which he formulates later as Deep Ecology. The deep ecological attitude is not only a state of ‘Self-realization’, but also a state of questioning – asking the bigger questions of life, being, society and culture, natural diversity, human instrumentality. The deep ecological attitude is also ‘longitudinal’, the ability to envision human activities and the natural world in large sweeps of time – giving rise to the ‘deep long range ecology movement.’ Read More…

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