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etc.

Music Baton

I received a "music baton" from Miss Sheep.
There are five questions for this baton.

Q1.  The space of music files on your computer
Q2. The music you are listening right now
Q3. Five songs or pieces of music you like
Q4.  The most recent CD you bought
Q5. Those five people that you want to hand in this baton

Before answering those questions, some extra...
It is very popular to know the taste of some other people. iTunes now has Celebrity list that shows the taste of the famous people. iTunes also has the capability to share music in a network of a cllege campus, dormitory, offices, etc to open up your own playlist or the library of your music collection.

I read an article about this iTunes capability.
ITunes Undermines Social Security
http://www.wired.com/news/mac/0,2125,61177,00.html

It is an article saying that your taste of music is judged by the playlist and the library you are showing off in public. The taste of a music is very similar to the taste of a fashion--it strongly connected to the desire to present yourself as cool and tasteful. In the case of music, it can not be fixed just by the trend of the public as it is based on your true taste for liking or disliking, so it shows the personality more clearly.

Also, it is more limited to present such taste to the public in case of music. We might have the experience of compiling our favorite songs and piece of music, and give that casste tape or MD to our girl/boyfriends--it is not just to tell our heart through these songs, but also the desire to show off your fashionable musical taste, isn't it? The playlist sharing reveals such behind the scene story of us, and it represents who you are--so it makes you feel that you have to make it more sophisticated and cool one. That is very interesting for social and psychological study.
Walkman produced a culture to carry music anywhere and anytime, and there was a freedom to shut the outside world by sinking into your own world filled with your favorit music. And now by iTunes playlist, the music taste is becoming a new face to show your personality to a public like a fashion. Now the playlist sharing is almost at the same level of how it shows off yourself--it is similar to the meaning of the booming iPod accessory industry, especially the case designed by those major fashion brands.

Recently the news said that president Bush is also a fan of iPod, but the bigger news was that he listens to a country music on it--didn't we think like, "ah, yeah, that sounds true" with pooh-pooh smile on our face. (The reason this news became a news is because of that, isn't it? Sorry country music fans...)

Anyway, the celebrity playlist must have been really carefully selected, otherwise it might kill his/her status! But it is fun in a way to see such well crafted playlist, and it must be similar to the reason why celebrity goship is so popular. Or maybe the reason for writing a blog is also similar to publish a music playlist. (laugh)

Finally, my answers to those baton question. (smile)
But Q.3 is too difficult, so to my Japanese friends I mention my favorite music listening in New York. But anyway, iTunes is so convenient even for answering this kind of question.

Q1.  The space of music files on your computer
iTunes said, there are 5119 songs, 25.20GB of hard drive space, and it takes 18.4 days to finish listening. (as of 6/30/2005)

Q2. The music you are listening right now
Brian Eno,「music for airports」 ’Ambient1'

I selected this to write this entry. I can not concentrate writing when I listen to a music with a song. I choose instrumental piece most of the time of writing. It is from my 5star playlist.
好きな曲です。

Q3. Five songs or pieces of music you like, New York edition

Portishead 「Roads」’Roseland NYC Live’

As I walk on the city street, I just choose those music that I don't pay too much attention but just play as a background. But to choose a music as I listen to by myself is some songs that put me into some state of being by myself or being alone. This song is the best in that sense, or the best to listen on the way home after all-nighter!


Arab Strap 「Girls of Summer」’Mad for Sadness’

Similar to Portishead, and the title tells all! The best chill out music, but at the same time it is not a chill out but an elevator music, too. Arab Strap takes you to the depth. East Village music.


Mogwai 「Mogwai Fear Satan」 ’Young Team'

The popularity of iTunes Music Store tells that CD is not worth buying in a sense that just a few songs out of one album might be good. Now I buy CDs at a used shop or iTunes Music Store. But this album is different, all the songs are the best--it has been a while to meet such album.

This song is the favorite among them, and it makes me feel as if I am listening to the music under the deep blue sky, lying on a wide open green grass field looking up the sky. It starts out slow with major chord, and gradually it builds up like Progressive. It brings the listener to nostalgia. You become empty under the sky. In a fine day at Central Park Sheep meadow or Great lawn, I want to listen to this song lying on the grass....


Lou Reed 「Perfect Day」 ’Transformers'

This is also a song that I want to listen in Central Park with sanglia glass in my hand. --well the song said so. It tells the quiet happiness of daily life, and an absolute loneliness behind it--that's my reaction. Is that too much to say?


Astor Piazzora 「Milonga for Three」 ’Happy Together'

The theme piece of a movie by Won Ka-wai, Happy Together. The first half is a quiet nocturne with a bandonion melody line. It might be describing the narrow backstreet and the atmosphere of those people in the shadow and darkness. The other half changes its mood, to sing a loneliness cut into your skin at night. It is a best bitter-sweet music--it is not very New York, but this piece describes such feeling of sinking in a loneliness and its nostalgy.

It looks like those 5 songs are kind of on the dark side....it tells how I feel in New York....?


Q4.  The last CD I bought

Thievery Corporation 'The Cosmic Game'


Q5. I may ask you someday....
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movie

Talk to her/ Body and mind

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The director of this movie, Pedro Almod?var, keeps a constant theme throughout his movies.

In his movie, such social "taboo" in a society or those people who are outside of the social standard are place in the center. It is the foundation to build up stories that those peopel living in a shadow of the society are the weaks dealt harshly and absurdry. That might be one reason that he picks up the characters such as gays, transsexual, transvestite at its extreme, but at the same level, he deals with a sexual abuse by a Catholic Father, or a single mother who divorced herself. (Bad Education, All about my mother

However, the reason that he pays closer attention to gays, transsexual, or gender identity disorder, seems to be more fundamental to human nature. His movie has colorful and interesting stories, so that his movies have some danger to highlight and appeal only the aspect of such sgrangeness and its friction with others to keep going the interesting storyline. We can appreciate his movie as a drama of those people and their lives living at the edge of social taboos, but I often felt that he is trying to ask more existential issue of human being--the relationship between a body and a spirit under the skin of such dramas.

A Body as a container of a spirit often defines the position and the status in a society or in a daily life. The simplest distinction between a man and a woman is however the clearest but the most essential, important one. Then, for those who have more complicated background such as gay and transsexual, or more complicated transvestite, what does "a body" mean for his/her (.....very complicated!) spirit?

In Talk to her, the movie illustrates the relationship among those characters who make us think over that question of a body and a spirit. For example, the movie begins with a dance scene choreographed and performed by Pina Bausch, the choreographer of Tanztheater Wuppertal, Germany. The scene describes the body of Pina Bausch as a mirror to reflect and represent the spiritual space.

Her body movement constantly transform the materiality of the performing space--those chairs, placed like obstacles, are influenced by her movement as if the space is transformed by the movement of her body and her spirit. (Another man seems to receive the spiritual pulse from her and predict the possibilities of transformation--he pushes away those chairs in front of her) Another female dancer also follows the spiritual wave filled with the space.
The scene also affects an audience, one of the characters of this movie, Marco, and he quietly shed tears.

Marco can not cut off his feeling toward a woman in the past relationship. Even though the memories occupy a large space in his heart, the absence of her body creates an unreachable gap between them.

One day, Marco meets a female torero, Lydia as he interviewed about "lidia." (Bullfight is sometimes called lidia) Both have been trying to escape from their past, and by an accident they gradually get closer.
Lydia is living in the bullfight, which is normally the field of men. However, within the ceremonial space of a bullfight in the face of death, the notion of gender, being man or a woman, looses its meaning. A scene captures the moment to wear and equip with the ceremonial attire that transforms a person, a woman, to "lidia." It might contain the ciriticism toward the absurd prejudice and surface stereotype by a general public against transsexuals or transvestie.

By an accident in the fight, she fell into a coma. Marco was devastated--he knows that he is in an extreme grief as her mind and spirit might have been destroyed, but at the same time he is troubled to understand the fact that her body is still remained and the basic function of her body is still working. Marco can not accept the body with a lost spirit as Lydia.

In the same clinic Lydia is admitted, there is another young woman in a coma called Alicia, who also once was a ballet dancer, and Benigno, who nurses and cares Alicia. Benigno was in love with Alicia before she fell in a coma, and now he nurses Alicia with his all heart. Marco and Benigno understand each other for both having her lovers lost in a coma, and the friendship becomes the next core of the story.

Even though Alicia is in an anawakened sleep, her body stil keeps its youth and beauty. Benigno keeps talking to the sleeping Alicia--he tells all the story of himself, his experiences and his life, his heart for Alicia, and as the sign of his love, he cares Alicia with all of his heart. Often his cares to clean or massage her body look very sexual for others--however, the fact that he is a nurse, and Alicia is in a coma, and also his lie that he told to his colleagues as he is a gay does not ask and question his affectionate caring more than his passion for his job.
This scene illustrates how we are tied in an uncertain and vague relationship based on a thin lines of balance. It also asks the audience whether the relationship between Alicia, who is in a coma without the ability to escape from the unwilling relationship, and Benigno, who believes his behavior is the result of a platonic love, is abnormal or pure human relationship. Where does that judgement come from, whehter it is from your own emotional reaction, or from the common sense we learn by living inside of a society--?

One short silent film inserted with this movie also represented the detachment of a body and spirit world. A couple faces an absurd problem, as a man begins to shrink in its physical size. Even if the spirit and feeling does not dissapear, her body might crush him on a bed, and he was devastated that he lost the way to physically love and keep the relationship.

Finally Benigno crosses a line--he was jailed after the fact was uncovered that Alicia is pregnant.
Marco visits Benigno imprisoned in a white, clean bright prison--like a hospital and a nursery. Even though it is a prison, those jailed prisoners are not called prisonars for human rights reason--the insertion of this scene might be a cynicism of Armodvar. The condition of Alicia who was imprisoned by her condition now is turned around, that Benigno's body can no longer escape even if he has a spirit to still imagine Alicia. Benigno's spirit lost the world to reside by his body gets caught up in a prison and loose the chance to see Alicia any longer, he commits suicide.

Our body and spirit has an unseparable connection between each other. At the same time, the space and a realtiy of a spirit, and the space and reality of a body also have the place that never overlaps. Although we can recognize the gap, it can not be solved. The biggest paradox of human nature--those social taboos of our body and spirit have been surfacing by facing such paradox.

movie

"Nobody Knows" ~criticism in the US~


A Japanese movie, "Nobody Knows," also recived a high remars in New York. New York Times, Washitngon Post, or Village Voice, an independent cultural newspaper of New York city that pays attention to the wide range of cultural movements, all spent quite a lot of space to introduce this movie, which tells the strong interest in this foreing, low badget movie with a difficult theme dealing with social problems.

A boy appeared in this movie received the best prize for main actor as the youngest age in the history of Canne Film Festival. His performance was brilliant, but the movie needs the criticism for its theme and story rather than such prize, and fortunately those newspapre spent sincere and honest criticism of the movie itself. Although the US media tends keep some distance toward Canne Film Award compared to the enthusiasm for Academy Award or Golden Glove Award, the newspaper articles were much more honest and fair compared to the Japanese media, which took the "prize" as a nationalistic achievement as if it is seeking for the economic effect for the Japanese movie industry.

For such promotional treatment of movies by the media, the truth is many people are tired of how those movies are treated and dealt. Those who watched this movie, you notice that to pick up and deal with this movie is very delicate and difficult matter. The media circus was all but surface without seeing the point of this movie.

「The criticism for Nobody Knows」
In some of the US media, critics were arguing about the "distance" that the audience feels. New York Times said that the distance toward those children and the mother from the movie (the director's eye, or the audience's eye) is something like "a cold distance," beside the argument of whether keeping that distance is good or bad.

This is an extra from the theme, but interestingly New York Times is a local newspaper--but it is asked to send out the news worldwide so it actually collects various news across the glove. To give the standard remarks and comments over the various issues and matters with those various social and cultural background, its articles need to keep the third person viewpoint with critical eyes and certain distance. That notion of distance is very similar to the one that Mr. Kore-eda, the directer of the movie, tried to keep for making this film. It can be said that that his attitde to present this theme without charging it with exaggeration and emotion--a fairness of a journalistic viewpoint--broght a compathy among those media journalists.

The theme itself is more real to us Japanese and it is the theme to be dealt with by ourselves. For many American, the social reality itself of today's Japan is something external issue. However, the notion of distance toward such social issues and problems can be recognized and shared by anyone, thus in that sence there is no difference between Japanese audience and American audience in its core.

Above all the point of this movie is to make us audience to realize the existence of such reality, and to know the distance to ask its meaning. Mr. Kore-Eda might have presented this movie to promote such questioning. That enabled even the US audience and critics to see the "existence" of such social issues, and to think of the meaning of it to youself.

Of course, there are many social issues such and domestic problems in the US. The case of Nobody Knows is a very rare, unique case in Japan, but it is the same that the fact of many problems exist in most societies. Yet, the movie does not tell what kind of social disorder triggered this particular case, nor what can solve this kind of problems. It is clear that to provide such "solution" or an "answer" is not the point of this movie--it is asked to the audience to think about and act to deal with those issues, to produce a big wave in a society to involve larger general public.

Just saying as we keep staying at a comfortable place, "the mother is terrible as a mother and a person" or "why didn't those adults around the children notice what was going on?" toward this incident might be just the same as those adults in the movie. Such social issues and problems will never even known and realized as issues and problems as long as they just float around in the shadows of society, until we pull them to our side to learn. This movie is presenting that fact. And it is just the beginning even they are reconized, and the rest is our responsibility. This should be the intention of a true journalism.

Extra (to my Japanese friends):
Newspaper criticism has a great influence in the US--for example, NY Times criticism often defines the success and failure of movies and shows in New York.
New York Times has various independent sections such as movie, music, book, play, and art, etc. The weekend paper has an amazing thickness because of that.
By dividing into each section, each section can spend more space for ciriticism, and each section is written by those specialists and experts of the field. I remember that one severe criticism of a new musical forced it to close down in just three days.

Such newspapres like NY Times or Washington Post set the standard for American intellectuals, but that requires to have a third person point of view not to be influenced by the external pressure. It is also the fact that the liberal atmospher of New York intellectuals supports the independence of this paper, but at the same time it is ture that this paper might not represent the whole consensus of the US.

To carry a wide range of resources and viewpoints is the way to accept vaiours opinions and critical eyes for things and matters. New York is the plate to hold such varieties. In that sense, New York is the place where the most fair and critical opinions spring up.

etc.

Apple, Macintosh and Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs, well known beyond the technology industry, gave a speech at the graduation ceremony of Stanford University.

Link to the original speech--
http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505

You can watch the video clip of the speech.
http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/videos/51.html

Well...
Starting from my personal history--my family came to the US as my father was assigned to the branch office near Washington D.C. (northern part of Virtinia) It was 1993 when I began to take those general study courses in George Mason University. Most of the computers in those computer labs were Macintosh, so I wrote papers with those Macs, and I started using the internet, which had just become usable even for the computer novices. (Do you know Mosaic, the original web browser before Netscape) By the way, America Online was established in the neighbor city called Vienna, VA (where my university was) and we participated in the monitor program. My family decided to buy a computer also, and because the computers used at school were Macs, we decided to buy a Mac.

I remember that NEC and Canon showrooms were located in my father's company building in Tokyo, and I saw the showrooms as I visited my father once. That was the first encounter with a computer. At that time in Japan, Macintosh was imported by Canon to be sold in Japan--even the Japan-made NEC machines were very expensive, and of course the imported Apple products were astronomically expensive that the most expensive Mac was the same price with a car. Macintosh Classic, for example, had a completely different unique character and atmosphere from the other Japanese personal computers. I remembered Apple and Mac for its uniqueness and its price, even as a kid.

Anyway, the first computer came to my house was a Macintosh. It was called Centris 650, with 8MB of RAM, and 80MB (yes, MB, not GB) of hard disk, with no CD-ROM--very weak in today's standard, but it could do pretty many things that amazed and excited me--Mac was a magic box.

Since then, a computer means a Mac. I had to use windows machine sometime with Windows3.1 which became the trauma to use Windows. Once I bought another Mac for living in a dormitory, which was a machine called Centris 610. However, what I received was Quadra 610 with better configuration because the new one just came out as I ordered. I wasn't asked any additional charge. I think this incident made me believe in Apple as a good company.....

Later on I moved to New York and began studying at Parsons School of Design.
Most of the computers at the school were also Macintosh. It alloed me to stick with Mac once again. As I was in Parsons, the new, epoch-making iMac was introduced. Steve Jobs, who established Apple but got fired by his own company, just returned with the new wind. The computer labs at school were soon filled with those iMacs. (later with those colorful ones) It was when Apple began to change.

Around that time, Apple itself was at the bottom as a company. The computer market share had fallen along with the stock price. Which company will buy Apple, and when?--it was the popular rumor at that time. Windows 95 seemed to have catched up or surpassed Mac OS. How did Steve Jobs look at those dark age of Apple? Although iMac was revolutional and super popular, the image of Apple as a company did not improve. I remember those Apple bashing by media--it continued until iPod came and became a mega hit--the success of two revolutional products--iMac and iPod finally brew away those negative images, and they represented the recovered, successful image of Apple to a general public.

According to his speech, he received a new chance to start out from zero by getting fired from his own Apple even if he was devastated. He sprang back with a new computer company NeXT to produce his ideal combination of a computer and an operating software. He also bought an animation production company Pixar with its software to produce a content through his own computer platform.
As he was asked to come back to Apple, his condition of return was to buy NeXT and its operating software, to be further developed and to replace the existing Mac OS, which later becomes Mac OS X. The confusing condition of Apple was fixed by simplifying and producing attractive and appealing hardware and software combination. OS X became the succesful modern OS that works behind all the beautifully designed Apple hardware. Apple could sail off to the second stage--after all, Apple is Steve Jobs himself--Jobs is Apple itself.

He picked up several episodes in his speech.
American private colleges havae much higher tuition than those Japanese ones. Jobs was unhappy and frustrated that most of the savings of his parents had been taken for his college tuition. (He was adopted at his birth) He could not find something worth for that vast tuition. (well, he could say that because the speech was for graduation--not at the welcome celemony! ) It was contradicting to ask such money for himself as he was not sure what to do and study--of course those classes were not interesting at all.

He finally made a decision to leave the college although he was fearful for the uncertain future of himself. But quiting school made him learn to save money--he mentioned several episode, that he saved nickels by returning a juice bottle, or he walked to a temple 6 miles away during weekend to have an decent meal only for the week. He said those were not the painful experiences but the wonderful opportunities to learn, which planted those valuable seeds for his future life.

The first thing that captured his interest after quiting college was a calligraphy. He had seen those beautiful letters used in those posters and bulletin boards on campus, so he took the calligraphy classes, which later became his insistence on using beautiful fonts in Mac OS, or to display nicely and cleanly wih balance of letters (this produced the idea of desktop publishing later on) This episode tells that when he does something, he doesn't want to do it as a boring desk work, but in a smart, elegant, enjoyable ways--the ethos of today's Apple products.

Even though he got fired from Apple, it did not make him abandon his faith to his those ideas, so that he could start out again for his idal. It is not possible to recive true gratification without persueing your own truth. If you haven't found that truth and idal, you should keep seeking for it and never compromise--that is his own method of life by facing various stumbling blocks and learning from those experiences.

He continues. Last year he was once told from a doctor that he would have only three months as he got a pancreatic cancer. He prepared for death by saying farewell to his family and close friends. Luckily, his cancer was a rare case that was curable with the operation. (Pancreatic cancer is normally a cancer hard to remove by an operation) After the operation and several months' rest, he came back to his office. He described this experience in the following insightful words.

”death was a useful but purely intellectual concept...death is very likely the single best invention of life."

He continued to mention that death is the indication of that the time is passing, it is the final point to reach, and it enables to provide the new place for giving birth to new by erasing the old. In front of death, any external ideas untrue to yourself, any pride, any fear of making mistake, would loose its meaning. For the trap to stop moving ahead for the fear of loosing something, the idea of death is a useful to overcome such fear. Because there is nothing to loose, you have to find yourself, and something that you believe in. And doing so by yourself--you can believe in yourself.
His positive boldness and attractiveness may come from such willingness knowing the point to reach.

For me, his words are real as I also got cancer at 28 and its treatment, operation did not hold the reccurence of the second tumor--the fear for another reccurence can not be erased. Seeing the shadow of death behind the life, and it is an ievitable truth of life. OK, I learned it through this experience. Then after that, what should I do, and what is the important thing to myself--I need to think about that. I believe it is a good opportunity for myself, to position it as a positive space in my mind.

As an Apple follower, I was always helped and inspired by its products, as more than just tools but the source of inspiration. I think it will not change soon. Apple products are the only computer and software that are "personal."

Recently Jobs made a huge decision to shift its CPU from IBM's to Intel's, but the presentation was very much the same, Jobs like one.

"We will be very excited to keep pushing the frontiers, and tell you about Leopard, (the next OS) the next time we meet next year.

Because more than even the processors, more than even the hardware innovation that we bring to the market, the soul of Mac is its operating system. And we are not standing still...."

The attitude not to sit on the today's success, but to produce newer and better things--it is not just the ideal image of a CEO of a computer company, but the image of a person living in this world.



movie

Thin Red Line

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“what's this war in the heart of nature?”

このモノローグとともにこの映画は始まる。映画は太平洋戦争中期、ガダルカナル島における日本軍とアメリカ軍な激烈な戦いをもとに描かれるのだが、冒頭のシーンではまるで戦争とは無縁のような、何千年も繰り返されてきたであろう原住民たちの姿が豊かな自然を背景に映し出される。

青く透明な海が照りつける南国の太陽に輝き、白い砂浜と、豊かな森の中で原住民たちが暮らしている。その中に、アメリカ兵らしい二人の若い白人が混じり、原住民らと拙いながらも心を通わせている雰囲気をうかがわせる。そんな中で、そのアメリカ兵がつぶやく。“what's this war in the heart of nature?”

このアメリカ兵ウィットは大いなる自然と、その中に生きる原住民たちの暮らしとに完全な調和を見いだしている。生の源たる、優しくそして恐ろしい自然と、ごく当然の摂理として身近に存在する生と死。それらを、彼らは彼らなりの方法で真摯に受け止め、対峙している。
その自然の摂理の外側で繰り広げられる戦争という人間の行為に、ウィットは意味を見いだすことはできない。降り注ぐ木漏れ日の中に、彼は桃源郷の白中夢を見ようとしているのだ。原住民たちとのふれ合いが、つかの間であるとはいえ彼の求めているものと重なる。そこに、彼を戦争の現実に引き戻すアメリカの軍艦が現れる。

ウィットの上官であるウェルシュ(ショーン・ペン)は歴戦の末、数々の修羅場を目のあたりにし、それをくぐり抜けてきた。生き残る確率を増すには、戦闘するマシーンにならなくてはならないと頭では理解しているし、戦場で生き抜いてきた経験は彼をより戦闘マシーンに近づけていった。
そんな彼の目に、ウィットは他の者と違った存在に映る。生き延びるためには、彼の考える戦争という現実=”見ず知らずの敵を殺す戦闘”、そして”調和を乱す部外者を拒絶する自然”との戦いを繰り返さざるを得ない。その戦いの中で、彼のまわりの人間は傷つき、命を落としていく。しかしウェルシュは、果てしなく続く戦闘の中で生き延び続けることによって、傷つき失われる命を機械のように無感覚に受け入れるようになってしまうことを恐れているのだ。実際、死んだ僚友を目にして「何も感じなくなった」とつぶやく別の兵隊の言葉に動揺する。だから、ウィットが”戦闘の現実”を超えたところに生と死の問題を見いだし問いかけているところに惹かれ、そこに彼自身の現実の手がかりを見つけようとする。

中隊を指揮するスターロスは、強固な反撃の中突撃を命令する上官トールに逆らう。次々と部下が命を落とす中、彼は神に問いかけ、答えを示すよう求めるが、それに対する確たる啓示はなかった。しかし、繰り返される戦闘の中”問いかけることそのもの”が、生への希求として、あるいは自らが、そして彼の率いる部隊が生き、(生き残っている)存在していることの意義を確かめるための行為として語られる。戦争に身を置いたことによって、死は彼にとって喪失を意味するようになった。

ベル二等兵は、残してきた若い妻と過ごした日々を次々と回想する。戦闘が激しければ激しいほど、その回想はノスタルジックに美しく昇華され、詩的なものになっていく。その”詩的な”ものは、スターロスと同じように、生への希求そのものなのかもしれない。彼も自問する。”戦争を終え彼女のものへ戻ることができたとき、自分は元の自分に戻りたい。しかし戻れるだろうか?” と。彼の回想が美しければ美しいほど、それは失われたものであることを意味し、元の彼には戻れないであろうことを示唆する。戦争はベルにとって、自分を根本から変えてしまったものとして彼の現実となる。


この映画は、いわゆる戦争映画、反戦映画といったものとは異なるように思う。大学で哲学を教え、ジャーナリストとして雑誌等に寄稿していた監督のテレンス・マリックは、映画という手法を用いて彼の表現したいものをいかに見る者にとって意味のあるものにするかを求めていると言えるのではないか。
同時期公開された「Saving Private Ryan」では、リアリスティック=(リアルではない)に戦闘シーンを描き、かつセンチメンタルなストーリーの帰結によって戦争があったという事実を感情に訴えることで後世の人々に伝えようとした。しかし、「Thin Red Line」のテーマは、我々人間が何かに対峙することによって初めて何かを認識しようとし、それを現実として捉えるということを示すことだったように思えるのだ。歴史においては事実として存在する「戦争」というものに対し、後世に生きる戦争を経験していない我々はどう対峙するのだろうか。戦争の酷さに対する感情は、戦争をしてはならないという理性を育てるかもしれない。しかしそれはあまりに楽観的なあいまいなものでもある。

「Thin Red Line」におけるさまざまな登場人物のさまざまなモノローグ、自然の摂理の内側に生きる原住民の自然との関わりと暮らし、光、透明な水、豊かな森ーーこれらすべてが詩的に語られ、我々見るものは映画というメディアを通してそれを詩的に捉えるすべを与えられる。”詩的”とは個人個人の、感覚とその認識であり、個人個人における”現実”認識のプロセスであるとするならば、「Thin Red Line」のテーマがもたらす詩的なイメージは今を生きる我々にも強く提示され、それに対し個々に対峙する機会を与える。そうして認識されたものは感情のみで一時的にあおられたものより、強く我々を突き動かすのではないだろうか。


戦後60年の節目である今年、戦争を経験として知る人は年々少なくなってきている。そんな中で、我々は戦争を現実として捉えるすべをあまりにも知らない。その結果が靖国参拝問題であり、昨今みられる感情に訴えることのみに注力した戦争アクション映画である。センチメンタルな感情によるメッセージは、一時的なものしか生み出さない。我々の中の何か大きなものが失われてしまっているのではないかという問いを、「Thin Red Line」という映画は呼び起こす。

movie

"Thin Red Line"

B00005PJ8T.01.LZZZZZZZs.jpg


“what's this war in the heart of nature?”

このモノローグとともにこの映画は始まる。映画は太平洋戦争中期、ガダルカナル島における日本軍とアメリカ軍な激烈な戦いをもとに描かれるのだが、冒頭のシーンではまるで戦争とは無縁のような、何千年も繰り返されてきたであろう原住民たちの姿が豊かな自然を背景に映し出される。

青く透明な海が照りつける南国の太陽に輝き、白い砂浜と、豊かな森の中で原住民たちが暮らしている。その中に、アメリカ兵らしい二人の若い白人が混じり、原住民らと拙いながらも心を通わせている雰囲気をうかがわせる。そんな中で、そのアメリカ兵がつぶやく。“what's this war in the heart of nature?”

このアメリカ兵ウィットは大いなる自然と、その中に生きる原住民たちの暮らしとに完全な調和を見いだしている。生の源たる、優しくそして恐ろしい自然と、ごく当然の摂理として身近に存在する生と死。それらを、彼らは彼らなりの方法で真摯に受け止め、対峙している。
その自然の摂理の外側で繰り広げられる戦争という人間の行為に、ウィットは意味を見いだすことはできない。降り注ぐ木漏れ日の中に、彼は桃源郷の白中夢を見ようとしているのだ。原住民たちとのふれ合いが、つかの間であるとはいえ彼の求めているものと重なる。そこに、彼を戦争の現実に引き戻すアメリカの軍艦が現れる。

ウィットの上官であるウェルシュ(ショーン・ペン)は歴戦の末、数々の修羅場を目のあたりにし、それをくぐり抜けてきた。生き残る確率を増すには、戦闘するマシーンにならなくてはならないと頭では理解しているし、戦場で生き抜いてきた経験は彼をより戦闘マシーンに近づけていった。
そんな彼の目に、ウィットは他の者と違った存在に映る。生き延びるためには、彼の考える戦争という現実=”見ず知らずの敵を殺す戦闘”、そして”調和を乱す部外者を拒絶する自然”との戦いを繰り返さざるを得ない。その戦いの中で、彼のまわりの人間は傷つき、命を落としていく。しかしウェルシュは、果てしなく続く戦闘の中で生き延び続けることによって、傷つき失われる命を機械のように無感覚に受け入れるようになってしまうことを恐れているのだ。実際、死んだ僚友を目にして「何も感じなくなった」とつぶやく別の兵隊の言葉に動揺する。だから、ウィットが”戦闘の現実”を超えたところに生と死の問題を見いだし問いかけているところに惹かれ、そこに彼自身の現実の手がかりを見つけようとする。

中隊を指揮するスターロスは、強固な反撃の中突撃を命令する上官トールに逆らう。次々と部下が命を落とす中、彼は神に問いかけ、答えを示すよう求めるが、それに対する確たる啓示はなかった。しかし、繰り返される戦闘の中”問いかけることそのもの”が、生への希求として、あるいは自らが、そして彼の率いる部隊が生き、(生き残っている)存在していることの意義を確かめるための行為として語られる。戦争に身を置いたことによって、死は彼にとって喪失を意味するようになった。

ベル二等兵は、残してきた若い妻と過ごした日々を次々と回想する。戦闘が激しければ激しいほど、その回想はノスタルジックに美しく昇華され、詩的なものになっていく。その”詩的な”ものは、スターロスと同じように、生への希求そのものなのかもしれない。彼も自問する。”戦争を終え彼女のものへ戻ることができたとき、自分は元の自分に戻りたい。しかし戻れるだろうか?” と。彼の回想が美しければ美しいほど、それは失われたものであることを意味し、元の彼には戻れないであろうことを示唆する。戦争はベルにとって、自分を根本から変えてしまったものとして彼の現実となる。


この映画は、いわゆる戦争映画、反戦映画といったものとは異なるように思う。大学で哲学を教え、ジャーナリストとして雑誌等に寄稿していた監督のテレンス・マリックは、映画という手法を用いて彼の表現したいものをいかに見る者にとって意味のあるものにするかを求めていると言えるのではないか。
同時期公開された「Saving Private Ryan」では、リアリスティック=(リアルではない)に戦闘シーンを描き、かつセンチメンタルなストーリーの帰結によって戦争があったという事実を感情に訴えることで後世の人々に伝えようとした。しかし、「Thin Red Line」のテーマは、我々人間が何かに対峙することによって初めて何かを認識しようとし、それを現実として捉えるということを示すことだったように思えるのだ。歴史においては事実として存在する「戦争」というものに対し、後世に生きる戦争を経験していない我々はどう対峙するのだろうか。戦争の酷さに対する感情は、戦争をしてはならないという理性を育てるかもしれない。しかしそれはあまりに楽観的なあいまいなものでもある。

「Thin Red Line」におけるさまざまな登場人物のさまざまなモノローグ、自然の摂理の内側に生きる原住民の自然との関わりと暮らし、光、透明な水、豊かな森ーーこれらすべてが詩的に語られ、我々見るものは映画というメディアを通してそれを詩的に捉えるすべを与えられる。”詩的”とは個人個人の、感覚とその認識であり、個人個人における”現実”認識のプロセスであるとするならば、「Thin Red Line」のテーマがもたらす詩的なイメージは今を生きる我々にも強く提示され、それに対し個々に対峙する機会を与える。そうして認識されたものは感情のみで一時的にあおられたものより、強く我々を突き動かすのではないだろうか。


戦後60年の節目である今年、戦争を経験として知る人は年々少なくなってきている。そんな中で、我々は戦争を現実として捉えるすべをあまりにも知らない。その結果が靖国参拝問題であり、昨今みられる感情に訴えることのみに注力した戦争アクション映画である。センチメンタルな感情によるメッセージは、一時的なものしか生み出さない。我々の中の何か大きなものが失われてしまっているのではないかという問いを、「Thin Red Line」という映画は呼び起こす。

photography

in New York

In New York city, its brilliant past, or the exciting today, or unchanged daily lives of ordianlly people are all mixed naturally in the air. Those who live here, or who visit here, might find something him/herself from that atmosphere, and draw the picture of his own New York.

20050521095502.jpg


Time to time, I find some astonishingly dense and intense accumulation of times on the surface of such typical, ordinaly objects or buildings. In the passing daily life, I simply overlook such quiet and indistinctive voices--and in some sudden moment, they appear in front of me with bold statements as if they synchrochized with the state of my mind.

20050521095334.jpg


Natural or artificial, a light illuminates such voices and matters, while it also casts shadows. And the relationship tells the stories and memories, which have been layered and accumulated over the time flow. The glisten and the shadow affects something inside of my mind.

20050521094241.jpg


It is not possible to hear such subtle voices at any time. So many things are hidden beneath the tempting, stimulating surface image of New York to be rediscovered. I hope to keep the delicate and sensitive mind to see those unheard voices.

Nitch.jpg


architecture

Architects in New York~1. Contemporary Architecture Practice

I will introduce those architects (especially the ones working in New York) to my Japanese friends. The first lucky one is CAP, (Contemporary Architecture Practice) an architectural unit by two who graduated from Columbia Graduate School of Architecture and Planning. (GSAP)
I will mention the position of the computer and its usage in architecture to support the introduction of this unit.

In early 1990s, the adoption of a computer graphics and animation was accelarating in the movie industry of in Hollywoodーthat also began to influence the architecture field to introduce a 3D modeling environment. This 3D modeling environment went beyond the already developed and popular CAD (Computer Aided Design and Drafting--the aid for architectural design with 2Dimensional drawing drafting) to deal with the 3D space and modles directly in the computer's virual environment. The workstation of Silicon Graphics, or the software such as Alias' Maya or Softimage became widely available, and Columbia GSAP also adopted the system pretty rapidly.

The introduction of new 3D modling environment to architectural field forced the architects to reinterpret the ideas of spaces and materials as we deal with them in virtual environment by manipulating spatial/mateiral parameters translated into numbers. In addition, since those software are designed for the production of 'animation,' the notion of time-space was also restated and reinterpreted, through the adoption of philosophical theories developed by such philosophers like Henri Bergson and Gilles Deleuze. The ethos of Columbia architecture set by its dean, Bernard Tschumi, was such inter-disciplinary study--in his case, it pointed toward more literary aspects of various cultures rather than utilitalian reality, which further promoted the cross cultural communication within architecture field. It was quite dramatic in its shifting from the notion of architecture as a static, technical practice to more dramatic and literal study beyond its domain.

Until modernism came, western architecture enabled to elevate its artistic and social status, while it had established an archetype by expressing such characteristic idas of "sublime," "Rhetoric," "Melancholy," and materialistic concepts of "Gravity," "Ornamentation" to overlap each other--in other words, to unify both its existential characters and materialistic reasoning.

Against such historically and socially established architectural archetype began to be analyzed and reinterpreted by modernism movement, including Mies van der Rohe. He became the leading figure in modernism by further reinterpreted the "territory" that allows the existence and enables the forming of the architecture as a phsical entity. A "territory" is both physical and abstractive "concept" at the same time--since the introduction of the perspective theory and its adoptation in Renaissance era, that method had enabled to conceptualize the relationship between the materials and the space, to abstract and manipulate such concepts and ideas remotely and externally in a theoretical domain.
The inevitable centrality (with the notion of what is there at a vanishing point) was often used to exhibit the position of God, or an existial reasoning and a possibility of human nature, while the perspective, abstracted space described an ideal, universal, eternal field. Modernism, led by Mies, pushed the concept of an ideal space with the actuality and physicality of an architecture utilizing new technology and materials. (Partially, religious coloring was reduced or in some sense wiped out from the ideal space)

In that sense, the new, virtually established 3D modeling environment of a computer modeling method is the extension of such conceptualization as perspective methods and the ideal (ex. Descaltes' Cartesian Space) space with abstracted spatial/material theories. And the additional concept of time as a "time domain" rather than an affective notion (ex. "nostalgy" had been the important notion of figurating time/history and space, which highten the artistic and social reasoning of an architecture) could free the architecture from a static and materialistic existence.

At the beginning of the adoption of 3D modeling, it was studied to trasnform and morph a static volume by manipulating the every parameter of the space and the timeline. It gradually shifted even from Deconstructivism that reinterpreted and deconstructed the established social positioining of the architecture and its languages and forms.
By multiplying the sptial organization and programming (both spatial and social) and the notion of time space, the space and the form as its phenomena get transformed. Theorists such as Sanford Kwinter, Ignasi de sol?-Morales Rubi?, named such architectural process as "Liquid Architecture," and today it is often called as "Hybrid Architecture" as it compiles various elements of time and space.

The transformation of a form in Hybrid architecture has also the potentiality to shift the concept of the materiality in architecture. For example, a physical element of the architecture, a "wall"--is perpendicular to the ground to elevate and support the canopy, and it function to devide and isolate the space, define the interior and exterior, and so on. However in Hybrid architecture, such notion could be transformed, as the ground plane can be folded to become a wall, and a wall surface becomes the solid volume and mass to contain program elements (such as furniture and physical, utilitarian space) Such practice has the possibilities to provide new kind of lifestyle or the notion of space.

The concept of Hybrid architecture, which had been restricted by the computation power and software limitation, is drastically evolving. CAP, led by Ali Rahim, is a young but key player in this field. Here are some photos from their works--the images described here have not been defined in general standard, so imagine yourself!

CAP2.jpg

CAP1.jpg
Fashion designer's Resident project


CAP5.jpg

CAP3.jpg

CAP4.jpg
Reebok Store Beijin


CAP6.jpg

CAP7.jpg
Olympic House


http://www.c-a-p.net/
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