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21 NOVEMBER 2014

They Live: sunglasses reveal subliminal capitalist messages

"John Carpenter's They Live (1988), one of the neglected masterpieces of the Hollywood Left, is a true lesson in critique of ideology. It is the story of John Nada – Spanish for 'nothing'! -, a homeless laborer who finds work on a Los Angeles construction site, but has no place to stay. One of the workers, Frank Armitage, takes him to spend the night at a local shantytown. While being shown around that night, he notices some odd behavior at a small church across the street. Investigating it the next day, he accidentally stumbles on several more boxes hidden in a secret compartment in a wall, full of sunglasses. When he later puts on a pair of the glasses for the first time, he notices that a publicity billboard now simply displays the word 'OBEY,' while another billboard urges the viewer to 'MARRY AND REPRODUCE.' He also sees that paper money bears the words 'THIS IS YOUR GOD.' Additionally he soon discovers that many people are actually aliens who, when they realize he can see them for what they are, the police suddenly arrive. Nada escapes and returns to the construction site to talk over what he has discovered with Armitage, who is initially uninterested in his story. The two fight as Nada attempts to convince and then force him to put on the sunglasses. When he does, Armitage joins Nada and they get in contact with the group from the church, organizing resistance. At the group's meeting they learn that the alien's primary method of control is a signal being sent out on television, which is why the general public cannot see the aliens for what they are. In the final battle, after destroying the broadcasting antenna, Nada is mortally wounded; as his last dying act, he gives the aliens the finger. With the signal now missing, people are startled to find the aliens in their midst."

(Slavoj Zizek)

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1988advertising billboardsalien invasion • alien occupation • broadcasting antenna • buy and obey • Cable 54 • capitalist ideologychurchconsumerism • contact lenses • control • critique of capitalism • critique of ideologycult filmcultural critique • drifter • dystopia • homeless labourer • Hooverville • ideology • John Carpenter • Keith David • kick ass and chew bubble gumLos Angelesmass mediamedia consumermedia consumption • Meg Foster • nameless drifter • passive consumptionpervasive advertising • prophetic • Roddy Piper • ruling class • satirical film • science fiction • shantytown • Slavoj Zizek • subliminal advertising • subliminal messages • sunglasses • The Perverts Guide to Ideology (2012)They Live (1988)threat • underground organisation • unmasked • watch television

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 NOVEMBER 2014

4th Mobile Creativity and Mobile Innovation Symposium

MINA Mobile Creativity and Innovation Symposium, 20th and 21st of November 2014, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.

"Mobile Innovation Network Aotearoa [MINA] is an international network that promotes cultural and research activities to expand the emerging possibilities of mobile media. MINA aims to explore the opportunities for interaction between people, content and the creative industry within the context of Aotearoa/New Zealand and internationally."

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2014 • Anders Weberg • Aotearoa New ZealandAucklandAUT University • Colab (AUT University) • creative industries • cultural and research activities • emerging possibilities • Gerda Cammaer • Laurent Antonczak • Marsha Berry • Massey University College of Creative ArtsMax Schleser • MINA2014 • mobile creativity • Mobile Creativity and Innovation Symposiummobile filmmaking • mobile innovation • mobile mediaRMIT University • Ryerson University • symposium

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 NOVEMBER 2014

Nuggets: an animation about the downhill slide into drug addiction

"Ein Kiwi bewegt sich entlang einer Ebene. Er entdeckt einen Gold Nugget und kostet. Es ist köstlich.

In knapper und äußerst reduzierter Form mit wenigen Linien und Farben (schwarz-weiß-gelb) und einem starken, sicheren Gefühl für Rhythmus offenbart der Film das Prinzip der Sucht: Er zeigt, wie der Stoff den ganzen Körper erfüllt, zum Abheben bringt und leicht dahin schweben lässt. Er zeigt die harte Landung und den stärker werdenden Drang, das Hochgefühl wiederzuerlangen. Aber die Höhenflüge werden immer kürzer, müssen in immer knapperen Zeitabständen wiederholt werden. Gleichzeitig wird der Aufprall in der Realität immer härter und schmerzvoller. Dabei wird der Körper stärker und stärker in Mitleidenschaft gezogen. Kaum merklich wird der anfangs helle Vogel vor hellem Hintergrund in feinen Schattierungen von Grau immer dunkler, bis der Stoff der Träume ihn schließlich nicht mehr locken kann.

Durch die reduzierten Stilmittel wirkt der Film umso überzeugender. Auf dem schwarz-weißen Hintergrund geht von dem leuchtend gelben, runden Nugget eine sichtbare Versuchung aus. Wer würde ihn nicht probieren wollen? Dabei steht der Nugget nur als Metapher, hinter der sich verschiedene Formen der Sucht verbergen können: Drogen, Erfolg, Reichtum etc. Darüber hinaus könnte man den Film als Sinnbild des Lebens interpretieren, in dessen Verlauf man alles ausschöpfen will, bis unmerklich der Lebensabend naht und alles relativiert.

Ein kurzer Film mit klarer Form und Aussage, der aber dennoch viele Deutungen zulässt."

(Deutsche Film - und Medienbewertung)

Director: Andreas Hykade, Country: Germany, Year: 2014, Length: 5 mins 17 secs.

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20142D animationallegory • Andreas Hykade • Angela Steffen • animated short filmbird • chemical dependency • cinema of Germany • cycle of addiction • dependence • downhill slide • drug addictiondrug takingdrug user • FFA Berlin • floating • golden nugget • Heiko Maile • Kiwiline drawing • Nuggets (2014) • physical transformation • Ralf Bohde • repeating pattern • substance abuse • substance dependence • symbolic meaningvector animationvisual metaphoryellow

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 NOVEMBER 2014

The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

"Starting from the provocative premise that political and commercial regimes regard us as 'subjects of pleasure', controlling us by offering us enjoyment, director Sophie Fiennes and charismatic philosopher Slavoj Žižek repeat the formula of their 2006 collaboration, The Pervert's Guide to Cinema.

The quirky, genial Žižek employs cleverly chosen clips from a huge variety of movies - including Brazil, M*A*S*H, The Sound of Music, and Brief Encounter - to illustrate his fascinating monologue, frequently appearing on sets and in costumes which replicate scenes from the films in question. For example, dressed as a chubbier, bearded Travis Bickle, he expounds the darker subtexts of Taxi Driver's plot from within the anti-hero's grotty apartment. This entertaining approach helps to ensure that what might otherwise have been a dense, even daunting intellectual challenge is actually an engaging and unexpected delight."

(The Institute of Contemporary Arts)

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2012 • A Brief Encounter (1945) • anxieties • atheism • bloodbath • Brazil (1985)capitalism • catholicism • cinematic fantasies • consumerism • critical interpretation • critique of ideology • cultural critic • cultural critique • cultural theorist • daisy-chained improvisations • desire • dissident • documentary filmenculturation • enjoyment • Ethel Sheperd • fatigues • fears • flights of fancy • hegemonic discourseheroiconography • ideological message • ideological systems • ideologies • ideology • If (1968) • impulse of capitalism • Jaws (1975) • Kinder Eggs • Lucy Von Lonkhuy • MASH (1970) • NaziNazi Germany • Nazi propaganda films • news footage • Occupy Wall Street • Ode to Joy • prevailing ideologies • promise of fulfillment • propagandapsychoanalysis • psychoanalyst • psychoanalytic critic • pursuit of enjoyment • Rammstein • readable experience • rebel • Seconds (1966) • secret message • simple pleasures • Slavoj Zizek • Slovene • Slovenian • Sophie Fiennes • Soviet Russiasubconscioussubtext • tacit understanding • Taxi Driver (1976) • The Dark Knight (2008) • The Fall of Berlin (1950) • The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) • the otherThe Perverts Guide to Ideology (2012) • The Searchers (1956) • The Sound of Music (1965) • They Live (1988) • Titanic (1997) • Triumph of the Will (1935) • unconscious desires • underdog • unseen depths • villain • violent outsider • West Side Story (1961) • Zabriskie Point (1970)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 NOVEMBER 2014

Tinder: becoming a commodity through consumption practices

"While most people know about online dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony, a new app called Tinder is proving to be popular with younger users. Tinder takes a users Facebook profile and connects them with other users in their area. From there, it takes both people to like each other (or swipe right), to become a match and start talking. ...

'Our research continually shows that in fact, many college aged woman are having sex to get the relationships, whereas guys are having sex to get the sex,' Dr. Liahna Gordon said. In that way, Dr. Gordon argues, Tinder, with what many see as a hookup app, favors the motivations of men. ...

Gordon is concerned about Tinder being another way to commodify humans. 'It's like shopping! I'm going to try this one on, oh don't like that one,' Gordon said. 'It's a continual supply and that there's always more. That provides a lot of excitement in some lives that where people aren't so content with their lives.' At least for now, it seems young people will continue to shop."

(Brian Johnson and Debbie Cobb, 14 February 2014, Action News Now)

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Austin Schumacher • awkward situations • back button • casual sex • Chico State University • commodification of self • commodify humans • commodifying myselfconsumption practicesconsumption spectaclecross-context sharing • dating app • eHarmony • Facebook profile • fear of rejection • fill the void • having sex • hookup • hookup app • identity performance • Liahna Gordon • Match.com • meeting people • mobile apponline dating • online dating sites • online profilesprofile imageromantic relationshipsspectacular society • swipe left • swipe right • swipingTinder (app)window shopping

CONTRIBUTOR

Gaby Rock
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