Randomness

Fumio Sasaki: Goodbye, Things (On Minimalist Living)

How often have you gotten about clearing the clutter in your life? Not very frequently I am sure and whenever you have, you would have probably dug up, re-discovered, discovered Things that you have accumulated over years and maybe decades, giving in to our seemingly endless patterns of consumption – relentless and perpetual. So, we have populated our rooms, homes and houses with Things – Things that are not necessarily of any utility or functionality any more, just more of storing, hoarding, and bringing in more Things to add to what is already there. Read More…

Palingenetic myth and the making of Trump Train and Modi Wave

          The 2014 Modi campaign in India and the 2016 Trump campaign in the USA possess essential elements which are identifiably palingenetic – harbouring and propagating ideas of rebirth and regeneration of a nation dispossessed of it’s ‘former pride and glory’, appealing to the ‘true patriots’ (often steeped in ultra-nationalistic fervour) to rise in devoted support of the heroic male figure, a figure anointed as the only hope of a nation beleaguered on multiple fronts. 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…

Panama Papers and the end of the Age of Secrets: A tribute to John Doe

It came in, unconvincingly, as a breaking news ticker on my phone. Little did I know then, that my finger tap in response to that ticker blurb would open up a flood of information about the largest information-secrets leak in the history of humankind. Listening in, as the dull April day trudged on, I heard voices across the internet, from lands near and afar, unified in expressing their outrage, anger, bitterness even, at the uncovered audacity and the disrobed blatant abuse of power, position, money, political machinery, of naked deceit, betrayal and subterfuge – over the four and a half recent decades. That it was an unsightly sight, would be a gross understatement. From ‘John Doe’ to ‘Panama’ to ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ to ‘Mossack Fonseca’ and the ‘ICIJ’, the obscure and the unfamiliar became part of the lexicon of outrage. Read More…

Extinction is forever: The last of the orcas of Prince William Sound

Extinction is forever. Every time I mull over this thought, it brings into focus for me, more than ever, of our responsibilities as a species, of the succinct realization of our inter-relatedness and common fate with all other life forms inhabiting our shared ecosystem. My interest in orcas (Orcinus orca) go back a long time, lapping up accounts of their inherently amiable, extremely social disposition, swimming the oceans in tightly knit mother-centred families and extended families or pods, as they are called. Never had the good fortune of encountering one in person, but the closest I got was through the writings of marine biologist Eva Saulitis who spent long years intimately observing and comprehending the lives of a tiny, threatened orca population in the waters of a scenic inlet known as Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska, Alaska, USA. Among other marine life forms in Prince Wiliam Sound, Saulitis spent the most time studying a genetically distinct orca ecotype known as the AT1 or ‘Chugach’ transients (transients being mammal eaters.) Read More…

The importance of Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

The world has not seen the likes of Anas Aremeyaw Anas, and I am not sure there will be another like him in quite a while. A lawyer who disguises as a Saudi Sheikh and camouflages himself as a rock, and no, he is no supporting actor in a television sitcom. Anas, based out of his native Accra, Ghana, encountered rampant societal evils in and around his country, and his response to those evils was to embrace unorthodox undercover investigative journalism. Clearly cutting away from the mainstream, dumbed down, market driven journalistic practices and the hollow promises of highbrow talking head journalism, Anas puts forth simple and lucid principles that govern his kind of journalism, namely: Naming, Shaming and Jailing. Purists may cringe, but I must say, I tend to nod my head in agreement this time, when Anas articulates that the ends justify the means. Anas’s work is governed by a moral compass, so to say, in his relentless pursuit of the unmasking of societal ills and evils and in particular the perpetrators and collaborators of such ills and evils, from human trafficking to human rights violations to corruption in high office, to superstitions and blind beliefs. Read More…

MP Ranjan           I choose not to write ‘obituaries’. Well, I find most of them well meaning, but, most times unbearably eulogistic, with the expected greatness of a life well lived, heaped and thrust upon the recently departed. He passed away yesterday, and I recall that November afternoon, sixteen years ago when I first conversed with M.P. Ranjan in the quiet confines of a rather atmospheric room at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, India. He was chairing an interview panel and I was the interviewee, and my chair was placed to face the panel chair, expectedly so. After the panel’s round of questions seemingly got over, I looked across the mirror like table top, to the serious but friendly faces, to finally rest on the panel chair, the bearded gentleman who appeared to be watching me very closely. Then he spoke. “So, what are your fears?”. Read More…

India’s AAP and Spain’s Podemos: Distributive Justice and Rise of the New Populist Left

“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust.” – John Rawls in ‘A Theory of Justice‘.

In the Spanish capital of Madrid and about seven thousand kilometers away, in Delhi – the Indian capital, significant ground surges are being felt in the political arena, surges that may very well mark the beginning of reformation and abolishment of unjust institutions in their respective spheres of influence. Both India’s AAP (abbreviation of ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ – Common Peoples Party) and Spain’s Podemos (translated from the Spanish as ‘We Can / We Can Do It’) rose to national political prominence with unprecedented rapidity, united with the central rhetorical and political position of zero tolerance for all forms of corruption, especially political corruption and corruption in high office. With regard to this, I choose not to use the term ‘Populist’ in my commentary title in a pejorative sense, but more to hint at the ground surge popularity seeded by a certain kind of political rhetoric founded in distributive justice and egalitarian ideals. Read More…

Notes on the Selfie #1

In the very few attempts that I have made, in pointing the camera at the self, I have failed and faltered in remarkable and noteworthy disgrace. The case in point being, the random stranger who finds himself / herself standing in my proximity or disinterestedly strolling by, loudly, sternly, disapprovingly hurling the word “Smile!” in my direction. That moment rattles me beyond comprehension, for here I am, trying to do what the rest of the camera afflicted world is doing, and trying very hard to project, I repeat, project, a sense of the-cup-overfloweth happiness, and failing every time, or nearabouts. And I truly marvel, yes marvel, those gifted creatures, who break into spontaneous and unadorned insta-joy, from the death-is-I-morose to the 1200 watts of the cup-overfloweth in a split of a second every time, with the precision of a neuro surgeon, and the practice of a retiring saleslady. Then I slump back and half-murmur to my bewildered and somewhat flummoxed self, as I do ever so often, “Here is a generation who can smile without meaning to, here is a generation who can smile without feeling a thing, here is a generation that comprehends presentation over spectating more than you will ever do in your brief lifespan”. The ‘news’ feed with its ‘epic’ pointing at the self moments – ‘too-bad-you-weren’t here parties’ ‘leap up in the air vacations’, ‘bet you can’t touch this’, ‘ya-who buddies’, ‘ecstatic partnerships’, ‘super yet nonchalant achievers’, ‘mirror-mirror-on-the-wall’, ‘we-have-just-met-we-don’t-know-each-other/s-from-Adam-and-Eve’, and so on, you get the gist of it, are truly embedded in the fabrication of its own fabrication. Still trying to wrap my disjointed head around this one. I will, I suppose, eventually, a smile or grimace at a time. Read More…

World Architecture Festival 2014: Winners

This year’s World Architecture Festival held in Singapore saw architects and architecture studios from across the globe compete for honors in the macro categories of completed buildings, future, small projects and landscape. In recognizing worldwide architectural excellence and celebrating the built environment, the festival was attended by over two thousand architects, designers, and clients. The festival’s jury comprised some of the world’s leading architects and designers, led by British architect Richard Rogers, with Rocco Yim (Hong Kong), Julie Eizenberg (USA), Enric Ruiz Geli (Spain), Peter Rich (South Africa) and many others. Here is a selection of the winners of the World Architecture Festival 2014. Take a look.  Read More…

1 2 3 4  Scroll to top