escapekit:

Skip Ad Project

A creative group have started the “Skip Ad project” which believes advertising should be relevant and bring ideas that can change our lives for better. If not, they’ll keep skip them.

So far, they have taken this project to the streets of New York, São Paulo and Stockholm. We can even download some buttons and do the same if we see an ad that we do not like. 

(Source: skipad.co, via really-shit)

Some are not there, some not there yet. But this is a comprehensive list of what we want to watch at home in the next months. Those include some Asian voices, Spanish movies that we historically love, some French, Russian, American, Nordic and Latin voices as well.

My 2014 Reading List, Reading, Writing, Doctor Sleep

I always have my reading lists privately sorted out, and they usually change a bit along the year as I discover new things. Generally, discoveries are not of new authors (not even new works of authors I appreciate). Somehow, it is after knowing a little more of an author that I dig more into his/her work and find out new must-reads. Last year, a friend suggested me to read Perec (The Things). For my surprise that was an amazing book, echoing everything we are living now in terms of Instagram culture and interior design fetish. Now I’ve getting to his seminal book, Life, so let’s see how it goes. The same goes for Marie Darrieusecq, an also french author that I’ve discovered a few years ago, after falling in love with its irresistible, off-white, light-grey typography minimalistic book cover of the Portuguese edition of My Phantom Husband. I’m particularly proud of that one because my designer instinct brought me to the discovery of that who is, now, one of my favourite authors. Those two French novelists have influenced a lot how I’ve worked my two first novels (the first being published in early 2014, the second, hopefully, finished by then, too). They are minimalist stories: no names, if possible; if not, just first names; no specific cities, no specific roads; companies without clear descriptions, but rather generating demand for memos and piling up papers; just someone, somewhere, carrying on with daily life and faced with some weird mystery or having their eccentric-but-normalised routine scrutinised by a narrator. All that in more or less 120 pages.

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I’m deeply connected with this logical surface that implies the explanation is there, with room for imagination. To illustrate a counterpart, here goes a confession: I’ve bought Doctor Sleep when in a trip to Barcelona last year, for a conference. I was at the airport with nothing to read and the reviews in the back cover were extremely favourable — only afterwards to realize they were reviews about The Shining. But that’s ok, because the New York Times gave very favourable reviews for King’s new novel. Stephen King is, indeed, a great guide for the hell he takes us through with his stories. However, as it suits the American taste, everything has its own logical-physical-chemical-orderly explanation. The rigid cause and effect relation he creates is rock-solid, but do we really need those? Perhaps because his works are so long, in a purpose of keeping consistency. This “literal thinking”, however, defies a lot our suspension of disbelief and leaves very little room to the human mind — not ours, but their characters’ mind. One of the things I most like about literature is the possibility of going beyond phisics, so why create a whole new set of rules for essentially supernatural events? As an example, I ask what would be if Salvador Dali would explain the radiation that made the clocks melt. Not only a turn off, to me it is utterly irrelevant.

Literature and Drama

  • Samuel Beckett, one of his plays from the Complete Dramatic Works
  • Paul Auster, The Invention of Solitude
  • Georges Perec, Life
  • Georges Perec, A Void
  • Marie Darrieusecq, Breathing Under Water
  • Marie Darrieusecq, Pig Tales (very hard to find!)
  • Ó, Nuno Ramos (as this one is a nearly a-chronological novel, I’ve been reading it from time to time, I wish I’d never finish it completely, as it is just too good)
  • Solidão Continental, João Gilberto Noll
  • The Body Artist, Don DeLillo

Theory

  • Visual Culture: motion image chapters,
  • Media, Society, World: social media chapters,
  • The Art of Cruelty
  • Perverse spectators: social content,
  • Cahiers Du Cinéma: the 1950s,
  • Re-read: Interpretation and Overinterpretation, by Umberto Eco
  • Understanding Ricoeur
  • Writing Degree Zero, Roland Barthes
  • S/Z, Roland Barthes
  • Why I Read, Wendy Lesser (just heard from it in the New Yorker)
  • Faith in Fakes, Umberto Eco (re-read)

A rotina no Instagram (Pt)

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Tentando entender o código visual atual do faça-você-mesmo, aparecem diversas contradições que só ao longo do tempo acabam por se cristalizar. Instagram e filtro não são novidades, mas a sua assimilação cultural não é pontual, mas contínua.

Assim, surgem os paradoxos. Por um lado, a relação olho-câmera nunca foi tão natural. Com as câmeras no celular, a intimidação do dispositivo fotográfico diminuiu significativamente; o ritual da fotografia ficou mais fácil, posar para a foto ficou mais comum (talvez essa seja uma das experiências relacionadas que mais mudem com a cultura, basta compararmos com a ausência de sorrisos nas fotos até  meados do século XX); acostumamos a ver nossa própria imagem pública com mais frequência; acima disso, acostumamos a ter uma imagem pública materializada. 
Aí chegam as intervenções na fotografia, que antes era restrita à fotografia profissional e mais comum na publicidade. Com o Instagram, os filtros são acessíveis a todos os que usam o aplicativo, bastando o apertar do botão. 
Então há um paradoxo: a visão do fotógrafo (função imediata, aproximação do cotidiano) com a edição e seleção da imagem. 
O cotidiano passa a ser facilmente compartilhado; já existe uma cultura dos atalhos ou pontos de contato bem definida: o que comi (de especial) no café da manhã, um evento (curioso) na cidade, a roupa (nova) que decidi vestir etc. Os pontos de contato são os pontos fora de linha no gráfico da vida diária. Estes podem, contudo, ser simulados. 
Enfim, há certa proximidade ou transparência com os amigos ou seguidores do fotógrafo, que não havia na época da máquina fotográfica (levar a máquina a um evento já denotava o ponto fora da linha). E hoje, simultaneamente, há os filtros, tanto os externos ao fotógrafo (na imagem) quanto os internos  (a seleção, que significa o controle da realidade, e para muitos o cerne da fotografia como arte: mas o Instagram não é arte, e sim vida cotidiana, salvo os que decidem fazer da vida sua ouvre, para além de uma estetização da vida).  
Os filtros mecânicos, uniformemente disponíveis e conhecidos, contudo, constroem uma realidade (pararrealidade) que pode ser um objeto de análise interessante, porque assim, conhecidos pelo público e comuns a todos os usuários do Instagam, podem ser tão verdadeiros como a própria realidade porque são só uma representação de uma certa textura emocional. 
Há dias que minha vida é #brennan, há momentos que é #valencia, e há amigos cujas vidas são #amaro ou #sutro. Quando um amigo escolhe o filtro #sutro, sei o que #sutro significa para mim, e entendo o que ele quer dizer para além das sofisticadas combinações de tons e texturas que já me diriam, visualmente, o que ele queria dizer. 
E os filtros autorais, mais complexos, são o combustível do jogo de dissimulação que as redes sociais (em certa medida o Facebook, mas em especial o instagram) iniciam. As jornadas de trabalho são suprimidas, os domingos tediosos são descontados, o evento notável é o ponto de contato, a aparição pública — ainda que tudo seja sistematicamente simulado como rotina. 
O instagram também inicia uma administração criativa de personas e personagens. A persona dissimula, na esperança de ser acreditada pelo que finge ser (e paradoxalmente, para incrementar o jogo, manda um wink ; ) para o bom entendedor e cúmplice que sabe o que se passa, e que a vida é mesmo rotineira embora a arte seja criar o contrário). Já o personagem inventa-se como uma espécie de roteirista e fotógrafo de si mesmo, e o eu-poético e o autor se encontram sinergica e eventualmente. Assim, tanto para rotinas editadas quanto para personagens e personas, o aspecto de dissumulação é em parte absolvido se o jogo é percebido por todos os jogadores: faz-se a arena.
É diferente dos blogs, onde as identidades costumam ser menos ligadas à identidade real da internet. Por uma razão ou outra, a identidade da internet cristaliza-se e não se dissocia mais da identidade civil. O tempo de anonimato e persona na internet parece um tempo distante; o que há parece ser o surgimento de autores e atores que interpretam versões de si mesmos (versões variando entre mais ou menos verossímeis), ao invés de personagens completamente inventados.

Seven Movie Genres Invented, Hyped, Overdone or Revamped in the 2010s
   

The Nordic Thriller

Cold-handed and anti-sentimental, precise and driven to the uncovery of the mystery, the new detective novel is sexual, relatively violent and strongly connected to gears, gadgets and technology. The fetish is the new — the new girl, the new weapon, the new corporate, the new world. This uncover could only be performed by the classical investigator, the modern detective, the old-schooler who masters and conquers the new world. Developing plot as a game, and territory as the element pushing the narrative forward (which is how stories are told in digital games), it dignifies the investigator archetype and connects them to the new, connected world.

  

Elementary sources are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Killing, A Hijacking, Headhunters, The Bridge.



  

The Dark Surreal Uprise

Alexander Jodoroswki was the seed of that kind of surrealism, and Lynch was the patron of the dark side of it. Mixing those with Asian movie violence, the uprise is graphic, media-aware, metalinguistic and often empty of bigger, deeper or open meanings — comic book-like, consciously exploitative (there’s a good irony in that), they frequently build up on myth or formula. The good thing may be that these movies are often not that good, but provide great material for whoever is willing to do something different. If in the 90s we had Fincher as Fincher and Aronofksy as Aronofsky, we are left now with a quick movement between vanguard and trendsetting to high studio hype copying vanguard and Lady Gaga and bringing us these flicks.

  

Seminal works: Holy Motors, Only God Forgives, Escape from Tomorrow. Berberian Sound Studio, Under the Skin, Ovulation. Excision. Maniac. Sightseers. 

  
  

The Dark or Apocalyptic Teenage Fantasy

In the 90s, it could take ten years for a teenage trilogy hit the cinemas. Nowadays, they come from the oven as the current hope for cinema theaters (who else but teenagers make the shopping mall visit a social event?). With the current economical crisis, teenagers now suffer more from finishing adolescence than from living it (remember Dawn and the Dollhouse, when adolescence was the horror). Apocalypse has happen, the zombies were fought. Adulthood about to happen, and it is now a much greater challenge. As the uncertainties on job market drive conservatism, at home teenagers have to fight family authority (the Power, the tyrant) and when hitting the external world, they have to fight the system and each other — often wearing quasi-modern uniforms.

  

New classics: Battle Royale, Hunger games, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Revolution, The Mortal Instruments, Ender’s Game, +1, Divergent, The Maze Runner.

  




The Hipster Romantic Comedy

It’s important to say that in Hollywood, if it has a moustache, it’s hipster. Avoiding getting into deeper discussion on what is or what it’s not a hipster, the hipster movie is very clear: the shots are calculated, the functionalism of the image comes from architecture and design, the titles on screem make underlined pauses, the characters are allegedly different from movie stars the crescendo of chit-chat embraces big breakthrus. Romanticism is a discovery from the initial expectation that it is dead, and sex is merely reproduction. The system is oppressive, but is not clashed: the hipster finds its way through it, or else it would be impossible to become, in the first place (an iPhone comes from conformity).


  
500 Days of Summer, Medianeras, Disconnect, About Time, Life of Mitty, Prince Avalanche, The Spectacular Now, Stuck on Love, Girl Most Likely, Caroline & Jackie, See Girl Run, Her, Prince Avalanche.

  
  


The Instagram Drama

Although quite heterogenous, these dramas are heavily built on atmospheric, dreamy and texturized imagery; at times milky and spaced out silences, relying on long transitions with music and generally and idyllic escape to country side, late afternoons, sunsets, beaches or weekend awakenings. Conversely, when they get dark, violet and red tones come from shadows, the night is indigo, the mid-tones get blueish, differing from the classical yellow highlights and cyan shadows of mid-2000s post-Sodderbergh action thrillers that were maybe the first to rely so much on visual texture. Characters are introverted, but affected; seem able to externalize their feelings but not to match what they feel with the general societal rules.

  

Various examples: Upstream Colors, Adore, Touchy Feely. Close Circuit. The Bling Ring. A Teacher. To The Wonder. Frances Ha. Lovelace. The Canyons. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Out of Furnace.

  
  

The Violent Outlaw Type of Film

Amoral, violent and driven to a specific goal, these are cowboys with their own code of ethics. Curiously, they are nearly a counterpart of Chigur, from No Country For Old Men. This is perhaps the arrival of this aforementioned country. The system here is a parallel power, they are outlaws, driven out of the system by brokenhearts, economic failure or partnership disrupt.

  

The Killer in Me, Killing Them Softly, The Place Beyond the Pines, Drive, Simon Killer, Paper Boy, Killer Joe.

  



The Cursed Kid Horror

These are mostly saying that irresponsible, disaffected, career-overdriven or dreaming-of-rockstar people should not have children, or should limited their parenting to one kid. What previously used to be a mortgage alert (don’t buy houses you can afford or your family will go apart, as seen in Poltergeist or the Amytiville Horror), since The Ring it is more focused on family ties. Classical examples: Mama, Insidious, Insidious 2, Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark, Orphan, Satan’s Baby and others.

Signs of design, Jean Baudrillard #baudrillardgraphicguide

Signs of design, Jean Baudrillard #baudrillardgraphicguide

Kuittia? En tarvi. — What is the real deal when you take or dismiss your supermarket receipt

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I’ve spent a good deal of time analyzing the hidden meanings of the shopping rituals in Finland. It’s probably similar everywhere in the capitalist world, depending on how the taxation system and the receipt print procedures go. Beyond the simple procedural aspect, however, lies beneath a human soul.

First off, this is a social capitalist country, with origins in protestant religion. In practice, that means that man is driven by the principle that work (any work) is a noble activity. Social capitalism balances relations of equality, dignifying work (any work). Thus the worker — in this case, the cashier — finds himself/herself entitled to a dignified treatment; entitled to respect and to be treated equally.

So, what happens when you make a purchase? Your goods are processed, you pay, the receipt is printed and the cashier asks if you need the receipt.

The immediate reaction is to decline, since usually, for small purchases, that receipt means only a piece of paper pestering you. Well, it is the same for the cashier, in the case you decline. So, who owns the receipt? Following a logical path, it is you, the consumer — the receipt is part of your purchase. Thus, when declining the receipt, you are bequeathing the responsibility to the cashier, and asking him to get rid of it. You are basically asking someone to get rid of your trash, and this is even a more complicated operation because the way social capitalism operates: equal rights, self-services, tray piles in the end of the cafeterias. In other economies, middle and upper classes will pay for someone to serve them, clean them and get rid of whatever rubbish they produce, and this is perceived as normal and sustains jobs, class systems and order.

The second aspect embedded in the ritual of the receipt is the perception of it as an act of closure: it is the last moment that the consumer and the cashier will interact; it is, say, the cherry on the cake; the gestalt moment: the cashier has worked processing your groceries / the amount has been announced to you / your cash was taken, your card was accepted — thus, yes, you are entitled to benefit from those goods / and here is your receipt: accept or decline? 

That is the moment when, if accepted, the cashier is most likely to smile and hand you the receipt — handling the receipt is one of the most complex means of communication in the whole purchase process, since it is the moment when empathy is materialized and expressed: the cashier will decide, then, and in synergy with the consumer, how close the hands will get in this final step of the operation. Empathy will define if the piece of paper will be handed steadily or softly, if the paper will be just offered from the tip of his/her fingers, or if consumer’s and casher’s fingertips will touch, igniting a whole series of assumptions and considerations (Are those hands soft? Have this person worked in heavy duty? Is the skin warm? Are the hands cold? Do they feel cold? Etc.). The touch breaks the formality of the process (there is no mention of those in cashier manuals, it is a process enabled by and on account of the cashier), and it entitles  a human moment in the midst of everyday grocery machine beeping.

This is the last moment before goodbye, and the work of the cashier is finally over once the consumer has the groceries and is getting the receipt: the moment you are grabbing your receipt the cashier will look at you with a different expression, rid of  any relation of servitude, for his/her work has been completed — it is the coffee after a meeting, a beer after work hours. Thus declining that not only banalizes, diminishes or vulgarizes the (already trivially perceived) act of consumption, it also dismisses the chance of human interaction.

The receipt’s capability of enabling human contact does not end when one takes it, simply. The receipt is also perceived as a memento, a tender memory given by the cashier to you, in that specific purchase. The magic machine that produces it is under his/her control; the one typing the digits and actually producing that material is the cashier. Keeping it, does, is keeping the memory of a moment inscribed with time and date in the little piece of paper produced (psychoanalysis, here?) specifically for you; produced by the immediate reaction of the cashier’s labor: it is the receipt the end product of the cashier’s labor.

The situation is still more tense because the cashier is not entitled to omit the question: the cashier (in everyday purchases) cannot simply dismiss the process of printing the receipt, thus protecting from the declining answer “No, I don’t need the receipt”. Thus it has a systematic structure of always depending on the free will of the consumer to take responsibility of his/her own receipts.

When someone declines it, the process is interrupted: an unilateral relation is established; the work could have been performed by a machine; the whole idea of consumption takes the innuendo of search-and-destroy, grab-and-leave; courtesy is disabled, and with it goes the equality gestures, mutuality and the idea of a dignified work activity. The gestalt, however, still works: only this time the cashier is left with the debris and the weight; servitude is imbalanced because it is not, strictly, the duty of the cashier to get rid of someone’s unwanted receipt (or someone’s banana peel) — social capitalism is broken, giving place to old types of servitude based on the one who has the power of saying ‘you deal with it’.

#champagne #bubbles