Coded Realities

Broj 1 - Godina 4 - 12/2013

Uvodnik

The seventh issue of [sic] was conceived as an open-themed issue, unrestricted by a specific topic, genre or mood. Yet, the papers that made it through the review process all seem to remind the readers that our reality is coded in so many ways. Whether it is by means of a literal code, such as the one used between the brothers Vrančić, one a cardinal and writer, the other a diplomat and poet, to prevent others from reading their letters, or a less conspicuous one, such as the one that transforms reality into reality TV, our literature, art and culture seem to rely heavily on cyphers, secrets and the tension between the real and the false. At times, in Grand-Guignol, the boundaries between viewing a play and witnessing a violent act become blurred as the viewer unintentionally becomes a witness or even the perpetrator of violent acts represented (faked!) on a stage in order to seem real. Questions of (in)authenticity and the construction of personal or cultural identity also contribute to our sense of our life, our very existence being coded intentionally and unintentionally in a myriad of ways. ..

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Izdvojeno

In after show interviews, reality television stars often cite the camera and producorial manipulation, like editing, when trying to explain away their conceivably indefensible behavior. And much academic criticism of reality shows hinges on these very same “negative” features of the format: technological mediation, truthiness, their “lack” of reality. However, given the pervasiveness of 21st Century digital communication technology, and our decades worth of exposure to the regulating gaze of CCTV cameras, this rhetorical position is increasingly losing merit, despite its continued deployment—at the start of 2013, A&E’s Storage Wars was met by denouncements of a similar flavor. This paper attempts to draw on technology’s current place in the cultural milieu to challenge, at the very least, the theoretical position that might find reality TV external to our lived reality. Some specific reality TV personalities, ones who have denounced or commented on their on-screen selves, are examined in order to open up a conversation worried less about the contrivance of reality TV and more about the contrivance of contemporary living. MTV’s Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, The Hills, and ABC’s The Bachelor are some of the televisual texts sampled for the content of this paper....

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During the period of their correspondance, the brothers Mihovil and Antun Vrančić would occasionaly write messages in code: Antun in a letter written while on a diplomatic mission in Paris in 1546, and Mihovil in four letters written in Šibenik some twelve years later. While conducting the necessary research required for our investigation, we discovered that one letter had, until now, remained unknown. We succeeded in deciphering Mihovil's system of signs by comparing the frequency of signs in the coded parts of the text with the frequency of signs in those parts of his letter composed in Latin script. The majority of the signs are derived from the Latin script and only their quality has beeen changed. It seems that this was influenced by the Polygraphia, a work by the then contemporary cryptographer Iohannes Trithemius. In addition, a certain number of Arabic signs as well as signs from other scripts have been included.Most of the hidden content deals with investments in real estate and other buisiness ventures, thus the purpose of this secret system of writing was evidently to prevent the competition from gaining a possible advantage over Antun and Mihovil. At the time, after a four-year diplomamtic embassy position in Turkey, Antun had been awarded by the Emperor Ferdinand and his income had increased significantly. The need for caution and discretion is evident in two messages in which we find Mihovil warning his brother to be wary of two other brothers who have a dubious moral reputation....

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U Iraku se zvao Salim Abdul Husain i radio je za općinu kao čistač, u skupini kojoj je upravitelj dodijelio zadatak čišćenja nakon eksplozija. Umro je 2009. u Nizozemskoj pod drugim imenom: Carlos Fuentes. Salim i njegovi kolege, puni dosade i gnušanja, kao i svakoga drugog jadnog dana, čistili su tržnicu nakon što je eksplodirao tegljač s gorivom, zapalivši piliće, voće, povrće i pokojeg čovjeka. Meli su pažljivo i polako od straha da ne pokupe neki zaostali komad ljudskoga tijela. Uvijek su tražili netaknutu lisnicu ili možda zlatni lanac, prsten ili sat koji je još pokazivao vrijeme. U potrazi za posmrtnim dragocjenostima Salim nije imao sreće kao njegovi kolege. Trebao mu je novac za vizu kako bi otišao u Nizozemsku i pobjegao iz ovog vatrenoga užasa prepunoga smrti. Samo mu se jedanput posrećilo pa je našao prst s dragocjenim srebrnim prstenom, vrlo lijepim. Salim je poklopio prst stopalom, pažljivo se sagnuo i skinuo prsten s gađenjem. Prsten je završio na Salimovoj ruci, zadivljeno je promatrao dragi kamen i na kraju odustao od pomisli da ga proda. Može li se reći da je osjetio duboku duhovnu povezanost s prstenom? ...

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Mamica se opet bavila svojim brkovima, jak miris voska, kovrče pare iznad lonca. Bila je grozno opsjednuta uklanjanjem dlaka; ovo joj je bilo drugi put u tjedan dana. Pribor razbacan po pultu u prednjem dijelu kafea, ljepljive posudice voska među prašnjavim staklenkama za slatkiše, drveni štapići vire iz posude za žličice za kavu. "Uz malo sreće, ti ovo nećeš morati raditi", rekla je nanoseći zlaćanu smjesu iznad gornje usnice. Pogledala se u zrcalu na reklami Coca-Cole koja je visjela na zidu s brodskim podom i pritisnula komad gaze na usta dok se tekućina ne stvrdne. "Vidi me, ja sam Sicilijanka. Prekrivena dlakama koje ne želim, kao Turkinje, kao Grkinje. Ali ti si Irkinja, Majella, i bjelja od toga ne možeš biti. 'Trebaju ti samo dvije generacije da se asimiliraš.' To mi je rekao tvoj stari nono kad si se rodila. 'Sad si Irkinja, Bonfilia. I imaš irsku bambinu kao dokaz.'" Uprla je štapićem u mene. "Ali nisam postala plavuša zbog tebe, je l' da?" Moj je nono sjedio u stražnjem dijelu prostorije, u separeu uz prozor. Ustajao je u četiri svakog jutra, dolazio u gaćama i naopako okrenutom vunenom džemperu i sjedio u kafeu. Nije se micao do osam uvečer, jeo je mliječne kekse i smrdio na pišalinu, kako obično mirišu devedesetogodišnjaci. Ponekad si je umišljao stvari; vikao na ljude kojih nema, bijesno mahao rukama. Mamica je rekla da ponovno proživljava dane u talijanskoj mornarici kada se borio u Španjolskom građanskom ratu. Uopće nije obraćao pažnju na nas jer se u njegovoj šašavoj glavi još nismo ni rodile. Ni mi nismo previše obraćale pažnju na njega, pa zato nismo ni primijetile da je prošli tjedan imao drugi moždani udar. ...

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