Ai Weiwei: Navigating Art and Activism
Culture & Art / Politics

Ai Weiwei: Navigating Art and Activism

Ai Weiwei is one of the most, if not the most, famous Chinese contemporary artists in the West. A large part of his work can be qualified as provocative, defying the political order, social prudery, and going against the idea that ancient artifacts should be put in museums or sold at auctions. Ai Weiwei summarizes his attitude towards his art as such: “An artwork unable to make people feel uncomfortable or to feel different is not one worth creating.” Continue reading

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Contamination and Catharsis: Purification through Religious Rituals
Culture & Art / Religion / Society

Contamination and Catharsis: Purification through Religious Rituals

Common to all religious beliefs is a strong sense that in life, some things, events or spiritual forces can be associated with purity, that is, a state in which nothing undesirable is present, and others with impurity or dirt. This dissociation between the pure and the impure obviously entails the definition of norms that can differentiate between what is seen as “natural”, acceptable to the gods or spirits, positive, and its opposite. Continue reading

What Did I Miss? The Week in Review #3
Culture & Art / Environment & Sciences / Politics / Society / The Week in Review

What Did I Miss? The Week in Review #3

Female commandos at the frontline in Damascus; a new neurological finding that could have powerful implications for people with reading difficulties; Boko Haram continues to claim lives in the midst of generalized media indifference; Amanda Knox is acquitted; Is Barbie the new spy into your house? Norwegian exemplary model of prisons and more in The Week in Review. Continue reading

“It Follows”: the Future of Horror Cinema Has Arrived
Cinema / Culture & Art / Film Reviews

“It Follows”: the Future of Horror Cinema Has Arrived

It Follows’ harrowing first scene sees a teenage girl running out of her home in her underwear and high heels, seemingly stalked by someone or something the spectator cannot see. Manifestly terrified, the young woman ignores her father’s cries and drives away in an attempt to escape this unknown assailant. She finds refuge on the edge of a cliff, near a beach, where she exits her car and sits, terrified, in its headlights. Continue reading

What Did I Miss? The Week in Review #2
Culture & Art / Environment & Sciences / Politics / Society / The Week in Review

What Did I Miss? The Week in Review #2

This week: Christmas Light Aurora glows in Mars’s atmosphere; Female orcas experience menopause and that may be linked to their ‘ecological wisdom’; the FN’s success in France is disheartening but not all that surprising; Jean Vanier receives the Templeton Prize; and Lindsey Vonn proves once again that she’s one of the best skier in world history. Continue reading

The Iron Maiden and the Walking Wounded
Culture & Art / Feminism / Society

The Iron Maiden and the Walking Wounded

In 1991, Naomi Wolf published “The Beauty Myth”, wherein she introduced the Iron Maiden concept, an “unattainable standard that is (…) used to punish women physically and psychologically for their failure to achieve and conform to it.” The Iron Maiden is a monster, the product of a deep societal illness. Yet, somehow, most women aspire to be her. Continue reading

A History of Domestic Violence in Country Music
Culture & Art / Music / Society

A History of Domestic Violence in Country Music

Taylor Swift has popularized country music to a large audience around the world, but has often been criticized for portraying relationships involving weak and vulnerable women. But this theme is not alien to country music, far from that. In fact, country western is one of the only musical genres where this tragically frequent phenomenon is addressed. Continue reading