What remains from Vivid Sydney: From innocence, lights, paintings, Science and seduction.

#VividSydney was here. A festival of lights, ideas, Science, Arts and more. I found Snugglepot and Cuddlepie short-film showed as a film on one of my favourite buildings in Sydney. The characters created by Australian author May Gibbs was amazing. The story is simple but the music and the feature would you feel glad, peaceful, discovering more about the symbols behind the Australian culture, where Eucalyptus trees are found in the bush all the time letting koalas enjoy long naps under burgeoning rays of light in the middle of any day during December and January. These common  places inspired the Australian artist to create this world, where the innocence is the main element of their journey. In some sort of way inspired and fueled the natural desire in Saxon countries for going to explore the world and find new adventures to live.

In my humble experience, the walking around the city works as an interesting and reflexive momentum to think of it as a short trip from the innocence of  Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ story until a surprising second visit to the Charles Billich’s gallery located in The Rocks, where all the vices from adulthood are present. Money, Fame, Diamonds, Sex, Hedonism, Seduction, Bets and Sensuality had been exposed and explored in the majority of his paintings. He is a painter of excesses but he can organise them so well with a Modern version of Surrealism and Cubism that they looked just marvelous, attractive, desirable, and inviting… My favourite are the Russian Ballet Dancer paintings, he definitely loves that woman. As well as the horses running for the first place with their jockeys.

 

The first time I was in his gallery was in 2015, and what called my attention this time was his story as refugee in Australia. Definitely, a place you must visit during any #VividSydney  It was a great experience, and against some voters in this beautiful place I wouldn’t think it is a good idea moving the Festival around Australia, it belongs to Sydney, even with a crazy traffic, waves of people crossing across the CBD using a comple Labyrinth, meanwhile restaurants and bars are full with visitors, Sydneysiders, writers, photographers, parents running behind their children, loners, couples, single parents, backpackers, students, tourists, the truth is this event belongs to Sydney.

cristian-newman-272075-unsplash

If you don’t want to walk out during the night, you should plan ahead a survival guide list for the things to do to avoid all the issues related to #VividSydney. Perhaps, I can help you with one but I enjoyed those nights. I do really find fascinating the projection of different microorganisms, virus, bacteria, and some fungus in The Rocks Wall. I enjoyed part of the Biennale in the Museum of Contemporary Art. It was hard, painful, real, familiar and intense the exploration of the conflict between Capitalism and Comunism in the last Century through the experience and words from a retired officer and how anybody can be part of a massacre caused by a bigger power, which gave us that reality as the only alternative. Probably the crucial example of losing your innocence in a modern world.

In my personal opinion is part of Sydney’s identity like the White Night belongs to Melbourne .I was just waiting for watching the sweetest images of three children running from their small town to the big city as something nice, entertaining for children and in some sort of way a sense of reminiscence for adults about their own adventures when they were younger. From this point, I walked towards the  create my own emojis on Samsung  exhibition following an interesting show of candies and high-speed cars . The last one was probably the most popular area for teenagers attracted by the modern beats produced in the Dj’s console, as well as, taking pictures and recording videos with their phones of the colourful and vivid videos reflected on the Sydney Opera House. Finally, it was a Festival, which let us go back again to remember and celebrate how Lumiere Brother’s discovery of how using light and shadow in a special way during the darkness could let us dream and create visual stories or concepts. Before them was the discovery of fire, which protect us but we are not in a History class, this is just a Op ed about why #VividSydney belongs to Sydney.
//js.hs-scripts.com/4250239.js

 

What is behind all the noise of Russian presence as a risk in Western democracies?

If we consider the facts. Only a blind man wouldn’t assume that the Cold War never dies. Even if Gregory Logvinov, Russian ambassador in Canberra, tried to accuse Churchill of being the mastermind behind the Cold War’s origin, the truth is they did because decoding the message from German Army was the way of winning the II World War. The analysis is simple they keep the style to be on time for taking actions before a Third one started, as well as, all the participants in the previous conflict.

andrew-neel-237802

And that is exactly what happened during Joseph McCarthy’s mandate. After what happened in the Second World War, everybody started to feel scared of extreme Political positions in the United States coming from another country so, at that time Media faced similar struggles about the external influence of Communist propaganda, a different  kind of Government fighting for supremacy in the global scenario in the other side of the Atlantic. This situation inspired multiple authors so, when you go to watch Fahrenheit 451, you should consider this example of how persecution can be also a mistake.

We couldn’t forget how Hitler’s media team did using the right strategy of propaganda to convince people of doing or support his plan to conquer Europe. I know, I know it sounds like old news but when you analyse what happened in Facebook and the fake news you saw how similar is the influence of messages in the conscious and unconscious mindset of readers, viewers, prosummers and customers. Denying the fact that the wrong use of media to transmit information and the power within of changing people’s choices is a mistake because History has proved, once and again, how relevant is.

The risk of Russia or any other Government with enough power to intervene in the Political Scenario of any country is real. The measures against Russian diplomats didn’t wait so far. Especially, after the killing of double agent, Sergei Skripal,however, the choices of punishing Russia has been more a soft public measure to condemn multiple actions against international security made by this Government.

290a3469

Meanwhile, security specialists express that tech companies from foreign countries still had the infrastructure and Power to do similar actions in the future. In that sense, some American companies had solicited to avoid any kind of petition from the Government to execute similar actions, the truth is not all the enterprises are interested in this kind of accord and in countries like China or Europe, there hadn’t been any similar response in the private sphere. Only the European Parliament had expressed the interest of increasing control over digital media, however, when the infraestructure to communicate is attached to Russian Government influence, it is quite hard to determine how successful they will be in the future to achieve their goals.

NEXT:

What can any user do?

Diversity in movies

By Rossana Naveda

The discussion about percentages of representation from different groups in movies has been a hot topic in the last year. Personally, I  honestly believe this crusade is not against white people, that is crazy. The only thing actors, writers, directors, publicists and individuals involved in media is trying to stimulate a variety of characters and characteristics in films representation of reality.

Although some people would say what you are trying to sell is fantasy. That is true, but I think reality does not mean close our eyes toward the same cliches. I know Latin women are sexy, Black people can dance but we need to see more, and you would not find a variety of ideas and representation when your mind is full of this kind of information. Becoming more interested in what is happening in other countries and the differences will give a deeper understanding of better ways to communicate the interaction between different social groups on the big screen.

As a woman, I know it is a particular difference, which lets me be in the same position of every female experience. For women, the social issues are not so different while you are crossing borders: domestic violence, less payment, their interests ignored in Politics, or male candidates decide to affect the decision making of women about their reproductive lives. In consequence, it was not a surprise the information I have found about the percentage of women working in media, where it is possible to say we develop and represent the structure of culture.

If you do not find many women creating roles, which explore who they are, this is not a way to perpetuate them as invisible. I know all men would say they are on the screen, but it is almost impossible to find people telling their stories, which nobody could say they are not attractive. Some audiovisual products had been dominating the market. However, it is only possible to find less than ten. Meanwhile, we keep exploring the male vision of the world in our laptops, cinema and tv set.

There is always a way

I remember my first class of audiovisual and media for children. I was nine; there were probably fifteen or twenty boys and girls in that course. Next year we were probably 10, and there were only four girls. My parents did not let me travel with my class for protection, and that was how the hobby ended, a painful period, but I need to find other activities at high school. However, it did not stop altogether, because I studied Journalism, however, it is possible this type of situation happened to all the girls, I do not believe they are not interested in pursuing this job with the same passion or commitment than men. It is just you could find more men, and usually, they could find more support to keep going with this kind of creativity process of writing, filming, among other things.

I believe that eighteen women were directing films in the last four years for major studios is a weak number. Especially, when there are not excuses like women cannot do it quite well. The name of the majority of members belongs to recognized and talented artists. In consequence, I think it is the time of opening of perception about what an Artist could make beyond her or his ethnicity, gender, age, among other superfluous representations of characteristics, which decrease the opportunity to appreciate more stories, voices or vision from different groups.

For giving you the chance to explore this situation, it is only necessary to compare the percentage of films directed by females from major studios, for example, Warner Bros. (2.9%); Universal Pictures (2.6%). Meanwhile, Walt Disney Pictures, “a little bit better” (7.4%), Sony Pictures (5.2%), 20th Century Fox (6.6%) and Paramount (4.8%). When we read this numbers, we only consider it like a bad joke, especially when women usually belong to the group spending more money on this type of entertainment. Furthermore, when they are more than 50% of global population. It is like what we see in our world does not matter, and it is a total error.

If you want to see more information, keep reading this…

Perhaps, studio managers should understand the type of social misconstruction they are creating towards female roles and representation of different groups. I think we should comprehend this is not one group against others. It is just the desire to stop the misconstruction of narratives, where female cannot explore and show their vision of the world, as well as, other groups.

Talent is not hidden, biggest companies are just ignoring it. Perhaps, when we think about making tools, tables, doors, among other commodities, we could not perceive big differences from their creation. However, when societies to speak of the construction of identities, we keep letting women as invisible beings in societies, even when they had needed them since Lucy, the first fossil of Australopithecus afarensis walked making us rethink about our origins.

Star Wars The force awakens is like going back home…

This time I tried not to read everything before watching the film. I used to go in the midnight like the biggest fan with my cousins or other people deeply interested in Star Wars, I have never been alone for watching a  but this time the experience was a little bit warm I guess for people who grew up with the first trilogy. Finding once and again great characters as Han Solo, Leia Organa or Luke Skywalker is fascinating, we missed them in the last trilogy, even when Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Hayden  Christensen accomplished the main goal through their performances. Catching the attention from a new generation of fans and giving more stories for always committed fans…

We see once and again Luke’s home. The place where all renegades and wild members of resistance visit at least once in a lifetime. We met Paul, a member of the resistance and Master of BB-8, an android with secret information to combat First Order, a new extremist group dedicated to dominate and control the old planets from The Famous Republic that we met in the previous Trilogy.

The main character Rey (Daisy Ridley) gave us an interesting approach, her journey is similar to Luke’s, someone who has not been in the eye of anyone Powerful, in or outside the Republic, she learnt to survive in the same conditions we watched Luke did it, or even worst. She could not have a family protecting her from danger. She is like a survivor in the middle of the dessert. She was leaved in this arid planet and she must learn to use her best abilities to overcome daily challenges. That is what makes her -No, the word is not beautiful even when she is beautiful (For those fans thinking in One Direction’ songs), that makes her the best candidate to be a Jedi… And it is amazing to find a strong women in this path.

In the middle of her journey she found an android BB-8 and a renegade Stormtrooper, Finn, who is a deserter and running away from the First Order. During this encounter we learn more from these characters, she is strong, independent but it does not make her acting like someone who lost her humanity, which happened usually with characters searching for Power or The Force in this story.

While they are trying to disappear from a First Order attack, which is organized to get back the little BB-8, the couple must steal the Millennium Falcon, stolen from Han Solo, there are things that never changed. And that is the precise minute, where you childish memories conquered the best of you. I had not doubt that J.J. Abrahams knew since the first moment that it was the perfect key for connecting the past with new characters.

Suddenly, we found Chewbacca and Han Solo again in the big screen and it is fascinating for viewers who are growing with these characters perceived how the time is running for everyone. The young Rey and Finn ended helping and protecting them in many ways, it shows the change from the previous generation to new blood in Star Wars saga. However, like everything in life, Han and Leia had missed her son Kylo Ren, who is trying to pursue the steps of her grandfather Darth Vader…

No matter how young, bad, powerful, old you are, everyone has fears. In the case of this character from the Dark side, his greatest fear is not being so powerful as her grandfather. Her parents fear never see him again and Rey, well, she does not fear him. She confronted and defeated him. However, she felt fear while she confronted who she is and what is her mission, like everybody used to feel at some point in a lifetime. And there is where the real meaning of this successful story has its origin, it is not difficult for anyone in different areas across the world to get an instant connection with this journey because sooner or later, we did it.

I do not want to give more details. Undoubtedly, lightsabers battle, combat in the space, the force and new secrets await for everyone in cinemas. This journey is so good as the first time we met Leia, Luke, C3PO, R2D2, Han Solo, Chewbacca and more…It has been one of the best awakenings I have seen… I probably watch it again.

 

The emptiness from Hunger Games (spoilers)

 

Katniss ready to play one more time a new version of Hunger Games.
Katniss ready to play one more time a new version of Hunger Games.

The first two books were really exciting, I started the third before arriving to a new country and I have never known that the last film is really sad. Yes, I could not forget how many lives were taken once and again from Katniss life throughout the craziness of Hunger Games but in the last movie watching disappear her sister was, without doubts, the hardest. Her journey is difficult in this last film, perhaps, she must observe how her original purpose and the real goal she had in mind when she offered herself as volunteer to replace her sister was not enough to change the fate of Prim. I thought in that sense, fans could feel sadness at the end.

Particularly, when she is not able to accomplish her real original desire, protect her sister. I thought in that sense she discover the value of her decisions and her actions against the women who was trying to keep the same type of society. In this case, we feel the same melancholy and shock of contemplating the real motor behind Katniss Everdeen’s choices. In her psyche the only thing she really wants it is a different place for her sister and her family. Nothing else is more important for her. When she faces the situation as completely unchangeable she decided to exterminate the main source of power behind this reality. At least, there would be more possibilities to all the people living after the Revolution against Panem. I do not believe she is out of her mind during her choice, she only practice what she believes since the first book. Protecting other young lives from similar cynical practices in Panem or other Political System.

In that sense, she was trying to have more possibilities to their descendants. It is a choice of survival, which is the primary source of human development in the world before law, political systems or other philosophical or artistic influences get in the middle of human development. Other aspect, which made this chapter harder to see is becoming a witness of how Panem kill one more time popular and charismatics participants of the Games. I guess, after admiring their skills and supportive attitudes for each other, this was the cruelest thing for me. I shared Jena Malone’s character feelings when I found that I need to see how more winners disappear.

However, all stories must end and in the case of Katniss, she was lucky enough to survive all the craziness from Panem, what makes her different is she was trying to think in others while she was making decisions. Most of the time, she lives in that way, which made her life complicated and twisted. Undoubtedly, this made her a true leader. There was not an original sense for searching power for herself, the only power she searches for was motivated by ending The Games.

Of course, her life will be always perceived as a threat for everyone, that is the reason behind their allies interested, at one point, in using her. In the book, written by Suzanne Collins, she changed the rules of a game, which inspired more than one individual in different communities from thirteen different districts.

She knew since the beginning of her triumph that her life was undoubtedly seem as a possible threat or as an example to inspire others like her. In that sense, what her role represented was how politicians applied her charismatic attractiveness -in the sense of someone who is admired by others living in similar conditions- as part of political strategies supporting different groups.

She suffered a transformation of becoming a famous character inside the games made by Cinna and Haymitch, Panem and other districts but her humanity and stubborness are the characteristics, which made her different since the beginning of this story while she played different roles for promoting interests of previous or new leaders. That is the reason behind her cold and shocked face every time she confront her mortality because she knew since the beginning that her attitude towards people in power will always put her in an uncomfortable situation.

Even though there is someone who was able to move her feelings out of this lack of spontaneity: Peeta. Perhaps, the reaction was influenced by untrustworthy interactions they shared through the Games, both trying to protect themselves from the insanity of other tributes, The Capitol, their districts, their fans, their haters… while playing the role of star-crossed lovers. This interaction made them get closer and know more about the other. An intimacy, which was harder to find with Gale during the Games, especially, when he always feel himself as the third element in this relation provoking a perception of weakness for his character on screen.

Peeta after trying to kill Katniss.
Peeta after trying to kill Katniss.

Everything is supposed to work as it happens in Politics, the alliance between different groups, the betrayal, surprise, among other elements and characteristics from daily politics across the world. The role of President Snow is particularly scary and sad. The truth is he did not expect to survive the last games but he desires the tributes neither do it so his attitude is really sincere and he looks less cynical. He looks more like a leader trying to use his last chance to be remembered as someone who did everything to maintain an old-system working.

We cannot doubt that he knew that everything will eventually change. However, when he sees the reality of Katniss ready to kill him but she changed her mind in the last frame. The glorious effect in his face by the surprise that she acted in a different way  while she decided to kill President Coin in his place. Undoubtedly, if someone asked me about the interactions between Katniss and President Coin, their dialogues possess the most interesting energy and tension in every movie. Donald Sutherland, had not lost his abilities to surpass viewers’ expectations and he is, in one word, magnificent.

Donald Sutherland. www.screenrant.com
Donald Sutherland

 

I think Francis Lawrence and Mrs. Collins are successful while telling this story, they provided viewers and readers a complete journey. Perhaps, the sensation of emptiness in the cinema after Katniss expressed the type of horrible games she had played in the past are worst than her new talent to express, once and again, an old story that almost killed her. It is her way to remind the people she missed and the way to keep an oral tradition alive. Thinking about novels I have read or other stories that someone has told me before, which could not give a happy ending, they always let you with the same sensation because you missed particular characters at the end. Meanwhile Peeta and Katniss’ children represent the hope for a different future and an invitation to new stories, which we are not sure if  they are going to be written.