Miss Representation

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I found this film to be quite thought provoking for me and quite relevant to today’s environment. The one thing that explicitly stood out to me was the juxtapositions that this film pointed out. The two extremes of the spectrum that create toxic environments. In fact I noticed but never fully realized the depth of the oversexualization of our media images and the immensely narrow representation of what is considered‘beautiful’ or ‘sexy’.  The majority of women are not represented within this small representation and this is what the public is taught to be desirable.  Every woman has there own insecurities but it was especially heartbreaking to see the degree of its effect for young girls. It is no surprise with the rise of movements like thinspiration and the proliferation of platforms that enable these trends (Instagram) these ideals become even more ingrained. Within prime years where girls are just trying to mold themselves, the media depicts two opposite sides of the spectrum, the sexy female who is often celebrated and the high achiever who often receives backlash and is stereotyped as a bitch, too uptight, has no work life balance, or is dominating.  Within ages where girls are trying to find their place and are longing to belong, these two opposite depictions can be problematic.

The range of power makers and influencers she got on board were amazing and it definitely gave the documentary a new insight and credibility. I found the wide disconnect between what the media depicts and the changes in todays societal roles to have great shift from reality. The film, I felt, was a powerful and thought provoking piece of work that truly called to action the need for change in the current media depictions of women.

While I truly enjoyed the film and felt it was a important piece of work there were a few points that I felt could have been stronger. While I understand that the producer was personally effected by this topic, I felt the introduction of the film, her story, did not add as much to the film as it could. The way and the tone that she told her story was too soft, a little passionless, and felt almost ‘weak’.  I felt it could have been more effective to be stronger and bring more passion/call to action within the retelling of her story. I also felt there could have been some stronger graphics/visuals within the film in regard to explaining the statistics.

Other than that, I enjoyed that she brought in the two ends of the spectrum both within pop culture figures, politicians, and journalists. I felt this was a important film and am looking forward to viewing her newest film the mask you live in.

Marina Abramovic The Artist Is Present

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Before watching this film I wasn’t sure what to exactly expect. With vague notion of her work before hand I was slightly confused at the purpose and the sheer extremity of it.  The film moved me and educated me in more ways than one.  The film is centered around this career defining moment, a retrospective at MoMA. This documentary not only made me better understand the artist and her path, but the immense importance of her work. Not just at the manner in which it disrupts the art world but in the way it effects and truly moves people. I feel a art forms worth is majorly evaluated by the way in which it effects and moves people and Abramovic’s work is a prime example of that.

Coming into the viewing experience I wasn’t sure if would capture my attention but it firmly grasped on to it. Her story is a fascinating one and one that I feel has helped shape her work. Her work’s transformation, her discipline, and dedication are nothing short of admirable. Her vast reserve of both physical and emotional energy was notable. She seems to be really intuned to herself as well as the other people around her. Within her exhibit it seemed like there was all of this franticness and chaos but she herself was this beacon of stability and calm despite it.

In addition I really enjoyed the way the plot and structure of the film was laid out. It wasn’t just a retrospective but their was a plot to the film. There was a beginning, a peak, and a ending (conclusion.) Every layer, every story, every art piece shed light on Marina and her work. It gave the audience a peak into her life, her story, and the talent and discipline it takes to execute it.

While many could be shocked and opposed to her art, this film gave people insight into why her work and why art matters in general. Overall, I found this film to be executed well. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.

Power of Street Art

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I found the street art movement to be an essential as it enables people to bring awareness to crucial issues that resonate today. I find street art to provide an interesting juxtaposition to the current art world. The current art world seems to champion exclusiveness, a sense of superior intellectuality, a need for background knowledge, and money. Street Art does not have a superiority, elitism, and pseudo intellectualism this some feel art has. It can clearly connect to most regardless of class or prior knowledge. Therefore enabling it to connect more on an emotional level to many different types of people. Furthermore the nature of where it is displayed is clearly accessible and easy people from different demographics to access.

I also find it interesting the nature in which street art is regarded today.  It is greatly appreciated in its own right versus being seen as defacement.  Art is a medium that speaks volumes and enables people to spread issues and messages that may not get as much attention within mainstream media sources. Street art achieves this. In addition, with the advent of social media, street art has much more awareness and reach. In contrast to galleries and museums where photography is often discouraged, street photography encourages sharing, photography, and wide interaction. Because of this match between social media and the accessibility of street art, crucial messages from one place have the potential to make impactful change all over the world.

Renewable Energy

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I think we are at a unique point for the renewable energy movement. There is no doubt that these issues have become even more pushed into the limelight. I personally didn’t attend the Peoples Climate March but I had many friends that did. The energy, excitement, and promotion that occurred not just within our school, but also around the entire city was inspiring. It wasn’t just a march that could be type casted for environmentally inclined, “granola,” or “green” focused persons; it truly involved everyone regardless of their background or identity.

I think we are at a point where people are starting to see the necessity of changing and altering our behaviors. There are big changes such as bans on fracking or relocation of funds that the articles speaks to but there are also smaller marketplace trends and activities that show this desire for change and evolvement. For example the popularity of the car manufacturer Tesla, and its resulting press, in addition to other retail and commerce trends, indicate a change in attitude. I also grew up in California and recycling is extremely accessible and absolutely ingrained within our behaviors. There are clear social pressures and responsibilities for individuals to participate in recycling. I am happy to start to see similar habits develop in New York City within recent years.

Retail chains such as Target and Stables, ranked 4 and 5 respectively, were honored for having 261 and 201 Energy Star certified buildings. Industries who are active participants within the problem are working towards change. In addition, the recent 12.3 million fine that Rite Aid received in relation to hazardous waste dumping shows that restrictions are being enforced.

Ultimately I feel, with greater user engagement with these issues, corporations will be forced to listen and change in order to maintain their own sustainability and survival.

#HeForShe

This is a subject that is has long been taboo and been swept under the rug. A key issue is that the word feminism has gotten a bad rap. Many people associate the word with hating on/disliking men. They might be embarrassed to be associated with it and still associate images of burning their bras with the word. Thats why I feel it is even more important that Emma Watson and Sheryl Sandberg have brought the conversation to the forefront and within a new light. Both celebrated and respected figures they are reimagining the conversation and reframing it in the lense of equality and rights. In addition, I think it is crucial that every one get on board and not make it a issue that divides but rather one that unites. This makes the Obama Administration’s “It’s On US” campaign especially crucial. Equality is a issue that everyone can get behind and I feel once old notions and stereotypes are shed it will be a issue everyone can progress forward.

An issue that has become in the limelight recently is sexual harassment and rape on campuses. The numbers are astonishing and the processes to report injustices are longwinded and painful for victims. The way that administrations and other organizations sweep this issues under the rug dissuade many from receiving due justice. The way that Columbia Student Emma Sulkowicz protested by creating a visually explicit statement, brought the conversation to the forefront when traditional methods were simply not working. I feel as more people bring awareness and attention to the issues, the conversation will keep on growing and the inequality gap will continue to decrease.

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Ai Wei Wei At Alcatraz

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Ai Wei Wei’s exhibition in Alcatraz sets up a impactful message within a place that mirrors the importance of his installation. Wei Wei’s own experience makes him a strong storyteller within his artwork. Yet one could argue that the space in which he displays this installation helps mold and create the artwork. Alcatraz is a place teeming with history, restrictions, pain, and fear. The prison that was supposedly inescapable, the place where the ‘worst’ of humanity was kept to be punished and excluded from society. Yet this seemingly dark and grey place full of bad memories and fear is filled with colorful almost playful looking art. The message is in opposition to what Alcatraz once stood for. This seemingly playful appearance of art, takes direct opposition to the space which is containing and in a way restricting the movement of the art . The way he shows a lego like portraiture of prisoners creates in the viewer to look at these prisoners not in a fearful way but within a more childlike lense.
In California the percentage of budget we spend on prisons far exceeds the the amount we spend on education. 8% of our budget goes towards imprisoning the states citizens. Many find this the new form of slavery. There is a clear problem and it is a terribly difficult situation with many different stakeholders. This exhibit gives light to the problem in a visually entertaining, and easy to view manner, which in turn spreads awareness for these greater issues.

Yes Please

Amy Poehler is a few things to many. She can be self deprecating, alarmingly sharp, witty, smart, and at the same time draw our attention to aspects of issues we did not previously pay attention to. She maintains a unique position within pop culture and our society. Feminine and stereotypically pretty, self deprecating, kind, funny as all, shrewd and serious about issues at large. She breaks stereotypes and inspired people of all generations. Her work within “Yes Please” and her additional work within her organization continues along this theme.

This book is wonderfully honest and truthful. she touches upon her experiences but she doesn’t let it become a gossip filled tell all. Upon talking about her divorce she skims over any details, showing that not only does she have respect for the people involved but that her personal life is simply not the most interesting part of her. In fact, she uses her book to humorously tell us about her experiences, what she’s learned, and the value of being and expressing your true self. In addition what I enjoyed about this book is the fact that she doesn’t find weakness by people prizing kindness or showing manners in ones career. While other may find this to be too “feminine” or showing weakness, she portrays it as a key ingredient of success. She also shows a explicit honest when describing how she feel about her appearance a taboo subject for woman today especially in Hollywood. By expressing her insecurities she agains shows her human traits of insecurities and vulnerability. Key ingredients that make her so relatable to her audience.

In addition, her ability to profess and take responsibility for her mistakes is something I admire. For example one of the moments she regrets was when she made a spoof of a girl with disabilities on SNL. Most others would have professed that it was’t truly their fault and they did not know the circumstances and were simply just being told what to do. But she understands that despite the situation she still made these remarks and takes full responsibility for her actions. This marks  to me very admirable qualities. She places great burden on herself for this incidence and she pays retribution n the form of apologies and donation. In result, the offended girl Anastasia was not mad in any aspect, quite the opposite. In fact, she appreciated her outreach and was excited to hear form Amy and her response/contributions. Her ability to turn around a situation like this to such a degree speaks about her character in great strides. There were a lot  of of other incidences where she shared great , advice, inspiring stories, and fascinating experiences. Yet, the fact that she took time to truly dissect and explain this situation showed how much she cared about the world and her fans at large as well as the high standards she morally upholds herself to, despite her career position/standing.

This book I feel is a better example of a celebrity creating a book with impact rather than a book of impact creating a celebrity. Her star power was large before hand but this book was definitely a book of impact. I feel with this book it created an even larger celebrity. The media impact was understandably larger due to the her celebrity stature but I believe it was her book and its unique delivery of her message that gathered some much attention

Admirably, her organization Smart Girls relays in a way the  mission of her book. It gives people the a platform and tools they need to truly express their own authenticity. Something that people, especially youth are thirsting for today. She allows for this vulnerability, quirkiness, and weirdness that she indeeds celebrates. Amy is not great because of her achievements and the the work that she has produced ( a common mark of success by todays societal standards.) But she is admirable (as her organization and book displays) that she does this all of this with caring, kindness, and a sense of vulnerability, authenticity, and weirdness. BY her being a example she is a way gives a okay for people  to go forth and achieve by being the weird, quirky, awkward selves they truly are.

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