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Intellect Quarterly no. 4 / thinking in colour / summer 2006

ISSN 1478-7350

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contents summer 2006

Intellect Quarterly / www.intellectbooks.com

06 New Media

The Digital Dichotomy

Publisher/Editor Masoud Yazdani Associate Editor May Yao Sub Editor Samantha King Art Director Gabriel Solomons Intellect Ltd. PO Box 862 Bristol BS99 1DE Tel: 0117 9589910 Fax: 0117 9589911 www.intellectbooks.com
IQ intellect quarterly

10 Cultural Studies

Regeneration: A Reinvention?

12 Film & Television 18 Media Studies 22 Art & Design

ISSN 1478-7350 ©2006 Intellect Ltd. No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied, transmitted in any form or by any means without permission of the publisher. Intellect accept no responsibility for views expressed by contributors to IQ; or for unsolicted manuscripts, photographs or illustrations; or for errors in articles or advertisements. Cover Image: The lightbulb has long been used to symbolise ideas and illumination. The Invention of the Light Bulb is credited t0 Humphry Davy, Joseph Wilson Swan and Thomas Alva Edison.

Women at the Helm in ‘God’s own Country’ What Harm and Offence do our Media Cause? Technoetic Creativity: A Kabbalistic Perspective
Q&A with » 04 Manuel Alvarado | 08 Susan Hayward | 14 Martin Tompkins 20 Amorey Gethin | 25 Graziella Tonfoni | 28 Book Reviews | 30 Micro Fiction
Intellect publishes books and journals by authors and editors with original thinking they strongly believe in. Our intention is to produce books and journals that have presence, create impact and are affordable for readers. We commission regardless of whether there is an established readership for the ideas: we support our authors comprehensively in articulating their thoughts and then bring them to as wide a readership as possible. We choose authors and editors who in backing their ideas, are willing to be part of our publishing process by investing their energy and resources as needed in co-operation with us. www.intellectbooks.com

Intellect Quarterly | 3

Q&A
iQuote » “The only thing that will kill movies is education.” – Will Rogers

University decided to close down their operation.

Do you think your academic background is a help or a hindrance in helping authors to articulate their thoughts well? Do you have an intellectual agenda of your own?

How do you compare and contrast Intellect’s publishing programme with other publishers?
I think Intellect’s programme is extremely interesting and stimulating. I wish I felt that about some of the other publishing houses working in this field. Nevertheless, I understand the pressures and reasons for adopting certain strategies, which I will briefly enumerate as follows. All publishers obviously have to make money but the academic end of the business is getting ever tougher even though higher education has expanded at a remarkable speed. Publishing is getting tougher partly because of competition from the web and other electronic media but also because the increasing expense of higher education means that students have less disposable income for books. They want comprehensive course text books rather than dozens of individual titles. Whilst I don’t agree with this attitude, the larger publishing houses are increasingly focused on producing such volumes which can be ‘stacked high’ in the bookshops! This is clearly not good news for intellectuals, academics or researchers who want to publish their original work as monographs and books. It is also not good news for the Research Assessment Exercise particularly because textbooks do not count in RAE submissions. It can therefore be clearly seen why Intellect’s project is so important and invaluable. Along with a couple of other small presses, Intellect is literally helping to break new ground and push back the frontiers of our knowledge and understanding in this field.

Manuel Alvarado
Thinks academic publishing about media is getting tougher despite the proliferation of media studies courses.

What attracted you to the publishing world in general?
I’ve been involved in publishing ever since I was editor of my school’s magazine as a sixteen year old. My co-editor and I had unsupervised control of all aspects of commissioning articles, photographs and drawings, designing the ‘look’ of the publication, selling advertising space and marketing the magazine. I enjoyed every minute of the experience and was certainly more fun than most lessons! Little was I to know then that the experience would be highly educational and so useful to me later in life. I subsequently went on to be
4 | Intellect Quarterly

editor of the student newspaper at my university and not that long after leaving university I became editor of a quarterly international academic journal focusing on cinema, media and education. Eventually I went on to found a media publishing imprint for John Libbey Publishing - an imprint that later became a university press.

What attracted you specifically to join Intellect?

Oddly enough, Intellect was founded at the same time that I created John Libbey Media. Even more strangely the two imprints covered very similar areas so it was entirely logical for me to join the Intellect team when the

I think my intellectual development helps me enormously to advise authors. In fact my original degree is in English Literature because Film, TV or Media Studies did not exist within the formal curriculum at any educational level in those days. Therefore I was one of the tiny group of people to create and define this broad subject area under the auspices of the British Film Institute’s Education Department and the Society for Education in Film and Television back at the beginning of the 1970s. As a result my whole subsequent career has been spent defining, revising, extending, teaching, examining, researching and publishing work in what is now a very large field. For the first two decades my own work was extensively published, but for the last decade I have concentrated more on supervising PhD students and advising researchers and authors whose books I was going to publish as editorial director of a specialist university press. In response to the second question, all intellectuals must, by definition, have their own agenda but obviously it would be improper of me as a publisher to let that interfere with the advice I give to students or to authors. At the same time, it would be irresponsible of me if I didn’t bring to the attention of students and authors, material which they might have overlooked or not encountered.

Manuel Alvarado
“The secret to film is that it’s an illusion.” – George Lucas

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‘I’ve been involved in publishing ever since I was editor of my school’s magazine as a sixteen year old... Little was I to know then that the experience would be highly educational and so useful to me later in life.’
What is the best book you have read recently?
I don’t know about ‘the best’ because I have read so many good books recently, but I particularly enjoyed Francis Wheen’s How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World (Harper Perennial 2004), in which he describes how so many aspects of recent political and cultural activities around the world have broken with Enlightenment values and ideas. I suppose it would have to be Time of the Gypsies. There is so much to say about his work but there are two observations I will make here. The first is that he often (but not always) focuses on a people who have suffered – and continue to suffer – the most awful bigotry across the world, and he does so in a way that is wonderful and totally life affirming. The second is that he has created a cinematic style and language, unique to him, to express these values, which can be best compared to the Magic Realism of the great writers of Latin America. There is the added bonus that he also plays bass guitar in a wonderful Gipsy/Techno/Rock band called ‘The No Smoking Orchestra’. {
FURTHER READING

What is your favourite movie of all time and why?

This is a question I have been asked many times over the years and it gets ever harder to answer. It would be extremely difficult if one was allowed to name one’s favourite movies in each of the major genres, or one from each country, or one from each of the great auteurs or even a favourite movie from each decade – but a favourite of ‘all time’! I have therefore decided to choose a film by a director I particularly admire, who is currently producing a body of highly original and wonderful films. The director is Emir Kusturica (who is a Bosnian Serb from Sarajevo currently living in Brittany, France). I would place at least four of his films as the best made in the last fifteen years and if I had to choose one

Hollywood Utopia: Ecology in Contemporary American Cinema
By Pat Brereton | £19.95, $39.95

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New Media
iQuote » “The new media are not bridges between man and nature; they are nature.” – Marshall McLuhan

The Digital Dichotomy:
Is digital art an enhancement of democracy or only techno-skill? By Beth Porter
he Lascaux caves or Hopi sand paintings inspire awe, not at the individual artist but at the unity of components. There is no reason to assume that such creations were the work of specialists or produced by any particular gender. Scrutiny of prehistoric abstract patterning unveils an innate sensibility to shape and juxtaposition, apart from any pure aspects of representation. Yet we seem to value Renaissance art over Folk art, revealing our cultural prejudice. This is neither to belittle our attempts to better understand art, nor to suggest that we cannot apply analytical criteria developed over the centuries. However, we have become increasingly alienated from our own artistic impulses. Western society especially encourages us to devolve to specialists aspects of employment, politics, leisure, science and the arts; we’re labelled consumers, customers, viewers rather than participants in, creators and producers of culture. And when it comes to analysis, we are encouraged only to provide the uninformed and stereotypical viewpoint [talk shows, phoneins, private conversation], always subservient in influence to specialist critics. In that sense, I believe there has been a steady erosion of the democratic structure of society. Until, that is, the emergence not only of the digital phenomenon,
6 | Intellect Quarterly

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but also of its natural home of display: the World Wide Web. Although the web features the complete spectrum of creativity, I am concentrating here on the graphical arts to explore the digital dichotomy, i.e. works produced and/or processed on a computer and universally available online. Artists who embrace the digital challenge continue a long tradition, incorporating every new technological development during our collective cultural history. Arguably, it is a prime characteristic of our species, and inevitably the age-old questions arise: Is it art? And, if so, is it any good? Without rehearsing the intricacies of the computing process, it’s important to understand that the very nature of digitisation allows any art form to provide the raw material for a transformation into binary code. Colour, shape, sound and movement can all be re-fashioned as a complex series of 1s and 0s, and recombined to produce digital images which not only can move to a soundtrack and emulate the threedimensional world, but can do so in response to third party requests from a mouse, touch-screen, or voice command. Similar techniques generate the surreal landscapes and creatures of such films as King Kong, Toy Story and The Chronicles of Narnia. Various programming languages have been developed to achieve impressive graphical results from

the almost completely mathematical VRML [Virtual Reality Markup Language] and self-replicating fractal shapes, to the production of moving images using the digital equivalent of the flip-book called animated gifs [gif being one of the many digital image formats] as well as more sophisticated combinations of graphics and programming including JavaScript and Flash™. Digital artists can decide exactly how many of these tools to master, and do not require a degree in computer science. So is it art? And can anyone do it? When sceptics questioned Turner, Kandinsky, Miro or Bridget Riley, their defenders referenced each artist’s traditional training partly as justification for their individual stylistic developments. True, some digital artists have backgrounds in more conventional methods, but a fair proportion don’t. Does that make their art quintessentially inferior? Conversely, if you master the complete range of production techniques embedded in a digital paint program, does that make you an artist? Self-defined digital artist Paul Conklin from Suffolk confesses that it was only as he became proficient with digital art programs that he could raise his work above what he calls ‘dead pixels’. Digital sculptor Keith Brown — Director of Art & Computing Technologies at Manchester’s Institute for Research & Innovation

Below Madonna of the Brooklyn Bridge By Beth Porter

Below Geo 03 by Keith Brown Bottom Pay Attention by Beth Porter

Beth Porter
iQuote » “All media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical.” – Marshall McLuhan

in Art & Design (MIRIAD) and founder and president of Fast-UK (Fine Art Science & Technology in the UK) — defines his 3D works as ‘Real Virtuality’ or ‘Cyberealism’ rather than ‘Virtual Reality’, reversing the order between the cyber and the real. His work, including Geo 03, is available to view at The Museum of Digital Art (www.modazone. com/), one of the scores of online digital art venues. My own digital paintings and digital collages are available at www.womenstuff.org/bpdigipix. html in a display which requires a browser enabled for both Flash and Java. Perhaps more innovative is online gallery SoundToys (www. soundtoys.net), presenting artworks combining sound and movement, some relying on interactivity turning viewer into participant, a part of the work. This is one of the joys of digital over conventional art (interactive

‘Most offline art is to be viewed, not touched; the web offers an interactive experience to a wider public than ‘meat-world’ work ever could.’
installations and happenings notwithstanding). Most offline art is to be viewed, not touched; the web offers an interactive experience to a wider public than ‘meat-world’ work ever could. Mere online displays beg the question of the live ambience, viewing first-hand the painting or sculpture, but SoundToys proves the impossibility to experience its exhibits in any way other than virtually. One screenshot of a moving, interactive piece cannot convey a fraction of its impact. A defining component of art involves degrees of selection and choice. For centuries the equation between concept and production was not only linear but clearly apparent to the viewer of a painting and, to a lesser degree, of sculpture. Of course, you can choose to do a headstand in front of the Bridge at Arles but Van Gogh wanted you to see it right-side up and head-on. Michelangelo’s David, on the other hand, can be approached from any angle; both its message and power cohere fully when viewed from all sides. Further choices include materials, colour, composition, framing and, particularly in the case of sculpture, what to leave out. This is as true of Emin’s Unmade Bed as Moore’s Reclining Nude, of Banksey’s graffiti as da Vinci’s Last Supper. But digital art can rotate, twist and flip, pushing boundaries of perception. Digital drawbacks also complicate questions of perception and control, particularly regarding colour. The resolution and power of a monitor, the speed of a graphics card will affect what is displayed, so no two people experience the artwork precisely as it was created. Conversely, some digi-artists provide painting applets with the work so that colours can be altered by the public; Washington DCs National Gallery of Art (www.nga.gov/ kids/zone/collagemachine2.htm) aims its online innovative collage machine at children. Such applets build further barriers between finished artwork and methods of production; not only can digital artists originate a work after

mastering powerful painting or animation programs, they can also customise small pre-written applications to incorporate effects into their finished image. For example, there’s a morphing programme that pre-calculates the gradual replacement of one image with another, or an applet which allows the deformation of an image by plotting a selection of x and y coordinates on key spots of a static image. The artist does not need to do the mathematics, but can merely grab one of those key spots with the mouse and drag it to another location on the screen. So Whistler’s Mother can grow Pinocchio’s nose. Is that valid conceptual art? Is it a graphical representation of the implication that mothers are liars? Or just a digital joke? Such debate defines the digital era, consigning questions of technique more and more to previous centuries. We are no longer as concerned with the skills of brushwork or carving, though we are still evaluating content and meaning. We do not assume that conventional artistic representation will become extinct, rather that digital activity will continue to expand the possibilities of expression and cultural democracy. { Beth Porter, author of The Net Effect, is a media analyst and practitioner. Her digital piece Some of the Parts, combining Haiku, sound and music with the artwork of painter Guy Denning, is displayed on the SoundToys website. Two of her digital collages feature in the Field of Vision: Extremes exhibition and can be viewed online: www.field-of-vision.net
Intellect Quarterly | 7

Left The Whores of Babylon By Beth Porter

Q&A
iQuote » “Film will only become an art when its materials are as inexpensive as pencil and paper.” – Jean Cocteau

Susan Hayward Journal Editor
piece where appropriate before resubmitting. How does French Cinema fit into cinema’s global eco system? A difficult question to answer. At one point French Cinema was the leader (up to 1914). Since then in terms of production output, in the West, it has always ranked in the top four tional resonance – but again in the recent spate of violent films, it is interesting to note that the films directed by women in this context had seemingly exported better than those made by men (see Baise moi, A ma soeur, Sex is comedy – all women directors; versus La Vie de Jesus, Seul contre tous, Irreversible). 2005; Illinois University Press is prepared to publish work on French Cinema which is excellent news for the global market; finally there is the long-standing MUP series, begun 1998, which is still continuing to produce good studies on individual film directors. {

‘In the recent spate of violent films, it is interesting to note that the films directed by women had seemingly exported better than those made by men.’
What drew you to the idea of starting an academic journal dealing with French Cinema? For two reasons: It was becoming abundantly clear to me that whilst there was a growing field of researchers in French Cinema, there was no real outlet in Anglophone journals for a consistent or systematic study of that area. Secondly, It was also the case that there were certain periods or domains of French Cinema which still remained unexplored or, at the very best, under-developed (e.g. silent cinema, 1950s, 1970s) as well as domains (e.g. popular genres, sound and other technologies within industrial practice). How do you feel your readers will see your journal as unique? Because it is the only one of its kind at present! Furthermore the articles are rigorously refereed; we encourage young scholars to submit; and we assist authors to improve on their
8 | Intellect Quarterly

FURTHER READING

Studies in French Cinema
Three Issues Per Volume | £180 Studies in French Cinema
(SFC) is the only journal published in English devoted exclusively to French cinema, providing scholars, teachers and students from around the world with a consistent quality of academic investigation across the full breadth of the subject of French Cinema. Contributors scrutinize the cultural context of various works and the diverse stylistic approaches that infuse the visual fabric of this genre. Areas covered include: film history, film genre and film trends, film technique and cinematic theory with each section providing in-depth interviews, research materials and thought provoking comment.

cinemas (always after Hollywood, I am afraid). In more global terms, it (no more than Hollywood) cannot hope to outstrip Indian Cinema in importance – or export practices – but I suspect that in terms of actual output that it ranks in the top ten. As an export item, however, it only fares reasonably well. Language is, arguably, the first major barrier; but I have a feeling that it comes down more crucially to the dominant types of cinema France produces. It is often claimed that French comedy does not export or cross over well (but there have been notable exceptions such as Colinne Serreau’s Trois hommes et un couffin, Josiane Balasko’s Gazon Maudit, so it might be a gender thing!). However, there are many other types of film which, whilst fine for indigenous consumption, thanks to their subject matter, appear to not carry enough of an interna-

What is the best film you have seen in the last twelve months? Another difficult question, partly because I see so many and I tend to forget titles after a while! Caché is a film I have seen recently that stands out. However, whilst it is an intriguing even brilliant film, it is really somewhat flawed in its premise. The very best film for my money that I can remember seeing is in fact not a French film but a British one, The Constant Gardener. It carries all the elements I admire in a film: excellent camera work and editing, a plot of integrity and consummate acting. And the best book? The quality of published work on French Cinema is so high I am not going to venture down this risky path. But I will say that there have been some exciting new series coming out: the I.B. Tauris series on French Film, a new venture begun in

PASSION IN MOTION (PICTURES)

Film International.

Dialogue around the moving image. Published as a bi-monthly, full colour journal, Film International covers all aspects of film culture in a visually dynamic way. This new breed of film magazine brings together established film scholars with renowned journalists to provide an informed and animated commentary on the spectacle of world cinema and commercial cinema.
Image above The Road to Guantanamo. Directed by Michael Winterbottom

The recent issue explores the extensive yet relatively underexposed realm of film literature and criticism. The articles expose the intricate terrain of film writing, with a particular focus on Englishlanguage contexts. Contributions range from memoirs on the profession of UK film publishing and the documentation of film history, to scrutiny of film literature in India & reception studies of primetime TV shows.

ISSUE 20 NOW AVAILABLE. 8 WWW.FILMINT.NU

Cultural Studies
iQuote » “Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

Regeneration: A reinvention?
Simon Roodhouse thinks it’s time to redefine this often used but misunderstood term.

R

egeneration is a fashionable international political concept and is used extensively, which might benefit from a ‘makeover’, perhaps to encourage discourse, as reinvention. So why consider regeneration as reinvention, and what are the implications? It is after all fundamental human nature to invent, innovate, employ imagination and create. All of these activities by their very definition break rules and conventions, provide new insights, new directions and one way or another extend horizons. In other words, creativity is at the heart of regeneration. So why is there so much conservatism and nostalgia, lingering in the past (heritage), the good old days and all that? Is it because what we know we trust and ‘newness’ brings risks and uncertainty? Or as has often been said by more than one change agent: if we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we always had. For those that benefit from an established status quo, then change is unnecessary and this argument makes sense. There is then no reason for the individuals benefiting from the prevailing establishment to change and they even have a vested interest in keeping things as they are for as long as possible, whatever the consequences for other people. Where does this leave us? It seems that reinvention only occurs when things get very bad. So, for example, the collapse of the car industry, the implosion of the textiles industry and steel manufacturing have all in their own terms forced government to reinvent businesses, both public and private, in the geographical areas most affected to provide jobs to replace those that have been lost: an economic and social argument with implications for cultural change. Often there are misguided short term responses such as construction projects, and other job generating activities including in the case of Liverpool, the garden festival – what happened to that - and now the capital of culture 2008 have introduced employ10 | Intellect Quarterly

‘An approach to be adopted here is to focus on the concept of the inherent creativity of the individual and cultural activity as business, leaving the determination of any corporate aesthetic to market interactions and public cultural agencies.’

ing substantial public funds as a primary means of avoiding long-term unemployment and social disruption. This of course involves existing public agencies, giving them a new reason for existence and some cases new ones created such as development corporations. More often than not the ultimate solution is buildings value led. This is not just a 1970s and 1980s phenomenon, but rather a long term historical trend, with the moves from a 19th century agricultural economy to a 20th century post-industrial economy and so on. For example, more recently we have seen the progressive transfer of call centres to India, the collapse of the clothing manufacturing base in United Kingdom and a further erosion of primary activities such as farming with the rapid reduction in milk production, where increasing quantities of being purchased from countries such as Italy. Life goes on and we have to find alternatives. In addition, people are changing too with continuous immigration, significant increases in single parent families, changing patterns of house ownership, a greater numbers of females in work, more selfemployed and continuing poverty coupled with poor education in developed countries. This affects all spheres of activity in society including education, economics and culture. In the case of culture, it is in my view providing the opportunity for the reconceptualisation and valuation of cultural activity as businesses. This is to be welcomed as a means of democratisation. So how is this happening? The introduction of cultural/ cultural industry quarters has undoubtedly stimulated a broader view of these issues. An approach to be adopted here is to focus on the concept of the inherent creativity of the individual and cultural activity as business, leaving the determination of any corporate aesthetic to market interactions and public cultural agencies. This then leads us to consider the emerging global interest in the creative and cultural industries as a partic-

Regeneration
iQuote » “Why is it that we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?” – Ernest Gaines

ularly significant economic development phenomenon. It enables us not only to recognise the creative individual but also to view cultural activity without the constraints of traditional frameworks, notions of excellence, and long-standing, largely Victorian ideas of aesthetics. The concept was derived from an interest in the knowledge economy, and the definition employed largely pragmatic: ‘Those activities which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent, and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.’ (Creative Industries Task Force 1998) It was the Labour-controlled Greater London Council (GLC) who instigated a significant challenge to the definitional status quo in the early 1980s at a time of high unemployment, significant industrial decline and diminishing public funds for the arts. These circumstances gave rise to a re-appraisal of the role and function of the ‘traditional’ arts in economic terms, and in relation to the introduction of new technologies such as instant printing, cassette recording and video making. For the first time, the concept of culture as an industry in a public policy context was introduced. The arts, described by the GLC as the ‘traditional arts’, were subsumed into a broader definitional framework which included ‘the electronic forms of cultural production and distribution – radio, television, records and video – and the diverse range of popular cultures which exist in London’ (London Industrial Strategy 1985). The eventual successor body, the London Assembly and the executive Mayor of London have picked up the theme again (London Development Agency, 2003) with a focus on intervention in the creative industries networks and linkages. If consideration is then given to activities including the arts and heritage as businesses, (the cultural industries) with products, services and markets then, for example access questions are

immediately answered. The judgment of excellence is simple (fitness for purpose), and funding becomes conventionally based on business planning models. So the issue for public sector policy and funding agencies responsible for implementation is more to do with how to support the establishment and growth of cultural businesses as opposed to making aesthetic peer group decisions about the quality of the individual’s creative output, which is a subjective procedure. Such an alternative perspective allows us to consider a more sustainable future for the arts and heritage as cultural businesses. Funding becomes based on a business model, and as a consequence the cultural public sector agency role changes to provide business support in developing this sector just like any other industrial economic activity. It leads to the suggestion that large businesses and the education sector take over the responsibility for research and development. In this way, government ensures that cultural risk and innovation is nurtured. No special pleading is required, and the art for arts sake argument typified in an essay by the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell in 2004 is avoided. A wider range of funding agencies with interests in social and economic development can become involved in supporting and developing the businesses. So there is a genuine opportunity, in my view, to engage in this development influence it and democratise. {
FURTHER READING

Cultural Quarters: Principles and Practice
By Simon Roodhouse | £29.95, $59.95
This definitive book provides a conceptual context for cultural quarters including the cultural sustainability, a detailed discussion of the salient principles of urban design and planning. To examine these issues, the book presents several extensive case studies drawn from Northern England, Ireland and Vienna to position the emergence of specific cultural areas within a historical, spatial and social context as well as the economics of maintaining the respective districts incorporating the critical role of universities. Extending this investigation, the author provides an explicit practical analysis of an old northern industrial revolution town in the shadow of Manchester, Bolton and the Borough Council’s moves towards establishing a cultural quarter in the town centre, with references to previous management and funding models employed by Birmingham City Council and the British Museum. The book offers a concise illustration of how cultural practice is maintained and expanded within an urban environment. Available Now Simon Roodhouse is Professor in Creative Industries at the University of the Arts, London.

‘It was the Labour-controlled Greater London Council (GLC) who instigated a significant challenge to the definitional status quo in the early 1980s at a time of high unemployment, significant industrial decline and diminishing public funds for the arts.’

Intellect Quarterly | 11

Film&Television
iQuote » “Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music.” – Frank Capra

Women at the helm in ‘God’s own country’
Kerala International Film Festival (9–16 December 2005) By Gönül Dönmez-Colin
here are few film festivals in the world that are run by a woman, and even fewer that open with a film made by a woman, according to German film-maker, Margarethe von Trotta who came to Kerala to deliver the Aravindan lecture, named to honour the memory of one of the best film-makers of this tiny southern state of India. Her topic, needless to say, was ‘the place of women film directors in film-making’. Kerala is the first state in the world to elect-by-vote a communist government Deepa Mehta’s Water, 2005 © Devyani Saltzman in 1957; a state where literacy is 99 per cent; life expectancy rate, both male and female, is over 70, the highest in India, whereas infant mortality rate is the lowest; where Hindus, Christians and Muslims (and a long time ago even the Jews) have lived peacefully side-by-side. The film festival, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this year stresses these unique qualities of the state in its selection of films that foreground human issues. The competition section comprises of films from Asia, Africa and Latin America, the World Cinema section offers a wider perspective of recent trends, Indian cinema and Malayalam cinema (Malayalam is the language spoken by Keralites) showcase the recent crop of the year and the retrospectives and homages revolve around themes and/or film personalities to cater for a remarkably extensive range of film lovers. This year the festival was opened by India born, naturalized Canadian Deepa Mehta’s Water (2005), which, after Fire (1996) and Earth (1998) concludes her ‘elements trilogy’. Mehta is no stranger to controversy. Fire, starring remarkable Shabana Azmi and sensual Nandita Das insulted the ‘family values’ of many Indians who were shocked to see a lesbian love affair between two sister-in-laws on the wide screen. The reaction to Water preceded the actual shooting. The original set in Varanasi was destroyed by Hindu fanatics in 2000 who rioted in large numbers and burned effigies of Mehta. Production resumed several years later in Sri Lanka with a different cast as the previous leads, Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das withdrew after receiving death threats. Water is set in 1938 in colonial India during a period of uncertainty as
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Gandhi is slowly rising to power, when the practice of child brides as well as shutting up the widows in ashrams was prevalent, although more for economical reasons than religious customs. The film opens as precocious eight-year-old Chuyia, recently widowed by the death of her aged husband is dropped by her father at an ashram. The dilapidated building is run by Madhumati, an obese woman in her seventies who dominates over the widows. She uses Kalyani (Lisa Ray), a young widow – the only one whose head is not shaven – for sex trade with the Brahmin gentry across the river to raise money for the ashram. But when Kalyani becomes romantically involved with the progressive son of one of the Brahmin families, the fragile order of the ashram is broken. Water focuses on the oppressive traditions against women in patriarchal societies, locating the new possibilities that Gandhi’s rebellion against the British may bring on the periphery of the film’s narrative. Whilst little Chuyia joins the Gandhi train in the final scene, the message of the director may not necessarily point to salvation for the Chuyias of India. Widow ashrams are not entirely a thing of the past, as the closing lines of the film poignantly remind us. Water is lavish in its cinematography and the undertone of the narrative that reigns sensationalism is particularly praiseworthy although the subject matter, which would have benefited from a deeper focus, somewhat swims on the surface. In the competitive section, the international jury, headed by French film-maker Bertrand Tavernier had to judge fourteen films, several of which, such as Dame Sobh (Day Break) (2005) by Hamid Rahmanian, an Iranian expatriate living in New York and Hat mua roi bao lau (Bride of Silence) (2005) by Vietnamese brother-sister team, Doan Minh Phuong and Doan T. Nighia were outstanding. The latter won the Best Debut Film Award of $4000 for its directors. Kekexili: Mountain Patrol (2004), a China/US co-production by Lu Chuan about rare antelope poachers in Tibet seemed to be the favourite for all, winning Silver Crow Pheasant for Best Director ($6000), and the Audience and

Kerala Film Festival
iQuote » “A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.” – Orson Welles

Fipresci (Federation of Film Critics) awards. However, the choice of the jury for the Golden Crow Pheasant Award ($20,000) went to Sheng Si Jie (Stolen Life) (2005) by Li Shaohong, a prominent ‘fifth generation’ film-maker from China, who happens to be a woman. Women’s triumph in Kerala this year extended to other sections as well. ‘Beyond the Veil: Women Films from Maghreb’ brought to Trivananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala where the festival is held, such gems as Les Silences du Palais (The Silences of the Palace) (1994) by Moufida Tlatli; Miel et cendres (Honey and Ashes) (1996) by Nadia Fares; Keid Ensa (Women’s Wiles) (1999) by Farida Ben Lyziad and also a very fresh and daring film by young Raja Amari, Satin Rouge (Red Satin) (2002) that shook the foundations of a hypocritical Muslim society when it came out. One more important contribution to the over all theme of women – which, ironically, grew by accident and not intention on the part of the organizers – was the homage to Isabelle Huppert, ‘Woman of Many Faces’, displaying her exceptional talent in ten unforgettable roles in memorable films from La dentelliere (The Lacemaker) (1977) by Claude Goretta to La Pianiste (The Piano Teacher) (2001) by Michael Haneke. The latter almost caused a riot when the news spread about the ‘sexy’ content of the film and crowds of (male) spectators who arrived for the repeat screening lost control of their emotions in their anxiety to grab a seat. Kim Ki-duk’s retrospective was another section that acquired the favour of such crowds. Despite the fact that Deepa Mehta’s Water, 2005 © Devyani Saltzman Indian music videos constantly shown on television leave nothing for the imagination, particularly with the everpopular pelvic gyrations, Indian movies still shy away from showing couples kissing, let alone indulging in a sexual act. Needless to say, the South Korean master had serious aficionados as well for whom it was a treat to discover an exceptional film-maker whose work is probably never distributed in India. Short films, documentaries, jury films, homage to Cuban Santiago Alvarez, to ‘Living Legends’ – Jean-Luc Godard and MT Vasudevan Nair – the

‘Kerala is the first state in the world to elect-by-vote a communist government in 1957; a state where literacy is 99 per cent; life expectancy rate, both male and female, is over 70, the highest in India, whereas infant mortality rate is the lowest; where Hindus, Christians and Muslims (and a long time ago even the Jews) have lived peacefully side-by-side.’

sidebars were several. However, a special programme on Turkish cinema curated by myself attracted the curiosity of many film lovers, whose knowledge of the film industry of this country is rather limited to works of masters such as Yılmaz Güney and the Palme d’Or winner, Yol (The Way) (1982). ‘Golden Years of Turkish Cinema – 1970s–1980s’ began with a landmark film, Güney’s Umut (Hope) (1970) and moved on to two classics, Sürü (The Herd) (1979) and Yol (1982) directed by Güney’s assistants, Zeki Ökten and Serif Gören, respectively. Hazal (1979) by Ali Özgentürk, a protégé of Güney and an important film-maker in his own right; Anayurt Oteli (Motherland Hotel) (1986) by Ömer Kavur, Turkey’s truly auteur film-maker who passed away in 2005; and last but not the least, Selvi Boylum, Al Yazmalım (The Girl With the Red Scarf ) (1977), a classic from Atıf Yılmaz, a veteran of Turkish cinema who has maintained the title of ‘women’s film-maker’ for decades, completed the panorama. ‘Young Turks: Heimat Films from Germany’ was a challenging contrast, displaying a different kind of cinema coming from a culture of hybridity. The most celebrated film-maker of this movement is no doubt Fatih Akın, who merited the Golden Bear in Berlin with his Head On (2004). Two of his short films, Geturkt (Weed) (1997) and Wir Haben Vergerssen Zuruckzukehren (I Think About Germany: We Forgot to Go Back) (2000) were delightful to watch as well as Kutlug Ataman’s Lola und Bilidikid (Lola and Billy the Kid) (1998) on Turkish transvestites in Berlin. Attending a film festival in India far surpasses any other film event. The opening and closing ceremonies of Kerala International Film Festival, held in an open amphitheatre with all the dignitaries of the state seated on stage, sets the tone for a different experience. The lighting of the Magic Lamp to inaugurate the festival is magical to say the least. What was particularly ‘heaven sent’ this year was the thunder and lightning that arrived as the dancers performed the traditional ‘Monsoon of Kerala’, a blend of Indian classical and folk arts, on stage. It is abundantly clear why this tiny state on the Malabar coast proudly calls itself ‘God’s Own Country’! {
Intellect Quarterly | 13

Profile

Martin Tompkins
If you subscribe to an Intellect journal, chances are you’ve seen some of this Bath based photographer’s work.
A lot of the images you take for Intellect are abstract images. Do you find these particularly challenging and what do you consider a successful abstract image?
The process is the same as for any kind of successful photography. In fact abstraction overlaps all fields. Creative process is based on technique. You take your current knowledge of a technique, apply it to an idea, then experiment. All the usual artistic rules apply. Some variables are naturally left to chance with a photograph. It’s that element of chance that can progress ideas quicker.

can be tweaked and the whole ‘photograph never lies’ thing just doesn’t stand up anymore. What are your thoughts on this and where do you draw the line with picture manipulation?
I was always brought up with the discipline that led me to get the picture right in the camera. But taking the picture is only half the process. Manipulation always has had a part in photography and the camera has always lied. A photographer can read a situation and choose what the viewer sees. Vital pieces of information can be purposefully left out of the frame in order to mislead a narrative. Pictures were tweaked before digital.

‘...I think the whole digital ‘revolution’ has fostered a tolerence for error. In turn this tolerance is producing a generation of lazy button pushers.’
It’s just Photoshop instead of cross processing, burning, dodging, selinium toning and old school darkroom montage. So in that way I’m happy with manipulation. I still have a problem with photographers who crop their photographs though. Bresson used to crop. I also think the whole digital ‘revolution’ has fostered a tolerance for error. In turn this tolerance is producing a generation of lazy button pushers. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard art directors repeat the line, ‘it’s alright, we can photoshop it later’.

The music and fashion photographer David Bailey once said that it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the ordinary. What do you think he meant by ‘the ordinary’?
When I think of Bailey’s music and fashion work, I mostly remember the expressions on the

We’re living in an age where everything we look at we regard with a certain level of suspicion because we know images
14 | Intellect Quarterly

Profile
Martin Tompkins » Photographer
subjects’ faces. The more portraits you take the better you become at understanding when someone’s face is telling the truth. The skill is not to force how the sitter reacts but to encourage the small character traits that make them who they are. To a certain extent then, the ordinary I think Bailey talks about refers to the face that the sitter simply has ‘ordinarily’ when engaging with a friend.

Ansel Adams said: There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. Do you agree?
Yes. When you learn the rules you get bored with them. Then you break the rules and change the boundaries.

What projects are you working on at the moment?
Trips to Hungary and Norway. The first being part of a larger project with three other photographers looking at twin cities of Bath. Should be interesting – each photographer will take their own angle on the life of the city for an exhibition happening in September and an accompanying book. The second is a collaboration with a friend to photograph Northern Norway inspired by the electronic music that has grown from the more bleak, isolated areas of the country. Other projects include a travelling exhibition of portraits for the summer, Interior work with the invention Art centre in Bath and shooting band profiles for Decode Magazine.

Tell us about the best tv programme/series you’ve seen in the last 6 months.
Above Journal cover images Opposite Page Nashville ‘03 Top Left/Right Luke ‘06 Jules (cowboy) ‘06 Bottom Right Patrick ‘06

BBC’s Planet earth. Production, direction, narration, camera work and engineering all from people at the top of their game. Mix in the most beautiful and interesting environments on the planet and you have pretty damn good high definition TV. {
Intellect Quarterly | 15

Intellect Journals
The Intellect Journals Collection represents a comprehensive overview of emerging ideas in creative media, such as: art, film, television, design, education, language, gender study and international culture. It comprises 20 peer reviewed journals at a discount of 50% off their normal price. Your library receives a print copy of 3 issues of each journal. All users at the the institution will also gain permanent on-line access to the same material. The entire print and electronic collection costs £1,800 in 2006.
For more information or to sample an issue of each journal for free please contact journals@intellectbooks.com.
Film
Theatre

Culture

Art

New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film ISSN 1474-2756
Volume 4, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Studies in European Cinema ISSN 1741-1548
Volume 3, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Studies in French Cinema ISSN 1471-5880

Studies in Hispanic Cinemas ISSN 1478-0488
Volume 3, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Volume 6, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics ISSN 1740-8296
Volume 2, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Journal of Organisational Transformation and Social Change ISSN 1477-9633
Volume 3, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

International Journal of Technology Management & Sustainable Development ISSN 1474-2748
Volume 5, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Journal of Media Practice ISSN 1468-2753

Volume 7, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

16 | Intellect Quarterly

www.intellectbooks.com / journals@intellectbooks.com

International Journal of Francophone Studies ISSN 1368-2679
Volume 9, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

European Journal of American Culture ISSN 1466-0407
Volume 25, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

International Journal of Iberian Studies ISSN 1364-971X
Volume 19, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

The Radio Journal: International studies in Broadcast & Audio Media ISSN 1476-4504
Volume 4, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Learning and Teaching in the Social Sciences ISSN 1740-5866
Volume 3, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

The Portuguese Journal of Social Science ISSN 1476-413X
Volume 5, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Studies in Theatre and Performance ISSN 1468-2761
Volume 26, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media ISSN 1479-4713
Volume 2, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Journal of Visual Art Practice ISSN 1470-2029
Volume 5, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Education Through Art ISSN 1743-5234

Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research ISSN 1477-965X
Volume 4, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education ISSN 1474-273X
Volume 5, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Volume 2, 2006 Three issues / £180 Print & full electronic access

Intellect Quarterly | 17

Media Studies
iQuote » “Media is a word that has come to mean bad journalism” – Graham Greene

What harm and offence do our media cause?
Should we be more worried than we actually are? By Andrea Millwood Hargrave
eenage boys shooting class mates or appalling murders with sexual elements are continually linked back to the (mis)use of particular types of media content, be they delivered by film, television, the internet or even print. This describes the public face of moral panic about media influence. The debate then, is around the harm that may be caused to children through viewing inappropriate media content – frequently it is graphic depictions of violence that create the most concern. Regulators are seeking to understand the changing parameters that have developed with the convergence of media delivery platforms, which offer faster, easier access to material that was hitherto difficult to find. In this process, the concepts of ‘harm’ and ‘offence’ are gaining prominence. The 2003 Communications Act changed the broadcasting standards debate in the UK by moving from the previously held concepts of ‘good taste and decency’ to offering ‘adequate protection... from the inclusion of offensive and harmful material’. These concepts echo those in the European Union’s Television without Frontiers Directive, currently being debated in a revised form. The debate continues to pivot on the exposure of minors to potentially harmful or offensive material, although there are other sensibilities considered such as offence or harm caused to those from minority groups. While harmful and offensive material is, in principle, distinguished from that which is illegal (obscenity, child abuse images, incitement to racial hatred, etc), it is not easy to define the boundaries in a robust and consensual fashion. What content is considered acceptable by today’s standards, norms and values, and by whom? Borderline and unacceptable material may include a range of contents, most prominently - though not exclusively - ‘adult content’ of various kinds, and these may incur considerable public concern. While norms of taste and decency can be tracked, with some reliability, through standard opin18 | Intellect Quarterly

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‘While harmful and offensive material is, in principle, distinguished from that which is illegal... it is not easy to define the boundaries in a robust and consensual fashion. What content is considered acceptable by today’s standards, norms and values, and by whom?’

ion measurement techniques, methods for assessing harm, especially, are much more contested and difficult, and there is little agreement about the parameters that should be used. It was to seek to explore these questions – to give industry, the regulators and, indeed, the public some facts - that a review of the evidence for harm and offence across media forms was conducted. Recent research on television, radio, music, press, film, games, Internet, telephony, advertising as well as the regulation associated with each area were evaluated. The aim was to provide an assessment of the potential for harm and offence. An immediate finding was that the linking of the terms ‘harm and offence’ is causing confusion. It is not clear what the difference between them is taken to be when considered in a legal or regulatory context. In terms of research evidence, other than in relation to legal or philosophical discussions, there is nothing that links them together in the academic literature. Further, while there is an extensive literature on harm (usually labelled ‘effects’), there is little academic research on offence. This may be a methodological bias on the part of researchers or it may be a political bias, based on a concern that research on offence opens the door to censorship. What research there is in the area of offence, has been conducted by the regulators themselves or by industry. Much recent regulatory debate has talked of technology-neutral regulation and it was hoped that it would be possible to look across content-delivery platforms, and evaluate the likelihood for harm and offence as a contentdriven rather than technology-derived process. Would equivalent content have a similar effect or influence on individuals, regardless of the method of delivery? In fact, the review found a minimal amount of cross-platform research, and this is a yawning gap as regulators and others base current policy decisions on incomplete or sparse data.

Harm & Offence
iQuote » “A good newspaper is a nation talking to itself.” – Arthur Miller

The evidence also shows that there are omissions in research knowledge about the impact of certain media – either because they are too ‘old’, such as print and therefore less researched now, or because they are too ‘new’ to have a body of evidence behind them, such as mobile telephony. However, there is clear evidence that older media still exert significant influence and that the way in which a print news story (an ‘old’ medium) is framed may affect the attitudes of its readers. For example, it can be argued that potentially negative attitudes towards substantial segments of the population can be created or sustained through the way the news about them is reported while the presentation of partial information (in the area of science, for example) can lead to a misinformed public. The potential influence of newer content delivery forms is unknown but policy assumptions are being made, with policy decisions being based on evidence from media delivery platforms that are dissimilar in how they are used. For example, the potential effect of antisocial content delivered via mobile telephony on people has not been subject to any systematic or coherent research, but the ‘evidence’ of it has become part of the public/media debate. The paucity of data from a converged or converging environment leads us to argue that the search for simple and direct causal effects of the media continues to be inappropriate. Rather, this should be replaced by a risk-based approach that seeks to identify the range of factors that directly, and indirectly through interactions with each other, combine to explain particular social phenomena. The research shows that each social problem of concern (e.g. aggression, prejudice, obesity, bullying, etc) is associated with a distinct and complex array of putative causes. The task then, is to identify and contextualise the role of the media within that array. The result will be a more complex explanation of what are, undoubtedly, complex social problems. This should, in turn, permit a balanced judgement of the role played by the media on a case–by–case basis. In some instances, this may reduce the concentrated focus on the media – for example, by bringing into view many other factors that contribute to present levels of aggression in society. In other cases, it may increase the focus on the media – for example, in understanding the possible role played by the Internet in facilitating paedophiles’ access to children. So we argue that the question should no longer be ‘do the media cause violence?’ but ‘what factors may be important in adding to the potential of the media to cause (harm/offence) among a range of factors?’ {

FURTHER READING

Harm and Offence in Media Content: A Review of the Evidence
By Andrea Millwood Hargrave & Sonia Livingstone £19.95, $39.95 In today’s media and communications environment, pressing questions arise regarding the media’s potential for harm, especially in relation to children. This book offers a unique and comprehensive analysis of the latest research on content-related media harm and offence. For the first time, a balanced, critical account brings together findings on both established and newer interactive media. Arguing against asking simple questions about media effects, the case is made for contextualising media content and use within a multi-factor, risk-based framework. Available now.

Children and Propaganda
By Judith Proud | £14.95, $29.95 This volume brings together three studies which demonstrate how the everyday literature of youth has been subverted at key points in twentieth-century European history, to promote the ideologies of a dominant political regime. Concentrating primarily on the specific area of children’s fiction, Children and Propaganda focuses on the propaganda writing of Vichy France; the cult of seafaring in Nazi Germany; and images of empire and decolonisation in France between 1930 and 1962. In addition to close textual study, works are located within the wider context and discourses that shaped their production, dissemination and reception, giving the volume a broad, cross-disciplinary range of appeal. Available now.
Intellect Quarterly | 19

‘So we argue that the question should no longer be ‘do the media cause violence?’ but ‘what factors may be important in adding to the potential of the media to cause (harm/offence) among a range of factors?’

Q&A
iQuote » “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – Wiliam Butler Yeats

Amorey Gethin
The Author of Language and Thought & The Art and Science of Learning Languages shares with us some thoughts on these themes.

Why did you choose Intellect as your publisher?
From its creation, Intellect has been a bold and innovative publisher, unafraid of giving a voice to unfashionable work that challenges the orthodoxies of the intellectual establishment. This was exactly what I needed. How many books have you published with Intellect and why? Three. Antilinguistics: a critical assessment of modern linguistic theory and practice, in 1990; The Art and Science of Learning Languages, which I wrote together with a remarkable Swedish linguist and polyglot, Erik Gunnemark, in 1996; and Language and Thought: a rational enquiry into their nature and relationship, in 1999. The first and last with Intellect precisely because they do oppose the academic linguistics establishment, and The Art and Science of Learning Languages at the invitation of Intellect itself. The chairman was himself personally familiar with my methods! This is not quite such a provocative book as the other two, but does offer an approach to learning languages that is very different from the one that currently holds sway in the world.
20 | Intellect Quarterly

What is the underlying argument put forward in your books? In Antilinguistics and Language and Thought I try to show that academic linguistics consists largely of mere analysis for the sake of analysis, and statements which are often untrue or obvious and trivial, wrapped up in would-be profound jargon. Modern linguistics, despite vague general claims to the contrary, cannot point to anything that it has contributed either to our understanding of the human mind or to the practical task of learning languages. Moreover, academic writers like Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker have helped to exalt language to a status in the public mind that it should not have. Thought is not language; but most people do not understand this. Language is an immensely powerful but dangerous instrument that almost constantly corrupts thought and tends to take it over. A basic message in The Art and Science of Learning Languages is that the way students rely more or less entirely on their teachers

is the almost universal and most fundamental flaw in languagelearning throughout the world. The truth is that one has to do all the work oneself. Language teachers – or better, language guides – have two duties: to show students how to learn, and to answer questions. What sort of public reception have your books received? As was inevitable, the linguistics books provoked a very hostile reaction in academic linguistic

circles. However, no academic critic has so far attempted to answer any of my arguments. Non-academic linguists who read these books reacted favourably. I can only ask that people without preconceived ideas on the subject should read them and judge for themselves. The Art and Science of Learning Languages was received very favourably by many readers. But here again, nobody in professional circles has been prepared

Q&A
iQuote » “Whatever is good to know is difficult to learn.” – Greek Proverb

‘The global English-teaching industry is an unspoken collusion between teaching institutions, university language departments and course book publishers to avoid any honest and open debate on the subject.’
to debate those ideas that question the status quo in languageteaching around the world. Do you believe that students should be treated as free agents who can deliberately control their learning themselves? Yes, this is absolutely essential. But unfortunately most books in the global English-teaching industry discuss at some length what teachers do, or should or should not do, but not what students should do. This is a sort of behaviourism: provide a stimulus and see what response you get. The emphasis is placed entirely on the practice of teaching, and academic research is directed into the effects of various pedagogies, when we should be concerned instead with learning. As a teacher of English, whenever I had a new class, the first thing I told them was that they had to learn how to learn for themselves. I spoke about the basic principles of how languages work. I warned of the dangers of the translation mentality. I offered them the maxims: Remembering the answer is not the problem; the problem is remembering the problem and Never assume the language works in the same way as your own; assume it is different until you discover otherwise. I corrected every mistake in their written work, with full explanations. I told them only to write what they were certain was correct, or, if they were not certain, to insert a mark to show this. I told them to make a loose-leaf list of their mistakes, note against each mistake how many times they made it, and consult the list when they wrote. And I insisted that if they were not constantly asking me questions, they were not learning properly. By getting students to work like this I had exceptional success in helping them to pass their EFL exams. Can you give a specific example of what you call ‘behaviourism’? Well yes, a comparatively recent one. Since our book was published, in fact, the argument has emerged that although students want and expect to have their grammar mistakes corrected, it is useless to do so; they continue to make exactly the same mistakes over and over again. And the proponents of this view maintain that correction can actually be harmful; people do not like being told repeatedly that they are making mistakes; their motivation is weakened. But the proper response to this self-contradiction on the part of the students is to gently confront them with their irrationality and explain that they must

take responsibility for their own improvement. What alternative do these anti-correction writers suggest? They argue that time spent on grammar corrections is time not spent on ‘more important matters’ such as the content, organization and logical development of arguments in compositions. I believe following such advice would be doing a great disservice to students. No training in essay construction is going to stop students writing ‘I am here since ten days’ or ‘I am looking forward to see you’. To see how absurd the anti-correction argument is, simply consider that no polyglot would ever ask for their mistakes not to be corrected. Moreover, I have always deplored the inclusion of essay construction as one of the criteria for judging examinees’ compositions. It is very unfair. Essay writing and mastering a foreign language are two totally different skills. If teachers really want to help their students, then this is the advice they should offer: only come to one lesson a week instead of fifteen or twenty, and come one by one, and spend most of your time doing real learning on your own. However, as things are, it is virtually impossible for teachers to suggest such things. The global English-teaching industry is an unspoken collusion between teaching institutions, university language departments and course book publishers to avoid any honest and open debate on the subject. Such discussion would be a serious threat to all three interests. {

FURTHER READING

The Art and Science of Learning Languages
By Amorey Gethin and Erik Gunnemark| £14.95, $29.95
This book offers a genuinely practical framework for learning any language. It provides detailed advice on studying on your own or in combination with courses, often drawing on the experiences of the authors and others who have mastered many languages. With the constantly increasing contact between the peoples of the world, the growth of interest in the learning of second and third languages is set for many years to come. A special message of the book is the importance of self-reliance based on a positive approach and efficient organisation.

Language and Thought: A rational enquiry into their nature & relationship
By Amorey Gethin | £9.95, $19.95
This is a shortened and updated version of Antilinguistics. In a new chapter the author attacks Chomskyan linguistics as expounded in Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct. He goes on to show how thought is corrupted by language, and how serious the consequences are for the human race.

Intellect Quarterly | 21

Art & Design
iQuote » “There’s no retirement for an artist, it’s your way of living so there’s no end to it.” – Henry Moore

Technoetic Creativity: A Kabbalistic Perspective
Mel Alexenberg looks at the relationship between an ancient Jewish mystical tradition and Technoetic Art.

abbalah, Judaism’s esoteric tradition, provides a symbolic language and conceptual schema that facilitates understanding the dynamics of the creative process in contemporary technoetic art – art that arises from the confluence of art, science, technology and consciousness research. The kabbalistic model of creative process is a metaphorical way of thinking derived from the deep structure of biblical consciousness. It is a choreog-

K

Top P’nim/Pamim: Biofeedback generated interactive system Above Torah Spectogram. Negev Mountains, Israel Right Hebrew Letters Ascending. Tzin Winderness, Israel Next Page Bottom Four Wings of America. Atlantic SE, Florida Next Page Top Intergenerational Throne. Biscayne Bay, Miami

raphy of the mind, revealing a progression that draws inspiration down into the material world from a higher source where originality emanates: from the place that ‘no bird of prey knows, nor has the falcon’s eye seen’ (Job 28:7), ‘that no man has passed, nor has any person dwelt’ (Jeremiah 2:6). I use the kabbalistic model to portray my process of creating the responsive technoetic artwork, Inside/Outside: P’nim/Panim, at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies. The KBL root of the Hebrew word KaBaLah first appears in the Bible in the word maKBiL, which means ‘parallel’. The biblical artist Betzalel and his artistic collaborators covered the Tabernacle with two large tapestries each having fifty loops parallel to each other (Exodus 26:5 and Exodus 36:12). One symbolises divine creation and the other symbolises human creativity. Kabbalah also refers to receiving the esoteric tradition from one generation to the next. I hear the word kabbalah spoken frequently in Israel as the supermarket checkout clerk hands me the long paper ribbon saying, ‘kabbalah shelkhah,’ - ‘your receipt.’ It is meaningful to understanding kabbalah as a down-to-earth mystical tradition in which a supermarket computer printout and an ancient esoteric tradition share the same word. We all stand illiterate before the secret language of the digital age – bar-codes on boxes and bottles – that only supermarket lasers can read. Kabbalah explores how inspiration is drawn down

22 | Intellect Quarterly

Feature
iQuote » “You come to nature with all her theories, and she knocks them all flat.” – Renoir

into our everyday world in ten stages called sephirot (sephirah in singular) that are derived from biblical passages describing both the artist and God as creators of worlds (Exodus 35:31 and Chronicles 1:29). The first stage in the creative process is the sephirah, Crown – faith that one can create, anticipation that the creative process is pleasurable and intention to create. Without this self-confidence, hope for gratification and the will to create, the creative process has

rhythm of the chanting of words from the Torah scroll, following them with my eyes. I was far removed from my studio/laboratory at MIT when I suddenly realised that the word for face, panim, and for inside, p’nim, are written with the same Hebrew letters. I sensed that I needed to create portraits in which dialogue between the outside face and inside feelings become integrally one. When I told my son what had just dawned on me, my mind left the sephirah of

about which paths to take and which options to abandon. I thought of a multitude of artistic options open to me for creating artworks that reveal interplay between inner consciousness and outer face. As an MIT artist with access to electronic technologies, my mind gravitated to creating digital self-generated portraits in which internal mind/body processes and one’s facial countenance engage in vital dialogue. As I felt satisfaction ¥

‘Kabbalah explores how inspiration is drawn down into our everyday world in ten stages called sephirot (sephirah in singular) that are derived from biblical passages describing both the artist and God as creators of worlds (Exodus 35:31 and Chronicles 1:29).’
no beginning. Crown sets the stage for the sephirah of Wisdom that requires a selfless state, nullification of the ego that opens gateways to supraconscious and subconscious realms. When active seeking ceases, when consciously preoccupied with unrelated activities, when we least expect it, the germ of the creative idea bursts into our consciousness. This sudden flash of insight is what the kabbalah calls Wisdom. It is the transition from nothingness to being, from potential to the first moment of existence. In biblical words, ‘Wisdom shall be found in nothingness’ (Job 28:12). In synagogue on the Sabbath day, I was absorbed in the Wisdom for the sephirah of Understanding. The shapeless idea that ignited the process began to take form in Understanding. The first three sephirot represent the artist’s intention to create and the cognitive dyad in which a flash of insight begins to crystallise into a viable idea. The fourth sephirah, Compassion, represents largess, the stage in the creative process that is open to all possibilities, myriad attractive options that I would love to do. Compassion is counterbalanced by the fifth sephirah of Strength: restraint, the power to set limits, to make judgments, to have the discipline to choose between myriad options. It demands that I make hard choices
Intellect Quarterly | 23

Art & Design 024 film»feature

exclusive interview living aloneit.” – Robert Motherwell iQuote » “Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without

Below Alexenberg lauching cyberangels on circumglobal flight. Below Right AT&T Building, New York / Angel Stopping Abraham. Digital serigraph

FURTHER READING

The Future of Art in a Digital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness
By Mel Alexenberg | £29.95, $59.95
This book develops the thesis that the transition from premodernism to postmodernism in art of the digital age represents a paradigm shift from the Hellenistic to the Hebraic roots of Western culture. Semiotic and morphological analysis of art and visual culture demonstrate the contemporary confluence between the deep structure of Hebraic consciousness and new directions in art that arise along the interface between scientific inquiry, digital technologies, and multicultural expressions. Complementing these two analytic methodologies, alternative methodologies of kabbalah and halakhah provide postmodern methods for exploring into digital age art forms. Exemplary artworks are described in the text and illustrated with photographs. Available now.

with my choice, I departed from the sephirah of Strength to the next stage, the sixth sephirah, Beauty. This sephirah represents a beautiful balance between the counter forces of largess and restraint. It is the feeling of harmony between all my possible options and the choices I had made. The sephirah of Beauty is the aesthetic core of the creative process in which harmonious integration of openness and closure is experienced as loveliness, splendor and truth. The seventh sephirah, Success, is the feeling of being victorious in the quest for significance. I felt that I had the power to overcome any obstacles that may stand in the way of realizing my artwork. The Hebrew word for this sephirah, netzakh, can also mean ‘to conduct’ or ‘orchestrate’ as in the word that begins many of the Psalms. I had the confidence that I could orchestrate all the aspects of creating a moist media artwork that would forge a vital dialogue between dry pixels and wet biomolecules, between cyberspace and real space, and between human con24 | Intellect Quarterly

‘When active seeking ceases, when consciously preoccupied with unrelated activities, when we least expect it, the germ of the creative idea bursts into our consciousness.’
sciousness and digital imagery. The eighth sephirah, Gracefulness, is the glorious feeling that the final shaping of the idea is going so smoothly that it seems as effortless as the movements of a graceful dancer. The sephirah of Success is an active self-confidence in contrast with the sephirah of Gracefulness, a passive confidence that all is working as it should. The ninth sephirah, Foundation, is the sensuous bonding of Success and Gracefulness in a union that leads to the birth of the fully formed idea. It funnels the integrated flow of intention, thought and emotion of the previous eight sephirot into the world of physical action, into the tenth sephirah of Kingdom, the noble realization of my concepts and feelings in the kingdom of time and space. It is my making the artwork. I constructed a console in which a participant seated in front of a monitor places her finger in a plethysmograph, which measures internal body states by monitoring blood flow, while under the gaze of a video camera. Digitised information about her internal mind/body processes triggers changes in the image of herself that she sees on the monitor. She sees her face changing color, stretching, elongating, extending, rotating or replicating in response to her feelings about seeing herself changing. My artwork, Inside/ Outside:P’nim/Panim, created a flowing digital feedback loop in which p’nim effects changes in panim and panim, in turn, effects changes in p’nim. {

Mel Alexenberg is an artist and is Professor of Art and Jewish Thought at the University of Judea and Samaria in Ariel, Israel, and Emunah College in Jerusalem.

Q&A
iQuote » “Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.” – Kahlil Gibran

Graziella Tonfoni
Bridging the gap between literature and science.
formation Design, co-published in 1998 with Scarecrow Press US; a really special prototype of a post modern volume, as Masoud himself defined it, as it had pages to be filled up and drawings to be re-shuffled and also re-numbered according to each readers’ at least hazardous to even spell, and Intellect had the courage to publish my scientific assessments first. It basically meant introducing a post-Chomskian framework, of potentially very strong impact, during the fully and exclusively Chomskian age,

‘My work is meant to illustrate how literary and poetic energy may be saved and turned into high power harmony for full beauty, creating the conditions for transferring poetry from traditional set ups into web sites and other places.’
How did you, as an Italian academic, come to choose a British publisher?
Well, I am a quite peculiar Italian and definitely a very strange academic, who happened to be doing research in linguistics at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT during the brightest times of AI discoveries of the human mind. When it came to decide which publisher should be chosen for the very first English abridgement of some of my extended work in natural language, specifically for writing which I had just finished packaging (thanks to fast and accurate professional help by James Richardson), it was actually Marvin Minsky who not only wrote the foreword for the next book on my ways of thinking about writing, but personally called up Masoud Yazdani to make sure that the publication of such a book could happen effectively and timely under his own guidance, based on full trust. And so it did actually happen, timely and effectively, just as Masoud had promised Marvin it would be the case. This was back in 1993, and that was consequently for me, an author in full writing and researching activities, the start of a very long, steady and positive collaboration with Intellect. sensitivity during the learning by reading process. I would say that my own series of closely interconnected books at Intellect is really based upon three main volumes: Writing as a Visual Art 1994, then reprinted in 2000 and Communication Patterns and Textual Forms, 1996, which contains and displayed a brand new model at the time along with my most innovative theories of language that I had personally evolved over the years. Those lines were parallel but separated from my other research work in artificial intelligence, multimedia education and cognition. When my relativity of language extreme claims were first published, they sounded if not crazy by a really young scholar at the time, Graziella Tonfoni. Now those claims are widely practiced, but not at the very start. So it took courage and initiative to publish that first. In 2003, ‘The art and science of documentation management’, a textbook out of a workshop I had designed and taught myself in the US, grew as a more programming language oriented toolkit, as for the collaboration of Lakhmi Jain. The book cover was provided by Douglas Hofstadter, with an ambigram drawing by himself. I must say that I have learnt that when it comes to extremely new ideas and truly innovative theories to first let them flow out ¥
Intellect Quarterly | 25

How many books have you published with Intellect and why?

There are four books listed. By saying four, we would include In-

Graziella Tonfoni
iQuote » “While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living” – Cyril Connolly

of my own mind, so as to have them materialize into the manuscript. Then I personally do a lot of testing to be sure, and when I am sure and when it is time to go to print, I do like to be surrounded by international authoritative voices, to discuss protect and possibly evolve my theories, and still keep the same publisher all along if possible. We are really living in a time when creativity by an individual, i.e. the Italian Renaissance single artist model, the Leonardo Da Vinci example, which suits me best, is no longer so much appreciated and I do need to respect the context of interpretation which has changed radically in the last twenty years. Creativity today is rather framed as a collective achievement than a single talented individual’s enterprise. So yes, I have learnt to go with the flow for this part, and what originates as my own work becomes easily shared and participated to whoever really appreciates it and needs it.

in-depth and in-breadth reading attitudes, this way infusing flows of pleasure into the full stream and realm of documentation management.

one’s basic consuming instincts, and no-one’s pleasure.

Are you talking about Aesthetics?

of slides; one for each emotion displayed and disclosed.

Is your work made out of poetic assertions or are they academic statements?

It is only by introducing a poetic component, and a real high touch for poetry into our high tech daily activities, that we may actually generate interpretive pleasure to be shared around and not just to be reserved for poet friends.

Aesthetics, still from Ancient Greek root, means both ‘perceive the beauty’ and ‘have beauty be perceived’, but also just ‘perceive’ as opposed to not being able to perceive i.e. ‘anaesthetic’, i.e. what takes sensitivity and perception away from our body perceptive system. Flows of information have changed our nature progres-

What is the impact of Aesthetics on writers’ lives?

‘Only by expecting and demanding from ourselves that each sequence of our daily routine is viewed as a literary opportunity may we envision a possibility for an aesthetically acceptable writing life...’
Poetry (from Ancient Greek: poieo, make and do) is something to be conveyed to anyone in action, which includes those who may want to continue being in action by incorporating artistic added value into their professional lives, with the purpose of raising the overall quality of verbal activities, and related written results, i.e. reports and documents we live with. In the wildly wired world (www) we live in today, coming along with major disconnections among individuals and a whole set of rigid standards meant to be turned into an unlimited availability manual for how to terminate poetry (http), poetic attitudes may easily be reduced, even fully extinguished, and be replaced with casual reading and serial writing habits at everysively, and word explosions we continuously experience today throughout the media and all kinds of channels have certainly had a powerful impact upon us. Emotions and feelings look like something to be hidden in our heavily anaesthetised culture. It is a fact that at times we are asked to become anaesthetised, just to survive the massive attack of scattered paragraphs coming out of contexts, along with defragmented verses. Such a self-defensive mechanism may be as pervasive, as to determine the very end of poetry. Indeed a poetry event may, based upon a presentation of verses, be converted immediately into an assertive convention, and meant to be verses that are then numbered according to mandatory requirements in a sequence

What would you say is the underlying theme of your books?

My work is meant to illustrate how literary and poetic energy may be saved and turned into high power harmony for full beauty, creating the conditions for transferring poetry from traditional set ups into web sites and other places, which are usually labelled as the very opposite of poetry. Literary challenges are soon to become page based opportunities meant to introduce readers to the pleasure and joy of daily composition, throughout a whole set of visual and spatial metaphors meant to trigger both
26 | Intellect Quarterly

Aesthetics may certainly play a major role in writers’ lives, as it is in fact meant to create and establish basic beauty and harmonious conditions, which by and large may enact ‘ethics’ too. Aesthetical attitudes are meant to promote and sustain ethical behaviour and favour ethical patterns for constructive ruling to be placed on top: Aesth-etics, as a matter of fact. A writer may only be really semantically correct and syntactically just, if actually inclined and able to make, keep, see and enjoy the beauty of a pragmatically sound environment. Deterioration of the conceptual environment we live in may easily cause degradation of feelings, thinking and self-expression. We need to make sure that we may keep harmony and beauty for ourselves all the time, so that we may replace some poetic components when some mechanism gets stuck, or harmony is just missing. According to the beauty of politics line, will any written action be envisioned as a pure act of poetry. Only by expecting and demanding from ourselves first and to others consequently that each sequence of our daily routine is viewed as a literary opportunity may we envision a possibility for an aesthetically acceptable writing life, meant to lead toward a peaceful collective reading future. But this is, of course, not an obvious process: a different vision is needed to be able to see these possibilities, which are not here

Q&A
“Books are humanity in print” – Barbara W. Tuchman

intellect books

Horizon of the Unseen Visual Reflections on Spiritual Themes
Edited & Illustrated By Corinne Randall

yet and need be put in conceptual existence throughout a thorough, concise and precise selection of words, sentences, paragraphs and verses. Actually poets of the present are provided with the real and unique opportunity to make a whole series of literary combinations and reactions possible; to explore and explode beautiful concepts in pages, filling in rapidly with ‘linearized’ beauty, if they can only think of themselves this way. {
FURTHER READING

FURTHER READING

The Art and Science of Documentation Management
By Graziella Tonfoni with Lakhmi Jain £24.95, $49.95
As information becomes increasingly accessible through newly-introduced technologies, the human mind seeks a more comprehensive interpretation of the world in which we live. In order to manage this information overload, we must carefully reconsider our attitude towards documentation. While acknowledging the value of the standard guidebooks’ hard rules on documentation management, Tonfoni advocates a new approach that promotes additional skills required for consistent decision-making, such as information sensitivity. This book has been conceived as a movie on paper, and as such, can be considered a ‘documentary on documentation’. Readers are invited to analyse their own reading experience throughout a set of pages, to become ‘interactive on paper’. Exercises are included to help readers consolidate new skills, through an innovative ‘learning by seeing’ experience. Available now.

Writing as a Visual Art
By Graziella Tonfoni abridged by James Richardson | £14.95, $29.95 Writing as a Visual Art offers
a revolutionary approach to writing by exploring a visual and multidimensional experience that is fun and common to people’s experience. The result of discoveries made during ten years of research in the fields of linguistics, cognitive science and artificial intelligence, the author’s findings have been successfully applied in education programmes in Italy and the rest of Europe, as well as in workshops in the United States. Writing as a Visual Art is for readers at all levels. Available now.

This book is a compilation of quotes taken from the world’s spiritual traditions interpreted visually by the editor, each page containing full-colour reproductions. The diversity of themes covered result in a spectrum of approaches ranging from figurative to abstract or conceptual. By redefining the importance of spirituality to visual art the book demonstrates this meditative aspect of art. Horizon of the Unseen is therefore suitable as a gift, as an aid for meditation or as a source of creative inspiration. The contents of the book are broken down into themes exploring such areas as: Spiritual Journey • Paradise • Flight • Transcending Suffering • Peace • Happiness • Unity • The Soul • Nothingness • Inner Visions £4.95 68pp. Paperback / ISBN 1-84150-913-2

To order a copy please send a cheque made out to Intellect Ltd. with your name and address to the address below: intellect PO Box 862, Bristol BS99 1DE, UK Tel: 0117 958 9910 Fax: 0117 958 9911 Email: orders@intellectbooks.com

Book Reviews
iQuote » “The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean” – Robert Louis Stevenson

FILM STUDIES

European Identity in Cinema
By Wendy Everett (ed.) Reviewed by Dean Bowman
hereas the European art cinema of the 1960s was national in character, funded by cultural protectionist strategies put in place by governments, the rise of globalisation and the formation of the European Union have significantly transformed the production context, laying emphasis upon pan-European funding strategies and co-productions. These co-productions, still viewed by many as ‘Euro-puddings’, arguably now constitute the most creative trend in European cinema and the site in which European identity is being formulated, explored and contested.

FILM STUDIES

Hollywood Utopia: Ecology in Contemporary American Cinema
By Pat Brereton Reviewed by Audrey Janvier
at Brereton, a lecturer in film and media studies at Dublin City University, tackles the unusual and intriguing subject of ecology in mainstream American films with a comprehensive study of Hollywood blockbusters since the 1950s. Hollywood Utopia: Ecology in Contemporary American Cinema offers a cross-disciplinary approach to a so far barely touched subject. Brereton carefully analyses the dramatisation of the character’s surroundings and their representations within space and time frames, thus shedding a different light on films perceived until now as ‘feel-good’ movies. The link between ecology and Hollywood, although not obvious at first, raises deep issues intertwined with our vision of the planet. Brereton argues that American culture, often characterised by its urbanism, and American films are intimately connected with ecological concerns. At first, Brereton’s task must have seemed daunting as interdisciplinary studies can sometimes lose themselves in obscure realms of conceptualism. However, his impressively fastidious research in this unusual field provides the reader with great insight. By looking at mainstream Hollywood blockbusters, Brereton highlights undiscovered dimensions of Hollywood film-making and breaks with more traditional approaches to American cinema studies. His

W

P

Unfortunately the book has not been significantly updated since its first edition was released in 1996, and consequently does not seem as progressive as it might have then. The articles are however very insightful, and a few do consider Europe in a more general sense, like Ian Aitkin’s excellent discussion of European cinema within the political context of globalisation. Other pieces

‘Brereton carefully analyses the dramatisation of the character’s surroundings and their representations within space and time frames, thus shedding a different light on films perceived until now as ‘feel-good’ movies.’
European Identity in Cinema, edited by Wendy Everett, attempts to approach cinema from this pan-European perspective, however it still relies upon a conception of Europe as made up of a number of fragmented national cinemas and a vision of the auteur embedded in a national context. In his essay examining a subversive trend in Spanish cinema, Dominic Keown takes it for granted that Luis Buñuel is representatively Spanish, even though he was working in exile for most of his career.
28 | Intellect Quarterly

successfully relate the national to the international such as Duncan Petrie’s analysis of a trend in Scottish filmmaking that draws upon the traditions of European art cinema to explore Scottish identity within a continental context. The exploration of new developments and interrelationships in contemporary European film cannot be considered unless the focus shifts from the parts to the whole. European Identity in Cinema demonstrates the beginning of this process. {

work crosses all the traditional boundaries by focusing on a broad range of sociological and environmental disciplines and by tying aesthetics, ethics, feminism and geography together to produce this thoroughly researched book. Not only does he break from the narrow frameworks usually used in film studies, but he also crosses the boundaries of film genre, subject matters, narrative requirements and audience readings. He draws on historical context, ecological ideologies and utopia and the very notion of ‘green’, which we learn was first formally coined in the 1970s, to support his theory of eco-awareness in mainstream American movies. Split into five chapters, the book looks at all the aforementioned disciplines and uses their individual and particular characteristics to develop the author’s argument. In the introduction, Brereton painstakingly delimitates the concepts of ecology, and ecologism, as well as the concept of utopia versus ideology. Armed with this new knowledge, the reader can comprehend the emergence of an ecologicallybased worldview of Hollywood. Brereton subsequently establishes that Hollywood, contrary to what we are usually told, does care

Book Reviews
iQuote » “Whoever is able to write a book and does not, it is as if they had lost a child” – Rabbi Nachman

about the planet. The second chapter looks at nature films and ecology with The Yearling as the first indicator of the new trend. His research takes the reader back to the late 1940s with this film, once accused of ‘ecological political correctness’, as an early example of ecological concerns in Hollywood. It moves on to films made in the subsequent decades focusing on films more obviously eco-orientated such as The Emerald Forest or Gorillas in the Mist. Westerns and road movies, films typically drawing on the notion of immensity of nature and where landscapes play a prevalent role, are studied in the third chapter. Easy Riders is used to exemplify rebellious attitude against urban society as it clarifies the notions of utopia and ideology. An eco-feminist approach is also discussed with Thelma and Louise. While the fourth and fifth chapters focus on thriller and science fiction films, highlighting the evermore powerful ecological concerns in contemporary science fiction films with mentions of recent blockbusters: Men in Black, Blade Runner or Star Trek: First Contact. Titanic, Twister, Safe, The Medicine Man are among the films dissected. The full list would be too long to print here but the broad selection of genres, films and case studies, enables the author to make an undeniable point. After reading the book, the representation of eco-concerns in those instances can no longer be denied. All in all, 34 films are comprehensively analysed, classified and carefully organised to give us this meticulous and thought-provoking work. {

FILM STUDIES

The Spectacle of the Real: From Hollywood to ‘Reality’ TV and Beyond
Edited by Geoff King Reviewed by Audrey Janvier

A

s an incredulous world watched the Twin Towers collapse, the unimaginable truth of the attack brought our understanding of the ‘real’ to new levels. ‘It was just like in the movies’ was a phrase used and misused after the event, showing the intricacy of our relationship with something that seems more real than reality itself. The increasing appeal of reality TV shows, technological progress and the omnipresence of the media have blurred the boundaries between ‘reality’ and the ‘real’ furthermore.

work of members of staff at Brunel University. The attacks gave the project a context and somehow the background set-up it needed to appeal to a wider readership. King divided this collection of essays into three distinctive parts; each of them containing essays united by a common subject matter – the spectacle of the ‘real’ – and written by a broad selection of contributors. The first part deals with the issues of spectacle, ideology and catastrophe, using the events of

‘It is difficult not to think of Baudrillard when reading this book. King’s study reminds us of the philosopher’s theories on America, on war or on people’s engagement in ‘simulations.’
Harrowing pictures of the effects of global warming, war, famine and natural disaster blended with images from Hollywood blockbusters, reality TV shows, special effects and animated movies create a devastating cocktail for our perception of the ‘real’. It is no surprise then that a book should investigate our society’s symbols of the authentic, and that is exactly what ‘The Spectacle of the Real: Hollywood, Reality TV and Beyond’ does. And beyond is definitely the operative word. King started this project before the event of September 11th, 2001 in an attempt to bring together the September 11th as a focal point. The second part revolves around reality TV, and films are central to the third part. Even though issues necessarily overlap, the book sustains a steady pace thanks to an interesting mixture of current affairs and contemporary popular culture. Using the New York attacks as a starting point, King puts readers on an equal footing. Everybody has heard of it, everybody has seen images of the attacks and everybody, to a certain extent, has an opinion about it. Come to think of it, the same applies to his choice of reality TV shows and popular films as

platforms to demonstrate his point. And his point becomes clear as we grasp the powerful reach of modern media culture. We rely on visual media more than ever, distorting our definition of the ‘real’ and what is seemingly real. The notion of reality, and the string of conundrums attached to it, are not revolutionary themes and have been studied by many. It is difficult not to think of Baudrillard when reading this book. King’s study reminds us of the philosopher’s theories on America, on war or on people’s engagement in ‘simulations’. The idea that America has created a world more real than reality for itself, or that the first Gulf war changed our concept of reality in relation to war, or the reality of war, are also highly present in the book. However, the section on reality TV strikes an even more popular cord. With the likes of Jade Goody, Chantelle and other ‘wife swap’ wannabe celebrities, television is serving viewers plates full of ‘hyper-reality’. Flick through the channels on any given night and you will be faced with more ‘reality’ than you can probably bear to watch. Nothing is off limits in the age of special effects and 24-hour CCTV. Spectacle no longer only defines traditional forms of entertainment like films, concerts and theatre-going; spectacle is everywhere from Ronald McDonald to wars, from Shrek to Big Brother. King uses varied examples and frameworks to illustrate the notion of spectacle of the ‘real’. Despite the multitude of subjects approached, the book remains an absorbing read as it goes beyond film studies. What the book needs now is a chapter on our latest reality fix: the Internet. {
Intellect Quarterly | 29

Literature
iQuote » “Brevity and conciseness are the parents of correction” – Hosea Ballou

Micro Fiction
Micro Fiction is storytelling effectively in 50 words or less. Successfully generating high enough levels of intensity in so few words.
IQ recognises micro fiction’s broadening international profile, not to mention the manner with which the medium continues to challenge the way literature might be perceived in the future. Reproduced with permission of Canongate Books: Richard Brautigan’s piece is probably the finest example of micro-fiction ever written: lasting a murderously short 36 words in all! {

Scarlatti Tilt “It’s very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who’s learning to play the violin.” That’s what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver.
- Richard Brautigan

Chef Seven whole months preparing French onion soup for drunken tourists on a round-the-world cruise ship was driving him crazy when he realized he’d accidentally poured a 3-litre bottle of turpentine into a large saucepan, so he stirred in chopped onions and herbs before turning up the heat. - Liam Gallimore -Wells

Last Laugh “NEVER LAUGH” was all the paramedic could read across the young woman’s face until he lifted her chin to check her pulse, revealing the continuing words “AT ME LIKE THAT AGAIN” razor-blade etched haphazardly down her pale blue neck.
- Liam Gallimore - Wells

Train Nobody noticed the groom waiting nervously as the unborn fists of another man’s child tore into the bride-to-be’s womb lining, probably because her ice-white train was sliding in through the chapel door, leaving a straight line of blood-red carpet trailing down the aisle in its wake.
- Liam Gallimore - Wells

8

MICRO FICTION ON THE WEB

• www.sixbladesdeep.homestead.com • www.ndsu.nodak.edu/instruct/cinichol/ CreativeWriting/microfiction.html • www.fictionfactor.com/guests/flashfiction.html

30 | Intellect Quarterly

New for 2007

Intellect Journals
Publishers of original thinking / www.intellectbooks.com
Studies in Australasian Cinema 3 Numbers/Volume 1 ISSN 1750-3175 Available in Print & On-line
Studies in Australasian Cinema is a new international refereed scholarly journal devoted to cinema from the Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific region. The Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific regions are home to many Indigenous nations and immigrant cultures from all around the world. Studies in Australasian Cinema will maintain an emphasis on this diversity with a special interest in postcolonial politics and contexts. observe and participate in the development of professional practice. As such, we aim to include in each issue select contributions from recognised practitioners in the field, who may include writers, directors, MDs, performers, coaches, etc. Such contributions may take the forms of extended analyses of texts, performance and productions; interviews; experiential reflection, retrospectives etc. years we have witnessed an increased visibility for documentary film through conferences, the success of general theatrical release of documentary films and the re-emergence of scholarship in documentary film studies. This journal will provide a home for the considered approach to international documentary film history, theory, criticism and practice serving a vibrant and growing international community of documentary film scholars.

Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 3 Numbers/Volume 1 ISSN 1450-3132 Available in Print & On-line
Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema (SRSC) is a refereed journal that will be launched in 2007, with issue 1 to be published in November 2006 as a free sample copy. The journal will thereafter appear three times per year.

Journal of Chinese Cinemas 3 Numbers/Volume 1 ISSN 1750-8061 Available in Print & On-line
Journal of Chinese Cinemas is a major new refereed academic publication devoted to the study of Chinese film. The time is ripe for a new journal which will draw on the recent world-wide growth of interest in Chinese cinemas. A diverse range of films has emerged from all parts of the Chinesespeaking world over the last few years, with an ever increasing number of bordercrossing collaborative efforts prominent among them. These exciting developments provide abundant ground for academic research.

Studies in Musical Theatre 3 Numbers/Volume 1 ISSN 1750-3159 Available in Print & On-line
Studies in Musical Theatre is a refereed journal which considers areas of live performance that use vocal and instrumental music in conjunction with theatrical performance as a principal part of their expressive language. In addition to the scholarly contribution of academics, the journal will aim to

Studies in Documentary Film 3 Numbers/Volume 1 ISSN 1750-3280 Available in Print & On-line
Studies in Documentary Film is the first refereed scholarly journal devoted to the history, theory, criticism and practice of documentary film. In recent

For a print sample issue for £10 or a free electronic copy contact: Intellect. PO Box 862. Bristol BS99 1DE, UK Tel: 44 (0)117 958 9910 / Fax: 44 (0)117 958 9911 / E-mail: mail@intellectbooks.com / www.intellectbooks.com

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Contact: Masoud Yazdani, Publisher: Intellect, The Mill, Parnall Rd., Fishponds, Bristol BS16 3JG, UK Tel: 44 (0)117 958 9910 / Fax: 44 (0)117 958 9911 / Email: masoud@intellectbooks.com / www.intellectbooks.com

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