Sight and Insight


By Daisy Corso

Compassion is often considered to be the essence of religion. In the act of compassion, we perceive our experiences and others through a veil of implicit biases. Implicit biases are built from one’s automatic association between mental representations and concepts from memory. It is arguable a majority of tragic events are motivated by deeply ingrained automatic association of perceptions reinforced by implicit biases with or without moral compassion. Looking through a lens of religion, the relationship of perception and fact can cause a distraction of morals and discourage curious questioning. When we receive information during influential stages of our life, that information is often times responsible for the lens we view the world and others through. This perception can either be enabled or combated as one continues their life experiences. When associations of normalcy are conceived strictly from organized religions, the concept of normality is solidified as experiences occur. Within organized religion, a greater sense of community is identified and throughout a lifetime, the reinforcement of perceived compassion is no longer questioned. Having the willingness to curiously question normality combats the state of naïveté and leads to greater compassion. How could the relationship of perception and fact be disrupted through encouragement of curiosity within the essence of religion?

When we receive information during influential stages of our life, that information is often times responsible for the lens we view the world and others through. In the text, The Why People: Faith, False Prophets & End of Times (Divine Liberation), Lincoln Swain dissects the Jonestown Massacre. Jim Jones, the American religious and cult leader of the Jonestown Massacre, persuaded, and convinced over nine hundred people to commit a “revolutionary suicide”. As quoted in Swain’s text, Jim Jones stated in the Peoples Temple of San Francisco in 1975, “What you need to believe in is what you can see… If you see me as your friend, I’ll be your friend. As you see me as your father, I’ll be your father, for those of you that don’t have a father… If you see me as your God, I’ll be your God”. Jim Jones utilized the vulnerable to his own advantage and over nine hundred people took their lives for him and his ideals. The Jonestown Massacre is one incident of the many reoccurring pattern of the masses being lead one way or another often discourages curiosity and individuality thus leading to a
“one size fits all” mentality.

Bibliography Swain, Lincoln. 2011. The Why People, Faith, False Prophets & End Times (Divine Liberation). Atomic Quill Press, 2011.

Drug-induced
Racism

By Sean Finch

In 1935 a DEA Commissioner by the name of Harry J. Anslinger would lay the groundwork for the path towards the US drug war. This same man was quoted as saying “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

In 1971, President Richard Nixon proclaimed drug abuse ‘Public Enemy Number One’. In the same speech, he declared war on drug addiction. In the last forty-four years since Richard Nixon’s decision, the steps taken have had vast and far reaching consequences, most of which focus on race. In the 1970’s, African American’s arrest percentages were double that of Caucasians in drug-related cases. Since then, that number has grown to being 5 times that of Caucasians in drug-related cases. On average, however, Caucasians commit more drug crimes. One of the major reason for this difference is that laws and regulations are specifically targeted towards minorities and the poor. In 1986, Ronald Reagan enacted a bill called the Anti-Drug Abuse act. This put in place Mandatory Minimum sentences on drug crimes. This Mandatory Minimum was oddly distributed, especially among the two types of Cocaine. Crack Cocaine, which is cheap and easily accessible and more widely used in poor populations, has a mandatory 5 years per 5 grams, unlike its more expensive powdered brethren that requires 500 grams in possession for 5 years. This, of course, skyrocketed minority and poor arrests. This wouldn’t be changed until 2010, when President Obama put in a place the Fair Sentencing Act, which closed the gap. Each year, the U.S. spends on average 51 Billion Dollars on the Drug War which results in 1.5 Million Arrests. Out of the rest of the world, the highest prison population is in the US. The US houses 25 percent of the world’s prison population, and the US accounts for 5% of the world’s total population. In 2010, 99,300 out of 190,641 people incarcerated, are in prison for drug related crimes. That accounts for over 50% of the US prison population. As of 2017, these numbers have only changed slightly. The prison population has shrunk to 174,208, but drug offenses still account for 46.3%. The
non-white population of the prison systems accounts for 41.6%. Of the total prison population, 57% of men and 72% of women were making below $19,000 a year prior to going into prison system.

The drug war has little to no effect overall, but has affected those of skin colors other than white, and those whom were affected most were those who didn’t earn a wage that they could successfully live off of. Where should the war go? The countries with the most successful drug reform have completely stopped fighting the war, and legalized every drug regardless of effects, and have instead put the money towards drug rehabilitation, making it a fraction of the cost. Places like Portugal, which had a 51% drug overdose rate of people using drugs, went down to as low as 8% after instating the new drug policies. Perhaps instead of wasting taxpayers time, money,
and continuing to condemn a marginalized part of society we in turn work for the betterment of these populations and bring more equality to our communities as a whole.

Digitizing Comics
Books

By Jason Gerboth

Computer generated imagery in entertainment is nothing new. Computers have been used in television, movies and print since the nineteen seventies, and have been used extensively since the nineteen nineties to streamline production and create content that would be impossible with practical effects. One area of entertainment that has embraced computer technology discreetly are comics and graphic novels.

Comic books have and largely continue to be a handmade artifact. Ever since the wide spread publications in the nineteen thirties, comics were drawn, lettered and colored by hand. This process has always been very labor intensive and required teams of artists to produce regular issues. As computer technology increased in sophistication, the labor required to produce a comic book decreased, which has led to a larger catalog of comic book titles and publishers. The rollout of computer aided comic book publishing started in the late nineteen eighties, when Mike Saenz wrote and produced Crash (1991), for Marvel Comics. It was a dystopian story with a seventy year old Tony Stark dealing with his own mortality and artificial intelligence. The graphic novel was touted as the first computer generated, It was rendered graphics, photographed off of a computer monitor and printed. As a novelty, it was not largely successful, since computer generated imagery was not yet very sophisticated. However, Saenz’s ideas of computers relieving the grunt work in comic production was not far off.

In 1992 comic letterer Richard Starkings started a studio that began to revolutionize comic publishing by digitally typesetting the lettering in mainstream comic books. The transition was swift, and not without a few growing pains, with increased volume of text, comic editors were forced to increase their proof reading skills since type was flowed into space much faster, and often right before printing.

The next great step in computer aided comic book creation was colorization. Prior to the computer age, coloring was done with assigned colors and screens at the printer. Publisher were limited to the four-color process, and had to markup pages with Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black values to instruct manual strippers which screens to use. The results were colorful, but limited pallets. With the introduction of Adobe Photoshop, simple color screens were replaced with gradients and blends that could be output at higher resolution and eventually directly to printing plates or film. Comic books were now being drawn and inked by hand, and then completed on computer.

The most recent advances have been in digital painting and computer rendered imagery. Unlike Saenz’s graphic novel, comic books are being drawn digitally, with all the artistry of hand rendered imagery. Computer programs like Manga Studio, Adobe Photoshop, and Sketchbook function as miniature comic studios that allow creators to work not only quickly, but completely autonomously. With costs usually under five hundred dollars, any artist will have access to the same tools as publishing professionals. With so much automation of production, comic book companies and creators can now create more stories more quickly. Combined with digital delivery platforms, works can be shared to more and more people. Also, the market of small publishers has increased due to the technological advances in publishing. Artists and writers whose stories lacked mainstream appeal, can now create, publish and share their work, and get paid for as well.

Virtual Reality:
The Good and Bad

By Klovit

Focusing on the, potentiality, inevitability and effect of virtual reality upon society for better or worse, Virtual Reality technology over the years, has the potential to completely transform our society in both negative and positive way. However I do believe that in order for it to have a positive effect on our society, an in-depth research will be helpful. Though the reality of this technology taking over our daily routines may be seen as somewhat impossible to some, but its potential in improving our daily routines and industries can be very successful.

If put to good use, the VR technology may just be a great asset to use in order to advance fields such as education, design, medicine, and entertainment, because society will not have to invest in a physical design in order to convey an ideation. But in order for our society to get to the point where performing the impossible with this technology becomes possible, we need to gather as much information as needed. Information that will benefit us in understanding the manner in which this technology affects us. We also need to weigh the pros and cons while examining both positive and negative effects of the virtual technology.

When dealing with this topic, one can't go on without questioning its negative impact or its effect on the people that are exposed to such technology. Such as escaping into the virtual world and being withdrawn from friends, family, and possibly from society as a whole. In fact, I believe that these questions and potential issues are one of the significant factors that can stand in the way of realizing the full potential of virtual reality. In order for the VR technology to receive a widespread use, companies such as Google, Samsung, and Facebook will need to focus on addressing the significant number of human and societal issues that the technology can overcome.

Performing
Movement

By Evan Wirths

Movement is something that artists portray in a number of different ways. Some use line weight or brush stroke, others use color or photographs to convey a feeling of movement. Performance artists have a unique platform in which they can push the idea of movement in innovative ways. Some use their body to create literal movement while movement in emotion or tone are also explored. Performance art is often focused less on the final product and more on the process or the act, meant to be viewed as it takes place.

Carolee Schneemann’s performance, Up to and Including Her Limits, explores the interaction between producing a work and performing with literal movement. Inspired by Pollock’s process, Schneemann suspended herself via harness from which she then swung. Using crayons, she makes marks where her extended arm came in contact with the walls and floor around her. The moving body becomes the focus during the performance, all the while producing a more permanent work that will remain
after the act.

An artist who produces work similar to Schneemann’s performance, Heather Hansen blends the lines between the performance and final product. She positions herself atop of her canvas and performs a sort of dance while illustrating her movements, usually with charcoal. The final product is a unique visual representation of her dance, often made up of symmetrical swirling lines and patterns. While the created image is beautiful, her process is often completed in front of an audience or video camera, making her work equally about the performance and final product.

The well-known Marina Abramovic often explores less literal types of movement with her performances. In fact, her most famous performance, Rhythm 0, was based on the idea of her staying completely stationary. During this performance it was the audience who made the movement, provided with a number of objects and allowed to interact with the artist’s body in any way they wanted. The performance began quite tame and peaceful but by the end it had turned intense and even violent. It is a movement in feeling or tone that is explored in this work.

Technocracy

By Daniel Kallsen

What is a technocracy? It is a form of governmental power that makes decisions
based on technological data, rather than opinion or political savvy. With this form
of governmental control in place, it seems that it the human element, which has
been taken out of the picture.

When decisions are made with artificial intelligence and machine learning, how can
we know that humanity’s best interests are in ‘mind’. In recent years, this has been
the approach for both Facebook and Google, which has caused a multitude of
opinions regarding privacy and freedom of information. Citizens have taken to the streets to protest these monopolies of information, outraged by politically correct censorship and biased search results. Google’s company Youtube has been a central factor of this controversy, along with the company Twitter, due to their censorship and demonetization of opposing political views.

Facebook has over 900 million users, and this comes with the difficulty of managing that many people. Facebook allows people to speak their views, but any post can be reported or marked as spam. This power allows those with opposing views to decide who should be allowed to speak, turning the power over to the artificial intelligence system, that has been programmed to block those being reported. Should these companies be allowed to make these sort of anti-free speech decisions on this open community platform? Many people believe that they are violating their human rights, and as technology grows, the ability for people to speak out against these
companies shrinks.

Art in Action

By Mallory Wilke

The action of art can be performed in numerous ways. It can be as simple as sketching or as dynamic as creating an installation. Does graffiti fit into this category? The idea of graffiti being an art form has been controversial for a while and is still dependent on one’s personal views. In my opinion graffiti is considered art, whether it is a mural on the side of a building or an intricate tag of a person’s name or initial.

Modern graffiti dates back to the 60’s of course it has occurred before this era, such as the marks that were found in Pompeii, Italy over 1,700 years ago. The action of graffiti is the larger aspect of the practice, especially when it is done illegally. The illegal practice is key, you need to be thoughtful and quick.

Thankfully being located in a major city, let alone a city that is pro-art in 2017 is an amazing thing for an artist. Artists can create their work without consequences. Graffiti is a means of self expression; it allows one to feel part of the community. Graffiti is definitely a form of artwork; it can serve to provide something to people that is aesthetically beautiful. Their art is seen, known, and appreciated by the citizens of the city.

Intersectionality
of Rock Music

By Jack Brownson

Rock music has long been a boys club, more specifically, a white boys club. But now, in 2017, it seems that people are finally sick of listening to white dudes whine about girls and whatever other non-issues plague their lives. For the first time, a number of emerging new rock groups are the projects of women and other marginalized groups. Rock music is the developing frontier of intersectionalism.

Downtown Boys from Providence, Rhode Island are a latinx punk band fronted by Victoria Ruiz. They sing songs about the difficulties that accompany being both hispanic and female. Many of their songs are sung in Spanish and include instrumentation that references banda music.

IAN SWEET is the project of lead singer Jilian Medford. What began as a solo project in Medford’s bedroom while studying at the Berklee College of Music quickly developed into a group project. IAN SWEET’s debut album Shapeshifter focuses on a singular topic, the feeling of losing yourself in a relationship when you exclusively accommodate the needs of another. This feeling, although not exclusively experienced by women, is a systemic problem within our society and deeply personal songwriting is a strong platform that facilitates connection with a broader audience.

Japanese Breakfast is the project of Michelle Zauner, a Korean-American singer-songwriter and former member of Little Big League. In 2015, Zauner experienced a wide array of life changing events that inspired the writing of her first solo record, Psychopomp. Zauner got married and then immediately following her wedding, her mother passed. Psychopomp explores universal themes of grief and first hand accounts and experiences. In some of her most popular songs, like “Everyone Wants to Love You” and “Road Head,” Zauner sings about sexual ideals and sex positivity. Zauner walks the line between saccharine vocals and wry growls, portraying the personal confusion and growth that develop from such times of trauma and upheaval.

Pepsi Gone Wrong

By Richard Tu

Recently, many people have been on edge about social issues such as Black Live Matter, racism, and the recent presidential election. Many popular companies like Pepsi, KFC, and Dove have been hounded for their use of advertisements. Using controversial topics is a great way to get people to notice the ads, but it is also a dangerous game because the message could be easily misunderstand. Pepsi became victim of this in one commercial that got such bad backlash that they had to take it down within a day. Pepsi’s idea was to illustrate peace, unity, and understanding, but people mistook it as making light of a serious issue.

Since the commercial was addressing a serious issue, which could not be solved so easily in reality, Pepsi’s viewers did not take it well because Black Lives Matter was such a serious issue. Today, our society is so on edge about social issues, especially if the issue does not line up with their point of view. People jump at the chance to speak their opinions without listening to the other side. We need to step back and remember that people have the right to their own opinions and if their thoughts are not the same as yours, that it is okay. With that being said, I do believe that we can reach understanding within our society that opinions are not end all of the conversation and armed with facts, knowledge and legitimate arguments we can take the time to see other people’s opinions. This will allow us to have a more well rounded view of the world, which in turn propels us forward for a better society.